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Title: Memoirs of the Reign of King George the Third, Volume IV (of 4)
Author: Walpole, Horace
Language: English
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  _P. Battoni. pinx^t_      _J. Cook, sc._

_Augustus Henry_,


  London, Published by Richard Bentley, 1845.




  VOL. IV.

  Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty.

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





  A. D.                                                             PAGE
  1769. Victories of the Russians                                      2

        Altercation with France                                        2

        Position of the Duc de Choiseul                                4

        Madame du Barry                                                6

        Opposition to her Presentation at Court                       12

        General Dislike of the new Favourite                          16

        Cabal against Choiseul                                        18

        His imprudent Conduct                                         22

        Project for restoring the Finances                            24

        Trial of the Duc d’Aiguillon                                  25

        Anecdote of the Prince of Beauvau                             26

        Extraordinary Letter of Louis the Fifteenth                   29


  1770. Irish Parliament prorogued                                    32

        Public Feeling                                                33

        Opening of the British Parliament                             34

        Lord Chatham moves an Amendment to the Address                34

        Debates on the Election of Lutterell                          37

        Daring Conduct of Burke and Saville                           38

        Lord Camden loses the Seals                                   44

        Dismissal of the Earl of Huntingdon                           45

        Resignation of Lord Granby                                    47

        Charles Yorke refuses the Seals                               48

        Death of Sir John Cust                                        48

        Yorke accepts the Seals                                       51

        His Death                                                     52

        Sir Fletcher Norton elected Speaker                           54

        Disinterestedness of Conway                                   55

        Motion to inquire into the State of the Nation                57

        Jan. 22. Duke of Grafton determines to Resign                 59

        Jan. 25th. Hostile Motion of Dowdeswell in the House
          of Commons                                                  62

        Interview of Conway with the Duke of Grafton                  65

        Jan. 27th. Resignation of the Duke                            68

        His Character                                                 69


  1770. Jan. 29th. Lord North appointed First Lord of the Treasury    75

        His Character                                                 78

        The other Ministers                                           83

        Feb. 2nd. Debate in the Lords on the State of the Nation      87

        Feb. 12th. Motion of Lord Chatham                             90

        Quarrel between the Speaker and Sir William Meredith          91

        Debate in the Lords                                           93

        Lord Chatham attacks the Influence of the Court               94

        March 5th. Repeal of the American Duties                      95

        Bold Conduct of the City Authorities                          97

        March 14th. Remonstrance presented to the King                98

        Debates on the Civil List                                    100

        Lord Chatham attacks the Duke of Grafton                     101


  1770. Debate on the City Remonstrance                              103

        Loyal Address carried                                        107

        Bills introduced by Mr. Herbert and Mr. Grenville            110

        Conversation on Secret Influence                             112

        City Dinner to the Opposition                                115

        Curious Phrase employed by Lord Chatham                      116

        April 17th. Termination of Wilkes’s Imprisonment             117

        Riots at Boston                                              119

        April 28th. Death of Marshal Ligonier                        121

        Debate on the Irish Parliament                               122

        State of Parties                                             123

        Burke’s _Thoughts on the Present Discontents_                129

        Influence of Lord Bute                                       132

        Pelham Administration                                        136

        Diminution of the Privileges of Members of Parliament        147

        May 8th. American Affairs                                    149

        Middlesex Election                                           150


  1770. May 23rd. Bold Address of Beckford to the King               153

        Address on the Birth of a Princess                           155

        June 21st. Death and Character of Beckford                   156

        Voyage of the Princess of Wales to Germany                   161

        Eccentric Conduct of the Queen of Denmark                    163

        Suit of Lord Grosvenor                                       164

        Trial of the Kennedys for Murder                             166

        Conduct of Mr. Horne                                         167

        Licence of the Press                                         168

        Libel on the King of Spain                                   169

        Dispute on the Falkland Islands                              170

        The Adelphi                                                  173

        Promotion of Lutterell                                       174

        October 20th. Death and Character of Lord Granby             175

        Vacant Regiment bestowed on Conway                           175

        Meeting of the Inhabitants of Westminster                    181

        Imminence of a War                                           183

        Diplomacy of Lord Weymouth                                   184

        Lord Mansfield’s Timidity                                    187

        Death and Character of Mr. George Grenville                  188


  1770. King’s Speech                                                191

        Debate on the War                                            192

        Speeches of Barré and Lord Barrington                        193

        Wilkes’s Opposition to Pressing                              195

        Conduct of Sir Walter Blacket                                197

        Nov. 22nd. Motion for Papers on the Falkland Islands         198

        News from Spain                                              203

        Intemperance of Charles Fox                                  207

        Lord Chatham attacks the Administration                      208

        Dec. 10. Lord Mansfield delivers a Copy of his
          Determination in Woodfall’s Trial                          215

        Remarkable Scene                                             217

        Dec. 11th. Debate on Lord Mansfield’s Paper                  220

        Dec. 13th. Debate on the Ejection of the Commons             228

        Scotch Nationality                                           234

        Dec. 16th. Resignation of Lord Weymouth                      235

        Downfall of the Duc de Choiseul                              246

        The Duc d’Aiguillon and the Parliament of Bretagne           247

        Persecution of La Chalotais                                  248

        The Duc retires to Chanteloup                                253


  1771. Jan. 9th. Lord Sandwich appointed to the Admiralty           257

        Haughty Tone assumed towards Spain                           258

        Jan. 14th. Death of the Duke of Bedford                      259

        Law Preferments                                              262

        Declaration of Spain on the Falkland Islands                 265

        Jan. 25th. Panegyric on Choiseul by Chatham                  267

        Quarrel between Wilkes and Maclean                           271

        Feb. 11th. Motion in the Lords to remit Pressing             272

        Close Struggle on the Nullum Tempus Bill                     273

        Feb. 13th. Discussion on the Spanish Declaration             275

        Scheme of Wilkes                                             278

        Conduct of the Queen of Denmark                              280

        March 4th. Bill to allow the East India Company to raise
          a Regiment in England                                      281

        The Irish Parliament                                         283

        March 12th. Resistance to the House of Commons               284

        Lord Mayor attends the House                                 292

        Revelation respecting Barré’s attack on Mr. Pitt             292

        Protracted Conflict with the City                            293

        Spain demands the restitution of the Falkland Islands        296

        Character of Dr. Johnson                                     297

        Famine in Bengal                                             297


  1771. March 15th. The Lord Mayor attends the House                 299

        Alderman Oliver sent to the Tower                            301

        March 27th. Riot and Attack on Lord North                    302

        Lord Mayor committed to the Tower                            304

        March 30th. Lord Rockingham visits the Lord Mayor            306

        Weakness of the Opposition                                   308

        Conduct of the Court                                         310

        Education of the Prince of Wales                             311

        Character of Mr. Smelt                                       312

        Debate on the King’s Friends                                 314

        Alderman Oliver declines to stand as Sheriff with Wilkes     316

        Dissolution of the French Parliaments                        317

        April 23rd. Bill for an East Indian Regiment rejected        319

        April 28th. Bill for Triennial Parliaments                   320

        May 1st. Motion of Lord Chatham tending to a Dissolution     321

        Lord Chatham and the Pynsent Estate                          322

        Instances of the Partiality of both Houses                   323

        May 9th. Close of the Session                                324

        Controversy between Horne and Wilkes                         325

        Duke of Grafton accepts the Privy Seal                       327

        Visit of the Prince of Wales to Gravesend                    327

        Wilkes and Bull elected Sheriffs for Middlesex               328

        “Adventures of Humphrey Clinker”                             328

        Chevalier d’Eon supposed to be a Woman                       329

        State of Affairs in France                                   330

        Character of Maupeou                                         331

        Disgrace of the Bishop d’Orleans                             333

        The Abbé du Terray                                           334

        Madame du Barry                                              335

        Popularity of the Duc de Choiseul                            338

        Dissolution of the Parliaments of Bourdeaux and Toulouse     339

        Bold Conduct of Choiseul                                     342

        Disturbed State of France                                    342

        General Dislike of the Mistress                              343


  1771. Movements of the Pretender                                   347

        Conduct of Lord Townshend in Ireland                         348

        Lord Rockingham and his Party give over their Opposition     353

        Illness of the Princess Dowager                              355

        Duke of Cumberland’s Private Marriage with Mrs.
          Horton                                                     356


        I. Character and Influence of Lord Bute                      367

        II. Dr. Thomas, Bishop of Winchester                         370

        III. George the Third and Mr. Mackenzie                      371

        IV. Libel on the King of Spain                               372

        V. Extracts from the Life of the Duke of Grafton             376





  Victories of the Russians.--Altercation with France.--Position of
    the Duc de Choiseul.--Origin of his Power.--His Character.--Madame
    du Barry.--Her Influence opposed to that of the Duc.--Opposition
    to her Presentation at Court, which is at last effected.--General
    Dislike of the New Favourite.--Cabal against the Duc de
    Choiseul.--His Imprudent Conduct.--Projects for Restoring the
    Finances.--Trial of the Duc D’Aiguillon.--Anecdote of the Prince of
    Beauvau.--Extraordinary Letter of Louis the Fifteenth.


Thus ended the year 1769, leaving a prospect of very gloomy scenes
at hand. In the last reign the House of Lords had acquired a great
ascendant in the legislature; at the beginning of the present, the
Crown had aimed at, and well nigh attained, an increase of the
prerogative. The people were now grown formidable both to the King
and Lords, and openly attacked the House of Commons, their best real
support. Against all the branches of the legislature the contest
was certainly unequal, but the vibrations of the balance proved how
nicely the constitution was poised. Yet so tremulous an equilibrium
made it the more to be feared that one or other of the scales might
preponderate. The union of all three against the people, by the Lords
and Commons being sold to the King, was still more formidable. I shall
conclude the history of the year with what relates to foreign politics.

The tide was turned in favour of the Russians. The victorious Grand
Vizir, who had checked their success, was removed by an intrigue of
the Seraglio; and his successor rashly venturing to give battle, was
defeated with great loss: Choczim was taken, and Prince Gallitzin, who
had been recalled on a notion of having failed, destroyed the Turkish
army before he received the news of his disgrace. France and Spain
were tempted to molest the Russian fleet as it should pass through the
Mediterranean; and, as it was received and favoured in our ports, it
was not improbable but the three powers would be drawn into the vortex
of the war. We had actually subsisting with France a quarrel that
disposition to a rupture would easily have blown up into very serious
discussion. A French ship had come into one of our ports, but refused
to lower her pendant. On being fired at, the French captain continued
to refuse striking the pendant, but declared himself our prize. France
presented a strong memorial, and threatened reprisals. A parallel case
had happened in Sir Robert Walpole’s time, who had yielded the point
by breaking the captain for one day, and promoting him the next. At
this time a vigorous answer was returned, and in harsher terms than Mr.
Conway thought necessary, who asking Lord Weymouth at Council if he had
looked into the former case, he replied, No--and sent away the memorial
without examining it. Lord Weymouth, as will appear hereafter, was not
apt to avoid hostile measures.[1] Two thousand sailors were ordered to
be raised: but so inattentive were the Ministers to any system, and
so impossible was it for naval commanders, or West Indian governors
to obtain the shortest moments of audience, that this fervour of
flippant resolution seemed a mere tribute to national clamour, not the
consequence of any methodical determination.

The situation of the Duc de Choiseul dispelled those clouds. Prone as
he was to attack us, and impatiently as he wished for occasions of
signalizing his ambitious genius, his master’s pacific and indolent
humanity, the embarrassed state of the French finances, and the
storm ready to burst on his own head, left Choiseul neither means
nor power of embroiling Europe farther. Their funds were deficient,
their army not paid, and the Prime Minister was too extravagant and
too volatile to attend to details of economy, or to strike out any
considerable plans of frugality. He could neither find resources, nor
men who could find any. D’Invau,[2] an honest man, whom he had made
Comptroller-General, fairly abandoned the trial in less than a year.
It was a strange succedaneum on which the Duke pitched, and which in
a man less mercurial would have spoken despair. He refused to select
a new Comptroller, and told the King that the Chancellor ought to
choose one,--thus screening himself from blame if the successor should
fail, as was most probable; but at the same time certain, that a man
placed by his enemy would not, if successful, prove a friend to one
that had not recommended him. Maupeou, the Chancellor, was a very able
man, as false as Choiseul was indiscreetly frank, and had long been
that Duke’s most shameless flatterer.[3] The Duke’s true friends had
warned him against raising Maupeou from the post of Vice-Chancellor
to that of Chancellor. Choiseul did not deny that there was danger in
it, but said, no other man was fit for the post. Choiseul presumed on
maintaining ascendant enough to control him. Maupeou, too, did not want
confidence, but his was backed by art and method. Choiseul despised his
enemies--Maupeou despised nothing but principles.

The Duc de Choiseul, denying all hostile intentions in his Court,
offered to allow us to send a person to Toulon to see that no
preparations for war were carrying on there; and before the end of the
year, the Comte du Châtelet returned to England to confirm the pacific
assurances that had been given.

As the interior of the Court of France is scarce known in this country,
a short account of the intrigues at the time I am describing, may be a
present not unacceptable to posterity. I passed many months at Paris
in four different years, had very intimate connections there with
persons of the first rank, and of various factions; and I spent five
evenings in a week with the Duchesse de Choiseul and her select friends
in the summer of 1769. The Duke was often of the party; and his levity
and her anxiety on his account let me into many secrets, and explained
enough of the rest to make me sufficiently master of the critical
situation of the Minister at that time. I must take up his story a
little farther back to make it perfectly intelligible.

Madame de Pompadour, who to the end of her life governed Louis XV. by
habit, by which he was always governed, had established the Duc de
Choiseul in the Ministry, and left him in possession of the chief share
of power. Cardinal de Fleury and she had been successively absolute:
but the King had never resigned himself entirely to anybody else. The
Duc de Choiseul had quick parts, and dispatched business with the
same rapidity that he conceived it. His ambition was boundless, his
insolence ungoverned,[4] his discretion unrestrained, his love of
pleasure and dissipation predominant even over his ambition. He was
both an open enemy and a generous one, and had more joy in attacking
his foes than in punishing them. Whether from gaiety or presumption, he
never was dismayed. His vanity made him always depend on the success
of his plans; and his spirits made him soon forget the miscarriage of
them. He had no idea of national or domestic economy, which being a
quality of prudence and providence, could not enter into so audacious
a mind. He would project and determine the ruin of a country, but
could not meditate a little mischief, or a narrow benefit. In private
his sallies and good humour were pleasing, and would have been more
pleasing if his manner had not been overbearing and self-sufficient.
The latter created him enemies; the former, friends.[5] Among the
first were the Maréchal de Richelieu and the Duc d’Aiguillon. To the
impertinence of a fashionable old beau,[6] Richelieu added all the
little intrigues and treacheries of a Court, having tried every method
but merit to raise himself to the first post. At past seventy he still
flattered himself with the vision of pleasing women[7] and governing
the King, because the King at near sixty had not done being pleased
with women. The Duc d’Aiguillon[8] was universally abhorred. His
abominable tyranny and villany in his Government of Bretagne had made
him dreaded; and his ambition being much superior to his abilities, he
had betrayed the badness of his heart before he had reached the object
to which he aspired.[9] The Duc de Choiseul despised Richelieu, and had
kept down d’Aiguillon. They were connected before; their resentments
and views united them more intimately, but it was the contemptible one
that shook their antagonist’s power.

There was a Comte du Barry, said to be of a noble family.[10] It was
much more certain that he was a sharper and a pimp, nominally to the
Maréchal, frequently so to the young English that resorted to Paris,
where he furnished them with opera girls, and drew them into gaming.
Two years before he was known for loftier intrigues, the Lieutenant
de Police civilly warned some English lords not to haunt Du Barry’s
house, lest he should find them there when, as he expected, he should
be forced to visit a place so scandalous. Du Barry, in quest of a
more plentiful harvest, came to London, and exercised his vocation at
taverns. In his Parisian seraglio, was a well-made girl of the town,
not remarkably pretty, called Mademoiselle L’Ange. After passing
through every scene of prostitution, this nymph was pitched upon by
the Cabal for overturning the ascendant of Choiseul. To ensure her
attachment to them, and to qualify her for the post she was to occupy
in the State,[11] they began with marrying her to the brother of her
pander, Du Barry. The next step was to prevail on Belle, the King’s
first valet de chambre, and first minister of his private hours, to
introduce her to the Monarch. After such a succession of beauties as
he had known, and no stranger to the most dissolute, too, the King
was caught with such moderate charms, which had not even the merit of
coming to his arms in their first bloom.

At first a sort of mystery was observed. But the fair one gained
ground rapidly, and Solomon soon began to chant the perfections of
his beloved. The Court was shocked to hear to what an idol of clay
they were to address their homage. They were accustomed to bow down
before a mistress--but took it into their heads that the disgrace
consisted in her being a common girl of the town. The King’s daughters,
who had borne the ascendant of Madame de Pompadour in their mother’s
life, grew outrageous, though she was dead, at the new favourite, for
being of the lowest class of her profession; and instead of regarding
this amour as only ridiculous, treated it with a serious air of
disobedience, that would have offended any man but so indulgent and
weak a father, or a very wise one. The poor King blushed, and by turns
hesitated and exalted his mistress. In private the scene was childish:
his aged Majesty and his indelicate concubine romped, pelted one
another with sugarplums, and were much oftener silly than amorous. The
Faction did not sleep: the next point was that Madame du Barry should
be presented publicly. The King promised: her clothes and liveries were

Instead of attempting to remove or buy the new mistress, the Duc de
Choiseul’s conduct was as imprudent and rash as the King’s was pitiful.
He spoke of Madame du Barry publicly, without decency or management;
which being quickly carried to her, and she complaining of it, he
said at his own table, before a large company:--“Madame du Barry est
très mal informée; on ne parle pas de catins chez moi.” The King’s
irresolution and the Minister’s insolence, suspended the abjection of
the courtiers. Even the men avoided the mistress; and when the King
proposed to carry any of them to her, they excused themselves, slipped
away, or were silent. Had they never been mean, such conduct had been

In this suspense, inquiry was made for some lady of great rank to
present the new Countess. Not one could be found that would stoop to
that office. Maréchal Richelieu was forced to fetch an obscure lady
from Bordeaux. The presentation, however, was delayed. Madame, the
eldest of the King’s daughters, took to her bed, and protested she
would not receive the mistress. This stopped it for some time. The Duc
de la Vauguion, Governor of the Dauphin, a great bigot and partisan
of the Jesuits, went to Madame, and advised her to be civil to the
Countess. She asked him if he came by the King’s orders? He said, No,
but as a well-wisher to her Royal Highness. She bade him instantly
quit the room: and the hypocrite reaped nothing but the shame of
having prostituted himself to so scandalous an office for the good
of the Church--the zealot party hoping everything from the rising
Cabal--and, in fact, as despotism soon took such strides under the new
influence, enthusiasm had reason to flatter itself with a restoration,
too, under a doating Prince, a common strumpet, an old debauchee, and
a profligate swindler, aided by such adjuncts as the Head of the Law
and D’Aiguillon, who breathed the very spirit of the Inquisition. This
junto soon called a female saint to their counsels, the Carmelite
Louisa, the King’s youngest daughter; and the poor Monarch divided his
leisure between Capreœ and Mount Carmel.

In the meantime the Duc de Choiseul went so far as to talk of
resigning, if the presentation took place. Arrogant as he was, this
bravery was not solely of his own growth, but inspired by the women
of his connection. Of all human kind, there were not two beings so
insolent as his own sister, the Duchesse de Grammont, and her friend,
the Princesse de Beauvau.[12] These amazons took it into their heads to
brave the King and his mistress; and, though the creatures of favour,
were so transported by this imaginary heroism, that they urged the Duke
to resign in defiance. This impertinence in Madame de Grammont was
absurd beyond measure. Subsisting but by her brother’s power, abhorred
for her haughtiness, suspected of many gallantries, and notorious for
one that ought to have been the most secret, what could she expect from
his fall but universal neglect? The Princess, no Penelope, was hurried
on by equal impetuosity, and by rancour, to another person, whom I
shall mention presently: yet, divested of their passions, both these
viragos had uncommonly good understandings. There was a third person,
who it was more surprising took the same line, though regulated by
the same decency that governed all her actions. This was the Duchesse
de Choiseul, a woman in whom industrious malice could not find an
imperfection, unless that charming one of _studying_ to be a complete
character. She was too virtuous to fear reproach or contagion from
civilities to the mistress, and should have left it to the Duchess and
Princess to be disdainful prudes.[13] Yet in a quiet style she was not
less earnest than they in soliciting her husband not to bend to the
ignominy of the hour. The King, who, by a singular situation, opened
all letters, having the chief postmaster his own creature, and not the
Minister’s, read the Duchesse’s importunities with her husband; and as
he had expected more duty from her, resented her behaviour more than
that of the two other dames.

After an anxious suspense of three months, and when the public began
to think the presentation warded off, it suddenly took place. The King
returning from hunting, found (no doubt by concert) Maréchal Richelieu,
who was in waiting in the outward room with a letter in his hand. The
King asked what it was? “Sire,” said the Duke, “it is from Madame du
Barry, who desires the honour of being presented to your Majesty.”
“With all my heart,” replied the King; “she may come to morrow, if
she pleases.” This was said aloud. The Duc de Choiseul and Versailles
learnt the news at the same moment. Next day all Paris was there to see
the ceremony.

Notwithstanding such indications of the Cabal being possessed of the
King’s confidence without the privity of the Minister, the faction
of the latter had established such a tone, that the person of all
France who seemed most in disgrace, was the new mistress. The men,
indeed, began by degrees to drop their visits at her apartment, and
then sparingly to appear at her toilet. The women shunned her as they
do an unhappy young damsel, who has fallen a victim to a first and
real passion. At Marly, in the very salon with the King, it was a
solitude round his mistress: and one or two of the ladies attending
the Mesdames deigning to leave their names at her door, were scratched
out of the list for Marly by _Madame_. On the other hand, the Duchesses
de Choiseul and Grammont and the Princesse de Beauvau, refusing to
stoop even to that piece of form, were totally excluded from the King’s
suppers. Instead of being mortified, they engaged all their female
relations in the same insult.

It became necessary for the King to form a new set of company; yet all
his authority could assemble but five or six women of rank, and those
of the most decried characters, except the last I shall mention. There
was Madame de l’Hôpital, an ancient mistress of the Prince de Soubize;
the Comtesse de Valentinois, of the highest birth, very rich but very
foolish, and as far from a Lucretia as Madame du Barry herself. Madame
de Flavacourt was another, a suitable companion to both in virtue
and understanding. She was sister to three of the King’s earliest
mistresses, and had aimed at succeeding them. The Maréchale Duchesse
de Mirepoix[14] was the last, and a very important acquisition. No
man, no woman in France, had a superior understanding; and it was as
agreeable as it was profound. Haughty, but supple, she could command
respect even from those that knew her; and could transform herself
into, or stoop to, any character that suited her views. All this art,
all these talents, were drowned in such an overwhelming passion for
play, that though she had long had singular credit with the King, she
reduced her favour to an endless solicitation for money to pay her
debts. Her constant necessities were a constant source of degrading
actions. She had left off red, and acted devotion to attain the post
of Dame d’Honneur to the Queen; the very next day she was seen riding
backwards with Madame de Pompadour in the latter’s own coach. In one
of her moments of poverty she had offended Choiseul by matching her
nephew, the Prince d’Henin, with the daughter of Madame de Monconseil,
a capital enemy of the Prime Minister, but rich and intriguing.[15] To
accelerate the Prime Minister’s ruin, to secure her own favour, and in
opposition to her sister-in-law, the Princesse de Beauvau, Madame de
Mirepoix now united herself strictly, not only with the mistress, but
with Maréchale Richelieu, who, having killed her first husband, the
Prince of Lixin, thirty years before in a duel, had been obliged, as
much as possible, to shun her company. But in all this scene of hatred
and intrigue, nothing came up to the enmity between the Maréchale and
the Princesse. That the latter boasted of it was not surprising. The
former, as cool as the Princesse, was outrageous--confessed it too. The
first fruits of her complaisance, was a gift of an hundred thousand
livres from the King. One day she attempted to explain away this reward
to her niece, Madame de Bussy. “It was promised to me,” said Madame de
Mirepoix, “a year ago; but from the disorder of the finances I did not
obtain it till now; but it was not in consideration of my attention to
Madame du Barry.” “No surely, Madam,” replied the other; “it would not
have been enough.”[16]

The King having gratified his mistress, was very desirous of preserving
peace; and, as usual, unwilling to change his Minister. The Duc de
Choiseul availed himself of this indolence, and, to re-establish the
appearance of his credit, obtained the recall of the Parliament of
Bretagne, the deepest wound he could inflict on the Duc d’Aiguillon.
The latter returned the blow. The Duc de Chaulnes was dying;[17]
D’Aiguillon treated with him for the purchase of the Chevaux legers,
and secretly, by the mistress’s influence, obtained the King’s
consent. The Duc de Choiseul laboured to defeat it, but in vain. Now
again to prop his credit, he procured to have the Procureur-General
du Châtelet sent to the Bastille, for announcing that he was to be
Comptroller-General in four days. This was an able man, and a creature
of the Cabal. The King, too, was prevailed on to say in council, that
he heard there were reports of an approaching change in the ministry,
and did he know the authors, he would thrust them into a dungeon. To
revive their hopes, the mistress herself carried the Duc d’Aiguillon
his new patent.

At the same time, probably by the King’s direction, in hopes of some
accommodation, the mistress sent for the Duc de Choiseul. He replied,
If she wanted him, she might come to him. She sent again that she was
not dressed, and must see him. It was to ask preferment for that very
postmaster that was his enemy. The Duke went; and though he staid
an hour and a quarter with her, came away refusing her request; and
leaving her, who had been only an instrument of the Cabal, an offended
principal. The weakness of this conduct was the more remarkable, as
he had the example of his immediate predecessor, the Cardinal de
Bernis, before his eyes.[18] From an indigent, sonnet-writing abbé,
Madame de Pompadour had raised Bernis to the Cardinalate, and to the
office of Prime Minister. In six weeks he refused to wait on her in
her apartment, as if incompatible with his sacred dignity--and as if
ingratitude was compatible with it! In six days she sent him to his

At Fontainebleau, hostilities were carried very high, but came to no
decision. It was known, that though the Duc de Choiseul had staid so
long with the mistress, he had rather exasperated than softened her.
When they were partners at whist with the King, she made faces and
shrugged up her shoulders at the Minister. The King disapproved this,
and forbade it. One night after the Court’s return to Versailles,
the Maréchal de Soubize, playing against her, said to her on her
scoring two by honours, “Non, Madame, vous n’aviez pas les honneurs;
vous n’aviez que le roi.” The King laughed, and so did the mistress
violently; it being said without design, by Monsieur de Soubize, who
was extremely decent, and not hostile to her. Had he been her friend,
he could have decided the contest at once to the ruin of Choiseul; for
Soubize was better than any man with the King; and, had he not wanted
ambition, might have been minister himself.

With all her antipathy to Monsieur de Choiseul, Madame de Mirepoix
had too much parts not to be sensible of his, and of his engaging
vivacity. One day, that to please her Madame du Barry was railing at
the Duke, she caught herself, and said, “Mais comprenez vous, Madame,
qu’on puisse tant hair un homme qu’on ne connoit pas?” Madame de
Mirepoix replied, “Je le comprendois bien moins, Madame, si vous le
commissiez”--as flattering and genteel a compliment as could be made by
an enemy.

The desperate state of the finances brought the Duke as near to his
ruin as the Cabal could do. His new Comptroller-General, to whom he
paid unbounded court, to give him spirits, could, as everybody had
foreseen, produce no effectual plan; and though he offered one, it was
rejected by the majority of the Council. The man, who was upright,
desired leave to retire, said he had done his best, and had neither
enriched himself nor his friends. The King ordered Choiseul to name
another. Aware of the difficulty, and to avoid furnishing his enemies
with a new handle for accusing him of miscarriage, he threw the burthen
off himself, saying, it was the Chancellor’s business. Maupeou, the
Chancellor, named the Abbé du Terray, who immediately set out, with a
violence and rigour beyond example, not only lessening pensions and
grants by the half, but striking at the interest on the debt; and was
on the point of blowing up the credit of France entirely, especially
with foreign countries. Choiseul probably inflamed the bankers of
the Court; and then harangued so ably in Council against such breach
of faith, that he carried it against the Comptroller, to make good
their foreign engagements, the King himself saying, every man must tax
himself, and that he himself had two thousand louis-d’ors, and would
give them to support public credit.[20] This victory, and the clamours
of the sufferers, endeared Choiseul more than ever to the nation. At
the same time he gave a dangerous wound to his capital enemy, the Duc
D’Aiguillon, who, perceiving the horror he had raised, or that had
been raised, by the story propagated of having attempted to have La
Chalotais poisoned, petitioned the King to allow him to be tried for
his conduct in his government of Bretagne. Choiseul, under pretence
of justifying him, prevailed on the King, not only to consent, but to
order the trial in his own presence at Paris, whither the Parliament
was ordered to repair and be prosecutors,--a measure big with a cruel
alternative; as, if guilty, the Duc D’Aiguillon would not be able to
conceal his guilt from the King; and, if acquitted, the novelty of
the trial, and the known partiality of his master, would seem to have
screened him from conviction. The Parliament was very averse to this
new mode, but was obliged to acquiesce; and so great vexation did the
accused undergo, that at the very beginning of the trial it threw him
into a jaundice. After the trial had gone on for many weeks, the King
suddenly put a stop to it, forbade all further proceedings, declared
his approbation of the Duc d’Aiguillon’s whole conduct, and that the
latter had done nothing but by his orders, and for his service--a
sentence, that left the public at liberty to surmise the worst, when
the criminal did not dare to trust his cause even to so partial a
protector! The sequel of these intrigues will appear in the following

I shall add, as notes to the foregoing account of the Court of France,
some remarkable passages that will throw more light on it. I have
mentioned the friendship of the Duchesse de Choiseul for Madame du
Deffand. The Prince de Beauvau was so attached to the latter that he
scarce ever missed seeing her one day when he was in Paris: and as I
had known him above thirty years, and came so often to Paris and lived
so much with them, he and the Princess talked their politics before
me without reserve. One day in particular, after the Duc de Choiseul’s
fall, and the removal of the Prince from his government of Languedoc
in consequence, Madame du Deffand was expressing her fears to the
Prince and Princess, that he would be removed also from his post of
Captain of the King’s Guard. “Oh!” said the Prince, “the King will not
take that from me for his own sake.” Madame du Deffand asked what he
meant? “Why,” replied the Prince, “he would not think his person safe
if I was not the Captain of his Guard. When Prince Charles passed the
Rhine, I asked leave to go thither as a volunteer. The King would give
me no answer for three days, and then refused me leave: he was afraid
to be without me.” In short, they said such strong things, that I
feared they would, on reflection, be sorry they had gone so far before
a foreigner, and therefore, and that they might not think me curious,
I rose and went into the next room. When I returned, the Princess, who
was exceedingly quick-sighted, suspected my motive, and questioned me
whether she had not penetrated me. When I owned she was in the right,
“Now,” said she, “you think you have done a very civil thing, but you
have done a very rude one; for if you thought these things that we have
said too strong for you to hear, it is telling us that they were too
strong for us to utter.”

With all this good sense, her haughtiness and violence were extreme. In
1775, on the Princesse de Lamballe being placed above the Princesse de
Chimay in the Queen’s family, the Prince and Princesse de Beauvau would
have had their niece, Madame de Chimay, quit her place rather than
submit. Madame du Deffand disputed the point with them. I said nothing.
When they were gone, Madame du Deffand asked me on which side I was. I
said on her’s. “Then,” said she, “how could you be such a flatterer to
them as not to take my part?” “Because,” said I, “you argued only on
their duty to the King and Queen; but my reasons were too strong to be
given. Monsieur de Beauvau, whose mother was mistress, and he himself
a natural son of only a Duke of Lorraine, thinks it below his niece to
give place to the Princesse de Lamballe, whose husband’s grandfather
was a natural son of Louis Quatorze!”[21]

But the most extraordinary anecdote was the following letter, which
Louis the Fifteenth, when he was endeavouring to pacify the civil war
in his Court between Madame du Barry and the Duc de Choiseul, wrote
to the latter. It is so extraordinary, his Majesty even hinting a
possibility of his _marrying his mistress_, that I must give an account
how it came into my hands. It was read to Madame du Deffand by the Duc
or Duchesse de Choiseul, but they would not give her a copy. However,
as she heard it more than once, she dictated to her secretary as
many of the passages as she could remember, but disguised the names
under Persian names for fear of losing the paper or having it found
in her possession. That copy she gave me, which I here set down, I
solemnly protest, word for word as I received it. It is a striking
picture of that Monarch’s character, full of weakness, good-humour,
frankness;--and still more of his love of quiet and disinclination to
change a Minister he was used to.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Anecdotes Persannes.

“Sapor, Sultan de Perse, écrivit une lettre fort singulière à son
Atemadoulet, dont voici quelques fragmens:

“‘Vous connoissez mal la personne que j’aime; vous êtes environné de
gens qui vous préviennent contre elle: ne les ecoutez point, il y a
long tems qu’ils me déplaisent. Je vous promets de vous mettre bien
avec celle que j’aime, et de détruire toutes les préventions qu’on
veut lui donner contre vous. Je vous dirai confidemment que je ne puis
me passer de femmes. Celle ci me plait, et si je l’épousois, tout
le monde tomberoit à ses genoux. Le Mogol,[22] voulant se marier,
et voulant épouser une belle femme, fit plusieurs voyages sans
rencontrer ce qu’il cherchoit. Je vous le répète, je ne puis me passer
de femmes; mais il m’en faut une belle. La sœur du Mogol,[23] que
je pourrois épouser, ne l’est pas. La personne, avec qui je vis, me
plait; consentez à bien vivre avec elle; rien n’est plus aisé, et vous
m’obligerez infiniment.’

“L’Atemadoulet resista; et quelques mois après il fut disgracié.”
Madame du Deffand adds, “J’oubliois un trait de cette lettre; ‘je ne
veux point une femme de qualité: je ne veux point non plus à l’exemple
de Thamas,[24] mon ayeul, une matrone.’”

Perhaps it will not be thought very wise in the Duc de Choiseul to
have resisted such a letter. Should the original ever appear, as is
not impossible, it will corroborate the truth of the rest that I
have related. I trust much to collateral evidence for confirming the
veracity of these Memoirs.


  Irish Parliament Prorogued.--Public Feeling.--Opening of the
    British Parliament.--Lord Chatham proposes an Amendment to
    the Address.--Debates in the House of Commons on the illegal
    Election of Lutterell.--Daring Conduct of Burke and Sir George
    Saville.--Lord Camden loses the Seals.--Dismissal of the Earl of
    Huntingdon.--Resignation of Lord Granby.--Charles Yorke refuses
    the Seals.--Death of Sir John Cust.--Acceptance and Suicide of
    Yorke.--Sir Fletcher Norton elected Speaker.--Disinterested Conduct
    of General Conway.--Motion in the Lords for an Inquiry into the
    State of the Nation.--Marquis of Rockingham and Lord Chatham.--The
    Duke of Grafton determines to Resign.--Hostile Motion of Dowdeswell
    in the House of Commons.--Interviews of Conway with Grafton and his
    Secretary.--Intrigues against the Duke of Grafton.--His Resignation
    and Character as a Minister.


As a question of greater magnitude had seldom been agitated than the
demanded dissolution of the Parliament, the expectation of the public
rose in proportion as the session approached. Not that any man supposed
the King, fortified by a majority of both Houses, would listen to that
petition; but in what manner he would reject the prayer of so many
towns and counties, and how that rejection would be received by men
who did not seem disposed to be corrected by reproof, was matter of
curiosity to all, and to many a subject of deep anxiety. Before the
moment arrived, it was known that the Lord-Lieutenant had prorogued
the Parliament of Ireland; a motion had been made to inquire of him if
he was ordered or intended to prorogue them before the usual time? He
answered, that he should always be desirous of complying with their
requests, when he could do it with propriety: that he did not think
himself authorized to disclose his Majesty’s instructions to him upon
any subject, without having received his Majesty’s commands for so
doing. That with regard to his own intentions, they would be regulated
by his Majesty’s instructions and by future events. Mr. Flood,[25] an
able speaker, on whom Lord Townshend much depended, moved to adjourn,
that they might do no business till they should receive a more
favourable answer, but the proposal was rejected by a majority of 14;
and the money bills arriving from England, they were passed; and then
the Lord-Lieutenant prorogued the Parliament.

In England, as a signal to the hostilities that were to ensue, the
petition from Yorkshire was presented to the King on the 5th with
several others; but the Mayor and Corporation of Liverpool addressed
his Majesty against a petition then soliciting in their town; and as a
new mark that the Court party, in the City of London, were recovering
ground, Alderman Harley was chosen President of St. Bartholomew’s,
the first hospital in the metropolis, by 20 votes out of 22, against
Beckford, though a senior Alderman and then Lord Mayor. But the
want of unanimity was more noxious to the Opposition than all the
efforts of their enemies. Lord Chatham’s profusion had involved him
in debts and great distress; and that distress reduced him to more
humane condescension than he usually practised. He sent a message
to Lord Rockingham, professing high esteem, and desiring a personal
interview to remove former misunderstandings, and to cement a common
union between the friends of the public. The Marquis, with ill-timed
haughtiness, replied, that he lived in Grosvenor Square. The Earl sent
again, that being very infirm, and confined at Hayes, it would be
exceedingly kind in Lord Rockingham to come thither--the same answer
as before: how sensible! to war on King and Parliament, and reject
almost the only ally that had any weight! Wilkes, and the popular party
in the City, Lord Rockingham shunned like the plague. In the House of
Lords, where he did not dare to open his mouth, and had scarce one
follower that could, he pushed back the most admired orator of the
age. Such was the able commander under whom the campaign opened on
one side! The general on the Court side (the Duke of Grafton) did not
yield to him in trifling. How confounded was the avidity with which all
mankind pressed for a sight of the King’s speech, when they found not
a word said on the petitions; but instead of them, a lamentation about
the horned cattle.[26] The first draught of the speech had run in a
style of commendation of the House of Commons: this, as too insulting,
Mr. Conway had obtained to be laid aside. He did not guess that the
imagination of the Duke of Grafton could furnish nothing more to the
purpose, or more interesting to the public, than the distemper amongst
the cattle! A preface so ridiculous could not detain men long from the
serious business in question. In the Upper House, Lord Chatham, after
descanting on the ambition of the House of Bourbon, turned to the
election of Lutterell, and proposed an amendment of the address, to
assure the King that they would immediately inquire into grievances,
especially those on the Middlesex election. This motion, calculated
to create a breach between the two Houses, was not agreeable even to
several of the Opposition;[27] but he had drawn it himself,[28] and
persisted in it, telling the House he would not have appeared but on
so extraordinary an occasion. The Chancellor spoke strongly on the
same side, and declared for the amendment; as did Lord Temple, Lord
Lyttelton, and Lord Shelburne; the latter chiefly on the alarming
posture of Europe, where we had not, could not get, an ally. The Duke
of Grafton replied to the foreign part of the debate, answered for the
tranquillity of Europe, and said we had not a difference there which
could not easily be settled. Lord Mansfield and Lord Marchmont entered
largely into the case of the Middlesex election; and the former urged,
that though the House of Commons should have done wrong, a breach
between the two Houses would be much more fatal. Lord Chatham replied,
but with so little precision and logic, as was usual with him when
reduced to argue, that Lord Denbigh and Lord Sandwich, both keen, and
the former brutal enough, when his brutality to opponents would be
flattery at court, ridiculed him severely; and Sandwich professed he
did not comprehend what Lord Chatham had meant, and defied any single
Lord to give an account of what he had said. Lord Weymouth told the
Chancellor sharply, that if it was so wrong as his Lordship had urged,
to incapacitate Wilkes, his Lordship ought not to have set the Great
Seal to the new writ--the Chancellor could only reply that he had not
read the writ.[29] At ten at night, one hundred Lords to thirty-six
rejected Lord Chatham’s amendment. Lord Dartmouth conscientiously
voted against his friends; the Duke of Northumberland, for popularity,
against the Court.[30]

In the House of Commons, the success of the Administration was
less brilliant, though their majority, as might be expected when
the majority consisted of the criminals themselves, was very
considerable: yet Lord Granby, swayed by Calcraft, and leaning towards
Lord Chatham, who had made him commander-in-chief (though in truth
he had owed something to every Ministry, and had paid them all with
ingratitude),[31] balanced the credit of the victory a little by
declaring he renounced and repented of his last year’s vote for the
expulsion of Wilkes. Dowdeswell proposed engaging to inquire into
grievances. Barré said, disregard to petitions might teach the people
to think of _assassination_. This outrageous expression passed without
censure. Lord North spoke long and well. Conway endeavoured to recover
Lord Granby, and mentioned the petitions with respect. Some of the
members for Buckinghamshire declared the majority in their county had
been against petitioning: and Mr. Grenville, then under deep affliction
for the recent loss of his wife,[32] pleaded that he had not signed the
petition, that he might not take any personal share in Wilkes’s case.
The Attorney-General and Norton censured the petitions, which Dunning,
the Solicitor-General, defended. Rigby ridiculed them, and stated the
great majority of towns and counties that had not concurred in them.
The amendment was rejected by 254 against 138.[33]

But it was next day, on the report, that the great blow was aimed at
and in the House of Commons.[34] Burke on the former day had attacked
the House itself, and hinted that the majority was so guilty that they
did not dare to take notice of the insults offered to them, and the
reproaches cast on them. On the report he added, that he was conscious
he had deserved to be sent to the Tower for what he had said; but
knew the House did not dare to send him thither. Sir George Saville
adopted and used the same language. Lord North took notice of it,
but said he supposed Sir George had spoken in warmth. “No,” replied
Saville coolly, “I spoke what has been my constant opinion; I thought
so last night, I thought the same this morning. I look on this House
as sitting illegally after their illegal act [of voting Lutterell
representative for Middlesex]. They have betrayed their trust. I
will add no epithets,” continued he, “because epithets only weaken:
therefore I will not say they have betrayed their country corruptly,
flagitiously, and scandalously, but I do say they have betrayed their
country; and I stand here to receive the punishment for having said
so.” Mr. Conway, sensible of the weight of such an attack from a man so
respectable, alarmed at the consequences that would probably attend the
punishment of him, and firm in his own irreproachable virtue, took up
the matter with temper, wisdom and art, and showed the impropriety and
indecency of such language; and by that address prevented Saville from
repeating the provocation, and soothed the House into sober concern,
before any reciprocal heat had been expressed against the offender:
for though Serjeant Glynn asserted that when the House had been in
the wrong, it was right to say so; and though Charles Fox replied
with much applauded fire, moderation had made its impression, and a
scene was avoided that might have had the most fatal termination. Not
only was Sir George Saville composed and ready to provoke the whole
wrath of the legislature, but had the Ministers dared to send him to
the Tower, the Cavendishes, and the most virtuous and respectable of
his friends, would have started up, would have avowed his language,
and would have demanded to share his imprisonment. A dozen or twenty
such confessors in the heart of a tumultuous capital would have been
no indifferent spectacle: the great northern counties were devoted
to them. Then, indeed, the moment was serious! Fortunately there were
none but subordinate Ministers in the House of Commons, not one of
whom chose to cast so decisive a die. The House sat silent under its
ignominy--a punishment well suited to its demerits: and the sword was
not called in to decide a contest in which Liberty and the Constitution
would probably have been the victims. This was in effect the critical
day; for though the struggle continued, and not without material
convulsions, yet the apprehensions of rougher commotions wore away.
Losses, dissentions, profligacy, treachery, and folly dissipated great
part of the Opposition, and began

   “Ex illo fluere, ac retro sublapsa referri
    Spes Danaüm!”

The Duke of Richmond was struck with the violence of Sir George
Saville’s behaviour, and lamented it to Mr. Conway and me. Sir George
had told the Duke that it had been concerted with nobody, and that he
should not repeat it every day, which would be womanish: but he was
glad he had gone so far; it would convince the county of York that he
had said nothing at the meeting which he would not maintain in the
House. He intimated too, that if the dissolution was refused, he should
go still farther--but he never did. I said, Sir George’s behaviour
was the more blameable for not having acquainted his friends with
his intention; he knew them to be conscientious and men of honour,
knew they would not desert him; and thus had ventured embarking them
without their consent: he would have been answerable for the lives and
fortunes of all who might have fallen in the quarrel. His behaviour had
tended to stir up insurrections, which would end in the loss of our
liberties, as in the long run the Crown certainly, this King probably,
would get the mastery. Could they withstand the King and both Houses?
They had polled the nation, and the majority by far was against them.
Not a dozen counties, and only a few boroughs, had petitioned. What
strength should they have to support them? The greater part of England,
all Scotland to a man, and Wales, were against them. Would Lord
Chatham, would Lord Temple, would Grenville, join them, or not be the
first to make their peace? I besought the Duke to mollify Sir George
Saville--not to countenance him. “Good God, sir!” said the Duke, “do
you think I would go into rebellion?” Mr. Conway discussed the merits
of the question very ably, and showed it had ever been the usage of
Parliament to incapacitate improper members. Lord Rockingham’s friends
had yielded to the incapacitation, and now disputed the consequences.
In a free government the minority must submit to the majority, or
nothing could go on. Did it become Burke, an Irish adventurer, to
treat the House of Commons with such unexampled insolence? “Do you
think, my Lord,” continued Conway, “that the majority will bear to
hear themselves abused daily? Do you think we are more afraid than you
are? Was it come to calling names, or to cutting throats?” The Duke
bore this remonstrance with great temper: he had, indeed, as I have
said, been staggered at the outrage of his friends, and I believe this
conversation had so much weight with him, as to promote his moderating,
and consequently preventing a repetition of such hostilities.

Humiliating to the House as were the speeches of Burke and Saville,
that of the Chancellor had been more inflammatory, and more provoking,
as founded in law, and coming from so eminent a member of the
Administration. The Duke of Grafton accused him of having made no
objection to Lutterell’s admission; his friends affirmed he had;
and Lord Sandwich allowed that he had reserved to himself a liberty
of acting as he pleased on every question relating to Wilkes. The
Chancellor’s mind certainly fluctuated between his obligations to Lord
Chatham and the wish to retain his post. The Duke of Grafton’s neglect
determined the scale.[35] The King’s Speech had borne hard upon the
Colonies, and had not been concerted with the Chancellor. All letters
to our Governors in America had promised redress; but every post was
accompanied with contradictions, too: so that no officer in America
knew whether he was or was not to follow his instructions; or which of
his instructions was to be the rule of his conduct. The Chancellor,
judging his fate determined, had taken his part with spirit. The
chiefs of the law and army, disgusted, might make a dangerous schism.
I persuaded Mr. Conway to interpose with the Duke of Grafton and save
the Chancellor; but he found the Duke’s resolution fixed, who told
him he was to see a person of consequence at night on that subject. I
said, “That person is Charles Yorke, who is afraid of being seen going
into the Duke’s house by day-light.” It was; but first it had been
thought necessary to make Lord Mansfield the compliment of offering him
the Seals, who refused them, but boasted of the offer to Sir Gilbert
Elliot. The latter, dissatisfied with the Duke of Grafton (and probably
both Mansfield and Elliot desirous of getting rid of the Chancellor),
trumpeted the secret round the town, till it came to Lord Camden’s
ears, who told the Duke he heard his fate was determined. The Duke did
not deny it, and they parted civilly. Thus lost Lord Camden the Seals,
valued at thirteen thousand pounds a-year. He had saved little or no
money, and had four or five children. All he had obtained was a flying
pension of 1500_l._ a-year, till his son should attain a Teller’s
place, of which he had the reversion. As the pension, which was granted
on Ireland, had since been included in the new tax of four shillings in
the pound on absentees, it was a littleness unworthy of the sacrifice
he had made to ask, as Lord Camden did, to have the deduction made up
to him.

As success had given spirit to the Court, and had converted their
fears into vengeance, another victim was marked; this was the Earl
of Huntingdon, Groom of the Stole, a man too much vaunted for
talents which he had proved he did not possess, and destitute of
that wealth and interest which so often supply the want of talents.
By affecting personal attachment to the King, he had escaped in all
the late changes; though his post would often have accommodated the
Administration; but the vanity of his royal descent[36] having prompted
him to ask the title of Duke of Clarence, and a refusal following, he
had flattered himself with obtaining it, as so many other titles had
been wrenched from the Crown by Opposition. He absented himself on the
first day of the session, and kept away his relation, Earl Ferrers. The
King, glad of an opportunity of getting rid of him, too harshly sent
for the golden key. Yet few pitied Lord Huntingdon, as few had pitied
the Duke of Northumberland, who had both paid profuse court to Lord
Bute, and had both deserted or duped him.[37] The post of Groom of the
Stole was given to Lord Bristol, who rejoiced to find himself in so
secure a harbour, and piously vowed not to risk himself by any want
of the most servile assiduity and attendance. Lord Coventry[38] took
occasion, as first Peer in the Bedchamber, to resent Lord Bristol’s
preferment; but was, in truth, devoted to Lord Temple, and desirous of
quitting the Court; as did the Duke of Manchester, too, another of the
Bedchamber. The Duke of Beaufort was a greater loss. He had been the
first convert of his family from Jacobitism, and now gave up Master of
the Horse to the Queen, on some private dissatisfactions; yet, however,
did not differ with the Court.

Severely as Lord Camden and Lord Huntingdon had been treated, no
endeavours were spared to preserve Lord Granby. The Duke of Grafton
stooped to every kind of intercession, but found the haughtiness with
which he had behaved to Calcraft returned tenfold by the arrogance of
that minion of fortune, who, to ensure Lord Granby’s dependence and
resignation, now lent him sixteen thousand pounds, additional, to a
great debt already contracted. Lord Granby accordingly, on the 17th,
resigned his post of Commander-in-Chief and Master of the Ordnance,
retaining nothing but his regiment of Blue Guards. Lord Chatham was
not less in the power of the usurer Calcraft--so low had those two
men, who had sat at the top of the world, reduced themselves by their
dissipations! Lord Granby’s part was the weaker, as he recanted a vote
he had not understood, for reasons he understood as little.

On the 15th, Lord Rockingham requiring to have the Lords summoned for
a motion he intended to make, the Duke of Grafton desired it might
be postponed, and that the House would adjourn for a week; meaning,
that the dismission of the Chancellor would deprive them of a Speaker
for some days. Lord Shelburne opposed the delay with much violence,
and said the cause demanded accusation, as the Chancellor had been
dismissed for a single vote; but no wretch would be found vile enough
to accept the Seals in his room. This was thrown out to deter Yorke;
and not a syllable of threat could be levelled at his timidity without

After struggling with all the convulsions of ambition, interest,
fear, honour, dread of abuse, and, above all, with the difficulty of
refusing the object of his whole life’s wishes, and with the despair
of recovering the instant if once suffered to escape, Charles Yorke,
having taken three days to consider, refused to accept the Seals of
Chancellor. It saved some distress to the Ministers that Sir John Cust,
Speaker of the Commons, being seized with a paralytic stroke, sent
his resignation to the House, which adjourned to the 22nd, and gave
time for making new arrangements, when so many parts of Government
were unhinged. In no light was Sir John Cust a loss. His want of parts
and spirit had been very prejudicial. He had no authority; and by his
sufferance of Barré’s, Burke’s, and Saville’s insults, which he ought
to have checked, had endangered the country itself. He died unlamented
a few days after.[39]

The wanton insolence of the Court on the first day’s victory, was well
nigh costing them a total defeat. They had dismissed the Chancellor
without being provided with a successor. Mr. Conway acquainted me, in
the greatest secrecy, that the Duke of Grafton, dismayed at Yorke’s
refusal of the Great Seal, would give up the Administration. Not a
lawyer could be found able enough--or if able, bold enough--or if bold,
decent enough--to fill the employment. Norton had all the requisites
of knowledge and capacity, but wanted even the semblance of integrity,
though for that reason, was probably the secret wish of the Court.
He was enraged at the preference given to Yorke; yet nobody dared
to propose him, even when Yorke had refused. Sir Eardley Wilmot had
character and abilities, but wanted health. The Attorney-General, De
Grey, wanted health and weight, and yet asked too extravagant terms.
Dunning, the Solicitor-General, had taken the same part as his friends,
Lord Camden and Lord Shelburne. Hussey, so far from being inclined to
accept the office, determined to resign with his friend, Lord Camden,
though earnest against the dissolution of the Parliament. Of Lord
Mansfield, there could be no question; when the post was dangerous,
his cowardice was too well known to give hopes that he could be
pressed to defend it. In this exigence, Grafton’s courage was not
more conspicuous. His first thought, without consulting the King’s
inclination, was to offer the Administration to Lord Chatham or Lord
Rockingham; but inclining to the latter. He had desired Mr. Conway to
come to him in the evening and meet Lord Gower, Lord Weymouth, and Lord
North, in the most private manner, for consultation. Conway went away
in haste to Court, promising to return and dine with me, that he might
consider what advice he would give to the Duke at night; but what was
my astonishment, when, in two hours, Mr. Onslow came and told me that
Mr. Yorke had accepted the Seals! He had been with the King over night
(without the knowledge of the Duke of Grafton), and had again declined;
but being pressed to reconsider, and returning in the morning, the
King had so overwhelmed him with flatteries, entreaties, prayers, and
at last with commands and threats, of never giving him the post if not
accepted now, that the poor man sunk under the importunity, though he
had given a solemn promise to his brother, Lord Hardwicke and Lord
Rockingham, that he would not yield. He betrayed, however, none of the
rapaciousness of the times, nor exacted but one condition, the grant
of which fixed his irresolution. The Chancellor must of necessity be a
peer, or cannot sit in the House of Lords. The Coronet was announced to
Yorke; but he slighted it as of no consequence to his eldest son, who
would, probably, succeed his uncle, Lord Hardwicke, the latter having
been long married, and having only two daughters. But Mr. Yorke himself
had a second wife, a very beautiful woman, and by her had another son.
She, it is supposed, urged him to accept the Chancery, as the King
offered, or consented, that the new peerage should descend to her son,
and not to the eldest. The rest of his story was indeed melancholy, and
his fate so rapid, as to intercept the completion of his elevation.[40]

He kissed the King’s hand on the Thursday; and from Court drove to
his brother, Lord Hardwicke’s--the precise steps of the tragedy have
never been ascertained. Lord Rockingham was with the Earl. By some it
was affirmed, that both the Marquis and the Earl received the unhappy
renegade with bitter reproaches. Others, whom I rather believe,
maintained that the Marquis left the House directly;[41] and that
Lord Hardwicke refused to hear his brother’s excuses, and retiring
from the room, shut himself into another chamber, obdurately denying
Mr. Yorke an audience. At night it was whispered that the agitation
of his mind, working on a most sanguine habit of body, inflamed of
late by excessive indulgence both in meats and wine, had occasioned
the bursting of a bloodvessel; and the attendance of surgeons was
accounted for, by the necessity of bleeding him four times on Friday.
Certain it is that he expired on the Saturday between four and six in
the evening. His servants, in the first confusion, had dropped too much
to leave it in the family’s power to stifle the truth: and though they
endeavoured to colour over the catastrophe by declaring the accident
natural, the want of evidence and of the testimony of surgeons to
colour the tale given out, and which they never took any public method
of authenticating, convinced everybody that he had fallen by his own
hand--whether on his sword, or by a razor, was uncertain.

Yorke’s speeches in Parliament had for some time, though not so soon
as they ought, fallen into total disesteem. At the bar, his practice
had declined from a habit of gluttony and intemperance, as I have
mentioned. Yet, as a lawyer, his opinion had been in so high repute,
that he was reported to have received an hundred thousand guineas in
fees. In truth, his chief practice had flourished while his father was
not only Lord Chancellor, but a very powerful Minister. Yorke’s parts
were by no means shining. His manner was precise and yet diffuse,
and his matter more sententious than instructive. His conduct was
timid, irresolute, often influenced by his profession, oftener by his
interest. He sacrificed his character to his ambition of the Great
Seal, and his life to his repentance of having attained it.

Two days after Yorke’s death the Great Seal was put into commission
in the hands of Baron Smythe and the Judges Aston and Bathurst. Sir
Fletcher Norton had been made easy for the preference of Yorke, by
the promise of the Speaker’s chair--and now, by an unwonted fit of
decency, said he would not profit of the Government’s distress, but
would remain Speaker. He was accordingly proposed by Lord North and
Mr. Rigby. Lord John Cavendish, to the surprise of everybody, proposed
Thomas Townshend the younger, but confessing he had not communicated
his intention to the person he named. Lord George Sackville concurred
with Lord John, and both threw out as many indirect aspersions on
Norton as they could with any tolerable decency--the only reason
probably for opposing him; and that they might deny his being
unanimously elected. Townshend declared with astonishment, that he had
not only never thought of the office, but knew himself totally unfit
for it, and besought them to excuse him. He and his family voted for
Norton, who was chosen by 237 to 121, and who, with a manliness at
least in his profligacy, took possession of his post, without acting
those stale affectations of modesty with which other Speakers have been
wont to get themselves forced into the chair.

The very day on which Yorke died, Dunning, the Solicitor-General, and
James Grenville (unwillingly, to gratify the violence of his brothers)
declared they would resign their places. That of Master of the Horse to
the Queen, was given to Lord Waldegrave.[42]

There also remained vacant, the posts of Commander-in-Chief and Master
of the Ordnance. Foreseeing that the latter, if not the former, would
be offered to General Conway, fearing it would involve him deeper
with the Court, and desirous that he should preserve his character of
disinterestedness, I early begged him to accept neither, as it would
not become him to profit of Lord Granby’s spoils, with whom he had
lived in friendship, and which would render him unpopular. He was
overjoyed at hearing this opinion, as it was his own. Accordingly,
when the King offered him the Ordnance, he desired to be excused,
but offered to do the whole business of Master without taking the
salary; adding, that if his Majesty would appoint no Master, he
thought he could make advantageous improvements in the office. Lord
Granby, too, would be less desperate, if he saw his posts not filled
up. The King told Conway _he was a phenomenon; that there was no
satisfying other people, but he would not take even what was offered
to him_[43]--but as it suited the King’s views better to find men
mercenary than disinterested, this virtue, as will appear, did not long
make impression on him. He consented to Conway’s plan, and told him
at the same time that Lord Granby had been agitated even to tears when
he resigned, and had told his Majesty that he did not mean opposition:
that, indeed, in cases of state, he must follow Lord Chatham; and
Lord Camden in those of law. The King owned to Conway, that he had
frightened Yorke into accepting the Seals by reproaching him with
refusing to serve in that distress of Government, and by assuring him
it was the last time the Seals should ever be offered to him.

Sir Jeffery Amherst, the most wrong-headed of men, would not hear of
Yorke’s peerage, unless his own was granted too. Mr. Conway showed him
the necessity of a Chancellor’s peerage, and that all who had promises
of peerages had acquiesced. It did not satisfy him: he had resented
Lord Camden’s peerage before; and now went into the King to resign--but
was again pacified.

Conway himself was on the point of receiving a more real insult. The
Duke of Grafton talked to him of destining the Mastership of the
Ordnance to some great peer, not below him in the army. This pointed
either at Lord Halifax or Lord Sandwich, neither of whom had ever
served, but ranked as Lieutenant-Generals by having had commissions to
raise regiments, which they never raised during the rebellion. Conway
started, and declared firmly he would resign if such a person should
be put over him. I doubt, however, whether it would not have been
tried, if greater troubles had not intervened. Both the Earls were poor
and impatient: the Bedfords, who had now most weight with Grafton,
favoured them--at least, preferred them to Conway. It was not thought
safe to send so unpopular a man as Sandwich to Ireland. Thither Lord
Gower wanted to dispatch Lord Hertford once more, that he might himself
recover the Chamberlain’s staff, the best introduction to personal
familiarity with the King--but he could compass no one of his plans.

Lord Chatham had stooped in the meantime to visit Lord Rockingham; in
consequence of which interview, and driven on by his friends who were
ashamed of their attachment to a mute, the Marquis moved the Lords to
go into the state of the nation; delivering his proposal with all the
ungracious hesitation of terrified spirits, and hobbling through the
grievances of the nation, which he imputed to the Court’s design of
governing by Ministers unwelcome to the people. Lord Chatham made one
of his highest coloured orations, inflaming Lord Rockingham, whom he
complimented largely, to pursue the recovery of the Constitution, and
advising him to carry the pursuit even to extremes, the democratic part
of the Constitution having been, he said, intentionally oppressed.
In his own wild and indigested manner he threw out, that the House
of Commons, wanted alteration; and to deliver it from the influence
of the Crown by the power of the latter over the rotten part, the
venal boroughs and burgage-tenures, he should advise the addition
of a third member for every county. With his usual versatility, and
with more meaning, he chanted next the sacredness of prerogative, and
thence blamed the Crown’s yielding to bind itself not to recall the
additional troops newly granted in Ireland thence, (by which concession
alone that very requisite increase had been obtained); for himself,
he declared he would never touch prerogative, he would not come near
it, he would not pull a feather from that master-wing of the eagle.
Of Corsica, he said, France had gained more in that pacific campaign
than she had done in the most belligerent of the last war. He concluded
with recommending union to the Opposition for the present purpose of
redress of grievances. What might happen afterwards he did not know--an
intimation that he had not been able to persuade Lord Rockingham to
cede to Mr. Grenville his pretensions to the Treasury. The 25th was
named for considering the state of the nation; but when the day came,
Lord Rockingham moved to adjourn the debate for ten days, which was
allowed. The motive was, Lord Chatham’s having the gout in his hand.
This was the more indecent and absurd in that some of the Opposition
had the very day before protested against adjourning that very question
for a week till a new Chancellor could be chosen. Lord Sandwich
ridiculed their not being able to go on without Lord Chatham--which, he
might have added, was saying that _the little finger of Lord Chatham
was heavier than the loins of the law_.

A more important officer was wanting than even a Chancellor. Mr. Conway
had sent for me on the evening of the 22nd. It was to tell me that the
Duke of Grafton had announced to him in the morning that he could not
get a Chancellor; that his head turned, that he could not bear it,
that he was determined to resign: that he should not have one great
lawyer in the Cabinet to advise him; that Lord Mansfield had been
pressed to accept it and had refused: that he could not fill up the
empty places, so many persons had resigned. The posts of Chancellor,
Privy Seal, Master of the Ordnance, Attorney and Solicitor to the
Queen, a Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, and two Lords of the Bedchamber,
were vacant; that he had told his resolution to nobody but to Lord
Gower, Lord Weymouth, and Lord Jersey, and to his own two Secretaries,
Stonhewer and Bradshaw. The two last, the Duke said, approved his
resolution; Lord Jersey did not. Lord Gower and Lord Weymouth had
offered to stand against the storm with him, if he would venture.
Conway had represented against the confusion into which his Grace would
throw the kingdom--but in vain: he would hear no reasons. From the Duke
Conway had gone to the King, whom he found in the utmost distress (or
at least pretending to be), and persuaded that the Duke was inflexible,
who, his Majesty said, had told him, his head turned. Conway hinted at
trying Lord Rockingham, but the King said, he knew the disposition of
Lord Rockingham and his friends, and would not hear of them. He was
as thoroughly averse to Lord Chatham: both, he said, were engaged to
dissolve the Parliament; but he would abdicate his Crown sooner. “Yes,”
continued the King, laying his hand on his sword, “I will have recourse
to this sooner than yield to a dissolution.” He talked of trying to go
on, if Lord North would put himself at the head of the Treasury. Conway
left me to go again to the Duke, to whom he hinted at the want of
spirit in not standing his ground; but the resolution was too strongly
taken, and he was deaf to all remonstrances.

The moment was indeed serious; yet, had not the King been so thoroughly
averse to the Opposition, he would not have found them obdurate. Burke
owned to me that his friends would be content without a dissolution,
provided an Act of Parliament were passed to take from the House of
Commons the power of incapacitation. The Duke of Richmond confessed
the same to Mr. Conway. Lord Chatham was never inflexible towards
prerogative; but the subservience of Lord North was more tempting; and
on him the King fixed. Lord North owned to Conway that the King had
pressed him to accept the Treasury, professed he did not desire it, but
would undertake it rather than expose the country to confusion.

Whether Lord North’s readiness to be his successor awakened the Duke
of Grafton’s jealousy, on the 25th his Grace talked of going on if
the Attorney-General De Grey would accept the Great Seal, as the Duke
expected he would. He told Conway that he was extremely pressed to fill
up the vacancies; that Lord Sandwich teazed him to be made Privy Seal,
or Master of the Ordnance, since Mr. Conway would not take it. Conway,
who had offered to give it up, to make Amherst easy, said, the King
had consented he should remain Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance; and
that, in any case, he would not act under a man of so bad a character
as Sandwich, nor would see anybody else put over his head. He was glad,
he said, to hear his Grace talk of continuing; for himself, he would
take no part, unless his Grace remained. He had no objection to Lord
North, but had never had any connexion with him; for the Bedfords, he
knew they were his enemies. The Duke made no reply; and Conway and I
concluded the wayward fit was gone, as, to our knowledge, it had done
so often before.

