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

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

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county without opposition.

Forester took his seat in the House of Commons


Newcastle House^ March 15. 1759.

I should have waited upon your Grace this
morning, if I had not been prevented by several ap-
pointments upon busiaess, and by my necessary
attendance this day at the Treasury. I sent to
speak to Mr. Rigby, but by some mistake I be-
lieve he had not my message. My chief business
was to acquaint your Grace, that I yesterday spoke
to the King about Lord B., and with great
difficulty procured his Majesty's consent that he
should be made an earl ; so that your Grace will

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have the goodness to carry that as well as your 1759.

other promotions into execution.

I have some few other things to lay before
your Grace; but as they don't press, I shall not
trouble you with them at present, and I shall only
add my sincere sense of your Grace's goodness in
complying with many applications which I have
troubled you with, and the assurances of my being,
&c. &c.


Woburn Abbey, May 22, 1759-

I take the opportunity of being here alone
(my family not coming down till to-morrow) of
informing your Grace fully of all that has passed
in relation to Ireland, for this last fortnight, upon
the information the administration had received
firom various quarters of the intention of the
French to invade either Great Britain or Ireland,
or possibly both at the same time ; though Ireland
was more particularly mentioned in all the intelli-
gence, and even the Earls of Clare* and Clancarty
were named to command the expedition. Upon the
weight of this intelligence, an embargo was put

• Charles O'Brien, sixth Vis- in Lady Mary Wortley's Letters,
count Glare of the kingdom of yoLiLp. 153.
Ireland; see some account of him

BB 3

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1759. against my going into the New Forest, where I had

appointed people to meet me on the King's business

on Monday the 7th instant, and I attended the
meeting of the King's servants at Lord Holdemesse's
on Tuesday the 8th. Though there was some
difference of opinion amongst the ministers to what
degree the intelligence should be credited ; yet they
did all agree upon the state I laid before them of
his Majesty's army in Ireland, and upon the
smallness of the force I must necessarily (on account
of the many garrisons I must leave in the great
towns for the security of the Protestants) put
myself at the head of, should the enemy land in
any of the south-west parts of Ireland with 5000
men ; that too great precaution could not be had
to prevent an attempt of this sort ; and should it be
attempted with success, to preserve at leat Leinster
and Ulster from the calamity of becoming the seat of
war. It was then resolved, and this resolution
has been confirmed at two subsequent meetings
which we have since had, to man out the greatest
fleet that could possibly be got together, to
rendezvous at Torbay, and from thence to stretch
over to the coast of France, in order to deter them
from any enterprise of this sort, or, should they
attempt it, to defeat them in the execution of it.
This is undoubtedly a very prudent preventive
neasure; but should this by the accidents of winds
and weather fail in preventing an invasion, it was
judged expedient to advise his Majesty to order a
strong body of infantry to be encamped in the Isle

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of Wight, with transport vessels to be always in 1759.

readiness to carry them wherever the danger should

be most urgent ; but, as the Lords judged that no
troopscould besparedfromhence to Ireland whilst the
danger was still impending, and not known where
it would fall, it was agreed unanimously that the
King's pleasure should be taken about arraying the
militia of Ulster, and about sending all absent
officers on the military establishment of Ireland to
their respective posts, both which his Majesty was
pleased to order inmiediately to be done ; and I have
it in charge to watch strictly over the execution of
his commands, so that I must desire your Grace to
see that every thing that is ordered be strictly
complied with, and that the officers be not per-
mitted to loiter in Dublin or elsewhere, but that
they do aU repair immediately to their respective
posts. Upon any certain notice of the enemy's
intention to land any where in Ireland, I hold
myself in readiness to depart at an hour's warning,
and to put myself at the head of the few troops we
have ; but it was not judged expedient, in order to
prevent giving too great an alarm, that I should leave
this kingdom before it should be absolutely ne-
cessary. I must now inform your Grace, that upon
my mentioning to the Lords that I feared the march-
ing the Ulster militia out of their province would
be very hurtM to trade, and consequently be very
disagreeable to the principal people of it, and to the
generality of its inhabitants, a suggestion was thrown
out whether, to obviate this inconveniency, an

