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

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

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Joseph Yobke.


(Most seczet.)

Whitehall^ May 11. 1749.


Not having had before this time an oppor-
tunity of answering by a safe conveyance your
private letter of the 25th of February last, I have
been obliged to defer it till now, though I commu-
nicated the contents of it to his Majesty immedi-
ately upon the receipt of it. I have the satisfaction
to be able to inform you that the King is thoroughly
satisfied with your conduct towards the Spanish
ministers, and has directed me to suggest nothing
farther to you with regard to it, than that he would
have you cultivate as far as possible the friendship
and confidence of those Spanish ministers, and
transact your business with them as much as pos-
sible by word of mouth, rather than by formal
oflices in writing. The King has so great an

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1749. opinion of your dexterity and knowledge of that
court, that he is pleased in having his affairs treated
of with those ministers immediately and personally
by yourself.

According to your desire, I made Major General
Wall sensible that you had in every respect done
justice to his court and nation in their reception of
you, and I am very glad to be able to inform you,
that that gentleman's behaviour here has been so
agreeable of late, that he has acquired the esteem
and countenance of his Majesty, and the friendship
of his servants. He really seems to be a well in-
tentioned man, a true Spaniard in his heart, and
consequently, I hope and believe, more inclined to
their intimate connection with England than with
France. He is undoubtedly a sensible man, agree-
able in his conversation, by which he has made
himself many friends. I come now to the last and
most secret part of your letter, I mean with regard
to Farinelli.* The King leaves entirely to your
discretion the giving him such assurances of favour
from his Majesty as you shall judge his services may
deserve, and I believe 2000/. or 3000/. properly laid
out at your court may be of infinite service in the
difficult negociations you have now to transact. His

* Carlo Broschi^ surnamed by foreign ministers^ and even by

FarineUi^ was bom at Naples in crowned heads. It was in lefer-

1705: his vocal talents are well ence to him that Maria Theresa

known: he was in England in said, when asked if she could con-

1 734, where he made a large for- descend to court the aid of Madame

tune ; he was drawn to Madrid in de Pompadour^ " Hare I not flat-

1 737, where his influence became tered Farinelli? "
so great, that he was much courted

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Majesty has so good an opinion of your prudence 1749.

and fidelity, that he has been pleased to order me

to authorise you to make such gratifications to
those people who may be of service at the court
you now are, as you shall judge necessary for the
carrying the points you have in view into execu-
tion, provided the sum doth not exceed 3000/.

I am much obliged to you for the kind offer you
make me of troubling yourself with any commis-
sions I might have in Spain, and I cannot conclude
without returning you my thanks for the seeds, &c.
you sent me from Lisbon.

I am, &c. &c.




Whitehall, May 11. 174.9.


Though I am not able as yet to inform you
of his Majesty's pleasure with regard to the affairs
of the South Sea Company, not having hitherto been
able to talk with the directors of that company,
and to hear from them what it is they finally expect
from the court of Spain, yet I would not, as you
seem to be unacquainted with it, defer any longer
sending you a copy of the declaration signed by the

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^^^ Earl of Sandwich and M. de Sotomayer the ^th
of June last, together with extracts of four letters
of his lordship to Mr. Stone on this affair. You will
see that by this declaration, the Spanish ministers
have some pretensions to a right of calling upon us
to enter into negociation with them for settling an
equivalent for the years of non jouissance of the
assiento and annual ship, antecedent to the com-
pany's having a right to demand the cedulas for
that purpose. If this negociation for an equivalent
should not succeed, the company is then undoubt-
edly entitled to demand the usual cedulas for the
carr}dng on their trade for the four years that are
yet to come. But, as I have above informed you,
it is impossible to send you as yet the sentiments
of the company on this head; I must defer till
another time giving you his Majesty's orders for
your conduct in this negociation.

I am, &c. &c.




