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Correspondence of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke; between the year 1744 and the period of his decease, in 1797 (Volume 2) online

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bating it on the second reading in the House of
Lords. I have this one day dined at home. We
are now drinking your health, and that of your
family, and our friends in Bristol, which we all
most sincerely wish.

I am ever, with great affection,
My dear Champion,

Always yours,
EDM. BURKE.



EDMUND BURKE, ESQ., TO RICHARD CHAMPION, ESQ.

December 28, 1775.

MY DEAR CHAMPION,

I forget now, whether I wrote to you on my leav-
ing town; I think I did. But whether I forget
to write or not, I never forget you in any essen-
tial of real value, and sincere friendship. I thank
you for your American news. The Gazette stam-
mered it out at last. The account was poor,
jejune, and unmanly. They were full in the
detail of Lord Dunmore's exploits, but said no-
thing of the capitulation. Whether the arrival
of Burgoyne and any news he brings will comfort



90 CORRESPONDENCE OF THE

them, I know not. But I know that the tales
of people of far less sense and consequence than he,
raise their spirits, excite their hopes, and animate
them to perseverance in their miserable under-
taking. Their all depends upon it.

I have thought much on the instructions from
the merchants and from the Hall, on the subject
of the last act. The joining in commission with
the members the other gentlemen, was, I suspect,
a measure of no great utility to our common
interest ; but of that more hereafter.

I did not, I think, answer what you said about
the fire-engine bill. I now assure you that I
attended that bill from its first appearance ; that
I went to General Conway's on a private meet-
ing, to make a provisional opposition to it on the
part of Bristol; that I sent down the bill and
the amendments, and wrote two letters to the
master of the Hall on the subject. I do not
know that any member ever attended more
closely the public or the local business. Your
gentleman does well to call the days of Lord
Clare golden ; for to him (the member) they cer-
tainly were such. But I neither envy his lord-
ship, nor those who wish for the return of his
millennium, nor his prophet, Tucker.

I do most sincerely wish you and Mrs. Cham-
pion, and your ladies, your children, and your little
Lloyd, every happiness new and good years (and



RIGHT HON. EDMUND BURKE. 91

they must be new to be good) can bring you.
With the greatest regard,

My dear sir,

Your faithful and affectionate
humble servant,

EDM. BURKE.



MRS. MONTAGUE TO EDMUND BURKE, ESQ.

Saturday night, February 10, 1776.

DEAR SIR,

I did not think there could ever happen an
occasion in which it would be necessary for me
to solicit Mr. Burke's kind attention, and to
urge him not to neglect an opportunity of doing
me honour and pleasure : but this very day has
produced such an occasion. I hear it this after-
noon, that the city of London had an ambition
to choose you for chamberlain 3 , and in that
case a considerable security is to be given. I will

3 This is the only document found amongst Mr. Burke's
papers, which gives any intimation of an intention to propose
him for the office of chamberlain of the city of London, at
this time vacant. It was contested by Messrs. Wilkes and
Hopkins, and the latter returned on the 20th of this month.
The security required from the holder of the office was
40,000.



92 CORRESPONDENCE OF THE

not trust a point on which I am so interested,
entirely to yourself; for though I hope you would
have remembered me amongst your friends, yet
I will take the liberty to tell you, I insist upon
not being forgotten. I hope you will pardon this
freedom, as no one can be with greater sincerity

and zeal,

Dear sir,

Your affectionate friend and faithful
humble servant,

ELIZ. MONTAGUE.
Best compliments to Mrs. Burke.



WILLIAM EDEN, ESQ., TO EDMUND BURKE, ESQ.
Downing-street, March 17, 1776.

MY DEAR SIR,

Will you permit me to entreat the favour of you
to peruse the two inclosed papers, and return
them to me ?

" The draft of a bill, &c.," has had the best
attention of Sir William Blackstone, Sir William
Ashurst, and several others of the judges, and
has, under their instructions, been brought to
its present form by Mr. Hargrave, a gentleman
of character at the bar. They very kindly took
up this business, on my representing to some of
the judges a few weeks ago, that it was become



RIGHT HON. EDMUND BURKE. 93

expedient, in point both of humanity and common
sense, to find some means of employing the
unhappy people who are the objects of this bill
within the kingdom ; and that the experiment
might perhaps be tried in a temporary bill, with
advantage to the public, by employing the crimi-
nals for short terms in the service of the Trinity-
house, and by giving them a sum of money
on their discharge, after teaching them a habit
of industry. The chief difficulty is with the
Trinity-house. Lord North however, who has
seen the plan, and is very willing to bring it
into the House, will use his interest in that
quarter. The country gentlemen may perhaps
start at the expense of removals ; this, however,
will not be a greater expense than is incurred
at present.

