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

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

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The political arrangement of the offices of the
state was at this time seriously defective. While
Walpole was sole minister, as it was termed, every
other person was moved by the strings in his hand.
But Mr. Pelham was neither able enough, nor
ambitious enough to supply his place. The Duke
of Newcastle now and then hinted that his brother
was aiming at the authority of Sir Robert, but his
jealousy had scarcely any foundation. The position

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of the Duke of Bedford afforded better grounds for i75i.
difference. The Secretaries of State corresponded,
the one with the Northern, the other with the
Southern courts ; so that one Secretary gave di-
rections for Vienna and Berlin, on a matter upon
which his colleague corresponded with Paris. It was
as if two coachmen were on a box of the mail coach,
one holding the right hand rein, the other the left.
Add to this the Duke of Newcastle went with the
Bongto Hanover, while the Duke of Bedford remained
in London. Personal jealousies made a difficult
position intolerable. The Duke of Newcastle had
wished to make Lord Sandwich Secretary of State ;
but Lord Sandwich opposed Newcastle at Aix-la-
Chapelle, and his offended vanity would not allow
the breach to be repaired. The Duke of Cum-
berland attempted a reconciliation ; but Newcastle,
instead of complying, added incivility to the Duke
to hostility to Sandwich. Newcastle himself says
in a letter to Stone, —

" The conduct of my Lord Sandwich during the nego-
ciation at Aix-la-Chapelle (which was then equally dis-
approved and resented by the Duke) made such a breach
between his Lordship and me, as could not be made up ;
and there can be no doubt but my refusal to be thoroughly
reconciled to Lord Sandwich (for every thing short of
that I was willing to do) was the sole cause of His Royal
Highness's the Duke's displeasure with me."

The displeasure of the Duke carried with it that
of the Princess Amelia. The same feelings which
alienated them from Newcastle carried them to-

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1751. wards the Duke of Bedford. Thus a rivalry was
commenced, which made Newcastle fistful, and
Bedford haughty. The secrets of a negociation
with France were concealed from the Duke of
Bedford ; orders were given to the English Am-
bassador at Paris without consulting the Duke of
Newcastle. In a letter of Mr. Pelham's to his
brother, April, 1750, we find this passage: —

^^ Alt has got the account also from the Prussian
minister, and wrote it to his court ; so that it will be im-
possible to keep it from the Duke of Bedford. Would it
not be right, therefore, for you to mention it to him in a
confidential way, as a thing the ambassador just hinted to
you the day before the King went, and has been confirmed
to you since you have been abroad ? Such a communi-
cation may stop oiur mouths for the present ; and without
it, it will be impossible to keep things quiet here when his
Grace returns to London. You are, however, the best
judge, and will do in it as you think proper." *

On the other hand, Newcastle, in the beginning
of July, was so displeased with the support and
countenance given to the Duke of Bedford " by
part of the Royal Family, with the acquiescence
at least of some of his best friends," that he
determined to retire to the easy post of President
of the Council. He communicated his intention
both to the Chancellor and his brother. To the
Chancellor he likewise communicated his dissatis-
faction with the conduct of Mr. Pelham. Among
other grievances was the King's assuming to him-
self the sole merit of the election of a king of the

* Pelham Adm. vol. ii. p. 334.

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Bomflns. Mr. Pelham and Lord Hardwick, whether i75i.
they believed in Newcastle's threat or not, were
greatly disturbed by his resolution not to remam
joint Secretary with the Duke of Bedford. They
admitted that the Duke of Bedford was a bad man
of business ; that he did nothing but ride post from
Wobum once a week, and fancied he performed
the duties of his office when he did little or no-
thing. " This," said Mr. Pelham, " is aU joUity,
boyishness, and vanity." But the Chancellor and
the Prime Minister seemed to have thought that
so long as the chief conduct of affairs remained in
their hands, &ults such as these were not sufficient
grounds for dismissing and offending a man of the
influence, rank, and weight, which the Duke of
Bedford undoubtedly possessed.

The Chancellor was still more provoked at New-
castle's siUy jealousy of the King.