B B 4

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1759. application should not be made to the nobility and
gentry of Ulster, to know whether they would
undertake to recruit amongst their friends and
tenants two or three thousand men to complete
Aldercron's regiment, and two weak battalions, not
containing above 150 or 200 men each, which should
be sent from hence, the men to be enlisted for three
years or to the end of the war, and not to serve
out of the kingdom. This thing I have, at their
Lorships' desire, mentioned to the Earls of Hertford
and Hillsborough, and they have promised me to
endeavour to get a meeting of the considerable
people of that province who are in London, in order
to see what can be done. Your Grace being un-
doubtedly the first man of that province, your
example must necessarily have great weight with
all who have concerns there. I have already
taken up a great deal of your time upon this subject,
and I believe I need not remind you, that it is
indispensably necessary to have every thing that
relates to the army and all military operations in
readiness, that I may be able instantly to take the
field should the enemy make good their threats of
landing any where in Ireland ; and I trust the
Lords Justices will give the necessary orders for
preparing every thing that may be wanted, without
waiting for the return of orders from England.

I cannot conclude this long letter without ex-
pressing my concern to your Grace in seeing, as
weU by private accounts as by the public papers,
the unbridled licentiousness of the lower class of

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people in Ireland, as well in town as country, more 1759.

particularly the atrocious behaviour of the mob of

Dublin towards those who came from England to
buy cattle in Ireland, in pursuance of leave given
by an act passed this session. Indeed, if the mob
are suffered to control and disappoint what the
legislature of this country has permitted, Ireland
will soon degenerate into its ancient barbarism, and
spurn equally at the laws which shall be enacted by
its own parliament.


DubliD, May 28. 1759-

Yesterday, at Leixlip, I had the honour of
receiving your Grace's letter of the 22d of May
from Wobum Abbey. Your Grace's goodness in
communicating so minutely the measures concerted
in England with regard to this country, and your
watchful care for it protection, are most sensibly
felt and acknowledged.

My Lord Shannon*, as your Grace may have
observed from the course of our letters, is gone to
the country for his usual refreshment in the summer
months; not apprehending when he went any
business of so serious a nature as what has since

* Henry, Earl of Shannon, one of the Lords Justices.

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1759. occurred. The Speaker happened to be with me at
Leixlip when your Grace's letter arrived ; and Lord
Rothes, having received commands from your
Grace by the same post, came there also ; so that
we had an opportunity of immediately considering
together of what it was our duty to do ; and the
Speaker and I came to town in the evening, that no
time might be lost in carrying into execution what
our thoughts had suggested to us.

The precaution taking, of sending out a great
fleet, will in all probability prove an effectual
security against an invasion of either kingdom.
But as it has been thought expedient in England
to order a strong body of infantry to be encamped
in the Isle of Wight, with transport vessels to carry
them wheresoever the danger should be most urgent,
which must be considered as a provision made
there eventually for the defence of this kingdom,
we think we must be unpardonable if we fuled in
putting the small force that is here into the best
posture and readiest state of preparation to answer
your Grace's purposes, should it become necessary
for your Grace to put yourself at the head of it.

Your Grace knows that just at this time all the
regiments, both of cavalry and foot, are drawn
together to the respective places where they are to
be, and where some of them have been reviewed ;
from whence they were to march into their several
divided quarters, and the horses immediately to be
turned to grass, as is the common course in quiet
times. We have this day sent directions to them

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all to halt in the towns of their respective reviewings 1 759.

until further orders; and the ftiture disposition

proposed is according to the rough draught that is
here enclosed to your Grace.

