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

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

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determined on his part religiously to observe aU the
stipulations in the above-mentioned treaty in favour
of his most Christian Majesty's subjects.

I must not omit informing your Excellency that
the King doth entirely approve of Mr. Yorke's
declining to accept the proposal made by M. Rouille,
of reducing the Droit de Fret on British shipping
to 50 sols per ton, being the same that is paid by
other nations. His argument is undoubtedly a
just one, that he could not demand as a favour an
exemption from part of a duty, from which his
Majesty had an undoubted right in behalf of his
subjects to demand a total exemption.

I am, &c. &c.


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September 26. 1749.

[Had received yesterday from Lord Hyndford*
the good news that the Czarina, upon our answers,
had taken the resolution to be quiet, and renudn on
the defensive.]


Whitehall, September 28. 1749.

My dear Lord,

I was extremely glad to hear from Mr. Aid-
worth f that Lady Caroline was so much better. I
hope nothing will prevent your Grace's coming to
town the beginning of next week. This messenger
will bring your Grace very good news from Spain.
Major General Wall came to me this morning, and,
with an air of the greatest satisfaction, told me that
his cousin was returned, and had brought very good
news. That M. Carvajal consented to make a new
treaty, wherein we should have the substance of our
treaty of 1715, by which he plainly showed he

• James, Earl of Hyndford, t Richard Nevil Aldworth,
Ambassador at the Court of Pe- Esq., then Under Secretary of
tersburgh. State in the Duke of Bedford's


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*7*9- meant the advantages there stipulated for our trade ;
but, that Other holders might not pretend to the
same advantages, there should be the appearances
of our buying them, by giving up the affairs of the
South Sea Company. He talked of the thing as
done, and that they would, upon the foot of a pur-
chase by us, deny those advantages to other nations.
He then gave me a packet from Mr. Keene to your
Grace. I sent to Bedford House to know whether
your Grace was in town, and upon the return of
the messenger opened your Grace's packet, which
being great part in cypher I sent to Mr. Aldworth,
who sent it to the King, and it now goes by this
messenger to your Grace. I must congratulate
your Grace upon this good appearance, for though
the yielding the pretensions of the South Sea Com-
pany is a disagreeable and may be a difficult point,
yet the restoring the effect of the treaty of 1715,
and that preferably to all other holders, the French
included, is a point of such national consequence,
and may tend so much to the effectual disunion of
the courts of France and Spain, that I think the
purchase a very advantageous one on our side, and
I dare say will be generally approved.

The preventing a war in the North, and the re-
covering this affair of our trade with Spain, will, I
should hope, make every thing easy this next ses-
sion. My brother is, as your Grace may imagine,
in high spirits and joy upon these two events,
and begins to be much better reconciled to our
accession to the treaty of 1746, with a declaration

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that we should not be understood in any manner 1749.
to be concerned in the secret articles to the effect
of what was proposed by your Grace. I believe,
also, we shall agree about the affair of the Elector
of Cologne, the King being willing to act Lq it as
Elector, and sign the treaty in that capacity, which
will equally do the business, and please our firiends
in Holland. I shall send my .Lord Chancellor word
of these events, and the important considerations
which are depending, and hope they will bring him
to town the middle of next week.

I beg my compliments to the Duchess of Bedford,
and congratulations upon Lady Caroline's recovery.

I am, &c. &c.

HoLLES Newcastle.


[Mentioning a promise of the Duke to speak to
Mr. Wall, to procure, through the Spanish ambas-
sador at Rome, the release of some statues detained
there by the Papal government.]

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Wliitehall^ AprU 24. 1750.