I have not hitherto communicated these papers
further than to Lord North ; and what I wish
to ask you, is, whether any thing occurs to you
in the perusal, decisive either against the whole
idea, or against particular parts of it. Something
of the kind must be done, and nothing better
has presented itself. It is perhaps a fact of
which you are not aware, that the number of
convicts transported from this kingdom is above
fourteen hundred every year.

The other paper entitled, "Heads of an act,
&c.," is sent to me by the learned gentleman



94 CORRESPONDENCE OF THE

above-mentioned, as a sketch for a more perma-
nent establishment at some future period; if it
is found that we can employ our criminals at
home with humanity towards them, and with secu-
rity to the public.

Excuse the liberty which I take in thus inter-
rupting you, and believe me, as I am, with the
most perfect esteem and regard,

Dear sir,
Your very faithful humble servant,

WILLIAM EDEN,



WILLIAM EDEN, ESQ., TO EDMUND BURKE, ESQ.
Downing-street, March 18, 1776.

MY DEAR SIR,

I am much obliged to you for your letter, and
lest I should be misapprehended in a matter where
the character of the heart is a little at stake, beg
leave to say, that I have as little predilection for
introducing a system of penal labour into this coun-
try as you can have, though I cannot express my
objections to it with the same perspicuity. Such
a system would, however, have many advocates in
the House of Commons, and would, I believe,
have been proposed by some gentlemen in the
course of this session, if they had not been in-



RIGHT HON. EDMUND BURKE. 95

formed that a plan of a limited and temporary
kind, in the nature merely of an experiment, would
be brought forward. By such a plan two ends
will be answered; we shall see how far penal
labour is practicable in this country, consistent
with strict humanity and the spirit of our consti-
tution ; and we shall avoid doing what is too
often done in the momentary pressure of state,
we shall not introduce an eternal establishment to
palliate the inconvenience of the day. The fact
is, that our prisons are full, and we have no way
at present to dispose of the convicts, but what
would be execrably bad ; for all the proposals of
Africa, desert islands, mines, &c., mean no-
thing more than a more lingering method of in-
flicting capital punishment.

I beg pardon for this second interruption, and
am, with the sincerest esteem and regard,
My dear sir,

Ever faithfully yours,

WM. EDEN.



EDMUND BURKE, ESQ., TO RICHARD CHAMPION, ESQ.

March, 1776.

MY DEAR CHAMPION,

I do not know which was best in the intention,
the zeal of our worthy friend for a good public



96 CORRESPONDENCE OF THE

cause, or yours for a friend whom you love for the
natural reason of having obliged him 4 . I ought
not, perhaps, to put a public and private cause
upon a par; but there is so much belonging to
goodness in the latter, that it compensates for the
superior dignity in the former ; and whatever be-
sides is wanting to make the scale even, is thrown
in by a man's partiality to himself. Be that as it
may, pray, my dear Champion, do not let these
little disputes go beyond the heat of the moment,
or leave any sort of soreness behind them. If we
do, we play the game of that unhappy set of men
whose business is, and ever has been, to divide the
men whose cause they pretended to be engaged
in. It is to this point all their speeches, writings,
and intrigues of all sorts, tend. They have been
hitherto, in some sort, disappointed ; disappoint

* This letter refers to an amicable altercation, carried per-
haps to the very verge of a quarrel, between Mr. Champion
and a Bristol friend of Burke's, who blamed him for having
supported the act declaring the right of Great Britain to legis-
late for her colonies in all cases whatsoever, which was
passed during the administration of Lord Rockingham at the
same time as the repeal of the stamp act. The declaratory
act was objected to, in its passage through both Houses, by
Lord Chatham and many considerable persons of whig prin-
ciples ; but was persevered in by the ministry to sustain, as is
observed in this letter, the reputation and authority of the
country, and possibly to reconcile his majesty to the repeal of
the stamp act.