Though I have not failed duly to lay before
his Majesty your several dispatches relating to the
points now depending between this court and that
of Madrid, yet the time of the King's servants has

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been so much taken up of late by parliamentary and 1749.

other business, that it was impossible for me, before

last Friday, to get a meeting of those Lords to whom
his Majesty had been graciously pleased to refer
your several dispatches, in order to my laying
before the King their humble opinion thereupon.

His Majesty is now pleased to direct me to give
you the following instructions for your conduct, in
the negociations it may now be proper to begin at
the court where you now reside, in order to ter-
miaate in the most amicable and friendly mamier
those points which stiU seem to be in dispute be-
tween the two nations, and which, if kept much
longer undetermined, might possibly create a cool-
ness and uneasiness between the two courts, which
his Majesty is most desirous of avoiding.

The points upon which it seems necessary for
you to receive fresh instructions may be reduced to
these four, to wit: 1. the demand of the South Sea
Company of the cedulas for the re-establishment of
the assiento ; 2. the increase of the evaluation of
British commodities brought into the ports of Spain ;
3. the omission of the specific renewal of the treaty
of 1715 in the last definitive treaty; and, 4. the
hint thrown out to you by M. Ensenada, that it
was now time to talk of the points depending be-
tween the two nations, particularly freedom of

As to the first of these points, I mean the assiento,
I must necessarily postpone the giving you final
iastructions on that head for some time, as it has

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1749. been impossible as yet to talk so fully on* that sub-

^ ject as is necessary with the directors of the South

Sea Company ; but I hope to be able to send you
in a short time his Majesty's orders on that affair
in a separate letter.

The second point, to wit, the increase of the evalu-
ation of British goods imported into the ports of
Spain, as it is an affair of the utmost consequence
to our commerce, and seems to strike at the very
root of it, as an arbitrary evaluation of British
goods might, upon any ill humours of the Spanish
court, be extended abnost to a prohibition of them;
his Majesty is pleased to direct you to use your
utmost endeavours to obtain an order from his
Christian Majesty for putting the trade of England
on the same footing it was before the war, in con-
formity to the treaty of 1667, and the usage esta-
blished in the time of Charles the Second of Spain
and the treaties of Utrecht. You are so well ac-
quainted with the arguments that may be most
likely to prevail at the court you are now employed
in, that it would be in vain for me to attempt to
suggest them to you ; and I shall mention nothing
but the great lines it is necessary you should follow;
and I think these are, the shewing the Spanish
ministers that in case they really mean what they
profess to do, that is, the uniting the two courts in
the same degree of harmony and friendship as for-
merly subsisted betwixt them, and which is so ne-
cessary for them both, they should follow the same
maxims, with regard to commerce, as their pre-

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decessors did at a time when the two nations were 1749.

most firmly united : this, on his part, the King is

determined to do ; and there are at present under
the consideration of his servants, some advantages
suggested by Major General Wall for the easier in-
troduction of some Spanish commodities into the
British dominions, as well in Europe as in America.

This attention of his Majesty towards a bare
suggestion of the Spanish minister for the benefit
of his nation, seems most justly to entitle the King
to a like return from the court of Madrid, especially
as all that is desired by us is to see commerce put
on the same foot it was before the war, and as we
are justly entitled by treaty to demand it.

I have wrote to you so much already on (3.) the
omission of the specific renewal of the treaty of
1715 in the last definitive treaty, that I shall not
repeat what I have already wrote. But as you
mention, in your despatch to me of the j^ of April,
a conversation between you and M. Ensenada on
that subject, and a hint thrown out by him of their
having omitted things of great consequence to
them in the guaranty of the Infant's possessions
in Italy, and likewise your desire of knowing his
Majesty's sentiments, whether these matters may
l^e balanced one against the other, I must now
acquaint you with the difficulties that occur to the
King in the carrying this thought of M. Ensenada
into execution.

