John Russell Russell (Earl) John Russell Bedford (Duke of).

Correspondence of John, fourth Duke of Bedford, Volume 2 online

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In October 1756, Fox, disgusted by the treatment
he received from the Duke of Newcastle, tendered
his resignation to the King. The King was angry,
but sought in vain for help. The office of Chief Jus-
tice was vacant, and Murray declared that he would
accept no other. Pitt alone could supply the

. ♦ Lord Orford.

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yacancy made by the resignation of Fox. But he 1756.
reftised to serve either with Newcastle or with Fox.
Even in this he was indulged, and, in order to gra-
tify him, the Duke of Devonshire accepted the post
of First Lord of the Treasury. To make matters
easy. Fox offered to take the oflBice of Paj^master,
without a seat in the Cabinet. Even this was denied.
It was at this time that the Duke of Bedford ac-
cepted the oflBice of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland,
which the Duke of Devonshire quitted for the

This combination was not made to be lasting.
Mr. Pitt, with all his great qualities, was iQ fitted
to influence the votes of the House of Commons. It
was not only that he could not stoop to dishonest
arts ; he did not possess, or would not exert, the
honest qualities of conciliation and forbearance.
Hence in the course of his long life, though he
often captivated the nation, he never led a political
party, nor was he ever the eflicient head of a mi-
nistry. His only connections were with a part of
his own family; for even the "cousins" did not
permanently act with him : at one time he was op-
posed to Lyttleton, at another to George Grenville,
and for a considerable period a breach with Lord
Temple broke off another intimate connexion.
When he came to form a ministry himself, he pro-
duced that curious mixture of which Mr. Burke
says, " He made an administration so chequered
and speckled ; he put together a piece of joinery
80 crossly indented and whimsically dovetailed ; a

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190 cobbespohdence of

1750* cabinet so variously inlaid ; such a piece of diyersi-

fied mosaic; such a tesselated pavement without

cement ; here a bit of black stone, and there a bit
of white ; patriots and courtiers ; King's friends
and republicans; whigs and tories; treacherous
friends and open enemies; that it was indeed a
very curious show, but utterly unsafe to touch, and
unsure to stand on." •

This strange jumble of parties was no accident,
but was the natural result of his character. He
had no party attachments, and no fixed principles.
He cared as little for the emplo3rment of Hanover
troops, and the engagements of subsidiary treaties,
as he cared for the Walpole connection, or the so-
styled patriots : he was ready to be for or against
any measure, or any man, as his temper and
judgement inclined him at the moment. What
he really possessed, and what others wanted, was
a high sense of personal honour and national
independence — a resolute heart in council, and a
powerful understanding for great emergencies.

These qualities fitted him exactly for a colleague
of Newcastle, who had the qualities which Pitt
wanted — a knowledge of the characters of public
men, and a sense of the necessity of a party
standard to which they could rally. After a long
interval of suspense, the interests of the nation pre-
vailed ; the Duke of Newcastle became First Lord
of the Treasury, and Mr. Pitt Secretary of State,
and, according to the phrase of Horace Walpole, all

,* Burke's Speech on American Taxation.

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the men who had been declaring for months that ^^6.
they never would join united in forming an ad-
ministration. " The Duke of Newcastle lent me
his majority to carry on the Government," said Mr,
Pitt some years afterwards. Mr. Pitt made war,
Mr. Pitt subsidized Prussia, Mr. Pitt sent forth
glorious expeditions, Mr. Pitt conquered Canada :
the Duke of Newcastle gave away places, and filled
the Whig boroughs with sure dependents.

In this administration Mr. Fox consented to act
as Paymaster of the Forces, out of the Cabinet.
The world has imputed this submission to a love
of place for the sake of emolument. The best
defence to be made for him is contained in his own
letters in this collection; and had not the office of
Paymaster been so exceedingly lucrative, we might
believe that he was content to forego his projects
of ambition solely to obtain quiet at home, and
oppose to our foreign enemies an united govern-
ment. Be. this as it may, the coalition of parties
in June, 1757, was most fortunate for this country.