The Board of Admiralty having proposed to
his Majesty some time ago the sending out two
frigates in order to make discoveries in the Ameri-
can seas, which might tend to the improvement of
commerce and navigation in general, the King,
always willing to promote the good and welfare of
his subjects, was graciously pleased to approve of
their intention, and accordingly the sloops designed
for this service are now actually fitted out in the
river Thames, in order to proceed upon the intended
discovery at the proper time of the year for arriving
in those seas during the good weather. But as this
scheme has been represented by Major-General Wall,
his Catholic Majesty's minister at this court, liable
to many misrepresentations at the court where you
now reside, and which might possibly tend towards
creating an uneasiness and suspicion between his
Majesty and the Catholic King, I am commanded
to enclose to you for your information a copy of
the Earl of Sandwich's letter to me, explaining the
design of the Board of Admiralty in the equipment
now intended. Upon the perusal of it you will
find that the full discovery of Pepys's and Falkland
islands, lying to the eastward of Cape Blanco, was
the first object of his undertaking, which, when
completed, the ships were to return to Brazil to

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refit, to proceed afterwards into the South Sea in 175a

order to make further discoveries there.

As this latter part of the scheme cannot be car-
ried into execution without wooding and watering
at the island of Juan Fernandez, and possibly
coining sometimes within sight of the Spanish
coasts of Chili and Peru, it is apprehended here
that an attempt of this nature may alarm the court
of Madrid, and give them suspicions that his Ma-
jesty, though at present in peace with that crown,
is preparing to be ready to attack them upon a
future rupture, in a part where they are undoubt-
edly weak, and of which they must consequently
be more than ordinarily jealous. This having been
represented to the King in the light I have now
stated it to you, he has been pleased to direct the
Admiralty to proceed no further in the projected
discoveries, than what is contained in the first part
of the plan laid down, and to direct the sloops to
return here, after they shall have searched suffi-
ciently the seas about Pepys's and Falkland islands.
As there is no intention of making any settlement
in either of these islands, and as his Majesty's sloops
will neither touch upon or even make any part of
the Spanish coast, the king can in no shape appre-
hend that this design can give any umbrage at
Madrid ; but as it is his firm intention not only to
adhere strictly to aU that is stipulated in the last
definitive treaty, but also to show all possible
means of his desire to cement more and more the
union and harmony so happily established between


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1750. his crown and that of Spain, I am commanded to

give you this full' and circumstantial account of this

affair to enable you to speak to the Spanish minis-
ters about it, in the same manner as I have done to
Major General Wall, who has promised me to write
by this courier to his court in the very same lan-
guage I now write to you ; and I am glad to be able
to inform you that I don't find him averse to our
proceeding on the first part of the plan, provided
we are willing to depart from the second. I have
nothing farther to trouble you with, but to assure
you that his Majesty has been pleased, upon my
laying the several despatches I have received from
you, before him, to express his gracious approbation
of your diligence and conduct.

I am, &c.



Whitehall, June S. 1750.

[Detailing his interview with the Prince of Wales
on the subject of sponsors for his son, Henry
Frederic, afterwards Duke of Cumberland.]

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(Most secret.)

WbitehaU, August 30. 1750.


Having received his Majesty's orders by a
letter from his Grace the Duke of Newcastle to lay

your despatch of loAug!' ^*t i*s postscript of jj
August, as likewise your private and particular
letter of the same date, before those lords who are
usually consulted upon the most secret affairs, that
their lordships, after having taken the several
points now depending into their consideration,
may come to some resolution what to do in the
present case, and enable me to send you instruc-
tions for your conduct in your future carrjdng on
this negotiation with the Spanish ministers in
pursuance of the directions signified to them in
the Duke of Newcastle's letter; I accordingly
obtained a meeting last night, at which were
present the Chancellor, the Lord President, the
Lord Chamberlain, the Earl of Sandwich, Mr. Pel-
ham, and myself, when, having taken your above-
mentioned despatches into consideration, as likewise
the Duke of Newcastle's letter, dated from Hanover


Aug. 30' containing the King's thoughts upon the
several matters now in treaty with the Spanish
ministers, they did unanimously agree in opinion
that I should, for the saving of time, give you
directly from hence the following instructions,

