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

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

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are up on Monday to beg your Grace's company
here with the Duke of Devonshire that day. You
shall certainly have an express whether I shall be
ripe for asking that favour of your Grace or not.
I beg my best respects to her Grace. Will not her
Grace begin to fancy it possible that I may not be
quite so ambitious as she thinks me ?

I am, &c. &c.

H. Fox.

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Bedford Homey half-past three, Tueadaj.

I am just returned hither from Eensmgtoii,
my dearest love, and have received positive orders
from the King not to go out of town till after a
meeting of the Lords of the Cabinet, and other
principal persons, which cannot be before to-morrow
night, at Devonshire House, in order to propose a
plan to Mr. Pitt, upon which an administration can
be settled, which if not agreed to by him we are to
go on without him ; and indeed when I come to re-
late to you, the impracticability of this man, it will
amaze you. I hope to be with you certainly by
twelve or one o'clock on Thursday. I was m with
the King this morning, and most graciously re-
ceived, though I found his Majesty in great wrath,
and that I think with reason, for the cavalier treat-
ment he has received from Mr. Pitt. If your
brother comes to Wobum time enough to be at
Devonshire House to-morrow night, you are desired
to send him up. Adieu, my dearest love.



Bedford Houae, Not. 2. 1756.

When I wrote to you from your sister s, I
had no time to add any thing more to that letter,

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as I was desirous it should come to you this night 1756.
as early as was possible. I am now just come in
fipom the play fipom Lady Coventry's box, who
desires a thousand compliments to you and Ca-
roline : the Duchess of Hamilton was with her, in
the height of beauty.

I will now give you as clear and as short a narrative
as I can, of all I can relate which has passed since
I came to town. I found upon my coming to the
Kmg's Head, the Duke of Marlborough and Mr. Fox,
and upon discussing with the latter, before the Duke
of Devonshire came in, I found every thing con-
firmed which I hadbefore heard of the impracticability
of Mr. Pitt, who would not serve with Mr. Fox as a
minister, and seemed determined to place himself
and family sole governors of every thing. How-
ever as they had not presumption enough to name
the first Lord of the Treasury, of which Mr. Legge
was to be a Commissioner and Chancellor of the
Exchequer, it was hoped by us then present, that
by the King's nominating the Duke of Devonshire
first Lord, such a control would be laid on Pitt
and his Mends, the treasury continuing in the
King's power, that Mr. Fox, though not in a
cabinet councillor's place, would still keep such a
weight in the House of Commons as would hinder
Pitt and his party from getting the absolute ascen-
dancy over the King himself, and confine them to
that proper degree of power they had a right to
expect, and in which they might have been usefal
to the public. When the Duke of Devonshire came

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1756. in, and we had dined, and Mr. Rigbyhad retired to

your sister's, we began to talk of the business of our

meeting, and after the first assurances of good
wishes, each to the other, the Duke of Devonshire
gave us an account of all that had passed between him
and Mr. Pitt, and though he condemned his impracti-
cability, and declared his predilection for Mr. Fox,
yet he plainly leaned to the coming into thdr terms,
though he absolutely refused conung into the
treasury with Mr. Legge. In this unpleasant situ-
ation things were last night, when I parted from
Mr. Fox at half-past one. He told me he had men-
tioned to the King my being in town, who seemed
very desirous of seeing me. Accordingly I went to
court this morning, and immediately after the levee
went into the King's closet, who began in the most
gracious manner thanking me for the part I had
acted, and lamenting the terrible state of public
affairs, and most bitterly exclaimed against Pitt's
insolent treatment of him. He hardly gave me
time to speak at all, being very eager in discourse
the whole time I stayed with him, which was about
half an hour. Lord Granville then went in, and
carried the King a paper drawn up by himself, which,
though short, was replete with good sense, and
which tended to make on the part of his Majesty
such offers to Pitt and his family as he cannot rea-
sonably refuse, but such as if he does (which I
make no doubt he will), must put him in the wrong
in the opinion of every reasonable man, and enable
us all to weather the storm of opposition, should

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they be so rash as to undertake it. I have not 1756.
time to explain the whole of this now, but will "

when I see you : upon the Duke of Devonshire's
comiog out of the closet, he brought me orders to
stay in town, till a meeting could be had to consider
of the proposal, which at that instant Lord Gran-
Tille was communicating to me and Mr. Fox, and
which meeting is now fixed for to-morrow night at
Devonshire House. I then went to Lady Yarmouth
and then to the Duke, who seems much pleased
with the state in which things now appear. I be*
lieve the Duke of Newcastle and the Chancellor
resign on Thursday.