An express arrived yesterday from Gibraltar,
a Captain O'Hara, one of Lord Tyrawley's sons;
and the intelligence he has brought has occasioned
the sitting at this instant of perhaps one of the
wisest councils in the world ; he has indeed intimi-

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175& dated them, and of that there was no need. He has
brought the opinion of a council of war held at
Gibraltar, and the result of that opinion is generally
thought, and I believe you will think, very extra-
ordinary. But to begin a kind of narrative, if you
have patience to read it, of our marine transactions
since Mons. Richelieu landed at Ciudadela. The
next morning Edgecombe called a council of war,
and it was determined to sail with his squadron
from Mahon to Gibraltar, in hopes to meet with
a squadron firom hence ; to rdnforce the garrison
with what men he could spare, and was therefore
obliged to leave the Dolphin and another ship be-
hind him for want ofsuflBicient hands. He accord-
ingly took his leave of Mr. Blakeney* and his
garrison, in high health and spirits, two days after
the French landed. This Mr. O'Hara was a sea
officer left with Blakeney; but, uneasy at the
thoughts of the Dolphin falling into the hands of
the enemy, three days after Edgecombe sailed, pre-
vailed upon Blakeney to let him have only twenty
men, and try to run away to Gibraltar and prevent
the French getting her, which piece of good luck he
succeeded in, and was for that reason pitched upon
as the messenger here to bring the resolutions of

* '^ A rough yeteran : he had hope was contracted to the per-
passed through all the steps of his son of Blakeney : jet in no neg-
profession, and had only attained lect were the ministry more cul-
the sweets of it by living to be pable, for he proved to be super-
past the enjoyment of them. As annuated." — Walpole Memoirs,
every day brought out the weakness vol. ii« p. 53.
of the garrison of Mahon, all

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the counca of war hdd at Gibraltar. They are, 1756.

not to take a battalion, as they are empowered by

theirinstructions to do, from the garrison at Gibraltar,
to reinforce Fort Philip as well as to throw Lord
Robert Bertie's regiment into the fort, but in every
shape despairing of the relief of the island of
Minorca. The officers of the regiments there are
sailed with Mr. Hyng without the reinforcement
they were empowered to take ; Mr. Bjng loitering
six days at Gibraltar, where they said he need have
staid but 24 hours ; in their resolutions declaring
the relief of the place almost impracticable, and, in
fine, Mr. Byng writing that he is going to look after
the French fleet, who he hopes to be able to make
some stand against. Their determinations are de-
sponding to the last degree ; and at this council of
war were present, the Admirals, Governor Forbes,
Lord Effingham, Comwallis, Lord Robert Bertie,
and all the Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels at
Gibraltar; so that from the whole drift of these
letters there appears a dread even of Gibraltar, and
an idea, if that is preserved, we shall have reason to
think ourselves well off. This Mr. O'Hara in his
account of the possibility of succouring Mr.
Blakeney differs much from this council of war;
says the force of the French fleet is not above nine
ships of the line, but allows their army ashore in
tiie island to be fifteen thousand men; and in
general it is believed their fleet is gone back to
Toulon. The French have eight hundred head of
cattle with them, besides their salt provisions; and
VOL. n. o

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17S6. the people of the island show their zeal so strongly

for them, as to harass extremely in their march

to get into Fort Philip the last reconnoitring de-
tachment. So much for Mediterannean intelligence,
and I only haye wrote it so as to be intelligible to
your Grace,

There are great reports of the Prince of Wales's
establishment being to be settled immediately; that
he is to have forty thousand pounds a year, and
numbers of lords and grooms are talked of.
Lord Rockingham his master of the horse, Lord
Waldegrave groom of the stole, Lord March, Lord
Digby, and Lord Bolingbroke are talked of for his
Lords, and Morison, Ingram, and young Nugent,
for his grooms, but I only write you all they say.
The blue ribands, too, are going to the Duke of
Devonshire and the Earls of Carlisle, Holdemesse,
and Northumberland. In short, these rascally
French use the poor Duke of Newcastle so ill in
eveiy other part of the world, that he must make
as many friends as he can at home.

I rode for an hour yesterday with Charles
Townshend, and had some very serious discourse,
which I shall keep till I have the pleasure of seeing
you ; as well as a great deal with another person,
who I own I love, and for whom I have the great
pleasure to see your Grace show some partiality.

You must be Fox's support, who are incapable
of deceiving ; for though I speak it as a fact, I don't
think it a discredit, he is capable of being deceived.