*' Your Grace owns that he does what you wish and
propose, both as to Engliah and foreign affiurs. That
takes in the whole circle of real business. His reserve or
want of good humour, now and then, may proceed from
different causes. May it not have proceeded now from
his illness ? Pain — apprehension of such a distemper as
the gout returning and giving him frequent vexations?
Your Grace knows the King much better than I do ; but
I should think him of a make likely to be affected by such
incidents, especially when they come upon him at a time
and in a place where he had promised himself nothing but
amusement and pleasure.

** But, you say, he assumes to himself the sole merit of
the measures of electing a king of the Romans, &c. For
God's sake, my dear Lord, let him do so, and flatter him

VOL. n. G

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1751. in it A prince cannot make a minister a greater com-

pliment than by making his measures his own. I have

heard it has been no unuseful art, in some ministers, to
give things that turn to their masters."

The King did not essentially differ from !Mr.
Pelham. He wished for a quiet life ; he saw that
the Duke of Bedford did not thwart Newcastle in
the conduct of affairs ; and he tried to quiet the
irritabte vanity of his minister, by telling him, that
Mr. Pelham, the Chancellor, and he, had really the
whole power, and that the rest of the cabinet were
but cyphers. Still the perpetual droppings of
discontent at length made their impression; Lady
Yarmouth, who had taken the part of the Duke of
Bedford, found that the Bang was disposed to make
a change, and hinted the matter to Newcastle.
He has himself recorded in his letters the progress
of the intrigue. In August, 1750, he writes, that
till within a few days the King had hardly made any
observation on the Duke of Bedford. Nay, more
— he had addressed to Mr. Stone the very natural
remark, " What would you have him write about?
There is nothing to do." But on another occasion,
upon the usual report of Stone, that there were no
letters from the Duke of Bedford, he said, " No:
he does not much trouble his head about business;
never man had an easier office than he has."

To so accomplished an intriguer as Newcastle,
this hint was sufficient. He observes, with a
sagacity which in higher matters and for better
purposes would be commendable, —

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*'I thought that very remarkable, and that things 1751.

began to work. Upon the coming in of the last messenger

without one single line from his Grace (for he very seldom
writes at all by the messengers), talking a little upon his
Grace's subject, the Sang said of himself, * It is not to be
borne ; he never writes ; ' and then repeated, * he has an
easy office indeed,' or * he receives his pay easily,' or to that
purpose. I made no reply, but left it there; but I am
persuaded, by the manner, I could that morning (last
Thursday) have got any orders I pleased ; but I chose to
say nothing, not to seem pressing, and would not take any
step in this affair without your advice; and that is my
resolution, however things turn out here.'*

In a succeeding letter he says, upon the death of
the Duke of Richmond, Master of the Horse,
addressing Lord Hardwicke, —

" I desired Stone to acquaint my brother by the last
messenger, for I was not really then able to do it, that my
Lady Yarmouth had told me she must speak to me, and
took an opportunity to do it last Tuesday, in the great
dining room, at the window. ^ It is,' she said, ^ par
rapport au Due de Bedford ; le Roi veutfaire qnelque chose.
He never writes ; and, indeed, he does nothing,' says she,
* but ride post from Wobum. This I have from the
Grazettes.' I asked if the King thought of doing any thing
immediately. * Ouiy je le crois comme cela*"* * But,' said
she of herself, ^ will not this facheax accident furnish a
means of finding an accommodation,' meaning the office of
Master of the Horse. I said there were two vacancies,
that and the President. ^ No,' said she, ^ cela il ne veut
pas prendre. I will talk to the King,' says she, ^ and we
will talk further of it at the Gohrde.' Since that she has
told me the King did not like the Duke of Bedford to be

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84 hesionahon of

1751. Maater of the Horse; bat she believed he would give it
to him, if he would take it."

Yet it was ten months from this time before the
Duke of Bedford was removed. Mr. Pelham was
surprised, and somewhat disconcerted, at the King's
readiness to alter any part of his ministry. Speak-
ing of the two persons mentioned by Newcastle
to succeed the Duke, viz. Lord Holdemesse, then
in Holland, and Lord Waldegrave, he says: —

** He that is abroad* is very trifling in his manner and
carriage : he does well where he is ; but he has advantages
there that we know not what use he makes of. The other f
is as good-natured, worthy, and sensible a man as any in
the kingdom, but totally surrendered to his pleasures;
and I believe that mankind, and no one more so than
himself, would be surprised to see him in such an office.