It ynHy as I conceive, appear from this disposition
of the troops that the object in view is not to
prevent a landing if it should be attempted, — ^which^
seems scarcely possible, considering the extensive-
ness of the coast where landings by the French
are equally practicable and probable ; but to keep
the troops in such a posture of communication one
with the other that they may, either by retreating .
or advancing, all have it in their power to join in
one body, and be always placed between the enemy
and the capital, until such time as succour can
arrive from England, This seems to us more
reasonable than to separate the troops in order to
protect particular counties or places, by which the
detached troops might be cut off, and one part of
the kingdom sufficiently defended.

With regard to the disaffected (under which
denomination the Papists alone can be compre-
hended), I beg leave to hazard my private opinion
to your Grace that there is little or no danger
to be apprehended from them. This is my
firm persuasison, and I would risk all that I am
worth upon it. I do not, indeed, doubt but if a
French army were to land many single vagabonds
would be ready for hire to take arms with them ;
but I am almost confident the Roman Catholics of
property, whether landed or monied, would not

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1759. assist, but that they rather fear than wish such an
attempt from the French^ and that some of them
would even give their assistance towards serving
his Majesty. I am well acquainted with several
of the heads of that people, and I think I know
something of their sentiments. K it was left to
their free choice, it must be supposed that they
would desire a king and an establishment of their
own religion. But they are very sensible that if
the French now attempt an invasion of his Ma-
jesty's kingdoms it will not be for their sakes, nor
in order to better their condition ; but that if they
were to enter into rebellion they would be left a
sacrifice without conditions to the necessary con-
sequences of it, as soon as ever other interests
merely French could be adjusted. This great con-
sideration of interest, helped perhaps by some im-
pression which I really believe has been made upon
them by the long-experienced equity and lenity of
his Majesty's Gk)vemment, must have an effect; and
we have so far presumed upon it as to dispose the
troops with a view to the invading enemy only,
without laying equal stress upon any particular
places of supposed disaffection.

We have sent to the Board of Ordnance to in-
quire whether they can supply the whole camp
equipage necessary fo the several encampments
marked in the enclosed paper; but we have not
yet got the return. If they should fall short, in
proportion to the deficiency some of the regiments
may be quartered in the towns without varying the

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disposition. By next Saturday we hope to give the 1759.

last orders upon the whole.

In case the apprehensions should abate (which
we extremely wish, and are inclined to believe will
happen), the expense incurred will not be very ex-
cessive; and the troops will have received some
benefit from an exercise in which many of them,
being newly enlisted men, are totally inexperienced.
And if we have done more than is strictly com-
manded, we trust that your Grace will not be dis-
pleased, as it can only have proceeded from the
most earnest desire that your Grace should meet
with as little disappointment as possible, should
your immediate presence become necessary.

With regard to the northern militia, I am humbly
of opinion that your Grace has judged most per-
fectly right in not ordering them to be called out :
they were arrayed in the years 1756 and 1757 ;
the officers appointed, and the men sworn through-
out the province of Ulster and county of Louth,
and aU the returns are in the office. This is all
that the Lords Justices understood was intended
by your Grace's late letter to them ; and that there
was nothing left to be done except they were to be
drawn out, trained, and arms put into their hands,
of which they are not now provided : and the
thirty thousand arms in the stores of Dublin, we
apprehend, had better be kept there to answer some
more efficient purpose. If the Lords Hertford and
Hillsborough, and other considerable persons of
that province now in London, shall be ready to

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1759* countenance recruiting there for weak battaUons,
I shall give my utmost assistance, as I think it may
be done without prejudice, and wiU be the best
way in which your Grace can avail yoursdf of the
general spirit of good affection in that part of the
country. Unless also, should the alarms increase,
and the troops be wanted in other parts, your Grace
might then call up some of that militia to join the
militia of Dublin in keeping thiB city quiet.