RIGHT HON. EDMUND BURKE. 97

them completely. This I beg may be the case.
I should be unhappy and mortified beyond mea-
sure, if a difference of opinion on a point, after
all, of mere speculation, should produce the
least coolness between those who, for every
public and every private reason, should live in the
warmest friendship, and who are mutually de-
serving it from each other, and from everybody
else. What is all this matter? Those who
wished to quiet America by concession, thought it
best to make that concession at the least possible
diminution of the reputation and authority of this
country. This was the principle of those who
acted in a responsible situation for that measure,
in 1766. In this possibly they were wrong. Others
thought they ought rather to have convicted
their country of robbery, and to have given
up the object, not as a liberal donation, but as a
restitution of stolen goods. They thought that
there were speculative bounds, with regard to legis-
lative power, on which they could maintain one
part whilst they abandoned others. They thought
it dangerous to trust themselves with indefinite
powers. They had reason ; because they made
such use of them, in a twelvemonth after they
had denied their legal existence, as to bring on
the present unhappy consequences. Now, if any
friend of ours thinks, from the theory and practice
of these gentlemen, that their hands ought to

VOL. II. H



98 CORRESPONDENCE OF THE

have been tied from doing mischief, I am sure I
am more inclined to praise his zeal, than to blame
his error, if he be in a mistake. We are on the
right side ; it becomes us to be reasonable. Let
Dr. Price rail at the Declaratory act of 1766.
His friends have so abused it, that it is but too
natural. Let him rail at this declaration, as those
rail at free-will, who have sinned in consequence
of it. Once for all, my dear friend, be again with-
out a shadow, a relish, a smutch, a tinge, anything,
the slightest that can be imagined, of anger, at
the honest opinion of one of the worthiest men in
the world. All comes from the best cause in the
world. Adieu, my dear friend ; salute your
worthy family in the name of all here.

Your ever affectionate friend, and
humble servant,

EDM. BURKE.



EDMUND BURKE, ESQ., TO RICHARD CHAMPION,
ESQ.

April 3, 1776.

MY DEAR CHAMPION,
Your bill 5 has been read in the House of Lords

* Probably the bill to remove the danger of fire amongst
the ships in the port of Bristol, which received the royal
assent on the 13th of May.



RIGHT HON. EDMUND BURKE. 99

the third time this day, and it lies for the royal
assent ; which it will, I hope, receive as soon as it
can. Sir Abraham Elton and Lewis came up in
a great hurry with a petition, on a supposition that
we were unfair, or negligent, with regard to the
corporation. But we had previously secured every
thing. It might have been better, perhaps, to
have sent the bill as it was amended and filed.
But I left matters of that kind to Worrell ; and it
is no wonder that he omitted that one point. In
every other he has been very active, steady, intel-
ligent, and as zealous as possible. What devil
tempted Cruger to send down to make an opposi-
tion to a bill brought in by himself, as I am told
he did ? I stared at seeing the firm of his house
to a petition against it, and thought it only a
strain of his partner's indecency and imperti-
nence.

I have dunned the treasury about the fruit.
They are intolerably dilatory ; yet I do not despair
of seeing that business done before the session is
over. If I apply to one of the secretaries, the
other grows jealous, and thus the matter is put off
from time to time. A strong petition from the
Hall on the subject, might quicken them. It
might also alarm London and Liverpool. Balance
the conveniences and inconveniences.

I could not help smiling to find you think me
angry with you. No, my very good friend, not in

H2



100 CORRESPONDENCE OF THE

the least. I only feared your excellent heart
would make you angry on account of others, who
never could be angry on account of your own;
and I was afraid that a certain knot of politi-
cians might create, at a distance from their source,
those divisions they have been long endeavouring
at towards the fountain-head. Besides, I wished
to thrown down some hints of the manner in which
I usually handle the topics these gentlemen are
ever urging against me.

You see that every part of this, except my
opinion of the diligence and fidelity of your agents
in the dock bill, is of course secret. Noble, I hope,
has got my letter. I congratulate you all most
heartily on the conclusion of this affair. Remem-
ber me most cordially at Castle-green, and
Believe me, ever yours,

EDM. BURKE.

I forgot to tell our master of the Hall, that
I have received his petition, and thank him.



RIGHT HON. EDMUND BURKE. 101



EDMUND BURKE, ESQ., TO RICHARD CHAMPION, ESQ.

April 22, 1776.

MY DEAR CHAMPION,

The lady is cast this day ; indeed, from the begin-
ning there was little doubt of the event 6 . De
Grey was admirable, both in matter and manner,
upon the point of law, in giving the opinion of
the judges. The peers very readily acquiesced
in it. The spiritual court has not had much
honour for vigilance and penetration in this busi-
ness ; no more than the parties have had in the
collusive suit.