On January the 25th, the Commons went into a committee on the state
of the nation, when Dowdeswell moved to resolve, that the House of
Commons is bound to follow the laws of the land and the usage of
Parliament, which is part thereof.[44] Conway said, this was a very
needless declaration; it was a truism, and admitted by everybody; the
House might as well vote that Magna Charta was the law of the land; but
he supposed this was meant as a foundation for other questions, and
therefore he called on Dowdeswell’s candour to state what he intended
should follow. Dowdeswell refused; and therefore Lord North said, as
he supposed the motion alluded to the case of Wilkes, he would add the
words “and had been so followed in the case of the late election for
the county of Middlesex.” Grenville said this was unfair; and that,
in a complicated question, any member had a right to separate the
parts, and call for each distinctly. Conway replied, that he had known
questions made complicated on purpose to destroy them; and reminded
Grenville of Dr. Hay’s and Wedderburne’s long and absurd addition to
the question on general warrants, which did destroy that question.
Wedderburne said, if the motion was a truism, was that a reason for not
allowing it? Would any man begin to refuse paying a bill, by denying
that two and two make four? He went into the law part of the question;
and his position that there had been no question exactly in point,
made great impression on the House, no man being a more acute or more
accurate speaker. Young Charles Fox, of age but the day before, started
up, and entirely confuted Wedderburne, even in law, producing a case
decided in the courts below but the last year, and exactly similar to
that of Wilkes. “The court,” he said, “had had no precedent, but had
gone on analogy.” The House roared with applause. Sir W. Meredith said
rudely, he wished Mr. Conway acted then with the same patriotic spirit
that he had shown on general warrants, when he had gained the hearts
of the nation. Conway replied with fire that he hoped his character
was as good as ever, or as that gentleman’s. Had nobody any integrity
but those who called themselves patriots? Lord Coke, the oracle of the
law, quoted the case of Hall, in the reign of Henry the Eighth, and
called it _the ancient usage of Parliament_. Selden and Maynard held
the same doctrine. Who would dare to affirm, that those were not the
greatest constitutional lawyers? What was set against them but two or
three pamphlets (meaning those written by Dowdeswell and Meredith),
ingenious, indeed, but were they of weight to be opposed to Coke,
Selden, and Maynard? Sir William Meredith was unlucky in addressing
his censure to Conway, who was in reality what Sir William wished or
affected to be, a most conscientious man. Conway’s virtue was firm,
and not to be shaken by interest or caprice. He persisted in uniform
integrity, supported the Court when he thought it in the right, but
disdained its temptations. He sometimes fluctuated and refined too
minutely; but if he yielded to his scruples, they never were infused
by a glimpse of self-advantage. Sir William was not long after this
gained to the Court by a White Stick; and though he again relinquished
it, as he said, on principle, he lost more on the side of judgment
than he recovered on that of conscience; and left it more doubtful
whether he was an upright than a very unsettled man. In an age wherein
honesty could boast few genuine martyrs, Conway was certainly the most
distinguished. He never ceased to attest his attachment to virtue,
at the risk of a most precarious fortune; and he had one merit that
added to the beauty of his character, and in which he was singular,
that he never mixed party or faction with his line of conduct. The
Duke of Richmond, Sir George Saville, and Lord John Cavendish, were,
undoubtedly, of as unblemished virtue as Conway; but they had all
three independent fortunes, and had no opportunities of making equal
sacrifices. All three, too, were devoted to their party, and from
that point of honour, which did little to their judgment, remained
inflexibly attached to that poor creature, Lord Rockingham. The debate,
whence I have digressed, lasted till three in the morning, when
Lord North’s amendment was carried but by 224 to 180--a threatening
diminution to the Administration, who saw their majority on the first
day of the session sunk from 116 to 44.

If the Duke of Grafton was alarmed before, his panic was augmented by
this decrease of forces. He again declared to the King he would resign,
yet still desired his friends to keep the secret.

The next day Mr. Conway related to me two extraordinary conversations
that he had had,--the first with the Duke himself, the other with his
secretary, Stonhewer. Conway had again tried to encourage the Duke to
be firm and surmount his dejection; bidding him beware that there were
no Treasury secrets that might endanger him. The Duke broke out, said
he was determined to resign immediately, for--_he was betrayed_. “There
is no man, Mr. Conway,” continued he, “on whom I can depend but you.”
Conway was amazed. “No,” continued the Duke, “there is no dependence on
connections. I am betrayed by my own confidential secretary, Bradshaw.
I will go to Lord North, and press him to accept directly.” Farther, he
would not open himself. From the Duke, Conway went to Stonhewer. The
latter was a modest man of perfect integrity, invariably attached to
Grafton from his childhood.[45] He having approved the Duke’s intention
of resigning, it was probably from being but too well acquainted with
his patron’s unfitness for the first post in the State, or from having
silently observed how dangerous it was for the Duke to remain in so
responsible an employment, surrounded by traitors. Stonhewer told
Conway that the Bedfords had taken little or no pains to persuade the
Duke to retain his power. They had made him believe, through Bradshaw,
through whom the negotiation passed, that the Attorney-General was more
averse to take the Seals than the Duke found him--and Stonhewer owned
that he thought Bradshaw a villain. The King, he said, had used the
Duke ill, and was not disinclined to his resigning. Mr. Conway had had
the same suspicion.

The truth, I believe, of this plot and these intrigues, was this.
The King, worn out by Grafton’s negligence, and impracticability,
had wished to get rid of him. It was known afterwards, that Bradshaw
was secretly the tool of the King and Lord Bute, and had probably
engaged Rigby to facilitate his Majesty’s plan of suffering the Duke
to resign,--which, however, he was so unjust as to resent for a long
time after. Rigby, Lord Gower, and Lord Weymouth, all feared that the
Duke’s irrational conduct would involve them in his fall, and Lord
Gower particularly hoped, by betraying him, to stand nearer to the
chief post. Thus they dissuaded his resignation so faintly as rather to
encourage it. The rich reversion obtained by Bradshaw, by or for his
treachery, confirmed his share in the transaction. The Duke and Duchess
of Bedford were far from being counsel to the resignation; in truth it
was entirely concealed from them. That the Duke should not communicate
it to them, was most extraordinary. That Lord Gower did not, confirmed
his share in the plot. Of all the set, Rigby’s part was the most
dark. His concealing the Duke of Grafton’s intention from the Duke of
Bedford, was unjustifiable: yet he could not trust the Duchess with
it, as her ambition was infinitely gratified by having her niece, the
Duchess of Grafton, wife to the Prime Minister; and as her attachment
to Rigby was cooled, she would not have bent to his secret views. Thus
they did not hear a syllable of Grafton’s purpose till the very last
day, and then Bedford vehemently urged him not to resign: but it was
too late. Yet, if Grafton had opened half an eye, he soon closed it,
continuing his intimacy with Lord Gower and Rigby, and his confidence
even to Bradshaw.[46] Had not the Duke himself dropped his suspicions
to Conway, and had they not been confirmed by the immaculate honesty
of Stonhewer, I should almost doubt the fact, though treachery was so
notoriously the characteristic of the Bedford faction.

The secret, though in so many hands, was not less well kept from the
public, than it had been from the Duke and Duchess of Bedford; for
though Grafton resigned on the evening of the 27th, it was not known
till very late on the 30th, when Lord North was declared the successor.

Such was the conclusion of the Duke of Grafton’s Administration, which
had lasted two years, and when he was but thirty-four years of age.
His fall was universally ascribed to his pusillanimity; but whether
betrayed by his fears or his friends, he had certainly been the chief
author of his own disgrace. His haughtiness, indolence, reserve,
and improvidence, had conjured up the storm; but his obstinacy and
fickleness always relaying each other, and always _mal à propos_, were
the radical causes of all the numerous absurdities that discoloured his
conduct and exposed him to deserved reproaches; nor had he a depth of
understanding to counterbalance the defects of his temper. The power
of the Crown and the weakness of the Opposition, would have maintained
him in his post, though he was unfit for it, as immediately appeared
by the Court’s recovering its ascendant the moment the Duke retired;
for though Lord North had far better parts, yet his indolence proved as
great as Grafton’s; but having as much good humour as the Duke wanted,
it was plain that the Parliament were willing to be slaves, provided
they could be treated with decency. Grafton had quitted the King’s
service, when Prince, disgusted with Lord Bute: had been captivated by
Lord Chatham, yet came into place without him; then quitted for him,
Lord Rockingham and the Whigs. He then declared against a place of
business; then gave himself up to Lord Chatham, and was made his first
Lord of the Treasury; grew as violently partial to Mr. Conway, yet was
with difficulty persuaded to stay in place even with him--then would
act with nobody but him: as abruptly and lightly consented to let him
retire to make way for the Bedfords; and after a life of early decorum,
dipped with every indecency into the most public and abject attachment
to a common courtezan, gave himself up to Lord Bute’s influence:[47]
rushed into an alliance with the Bedford’s, whom he hated, against
his interest; and at last permitted them to betray him, not without
suspecting, but without resenting it.

The detail of his conduct was as weak and preposterous as the great
lines of it. His intrusion of Lutterell, his neglecting to call the
Parliament before the petitions spread, his wasting his time at
Euston and Newmarket though the tempest raged, his disgusting the
Chancellor, and when he had disgusted him, not turning him out before
the Parliament met, but leaving him to avail himself of the merit
of martyrdom by being turned out for his speech and vote; and then
turning him out when it was both too late and too soon, because no
successor had been prepared in time; these wild and inconsistent steps
plunged him into difficulties which yet he might have surmounted, if
his inconstancy had been art, his rashness courage, or his obstinacy

He was the fourth Prime Minister in seven years who fell by his own
fault. Lord Bute was seized with a panic and ran away from his own
victory. Grenville was undone by his insolence, by joining in the
insult on the Princess, and by his persecution of Lord Bute and
Mackenzie. Lord Rockingham’s incapacity overturned him; and now the
Duke of Grafton, by a complication of passions and defect of system,
destroyed a power that it had depended on himself to make as permanent
as he could desire. It was pretended that his secret reason was the
preference given by the Queen to Lord Waldegrave for her Master of
Horse over the Duke’s friend, Lord Jersey. The Duke had not asked it
for him, but was capable of resenting its not being offered, and as
capable of being influenced by that little reason as by any of eminent
magnitude.[48] He did not quit without signalizing his retreat by two
pensions that were loudly censured. One was to his tool, the traitor
Bradshaw, the reversion of Auditor of the Plantations, worth 1500_l._
a-year. The other a pension on Ireland of 1000_l._ for Dyson stamped
with a royal breach of promise; the King having permitted the Duke
of Northumberland to pass the regal word that no more pensions for
a term of years should be granted on Ireland but on extraordinary
occasions.[49] Dyson’s merits were not of that noisy kind that
would bear to be detailed, and yet now ranked with those of Prince
Ferdinand and Sir Edward Hawke, whose names had been cited by the
Attorney-General as proper precedents for his Majesty’s munificence.


  State of Parties at Lord North’s Accession to the post of First
    Minister.--Victory of the Court Party.--Character of Lord
    North.--The other Ministers.--Debate in the House of Lords on the
    State of the Nation.--Quarrel between the Speaker and Sir William
    Meredith.--Debate in the Lords.--Lord Chatham attacks the Influence
    of the Court.--Repeal of American Duties.--Bold Conduct of the City
    Authorities.--Remonstrance Presented to the King.--Debate on the
    Civil List.--Lord Chatham attacks the Duke of Grafton.--Indirect
    Censure on the City Remonstrance in the House of Commons.--Loyal
    Address carried.


Nothing could be more distressful than the situation into which the
Duke of Grafton had brought the King, and in which he abandoned him.
Whether it was owing to disgust, or whether men had conceived that the
Duke could not maintain himself, the majority had suddenly dwindled
away to an alarming degree, nor was any time given to prepare for the
change. The 31st was appointed for going again into the committee on
the state of the nation, the very business on which the failure of
numbers had disclosed itself. A new arrangement without new strength
was not encouraging. Lord North had neither connections with the
nobility, nor popularity with the country, yet he undertook the
government in a manly style, and was appointed First Lord of the
Treasury on the 29th, with only one day to intervene before it would be
decided whether he would stand or fall. Could he depend on men whom he
had not time to canvass? Was it not probable that the most venal would
hang off till they should see to which side the scale would incline?
Yet Lord North plunged boldly into the danger at once. A more critical
day had seldom dawned. If the Court should be beaten, the King would
be at the mercy of the Opposition, or driven to have recourse to the
Lords--possibly to the sword. All the resolutions on the Middlesex
election would be rescinded, the Parliament dissolved, or the contest
reduced to the sole question of prerogative. Yet in the short interval
allowed, Lord North, Lord Sandwich, Rigby, and that faction on one
side, the Scotch and the Butists on the other hand, had been so active,
and had acted so differently from what the Duke of Grafton had done,
that at past twelve at night the Court proved victorious by a majority
of forty; small in truth, but greater by fifteen or twenty than was
expected by the most sanguine, the numbers being 226 to 186.[50]
The question in effect was, that a person eligible by law cannot by
expulsion be rendered incapable of being rechosen, unless by act of
parliament. The courtiers moved that the chairman should leave the
chair, and carried it. Lord North, with great frankness and spirit,
laid open his own situation, which, he said, he had not sought, but
would not refuse; nor would he timidly shrink from his post. He was
rudely treated by Colonel Barré, who already softened towards the Duke
of Grafton, to whom he attributed weight and dignity, but expressing
contempt for the new Premier, as a man of no consequence. The latter
replied not only with spirit but good-humour, and evidently had
the advantage, though it was obvious how much weight the personal
presence of a First Minister in the House of Commons carried with it.
George Grenville amazed everybody by a bitter complaint of libels and
libellers hired by the Court; and this at a season when, deserve what
it might, the Court undoubtedly laboured under an unparalleled load
of abuse. Colonel Lutterell, on the other hand, affirmed that he had
traced a most flagrant libel home to a near relation of that gentleman,
who, he believed, was also privy to it. He had forced the printer to
divulge the writer, one Lloyd,[51] who had confessed on his knees,
with tears, that Lord Temple had forced him to practise that office.
Lutterell added that he had taxed Lord Temple with it by letter, who
had not deigned to make an answer. Captain Walsingham said he had gone
to Lord Temple on the same errand, who had declared on his honour he
was not concerned in it. Grenville flamed, and called for a committee
to inquire into libels. He was answered finely by Sir Gilbert Elliot,
who now, contrary to his custom of late, took a warm part. He had been
much neglected by Grafton, though the confidential agent of the King
and Lord Bute; and never distinguished himself, though none more able,
but on cases of emergency, and when the Court ventured or chose to make
its mind more known than by the Minister. Elliot told Grenville that,
had he not entered into factious combinations, _he_ knew Grenville
would have been entreated to save his country. That Grenville was not
pardoned and again received into favour, proved how much more the King
and his mother were swayed by their passions than by their interest.[52]

Frederic Lord North, eldest son of the Earl of Guilford, was now in
the thirty-eighth year of his age. Nothing could be more coarse or
clumsy or ungracious than his outside. Two large prominent eyes that
rolled about to no purpose (for he was utterly short-sighted), a wide
mouth, thick lips, and inflated visage, gave him the air of a blind
trumpeter. A deep untuneable voice, which, instead of modulating, he
enforced with unnecessary pomp, a total neglect of his person, and
ignorance of every civil attention,[53] disgusted all who judge by
appearance, or withhold their approbation till it is courted. But
within that rude casket were enclosed many useful talents. He had much
wit, good-humour, strong natural sense, assurance, and promptness, both
of conception and elocution. His ambition had seemed to aspire to the
height, yet he was not very ambitious. He was thought interested, yet
was not avaricious. What he did, he did without a mask, and was not
delicate in choosing his means.[54] He had lent himself readily to all
the violences of Mr. Grenville against Wilkes, had seized the moment of
advancement by accepting the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer (after
a very short opposition) when the Court wanted a person to oppose to
the same Mr. Grenville; and with equal alacrity had served under the
Duke of Grafton. When the first post became vacant by the Duke’s
strange retreat, no man so ready to place himself in the gap as Lord
North. It was in truth worth his ambition, though he should rule but a
day, to attain the rank of Prime Minister. He had knowledge, and though
fond of his amusement, seemed to have all necessary activity till
he reached the summit. Yet that industry ceased when it became most
requisite. He had neither system, nor principles, nor shame; sought
neither the favour of the Crown or of the people, but enjoyed the good
luck of fortune with a gluttonous epicurism that was equally careless
of glory and disgrace.[55] His indolence prevented his forming any
plan. His indifference made him leap from one extreme to another; and
his insensibility to reproach reconciled him to any contradiction.
He proved as indolent as the Duke of Grafton, but his temper being
as good as the Duke’s was bad, he was less hurt at capital disgraces
than the Duke had been at trifling difficulties. Lord North’s conduct
in the American war displayed all these features. He engaged in it
against his opinion, and yet without reluctance. He managed it without
foresight or address, and was neither ashamed when it miscarried, nor
dispirited when the Crown itself became endangered by the additional
war with France. His good humour could not be good nature, for at the
beginning of the war he stuck at no cruelty, but laughed at barbarities
with which all Europe rung. It could not be good sense, for in the
progress he blushed at none of the mischiefs he had occasioned, at
none of the reproaches he had incurred. Like the Duke of Grafton, he
was always affecting a disposition to retire, yet never did.[56] Unlike
the Duke, who secured no emoluments to himself, Lord North engrossed
whatever fell in his way, and sometimes was bribed[57] by the Crown to
promote Acts, against which he pretended his conscience recoiled--but
it never was delicate when profit was in the opposite scale. If he had
ambition, it was of very mean complexion, for he stooped to be but a
nominal Prime Minister, and suffered the King’s private junto to enjoy
the whole credit of favour, while, between submission and laziness,
Lord North himself was seldom the author of the measures in which he
bore the principal part. This passive and inglorious tractability, and
his being connected with no faction, made him welcome to the King:
his having no predominant fault or vice recommended him to the nation,
and his good humour and wit to everybody but to the few whom his want
of good breeding and attention offended. One singularity came out in
his character, which was, that no man was more ready for extremes
under the administration of others, no man more temperate than Lord
North during his own:--in effect, he was a man whom few hated, fewer
could esteem. As a Minister he had no foresight, no consistence, no
firmness, no spirit. He miscarried in all he undertook in America, was
more improvident than unfortunate, less unfortunate than he deserved
to be. If he was free from vices, he was as void of virtues; and it is
a paltry eulogium of a Prime Minister of a great country, yet the best
that can be allotted to Lord North, that, though his country was ruined
under his administration, he preserved his good humour, and neither
felt for his country nor for himself. Yet it is true, too, that he
was the least odious of the Ministers with whom he acted; and though
servile in obedience to a Prince who meant so ill, there was reason to
think that Lord North neither stimulated, nor was more than the passive
instrument of the black designs of the Court.

The other chief Ministers were, Lord Dartmouth, Lord Suffolk, Lord
Gower, Lord Weymouth, Lord Sandwich, Lord Rochford, and afterwards
Lord George Germaine, besides two, who, though not ostensible
Ministers, had more weight with the King than Lord North himself.
Of those, Lord Dartmouth only stayed long enough to prostitute his
character and authenticate his hypocrisy. The Chancellor, Bathurst,
was too poor a creature to have any weight; and Lord Rochford, though
more employed, had still less claim to sense, and none at all to
knowledge. Lord Suffolk’s soul was harrowed by ambition, and as he
had not parts to gratify it, he sought the despotism of the Crown as
means of gratifying his own pride. Lord Gower, Lord Weymouth, and
Lord Sandwich, all had parts, and never used them to any good or
creditable purpose. The first had spirit enough to attempt any crime;
the other two, though notorious cowards, were equally fitted to serve
a prosperous Court; and Sandwich had a predilection to guilt if he
could couple it with artifice and treachery. Lord George Germaine was
proud, haughty, and desperate. Success by any means was necessary to
restore his credit; and a Court that was capable of adopting him,
was sure he would not boggle at anything to maintain himself. Lord
Mansfield was by birth, education, principle, cowardice, and revenge
for the public odium, a bigot to tyranny. He would have sacrificed the
universe, and everything but his personal safety, to overturn the
constitution and freedom of England. But in the blindness of that rage,
and from not daring to open the attempt where the danger to himself
would have been imminent, he was the author of the liberty of America,
and the instrument of Providence to bless a whole continent, whose
destruction he sought to involve with that of his country. Jenkinson
had, and deserved, no marked character; he was the tool of the King
and Lord Mansfield, and had just parts enough to make his servility
inexcusable. Wedderburne, Sir Gilbert Elliot, and Dyson were also much
implicated in the following counsels; but the two latter died early in
the American war. Thurlow, Rigby, and Ellis bore their part in kindling
that fatal flame--but I am anticipating what did not appear till three
or four years later--though it was both necessary to specify the chief
incendiaries of the ensuing calamities, and to account for Lord North’s
escaping capital hatred for seeming to bear so capital a part in so
criminal a scene; but as not one of the set I have recapitulated had
recommended himself to the favour of the public, Lord North, by his
good humour, easily drew most good will to himself, and did not, like
most of the rest, push it from him by insolence and avowed profligacy.
Many events intervened, before the grand scene opened, and those I must
now detail.

From Lord North’s entrance into power, the Court found all their
facilities of governing by corruption and influence return. Every
question was carried in both Houses by more than sufficient majorities:
and though the Ministers were teazed within, and the King from without,
Lord Chatham was always baffled in the Lords, Dowdeswell, Burke, and
Grenville in the Commons; nor could Wilkes in the City keep up more
than an ineffectual flame. I will recapitulate, as briefly as I can,
the chief events and debates of the following period.

Lord North was no sooner set at the head of affairs, than he solicited
General Conway’s support. The latter professed great regard for him,
but declared he would not sit in council with Lord Gower and Lord
Sandwich, now the Duke of Grafton, to whom alone he had been obliged,
was retired. Conway, accordingly, with the King’s consent, returned no
more to the Cabinet Council. The Privy Seal was given to Lord North’s
uncle, the Earl of Halifax. Charles Fox and Charles Townshend,[58]
of Hunningham, were made Commissioners, the first of the Admiralty,
the second of the Treasury. Ellis[59] succeeded James Grenville as
Vice-Treasurer of Ireland; but Lord Howe and Lord Cornwallis resigned
their places, having, as they said, had no obligations but to Lord
Chatham and the Duke of Grafton. Dr. Blackstone was made a judge, and
Sir Gilbert Elliot succeeded Lord Howe as Treasurer of the Navy.[60]

On the 2nd of February, the Lords went into the state of the nation,
on a question like Dowdeswell’s, and sat till two in the morning, an
hour scarce ever known in that House. The Duke of Richmond principally
shone, and said he concluded the Duke of Grafton had resigned from
being conscious of the badness of the cause. Grafton denied the
supposition; said, nobody did or ever should know the cause of his
resignation--and then entered into the most vehement protestation of
eternal attachment to his friends the Bedfords. Lord Shelburne and
Lord Sandwich had a warm altercation; but the most disagreeable part
of the day fell on the late Chancellor, Camden. Grafton, Gower, and
Weymouth declared, on their honours, that he had never objected to the
legality of what had been done on the Middlesex election; and the Duke
affirmed that he had not suspected Lord Camden’s doubts till the month
of August last. All Lord Camden could say was, that he had never been
positively consulted on it, and had not thought himself obliged to
give any opinion when not called upon; yet it appeared in the debate
from Lord Chatham, that Lord Camden had declared the illegality to him
before August--a proceeding not quite justifiable in a Chancellor,
who is styled keeper of the King’s conscience, to be silent to the
Ministers on so important a step, and to condemn their measures to
the chief of their opponents. The motion was rejected by 96 to 47,
and then the majority voted, that for the House of Lords to interfere
in a resolution of the House of Commons in a matter of election would
be unconstitutional, and tend to a breach between the two Houses. Two
warm protests were signed on that occasion by the Lords in opposition,
declaring they would never rest till the nation should obtain
satisfaction on the Middlesex election.[61]

On voting the land tax, Burke complained of the new grants of pensions
and reversions, and of the hardship of levying three shillings in the
pound for such purposes. Lord North defended them by the precedent
of Lord Camden’s pension. Dowdeswell named Dyson and Bradshaw as
enjoying monstrous and exorbitant grants, and gave notice they should
be inquired into. James Townshend, the Sheriff, declared that as the
county of Middlesex was not fairly represented, he would not pay the
land tax. Lord North answered calmly, that the law would decide whether
he should pay it or not. The declaration, though intended for example,
was not followed: but the Commons House of Assembly of South Carolina,
voted 1500_l._ to the Supporters of the Bill of Rights.

On the 12th, Lord Chatham moved for a resolution that the capacity of a
person to be elected did not depend finally on a determination of the
House of Commons. This was supported by Lord Camden, but denied by Lord
Mansfield, and evaded by the previous question.

Dowdeswell the same day aimed a destructive blow at the prerogative,
but one too wholesome to meet with success.[62] It was to take away
votes at elections for Members of Parliament from all under-officers
of the revenue, as of the excise, customs, &c. The motion was popular
and constitutional; but the old artillery of the Court, the Tories,
were played against the proposal, and it was rejected by 263 against
188. Dowdeswell and Grenville pledged themselves to promote such a
bill, should they ever be Ministers again. Lord North told them they
certainly did not think themselves likely to become so, when they
supported such a measure.[63]

On the report from the committee on the state of the nation, a great
quarrel happened between the new Speaker and Sir William Meredith, who
were ancient enemies. Grenville had insisted on a right of separating
two questions, which being contested, Meredith appealed to the Speaker.
Sir Fletcher, a novice in the orders of the House, made an artful but
false distinction; at the same time complaining of the hardship of
being pressed for decision in the dawn of his office. Sir William said
he had meant nothing uncandid; but Norton, hot and unguarded, said, “he
now saw he must never expect candour from that gentleman.” Those words
caused such an uproar for twenty minutes that nobody could be heard,
most crying out to have the words taken down. Conway and others tried
to moderate; but Barré inflamed the heat, and Dowdeswell moved that the
Speaker’s behaviour had been an infringement of the liberty of debate,
and a violation of the rules of the House. The Speaker was enraged, and
perceiving that so violent a motion would be rejected with indignation,
he insisted on putting the question on himself, which was thrown out
without a division. The whole discussion lasted between four and five
hours, protracted by the Speaker’s fault, who would make no concession,
and who desired the House to take notice that he had made no apology to

A motion of Grenville for an account of the disbursements on the Civil
List for the year 1769 was rejected by 262 to 165. Many reflections
were thrown out on the new grants to Sir Fletcher Norton, Dyson, and
Bradshaw; but as the majority was again risen to ninety-seven, the
Court paid no regard to complaints. Lord North had flung himself into
the hands of Lord Bute’s junto,[65] and had even taken for his own
private secretary one Robinson, steward to Sir James Lowther[66]--not
without giving offence to the Bedfords, who had meant to govern North

But if Lord North established his credit at Court by recurring to the
patronage of the Favourite, it did but serve to revive jealousies of
Lord Bute and the Princess; a strong instance of which broke forth.
Sir Edward Hawke had declared for an addition of four thousand seamen,
then retracted that opinion, but said, if he should remain in the
Admiralty,[67] he should the next year be for adding five thousand
men. On this declaration of so renowned an Admiral, Lord Craven and
Lord Abingdon moved for two thousand seamen more. The Duke of Richmond
supported their motion with great abilities, knowledge, and matter,
and pointed out the encroachments and dangers from France and Spain
in Corsica and the East Indies, and from the formidable Spanish fleet
that seemed to threaten Jamaica, warning the Ministers that they
should be answerable for refusing more seamen, if any mischief should
arise. Still they refused them, but with much confusion and little
argument. Lord Chatham went farther, in his best manner and with most
inflammatory matter, perceiving how little he could hope either from
the King or Parliament. He pronounced that since the King’s accession
there had been no _original_ Minister (a forced expression for no
_independent_ Minister) in this country; that there was a _secret
influence_ (which he described so as to point at the Princess, not at
Lord Bute) which governed and impeded everything, and was greater than
the King. He drew a flattering yet artfully ridiculous picture of the
King’s gracious facility in granting everything in his closet, while in
Council or in Parliament it was defeated by the faction of the secret
influence. He himself, he said, had been duped and deceived by it; and
though it was a hard thing to say of himself, confessed he had been a
fool and a changeling. The Duke of Grafton, mistaking Lord Chatham,
asked whether the King or himself had been pointed at by the Earl,
and spoke with warmth, dignity, and grace. He declared Lord Chatham
had forced him into Administration, as he had many letters to prove;
but the happiest day of his life had been that of his resignation.
For the words dropped by Lord Chatham, _they were the effects of a
distempered mind brooding over its own discontents_.[68] This last
expression hurt Lord Chatham deeply: he repeated it over and over, and
said he had drawers full of papers to prove that he had always had
sufficient vigour of mind to avoid the snares laid for him. He would
neither retract, he said, nor explain away the words he had uttered;
but returned the Duke’s attack with severe reflections on his Grace’s
falsehood and deviations. The Ministers did not dare to take notice of
what had been thrown out against the Princess, but rejected the motion
by 70 to 38. The Duke of Richmond hinted that in the late war the
Emperor of Morocco had offered to embark fifty thousand men on board
Admiral Saunders’s fleet, and invade Spain. Lord Rockingham, the Duke
of Richmond, and the Cavendishes, who had kept aloof from Lord Chatham,
were so charmed with his attack on the Princess, that they visited him
publicly. It was more surprising that the Duke of Grafton supported the
new Administration with more parts and spirit than he had done his own;
and in that and the following winter recovered much of the esteem that
he had lost when in power, though without having recourse to that usual
restorative of character, opposition.

On the 5th of March the House of Commons went upon the consideration
of America. Lord North proposed to repeal all the late duties, but
that on tea. _Mr. Conway advised the repeal of that also_, most men
believing that a partial repeal would produce no content. Grenville
agreed in condemning, as the Rockingham party did too, a partial
repeal; but, too obstinate to consent to any repeal, went away without
voting, and the motion passed. Lord North produced letters showing that
the association for not taking our goods was in a great measure broken
through, as the Colonies found they could not do without them. In fact,
they continued secretly to send commissioners hither for goods while
they appeared most vehement against letting them be imported--the true
reason why our merchants did not, as having no cause, complain of the
decay of that trade.[69]

To find the petitions slighted, and to have driven away the Prime
Minister without shaking the Administration, was a mortifying
disappointment to the Opposition; and which, though they affected great
contempt for the leaders of the Court party, gave no shining idea
of their own abilities employed in vain to overturn them. The next
expedient to which the opponents had recourse, did as little honour to
their invention, being nothing more than a renewal of petitions under
the title of a remonstrance; and which, being only a variation of
terms, not of means, produced, like other such remedies, no more effect
than the dose to which it was a succedaneum. The Liverymen of London,
indignant at the King’s making no answer to their petition, had, with
the assistance of the Common Council, and by the countenance (if not
by the instigation) of Beckford, the Lord Mayor, obtained a Common
Hall, notwithstanding the opposition of almost all the Aldermen. At
that Hall it was determined to present a remonstrance to his Majesty on
his not having deigned to take any notice of their petition; and the
Sheriffs attended him to know when he would be waited upon with the
remonstrance. The King replied, “As the case is entirely new, I will
take time to consider of it, and will transmit an answer to you by one
of my principal Secretaries of State.” In two days Lord Weymouth wrote
to the Sheriffs to know how their message was authenticated, and what
the nature had been of the assembly in which it was drawn up. The
Sheriffs went the next morning with a verbal message, and insisted on
being admitted to an audience to deliver it. Alderman Townshend told
the King he came by direction of the Livery in Common Hall assembled.
The King replied, “I will consider of the answer you have given me.”
From the temper both of the City and the Court, it was fortunate that
no mischief arose. The boldness of the former was met by the contempt
of the latter. The Remembrancer being denied admittance into the
closet with the Sheriffs, he asked Lord Bolingbroke, the Lord of the
Bedchamber in waiting, whether it was not usual to admit the person
possessed of the office he held? Bolingbroke replied, “I do not know: I
never saw you here before, and hope never to see you here again.”

Sir Robert Ladbroke proposed to the Court of Aldermen to declare
that the remonstrance was no act of that court or of the Corporation
of London; but the Lord Mayor refused to put the question without
consulting the books of the City; and many reflections were thrown on
the courtly Aldermen for attempting to govern the City contrary to
its own sense. Sixteen of the Aldermen, however, protested against
the remonstrance, which, by the King’s allowance, was carried to him
on the 14th of March by the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs. An immense mob
accompanied them, but committed no indecorum, except hissing as they
passed Carlton House, the residence of the Princess Dowager. The King
received them sitting on the throne. The Common Serjeant began to read
the remonstrance, but being inclined to the Court, was so frightened
that he could not proceed, and Sir James Hodges[70] was forced to
read it. The King, with great composure, and without expressing
anger, scorn, or fear, read his answer, which, though condemning the
address, was uncommonly condescending, and in a style of appeal to
his people.[71] It had been debated whether they should be admitted
to kiss the King’s hand. Lord Hertford, the Chamberlain, was ordered
to tell the Lord Mayor, that if they desired to kiss his Majesty’s
hand, he would grant it. Beckford said, “I desire of all things to
kiss my Sovereign’s hand,” which they all did. In the relation of
that ceremony given the next day in the _Public Advertiser_, it was
described in this bitter manner:--_the King instantly turned round to
his courtiers and burst out a-laughing--Nero fiddled while Rome was
burning_. Two papers, still more indecent, called _The Whisperer_ and
_The Parliamentary Spy_, were published weekly against the King, the
Princess, and the Parliament.

During the above transaction, Mr. Dowdeswell moved for the accounts of
the Civil List, expressing the different Administrations under which
the debts had been contracted. Lord North objected; but Lord Mount
Stewart,[72] desiring his father’s share might be specified, it was
accorded, as were the rest, though, till his application, they had
been refused, notwithstanding Grenville and Dowdeswell, both of whom
had been Chancellors of the Exchequer, and the former First Lord of
the Treasury, too, had begged to have their accounts particularized.
Grenville justly observed, that that deference to Lord Mount Stewart’s
request, proved his father’s actual influence, and consequently Lord
North’s servility to him.

Lord Rockingham made the same demand of accounts in the House of Lords,
but down to that very year. The former were granted as in the other
House; the latter part was refused. Lord Chatham said, Sir Robert
Walpole, on whom he made great encomiums, once asking the payment of
but 113,000_l._ gave in the vouchers: now, 500,000_l._ had been asked
without any account delivered, which had been refused even till now,
though the debt had been paid. Growing more inflammatory, he drew
a picture of the late King, who, he said, was _true, faithful, and
sincere_, and who, when he disliked a man, always let him perceive
it--a portrait intended as a satirical contrast to the character
of the reigning monarch. On the Duke of Grafton he was still more
bitter, whom he repeatedly called _Novice_, and whom, he said, he had
never meant for First Minister; the Duke had thrust himself into the
function, removing Lord Camden and Lord Shelburne; but that, when the
latter was dismissed, could he have crawled out, he himself would have
gone to the King, and insisted that the Duke should be dismissed too.
The Duke answered with firmness and sense; said he knew Lord Chatham
had wished him to hold his power only under himself, and had meant
him for a cypher, _regnante Cæsare_. The debate continued chiefly
between these two; but Lord Chatham adding, _that Lord Camden had been
removed for his vote in Parliament_, Lord Marchmont insisted on the
words being taken down. At first Lord Chatham was disconcerted, but
soon avowed the words; and they were taken down, though his violence
was so great that he was with difficulty compelled to sit down. Lord
Sandwich, alarmed, moved to adjourn; but the Duke of Richmond insisting
that Lord Chatham, being accused, had a right to vindicate himself,
and the latter declaring that he would not retract his words, Lord
Marchmont grew frightened, and moved that nothing had fallen in that
or any former debate that could justify the assertion of Lord Camden
having been dismissed for his vote. This modification was seized by the
majority, who finding Lord Chatham inflexible, did not dare to push
him to extremities, but meanly and timidly voted those words, though
the Opposition would not agree to them. In the course of the debate,
Lord Temple said Lord Mount Stewart had done himself immortal honour by
desiring to have his father’s accounts produced; and that they would,
he supposed, vindicate Lord Bute himself from many calumnies. It was
doubted whether this was flattery, or art to draw forth the accounts,
that matter might be found in them for impeachment. Of all the party,
Lord Shelburne was most warm, agreeable to his maxim, that the King was
timid and must be frightened. I think it was in that debate (which was
a very heterogeneous one) that Lord Mansfield, being called upon for
his opinion on Lutterell’s case in the Middlesex election, declared his
opinion should go to the grave with him, having never told it but to
one of the Royal Family; and being afterwards asked to which of them,
he named the Duke of Cumberland--a conduct and confidence so absurd
and weak, that no wonder he was long afterwards taunted both with his
reserve, and with his choice of such a bosom-friend.

The great difficulty was to determine what part the King should take
on the remonstrance. It reflected much on him--more on the House of
Commons; and, in the opinion of some lawyers, amounted at least to a
misdemeanour. The first idea was, that the King should lay it before
both Houses with complaint; but in the meantime, Sir Thomas Clavering,
a rich northern baronet, no otherways considerable, moved the House
of Commons to address the King to lay the remonstrance and his answer
before the House, the former being, as he concluded by the latter,
very offensive. Beckford, the two Sheriffs, and Alderman Trecothick
warmly avowed their share in the remonstrance. Harley attacked Beckford
as the disturber of the City’s peace; and a warm altercation between
them ensued. The Opposition, particularly Wedderburne, urged that to
censure any petition or remonstrance, unless it was high treason,[73]
was a direct violation of the Bill of Rights. Lord North was very
zealous, especially in defence of that wretch, his ancestor, the
Lord Keeper, for which he was well ridiculed by Burke, who begged
the House to stop, and reminded them how often he had warned them to
go no farther, involving themselves more and more by every step they
took. Conway answered Wedderburne with uncommon applause, condemning
the remonstrance, but recommending moderation. Grenville fluctuated
strangely, neither condemning or countenancing the remonstrance, but
dissuading punishment. Could they, he asked, punish all concerned in
it, or could they punish partially? Even Lord John Cavendish spoke
for temper, and owned the remonstrance had gone too far. The address
was voted by 271 against 108. The Ministers no doubt had instigated
that motion as less obnoxious than a direct complaint from the Throne
would have been, and as wearing the appearance of independence from
the person who made the motion: but the gentleman’s independence was a
little sullied by the command of Languard Fort being four days after
conferred on his brother, Colonel Clavering, a meritorious officer, to
whom it had been promised, but which made the connection of the elder
with the Court observed.[74]

Such was the dangerous and disgraceful situation into which the
unconstitutional intrusion of Lutterell had drawn the Court. They
did not dare to punish the indignation they had provoked, lest worse
consequences should ensue: nor did their triumph in maintaining
Lutterell in his seat, compensate for the timidity they betrayed
in bearing so insolent a remonstrance, which was one of the
humiliating effects that had flowed from their original illegality
in the prosecution of Wilkes,[75]--a speaking lesson to Princes and
Ministers not to stretch the strings of prerogative! The whole reign
of George the Third was a standing sermon of the same kind; and the
mortifications I have been recounting were but slight bruises compared
to the wounds he afterwards received by not contenting himself with
temperate power and established obedience.

The remonstrance and answer being delivered to the House, Sir Thomas
Clavering and Sir Edward Blackett[76] moved a resolution, that to deny
the validity of proceedings in Parliament was unwarrantable, and
tended to disturb the peace of the kingdom. The Opposition objected to
the question, as the House of Commons, being the party accused, ought
not to judge in their own cause; and the previous question was moved.
The day passed temperately, except that Beckford and Harley gave one
another the lie. The courtiers were moderate, and the Rockingham party
decent, which kept the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs within bounds. Dunning
made a great figure against the Court; but the resolution passed, the
previous question being rejected by 284 to 127.

The next day the same Baronets moved a loyal address to the King. The
debate turned on the infringement of the Bill of Rights, by questioning
petitions in Parliament. Lord John Cavendish, Wedderburne, and Sir
Joseph Mawbey, acknowledged the remonstrance to be improper, but
defended the right of remonstrating; and Lord John proposed a less
fulsome address. Mr. Ridley, and Sir Matthew Ridley, his son, declared,
they said, in the names of the country gentlemen, whose silence avowed
them, that they had gone thus far with the Administration, but would
go no farther if punishment was thought of: yet Rigby talked highly
for severe proceedings, and reviled the Livery and the Opposition.
Beckford, not at all content with these last for supporting him no
better, yet vaunted his own firmness and ridiculed the merchants
who had addressed the last year, calling them _contractors_ and
remittancers; and scoffing at the courtiers in plain terms for serving
for such scanty pay, in comparison of contractors who made 5000_l._ or
6000_l._ a year. Lord North himself, he said, had not above 2000_l._
a year. Lord North offered to the Cavendishes to omit the most
exceptionable parts of the address; but as they would not close with
him, it was voted by 284 to 94.[77] The Lords, on the 22nd having had a
conference with the Commons, concurred in the address. Lord Chatham was
confined by the gout. Lord Shelburne alone avowed the language of the
remonstrance. Lord Denbigh and Lord Pomfret were, on the other hand, as
gross in flattery to the King. Lord North’s moderation, concurring with
the opinion of many lawyers, that the remonstrance was no misdemeanour,
prevented any farther views of punishment on that subject.


  Bills introduced by Mr. Herbert and Mr. Grenville.--Conversation
    on Secret Influence.--Remarks.--City Dinner to the
    Opposition.--Curious Phrase employed by Lord Chatham.--Termination
    of Wilkes’s Imprisonment.--Riot at Boston.--Debate on the
    Prorogation of the Irish Parliament.--Lord Chatham moves
    a Censure on Ministers.--Observations on the State of
    Parties.--Publication of Burke’s _Thoughts on the Present
    Discontents_.--Criticism of it.--Influence of Lord Bute.--Character
    of the Pelham Administration.--New Party.--Their Aristocratic
    Tendencies.--Diminution of the Privileges of Peers and Commoners
    with regard to their Creditors.--Desultory Discussions on American
    Affairs, and the Middlesex Election.


These debates were tedious and unentertaining, and willingly I abridge
them: totally omitted they could not be; they were the constituent
ingredients of an inglorious reign, in which many of the most solemn
questions that compose or touch the essence of our constitution were
agitated--questions that will live in our law-books, when omitted in
polished histories written for entertainment. These pages, therefore,
will serve for a clue to writers on the laws, though they may not be
so fortunate as to please the idle. I shall slightly mention some other
bills that were discussed about the same time.

Mr. Herbert,[78] a near relation of the Earl of Pembroke, and a young
man of great fortune and good principles, proposed a bill to declare
that expulsion did not imply incapacitation unless for certain crimes
infamous by law. Doubts were started on what those crimes were. The
House was strongly inclined to the bill: the Ministers pretended
not to discountenance it--but the Jesuits of the Treasury, Dyson
and Jenkinson, undermined it indirectly: the latter went so far as
to engraft a clause on that bill calculated to secure the rights
of freeholders, which would have made it an instrument of tyranny,
and would have made expulsion or imprisonment total incapacity.
Lord North affected to be struck by and to approve that juggle; but
Lord Beauchamp, General Conway, and even the smooth courtier Lord
Barrington, resisting, and the latter declaring that it was necessary
to quiet the minds of the people, Lord North gave it up. The Cabal
however clogged the bill with so many subtleties and contradictions,
that Mr. Herbert abandoned it with indignation, and it was lost.[79]

Mr. George Grenville was more successful with a bill that the
profligacy of the times loudly demanded, and which even that profligacy
could not defeat. It was to take the trials of contested elections
from the judicatory of the House, and vest them in a smaller number
of examiners to be chosen by ballot. Important as the nature of
elections is, and sacred as the property of legal votes, of the right
of counties and boroughs to choose their representatives, and of the
elected to his seat, yet all was overlooked, and petitions were heard
and decided solely by favour or party. Nor was this accidental, but
constant and universal. Grenville’s bill was generally liked. Rigby
and Dyson opposed it, and at last Lord North, who endeavoured to put
it off for two months; but he was defeated by 185 to 133.[80] The
resistance of the House to the power of the Administration on those
two bills, proved, with some instances I have mentioned, that that
House of Commons was not implicitly servile on all occasions like the
last. Grenville’s bill passed on the 2nd of April, but not without a
remarkable conversation rather than a debate on political creeds and
secret influence. Grenville and Dowdeswell declared they had been
under none when they were in place. Samuel Martin desired the House
to take notice of that declaration. It was evidence, he said, that
Lord Bute was falsely accused; and that such rumours were raised to
excite the mob against him on his return from abroad. Colonel Barré
said the _two gentlemen_ had only declared they had not been influenced
_themselves_: but Lord Chatham had solemnly affirmed to the Lords
that even in six weeks his schemes had been controlled; and it was
evident where the secret influence lay, when Martin and Jenkinson,
the servants of the Princess of Wales, and when Dyson and Sir Gilbert
Elliot, were so much consulted. That was the cabinet that governed the
Cabinet.[81] Lord North declared that he would be nominal no longer
than he was real Minister. There wanted no better proof of the secret
influence than that Lord Bute had the credit to maintain Oswald,
Elliot, Dyson, and Jenkinson, or some of them, in the Treasury through
every Administration subsequent to his own, by which he might be master
of all the secrets of that important board which influences the whole
Government,--at least they were agents whom he had recommended to
the King; and if the Earl himself did not preserve the same degree of
credit with his Majesty, the King acted on the plan in which he had
been initiated, and had cunning enough, as most Princes have, to employ
and trust those only who were disposed to sacrifice the interest of the
country to the partial and selfish views of the Crown; views to which
his Majesty so steadily adhered on every opportunity which presented
itself, that, not having sense enough to discover how much the glory
and power of the King is augmented by the flourishing state of the
country he governs, he not only preferred his personal influence to
that of England, but risked, exposed, and lost a most important portion
of his dominions by endeavouring to submit that mighty portion to a
more immediate dependence on the royal will. Mystery, insincerity,
and duplicity were the engines of his reign. They sometimes procured
success to his purposes, oftener subjected him to grievous insults
and mortifications, and never obtained his object without forfeiting
some share of his character, and exposing his dignity to affronts and
reproach from his subjects, and his authority to contempt from foreign
nations. He seemed to have derived from his relations the Stuarts, all
their perseverance in crooked and ill-judged policy without profiting
by their experience, or recollecting that _his_ branch had owed the
Crown to the attempts made by the former Princes at extending the
prerogative beyond the bounds set to it by the constitution. Nor does a
sovereign, imbued with such fatal ambition, ever want a Jefferies or a
Mansfield, or such less ostensible tools as the Dysons and Jenkinsons,
who for present emolument are ready to gibbet themselves to immortal
infamy by seconding the infatuation of their masters.

Beckford, the Lord Mayor, gave a great dinner to the lords and
gentlemen of the Opposition: a cavalcade of the Livery fetched and
escorted the company from the Thatched House Tavern in St. James’s
Street; and at night many houses were illuminated, and a few had their
windows broken for not being lighted. Lord Chatham had, by earnest
entreaties, engaged Lord Granby to carry him to the Mansion House
in his chariot, but was prevented by the gout from joining in the
procession, which his pressing a popular general to head, did not seem
calculated to promote tranquillity. In fact, no efforts were spared
to keep up the spirit. The freeholders of Westminster met and voted a
remonstrance, which, omitting the most exceptionable parts of that from
the City, was immediately presented to the King. Another was voted by
the freeholders of Middlesex; but no answer was given by his Majesty to

A few of the Opposition, who acted with decency and impartiality,
condemned the violences of their party. Sir William Meredith
complained of the letters of _Junius_, of _The Whisperer_, and of _The
Parliamentary Spy_. Thurlow, the new Solicitor-General, in the room of
Dunning, said a prosecution was commenced against the first. General
Howard again complained of _The Whisperer_; and a conference being
desired with the Lords, it was voted an infamous and seditious paper.

Lord Chatham, who seemed to imbibe faction from disappointment, desired
the Lords might be summoned for after the holidays, as he intended
to propose a bill to endeavour to repair the mischief done by the
iniquitous decision of the House of Commons on the Middlesex election;
nor was he less intent on raising jealousies of the designs of France.
He pronounced, in the month of March, that by that very day on which
he was speaking, the French had _somewhere_ struck a hostile stroke.
This asseveration making great noise, alarmed the merchants, who sent
a deputation to him, to inquire _where_ the blow was struck. He denied
having said so; and some who were present, declared they had not heard
him say it. This was merely negative and personal to themselves,
for, in general, his audience were positive as to the words; and it
was not less remarkable, that a year afterwards, when the seizure
of Falkland’s Island by the Spaniards became public, Lord Chatham’s
partisans affirmed that he had made such a declaration, but had accused
Spain, not France, of having committed hostilities. He did not even
spare the King, but accused him of duplicity. The Duke of Grafton
defended the royal accused. The King soon afterwards asked General
Conway if he ever saw the Duke, and where he lived? Conway said he
knew nothing of him: “Nor I,” said his Majesty; “he has not come near
me these six weeks; nay, when I heard of his defending me against Lord
Chatham, I wrote a letter of thanks to the Duke; he not only did not
answer my letter, but has taken no notice of it since.”

On the 17th of April ended the imprisonment of Wilkes, and he was
discharged from the King’s Bench, whence he retired privately
into the country, affecting to decline the congratulations of his
fellow citizens. The next night many houses of the lower rank were
illuminated, but without any tumult. The Court had taken care to
prevent any disturbance, by stationing numbers of constables, and by
holding the Guards and Light Horse in readiness. Beckford had affected
like solicitude, giving out orders for peaceable behaviour, but on
pretence of the Easter holidays; while his own house in Soho Square
was decorated with the word _Liberty_, in ample capitals. Wilkes, now
entering again on the scene, published an address of thanks to the
county of Middlesex, and another to the ward of Farringdon. In those
and former addresses, he had the assurance to talk of protecting our
_religious_ as well as civil liberties. When Lord Sandwich informed
against the “Essay on Woman,” _he_ too talked religion. It was
impossible to decide which was the more impudent, the persecutor or
the martyr! The release of Wilkes was celebrated at Lynn, Norwich,
Swaffham, Bristol, and a few other towns, but not universally. At the
end of the month, he was sworn in Alderman of Farringdon ward. The
solid retribution was the work of the Society of the Bill of Rights.
They paid or compromised a great part of his debts, disbursing seven
thousand pounds for him.

Zeal for his cause reigned almost as strongly in the city of
Westminster. Having lost one of their members by the death of Lord
Sandys, whose son, one of their representatives, succeeded to
his father’s title, they elected Sir Robert Barnard, a knight of
Huntingdonshire, known to them only as an enemy to Lord Sandwich, in
his own county,[82] and by having presented its remonstrance to the
King. The Court did not dare to set up a counter candidate, though
seated in the heart of Westminster, amidst their own and the tradesmen
of the nobility.

Samuel, Lord Sandys, died by a hurt from an overturn. He had formerly
been the head of the republican party, and a leader against Sir Robert
Walpole, on whose fall, he was made Chancellor of the Exchequer, a
promotion that cost him his character, both as a patriot and a man of
business. He was soon removed for his incapacity, and made a peer; and,
at different times, filled other posts, as Chief Justice in Eyre and
Speaker of the House of Lords; but never recovered any weight, and at
last was laid aside with a pension.[83]

At the end of the month arrived a very alarming account from Boston.
Some young apprentices had, incited to it, as it seemed, insulted the
soldiers quartered there. After repeated provocations, the tumult
increasing, some of the soldiers fired, and killed four of the lads,
and apprehended some others. In an instant the sedition spread through
the whole town, clamouring for the instant removal of the garrison,
with which the Deputy Governor and the commanding officer were forced
to comply, not only intimidated by the actual riot, but receiving
intelligence that the neighbouring towns were taking up arms, and would
march to the assistance of the Bostonians, who already imprisoned
Colonel Preston, who, they affirmed, had given orders to the soldiers
to fire. That he strenuously denied; and being a man of a mild and
prudent character, his case excited great pity and indignation here.
Nor, though the seditious charged the military with sanguinary
intentions, was it credited; the soldiers, it appearing, being so
little prepared to attack, that when they ran to the assistance of
their comrades, some were armed only with shovels, and others with
tongs. Volumes of inflammatory informations were sent over hither and
reprinted; and Alderman Trecothick moved in the House of Commons for
a sight of the instructions sent to Boston, which, after some debate,
were granted with restrictions; but shortly after came letters, in
which the Bostonians endeavoured to palliate their violence; and it was
known that Colonel Preston would not be tried till August, which might
and did give time to the more moderate there to soften his case, and
interpose in his favour. After a formidable suspense, he was honourably

On the 28th died Marshal Ligonier, aged ninety-two.[84] The first
regiment of Guards was given to the King’s brother, the Duke of
Gloucester, and the third to Lord Loudun. Lord Edgcumbe was made
Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, to the scandal of the Rockingham party, the
Duke of Portland having resigned on the dismission of Lord Edgcumbe,
who, in truth, had long been too ready to abandon that party, and at
all times professed himself too solicitous to keep or obtain a place;
yet as his old friends had joined Lord Chatham, who had turned him out,
he seemed as much at liberty to take on with those whom Lord Chatham

Lord Chatham, in consequence of the notice he had given, moved for a
bill to rescind all the various resolutions of the House of Commons
on the Middlesex election, and was supported by Lord Camden and Lord
Shelburne; Lord Mansfield and the Ministers opposed and rejected the
bill by 89 to 43.

The next day, Captain Boyle Walsingham, in the Commons, moved for
all the letters and papers sent to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland,
which had occasioned the prorogation of the Parliament there, and
had interrupted much business of consequence,--a punishment the more
severe, as the augmentation demanded had been accorded. Grenville again
complained of his Majesty’s waiving his prerogative, by promising not
to call over those troops but in case of rebellion,--a strange plea
in an opponent! but Grenville never liked opposition so well as in
_defence_ of prerogative; while to excuse his Majesty’s moderation,
Lord Barrington and Rigby maintained that, in case of emergency, the
King might disregard his promise,--a power of evasion very unnecessary
to claim, when it had been so lately and so wantonly violated, merely
to give a pension to Dyson, though the Irish had been promised that no
more such pensions on their country should be granted. The motion was
rejected by 178 to 66.[85]

Lord Chatham made another prolix motion, tending to censure the
Ministers for the answer they had advised the Crown to make to the
remonstrance from the City. His speech was long, animated with his
most nervous eloquence, and patchworked with his wildest ignorance
and inventions. He talked of _Androgeus, Lord Mayor of London_ in the
time of Julius Cæsar, defending the _privileges_ of the City, and of
the care Edward the First had of those liberties. Lord Gower told him
that so much had been said, and such full answers given by both Houses,
(who had both, indeed, approved the King’s answer,) on the Middlesex
election, that it would be tiring the House to say more on that
subject. The other Ministers sat silent and would not be provoked to
speak, though loudly called on by Lord Shelburne, the Duke of Richmond,
Lord Lyttelton, and Lord Temple. Lord Pomfret said a few words on the
factious behaviour of Beckford, who was defended by Lord Shelburne:--“I
shall always love him,” said that Lord, “for, when the citizens
murmured at the King’s answer, as they quitted St. James’s, the Lord
Mayor bade them admire his Majesty’s good humour, and told them the
answer came not from himself, but from his Ministers.” That motion,
too, was rejected by 85 to 37.

Those vague and unconcerted attacks wore out the spirit of redress,
instead of keeping up its zeal. The several factions hated each other
more than they did their common enemies, and most of the leaders of
Opposition had, in their time, contributed to the grievances of which
they now complained. It must, I think, appear evident, from the scope
of the reign, that the Princess Dowager and Lord Bute had assumed the
reins with a fixed intention of raising the prerogative, which they
called restoring it to its ancient lustre; but nothing would have
induced them to specify at what period of its influence they would
have been contented to have stopped. The line of Hanover having been
advanced to the throne by the forfeiture of the Stuarts, could not have
the confidence to demand all the power that had been claimed by that
House from which they descended, whose maxims they secretly revered,
and whose want of abilities they inherited. King William had been too
much controlled by his parliaments to serve them for a precedent; and
the beginning of this very reign had been too servilely copied from
the conclusion of Queen Anne’s, and too ingloriously to be fit for
quotation, though the doctrines of her last Ministers were the rule
on which the junto had intended to act, and did act whenever they
found themselves strong enough. But, as recent provocations govern
the actions of men more than maxims, it was the conduct of the later
Ministers of George the Second that first inspired the Princess of
Wales and her husband, Prince Frederic, with desires of emancipating
themselves from such pupillage. I am persuaded that she, her husband,
and her son (if the latter at first had any plan) meditated humbling
the aristocracy, rather than invading liberty. Yet is every increase
of prerogative so fatal, and so sure are the people of being trampled
upon in such contest, whether the Crown or the nobility get the
better, that it was true patriotism to resist the attack, and the
people were in the right not to consider the _motives_ to the attempt,
since in general questions the privileges of all the subjects are
equally concerned. The truth of these observations will appear from
some remarks that I think it necessary to make on a pamphlet which
made much noise at the time of which I am writing, and the effects
of which, though the treatise may be forgotten, are felt at this
day, _that_ essay having operated considerably towards dividing, and
consequently weakening the Opposition, which afterwards, by accidents,
deaths, treachery, self-interest, and mismanagement, was reduced to the
shadow of resistance, and[86] was disabled from stemming that torrent
of intoxication, which, impelled by the wicked arts of the Court,
hurried even the people into a passion for the American war, which, had
it prospered, would have demolished liberty, and which, miscarrying,
has destroyed the prosperity and importance of Great Britain, and
engendered to the King’s comfort, more personal, though probably but
momentary influence to the Crown at home, with a total degradation and
loss of its dignity everywhere else.

Let it be observed, however, that, when I impute to the King and
his mother little more than a formed design of reducing the usurped
authority of the great Lords, I am far from meaning that there were not
deeper designs at bottom. Lord Mansfield was by principle a tyrant;
Lord Holland was bred in a monarchic school, was cruel, revengeful,
daring, and subtle. Grenville, though in principle a republican,
was bold, proud, dictatorial, and so self-willed that he would have
expected Liberty herself should be his first slave. The Bedford
faction, except the Duke himself, were void of honour, honesty, and
virtue; and the Scotch were whatever their masters wished them to
be, and too envious of the English, and became too much provoked by
them, not to lend all their mischievous abilities towards the ruin of
a constitution, whose benefits the English had imparted to them, but
did not like they should engross. All these individuals or factions,
I do not doubt, accepted and fomented the disposition they found
predominant in the Cabinet, as they had severally access to it; and the
contradictions which the King suffered in his ill-advised measures,
riveted in him a thirst of delivering himself from control, and to
be above control he must be absolute. Thus on the innate desire of
unbounded power in all princes, was engrafted a hate to the freedom of
the subject, and therefore, whether the King set out with a plan of
extending his prerogative, or adopted it, his subsequent measures, as
often as he had an opportunity of directing them himself, tended to the
sole object of acting by his own will. Frequent convulsions did that
pursuit occasion, and heavy mortifications to himself. On the nation
it heaped disgrace, and brought it to the brink of ruin; and should
the event be consonant to the King’s wishes of establishing the royal
authority at home, it is more sure that the country will be so lowered,
that the Sovereign will become as subject to the mandates of France, as
any little potentate in Europe.

This is my impartial opinion of the reign of George the Third, from
the death of his grandfather to the end of the year 1771, when I wrote
these annals; and the subsequent transactions to the commencement of
the new Parliament in 1784 have but corroborated my ideas. I have
spoken of every party and faction favourably or unfavourably as I
thought they deserved, attached to no one of them, for I saw faults in
all: and that is all I mean by calling myself impartial. My principles
were solely devoted to the liberty of my country; yet I have censured
even that liberty, when it degenerated into licentiousness, or asserted
its rights with more probability of danger than success. That my
impartiality was divested of personalities, nobody would believe me
if I asserted; they undoubtedly often lowered my zeal, and even in
these cool hours of retreat and retirement, may have left impressions
that reflection may not have corrected--though the overt acts of
the American war have but too sadly realized the more problematic
suspicions I had entertained of the evil designs of the Court, from
the first ten years of the reign. Lust of power, supported by cruelty
and obstinacy, marked every year of that fatal war; and its woeful
event having corrected neither the bad intention nor the folly with
which it was commenced and prosecuted, and a more undisguised attempt
in the Crown of governing independently having distinguished the year
1784, I should have observed the whole progress of the reign hitherto
with little judgment, if I had not a worse opinion of the spirit that
has actuated it, than I had when I first entertained doubts of its
designs against the constitution. However, instead of seeing with my
eyes, I recommended to posterity to use their own discernment, abandon
the author, accept what truths he has delivered, correct his mistakes,
condemn his prejudices, make the best use you can of any wholesome
lessons he has inculcated, avoid such errors as he has pointed out.
He has written prodigiously too much, if no man shall be the wiser
for his writings. He laments not his pains, nor shall deprecate
censure if a single person becomes a real patriot, or a better citizen
from perusing this work--of which he himself is heartily tired. Mr.
Edmund Burke had published, on the 23rd of April, a long and laborious
pamphlet, called _Thoughts on the Present Discontents_. It was designed
for the manifesto of the Rockingham party, stated their opinions,
their political creed, the motives of their opposition, the points for
which they meant to stickle, and the conduct they meant to observe, if
ever they should recover power. It was a composition of great merit
for ingenuity, eloquence, and knowledge, though at once too diffuse,
and too refined: it tired the informed, and was unintelligible to
the ignorant. In point of judgment it was totally defective, and did
no honour to the author, either as a virtuous statesman, or artful
politician. It had been often read to, and, they said, discussed by,
their party; but when the dictator, and indeed legislator of the
faction (for Lord Rockingham was but a dignified phantom) had so little
judgment, it is not wonderful that the blemishes of the work were not
discerned by most of his associates. Sir George Saville was too subtly
minute to comprehend a whole: Lord John Cavendish loved general maxims;
and though obstinate, had no rancour; consequently, he approved the
book for not dealing in personalities. I was surprised that the Duke
of Richmond, who had a great deal of sense, could be captivated by a
work calculated for no one end but to deify Lord Rockingham, and to
insinuate that Mahomet[87] was his prophet.

Mrs. Macaulay, whose principles were more sound and more fixed than
Burke’s, and whose reasoning was more simple and more exact, published
a short tract in answer, censuring the work as compiled solely to serve
the partial interests of an aristocratic faction.[88] It was a still
stronger proof of its demerit, that the Court did not answer it at
all. Though some parts of it were very offensive, yet the indemnity it
bestowed on Lord Bute, and the scandal it would give to the nation and
to every other faction, were so agreeable to the reigning junto, that
they wisely took no exception to their own share, and left the rest to
diffuse animosities on every side. The work, as Mrs. Macaulay said,
avowed its patrons as an aristocratic faction; and what was worse,
confessed that they adhered _to men_ not _measures_: incredible as this
folly was, it may be seen in the book in so many words. It insinuated
the influence of the Princess, took no notice of Lord Chatham, Lord
Temple, Lord Camden, or Mr. Grenville; disgusted the popular party
by dereliction of Wilkes, by disclaiming triennial Parliaments and
place-bills,[89] and encouraged no denomination of men to unite with
them, as it declared in terms that should Lord Rockingham and his
friends come into place, they should do little more than turn out those
whom the book called _the King’s men_, who called themselves _the
King’s friends_, and who, notwithstanding, the book declared were never
admitted to _the King’s confidence_.