We are thoroughly sensible of the licentiouBness
of the mob ; especially in the late instances con-
cerning the exportation of cattle. But I must
assure your Grace that if just at this moment the
troops had been ordered to act on that occasion, it
would by this time have rendered it impossible for
us to make the disposition we are now endeavouring
to da When these apprehensions shall have sub-
sided, it will be proper and necessary to take up
that consideration.


Whitehall, May 30. 1759-

There is no public news of any sort from
any foreign part of the world, that I can hear.
The domestic is, that yesterday the message was
sent to both Houses to inform them of the actual
preparation of the French to invade us, and to
announce the intention of calling the militia out, if

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necessary. Addresses fipom both Houses were voted 1 759.

in consequence. The one in our House was moved

by Pitt, seconded by Norbonne Berkeley; no-
body said a word but young Vyner, who did not
object to the address, but said the reason why
there was not a militia in every county in England
was owing to the negligence of the lords lieutenant,
and that he thought another address to the King
would be proper to exhort the lords lieutenant to
do their duty, but he did not think himself of
consequence enough to move it. * I thought the
business had ended here; and observed to Mr.
Pitt, as I went down the House to my Richmond
party, that Vyner's observation was by no means
just, and instanced your Grace's conduct in Bed-
fordshire as a proof of it, where you could not get
a nriilitia, though you had succeeded in Devonshire.
I have heard firom many people to-day that Cooke
of Middlesex moved such an address, and that it
passed; and that Pitt, in speaking upon it, and
strongly for it, took perhaps my hint, but however
the opportunity of saying it was not always the fault
of the Lord Lieutenant, for that one great man, a
known fiiend to nulitia, had failed in one county,
though he had succeeded in another under his own

* ^^ Pitt made a pompous speech added an address, that his Mtgesty

on the delivery of the message^ should quicken such lords lieu-

and distinguished between the tenant, as were dilatory with their

various kinds of fear: this he militias: there were several of

said was a magnanimous fear, them ; the measure was far from

The address in return was still being generally popular." — Wal^

more lofty. Vyner and Cooke polei Memoirs, voL ii. p. 356.

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1759. ^care and direction. To-day the same Mr.YyneT
moved for leave to bring in a bill to alter the present
act so far as to enable the several lords lieutenant to
call the gentlemen of the counties together, and try
if they can persuade them to accept commissions,
notwithstanding the clause of postponing all fur-
ther progress in the act for a year ; but nobody
seconding him, no notice was taken of it.

I hear and believe that Ligonier is to be Master
of the Ordnance. I was with the Speaker this
morning about Vernon's vacating his seat in par-
liament by the clerk of the quit-rents, and tsxna a
great deal of knowledge that I collected to-day, I
think it is certain that he does not, but he is to
consult some more musty records, and to give me
his final answer to-morrow in the House. If the
oracle should be against us, I hope I sha'n't do
wrong to move this writ. You need not tell Shy,
but he had six black balls at the old club ; Sir J.
Lowther last night had one. I was surprised yes-
terday at seeing the House of Lords full of peers.
Ravensworth had alarmed them the day before,
when in an empty house, speaking upon a cambric
bUl, he had talked of an increase of allowance for
the Prince of Wales, and they expected it from him
again yesterday, but he disappointed them. I can
recollect nothing else ; but will have the honour of
paying: my respects to you on Saturday, with such
intelligence as I can pick up between this and then,
who am, &c.

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St James's Square, September 4. 1759.

My Lord,

I am honoured with your Grace's private
letter of the 2d instant, inclosing a copy of that to
Lord Ligonier on the subject of the unhappy and
dangerous meeting * at Plymouth, I have the
satisfaction to find myself confirmed in the opinion
of a necessity of example on that occasion by the
concurrence of your Grace's sentiments, and have
in consequence recommended immediate orders
being sent for the trial of the offenders. The
generous offer of your Grace's services (though a
trouble no one could think of giving you), cannot
but be highly respected as a great instance of zeal
for his Majesty and for the public safety.

I am, &c,

William Pitt.