These difficulties must arise from the necessity
there will be, in case any alteration in the guaranty


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1749. should be attempted, to take all the contracting

parties to the last definitive treaty along with us ;

and I must leave you to judge what good fruit
could be expected from such a negotiation, when
France, our great rival in trade, shall see it in the
light of obtaining the renewal of an advantageous
commercial treaty to us, from that power over whom
they have so long had an ascendant, and which they
are at present so jealous of losing. There might
many more argimients be made use of towards
showing the impracticability of that scheme, such
as disgusting the Empress Queen, the King of Sar-
dinia, &c. ; but I shall dwell no more on this sub-
ject, as it was only an idea of M. Ensenada loosely
thrown out in conversation.

I must now give you his Majesty's orders, what
he would have you do in this affair, which he con-
siders to be of so serious a nature with regard to
the commerce of his subjects, that he would have
you leave no stone unturned in order to obtain from
the Spanish court either an avowal of the actual and
virtual existence of this treaty of 1715, though it is
not actually enumerated by name among the treaties
renewed; or, if that cannot be obtained, that you
should immediately set to work with the Spanish
ministers, in order to frame a new treaty of fiiend-
ship and commerce upon the footing and plan of
that of 1667, the usage in Charles the Second of
Spain's time, and the treaties of Utrecht and 1715.
If either of these can be obtained, I think the
last point I am to mention to you, and which was


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Kkewise thrown out by M. Ensenada, — I mean (4.) 1749.

the settling the points depending between the two

nations, and the freedom of navigation, — will meet
with little difficulty, as I know of no points depend-
ing except commercial »ones ; and I think the freedom
of navigation is clearly on our side, by the treaties
now indisputably existing. Besides, it is to be
hoped, that in case the trade with Old Spain could
be put on this footing, the contraband trade with
the Spanish West Indies, the great bone of conten-
tion between the two nations, and the cause of most
of the wars that have happened betwixt them, might
be kept under without the Spaniards taking such
\dolent measures, by means of their guarda castas^
in searching our ships and committing such depre-
dations on our merchants as were the causes of the
last war.

I am, &c. &c.



Bow Street, July 3. 1749.

My Lord,

The protection which I have been honoured
with receiving at the hands of your Grace, and the
goodness which you was pleased to express some
time since towards me, embolden me to mention to
your Grace the place of solicitor to the excise is

D 2

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1749. now vacant by the death of Mr. Sdwyn. I hope

no person is better qualified for it, and I assure

you, my Lord, none shall execute it with more
fidelity. I am at this moment busied in endea-
vouring to suppress a dangerous riot*, or I would
have personally waited on your Grace, to solicit a
favour which will make me and my family com-
pletely happy.

I am, &c.

H. Fielding.


Whitehall, July 13. 1749*


Having in my despatch to you of the 6th
instant acknowledged the receipt of your letters by
Jackson the messenger, and having then infonned
you that I would write in answer thereto fully this
post, I am now to acquaint you that I have laid
your several dispatches before his Majesty, who has
been pleased to approve of your answers to M. Car-
vajal, and M. Ensenada, on the subject of the re-
newal of the treaty of 1715. It is his Majesty's
pleasure you should still insist in the strongest

* Occasioned hy the rohhery the house, turning its inmates

of three sailors in a house of ill- out naked. A guard of soldiers

fame : they returned with a hody was sent from the Tilt Yard, but

of comrades, and nearly destroyed arrived too late.

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manner for the renewal of that treaty by a declar- 1749.

ation being given by the court of Spain, that it doth

still exist in its full force and efficacy; what M.
Carvajal says, of the little occasion we have of a
new declaration of it, when we have the actual
enjoyment of the treaty, not being satisfactory to
his Majesty, who is desirous of putting the com-
merce of his subjects on a firm and stable foundation,
and not subject to the precarious humours of the
Spanish ministry. I must likewise observe to you,
that this idea of M. Carvajal, of the admitting this
nation to the benefit of that treaty by connivance,
without allowing the actual existence of it, as well
as the two expedients proposed by M. Ensenada,
either the one for secret orders to be sent to the
officers of the customs not to demand higher duties
of the English than the old ones, or the other for
an account of the exceedings to be kept at the cus-
tom house in order to their being returned to the
English merchant, — these several expedients, I say,
seem not only frivolous and childish in themselves,
but likewise liable to the same objections the
Spanish ministers make to the actual renewal of
the treaty of 1715, viz. that the French and other
nations would avail themselves of it. How is it to
be supposed that the advantages proposed by these
ministers to be granted to the English nation by
any of these expedients, would not be equally
claimed by the French and aU other nations, who
have a right to be treated as gens arnidssimuf
As you very justly observe that the case men-
D 3