But the most absurd part of all, was Burke’s discharging Lord Bute
of all present influence,--a fact not only improbable, as had lately
appeared by the influence of his brother Mackenzie--by Lord North’s
taking Sir James Lowther’s steward for his secretary, and by Sir
James’s late hostilities to the Duke of Grafton who had but half
supported him, and by his co-operation with Lord North--by another
clerk, whom Jenkinson had placed in Lord North’s service, and who grew
to govern him;[90] and by the homage which all succeeding ministers
were obliged to pay to the Bute-standard[91], or to risk their power:
but it was extremely unwise in a politic light, for while the book
thus removed from the people’s attention an odious and ostensible
object, it presented them with nothing but a vague idea, which it
called _a Double Cabinet_. Did Burke flatter himself that the Princess
was so very sentimental, as to forgive a personal attack on herself in
consideration of his tenderness to her favourite? Would their tools
be content to be proscribed, to save their patron’s head? And who
instructed, who disciplined, Lord Bute’s creatures, but himself? If
the Princess was the intermediate agent between them and the King,
who conveyed his commands or their advice from her to them, and _vice
versâ_, but Lord Bute, Lady Bute, or Mr. Mackenzie? The exculpation
of Lord Bute was therefore silly and impotent flattery, or sillier
credulity instilled into Burke by Lord Holland, who always held that

Whether it proceeded from ignorance or partiality I do not know, but
in fathoming the grounds of the reigning discontents, Mr. Burke was as
defective in not going back far enough, as he was in the inefficiency
of his remedies. Though his book contained many melancholy truths, it
was far from probing to the bottom of the sore. The canker had begun
in the Administration of the Pelhams and Lord Hardwicke, who, at the
head of a proud aristocracy of Whig Lords, had thought of nothing but
establishing their own power; and who, as it suited their occasional
purposes, now depressed and insulted the Crown and Royal Family, and
now raised the prerogative. Their factious usurpations and insolence
were even some excuse for the maxim taken up by Frederic Prince of
Wales, by the Princess Dowager, and the reigning King, of breaking that
overbearing combination; and so blinded were the Pelhams by their own
ambition, that they furnished the Princess with men whose principles
and abilities were best suited to inspire arbitrary notions into her
son, and to instruct him how to get rid of his tyrants, and establish
a despotism that may end in tyranny in his descendants. Though the
Princess and Lord Bute gave rashly in to those views, their passions,
folly, and cowardice oftener defeated the plan than promoted it; and it
was in this light only that Lord Bute ought to be acquitted of raising
the prerogative. _He_ rendered it contemptible; while Stone and Murray
were the real sources of those discontents, which Burke sought, but
never discovered. As I have said so much in the first part of these
Memoirs on these heads, it is unnecessary to retail them here. A few
facts will evince that the Pelhams, Hardwicke, and their friends, were
an aristocratic faction; that they insulted and provoked the Crown and
Royal Family, and raised disgusts in them against the Whig party, at
the same time planting the rankest Tories about the successor and his
mother, and forcing them to throw themselves into the arms of even

1. When the late King intended to restore Lord Granville, the Minister
of his own election, the Pelhams, leaguing with the great Lords and
principal Whigs, deserted him in the very heat of the rebellion, and
obliged him to surrender at discretion. What a lesson was that to
the late Prince!--no wonder it laid him open to the wiles of Lord

2. Newcastle had long lain in the bosom of that dark and suspected
friend of the Stuarts, Andrew Stone. The darling friend of the latter
was that bright ornament of the age, that luminary of the law, that
second hero of Pope and first disciple of Bolingbroke, William Murray,
brother of the Pretender’s Prime Minister, the titular Earl of Dunbar.
The fickle Duke and his timid brother, of whom the elder loved nothing
so much as a new friend in a reconciled enemy, as the younger with
still less sincerity courted every man whose parts he dreaded, were
easily persuaded to give themselves up to so useful an assistant, whose
walk interfered with the ambition of neither. From that hour every
measure was coloured with a tincture of prerogative; and a foundation
was laid for that structure against which the disciples of the Pelhams
have so much declaimed since.

3. While that dangerous man[92] was infusing his poison into the Court
of the King, his friend Lord Bolingbroke was sowing the same seeds at
Leicester House. Seemingly attached to different factions, St. John
and Murray were carrying on the same plan at both Courts. The death of
the Prince, that threatened destruction to the scheme, facilitated its
success. In truth had the advice of a man who has since been no enemy
to the plan been followed, the principles instilled into a young mind
might not have been so early and so deeply laid. Mr. Fox,[93] the very
next morning after the death of the Prince of Wales, advised Mr. Pelham
to make sure of the successor by sending for him to St. James’s, and
keeping him there separate from his mother. The Princess, indeed, might
not have secured the same influence over him as she did; but from the
persons employed in the education of the young Prince, there is little
reason to think that exactly the same care would not have been taken
of initiating him in _proper_ principles. All Fox’s subsequent merits
in the cause--even the gracious promises made to him by the young King,
and broken, could not expiate that offence.[94]

4. The persons employed, the books put into his hands, the disgrace of
the first governor and preceptor of the young Prince, the interference
of Lord Mansfield, and the ensuing history of Fawcett’s deposition
of the Jacobitism of Stone and Murray, the secrecy first exercised
to stifle his evidence, and the mock declaration of the Cabinet
Councillors when the affair got into the House of Lords, where, instead
of any examination, that ordeal of an aristocracy, their word of
honour, was only made use of,--all these circumstances concurred in the
formation of those evils whose source Mr. Burke so ingeniously missed.

5. The ignorance, blunders, and want of spirit in Newcastle, Lord
Anson, and Lord Hardwicke[95] at the beginning of the war, made way
for the predominant genius of Mr. Pitt: but though the osier-like
nature of Newcastle stooped to act with the latter again, the gloomy
and revengeful temper of Hardwicke waited for an opportunity of
repaying the disgrace Pitt had inflicted on their cabal. The disgrace
of his country was meditated, at least effected, by Lord Hardwicke as
revenge on Mr. Pitt. The profusion of the German war (for which Mr.
Pitt only demanded supplies, but which he certainly did not direct
the Duke of Newcastle to suffer to be plundered and perverted, though
Pitt himself was too ostentatiously or too carelessly profuse in his
demands) was laid solely to the account of the vigorous Minister, as if
it was more criminal in him to dare, than in the other to dissipate our
treasure without daring. Even before the death of the late King, was
published the celebrated pamphlet called “_Considerations on the German
War_,” written under the patronage and revisal of Lord Hardwicke. That
Lord Hardwicke and Lord Bute agreed about that time, at least in their
measures, for the destruction of Mr. Pitt, was evident by a place
being, immediately on the King’s accession, bestowed by Lord Bute on
Mauduit, author of that pamphlet.

6. Nor were these the sole instances of that aristocratic spirit I have
mentioned. The Duke of Newcastle who in the very dawn of the Hanoverian
succession had forced himself, as godfather to his son, upon the then
Prince of Wales, in the next reign set himself up as candidate for
the Chancellorship of Cambridge against the next Prince of Wales,
Frederic; and even caused the King to prohibit the University to elect
his son. Such were the ideas a Whig aristocracy forced the Royal Family
to entertain of that party; as if the revolution had been calculated
to confirm the power of the nobility, rather than to secure the
constitution and the liberty of the people.

7. The marriage act, schemed, drawn, and imposed by Lord Hardwicke,
repugnant to the principles of a commercial country, and intended
solely to guard the wealth of the nobility from being dispersed among
their fellow citizens; the extension of the Habeas Corpus prevented by
Lord Mansfield; and the murder of Admiral Byng[96] to palliate the loss
of Minorca, which had been sacrificed by the negligence of Lord Anson
and by the Duke of Newcastle’s panic of an invasion, were all fruits of
the same spirit. Was it possible to review these facts, and affirm that
the principles of arbitrary power were not sown till the present reign?
The Crown, indeed, got rid of the first authors of the mischief; but
then made advantage of the doctrines they had established: for though
a predominant nobility often struggle with the Crown, the contest is
only which shall oppress the people, and they as often abet the Crown
in encroachments on liberty. The number of members in the House of
Commons named by great Lords, and the consequential dependence of the
Lower on the Upper House, facilitated those views; and when once the
resentment and interest of the Court taught them to break the Cabal,
they made use of the power of those whom they had interest or art
enough to detach from the faction.

8. On the death of the late King, the Princess, Lord Bute, and their
junto, provoked, as I have said, by the great Whig Lords, whom they
feared, inclined to the Tories by the counsels of Bolingbroke,
Mansfield, and Stone, and disposed by the love of power to endeavour
to rise above the constitution, had one capital view--the restoration
of the prerogative; and several secondary views, as the destruction
of Mr. Pitt, who possessed the hearts of the people, the breaking of
the aristocratic Cabal, and the conclusion of a peace, without which
they could not have leisure, authority, or money to pursue their other
objects. Mr. Burke complained of the Duke of Grafton, Mr. Conway, and
other Whigs, for being duped by the Court, and for deserting _their_
connection; but that mischief was done before these came into place,
and done by those whom Burke would persuade the world were Whig
patriots, namely, Newcastle, Hardwicke, Devonshire,[97] &c. Mr. Pitt
foresaw the turn the Court would take, and prudently proposed, it
was affirmed, to the Duke of Newcastle to league against Lord Bute;
and there can be no doubt of the truth of that assertion, as Pitt
would never again hear of any connection with Newcastle. The Duke
loved present power and favour too well to listen to the overture;
and notorious it was that Newcastle, Hardwicke, Devonshire, and the
Duke of Bedford, urged on by Lord Mansfield and Mr. Fox, did assist
the Favourite against Mr. Pitt, and combined to drive him from the
Administration. That was the real breach that facilitated the views of
the Court. Newcastle, indeed, soon found his error, and was the first
sacrifice, as the Duke of Devonshire was the next; while Stone and
Mansfield, charmed to see the era arrived that they had so ardently
expected and prepared, abandoned the silly Duke and his still sillier
associates, and remained fast friends to the reviving prerogative.
Then, _and not till then_, the Whig Lords grew alarmed at the designs
of the Court. Lord Rockingham resigned with Newcastle; and Devonshire
was affronted and disgraced. These last then thought the country grew
seriously in danger; but had Newcastle and his friends been able to
keep their places, I question whether we should ever have heard _from
them_ of arbitrary schemes, any more than of Mr. Burke’s pamphlet;
though I have no more doubt of the dangerous projects of the Court,
than I believe Lord Rockingham’s party likely, or capable to prevent

I shall say but little on the conclusion of a work which prescribed
unlimited voting with Lord Rockingham and his friends as the test
of _honesty_; while at the same time, conscience is disclaimed,
“_because_,” says the book, “_no man can see into the heart of
another_”--the context of which curious doctrine is, that it is more
virtuous to follow another man, or other men (into whose hearts neither
can one see), than to obey the impulse of one’s own conscience.
Nothing, or almost nothing, was promised to the Nation by that faction,
should they attain power; and yet, with so scanty a catalogue of
merits, they claimed implicit confidence from all men! “_For_,” says
the author, “_can a man have sat long in Parliament without seeing any
one set of men whose character, conduct, or disposition would lead
him to associate with them, and aid and be aided by them in any one
system of public utility_?”[98] I answer, if he is an honest man, it
is impossible for him to have sat long in Parliament, and not have seen
through the selfish or factious views of every set of men; and if he
was a sensible man, he must have seen the weakness and insufficience of
Lord Rockingham and his party. But what shall we say, if this monkish
obedience was demanded, not only to this leader and his leaders, but
to a faction composed of men of the most opposite and heterogeneous
principles? Lord Rockingham and his friends had adopted and joined in
measures concerted, proposed, imposed, now by Lord Chatham, now by Mr.
Grenville. Were Lord Chatham’s system or principles, if he had either,
the same with Lord Rockingham’s? were Mr. Grenville’s? If they were,
why were they not of our party? If they were not, why was any man bound
to vote with them? or when? Might Lord Rockingham dissent from Lord
Chatham or Mr. Grenville, and might not another man dissent from them
too? or might such men dissent only when Lord Rockingham did? What
entitled Lord Rockingham to be such a pope, such a rule of faith, such
a judge in the last resort? If Lord Chatham or Mr. Grenville might
sometimes be right, why might not the Duke of Grafton or Lord North be
so too? What enjoined a man to follow Lord Rockingham, both when he
agreed with Lord Chatham or Mr. Grenville, and when he did not? The
line of concord and the line of discord should have been marked out,
and men should have been told what were the principles, and what the
objects of each class. If they differed in principles, why did they
agree in measures? If they differed for power, how could they ever
agree? In the meantime was every man’s conscience to be enslaved, till
that blessed moment should arrive in the fullness of time, when Lord
Rockingham should come with power and glory to deliver the country by
that one single act and end of his mission, the turning out of the
King’s men?

Mr. Burke’s pamphlet having tended to nothing but to the discredit of
himself and his party, the rest of the session produced little heat,
and one very commendable act of the Legislature. Mr. George Onslow had
brought in a bill (a tribute to popularity) to take away the privilege
of peers and members of Parliament, except for their own persons, so
that they should no longer be able to screen their houses and goods
from their creditors, nor be allowed to extend protection to their
domestics. The bill passed easily through the Commons, many of the
members who were inclined to oppose it, trusting it would be rejected
in the other House--the Lords being less exposed to the consequences
of unpopularity, as their seats in Parliament are for life: yet
though many objections were made there, Lord Mansfield undertook the
support of the bill, and it was passed, though Lord Egmont, with great
indignation at the diminution it occasioned in the rights of peerage,
and with bitter reflections on Lord Mansfield, opposed it eagerly.
The Duke of Richmond, on the contrary, demanded to have the indemnity
of ambassadors retrenched likewise, urging the scandalous conduct of
Count Haslang, the Bavarian Minister, who had for many years inhabited
a house without paying the rent, and would not quit it, though the
landlord had offered to remit the whole debt, if the Count would but
give up the house. Lord Mansfield replied, that the privileges of
ambassadors depended on the law of nations.

I must take this opportunity of doing justice to another instance of
the Duke of Richmond’s virtues. There had been a scheme the last year
of making a canal for carrying coals from Warwickshire to Oxford, and
thence to London. The members for Newcastle, fearing it would lessen
the demand for their coal and hurt that nursery of seamen, acquainted
the Duke of Richmond, and desired his concurrence in opposition to
the plan, his Grace being likely to suffer by it, as the grant to his
family from Charles the Second (producing to him an income of twelve
thousand pounds a year), was one shilling on every chaldron of coals
entered in the port of London. The Duke answered nobly, that however
detrimental the bill might be to his interest, he would not oppose it,
as it might lower the price of coals to the poor.

The day before the Lords gave up their privileges, they fined some
printers for abusive papers on different peers.

On May the 8th Alderman Trecothick moved the other House for the
instructions given to General Gage, which, he affirmed, were repugnant
to those sent to our governors in America. This drew on a long debate
on American affairs; but the motion was quashed, as were, next day,
eight propositions made by Mr. Burke, in a fine oration, tending to
censure Lord Hillsborough and the Administration for their absurd
and contradictory orders to the Governors of the Colonies, to which
variations he imputed the troubles existing there. Wedderburne and Lord
North had a warm altercation, in which each showed great abilities.[99]
Those resolutions, which were strangely refined and obscure, were
again moved, but with no better success, in the House of Lords, by the
Duke of Richmond. It again did him honour, that, above joining in the
unjust violence of Opposition, his Grace made an apology for Captain
Preston. Lord Chatham, who neither agreed with Mr. Grenville nor Lord
Rockingham on American questions, kept away on these; but, thinking the
Middlesex Election more combustible matter, he and Beckford excited
the Common Council to address the King once more on his answer to
the remonstrance, which on a division was agreed to, together with
a resolution to compliment Lord Chatham on his strenuous defence
of the rights of election. The same day, he himself crudely made a
motion in the House of Lords for a dissolution of the Parliament.
He was answered by the Duke of Grafton, who declared he would never
more be connected in business with Lord Chatham. The latter said that
declaration was unnecessary, as his own reason for quitting power had
been because he would no longer serve with his Grace; adding, that he
himself desired never again to be in his Majesty’s service. This was
taken up with much ridicule, the Ministers protesting they had never
known _till now_ why his Lordship had resigned. Lord Shelburne owned
that the only ostensible reason for dissolving the Parliament was the
Middlesex election. This Lord Egmont answered finely, and said Lord
Shelburne had _blabbed_ what Lord Chatham would not confess. The term
_blabbed_ exceedingly offended Shelburne, who menaced the Ministers on
the disturbances he foretold would happen in America and Ireland--the
King’s promise to which kingdom of not removing the troops he treated
as illegal. Lord Weymouth, observing that Lord Camden had retired
without staying to vote, said artfully, the person who could have given
the best opinion on the question proposed, had not chosen to take part
in it with his friends, or to stay to inform the House. The question
was rejected by 60 to 20.

This was the last parliamentary effort of the session on the Middlesex
election; very inadequate to the flame with which it had commenced.
Not only the violence of the attack had prejudiced the cause, but so
divided were the factions in Opposition, that their numbers were now
diminished to one half, while the Court party, conducted coolly and
rationally by Lord North, acted with some firmness and some system.
Yet, outrageous as the assault had been on the House of Commons, and
arbitrarily and shamefully as the House had acted, much good sprung
indirectly out of the contention. The scandal deservedly thrown on the
members for their corruption and servility, and their dread of losing
their future elections from their unpopularity, made such impression
on most of them, that, to compensate for their infamy, they concurred
in two most wholesome acts, which, perhaps, no other moment could have
wrung from them; those were, Mr. Grenville’s law for trying contested
elections by select committees, and Mr. Onslow’s for the restraint
of privilege. The blow to the peerage was permanent, who never lose
their seats, and indiscriminately useful to creditors against members
of Parliament. The less secure were the extravagant, the fewer would
be exposed to corruption from necessity. It ought to be a standing
rule with the public to take all advantages of forcing concessions and
capitulations from the great, when the complaisance of the latter is
reduced by interest or shame to court the people; and the equivalent
may often be preferable to the point contended for, as well as more
easily obtained.


  Bold Address of Beckford to the King.--His Death and
    Character.--Prosecutions of Almon and Woodfall.--Voyage of the
    Princess Dowager of Wales to Germany.--Eccentric Conduct of
    the Queen of Denmark.--Suit of Lord Grosvenor against the Duke
    of Cumberland.--Trial of the Kennedys for Murder.--Conduct
    of Mr. Horne.--Licence of the Press.--Instances.--Libel
    on the King of Spain.--Dispute with Spain concerning the
    Falkland Islands.--Building of the Adelphi.--Its Political
    Consequences.--Promotion of Lutterell.--Death of Lord Granby.--His
    Character.--Vacant Regiment bestowed on Conway.--Meeting of the
    Inhabitants of Westminster.--Imminence of a War.--Diplomacy of Lord
    Weymouth.--Lord Mansfield meditates Resigning the Speakership of
    the House of Lords.--Death of Mr. George Grenville.--His Character.


The King had scarce time to enjoy the favourable conclusion of the
session, before a new attack was made on him. A remonstrance had been
sent from Newcastle, and, on May the 23rd, the second remonstrance
from the City of London was presented by the Lord Mayor and Common
Council. It had been drawn up by Lord Chatham, or formed on one of his
late speeches. The King made a short and firm answer, referring to
his former. He had no sooner spoken it, than, to the astonishment of
the whole Court, Beckford, the Lord Mayor, desired leave to say a few
words. This was totally unprecedented. Copies of all intended harangues
to the Sovereign are first transmitted privately to Court, that the
King may be prepared with his answer. On this occasion, the King was
totally at a loss how to act. He was sitting in ceremony on his throne,
and had no means of consult, no time to consider what to do. Remaining
silent and confounded, Beckford proceeded, with great expressions of
loyalty, and of assurances of the respect and attachment borne to
his Majesty by the citizens, and he besought his Sovereign not to
listen to secret and malevolent insinuations against them, and humbly
solicited some favourable syllable of reply. The King, however, made
none, but suffered them to kiss his hand, notwithstanding the murmurs
of the courtiers who surrounded him, and who were scandalized at the

The citizens assembling three days afterwards to consider of an
address on the birth of a young Princess, the Aldermen Harley and
Rossiter loudly censured the Lord Mayor for his novel address to the
King, uncommissioned by the City. It might prevent his Majesty, they
urged, from receiving their addresses in the same state with which he
received those from Parliament and the Universities,--a distinction
granted to no other corporation but to the City of London; and might
occasion a greater inconvenience, for, as the maxim declares the
King can do no wrong, should a king on any similar occasion answer
improperly, it could not be imputed to his Ministers. Beckford appealed
to the Common Council, who applauded his behaviour. Wilkes, who had
displeased his party by not attending the remonstrance to St. James’s,
and who had been reproached as gained by the Court, pleaded that he
had not gone thither lest his presence should give occasion to another
massacre. He objected to pay much compliment to the King on the birth
of his daughter, at a time when his Majesty would lend no ear to the
complaints of the City. To the Queen, Wilkes said he had no objection
to their saying what they pleased. On the 30th, the address was
carried; but at Temple Bar the gates were shut against the Aldermen by
the people, who concurred with Beckford and Wilkes in resenting the
King’s behaviour, and Harley was dragged out of his chariot and escaped
with difficulty: but by order of the Lord Mayor the gates were opened,
and they proceeded to St. James’s, where, before their admission to the
King, the Lord Chamberlain notified to Beckford that his late behaviour
having been unprecedented, his Majesty desired no such thing might
happen again: to which Beckford, bowing, replied, “To be sure not.”
They were then admitted to the presence; and though the address was
colder than usual, the King told them that while their addresses were
so loyal, the City should be sure of his protection.

This was the last public incident in the life of William Beckford, Lord
Mayor of London, he dying three weeks afterwards of a violent fever,
contracted, as supposed, from the agitation into which his violence had
thrown his blood, and from sudden cold caught in the country, whither
he had retired for a little repose. He died on the 21st of June, aged
sixty-two. He had boldness, promptness, spirit, a heap of confused
knowledge, displayed with the usual ostentation of his temper, and
so uncorrected by judgment, that his absurdities were made but more
conspicuous by his vanity. Under a jovial style of good humour, he
was tyrannic in Jamaica his native country, and under an appearance
of prodigality, interested. On the other side, the excesses of his
factious behaviour were founded neither on principle nor on rancour.
Vain glory seemed to be the real motive of all his actions.[100]
His death was one of the heaviest blows Lord Chatham could receive,
cutting off all his influence in the City; and it was another cause of
the Opposition’s ensuing humiliation, the turbulence of Beckford, his
imposing noise, and his great wealth, concurring to his authority. His
successors in the party were utterly contemptible, except Trecothick,
who was a decent man. This last was chosen Mayor for the rest of the
year. A statue was voted to Beckford’s memory, and ordered to be placed
in Guildhall, with the words he had ventured to speak to the King
engraven on the pedestal,--so strong was the party as yet in the City.
Lord Chatham, the day before Beckford’s death, forced himself into his
house, and got away all the letters he had written to that demagogue.

The celebrated Junius alone kept up the flame of opposition with any
show of parts; but having at this time satirized the King, even for
his private virtues, it did but throw discredit on the author. Almon,
the printer, was now tried for selling Junius’s former Address to his
Majesty; and though he pleaded that the copies had been left at his
shop and sold by his servant without his knowledge, the judge told the
jury that a master was answerable for his servant; and they found
Almon guilty.[101] This man was reckoned to have made a fortune of
10,000_l._ by publishing and selling libels. Woodfall, the original
publisher of Junius’s Address, escaped better, being found _guilty
of printing and publishing only_, though Lord Mansfield, who had
likewise tried Almon, endeavoured by the most arbitrary constructions
to mislead the jury, telling them that they had nothing to do with
the _intention_, nor with the other words in the indictment, as
_malicious_, _seditious_, &c., which he affirmed were only words of
course; and which yet would have fallen heavily on the accused, had
the jury paid regard to such abominable doctrine. The despotic and
Jesuitic Judge went farther: he said, the business of the jury was to
consider whether the blanks were properly filled up; as to the contents
of the paper, whether true or false, they were totally immaterial--no
wonder juries were favourable to libellers, when the option lay between
encouraging abuse, and torturing law to severe tyranny! It did the jury
honour that they preferred liberty to the voice of the inquisitor. Not
content with open violations of justice, he carried the jurors home
with him--though without effect.[102] Nor was his management of the
two trials less wicked. He had selected Almon for the first sacrifice,
though only a second publisher, before Woodfall, the original editor,
because Woodfall being an inhabitant of the City of London, the Chief
Justice had little hope of influencing a Middlesex jury: but Almon
residing in Westminster, was more likely to be convicted: in which
case it would be more difficult for the jury to absolve the original
publisher, when even his copyist had been condemned--a shameful wile,
for which the Attorney-General could not help making an apology! Almon
tried to obtain a revision of his sentence, but Lord Mansfield put
it off, till he should see the event of Woodfall’s trial. When the
latter’s sentence was pronounced, this second Jefferies insisted that
the jury should swear they thought him guilty of _publishing only_,--an
inquisition unprecedented, unheard of! To impose new oaths on a jury!
and after sentence! and after they had been dissolved! What criminal
could be more heinously guilty than such a judge? Miller and Baldwin,
two other printers, were brought in not guilty for the very same crime
for which Almon was condemned--probably from the indignation conceived
at Lord Mansfield’s illegal conduct.

Lord Holland now returned to England in a weak state, which he affected
to represent as more deplorable than it was, confining himself to his
house, from which he stirred no more. The embassy of the Comte du
Châtelet being expired, he returned home, and was replaced by the Comte
de Guines,[103] a man of less abilities, but very grateful to this
country from the decency and fairness of his behaviour.

Another journey excited uncommon curiosity. The Princess Dowager of
Wales, after an uninterrupted residence of thirty-four years in this
country, and after having secluded herself in a manner from the world
during the last nine years, set out for Germany, under pretence of
visiting her brother, the Duke of Saxe Gotha, and her daughters, the
Queen of Denmark, and the Princess of Brunswick. As mystery and policy
were imputed to all her actions, her declarations were not believed,
merely because _she_ made them. The people concluded she went to meet
Lord Bute; others expected that some stroke would be struck during her
absence to which she might plead not having been privy. As she carried
the Duke of Gloucester with her, some believed that it was a trial to
break his connection with Lady Waldegrave: some that she was displeased
at the increasing power of the Queen: and a few, though perhaps not the
worst guessers, that she went to secure her wealth in Germany. That the
Princess of Brunswick was included in the motives of that journey is
most probable. It was settled that the Princess and her husband, the
hereditary Prince, should come to England the next year; and it is as
certain that the Queen prevailed on the King to forbid their coming.
The Princess of Wales, who had so cordially hated both her daughter
and son-in-law, had taken much affection to them, not only from the
court they paid to her, but from the use she found in her daughter. The
Princess Dowager having lost much of her influence over the King, was
often refused favours that she asked of him. This her haughty spirit
could not brook. Princess Augusta had no such reserve. Her intimacy
coeval with the King had given her entire familiarity with him! and
she would take no denials: her mother employed her in teazing the
King till he granted whatever she asked. The ease and gaiety of the
Princess Dowager during her residence abroad, showed how much share her
unpopularity, fear, and sullen pride had in her recluse system,--fear,
not without cause: as she passed through Canterbury she was hissed
and insulted--yet at Dover she met with no affronts; nor were there
any illuminations or bonfires in London for joy of her departure, as
had been expected. She had a slight interview with her daughter of
Denmark, an extraordinary Princess! Christian the Seventh had conceived
an instantaneous aversion to her on their marriage; and had even
disgraced his favourite cousin, the Prince of Hesse, for taking her
part. While her husband was in England, the Russian Minister treated
her disrespectfully; but though the Czarina governed the Danish King,
the Queen with proper spirit commanded the insolent foreigner to quit
the kingdom. Her resolution continued after her husband’s return; and
at last gained the ascendant. Bernsdorffe, Prime Minister and creature
of Russia, was disgraced; so was young Holke, the King’s favourite.
Thus far her Majesty acted with reputation; but when the public beheld
the King’s physician engross all favour, and when that physician seemed
equally dear to both King and Queen, the wildest conjectures were let
loose. Certain it is that the Queen showed a lofty spirit as well as
singular manners. She was grown to an enormous fatness; yet when she
met her mother on the frontiers, she was accoutred in a man’s habit
with breeches of buckskin: and when the Princess of Wales lamented the
disgrace of Bernsdorffe, the ancient Minister of the family, the Queen
of Denmark said abruptly, “Pray, Madam, let me govern my own kingdom as
I please.”

During the absence of her Royal Highness was decided, against her
youngest son the Duke of Cumberland, the suit for adultery with a
young woman of quality, whom a good person, moderate beauty, no
understanding, and excessive vanity had rendered too accessible to the
attentions of a Prince of the Blood. Their letters were produced at the
trial, and never was the public regaled with a collection of greater
folly! Yet to the lady’s honour be it said, that, bating a few oaths,
which sounded more masculine than tender, the advantage in grammar,
spelling, and style was all in her favour. His Royal Highness’s diction
and learning scarce exceeded that of a cabin-boy, as those eloquent
epistles, existing in print, may testify. Some being penned on board of
ship were literal verification of Lord Dorset’s ballad,--

   “To you, fair ladies, now at land
      We men at sea do write;
    But first would have you understand
      How _hard_ ’tis to indite.”

Grievous censure fell on his governor and preceptor, Mr. Legrand and
Mr. Charles, and not less on the Princess herself, so totally had his
education been neglected. He had been locked up with his brother, the
Duke of Gloucester, till the age of twenty-one, and thence had sallied
into a life of brothels and drunkenness, whence the decency of the
elder, and his early connection with Lady Waldegrave, preserved the
Duke of Gloucester. The younger was pert, insolent, senseless, and not
unwillingly brutal. So little care taken of a Prince of the Blood did
but confirm the opinion of the public, that the plan of the Princess,
Lord Bute, and the King had been to keep down and discredit the King’s
brothers as much as possible. The Duke of Cumberland, at least, did
not disappoint the scheme, as will hereafter appear. As a dozen years
afterwards it was evident that no greater care, though with still
more rigorous confinement, had been taken of the morals and style of
the Prince of Wales, who issued from that palace of supposed purity,
the Queen’s house, as if he had been educated in a night-cellar, it
gave but too much ground for suspecting that, undeterred by what had
happened to his brother, the jealousy of his heir had not been less
predominant in the King than it had been in the neglect of his brothers.

Other trials of note there were at that time. Lord Chatham lost a
cause against one of Sir William Pynsent’s relations to the value of
15,000_l_, a sum he could ill spare after his ungovernable waste, and
which but sharpened his appetite for recovery of power.

A criminal trial made more noise. Two Kennedys, young Irishmen, had
been charged with, and one of them had been condemned for, the murder
of a watchman in a drunken riot. They had a handsome sister, who was
kept by two young men of quality. Out of friendship to them, Mr.
George Selwyn had prevailed on six or seven of the jury to make an
affidavit that, if some circumstances, which had really been neglected
by the counsel for the prisoners, had appeared on the trial, they
would not have brought in their verdict murder. Mr. Selwyn applied
for mercy, and the young convict was reprieved; but when the report
was made in Council, Lord Mansfield prevailed to have him ordered for
execution. Mr. Selwyn, whose constant flow of exquisite wit made him
generally acceptable, applied in person to the King, and represented
that Lord Rochford, the Secretary of State, had under his hand assured
the pardon; that such an act had always been deemed pardon, and that
the prisoner had been made acquainted with it. The King immediately
renewed his promise, the criminal was ordered for transportation, and
was actually on board the vessel bound for the plantations, when
Horne, the clergyman, and other discontented persons complained of
the pardon, and not only complained of it to blacken the King, but,
horrible spirit of faction! instigated the watchman’s widow to appeal
against it, which, if sentence should again follow, would bar all
pardon; nor could the King do more than reprieve from time to time.
The woman did prosecute; and the young man was again remanded to
his gaol and terrors, a second punishment, unjustly inflicted; for,
though probably guilty, he had satisfied the law. Nothing, however,
being more difficult than to effectuate such appeal, errors were
continually found, the prisoner was remanded to prison as often as
brought to trial, and the widow at last yielded to a compensation,[104]
notwithstanding the unwearied endeavours of the merciless priest. That
turbulent divine was soon afterwards found guilty himself of defaming
Mr. Onslow, and fined 500_l._ He was one of the principal incendiaries
and promoter of all libels, and, in truth, their excess was shocking,
and in nothing more condemnable than in the dangers they brought on the
liberty of the press, which it was difficult for its warmest friend
to defend. It was in every man’s mouth, that the evil was grown past
sufferance. Every man trembled, expecting, what almost every man
experienced, abuse. The good name, the credit, the character of all
were at the mercy of anonymous malice and a mercenary printer. The
universal language, that abuse was too general to be regarded, was not
an adequate answer. Abuse spreads further than vindication, nor does
it even die by neglect; it takes root in the country and makes lasting
impressions. Two answers, indeed, there were; first, the difficulty of
drawing the line. Ministers are and ought to be lawful game, yet the
law could not except them as proper to be abused. The other was the
spirit of the Court, which aimed at despotism, and the daring attempts
of Lord Mansfield to stifle the liberty of the press, without authority
of the law, and without any new restrictions made by the legislature.
He had, indeed, effected an aggravation of the excess, for his
innovations had given such an alarm, that scarce a jury would find the
rankest satire libellous; and that indemnity encouraged the printers to
go to the most envenomed and unwarrantable lengths, of which, to prove
my impartiality, I will quote some flagrant examples. I have mentioned
the embittered licentiousness of Junius, particularly on the Dukes of
Bedford and Grafton, reproached with misfortunes in their families.
Another paper, containing severe reflections on the latter Duke, was
published, affecting to be written by the Duke of Richmond. A second
paper, attributed, in like manner, to the Duke of Grafton, threatened
to kick the Duke of Richmond,--infamous, though unsuccessful attempts
to excite a duel between those adverse lords!

The other instance, of a blacker, because of a more extensive dye, as
it might have proved, was at least distinguished by the novelty and
singularity of its humour. It was a very ludicrous and ironic satire on
the King of Spain, though many of the facts were borrowed or by mistake
adapted to him from his mad brother, the late King Ferdinand.[105] A
second letter was promised on the King of France; but three French
officers went to the printer and stopped it, by vowing they would
murder him, if any invective against their master should appear. Some
Spaniards were disposed to execute what the French had threatened,
but were with difficulty prevented by their Ambassador, the Prince of
Masserano, who told them they would infallibly be hanged. They said
they could not die in a better cause. That Prince was inexpressibly
hurt, and told our Ministers he did not know how to write the account
to his Court; he wished the insult might not cause a war. This attempt
was the more flagitious, by being calculated to blow into a flame a
quarrel of a serious nature then in agitation between the two Courts.
Despairing faction grounded its last hopes on blood and a rupture
between the two nations.

In the account of Lord Anson’s voyage round the world, there is
dropped a hint that a settlement in the South Sea would be of great
advantage to England in time of war. Lord Egmont, when at the head
of the Admiralty, had adopted that idea, and caused possession to be
taken for us of one of the Falkland Islands, a desolate rock near
the straits of Magellan. According to the received code of European
usurpation, prior occupancy or discovery implies right. To have taken
nominal possession of another country, not before known to any of us
invaders, constitutes property among Christian potentates, or robbers,
and by that piratic jurisprudence, the Falkland Islands belonged to,
though abandoned by, Spain. Our breach of this iniquitous seniority of
claim was highly resented by the King of Spain, personally a hater of
England ever since he had trembled before our navies, when only King of
Naples, and had been humbled in the last war. The Governor of Buenos
Ayres, within whose district lay the desert in question, was ordered
(underhand) to dispossess us, and did. That intention had been known
to our Administration some months before the Duke of Grafton quitted
the reins; but, according to his custom, he had neglected the notice,
or, with equal indifference, had intended to slubber over the quarrel
in tame conferences with the Spanish ambassador here; and there the
affair had dozed, till the “Favourite” sloop, arriving in the month of
June, brought advice that our colony had been expelled from the island,
and, by rousing the nation, awakened the Administration. Whether we had
been the aggressors or not, was not a consideration to have weight with
the people, much less with Opposition. Nothing was in the mouths of
either but the insult; and whatever the Ministers thought, or whatever
they proposed to bear, it was not openly that they dared to talk any
language but war, or at least resentment. Orders were given to fit out
fleets and to impress men, and a messenger set off for Madrid to demand
immediate restitution of the island. The answer was very indefinite,
and too unsatisfactory to bear publication. A categoric answer was then
said to be demanded, but no such answer arrived. France talked peace;
her finances were greatly in disorder; we trusted to their language or
their situation; Spain behaved as depending on their support, or as
resolved to extort it; but I must not too much anticipate events. A
fire in the magazines at Portsmouth, to a considerable amount, and the
authors of which were not discovered, was imputed rather to our friends
the French than to Spain our enemy, and looked like a return for a
discovery the former had made of some such design from hence. A young
Irish officer of some birth, Gordon by name, who had fled for a duel,
had been beheaded at Brest, and had been proved to have been in the pay
of our Ambassador, Lord Harcourt.

Wilkes still kept up a flame: he was chosen Master of the Joiner’s
Company, procured a remonstrance from the county of Surrey, and Richard
Oliver, an unknown young citizen, but a member of the Bill of Rights,
was chosen unanimously to represent the City of London in the room of
Beckford. Eyre, the Recorder, an able man and spirited, offended the
City by refusing to attend their remonstrance, which he affirmed was a
libel. All the prejudice they could do to him was to refuse to consult
him on points of law, by which he lost about 200_l._ a year.[106] They
had a longer contest with the Adams, Scottish brethren and architects,
who had bought Durham Yard, and erected a large pile of building with
dwellings and warehouses, under the affected name of the Adelphi. These
men, of great taste in their profession, were attached particularly
to Lord Bute and Lord Mansfield, and thus by public and private
nationality, zealous politicians. The citizens, on whose rights over
the river they had encroached, went to law with them, and applied to
Parliament, where Court partiality on one side, and party malice on the
other, considered nothing but their several prejudices: the influence
of the Crown decided, accordingly, in favour of the Adams. But the
circumstance which makes that contest history, was, its giving date to
a new subdivision of factions. Debates for and against the Adams had
run very high amongst the Aldermen and Common Council. Their speeches,
or rather their personal abuse, were printed in the public parades with
the parade of Parliamentary orations. Alderman Harley said, he rejoiced
at any disgrace that fell on the City; and that the Aldermen had been
very indulgent to suffer Wilkes to stand candidate for the City when
he was outlawed. Wilkes with equal modesty replied, that in so doing
they had acted very illegally. But the person who took the lead in
those wrangles was Alderman Townshend, the agent of Lord Shelburne,
who, it now came out, was tampering to wrest the City out of Wilkes’s
hands. He had even gained over Parson Horne, the publisher of those
vulgar debates; and who, to serve his new friends, constantly gave the
advantage to Townshend over Wilkes,--sources of a quarrel that blazed
much higher afterwards, and ruined the Opposition in the City.

The Court, as if to balance the advantages they reaped by the feuds in
the Opposition, gave a new handle to clamour by raising their desperate
tool, Colonel Lutterell, to be Adjutant-General in Ireland, obliging
Colonel Cunningham, who had distinguished himself by restoring the
discipline and model of the Irish army, to exchange that post for a
government which they forced from Colonel Gisburne for a large pension,
and the promise of the next good government. Cunningham abandoned them
the next year in their distress. The gratitude of the Lutterells was
of another kind, and will have its place.[107] The Middlesex election
was still the favourite grievance. A meeting of the freeholders of
Yorkshire was advertized, in order to remonstrate, for the 26th of
August, but the High Sheriff refused to summon the county; on which
Lord John Cavendish and twenty-seven more, advertized a meeting for
the 25th of September. When that day arrived, Charles Turner proposed
a new remonstrance; but to the surprise of the most zealous, Sir
George Saville talked with much moderation; and Lord John occasioned
greater astonishment by advising the assembly to expect, by decency,
redress from the King. The assembly, not knowing how to decipher that
change of language, broke up perplexed, and content with thanking their
representatives, Sir George Saville and Lascelles.

The key to this mystery, never publicly divulged, was, that Lord
Mansfield had opened a negotiation with Lord Rockingham, whose aunt
he had married, and the Court had offered to make sacrifices of two
or three of its most specious friends: but as the Marquis, who had
come to town on purpose to conclude the bargain, found it by no means
intended to reinstate him in the first place, the treaty broke off,
after the leaders had shown how ready both sides were to give up their
second-rate friends.

While discord and interest thus tore in pieces the Opposition, fate was
preparing to deprive them of their most important centurians. Beckford
was already gone. The next was the Marquis of Granby, the idol of the
army and of the populace. He died at Scarborough, October 20th: in so
few months did Lord Chatham lose his tribune and his General, and was
reduced to his ill-content friend, Chancellor Camden, his ill-connected
brother, Lord Temple, and his worse-reconciled brother, Mr. Grenville!

Were there any reality in the idea that noble blood diffuses an
air of superior excellence over the outward form, and refines the
qualities of the mind; and were that idea not refuted by the majority
of examples to the contrary, Lord Granby would have appeared a shining
instance of both effects. His large and open countenance, its manly
and pure colours glowing with health, his robust and commanding
person, and a proportion of florid beauty so great, that the baldness
of his head, which he carried totally bare, was rather an addition to
its comely roundness than a defect, and a singularity more than an
affectation,--all distinguished him without any extrinsic ornament,
and pointed out his rank when he walked without attendance, and was
mixed with the lowest people, who followed him to beg his charity,
or to bless him for it. His mind was as rich in the qualities that
became his elevated situation. Intrepidity, sincerity, humanity,
and generosity, were not only innate in his breast, but were never
corrupted there. His courage and his tenderness were never disunited.
He was dauntless on every occasion, but when it was necessary to
surmount his bashfulness. His nerves trembled like a woman’s, when it
was requisite that he should speak in public. His modesty was incapable
of ostentation.[108] His rank, his services, and the idolatry of the
people could inspire him with no pride,--a sensation his nature knew
not. Of money he seemed to conceive no use but in giving it away: but
that profusion was so indiscriminate, that compassion or solicitation,
and consequently imposture, were equally the masters of his purse. Thus
his benevolence checked itself, and wasted on unworthy objects the sums
he often wanted to bestow on real distress.[109] Nor was it less fatal
to his own honour, but plunged him in difficulties from which some
discretion in his bounty would have secured him. As his understanding
was by no means proportioned to his virtues, he was always obnoxious to
the interested designs of those who governed him; and between his own
want of judgment and the ascendant of those who hampered him in their
toils, by supplying his necessities with money at exorbitant interest,
he was bought and sold by successive Administrations and different
parties; and generally, when the former fell, he abandoned those he
had attached himself and been obliged to, and lent himself to measures
which his principles disapproved, and then reverted to those principles
against his inclination. No man meant to feel more patriotism, or to
be more warmly attached to the constitution of his country; yet his
unsuspicious nature suffered him to be easily made the tool of its
enemies; and when he sacrificed his darling command of the army in a
convulsion of integrity, he neither acted with grace nor firmness, nor
showed a knowledge of the question for which he devoted himself, nor
made the stand so soon as he ought to have done; and, what was worse,
he was forced upon the step he took unwillingly by a man[110] who had
not the reputation of common honesty, or pretended to be actuated by
any principle but self-interest and revenge.

In an age more simple, Lord Granby had been a perfect hero. In a rude
age he would probably have been a successful general from his own
valour, and the enthusiasm of attachment which his soldiers felt for
him; but in times wherein military knowledge is so much improved, it
was perhaps fortunate for his country that the sole command was never
entrusted to him on any capital emergency. Yet they must have been the
many solid virtues which he possessed, that could make him so greatly
respected in a corrupt age, when talents are more esteemed than merit,
or when hypocrisy alone runs away with the character and rewards of

His domestic qualities were all of the amiable kind. His only
remarkable vice proved fatal to him: his constant excesses in wine
inflamed his sanguine complexion, hurrying him out of the world at

The regiment of Blue Guards, vacant by Lord Granby’s death, was
immediately given to General Conway. Lord Holland, when acting
Minister in the House of Commons, had carried a positive promise of
that regiment, on the first vacancy, to the Duke of Richmond. The
Duke, who did not expect that engagement would be kept to him, now in
earnest opposition, wrote an artfully handsome letter to the King to
release him from that promise; but his Majesty had violated it before
he received the Duke’s dispensation, and made no answer.[111] The
Duke was not less hurt at Conway’s accepting the place, knowing it
had been promised to his Grace. Conway pleaded having had no notion
that the Duke thought of it, now he was so fixed in opposition. The
Duke owned he had not expected it; but asked Conway a distressing
question,--whether he had had more friendship for Lord Granby, for
whose sake he would not accept the Ordnance, which Lord Granby had
resigned, than for him, who was his son-in-law and intimate friend;
yet Lord Granby had resigned it, which made a difference--and Conway,
who was fonder of applause than money, thought it would be popular
to refuse Lord Granby’s spoils. The King was probably not sorry to
occasion a jealousy between the Duke and Conway; but I reconciled them.
The Duke for years resented the King’s breach of his word; and though
he paid his duty to the Queen, he constantly left the drawing-room
without approaching the King. The fluctuation of parties in 1783 and
1784 brought them together again; but though the Duke grew a zealous
courtier, contrary to his many warm declarations, the King, who had
given the offence, was not so cordially reconciled; and though he
always embraced an enemy to expose him, his alacrity was as great in
sacrificing him on the first opportunity.

On the 27th of October, the Princess of Wales and the Duke of
Gloucester returned from Germany. They travelled all night and arrived
very early in London, to prevent her Royal Highness receiving any
insults from the populace.

The preparatives for war and the want of men occasioned orders being
given for pressing. Wilkes, as the patron of liberty, declared against
that practice as illegal; and, as sitting Alderman, dismissed a man
who had been impressed within the liberties of the City. Sawbridge
did the like; yet the latter was by no means attached to Wilkes,
nor led by him. The strictness of Sawbridge’s principles and the
insinuations of his comrade Townshend, had made him look with aversion
on the profligacy of Wilkes. They publicly disagreed at a numerous
and tumultuous meeting of the lowest inhabitants of Westminster,
assembled by invitation in the Hall, where Wilkes read a Paper to them
calculated to promote an impeachment of Lord North for the neglect of
the Falkland Islands, for advising the measures taken on the Middlesex
election, and for the contempt into which the nation was fallen with
foreign countries. The paper recommended to advise his Majesty to
remove all his Ministers, particularly Lord Mansfield, and to admit no
Scot into Administration. It proposed laws for empowering electors to
choose any man without regard to any sentence passed on him for any
crime whatsoever; and for prohibiting general warrants being issued,
even for recruiting the army and navy; and other laws to allow an
additional witness to be brought to convict a man, though acquitted by
a jury or pardoned by a Court! The extravagant injustice and folly of
the two last propositions, and the latitude and impracticability of
the rest, wore evident marks of absurdity and despair: and the three
first heads could by no means be applicable to Lord North, the two
first having happened in the Duke of Grafton’s Administration; and the
contempt conceived for us by foreigners being the result of Lord Bute’s
peace, of the distracted and fluctuating counsels of the Court, and of
repeated changes of contradictory Administrations. One More then called
out, desiring to have the paper read again, most of the audience, he
said, not having heard distinctly the particulars, and being averse to
vote for what they had not heard. Having a loud voice, More himself
was desired to read the paper, which he did, and disputed with Wilkes
on many articles of it. Sawbridge, too, opposed the insertion of the
contents into a memorial, because in so venal a Parliament Lord North
would be sure of an acquittal, which would only do him service (and in
truth it was evident that Lord North was only attacked as Minister for
the time being). Sawbridge therefore proposed another remonstrance to
the King, which was agreed, and was confined almost to the Middlesex
election. It was signed by Wilkes as chairman of the assembly, and
presented to the King on the 7th of November by Sir Robert Bernard, who
would not kneel when he delivered it. Wilkes published an enthusiastic
account of the above meeting, professing he believed that the voice of
the people was the voice of God.

This unprosperous state of the Opposition was very favourable to the
Ministry, especially to Lord North, who wished to avoid a war with
Spain; nor was the unprejudiced part of the nation at all eager for
war. The Rockingham party called for it to embarrass the Government,
and the patriots in the City meant to clog the operations of it. In
this situation no answer being arrived from Spain, and the Session
of Parliament being ready to open, it seemed extraordinary that Lord
North, possessed of so much power, did not put off the meeting, which
was fixed for the 13th of November, as it was possible a definitive
answer might arrive on the 10th, and leave but three days to determine
on peace or war.[112] Lord North said he had two speeches ready
for the King, either a martial or a pacific one--but was that a
justification? or indeed was it prudent to leave so little time for
option? The fact, I believe, was, that he was duped both at home and
abroad. Francés, the French _Chargé-d’affaires_, persuaded him that
the Duc de Choiseul was intensely bent on preserving peace--a point
on which I shall say more hereafter. On the other hand, the most
mysterious, and indeed suspicious, conduct was held by Lord Weymouth
and his governor Wood, who communicated as little as possible of the
negotiation to Lord North. This conduct requires both a detail and a

Not only to Lord North was Lord Weymouth reserved and incommunicative;
not only to Francés would he give no opening; but to Robert Walpole,
Secretary to the Embassy at Paris (whence Lord Harcourt was absent),
his dispatches were so mysterious and inexplicit, that Thomas Walpole
advised his brother to send them back, or come away. Every letter
began with directions not to admit the French as _mediators_, but only
as friends. This was proper; but the caution was so great and the
repetitions so frequent, that it looked more like fear of the letters
being called for by Parliament, than dignity inspired by national
honour. It was understood so little in the latter light by the Duc
de Choiseul, that he said to Thomas Walpole, then at Paris, “Milord
Weymouth ne parle point, et Milord Rochfort parle trop.” The latter
was a weak man, zealous against France, and obnoxious to Choiseul,
who, made impatient by Lord Weymouth’s dilatory darkness, and apprised
of Lord North’s pacific disposition, said at last to Robert Walpole,
“Votre Ministère ne veut pas faire la guerre, et ne sait pas faire la
paix.” Wood came under bad suspicions, and, I believe, very deservedly,
on this enigmatic conduct, to which many motives concurred. His ideas
were by no means ready, though in writing he had the art of elucidating
them beautifully. He was full of guile, dark, and interested. His
patrons, Lord Weymouth and Lord Gower, were impatient to overturn Lord
North, and share or scramble for his power; and Wood, though willing
to promote their views, had certainly a farther view of his own. He
was impressed with a notion that war with Spain was unavoidable; and
concluded that his ancient master, Lord Chatham, would be called out
by the nation to manage that war--at least, on the first check given
to our arms. This he inadvertently dropped; and the irregularities
of Lord Weymouth’s subsequent conduct confirmed the opinion that
Wood was not unwilling to purchase his pardon of Lord Chatham, by
the sacrifice of Lord North, and by the treachery of Lord Weymouth.
Nor was this the most culpable part of Wood’s conduct. Francés,
who trafficked deeply in our stocks, as they fluctuated during the
vicissitudes of the negotiation, discovered Wood in the same path, and
playing with the transactions as it suited his moneyed views. This
Francés communicated to many, and, I believe, to Lord North, of whose
honour he spoke highly, and vaunting that he himself could conclude
the peace in a day’s time, if not traversed by Wood; for whatever were
Choiseul’s views, Francés acted with seeming passion for pushing on the
negotiation. France was, indeed, ill prepared for war. The very war
which Choiseul had conjured up between Russia and Constantinople had
fallen heavily on the French trade to the Levant, where the Russians
had obtained a signal naval victory, to the demolition of the Turkish
fleet, and where they paid little regard to the merchantmen of France.

In this suspense, the courier not being returned from Spain, the
Parliament met; but first must be mentioned two memorable events.

About four days before the opening of the Houses, Lord Mansfield,
Speaker of the Lords, acquainted the King with his intention of
quitting that post. As there was so little time for supplying his
place, both the King and Lord North were grievously offended with
him;[113] but to the public it was matter of triumph and ridicule,
pusillanimity being the sole reason of his abandoning so lucrative a
post. Lord Chatham had sent him word, that he would inquire into and
complain of the administration of justice in this country, four of the
judges being become dependent on the Court--his Lordship as Speaker of
the House of Lords, and three of the others as Commissioners of the
Great Seal. The panic occasioned by that threat operated so strongly,
that the King was obliged to determine on the Attorney-General for Lord
Keeper; but as his health would not allow him to officiate immediately,
Lord Mansfield, hoping that he had deprecated the thunder by publishing
his intended resignation, consented to act for a few days; and by
degrees recovering his abject spirits, was reconciled by the sweetness
of the profit, and remained Speaker.

The second event hinted at, was the death of Mr. George Grenville. He
had been dangerously ill in the summer, had recovered in some degree,
relapsed, and had been brought to town in October for advice, where he
soon fell into a desperate state, followed by a delirium that lasted
to his death, which happened the very morning the Parliament met. His
body being opened, his case appeared most singularly uncommon: his ribs
were carious or quite worn away, and his skull as thin as paper. This
extraordinary malady was imputed to a disorder in his blood, which had
penetrated to the blood-vessels of his bones, and had corroded them.

Mr. Grenville was, confessedly, the ablest man of business in the House
of Commons, and, though not popular, of great authority there from his
spirit, knowledge, and gravity of character.[114] His faults, however,
had been capital, and to himself most afflicting. His injudicious Stamp
Act had exposed us to the risk of seeing all our Colonies revolt; and
his resentment of the repeal had prevented him from ever forgiving
Lord Chatham and Lord Rockingham, a sincere junction with whom might
have driven the Court to restore him to power. His rash and ungrateful
provocation of the Favourite, his indecently taking part with the
Bedfords in their violent insult to the Princess on the Regency Bill,
his forcing the King to break his word and turn out Mr. Mackenzie,
and his silly parsimony in stinting the King’s expense in trifles,
were crimes that had never been forgiven--the King, the Princess, and
the Favourite being as weak in not pardoning him, as he had been in
offending. No man would have seconded their views with more resolution
or a more vindictive spirit. This was well-known to Lord Mansfield,
who had constantly aimed at the restitution of Grenville, and whose
recent panic had been increased by the prospect of Grenville’s death,
having probably been privy to, if not the mediator of, a secret treaty
that came out after Grenville expired. The latter, in short, had made
his peace with Lord North, and was ready to accept almost any place.
A new coldness that appeared between Lord Chatham and Lord Temple was
no doubt owing to this transaction, Grenville depending too much on
his brother for the reversion of the family estate to have dared to
treat with the Court, unless secure of Lord Temple’s sanction. That
coldness, however, was laid on the private affairs of the family. A
panegyric immediately pronounced by Lord North on Grenville on the
day of his death--a promise made, and soon performed, of taking care
of Whateley, his secretary--the revolt of Lord Suffolk and Lord Hyde
(Grenville’s intimate friends) to the Court--their ensuing preferments,
and the accession of almost all his faction to the majority, to the
absolute dereliction, not only of Lord Chatham, but of Lord Temple,
confirmed the negotiation--at least, proved how secure Lord North had
been of Grenville’s concurrence. To Lord Temple’s factious ambition
his brother’s death was fatal. He could not command a vote in either
House, nor could avoid the part he took of declaring his intention
of abandoning politics. Lord Chatham was left almost as destitute of
followers; and Lord Rockingham, his competitor Grenville being removed,
now depended on being named to the Treasury, should Lord Chatham ever
recover power: but Grenville’s death was no step to the success of the


  King’s Speech.--Debates on the impending War.--Speeches of Barré and
    Lord Barrington.--Imprudent Declaration of the Latter.--Opposition
    of Wilkes to the system of Pressing.--Curious Conduct of Sir
    Walter Blacket.--Motion for Papers on the Falkland Islands,
    in both Houses, rejected.--News from Spain.--Alleged want of
    Preparation of England.--Intemperance of Charles Fox and the Duke
    of Richmond.--Lord Chatham attacks the Administration in the
    House of Lords.--Preparations for War.--Lord Mansfield delivers
    a Copy of his Determination in Woodfall’s Trial.--Remarkable
    Scene.--Members of the Lower ejected from the Upper House.--Debate
    on Lord Mansfield’s Paper.--Abruptly Terminated.--Why not
    Resumed.--Debate on the Ejection of the Commons.--Duel between
    Governor Johnstone and Lord George Sackville.--Instance of
    Scotch Nationality.--Resignation of Lord Weymouth.--Observations
    on his Character and Conduct.--Opinion of Francés the French
    Resident.--Downfall of the Duc de Choiseul.--Its Causes.--The Duc
    D’Aiguillon and the Parliament of Bretagne.--Persecution of La
    Chalotais.--Treachery of the Prince of Condé.--The Duc retires to
    Chanteloup in Touraine.


The King’s speech to both Houses affected firmness, though it betrayed
a want of it; for, though it blustered, and called the Falkland
Islands _the possession_ of his Crown, and promised not only to support
the just rights and interests of his people, but went so far as to say
he would not disarm till convinced of the sincerity of other powers
(meaning France); yet, by imputing the seizure of the Isle to the
Governor of Buenos Ayres, as if not authorized by the Crown of Spain,
it openly presented an excuse which the King of Spain might make, if
he would be so good as to condescend so far. Nor could the suspicion
dropped against the sincerity of France avail much; they knew our Court
too well to misinterpret our real disposition. As the Opposition was
more in doubt what part the Ministers did actually intend to take,
and as Mr. Grenville’s death prevented the appearance of the Lords
Temple, Chatham, and Lyttelton, little was said in either House, except
a few words by Lord Rockingham and the Duke of Richmond, the former
of whom seemed rather to approve war, as did the complexion of both
Houses. Lord North spoke prudently, but confessing he did not think the
Falkland Islands an adequate occasion of war. Colonel Barré attacked
the Ministers on their neglect (and, indeed, the lapse of a year since
the first advice of Spain’s hostile intentions was the great blemish of
the business); they had, he said, wasted three years in hunting down a
wretched scribbler, (Wilkes,) while all the world knew that Gibraltar
and Ireland were defenceless (a most indiscreet avowal at the eve of a
war!) He did not know who advised in military matters, yet he knew who
did _not_, though so very proper; but that person, (Conway,) he heard,
had retired from the Cabinet Council. “Yes,” cried he, correcting
himself, and turning towards Lord Barrington, “I know who has sometimes
commanded” (alluding to the slaughter in St. George’s Fields).
The contemptible description of Wilkes was in consequence of Lord
Shelburne’s plan of annihilating that demagogue, against whom Parson
Horne was now waging open, though anonymous, war in the newspapers. The
Court had soon afterwards the satisfaction of seeing them worry one
another in print by name.

Barré’s attack called up Lord Barrington, who uttered the most
improper, the most impertinent, and most offensive speech, _in every
light_, that could be conceived. He did not know, he declared, an
officer in England fit to be commander-in-chief. Could any man name
one to him? where was any such man? if there was, if anybody would
point him out, he would recommend him to his Majesty. “It was said,”
continued he, “in Queen Anne’s reign, that Dr. Ratcliffe and an old
woman could cure an ague; so, the Adjutant-General (General Harvey) and
he (Barrington) could make the best commander-in-chief.” Disgraceful
as such a declaration was, if true,--indiscreet to make to the enemy,
a war approaching,--indecent to the Duke of Gloucester, who was
sitting in the gallery,--to General Conway, on whom all eyes turned,
as on one on whom the choice would of course fall,--and insolent as
it was to all our other Generals; yet had not absurdity dictated this
public affront to the army--an affront offered by the Secretary at
War. Knowingly, nay artfully, had the dirty little creature exposed
himself to so much resentment. He knew, in short, that the King was
jealous of the command of the army; that he trusted to its attachment
against any violence from his subjects; that he would not confide
even in his devoted brother, nor in the integrity (because founded
on constitutional principles) of General Conway. It was an officious
declaration that commander-in-chief there was to be none; it was an
indirect method of saving the King the pain, or rather the blush, of
refusing the command to his brother; and the King’s ensuing silence,
and his continued favour to Barrington, left no doubt but the zeal
was kindly accepted.[115] The offence grated the chief officers, men
of renowned bravery and service, such particularly as the Generals
Amherst and Monckton. Lord Waldegrave and General Howard took up the
affront warmly without doors, and happy was the officious tool to
escape without a personal quarrel. It was not, perhaps, the least
part of his elaborate indecency, that, had a war ensued, the soldiery
might have been impressed with contemptuous ideas of their leaders;
but servility cares not how much it sacrifices national interest when
pursuing its own. General Harvey, the King’s real confidant in military
business, pretended to lament that Lord Barrington had pointed him
out as responsible for the army--a modesty calculated to enforce the

In consequence of Wilkes’s opposition to pressing, Brass Crosby, the
new Lord Mayor, one of his most steady partisans,[116] consulted
Lord Chatham on the legality of that practice. That lord, not apt to
discountenance any measure that tended to carry on war against the
House of Bourbon, recommended to the magistrate to consult Dunning,
Glynn, and Wedderburne. To his queries, whether the Admiralty were
authorized to issue press warrants of themselves, or under the
direction of the Privy Council; whether the warrant annexed was legal;
and whether the Lord Mayor was compellable to back those warrants,
and at what risk if he refused; the three lawyers replied, that the
practice was warranted by length of time and national defence, and
even in some cases by the legislature; that it had been noticed in
courts of law, and without reproof; and that they saw no objection
to its being executed by the Admiralty under the direction of the
Privy Council; that the form of the warrant did indeed to them seem
very objectionable, but that for that very reason the sanction of the
magistrate was the more requisite to check and control the abuse; and
therefore, though they did not deem the Lord Mayor compellable to sign
the warrant, nor liable to punishment for refusing, they referred it
to his Lordship’s prudence, whether for the peace of the City and
preservation of the subject, he would not conform to the practice of
most of his predecessors on such occasions.

This decision not being satisfactory to the party, the City chose to
bestow premiums on voluntary enlisters; in which they were followed by
Bristol, Edinburgh, and a few other towns. At the same time another
remonstrance to the King was voted by the Common Council, though not
unanimously, and was presented on the 21st by the Lord Mayor, attended
by Trecothick, Townshend, Oliver, Stephenson, and a few more. His
Majesty told them, that having seen no cause to alter his opinion
expressed in his former answer, he could not comply with their request
to dissolve the Parliament.

A strange incident, though of no consequence, deserves to be mentioned,
as it will show what deep impression the temper of the times had
made on an honest mind, though the general corruption of the age
had regarded the constitutional considerations lately agitated, as
questions of interest rather than of principle. Sir Walter Blacket, a
rich independent gentleman, had, though a Tory, voted the last year
that Wilkes was capable of sitting as member for Middlesex,--a vote
he had probably given against his opinion to secure his popularity
at Newcastle, a town not less remarkable than London or Lynn for its
attachment to liberty and to the cause of Wilkes. Sir Walter appeared
suddenly in the House of Commons, and rising, _à propos_ to nothing,
with much perturbation, told the House that he had laboured under
extreme anxiety of mind and repentance for the vote he had given in
favour of Wilkes; that he had had no peace since--had gone abroad for
his health--was that moment returned, and, getting out of his chaise,
would not wait an instant till he had satisfied his conscience; that
he hoped this declaration would be for ever remembered, and that the
resolution against Wilkes would never be cancelled,[117]--a delicacy of
conscience that did honour to the penitent; but, good God! how weak are
men, when priests and the partisans of power can infuse such sentiments
into their devotees in favour of arbitrary government; and when sense,
self-preservation, and tenderness of their posterity’s security, cannot
instil equal compunction into those who betray the common rights of
mankind! Sir Walter’s scruples were regarded as the effects of a weak
head and sick body: Lord Mansfield, Wedderburne, Norton, and an hundred
more, were men of strong understandings, and never repented. Even
cowardice could not amend the first. He went so far in the coldest fit
of his panic as to order a new trial of the printer of Junius, because
the jury had inserted the word _only_ in their sentence, pretending it
implied a discordance in their verdict.

On the 22nd of November, the Duke of Richmond moved the Lords to
address the King for copies of all papers relating to the seizure
of the Falkland Islands. Lord Weymouth objected, pleading that the
negotiation was actually pending; the demand might, in a week, be
proper. Lord Chatham, who supported the motion, turned his fire chiefly
against the opposers of pressing, and declared that if any lord would
move it, he would second him for bringing to the bar of the House the
Alderman who had obstructed the practice. Lord Hillsborough, who was a
pompous composition of ignorance and want of judgment,[118] told the
House most indiscreetly, that he had seen the Spanish papers, and
would venture to say that we should have full satisfaction in three
days. The Duke of Richmond (so little connection was there in the
Opposition) declared against pressing. Provoked at this contradiction,
and glad of an opportunity of worrying inferior capacity, Lord Chatham,
at whose desire the motion had been made, broke out against Lord
Hillsborough and against the Opposition too. To revenge himself on the
Duke, he spoke of the Opposition with contempt, and told them, that
though the Ministers might do wrong, their opponents were too weak to
force them out of place; that for himself he was connected with nobody
(a needless declaration, as all men saw); that he despised popularity,
and was not likely, from his age or inclinations, ever to be Minister
again (the latter, a fruitless declaration, that all men disbelieved).
Of Lord Hillsborough he said, that all our present misfortunes were
owing to his tyranny and ignorance; and that, except Lord Rochford, not
one of the Ministers had seen six weeks of business before they were
raised to the first employments in the State. Gibraltar, he declared,
was so weak, that the Spaniards might walk into it when they pleased,
and then into England; and that there were not above eleven ships
manned in our service. In the City, he said, there was a malevolent
party who did nothing but mischief (meaning Wilkes and his adherents--a
tribute he paid to his friend, Lord Shelburne); and he abused the rich
men there and the Asiatic opulence of Leadenhall Street,--men who
thought of nothing but obtaining commissaryships and commissions of
remittance; and with his usual pretensions to intelligence, offered
to bet a thousand pounds that Spain had already struck some important
blow,--an insinuation (though unfounded) that gave an alarm as if
Gibraltar were already taken. In answer to the charge on the Ministers
of inexperience, Lord Weymouth reminded him that his Lordship himself,
and his friend, Lord Shelburne, and ally, Lord Rockingham, had stood
in the same predicament of ignorance of business, when they appeared
at the head of affairs; and he told the Duke of Richmond, who had
threatened their heads, that if the Opposition had no mercy, he
would at least confide in their justice. Lord Lyttelton said he was
so sensible of our unprovided situation, that he was afraid even to
express his fears. Lord Shelburne was severe on the Duke of Grafton.
Lord Sandwich boasted of enjoying and liking to enjoy the smiles of
the Court, which all Ministers, he said, had ever sought to possess,
except a late detestable and insignificant set. Lord Rockingham, at
whom the arrow was levelled, asked, if Lord Sandwich and his friends
had possessed the smiles of the Court when they were turned out for
their insolence on the Regency Bill? At eight at night the motion was
rejected by 61 to 25.