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1750. which it is thought by all the lords must, neces-

sarily, in case the court of Spain is as sincere as

she pretends to be, bring things to a final adjust-
ment between the two nations, as it is conceived
all the facilities that can be reasonably expected
from his Majesty are now offered to the court of
Spain in order to effectuate that union and good
correspondence between the two nations, which the
King doth on his part so cordially desire. And in
this place I cannot help observing to you that I
think that the court of Spain's accepting or refusing
the terms upon which the King is now willing to
conclude will be the surest test whether the same
cordial desire of union and good correspondence
doth exist in that court towards his Majesty and
the British nation which the Spanish ministers
have so often declared to be the case, as well at
London as at Madrid. The lords before whom
these despatches were laid were sensibly concerned
to find that M. de Carvajal should have any thoughts
of confining to any number of years those privileges
which it was hoped the predilection so much talked
of by the Spanish ministers towards the British
nation would haye secured to it for ever in exclu-
sion of other nations. The argument you made
use of to M. de Carvajal was doubtless an unanswer-
able one to this point, — I mean the invalidating only
for a time what were before perpetual privileges,
and would be indeed putting his Majesty's subjects
in a worse situation than they would be should it
be allowed, as the Spaniards pretend (but which

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we can never give into), that the treaty of 1716 1750.

doth not exist. The treaty of 1687, the foot our

commerce was upon in the time of Charles II. of
Spain, which is confirmed to us by the 8th article
of the treaty of Utrecht, all which treaties are &pe*
cifically confirmed in the last, of Aix la Chapelle,
leave the commerce of this country with Spain in
a situation much preferable to that now proposed
to us by M. de Carvajal. I think I need enforce
no other arguments to you to convince the Spanish
ministers that it is necessary for them, in case they
are in earnest in these professions of their cordial
desire to unite the two nations in more solid bands of
friendship than it has been possible to effect for the
last half century (as M. de Carvajal expresses him*
self), to give over all thoughts of limiting our
privileges which we now enjoy upon the foot of
ancient treaties and custom, to any number of
years, unless the Spanish ministers should think
proper to offer you in compensation of the great
sacrifices it is expected his Majesty should make to
them, some farther gratias and indulgences in com-
merce than what has ever before been granted to
this or any other nation. Those it might not be
unreasonable to limit to a certain number of years;
but I can assure you his Majesty will never consent
to the limitation for a term of years of privileges
which his subjects have a right to enjoy in per-
petuity. I have dwelt a little longer upon this,
as there was some doubt amongst the lords, founded
upon some ambiguity of expression, whether the

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1750. privileges proposed by M. Carvajal to be granted
under the limitation of six years were not designed
as additional ones to those we have already a right
to demand by former treaties, or whether the ex-
cludion of other nations from participating in them
was not to be understood to be limited to the term
of six years, which difficulty I must desire you to
clear up to me by the first opportunity. Having
now explained to you all that is needful with regard
to the limitation of the privileges for any certain
number of years, I must now inform you of the
opinion of the lords with regard to a hint thrown
out in your letter of the 8th of June, to Mr. Stone,
in relation to a secret article suggested by M. de
Carvajal to be inserted in the treaty, upon their
accepting the proposal of passing of the debts of
the company sub silentio. As the king was by this
article (as proposed by M. de Carvajal), to engage
himself not to make use of his royal name and
authority in support of the company, whenever
they should apply for it in their pretensions against
the court of Madrid, the lords are humbly of
opinion that an article of this nature would be
highly improper for his majesty to acquiesce in,
as by it his subjects would be deprived of that pro-
tection which is due to them, and which the King
has always exerted to the utmost of his power in
behalf of those of his subjects whose situation with
regard to foreign powers demanded his assistance.
The lords are of opinion that supposing things were
so circumstanced as to require the giving up entirely

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the pret<2nsioiis of the South Sea company, it would 1750.

be more for his Majesty's honour to do it openly

and without reserve, than to give them up in a
manner which will not bear the day-light.