'^ I own, if my brother could away with it, I see nothing
so safe as to continue as we are, provided the other vacant
offices are filled up by men of weight in this country, and
such as by themselves or family will give strength and
credit to the administration. That is the way, in my
humble opinion, to mortify the young gentry. Show
them to be useless, and they will grow cheap ; and when
they are so in office, we shall have less to apprehend from
them out. But if nothing can either persuade the King
or my brother to keep things as they are, then I would
suggest to his Grace whether Halifax, amongst the
young ones, has not much the most efficient talents. He
heartily hates the Duke of Bedford and his friend. I do
not take that to be the case of the other two. I see many
objections to them all, and some to this latter that are in
neither of the former ; but then there is something to set

. * Lord Hold^rnesBe. f Lord Waldegraye.

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agBinst these objectionB which we shall have a difficulty to 1751.
find in the others.

'* Notwithstanding what I write now, I b^ to be
understood that I am neither an admirer of the measure
nor of the man* You see I take for granted any proposed
change will end in a breach ; but, if not, where do we
stand then? The Duke of Bedford will, it is true, be out
of an office, in which he makes a bad figure ; but he, his
family, and firiends, will be nearer court than ever. He
will come there with the grace of obliging the Eong ; and,
if intrigues are what we fear, and nothing else do I see
dmt is to be feared, how many more opportunities will
they have for that purpose, and with what advantage will
they pursue such a scheme when they have complied with
the commands of the Xing cheerftilly , and are in situations
where they oamiot offend, unless they desire it, but may,
by obsequious and steady attendance, ingratiate themselves
every day more and more.

** These are, upon reflection, my thoughts* I have some
reason to think the office of Master of the Horse would
not be disagreeable to his Grrace ; he cries it up as the
properest for a man of great quality of any but Lord
Chamberbun, and in some respects preferable to that ; he
talks much of the nearness it is to the King's person, and
endeavours to make people think that is his principal
view. But you will be surprised, after all this, when I
teU you this is his scheme, provided Sandwich is Secretary
of State; but, without that, he will undeigo any thing
rather than divide the administration and distress the
King's affairs. As I came to the knowledge of this but
very lately, I could not acquaint my brother with it till
now, and I must insist that it goes no farther than him and
you ; for, if it does, I shall never be able to gain him any
more intelligence of this kind."

The Duke of Newcastle wished to find how far it
was intended by the King to allow the Duke of Bed-

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1751. ford to become Master of the Horse. In order to

open this subject to the King, he showed him a letter

from Earl Poulett, asking that office for himself.

*' The Sang read my Lord Pouktt's letter without
emotion. I said his Lordflhip was never one I greatly
admired, but that he had formerly been much cried up,
which put him upon all these demands. Now to the
point. — The King said, in very good humour (as he was
the whole time of this material conversation), * I see (says
he) your brother sees that things cannot continue as they
are ; and he will be proposing disagreeable exchanges to
me, in order to prevent a rupture, or to keep things
quiet.' (You see by this what turn the lady has g^ven to
her proposal of the Master of the Horse.) I replied, with
great astonishment, ^ My brother, sir, I am persuaded, has
no thought of proposing any disagreeable exchanges to
your Majesty. All that he has said to me upon the sub-
ject of the vacancies is, that there are now (and will pro-
bably be) three or four vacancies in the cabinet council ;
and he doubts not but your Majesty will fill them up with
such persons as may be most for your service; but my
brother has not so much as named one single person,' — as
was then true, for I had not received your last letters.

The King then grew in very good humour, and entered
into the character of the Duke of Bedford, and the nature
of the office of Master of the Horse. He said the Duke
of Bedford was proud, obstinate, haughty, and some
epithets of that kind; that the office of Master of the
Horse and that of Lord Chamberlain were very particular;
that he could never replace the poor man that is gone;
what should he do if an accident happened to the Duke of
Grafton ? and then many personal things of the dear Duke
of Richmond and the Duke of Grafton.

** He ran out into great encomiums of my Lord Walde-
grave; that he should be more than he was (in which I
entirely agreed) ; that he would have sent Waldegrave to

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Aiz-Ii^Chapelle^ when I prevailed upon him to send 1751.