The same question moved by Dowdeswell the same day in the other
House met with the like fate, being rejected by 225 against 201. But
the victim of the debate was Lord Barrington, who was so roughly
handled by Colonel Barré and General Howard on his late declaration
of the incapacity of the general officers, that his confusion and
absurdity augmented each other,--he at once, and in the same breath,
adhering to his former opinion, and yet maintaining that he had been
misunderstood. The persecution continuing, the Speaker was forced to
interpose and bring him off. General Conway, speaking severely of those
who endeavoured to alienate the affections of the subjects from the
King, was warmly attacked by Burke, who represented the accusation as
addressed to the Parliamentary opponents, whom Conway denied he had
meant, saying, he had great esteem for some of them, especially for one
family (the Cavendishes), and for whom he had great gratitude, too.
This was in contradistinction to Lord Rockingham and Burke, one of whom
had neglected, and the other attacked him.[119]

The courier from Spain had arrived on the 19th, and it was believed
that the Prince of Masserano had at the same time received powers
to give us satisfaction. This opinion, and Lord Hillsborough’s
declaration, had raised the stocks; which fell again in a few days,
when it was known that, though Spain did not refuse to restore the
island, yet she insisted on our acknowledging her right to it,--a
concession rendered doubly difficult on our part by the King’s speech,
in which he had pronounced it the right of his people, and promised
as such to maintain it. Whatever latitude was allowed to the Spanish
Ambassador, it was no wonder that he was tenacious of his master’s
pretensions, when Lord North had acknowledged publicly that he did not
think the island worth going to war for, and when Lord Chatham had no
less publicly proclaimed our weakness both to Spain and France. Mr.
Grenville’s singular declaration on Corsica had encouraged the French
to pursue their point against that island; and though the opinion of
each might well be defended, neither Lord North nor Mr. Grenville had
been driven by a clamour for war to avow their pacific sentiments.
Lord Chatham excused his display of our inability by pleading that
France and Spain must have known our situation without his avowal of
it; but it was an ill-timed modesty in him, who was not ignorant how
much haughtiness and defiance from his mouth imposed on both those
Courts. There was, in truth, great want of men at this time from many
causes. The superior pay given by the merchants, the loss of men in the
late war not yet repaired, the draughts for India, and considerable
migration from Scotland and Ireland to the Colonies, had drained the
country. The navy was in a wretched condition; Lord Egmont, while head
of the Admiralty, had wasted between four and five hundred thousand
pounds on pompous additions to the dockyards. His successor, Sir Edward
Hawke, though so brave and fortunate a commander, had never been a man
of abilities, and was now worn out, grown indolent, and was almost
superannuated, paying so little attention to the fleet, that the ships
were rotted in harbour, and of five ordered to Gibraltar, four had
returned as being in too bad a condition to proceed, and the fifth was
found rotten before it went to sea. This was as imprudently mentioned
in debate by the Duke of Richmond,--an inconvenience resulting from
the publicity of our counsels, and a weapon not justifiably, though
frequently used by Oppositions. It was more inexcusable that even
the newspapers took the liberty of advertising our enemies of our
deficiencies, or of what they imagined our intended measures, of which
I will quote an instance. The “Swallow” sloop was sheathed with copper.
Being the first attempt of the kind, the newspapers concluded, and
printed their idea, that she was destined to the West Indies; thus
pointing out to the jealousy and enmity of Spain a proper object of
their attention.

The suspicions of the public that war must ensue were increased on the
24th at night, all officers being suddenly ordered to their posts, and
Lord Howe appointed Commander of the squadron in the Mediterranean.
Yet we had not above sixteen ships manned, and the regiments were very
incomplete. Happily the navy of Spain was as ill provided with men,
and in no condition to profit by our defenceless position. At the same
time arrived the new Ambassador from France, the Comte de Guines,--a
symptom, at least, that Choiseul, to whom he was attached, was
desirous we should believe that France intended peace. The negotiation,
however, remained in the hands of Monsieur Francés, as more conversant
with the preceding transaction. This was a very shrewd artful man,
who had privately, some time before his public appearance, lived here
unknown for three years, in which time he made himself master of our
language and affairs. He was the confidential creature of Choiseul.

Still was not Wilkes or the Middlesex election forgotten. Mr. Phipps
moved in the House of Commons for leave to bring in a bill to correct
informations _ex officio_. Dunning and Wedderburne supported the
motion; but it was rejected by 150 to 70.[120] It was not to the
honour of the popular hero (Wilkes) that he was at this time cast in
a suit brought against him by a French jeweller whom he had defrauded
of jewels at Paris. A season of such warmth naturally produced many
personalities in Parliament. Charles Fox, the rising genius of the
time, had a gross altercation with Wedderburne on an amendment proposed
to Mr. Grenville’s bill for regulating elections, in which the House
was forced to interpose, and obliged both to ask pardon for their
intemperance. A parallel adventure happened among the Lords in a
debate for continuing the prohibition of exporting corn, when the
Duke of Richmond saying that their chamber was reduced to sit only
for registering the dictates of the Crown, or for concurring with the
decrees of the Commons, Lord Halifax rose with much heat, said it
was a false accusation, and he would never hear such words. It was
true that the Chancellor Hardwicke had governed that assembly with
solemn decency, and, by his own authority, and that of the Pelhams,
had restrained much of the liberty of debate; yet not long before,
John Duke of Argyle, and others at other periods, had not suffered
themselves to be manacled by such formality. It is as true, on the
other hand, that the House of Lords being an assembly far less numerous
than the Commons, is less turbulent and more observant of decorum. The
nobility, too, are by principle more devoted to the Crown, and having
less occasion to make their fortunes by eloquence and the cultivation
of talents (though not less corrupt) than the Commons, acquiesce from
inability to the dictates of two or three eminent lawyers, whom the
Crown occasionally raises to the peerage, after preferring them to the
Great Seal or to the posts of Chief Justices.

Lord Chatham, the same day, not intimidated by Lord Halifax’s passion,
who was a proud empty man, and mistook anger for argument, moved
to call for Captain Hunt of the “Tamer” sloop, who had been driven
off the Falkland Islands by the Spaniards. Lord Chatham made a fine
oration, and, though often vexed by the Lords Sandwich and Denbigh,
was, when Lord Mansfield was silent, as his fears now made him, far
superior to all his other adversaries; they were babies to him. He
said the Ministers had bungled themselves into such a situation that
they could neither make war nor peace; that he should have arguments
against them, of whichever they should make option; that he would
insist on restitution and reparation, though he supposed they were then
actually begging peace at Versailles. He had been blamed, he said, for
indiscretion in divulging the nakedness of his country; but it had been
parental kindness to give warning to the Ministers: and what had he
divulged that was not known to every coffee-house boy in Portsmouth? He
endeavoured to soften his late attack on the City, avowing, at the same
time, that he had not, nor ever had had, any connection with Wilkes.
But highly he commended the integrity of Sawbridge, whom he was sorry
he had not talked with before that Alderman had opposed pressing. It
was more remarkable that he paid many compliments to the candour of
Lord Weymouth; the other Ministers, in general, he said, were ignorant,
futile, and incapable. Lord Weymouth, as if in concert, professed
himself ready to resign his post, but declared against Opposition.
Neither Lord Temple nor Lord Camden were present at the debate, nor the
Lords attached to the late Mr. Grenville. The motion was rejected by
55 to 21, as was, by one less on each side, another motion, likewise
made by Lord Chatham, for inquiring at what time the Ministers had
received intelligence that the Spaniards intended to seize the Falkland
Islands;--they had known it in the preceding December--eleven months!
The French had previously settled on a neighbouring little island,
but had quitted it to countenance the violence of Spain,--proof
sufficient of their co-operation in that hostility; not that Choiseul
was circumstanced in a manner that would authorize him to assist them
openly in hostilities, but the treaty of Paris had convinced him of the
aversion to war in our Cabinet,--a conclusion that now deceived him,
and drew him into inextricable perplexity, as I shall show presently.
Indeed, considering that, victorious or vanquished, we always make
disgraceful treaties, the nation had little cause to prefer war. Forty
thousand seamen were now voted.

At this period, died the parent of the approaching war, the Earl of
Egmont, a man always ambitious, almost always attached to a Court, yet,
from a singularity in his fortune, scarce ever in place.[121]

On the 5th of December, Lord Chatham moved a resolution, (which was
rejected by 52 to 20,) the purport of which was, that the capacity of
being chosen a member of Parliament was ascertained by law, and could
not be set aside by any separate branch of the legislature. Lord
Camden supported the motion, but declaring he stood unconnected with,
and unattached to, any man.[122] Lord Mansfield, to soften his dreaded
adversary, Lord Chatham, paid many compliments to him on his support
of pressing; but, on his having urged the necessity of dissolving the
Parliament, represented to him the impropriety of such a tempestuous
measure at the beginning of a war; yet no war was begun, and, from the
long suspense, men began to conclude that no war would be declared.
The Spanish Ambassador was assiduous at Court, was affectedly caressed
there, and made no preparations for departing.

But, though Lord Mansfield thus deprecated the wrath of Lord Chatham,
the indignation of the friends of freedom was not so appeased.
Serjeant Glynn moved for an examination into the conduct of the King’s
Bench, and Alderman Oliver named Lord Mansfield as the author of the
grievances from that Court. The House sat till near one in the morning,
but the question was lost by 75 against 180.[123]

The next day, Colonel Onslow complained to the House, and read, from
a magazine called the London Museum, a copy of a letter sent by the
Society of the Bill of Rights to the Colonies, (signed by Serjeant
Glynn amongst others,) which almost invited them to rebel, and was
a strong libel on the Parliament.[124] The King, in his speech, had
specified parts of the colony of Massachusett’s Bay as guilty of very
illegal practices and violences, _though he had confessed[125] that, in
most of the other Colonies, the people had begun to depart from their
combinations against the mother country. New York, in particular, had
refused to concur in them._

The next day, an augmentation of twelve thousand men to the army was
voted, a wise measure, as preparation for war is the best preventive.
Yet had we reason to depend on the pacific disposition of the French
Prime Minister. In a great council held at Versailles, the Abbé du
Terray, Comptroller-General, a personal enemy of Choiseul, proposed to
join with Spain in the war, (either to sound Choiseul’s intentions, or
thinking him not inclined to war,) and engaged to find the necessary
funds. He was supported by his instigator, the Chancellor Maupeou; but
the Duc de Choiseul, (either suspecting a trap, or to pay court to his
master, who was most averse to the war,) with great ability, knowledge,
and eloquence, proved so irrefragably the impossibility of finding
money sufficient, that the Comptroller-General confessed himself
convinced by the Duke’s arguments.

When the army was voted, General Conway took notice that though the
House was voting so large an addition, yet no method was taken for
raising men. He hinted at several plans, particularly for levying
German Protestants; and he observed how much the militia, become
the favourite of several Lords, engrossed the best recruits; his
own nephew, Lord Beauchamp, often gave thirty or forty pounds for a
sergeant from the Guards for his own regiment. Sir Gilbert Elliot,
after the debate, remarked that Conway had _only_ clashed with his
nephew, his friends, and the Minister. Grenville often said, that
he had rather have Conway against him than for him, as then he knew
all the hurt Conway could do to him. He was, it is true, too great a
refiner; but what he thought right was always his guide, unless when
his judgment was warped by paying too much regard to the good opinion
of men--blemishes that, like the small spots of ermine, were only
striking from the purity of the ground, and from the extreme rarity
of ground so pure. The hues of Elliot and Grenville were not of such
unsullied white. Conway had now been trying to drive Lord Barrington
to embrace some plan, and had hinted many to the King, who never took
any further notice of them, it being his Majesty’s rule, as Lord
Holland had formerly told me, never to talk to any man but on the
business of his department; and Conway, though the deepest master of
his profession in the island, happened not to be secretary! That silly
caution had been infused into the King by the Princess and Lord Bute,
lest it should give the person consulted an opportunity of gaining his
confidence, by launching out beyond their province: every audience
terminated when each minister had received his orders. To decline
receiving information from so able an officer as Conway, and one whom
he knew and had declared so disinterested and unambitious, was not
the method of rendering himself proper to conduct the army; and Lord
Barrington was too ignorant beyond the routine of office to instruct,
and too servile to contradict him. General Edward Harvey, the other
royal confidant in military matters, was a mere disciplinarian, and not
feared by the junto, being of no abilities or importance.

On the 10th of December was great expectation of some solemn scene,
Lord Mansfield having given notice to the Lords on the 7th, that he
had matter of importance to lay before them. It was supposed that
he intended to make his defence against all the late accusations.
Though that did not prove entirely the case, the day turned out very
remarkable. The House was crowded with members of the Commons, with
strangers, and even foreigners. Lord Mansfield produced and delivered
to the clerk a paper, containing the determination made by himself and
the four other judges of the King’s Bench, on Woodfall’s demand of a
new trial, which they had refused to grant, and the reasons for which
refusal they had read, as their decree, in court. This decree, he said,
having been mentioned in that House with indirect blame, and much
misrepresented to the public, he had brought that account to be perused
by their Lordships, who, if they pleased, might take copies of it. He
made no motion, nor desired any notice to be taken of his paper, which
he delivered to the clerk. Lord Chatham, in commending his candour in
submitting his conduct to examination, excepted against the mode, and
threw out many oblique censures. Lord Camden also, not approving the
manner, said, he supposed Lord Mansfield did not mean to have the paper
entered in the journals; to which Lord Mansfield answering he did not,
the affair broke off, and Lord Camden went away.

The Duke of Manchester then rose to make a motion, and opening on
the defenceless state of the nation, mentioned the four ships sent
to Gibraltar, and obliged to return from being in too bad condition
to proceed. He was going on, but was called to order by Lord Gower,
who said those points were not fit to be divulged to the public and
to foreign ministers; and insisted on the House being cleared of
strangers, which, by the standing orders of both Houses, any member
may do in the House to which he belongs, and which cannot be refused;
but Lord Gower, entering into debate, which no man may do when he
calls another to order, he was called to order himself; the Duke of
Richmond adding, that the Ministry did not dare to hear their faults
laid open. Prodigious confusion ensued; and Lord Chatham, in a violent
emotion of rage, insisted on being heard, which was impossible from
the tumult; and he would have distinguished between the occasion and
the general standing order, which, he maintained Lord Gower had had no
right to call for, as the subject had not been the order of the day;
but he was wrong--and the majority called out violently to have the
order put in execution: but the members of the other House refused
to retire, Dowdeswell declaring he would be the last man that should
go out. This resistance was unjustifiable, and without example. Four
other commoners, who had brought up a bill from the other House,
said they were come with a message, and had a right to be there; but
they too were in the wrong, for the rule is, that they should give
notice to the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, and he, acquainting
the Lords, is sent to call the messengers to the bar, which had not
been done. However, the servants of the House of Lords were forced to
thrust out the Commons by violence, while Lord Chatham, roaring in
vain and unregarded, walked out of the House in a rage, and the Court
Lords continuing to call out “Clear the House! clear the House!” the
Duke of Richmond cried out aloud, “So you will of every honest man!”
and followed Lord Chatham, as did the Dukes of Bolton, Manchester,
Portland, Devonshire, Northumberland, the Marquis of Rockingham, the
Earls of Huntingdon, Abingdon, Fitzwilliam, Viscount Torrington, and
the Lords Abergavenny, Archer, Besborough, Shelburne, and Milton.
Lord Lyttelton was not present: Lord Hardwicke remained with the

The members of the Commons went down in a fury to their own House;
Burke and the opponents rejoicing in an opportunity of endeavouring to
make a breach between the two Houses. George Onslow of the Treasury, a
noisy, indiscreet man, who sometimes did well recollect his father’s
inflexible maintenance of the dignity of the Commons, but whose
connections should not have led him to encourage the opponents in
setting the two Houses at variance, made complaint of the injurious
manner in which they had been thrust out by force, and moved for a
Committee to inspect the journals of the Lords on that occasion, the
only regular manner of coming at the proceedings, for the House of
Lords being a court of record, their journals are open to the public,
which is not the case with the other House. Lord North, to humour
the Commons, joined in the blame, but dissuaded the motion. It was
battled, however, for two hours; and some Lords who had come thither,
were turned out: but the motion was rejected by the influence of the

The same day General Conway laid before the House a plan for adding
a thousand men to the regiment of artillery on a cheap scheme of
17,000_l._, which, if executed in the ordinary method, would have
cost 24,000_l._ Hearing that they would oppose it, he had sent his
plan to Lord George (Sackville) Germaine and Colonel Barré, but both
returned it with compliments, the first saying he should only make some
objections to the mode; the other that he should not oppose it. They
both now did make some objections; and others of the Opposition blamed
Conway for not having digested more plans for the army. Conway answered
that he had done his duty in his office, but was not consulted beyond
it, nor in any confidence. This was a declaration they wished. T.
Townshend the younger and others exclaimed on _his_ not being trusted!
What could the country expect, they said, if such a man, and at the
head of his profession, was in no confidence with the Ministers? Conway
replied, he had not complained, nor did he complain; he had stated the
fact, and was content with the confidence placed in him by his master.
His plan was adopted.

On the 11th, the seceding Lords returned to their House, and fourteen
entered a protest against their being impeded from proceeding the day

Lord Camden then severely resumed Lord Mansfield’s conduct in
delivering the paper, which, in fact, was universally condemned as
timid, wanting dignity, and narrowed to a single case, when many
more accusations were stirring against him. The proceeding itself,
Lord Camden said, was most irregular, and the substance of the paper
deserving particular reprehension. He had considered the paper with
the utmost care, but had found it unintelligible. That if taken in one
sense of the words, he understood, and should agree to it: but there
was another obvious to which the words were liable; and if taken in
that sense, he would pledge himself to the House to prove them illegal
and unconstitutional; and therefore he must desire to put to his
Lordship some interrogatories.[128]

Lord Mansfield, with most abject soothings, paid the highest
compliments to Lord Camden, and declared how much he had always
courted his esteem; and therefore from his candour had not expected
that treatment. He professed he had studied the point more than
any other in his life, and had consulted all the judges on it,
except indeed his Lordship: but that he must object to being
taken by surprise, nor could he submit to answer interrogatories.
“Interrogatories!” cried Lord Chatham, starting up, “was ever anything
heard so extraordinary? is it taking that noble lord by surprise who
has just declared that he has studied the point all his life, and has
taken the opinions of all the judges on it? And of all mankind does
it become that Lord to refuse interrogatories, who has so recently
imprisoned a man [Brindley] for a year or two, for refusing to submit
to them?” But the point, he gave the noble Lord notice should be
fathomed, and he would bring it to issue. However, he would give his
Lordship time, and would let the matter sleep till after the holidays:
but he insisted that Lord Camden’s paper of interrogatories should be
left with the clerk, as Lord Mansfield’s had been; which the House
could not refuse.

The dismay and confusion of Lord Mansfield was obvious to the whole
audience; nor did one peer interpose a syllable in his behalf; even the
Court (whom he had been serving by wresting the law, and perverting
it to the destruction of liberty, and his guilt in which practices
was proclaimed by his dastard conscience) despised his pusillanimity
and meanness; for to avert the indignation of the other side, he had
declared in his speech that he was not attached to the Ministry, nor
had any obligations to the King. Lord Frederic Campbell, his friend,
but hurt at his wretched shuffling, told me, the persecution had been
stirred up by Mansfield’s own tool and associate Sir Fletcher Norton,
who hoped it would drive him to give up the vast post of Chief Justice,
to which Norton, despairing of the great Seal, flattered himself he
should succeed.

So much consciousness of guilt on Lord Mansfield’s part, with so much
inveteracy on Lord Chatham’s, promised a scene worthy of the public
attention. Will it be believed that not a word more was said on the
subject, either when the Parliament reassembled after the holidays,
or during the whole remainder of the session? At the end of April, I
asked the Duke of Richmond the meaning of that silence; he gave me this
solution:--“Early in the session Constantine Phipps told Mr. Dowdeswell
that he intended to move for an inquiry into the conduct of the judges
relative to juries. Dowdeswell said it would be best to have a meeting
upon it. ‘No,’ said Phipps, ‘I do not like meetings: men are often
borne down at them against their opinions. I will give notice of my
intention without further concert.’ Serjeant Glynn said he would do the
same the next day. Dowdeswell told him there was not time for concert:
it would be like the Minister reading the King’s speech at the cockpit,
after it has been settled. Glynn, however, gave his notice. On that the
Rockingham party determined to act for themselves, and drew up a bill
to ascertain what directions judges should give to juries. They showed
it to Lord Chatham after he had attacked Lord Mansfield. He disapproved
it much, but offered to support it if they would make it more personal
to Lord Mansfield. They refused.[129] All they meant, they said, was
prospect, not retrospect: as if branding a crime committed, were not a
better guard than a provision against committing it. Then he must be
against them, said Lord Chatham. They consulted Lord Camden. He told
them Lord Chatham had driven him into the attack on Lord Mansfield,
which he did not like, and in which at last he declared he would meddle
no farther:[130] he did not care to have all the twelve judges against
him. When the Rockinghams moved their bill, Dunning, Lord Shelburne,
and the rest of Lord Chatham’s connection were strongly against them.”

Some few days after the Duke had given me this account, Lord Chatham’s
cause against Sir William Pynsent’s relation, which the Earl had
brought by appeal before the House of Lords, and had by them been
referred to the judges, came on before their Lordships for the judges
to make their report. They were preparing to give their opinions, five
on one side, and three on the other, when Lord Mansfield arriving,
said a new idea had struck him, and he was sure he could reconcile the
sentiments of all the judges. He stated his position (which is not to
my purpose to detail), they pocketed their briefs and notes, said they
were persuaded they should all return of one opinion the next day,
and retired. They did return, and gave the cause for Lord Chatham,
not without censure from the public on the two Lords; the one, as
men thought, buying his indemnity by the sacrifice of another man’s
property; the other waiving justice due to the public to purchase the
decision of a suit in his own favour: yet, as the fact happened so late
as the 6th of May, _after_ the Duke of Richmond had allowed to me that
the pursuit against Lord Mansfield was dropped, servility, to which,
as has been seen, he was enough prone, might have no share in this
instance. I have anticipated an event of the next year, that I might
present the reader with the whole transaction together.[131] I return
to the end of the year 1770.

The Duke of Manchester, on the 11th, renewed the interrupted motion of
an address to the Crown to station a strong and sufficient naval force
to guard Gibraltar, Minorca, and Jamaica. Lord Chatham supported the
motion, and said, he knew there was not a Spaniard but would pawn his
shirt to recover Gibraltar; and, therefore, he must yet suspect Spain;
though he did confess he believed France was in earnest desirous of
preserving peace: that though he knew the dismal condition of our navy,
half of which was rotten, yet he trusted we had still a force that was
a match for all the world; that force lay in the bravery of our land
and sea officers. But if there is a war, men, said he, of all parties
must be preferred. Lord Gower took this up very injudiciously, asking
if Sir Jeffery Amherst had not lately been appointed a Governor, though
not attached to the Court? Lord Shelburne replied, Sir Jeffery had
lost 4000_l._ a year, and after repeated neglects, had only obtained
a government: and the Duke of Richmond more shrewdly observed, that
Lord Gower’s own brother-in-law, Lord Dunmore, had just had _two_
governments given to him, New York, and then Virginia. The Duke of
Grafton attacked Lord Chatham roughly, who generally bore his severity,
perhaps from contempt, as tamely as Lord Mansfield Lord Chatham’s.
Lord Sandwich said, all the motion could do, would be to take merit or
demerit from the Administration. It was rejected by above 40 to 12.
As the Ministers affected to make military preparations, a resolution
passed to supply the voted augmentation of the army with Irish or

It was with more alacrity that the Treasury carried a vote of a fourth
shilling in the pound on land, by a majority of 299 to 121. The Bedford
squadron, discontented with Lord North, who placed no confidence in
them, and leaning with Lord Weymouth and Wood to Lord Chatham, who they
feared would be Minister, had whispered objections to the increase of
the tax. The Duke of Bedford himself declared openly against it, and
Rigby, as if by his order, had some time before in the House of Commons
owned he should disapprove it, unless there actually should be a war.
He now treacherously advised Lord North to postpone the demand till
after Christmas; but the Minister doubting with reason the sincerity of
the faction, would not be turned aside from his purpose, but carried it
with spirit, Rigby absenting himself for a real or pretended fit of
the gout.

On the 13th Lord George Germaine moved for a conference with the Lords
on their late expulsion of the Commons. His motive, he said, was to
recommend unanimity between the two Houses; insinuating, in order
to create variance between them, that they had quarrelled. But the
motion was rejected by a large majority; but not till Colonel Barré
had drawn a severe picture of the Court-Lords, particularly of the
Earls of Marchmont and Denbigh, who had distinguished themselves with
most bitterness against the Commons. All had been going on quietly,
said Barré, when on a sudden a set of raggamuffins had interrupted
the debate, and first turned out the Lords, and then the Commons.
They were the most ill-favoured rogues he had ever seen; one with a
long meagre face and long nose, whom by his brogue he presently knew
for a Scotchman. Another, still worse, with such a villanous aspect,
squinting eyes, and features so compressed that his hooked nose could
scarce squeeze itself into its place, was so hideous, that he had been
persuaded it was not a human face, but a mask. The likenesses were too
strong to be misapplied--yet the two Lords took care not to acknowledge
their portraits.

The next day Lord George Sackville Germaine, and Lord George
Cavendish, moved that no messages should be sent to the other House but
by the eldest sons of peers, who alone would not be in danger of being
insulted there; and that such eldest sons should be restrained from
going thither on any other occasion. Colonel Onslow, alluding to the
two Lords, said, the motion ought to have been that no message should
be sent but by the younger sons of peers; and alluding to Lord George
Sackville, that the motion seemed to imply timidity. Governor Johnstone
went much further, and said, he did not conceive _that any man was
proper to take care of the honour of that House, who had forfeited his
own honour_. The motion was rejected by about 130 to 40.[132]

So gross an insult as Johnstone’s called for chastisement, and did
prove how much the world and he had mistaken Lord George Sackville.
The latter with temper that became the courage he showed, took four
days to settle his affairs and to make provision for an infant of which
his wife was just delivered; behaving at the same time with a cheerful
indifference that deceived her and his whole family. He then, taking
T. Townshend for his second, challenged Johnstone, and met him in Hyde
Park. The latter was accompanied by Sir James Lowther. Each fired two
pistols; Johnstone’s first struck off the butt-end of Lord George’s.
They fired again; both missed, and the affair ended, exceedingly to
the honour of Lord George’s coolness and intrepidity. The brutality
of Johnstone shocked everybody, especially as his character had as
much of the bully as the bravo in it; and as it was presumed he had
depended on Lord George’s supposed want of spirit, or trusted to the
publicity of the affront for any consequences being prevented, which
is always dishonourable in the aggressor. His boisterous reputation,
and a vague anonymous challenge given out in the newspapers to the
author of a _North Briton_ on the Scotch, had recommended him for this
service to his patron, Sir James Lowther, who, in resentment for Lord
George’s deserting him on the Cumberland election, had brooded over
it till now that he excited that ruffian’s assault. But so odious was
Sir James from the whole tenor of his life, that Johnstone seemed the
less hateful of the two, especially as Sir James appeared to glut his
eyes with revenge.[133] Such unaffected valour in Lord George revived
suspicions in some that it was not courage he had wanted at Minden;
but so much zeal for his country as should have balanced his hatred of
Prince Ferdinand.[134]

At this time, one Robert Morris, Secretary to the Bill of Rights,
published an outrageous letter to Sir Richard Aston, a judge of the
King’s Bench, who had cast reflections on him in a trial--I think for
stealing an heiress.[135] The man was a pretended enthusiast, and
offered himself to the Court for a martyr, and to the people for one of
their representatives. The Ministers refused him the first honour, and
the people the second.

Nor was opposition confined solely to England. The supple, but
national Scots, who complained so bitterly of English inveteracy,
took a step at this time which proved their rancour greater than
that of the southern Britons. It is not uncommon for Scots to be
chosen for English boroughs; yet Lord Weymouth having recommended his
cousin, the Earl of Dysart, a Scottish peer, for one of the sixteen,
on the death of the Duke of Argyle, the Scotch nobility, instigated
by the Earl of Haddington, mutinied against the King’s nomination of
Lord Dysart, because he had no estate in Scotland, and because Lord
Irwin, in the same predicament, was already one of the sixteen. The
Duke of Buccleugh, the new Duke of Argyle, and the Earl of March,
all zealous courtiers, joined in the revolt; for the Scotch were too
quick-sighted not to perceive that opposition was at least as good a
path to preferment as servility. They set up the Earl of Breadalbane,
and engaged never to vote for any peer who should not support him.
To stifle that spirit, Lord Weymouth gave up his cousin Dysart, and
the King recommended the Earl of Stair; yet the Opposition persisted,
and Lord Stair was chosen but by 28 votes against 19. The young Earl
of Buchan a few years before had attempted to make a similar stand,
but it being against a landed Scot, was not supported. To soften the
sacrifice to Lord Dysart, the King offered him a green riband; but he,
who was one of the proudest, and not one of the brightest of men, did
not distinguish between the King’s civility and the proscription of
himself by his Scottish brethren, and wrote to the Secretary of State
that he not only would not accept the riband, but would never serve
this King or any other. Next year he asked a military preferment for
his brother, and was refused.

The negotiation about the Falkland Islands still continued in suspense.
The King of Spain adhered to his declaration of reserving his claim
entire, though willing to relinquish the possession; and the public
were persuaded that there were different opinions in the Ministry from
threats thrown out by the Duke of Bedford that he would go to the
House of Lords, and proclaim the necessity of declaring war. Still was
the surprise of mankind extreme, when, on the 16th, it was known that
Lord Weymouth had resigned the Seals--a mysterious conduct, increased
by his own obstinate silence, and by the professions of the Bedfords,
that they had not been acquainted with his intention, nor should resign
with him. The King, afraid of a breach between the Ministers and him,
offered to make any arrangement that might accommodate him with any
other place; but he would take none. However,--to show that he did
not mean opposition, but would continue to support the Administration,
like the Duke of Grafton; and, not ashamed of being obliged to those
whom he disserved,--he asked for the lucrative place of postmaster for
his brother, which was instantly granted; the weak measures of the
Court having reduced them to be afraid of a man who had quitted them
only from fear. Such was the complexion of the King’s whole conduct. By
aiming at power which he did not dare to exert, he was forced to court
the most servile, and buy dear the most worthless, never conceiving
that the firmest authority is that founded on character, and on the
respect paid to virtue. He bought temporary slaves, who had the power
of manumitting themselves the moment they wished to be bought over
again. He lost his dominions in America, his authority over Ireland,
and all influence in Europe, by aiming at despotism in England; and
exposed himself to more mortifications and humiliations than can happen
to a quiet doge of Venice. Another feature in his character was, that
he could seem to forgive any injury or insult when the offender could
be of use to him; he never remembered any service when the performer
could be of none.

The secret motives of Lord Weymouth’s resignation were these:--at
the beginning of Spain’s hostilities, the King, who began to affect
a military turn, had been eager for war, and Lord Weymouth, whose
ambition aspired to the lead in the Administration, had gone eagerly
into the royal views. On that plan, and encouraged by Wood’s awe
of Lord Chatham, they had thrown every damp on the negotiation,
and involved themselves in repeated declarations of the war being
unavoidable. Lord North, of pacific mould, and the Scottish junto as
apprehensive as Wood that a war would bring back Lord Chatham, had
taken a contrary course, and had brought back the King from his martial
system. Lord Weymouth, who would not have hesitated to change his
language had he thought peace could be effected, chose rather to waive
his ambition than his security, and adhered to war. Nor was this all.
His extreme indolence and drunkenness made it impossible that he should
execute the duties of his office in time of war. He seldom went to bed
till five or six in the morning, nor rose next day till twelve or one.
His parts must have been great, for in that besotted state he was still
able to express himself in the House of Lords with elegance, quickness,
and some knowledge, in a few short sentences; not indeed deserving all
the applause bestowed on them by his faction. A few reflections on his
character and on the time may be useful; as it will seem extraordinary
hereafter that a man so improperly compounded for a minister, should
in a government, partly popular, have been the hinge on which so
important a crisis turned.

Whether it is owing to the variations of our climate, or to the
uncertainty and fluctuations of our Government; whether to the
independence that our freedom suggests; or whatever else be the
cause, it is certain that no other country produces so many singular
and discriminate characters as England. And as the nature of our
Government excludes no man from attaining a share in it; and as the
licence of opposition and of the press suffers the most severe scrutiny
even into the private life of all men in power, it is not surprising
that there should be a greater variety in the actors, and a larger
harvest of anecdotes relating to them than to the Ministers of other
nations. Here, too, the character of the man influences his conduct.
In monarchies, the temper and disposition of the prince gives the
tone to his subjects and servants. When ministers and factions awe
the sovereign, _their_ passions, not _his_, prescribe their conduct.
Never was this truth so elucidated as in the first years of George the
Third. Having no predominant passion of his own, but hypocrisy enough
to seem to approve whatever his Ministers for the time being willed,
almost every year of his reign wore a different stamp. It began with
popularity under Lord Bute, but veered as suddenly to Majesty at home.
Lord Chatham, had he had time, would have dictated to Europe. Fox and
Lord Holland established universal corruption and revenge. Grenville
exercised rigour and economy. With Lord Rockingham entered redress and
relaxation. Lord Chatham’s second Administration was an interregnum
of inexplicable confusion. The Duke of Grafton did as little, without
being out of his senses. The people almost seized the reins next, and
the Ministers, to save themselves, were content to secure the doors of
the Cabinet and of the House of Commons from being stormed, while both
the King and the Parliament were vilified and insulted. His Majesty
seemed almost as contented to let the populace brave him, as he had
been to let Lord Bute, Lord Holland, and Grenville trample on them.

Among men of such various complexion, Lord Weymouth was not the
least singular. He was tall, handsome, and, from a German education,
solemn and formal in his outward deportment. His look spoke absence,
and nothing in his ostensible appearance discovered a symptom of the
quickness, cunning, and dissoluteness within. A perfect insensibility
produced constant and facile good humour; yet his bent brow and
constitutional pride indicated no pleasantry or social mirth. His parts
were strong, his conception ready, his reasoning acute, his delivery
short and perspicuous. His parts must have been very strong to be
capable of emerging from his constant drunkenness and dissipation;
for though he had been well instructed, had a retentive memory, and
a head admirably turned to astronomy and mechanics, he abandoned all
improvement so entirely, that it was wonderful how he had gleaned so
much common knowledge of politics as embellished his short speeches,
and for a quarter of an hour in every debate infused into him aptness
and propriety. The becoming decency and dignity of his appearance was
all the homage he paid to public opinion. He neither had nor affected
any solid virtue. He was too proud to court the people, and too mean
not to choose to owe his preferments to the favour of the Court or
the cabals of faction. He wasted the whole night in drinking, and the
morning in sleep, even when Secretary of State. No kind of principle
entered into his plan or practice; nor shame for want of it. He
ruined his tradesmen without remorse, and, if that was an excuse,
without thought; and with equal indifference frequently saw bailiffs
in his house: for pride is a constitutional stoicism, independent
of circumstances. With as little sense of fashionable as of real
honour, he had often received letters with demands of gaming debts,
written in a style that even such gentlemen seldom endure without
resentment. Taciturnity, except with his bacchanalian companions,
was his favourite habit, because it harmonized with his prodigious
indolence; and ambition, though his only passion, could not surmount
his laziness,--though his vanity made him trust that his abilities,
by making him necessary, could reconcile intrigue and inactivity. His
timidity was womanish, and the only thing he did not fear was the ill
opinion of mankind.[136]

The impropriety of such a character probably convinced Wood that a
temporary retreat was necessary; and the confidence of the Bedford
squadron in their own strength disposed them to acquiesce in it; for I
cannot believe that, while their conduct harmonized with Weymouth’s,
they were ignorant of his intentions. Lord Weymouth, Lord Gower, the
Duke of Grafton, and Lord Sandwich, were more considerable in the
House of Lords than any Speakers that would remain in the Ministry;
so that if Lord North could carry through the peace, they might still
command terms; or if Lord Chatham was forced upon the King, he must
have been glad of their support. But Lord North had the sagacity to
secure Lord Sandwich (between whom and Weymouth was much jealousy), by
making him Secretary of State. The others escaped by having been less
precipitate; and Lord Weymouth and Wood remained the sole victims of
their own insidious artifices.

No man was more troubled at this sudden resignation than Monsieur
Francés, the French Resident. As I was very intimate with him, he
vented his lamentations to me in several visits. He said the Bedfords
were _des scélérats_; that they might have made peace three months
before; and that that very morning he himself had offered to Lord North
to set out directly for Paris, and would pawn his head if he did not
return with peace; that Lord North wanted courage, and was too jealous
of Spain--that the King of Spain would easily have made peace at first
if we would not have armed. I was far from agreeing that Lord North had
been to blame in being prepared. Wood, said Francés, had nearly blown
up a war with France the last year on the affair of the flag, having
insisted on giving an answer to their memorial, though Francés, who had
been forced to demand an answer in form, had begged Wood not to give
one.[137] He imputed much of the delays in the negotiation to Wood’s
stock-jobbing (in which, no doubt, no man was more capable of detecting
another than Francés, who was deep in that mystery himself), and said
he had sent to Lord Weymouth on the 14th to ask that he might make new
propositions; but the other had refused to see him.

Though I knew how ill-disposed Francés was to this country, and that
Monsieur du Châtelet was suspected of having incited the King to the
seizure of the Falkland Islands, and that the Duc de Choiseul but
waited for the means, and would then have found an opportunity of
attacking us; yet I was and am persuaded, that Francés at that moment
acted with sincerity. Nothing could be more opposite to Choiseul’s
interest than a war between France and England at that juncture, in
which he was vehemently pressed by the King of Spain to take a part. He
had proved in council, to the confusion and confession of his enemies,
that the finances of France could not possibly support a war; and his
own master’s aversion to war would expose him to still greater dangers,
as the mistress and her Cabal could not fail to avail themselves of the
Monarch’s disgust to a Minister already tottering, should the least
disadvantage attend their arms. The crisis, however, of Choiseul’s fate
advanced so rapidly, that I am persuaded, however strong Choiseul’s
instructions to Francés had been, he himself by this time had taken
another resolution. He had found that his disgrace was determined; he
had no support but the King of Spain, who pushed him to declare, and
with whose Prime Minister, Grimaldi,[138] he was intimately leagued.
Despair decided. Could he obtain his master’s consent to declare war,
he himself might be necessary; and he secured the protection of Spain.
He marched forty thousand men to the coast opposite to England, under
the command of his brother Stainville; and by that rash step brought
on his own fall. His enemies, gained by our Court, wrested from their
temporising King, who abhorred change, the sentence of Choiseul’s
banishment, and a deluge of blood was saved by his disgrace,--a
merit which our Court soon effaced by planning a war on our American
colonies, hoping to enslave them--and by treating them with as much
arrogance and obduracy as they betrayed pusillanimity towards Spain and
France, with whom, by such blundering policy, they drew on a war too;
till, by misplacing haughtiness, and by a series of wretched measures,
they lost at once our colonies in America, and the empire of the ocean

I return to Lord Weymouth’s resignation, who, Lord Chatham’s friends
asserted, had advised making reprisals on Spain: whether authorised or
prompted by Wood, and whether to drive the resigner into opposition,
I know not. Certain it is, that he had advised recalling Mr. Harris,
our Minister, from Madrid. Francés told me, that when Lord Weymouth
demanded restitution of the island, he had promised to negotiate on
the title; but when Spain consented to the first point, Lord Weymouth
affirmed, he had only said that _then_ we should be _en état de
négocier_. The Spanish Ambassador maintained that his Lordship had
three times made the same promise to him as to Francés.

For once such duplicity imposed on nobody; nor did expected popularity
follow. Could there be a greater farce than the Bedfords acting
jealousy of national honour, when they knew our inability, and had
concurred in sacrificing our glory and interest at the end of the most
flourishing war? It was only ridiculous that the Duke of Bedford cried
out for war, and opposed the land-tax that was to carry it on! With
equal consistence, that faction celebrated Lord Weymouth for retiring
_unplaced_ and _unpensioned_,--him, who ruined his tradesmen, paid
nobody, had sold a place that was _not_ vacant, during only six weeks
that he was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and of which the purchaser
could not recover a shilling; and who had now obtained the Postmaster’s
place for his brother!--but could any good come out of Nazareth?

On the 22nd the Parliament was adjourned for the holidays; and on the
28th, a courier brought advice of the Duc de Choiseul’s fall, of which
I am enabled to give some authentic anecdotes.

The Duke’s extreme indiscretion in keeping no measures with Madame du
Barry, the new mistress, has already been mentioned. His folly was
augmented by having had the fate of his predecessor, the Cardinal
de Bernis,[139] before his eyes. The Cardinal, from a starving,
sonnet-making Abbé, had been rewarded for his flatteries by Madame de
Pompadour with the red hat, and by being made Prime Minister; both
by her favour. He was no sooner at the height of his fortune, than
he not only slighted her, but as an excuse for not visiting her,
pleaded that his rank in the Church forbade his frequenting a woman
of her character,--as if the back stairs to the apartment of a kept
mistress were an honourable ascent for a priest, but her levée a
disgrace! His ingratitude and her revenge were complete in about six
weeks. The Duc de Choiseul, who certainly was not often troubled with
scruples, and who had risen by the countenance of Madame de Pompadour,
now influenced by two women[140] of characters as blemished as the
mistress’s, affected delicacy about Madame du Barry, who though a
common prostitute, at least had not the confidence to act scruples.
Yet, though she was the instrument by which his ruin was effected, the
crisis turned on an affair of a public nature.

The Duc d’Aiguillon, a man as ambitious as Choiseul, but of a nature
as dark as the other was frank and too boldly unreserved, had long
been an enemy of the Prime Minister. The Parliaments of France, partly
from contempt of the King’s weakness, partly from the intrigues of
Choiseul, who had played them and the clergy against each other; and
yet more from that free spirit of thinking which they had contracted
from applying to English literature and politics, and which Voltaire,
Montesquieu, and their modern philosophers, had brought into vogue;
the Parliaments, I say, had long given much trouble to the Crown,
and none more than that of Bretagne, who, by the marriage of their
Duchess Anne with the Kings Charles the Eighth and Louis the Twelfth,
had obtained the strongest confirmations of their privileges. Over
that province, Choiseul had set his competitor, D’Aiguillon, with a
view, it was believed, of destroying him by the difficulty of managing
that Parliament. D’Aiguillon’s arbitrary nature, and his observation
of the aversion in which Choiseul was held by the Jesuits, whom he
had crushed, naturally threw him into the arms of that society; but
as the Parliament of Bretagne had led the way to their destruction,
the presidents and councillors of that assembly could not brook the
countenance shown by their governor to that odious society. At the
head of the patriots was the Advocate-General, La Chalotais; a man of
invincible spirit and intrepidity--of wonderful parts--of integrity
perhaps more wonderful--of some vanity--and of no small indiscretion.
Opposition soon commenced, and soon grew inveterate between two
characters so dissimilar. The imprudences of La Chalotais were
immediately transmitted to Court; and as his nature was unwary, his
enemies thought that whatever wore that impress would appear natural;
and accordingly there were no follies so outrageous and improbable
with which they did not charge him. His business passed through the
hands of the Comte de St. Florentin, afterwards Duc de la Vrillière,
an ancient drudge of office hackneyed in prosecutions and punishments,
and steeled to insensibility by a long series of personal prosperity,
and by being as long conversant with the sufferings of others.[141] To
passive insensibility he had learnt and added the tricks of treachery;
and being now connected with D’Aiguillon, he easily circumvented the
provincial credulity of La Chalotais, and drew all his secrets from him
by a creature of his own, who acted the friend of the Advocate-General,
and went so far as to leave (by a pretended mistake) an important
letter he had received from La Chalotais in St. Florentin’s own room.
The public did justice on the lower of these tools, one Calonne, by
hissing him in the theatre. The King was so weak as to justify the
wretch publicly--which did but serve to make his infamy more known; but
on La Chalotais the storm burst. He was dragged from prison to prison
with his son, and at last shut up with him, but in separate dungeons,
in the Château du Taureau, a fort in the sea, to which there was
access only at low water. It was in a most rigorous winter, and the
son’s legs were on the point of mortifying. A daughter of La Chalotais
was hurried to a convent, where she perished by continual alarms of
her father’s and brother’s deaths or approaching executions. After
repeated tyrannies and trials in various places, many other Parliaments
took up the cause of the prisoners; the noble defences made by the
father, his undaunted braving of both his persecutors, D’Aiguillon
and La Vrillière, and above all his and his son’s innocence, were so
incontestable, that Choiseul, struck with their virtues, or willing to
mortify D’Aiguillon, persuaded the King to stop all proceedings. The
victims escaped, though not acquitted; and were banished, though not

Their having escaped from the talons of power and injustice was
triumph sufficient to give new spirit to their partisans. Grievous
accusations were heaped on the tyrant Governor, and much indirect
matter was thrown in. Plots of the Jesuits, and some foolish meetings
of them and their devotees, were connected with the cause. A madman
was drawn in to charge the Duc d’Aiguillon with having tampered with
him to poison La Chalotais; and it was confidently affirmed, even by
Choiseul’s intimate friends, that a scaffold had been erected, and had
not the Prime Minister had the suspicious precaution of dispatching a
third messenger with a reprieve by a private road, La Chalotais had
been executed, as the Governor had interrupted and stopped two former
messengers sent by Choiseul for the same purpose. Of those intrigues
D’Aiguillon fully purged himself in print; and of the last, Choiseul
himself declared him entirely innocent. As he could not, however, clear
himself of bitter tyranny, the public bated him little of the whole
charge; so that, finding himself stand so ill in the eyes of a country
which he aspired to govern, he took the resolution of demanding a
public trial, and Choiseul took care it should not be refused, which
the other did not expect,--artifices that by turns fell on both the
artificers. The Parliament’s inquisition growing unfavourable to the
great criminal D’Aiguillon, he flew for protection to the mistress.
She and their Cabal persuaded the King to evoke the cause before
himself at Versailles,--a strange and unusual force put on their free
deliberations! They protested against the violence. The King silenced
all their proceedings and all their remonstrances; a wound as fatal to
D’Aiguillon’s honour as to their privileges. The Parliament threw up
its functions.

At that period, Maupeou, the Chancellor, told the King, that
if he would dismiss the Duc de Choiseul, the Parliament would
submit, as it was the Minister himself who secretly fomented their
disobedience,--nor was the charge improbable. But as fools have more
sympathy for fools, especially if the acting fool has more cunning than
the passive one, it was the Prince of Condé[143] who persuaded the King
to determine on removing his Minister. Treachery drew the dagger, but
interest had whetted it. The Prince was intimate with Choiseul, but
wished to succeed him as Colonel-General of the Swiss,--a view of which
a second treachery disappointed him. He was the lover of the Princess
of Monaco, who was at law with her husband, and sued for a separation.
By the Parliament’s suspension of their functions, her cause could
not be heard. The Prince of Condé told the King the Parliament would
submit; he told the Parliament the King would relax. They resumed their
functions, sat for a day before the double imposture was discovered,
gave sentence for the Princess of Monaco; and then the Prince of Condé,
detected and disavowed by both sides, was banished to Chantilly; and
at last entered into the Cabal of the other Princes of the Blood, and
peers, who protested against the violence put on the Parliament.

The Duc de Choiseul received many private warnings of his approaching
fate; but did not, or affected not to apprehend it. On the contrary,
he gave out that he alone could make the peace, to which Spain would
consent solely from esteem and consideration of him. He added, that
the peace made, he meant to retire. In the midst of this delirium,
or rather vaunt, the Duc de la Vrillière, with tears as insincere as
Choiseul’s tranquillity, waited on him on the morning of the 24th of
December with a written order from the King, commanding him to give up
his post of Secretary of State and Postmaster-General, and enjoining
him to retire to his seat at Chanteloup in Touraine, till he should
hear farther. The Duc de Choiseul demanded if he might not delay till
the following Wednesday, that his house might be aired. As La Vrillière
hesitated, and seemed unwilling to bear that message, the Duke wrote
to the King himself, and obliged the Minister to carry his letter. At
night a repeated order came to depart the very next morning. “Ah!”
cried Choiseul, “this is the drop that makes the glass run over!” He
set out the next day with his wife and her physician. The Duchesse
de Grammont followed them on the Wednesday. At Longjumeau, a little
way from Paris, several men of quality attached to him met him as he
passed, and the Duke, who had behaved with great resolution, melted
into tears. The Duchess,[144] all her life a heroine and philosopher,
maintained her dignity. She had often wished an end of her husband’s
Administration, and once at dinner professed her desire of living
retired with him; the Duchesse de Grammont said brutally, “Reste à
savoir s’il le voudroit aussi lui.” The company of that rival sister
was sufficient to embitter all the happiness of living for ever with
her beloved husband.[145] The Duc de Praslin was banished to his
country-house. Obscure officers were placed in their departments;
but months passed before the principal conspirators assumed any
authoritative posts. Paris swarmed with libels and execrations on them,
the mistress, and the King; and Choiseul became adored, because his
enemies were detestable or contemptible.[146]


  Lord Sandwich appointed to the Admiralty.--Haughty Tone assumed
    towards Spain.--Death of the Duke of Bedford.--Its Effect on
    Parties.--Law Preferments.--Declaration of Spain respecting the
    Falkland Islands.--Panegyric of Choiseul by Lord Chatham.--He moves
    that the Spanish Declaration be referred to the Judges.--Quarrel
    between Wilkes and Maclean.--Motion in the Lords to remit
    Pressing.--Artful Speech of Lord Chatham.--Close Struggle on
    the Nullum Tempus Bill.--Discussions on the Spanish Declaration
    in both Houses.--Explanation of Lord Weymouth.--Wilkes lays a
    plan for drawing the House of Commons into a Contest with the
    City.--His Success.--The Queen of Denmark throws herself into the
    French Faction.--Bill to allow the East India Company to keep a
    Regiment of Foot in England.--Meeting and Prorogation of the Irish
    Parliament.--Motion to ascertain the Duty of Juries.--Appeal of the
    Earl of Pomfret.--Resistance to the Commitment of Printers in the
    House of Commons and in the City.--Discussion on Privilege.--The
    Lord Mayor appears at the Bar.--Revelation respecting Barré’s
    Attack on Mr. Pitt.--Protracted Conflict with the City.--Spain
    becomes impatient for the Restitution of the Falkland
    Isles.--Character of Dr. Johnson.--Famine in Bengal.


The deplorable state of the navy, set forth in the most melancholy
colours by the Opposition, had raised so much discontent, that on
the 9th of January, Sir Edward Hawke, almost fallen into a state of
imbecility, found it necessary to resign his command of the Admiralty,
which was immediately conferred on Lord Sandwich, lately appointed
Secretary of State, in the room of Lord Weymouth. The Admiralty, in
which he had formerly presided with credit, was the favourite object
of Lord Sandwich’s ambition; and his passion for maritime affairs,
his activity, industry, and flowing complaisance, endeared him to
the profession, re-established the marine, and effaced great part of
his unpopularity. No man in the Administration was so much master of
business, so quick or so shrewd, and no man had so many public enemies
who had so few private; for though void of principles, he was void of
rancour, and bore with equal good humour the freedom with which his
friends attacked him, and the satire of his opponents.[147]

Before he quitted the Seals, a secret came out, to which his acceptance
of them gave occasion. Not choosing to be dipped in the Spanish
business, he had taken the northern province, exchanging it for the
southern with Lord Rochford. The Spanish Ambassador waited on the
latter, to open with him on the state of the negotiation. But how was
the Prince astonished when the Earl informed him, that orders had been
sent to Mr. Harris, our resident in Spain, to leave Madrid immediately,
if our last-sent proposals should not be accepted! Directions were
given to him at the same time, to order our ships directly out of
the Spanish ports; and no modification was allowed to Harris, but
to take leave. The Prince of Masserano exclaimed bitterly on this
mysterious and hostile step; said, he had been constant in writing
home accounts of the pacific disposition of our Court, and now, when
he expected a favourable answer from Madrid, he learned what amounted
to a declaration of war! For himself, no man had ever been used so
ill: but, on his own treatment he would not descant; the insult to
his Court was so flagrant, that he declared, when the answer should
arrive, he would not deliver it, till he should know how his master
felt the recall of Harris. In this just resentment he quitted Lord
Rochford abruptly. Francés, who was still here, and had not yet heard
of Choiseul’s disgrace, complained to Lord Rochford of the indignity
put on the Crown and Ambassador of Spain, which the Earl endeavoured
to soften and explain away; but neither he nor Lord Sandwich could
defend the measure. The fact was, Lord North had been seized with a
panic on Lord Weymouth’s resignation, who, he concluded, would vaunt of
having advised war; he had figured to himself Lord Chatham, armed with
national vengeance, and the Opposition bellowing against his pacific
inclinations. Instead of striking the peace before any obstructions
could be given to it, he had obtained from the Cabinet Council, four
days after Lord Weymouth’s retreat, the absurd direction to Harris to
leave Madrid,--a rash act, dictated by fear, and from which nothing
but Choiseul’s fall could have extricated him. But fortune smiled on
him, and dissipated and disconnected all his enemies. At this very
time the Bedford faction lost their head. The Duke died on the 14th,
after having lived in a paralytic state above a year.[148] He left the
care of his successor, aged but five years, and the management of his
estate, to the Duchess, with whom were joined his daughter, the Duchess
of Marlborough, and Mr. Palmer, his agent. To Rigby, his favourite, he
bequeathed 5000_l._ Lord Gower was not mentioned in the will, probably
from the hatred borne by the Duchess to her sister-in-law, Lady Gower,
an intriguing, interested Scotch woman, as eager as her husband to see
him Prime Minister. But the union of the party was much loosened by the
Duke’s death; nor did Lord North neglect to strengthen himself against
their Cabals. He offered the Seals of Secretary of State to the Earl
of Suffolk, a young man of thirty-two, totally unpractised in business,
pompous, ignorant, and of no parts, but affecting to be the head of
Grenville’s late party. The young Earl answered with modesty, that as
he could not speak French, he was incapable of treating with foreign
ministers, nor was he conversant in business; he wished for some high
office, but not that of Secretary; and recommended a few of Grenville’s
friends to preferment. He was appointed Lord Privy Seal in the room of
Lord Halifax, Lord North’s uncle, to whom the Seals were given, though
still worse qualified--for he knew nothing, was too old to learn, and
too sottish and too proud to suspect what he wanted.

But they were the great employments of the law which occasioned most
remarks. Judge Bathurst,[149] one of the three Keepers of the Great
Seal, for which he had scarce been thought worthy, was made Lord
Chancellor, and created Lord Apsley, on whose ignorance the profession
punned, calling him Lord _Absque_. De Grey succeeded Lord Chief Justice
Wilmot (who retired) in the Common Pleas; Thurlow was appointed
Attorney, and that abandoned man Wedderburne,[150] Solicitor-General.
The last had certainly no superior in the House of Commons for
eloquence, readiness, argument, or satire; nor in Westminster Hall
for want of principles. His politics, like his pleading, were at the
service of whoever offered him most.[151]

It was remarkable that the Earl of Guilford and Lord Bathurst, fathers
of the Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor, were both living at this

Incensed as the Prince of Masserano had been at the secret recall
of Harris, Choiseul’s fall, and the pacific disposition of the new
French Ministers, convinced him that his King had no assistance to
expect from France. His King, probably, from the same reasoning, had
relaxed some of his pretensions, and sent powers to his Ambassador
to terminate his differences with us, before he was apprised of the
orders given to Harris. The King of France in the meantime prevailed on
Masserano to communicate those powers to our Ministers, engaging his
royal word to bear him harmless in case his master should be offended
with the recall, and with his own Ambassador’s precipitation. Lord
North, reassured by Choiseul’s fall, and by the pacific sentiments
of France, of which the Duc d’Aiguillon had informed Lord Harcourt,
accepted the modification proposed by Spain; and on January the 22nd,
when the Parliament reassembled after the recess, Lord Rochford and
Lord North notified to the two Houses, that the Spanish Ambassador
had that morning signed a declaration relative to the expedition
against the Falkland Islands, which his Majesty had been graciously
pleased to accept, and which should be laid before them on the Friday
following. Mr. E. Burke moved for a call of the House on that day
fortnight, to consider the declaration and acceptance. The delivery of
the declaration was fortunate for peace, for two days after arrived a
positive order to the Spanish Ambassador to quit this country without
delay or excuse,--so offended was the Court of Spain at the recall
of Harris; but the accommodation was signed, and the Prince remained
here.[152] Nor had the threat of war been unfavourable to us; it had
brought to light, and consequently to correction, the nakedness of our
situation; and it had shown Spain and France how soon we could prepare
a force sufficient for our defence,--at least, against any they were
then able to bring against us. On the pacification, Lord Grantham,
Vice-Chamberlain to the King, was named Ambassador to Spain.[153]

The declaration of Spain imported, that his Britannic Majesty having
complained of the violence committed on June the 10th, 1770, at
the island commonly called the Great Malouine, and by the English
Falkland’s Island, in obliging by force the commander and subjects of
his Britannic Majesty to evacuate the port by them called Egmont, a
step offensive to the honour of his Crown, the Prince of Masserano,
Ambassador Extraordinary of his Catholic Majesty, had received orders
to declare, that his Catholic Majesty, _considering the desire with
which he is animated for peace_, _&c._, had seen with displeasure
this expedition, tending to disturb it; and being persuaded of the
reciprocity of sentiments of his Britannic Majesty, &c., his Catholic
Majesty did disavow the said violent enterprise, and, in consequence,
the Prince de Masserano declared that his Catholic Majesty engaged
to give immediate orders that things should be restored in the Great
Malouine, at the port called Egmont, to the state in which they were
before the 10th of June, 1770; for which purpose his Catholic Majesty
would give orders to one of his officers to deliver up to the officer
authorised by his Britannic Majesty the port and fort called Egmont,
with all the artillery, stores, and effects of his Britannic Majesty
and his subjects, agreeable to the inventory that had been made of
them. The Prince of Masserano declared at the same time, in the name of
the King his master, that the engagement of his said Catholic Majesty
to restore to his Britannic Majesty the possession of the port and fort
called Egmont, could not nor ought in anywise to affect the question
of the prior right of sovereignty of the Malouine Islands.

This declaration was, as I have said, accepted, but no notice taken
on our side of the protest of prior right. The act was, in truth,
as appears on the face of it, a mere temporary expedient to prevent
present rupture; Spain relinquishing no claim, nor expressing a
surrender of anything more than Port Egmont--which we accepted with
the air of a sacrifice to which we had very slender pretensions.
Indeed, the worse the grace was with which we seemed to accept the
concession of Spain, the greater in reality was our triumph; for though
the Opposition affected to decry our acquiescence, the humiliation
certainly fell on the King of Spain, who yielded a flower of his crown,
to which we pretended no right but that of convenience and very recent
occupation; and which very convenience had no meaning but that of an
opportunity to annoy Spain thereafter.

When the declaration was laid before the two Houses on the 25th, Lord
Chatham said he would not discuss it then--it would take too many days.
It was only a compromise, only a war prorogued; France not being ready
to declare, had compelled Spain to recede for the present. On the Duc
de Choiseul he made a strained panegyric, pronouncing him the greatest
Minister that had appeared in France since Cardinal Richelieu--that he
was regretted by all ranks of people in that country, and would (he
would venture to prophecy) be recalled! As the portrait seemed to be
intended for a resemblance of himself, there was no doubt but he hoped
the prophecy, too, would be applicable to both. The Duke of Richmond
moved for all transactions with Spain relating to the Falkland Islands,
which Lord Rochford promised should be brought; but Lord Sandwich moved
to restrict the question to such papers only, not extending to any
other matter, which occasioned jealousy and debate. The Duke then asked
for all correspondence with France relating to the same subject. Lord
Rochford said, not a word had passed through our Ambassador (for all
had been verbal, and negotiated with Francés).

In the other House, Burke and Barré declaimed against the pacification.
They asked only for the Spanish papers, which were granted. Some
days after, Mr. Seymour asked if any part of the negotiation with
Spain had passed through the Court of France, and asked to see that
correspondence, which was refused by 173 to 57. Lord Chatham moved
the same day in the other House, that the Judges should be ordered to
attend on the morrow.

When the House met the next day, Lord Chatham desired the two
following questions might be put to the Judges:--

1. Whether, in consideration of law, the Imperial Crown of this Realm
can hold any territories or possessions thereunto belonging, otherwise
than in sovereignty?

2. Whether the declaration or instrument for restitution of the port
or fort called Egmont, to be made by the Catholic King to his Majesty
_under a reservation of a disputed right of sovereignty expressed in
the very declaration or instrument stipulating such restitution_, can
be accepted or carried into execution, without derogating from the
maxim of law before referred to, _touching the inherent and essential

Lord Mansfield said, it was needless to refer these interrogatories to
the Judges, since the queries answered themselves--meaning, the reply
to both must be negative; but it required more chicane to give that
negative, and at the same time to argue that the questions did not
fairly flow from the premises. A vote of 69 to 22, refusing to refer
the queries to the Judges, supplied what was wanting in argument.

On the 8th, the Duke of Bolton moved to see the instructions that
had been given to Captain Hunt when he was sent to the Falkland
Islands; but that demand was likewise rejected by 50 odd to 22. Those
instructions had been so hostile, that Lord Chatham owned he had hoped,
if a Parliamentary inspection of them could have been obtained, and
consequently publicity, that they would have provoked Spain to break
the new convention. On this and the former debate Lord Chatham spoke
with infinite wit and much temper, and said, smiling at the youth of
Lord North and Lord Suffolk, that old England was grown very old and
decayed indeed under so many young men!

This pacification cut up by the roots Lord Chatham’s hopes, which had
revived on the prospect of war; but though the nation might have called
for the vigour of his spirited councils had war been declared, nobody
was desirous of making war only to make him necessary,--especially
when we had obtained reparation of an insult to which we had given the
provocation. Wilkes did not wish Lord Chatham’s exaltation, by whom he
had ever been discountenanced personally; and the Earl’s connection
with Lord Shelburne set him at still greater distance from Wilkes, who,
in truth, could but ill maintain his ground at all, and had no support
but from the Common Council and the very mob. He had, indeed, lately
obtained an approbation of his conduct from a majority of the Bill of
Rights, but composed of the least substantial members. Macleane, one of
his most noisy abettors in the House of Commons, and who had lent him
money, had been bought off by the Court; on which Wilkes abused him in
the newspapers. Macleane obliged the printer to discover the author,
on which Macleane challenged Wilkes, and he making no reply, Macleane
printed his challenge. Wilkes disavowed the libels, and affirmed that
he had declared as much to a relation of Macleane, who had brought him
the latter’s defiance, which Wilkes waived as not being the author
of the abuse. Nor did the public think well enough of Macleane to
interest themselves in his quarrel. Courage Wilkes thought he had
displayed sufficiently; and blemishes in his private character, though
set forth in the most odious colours by his adversaries, he had found
could not wean the affections of the people. Yet his confidence in
that particular proved soon afterwards more detrimental to his credit
than all his former errors. Nor did he take any pains to disguise what
he thought of his cause and his partisans; but with an ebriety of
indiscretion he would joke on his own situation and adherents, even
with men averse to his faction, the Scotch excepted, whom he never

Nor was his cause grown obsolete. New events sprung out of it
continually. To excite reflections on Wedderburne, who had drawn
up the Yorkshire remonstrance, and was now Solicitor-General, Sir
George Saville moved for leave to bring in a bill, ascertaining that
expulsion did not create incapacity. He said he did not well know how
to make a complaint, where the House was both the criminal and the
judge, and when he himself was a party. Wedderburne and Grenville’s
friends evaded the attack by voting for the motion, to prove their
consistence,--a step men in their situation never take but when they
have been inconsistent.[154] The motion was rejected by 167 to 103. The
largeness of the minority was owing to these temporary evasions, and to
the call of the House.

As the storm was blown over, the Duke of Richmond moved the Lords
to address the King to remit pressing, unless the necessity still
remained. Lord Chatham made an artful speech on the state of Europe,
hoping to draw from the Ministers some unguarded expressions. Lord
Halifax opposed the motion; but Lord Hillsborough fell into the snare,
and with great encomiums on Lord Chatham, confessed he had long
thought us in danger, and too weak; feared the peace would not last,
and declared he had often pressed the other Ministers to increase
our force. Lord Craven[155] asked him, Why then had he opposed a
motion for that purpose but last March? Lord Chatham said, he now saw
the motion was improper, for the Ministers owned the peace would not
last; and he begged the Duke of Richmond to withdraw his motion. Lord
Gower, thinking that assurance was the only remedy for indiscretion,
denied point-blank that Lord Hillsborough had confessed any weakness
or apprehensions; and Lord Suffolk, maintaining that the House was in
possession of the question, and that it could not be withdrawn without
leave, the Court Lords would have forced a division, but the Opposition
would not vote.