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1749. tioned in my dispatch of the 11th of May last doth
not yet exist, his Majesty doth entirely approve of
your reasoning on that subject, and would have
you, till you receive farther orders, act upon the
same principles you have hitherto proceeded on.

I have this morning seen, and have had a good
deal of conversation with, Messrs. Burrell* and
Bristow f , and I find them upon the whole to be
very well inclined. They seem very desirous of
knowing whether you have received the accounts
they sent you relating to the demands of the South
Sea Company, and likewise whether any conversa-
tion has passed between you and the Spanish mi-
nisters in relation to their affairs. I hope to be
able to send you very shortly some hints that we
are endeavouring to stretch out here in relation to
the liquidating the accounts and settling the dis-
putes between that company and the court of
Madrid ; however, I find those gentlemen could
have wished some proposal had been drawn out of
the Spanish minister and sent ov^ hither, in order
to have formed a judgment what compensation the
Spanish ministry would have given for the four
years of non-jouissance^ and what proposals they
would have made for the payment of the vast debt
undoubtedly due to the company.

I am, &c. &c.


* Peter Burrell, Esq., Sub- f John Bristow, Esq^ Dt-

Governor. puty-Govcrnor.

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Windaor Great Lodge, August 2. 1749.

My Lord Duke of Bedford,

I received yours enclosing one from Lord
Albemarle last night, and as I shall not be in to>vn
this week, I send it you that you may see how
much stress he lays on the goodness of the inteUi-
gence. On my part, I bear it witness, for I never
knew it fail in the least trifle, and have had very
material and early notices from it. How far the
price may agree Vith our present saving schemes
I don't know5 but good intelligence ought not to
be lightly thrown away.
^ I remain.

Your ever affectionate friend,


D 4


P. S 1 yesterday received and laid before his 1749.

Majesty your letter of the "7-j^l, and I send your
letters of revocation and re-credentials to the King
and Queen of Portugal, and copies of your re-
credentials for your own information.

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Whitehall, August S. 1749.

My Lord, /

I have duly laid your Excellency's several
dispatches of the \xul ^ ^ ^^®^ ^ letter from Mr.
Yorke of the same date, relative to the affairs about
which your Lordship had directed him to speak to
M. de Puisieux, before the King, who has been
pleased to direct me to acquaint your Excellency
that he doth entirely approve of the conduct you
held in your audience of their most Christian Ma-
jesties, and in your visits and conversation to the
Ministers. Your not giving way to Cardinal
Tencin's pretension of refusing to give your Ex-
cellency the right hand in his own house, and to
return your visit, has entirely met with his Ma-
jesty's approbation ; and I cannot help taking notice
in this place that the supercherie intended by him
to be put on your Excellency, after he had agreed
to receive your visit in the same manner the other
ministers did, was, by your prudence in sending
the sub-introductor of ambassadors into the Car-
dinal's house before you, prevented, and the point
in dispute between the Cardinal and the Ambassador
settled for the future.

• William Anne Keppel^ se- Garter, Groom of the Stole, Go-
cond Earl of Alhemarle, Amhas- vernor of Virginia, Colonel of a
sador at Paris, Knight of the regiment of Guards.

