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

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

. (page 2 of 33)
Online LibraryJohn Russell Russell (Earl) John Russell Bedford (Duke of)Correspondence of John, fourth Duke of Bedford, Volume 2 → online text (page 2 of 33)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

fetters which pressed so hard on the limbs of the
Roman Catholics. An address from the Roman
Catholic body was drawn up by Dr. O'Connor,
agreed to at a public meeting at Dublin, and ordered
to be presented to the Lord-Lieutenant by the
Speaker of the House of Commons. The address
was drawn up in a spirit of devoted loyalty to the
throne ; and while a relaxation of the penal laws
was prayed for, the utmost gratitude was expressed
to the Lord-Lieutenant for his wisdom, justice, and
moderation. Such has been on repeated occasions
the conduct of the Roman Catholics of Ireland.
While they have felt acutely the injury and de-
gradation to which they have been subjected by
English laws, every relaxation of undue severity
and even every dawn of a kinder disposition to-
wards them, has been met by a warmth of gratitude
and a zeal of attachment which seem to have no
memory for past injuries, and no suspicion of future

In the midst of a war with France, the loyalty
of the most numerous portion of the Irish people
could not be a matter of indifference. In October,
1759, the Duke of Bedford received from Mr. Pitt
a despatch by a special messenger, informing him
that the French were preparing an expedition com-

Digitized by



prising eighteen thousand land troops ; and that,
if they should escape the vigilance of our fleets,
Ireland would probably be one of their chief ob-
jects. The Lord-Lieutenant, perceiving that much
alarm was caused by the report of the arrival of a
special messenger from Mr. Pitt, called his council
together, and with their concurrence determined
upon summoning Parliament, and acquainting them
with the fiill extent of their danger.

The first effect of this measure was a panic, and
the stoppage of two banks ; but this mischief was
repaired by an association set on foot by the Lord-
Lieutenant, which agreed to take in payment the
paper of the Dublin banks. The conduct of the
Roman Catholics was at this crisis highly gratifying.
The Roman Catholics of Cork especially voted an
address to their Lord-Lieutenant, in which they
declared their determination to oppose the Pre-
tender; thanked the King for the lenity shown to
them under his Majesty's mild and auspicious
reign ; promised to defend his Majesty's person
and Government against all invaders whatsoever ;
and declared that they thought themselves par-
ticularly happy to be under the direction and com-
mand of so known an asserter of liberty — such an
important and distinguished Governor.

The histories of the period in question may be
eonsulted for an account of the riots in Dublin, and

a 2

Digitized by



the trifling expedition of Thurot, who surprised
Carrickfergus, and lost his life, and his squadron, in
an endeavour to escape.

The Duke of Bedford's correspondence, contained
in this volume, has scarcely any letters from Lord
Sandwich, and none fix)m Mr. Legge. Lord Sand-
wich, though he continued of the Duke of Bedford's
party, seems, for some reason or other, to have cooled
in his personal attachment ; and Legge, having risen
through other means, threw off his connection with
the Duke of Bedford, to whom he had, on the fall
of Walpole, addressed such earnest supplications.

Another correspondent fills a large space in this
volume. Mr. Rigby was one of a school which
covered its loose morality and corrupt politics under
the honoured mantle of Sir Robert Walpole ; he had
learnt from Winnington to combine a life of pleasure
and of business. Less able, and far less of a public
speaker than Fox, he had much of that statesman's
strong sense and practical shrewdness : coarse and
jovial, ready for any work, and merry in every
fortune, he pleased his friends by his serviceable
good humour ; and, if he did not appease his enemies,
he made his own life easy by his placable forgiveness
of invective and hostility. It was unfortunate for
the Duke of Bedford that his political friends had so
little of his own disinterested concern for the public
good : and the result shows how careful a public man

Digitized by



should be in the choice of his political associates.
Even Junius, with all his malignity and disregard
of truth, would scarcely have succeeded in blacken-
ing the fame of the Duke of Bedford, had he rejected
the assiduous flattery of pleasant companions, and
sought the intimacy of high-minded friends.