The same day (Feb. 11), Sir William Meredith, to favour the Duke of
Portland, moved for a bill to take a clause from the bill of Nullum
Tempus, which would assist the Duke’s pursuit of his cause; but the
taking away of which was thought would be a singular hardship on
Sir James Lowther. Lord North had prevailed on Sir James to give up
the most exceptionable parts of that clause; yet the latter was so
obnoxious, that after a long debate, leave was given by 152 to 123 for
the bill to be brought in.[156] The Court party were furious against
the injustice, and seemed glad to be oppressed once, as if one instance
of partiality in their enemies would wipe out all their own arbitrary
attempts and violences. They made all possible interest to defend the
clause; and Charles Fox, the phenomenon of the age, undertook the
patronage of it, and gave as much satisfaction to the party as disgust
to the Opposition by the great talents he exerted on the occasion: yet
acrimony and Dunning’s abilities prevailed that day (20th), and the
bill was committed by a majority of 15. Still the weight of Lord Bute’s
son-in-law effected what eloquence could not; in seven days the tide
turned, and the bill was thrown out, by 164 to 154--a fair struggle of
partiality on each side.

On the 13th, the Spanish declaration was discussed in the House of
Commons. Lord Beauchamp and Lord Palmerston moved the address of
thanks to the King. It was soberly worded, and only thanked for the
communication and acceptance of peace. Lord North had softened the
expressions much more than those in the address of the other House.
This temperance prevented Dowdeswell from making a string of motions,
which he had brought ready drawn; yet he harangued long. Forester,
though attached to Lord Gower, surprised the House by pronouncing the
address premature, as the ratification of Spain was not arrived. The
debate lasted till past three in the morning, though unanimated. Barré
was lively, Burke ill-heard, and Dunning tedious. Colonel Burgoyne made
a fine set speech against the peace; and Lord Irnham, father of Colonel
Lutterell, all zealous courtiers, voted against the address, but it
passed easily.

The Duke of Newcastle[157] moved the address the next day in the Lords.
Lord Camden opposed it, and was answered by Lord Mansfield. Lord
Chatham spoke for two hours, but languidly and ill; Lord Shelburne
better than he had ever done. But it was Lord Weymouth on whom all
expectation hung: he expressed himself with much obscurity and mystery.
He was understood to mean, that the Lords in Opposition had vainly
tried to distinguish between what _he_ had demanded, and what was
now obtained; but that there was no material difference. He said he
had, throughout the negotiation, told the Spanish Ambassador that he
would not hear any talk on the right. When he resigned, he had looked
on the treaty as broken off. His reasons for resigning had been of a
different nature, and were such as he would not declare there. The Duke
of Richmond, stating what he thought Lord Weymouth had said, in order,
if possible, to dive into his meaning, the latter desired to repeat
his own words, which, he said, had only been that he would defend his
own part of the negotiation; that he had not said the present treaty
did or did not agree with what _he_ had demanded--_that_ might be
seen by his letters; that he would not hear _the right_ mentioned
_before_ the Declaration; and that he could not help voting for the
treaty as it now stood. That his resignation had been dictated by
other political reasons, on which he had differed with his brother
Ministers. All this verbal shuffling spoke nothing but treachery,
irresolution, disappointment, or discovery of the mistake he had made.
Wood did not scruple to confess to his friends that he himself had
made a gross mistake, and repented it heartily; which could not but
imply that he had drawn Lord Weymouth into the same error. The death
of the Duke of Bedford had also lowered their importance; Lord Gower
had been sweetened by the boon of the Duke’s Garter, and none of the
faction were willing to sacrifice themselves to Wood’s blunder. Thus
Weymouth was reduced to resort to the clemency of the Court, and to
the occasion it might have for his narrow abilities hereafter. The
address was carried by a proportion of 90 to 30; and by more, when the
Duke of Richmond called for the proxies,--an usage, he said, he did
not like, but had been desired to practise by Lord Rockingham, who was
at Bath, and wished to give his negative to the peace. Lord Temple was
not there, nor Lord Lyttelton, whose son-in-law Anglesey’s cause was
pending, and made him fear to offend.[158] Lord Hardwicke voted for the
pacification, and continued on that side, though he had treated his
brother, the momentary Chancellor, so inhumanly for accepting the Seals
but the last year. A protest of vast length was drawn up, and signed by
sixteen peers. Lord Radnor signed a short one by himself.

The danger of war was no sooner blown over, than the Ministers
precipitated themselves, though not unwarned, into a new difficulty,
which, had it been conducted by the Opposition with the same address
with which it had been planned, might have produced very serious
consequences. The scheme was laid by Wilkes, who had far more
enterprising invention than judgment, and was a better leader of
hussars than a general. Assured of the juries in the City of London,
he pushed on the printers to hazard all lengths, both in abuse and
in publishing the debates with the names of the several speakers,--a
liberty always deemed by Parliament a breach of privilege. But he
did not solely depend on the perseverance of the London juries in
acquitting libellers. The City pretended to exemption from the
jurisdiction of the House of Commons, founding their claim on the
restitution of their Charter by King William, which had been taken away
by Charles the Second, though King William did no more than restore
their ancient rights; but they arrogated their immunity from grants
of ancient Kings. Secure of the attachment of Crosby, the Lord Mayor,
Wilkes hoped the House of Commons would embroil themselves with the
City, where he knew their authority would be resisted. Hints of this
plot had been conveyed to Lord North many months before, and yet he had
not the caution to avoid it. The two George Onslows, the elder very
indiscreet, the younger very intemperate, were, from being the friends
and champions of Wilkes, become his inveterate foes; and between
wantonness and design, he daily inflamed their anger. A complaint being
made to the House of the licentious freedom practised of printing
debates, Colonel Onslow seized the opportunity of venting his rage
against a saucy paper in which he had been most scurrilously treated.
The printers of the debates were ordered to attend, though not without
opposition and a division made by the Aldermen Townshend and Oliver.
To this order no obedience was paid by the offenders; on which, the
elder Onslow moved, February the 19th, that they should be questioned
for contempt; but Lord North, who generally leaned towards moderation,
desired that they might have allowance not to appear till the next day,
which was agreed to; but as they continued to abscond, the House voted
that if the summons were delivered at their own houses, it should be
regarded as if they had been delivered to the printers in person. The
House also addressed the King to order them to be taken into custody;
and their contumacy not ceasing, it was carried on the 25th by a
majority of 160 to 17, that they should be taken into custody.[159]
This was what Wilkes had aimed at, and the consequences will appear

About this time happened a considerable change in the Court of Denmark.
The King, a weak and capricious little mortal, had early conceived a
marked aversion for his Queen, the youngest sister of England, and had
disgraced their cousin, the Prince of Hesse, for espousing her cause;
as did his grandmother, the first Queen Dowager. Bernsdorffe, his Prime
Minister, was devoted to the Court of Russia, and during the King’s
absence in England and France, the Russian Minister had treated the
Queen with great want of respect. As she was of a dauntless spirit,
she took upon her to order him to quit Denmark; and on the King’s
return, feeling his incapacity and her own courage, she assumed such
an ascendant over him, that she not only got rid of his favourite,
young Count Holke, but, aided by the King’s physician, who was thought
to be equally dear to both their Majesties, she dismissed Bernsdorffe
and all the old Ministry, flung herself into the French faction, and
transferred the whole power of the government to the beloved physician,
Struensee. These despotic acts were accompanied by many extravagances,
and more scandal. She reviewed the troops in a masculine habit, and
when she went to meet her mother, the Princess of Wales, was dressed in
regimentals with breeches of buckskin, though of enormous corpulency.
The Princess lamenting to her the fall of Bernsdorffe, the ancient
servant of the family, the Queen of Denmark said, “Pray, madam, allow
me to govern my own kingdom as I please!” Such early haughtiness was no
omen of a tranquil reign.

On the 4th of March a bill was moved for in the House of Commons
by Sir George Colebrooke,[160] to allow the East India Company to
maintain here a regiment of two thousand men, for supplying recruits
to the defence of their settlements. It was to be composed of foreign
Protestants. The matter was debated without partiality, the Ministry
affecting to take no part in it, and Lord North not attending the
discussion. Yet, if he stood neuter, the Scotch faction at Court were
far from indifferent to the scheme. Sir Gilbert Elliot,[161] in a fine
studied oration, supported it with all his abilities; Dyson laboured
it, and it was carried to commit the bill. One Stewart, a Scot, was
destined for colonel; and I myself heard the Duke of Argyle and Lord
Frederic Campbell exulting on the success, and congratulating one
another _that the King would at least have another regiment at his
command_,--a point of view which numbers of our northern brethren kept
ever in their eye.

The Court was not less triumphant in Ireland, where the Parliament had
at last been suffered to meet. Lord Townshend during its long vacation,
had employed such effectual corruption, that when the Opposition
injudiciously contested an usual address to the King to thank him for
their Lord-Lieutenant (the more likely to pass as no money was asked),
the Court had a majority of twenty-five votes. Next morning, a body of
weavers rose and assaulted the complaisant peers,[162] on which the
Lords would not report the address, but sent to the Lord-Lieutenant to
demand guards, that their members might attend and vote in safety. The
like address having passed the Commons, Mr. Ponsonby, their Speaker,
resigned the chair, rather than carry it to the other House. This step
was imputed to a panic he was believed to have felt, from an idea that
Lord Townshend had got evidence of his having instigated the tumult,
though he himself ascribed it to the Viceroy’s having reflected on
the House of Commons the last year. Lord Townshend not having interest
enough to name a Speaker to his mind, was forced to prefer Perry to a
more obnoxious man, though Perry was a very able man, not well-disposed
to the Court, but thoroughly attached to the interests of Ireland.
These clouds obliged the Lord-Lieutenant,--though he had declared the
Parliament was called to carry on private business, not for the purpose
of giving money,--to determine that it should rise in a fortnight. As
the King of France was more despotic, he at this time annihilated the
Parliament of Paris, and established six superior councils in its room.

Dowdeswell, on the 7th, moved for a bill to ascertain the duty
of juries, but Dunning and others of his own party opposed it,
apprehending danger from meddling with that great palladium of liberty;
so that, except General Conway, who out of candour said a few words,
not a man in the Administration spoke, and the motion was rejected by
160 to 40.

On the 12th of March six more printers were denounced to the House of
Commons for printing their debates; and two more were committed to the
Black Rod by the peers, for reflections on the Lords of the Bedchamber,
by whose votes Lord Pomfret had carried a cause on an appeal. It
was for a considerable estate which had been given against him in
Yorkshire by a jury of the most unbiassed and reputable gentlemen of
the county, who had transported themselves to the spot, and examined
all circumstances with scrupulous exactness. The Earl, who was in
truth little better than a lunatic, had treated their decision with
the utmost indecency and violence, and trusting to his favour with the
King, for whom he was a kind of Don Quixote, had brought an appeal to
the House of Lords. That judicature was of signal reputation in cases
of property, though almost always led by the two or three law Lords
of their own body: yet in Lord Pomfret’s case, though the Ministers
said not a word, and though Lord Camden spoke against him, the cause
was given for the Earl by the notorious partiality of the Court Lords.
The badness of the cause was so flagrant, that Dunning, who pleaded
for Lord Pomfret, having persuaded the Duke of Manchester, a peer in
Opposition, and one or two more, to decree for the Earl, confessed he
was shocked at having convinced them.[163] The Earl himself treated
the lawyers with great virulence; and as if his intellects recommended
him, or the hardship of his case called for still farther protection,
the King, during the litigation, made him a Privy Councillor. The Lords
committed Woodfall, the printer, to Newgate, and fined him 100_l._

The House of Commons was more refractory, and sat till five in the
morning on the commitment of the printers, the Opposition battling on
every individual, and moving after every question to adjourn; so that,
after three and twenty divisions, they wearied out the patience of
the Ministers, who at last yielded to order the printers to attend on
the 14th. This perseverance was the work of Charles Turner[164] of
Yorkshire, the two Burkes, the Aldermen Townshend and Oliver, and five
more of the Opposition, who alone remained in the House against seventy

But delay was not the only defensive weapon used by the offenders. John
Wheble, one of the printers, had been ordered to attend the House of
Commons by a messenger sent to his house. He paid no obedience to the
summons, but taking counsel of Robert Morris, a lawyer and warm member
of the Bill of Rights, who alleged many informalities and invalidity
against the warrant, which was not even signed by the Speaker, Wheble
sent a contemptuous answer to the Speaker, both on the warrant, and on
a proclamation for apprehending him, which by strange negligence had
appeared for three days in the Gazette without being signed, which, in
the opinion of the generality of the law, made it to be deemed of no

On the 14th the Commons sat again till half an hour after four in
the morning, when after being teazed by thirteen more divisions, the
Ministers were glad to let off the printers after reprimanding them on
their knees.

On the 15th, Wheble was apprehended on the strength of the proclamation
by a person tempted by the reward, who carried him before Wilkes,
then sitting alderman; but Wilkes instantly discharged him and bound
him over to prosecute his accuser, though giving the apprehender a
certificate to entitle him to the reward from the Lords of the Treasury.

The same evening, Miller, printer of the _London Evening Post_, against
whom another proclamation had been issued, was taken into custody
by a messenger of the House of Commons; but refusing to attend the
messenger, was seized by him by the arm; on this, Miller sent for a
constable, and gave him charge of the messenger for assaulting him in
his own house. The constable carried the messenger before the Lord
Mayor, and a hearing of the cause was had before the Mayor and the
Aldermen Wilkes and Oliver.

In the meantime, the Serjeant of the House of Commons being informed
of the transaction, went and demanded the bodies of the messenger
and Miller. The Mayor asked him if he had applied to a magistrate to
back the warrant, or to any peace officer to assist him, to which he
answered, No. The Mayor said no power had a right to seize a citizen
of London without authority from him or some other magistrate, nor
should while he held that office; and that he thought both the warrant
and seizure illegal, and therefore declared Miller to be at liberty.
The assault on Miller being proved, the Lord Mayor told the messenger
he must give bail, or be committed to prison. At first he refused, but
the commitment being made out, and signed by the Mayor and the two
Aldermen, the Serjeant-at-arms offered bail for the messenger, and he
and his sureties were bound for his appearance at Guildhall at the next

Such high attacks on their authority roused the House of Commons, and
startled the Ministers. A junto of seven was held at Lord North’s, when
the ruling spirit was moderation. At a larger meeting the next night,
the same temper or fear appeared in most of the assembly, particularly
in Rigby, who had not forgotten that his loss of a former place had
dated from the contest on general warrants; but Sir Gilbert Elliot,
the oracle or mouth of the secret Cabal, pressed for firmness and
penal measures. The elder Onslow, as he told me himself, offered at
that council to prevail on his cousin to drop the prosecution of the
printers; but though the Ministers would not enjoin them to proceed,
they assured the elder that they would support him and his cousin, if
they went on with the complaint. On this encouragement,--

The affair was discussed on the 18th;[165] but the Rockingham party,
instead of seizing so popular a topic of clamour, were, as usual, cool
in the wrong place, and rather zealous for maintaining the dignity of
the House, without inquiring previously whether the House was founded
in its pretensions. If not, to maintain what they had done, only
because they had done it, would be an argument equally for supporting
tyranny or the inquisition, if once established. Even the younger
Burke was zealous against the Lord Mayor. Lord George Germaine spoke
to the same purpose, but the superiority of his understanding made it
suspected that his view was solely aimed at embarking Lord North in a
quarrel with the City and its magistrates. Charles Fox, as if impatient
to inherit his father’s unpopularity, abused the City as his father
used to do; but the Ministers were moderate, and Conway much so, though
against sacrificing the honour of the House. Rigby went farther, and in
hopes the affair would drop, proposed to put it off for some days. As
the Lord Mayor was confined with the gout, Sir W. Meredith, Sir John
Griffin, and Conway pleaded for allowing him farther time; but the
courtiers divided against and rejected that motion; yet afterwards Lord
North himself proposed to insert, in the order for his appearance on
the morrow, the words _if he is able; if not, on the Friday_ following,
which was agreed to.

Alderman Oliver, who was present, not only declared he had signed the
warrant for committing the messenger of the House, but declared he had
advised it; yet no notice was taken. Sir Joseph Mawbey, in hopes of
bringing Wilkes at the head of a mob, moved twice to call him, too,
before them; but the Ministers dreaded his appearance, and would not
join in the motion. Alderman Townshend, in hatred to Wilkes, who had
planned these difficulties, absented himself from the House: thus the
selfish factiousness of Lord Shelburne, and the injudicious candour of
Lord Rockingham and his friends, split the Opposition into impotent
Cabals, and soon accomplished their own annihilation.

It was remarkable, that Lord Halifax was again become Secretary of
State, and that as such was again embroiled with Wilkes, who sent him
word that he had discharged Wheble. It was well said, that in this
contest Colonel Lutterell must vote with the majority of the House, for
_they_ were _his_ constituents.

The next day the Lord Mayor, though labouring under the gout, attended
the House. He was escorted by a thin concourse of people, though
thousands of hand-bills had been dispersed to invite a mob. He told the
House that he had little to say; that he had done his duty according
to his oath, and did avow the charge. For himself, this was all he had
to say; for the City, he demanded to be heard by counsel. The Charters
of the City he desired might be read, which was complied with. After
an hour and a half he grew so ill that he asked leave to retire, which
was granted, and the matter was adjourned till the following Friday.
Dunning moved to grant the City counsel, which Thurlow opposed; but it
being observed that the whole affair was adjourned, it was then dropped.

Lord North moved to send for the City’s book, that they might expunge
the messenger’s recognizance and discharge, which was opposed, but
ordered. An incident, more memorable, perhaps, than the business
itself, from the secret it brought to light, or rather authenticated,
followed next. Charles Fox, with his usual intemperance, moved to
examine Alderman Oliver the next day, whom he should consider, he
said, in a public light, as an assassin of the constitution. Colonel
Barré (for Oliver had retired with the Lord Mayor) said, it became
no man to call another assassin, who assassinated that person behind
his back. Fox, with the same violence replied, When he was a boy at
school, he remembered nothing so well as the clamour against Barré
for assassinating Mr. Pitt behind his back.[166] To that attack
Barré returned this thundering sentence: “If the gentleman would
go _home_, he might learn the name of the person who set me upon
that assassination, which I now so much abhor,” and of which Lord
Holland[167] had always been suspected, and was now proved to be
the instigator. Nor was this the whole that came out; for Barré now
told several persons that Lord Chatham had, on their reconciliation,
acquainted him, that on the very day of Barré’s second attack on him,
Lord Holland had hurried out of the House after him, and had said,
he hoped he did not think that he (Lord Holland) had any hand in
encouraging the outrage, in which he vowed he was not concerned.

On the 20th, Sir Joseph Mawbey offered to the Speaker a letter from
Wilkes, which the Speaker refused to receive; but Mawbey read a copy of
it, which he said should be part of his speech; but Lord Strange denied
he could make it so, as he had said he did not know the contents: nor
would the House attend to it, though he did read it,--so afraid were
they of being embroiled with Wilkes. Sir Gilbert Elliot and the Scotch,
seeing the weakness of the Opposition, had undoubtedly pushed on
this affair as a decisive blow; but the King now grew frightened, and
owned he wished it over, though Lord Rochford endeavoured to keep up
his resolution, and Charles Fox affected to lead the House, till even
Wedderburne asked if Fox was the Minister. The House then sent for the
Lord Mayor’s book, and tore out the messenger’s recognizance. To the
City[168] they allowed counsel, but tied up their hands by restraining
them from speaking on the privileges of the House. Wedderburne,
having been reflected on in the course of the debate, made a defence
of himself, in a most admired speech, which would have excused his
conduct, if a speech could have done it. De Grey, member for Norfolk,
and elder brother of the Attorney-General, besought the House not to
make Wilkes and Oliver of consequence, who were not of any. One Evans,
another printer, whom they had ordered to attend, printed a letter,
disclaiming their authority.

The same day Wilkes, for safety, removed from his house in Westminster
to lodgings in the City, as Lord Shaftesbury did in the reign of
Charles the Second. The Common Council thanked him, the Lord Mayor,
and Oliver, for the stand they made. The Recorder made a sensible
speech against that motion, and refused to put the question for it; but
it was carried without him.

On the 22nd, the Lord Mayor excused himself on his illness, for not
attending the House. After a debate of three hours, they determined
to examine Alderman Oliver, though the Lord Mayor could not appear;
and he was accordingly ordered to make his defence on the following
Monday. Lord North said, he saw the Opposition wanted to protract the
affair, (which, in fact, was all they did attempt,) but should not: he
was very sorry the matter had ever been stirred, but now must be gone
through with. His party were very clamorous for punishment, and for
vindicating the honour of the House,--and with which the Opposition
almost concurred, so far did the _esprit de corps_ possess them. It
is a standing order of the House that breach of their privileges must
supersede all other considerations: on that ground the Courtiers would
suffer no other business to proceed; while in the City a like _esprit
de corps_ began to operate, even some of the Court Aldermen beginning
to favour their Mayor; but the Opposition had not sense enough to avail
themselves of that disposition.

In the meantime a cloud seemed to threaten the negotiation with Spain.
The Prince of Masserano asked Lord Rochford abruptly, when we should
cede the Falkland Islands to them again? This seemed to indicate a
secret article of future restitution. Lord Rochford said, “No minister
would dare for his head, to answer that question.” Monsieur Francés
owned that our Ministers had given no positive promise of restoring
the island, yet the greatest encouragement to Spain to expect we
would restore it. Our Ministers, indeed, had positively declared in
Parliament, that there was no secret article in the treaty;[169]
yet this question of the Spanish Ambassador, the declaration of
Francés, and the dilatory slowness of Spain, had much the air of
dissatisfaction. Spain is not like other countries, that raise their
revenues at home. Spain’s resources depend on the arrival of their
flotas from the West Indies. They had received their galleons, and
were prepared for two years. As they forbore to send out another
plate-fleet, it looked as if the pacification was still incomplete.
Our Ministers, however, triumphing in having avoided a war, set forth
an exultation written by Dr. Samuel Johnson, and very abusive on the
Opposition, the Bill of Rights, Lord Chatham, Junius, and the Lord
Mayor, with most of their names at length,--the very kind of grievance
of which the Court complained. With a lumber of learning and some
strong parts, Johnson was an odious and mean character. By principle
a Jacobite, arrogant, self-sufficient, and overbearing by nature,
ungrateful through pride, and of _feminine bigotry_, he had prostituted
his pen to party even in a dictionary, and had afterwards, for a
pension, contradicted his own definitions. His manners were sordid,
supercilious, and brutal, his style ridiculously bombastic and vicious;
and, in one word, with all the pedantry he had all the gigantic
littleness of a country schoolmaster.

From the East Indies came bad news; a dreadful famine had depopulated
Bengal and swept away multitudes. It was imputed in a great measure
to the servants of the East India Company, who, amidst every species
of tyranny and plunder, had monopolized the chief aliments of the
country.[170] A ship with three supervisors, who had been sent thither
to correct those horrible abuses, had been lost in its passage.


  The Lord Mayor attends the House.--Violent Discussion.--Alderman
    Oliver sent to the Tower.--Blow to the Influence of Wilkes.--Riot
    and Attack on Lord North.--Lord Mayor Committed to the Tower.--His
    Injudicious Conduct.--Desultory Discussions and Riots.--Lord
    Rockingham Visits the Lord Mayor in the Tower.--Princess Dowager
    and Lord Bute Burnt in Effigy.--Weakness of the Opposition in
    spite of the favourable Opportunity.--Observations on the Conduct
    of the Court.--Education of the Prince of Wales.--Character
    of Mr. Smelt.--Debate on the King’s Friends.--Alderman Oliver
    declines to stand as Sheriff with Wilkes.--Dissolution of
    the French Parliament.--Bill for an East Indian Regiment
    rejected.--Motion for an Inquiry into the Murder of Allen.--Bill
    for Triennial Parliaments.--Lord Chatham moves a Resolution
    tending to a Dissolution.--Lord Chatham and the Pynsent
    Estate.--Instances of the Partiality of both Houses.--Prorogation
    of Parliament.--Controversy between Horne and Wilkes.--Deaths
    of Lord Strange, the Earl of Halifax, and the Bishop of
    Durham.--The Duke of Grafton accepts the Privy Seal.--Visit
    of the Prince of Wales to Gravesend.--Wilkes and Bull elected
    Sheriffs.--“Adventures of Humphrey Clinker.”--The Chevalier D’Eon
    supposed to be a Woman.--State of Affairs in France.--Character
    of Chancellor Maupeou.--Disgrace of the Bishop of Orleans.--The
    Abbé du Terray.--Madame du Barry and her Governess.--Madame de
    Mirepoix.--Popularity of the Duc de Choiseul.--Unpopularity
    of the King.--Dissolution of the Parliaments of Bourdeaux
    and Toulouse.--Bold Conduct of Choiseul.--Disturbed State of
    France.--General Dislike of the Mistress.


On the 25th the Lord Mayor attended the House. He was now accompanied
by a prodigious concourse of people, who insulted both Lords and
Commoners, hissed Lord Rochford, and ill-treated Lord March and George
Selwyn, the latter of whom they mistook for George Onslow. He collared
and struck one of the rioters, and was with difficulty saved from their
rage. The Lord Mayor told the House that he had brought no counsel with
him: first, because he was cramped in his defence by their vote; and
secondly, because the two advocates he should have chosen were gone the
circuit. Ellis then moved a resolution that the imprisonment of their
messenger by the Lord Mayor was a breach of privilege; but before they
could proceed farther, the Lord Mayor was so ill that they suffered him
to retire. The debate, however, continuing, Sir George Saville moved
the previous question, because, the Lord Mayor being restrained in his
defence, it would be a partial trial. This being rejected on a division
of 272 to 90, Sir George, with six or seven of his friends, protesting
against their proceedings, walked out of the House. Alderman Oliver was
then called on; he adhered to his assertion of having acted according
to his duty, oath, and conscience. The Ministers wished only to
reprimand him; and Sir John Wrottesley,[171] a young member, told him
the House would be contented if he would but say he was sorry for what
he had done; but he replied, he had done what he thought right, and
would do it again. Sir Gilbert Elliot, whether to inflame his offence,
or to induce him to yield, repeated the same offer--in vain. T. Pitt
and James Grenville[172] the younger, who spoke with great applause for
the second time, endeavoured to moderate; but the warm men prevailing,
Colonel Barré rose and said he would have nothing to do with such
infamous proceedings--that no _honest_ man could sit amongst them, and
walked out of the House with four or five more. At that moment arrived
Alderman Townshend, pale and ghastly from a sick-bed, his hair lank,
and his face swathed with linen, having had his jaw laid open for an
inflammation. He said directly that all those arbitrary proceedings
were owing to the baneful influence of the Princess Dowager of Wales,
and that he would move for an inquiry into her conduct. Yet all these
insults could not dismount the passive phlegm of the Ministers; Lord
North alone said, that Townshend could not know the truth or falsehood
of his assertion, and for himself, in five years that he had been in
the Administration, he had seen no influence of the Princess. At four
in the morning they sent Alderman Oliver to the Tower, and ordered that
the Lord Mayor should attend them again on the 27th.

Still would not Wilkes obey their summons, nor did they dare to force
him before them. Sir Joseph Mawbey again pressed it, but Lord North
shuffled it off by saying Wilkes was so desperate that what would be
punishment to others, would be an advantage to him. The courtiers
repeated this, but it only displayed their timidity; and happy was
it for the constitution that so much pusillanimity reigned in their
conduct. Yet the Scotch wanted to come to blows, and were at least not
sorry to see the House of Commons so contemptible.

But the victory which the Court did not dare to push over Wilkes, his
rash and abandoned conduct threw into their hands. Shelburne’s faction,
covertly under Townshend, and undisguisedly under Horne, was warring
with him in the midst of their common attack in the House of Commons.
The Society of the Bill of Rights happened to be adjourned; Horne
and his partisans summoned a special meeting to reward the persecuted
printers, and voted a sum of money to them. Wilkes, as if he grudged
that any money should be expended but on himself, advertised against
this step, as the measure of an irregular meeting. His antagonist
replied, and published the names on each side, which proved not to
be twenty on either, and all men most inconsiderable. This not only
brought disgrace and ridicule on the Society, but fell more fatally on
the credit of Wilkes than all his persecutions, all his follies, or
all his vices, and was the destruction of his popularity itself, which
became confined to the very dregs of the people. His old patron, Lord
Temple, retaining his constancy to faction, though broken with all
factions, immediately visited Alderman Oliver in the Tower.

The Lord Mayor went again to the House on the 27th at the head of a
prodigious mob, who, meeting Lord North, attacked him with a rage
that had all the appearance of being premeditated. They punched a
constable’s staff in his face, and endeavoured to tear him out of his
chariot, which they entirely demolished.[173] Sir William Meredith, a
generous enemy, and Mr. La Roche, a friend, seeing his danger from the
window of a coffee-house, went down and rescued him from the mob.[174]
The two Foxes were as rudely handled, and escaped as narrowly. Vast
numbers of constables were sent for, but it was late in the evening
before the tumult subsided; nor would the Speaker suffer the business
of the House to proceed till all was quiet. Wedderburne told the
House it had been a riot headed by the magistrates. Lord North made
a firm speech, and took notice of a report that he had resigned, and
was to be succeeded by Earl Gower; but said he should be the meanest
man living, if he quitted at that juncture; nor would he quit till
his Majesty should dismiss, or the people tear him to pieces. Lord
Hinchinbrook,[175] in answer to his uncle Seymour, who had spoken
with violence, was so indecent as to betray a secret,--that Seymour,
in Grenville’s Administration, had asked to be Vice-Chamberlain, and
imputed his animosity to having been refused that office. Yet, in
general, both parties behaved that day with moderation. The Ministers
moved that the Lord Mayor should, on account of his bad health, be
committed only to the custody of the Serjeant-at-arms; but he, rising
up, scornfully declared he was as well as ever, and chose to be sent to
the Tower with his brother Oliver. Temper could operate no farther,
and at twelve at night he was committed to the Tower. The Ministers
then proposed to elect, and did elect, by ballot, a committee to
consider of the resistance given to the orders of the House, and of the
means of redressing it. Rigby, who was named for one, refused to be of
it; and he and his friends took pains to show they would not engage in
the quarrel.

The Lord Mayor went for a few hours to the Mansion House. The mob
meditated hanging Clementson, the Deputy Serjeant-at-arms, who
conducted him, on a sign-post, and the poor man heard them debating
on it; but the Lord Mayor with difficulty obtained his safety by
representing that he was not a principal, but acting in quality of
servant to the House. At four in the morning the Mayor went to the
Tower, where the Common Council voted that tables should be kept for
him and Alderman Oliver. Brass Crosby, the Lord Mayor, was originally
a low attorney, and had married his master’s widow, and afterwards
the widow of a carcass-butcher. With their fortunes he trafficked in
seamen’s tickets,--a mean and disreputable kind of usury. Nor were
his manners more creditable than his professions. When he entered
the Tower he was half drunk, swore, and behaved with a jollity
ill-becoming the gravity of his office or cause. Had his behaviour
been solemn or dignified, the novelty of the City’s chief magistrate
imprisoned in defence of the City’s pretended franchises, might have
made a very serious sensation.[176] Oliver, though decent, was a young
fellow unknown; nor had any of their associates character or conduct
sufficient to manage a machine so important, which soon split into
squabbles, and fell to pieces without noise.

The House of Commons again ordered that Wilkes should attend them on
the Monday seven-night after the holidays, not desiring he should
attend, but as if they meant to leave a precedent which men of more
spirit might follow hereafter. Yet did they not adjourn till the
Thursday in Passion week, when they might have sent for him; but they
ordered their new committee to sit during the recess.

On the 29th the King went to the House, was violently hissed, and
had an apple thrown at him, which passed over his coach. Wedderburne
was severely abused by Colonel Barré, and made a wretched defence,
pleading that he had not deserted the Opposition but on the death of
Grenville, to whom alone he had been attached; but having asserted that
he knew taverns had been opened in Westminster for the mob, and that he
could prove there had been men hired to make a riot, a committee was
appointed to inquire into the late disturbances, of which Wedderburne
was named chairman. T. Townshend, jun., observed, that while the
Members were raging with such severity against printers, a crown-living
of 800_l._ a-year was conferred on Scott, an abandoned priest attached
to Lord Sandwich, and author of “Anti-Sejanus,” “Panurge,” “Cinna,” and
many other most scurrilous libels.[177]

On the last day of the month Lord Rockingham, with a train of Lords
and Commoners in sixteen coaches, went to the Tower to visit the
Lord Mayor. They disapproved his conduct, they said, yet paid him
that regard because he had been obstructed from making his defence;
yet these ingenious persons wondered they had not more followers and
devotees, while they took such pains to show how carefully they kept
themselves out of difficulties, and how passively they left their
friends in them!

Alderman Oliver, in answer to a compliment from the Common Council,
wrote a very bold letter to them, in which he set forth the unhappiness
of the King’s Government through the councils of an Administration,
_abject abroad and insolent at home_.

April the 1st, a great mob went to Tower Hill with two carts, in which
were figures representing the Princess Dowager and Lord Bute, attended
by a hearse. The figures were beheaded by chimney sweepers, and then
burnt. A like ceremony was performed a few days after with figures of
Lord Halifax, Lord Barrington, Alderman Harley, Lord Sandwich, De Grey,
member for Norfolk, Colonel Lutterell, and George Onslow; and their
supposed dying speeches were cried about the streets.

The committee of Common Council, appointed to guard the interests of
the Lord Mayor and Alderman Oliver, directed their solicitor to apply
to Serjeant Glynn, Dunning, or Lee, and under their direction to move
for the _habeas corpus_ of the prisoners, unlawfully (as the committee
conceived) detained in the Tower. On this the two magistrates, the writ
being obtained, were carried before the Lord Chief Justice De Grey, and
then before Lord Mansfield, but were remanded to prison by both, each
Chief Justice refusing to release them, as they had been committed by
Parliament then sitting.

The grand jury did not pay an equal deference to the House, but found
bills of indictment against their messenger for the assault and false
imprisonment of Miller, the printer; and against Edward Twine Carpenter
for a like assault on John Wheble, under pretence of the King’s

Still the cause of the magistrates did not gain ground. The merchants
were offended at a report spread by Wilkes’s faction that there was
a run on the Bank. But an open quarrel between Wilkes and Horne
contributed more than all the efforts of the Court to ruin their cause.
The total breach happened at the Society of the Bill of Rights, which
Horne moved to dissolve, but was overruled by 26 to 24. Horne, however,
with Townshend, Sawbridge, and others, withdrew their names, because
the other faction would not consent to rescind the vote of restricting
the subscription to the payment of Wilkes’s debts. A motion, too, that
was made in the company of City Artillery, for thanking the imprisoned
magistrates for their behaviour, was rejected by a majority of three

Still, had the Opposition had sense or union, the weakness of the
Ministers would have opened a fair field to their attempts. They
adjourned over the day appointed for Wilkes’s appearance. Their two
committees came to nothing. Lord George Germaine, Lord John Cavendish,
and Frederick Montagu, whom out of candour they had added to the
quorum, would not attend it, nor even a sufficient number of their
own friends; nor though Thurlow and the stauncher courtiers suggested
bills of pains and penalties, and would have disabled the prisoners
from holding any office, would Lord North give in to any violence. As
he had been more severe before he was a principal, and as he gave other
subsequent proofs of wanting resolution, his moderation was, with some
justice, imputed to timidity.

On the 10th of April, when Lord North opened the budget, T. Townshend
reflected on Lord Holland as author of the proscriptions at the
beginning of the reign. Charles Fox said he did not believe his father
had any hand in them; but if he had, it was right to break the power
of the aristocracy that had governed in the name of the late King.
Charles Fox asked me afterwards in private if the accusation against
his father was just. I replied, I could not but say it was. In strict
truth, heavy as the reproaches were that were cast on the Court, there
was but too much foundation for them. Even the King’s virtues had a
mischievous tendency. His piety was very equivocal, and calculated, in
a great measure, to secure the influence of the clergy, and palliate
his despotic views. His economy, such as it was, for great sums he
wasted childishly, was the forced result of the expense he was at to
corrupt the Parliament, and maintain a very unwilling majority. He now
laid aside his intention of building a small palace he had begun at
Richmond; and deferred as long as he could an installation of Knights
of the Garter, and the establishment of a household for the Prince of
Wales. Every post, every office, that could be bestowed on the Scots
without immediate clamour, was heaped on them; and great gratitude
must at least be allowed to them. They steadfastly supported the parts
assigned to them, and acted upon a regular plan. In the beginning
of the reign, Lady Charlotte Edwin, a sort of favourite lady of the
bedchamber to the Princess of Wales, dropped this memorable expression
to me:--“_Things are not yet ripe_.” The swarms of Scots that crowded
and were gladly received into the army and into the corps of marines,
a body into which few English deigned to enlist, were no doubt placed
there to bring things to a maturity, or protect them when brought to it.

The care of the Prince of Wales was a trust no less important. Two
points only were looked to in his education. The first was, that he
should not be trusted to anything but a ductile cypher; the other,
that he should be brought up with due affection for regal power; in
other words, he was to be the slave of his father, and the tyrant of
his people. Praise is due even to those who execute ably their own
views, let those views be ever so bad. The governors selected for the
Prince were chosen very suitably to the plan I have mentioned. The
King pitched upon Lord Holderness to officiate as the solemn phantom
or governor; Lord Mansfield recommended Dr. Markham, the master of
Westminster School, a creature of his own, sprung out of the true
prerogative seminary, at Christchurch, Oxford, a pert, arrogant man, to
fill the post of preceptor;[178] and thus was the heir of the Crown not
likely to degenerate. Lord North, the nominal First Minister, had the
mortification of finding that he was rather a necessary than agreeable
tool, for he knew nothing of these designations till they were ready to
be notified to the public.

This arrangement had nothing in it but what was to be expected. That
a man, the very reverse of all those who were in favour at Court,
should have been admitted into this junto, was real matter of surprise;
and can only be accounted for by the security of the King and his
Cabal, in having blocked up the chief avenues to the Prince. One
Jackson, an ingenious young man, recommended by Lady Charlotte Finch,
governess of the royal children,[179] was named sub-preceptor;[180]
but the person at whom I hinted, and who was appointed sub-governor,
was Mr. Leonard Smelt, whose singular virtues and character deserve
to be recorded independently of his office. He was younger son of a
gentleman in Yorkshire, and had a commission in the Office of Ordnance,
which he threw up, finding no attention paid by his superiors to his
representation of many abuses there. He fell in love with the niece
of General Guest in Scotland, but retired thence to avoid her, as
he had not fortune sufficient to maintain her. Another young lady,
heiress to great wealth, conceived a passion for him, and obtained
her father’s consent before she acquainted Mr. Smelt with her passion,
which he had not suspected;--so far from it, he swooned away with
surprise and concern, when the father offered him his daughter. Mr.
Smelt confessed his former engagement, refused the lady, and again
retired. Soon after this his father died, and disinheriting his
elder son, who had disobliged him, bequeathed his whole fortune to
Leonard. The first act of this excellent young man was to marry his
beloved first mistress; the second to settle half his fortune on his
brother’s children. His principles in public life were as generous as
in private; a steady friend to the constitution of his country, he had
signed the Yorkshire remonstrance to the King against the intrusion
of Lutterell into the House of Commons. His next introduction to his
Majesty was as sub-preceptor to his son: happy for the Prince had
he had no other governor--at least, no other director of his morals
and opinions of government! But Mr. Smelt had neither authority to
instruct his pupil in matters of state, nor perhaps discernment enough
to baffle the insidious lessons of his associates, for he was ignorant
of the world as well as of its depravity.[181] Being a neighbour of
Lord Holderness, the latter introduced him, and he was received,
notwithstanding his disqualification as a patriot. The principles of
a subaltern were believed to be pliant. Lord Holderness himself owed
his preferment to his insignificance and to his wife, a lady of the
bedchamber to the Queen, as she did hers to her daughter’s governess,
whom the Queen had seduced from her to the great vexation of Lady
Holderness. The governess, a French Protestant,[182] ingratiated her
late mistress with the Queen, and her mistress soon became a favourite
next to the German women.

While this new seminary of favourites was arranging, those of the King
were the objects of the Opposition’s reproaches. In a debate on the
11th, in which they were attacked, Sir Gilbert Elliot defending them,
gave occasion to an admired speech of T. Townshend,[183] who, taking
for his text that line of Pope:--

  “As Selkirk,[184] if he lives, will love the Prince,”

drew a severe picture of the Scotch favourites under the character of
Lord Selkirk, and applied to them a still more bitter story of Lockart,
Cromwell’s Ambassador in France, who having acted in that province
under the Parliament and Oliver, and being at last employed on a like
commission by Charles the Second, Cardinal Mazarin taunting him with
this versatility, and asking him from whom he came then, he replied
he was _le serviteur des évènemens_.[185] _The King’s friends_, said
Townshend, should not wear that title, but ought to call themselves,
_les serviteurs des évènemens_. Sir Gilbert Elliot took up the defence
of _the King’s friends_, and said, though all parties abused them,
all had courted them; and that Mr. Dowdeswell and his connection on
coming into power, had pressed them to keep their places. Dowdeswell,
with spirit not usual to him, denied the fact, and told this anecdote.
When Lord Rockingham had meditated the plan of a free port, Elliot,
Dyson, and the King’s friends declared against it. Still the Ministers
had persisted, and Cooper, Secretary of the Treasury, was ordered to
move it, but came in a fright, and said the friends would oppose it.
Dowdeswell said he had snatched the bill from Cooper, and had added,
he would be damned if they dared. He had moved it; they had not opened
their lips for or against it, but had voted for it, and so they always
would if the Ministers had courage; but Lord North, he saw, would not
take enough upon him.

On the other side, Wilkes declared his intention of standing for
Sheriff of Middlesex the following year, and applied to Alderman Oliver
to join him in that pursuit. Oliver declined the offer, saying that his
and Wilkes’s principles did not agree; and added that himself and his
brother had contributed a tenth of the subscriptions for the payment
of Wilkes’s debts, which he thought sufficient, and as the expense of
the Shrievalty was a burthen in common between both Sheriffs, he would
not subject himself to pay what Wilkes could not pay. This was a new
blow on the latter, and not balanced by a gleam of applause paid to his
imprisoned Lord Mayor. The Burgesses of Newcastle addressed him, and
Bedford complimented him with the freedom of their town. Worcester,
Stafford, Caermarthen, Pembroke, and Cardigan, addressed both him and
Alderman Oliver. The Lord Mayor was carried by _habeas corpus_ to
the Court of Common Pleas, but was remanded, the Chief Justice, De
Grey, declaring that the House of Commons had authority over their own
members. Alderman Oliver was, at the end of the same month, carried in
like manner before the Barons of the Exchequer, who remanded him for
the same reason.

The reverse of fortune was falling on the Parliaments of France,
where their resistance on one hand, and the bold despotism of the
Chancellor Maupeou on the other, had brought things to extremities.
Maréchal Richelieu in the King’s name dissolved the Cour des Aides;
fifty _mousquetaires_ had been sent to the members of that court with
_lettres de cachet_, ordering them to be assembled in their court by
seven o’clock the next morning, with injunctions not to debate or
protest, but to await in silence his Majesty’s commands. Ordinarily,
the princes of the blood were charged with those commands; but forms
were not observed when fundamentals were annihilated. Richelieu was
selected, and arriving, would have placed himself in the seat of the
First President, but the members opposed, and said none but princes of
the blood had a right to that place. He insisted; they declared they
would withdraw; he gave it up and took a lower seat. A counsellor who
had accompanied the Maréchal then harangued on the King’s power, and
on what did not appear quite so self-evident--on the King’s goodness;
and then read an edict suppressing that council, become useless, he
said, by the new establishment of six superior councils. This was
palliated by a declaration that the King did not propose to lay aside
men of their merit; on the contrary, he invited them to enter into his
new Parliament. The Advocate-General replied to this fine harangue,
urging that none of his brethren could take a part in a Parliament that
must always be illegal, as he proved by the laws and constitutions of
the kingdom. The Maréchal, then rising, ordered the members to retire,
which they refused to do; he threatened to force their obedience. They
replied, it was not their profession to fight, that they must submit
to force, and withdrew. Ten of them were banished ten leagues from
Paris. The King then held a bed of justice at Versailles, to which were
summoned the Princes of the Blood, the Dukes and Peers, and the Grand
Council. The Princes disobeyed and would not attend,--all but the Comte
de la Marche, only son of the Prince de Conti, who, being at variance
with his father, adhered to the King. The Grand Council were reinstated
and converted into a Parliament in the place of that dissolved. The
King declared this was his will, and that he should never change it.
Twelve Dukes, among whom were even Maréchal Richelieu’s own son,
Fronsac, and the courtly Nivernois, protested against this proceeding.
The Princes of the Blood were forbidden the Court for their
disobedience; the twelve Dukes were only frowned upon.[186] I shall
resume this subject again before the end of the year.

The Court of Spain now notified to us that they were satisfied of our
pacific intentions, and should disarm. Orders were immediately given
for our doing the same. Thus the distractions in France prevented a war
for which the King of Spain was personally eager.

On the 23rd of April the bill for raising an East Indian regiment was,
after many and long debates, rejected. Lord North had taken no part in
it, but the officers had raised great objections to it, as preventive
of their recruiting; and General Harvey, a favourite, had instilled
those prejudices into the King, heightened a little, probably, by
Harvey’s jealousy of Conway, who favoured the plan. Many good men
approved it likewise, as a method of putting a stop to the infamous
practice of kidnapping, which was much used by the East India Company.

Two days after this, Serjeant Glynn presented a petition to the
House from Allen, the father of the young man killed in St. George’s
Fields, praying an inquiry might be made into that murder. Burke and
Dowdeswell supported the petition. Alderman Townshend reflected on
Sir William Meredith for having interfered in behalf of the condemned
chairmen, and called it false lenity to murderers. Meredith said, he
hoped such lenity was allowable; that it was at least as excusable as
going about to stir up murder on the score of party. Townshend said in
answer, that neither did he decline challenges--alluding to Meredith’s
not having answered a challenge from Captain Allen. Lord Barrington
excused himself on the orders he had given to the soldiers; and Colonel
Onslow said the petition was calculated to tell the people that they
might mob the Parliament. The motion was so stale, and the charge of so
ancient a date, that it was rejected by 158 to 32, though the House sat
till eleven at night.

On the 28th Alderman Sawbridge proposed a bill for triennial
Parliaments, but no attention was paid to it, nor answer made by the
Ministers. It was rejected by 105 to 54, the Rockingham party not
liking the measure. Mr. Cornwall moved for a prohibition of dispensing
lottery-tickets to Members of Parliament (a list of the receivers of
which was published); but this, as a decenter species of corruption,
was maintained by 118 to 31.

On the last day of the month the ministerial committee that had
been appointed to consider on the means of ascertaining the power
of Parliament, at last made their report; it was long, foolish, and
trifling, was universally ridiculed, particularly by Burke, and
ended there. They had wished to drop it, but Sir Fletcher Norton,
thinking it would inspire some awe for the House--at least, to his
person--threatened to resign the Chair if at least some effort at
an opinion was not made. The other committee, which Wedderburne had
proposed and headed, and from which he had promised great discoveries,
ended still more disgracefully in no report at all! Sir George Saville
treated him with much scorn, saying, it was extraordinary that he who,
two years ago, could discover so many grievances, could not at present
produce one, though supported by all the authority of Parliament.

On the first of May Lord Chatham moved one of his tedious and obscure
resolutions, tending to petition the King to dissolve the Parliament,
in order to allay heats between the undefined rights of Parliament
and the magistracy (of London). He said he saw the approaching
destruction of liberty, and would sooner go to Switzerland, America,
or to Constantinople, should it fall under the power of Russia. The
Chancellor, even Bathurst, answered him with contempt--Lord Mansfield
seriously--Lord Sandwich sarcastically wishing him a good journey to
Switzerland, and quoting the fate of an orator at Geneva, whose brains
had lately been knocked out by a brickbat in a tumult there. The motion
was rejected by 72 to 22.

The 6th had been appointed for the Lords’ hearing the appeal in the
cause between Lord Chatham and the relations of Sir William Pynsent,
which had been referred to the Judges. They came, prepared to deliver
their opinions, five on the one side and three on the other. They
were going to speak, when Lord Mansfield suddenly arrived, and told
them a new idea had struck him, which he was sure would reconcile
their sentiments. He gave it; they put up their papers, saying, they
should all return on the morrow of one opinion, and retired. On the
8th they concurred in Lord Chatham’s favour, and the House decided

This proceeding was imputed to mean court or timidity in Mansfield. In
truth, this session had been notoriously marked by partialities and
personal considerations. Lord Pomfret had carried his cause by gross
favour of the Court Lords.[188] Lord Mansfield, in compliment to Lord
Lyttelton, whose daughter was married to the pretender to the title of
Anglesey,[189] had gone great lengths to serve the latter, though in
vain; and Lord Lyttelton had as openly declined opposition to secure
Lord Mansfield’s patronage. Lord Camden, though more connected with
Lord Lyttelton, had carried himself with less bias. The borough of
Shoreham had been unjustly punished by the House of Commons, who opened
the right of voting there to all Sussex, because seventy members of
what was called the Christian Club had set their votes to sale, while
ninety innocent voters remained untainted. Lord North, trusting the
Lords would not confirm the sentence, let it pass, but the Lords passed
it too.[190] A bill prohibiting divorced women from remarrying, was
thrown out by the credit of Lord Beauchamp and Charles Fox. A bill
for promoting the navigation of Chester, and which had passed the
Commons, was rejected by the Lords, solely because it would prejudice
the Duke of Bridgwater’s navigation; and Adam, the Scotch architect,
was supported by the King and the Scots with success against the City
of London, on whose territory and rights he had encroached with his
new buildings at Durham Yard, to which he and his brothers gave the
affected name of the Adelphi.

The session was to rise on the 9th of May, but as the Lord Mayor
and Alderman Oliver would _ipso facto_ be at liberty the moment the
Parliament was no longer sitting, the King, for fear of the mob, who
would be assembled to escort the suffering magistrates from the Tower,
stole unexpectedly to the House of Lords, made a very soothing speech,
and put an end to the session. The two prisoners were conducted in
ceremony to their houses; and at night the City was much illuminated,
but without any tumult.

It is difficult to say which made the more contemptible figure on
this conclusion of the City’s resistance,--the King and the House of
Commons on one side, or the Opposition and the City’s magistrates on
the other. The latter by disunion rendered themselves ridiculous and
insignificant; and yet neither the Crown nor House of Commons dared to
take advantage of the neglect into which the two martyrs were fallen.
If the King comforted himself with views of future aggrandizement by
the humiliations of the Opposition, it must be owned that he bought
those prospects with most disgraceful mortifications. Surely it
had been more glorious to have purchased the love of his people by
condescensions and reverence for the constitution. It was pitiful
consolation, and beneath the majesty of ambition, to sit a tacit
spectator of the persecution of Wilkes by his friends, when all the
artillery of Government had been vainly employed to fulminate so
worthless a man!

No sooner was the session at an end, than the paper war which had been
carried on anonymously between Wilkes and parson Horne, broke out under
their respective names with redoubled violence.[191] They told all they
knew of each other, and yet proved nothing but little tricks, foolish
vanities, and suspicions of each other. Men wondered they had nothing
worse to say. Horne appeared to have scarce any parts, and Wilkes not
much better. These peevish jarrings diverted them from exposing and
making advantage of the weakness of the Court in its conduct towards
the magistrates. All Wilkes, his Lord Mayor, or the remnant of the
Bill of Rights attempted, and that without success, was a test in all
boroughs where candidates should be sworn, to try to obtain shorter
Parliaments, the removal of pensioners and placemen from the House of
Commons, and a more equal representation.

Things being quiet, Lord Bute stole again into England; from a mixture
of timidity and pride he had been wandering about Italy incognito,
under his private name of Sir John Stuart.

At the beginning of June died three men in great offices. The first was
Lord Strange, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; a man of whom much
has been said in these Memoirs.[192] He died suddenly at Bath, aged
fifty-five. The second was George Montagu, Earl of Halifax, Lord Privy
Seal. He was of the same age, but had outlived the reputation of parts,
which in his youth he had been supposed to have, his fortune, and his
constitution, the latter of which he had destroyed by drinking, and his
fortune by waste and deliberate neglect. The third was Richard Trevor,
Bishop of Durham, a dull proud man, neither respected nor censured.

The young Earl of Suffolk succeeded Lord Halifax as Secretary of
State,--a post he had declined a few months before on the want of
languages, which he certainly had not acquired in so short an interval.
The late Prime Minister, the Duke of Grafton,[193] succeeded Suffolk
in the Privy Seal; but, with proud humility, desired not to be called
to the Cabinet, where he would only have been subordinate. Lord Hyde
was made Chancellor of the Duchy; Dr. Egerton, Bishop of Lichfield and
Coventry, was removed to Durham, and was succeeded by Dr. North,[194]
brother of the Minister.

On the 21st of April, the young Prince of Wales, and his brother, the
Bishop of Osnabrugh, were allowed, under the conduct of their new
governor, the Earl of Holderness, to go to Gravesend, and see the
men-of-war and Indiamen lying there. There was nothing remarkable
in this; but it was so that the King himself, the Sovereign of an
island and of a maritime power, had never seen the sea, nor ever been
thirty miles from London at the age of thirty-four; so great was his
indolence, and the restraint in which his mother had kept him!

On the 24th, the poll began for sheriffs of Middlesex. Wilkes from
the first had by far the greatest show of hands for him, and Alderman
Oliver the fewest,--the consequence of his connection with Shelburne’s
faction, whose opposition to Wilkes recoiled on themselves, and who
were hissed and ill-treated by the mob. The Livery assembled on that
occasion determined to make another remonstrance to the King, and the
Lord Mayor offered to present it, which was accepted. One Bull, a
devotee of Wilkes, joined him; but Kirkman, a ministerial alderman,
gained ground on them, till the indiscretion of the courtiers, who
laboured indefatigably to defeat Wilkes, overthrew their own purpose.
An imprudent letter from Lord North’s secretary to a voter being made
public, it enraged the Livery, and Wilkes and Bull were chosen. Little
less offence was taken at a party novel,[195] written by the profligate
hireling Smollett, to vindicate the Scots and cry down juries.

The remonstrance being ready, the Lord Chamberlain wrote to the Lord
Mayor, that his Majesty would not receive more persons with the
remonstrance than were allowed by law. This was resented, but complied

The Chevalier D’Eon, of whom I have given an account, occasioned at
this period much and strange discourse. A notion had for some time
prevailed that he was a woman in man’s habit. The Duc de Choiseul
believed it from the report of a female English spy who pretended to be
certain of it from having washed his linen; and as the report spread,
it gained farther credit from assertions that he never dressed himself
before any witness, nor could any of his comrades recollect an instance
of his amours. His beard, though black, was inconsiderable; and though
he was strong and an excellent fencer, his legs had a feminine turn. At
first he pretended to resent the report, but afterwards spoke and wrote
so dubiously on his sex, that the most judicious suspected him for
author of the fable from interested views. Sometimes he disappeared and
returned again, till by the usual discrepancy of opinions, very great
sums were wagered on the question; and he, though he denied the charge
in print, was taxed with encouraging those bets in order to share the
spoil, according as he should pronounce on his own gender: but the
question came to no issue, and was forgotten like other legends of the

In August this year I again went to Paris, and was witness to the
final overthrow of their constitution. Since the removal of the Duc
de Choiseul, no Prime Minister had been named. Over the King’s mind
Madame du Barry had almost unlimited ascendant, except that she could
not prevail on him to place his confidence on the Duc d’Aiguillon,
who certainly intrigued with her husband’s sister, a very sensible
woman, and was suspected of having secured the mistress herself to his
interest by the same _attention_. Yet, whether it was owing to the
King’s aversion to strangers, or that Choiseul had instilled lasting
prejudices into his mind against D’Aiguillon, the latter could not
entirely surmount them. He was a dark, violent, and vindictive man,
with less parts than passions; but the rancour borne to him and the
mortifications it had brought on him, had taught him to curb his
temper; and he now affected universal benignity and condescension;
proceeding even to obtain the arrears of the pension due to La
Chalotais, the patriot magistrate of Bretagne, whom he had so cruelly
oppressed. Yet would not this ostentatious benevolence have expunged
the odium his persecutions had created, if another man had not
presented himself as a still more offensive object to the indignation
of the public. This was the Chancellor Maupeou, a man who had mounted
by the regular steps of villany from flattery through treachery to
tyranny. He had affected such loathsome idolatry of Choiseul that
he had been heard to declare he would on no consideration change
his house, because, from the upper windows, he could survey at least
the chimneys of the Hôtel de Choiseul. Yet while there was but a
very dubious prospect of that Minister’s disgrace, Maupeou, then
only Vice-Chancellor, had betrayed such symptoms of his ambition and
hostile designs that the friends of the Duc de Choiseul earnestly
exhorted him not to raise a secret enemy higher. Choiseul, with his
usual rashness of confidence in himself, replied, “I know Maupeou is
a rogue, but there is nobody so fit to be Chancellor;” and Chancellor
he made him. Maupeou, who thought himself fitter to be Minister,
did not pique himself on gratitude, and was a capital instrument in
the Duke’s disgrace. I never saw character written in more legible
features than in those of Maupeou. He was sallow and black, with eyes
equally penetrating, acute, and suspicious. His complexion spoke
determinate villany; his eyes seemed either roving in quest of prey
for it, or glaring on snares that he apprehended. His parts were
great and his courage adventurous. Power was his object, despotism
his road, the clergy his instruments: but the hardness and cruelty of
his nature showed that severity was as agreeable to his temper as to
his views.[197] Not being qualified like D’Aiguillon to shine in a
voluptuous Court where a woman governed, and probably having noticed
the tendency of the King’s gloomy mind to superstition, he reckoned,
not injudiciously, on the triumph that bigotry would gain over love
in a veteran Monarch; and accordingly insinuated himself into the
confidence of the King’s Carmelite daughter, Madame Louise, the almost
only engine that the Church of Rome had employed in the spirit of its
ancient maxims during its late disgraces. At that Princess’s cell,
the Chancellor obtained weekly audiences of his master: and though,
during the suspense of power, Maupeou and D’Aiguillon acted in a kind
of concert, it became notorious that the first founded his hopes on
the King’s devotion and the other on his vices. More instances than
one broke out of this contrast of piety and irreligion, not only in
the King but in his own family. His daughters had all been bred by the
Queen to habitual strictness. They were very weak women; but Madame
Adelaide, the eldest, was something more--she was gallant.[198] One or
two of her ladies had been punished many years before for furnishing
her with indecent novels; and the King, whose palace was a brothel, in
the very sight of his wife and daughters, had expressed great offence
at that scandal. Madame Adelaide, though not corrected, yet become
more wary, was suspected of covering her private history with the
cloak of religion, or rather with that of the Bishop of Senlis, an
ambitious prelate: and it was probably by his suggestions that she drew
her sister, Madame Victoire, into a step very contradictory to their
professions, for all the King’s daughters engaged warmly in hostilities
against the new mistress. Soon after the Duc de Choiseul’s fall, Madame
Victoire sent, on a feigned pretence, for the Bishop of Orleans, who
had the _feuille de bénéfices_. The Bishop, though possessed of the
recommendation of proper churchmen, was a jolly, luxurious, dissolute
priest, who kept an opera-dancer[199] publicly at a great expense,
and lodged her in a convent. He had been a favourite of Choiseul, and
remained attached to him. After the Princess had discoursed with the
Bishop on her pretended business, she asked him negligently his opinion
of the late revolution. He replied, it did not become him to meddle
with affairs of state; but the Princess insisting, and he knowing her
an enemy to Madame du Barry, ventured to open his heart to her. The
consequences were, her betraying the conversation to her father, and
the exile of the Bishop to an abbey: nor could the prayers of his aged
mother, who begged to see him before her death, obtain a permission
for him to visit her at the capital of his diocese,--a rigour of which
the Chancellor gave many more and some similar instances in cases of
banished presidents and _avocats_ of the Parliaments.

There was another man who, though not pretending to the first place,
bore, during the King’s indecision, a large share of the public
aversion both from the necessity of his office and the rigour and
partialities with which he executed it. This was the Abbé du Terray,
the new Comptroller-General, recommended by the Chancellor. It was a
considerable addition to the Comptroller’s unpopularity that he was
wholly governed by a corrupt and rapacious mistress,[200]--a woman
so notorious for the sale of offices, that her protector was at last
forced to dismiss her; while the old Duc de la Vrillière was suffered
to indulge his concubine[201] in the same infamous venality.

Madame du Barry, as I have said, was the fountain or channel of all
these disorders. The doting Monarch was enchanted with her indelicacy,
vulgarism, and indecencies, the novelty of which seemed to him
simplicity. Her mirth was childish romping; her sallies, buffoonish
insults; her conversation, solecisms and ignorance. She pulled off the
Chancellor’s wig, spat in the Duc de Laval’s face at her levee--he
deserved it, for he let her repeat it; and the King, who deserved it
still more, she called “fool!” and bade hold his tongue. Those who
offended her, she threatened with her power; those who bowed to her,
she treated little better. To none she was generous, for herself she
was rapacious. She had two governesses of very different characters
and understandings, but the congenial idiot had most weight with her.
This was the Comtesse de Valentinois, wife of, but parted from, the
brother of the Prince of Monaco, and herself sole heiress of the Duc
de St. Simon. She was a handsome woman, finely made, but mischievous,
impertinent, and too notorious for her promiscuous amours even to pass
for gallant. The Maréchale Duchesse de Mirepoix had preceded Madame
de Valentinois in the direction of the mistress. No head was better,
no temper colder than the Maréchale’s. Of great pride, but capable
of any meanness to supply her profusions at play, she had joined the
mistress to supplant the Minister; but whether Madame du Barry’s want
of generosity chilled the Maréchale’s importunities for money, or
whether her alliance with the House of Lorrain[202] made her incapable
of digesting the low familiarities of the mistress, or whether a
prospect of ingratiating herself with the young Dauphiness, governed
by Madame Adelaide, and consequently an enemy to the mistress, swayed
the Maréchale to swerve from her plan, it is certain she conceived
and expressed both aversion and contempt for Madame du Barry, and
even declined attending her to an audience of the Dauphiness, to
which Madame de Valentinois, more compliant, introduced her. While I
was now at Paris, having been long intimate with Madame de Mirepoix
and her family, at Florence, in England, and at Paris, she told me
many anecdotes of that silly and imperious favourite, most of which
I heard attested by the general voice, or at least corroborated by
similar incidents. One I will mention. At supper with the King she
drank out of the punch-ladle, and returned it into the bowl. The King
said, “Fy donc! vous donnez votre crachat à boire à tout le monde;”
she replied “Eh bien! je veux que tout le monde boive mon crachat.”
The same night my friend Madame du Deffand asking the Maréchale what
would become of Madame du Barry should the King die? she replied
bitterly, “Elle iroit à la Salpêtrière, et elle est très faite pour
y aller.” As Madame de Mirepoix was not in the odour of sincerity,
I much suspected her of being concerned in an event of that time,
which, however, she affected to assign as the cause of her resentment
to the mistress,--I mean the disgrace of her brother, the Prince of
Beauvau, which happened during this journey of mine to Paris; and of
which I was in a situation of knowing many secret particulars, Madame
du Deffand being the confidant both of the brother and sister, as she
had been before their rupture, continuing loyal to both sides, and by
both esteemed as a woman void of intrigue. As they supped alternately
at her house several times in a week, and as her friendship for me
induced her to insist on my being admitted to their most private
conferences, I was privy to the effusions of both parties: and, indeed,
they had so little reserve before me, that one evening the Prince and
Princess of Beauvau were so explicit on their situation and enemies,
that I felt uneasy, and thinking myself an improper auditor of such
secrets, I begged permission to retire, but the Princess reproved me
sensibly, saying, “Your thinking these things improper for you to hear,
is telling us that they are improper for us to speak.” I have already
given the character of that Princess, and mentioned how deeply she
had been concerned in the disgrace of the Duc de Choiseul, in whose
fall she involved herself and her husband, who was a man of honour,
very confined in his understanding, and acquired accomplishments, which
were restrained to a pedantic purity in his own language, and who was a
mixture of bashfulness and frankness, with signal courage and unbounded
pride. To introduce his story, I must revert to the situation of his
friend, the late Minister.

The Duc de Choiseul had been ordered to restrain himself to his wife’s
estate in Touraine, where he had built a magnificent castle. There,
though overwhelmed with debts, he lived with an increase of profusion,
retaining or affecting his constitutional spirits and levity. It
was a new scene in France, a disgraced Minister still the object of
veneration and love. It was as new to see the King unpopular, or,
which in that country is synonymous, unfashionable. While Louis could
scarcely assemble a Court round him and his mistress at Versailles, at
Compiègne, the Princes of the Blood, at their several country seats,
and the Duc de Choiseul at Chanteloup, were followed by throngs of
company. The insult to the King was doubled by the disrespect paid to
his intimations; for, as nobody was allowed to resort to Chanteloup
without previously applying for his Majesty’s permission, to which
demand this oracular response was generally given, “Je ne le defends
ni le permets,” and as that oracle was interpreted, or pretended to
be interpreted, into consent, the want of respect for his inclination
could but be deemed contempt by a Prince so accustomed to have his very
looks obeyed. The mode of visiting the Duke spread, and, for a mode,
lasted long, nor was confined to his former friends; several persons
of both sexes, many ladies whom he had loved, and others who had never
loved him, affronted the King rather than be unfashionable, and the
Duke, with too much vanity and too much indifference for his friends,
encouraged the concourse; but, as may well be supposed, this triumph
did but advance his and their destruction, of which the Prince of
Beauvau was the first example.