I am quite tired with writing, so must defer the
rest till we meet, which I hope will be on Thursday.

Ever unalterably yours,

P. S. If your brother comes to Wobum time
enough to be at Devonshire House to-morrow night,
you are desired to send him up. Adieu.


Loadon^ November 4. J 7^6.

After what Rigby has just now told me,
your Grace won't imagine I am writing to persuade
your Grace. But as I am prouder of your friendship
and good opinion than of any place the King could

VOL. II. p

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175& give me, I must omit nothing that may justify tbe

part I take. I left the King yesterday determined

to name his own treasury. The Duke of DeYon-
ehire, not I, got his leave to offer L^ge the fix-
chequer, and me the Pay Office ; I refiised any
office ; and, upon a little connderation, however I
might dislike the actors, approved of the scene that
opened itsdf, for the following reasons. I think
peace and quiet this session as necessary to this
country, as ever a night's sleep was to a man
dying with a fever. No system in which I am a
minister can be carried on without great contention.
And l^ a combination of circumstances obvious to
your Grace, I cannot be a minister (without the
Duke of Newcastle, &c. and against Pitt &c),
without being the prime minisler.

I am not capable of it. Richelieu, were he alive,
could not guide the councils of a nation, if (which
would foe my case) he could not from November to
April have above two hours in four*and-twenty to
think of any thing but the House of Onnmons.

I should not be an honest man if I attempted,
at a nation's risk, a task that no man alive can be
equal to.

I return to where I begun ; there is in this
arrogant and foolish scheme, peace in the House of
Conmions, and therefore I am for it. That they
will admit of no other and better with the same
advantage of quiet to the nation, is my grie^ not
my fault. But if Pitt will have it that either he or
I must be dishonest and mad, let it be him that is

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BOj and for the sake of the public, let me aasist to i756.
make Iub arrogance of as little detriment to the
public as possible. I am, my dear Lord, your
Grace'Si &c. &c.

H- Fox.

The Puke of Devonshire went to Pitt (who has
the gout in the country) this morning. Pitt
deotiurs to accepting without Holdemesse goes out,
and gives no answer tiU to-morrow night, when he
shall have consulted Lord Temple.


London^ November 9. 1756.

My Lord,

I was with his Majesty this morning, who
was extremely satisfied with my determination of
staying in his service, especially when I informed
him it was with your Grace's advice, and that your
resolutiim was (though you could not think it
proper for you to enter into his service circum-
stanced as things were at present) not to obstruct
his measures nor to throw this country into more
confusion at this critical conjuncture. His Grace
of Devon is a good deal embarrassed, laments much
that the Elng could not avail himself at this time
of your integrity and abilities as a minister, and
protests that in the situation he now finds himself,
there is no man's opinion or advice that he would

p 2

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1756. 80 soon follow as your Grace^s if you will deign to
give it him. His resolutions at present are very
honest and sensible, if he has firmness sufficient to
execute them ; but from what has passed one must
doubt : in short, he solicits your friendship, and I
think you may keep him out of Legge's hands.
Though I cannot say that I see much light, yet I
think sufficient to attempt something with him. I
had a great deal of conversation with Mr. Fox, who
will inform you himself of what passed better than
I can do. The resignations are to take place on
Thursday, and O'Brian* is among the resigaers.
The garrison of Oswego were not put to the sword,
for the governor of Canada has sent four or five
hundred of them to Plymouth with a genteel well
writ letter to the commanding officer of the port :
the rest are sent to France, and are to come to
England from thence. The day was barren of
events; the Chancellor and Duke of Newcastle
resign on Thursday : that act will give me implicit
satisfaction : the only one that can give me more,
will be to see your Grace and Mr. Fox invested with
their power.