The correspondence of Mr. Rigby with Sir Robert
Wilmot, who was at the head of the Irish department
in London, has been kindly placed in my hands by
the descendant of that gentleman, the present Sir
Robert Wilmot ; and I here insert a few extracts, to
illustrate the character of a man, of whom Lord
Orford says " For Rigby, though he never shone in
the Irish parliament, no man wanted parts less ; and
his joviality soon made him not only captivate so
bacchanalian a capital, but impress a very durable
memory of his festive sociability."*

Rigby was secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant, and,
during the time he held that office, was appointed
Master of the Rolls, not then a place of business.

Soon after the Duke's arrival at Dublin, after a
letter mentioning the reception and the dinners of
ceremonial, he says, in his next communication :
" Indeed, to teU you the truth, Sir Robert, I think
every thing has the appearance of quiet ; and his
Grace, to keep it so, very wisely distributes all the
favours of Government with a very impartial hand.

♦ Memoirs^ vol. ii. p. 409-

a 3

Digitized by



. . • . We go on yet feasting every day, but our
drinking has been very gentle. All that bugbear,
I see, may be put upon what footing we please ; and
a man may as well say he can never be sober at
Mistley * as at Dublin."

It appears that Rigby was reported in London
as too free and open in his convivial hours. He
thus pleads to the charge, with as much frankness
as good humour.

" Now for the drunken story. It is very certain Mr.
Pery and I have once dined together since I came to
Ireland, and it is as true that we liked one another well
enough not to part till near three in the morning, long
before which time the company was reduced to a ttte-d'-tite,
except one other, drunk and asleep in a comer of the room.
Who, therefore, has been accurate enough to remember
the whole conyersation, I cannot imagine ; but you may
assure yourself their ingenuity much exceeds their veracity.
I have never heard or seen any symptoms of anger from
Eildare or Malone from that night's jollity, till I read it in
your letter this morning. We both, I believe, made free
with the times, as people in high spirits and in their cups
are apt to do ; but I really believe, was I to show it to him,
Pery would be as much surprised as I am, to hear that our
fun was made matter for serious discourse or deliberation.

'^ I am much obliged to you, my dear Sir Robert, for
sending me, however, all these stories; I am as much
entertained, and can laugh at them more, than those that
invent them. I know that a secretary is lawful game for
every body to fly at ; and I should be very sorry to have

* Mr. Rigby 's country house.


Digitized by



led so insipid a life as to be suffered to pass unenvied, and
consequently uncensured, through that employment. Let
me hear from y ou, the oftener the better ; and when from
parliament and claret, from councils and bumpers, I can
find time to work, I shall think my time well bestowed to
answer you."

His grievances are thus related : —

** Sir Robert, — I am now here in the agreeable circum-
stance of being kept every day till dx or seven o'clock in
the House of Commons, upon one nonsensical motion or
another. I am railed at by one party for being the mover
of all these inflammatory inquiries, and the grand in-
cendiary ; and the other party condemning me for my
candour and good-humour towards (for they would not
have me speak to) any that vote against the Castle. I
cannot say I am much ruffled with all these storms ; I
rather defy them and laugh at the danger. I wish I could
now and then go a cock-shooting, and sometimes, though
not often, get away from the claret a little earlier. But
as these are the two circumstances that lay nearest my
heart, you will not bestow a very large share of pity upon

Mr. Waite, the chief person in Mr. Rigby's office,


**If right intentions in the chief, or an agreeable
openness in business in the Secretary, could avail, every-
thing might be expected ; but, in truth, the attention to
either is shameful."

When the Primate became a friend, Mr. Rigby
gives this account :

" We are more and more friends here every day. The

a 4

Digitized by



Primate is never out of the house, makes dinners for all the
family (not the Duke), and sent his Speaker to-day to
know when my Lord-Lieutenant would please to have an
end put to the session. I fancy the week after this it
will be at an end. I wish Lord Kildare may be persuaded
by his friends to acquiesce a little and come in, but I
believe he will not. Many of his friends wish he may, so
it is not quite desperate.**

On the subject of the expedition from France :