I received your petition, which I will deliver on
Wednesday. The opposition to the bill has reached
ministry. A certain description of gentlemen,
joined by one or two from local motives, are very
eager and active. I am at some loss whether, in
prospect of this, I should not let the bill lie over
even to another year ; when I may rally more
forces, and get more commercial towns to join in
the desire of a remedy. I did not mention this
in the letter I have just now wrote to our master ;
but consult him on it, or more, if you think fit.

5 This alludes to the trial of the Duchess of Kingston for
bigamy.



102 CORRESPONDENCE OF THE

This troublesome business of the trial has so com-
pletely engaged every body, that I could do
nothing about the fruit : secretaries, clerks, every
body engaged; and all affairs totally suspended
with all sorts of people. We forgot, for a while,
war and taxes, and every thing else ; though the
budget will be opened on Wednesday. I shall not,
however, neglect this matter, as soon as anything
can be done.

I am, with the greatest regard, and the best
wishes, sincerely yours,

EDM. BURKE.



EDMUND BURKE, ESQ., TO THE MARQUIS OF
ROCKINGHAM.

Friday, May 4, 1776.

MY DEAR LORD,

What say you to the news ? I take it for granted
that you have heard in detail the matter which
engages a few of the few in town, whom anything
can engage. General Howe is driven from Boston
by a cannonade and bombardment of a fortnight's
continuance, acting in concert with a scarcity of
provisions of much longer standing. The ministers
triumph at his escape ; and all things considered,
it is surprising that he should have been able to



RIGHT HON T . EDMUND BURKE. 103

effect it with so much advantage. They say that
he has brought off every thing with him ; cannon,
military stores, and a vast quantity of useful goods
of all kinds, with about eighteen hundred of the
inhabitants. I saw a letter to-day which said that
they were obliged to quit, partly from want of
provision, partly that the place was made too
hot for them. The writer (a Yorkshireman) says,
that a great many shells fell upon, and balls went
through the house where he was quartered, but
did no mischief for some time ; but at length they
had the full of their malicious purpose, in killing
his black horse got by Engineer. A letter from a
lady is dated the 25th in Nantucket road, just at the
mouth of Boston harbour. She complains of their
suffering during the cannonade, and the crowded
condition in which they were from their embark-
ation. She says that they were at the mercy of
the winds and waves, utterly ignorant of their
future destination. The office-folks tell us that
General Howe writes, that he would have gone to
New York; but, from tenderness to the women
and children, of whom he had such numbers on
board, he thought it better to proceed to Halifax,
where his landing would not be opposed. In that
nook of penury and cold, the proud conqueror of
America is obliged to look for refuge. The pro-
vincials entered the town on the 24th of March,
drums beating and colours flying. There is reason



104 CORRESPONDENCE OF THE

to believe, from some letters by way of Ireland,
that the cannonade began almost immediately on
the receipt of the Separation act ; that before
that time they did not choose to proceed to ex-
tremities. Since then, the most moderate are
become eminently outrageous ; and Dickenson of
Pennsylvania (the candid man of America) headed
a battalion which marched to reinforce General
Lee. This, I think, is all the news that gets abroad
at present. I wish Newmarket may perfectly
agree with you, and am,

My dear lord,
Most affectionately and faithfully,

Your lordship's ever obliged and
obedient humble servant,

EDM. BURKE.



EDMUND BURKE, ESQ., TO THE MARCHIONESS OF
ROCKINGHAM.

Westminster, Friday, May 4, 1776.
I AM extremely sorry that it is not (at least I fear
it is not) in my power to obey your ladyship's
most obliging commands for to-morrow. But
without venturing to engage, I certainly will have
the honour of being at Wimbledon if I can. In
the mean time, the troops under General Howe



RIGHT HON. EDMUND BURKE. 105

have evacuated Boston in one hundred and forty
vessels. The government circulation is, that they
retired without molestation ; the coming in of the
transports to carry off the garrison, being con-
sidered by the provincials as a relief arrived at the
place. This, with the appearance of a strong and
very alert guard at all the out-posts, prevented
them from all attempts to disturb the retreat of
the king's forces. They say that they have carried
off all their cannon, ammunition, and military
stores, and all the goods in the town which could
be of use to the provincials. About one thousand
of the inhabitants, who chose to partake their for-
tune, are gone off with them, and their destination
is to Halifax. General Howe, they say, attributes
his not going southward, where his landing might
be opposed, to his tenderness for the defenceless
part of his charge, the inhabitants, women, chil-
dren, &c. I have seen a letter, which was wrote
by an officer immediately before the embarkation
of his corps. It is dated the 24th March. He
says most of the troops were then on board, and
that he expected immediate orders for the same
purpose. That they left the town partly for want
of provisions, partly that it was made too hot for
them. Other accounts of one day's date later,
and not less authentic, though I have not seen
them, say, that the whole embarkation was then
at Nantucket-road, towards the mouth of Boston-