The resolution had been taken, by the Chancellor’s advice, of
annihilating or new modelling all the Parliaments in France, which
was now executed with rigour, or at great expense, wherever the Court
could, by bribes and pensions, persuade the members to enlist in the
new system. Bourdeaux, for a day or two, resisted, to the great terror
of Maréchal Richelieu, their governor, who retreated precipitately
and sent for troops. In Languedoc the Prince of Beauvau commanded.
The King wrote to him with his own hand, telling him that, having an
intention of dissolving the Parliament of Toulouse, and knowing the
Prince’s sentiments to be contrary to that plan, he could not employ
him any longer in that province. The rest of the letter was still more
kind, but artful, demanding his frequent attendance on his person, as
one of the four captains of the guard in whom he could most securely
rely, and adding, that his Majesty had seen the time when it was not
possible to get one of them to attend him. This sentence alluded to
their absence at Chanteloup. I called even the first part of the
epistle tender, for the dismission of the Prince from his government
was a gentle method of preventing his disobedience by refusing to
break the Parliament,--a resistance that must have drawn on his
imprisonment. The Prince’s answer was very respectful, but firm. He
gave copies of both letters to Madame du Deffand, permitting her to
communicate them to me; and he added a comment on that of the King,
which fully interpreted its meaning. He said the King was so afraid of
assassination, that he dreaded not having his attendance on his person.
“He knows,” said the Prince, “my zeal and assiduity so well, that, in
the year 17--, when the Imperialists passed the Rhine, and I begged
him to allow me to set out immediately for the army, he was three
days before he would give me an answer, and it was but by repeated
importunities that I could wring from him the permission.”

The moment the Prince’s disgrace was known, the Duc d’Orleans repaired
to him, sat all day with him and the Princess, and carried them, in
the evening, into his own box at the opera. The next day that haughty
woman sat at home, receiving the homage of half France. I went in the
crowd. All day were files of coaches passing the whole length of the
Rue St. Honoré, at the end of which she lived, and no fallen Minister
in England, just commencing patriot, could behave with more insolence
and affected satisfaction; but, though nothing could bow her spirit,
her husband was reduced to take a humiliating step, and that without
success. His paternal fortune had been little or none; all he had
was from the King’s bounty. His debts were very great--his income,
by the loss of his government, reduced to a trifle. He wrote to the
King, representing his situation and begging assistance: it was coldly

Against the Parliaments the sentence went forth. Next followed the
punishment of individuals:--40,000_l._ a-year, the King’s pension to
the Duc d’Orleans, were withdrawn; and soon afterwards the command of
the Swiss Guards was taken from Choiseul: it brought him in 5000_l._
a-year, and was for life; but the King demanded his resignation,
and perpetual imprisonment would have attended the refusal. Yet
that dauntless man dared to stipulate for terms with his master. He
insisted on a promise of not being made a prisoner, and demanded an
indemnification of what he had paid for the regiment, 300,000 livres.
He was comforted with hopes of preserving his liberty; 200,000 livres
were granted, and a pension of 50,000 livres a-year for the joint lives
of him and the Duchess, to which 10,000 more were soon added,--a fall
extremely mitigated by these indulgences, and gentle if compared with
the insolence of his conduct.

To the city of Paris, and to the ruined counsellors of the Parliaments,
the Duke remained still dear. They coupled his cause with their own,
from the unity of the time. The Chancellor adopted the same idea to
incense the King against both. The depopulation of Paris ensued. So
many families were undone by the new edicts and stoppages of payments,
and so many persons attached to the late Parliament had quitted the
capital, that in less than twelve months one hundred thousand persons
were computed to have retired into the provinces, and such as could
escape into other countries. The King’s servants were unpaid; trade at
a stand; distress and dissatisfaction in every countenance. Daggers
threatened the King and Chancellor: the Comptroller-General threatened
to plunder everybody else to prevent a national bankruptcy.

Still could not the King’s favour draw observance towards his
mistress. Not above six women of rank would accept her protection
or acquaintance. Almost all the Foreign Ministers shunned her, nor
bad attended her levee--but this cloud was easily removed: Madame
de Valentinois invited them to supper, where they found Madame du
Barry. As they were not shy to her, she in her turn gave them a like
invitation;[203] they hurried to it and to her levee, the Nuncio at
their head. The Spanish Ambassador[204] alone was absent, and it passed
for an accident, as he was not at Compiègne; but on his arrival there
with the new Neapolitan Minister,[205] the Chancellor made a supper
for the same company, and invited the two strangers. The Spaniard
sent back the card, saying, he had not the honour of visiting the
Chancellor;[206] the latter with great presence of mind said, “It is
very true, and I ordered my servant to take care not to go to the
Spanish Ambassador.” But this _finesse_ palliated nothing, for neither
the Spaniard nor Neapolitan would visit the mistress. I will conclude
this long episode with a ridiculous fact. Mademoiselle L’Ange, the
mistress, had been married to the Comte du Barry, because, by a most
absurd ceremonial, it was necessary that the King’s mistress should be
a married woman.


  Election of the Lord Mayor.--Movements of the Pretender.--Conduct
    of Lord Townshend in Ireland.--Pensions.--Money Bills.--Lord
    Rockingham ceases Parliamentary Opposition.--The Army is composed
    of Scotchmen.--Sir James Lowther loses his Cause.--Court Party
    Predominant.--Private Distresses of the King.--Illness of the
    Princess Dowager and the Duke of Gloucester.--The Duke of
    Cumberland marries Colonel Lutterell’s Sister.--Her Character
    and Family.--Public Opinion on the Marriage.--Anecdote of Sir
    Robert Walpole.--The King’s Treatment of the Duke.--The Duke of
    Gloucester’s Health Improves.--Death of the Princess Dowager.


On the 12th of September died, after a very short indisposition, Mr.
Robert Wood, a man whose character was much brighter in the literary
than in the political world.

In October came on the election of the Lord Mayor. Sawbridge and
Townshend, the late Sheriffs, declared themselves candidates. The
Court were afraid publicly to interfere; but they excited the
wealthier merchants, who groaned under the ascendant of the upstart
tribunes, to make a stand against the popular faction. The idea was
eagerly embraced, and one Nash, a senior Alderman, and very opulent
grocer,[207] was set up against the two demagogues. Townshend’s friends
tried to persuade him to waive his pretensions in favour of Sawbridge,
that the popular interest might not be divided; but acquiescence and
prudence were not the tone of that Opposition. Nash was grievously
insulted and almost killed in his passage to the election; but, in the
Hall, Wilkes himself was more the object of attacks, both Sawbridge
and Townshend reviling him, and the latter hinting at his insertion of
abusive paragraphs in the newspapers. Wilkes challenged them both to
prove their accusations. Townshend equivocated; Sawbridge denied his
having alluded to Wilkes. These squabbles, and the outrageous behaviour
of Captain Allen, who vomited out invectives against the House of
Commons[208] on his own case, raised such heats and dissensions, that
Nash was elected Mayor, and Townshend driven out of the court with
hisses. Between him and Wilkes a war of words and libels and giving
the lie ensued; Wilkes, with impudent humour, abused Townshend for
having reflected illiberally on the Princess of Wales in the House of
Commons. On entering on his shrievalty, Wilkes canvassed for popularity
by ordering the irons of criminals to be knocked off during their
trials, and by allowing all persons to enter the court without paying
for admittance; but this reformation created so much crowding and
disturbance, that the magistrates were forced to interpose. To balance
these attempts, Townshend refused, as he had often promised, to pay the
land-tax for Middlesex, on the pretended plea that the county was not
legally represented; but his goods being distrained, nobody chose to be
a confessor in the same cause.

At the beginning of the month the Pretender suddenly disappeared, in
the most secret manner, and with scarce any attendance. As France
had lately sent the Marquis de Viomenil, an able general, with
sixty officers, to Poland, it was supposed that she favoured that
adventurer in his pursuit of a crown that tottered on the head of the
wearer, and to which Stuart, by his mother Sobieski, was allied. The
first news learned of him was, that he was at Paris, protected by
the Duc d’Aiguillon, who had always wished well to his cause. This
was, however, soon denied; and it was pretended that the Marquis de
Fitzjames, grandson of the Duke of Berwick, had received orders from
Versailles to re-conduct the Prince, his cousin, to Genoa. In the
streets of that city chance gave him and the Duke of Gloucester to
meet. They bowed, turned back, and both smiled. During the Pretender’s
eclipse, the Cardinal of York being questioned on the motive of his
brother’s journey, replied enigmatically, “He is gone whither he should
have gone a year ago;” a sentence not understood till six months after,
when it came out that Stuart had gone to Paris to see the Princess of
Stolberg, whom he married there by proxy in the March following,--no
contradiction of the idea that D’Aiguillon favoured the House of
Stuart. He had long countenanced the Jesuits, though the emergence of
party now obliged him, in opposition to the Chancellor, to take the
contrary part.

In Ireland the scene was very turbulent. Lord Townshend’s conduct
was equally insolent and preposterous. He set the whole nation at
defiance; shut himself up with a low woman and her friends, and at his
own table publicly ridiculed all parties, declaring he knew he could,
and declaring he would buy a majority. Nor was this silly profligacy
confined within the palace. He wrote satiric ballads on friends and
foes, and distributed them without reserve. To the shame of the Irish
Parliament, and to the dishonour of the English Government, that
still supported such a buffoon, a list of pensions to the amount of
25,000_l._ a-year was sent by him to London, and though delayed, was
not rejected. Still as the English Administration demurred on the
demand, they who had promised their votes for promises, not seeing
the conditions performed, threw their weight into the opposite scale,
lest the Viceroy, profiting of their acquiescence, should afterwards
frustrate their hopes. These fluctuations, and the acrimony of the rest
of the Opposition, who were men of parts superior to those employed
by the Lord-Lieutenant, cost the Castle a question early in the
session; nor were its advocates prepared to support even the address
on the speech; for the capricious ruler had neither sent a copy of
the speech to England, nor communicated it to many in office. It was
consequently composed with his Lordship’s usual want of judgment,
and gave much offence by charging the deficiencies of the revenue
on the improvements of the country, whereas they flowed notoriously
from the late long prorogation of Parliament. This defeat alarmed the
Court of England, but instead of recalling the culpable Viceroy, they
granted him his full catalogue of pensions, excepting only 2000_l._
a-year to his secretary, Sir George Maccartney, who being son-in-law
of Lord Bute, it was not thought advisable to furnish so unpopular
a topic to either country.[209] The confirmation of their pensions
soon recalled the stragglers, and procured a considerable majority
to the Castle; but the debates were so long, and were followed by
such zealous libations, that Dr. Lucas, the Wilkes of Ireland, fell
a victim to his patriotic fatigues. Still the wanton intemperance of
Lord Townshend’s tongue and conduct, and a further stretch of authority
in erecting new wards of revenue for the sake of multiplying offices,
once more turned the scale, and by the end of November he lost a
question against a majority of 46, who voted that it appeared to the
House by evidence that the former boards of Custom and Excise had been
sufficient, and that there was no want of more commissioners. Many of
the placed voted against the Castle. The late pension to Dyson had
given much additional disgust, being a formal breach of the King’s
promise given by the Duke of Northumberland that no more pensions for
terms of years should be granted but on extraordinary occasions: and
the Irish Attorney-General being asked what such occasions were, had
replied, On such cases as Sir Edward Hawke’s and Prince Ferdinand’s.
Was Dyson’s pension a violation of that engagement, or was such a
prostitute tool of office a proper pendent to the victor of the Spanish
navy, or to the hero of Minden? Those ill-humours, it was feared,
would induce the House of Commons not to send over the money bills;
yet so great was the attachment of the Irish Whigs to the English
Government, that they did transmit the bills hither, content with
resolving, by a majority of one vote only, that they would make no
provision for Dyson’s pension. A fresh indiscretion, negligence, or
trick, turned the scale once more against the Castle. Two copies of
all bills, for fear of miscarriage, are always sent by different roads
to Dublin. In one copy of the returned bills which happened to arrive
first, the English Attorney-General, to whom they were referred, had
omitted the word “cottons.” The Irish Commons, who deny the Crown’s
right of altering a money bill, flamed at the omission, and though the
exact copy arrived four days after the former, and was offered to the
House by the Lord-Lieutenant, the tenacious Commons adhered to their
rejection. The English Government immediately abandoned the alteration,
but, to preserve the King’s pretensions to a power of altering a money
bill, they changed the monosyllable _and_ for _or_, which was accepted
in Ireland, and returned time enough to save the expiration of the
annual duties; yet the time pressed so much, that orders were sent
to the Custom-house officers at Dublin, to plead the recess for the
Christmas holidays, as an excuse for not clearing several ships then in
port, who, as the annual bill was on the point of expiring, would not
have paid the duties. It was marvellous in the eyes of most men that
after such repeated mismanagement Lord Townshend should be suffered to
retain his government. Many imputed it to his favour with Lord Bute;
yet his daily insults to Sir George Maccartney, the Earl’s son-in-law,
gave him little title to that patronage. I believe two other causes
contributed to Lord Townshend’s impunity: one, the difficulty of
finding a successor, every man of character or prudence dreading the
abuse or the expense attendant on that post; the other was the King’s
satisfaction in being able to govern one of his kingdoms, at least, by
so worthless a Minister--for to be able to do wrong to a whole nation
is the flowering time of prerogative. The Earl of Shannon was soon
after gained over by hereditary corruption, and Lord Townshend remained

I shall briefly recapitulate a few incidents that fell out in the
remainder of the year, and then close these long Memoirs with two
events, of which, one was a royal marriage of the most extraordinary
complexion, the other a royal death, which put an end to an influence
that had given colour to all the troubles of the present reign.

Lord Rockingham and his friends, wearied out by continual defeats, the
consequences, in a good measure, of their own weak conduct, determined
to sit still and give over parliamentary opposition, unless any new
invasions of the constitution by the Crown should awaken the people
to resistance, or foreign troubles should give an opportunity of
attacking the Court by its becoming unpopular; for one of the evils of
bad government is, that even the best men are apt to regard foreign
disgraces as small misfortunes, when they serve to check the insolence
of domestic tyranny. Yet might war be an additional evil; success
would advance the power of the Crown, and such unrelaxed attention to
recruiting the army with Scotchmen had been kept up, that the King
had reason to depend on blind obedience from a great proportion of
it. The marines were almost all Scots. The haughty English were too
much at their ease to enlist in that despised service. The Scots, with
not less pride, were never stubborn to their interest. A new occasion
gave handle to reviving abuse on that nation and on their countryman
Lord Mansfield. One Eyre, a wealthy citizen, had been detected in
stealing writing-paper from public offices, was tried and convicted
of that mean pilfering. He had married a Scottish woman, and three of
her kinsmen solicited the Chief Justice to allow him to be bailed,
which was granted. This partiality occasioning clamour, the three Scots
avowed and defended in the public papers what they had done, which but
increased the scandal and redoubled the abuse on their nation. It was a
greater triumph to the discontented, that the cause between Sir James
Lowther and the Duke of Portland for Inglewood Forest being at last
heard, the former was non-suited, his counsel, Sir Fletcher Norton, now
Speaker, having forgotten, in drawing the grant, to insert a reserve
of the third part of the rent to the Crown. But these were trifling
consolations. The Court was predominant at home; Wilkes was fallen,
the City was recovering from the dominion of the popular tribunes,
the Rockingham party was crest-fallen, and now came news that Spain
had actually restored to us the Falkland Islands, which it had been
doubted she ever would surrender. Thus was the King at peace both at
home and abroad, after a vexatious and ignominious struggle for near
eleven years. It seemed an additional promise of tranquillity to him
that his mother, who, by the bad education she had given him, and the
bias which she impressed by her creatures on his counsels, was now
known to be dying; and though she had lost much of her influence, she
retained enough over his awe of her, to perplex his measures and throw
uncertainty over the duration of his Ministries. At this very period
such a storm of private calamities burst on his head as few kings ever
experienced at once. Part of them touched his pride, and accordingly
penetrated deep; he had a happy insensibility that surmounted the rest
without an effort.

The malignant humour in the blood of the Princess Dowager had fallen
on her throat, and though her fortitude was invincible and her secrecy
and reserve invariable, the disorder could no longer be concealed. She
could swallow but with great difficulty, and not enough to maintain
life long. At times her sufferings and her struggles to hide them
were so much beyond her strength, that she frequently fainted, and
was thought dead. Yet would she not allow she was ill, even to her
children; nor would she suffer a single physician or surgeon to inspect
her throat, trusting herself solely to a German page who had some
medical knowledge: and going out to take the air, long after it was
expected that she would die in her coach. Her danger was publicly known
by the beginning of November, on the fifth of which month, when her
death was hourly expected, an express arrived from Leghorn, that her
son the Duke of Gloucester was at the point of death there, and it was
concluded by that time dead. He had gone to a warmer climate in search
of health, and having passed by sea from Genoa to Leghorn, had fallen
into a diarrhœa, attended by every bad symptom.

The very next day it became public that the Duke of Cumberland had, on
the first of the month, retired to Calais with a widow, Mrs. Horton,
whom he had married, and had notified his wedding to the King. What
was the astonishment of mankind, what the mortification of the King
and Princess, and what the triumph of Wilkes, when it came out that
this new Princess of the Blood, was own sister of the famous Colonel
Lutterell, the tool thrust by the Court into Wilkes’s seat for
Middlesex! Could punishment be more severe than to be thus scourged by
their own instrument? And how singular the fate of Wilkes, that new
revenge always presented itself to him when he was sunk to the lowest

The Duke of Cumberland, after having been exposed to the derision of
mankind by his foolish letters, by his absurd conduct in his intrigue,
and by his pusillanimity on the detection, had added perfidy to
ridicule, and abandoned his victim to her shame. He had next engaged
openly in an intrigue with another married woman, a very handsome wife
of a timber-merchant; and it was uncertain which was most proud of the
honour, the husband or the wife. But they had not long displayed their
triumph in all public places, before the restless Duke seeking new
diversions, was made a more substantial conquest of at Brighthelmstone
by Mrs. Horton, who had for many months been dallying with his passion,
till she had fixed him to more serious views than he had intended.

She was daughter of Simon Lutterell, Lord Irnham, and had married a
gentleman of fortune, with whom she had been in love; and had the
misfortune of losing an only child, an infant daughter, and her
husband within a fortnight of each other, still covering her grief
for the first to conceal the misfortune from the last. She was rather
pretty than handsome, and had more the air of a woman of pleasure than
of a woman of quality, though she was well made, was graceful, and
unexceptionable in her conduct and behaviour. But there was something
so bewitching in her languishing eyes, which she could animate to
enchantment if she pleased, and her coquetry was so active, so varied,
and yet so habitual, that it was difficult not to see through it, and
yet as difficult to resist it. She danced divinely, and had a great
deal of wit, but of the satiric kind; and, as she had haughtiness
before her rise, no wonder she claimed all the observance due to her
rank after she became Duchess of Cumberland. It had been believed
that she would marry General Smith, a very handsome well-built young
man; but glory was her passion, and she sacrificed her lover to it,
as she had never sacrificed her virtue to her lover. Thus in herself
she was unexceptionable--at least, superior to the frailty of her sex,
if not above its little ambition. From her family, though ancient,
she drew many disadvantages. Her ancestors had been noted and long
odious in Ireland for treachery, villany, and arrogance. Her father
did not retrieve the honour of his blood, and though very brave in his
person, and tolerably brutal, had every other failure of his race.
Nor was he happier in his own issue. Not intending to return to his
native country, Ireland, he had given up his house there to his son,
but changing his mind, went thither. His son shut both his father and
mother out of the mansion house, and was countenanced by his brothers
and sisters,--a scene of vexation that pierced the mother’s heart, and
threw her into religious melancholy. But to the King the most grievous
part of the affliction was the connection with Colonel Lutterell,
and the satisfaction it must give to the friends of the constitution
to see the invasion of their privileges punished by the same hand by
which they had been attacked; for it was soon known that Mrs. Horton’s
brothers had been privy to the matrimonial transaction between the Duke
and their sister. The Duke’s flight to Calais with his bride spoke as
little heroism as he had exerted on former occasions, and showed how
little consultation he had held on the validity of his marriage; yet
it proved indissoluble, the royal family being expressly excepted out
of the late Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act. That proud legislator had
indeed inserted them; but the late Duke of Cumberland and Lord Holland,
in order to traverse Hardwicke, had represented to the late King that
it was an indignity to the Princes of the Blood to be levelled with the
mass of his subjects, and the haughty Monarch had ordered them to be
erased out of the bill, saying, “I will not have my family laid under
those restraints.”

The King, Queen, and Princess Dowager were beyond measure enraged at
this degradation of their house; but the misfortune was regarded with
indifference or ridiculed by almost every one else. Yet though the
King was not pitied, no indulgence was shown to the Duke; even the
Opposition giving him up as Lutterell’s sister had been the object
of his choice. The zealous--that is, the servile courtiers were loud
in their condemnation. Even the placid and plausible Lord Barrington
pronounced that the new Princess deserved to lose her head,--a wretched
imitation of Lord Clarendon’s[210] outrageous strain of affectation,
who pretended to demand the trial and execution of his own daughter
for marrying the Duke of York. The Duchess of Buckingham, natural
daughter of James the Second, a steady and active Jacobite, observing
Sir Robert Walpole’s partiality to his natural daughter, Lady Mary,
sent for him, and asked him if he recollected what had not been thought
too great a reward to Lord Clarendon for restoring the royal family?
He pretended not to understand her. She said, Was not the Duke of York
allowed to marry his daughter? Sir Robert smiled, but told her he was
content with the honours he had attained. He little thought his natural
granddaughter would obtain a rank he declined for his natural daughter!

The Duke of Cumberland’s marriage was, indeed, a heavy blow on Lady
Waldegrave, and seemed to cut off all hopes of the King’s permitting
the Duke of Gloucester to acknowledge her for his wife. It might
even inspire the King with the thought of, or furnish him with an
excuse for, breaking such marriages. At the best it would be a great
drawback on her dignity. The honour became less valuable when shared
with Lutterell’s sister; and though hitherto all the world had paid
her distinguished regard, and, from her singular piety, virtue, and
propriety of behaviour, had concurred in believing her married, her
situation became more problematic when Mrs. Horton assumed the title of
Duchess of Cumberland, and she did not dare to wear that of Duchess of

It was still more remarkable that every one of the four eldest royal
brothers either had married, were said to have married, or were on the
point of marrying, subjects. Edward Duke of York had made love to Lady
Mary Coke, whose great birth, great ambition and pride, and untainted
virtue, had certainly never entertained his addresses in a criminal
light. In truth, for some time his attachment had seemed serious; and
though it had not only worn away for the two last years of his life,
but that he had made a jest of her pretensions, he had written her such
letters as at least she chose to construe into promises of marriage,
and which, to colour the immoderate grief she acted for his death, she
carried to Princess Amelie, as proofs that her trust had been well
founded: but, as the Duke was very liberal of his overtures, there was
a young Irish gentlewoman, whose intellects not being sound, proclaimed
herself loudly his widow. The Dukes of Gloucester and Cumberland had,
as I have said, gone much farther; and the King himself, as I have
mentioned, seemed to have designed to make Lady Sarah Lenox his Queen.

The King sent orders to the Duke of Cumberland not to appear at Court.
While he stayed at Calais, he gave balls under a feigned name, and with
his Duchess made a tour to some towns in French Flanders.

Finding at last that no violence would be attempted against his person,
he returned to England on the 30th of November, and retired with his
Duchess to his lodge in the great park at Windsor, which the King did
not take from him. Even his gentlemen equerries were permitted to
remain about his person, having been chosen by the King, and having
had no knowledge of the Duke’s wedding. But the Guards were withdrawn,
and the Lord Chamberlain was ordered to whisper, though not in form,
that whoever went to the Duke or Duchess of Cumberland must not appear
at Court. The same information was given privately to the Foreign
Ministers; and the effect was so universal, or the contempt for the
Duke and hatred of his new connection so general, that not a man even
of the Opposition made him a visit. Sir John Delaval[211] and his
wife, the Duke’s intimates, were the sole persons of a rank above the
vulgar that went near them, except the Lutterells. Temple Lutterell,
one of the brothers, a very sensible lawyer, was supposed to be author
of many libels published in the papers against the King’s cruelty to
his brother; yet it ought to be acknowledged, that the King could not
well express less resentment.

In the meantime came more favourable accounts of the Duke of
Gloucester. He recovered, though the hiccup and symptoms of death had
appeared on him; and as soon as his strength was a little recruited, he
sailed to Naples, the voyage whither again brought on a return of his
flux; but he once more mastered it; and the English physicians were of
opinion that the discharge might for some time relieve the virulence
of his complaint, though no man flattered himself with a long duration
of the Duke’s life. On his return he visited Rome, and the Stuarts had
once more the mortification of seeing a Prince of the rival Blood, and
a Protestant, distinguished with peculiar honours by a Pope, who even
conversed with him.

This was the last gleam of comfort to the dying Princess: but this
reprieve of her son was bitterly dashed by the shame and misery that
fell on her daughter, the Queen of Denmark, of which, as she languished
till the beginning of the next year,[212] she lived long enough to
hear, and but just long enough to die with the anxiety of dreading a
fatal conclusion to that daughter.

She now beheld the wretched consequences of the wretched education
she had given her children. The Queen of Denmark had been kept in her
nursery till sent to Copenhagen; had had no company but servants, and
could have seen nothing but an intimacy with Lord Bute, which all the
Princess’s children spoke of with disgust; and could have heard nothing
but passionate lamentations from the Princess on the impotence of
power possessed by English Sovereigns,--lessons that seem to have made
but too deep impression on the inexperienced young Queen of Denmark,
when she came to have a lover, and be mistress of absolute power.
The Duke of Gloucester, the Princess of Wales had always loved the
least, though the most meritorious of her children. She thought him
insuperably dull,--nor was he bright: one day in his childhood she
ridiculed him before his brothers and sisters, and bade them laugh at
the fool. He sat silent and thoughtful. She said, “What! now you are
sullen.” He replied, “No, he was thinking.”--“Thinking!” replied his
mother, with scorn; “and pray, what was you thinking of?” He answered,
“I was thinking what I should feel if I had a son as unhappy as you
make me!”

This unfortunate mother’s fate is a speaking lesson to princes. Had
the credit and happiness of her children been her object, her own life
might, except in those she lost, have been prosperous and renowned.
Her own ambition, and the desire of making her son more powerful than
the laws allowed, led her and him into disgraces, mortifications,
humiliations. Reviled, traduced, hated, she scarce dared to appear out
of her palace; her Favourite she saw driven from his country, and his
life frequently endangered. Her younger children disgraced her; and the
eldest, as well as herself, missed the despotism she sought for both,
and obtained only that triste pre-eminence of Turkish sultans, being
shut up with mutes in their own seraglio.




(Vol. i. p. 10.)

Walpole is correct in stating that “Mr. Pitt had been for some time on
the coldest terms with Lord Bute.”

What was the original cause of this coldness does not appear. Among
the Elliot MSS. is a long letter from Lord Bute to Sir Gilbert
Elliot, dated the 30th of April, 1760, expressing deep regret at the
interruption of the “fraternal union” which had previously subsisted
between him and Mr. Pitt, and empowering Sir Gilbert to use the first
favourable opportunity to bring about a reconciliation.

Efforts were accordingly made by Sir Gilbert to satisfy Mr. Pitt, and
they elicited a long statement from the latter of his grievances, which
is not very intelligible, except that jealousy at the superior favour
and influence attained by Lord Bute at Leicester House was his most
prominent feeling. When Lord Bute and Mr. Pitt met at Kew on the King’s
accession, no intercourse had taken place between them for some months;
on that occasion some mutual civilities passed and nothing more.

The meeting between Lord Bute and Mr. Pitt, after the council,
(_supra_ vol. i. p. 9,) was at the request of Lord Bute, and not of
Mr. Pitt, and it was sought by the former in the hope of his being
able to recover Mr. Pitt’s regard. He made every concession that the
nicest honour could have required, to Mr. Pitt’s private feelings,
and expressed unqualified approbation of his public conduct, even
with respect to the war, and ended by offering him his cordial and
sincere friendship. Mr. Pitt’s answer certainly held out no prospect
of any reconciliation; it is cold and repulsive. He makes it plain
that he would insist on entire and uncontrolled power in the cabinet;
and the language in which this determination is expressed must have
been most unpleasant to Lord Bute, as conveying an implied censure
of his political views, which he admitted were to give disinterested
assistance, as the King’s friend, in carrying on the government.[213]

The position which Lord Bute thus designed for himself was as visionary
as that “Patriot King” described by Bolingbroke; but Lord Bute was
himself a visionary, and if Mr. Pitt had possessed the tact and
temper of Sir Robert Walpole, he might have gained such an ascendancy
over Lord Bute as to make the latter instrumental in carrying on his
government. But Mr. Pitt too heartily despised and disliked Lord Bute
to condescend to manage him, and there were others without the same
fastidiousness, who soon turned the vain ambition of that nobleman
to their own account. It was his constant interference, as well in
public measures as in the disposal of patronage, that led to his
appointment to the Secretaryship. Some of the Ministers thought, and
wisely too, that his being a member of the Government would make him
less dangerous.[214] Their own intrigues, however, led to his further
elevation, the natural and inevitable result of which was, his utter
failure and precipitate fall.

Walpole, in more mature age, expressed a more favourable opinion of
Lord Bute than will be collected from this work. He says:--

“Lord Bute was my schoolfellow. He was a man of taste and science, and
I do believe his intentions were good. He wished to blend and unite all
parties. The Tories were willing to come in for a _share_ of power,
after having been so long excluded,--but the Whigs were not willing to
grant that share. Power is an intoxicating draught; the more a man has,
the more he desires.”[215]

The most able character of Lord Bute, and a masterly one it is, has
been drawn by Lord Chesterfield.[216] No one can read it without
admiring the knowledge of the world, sagacity, and fine discrimination
of its author.

“Duchess told me,” says Lord Malmesbury,[217] “that in 1762, when Lord
Bute came in, it was in consequence of the Duke of Devonshire and Lord
Rockingham going to the King, and saying that if his Majesty meant to
be directed by Lord Bute’s counsels and advice, he had better bring
him forward at once. This he (the King) did, and that when Lord Bute
went out early in 1763, it was because he thought, by offering his
resignation to the King, that his Majesty would press him to remain
in and add to his power and influence; but the contrary arrived: and
the Duchess said her mother and the King used to laugh together at the
Rockinghams and Lord Bute having been the dupes of their cunning. The
first lost their offices, which they wanted to keep, and the latter the
office he was ambitious of retaining.”--Dec. 4th, 1794.

When the Duchess of Brunswick spoke of events which had happened thirty
years back, strict accuracy of recollection could not be expected
from her, and she is hardly entitled to belief in opposition to
contemporary authorities. Lord Bute’s letters--his declarations to
his friends--his known disposition--all combine in furnishing the
strongest evidence that his wish to quit office was perfectly sincere.
Letters are still extant in private repositories, amply sufficient to
prove that for some time at least after his accession, the King placed
unbounded confidence in Lord Bute; and the power exercised by that
nobleman in providing for his dependants on his retirement, as well as
the universal impression at the time, not only of the public but of
the persons likely to possess the best information of what was passing
at Court, betray no indication of any change in the King’s feelings.
Indeed, whatever might have been his Majesty’s defects, inconstancy was
not one of them.



(Vol. i. p. 75.)

He was the son of a Colonel in the Guards, who died poor. In early
life, he had to struggle with many difficulties and disappointments.
“By much exertion,” to use his own words, somewhat abridged, “he became
a popular preacher in the City. He had a turn at St. Paul’s, when
Bishop Hare was present. The Bishop liked his sermon, sent for him,
heard him a second time, and then gave him a prebendal stall. Having
thus got his foot on the ladder, he mounted rapidly.”[218] He was a
man of sense and learning, and of unexceptionable character. He gained
little influence or weight at Court; perhaps he had the prudence not to
seek it. The King certainly liked him, and paid him frequent visits at
Farnham Palace, after his promotion to Winchester. He died in 1781.



(Vol. ii. p. 175.)

Sir Gilbert Elliot’s account of the interviews between the King and
his Ministers, just before the removal of Mr. Grenville, corresponds
generally with Walpole’s narrative. It proves how reluctantly the King
gave up Mr. Mackenzie. His Majesty, indeed, did not yield until he was
driven to an unconditional surrender; and, after appealing in vain to
Mr. Grenville’s sense of honour, in obliging him to depart from the
engagement he had made to Mr. Mackenzie, he used these expressions, “I
will not throw my kingdoms into confusion; you force me to break my
word, and you must be responsible for the consequences.”

The indignation felt by his Majesty on this occasion, he took no pains
to conceal. The Duke of Bedford’s remonstrance, strong as it may have
been, certainly did not irritate the King to the extent that Walpole
has stated, or Sir Gilbert Elliot would have commented on it severely,
which he has not done. The only reply made by the King to the Duke’s
demand of additional confidence was, “that the confidence necessary for
the despatch of business, he had given them; as to favour, they had not
taken the way to merit it.”[219]--E.





A Letter in one of our public prints, reflecting upon his Catholic
Majesty, being everywhere mentioned as the principal cause of an
apprehended war with Spain, I have sent you that celebrated production
for the entertainment of your readers, as it is extremely difficult
to meet with a genuine copy, and as a spurious paper may possibly be
foisted on the world without the interposition of _official_ authority.

                    I am, Sir, &c.,
                            A CLERK IN OFFICE.

  _The imputed Libel on the King of Spain, said to be a principal Cause
    of the apprehended War, as it was complained of by the Spanish
    Ambassador to the Secretary of State._


Your correspondent Seneca seems mightily pleased with the _bon-mot_
of G---- the Second. I agree with him, there is a good deal of humour
in it, but a _bon-mot_, before it can be fully allowed as such, ought
to be founded strictly in truth. If G---- the Second’s _bon-mot_ is
relative only to the unwise of the House of B----k that were born
before the commencement of the present century, or that were born in
Germany, it may probably have truth for its foundation. But I would
start even the Duke of C---- against any one of the three crowned heads
of the Bourbon family. There seems to be a distinct climax amongst
their three Bourbonian Majesties. The King of Sicily’s eldest brother,
we all know, was put aside from the throne because he was an absolute,
irrecoverable idiot; his present Majesty of Sicily is, I conceive, just
one remove from his brother.

The next crowned head of the Bourbon family, I mean the King of Spain,
may be allowed to be one remove and a half from his Sicilian Majesty,
if weighed in the scale of intelligent or intellectual beings.

As a proof that the King of Spain is removed somewhat more than a
degree and a half from downright idiotcy, I will relate a story of him,
which will convince any fautor of monarchical government that his Most
Catholic Majesty is endowed with sufficient understanding to govern the
rich and powerful kingdom of Spain, or, indeed, any other kingdom in
Christendom, according to the modern standard of Bourbonian kings.

Some few years ago, Charles the Third, his present Catholic Majesty,
who is passionately fond of hunting, had accoutred himself as usual
for the chase. It was in the month of January, and the weather at the
extremest point of cold. The snow began to fall in such broad flakes
that the poor King was absolutely prohibited the chase that day. The
servants about his person were ordered to lay three or four dozen
of watches before their royal master, in order that he might amuse
himself with the delightful and instructive pastime of winding them
up. It seems even this King affects and is allowed all the pageantry,
ceremony, and parade of regal state. His servants, thus having brought
him the watches, retired, and left him all alone. It is remarkable of
this crowned head, that, like Cicero, he is _nunquam minus solus quam
cum solus_; that is to say, he never perceives the least difference
whatever between a solitude and a multitude.

I take the winding-up of thirty or forty watches to be an operation
which must soon fatigue the mental faculties, and those faculties
fatigued make room for the exertion of the bodily powers; accordingly,
we are told that his Majesty, who is an enemy to idleness and inaction,
the moment he had wound up his watches, immediately perceived by dint
of instinct that the weather was extremely cold. To counter-operate
the inclemency of this sharp season, what could his Majesty do? His
servants had left his hunting-whip in the room with him; this room was
hung with gobelin tapestry. The vivid colours and lively figure of an
Arabian steed, ready saddled, was represented to the life. His Majesty,
who is not easily deceived, immediately approaches the highly-coloured
arras, attempts to mount his Bucephalus; the pictured stirrup fails
to admit his kingly foot, and, O dire mishap! plump falls the Majesty
of Spain on the resplendent wax-rubbed floor. Long did this mighty
monarch, over whose wide-extended dominions the sun never ceases to
shine, ponderate in his kingly breast, whether he should severely
correct the resplendent wax-rubbed floor, or whether his hunting-whip
would not fall with greater justice on the still prancing, proud
Arabian steed. Wisely did Charles the Third distinguish between primary
and secondary causes. The saddled palfrey, therefore, could not but
appear to be the proper and immediate object of royal resentment.
This weighty point determined, and Charles having thus acted the two
parts of juryman and judge, there remained only the executioner’s
part for him to perform. Instantly he sprung from off the floor, and
with his three-thonged hunting-whip, during thirty-four minutes, two
seconds, and a-half, with hand uplifted, _sublimi flagello_, flogged
the unmoving, unmoved stately quadruped. At length, half-drowned and
half-suffocated in his own unfragrant exudations, which copiously oozed
out at every pore, the King, quite spent, again involuntarily rushed
rumbling down upon the resplendent wax-rubbed floor. Alarmed at this
unusual noise, the guard attendant in the outer room, breaking through
all order and every etiquette of Madrid’s solemn stately-marching
court, quickly rushed in the apartment royal, and found their monarch,
Cyrus-like, weltering, if not in reeking gore, at least in reeking

The faculty, called in, all stunned aghast! and they themselves
shivering with cold intense, much wonder whence the cause of all this
burning heat, which thus unknown had overpowered their King. When
straight, as rising from a trance and starting into life again, thus
oracularly answered Charles the Third:

“Be not surprised that thus I sweat, for by this watch of Graham’s
make, thirty-four minutes, two seconds, and a-half, have I been
flogging with this whip, whose ponderous handle is of massy gold, that
high-stomached quadruped, whose traitorous hoof hath twice extended my
whole length upon this floor.” Much more spoke he, while every word was
to the full as pertinent and wise.

From these outlines, characteristic of this crowned head, your readers
will perceive I had strong reasons for saying that Charles the Third,
King of the Two Indies, is rather more than a degree and a-half less
unwise than his son, Ferdinand the Fourth, King of the Two Sicilies.

In my next letter I will draw the picture of that other crowned head of
the Bourbon family, Louis the Fifteenth, King of Navarre.

                    ONE WHO PAINTS TO THE LIFE.



Charles second Duke of Grafton, Lord Chamberlain and Knight of the
Garter, grandson to Charles the Second, had three sons, all of whom
died before him. Lord Augustus Fitzroy, the only one that left issue,
was a captain of the navy; like his grandfather, the first Duke, he
was a bold and active seaman, and having of course great interest, he
seems to have been constantly employed. In one of his first cruises,
happening to be on the American station, he fell in love with Miss
Cosby, the daughter of Colonel Cosby, the Governor of New York, and
married her, without waiting for his father’s consent, when he was only
seventeen years old. His career was brief, for he died at Jamaica, in
his twenty-fifth year, of a fever contracted at the unfortunate attack
on Carthagena, where he had served on board the Orford man-of-war.

Lord Augustus left two sons; the younger entered the army, and having
distinguished himself at Minden and other engagements during the seven
years’ war, rose high in the army and held various posts at Court. He
was raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Southampton. He died in
1797. The present Lord Southampton is his grandson.

Augustus Henry, the eldest son, who eventually succeeded his
grandfather as Duke of Grafton, was born in October 1735. After
receiving his early education under Mr. Newcome at Hackney school, a
seminary of high repute in that day, he was removed to Peterhouse,
Cambridge, and remained a sufficient time at the University. He was
committed by his grandfather to the care of a Genoese governor, and
sent on what was called the _grand tour_. Pursuing the beaten track,
he visited the south of France and Switzerland, wintered at Naples and
at Geneva, and, returning by Germany and Holland to Paris, passed five
months under the protection of the British Ambassador, Lord Albemarle,
by whom he was introduced to all the gaiety, and, judging from the
character of his patron, most probably the dissipation of the capital.
He came back to England, on attaining his majority, to be elected
member for Thetford, a borough which the vicinity of Euston placed
under the control of his family, and took his seat in the House of
Commons in the beginning of the session of 1756.

Lord Euston (as he had now become by the death of his uncle) had far
from neglected the cultivation of his mind during his travels. Besides
consulting the various historical works relating to the countries which
he visited, it appears that he read Mr. Locke’s Treatises with great
attention, and the principles of government there laid down guided
him throughout his long life. If he departed from them it was from
inadvertence, and not from design. Thus he acquired early a reputation
for intelligence and accomplishments, which caused him on his arrival
in England to be placed with Lord Huntingdon, who passed for the most
promising young nobleman of his day, in the household then forming
for the Prince of Wales, who had just attained his majority. The
Prince wished him to be the Master of the Horse in preference to Lord
Huntingdon, but the latter having the Duke of Newcastle’s interest,
obtained the nomination, and Lord Euston, with some reluctance,
accepted the inferior post of Lord of the Bedchamber. He held it only
a few months. The service happened to be unusually constant, owing to
the absence of some of his colleagues and the illness of others, and
he found it so irksome, that, on finding Lord Bute indisposed to afford
him any relief, he resigned. The Prince parted from him with marked
reluctance, which was so little shared by Lord Bute, that the latter
was believed to have made an unscrupulous use of his influence in order
to effect the removal of a formidable competitor.

On the death of the Duke of Grafton in May, 1757, which was occasioned
by a fall from his horse, Lord Euston succeeded to his title, as well
as to the large possessions attached to it.

This elevation brought with it, as usual, the smiles and favours of
the Ministry on a young nobleman whose rank and wealth, and evidently
no common parts, seemed to destine him for an important share in the
government of the country. The Duke, however, at first appeared to
shew a decided preference for a retired life. He was eagerly addicted
to field sports: and took equal pride and pleasure in his pack of
hounds, which made Wakefield the resort of the keenest hunters of the
day. Newmarket, too, had unfortunately strong attractions for him.
Above all, he had a home which had not yet lost its charms; for in
January, 1736, he had married the Hon. Miss Liddel, only child of Lord
Ravensworth, with the fairest prospects of happiness. The beauty,
grace, and talents of the Duchess have been celebrated by contemporary
writers, nor was she less entitled to praise for higher qualities. She
had a warm heart and was susceptible of strong attachment.[220] The
Duke was fully capable of appreciating her merits; and there is no
reason to suppose that the first years of their union were clouded by
any serious differences.

In 1761, the Duke made a tour with the Duchess and his two elder
children on the Continent; and it was only on his return in the
following year, that he seems to have entertained serious thoughts of
taking a more active part in politics.


But to return to Mr. Grenville’s Ministry, which had been supported by
great majorities (except on the debate on General Warrants) in both
Houses, we can but remark that the vexatious and impolitic acts that
were passed in the year 1764, and at the beginning of 1765, under these
mighty majorities, were rapidly working out the greatest distresses and
losses to the country.

The Administration met the Parliament in 1765, with great confidence in
their own strength, and too little attention to those steps by which
they had ascended to their power. The illness of the King during the
session awakened the duty of Parliament to bring forward a Regency
Bill, which was early suggested by the King himself. The Bill was
accordingly brought into the House of Peers, and there passed, though
so drawn as to exclude the Princess-Mother from being nominated Regent.
In the Commons, this affront was taken off by the insertion of her
Royal Highness’s name, and by the amendment carried up, and agreed to
by the Lords; when the Ministers had the mortification of being obliged
to submit to bear that affront which they had destined for others.

The evident intention of the King’s principal servants in this
business, sealed their own overthrow; and as they had never been
graciously considered in the closet, the consequences which would
naturally follow were easily foreseen. Yet some were so blinded with
ambition as not to be aware of the slippery ground on which the
Ministry stood; and it was observed with surprise that Mr. Charles
Townshend, in particular, a short time after, accepted the post of
Paymaster, on the dismission of Lord Holland, who had, on the retreat
of Lord Bute, given up the lead of the House of Commons to Mr. George

My friends very justly reproached me for idling my time away in the
country, during a great part of this session; without attending
sufficiently to that duty in Parliament which became my station, and
was expected from me. They, however, treated me with more attention
than such conduct deserved; for I was by them constantly acquainted
with all that was passing in the political world, and the Opposition
had so little expectation of being called upon to take a part in
Administration, unless under and by the recommendation of Mr. Pitt,
that even when the coolness between the King and his servants was
apparent to all mankind, to act under Mr. Pitt became the general
voice, and was our principal wish.

It may not be amiss to insert Lord Rockingham’s letter, which brought
me up to attend the Regency Bill, as it may serve to shew the light
in which the Marquis and his friends considered the Bill on its
introduction; and, afterwards, it will be proper to enter into some
detail on many negotiations and occurrences that followed.

                    “April 24th, 1765.


  “His Majesty came to the House to-day, to open the affair of the
  Regency Bill. I enclose to your Grace the speech. Our Address was
  only in general terms, to congratulate upon his Majesty’s recovery,
  and to thank him for his care and foresight, &c., in providing
  for the security of the country, &c., and to promise that we will
  proceed in this matter with all expedition. Nothing was said in
  our House by any of our friends. Lord Temple and Lord Lyttelton
  went away before the Address was moved. The Bill, I expect, will
  be brought in on Friday and read the first time; and it would not
  surprise me if a second reading and commitment should be pressed
  for that day or for Saturday.

  “Upon so great a point I cannot refrain expressing my earnest wish
  that your Grace should not be absent. Your Grace will observe,
  by the Speech, that it is not intended that the Regent shall
  be appointed by the Act; but left to the King by instrument to
  nominate either the Queen or some _one of his Royal Family_. It is
  said, that by this description, a certain great lady is excluded:
  how far it is so, I am not certain. But supposing it was so, yet a
  fresh objection lies from the unusualness of the Regent not being
  nominally inserted. There are other parts expected in the Bill
  which will be liable to great objections, and I doubt not but that
  there will be some Lords who can and will make their objections.

  “Lord Temple, yesterday, wished I would have sent an express to you
  for to-day; but the time was so short that your Grace would scarce
  have arrived in London before three o’clock this evening; and,
  indeed, I doubted whether anything would have been entered upon in
  the House today.

  “I have more expectation on what may pass on Friday; but even on
  that I have hesitated for some hours whether to send to you or no,
  as I would not willingly occasion you a long journey to little
  purpose: the very chance of a debate deserves your attention, and
  in that light I will hope to apologize for my venturing to do what
  I now do.

            “I am ever, &c.

  Wednesday Night, 12 o’Clock.”

Notwithstanding there had been many reports of dissensions among his
Majesty’s Ministers and servants during the course of the whole winter,
and particularly towards the conclusion of the session, no authentic
accounts ever reached me of them, nor of the King’s displeasure at
their conduct and behaviour to himself, till I received an express from
the Duke of Cumberland. The letter, written by his Royal Highness,
was brought to me at Wakefield Lodge, the 14th of May, at night. It
contained an intimation of the King’s intention of _changing his
Administration_, of taking in their places those whom his Royal
Highness said both _he_ and _myself_ had wished in power, and adding
a desire of talking _public as well as private affairs over with me_.
This summons was instantly obeyed, and I got to Cumberland House even
before the Duke was called. He sent for me to come immediately into
his bedchamber, and opened the discourse by telling me that, though he
was only commanded by the King to intimate his present dispositions
to employ Mr. Pitt and the Lords Rockingham and Temple, yet he was
confident that he should be forgiven if he stretched his commission
by adding me to the number, saying at the same time, with his usual
goodness, that he had that regard and opinion of me that he could not
avoid wishing to hear my thoughts and inclinations, as well for myself
as for my friends, on such an occasion. After expressions of this
sort, the Duke told me that he had had some knowledge of his Majesty’s
intentions before the Regency Bill was brought into our House; but, as
he had endeavoured to dissuade the King from bringing it in at so short
a notice, and when so little time was left to consider a matter of that
importance, he had humbly begged to decline giving his Majesty his
opinion of men, as he was sure those whom he might recommend would not
undertake that Bill, so drawn, and pressed at such a moment.

The behaviour of the Ministers on that occasion, who wished to exclude
the Princess Dowager, was such as neither answered their own design
nor in any way turned to their honour, but put the finishing-stroke to
the dislike the King had already conceived against them. After Lord
Halifax had moved that the King might in that Bill be empowered to name
as Regent any one of his Royal Family, descendant of George the Second,
they thought their end was answered; but soon saw the meanness to which
they were obliged to bend by assenting afterwards to the amendment
proposed, and made to it in the Lower House, of allowing the Princess
Dowager, by name, to be added to those who might be Regent. The defeat
of their design was not the only consequence of their attempt, which
was plainly seen through; and the Princess was naturally expected to
resent this affront. Their servility in submitting was sufficient to
add in the King’s mind a contempt of their characters to that disgust
he already had for men who had brought an odium on his Government, and
who had not, as he expressed, served him with decency in the closet.

The King, in this situation, and a few days before the intended
prorogation of Parliament, sent for the Duke of Cumberland, asked his
advice in forming such an Administration as would please his kingdom,
and carry weight and credit both at home and abroad,--two points of
which he was sensible the country as well as the Crown stood in need.
The Duke, penetrated with this mark of the King’s favour, and more
with the return of His Majesty’s confidence, expressed his sensibility
of both; but added, that he was certain that the King would not, in
any shape, mean that he should engage in an affair of such delicacy
and real consequence in any manner derogatory to his honour. “Give
me leave, sir,” said the Duke, “to observe, that I should hurt that
honour, as well as lose the esteem of the world, if I was forming an
Administration in which Lord Bute should have either weight or power.”
After every assurance given by the King on this head, the Duke could
no longer doubt of the sincerity of such a proposal. Much conversation
then passed on the means of forming a new Administration, and the Duke
left the King, commanded by him to think fully upon it. His Majesty
had intimated, however, his _wish_ to have Lord Northumberland at the
head of the Treasury,--a proposal of which, in the hurry of so many
and important matters, I sincerely think the Duke did not immediately
weigh the consequence; but he soon afterwards saw it, and had the
satisfaction also to find that the King himself abandoned it when
it was shewn to him to be inconsistent that so near a relation of
Lord Bute’s should hold so great a post of business,--for, let his
professions have been ever so satisfactory to those who were to act
with him, the world would still deem the Treasury in the hands of a
lieutenant of Lord Bute’s, and would consider such a step incompatible
with all the former conduct and professions of those who were to form
the new Administration.

This was the Duke’s account of what had passed: he then sounded my
own inclinations, and whether I wished anything in such a change for
myself, or what for my friends; he told me he both disapproved and
much lamented that I was so much retired from the world, and not
giving, in my rank, every assistance which my country had a right to
require of me. I answered his Royal Highness, with many thanks for
the favourable opinion he had of me, that I was very sensible that my
power of serving my country he rated infinitely beyond my abilities;
but that no one could in his heart wish it better, nor would go
further to serve it; and that I did not mean to retire another year
so much from the world as I had done. I expressed, next, that the
small experience I had early in my life of a Court, had made me take a
resolution which was every day strongly confirmed, that no inducement
could lead me to take a Court employment; but that I was ready to
undertake any one of business, provided I was satisfied that I could
go through such an office with credit to myself and without prejudice
to my country: that I owned my wish was to have my brother, Colonel
Fitzroy Scudamore, and some other friends, who had been sufferers on my
account, replaced, which would sufficiently shew my intentions, and to
be left myself to applaud and forwardly to support the measures which
I was confident would be pursued by an _honourable Administration_.
Indeed, such appeared to me, and does still, the way in which I could
have been of the most use. The lower posts of business were not fit
for the rank I stood in, nor were the greater more fit for the total
inexperience I had of any office. Whereas, the support of a man who was
looked upon as steady in his conduct, and not famed for supporting all
Administrations, would have given weight to a cause, if I could have
been allowed to have served it without being in place.

The Duke was not satisfied with my answer, and proposed and pressed me
to be at the head of the Board of Trade, which I begged to decline,
looking upon it in a very different light from what I found his Royal
Highness did, as I really thought it as difficult a post as any
whatever. As this transaction was not to transpire at that time, I
asked the Duke’s leave to return into the country again that very day,
which I did. I should have mentioned before, that whilst I was with the
Duke, he asked me this question,--whether I thought an Administration
could be formed (principally out of the minority) without Mr. Pitt?
On my assuring him that my opinion was, that nothing so formed could
be stable, he said, he hoped there was every reason to think he would
engage, as Lord Albemarle had been with him the day before, and that
his Lordship thought he saw it in a favourable light.

With these hopes I left London, and in a few days afterwards had the
mortification to see them blasted, by receiving a fresh messenger from
the Duke of Cumberland, desiring my immediate attendance in London. A
letter, written by Lord Albemarle by the Duke’s order, dated at night,
May 22nd, brought me this account in words to this effect,--that the
Duke had been five hours with Mr. Pitt at Hayes, without prevailing on
him to take a part; that the King was the next morning to answer some
_questions_, to be put to him by his present Ministers, in one of which
his Royal Highness was personally concerned, and that the Duke desired
my support on the occasion. Lord Albemarle also adds, that the King had
been most insolently treated by his Ministers, and shamefully abandoned
by those who should have profited by this occasion to serve their
King and country. On receiving this account, my first step was to go
instantly to receive his Royal Highness’s commands, whom I found just
going to Court to know the King’s determination. He told me, however,
in a few words, the advice he had given to the King the night before,
and referred me to Lord Albemarle for the whole of what had passed
since I last waited upon him, commanding me also to wait upon him on
his return from St. James’s, and to dine with him. Lord Albemarle’s
account tallied so exactly with what the Duke afterwards related to
me, that it is needless to repeat both. His Royal Highness said, that
finding Lord Temple cooler on the subject than he expected, and that
Mr. Pitt was also less forward since Lord Temple’s arrival in London,
he had explained to the King the absolute necessity there was of every
object being removed that might prevent Mr. Pitt’s taking a part, and
hoping even to have his Majesty’s assurance that many measures might be
redressed, and some wholly broken through, to make it more satisfactory
to Mr. Pitt on entering upon his Ministry.

On the preceding Saturday, the King had sent for his Royal Highness,
and had told him, in the kindest terms and most explicit words, that he
put himself wholly, in this affair, into his hands; that he saw plainly
the propriety of his advice. For which reason he ordered him to go the
next morning to Mr. Pitt, with full powers from him to treat with Mr.
Pitt, and to come into the constitutional steps he had before mentioned
as essential to the country; as also, that his Majesty was not backward
to lean to his foreign politics, if he (Mr. Pitt) should think it most
beneficial, when he saw how affairs then stood. His Royal Highness
told me that he had patience to attend to very long discourses, which
Mr. Pitt held on the subject, in which the Duke declared he could
not always follow him: as he was sometimes speaking of himself as
already the acting Minister, and then would turn about by showing how
impossible it was for him ever to be in an employment of such a nature,
and always would end by observing that if such and such measures were
pursued, he would _applaud_ them loudly from whatever men they came.
Mr. Pitt also told his Royal Highness, that if an Administration
went in on such ground as he had laid down, he would _exhort_ his
friends--nay, his brothers, to accept; but that he doubted much whether
the latter (meaning Lord Temple and J. Grenville) would.

Mr. Pitt’s plan abroad was, for a close union with the northern Courts
of Germany, together with Russia, to balance the Bourbon alliance,
to which the Duke gave the answer I before mentioned, and that the
King was ready to support Mr. Pitt in any alliance that he should
judge the most valid to check any attempts that might arise from the
family compact of the House of Bourbon. At home, Mr. Pitt lamented
(and in which the Duke most sincerely joined) the infringement on our
constitution in the affair of the Warrants, left still undecided,
though twice before Parliament; the army degraded, as well as our
liberties struck at, by the dismission of officers who had taken the
part in Parliament which their consciences prompted them to, so much
to their honour, though contrary to their interest; and in addition to
these, should be taken into consideration the propriety of rewarding
the uprightness of Lord Chief Justice Pratt at such a crisis, by giving
him a peerage. To Mr. Pitt’s question to the Duke, whether the Great
Seal was promised to Mr. Charles Yorke? his Royal Highness could only
answer, that he could not say how far the King had engaged himself with
that gentleman. The Duke did not tell me what I afterwards heard from
Mr. Pitt, that the Duke had that day mentioned it to be the King’s
_wish_ to have Lord Northumberland at the head of the Treasury. If it
was mentioned, it is very clear that it was almost as soon dropped;
and I am confident that it was not, that day, the Duke’s desire any
more than that of Mr. Pitt. In which case, I think it was possible
that it was named more to feel Mr. Pitt’s notion or affections to
that quarter, or perhaps, by a policy very unnecessary with so great
a man, thinking it might be a concession that would please, when he
found that Lord Temple would be agreeable to the King in that office.
His Royal Highness, often, as he told me, pressed Mr. Pitt to chalk
out to the King a list of such as he would wish to fill all the posts
of business, which, the Duke answered for, the King would instantly
adopt. This was to no purpose; and the Duke was obliged to return to
Richmond with the unpleasant account of his ill success.

The day following, the Duke, by his Majesty’s command, was employed
in endeavouring to form an Administration without Mr. Pitt, and to
that end Lord Lyttelton was sounded, to be placed at the head of the
Treasury, with Mr. C. Townshend as the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
These gentlemen both thought the ground too weak to stand long upon,
and wished to decline it. The latter of them accepted the Pay Office,
two days after, under the old Ministry. Many different posts were
thought of and proposed for me, during this _arrangement_, but none
of them ever came to my ears till my coming to London, as it was
unnecessary I should know of them till the greater posts were fixed
on and accepted. The King, on the day following, disappointed of this
plan also, with his present Ministry at the door of the closet, ready
to resign, was under a difficulty, and in such a situation that he knew
not which way to turn. The Duke’s advice then was, as the lesser evil
of the two, to call in his old Administration rather than to leave
the country without Ministers while the town was in a tumult, raised
against the Duke of Bedford by the weavers, and the House of Lords
passing the most strange as well as violent resolutions.

On the Wednesday morning Mr. Grenville, in the name of the rest,
acquainted the King that, before they should again undertake his
affairs, they must lay before him some questions to be answered by his
Majesty; on which the King, taking him up, said, “_Terms_, I suppose
you mean, sir; what are they?” Mr. Grenville answered, that they
should expect further assurance that Lord Bute should never meddle
in the State affairs, of whatsoever sort; that Mr. Mackenzie (his
brother) should be dismissed from his employment; that Lord Holland
should also meet with the same treatment; that Lord Weymouth should
be named Lord-Lieutenant to Ireland, and that Lord Granby should be
appointed Commander-in-Chief. He then left the King, from whom they
were to have their answer the next day. Mr. G. Grenville, on that day
also, took the lead in the name of the rest; and the King, advised by
the Duke of Cumberland, except in that point relating to himself, told
them he would never give up the possibility of employing his uncle
on an emergency, which he should do if he put any one in the post of
Commander-in-Chief; that he assented to the others, though against his
opinion; and that he supposed they would not press him to break his
word, which he had given to Mr. Mackenzie; but that he was ready to
give up the management of the Scotch affairs, if they would leave him
in as Privy Seal to that kingdom. On their still insisting on his total
dismission, the King was obliged to assent; and then, by their friends,
they were considered as much stronger than they ever had been.

This affair being thus concluded, after having paid my duty at the
King’s levee, I returned again into the country, and soon waited upon
his Royal Highness, at Windsor Lodge, during the races. The Duke of
Cumberland was over at Hayes the day after I went back to Wakefield
Lodge; and though Mr. Pitt had two long conferences, in consequence,
with the King, and in the latter on Saturday, May the 19th, had
expectation that a thorough change would have taken place, according to
the fullest of our wishes. Our hopes, however, were strangely thwarted
by the disinclination of Lord Temple, who made such use of the mention
of the Earl of Northumberland for the Treasury, as to stagger Mr.
Pitt himself, as I conjectured. But the cause of the failure of this
negotiation was imputed differently, according as the partialities
and prejudices of political men led them to represent it: that no
obstacle arose from his Majesty, I am perfectly assured. Those with
whom I chiefly consorted were much inclined to blame Mr. Pitt, who, as
they said, had _carte blanche_ from the King. Mr. Pitt, on the other
hand, would not allow that this was the case; and he observed that the
expression itself was unfit to be used on such an occasion; and Mr.
J. Grenville had assured my brother that Mr. Pitt was much hurt to
find the latter offer, _to which he had acceded_, broken off before
Mr. Pitt had returned his answer. Mr. J. Grenville added, that the
reconciliation with George Grenville did not regard the public.

In the meanwhile, I received a letter from my brother, who mentioned
the conversation alluded to with Mr. J. Grenville, in which that
gentleman had also declared his own thoughts on the late negotiation,
adding, that Mr. Pitt desired much an opportunity of explaining the
whole to me. My brother pressed me strongly from himself, as well as
from Mr. Meynell and other of my friends, to see Mr. Pitt as soon as
possible, in order that I might be able to clear up and put a stop
to divisions that this whole affair had made among friends eager to
defend the part those to whom they were most attached had taken in it.
I returned for answer to my brother, that I must have some plainer
certainty of such a wish of Mr. Pitt’s, and that I would desire him
to go to Hayes to know whether the case was as represented, and to
lay before him my thoughts of his conduct on the occasion, which,
partial as I was to him, even to me appeared unfathomable, and to want
great explanation: I even offered, in case of anything having been
misunderstood, that I should be too happy to be thought worthy of
being employed by him, either to get explained or renewed a measure
that appeared to me the only one by which our King and country could
attain their ancient glory. Immediately on the receipt of my letter,
my brother went to Hayes, and having heard from Mr. Pitt the whole
relation, he transmitted the chief purport to me that same evening in
the following letters.

                    “London, Wednesday, May 29.


“At the end of my conversation with Mr. Pitt, I asked if I should
write word to you that he was resolved not to renew the negotiation;
he said, _Resolved_ was a _large_ word, and desired I would express
myself thus: ‘_Mr. Pitt’s determination was final, and the negotiation
is at an end_.’ These are his own words. As to your coming, he shall be
extremely happy to have the honour of seeing you, but would be ashamed
to bring you to town for so little an object; yet, if you should come
to London, would not only be proud to see you at Hayes, and talk things
over, but, if he could walk on foot to London, and pay his respects to
you, he would do it. Having said this, at your own leisure, any time
within a week or so, if you come to London, he should think himself
happy to see you at Hayes.

            I am, &c.,
                      “CHARLES FITZROY.”

       *       *       *       *       *

                    (Without date.)


“My other is a formal answer to my commission; this is a private
account of my conversation at Hayes, as near as I can recollect the
different heads, and shorter in substance. Mr. Pitt two hours incessant
talking. It is quite private between us--I mean you and myself. 1st,
I found he had not been acquainted with J. Grenville’s conversation
with me; upon my telling it to him _in part_, he said, it might have
come from Lord Temple, but that the different periods were not exactly
stated. He then went through every part of what had passed, and made
his remarks with several refinements upon _manner_ and _words_, and
often declared his unwillingness to engage again in office. He rested
the whole objections of this negotiation upon the transactions, opening
with the King’s wish to have Lord Northumberland at the head of the
Treasury: at the same time he expressed that he, _Mr. Pitt_, did not
desire Lord Temple should be there; but that he thought the whole
transaction a phantom, and could never have been intended serious.
He declared it impossible for him and his Royal Highness to talk a
different language as to fact, but that nothing like _carte blanche_
was ever hinted. (N.B.--he thinks that an improper phrase, as it sounds
like capitulating.) He talked much of Revolution, families _personally_
from their weight but unconnected and under no banner. For all _that_
was factious. He mentioned the great popular points: restitution of
officers, privileges, &c., &c., change of system of politics, both
domestic and foreign; said everything you would like, and resolved
nothing but retirement. I must add the highest commendations of his
Royal Highness, his judgment, abilities, integrity, &c., &c.; but said,
that ‘no man in England but himself would have brought such terms,--no,
not even Lord Bute.’ He left me totally in the dark, further than I
could easily distinguish he thinks that it was not meant to have it
_his_ Administration.

“For God’s sake, see him! it must not be to-morrow, as he has his
reconciling dinner with George Grenville: _this he told me_. The Duke
of Cumberland goes to the birthday, so you may come on Monday, if you
will, to see Mr. Pitt, and take the birthday on Tuesday, if you like
it. Adieu.

                        “C. F. R.”