** 1 have received your letter of the 9th and 13th ; with
them came, also, a messenger from Mr. Pitt, to teU us of the
intended visit the Due d'Aiguillon means to pay us from
Vannes. His letter is strong in its expressions, and the
intelligence pretty positive, that their destination is Ireland.
If they land, you will directly send us, I suppose, an army
to fight them with : the one we have is about sufficient to
keep the Papists from rising to join them. But I remain
an infidel still, not perhaps of their intentions, but of their
being able at all to carry them into execution. Pray send
me all domestic intelligence you can get, whether Legge
or his wife is to be a Peer, or Barrington or his wife
Chancellor of the Exchequer; for, till .we are conquered by
the French, I can't help caring much more for the domestic
intelligence of St. James's parish than for all the foreign
ones from the four quarters of the world. And when we
are entirely subjected, it is a hundred to one but I en-
deavour to find out who is well with Madame de Pompadour.
I must observe before I conclude, that it will be damned
impertinent in the French to disturb the union and
harmony which, by the blessing of God, is so happily
established amongst us, his Majesty's faithful subjects in
Ireland. So, my dear Sir Robert, drink * the glorious and
immortal memory !' "

Digitized by



Again, with respect to Thurot :

'* We had intelligence by express here the other day from
Lord Greorge Beauclerck from Edinburgh^ with a copy of
a letter enclosed to his Lordship from Commodore Boys^
who had missed Thurot, and was then in the Firth of Forth
waiting for some account of him. This has put us upon
our guard ; and orders are gone from the conmiissioners, to
keep a sharp look-out by the custom-house boats all round
the coast Should he land in the north of Ireland, if Sir
Edward Hawke can defend us from a second landing in
the south, we should not have much to fear; but we should
ill bear a division of our forces, which are, bond fde^ 7500
infantiy, and 1500 cavalry. The recruiting in the north
turns out nothing ; Lord Hillsborough alone got a few men
at first, not upwards of forty ; and the rest of the great
lords, and the others whom we wrote to, have left it to the
recruiting officers to do as they could. We have sent you
a handsome address from the Commons, of Lord Tavistock's
moving upon Wolfe and Quebec : he spoke amazingly well,
and, though in the agony of fear, possessed himself the
whole time. Say nothing of it, but I believe it is very
near over with him.* God knows what is to happen, but I
hope I stand some chance."

Sir Henry Cavendish, in a letter of Nov. 8. 1759 :

" Every member, or at least a great majority, seems well
disposed to oblige our Lord-Lieutenant, which will make
us perfectly happy, if a total loss of credit does not
interrupt our felicity."

* This is a curious instance of a writer's mind being absorbed in
a manner to make his expressions obscure. The person to whom he
here alludes is not Lord Tavistock, but the Master of the Rolls, who
was dying.

Digitized by



Mr. Rigby, on Nov. 15, writes:

** A messenger^ it is true^ arrived to^daj with a letter to
my Lord-Lieutenanty which does not seem to reqtiire such
a particular attention. The post would have brought it
time enough ; it contains^ however, the King's jipprobation
of our message to the House of Commons, and aU that
passed in consequence of it; bat requires more active zeal
from the loyal subjects of this opulent kingdom, particularly
mfiotioning the want of spirit in recruiting the army in
Ulster, which the great men there spontaneously offered.
AU this, by the bye, is very true, for they have done little
or nothing."

From Mr. Fox to Sir Robert Wilmot :

** I have just received a note from Mr. Rigby, and am
upon thorns till I know that his Grace's request of making
him Master of the Rolls is complied with. Be so good as
to give me the earliest notice of what concerns so much a
man whom I love so dearly."

From Mr. Rigby, when he obtained the office of
Master of the Rolls :

" And now, my dear Sir Robert, ten thousand thanks to
you for yoinr express, which arrived at six this morning.
I had the kindest letter you ever read from the Duke of
Newcastle yesterday, in answer to one I wrote him before
the old man died; and I did not doubt, after I read it, my
success; and, if anything could be added to the value
of the thing itself, I own it is the gracious manner in
which I have received it from all of them. It is a damned
good place, Sir Robert, as I shall know better, and will tell
you when I see you. I will write about my re-election when

Digitized by



I am in absolute possession ; I don't apprehend my seat in
Parliament vacated till then.''

On the subject of the Dublin riot, Nov. 28 :

*' Since I wrote last to you^ our mobs are at an end, and
perfect quiet and peace restored. I am told, too, the
weavers, the people who diiefly made up the multitude,
are ashamed of having been so grossly imposed upon. The
House of Commons have appointed a committee to en-
deavour to find out the ringleaders ; and Johnny Moffill
teUs me they shall certainly discover who they are. The
mob being dispersed, I did not care a farthing if the
committee was also."