As it appears to the lords that neither of the
above expedients proposed by M. de Carvajal can
be agreed to for the reasons above mentioned, I
have now only to inform you of the two alternatives
which you should propose to the Spanish ministers,
as all that his Majesty can consent to, in order to
bring the negotiation with which you are charged
to a happy conclusion.

You will, therefore, in the first place, propose to
the Spanish ministers, that a treaty be signed upon
the plan of my counter-project, confirming to this
nation all the privileges granted by the treaty of
1667, the usage in the time of King Charles II. of
Spain, and the treaties of Utrecht and 1715, and
that a compensation of 200,000/. be given to the
company for the cession of their right to the four
years of non jouissance of the Assiento contract and
the annual ship, and the total extinction of the debt
due fix)m the King of Spain to the Company, and
from the company to the King of Spain. That the
King, upon the court of Spain complying with these
terms, will consent to the omitting entirely the
10th article in my counter-project, by which the
exclusion of other nations was intended, and thereby
take off from the Spanish ministers the difficulties
they have already said to you they should labour
under, by giving to this nation the preference to

£ 4

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1750. all Others, and likewise take off the arguments they
have so often made use of, viz. that it was un*
becoming the dignity of his Catholic Majesty to
pay this country a sum of money in order to pre^
vail upon them to receive exclusive privileges. I
must tell you in confidence that the reasons the
lords are not very anxious to have the 11th article
inserted is this, that they are fearful the court of
Spain will not be brought to consent to it without
clogging it with a limitation of years, which they
arc clearly of opinion would (unless, as I said
above, additional gratias and indulgences were
granted), put the subjects of this country upon a
worse footing than they are at present, as it is now
asserted we are entitled to privileges exclusive of
other nations, upon the foundation of custom, con-
firmed by ancient treaties. I can likewise in the
strictest confidence further tell you, that ,you are
hereby authorised to reduce (in case you shall find
it absolutely necessary) the compensation to he
given by the court of Spain to the South Sea
company as low as 100,000/. This condescension
of his Majesty will, I am persuaded, bring the
Spanish ministers (in case they do sincerely wish,
as they pretend to do, that this affair may be finally
settled to the mutual advantage of both nations),
to consent to the terms now proposed to them,
which, I can assure you, are as low as they can
possibly be brought to, upon the foot of a com-
pensation, which is certainly the most desirable

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But in case even this should not be accepted of, 1750.

the lords have nothing farther to suggest to you,

but the taking up the third alternative in my
counter-project, viz. that the King should give up
all the claims and demands of any of his subjects,
arising from seizures, reprisals, &c., which it is
certain is all that his Majesty can do consistent
with the laws and constitution of this country,
unless the court of Spain will enable him to give
up the debts of the company by granting a com-
pensation to them. I have only to add that if this
alternative is adopted by the Spanish ministers
upon the failure of the first, that you should by no
means consent to any secret article by which the
King should preclude himself from making use of
his royal name and authority in support of the
private rights of the South Sea company, or any
other of his subjects whatsoever.

I am^ &c.


THE duke of BEDFORD TO MR. K££N£.
(Private and secret)

WhitehaU, October 26. 1750.

Dear Sir,

Though you will be fully apprised by my
public letter of this day's date of the approbation
of his Majesty and of their Excellencies the Lords

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1750. Justices in regard to the treaty signed by you at
Madrid, yet I cannot avoid troubling you with this
private letter, to assure you I sincerely join with
the rest of your friends in congratulating you on
the success of your endeavours, which have been
exerted with so much sagacity and good conduct,
that I can, without flattering you, venture to affirm,
they have contributed greatly, if not entirely, to the
bringing to this state of perfection the very difficult
and important transactions, with the conducting of
which his Majesty thought proper to honour you.
As all the real advantages of the treaty of 1715 are
fully secured to us by the present one, and as the
small variations in which this differs fix)m the
former are calculated for our advantage, particu-
larly the inserting in the 4th article the words
ni sobre otras valuaciones and the word preten-
Clones in the last, give, in the first place, a total
exclusion to any future quibbles about the evalua-
tion of British goods, with which you had so much
trouble at your first setting out with M. de Car-
vajal and M. Ensenada, and in the second place
takes from those ministers and their successors any
pretence for the future to mention any expectations
that may formerly have been given of the crown's
parting with any possessions that the circumstances
of the times will not admit of. I flatter myself all
impartial and disinterested persons will see this
treaty in the same advantageous light to the nation
as the king and his servants have done. The
100,000/. given to the South Sea company as a