I am your Grace's much obliged

and obedient servant,

* Percy Windham O'Brien/ created £arl of Thotnond.

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8t James's^ NoTember l6. 1756.
Will you forgive me troubling you with this
to thank you for the apology you was so good as to
tlunk necessary to write me, with regard to your
conduct in these times, and which would flatter me
much if I was thoroughly convinced you took it as
I meant it ; which was only giving a little latitude
to my own thoughts, to Lady Ossory, and wishing
much to hear you take a share in conducting these
men and measures; which seems at present almost
necessary for our present salvation. You cannot
blame Madame de Chevreusefor wishing success to,
her country, and being anxious to hear one she loves
80 much as you a principal actor in this scene.
Farther would be unpertinence. However I hope
and think from what the Duke of D. told Peg to-
day, things will go on at least better in the closet,
for he says he finds things much more reasonable
and easy since the departure of his Grace of N.,
who has now to all appearances taken himself quite
away, and I hope never to return. They say Lord
C — T {Lard Chancellor Hardwicke) will do the saine
thing on Friday next: I suppose he will expect
a little douceur upon giving up eleven thousand
pounds a year. The commissioners for the great
seal are to be Sir Stafford Smyth, Judge Wflmot,
and Lord Chief Justice Willes, and not the Master
of the Rolls.

p 3

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1Y56, There is nothing new to-day ; therefore I shall

talk of a more pleasing thing to you, which is the

dear Countess, who honoured me with a visit
yesterday after Court, and enquired much after her
Wobum friends ; by her soul, nothing will make
her so happy as to have you King* for her country,
because it is honouring it so much, and that you
will be adored there. I told her I would let you
know how well you were with her. I assure you
she is grown so grave and well behaved, that she
is now really the decent Lady Coventry. Pray
tell the Duchess she may possibly not hear of me
in the way she expects this fortnight. I am very
well, and my boys much better ; owing, I believe, to
your indulgence to them ; I take the liberty to
send them to Streatham to-morrow. Tavistock I
saw on Sunday, and Gowran : they are both wdOL I
should have wrote to the little countess to-night,
but am prevented by company coming in« I am
impatient for to-morrow fortnight, when I hope to
see you and the rest of my Mends well. I am glad
to hear the Duchess has got so pleasant a horse.
Pray tell them that the Duke is gone to-day to
Newmarket to see a trial : I am sure he will enjoy
this. I have nothing more to add, than to say I
hope you love me as much as I really do you, which
will make me quite happy.

Adieu, my dear Duke of Bedford.

* Alluding to the probability the office of Lord Lieuteaant of
of the Duke of Bedford accepting Ireland.

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London^ November 18. 1756.

My Lord,

I hope your Grace will excuse the liberty I
take in troubling you, and not think the reason
that induces me to do it, on impertinent one, as it
axiaes from a desire of showing my great regard for
your Grace.

Mr. Fox called on me since his return from
Wobum, and I own I am sorry to find by him that
your Grace is not yet come to a resolution with re-
gard to Ireland. I shall not presume to mention my
own wishes on that head, though certainly nothing
could give me greater pleasure than to see your
Grace take a part that would undoubtedly be of so
great service to the King and this country. How-
ever, my Lord, as I am willing to flatter myself, that
it is not yet impossible but that your Grace may
still accept the Lieutenancy, I am desirous of taking
no step in regard to that country without previously
acquaintmg your Grace with it. During the course
of the last session^ I got the approbation of parlia*
ment to increase the force within that kingdom from
12,000 to near 15,000 men: before the levies were
completed orders were sent from hence to embark
for New York as many private men as were raised
for the 24 additional companies, and to send the
officers to England, who have since been placed in
the new battalions, by which means the force in

r 4

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1756. Ireland was very near reduced to its former state.
I represented this to the King and Duke; and a
resolution was come to, to raise one regiment of
1,200 men and five companies of invalids of 100
men each. This was settled, and I was coming np to
town to carry it into execution, when the late
battle broke out. The King has since giv^i me di-
rections to lose no time in this affair ; but I have
delayed it, in order to inform your Grace of it, and
to know whether you would have any objection to
my going on with it, as the service requires that no
time should be lost. Give me leave to take this
opportunity of assuring your Grace that no man
can be more desirous of the honour of your friend-
ship than I am, and that nothing shall be wanting
on my part to deserve it, and to convince your
Grace of the respect and regard with which I am
My Lord, your Grace's