Again, in Dec. 10 :

•* I am told of my life being threatened every hour, but
I meet with no insults whatever. When I stay out late at
night, I make my servants carry fire-arms; and by God, if
I am attacked, I will wait for no peace-officer to give the
word of command."

On Dec. 19, he writes :

" Here Mr. Hely Hutchinson continues his daily attack;
and neither Primate, Speaker, or Lord Shannon dared to
oppose resolving that the exportation of live cattle from
hence was prejudicial to this country ; so I was left alone
to speak for it, which I did in the best and strongest terms
I was able. He then wanted to bring his resolution to my
Lord-Lieutenant, but upon a division he could get but six
to proceed to such extremities against 104. His Grace is
not satisfied, nor am T much pleased, that they would not
show spirit enough not to suffer that matter to be at all

Digitized by



And on the 18th Dec, respecting Lord George

Sackville :

^^ As three good reasons are found for not bringing
Lord George to a trials pray let me know as soon as one
good one is found for giving him a regiment again.''

Again, on the Dublin riot, Dec. 23 :

'^ What nonsense I to talk of a civil magistrate and the
troops! The blockhead of a mayor refused to take the troops;
and had the insolence or cowardice, or both I think, to tell my
Lord-Lieutenant in coimcil that there was no disorder, at
the very time when, to his face, my Lord Chancellor declared
that they had sworn him and the Chief Justice in his
coach, and refused him admittance into the House of
Lords. Had the troops not marched, at last when they
did, and it was duskish, and the mob had been suffered to
remain till it was quite dark, many houses had been
pulled down, and many people murdered, I have not the
least doubt. Pray tell Wood all this when you see him.
Had they attacked me, I would have been my own civil
magistrate, I promise you ; but we have heard no more of

it since These mobs and parliaments are damned

troublesome, to be sure ; but assure yourself they don't
appear half so formidable to us here, as when reported to
you at a distance."

The following, of Dec. 27., is remarkable:

" Whether these disturbances were in connection with
the apprehended invasion, I cannot say; I rather think not.
However, they certainly are the effects of those wicked
insinuations to the prejudice of Government in 1753, which,
with the national dislike to English rule, has rendered the
I)eople easy of belief of all suggestions to its prejudice, and
consequently not to be relied on for its support."

Digitized by



** What must be surmised without doors, when com-
mittees are moved for to inquire what laws may be
necessary to support the liberties of the subjects (I may
not give the words, but of this import), and the Ch. of the
£ — dividing with the minority, on such a question, at
this time?**

To the same purport, on Jan. 1. 1760 :

^^ Perhaps I need not tell you that there is a general
mdiiq)06ition to the people of England from those in Ireland:
that they are unwilling to acknowledge the dependency of
this on the British L — si — re ; and that they are all bred
up in a settled antipathy to the superiority of the latter.
Notwithstanding this, I would not be thought as imagining
that there is any settled plan for the asserting an Ind — p — cy :
but to be uneasy in their present state, and to express
amongst themselves this uneasiness, is the turn and fashion
of the upper sort of people, and is caught from them
downwards. I apprehend, too, that Pr — ts — ts in this
particular are as culpable as Pa — ^p — ts."

On Thurot's invasion, Feb. 27. 1760:

" Between friends, the invasion will answer one good
purpose, it will shorten the session: for most of the patriots
are gone to do their countiy as little service with their
hands and their militias, as they do with their heads at
College Green."

The capture of Thurot's squadron, related by
Mr. Hill, the Collector of Strangford, March 1 :

" I have this moment received an account by express
from the Isle of Man, that on Thursday morning last,
before day, the English squadron, under the command of
Captain Elliot, of the Eolus, came up with and engaged

Digitized by



Captain Thurot (who had safled out of Belfast Lough at
one that morning) off Bamsaj, in the Isle of Man.