Leicester Fields^ Thunday eyening,
Jane 1. 1756.

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June 4. 1756.
I have not been in haste to send you the
bad news, but send it your Grace nmoj that you
may know every particular, and when I can acquaint
your Grace that in consequence of it Lord Tyrawley
and Lord Panmure are ordered to supersede Foukes
and Stuart, and Sir Edward Hawke, and Saunders
(made a Rear Admiral) to succeed Byng and West,
and that they all go together in the first ship that
can be made to sail.

I had wrote thus far of this letter, intending to
send it by a messenger, when Mr. Rigby came in,
who is going to Wobum and will have the honour
to deliver this to your Grace, and acquaint you
with the reasonings of people here upon it, with
some of which I might otherwise have troubled
your Grace.

It is by no means clear whether or to what de-
gree Byng* or West are blamable, but I hope your
Grace will think (as I confess I do) that there was

* "Though in the venality of ward in point of personal courage;

this hour^ it may be deemed suf- which makes this affkir the more

ficient to throw the whole blame extraordinary, and induces me to

upon Byng, yet I wiU yenture to wait for his own account of it,

say, the other (sending an insuf- before I form an opinion of it."

ficient force) is a question that, Right Hon. George GrenvUle to

in the judgment of every impartial Mr, Pitt, June 7. 1 756. Chatham

man now and hereafter, will re- Correspondence, vol. i. p. l64. —

quire a better answer than, I am Admiral Byng was a brave officer,

a&aid, can be given to it. What- whose life was sacrificed to royal

ever faults Byng may have, I severity, ministerial convenience,

believe he was not reckoned back- and popular clamour.

o 2

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1756. no staying for inquiries. And that nothing but an

immediate change of the command could restore

spirit to the fleet, which must be sufficiently dis-
pirited, if they have any sense of honour left. The
consternation, shame, and anger of every body here
on receiving these accounts have been extreme.
His Majesty and the Duke are struck to the greatest
degree. But H. R. Highness still thinks we may
save Minorca, and Lord Tyrawley (who at a minute's
warning was ready to set out with great and com-
mendable spirit) thinks so too. I heartily wish I


The extraordinary but not unexpected news
is arrived, that the King of Prussia, having received
an unsatisfactory and haughty answer from the
Empress Queen, is actually marching with 100,000
men through Saxony into Bohemia. He has sent
a third message to say that an explicit declaration
that she will not attack him either this year or next
shall stop him short.

She is too proud to answer as she is bid, and in
the mean time he marches, so that your Grace may
conclude him in Bohemia before your Grace receives
this letter.

His device is Prcevenire quam pneveniri. If the
Dutch letters to-day say true, he has taken Leipsic,
and two other towns, and keeps them as a security

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for the King of Poland's neutrality, which he thought 1756.
a better way than asking leave to pass, a ceremony
which he omitted. But I see he has ordered the
General that will march within two leagues of
Dresden to send a most polite message in his name
to the king and all the royal family. I do not
guess what will be the consequence; but I thought
it so extraordinary an event, that your Grace should
have as early an account of it as I could with any
certainty give you. If the Duke of Marlborough is
with your Grace, may I beg my best respects to him.
I have called this an extraordinary event, and it is
plainly to be seen in the faces of all the foreign
niinisters that it is so, but not one of them will
hazard a conjecture of what it will produce at last.

Colonel JeflFreys is come from Minorca : no men
ever behaved better than the garrison of Fort St.
Philip's. There would not have been the least
difficulty in landing succours, had we but tried.

I beg, my Lord Duke, my best compliments to
the Duchess, and that you would believe me.
With the greatest gratitude, &c.

September 7. 1756.


London^ September 25. 1756.