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Mr. Yorke having transmitted to me an account 1749.

of all that passed between him and the Marquis de

Puisieux and M. Rouille in relation to the points
concerning the treaty of conmierce of 1713 and
the commissaries to be appointed for settling the
limits in America, and the points in dispute about
prizes taken since hostilities should have ceased,
and which, by your Excellency's order, he was
directed to speak to the French ministers about, I
herewith send you his Majesty's instructions for
your conduct in the reply it will be necessary to
make to M. Rouille's objections, and in support of
our right to all the unconditional articles of the
treaty of conunerce of 1713. The King doth, as
well in this as in aU other matters upon which you
may hereafter receive instructions from me, leave
it entirely to your Excellency's discretion to de-
termine what part you shall think proper to take
immediately upon yourself, and what part you
shall choose to give Mr. Yorke directions upon.

The Marquis de Puisieux's acknowledging the
treaty of commerce of 1713 to be virtually renewed
in all its articles which are not conditional, by the
last treaty of Aix-la-ChapeUe, is a clear proof that,
notwithstanding aU that was asserted here by M.
Durand of the nullity of that treaty, his Majesty
was justly founded in the demand he has made in
the behalf of his trading subjects for the entire
abolition of the Droit de Fret upon British shipping ;
but I must own to your Excellency that I find it
very difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile this

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174.9. avowal of the existence of the treaty in question
with the conclusion M. de Puisieux made there-
upon, viz. " that by the prohibitions made on both
sides since the signing it, it was in effect annulled."
Now I think this ^conclusion can in no degree be
allowed, unless M. Puisieux can show that the acts
of ParUament which have been passed since that
time, to prohibit any particular branches of the
French conunerce, are derogating to the treaty,
which I think I could venture to affirm they are
not ; and even supposing they were, no other argu-
ment could possibly be drawn from it, but that
those prohibitions which were in derogation of the
treaty should be taken off by an act of the legis-
lature. I must caution your Excellency in this
place that I am only reasoning in opposition to
M. de Puisieux's conclusion, and by no means to
be understood as if his Majesty had any intention
to reconunend to his Parliament the repeal of the
biU for prohibiting the wear of French cambrics.
This the King doth not look upon as any infiinge-
ment of the treaty, and consequently doth not
consider it as a thing upon which the French
ministers can with any colour of reason insist. The
French are doubtless at liberty to lay what duty
they please, or even an absolute prohibition, on any
British goods or manufactures, except in cases in
which they shall be precluded by the treaty of
commerce of 1713.

Having observed thus far upon what passed
between Mr. Yorke and M. de Puisieux upon this

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question, in which I think that minister's candour 174.9.
and probity, as well as his good intentions, appear
very strongly ; I must now pass over to the very
extraordinary language held by M. Rouille on this

The chief tenor of his conversation, and upon
which he founded all his reasonings, seems to be
that the advantage in trade between Great Britain
and France was in favour of the former, and that
at the time of the making the treaty of 1713 they
did not understand commerce so well as they do
now ; for which reasons he, M. Rouille, asserts that
they are not bound to comply with a treaty which
he himself cannot deny to be still existing. The
two assertions upon which he founds this reasoning
may, I think, be indisputably proved to be fallacious ;
but, whether they are so or not, I think it little
becomes a minister of state to refuse the carrying
into execution a solenm treaty, which he is obliged
to own doth still exist, upon no other foundation
but that the balance of trade is not in their favour,
and that they understand their commercial interest
better now than they did when that treaty was
made. This is much of a piece with his piquing
himself upon his being meiUeur negociant que
politique. This way of talking of M. Rouille is so
inconsistent with the dignity of a minister of state
of a great king, that I will take up no more of your
Excellency's time in evincing the absurdity of it,
and shall only now inform your Excellency that it
is his Majesty's pleasure that the strongest instances

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1749. should be made to the French ministers, that the
treaty of commerce of Utrecht of 1713 (the ex-
istence of which is allowed by themselves) be
immediately and strictly carried into execution in
aU its articles, except the conditional ones, which
could not be carried into execution (the conditions
on which they were made not being complied with
by England) in favour of all his Majesty's subjects
trading to or residing in France, as the King is

Online LibraryJohn Russell Russell (Earl) John Russell Bedford (Duke of)Correspondence of John, fourth Duke of Bedford, Volume 2 → online text (page 4 of 33)