It was not to be wondered at, if his Majesty, under these
circumstances, was led to try every practical means by which he could
form an Administration capable of relieving him from the irksome
situation in which he stood with his present servants. Among others, I
was myself commanded by the King, through the Duke of Cumberland, to
wait on Mr. Pitt at Hayes, and to bear to him his Majesty’s wishes to
be informed what steps would be the fittest for his Majesty to take
in order to constitute an Administration of which Mr. Pitt was to be
the head, and which might, through a confidence of the principles and
abilities of the other Ministers, give satisfaction to his people. His
Royal Highness told me, that if I had any doubt as to the authority, I
might receive it from the King himself.

I was young and unsuspicious, and, moreover, perfectly relied on the
honour of those who were then present at this conference at Windsor
Great Lodge, when the King’s commands were communicated to me; and I
desired no other authority. Since that time, experience would probably
have stopped me from undertaking a commission so critical, and, I may
add, so hazardous; yet I received the satisfactory declaration from all
parties, that I had discharged my commission faithfully.

Mr. Pitt received me with the usual kindness which I had constantly met
with from him ever since he first knew me at Stowe, when I was a boy
from school; indeed, his obliging attention had been daily increasing.
He appeared to be much pleased with the subject of the message I
brought. He talked over many weighty political considerations and
situations in a very open manner; some of which were to be considered
as going no further than my own breast. The rest I was desired to
report. In a visit of more than two hours, he concluded, that with
every sense of duty to his Majesty for his obliging condescension, he
could not, but to the King himself, state his views, and what would be
his advice for the King’s dignity and the public welfare.

Mr. Pitt did see the King in a day or two after this, and again on June
the 22nd. But, alas! it will appear by the following letters, that he
was much disappointed in the warm expectation he had formed.

            “Pall Mall, Saturday, June 22d, 1765.


“Having had an audience again to-day of his Majesty at the Queen’s
house, I find myself under a necessity of expressing my extreme desire
to have the honour of a conversation with your Grace. Did my shattered
health permit, I would have had the pleasure of being my own messenger
to Wakefield Lodge; as it is, I trust your Grace will, in consideration
of my sincere respect and attachment, pardon the great liberty I take
in desiring that your Grace would take the trouble of a journey to
town. I am going to sleep at Hayes, where I find it necessary for me
to be, as much as may be, for the air; and shall be proud and happy
to have the honour of waiting on your Grace, at my return to London,
Monday night, in case you should be then arrived,--or some time on
Tuesday next. A letter would but ill convey what I have to impart; I
therefore defer entering into matter till I have the satisfaction of
meeting; and will only say, that I think the Royal dispositions are
most propitious to the wishes of the public, with regard to _measures_
most likely to spread satisfaction. When your Grace arrives, you
will hear with your own ears, and see with your own eyes, which will
be better than any lights I can convey. I have the honour to be, with
perfect truth and respect,

  “Your Grace’s most obedient and most humble servant,
                    WILLIAM PITT.”

       *       *       *       *       *

                    “Hayes, Tuesday Evening.


“It is with extreme concern that I am to acquaint your Grace that Lord
Temple declines to take the Treasury. This unfortunate event wholly
disables me from undertaking that part which my zeal, under all the
weight of infirmities, had determined me to attempt. As in this crisis
I imagine your Grace will judge proper to come to town, I trust you
will pardon the trouble of this line, and believe me, with true respect
and attachment,

            “Your Grace’s most faithful, and
                    Most obedient humble Servant,
                            WILLIAM PITT.”

Despairing of receiving Mr. Pitt’s assistance at our head, a new plan
for establishing a Ministry was proposed to his Majesty by his Royal
Highness, and accepted; several, with myself, understanding that it
came forward with the full declaration of our desire to receive Mr.
Pitt at our head, _whenever_ he should see the situation of affairs to
be such as to allow him to take that part. My concern afterwards was
great, when I found, before the conclusion of our first session, that
this idea was already vanished from the minds of some of my colleagues.
I always understood this to be the ground on which I engaged, and it
will be seen that I adhered to my own resolution to the last.

When the principal line of ministerial departments was settled between
his Majesty and his Royal Highness, a considerable number of the
leading men in both Houses were invited to a great dinner, at whose
house I do not exactly recollect, where the great officers were to
be fixed on, as much as possible to the general satisfaction of the
meeting as to the person himself. A real difficulty, however, arose
concerning the Treasury; for the delicacy of Lord Rockingham kept him
back for some time from accepting that post, to which the Duke of
Newcastle was giving up the claim reluctantly, though most of his own
friends felt that his advanced age rendered him inadequate to fill it.
After long resistance, the Marquis yielded; and the other offices were
nearly agreed upon, as we kissed hands for them on the 10th of July.


The internal state of the country was really alarming; and from my
situation I had more cause to feel it than any other man. But a measure
at this time adopted by a majority of the King’s servants gave me still
more apprehension, considering it to be big with more mischief; for,
contrary to my proposal of including the articles of teas, together
with all the other trifling objects of taxation, to be repealed on the
opening of the next session, it was decided that the teas were still
to remain taxed as before, though contrary to the declared opinions of
Lord Camden, Lord Granby, General Conway, and myself. Sir Edward Hawke
was absent through illness: otherwise I think he would have agreed with
those who voted for including the teas in the repeal. But this was not
all; and considering what important consequences this very decision
led to, there is no minute part of it on which you should not be

When we had delivered _seriatim_ our opinions, the minute, as is
usual, was taken down by Lord Hillsborough; and in that part where the
intentions of the King’s servants were to be communicated by a circular
letter to all the Governors in America, the majority allowed the first
penned minute of Lord Hillsborough to be amended by words as kind and
lenient as could be proposed by some of us, and not without encouraging
expressions which were too evidently displeasing to his Lordship. The
quick departure of the packet carried off Lord Hillsborough’s circular
letter before it had got into circulation, and we were persuaded, on
reading the dispatch attentively, that it was not in the words nor form
of the last correction agreed to by the Cabinet. Thus it was evident
to us, who were overruled in the Cabinet, that the parts of the minute
which might be soothing to the Colonies were wholly omitted. Lord
Camden, in particular, much offended at this proceeding, mentioned the
circumstance to me, and immediately charged Lord Hillsborough with the
omission, and insisted on seeing the minute from which the circular
letter ought to have been drawn. Lord Hillsborough expressed his sorrow
that the packet was sailed; but that he was certain that the circular
was drawn conformably to the minute.

The present Lord Camden gave me leave to copy the following papers,
which passed between his father and Lord Hillsborough on this occasion,
and which I had particularly desired his Lordship to search for from
among his father’s papers.


From Lord Chancellor (Camden) to the Earl of Hillsborough, Secretary
for the American Department.

“Lord Chancellor presents his compliments to Lord Hillsborough, and
begs leave to know whether the Circular Letter to the Governors in
America, explaining the conduct of the King’s servants in respect to
the dispute between Great Britain and the Colonies, is despatched or
not; because Lord Chancellor has material objections to the draught
which came first to his hands the day before yesterday.”

  “Lincoln’s Inn Fields, June 9, 1769.”

       *       *       *       *       *


“Lord Hillsborough presents his compliments to Lord Chancellor, and
is sorry the Circular Letter has been long despatched. He wrote and
sent it immediately after the Cabinet; nor can he conceive what can be
his Lordship’s objections to it, as it is exactly conformable to the
minute, and as near as possible in the same words.”

  “Hanover Square, June 9, 1769.”

       *       *       *       *       *


“Lord Hillsborough, conceiving that Lord Chancellor means to have the
rough draught of the Minute of Cabinet taken the first of May, he
spent half the day in looking for it, and cannot find it, although
he supposes he still has it; but having the fair draught which he
communicated to his Lordship and the other Lords, and laid before
the King, and which is conformable to the rough draught, he has not
attended to the preservation of the latter. Enclosed he has the honour
to send a copy of the Minute No. 1, and also a copy of the Circular
Letter No. 2, which he hopes Lord Chancellor upon reconsideration will

  “Hanover Square, Saturday night.”

       *       *       *       *       *


Lord Chancellor to Lord Hillsborough. No date,--but either a day or two
after the preceding _necessarily_.


“I had the honour of receiving your Lordship’s note with copies of the
Minute and the Circular Letter, and am sorry to say that I cannot bring
myself to approve the Letter, though I have considered and considered
it with the utmost attention.

“I wish your Lordship had not mislaid the original Minute; however, I
do not remember the first sentence of the fair draught to have been
part of that original, and so I told your Lordship when you were
pleased to show me the draught a day or two after the meeting. All that
I mean to observe to your Lordship upon that subject is, that this
sentence was not a part of the original Minute, nor in my poor judgment
necessary to have been made a part of it.

“But the principal objection, wherein I possibly may be mistaken, is
to the Letter, which ought to have been founded on the Minute, and
it is this, that the Letter does not communicate that opinion which
is expressed in the second paragraph of the Minute, and which the
Secretary of State is authorized to impart both by his conversation and

“The communication of that opinion was the measure; if that has
not been made, the measure has not been pursued, and therefore your
Lordship will forgive me for saying, that though I am responsible for
the Minute as it was taken down, I am not for the Letter.

“I confess that I do not expect this Letter will give much satisfaction
to America; perhaps the Minute might: but as the opportunity of trying
what effect that might have produced is lost, I can only say that I am
sorry it was not in my power to submit my sentiments to your Lordship
before the Letter was sent.”

       *       *       *       *       *

(No. 1.)

“At a meeting of the King’s servants at Lord Weymouth’s office, 1st
May, 1769.


      Lord Chancellor.
      Duke of Grafton.
      Lord Rochford.
      Lord North.
      Lord President.
      Lord Granby.
      Lord Weymouth.
      General Conway.
      Lord Hillsborough.

“It is the unanimous opinion of the Lords present to submit to his
Majesty, as their advice, that no measure should be taken which can
any way derogate from the legislative authority of Great Britain over
the Colonies; but that the Secretary of State in his correspondence
and conversation be permitted to state it as the opinion of the King’s
servants, that it is by no means the intention of Administration, nor
do they think it expedient or for the interest of Great Britain or
America, to propose or consent to the laying any further taxes upon
America for the purpose of raising a revenue; and that it is at present
their intention to propose in the next session of Parliament to take
off the duties upon paper, glass, and colours imported into America,
upon consideration of such duties having been laid contrary to the true
principles of commerce.”

       *       *       *       *       *

(No. 2.)


                    “Whitehall, May 13, 1769.


“Inclosed I send you the gracious speech made by the King to his
Parliament at the close of the session on Tuesday last.

“What his Majesty is pleased to say, in relation to the measures which
have been pursued in North America, will not escape your notice,
as the satisfaction his Majesty expresses in the approbation his
Parliament has given to them, and the assurance of their firm support
in the prosecution of them, together with his royal opinion of the
great advantages that will probably accrue from the concurrence of
every branch of the legislature in the resolution of maintaining a
due execution of the laws, cannot fail to produce the most salutary
effects. From hence it will be understood that the whole legislature
concur in the opinion adopted by his Majesty’s servants, that no
measure ought to be taken which can any way derogate from the
legislative authority of Great Britain over the Colonies; but I can
take upon me to assure you, notwithstanding insinuations to the
contrary from men with factious and seditious views, that his Majesty’s
present Administration have at no time entertained a design to propose
to Parliament to lay any further taxes upon America for the purpose
of raising a revenue, and that it is at present their intention to
propose, in the next session of Parliament, to take off the duties upon
glass, paper, and colours, upon consideration of such duties having
been laid contrary to the true principles of commerce.

“These, sir, have always been, and still are, the sentiments of his
Majesty’s present servants, and the principles by which their conduct
in respect to America have been governed; and his Majesty relies upon
your prudence and fidelity for such an explanation of his measures
as may tend to remove the prejudices which have been excited by the
misrepresentations of those who are enemies to the peace of Great
Britain and her Colonies, and to re-establish that mutual confidence
and affection upon which the safety and glory of the British empire

                    “I am, &c.,
        (Signed)         “HILLSBOROUGH.”

       *       *       *       *       *

This unfortunate and unwarrantable Letter (to give it no harsher
epithet) of Lord Hillsborough to the Governors in the different
Colonies, was, many years after, the subject of discourse between Lord
Camden and myself. This Circular was calculated to do all mischief,
when our real Minute might have paved the way to some good. Besides
many other objectionable points, how could Lord Hillsborough venture to
assert in the first line of this Letter the word _unanimous_? for he
could not have so soon forgotten that there was but one single voice
for the measure more than was the number of those who were against it.

You will readily imagine that on this defeat in the Cabinet I
considered myself no longer possessed of that weight which had been
allowed to me before in these meetings, especially as the proposal
was on a matter of finance, more particularly belonging to my
department. My resolution was soon taken to withdraw myself from my
office, which was become very uncomfortable and irksome to me, on
the first favourable opportunity that offered. The resistance to any
further steps calculated to alienate the Colonies would probably
have furnished good ground for my retreat; but, while I remained in
office, none was proposed. I had occasion, however, to look about me,
and to tread my way with more wary steps than I had hitherto done.
It led me plainly to perceive that from the time of Lord Camden’s
altercation with Lord Hillsborough, the former Minister had sunk much
in the royal estimation. As to myself, there was no alteration in his
Majesty’s condescending goodness; but though this was not diminished,
I was sensible that his Majesty was more forward to dictate his will
to me, than to inquire first my opinion on any measure that was to be
considered, as had been his usual practice. My tame submission to be
overruled in Cabinet might give the King’s friends an idea that I might
be more pliant, and rest my favour on their support. But they knew
me little who thus judged of my temper; nor did they imagine that an
honourable liberation from the Treasury was of all others the thought
on which I indulged my hope. To have offered to resign while the
spirit of petitioning was so violent in many counties, would have been
highly blameable in me; for the petitions were directed against the
Administration and the Parliament, which had supported us. Other causes
brought forward my resignation, and at a time when the sting of these
petitions was no longer so much to be feared.

On the 24th of June, 1769, I married Elizabeth, third daughter of Sir
Richard and Lady Mary Wrottesley, whose merit as a wife, tenderness
and affection as a mother of a numerous family, and exemplary conduct
through life, need not be related to you. In a week or ten days
after I went from Woburn, accompanied by the Duke of Bedford, to the
installation at Cambridge, where, in the preceding year, on the death
of the Duke of Newcastle, the University had done me the honour of
electing me as Chancellor to succeed his Grace. That ceremony being
over, I returned to London, where I first heard that Lord Chatham was
so well recovered as to be expected to attend the King’s next levee.
Lord Camden had seen him, and, I think, the day before his appearing
mentioned to me Lord Chatham’s intention. Lord Camden informed me that
he was far from being well pleased, but did not enter into particulars,
except that he considered my marriage to be quite political; and it was
without effect that Lord Chancellor laboured to assure him that it was
otherwise, and that he could answer that I was as desirous as ever of
seeing his Lordship again taking the lead in the King’s Administration.

This neglect on the part of Lord Chatham piqued me much. I had surely a
claim to some notice on his recovery, when at his earnest solicitation
I embarked in an arduous post when he was incapable of business of any
sort; and if Lord Chatham wished to receive the state of political
matters, I hope that it is not saying too much that he ought to have
requested it of me. He chose the contrary; and even in the King’s
outer-room, where we met before the levee, when I went up to him with
civility and ease, he received me with cold politeness; and from St.
James’s called and left his name at my door.

On my returning home I took down a minute of this occurrence of the
day, which I have preserved. It runs thus:--

                    “July 7, 1769.

“Lord Chatham waited on the King for the first time since his long
confinement, was graciously received at the levee, and was desired to
stay after it was over, when the King sent for him into the closet. His
Majesty took the opportunity of assuring him how much he was concerned
that the ill state of his health had been the occasion of his quitting
the King’s service. His Lordship answered, that his Majesty must feel
that in his infirm state he must have stood under the most embarrassing
difficulties, holding an office of such consequence, and unable to give
his approbation to measures that he thought salutary, or his dissent
to those which appeared to him to have another tendency; that he was
unwilling to go into particulars; yet he could not think that one
especially had been managed in the manner it might have been, for if it
had been despised thoroughly at the outset, it never could have been
attended with the disagreeable consequences which have happened, but
that it was too late now to look back.

“The Indian transaction was also found fault with. His Lordship,
besides, observed, that their general courts were got upon the worst
of footings, exercising the conduct of little parliaments; that he
wondered that the inspectors were not sent to three different places.
There were also other observations on the head of India. His Lordship
added, that he doubted whether his health would ever again allow him to
attend Parliament; but if it did, and if he should give his dissent to
any measure, that his Majesty would be indulgent enough to believe that
it would not arise from any personal consideration; for, he protested
to his Majesty, as Lord Chatham, he had not a tittle to find fault with
in the conduct of any one individual, and that his Majesty might be
assured that it could not arise from ambition, as he felt so strongly
the weak state from which he was recovering, and which might daily
threaten him, that office, therefore, of any sort could no longer be
desireable to him.”

       *       *       *       *       *

From this time until the meeting of Parliament I saw no more of Lord
Chatham. His suspicions of me were probably too firmly rooted to be
removed by Lord Camden’s assurances that they were groundless. His
Lordship desired no further interview; and I had such a sense of the
unkindness and injustice of such a treatment, when I thought that I
had a claim for the most friendly, that I was not disposed to seek any

Lord Camden and myself, unfortunately, saw less of each other than in
other summers; both of us profiting, by a retreat into the country, of
the leisure which a recess from Chancery and Treasury business offered.
The affair of petitions was becoming every day more serious, increasing
in number; the consequences were ever uppermost in my thoughts. Mr.
Stonehewer and a few friends were with us at Wakefield Lodge; with
them I conversed much on all that I foresaw of mischief from these
intemperate petitions, and I shall lay before you the copy, which I
have in Mr. Stonehewer’s hand-writing, of the letter which I wrote,
wishing to consult Lord Camden, the lawyer as well as the friend from
whom I might expect the soundest advice, well convinced that his to me
came on all occasions from the sincerity of his heart.

            “Wakefield Lodge, August 29, 1769.


“I have made use of the leisure which the Treasury holidays have given
me to revolve over here in quiet such points as our duty seemed to call
upon us, as public men, most to give attention to. The petitions, I
must say, have greatly engrossed and puzzled my thoughts; indeed, the
conduct on this strange occasion, which has been stirred up by the envy
and malice of Opposition, without a single thought on its pernicious
consequences hereafter, appears to me to be most delicate indeed.

“I am alarmed, I own to your Lordship, at the mischief that may from
this source, before it is long, arise to this constitution, which those
who are now in office will heartily, I am convinced, join in endeavours
to deliver down to their successors as pure as they received it. No
trouble will stop us in this purpose, and most essential part our duty;
nor shall we be afraid to wade through the rage of popular clamour for
the moment, if on consideration any effort of that sort shall appear to
be necessary. I am not easy in my mind, nor can I be so until I know
at bottom what are the penalties these gentlemen who have been the
promoters of these steps have made themselves liable to, or how far
they are criminal. When we have this from authority the King’s servants
will consider the _State part_ of it, how far the petitions themselves
can be allowed to sleep without some notice, having been delivered to,
and of course known to, the Crown,--especially as the matter of these
petitions is defamatory of Parliament itself, and may perhaps prove to
be a violation of the constitution. I profess to your Lordship openly,
that I do not see how they can lie wholly locked up in an office, and
no farther produced or mentioned.

“My thoughts have been running on this business both day and night. I
wish but to do right, and shall never be afraid to meet difficulty on
_good ground_; and some there must be if an active measure is resolved
upon: but believe me, that great part of that vanishes when a measure,
of itself right, is known to be cordially approved of and determined by
the King’s principal servants. If nothing is to be done, and that it
shall be thought most judicious to let the consideration wholly drop,
for God’s sake let it not be before every point relating to it shall
have been maturely weighed by us! Let it not be said that innovations
of a dangerous tendency, injurious to Parliament and dangerous to
the constitution, have been established in these times, because the
Ministers have not attended to the nature of them, or have been too
inactive to resist such wicked measures.

“This subject is too much and too closely connected with the laws, and
indeed with the very being, in my opinion, of this constitution, for me
not to want the advice and assistance of those who love it as much as
myself, and who know it so infinitely more. It was a disappointment to
me not to meet your Lordship during the four days of last week which I
passed in London. My mind was too full for me not to trouble you with
this letter. Be so good as to give me your thoughts on the _present
state_ of this weighty business; they will greatly relieve mine,
although they can only be your thoughts on the _present_ state of it,
as I feel that it is not prepared nor digested enough to be yet decided
upon. The Middlesex and the City petitions your Lordship has seen;
Surrey has now gone to the grievances only of the right of election
violated, as they complain. One will come from Worcester, and in
Wiltshire the _pardon of the chairman_ is added,--the petition mostly
encouraged by our old friends Popham and Beckford; others will probably

“The opinion in form of the King’s servants will of course be taken,
if any proceeding is to be entered upon. I have desired in my case a
person under me to be collecting the different facts and proofs; if not
wanted by them, they will be satisfactory to myself.

“You know the difficulties we have had about the Board of Trade
Council; I will submit this arrangement to you, and if your Lordship
approves of it, I think that I can bring the _whole_ about if I
have your leave to _try_. Mr. Justice Clive’s infirmities render
it indispensable for the King to make him the usual provision on
retiring; he might even be told that some gentlemen who have felt the
inconvenience of it have determined to move in Parliament what would
be most disagreeable to him, and would in fact reflect on us. Indeed,
my dear Lord, I hear from all quarters the necessity of this. Moreton
might succeed him; Thurlow to him; and our friend Jackson come to the
post of all others I most wish to see him in. Will you allow me to set
about it? It requires some management, but I think if left to myself I
shall succeed.

“I have already made this too long a letter to trouble your Lordship
with further particulars on this second subject.

            “I have the honour to be, &c.,

“P.S.--I shall be sincerely rejoiced to hear the little man is

       *       *       *       *       *

Though I have inserted this letter of mine, I should certainly wish
to correct some sentiments therein expressed. You will partake in my
disappointment, I am confident, when I acquaint you that I have no
opinion to lay before you from this eminent and constitutional lawyer,
whose sentiments on so peculiar a state of things, as well as his
advice how to proceed upon them, would have been so satisfactory to
myself at the time, and to the world in every age. But to deliver, on
recollection only, the sentiments of a man of his high character and
authority on so serious a subject, would be in me arrogant, and little
suited to that respect I shall ever attach to the memory of my friend.

Lord Camden’s answer to my letter was in these words:--


“I have the honour of your Grace’s letter, which I have read over,
and considered with my best attention; but the subject being new and
unexpected, I am not able at present to form any opinion till I have
given it a further consideration; and I should be unwilling to commit
my crude thoughts to paper, which indeed would not be worth your
Grace’s perusal, and which perhaps I might change myself upon second
thoughts. As I am not honoured with any intercourse with any of the
King’s servants, except now and then with your Grace, I should be very
glad to have a personal interview with your Grace, when we should both
be able to explain ourselves with more freedom and confidence than can
be uttered or communicated by letter. I go to-day to Camden Place,
and except a short excursion or two to Deal, and into Sussex, shall
remain there till the 10th, the day for proroguing the Parliament. So
that if your Grace will honour me with an appointment, I will wait on
you in London, at your own time and place, when I shall be ready to
communicate my poor opinions to your Grace, as well on the main article
of your letter, as the law arrangement which your Grace is pleased to

            “I have the honour to be, &c.,

“September 1, 1769.”

“I am much obliged to your Grace for inquiring after my little boy. He
is most fortunately recovered.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The only remark I shall make on this letter is, that it was less
cordial than any Lord Camden ever wrote to me either before or since.
The coolness between Lord Chatham and myself gave him much vexation,
and the general posture of affairs increased his uneasiness. We met
in London about the middle of September, and after a long and general
consideration of all that appertained to the petitions, and how far
they gave necessary ground for more special notice, we agreed that
in the disposition of the nation it would be wise to avoid, if
possible, every step that could irritate; and that to leave the spirit
to evaporate, as there were hopes that it might, would be the most
expedient measure to adopt.

His Majesty had been graciously pleased at this time to summon a
Chapter of the Garter, in order to invest me with the insignia of the
Order; and the King did me the honour to observe, that he was pleased
to have the greater satisfaction in conferring that favour, as I was
one of the very few who had received it unsolicited. The Order of the
Garter is a high distinction still, though certainly it is somewhat
dropped from the ancient celebrity by the addition that was made to the
number of the Knights some years after this.

In this month we were involved in a very serious and delicate business,
which appeared at one time to be big with alarming consequences. A
French frigate had come into the Downs without paying the compliment to
his Majesty’s ships which the general instructions from the Admiralty
to all commanders of ships direct them to require; but with which no
nation except the Dutch ever complied,--and they in consequence of a
treaty. An officer from a King’s ship went on board the French frigate,
remonstrating with the commander on his conduct, and assuring him that
he must insist on the compliment; but, meeting with no satisfactory
answer, the lieutenant of our ship soon fired his first shot a-head of
the French ship, and on perceiving no notice to be taken of his gun, he
fired into the Frenchman with ball, and, as it was said, killed one of
the men.

The proceeding was warmly resented by the Court of France, who required
the fullest satisfaction for the affront, together with the dismissal
_from the service_ of _the officer_ who had presumed, in time of
perfect peace, to fire into a frigate belonging to the French King.
Office papers were ransacked for precedents to justify the claim; few
were found, and the paucity of these did not assist our cause. From
the reign of Charles the Second, when a long and serious altercation
took place on a similar occasion, and which may be found in the
Memoirs of M. d’Estrades, and of his embassy here, one single instance
(except the present) was found. This instance fell out while the Duke
of Newcastle was Secretary of State, who had, on the complaint of the
French Court, recommended to his late Majesty to break Lieutenant
(afterwards Admiral) Smith: as soon as the Ambassador had acquainted
his Court, Mr. Smith was restored to rank, and quickly promoted.

Finding that there was so little ground on precedent, it became our
duty, as Ministers of the Crown, to get rid of this unpleasant incident
in the best manner we were able, provided the national honour, and
that of the flag, should not suffer in the explanation. Lord Weymouth
reported to the Cabinet that, in the audience which he gave M. de
Châtelet, his reply upon every memorial, and his language every day
became more resolute, by insisting on a suitable satisfaction for the
affront which had been done to the King, his master’s dignity. It was
Lord Weymouth’s opinion also, that if we could find out some expedient,
at the same time to save our own credit, the Ambassador would close
with it. Lord Weymouth thought, from my knowledge of M. de Châtelet,
that I might _unofficially_ hold with him a language tending to bring
about an arrangement which might save the honour of both parties. At
the desire of the Cabinet I undertook it, hoping that Sir Edward Hawke
would call on me the next morning, and state fully to me what, in his
opinion, would, and what would not, save the honour of the navy and the
lustre of the British flag.

In point of justice not one word can be said; but it may be a question
whether the ideal sovereignty of the narrow seas be not essential in
elevating the enthusiastic courage of our seamen; though they have
now, in the year I am writing, and, I hope, will ever have the best of
pleas, from their own incredible superiority in skill and bravery over
those of any other country.

The morning after the meeting of the King’s servants, Sir Edward called
on me early, and, in a long conversation, we discussed every means that
could be devised to answer the present purpose; and at length agreed
upon one expedient, of which I made successful use in my visit to the
French Ambassador, on whom I called directly, and began by stating to
him the object of my visit, namely, to endeavour, by a frank and open
conversation with him, to hit off some means of preventing a breach
between our two countries; and, in the course of our interview, I
desired him, particularly, not to allow himself to be led away with
false notions of the disposition of our country from the specimen he
had observed of the disposition to riot and disorder, and to give me
credit, when I assured him that all these would vanish on the breaking
out of a war, especially on ground so popular as that of the honour of
the flag, to carry which on with spirit every Englishman would part
with his last shilling. He replied, that peace was the object of his
wish, as much as I had professed it to be mine. Besides, recapitulating
all that had passed with Lord Weymouth, he would impart this to me,
as Duke of Grafton, “that nothing could urge Louis the Fifteenth
into another war, except where his honour was concerned, and that he
personally felt the present affront most sensibly;” he added, “that M.
de Choiseul’s interest would suffer greatly by a war, and that he would
show his disposition to avoid it, if such did present itself.”

The Ambassador proposed various schemes for reconciliation; but none
of them came within my own notions of what might have been admissible
by the nation. Those which I first mentioned met with no better
reception from M. de Châtelet; and, after a long parley of two hours,
we were near parting, when I thought I might lay before him, as the
only means, the very proposal I had settled with Sir Edward Hawke. It
was this, that the answer to the French King’s complaint, should be, to
say that his Majesty could not do so great an injustice to a lieutenant
in his service, as to punish him without hearing his account of this
unfortunate transaction; and that, the officer having now sailed to the
East Indies, such an account could not be obtained till the return of
the lieutenant. I added, to M. de Châtelet, that his return would not
be expected for three years, when the affair might be supposed to have
slipped into oblivion. The Ambassador, after a little consideration,
told me that he liked the proposal, and would do his endeavours to make
it palatable to the Duc de Choiseul.

This arrangement succeeded so fully, that we have never heard one word
more of the business, since the expedient was accepted. I do not know
that I was ever so much elated as, in my walk home, turning in my
thoughts the effects of my visit, and reflecting on the misery which
probably would be warded off from the heads of so many individuals and
families. I cannot give too full testimony of the candour and zeal
with which the Ambassador took up the business, and recommended the
expedient to his Court; his influence prevailed, and the recollection
of this conduct increased my concern on hearing of the horrid death
of him and his amiable lady upon a scaffold, during the frenzy of the
Revolutions in France.

You recollect, my dear Euston, the resolution I had formed of retiring
from my situation, whenever I could find the moment favourable; as,
also, my remark on the visible and rapid decline of my friend Lord
Camden’s favour at St. James’s. This latter circumstance served to
confirm me strongly in the former; for I was not so blinded, as not
to feel the ground around me to be treacherous and unsafe. Though the
closet was still favourable and afforded all apparent support, yet I
probably owed it to those to whom my principles could never be quite
congenial, and who might, on some occasion where we differed, show to
me my presumption and my insignificance, particularly as they expressed
their attachment strongly, because _I was emancipated from the chains
of Lord Chatham and the burthen of Lord Camden_.

Parliament was to meet on the 9th of January, 1770. The necessity of
having a Chancellor to vindicate the law authority of the Cabinet
was dinned into my ears in most companies I frequented; and it was
particularly remarked, that Mr. Charles Yorke had taken no part in
the whole business of the Middlesex election that need preclude him
from joining in opinion with the decisions of the Commons. Such
insinuations were very irksome to me; and, about the Court, I was still
more harassed with them. At last, when I was passing a few Christmas
holidays at Euston, Lords Gower and Weymouth came down on a visit.
They informed me, that the King, on hearing their intention of going
to Euston, had expressly directed them to say, that the continuance of
the Lord Chancellor in his office could not be justified, and that the
Government would be too much lowered by the Great Seal appearing in
Opposition, and his Majesty hoped that I should assent to his removal,
and approve of an offer being made to Mr. Yorke. My answer, as well as
I recollect, was, that, though it did not become me to argue against
his Majesty’s remarks on the present peculiar state of the Great
Seal, I must humbly request that I might be in no way instrumental in
dismissing Lord Camden.

In a few days after my arrival in London, the session opened, when the
Lord Chancellor spoke warmly in support of Lord Chatham’s opposition
to the address, and, while we were in the House, Lord Camden told me,
that he was sensible that the Seal must be taken from him, though he
had no intention to resign it. At St. James’s, it was at once decided
that the Seal should be demanded; but, at my request, Lord Camden held
it on for some days, merely for the convenience of Government, during
the negotiation for a respectable successor. No person will deny that
Mr. Charles Yorke, Sir Eardley Wilmot, and Mr. De Grey, would any of
them have filled the high office of Lord Chancellor with the full
approbation of Westminster Hall. They were all three thought of for it,
though Sir Eardley’s impaired state of health, accompanied by an humble
diffidence of himself, which had been a distinguishing mark in his
character through life, forbad all hopes of his acceptance.

While I continued in office, it was my duty, as well as desire, to
exert myself in endeavouring to render the King’s Administration as
respectable as I was able. Though I lamented and felt grievously the
loss of Lord Camden’s support, from which I derived so much comfort
and assistance, yet I was satisfied that the lawyers I have mentioned
were men equal to discharge the duties of a Chancellor. I therefore
received the King’s commands to write to Mr. Yorke directly. I saw
him the next day. He received the offer of the Great Seal with much
gratitude to his Majesty, but hoped that he should be allowed to return
his answer when he should have given it a day’s consideration. Mr.
Charles Yorke remained with me between two and three hours, dwelling
much on the whole of his own political thoughts and conduct, together
with a comment on the principal public occurrences of the present
reign. When he came to make remarks on the actual state of things,
after speaking with much regard of many in Administration, he said,
that it was essential to him to be informed from me, whether I was open
to a negotiation for extending the Administration, so as to comprehend
those with whom I had formerly, and he constantly, wished to agree. My
answer was, that he could not desire more earnestly than myself to see
an Administration as comprehensive as possible, and that this object
could only be brought about by the reunion of the Whigs, adding, that I
should be happy to have his assistance to effect it. Mr. Yorke appeared
to be pleased with this answer, and, after many civilities on both
sides, we parted.

On his return to me, the next day, I found him a quite altered man, for
his mind was then made up to decline the offer from his Majesty, and
that so decidedly, that I did not attempt to say anything further on
the subject. He expressed, however, a wish to be allowed an audience
of his Majesty. This was granted, and, at the conclusion of it, the
King, with the utmost concern, wrote to acquaint me that Mr. Yorke
had declined the Seal. On his appearing soon after at the levee, his
Majesty called him into his closet immediately after it was over. What
passed there I know not; but nothing could exceed my astonishment,
when Lord Hillsborough came into my dressing-room, in order to tell
me that Mr. Yorke was in my parlour, and that he was Lord Chancellor,
through the persuasion of the King himself in his closet. Mr. Yorke
corroborated to me what I had heard from Lord Hillsborough, and I
received the same account from his Majesty as soon as I could get down
to St. James’s. Mr. Yorke stayed but a little time with me; but his
language gave me new hopes that an Administration might shortly be
produced which the nation would approve. How soon did this plausible
hope vanish into a visionary expectation only, from the death of Mr.
Yorke before he became Lord Morden, or we could have any preliminary
discourse on the measure he earnestly desired to forward!

I had long been acquainted with Mr. Yorke, and held him in high esteem.
He certainly appeared less easy and communicative with me, from the
time of his acceptance to his death, than I might expect; but it was
natural to imagine that he would be more agitated than usual, when
arduous and intricate business was rushing at once upon him. I had not
the least conception of any degree of agitation that could bring him
to his sad and tragical end; nor will I presume to conjecture what
motives in his own breast, or anger in that of others, had driven him
to repent of the step he had just taken. By his own appointment, I
went to his house, about nine o’clock in the evening,--two days, as I
believe, after Mr Yorke had been sworn in at a Council-board, summoned
for that purpose at the Queen’s house. Being shown into his library
below, I waited a longer time than I supposed Mr. Yorke would have kept
me, without some extraordinary cause. After above half-an-hour waiting,
Dr. Watson, his physician, came into the room; he appeared somewhat
confused, sat himself down for a few minutes, letting me know that Mr.
Yorke was much indisposed from an attack of colic. Dr. Watson soon
retired, and I was ruminating on the untowardness of the circumstance,
never suspecting the fatal event which had occurred, nor the still more
lamentable cause ascribed for it by the world, and, as I fear, upon too
just grounds. I rang the bell, and acquainted one of the servants that
Mr. Yorke was probably too ill to see me, and that I should postpone
the business on which I came to a more favourable moment. Mr. Yorke, I
believe, was a religious man: it is rare to hear of such a person being
guilty of an action so highly criminal. It must, therefore, in him have
been a degree of passionate frenzy, bearing down every atom of his
reason: you will not wonder that I cannot think on the subject without
much horror still.

Here I stood again, under more perplexing difficulties than ever, and
without any expectation of additional strength, but what would arise
alone from the appointment of an able Chancellor. Lord Chief Justice
Wilmot, after Mr. Yorke’s death, declined the acceptance of the Great
Seal, from the causes I have already assigned. Under these unpromising
circumstances, I still persisted in endeavouring to fill up the vacant
Chancellor’s post by an efficient and respected character. By the
King’s commands, I saw Mr. De Grey, a most able and upright lawyer, and
as perfect a gentleman, and who afterwards became Lord Chief Justice of
the Common Pleas. In a long conference we had at his house, he appeared
inclined to undertake the situation, in spite of his frequent attacks
of gout. But, on entering something further into particulars, he put
this question to me, “Are you determined yourself to remain a certain
time in your present post?” My answer decided him at once to decline,
for I told him that I thought of retiring as soon as I could reconcile
it to my own heart, and that I foresaw this might be very near at
hand indeed, for I assured him that I should not seek for any other
Chancellor, if he refused the offer of the Great Seal.

You will feel for me in this distressing dilemma. You will perceive
that I had left nothing untried to bring the vessel to tolerable trim;
and, when you consider that, quitted by Lord Camden, and at the same
time by Lord Granby, I had no reliance in the Cabinet but on General
Conway alone, I trust you will think that, under such circumstances,
I could not proceed and be of service to the King or to the country;
and recollect that the hopes of co-operation with Mr. Yorke, to bring
about an essential addition of right principle, credit, and support,
vanished of course with himself. I laid before his Majesty directly
my difficulties, and observed that they were such as compelled me to
retire from my office, though it would be my full desire to give all
assistance to his Majesty’s Government. As it would be thoroughly
ungrateful to pass over entirely the concern his Majesty manifested
on this occasion, I am induced to observe that the King’s earnestness
with me to alter my resolution, far surpassed everything which my poor
services could possibly have merited.

Towards the end of January, 1770, I left the Treasury, but continued
to give the Administration under Lord North what support I was able.
The number of independent gentlemen, members chiefly of the House of
Commons, who came to me at this juncture, expressing their desire of
taking their part with me, both surprised and flattered me, for many of
the number were little known to me. I returned them many thanks for the
honour they did me by this proof of their good opinion, which I should
never forget, though my mind was made up, as I told them, to keep
myself as single and independent as a political man could be.

At this time, Lord Chatham’s virulence seemed to be directed against
myself; he persisted, for some days, in the intention of charging me in
Parliament with having advised the removal of Lord Camden, on account
of his vote in the House; nor was he dissuaded from this, till Lord
Camden had assured him that he knew so perfectly that the advice did
not come from me, that he should, if his Lordship made the motion,
think it incumbent on him to rise in his place, and declare that he
well knew it was not from my advice. This idea was wholly dropped in
our House on this declaration from Lord Camden, but I think that some
member of the House of Commons made a motion of the same tendency, but
met with no support.

In the last days of January, Lord Rockingham moved for a day to be
fixed when he should enter upon the consideration of the state of the
nation. Lord Chatham meant to be the seconder, but I started up myself
to second Lord Rockingham, and to profess my readiness and wish to
go into any inquiry that the House should approve. On the day fixed,
the Marquis made his motion, which related wholly to the rights of
the Commons on judicial authority in matters of election. In debate,
arguments went further; and, in particular, Lord Chatham condemned the
conduct of the Commons with much asperity, in a speech which betrayed
no want of mental or bodily powers. A great majority supported the
Ministers, and Lord Marchmont made the following motion, which was
not only approved, but said to be penned by Lord Mansfield himself,
who gave it his fullest support, in a very brilliant speech:--“That
any resolution of this House, directly or indirectly impeaching a
judgment of the House of Commons, in a matter where their jurisdiction
is competent, final, and conclusive, would be a violation of the
constitutional right of the Commons, tends to make a breach between
the two Houses of Parliament, and leads to a general confusion.”
This motion was, as I thought, highly necessary, and it received my
fullest support. Lord Chatham continued, for two months together, in
a more active opposition to the Ministry than I had ever known in his
Lordship, and, after many motions, which were all negatived, he moved
an address to his Majesty to dissolve the Parliament, on the ground
that the people had no confidence in the House of Commons, at a time
when the discontents in England, Ireland, and America were threatening
to a high degree. This motion was rejected, as you may imagine, without
much debate, and by Administration with little attention.


In the summer of 1771, the Duke of Grafton was again induced to
join the Administration, and he accepted the Privy Seal in the hope
that he might prevent the quarrel with America from proceeding to
extremities. But when he discovered that, in opposition to his earnest
remonstrances, Government resisted all conciliation, were determined
upon coercive measures, and would pay no regard even to the petition
brought over by Mr. Penn in 1775, which was emphatically called the
Olive Branch; and finally withdrew from that Administration; and
having, in a private audience, explained to the Monarch his views of
the state and dangers of the country if the present measures were
pursued,--he became a temperate but firm opposer of the Ministry which
lost America.

In the year 1782, the Duke of Grafton accepted the Office of Privy Seal
under the Administration of Lord Rockingham, and retained his situation
after the death of that truly patriotic nobleman and the resignation
of Mr. Fox. Upon the accession of the Coalition Ministry in 1783, he
resigned his office, and never afterwards resumed his seat in the


[1] Lord Weymouth was governed by Wood (author of the editions of
Palmyra and Balbec), his secretary, who was suspected of having, in
concert with Sullivan, betrayed the East India Company at the last
peace. Wood was a great stockjobber, and now, and in the following
year, was vehemently accused of bending the bow of war towards the
butt of his interest. This was the more suspected, as, though we
had now been the aggressors, France had for some time winked at the
insult offered to their ship, and wished to receive no answer to
their memorial, when Wood persisted in making a reply--which lowered
the stocks. He who thus lowered them, could raise them again when he

[2] Mainon D’Invau saw that, with a Court so entirely demoralized as
that of Louis the Fifteenth, any extensive financial reforms were
impracticable. He had the disinterestedness to refuse the pension
usually enjoyed by Ministers _en retraite_.--E.

[3] The Princess of Beauvau told me this story of him when he was
Vice-Chancellor:--She found fault with the situation of his house;
Maupeou replied he could see the Hôtel de Choiseul from the windows of
his garrets, and that was felicity enough.

[4] Madame d’Esparbès, a woman of quality, was one of the mistresses
that succeeded Madame de Pompadour, and hated the Duc de Choiseul. As
he was one day coming down the great staircase at Versailles he met
her going to the King. He took her by the hand, told her he knew her
designs, led her down, returned to the King, and obtained an order
for her appearing no more at Court. When Madame du Barry became the
favourite mistress, by the intrigues of Maréchal de Richelieu, the Duc
de Choiseul, seeing her pass through the gallery at Versailles, said to
the Maréchal, “N’est ce pas Madame de Maintenon qui passe?”--a satire
on Richelieu, who was so old as to remember the latter, for paying
court in the dregs of life to the former, and marking his contempt for
both the mistress and her flatterer.

[5] See the character of Choiseul, supra, vol. ii. p. 243.

[6] I one evening heard the Maréchal relate the histories of his five
imprisonments in the Bastille. The first was for having, at fifteen,
hid himself under the bed of the Duchess of Burgundy, the King’s
mother. The second, I think, was for following the Regent’s daughter
in the dress of a footman when she went to marry the Duke of Modena.
I forget the others, or he had not time to finish them, for though he
related well, he was not concise.

[7] Four or five years after the period I am speaking of, the Maréchal
was greatly disgraced by seducing a married woman of quality, Madame
de St. Vincent, descendant of the famous Madame de Sevigné. The suit
between them made considerable noise. At his hotel in Paris he built a
pavilion in his garden, luxuriously furnished, for his amours; as it
was supposed to be built with his plunder of the Electorate of Hanover,
it was nicknamed _Le Pavillon d’Hanovre_.

[8] In his eighty-third year he married his third wife, who, it is
said, had too much reason to complain of his infidelities. This
heartless voluptuary died in 1788, at the great age of ninety-two.--E.

[9] See supra, vol ii. p. 245.--E.

[10] He claimed affinity with the Barrys, Earls of Barrymore, and that
family did acknowledge the relationship, and had the meanness, when so
many French would not, to grace the mistress’s triumph at Versailles.
[This alludes to Lady Barrymore, a foolish woman, whom Walpole
ridicules in his Correspondence. An amusing life of the Comte du Barry
is given in the Biographie Universelle, partly from an autobiographical
MS. He seems to have been a consummate blackguard. He perished by the
guillotine in 1794. A more favourable account of the Du Barrys is to
be found in Capefigue, the panegyrist of every Bourbon king but Henry
the Fourth.--(Louis XV., et la Société du XVIII. Siècle, t. iv. pp.

[11] It was a most absurd etiquette at the Court of France that the
King’s mistress should be a married woman,--perhaps for fear of the
precedent of Madame de Maintenon.

[12] She was the daughter of the Comte de Chabot, and widow of a
Monsieur de Clermont. The Prince de Beauvau, son of the late Prince de
Craon, a Lorrainer, and one of the Colonels of the King’s guards, had
been attached to her, during the life of his first wife, daughter of
the Duc de Bouillon, and married her on his wife’s death. [The Prince
had served with distinction in the German wars. He was made Governor of
Provence in 1782, and Marshal in 1783. He died in 1793.--E.]

[13] I once said this very thing to her. I was sitting by her at her
own house at some distance from the rest of the company, and we were
talking of the stand making against Madame du Barry. The Duchesse de
Choiseul asked me if that opposition of the nobility to the King’s
pleasure would not be reckoned greatly to their honour in England?
I answered coldly, “Yes, Madam.” “Come,” said she, “you are not in
earnest; but I insist on you telling me seriously what you think.” I
replied, “Madam, if you command me, and will promise not to be angry,
I will tell you fairly my opinion.” She promised she would. “Then,”
said I, “I think this is all very well for Mesdames de Beauvau and de
Grammont; but _you_, Madam, had no occasion to be so scrupulous.” She
understood the compliment, and was pleased--and I knew she would not
dislike it, as it was no secret to me that she was violently jealous
of and hated her sister-in-law; and I knew, too, that her warmth
against Madame du Barry was put on, that Madame de Grammont might not
appear to have more zeal against the Duc de Choiseul’s enemy than she
had. When she advised her husband to resign, she was more sincere.
Her warmest wish was to live retired with her husband, on whom she
doted; and she perhaps thought the Duchesse de Grammont did not love
her brother enough to quit the world for him. She herself was once on
the point of retiring into a convent from the disgusts the Duchesse de
Grammont continually gave her. The Duke always sat between his wife and
sister at dinner, and sometimes kissed the latter’s hand. Madame de
Choiseul was timid, modest, and bashful, and had a little hesitation
in her speech. Madame de Grammont took pleasure in putting her out of
countenance. When the Duke was banished, his wife and sister affected
to be reconciled, that their hatred might not disturb his tranquillity.
Madame de Choiseul was pretty, and remarkably well made, but
excessively little, and too grave for so spirituous a man. Madame de
Grammont, with a fine complexion, was coarsely made, had a rough voice,
and an overbearing manner, but could be infinitely agreeable when she
pleased. Madame de Choiseul was universally beloved and respected, but
neglected; Madame de Grammont was hated by most, liked by many, feared
and courted by all, as long as her brother was in power. Her own parts,
and the great party that was attached to the Duke, even after his fall,
secured much court to the Duchesse de Grammont. The Duke esteemed his
wife, but was tired of her virtues and gravity. His volatile gallantry
did not confine itself to either.

[14] Madame de Mirepoix was the eldest daughter of the beautiful
Princesse de Craon, mistress of Leopold, Duke of Lorraine, who married
her to Monsieur de Beauvau, a poor nobleman of an ancient family, whom
he got made a Prince of the Empire. [She was a woman of extraordinary
wit and cleverness, but totally without character. Many amusing
anecdotes of her may be found in the memoirs of the day, especially
those of Madame de Haussez.--E.]

[15] Madame de Monconseil was the friend and correspondent of Lord
Chesterfield, whose letters to her show that he entertained a high
opinion of her sense and good breeding.--(See Lord Chesterfield’s
Letters, vol. iii. p. 159, note. Lord Mahon’s edition.)--E.

[16] It is due to the satisfaction of the reader that I should give
an account how a stranger could become so well acquainted with the
secret history of the Court of France. I have mentioned my intimacy
with the Prince and Princesse de Craon. It was in the years 1740 and
1741, when the Prince was head of the Council there, and my father was
Prime Minister of England, I resided thirteen months at Florence, in
the house of Sir Horace Mann, our resident and my own cousin--passed
almost every evening at the Princesse’s, and being about two years
older than their son the Prince de Beauvau, contracted a friendship
with him, and was with the whole family at Rome when the Prince went
thither to receive the toison d’or from the Prince of Santa Croce, the
Emperor’s Ambassador. That connection with her family soon made me
as intimate with Madame de Mirepoix on her arrival in England, which
my frequent journeys to Paris kept up. Madame de Monconseil had been
in correspondence with my father; I was acquainted with her in 1739,
and renewed my visits in 1765, and often since. Her house was the
rendezvous of the Duc de Choiseul’s enemies, and I have supped there
with Maréchal Richelieu and Madame de Mirepoix. The Dowager Duchesse
d’Aiguillon was an intimate friend of my friend Lady Hervey, and was
remarkably good to me. In England I was as intimate with the Comte and
Comtesse du Châtelet, the bosom friends of the Duc de Choiseul, and was
regularly of their private suppers twice a-week, just at the beginning
of Madame du Barry’s reign; and as they knew how well I was at the
Hôtel de Choiseul, and consequently better acquainted than almost any
man in England with what was passing, it was an entertainment to them
to talk to me on those affairs; at the same time that I had had the
prudence never to take any part which would not become a stranger,
and was thus well received by both parties. The Maréchal Richelieu
was an old lover of the Dowager Duchesse d’Aiguillon, and constantly
at her house; and yet she acted a handsome and neutral part; and it
was at last that with great difficulty her son could make her go to
Madame du Barry. But the great source of my intelligence was the
celebrated old blind Marquise du Deffand, who had a strong and lasting
friendship for me. As she hated politics, she entered into none, but
being the intimate friend of the Duchesse de Choiseul, who called her
“granddaughter” (Madame du Deffand having had a grandmother Duchesse
de Choiseul), of the Prince of Beauvau and of Madame de Mirepoix, I
saw them all by turns at their house, heard their intrigues, and from
her: and on two of my journeys I generally supped five nights in a
week with her at the Duchesse de Choiseul’s, whither the Duke often
came--and in those, and in the private parties at Madame du Deffand’s
I heard such extraordinary conversations as I should not have heard if
I had not been so very circumspect, as they all knew. I shall mention
some instances hereafter. Here are two. Madame de Mirepoix soon grew
not content with Madame du Barry. I was one evening very late on the
Boulevard with Mesdames du Mirepoix and Du Deffand. The latter asked
the former, “Que deviendroit Madame du Barry, si le Roi venoit à
mourir?” “Que deviendroit elle?” replied she, with the utmost scorn;
“elle iroit à la Salpetrière, et elle est très faite pour y aller.” On
the death of Louis the Fifteenth Madame de Mirepoix was disgraced; on
which her brother, the Prince de Beauvau, in compassion, was reconciled
to her, and she and the Princess pretended to be reconciled, and always
kissed when they met. I saw them and their niece, the Viscomtesse de
Cambis, act three of Molière’s plays two nights together, to divert
Madame du Deffand, who was ill. This was in 1775. Yet when I went to
take leave of Madame de Mirepoix, she opened her heart to me, and
showed me how heartily she still hated her sister-in-law.

[17] He died in 1769. He was a virtuous man, and a great
mathematician--qualities equally uncommon in a courtier of the days of
Louis the Fifteenth.--E.

[18] The Comte du Châtelet told me that the Duc de Choiseul having
learnt from Madame de Pompadour that she intended the disgrace of
the Cardinal, and the Duke for his successor, and observing that the
Cardinal had no apprehension of his approaching fall, was so generous
as to give him warning of it.

[19] See, however, vol. iii. p. 367, note.--E.

[20] This indifference to the public credit was a fatal error in the
reforms of the Abbé Terray, and alone sufficed to prove his ignorance
of the elementary principles of finance. He is represented to have
been morose, disagreeable, and dissolute. His dismissal from office
was one of the earliest and certainly most popular acts of Louis the

[21] The Princesse de Lamballe had married the eldest son of the Duc de
Penthièvre. She perished in the Revolution. Her Memoirs, an agreeable
if not a perfectly authentic work, were published in 1826.--E.

[22] The Emperor Joseph the Second, after the death of his second wife.
He had been passionately fond of his first wife, who was very amiable.
The second was as disagreeable.

[23] Not the present Queen of France, but an Archduchess, her eldest
sister. The double marriage was much talked of, and this letter proves
that the King had had it in his thoughts.

[24] Louis the Fourteenth, who married Madame de Maintenon.

[25] He was at this time supporting the Government against what he
considered the anti-popular party.--E.

[26] Junius, Letter xxxvi.--E.

[27] Lord Rockingham had prepared another motion, but did not produce
it, though offended at Lord Chatham’s.

[28] When Lord Chatham’s motion was shown to Grenville, he lifted up
his eyes at seeing Wilkes’s name in it. It was no doubt inserted to
soothe Wilkes, who had lately abused him in a rancorous letter to
Grenville; for nothing exceeded Lord Chatham’s pusillanimity to those
who attacked him, except his insolence to those who feared him. At this
time he did not avoid holding out hopes to the King’s favourites, that
he would not remove them if he came into power. “_I will not_,” said
he, in his metaphoric rhodomontade, “_touch a hair of the tapestry of
the Court_.”

[29] It might be inferred from this statement that it was the practice
of the Lord Chancellor to examine the election writs before they pass
the Great Seal. This is a duty, however, which neither Lord Camden nor
any other Chancellor ever imposed upon himself, and I am informed that
there is no instance of the Great Seal having been withheld from a writ
which had passed through the Crown-office. In fact, whatever may have
been the original intention of the law in requiring the Great Seal to
be affixed to the Parliamentary writs, the Lord Chancellor’s office in
this respect has of late years become merely executive.--E.

[30] Parliamentary History, vol. xvi. p. 645.--E.

[31] Lord Granby had just accepted a very considerable obligation from
the Ministers. At the end of the last session they and their creatures
in the House of Commons had most unjustly voted him the borough of
Bramber, so legally the property of Sir Henry Gough, that he had been
offered forty thousand pounds for it.

[32] Elizabeth, only daughter of Sir William Wyndham, and sister of the
Earls of Egremont and Thomond. She was a woman of sense and merit, with
strong passions.

[33] A brief report of these debates is given in the Parliamentary
History, vol. xvi. p. 668, note. It is obviously partial to the

[34] This spirited debate is reported in the Parliamentary History,
vol. xvi. p. 668.--E.

[35] It appears from Lord Camden’s MS. letters to the Duke of Grafton,
that he had in the first instance underrated the importance of Wilkes’s
case. He next entered heartily into the general indignation which
Wilkes had excited. On the 3rd of April he writes, “If the precedents
and the constitution warrant an expulsion, that perhaps may be right.
A criminal flying his country to escape justice--a convict and an
outlaw--that such a person should in open daylight throw himself upon
the county as a candidate, his crime unexpiated, is audacious beyond
description.” Still, he believes that the public excitement on the
subject will soon subside.

The proceedings in the Court of King’s Bench, when Wilkes’s counsel
gave notice of a motion for a reversal of the outlawry and an arrest of
judgment, made a deep impression on Lord Camden. His feelings had by
this time cooled, and he viewed the case as a lawyer. He communicated
his change of opinion to the Duke in a letter of the 20th of April,
and although the communication was confidential, the bent of his mind
seems to have been pretty well understood by his colleagues. As the
difficulties increased he took the matter more to heart, and on the
9th of January 1769 he writes again to the Duke, expressing great
uneasiness, and announcing distinctly his opposition to the view taken
by the Cabinet of Wilkes’s case. He pronounces it “a hydra multiplying
by resistance, and gathering strength by every attempt to subdue it.”
“As the times are,” he says, “I had rather pardon Wilkes than punish
him. This is a political opinion independent of the merits of the
case.” These representations were fruitless. The Duke had taken his
part, was committed to the King and the Cabinet, and, besides being
of a hot temper, had become so exasperated by Wilkes’s conduct as to
consider his honour would suffer from making the slightest concession
to such a man. Unhappily this difference of opinion materially affected
the intercourse of the Duke with Lord Camden. The former admits and
laments in his Memoirs that they seldom met during the summer of 1769.
The Duke’s marriage and frequent absence from London kept them still
more apart, and in the autumn it is obvious from the tone of Lord
Camden’s letters that he felt the separation to be inevitable.--E.

[36] He was the direct heir of George Duke of Clarence, whose
daughter, Margaret Countess of Salisbury, was mother of Henry Pole,
Lord Montacute, whose eldest daughter and heiress married an Earl of

[37] Lord Huntingdon had flattered Lord Bute for some time that he
would marry his second and favourite daughter, Lady Jane, afterwards
married to Sir George Maccartney.

[38] George William Coventry, Earl of Coventry. He was the senior Peer,
but Lord Robert Bertie was an older Lord of the Bedchamber than Lord
Coventry; the post of Groom of the Stole was never given but to a peer.
[Walpole describes him in 1752 as “a grave young Lord of the remains of
the patriot breed.” Little of the spirit of his ancestors seems to have
descended to him. He was a Lord of the Bedchamber in two reigns, and
led an easy luxurious life, being hardly known, except as the husband
of one of the most beautiful women of the day. He died in 1809, at the
advanced age of eighty-seven.--E.]

[39] Sir John Cust died on the morning of the 22nd.--(See a more
favourable account of him in a note to vol. i. p. 87.)--E.

[40] For the Great Seal was never affixed to the patent of his barony,
and the King had not the generosity to make atonement to his family by
confirming the promise, for having forced the unhappy person to take a
step that cost him his life.

[41] Very few days after the accident Mr. Edmund Burke came to me in
extreme perturbation, and complained bitterly of the King, who, he
said, had forced Mr. Yorke to disgrace himself. Lord Rockingham, he
told me, was yet more affected at Mr. Yorke’s misfortune, and would, as
soon as he could, see Lord Hardwicke, make an account public, in which
the King’s unjustifiable behaviour should be exposed. I concluded from
his agitation that they wanted to disculpate Lord Hardwicke and Lord
Rockingham of having given occasion to Mr. Yorke’s despair. They found
it prudent, however, to say no more on the subject. An astonishing and
indecent circumstance that followed not very long after that tragedy
was, that Lord Hardwicke, whose reproaches had occasioned his brother’s
death, attached himself to the Court, against Lord Rockingham, and
obtained bishopricks for another of his brothers!

[42] General John Waldegrave, third Earl of Waldegrave.

[43] Conway’s disinterestedness did not on this, as on other occasions,
obtain very general praise. It seems to have been expected that
he would take the salary as soon as he decently could.--(Burke’s
Correspondence, vol. i. p. 136.)--E.

[44] If the report in Cavendish (vol. i. p. 458) be correct, the motion
was made on the 16th of February.--E.

[45] Mr. Stonehewer’s name has been handed down to posterity by his
friendship with the poet Gray, who owed to his interest with the Duke
of Grafton the appointment of Professor of Modern History in the
University of Cambridge. Many letters to him are to be found in Gray’s
works. He long held the post of a Commissioner of Excise. He died a
bachelor, leaving a considerable fortune to his nephew, who took his

[46] The continuance of the Duke’s intimacy with Bradshaw surely
furnishes very strong evidence that he soon discovered his suspicions
to be without foundation. I am informed by the present Duke of Grafton
that his grandfather entertained an affectionate regard for Mr.
Bradshaw’s memory, and a portrait of that gentleman still forms part of
the collection at Euston.--E.

[47] The Duke probably had no direct connection with Lord Bute, but
had every reason to believe that the latter still enjoyed the King’s
confidence--at least, through his tools, Jenkinson, Dyson, &c.; and he
had no reason to doubt, and yet submitted to, that secret influence.
Bradshaw was certainly the Earl’s creature, though the Duke did not
then know it; but it is not probable that a pension to Dyson would have
been added to the Duke’s last disposition, had Dyson not been admitted
to his Grace’s confidence. Of Dyson’s attachment to Lord Bute the Duke
was assured by Dyson’s being saved by the King when the Duke and Lord
Rockingham came into Administration together.--(See _infra_.)

[48] The Duke of Grafton’s motives for resigning were no doubt of
a mixed character. His own statement of them will be found in the
Appendix. It is easy to believe that he had for some time been anxious
to be released from a position which could not be otherwise than most
painful to a man of honour. The business of the Government, always
onerous to a chief not used to much application, nor having served
any apprenticeship in subordinate offices, was made particularly
irksome to him by his being left without a single colleague in the
great departments of the State whom he could call his friend. On
the leading questions of public policy, he often found himself in a
minority. His proposition for the immediate repeal of all the American
import duties was rejected by the casting vote of Lord Rochford, whom
he had himself recently introduced into the Cabinet. Lord North and
the Bedford party, by superior attention to the details of business,
had also drawn the management of affairs into their hands; and, at
the same time, ingratiated themselves with the King, so that the Duke
received no support from his Majesty against them, and was subjected
to mortifications, which must have been most trying to his irritable
temper. It was only after much persuasion that he could be induced to
accept the Treasury; he regarded his acceptance as a concession to his
political friends and to the King; and, finding himself now virtually
deserted by both, it is not surprising that he should seek to divest
himself of a character which had ceased to be even respectable. No
doubt he committed a serious blunder in withholding from the public
the real grounds of his resignation. It has, irreparably, damaged his
name with posterity. He was by no means the insignificant or worthless
personage that he appears in the pages of Walpole and of Junius. That
he had talents is proved by the single fact of his being able during,
at least, one session to resist the whole force of the Opposition in
the Lords with no assistance, except from Lord Camden. There is a
letter from Mr. Fox among the Grafton MSS. saying, that there is no
public man whom he should prefer as a Leader. The spirit with which
he entered the lists with Lord Chatham betrayed no want of courage.
His political principles were those of the Revolution; and where he
departed from them, it was from an error of judgment rather than of
intention. A genuine love of peace, and hatred of oppression, either
civil or religious, marked the whole of his public life; and, great as
were the errors which Walpole and Junius have justly denounced in his
private conduct, it is only just to state that, from the date of these
memoirs to his death, which comprises a period of near forty years,
there were few individuals more highly and generally esteemed.--E.

[49] Mr. Dyson’s pension was taken away by a resolution of the Irish
House of Commons, on the 25th of November 1771, by a majority of

[50] The following is the King’s note to Lord North on the following
morning:--“1st. Feb. 1770--A majority of forty on the old ground,
at least ten times before, is a very favourable auspice on your
taking a lead in Administration. A little spirit will soon restore
order in my service. I am glad to find Sir Gilbert Elliot has again

[51] I presume that there were more than one of this name who had been
thus discreditably employed by the Grenvilles. One had already obtained
the Deanery of Norwich (vol. ii. p. 6).--E.

[52] When the Government was formed, Sir Gilbert Elliot had said to
Lord North that he wished Mr. Grenville could have been included. “Lord
North agreed, but said it was impossible.”--(Elliot’s MS. Journal.)--E.

[53] Lord North was so careless of answering letters, that he made
enemies of the Dukes of Marlborough and Bridgewater by that neglect.
His behaviour to the Duke of Gloucester amounted to brutality and
want of feeling. In the subsequent breach between the King and his
Royal Highness, the latter wrote a letter to his Majesty, begging a
provision for his wife and children, and sent the letter by Lord North.
The latter received the King’s answer on Friday night, but choosing
to go the next morning to Bushy Park for two days for his amusement,
though he could not but be sensible of the Duke’s anxiety at such a
moment, and which would be increased by knowing the answer was given,
Lord North only sent the Duke word on the Friday night that he had got
the King’s answer, and would bring it to his Royal Highness on the
following Monday. There was mean insolence, too, in the disrespect, as
the Duke could not but feel that Lord North would not have treated him
so rudely if his Royal Highness had not been in disgrace.

[54] At one of the Councils held to consider what steps should be
taken against Wilkes, when the Duke of Grafton was Minister and Lord
North Chancellor of the Exchequer, and some were for violence and some
for moderation, Lord North said not a word. At last Lord Camden, Lord
Chancellor, asked him why he did not give his opinion? Lord North
answered that he had been waiting for their Lordships’ determination,
being perfectly indifferent what resolution they should take, as he
was ready to adopt whatever plan they should fix on. Lord Camden was
so shocked at that profligacy that he left the room. This account I
received from Lord Camden.

[55] On the death of Lord Holderness, Warden of the Cinque Ports,
in 1778, the Duke of Dorset expected to succeed, having applied to
Lord North previously for his interest, who gave the Duke his word he
would not be his competitor; yet the post was conferred on Lord North
himself. The Duke asked an audience of the King, and complained of
this breach of promise. The King said Lord North had not broken any
promise, for the place had been given to him without his asking it.
A man of scrupulous honour would not have been contented with that
evasion even if he had said, “I will not _ask_ for the place.” He must
have known that the Duke could understand nothing but that he would not
be the person to intercept the office. A refusal of his interest would
have been honest; to have asked for the place, notwithstanding he had
promised he would not, would have been a brave defiance of honesty; to
take it after that promise was dirty, and unwise, too, for he offended
the Duke more by that evasion than he would have done by refusing to
assist him in obtaining the post. No Minister is bound to promise all
that is asked, but every Minister is obliged to act like a gentleman,
and not like an attorney or a Jesuit. [It is probable that Lord North
had reason to believe that his refusal of the Wardenship of the Cinque
Ports would not be the means of securing that office for the Duke of
Dorset. It is certain that no Minister ever held his high post with a
personal character more unblemished. In the letters occasionally cited
in these notes, the King often contrasts Lord North’s disinterestedness
with the very different conduct which his Majesty had witnessed in some
of his other servants. Lord North was far from wealthy,--a circumstance
which the King had discovered, and hence his Majesty earnestly sought
an opportunity of making a permanent provision for him.--E.]