Here is not the least tittle of news stirring
worth sending your Grace, but the King of Prussia's


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1756, proceedings, which are extremely rapid and violent.
He has possessed himself of the electorate of
Saxony entirely, has seized the revenues, suspended
the civil government, and sent to Berlin for a
governor, to whom he has ordered all obedience to
be paid ; in short, he is himself as much elector of
Saxony as of Brandenburgh. When he entered
Dresden, he found the Queen of Poland in the
palace : he sent her, as he has wrote to her husband,
the civilest assurances of his friendship, but neces-
sity and his own safety demanded his present con-
duct, and made him also demand the key of a
certain closet in the palace. Her Majesty placed
her back against the door of it, and told the officer
it should be by depriving her of her life that he
entered there, but her spirit availed her little, and
she was forced to submit in the end. The King of
Prussia is said to have kept this expedition so secret,
that when the garrison marched out of Berlin, there
was not a general officer knew whither they were
going, and not even Podewits had been trusted.
His Majesty will most likely grow angry at being
delayed by his brother of Poland in his camp at
Pima, which it seems is very strong, and the poor
devils of inhabitants may suffer grievously. It is
certain he thought the other would run away into
Poland ; and has liberally sent him word, if he will
go there, he shall find post-horses and all conveni-
ences ready to convey him.

I rode out all this morning with Mr. Fox and
Lady Hilsborough, and dined since at Holland House

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with the Duke of Richmond, but have been able to 1756.

pick up no opera news for the Duchess or political

for yourself. Mr. Fox knows nothing of the time
the camps are likely to break up, and still less of
any treaty with the people Lady Betty hinted at.
The cue at Leicester House is certainly concluded
entirely to H. R. Highness's satisfaction, old Wall to
have nothing to do with them ; and I rather think,
from putting all circumstances together, Pitt left in
the lurch, and Legge if he dares; Lord Bute
contra Pitt ; but all the history I have of this it is
impossible to convey in a letter.

I am to dine to-morrow at Gashry's with Admiral

Enowles, who is to furnish me with materials for

his justification.

The Duke of Marlborough is to be at your camp

on Thursday or Friday next, and the Duke of

Cumberland is quite recovered from his gout.

Johnny and Betty I called upon, but they do not

come to town tiU Monday.


I am summoned to town from my visit to
Houghton, some days sooner than I intended, by an
express from Mr. Fox. He has communicated a
letter to me which my Lord Granville is to carry
to the King to-morrow. It contains an humble
and most dutiful offer of quitting his service in his

o 4

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1756. present employment ; and when he comes to be

further questioned, if ever he should be, into his

reasons for this step, his treatment from the Duke
of Newcastle must and will be his full justification.
As this transaction has gone no further in its pro-
gress, I must refer you to to-morrow night's post
for more information from me ; but I thought it my
duty to make your Grace acquainted, as soon as I
knew myself, the minutest circumstance of a matter
of this consequence. I shall leave all reflection till
I am further informed; but cannot hdp fearing for
my friend, that mankind will attribute to his ambi-
tion what really proceeds from iU-usage, and fidsely
lay to his charge any consequences that may
happen to the King's affairs or the public. Lord
Gower, who dined with me, with Lady Betty and
Lord Tavistock, is just set out for Trentham, and
Lady Betty bids me say she will write to the
Duchess on Saturday.

Leicester Fields^ Thundi^ evening,
October 14. 1750.


Holland House, Oct 15. 1756.

Lord Granville was with the King this
morning with Mr. Fox*s letter. His Majesty is
wondrous angry, talked of his insatiable ambition,
and the many favours he had granted him, and the

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much greater degree of power than ever he meant 1756.

to have granted him. His Lordship, who always

laughs at his brother ministers for fools, and then
follows their opinions, managed his message (as
your Grace will hear hereafter with the greatest
exactness from Mr. Fox) with very indifferent
discretion; omitted some things he should have
said, and added others he should not have said.
The event ended in the King*s sending back to Mr.
Fox, and putting it to his honour and conscience if
he would desert his service at this critical time
(Mr. Fox bids me add, without departing from
his systenoL of governing by the Duke of Newcastle
singly). Thus it stands at present; and at this
minute, I suppose, if they have not already been
rejected by him, they have some emissary with
Mr. Pitt with carte hlanche. I shall continue to
give your Grace an account of this whole transac-
tion as soon as I am made acquainted with every
step during its progress, but imagine it will be some
time before there will be an absolute decision.

I am, &c. &c.


p. S. Mr. Fox desires your Grace will impart
this to Lord Digby, to whomhe will write to-morrow.

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October 19. 1756.

My dear Lord,

I could write as long a letter as your Grace
has honoured me with, in only endeavouring to
express my sense of your great goodness to me,
which is such that it surprises me as well, though
not so much, as it delights me.