Most obedient humble servant,


The Colchester is arrived, as also the four regi-
ments that were in Minorca. The King has forbid
the colonels to appear in his presence till their con-
duct has been enquired into, and has ordered Sir
John Ligonier, and I think Haske and Cholmondely,
to examine them and make a report of what they
shall urge in their defence. My Lord Chancellor
resigns the seals to-morrow : it is to be put in com-
mission, and the commissioners are to be Lord
Chief Justice Willes, Mr- Baron Smyth, and Sir
Eardley WiUmot.

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Woburn Abbey, Nov. I9. 1756.

I am truly sensible of the honour your Grace
does me, in communicating to me the orders your
Grace has received, as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
from his Majesty, for raising a regiment of 1200
men and five companies of invalids of 100 men
each, for the security of that kingdom, and for
completing the troops there, to the number ap-
proved of by parliament. Your Grace's good
wishes that I may succeed you in that Lieutenancy
are very flattering to me; and though the circum-
stances of the times render it impossible for me to
come to any farther decision than I have already-
mentioned to Mr. Fox, yet I firmly believe whilst
the government of that country continues in your
Grace's hands, no inconvenience can possibly occur
to the public, especially as you seem to be in rea»
diness to carry his Majeisty's present orders for
raising new troops there into immediate execution,
wMch, in my humble opinion, ought not to be post-
poned one minute, as the last draughts made from
thence to America must necessarily have weakened
the army and reduced it below the standard which
the parliament thought necessary to be kept up in
this time of danger for their defence. Your Grace's
kind assurances of desiring to cultivate a strict
friendship with me are very obliging, and I shall
always endeavour by a suitable return to convince

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175& yott how I esteem the o£fer of it, being with great

— respect and r^ard,

My Lord, &c.

P. S. The Duchess of Bedford and I join in wish-
ing your Grace joy of the honour you received
yesterday * : I am sorry I was not able to attend the


November 20. 1756.

My dear Lord^

I am much concerned lest seeing your name
in the newspapers, your Grace should think I haye
spoke of your intentions, with respect to the Lieu-
tenancy of Ireland, in a manner I was no ways
authorised by your Grace to do. But upon my
word I have not, and, though it is a saying that we
easily believe what we wish, yet so littie has fell
out according to my desire of late, that my wishing
a thing extremely is a reason of itself with me for
disbelieving it. I am sure I have that reason in
this case, for I do wish your Grace's acceptance
ardently ;* and the conversation I have had regard-
ing it with Lord Granville, Lord Gower, H. R. H.
and the Duke of Devonshire, have showed me how
much it imports me and my situation for perhaps as

* Knight of the Garter.

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I(mgas I live. I have spoke to no others upon the 1756.

sabjecty and I could not give them all the hopes

they and I wanted to entertain. The first named^
indeed) who is aangoine, said he knew your Grace,
and since you considered of it, he knew you would
see the consequence of it to the public, to the King,
and take it ; and, perhaps, but I don't know he has,
lie may have said so. If that should be your de-
termination, as God send it may, every thing relative
to your government of Ireland will, I can promise
your Grace, be made smooth and easy to you from
all quarters.

1 have set up my Lord Powerscourt at Stock-
bridge, and will certainly keep out Dr. Hayes there.
It would be of use if your Grace would give me
leave to lend the turnpike there one hundred
pounds at 4^ per cent, in your name. It is a new
tiimpike for mending the Salisbury road, through
Stoc^bridge and Popham lane, and of course I be-
lieve a benefit to your Grace's tenants.


Wobum Abbey, Nov. 22. 1756.