[56] If Walpole had been aware of the correspondence that passed
between the King and Lord North to which I have occasionally referred,
he would not have made this remark. Nothing but the entreaties of the
King could have prevailed on Lord North to remain in office as long as
he did. His applications for permission to resign were frequent and
most urgent.--E.

[57] The Royal Marriage Act was drawn by Lord Mansfield, and was so
much against Lord North’s opinion, that he declared he would not
support it--yet he did. It was reported that he was bribed by a
grant of part of the Savoy, which about that time the Crown intended
to sell--but that was never proved [nor believed by any impartial
person.--(See the note in p. 81 _supra_.--E.)]

[58] Son of William Townshend, third son of Charles Viscount Townshend,
Knight of the Garter. This Charles Townshend, who must not be
confounded with his cousin, the famous Charles, had been employed in
Spain, and was distinguished by the appellation of the Spanish Charles.

[59] Welbore Ellis, afterwards Lord Mendip, and often mentioned in
these Memoirs.--E.

[60] The following entry occurs in Sir Gilbert’s MS. Journal:--“Friday,
3rd February. Went to Court; heard that Lord Howe had resigned. Lord
North made me the offer of the Treasurership of the Navy; said the King
wished I might accept, as many persons were doubtful. Though hazardous,
I did accept on the spot.” The mode in which the offer is made and
accepted, raises a presumption against the existence of the intimate
confidence which the King was believed by Walpole to place in Sir
Gilbert Elliot.--E.

[61] A brief report of this interesting debate is given in Sir Gilbert
Elliot’s MS. Journal. “The Duke of Grafton, who spoke with great
gravity and weight, said, as he had before declared, that it had been
less likely to occur to _him_ to apply to the Chancellor; persuaded
he was right, he was not solicitous about more advice; but did it
become a friend with the Great Seal in his hand to suffer a friend,
he all the while silent, to involve the Administration in what he
deemed an illegal act?” On Lord Chatham saying that the Chancellor
had early told him his opinion, Lord Weymouth expressed astonishment
that the Chancellor should communicate to a private man at Hayes what
he had concealed from the Cabinet. The Chancellor was certainly to
blame in not earlier resigning his office, since he was determined to
go into opposition the moment Lord Chatham appeared; but his health
making that event doubtful, possibly led the Chancellor into a conduct
generally censured, and which had greatly obstructed the affairs of
Government.”--(See also Lord Brougham’s remarks on this transaction in
“Statesmen of the Time of George the Third,” vol. iii. p. 171.)--E.

[62] The enormous increase of the national debt having occasioned
a prodigious number of new taxes, the augmentation of officers to
levy those duties, had been a very principal cause of extending the
influence of the Crown, by the vast number of votes it necessarily
commanded in all the great commercial towns and ports. Such a bill as
this here mentioned was warmly contended for in 1781, and actually was
obtained in 1782 on the change of the Administration.

[63] This debate is reported by Cavendish, vol. i. p. 443. Mr.
Grenville’s speech contains much curious information.--E.

[64] The Speaker certainly exhibited great want of temper and judgment
on the occasion.--(See the details in Cavendish, vol. i. p. 461.)--E.

[65] This is a remarkable coincidence, and nothing more. It was from
no good will to Sir James Lowther that Mr. Robinson received this
appointment, for Sir James’s name seldom occurs in the King’s letters
to Lord North without some harsh or condemnatory expression; besides,
the King says of him, even in 1779, “he is scarce worth gaining.” Mr.
Robinson was long in the King’s confidence, and employed in the most
secret affairs. He represented Harwich for many years, and realized
a considerable fortune in office. His only daughter married Lord

[66] The confidence placed by Lord North in Sir Gilbert Elliot
strengthened this suspicion, but the entries in Sir Gilbert’s MS.
Journal furnish strong internal evidence that Lord Bute took little or
no part in public affairs at this time. An event of such importance as
the Duke of Grafton’s intended resignation is not communicated to Lord
Bute until six days after it had been known to Sir Gilbert, and then
only through Lady Bute.--E.

[67] He was First Lord.

[68] See a brief report in Parliamentary History, vol. xvi. p. 846.--E.

[69] See the report of the debate in Cavendish, vol. i. p. 483–500.
Lord North’s and Mr. Grenville’s speeches are able, particularly
the latter, which contains some interesting facts explanatory and
exculpatory of the passing of the Stamp Act. A fair, sensible, and
impressive description of the state of public opinion in the North
American Colonies was given by the Hon. Colonel Mackay (brother of Lord
Reay), who had lately been serving there with his regiment. General
Conway proposed to raise a colonial revenue, by a requisition to the
provinces from the Crown--a plan which met with no support from any
party. It is evident from the admissions made by the Ministers that
they felt the impolicy of retaining the tea duty. Their difficulty
was, how to abandon it without risking their own honour, or what they
perhaps valued more, the King’s favour. Dr. Franklin, in a letter
written a fortnight after the debate, expresses a confident opinion
that it would have been repealed but for the impression made on the
House by Lord North’s reading the letters to which Walpole refers.--E.

[70] Sir James Hodges, Knt., was the town-clerk. He had been a
tradesman on London Bridge, and a very forward speaker at all City

[71] “The answer was chiefly prepared by Dyson. It had received
correction from several hands, and I believe was seen by Lord
Mansfield.”--(Sir Gilbert Elliot’s MS. Journal.)--E.

[72] Eldest son of the Earl of Bute, [and created Marquis of Bute in
1796. He was for a short time Minister at Turin. He died in 1814.--E.]

[73] It is impossible not to call the attention of the reader to the
conduct of that profligate man, Wedderburne. Sprung from a Jacobite
family (his uncle having been executed for the last rebellion), he
had set out a courtly advocate, but being laid aside on the change
of times, he had plunged into all the intemperance of opposition,
and now appeared a warm partisan of liberty, and an accuser of his
own immediate patrons. His mischievous abilities soon forced him
again into employment, which as naturally led him back to his old
monarchic principles, to support which, he, so lately a champion of the
constitution, was made Attorney-General, and at length Chief Justice of
the Common Pleas.

George Grenville was the very counterpart of Wedderburne. He was not
only educated a Whig, but had leaned to republicanism. Becoming Prime
Minister, no man had shown himself more despotic. When overturned by
his own violence, he reverted to opposition; but having consummate
pride and obstinacy, and none of the flexibility of Wedderburne, but so
far more honesty, he wavered between faction and haughtiness, baffled
his own purposes by half measures, and could no more accommodate his
inflexible temper to the necessary means of regaining his power,
than he had been able to bend it to those that were requisite for
maintaining it.

[74] Colonel Clavering subsequently reaped more substantial fruits of
royal favour. He was soon raised to the rank of Lieutenant-General, and
made a Knight of the Bath, and Commander-in-chief in Bengal. He died in
Calcutta in 1777. The King, in a private letter to Lord North, notices
his death with great feeling.--Sir Thomas Clavering voted generally
with the Opposition. The King regarded his interference as a favour to
himself personally, and was very desirous that Lord North should let
him know that his conduct was appreciated.--(Sir Gilbert Elliot’s MS.

[75] The Ministry showed great indecision in the affair of the
remonstrance. Vigorous efforts, indeed, had been made to defeat it in
the City; and when these failed, the most serious perplexity followed.
The Attorney-General’s opinion was asked whether the remonstrance was
impeachable, but no answer could be obtained from him.--(Sir Gilbert
Elliot’s MS. Journal.--Mr. Calcraft’s letter in Chatham Correspondence,
vol. iii. p. 430.) Frequent communications passed between the King and
Lord North on the subject. I shall only extract the following:--“I
shall be glad to hear what precedents you have got. I continue of
opinion that an answer must be given to the remonstrance, and that,
unless the instances are very similar of having directed a certain
number to attend, it would in every way be best to receive them on the
throne.”--(The King’s Letter to Lord North, MS., March 11.)--E.

[76] Sir Edward Blackett, Bart., of Matson Hall, M.P. for
Northumberland. He died in 1804, at the great age of eighty-five. Lord
Collingwood, who had married his niece, describes him as “one of the
kindest and most benevolent of men.”--(Correspondence and Memoirs of
Lord Collingwood, vol. i. p. 129.)--E.

[77] The debate is reported by Cavendish, vol. i. p. 516–45. It is to
be regretted that he has taken no notice of Dunning’s speech. Burke
makes the greatest figure in the report, but Lord North is also very

[78] Henry Herbert, afterwards created Lord Portchester, [and in 1793
Earl of Caernarvon. He was Master of the Horse in 1806. He died in
1811. The present Earl is his grandson.--E.]

[79] This debate took place on the 4th of February; it is reported in
Cavendish, vol. i. p. 435.--E.

[80] The debate is reported in Cavendish, vol. i. p. 505. The argument
was all on one side, little being urged against the bill deserving of
serious refutation. The measure had the good fortune to receive very
general approbation out of the House, and by many it was regarded
as giving its author an incontestable claim to the gratitude of
his country. How far all this commendation was genuine, is another
question. It has of later days been doubted whether the Grenville Act
has not been productive of more harm than good. It certainly increased
the number of petitions, without diminishing the expense of prosecuting
them, and any improvement it may have effected in the tribunal for
trying them was very short lived. As long as political parties were
split into several sections, the election committees preserved a decent
impartiality; but from the time that only two great parties were
recognised in the State, all the evils revived which it had been the
object of the Act to extirpate. Such gross injustice was committed as
at length to rouse public indignation, and after much discussion in the
House the Committees were again essentially reformed by a recent Act.
This measure was framed with care and good intentions; but some of the
decisions to which it has given rise are too startling for it to be yet
recognised as a successful piece of legislation.--E.

[81] Barré might have added, that Grenville had fallen because he was
not influenced by Lord Bute, but had been at enmity with him, and
turned out his brother Mackenzie; and that Dowdeswell had fallen from
the same cause, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer under Lord
Rockingham, who was also an enemy to Lord Bute. Fourteen years after
the period here treated, viz., in 1783–4, _the secret influence_ was
no longer secret; the Duke of Portland’s Administration was openly
overturned by the exertion of that influence, and, which is still more
remarkable, the eldest son of the very Mr. Grenville here mentioned was
the tool employed by Jenkinson (here also in question) and the secret
cabal of the King. Be it remembered, too, that Mr. Grenville’s bill
which for thirteen years had been carried into constant execution with
strict justice and applause, was impeached in the first instance of the
new Parliament of 1784, chosen in consequence of that secret influence,
and upon occasion of the scrutiny for the Westminster election, which
violation was practised by Mr. William Pitt, the second son of Lord
Chatham, in which he was supported by Mr. William Grenville, the second
son of Mr. George Grenville, author of the bill.

[82] Sir Robert Bernard, Bart., of Brampton Park, Hunts. He was a
bustling’ eager politician, and, like Sawbridge and others of the
same extreme principles, had found more scope for his activity in
London than his own county. He died without issue in 1789, having
left his estates to his nephew, Robert Sparrow, Esq., afterwards
Brigadier-General Bernard Sparrow, from whom they have descended to the
Duchess of Manchester--the General’s only surviving child.--E.

[83] Lord Sandys had been placed at the Board of Trade on the King’s
accession in 1760 (supra, vol. i. p. 44), when the _comprehensive_
principle on which the Government was formed brought men of very
different political opinions into office. He seems to have regarded
his post as a sinecure--as indeed it in a great measure became by the
withdrawal of the West Indies from the department. He left an only son,
on whose death the title became extinct.--E.

[84] For an account of Lord Ligonier see supra, vol. i. p. 208,

[85] The debate is reported by Cavendish, vol. i. p. 552.--E.

[86] This paragraph, from the words _and was disabled_, was added in
July 1784.

[87] Burke himself.

[88] Observations on a pamphlet entitled “Thoughts on the Cause of the
Present Discontents,” by Catherine Macaulay, 8vo., price 2_s._

            “Assume a virtue if you have it not.”

This tract has long since sunk into oblivion; no copy of it is to be
found even in the British Museum, and I have searched for it in vain
in other large repositories of ephemeral literature. As far as can be
inferred from the extracts and criticism in contemporary periodicals,
Mrs. Macaulay’s great panacea for the removal of all national
grievances consisted of short Parliaments, with the additional security
of members being made incapable of re-election under a certain number
of years. This arrangement the writer predicted would do away with the
evils generally considered to attach to frequent elections, “so that
the violent contentions for seats in Parliament, both on the side of
Government and of individuals, would sink into the quiet coolness of
nominations for parish officers.”--She overlooked the effect of such
a system on the character of the House, and the experience of France
seems to prove that it would lead to the election of few persons above
the calibre of parish officers.

The style and spirit of the work seem to be fairly represented in the
following extract:--“The wicked system of policy set on foot by the
leaders of the revolutionists in the reign of King William, and which
proceeded perhaps more from fear of personal safety than from any
very material intent against their country, was thoroughly completed
under the Administration of their sons. But whilst this State faction,
who called themselves Whigs, but who in reality were as much the
destructive, though concealed, enemies of public liberty as were its
more generous because more avowed adversaries, the Tories, whilst they
were erecting their batteries against those they termed inveterate
Jacobites and prejudiced republicans, it never came into their heads
that they were ruining their own importance, and consequently rendering
the Crown strong enough to set all parties at defiance, to put them on
their good behaviour, and to treat them with that contempt which is
natural to a Sovereign in the plenitude of independent power.”--E.

[89] Lord North, like other Prime Ministers, never attended committees
of elections. Mackenzie being pushed on a Scotch election which he
favoured, sent for Lord North late in the evening (at this very time)
to vote, though he had not heard the cause--and yet they were beaten.

[90] Brummell, chief clerk in the Treasury; the laborious and faithful
servant, and not the master of Lord North.--E.

[91] Mrs. Anne Pitt, Lady Bute’s friend, offered Lord Villiers, her
relation and son of the Countess of Grandison, that the Princess of
Wales should procure for him an English Peerage, if he would marry
one of Lord Bute’s daughters. This was in June 1771. I had it from
Lord Villiers himself, who married a daughter of Lord Hertford, my
first cousin. I have changed my opinion, I confess, various times
on the subject of Lord Bute’s favour with the King; but this I take
to have been the truth. From the death of her husband the Princess
Dowager had the sole influence over her son, and introduced Lord Bute
into his confidence; but I believe that even before his accession
the King was weary both of his mother and of her favourite, and
wanted to, and did early shake off much of that influence. After Lord
Bute’s resignation, his credit declined still more, and Lord Bute
certainly grew disgusted, though he still retained authority enough
over the King to be consulted, or to force himself into a share of the
counsels that changed so many Ministries till after Lord Chatham’s
last Administration. Lord Bute’s pride was offended at the wane of
his power; and on his last return from abroad, the King complained
to the Duke of Gloucester that _the fellow_ (that was the term) had
not once paid his duty to him. I have doubted whether that coolness
was not affected; yet it was carrying dissimulation far indeed, and
unnecessarily, if acted to his favourite brother, then living in the
palace with him, in his confidence, not hostile to Bute, nor then
likely to report the communication. Such solemn declarations had indeed
been made both by the King and Bute that they never saw each other in
private, that those visits could not be frequent, and the King no doubt
was glad of that pretext for avoiding an irksome dictator. Afterwards,
the engrossing ambition of Bute’s son, Lord Mount Stewart, was hurt at
the proscription of his father; and whenever his own suits were denied
he broke out publicly, and frequently quarrelled with Lord North, who
would not have thwarted his views had the King countenanced them; yet
as Lord Mount Stewart generally carried his points at last, it is
probable that Bute had been trusted too deeply to make it safe totally
to break with him. However, his credit was so small that, towards
the end of the American war, Mackenzie, through whom the intercourse
was chiefly carried on, retired to Scotland, and for some time came
rarely to London. But in the year 1783 Bute again saw the King often,
though very privately; and though Lord Mount Stewart warmly and loudly
espoused the party of Charles Fox, Mackenzie adhered to the King; and
Lord Bute owned that though he thought Mr. Fox the only man who could
save this country, he loved the King so much that he could not resist
his Majesty’s entreaties to support him.

If I have accounted rightly for so great a mystery as whether Lord
Bute had an ascendant or not from the time of his ceasing to be openly
Prime Minister, I might be asked, Who then had real influence with
the King, for his subsequent Ministers indubitably had not?--I should
answer readily, Jenkinson. He was the sole confidant of the King;
and having been the creature of Bute, might choose prudentially not
to incense his old patrons but to keep him in play enough to divert
the public eye from himself; and thence, I conclude, mediated now and
then for favours for Lord Bute’s friends, and despised his intellects
too much to apprehend his recovery of credit. Lord Mansfield no doubt
frequently, when his timidity would suffer him, was consulted and gave
advice, and especially was deep in the plan of the American war; and
though the King’s views and plans were commonly as pestilent to his own
interest as to his people, yet as they were often artfully conducted,
he and Bute were too ignorant and too incapable to have digested the
measures; and therefore, as nobody else enjoyed the royal confidence,
there can be no doubt but Jenkinson was the director or agent of all
his Majesty’s secret counsels. Jenkinson was able, shrewd, timid,
cautious, and dark; and much fitter to suggest and digest measures than
to execute them. His appearance was abject; his countenance betrayed
a consciousness of secret guile; and though his ambition and rapacity
were insatiate, his demeanour exhibited such a want of spirit, that
had he stood forth as Prime Minister, which he really was, his very
look would have encouraged opposition; for who can revere authority
which seems to confess itself improperly placed, and ashamed of its own
awkwardly assumed importance!

[92] William Murray, Lord Mansfield.

[93] Henry Fox, first Lord Holland.

[94] Mr. Fox wrote an account of his having given that advice to his
friend Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, then at his seat in Monmouthshire.
Sir Charles dying, his papers fell into the hands of his elder brother,
who was a very dirty fellow, and who, quarrelling with Mr. Fox,
betrayed that letter to the Princess Dowager. When Mr. Fox undertook
the support of the peace of Paris for Lord Bute in 1763, he was
promised an Earldom, but never could obtain it.

[95] The incapacity of that Administration, on which I have said so
much, has been laid open to the public, and confirmed by the Diary of
Lord Melcombe, published in 1784. Lord Melcombe seems to have been
ignorant of great part of the affair of Fawcett, and to have received
little information on it but from the Princess or those most concerned
to suppress the truth. Indeed his Diary is often obscure, and, as being
written only with a view to himself, he seldom details or explains
either debates or events, if he had nothing to do in them, or did not
attend their commencement or conclusion in the House of Commons. Yet
as far as it goes his Diary is most uncommonly authentic; and as it is
so very disgraceful to himself we cannot doubt but he believed what he
wrote to be true. Where he and I write on the same passages we shall
be found to agree, though we never had any connection, were of very
different principles, and received our information from as different
sources. My whole account of the reign of George the Second was given
about twenty years before I saw Lord Melcombe’s Diary, or knew it
existed; nor did I ever see it till published.

[96] Princess Amelie told me in October 1783 that the Duchess of
Newcastle sent Lady Sophia Egerton to her, the Princess, to beg her
to be for the execution of Admiral Byng; “They thought,” added the
Princess, “that unless he was put to death, Lord Anson could not be at
the head of the Admiralty; indeed,” added her Royal Highness, “I was
already for it: the officers would never have fought if he had not been
executed.” Am I in the wrong to speak of that act as shocking, when
such means and arts were employed to take away a life, and for such a
reason as the interest of Lord Anson?

[97] The fourth Duke.

[98] Burke’s Works, vol. ii. p. 340.--There is room for ascribing the
severity of Walpole’s criticism on these passages to the application
of which they are susceptible to the conduct of Conway. Burke is very
likely to have had him in mind when he dwelt on the suspicion that
necessarily attaches to politicians who separate themselves from men
with whom they had always before acted, on grounds which do not come
under the denomination of “leading principles in government.” In common
with the leaders of Rockingham’s party, he deeply resented Conway’s
refusal to break up the Ministry in 1767.--(See Burke’s Correspondence,
vol. i. passim.)--E.

[99] Cavendish’s report of this debate (vol. ii. p. 7) contains little
beyond the speech of Governor Pownall, of which no doubt the worthy
Governor was himself the reporter.--E.

[100] When Beckford received an account of the magnificent seat he had
built at Fonthill being burnt down, he only wrote to his steward, “Let
it be rebuilt!” Lord Holland’s youngest son being ill, and Beckford
inquiring after him, Lord Holland said he had sent him to Richmond for
the air; Beckford cried out, “Oh! Richmond is the worst air in the
world; I lost twelve natural children there last year!”

[101] Lord Mansfield’s words were,--“I have always understood, and take
it to be clearly settled, that evidence of a public sale, or public
exposing to sale in the shop by the servant, or anybody in the house
or shop, though there was no privity or concurrence in the master, is
sufficient evidence to convict him, unless he proves the contrary,
or that there was some trick or collusion.”--(“Trial of John Almon,”
8vo., London, 1770.)--The motion for the new trial was made on the
27th of June following, on the ground that the master was not liable
for the acts of his servant in _a criminal case_, where his privity
was not proved. The motion was refused. The Court then expressed an
unanimous opinion that the pamphlet being bought in the shop of a
common known bookseller, purporting on its title-page to be printed
for him, is a sufficient _primâ facie_ evidence of its being published
by him, _not indeed conclusive, because he might have contradicted it,
if the facts would have borne it, by contrary evidence_.--(Burrows’s
Reports, vol. v. p. 2686.) This is not less liberal than the present
proof of publication recognised by the courts of law; and it is
generally understood that nothing short of proof of interference, if
not of absolute _prohibition_ by the bookseller would now be received.
Abominable as the law of libel might be, it seems to have been
correctly laid down by Lord Mansfield. Fifty years earlier Almon would
have been pilloried, and probably whipped. In 1759, Mr. Beardmore, the
Under Sheriff, was fined fifty shillings, and imprisoned two months,
for pillorying Dr. Shebbeare moderately. (Burrows’s Reports, vol. ii.
p. 752.) Almon and the Doctor seem to have been much upon a par in
point of respectability.--E.

[102] All that Lord Mansfield did, was to receive the verdict of the
jury at his own house. There was not the slightest impropriety in this.
It is still a common practice on the circuit for the verdict to be
returned at the judge’s lodgings; and the old writers say, that if a
jury will not agree, the judge may carry them round the circuit in a
cart.--(Some account of this trial is given in the notes to Woodfall’s
Junius, vol. i. p. 354.)--E.

[103] The Comte de Guines had been for some years Ambassador at
Berlin--a post he procured through the intervention of Madame
Montesson, preparatory to her marriage to the Duc d’Orleans. He
belonged to the school of Choiseul, Richelieu, Soubize, and Lauzun.
His embassy to London involved him in a very unpleasant suit with his
secretary, La Forte, who, having lost large sums in stock-jobbing
speculations during the excitement caused by the expected war with
Spain on account of the Falkland Islands, declared himself bankrupt,
and endeavoured to prove that he had been the agent of M. de Guines
in these speculations. The action was eventually decided in the
Ambassador’s favour, but only after long litigation, in the course
of which it was difficult to avert strong suspicions of the truth of
the charge.--(Flassan’s Diplomatie Française, vol. v. p. 54.)--M.
de Guines emigrated during the Revolution, and died in 1806, aged
seventy-one.--(See more of him in Thiebault’s Frederic the Second, and
the Mémoires de Madame de Genlis, vol. i. p. 252, seqq. and vol. ii. p.

[104] More of this trial may be seen in Woodfall’s Junius, note, vol.
ii. p. 153, and the Annual Register for 1770, p. 100–108, &c. A most
disgraceful affair it was to all parties concerned, except the King.--E.

[105] This letter being too long for a note is inserted in the
Appendix.--(See the reference to it in the Table of Contents.)--E.

[106] The spirit and talent which he showed in these altercations with
the Livery, contributed to raise him to the Bench. He died Lord Chief
Justice of the Common Pleas, in 1799, in his sixty-fifth year. His
decisions are still cited with respect. The trial of Horne Tooke is the
only instance where he seems, by common consent, to have made a poor

[107] On the marriage of the Duke of Cumberland.

[108] No lines were ever more apposite than the following of Dr. Young
to Lord Granby:--

   “Of boasting more than of a bomb afraid,
    A soldier should be modest as a maid.”


   “---- Granby stands without a flaw;
    At least, each fault he did possess
    Rose _from some virtue in excess_.
    Pierc’d by the piteous tale of grief,
    When wretches sought of him relief,
    His eyes large drops of pearl distilling,
    He’d give--till left without a shilling!
    What most his manly heart-strings tore,
    Was, when he felt, and found no more.”

_Poem by Major Henry Waller, in the Gentleman’s Magazine for September,

[110] John Calcraft.

[111] The King no doubt regarded his promise to a young courtier
absolved by the latter becoming a politician, and entering into active
opposition. It is extraordinary, too, that the Duke should not have
been acquainted with the promise made to Conway. That promise the King
certainly kept in the most honourable manner. In a letter to Lord North
of the 1st of October, his Majesty says, “You will hear of applications
for the royal regiment of Horse Guards on the death of Lord Granby.
I therefore tell you that General Conway, when Secretary, and on his
resignation, had a promise of them. I therefore shall immediately send
to Lord Barrington to make out the notification.”--(King’s MS. Letters
to Lord North.)--E.

[112] Lord Mansfield had recommended the King to take this course,
which his Majesty declined to do, on the ground that it would be
construed both by the Courts of Madrid and Versailles as indicative of
a resolution to accommodate the dispute at all events.--(King’s Letter
to Lord North, 9th November.)--E.

[113] This is confirmed by the King’s correspondence with Lord

[114] He was feared by all the leading men in the House, even by Mr.
Pitt, who frankly told the King, during the negotiations in 1765,
which ended in the admission of the Rockingham party into office,
that, without Mr. Grenville, he saw nothing in the Treasury either
solid or substantial; (see also _supra_, vol. ii. p. 191). His
knowledge, in revenue matters particularly, made him most formidable
in Opposition; (Sir Gilbert Elliot’s MS. Journal.) Mr. Fox did not
entertain an equally high opinion of him, and used, indeed, to speak
slightingly, both of his knowledge and abilities; but Mr. Fox was a
very young man when he knew Mr. Grenville, and they were not only,
in all respects, very unlike, but the general turn of Mr. Fox’s mind
would make him view Mr. Grenville’s defects in an exaggerated light,
and many circumstances, not the least being the disagreement between
Lord Holland and Mr. Grenville, combined to place them on far from a
friendly footing.--E.

[115] Walpole’s suspicions of Lord Barrington’s motives are probably
correct. The King (as the editor has reason to believe) always felt
great unwillingness to trust the command of the army to any officer
taking a prominent part in politics. His notion was that the army ought
to be entirely in the hands of the Crown. This must have been the
ground of his objection to the appointment of Conway. Lord Barrington’s
declaration was certainly most injudicious, but it was provoked, not so
much by his zeal to please the King, as by the taunts of Colonel Barré.
The debate is reported by Cavendish, vol. ii. p. 37. The Government
seem to have had the best of the argument.--E.

[116] See more of Brass Crosby _infra_. He rivalled Wilkes in civic

[117] Cavendish’s Parliamentary Debates, vol. ii. p. 54.--E.

[118] Lord Hillsborough was described by Walpole, some years before,
as “a young man of great honour and merit, remarkably nice in weighing
whatever cause he was to vote in, and excellent at setting off his
reasons, if the cause was at all tragic, by a solemnity in his voice
and manner that made much impression on his hearers.”--(Memoirs of
George the Second, vol. i. p. 70.)--With such qualifications as a
character for independence and some proficiency in public speaking,
he was able to render the Ministers essential service, and, in
return, they admitted him into their counsels, where he was believed
to exercise considerable influence. Lord Holland courted him, and he
was esteemed by Mr. Pitt. At length, in 1763, he accepted the post
of First Lord of Trade and Plantations, and in 1768, as has been
already mentioned, became Secretary of State. He did not maintain in
office the reputation he had acquired out of it. Although he made, at
times, a tolerable set speech, he proved an imprudent, and by no means
effective debater. In the Cabinet he attached himself to the Court
party, and gave the most determined opposition to the concessions to
America, recommended by the Duke of Grafton and Lord Camden, both of
whom charged him personally with exasperating the unhappy differences
between the two countries by the course he took with respect to his
circular letter of May, 1769. He was less to blame in the debate on
the Falkland Islands than Walpole supposes, for the recent publication
of Mr. Harris’s dispatches (Malmesbury Correspondence, vol. i. p. 63)
shows that he did not overrate the pacific disposition of the Spanish
Court. In Irish politics he always took an active part, and was one of
the first statesmen who sought to promote the Union. Several useful
institutions in Ireland owed their origin or prosperity to his vigorous
support. He also set a valuable example to other Irish landlords, by
his improvements on his estates in Downshire. In 1772 he was made
Earl of Hillsborough, and in 1793 he obtained from Mr. Pitt an Irish
Marquisate (of Downshire). He died in 1793.--E.

[119] The report of this debate occupies more than thirty pages in
Cavendish, vol. ii. pp. 57–88. The speeches were of a discursive

[120] The debate is given by Cavendish, vol. ii. p. 89. It turned more
on the law of libel as administered in the recent trials of Rex _v._
Almon than on the specific subject of the motion. The speeches of Mr.
Burke and Mr. Serjeant Glynn may still be read with interest.--E.

[121] Lord Egmont united qualifications which seldom fail to raise
their fortunate possessor to the highest offices in a constitutional
government. He was excelled by few of his time as a public speaker,
by none as a political writer. His great talent was said to lie in
indefatigable application, and yet he delighted in popular excitement,
which he could direct with consummate skill, and with courage that
proved equal to any emergency. The effect, however, of these gifts
was marred by a perversion of judgment which led him both into gross
absurdities, and the most culpable inconsistencies. When scarce a man,
Walpole says, he had a scheme of assembling the Jews and making himself
their King.--(Memoires of George the Second, vol. i. p. 30.)--It is
more certain that he regarded the restoration of feudal tenures as
the best security for the liberty and welfare of the people! After
having been the idol and the leader of mobs, he became the obsequious
follower of Lord Bute, and, although a passionate admirer of fame,
he sought no result from his political exertions beyond places,
titles, and sinecures. His mansion in Somersetshire, a monument of his
extraordinary predilection for the middle ages, was pulled down only
a few years ago. Walpole has given his character in the Memoires of
George the Second, vol. ii. p. 32, which is illustrated by some amusing
anecdotes in a letter to Sir Horace Mann (Letters, vol. ii. p. 260).--E.

[122] Parliamentary History, vol. xvi. p. 1301.--E.

[123] This motion arose out of the debate on the power of the
Attorney-General to file informations _ex officio_. The able speeches
made by Serjeant Glynn and Burke forcibly exposed the injustice of the
law of libel, as administered by Lord Mansfield in the recent trials,
and supplied many of the arguments which were afterwards so effectually
used in procuring the alteration of the law by Lord Camden and Mr. Fox
(Cavendish vol. ii. p. 89, seqq.--E.)

[124] This is one of the few instances in which Serjeant Glynn appears
to disadvantage. No doubt he felt strongly the wrongs of the Colonists,
and shared with Lord Chatham and other leading statesmen of the day, a
most unfavorable opinion of the Parliament. No personal considerations
influenced him. He was as little tainted by the political as by the
moral profligacy of Wilkes. Few of his speeches in Parliament have
been preserved, but all are in an elevated tone, and the candour and
moderation which distinguish them are not less remarkable than their
talent and intrepidity. In these, as in many other respects, he bore a
strong resemblance to Sir Samuel Romilly. It is to be regretted that
few particulars can now be collected of this valuable man. He belonged
to a Cornish family, once settled at a seat of the same name, now the
property of Lord Vivian. His practice at the bar was very considerable.
Not only did he argue most of the political cases of the day, but it
appears, from Mr. Wilson’s and the other contemporary reports, that he
had a large share of the general business. He succeeded Mr. Eyre as
Recorder of London in 1772, when the salary of the office was raised
from 800_l._ to 1000_l._ a-year, as a mark of respect towards him. He
died in middle life, on the 16th September, 1779.--E.

[125] This confession is very memorable. The subsequent behaviour of
the Court leaves strong room to suspect that instead of profiting of
the favourable disposition of the Colonies by temperate measures,
the Court hurried into the succeeding war, and wished to provoke the
Colonies to unite, that all might be treated as rebels and conquered.
The Ministers did succeed in the provocation, but not in the conquest.

[126] Parliamentary History, vol. xvi. p. 1319.--E.

[127] Cavendish’s Debates, vol. ii. p. 149.--E.

[128] Parliamentary History, vol. xvi p. 1321.--E.

[129] I suspect that Lord Rockingham, whose aunt Lord Mansfield had
married, and to whom Lord Mansfield always paid court, meant to save
him, though through this whole reign Lord Mansfield had constantly
laboured to sap that great palladium of our liberties, juries. As
the House of Lords would probably have protected Lord Mansfield,
perhaps his panic was a curb to him; whereas an exculpation might have
encouraged him. Still the trimming conduct of Lord Rockingham, and Lord
Camden, and Lord Chatham was inexcusable.

[130] Lord Camden, with more apparent firmness than Lord Mansfield, was
neither a brave nor a steady man; though having taken the better side,
the defence of the Constitution, he was not reduced to the artifices
and terrors of the Chief Justice. It was but rarely that Lord Camden
took a warm and active part, but often absented himself from the House
when he should have stood forth. He told me himself that he forbore
attending private causes in the House lest he should hurt the side he
supported by Lord Mansfield’s carrying the majority against the party
defended by Lord Camden, merely from enmity to him. If this tenderness
was well founded, how iniquitous was his antagonist! I do believe that
though their hatred was reciprocal, Lord Camden feared the abilities
and superior knowledge of his antagonist; and as Lord Camden was a
proud man, he could not bear inferiority. As even Lord Chatham did not
retain the deference for him he expected and deserved, their friendship
declined almost to annihilation. The Duke of Grafton and Lord
Shelburne, though still much more unjustifiably, slighted him too; and
a series of those neglects concurred to throw Lord Camden, towards the
end of his life, into a situation that did not raise his character, nor
was even agreeable to his opinion, for the moment before he joined Mr.
Pitt in 1784, he had declared his sentiments of Mr. Fox’s predominant

[131] This was the case of Tothill _v._ Pitt, of which the details are
given in Maddock’s Reports, vol. i. p. 488; Dicken’s Reports, p. 431;
Brown’s Parliamentary Cases, p. 453. It related to the property of a
Mr. Tothill, which had come to Sir William Pynsent, as the legatee
and executor of his daughter, to whom it had been bequeathed by Mr.
Tothill. The decision of the Lords was right, and it restored the
decree of Sir Thomas Sewell, the Master of the Rolls, a lawyer whose
authority stood much higher than that of the Lord Commissioners.--E.

[132] The debate on Lord George Germaine’s motion is reported in
Cavendish, vol. ii. p. 160–172. One result of the quarrel between the
Houses was the exclusion of strangers from both, during the remainder
of the session. The public, therefore, was kept in ignorance of all
parliamentary proceedings that were not made known by the members of
either House.--E.

[133] Governor Johnstone’s subsequent actions were far from setting
his character in a better light. During half the American war he voted
in Parliament as condemning it, and in private paid great court to the
Duke of Richmond as a principal opponent; not without the Duke’s being
cautioned by his friends, who suspected Johnstone for an allowed spy
of the Court,--a jealousy that seemed well founded, as Johnstone on a
sudden was appointed by the Minister one of the commissioners to treat
for peace with America. In that department he augmented the suspicion
of his double-dealing, but without adding any credit to his judgment.
Soon after he was entrusted, as Commodore, with five ships, which he
boasted should effect the most desperate service--but effected nothing;
and he terminated his naval campaign with such flagrant tyranny and
injustice to one of his captains, whom he also despatched to the East
Indies in hopes of his complaints, that a court of law, on the poor
gentleman’s return, gave him damages to the amount of some thousand
pounds; and Johnstone appealing from the verdict, all he obtained was
an increase of his fine: however, on another appeal, the sentence was
set aside.

[134] As these Memoirs will not be continued, it may be worth while
to give a short abstract of the rest of Lord George’s life. Though in
Opposition, he kept a door open for his return to Court without his
associates, by not joining them against the American war. When that
war grew more and more hopeless, Lord George was offered to undertake
that province, and most injudiciously accepted it. This was the more
surprising to _me_, as, besides his having retrieved his character
by the affair with Johnstone, and acquired a large fortune from Lady
Elizabeth Germaine, with the additional favourable circumstance of
changing his name, whence his sons, if dropping that of Sackville,
might avoid great part of the disgrace that had fallen on their father,
he himself not three years before, in a conversation, in which he had
given me many instances of the King’s duplicity, had said to me, “_Sir,
whoever lives to see the end of this reign, will see one of the most
unfortunate that ever was in England!_” The position of the American
war certainly countenanced his prediction. Yet his native ambition,
or the vanity of supposing that he could give a new turn to affairs,
overpowered his judgment, and shut his eyes on the torrent of abuse
that would again be let loose against him--and was. He did recommence
his career with great spirit and activity, but with no success at
all; and it was only in his deportment that he did show spirit. In
Parliament he was browbeaten by daily insults; and his former parts so
entirely forsook him, that younger men, who had not seen his outset,
would not believe what was attested to them of his precedent abilities.
Disappointed of the glory he had promised to himself, and quarrelling
with Lord Sandwich, the head of the Admiralty, who counteracted or
would not concur in his plans, Lord George relaxed, and finding his
associates inclined to sacrifice him as a scapegoat (though they could
not save their own places), he yielded to the storm, and was so far
fortunate, that being the first victim before the general crash, he
made terms for himself, and retired into the House of Lords with a
Viscount’s coronet; yet even that lucky retreat could not be obtained
without a new, and most cruel, and unprecedented insult. The Marquis
of Caermarthen objected to his admission into the House of Lords on
the old sentence of the court martial. What heightened the flagrancy
of that attack on the foundation of so almost obsolete a stigma was,
that Lord Caermarthen had actually been in the King’s service with
Lord George while recently Secretary of State. Lord Caermarthen made
himself odious; and Lord George found at least that mankind were not so
abandoned as to enjoy such wanton malevolence.

Lord George, become Viscount Sackville, died in the autumn of 1785,
of a short illness, and in a manner that once more did him honour. He
spoke of the bitter scenes through which he had passed, and with great
firmness declared how resigned he was to death. Of Prince Ferdinand
he spoke with singular candour; said his Highness had undone him from
resentment; yet was so great a man, that he not only forgave but
admired him. General Sloper, his enemy, he said, was a very black man;
for Lord Caermarthen, he was so weak, that he felt nothing for him but
contempt. It was remarkable that Lord Caermarthen, moderate as his
abilities were, disgustful as his assault on Lord Sackville had been,
and though disliked by the King, was by the last collision of parties
become at that very moment Secretary of State.

[A long note on the character of Lord George Sackville is also given
by Walpole in the Memoirs of George the Second (vol. ii. p. 432). He
evidently bore that nobleman no good will, and falls in the course of
his remarks into some inconsistencies, which, as Lord Holland remarks,
“it would be difficult to explain, if it were any part of the duty of
an editor to explain the contradictions of an author.” A well-written
and interesting, though partial, account of Lord George is contained
in the Memoirs of his friend and secretary, Richard Cumberland.
Many additional and curious particulars have been collected by Mr.
Coventry in that ingenious work, “Critical Enquiry regarding the real
Author of Junius, proving them to have been written by Lord Viscount

[135] He ran away with a natural daughter of Lord Baltimore, supposed
to be of weak understanding, and who, besides, was almost a child.--E.

[136] Vide the character of Lord Weymouth, supra vol. ii. pp. 176, 177,
and vol. iii. pp. 135, 136.--E.

[137] A very different account of this transaction is given in the
Appendix, from the Memoirs of the Duke of Grafton, and no doubt it is
the true one.--E.

[138] He had prevailed on Grimaldi to attempt making peace; but the
latter having the fate of Squillace before his eyes, would not take it
on himself, but advised his master to call the Castilians to council.
They, persuaded that a commercial nation, as England was, would not
make war for a rock, exhorted the King to maintain his point of honour.
D’Aranda, his favourite, agreed with the Castilians; but though the
King, who, from the time he was King of Naples, and had been humbled
into a neutrality by our navy, hated this country, yet he was at that
moment so much influenced by Grimaldi, that he rose abruptly and broke
up the council. [The King, independently of Grimaldi, was personally
inclined to come to an accommodation with England _at almost any
rate_.--(Malmesbury Dispatches, vol. ii. p. 66.)--E.]

[139] The Comte du Châtelet (Choiseul’s friend), when Ambassador in
England, told me that the Duc de Choiseul, though knowing he himself
should be the successor, gave the Cardinal de Bernis warning of his
approaching fall; but was not credited.

[140] The Duchesse de Grammont, sister of Choiseul, and the Princesse
de Beauvau, her friend.

[141] Louis Philippeaux, created Duc de la Vrillière--the
brother-in-law of Maurepas--a willing instrument of oppression, being
licentious, selfish, and unprincipled, like too many of his colleagues.
He died childless, in 1777, in his seventy-third year.--E.

[142] See some account of La Chalotais, supra, vol. ii. p. 246.

[143] Yet that was, in fact, only the ostensible weight that seemed
to turn the scale. The Cabal were willing to let the Prince have the
apparent credit of deciding his master. They had long been urging him
to dismiss Choiseul; but they did not wish that a measure distasteful
to the public should be rendered more so by their removing him
to prevent a war with England. The Administration that succeeded
Choiseul, immediately acted upon principles so consentaneous to those
of the Court of London, namely, by exalting the prerogative, and by
destruction of the Parliaments, that it was impossible but the two
Courts should grow cordial friends; and so they continued to the death
of Louis Quinze.

[144] The King ordered La Vrillière to say that it was out of regard to
the Duchesse de Choiseul that he did not send the Duke farther off.

[145] The wife and the sister pretended to make a formal
reconciliation, declaring that they gave up their own resentments that
they might not disturb the Duke’s retirement and tranquillity. That
Madame de Choiseul could not, however, forgive the injuries and insults
she had received, appeared fifteen years afterwards; for, retiring
into a convent on the Duke’s death, and Madame de Grammont, who was a
large woman, and probably grown more corpulent, going to visit her,
Madame de Choiseul excused herself from seeing her, on pretence that
the conventual stairs were so narrow that Madame de Grammont would have
difficulty to ascend them.

[146] See a character of the Duc de Choiseul, supra, vol. ii. p.

[147] Lord Sandwich has received similar praise, as an efficient public
servant, from Mr. Butler, a very acute and well-informed writer, who
lived on terms of intimacy with him, and was in every respect qualified
to form a just opinion of his merits. “Lord Sandwich might serve as
a model for a man of business. He rose early, and till a late dinner
dedicated his whole time to business; he was very methodical; slow,
not wearisome; cautious, not suspicious; rather a man of sense than
a man of talent; he had much real good nature; his promises might be
relied on. His manners partook of the old Court, and he possessed in
a singular degree the art of attaching persons of every rank to him.
Few houses were more agreeable or instructive than his Lordship’s; it
was filled with rank, beauty, and talent, and every one was at ease.
He professed to be fond of music, and musicians flocked to him; he was
the soul of the Catch Club, and one of the Directors of the Concert
of Ancient Music, but (which is the case with more than one noble,
and more than one gentle amateur) he had not the least real ear for
music, and was equally insensible of harmony and melody.”--(Butler’s
Reminiscences, vol. i. p. 74.)

[148] The spirit shown by the Duke of Bedford during his last illness
is very remarkable; notwithstanding the languor and depression
attendant on the complaint under which he laboured, he neglected no
part of his business, either public or private. He spoke several times
in the Lords during the session of 1770; he attended with his usual
regularity the meetings of the various institutions of which he was a
member; he superintended the management of his extensive estates, and
yet all the while never allowing himself to lose the amusements which
he enjoyed whilst in health. Some of the notices in his Journal are in
this respect very characteristic.

“31st March.--At the Trinity House for the election of Lord Weymouth to
succeed the late Lord Winchelsea. Dined at the King’s Arms. Went to the
opera--La Constanza di Rossinello--a bad one. Supped at Mr. Rigby’s in
lieu of the Club, the Waldegraves being out of town.

“4th April.--I went to Streatham, and in Charrington’s farm, Tooting, I
marked three hundred and forty-four trees, chiefly elm,--many of them
large ones. I came home to dinner; Lord and Lady Carlisle then dined
with us. In the evening I went to Lady Holderness’s.”--(Appendix to
Cavendish’s Debates, vol. i. p. 624.)

In the collection of papers at Woburn are some of his letters written
within a month of his death. One is an application to Lord Barrington
on behalf of a French officer whom he considered it a point of honour
to provide for. Neither the style nor tone is that of a dying man;
he says, “It seems next to impossible to conceive that any fresh
subterfuge can be found to avoid giving Captain Gualy the reasonable
request I have made in his favour, especially considering the offer
I have made to compensate to any officer, out of my own pocket, that
might be aggrieved by it, such loss as he shall sustain by such
promotion, more especially considering that this gentleman is kinsman
and namesake of Madame de Choiseul, and a man of credit and character.
Should it be so, I wish to have it explicitly of your Lordship, that
I may inform that lady that I have entirely lost all credit at my own
Court, and that the King’s Ministers pay no regard to my solicitations,
though ever so just and reasonable, notwithstanding the services I may
venture to assert that I did my country in negotiating and signing
the last peace, &c.” Whatever might have been the Duke’s errors of
judgment, he was a high-minded warm-hearted man, of great energy of
character and capacity for business.--E.

[149] Mr. Justice Bathurst was the second son of Allen, the first
Lord Bathurst, “one of the most amiable, as he was one of the most
fortunate men of his age,” immortalized alike by the polished poetry
of Pope and the brilliant eloquence of Burke. He had not much of his
father’s gaiety and spirit. For some years he had sat on the Bench
of the Common Pleas, with a fair reputation, and he had previously
enjoyed a considerable practice at the Bar. A very popular and useful
work, Buller’s Nisi Prius, is understood to have been compiled from his
notes. In early life he had made some figure in the House of Commons
as Attorney-General to the Prince, and Walpole notices him as a rising
man in the Opposition.--(Walpole’s Letters, vol. ii. p. 262.)--As a
Commissioner of the Great Seal he showed but moderate parts, and his
appointment as Chancellor excited much surprise. It had been believed
that the Seals would be offered to Mr. De Grey, as they had been in
the preceding year by the Duke of Grafton; and that gentleman so
perfectly expected it, that he announced himself as Lord Chancellor at
a dinner of his family. On the very day following this announcement it
was declared that the choice had fallen on Mr. Bathurst. He is not to
be ranked among the great men who have filled this high office; his
decisions are seldom cited, and indeed few of them have been preserved.
It was perhaps a disadvantage to him to preside over a bar of superior
talents to himself, the leaders of which were Thurlow and Wedderburne.
A coolness that took place between him and Lord North furnished the
King, who never liked him, with an excuse for transferring the Seals
to Lord Thurlow, and he became President of the Council. He died at an
advanced age in 1794.--E.

[150] When the writ for his re-election was moved, the House gave a
deep groan--an unprecedented mark of dislike.

[151] See some interesting observations on Wedderburne in Lord
Brougham’s Historical Sketches, vol. i. p. 70–87.--E.

[152] There appears to be no authority for this statement of Walpole’s.
Grimaldi, indeed, told Mr. Harris, on the latter acquainting him with
his recall, that “he was sure that the moment he mentioned it to the
King his Majesty would recall his Ambassador from London, when, of
course, no prospect would remain of that accommodation being brought
about which his Catholic Majesty had so much at heart.”--(Mr. Harris to
Lord Rochford, 13th of January, 1771.)--He also declined to recognise
Mr. Harris any longer as Minister, upon the pitiful plea of the absence
of his credentials. Probably he at the same time wrote to Prince
Masserano desiring him to expect an immediate recall. Far from the King
taking such a step, he manifested his satisfaction at the arrangement
in a more evident manner than Grimaldi wished, and expressed great
satisfaction at the gracious manner in which Prince Masserano had been
received at the British Court after signing the declaration.--(Mr.
Harris’s Letter, 14th February.--Malmesbury Correspondence, vol. i p.

[153] He was afterwards Secretary of State in 1782, and in the
following year concluded the preliminaries of peace with France.
Some of his letters, very agreeably written, are published in Lord
Malmesbury’s Correspondence. He died in 1786.--E.

[154] The debate is reported by Cavendish, vol. ii. p.
245.--Wedderburne not only voted for the motion, but supported it by
a very able speech, which was answered by his colleague Thurlow (the
Attorney-General). The best speech against the motion was made by Mr.
Fox, who, it may be worth noticing, never altered the strong opinion
which he expressed on this, as well as on other occasions, of the
incapacity of Mr. Wilkes.--E.

[155] William, the sixth Lord Craven. He had succeeded to the title
only in 1769. He died in 1791. His widow married the Margrave of

[156] The object of the motion was to repeal the clause which “protects
such rights, titles, or claims, under any grants or letters patent from
the Crown, as are prosecuted with effect, within a certain time therein
(viz., in the Act) limited.” An able defence of Sir James Lowther
was made by Lord North, and a still more able defence of the Duke of
Portland by Dunning. The correctness of Walpole’s statement of the
feelings of the Court is illustrated by the following extract from a
letter of the King’s to Lord North: “11th February.--What has passed in
the House of Commons this day is a fresh proof that truth, justice, and
even honour are constantly to be given up when they relate to Sir James
Lowther.”--(MS.)--The King’s indignation, however, was directed against
what he conceived to be an encroachment on the prerogative of the
Crown, and did not arise from any partiality for Sir James Lowther.--E.

[157] Henry, first Duke of Newcastle of his family, and ninth Earl of
Lincoln. He had separated himself from his uncle’s political friends on
coming to the title. He died in 1794, aged seventy-four. The present
Duke is his grandson.--E.

[158] The House nevertheless afterwards decreed against Lord

[159] Cavendish’s Parliamentary Debates, vol. ii. p. 311.--The King saw
the difficulties of this question, though he shared the prejudices of
the day in a letter to Lord North of the 21st. He says, “I have much
considered this affair of the printers, and in the strongest manner
recommend that every caution should be used to prevent its becoming a
serious business. It is highly necessary that this strange and lawless
method of publishing debates should be put a stop to. But is not the
House of Lords the best court to bring such miscreants before, as it
can fine as well as imprison, and has broader shoulders to support the
odium of so salutary a measure?”--(MS.)--It is easy to smile at the
King’s indignation, but the publication of the debates was not more
reasonable than the publication of the list of divisions, which many
warm friends of constitutional liberty, even in the present day, were
disposed to regard as highly objectionable.--E.

[160] Sir George Colebrooke, Bart., an eminent merchant in the
City, chairman, and for a long time a most influential director of
the East India Company. He succeeded to the Baronetcy on the death
of his brother, Sir James, who left two daughters--the Countess of
Tankerville and Lady Aubrey. Sir George was a Whig, but he made
the interests of the Company his first object in all his political
connections, and in return he made his connection with the Company
contribute to his political importance, which, at critical periods,
when parties were nicely balanced, was found to be not inconsiderable.
He had been educated at Leyden, and both wrote and spoke with spirit
and ability. The failure of some extensive speculations in which he
had been involved by a partner obliged his firm, in 1773, to suspend
their payments, and he retired for some years to the Continent; but
eventually a satisfactory arrangement was made with his creditors, and
he passed the latter years of his life in ease and independence. It was
during this period that he amused himself in composing his Memoirs, a
work that gives a curious picture of the political intrigues of the
day. He died in 1809, leaving two sons, both of whom attained high
office in India. The younger, Mr. Henry Colebrooke, was a member of the
Supreme Council in Bengal, a very eminent Oriental scholar, and the
author of some valuable works on Hindoo law and literature. The present
Baronet is his son.--E.

[161] See infra, p. 319, where Walpole expresses a more favourable
opinion of the measure. The union of Lord Barrington with Lord
Chatham’s friends eventually proved fatal to it; but their arguments
were completely refuted by Sir Gilbert Elliot.--(Cavendish, vol. ii. p.

[162] They broke the glasses of Lord Townshend’s state-coach as he
passed to Parliament, and demolished Lord Annesley’s house.

[163] This case is given briefly in contemporary reports, under the
title of Smith and others _v._ Lord Pomfret and wife. It had been
originally heard before Lord Camden when he held the Great Seal. He
directed an action at law to be brought to try the right in dispute.
The verdict, as Walpole correctly states, was given against Lord
Pomfret. His Lordship then applied to the Commissioners of the Great
Seal, who had succeeded Lord Camden, for a new trial, which they
refused. On this he appealed to the Lords, where a _new trial, and not
the estate_ in question, was granted, upon some distinction taken by
Lord Mansfield as to the original order for the action having been made
without Lord Pomfret’s consent--a point which seems to have escaped the
counsel, who had argued the case on the merits, which seem to have been
on Lord Pomfret’s side, since the new trial ended in a verdict in his
favour. There are some points of practice involved in the case which
make it probable that the decision of the Lords would not be followed
in the present day, and there is no doubt that the interference of the
_lay_ Lords in the adjudication of rights of this nature was wholly
unjustifiable. No similar instance has occurred during the present
century,--the attendance of lay peers on appeals being regarded as a
mere matter of form. The decision on the appeal rests exclusively with
the _law_ peers, otherwise the appeal would be from a court of great
authority to one of none at all.--E.

[164] Mr. Turner was M.P. for York, and a friend of Lord Rockingham.--E.

[165] The King wrote thus to Lord North on the 17th of March:--“If
Lord Mayor and Oliver be not committed to the Tower the authority of
the House of Commons is annihilated. Send Jenkinson to Lord Mansfield
for his opinion of the best way of enforcing the commitment, if these
people continue to disobey. You know very well I was averse to meddling
with the printers, but now there is no retreating. The honour of the
House of Commons must be supported.” (MS.)--E.

[166] In the year 1762.--See vol. i. pp. 109, 120.

[167] Then only Mr. Fox.

[168] The City’s claim to exemption from the jurisdiction of the House
was founded on the restitution of their charter by King William, which
had been forfeited by the Quo Warranto of Charles the Second, and which
confirmed all their ancient privileges, but gave no new; and the House
said they had never enjoyed such exemption.

[169] “They [the Spanish Ministers] also report that we have given a
_verbal_ assurance to evacuate the Falkland Islands in the space of
two months.”--(Letter from Mr. Harris to Lord Rochford, 14th February,
in Malmesbury Correspondence, vol. i. p. 77.)--This was probably the
origin of the report so generally credited at the time, and which the
Spaniards circulated as much as possible in order to save their honour.
The English Ministers, however, may have stated that the Islands
might soon be given up as not worth keeping, which indeed speedily

[170] Three millions, it was said, but undoubtedly half the number,
were lost by that execrable monopoly. [Mill states that a third of the
population perished.--History of British India, vol. iii. p. 431.--E.]

[171] Sir John Wrottesley, of Wrottesley, M.P. for the county of
Stafford, afterwards a Major-General and Colonel of the 45th regiment.
He was nephew of the Duchess of Bedford, and brother-in-law of the Duke
of Grafton. He died in 1787. Lord Wrottesley is his grandson.--E.

[172] Son of James Grenville, younger brother of Lord Temple.

[173] They got his hat, and sold small pieces of it as relics and
monuments of their fury.

[174] He gave a good living to Sir William Meredith’s brother, for this

[175] Eldest son of the Earl of Sandwich.

[176] He was a shrewd clever man, and seems to have succeeded in all he
undertook. His popularity during his mayoralty obtained him a second
rich widow. He died very opulent in 1793, aged sixty-five. A detailed
account of him is given in the “Gentleman’s Magazine,” vol. lxiii. p.
188; and this was afterwards enlarged and printed in a 4to volume, at
the expense of his widow, for private circulation. Thus he procured
a place in the _Biographie Universelle_, a work which, with singular
want of discrimination, leaves unnoticed some of his most distinguished
contemporaries, particularly Wedderburne and De Grey.--E.

[177] Dr. Scott, Rector of Simonburn in Northumberland. Like too many
divines of his day he dabbled much in political writing. He died in

[178] The estimation in which Dr. Markham was held, both as Master
of Westminster and as a scholar, is alone sufficient to justify his
appointment. He was a personal friend of Lord Mansfield, like whom he
professed Tory principles; but he was far too honest and of too high
a spirit to be guilty of any unworthiness as a courtier. He owes his
place in the Rolliad mainly to his friendship for Hastings, whom he
loved and admired, as he also did Edmund Burke. It would be unjust to
his memory to overlook that he lived on terms of affectionate regard
with General Wolfe. He was by no means an exaggerated politician. He
afterwards became Archbishop of York, and held that preferment for near
thirty years, having died in 1807.--E.

[179] She was a daughter of Lord Pomfret, and had married the Hon.
William Finch, envoy in Sweden and in Holland, second son of Lord
Winchelsea who died in 1776. She was an accomplished and most estimable

[180] He afterwards became Dean of Christchurch, a college over which
he presided for many years with distinguished reputation. A bishoprick
was often within his reach, but he preferred seeing that of Oxford
given to his brother, who was also a man of learning and character.--E.

[181] This appeared afterwards, when he proved to have been dazzled by
royal favour, or duped by royal hypocrisy. He broke out in the year
----, at a meeting of the association in Yorkshire, into so extravagant
a panegyric on the King, that he exposed himself to the highest

[182] Mademoiselle Crom of Geneva.

[183] The younger. His father, though in Parliament also, had not
spoken there for many years.

[184] Brother of the Duke of Hamilton, killed by Lord Mohun in a duel
in the reign of Queen Anne. Lord Selkirk was a fulsome old courtier.

[185] This was particularly applicable to Sir Gilbert Elliot, who had
quitted Archibald Duke of Argyle for Mr. Pitt, Mr. Pitt for Lord Bute,
Lord Bute for Mr. Grenville, and had again deserted from Mr. Grenville
to Lord Bute, and was at the service of the Duke of Grafton, who
neglected him, and of Lord North whom he assisted, while at the same
time he had privately more weight with the King than Lord North had.

[186] The Dauphin said exultingly to the Prince of Conti, “Papa Roi est
bien le maître pourtant.” The Prince replied, “Oui, Monseigneur, si
fort le maître, qu’il ne tient qu’à lui de donner sa couronne à M. le
Comte d’Artois, votre cadet.”

[187] See supra, p. 225.

[188] See supra, p. 284.

[189] Arthur Annesley had married Lucy, only daughter of Lord
Lyttelton. His claim to the Earldom of Anglesea, was rejected by the
House of Lords in England, but the Irish House of Lords recognised him
as Viscount Valentia. The proceedings on his claim possess considerable
interest, but still more is to be found in the contest between his
father and his cousin, which suggested to Sir Walter Scott some of the
incidents in Guy Mannering.--E.

[190] See the proceedings in Cavendish, vol. ii. p. 307. The gross
corruption of the borough, and the improbability of any improvement,
furnished a strong ground for the disfranchisement.--E.

[191] Personal abuse was carried so far in the public papers at this
time, that Monsieur Francés, the French resident, received an anonymous
letter, threatening him with defamation unless he should send 50_l._ to
the writer. He despised the menace, and heard no more of it.

[192] See particularly Memoirs of George the Second, vol. i. p. 93.--E.

[193] The Duke of Grafton was immediately attacked by his bitter
enemy, Junius; but the same paper contained a more terrible invective
on the King, whom it inhumanly taxed with the murder of Mr. Yorke,
for having forced him to accept the Great Seal, which occasioned his
death.--[Junius, Letter l. See the Duke of Grafton’s Memoirs in the

[194] Dr. North subsequently was preferred to the see of Winchester,
which he held until his death at a very advanced age in 1820. His
son, who is also in holy orders, has succeeded to the Earldom of

[195] The title of it was “The Adventures of Humphrey Clinker.”
[Walpole here yields to the miserable party prejudices of his day,
which pursued poor Smollett even beyond the tomb. Humphrey Clinker, as
Sir Walter Scott elegantly and justly observes, “was the last, and,
like music sweetest at the close, the sweetest of his compositions.
It is not worth defending so excellent a work against so weak an
objection.”--(Prose Works, vol. iii. p. 162.)--E.]

[196] D’Eon was afterwards allowed to be a woman, and assumed the
habit.--[But see supra, vol. ii. p. 14, note.--E.]

[197] Maupeou’s character presents a remarkable contrast to that of his
illustrious predecessor, D’Aguessau. He lived in obscurity from the
time that he was removed from the Government, but had amassed great
wealth. He died in 1792, aged sixty-eight.--E.

[198] Madame Adelaide was not less respectable than her sister Madame
Victoire. The latter was the mother of the accomplished Comte de
Narbonne. See Memoirs of Madame D’Arblay, vol. v. p. 371.--E.

[199] Mademoiselle Guimarre. She lodged at the Communauté de St.
Joseph, Rue St. Dominique, in the same convent where lived my great
friend, Madame du Deffand.

[200] Madame de la Garde.

[201] Madame Sabatin.

[202] Her first husband was the Prince of Lixin; but she herself was
certainly daughter of Leopold, Duke of Lorrain, by his adored mistress,
the Princess of Craon, whose twenty children all resembled the Duke,
and not their supposed father, the Prince of Craon.

[203] Lord Harcourt soon afterwards went to England, though it had been
a wiser step to have kept him there to make his court, when the Spanish
Minister’s conduct must have prejudiced her so much against the Court
of Spain; but we trusted to the pacific disposition of the new French
Ministry. They kept the peace with us for the same reason that we had
made it with them,--that the King might be at leisure to crush his

[204] The Comte de Fuentes. (See vol. i. p. 127.)

[205] The Marquis di Caraccioli, who had been Minister in England, from
whence he was just arrived.

[206] The Chancellors of France do not visit Foreign Ministers, both
insisting on the first visit.

[207] He dealt to the extent of 14,000_l._ a-year.

[208] He had been imprisoned for challenging Sir W. Meredith; and was a
different person from Allen killed in St. George’s Fields. (Supra vol.
iii. p. 325.)

[209] About the same time the Lieutenancy of Glamorganshire was refused
to Lord Mount Stewart, Lord Bute’s son, for the same reason. Yet that
the Favourite retained his influence with the Princess of Wales, and
that she still retained some over her son, came out by the indiscretion
of Mrs. Anne Pitt, privy-purse to the Princess, and intimate friend
of Lady Bute. Endeavouring to persuade her cousin, the young Lord
Villiers, only son of the Countess of Grandison, to marry a younger
and homely daughter of Lord Bute, she engaged that if he would, the
Princess Dowager would procure him an English peerage--he preferred a
pretty daughter of Lord Hertford.

[210] I cannot help taking notice of a faulty expression of Bishop
Burnet. He says Lord Clarendon “had too much levity of wit.” One would
think he was rather speaking of the Duke of Buckingham’s buffoonery,
when he carried the fire shovel and tongs to mimic the Chancellor’s
mace and purse. Burnet meant Lord Clarendon’s want of judgment in
venting his satiric humour too incautiously against his enemies.
(Burnet’s History of His Own Time, vol. i. p. 95.) I am disposed
to think that Burnet referred to Clarendon’s freedom in private,
especially at his own table, for he was always of very convivial
habits. This interpretation is rather strengthened by the words which
follow the passage quoted, viz., “and he did not always observe the
decorum of his post.”--E.

[211] Sir John afterwards received a Peerage from Mr. Pitt. He died
without male issue in 1808.--E.

[212] “The Princess Dowager was a woman of strong mind. When she was
very ill she would order her carriage and drive about the streets to
show that she was alive. The King and Queen used to go and see her
every evening at eight o’clock; but when she got worse they went at
seven, pretending they mistook the hour. The night before her death
they were with her from seven to nine. She kept up the conversation as
usual, went to bed, and was found dead in the morning.”--(Pinkerton’s
Walpoliana, vol. i. p. 65.--E.)

[213] Elliot MSS.

[214] Duke of Grafton’s MS. Memoirs.

[215] Pinkerton’s Walpoliana, vol. i. pp. 2, 3.

[216] See his works by Lord Mahon, vol. ii. p. 470.

[217] Correspondence, vol. iii. p. 162.

[218] Cassan’s Lives of the Bishops of Winchester, vol. ii. p. 272.

[219] Elliot MSS.

[220] A beautiful letter from the Duchess (when Lady Ossory), on the
death of Lady Holland, is published in Selwyn’s Correspondence.

[221] Belsham, Discourse on the Decease of the Duke of Grafton, p. 39,

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 when the omission was obvious, and
otherwise retained. Two missing closing parentheses and two missing
right brackets were added.

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

In the original book, footnotes in the Chapters were identified
numerically, while footnotes in the Appendix were identified
symbolically. In this eBook, all footnotes are in one ascending
numerical sequence.

The Table of Contents omitted the line “CHAPTER IX” and the associated
date. The Transcriber added them to this eBook.

The other three volumes of this series are available at no charge from

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ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.