* a sergeant of the first bat- three cheers swore that not a man

talion of the Devonshire militia, of the militia should be confined ;

commanded by the Duke of Bed- the mutiny appears to have been

ford, was confined for selling very serious, and was not quelled

ale contrary to orders. During the until three of the rioters had been

night some of the men released wounded,
him by force, and having given


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London^ September 11. 1759*

My Lord,

I am honoured with your Grace's letter of
the 31st August. The King has been pleased to
order the mutineers at Plymouth to be tried by a
general court-martial. I am apt to think the King
will be of the same sentiment with your Grace in
making one example and showing his clemency to
the rest. The King will not think it necessary for
your Grace to give yourself the trouble of going
down, as the affair is now put into the regular
course of trial.

I have the honour to acquaint your Grace, that
his Majesty yesterday gave Lord George Sackville's
regiment to Lieut. -General Waldegrave as a mark
of his favour for the services he performed at the
battle of Minden. By this a regiment of horse in
Ireland becomes vacant.

I have, &c.



Dublin Castle, November 1. 17 59.

In my letter to you of the 19th of last
month, I acknowledged the receipt of yours of the
10th of the same, and therein explained to you the

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difficulties I apprehended I should find in completing 1 759.

the several regiments of infantry in this kingdom,

to the number they should amount to, on their re-
spective establishments. I find the recruiting in
Ulster has of late gone on very slowly, and I am
informed by Colonel Brown, who is just returned
from that province, that the assistance he has re-
ceived from the noblemen and gentlemen there has
been very inconsiderable, nay, hardly worthy to be
mentioned. I hope and believe that in the hither
parts of that province, particularly in the county of
Down, more industry has been used in raising men
than in the more distant counties.

The difficulty in raising men for the other regi-
ments, which are either in this capital, or cantoned
to the southward of it, will still be greater than for
the regiments in Ulster, as I have been obliged, in
order to strengthen them, to recal the parties which
were recruiting in Great Britain, and I have no
adequate succedaneum left, the southern parts of
this kingdom being very bare of Protestants.

In this situation, with regard to completing the
army, and in relation to the panic, which would
have universally spread amongst the Protestants in
this capital, and consequently in the whole kingdom
upon the arrival of the messenger you sent me,
which was instantly universally known, had the
despatch he brought me been kept secret, I found
myself necessitated to call together the King's prin-
cipal servants here and to communicate to them the
intelligence I had received from you, who were

cc 2

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1759- unanimously of opinion, that no time should be lost

in communicating it to both Houses of Parliament,

immediately upon their coming together after the
short recess which is usual here after their first
meeting, in order to give time for the return of the
several members who shall have been elected upon
vacancies, and of such others, as their influence in
the several parts of the kingdom might have caused
to have been absent on such an occasion. It did
likewise appear to me and to all those I consulted
with, that I could in no other way carry so effectu-
ally his Majesty's orders into execution, and ani-
mate and excite his loyal people of Ireland to exert
their well-known zeal and spirit, in support of his
Majesty's government. In pursuance of this, I
accordingly acquainted by message both Houses on
Monday last with the intelligence I had received,
in which I used such expressions as I judged would
be most conducive to effect the end proposed in
your letter to me, viz. of the defence of all that is
most dear to them, by a timely preparation to resist
and frustrate any attempts of the enemy to disturb
the quiet, and to shake the security of this kingdom.
I have the honour to enclose you copies of the
message I sent to each House of Parliament, as
likewise copies of the addresses which were brought
up to me yesterday in consequence thereof, and I
have the satisfaction to be able to assure you, that
there never at any time appeared a greater spirit for
the defence of their King and country, and a greater
harmony and union amongst each other, than in

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the present Parliament. I trust there cannot be a 1759,
greater proof of this assertion, than in the unmerited '

Online LibraryJohn Russell Russell (Earl) John Russell Bedford (Duke of)Correspondence of John, fourth Duke of Bedford, Volume 2 → online text (page 25 of 33)