Dear Sir,

My seeing my own name in the newspapers
for the Lieutenancy of Ireland did not give me the
least uneasiness, nor any suspicion of your haviQg
ice of my intentions in a mamier you was no

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1756. vm,j authorised to do. I know at these times

people's guesses and coffee-house conversations are

put into the papers as authentic intelligence.
With regard to my own thoughts upon this subject,
they are very much the same as when I saw you
last, and I fear it will be impossible for me to accept
it unless his Majesty can be prevailed on to give
you either some considerable employment, or, by a
peerage to Lady Caroline Fox, such marks of his
favour as shall take off the imjust proscription that
has been laid on you by the new ministers ; to speak
my real sentiments, I think they must sooner or.
later be obliged to shake hands with you, unless by
your absolutely flying off, you render it impossible
for them to do it, and thereby necessarily throw
them into the hands of the late chancellor and the
Duke of Newcastle. This would be the most &tal
of all events for this coimtry, and therefore (excuse
the liberty I take) I cannot approve the oppositiou
you intend publicly to make to Dr. Hayes* at Stock-
bridge, as it can only tend to exasperate men's
minds, and to enable those who wish you ill, to
represent you to the King as in direct opposition to
his measures and ministers, for this reason, as well
as that I have ever been determined to have nothing
to do with so venal a place as Stockbridge, I must
desire that my name be not mentioned there in
lending any money to the Turnpike. I think every

• George Hay, L.L.D.^ princi- the Admiralty, December 1756,
pal to the Arches Court of Canter- when he was re-elected,
bury; made a Commissioner of

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thing depends upon your coolness and firmness at 1756.

present, and therefore I hope you will take in the

inanner in which it is really meant, the frankness
which I have used in giving you my real sentiments
upon the subject of your last letter.

I am, dear sir,



Holland Houae, Nov. 23. 1756.

My dear Lord,

I return your Grace a thousand thanks for
your kind letter of November 22d, and most par-
ticularly for that very obliging part of it relative to
my particular situation. But if his Majsety's hu«
mour should still remain what it was when last
spoke to on my subject, I should be ready to hang
layself if the Duke of Bedford denied himself to the
King and to the public on my account. The pro-
scription of me, my Lord, proceeds from Leicester
House, and yet I am of your Grace's opinion, that
sooner or later they are likely to agree with me if
I keep the honour and strength that your Grace
^d other friends have given me ; and I do assure
your Grace that I shall not fly off so as to lose
sight of, much less prevent, such an agreement. I
here give your Grace my word that, whenever
H. R. Highness, your Grace, and the Duke of
Marlborough, or any two of you, tell me that it is

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1756. in jour opinionB for the good of the pablic, there
is nobody I will not shake hands with^ there sre no
terms I will not sufamit to* But your Grace and I
differ a little about the manner of bringing to
agreement such insolent men as these are. I offisred
to join them cordially as Paymaster without being
of the Cabinet Council : this brought no agreement,
but induced that (may I not say insolent ?) proposal
that G. GrenviUe should be Paymaster and I Trea-
surer of the Navy, They are now angry that I
oppose Dr. Hayes ; but though they knew the interest
was in me, they would not apply to me, but expect
that I should, unasked, choose him, for fiear of dis-
obliging th^n. As to representatiops of me to his
Majesty, the King knows and is mistily pleaded
that I oppose Dr. Hayes. PuMie measures, I again
assure your Grace, I will support, not oppose, and
do my best to make this a quiet session. I own I
see danger of their joining the Duke of Newcastle ;
but I think your Grace taking Ireland, and my
showing strength in the House of Commons (for
personal c(Hnplaisance does harm and spoils them),
may effectually prevent it.


Leicester Fields, Thursday eyeoing,
January 20.

My dear Lord,

Hearing so very unpleasant an account of
your Grace's illness to-day from Harry Vernon, I

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take the liberty to cantinue my correspond^M^, ns6,

though I have nothing particuhur to send to you.

The call of the House ahnost filled it forthe first
time this year, but did not keep it sitting till a
quarter past three, when the call was unanimously
put off tOl next Tuesday se'nnight. The motion
for the inquiry that was said to be intended for

Online LibraryJohn Russell Russell (Earl) John Russell Bedford (Duke of)Correspondence of John, fourth Duke of Bedford, Volume 2 → online text (page 15 of 33)