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compensation for their giving up the four years of 1750.

the annual ship and the assiento of Negroes they

were entitled to, as well as for the total extrication
of all demands from the crown of Spain on the
company, and from the company on the crown of
Spain, ought to be considered by all impartial
people not as a sum adequate entirely to the sacri-
fice the company must make on the foot of this
treaty, but as a sum (if I may so call it) snatched
out of the fire, and which, without the intervention
of his Majesty, they could never, considering the
impossibility of liquidating the accounts between
the King of Spain and them, have received a
farthing of. Besides all this, the national advan-
tages gained by this treaty, for putting the com-
merce of Great Britain upon a better footing than
it has ever been in since the time of King Charles II.
of Spain, ought surely to be considered preferably
to those of any company, though ever so consider-
able, especially as it is in the power of the public
to make a reasonable satisfaction to the company
for the sacrifice they have been obliged to make for
the general advantage of the nation. This argu-
ment alone seems to me sufficient to -satisfy all
reasonable and well-disposed people ; but when to
this is added the absolute impossibility there was of
obtaining a more ample compensation than that
now given, and that which, in my opinion, seems the
thing of the most real national advantage, I mean
the detaching the court of Madrid from its subjec-
tion to that of Versailles, and, if I may so call it.

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1750. taking it out of wardship ; surely in considering the

treaty in this great light, all the nation must agree

in the Tightness of the measure. Upon the whole
I cannot sufficiently express to you the satisfax^tion
I felt in receiving your despatch with a copy of the
treaty, and I trust you wiU believe that its having
come to this perfection in your hands, and through
your management, was no small addition to the
content it gave me, being, with the greatest truth*,

Yours, &c.


* *' Last night came an ex-
press from Mr. Keene, witli a
treaty signed by him and M.
Carvajal. I had but just time to
read it cursorily over; but I think
it answers ahnost all our great na-
tional points. .... I hope and
believe when you see it and con-
sider the whole^ you will be of
opinion, that my friend Keene has
acted ably, honestly, and bravely."
— Mr. Pelham to Mr. Pitt,
Chatham Papers, vol. i. p. 50.

The Duke of Newcastle^ pro-
bably from jealousy of the Duke
of Bedford^ was by no means
equally pleased. Horace Walpole
writes thus : —

*< But come, I must tell you
big news ; the treaty of commerce
with Spain is arrived signed.

Nobody expected it would ever
come, which is, I believe, the reason
it is reckoned so good. In ge-
neral they say, the South Sea
Company is to have 100,000/.
in lieu of their annual ship, which,
if it is not above the 94,000/.
that was allowed to be due to
them, it appears to me only as if
there were some balf-pence re-
maining when the bill was paid,
and the King of Spain had given
them to the company to drink
his health. What does look well
for the treaty is^ that stocks rise
to high water mark ; and^ what is
to me as clear^ is that the exploded
Dan Bengamin* has repaired
what the Patriot Lord Sandwich
had forgot, or not known to do^ «t

* Abused by the opposition to Sir Robert Walpole under that name, for having made the
Convention in 1729. — Walpole^t LeUen, vol. U. p. 369.

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Whitehall, November 26. 1750.

My Lord,

I have his Majesty's orders to direct your

Online LibraryJohn Russell Russell (Earl) John Russell Bedford (Duke of)Correspondence of John, fourth Duke of Bedford, Volume 2 → online text (page 5 of 33)