Sandwich ; that he yielded to it out of regard to my Lord

Wald^rave, thinking it a very difficult and hazardous
comnuBsion; and I thought a great whUe that he meant
Wald^rave either for Secretary of State or Master of the
Horse. He said that the Duke of Bedford was absolutely
governed by my Lord Sandwich, in which I agreed. The
whole oonyersation supposed the Duke of Bedford was to
be out; and (to make the King easy about the Master of
tbe Horse, for your sake and my own) I showed him the
President's place for the Duke of Bedford. That he liked
extremely, and said it had business enough, and not too
much ; it was four thousand pounds a year," &c.

' I see very plainly,' says he, * my Lord, how lamely
things go on ; and do not think that I have not seen it for
some time, (which, by the by, was an excuse for having
kept the Duke of Bedford in so long), but,' says he,
' things in Parliament went well : ' and then, or in talking
of the Duke of Bedford's removal, he said, ' But, my Lord,
you and I cannot do it alone ; we must have the council
with us,' and named no particular person to consult ; but
to be sure the whole meant yourself. He said once very
significantly (I think upon my Lord Sandwich's subject),
'they are caballing; I know, or you may be sure, that
they are caballing at this very time.' Though he spoke
this by way rather of apprehension than resentment, I am
from this, as well as from the King's whole conduct in this
affair, fully convinced myself that the Duke of Cumber-
^d's parties with the Duke of Bedford, and public and
open support and predilection for my Lord Sandwich and
the Duke of Bedford, is one, if not the chief, cause of the
King's present intention of removing the Duke of Bedford
from the office of Secretary of State; and though the
King has never let drop one word like it to me, if you will
give him the least handle to talk upon it, I am persuaded
te will own it to you. This is only my own suspicion

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1751. from my knowledge of the 'King, withoat haTing any
other grounds for it."

Newcastle at this time began to think of bring-
ing back Lord Granville — " My Lord Granville is
no more the terrible man ; Non eadem est €stasj
rum mens I ^^

In October, Mr. Pelham writes that he has heard
the Duke of Bedford has changed his plan ; and
will not leave his office unless he can name his
successor: that Newcastle would thereby be forced
to advise the King to turn him out, which would
cause great disturbance, and possibly break up the
Ministry: that Lord Bolingbroke had spoken in
this manner pretty publicly at Battersea, and
quoted Mr. Pelham for saying there must be a
change in the Secretary's office.

In November the King returned to England,
and the efforts of Newcastle were now incessantly
employed in prevailing upon his brother to urge
the removal of the Duke of Bedford to the King.
But when Mr. Pelham at length mentioned the
subject, he met with a decided reftisal. This new
incident disconcerted Newcastle. He proposed
to retire; to allow Lord Granville to form a new
ministry; and even to conciliate the Duke of
Cumberland by allowing Sandwich to be Se-
cretary of State. His resolution produced a rup-
ture with his brother, and all private intercourse
between them was suspended.

This state of the ministiy greatly encouraged
the opposition. But at a time when every one

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expected some blow to the administration, the i75i.

sudden death of the Prince of Wales broke up the

most formidable body of their adversaries. " My
Lord Drax, my Lord Colebrooke, Earl Doddington,
and prime minister Egmont, are distracted," writes
Mr. Fox to Sir Charles Hanbury.

The weakness of the opposition caused by this
event gave boldness to Mr. Pelham, and he agreed
to prosecute his brother's favourite plau of re-
moving the Duke of Bedford: but as the King
positively refused to dismiss him, the brothers
contrived a more dextrous plan. They asked and
easily obtained the King's consent for the removal
of Lord Sandwich from the Admiralty. The result
was what they expected. On the following day
the Duke of Bedford went to Kensington, and
resigned the seals.

The Duke of Bedford's Journal* contains the
following brief notices of these events.

June IZiJu — This morning, just before I went out, Mr.
Legge brought me a message from the Duke of New-
castle, that he had yesterday received the King's orders to
acquaint the Earl of Sandwich that his Majesty had no
fiirther occasion for his service.