I had a conversation yesterday with his Majesty.
He was calm, serious, fuU of anger, but determined
not to show it. Because the chancellor did not
come to town till last night, and tUl he came, the
Duke of Newcastle (like Tom Thimble in the
Rehearsal) knew not what to do nor what to say ; and
(I suppose) desired his Majesty to keep himself open
to any conduct that might be thought advisable.
Mr. Pitt is come to town this morning, and my
place will, I doubt not, with any terms, be offered
him.* If he refuses, I may be applied to go on,
but surely there is no danger that H. B. H., or any
friend I have, should, after this, and the notoriety
of my intended resignation, think it possible. I
hope to-morrow evening to hear H. R. H. say it
is not, and then, my Lord, I promise you I will not

• " Mr. Fox, extremely dis- Pitt will, or can, accept the

content at haying no power, no seals, probably Mr. Fox will be

confidence, no favour (all entirely indulged — if Mr. Pitt will not,

engrossed by the old monopo- why then it is impossible to tell

list ^), has asked leave to resign, you what will happen.*' Walpok

It is not yet granted. If Mr. Letters , vol. iii. p. 246.

a The Duke of Newcasde.

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seire any longer as I am. I may be turned out, 1756.

but whether I am or no, the Duke of Newcastle's

reign is, I verily think, over.

I wish with him all difficulties would vanish, but
I foresee many. Your letter, my Lord, has in-
creased, not diminished, my desire to talk with your
Grace; for which purpose Rigby and I will dine
with your Grace on Saturday next. I cannot at
this time be absent more than two days, of which
Sunday must be one. We propose to lie Friday
night at Slough or Reading, and by that means
(bar accidents) hope to dine with your Grace at
your usual hour.* I know not which way to learn
what passes with Pitt, but I may know before I
see your Grace. At all events, I may almost say
that what your Grace dislikes most cannot happen ;
and that I have great hopes that I shall come as
much at liberty, as I am inclined to follow your
Grace's kind and good advice. Pray, my Lord, show
this to Lord Digby, andmay I trouble you by telling
him in it that my wicked rebellion has so put the
court wheelsoutof order, that the Prince's establish-
ment has not yet been carried to him, and may be
Pitt may have the new modelling it.

H. Fox.

I beg my best compliments to her Grace. I

Sunday, Bath.

* " Mr. Fox arrived here yea- be at Holland House to-morrow

terday at two o'clock, dined with morning." Wilmot Correspond -

the Duke of Bedford, and set out ence. MS.
this morning after breakfast, to

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I75fi- don't believe there were nlore than a dozen French

prisoners taken, and they were really Grermans, or

Swiss and Protestants. New difficulties concerning
the foreign troops will arise every day.


Marlborough House, Oct. 26. 1756.

My dear Lord,

As I am obliged to go out of town to-morrow
morning, I can't omit giving you this trouble : what
you have so justly wished for, to save this nation
by the present ministers being removed, is so well
effected as to want nothing but a conjunction be-
tween Harry Fox and Mr. Pittj which I imagine
nobody could bring about so well and with so much
authority as you ; as this is purely my own thought,
and what I have all the reason in the world to think
you will approve of, I am sure

You will forgive this from your, &c.


I cannot from my last conversation with Mr.
Fox be sure if things are yet mature enough for
this conjunction, therefore should wish you would
see Mr. Fox before you take any step about it.

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October 30. 1756.

My dear Lord,

Every word Pitt has said was in concert
with Legge and Leicester House. The Duke of
Devonshire went to him from the King to-day, and
found him much more moderate. But he could not
act with me as minister. He foresaw, I suppose,
that my place would be the Treasury. I can't much
blame him, my Lord ; for in that case what would
he be but paymaster again under another Pelham,
with an employment of a higher rank ? Does your
Grace think I can refuse to act without I have
Treasury, when my having less or more ambition
may be the quiet or disquiet of the King and the
public in this critical conjuncture ? But nothing
is determined. You have given me leave ; and your
Grace may possibly have a messenger before you

Online LibraryJohn Russell Russell (Earl) John Russell Bedford (Duke of)Correspondence of John, fourth Duke of Bedford, Volume 2 → online text (page 14 of 33)