106 CORRESPONDENCE OF THE

harbour, the people and troops extremely crowded,
and every way in distress ; at the mercy (as the
writers express themselves) of the wind and waves,
and not at all knowing where they were to go.
They mention that a cannonade from eighteen
pounders, and a considerable bomb-battery, had
continued for fourteen days, which drove them
out of the place. This is all that is known as yet.
The provincials entered Boston with drums beat-
ing and colours flying, as the last division was got
on board. Thus, Madam, ends the siege of Bos-
ton, and we have now only Halifax remaining,
as a place of refuge, out of all that great empire.
The Hessians have not yet sailed. I am, with the
most perfect esteem and attachment,

Madam,

Your ladyship's ever obliged and obedient
humble servant,
EDM. BURKE.



EDMUND BURKE, ESQ , TO RICHARD CHAMPION, ESQ.

May 30, 1776.

MY DEAR CHAMPION,

I am sorry that I have nothing to write to you
but matter of condolence. Gloucester lost, Here-
ford lost ; " triumphant tories, and desponding
whigs." These are all uupleasing themes, in which



EIGHT HON. EDMUND BURKE. 107

you can find no comfort, except in what you
derive from the goodness of the cause, the warmth
of your zeal, and the heartiness of your endea-
vours. You have, however, heart to the last, and
will at least deserve the praise of not despairing
of the republic. I showed your letter to Lord
Buckingham and the Duke of Portland, and they
were greatly pleased with it. The party is at
present very high ; but it is the glory of the tories
that they always flourish in the decay, and per-
haps by the decay, of the glory of their country.
Our session is over, and I can hardly believe, by
the tranquillity of every thing about me, that we
are a people who have just lost an empire. But
it is so. The present nursery revolution, I think,
engages as much of our attention. If much mys-
tery in the transaction could raise it into conse-
quence, it is as unaccountable as can be wished.
Lord Holdernesse takes some objection to Mr.
Jackson 7 , sub-preceptor. On his complaint, Mr.



7 The Earl of Holdernesse was appointed governor, Leonard
Smelt, Esq., sub-governor, the Bishop of Chester, preceptor,
and Mr. Cyrill Jackson, afterwards Dean of Christ-church,
Oxford, sub-preceptor, to their royal highnesses the Prince of
Wales and Prince Frederick, Bishop of Osnaburgh, on the
12th of April, 1771. They all resigned on the 28th of May,
1776; when Lord Bruce was appointed governor, and held
the office a few days only. The Duke of Montague, the
Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, Lieut.-Col. Hotham and



108 CORRESPONDENCE OF THE

Jackson has notice that he must retire. Without
any complaint at all, the Bishop of Chester, some
days after, has the same thing signified to him,
because Mr. Jackson was his friend, and the
bishop justified him in the quarrel. By this, you
would imagine Lord Holdernesse triumphant;
but lo ! Lord Holdernesse and Colonel Smelt are
obliged to resign also. I suppose it is resolved,
that none should be about the Prince of Wales,
as he grows towards manhood, that may be sup-
posed to have laid hold on his early affections, and
formed habits with him. Lord Bruce, the new
governor, is remarkable for nothing but cold man-
ners, a reserved and awkward address, and a
violent declared jacobitism. There was nothing of
any thing like blame imputed to the Bishop of
Chester, or Jackson. On the contrary, they were
loaded, on going out, with professions and acknow-
ledgments.

the Rev. William Arnold, being respectively appointed to the
previously named offices on the 8th of June. Lord Bruce was
in the same year created Earl of Ailesbury ; he was father
of the present Marquis of Ailesbury.



RIGHT HON. EDMUND BURKE. 109



EDMUND BURKE, ESQ., TO JOHN BOURKE, ESQ. 8
Beconsfield, Thursday, July 11, 1776.

MY DEAR JOHN,

I do assure you that I do not want any of that
uncritical friendliness and partiality which you
ascribe to me, to induce me very much to like
and admire what I have read in the Gazetteer this
morning. The subject is very well handled ; the



Online LibraryEdmund BurkeCorrespondence of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke; between the year 1744 and the period of his decease, in 1797 (Volume 2) → online text (page 6 of 27)