** This morning the Marquis of Hartington kissed the

* The Duke of Bedford ap- Debates^ voL i. published by Mr.

pears to haye kept a very accn- Wright, who has restored it to

rate diary of all his transactions the collection at Wobum abbey,

^th public and private from an The MS. papers there are now

^ttly period ; it is unfortunately being arranged and placed in a

rery imperfect : a portion of it, oonyenient method for reference

^hich had escaped most unao- by the librarian, by direction of

<^nubly from the other MSS., the present Duke of Bedford,
appeared in 8ir Henry Cayendish's

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1751. King's hand on being called to the Hoo^e of Peers, in

order to being appointed Master of the Horse.

** These two circumstances happening the same day, and
being done without any preyious communication to ine, as
likewise the notoriety of the Earl of GranviUe coming into
the Ministry without its being conmiunicated to me, gave
me an opportunity of explaining to his Majesty that the
many grievances of this nature I had sufiisred since my
being in the office of Secretary of State had determindl
me to beg his Majesty's permission to resign the seals,
which the King in the most gracious and kind manner
was pleased to grant, but at the same time offered me the
post of President of the Council, which I declined.

'^ June 14/A. — I resigned the seals into his Majesty's

Lord Hardwicke, in a letter to the Duke of
Newcastle, affirms that in the Duke of Bedford's
interview with the King he accused Newcastle of
treachery, and of a desire to engross all power to
his party and his creatures.

Hence Walpole remarks on the meanness of
Legge, who had been one of the most obsequious
followers of the Duke of Bedford.

** June 13th, — The Duke of Newcastle wrote to Lord
Sandwich that the King had no farther occasion for his
service, and in the evening sent Mr. Legge to acquaint the
Duke of Bedford with the dismission of his friend. L^ge
was a younger son of Lord Dartmouth, who had lately
turned him into the world to make his fortune, which he
pursued with an uncommon assiduity of duty. Avarice
or flattery, application or ingratitude, nothing came amiss
that might raise him on the ruins of either fiiends or
enemies ; indeed neither were so to him but by the pro-
portion of their power. He liad been introduced to Sir
Robert Walpole by his second son, and soon grew an

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immeasurable favourite; till, endeavouring to steal his 1751.

patron's daughter*, at which, in truth. Sir Robert's par-

tiality for him seemed to connive, he was discarded en-
tirely, yet taken care f of in the very last hours of that
minister's power; and, though removed from the Secretary-
ship of the Treasury, being particularly obnoxious to Lord
Bath, he obtained a profitable employment % by the grossest
supplications § to the Duke of Bedford, and was soon after
admitted into the Admiralty by as gross court paid to
Lord Winchelsea, whom he used ill the moment he found
it necessary to worship that less intense, but more surely-
rising sun^ Mr. Pelham. He had a peculiarity of wit and
very shrewd parts, but was a dry, and generally an in-
different speaker. On a chosen embassy to the Sang of
Prussia, Legge was duped and ill treated by him. Having
shuffled for some time between Mr. Pelham, Pitt, the
Buke of Bedford, and Lord Sandwich, and wriggled
through the interest of all into the Treasury, and then to
the treasurership of the navy, he submitted to break his
conneotions with the two latter by being the indecent
messenger of Lord Sandwich's disgrace. The Duke met
him on the steps of Bedford House (as he was going to
Lord Gower to know what part he would take on this
crisis), and would scarce give him audience; but even
that short interview could not save Legge from the con-
fusion he felt at his own policy ; and, with the awkward-
ness that conscience will give even to an ambassador, he
said, he had happened, as he was just going out of town,
to visit the Duke of Newcastle, where he had not been in

* Lady Maria Walpole, after- X Surveyor of the King's woods

wards married to Charles Church- and forests.

OL § They are contained in two

t He and Mr. Benjamin Keene letters still preserved hy the Duke

^the reversion of a place in the of Bedford. [These letters are

revenue between them, after the published in the first vol. of this

death of the then Earl of Scar- Correspondence.]

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1751. two months before, and had been requested by him to be
the bearer of this notification."

1 have given these details, not only because they
show the characters of the two men between whom
the contest lay, but also because they serve to
illustrate the politics of the age. In the dispute
between Newcastle and Bedford, the chief advan-
tage of the former lay in the superior sense and
discretion of his adherents. Lord Hardwicke and
Mr. Pelham were far better advisers than Lord

Online LibraryJohn Russell Russell (Earl) John Russell Bedford (Duke of)Correspondence of John, fourth Duke of Bedford, Volume 2 → online text (page 7 of 33)