^^ That^ at the second broadside. Captain Thnrot was
killed, on which his ships struck and were carried into
Bamsay Bay. They consist of the Bellisle, of forty gunB,
and Le Blond and La Terpsichore frigates, of thirty guna;
our ships were the Eolus, of forty guns, and two twenty-
gun ships. The express saw them lying in Ramsay Bay,
and the English colours hoisted above the French. The
Bellisle was greatly shattered, so as hardly to be kept above
water. Twenty of our men that were wounded were sent on
shore at the Isle of Man.''

From Mr. Waite to Sir R. Wilmot :

" It rejoices me to hear that your great people in
St. James's Square and Lincola's Inn Fields have conceived
so justly of the abilities of Mr. Rigby. We shall see him
a very considerable man. He has all the requisites for it,
and is as agreeable a master as I ever served."

Again, from Mr. Waite, after the resignation of
the Lord-Lieutenancy by the Duke, Jan. 30. 1761 :

^* It is the grief of my heart to think that there is even
a probability of losing Mr. Rigby. I shall never meet
with such a friend agidn. I shall never again serve under
a man with so much pleasure. He reposed trust and con*
fidence in me : he treated me with the openness and affec-
tion of a brother; and, to the latest hour of my life, I shall
love, honour, and esteem him."

The third and last volume of this correspondence
will contain the negotiations which ended in the
peace of Paris, and many letters illustrative of the

Digitized by



changes of domestic policy at the commencement of
the reign of George the Third. The Introduction to
that volume will include a notice of the false and
malignant libels of Junius, upon the character of the
Duke of Bedford.

The public are again indebted to Mr. Martin, for
nearly all the notes to this volume.

Digitized by


Digitized by




&C &C.


January 1. 1748-9- 1749-


[Kespecting the King's intention of sending an
Ambassador to Paris.

In a minute of business transacted with the King
is the following memorandum in the Duke's hand-
writing : " His Majesty doth not intend to send the
Duke of Richmond to France, unless M. de Mire-
poix is made a Duke, or the French king should
nominate another person that is a Duke, ambassador
to this court."

This letter announces that it " never was the
King's intention to send the Duke of Richmond or
any other person as ambassador extraordinary to
Paris, prior to that court's sending a person of like
quality, and of like public character, to London."]


Digitized by





Hagae^ January 6. 1749*

[Almost entirely refers to the jealousy between
Sir Thomas Robinson and himself. In some papers
styled very secret in Lord Braybroke's collection*
is the following extract from a letter, dated No-
vember, 1748 : " The Duke of Newcastle thought to
throw a slur on Lord Sandwich by joining Robinson
with him; but this latter, though he set out in a
magisterial tone, has done no more than the other,
nor do I think him capable of doing so much, with
all his presumption."]



WhitehaU, January 12. 1748.

[Respecting some innovations made at the Custom
House of Port St. Mary's in the entering some
species of English manufactures.]


Whitehall, Fehruary 16. 1748-9.

[The King will have great satisfaction in seeing
the Marquis dc Mirepoix at his court, and has

* Which have been most kindly placed at the dispoeal of the^
Editor. 1

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 1



under consideration the fixing upon a proper person 17*9.
to send to the court of Versailles.]


WhitehaU, February l6. 1748-9.


I received on Monday last your despatch of


the 19th instant, which I immediately laid before
his Majesty, who has been pleased to approve of
your conduct in your conversation with M. Pui-
sieux, and of the assurances you gave him, accord-
ing to your instructions, of the King's desire and re-
solution to live in harmony and to preserve a perfect
good understanding with his court : you very pro-
perly observed to that minister, that as the King
had on his part most religiously observed and exe-
cuted every condition of the definitive treaty, he
had all the reason in the world to expect that the
French court would, on their side, fulfil and com-
plete their engagements, by not protracting any
longer the evacuations of the four towns in Hai-
nault. In consequence of the truth of this observ-
ation, it is his Majesty's pleasure that you shoidd
(in case you perceive any affected delay in the ren-
dering up of these towns upon frivolous pretences
of the Empress Queen not having fully satisfied
the Genoese in relation to the 14th article of the
definitive treaty) make the strongest remonstrances
to M. Puisieux on this head, as the retaining any

♦ Third son of the firat Earl of Hardwicke.
B 2

Digitized by




1749. longer these towns must unavoidably occasion jea-

lousies, and thereby in some sort endanger the

happy union and harmony which is at present so
happily established between the two courts.

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