L. G. Wickham (Leopold George Wickham) Legg.

Matthew Prior: a study of his public career and correspondence online

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has now committed one worse ; he has put a piece of blue velvet in your hand
of above a yard, a kind of mantle, and it really gives the picture a little the
air of la rue S l Honore, and as if you were showing your merchandise:

1 The new Admiralty were Bridgewater, Rich, Rooke, Haversham,Mitchel.

2 Mark Lynch.

19 2


I cannot make him alter it and if he does I am afraid it will be for the
worse, all that I can say to it is that it is finely painted, and the learned in
painting will forgive it very easily, because of the relation it has to the
Ordonnance of the picture.

I hear my Lord Manchester will not be here these two months. I am
ever as I ought to be my Lord, your Lordships most obedient and most

humble servant. , , T,


Monday's letters are come in, I have none from your Lordship but I
do not write this postscript to complain, for I hear from John that you
are well and from a better hand that you are a great favourite, which are
two satisfactions sufficient for one post : the changes and chances that are
made and to be made at Court are I think (as Sir James formerly said)
all for the beter. The King is gone for Holland I take for granted, and
I hope next post will tell me you are a regent; in which case pray dispatch
your ambassador to Paris and send for your subject and servant home.
I am yours ever.

No. 14.

Paris the 17 th June logo, 1 .
My Lord

I am mightily obliged to your Lordship for the kindness of your
letter of the 1st June, but more to M r Yard for his Gazette of the same
date, which told me what you had omitted, that you were one of the Lords
Justices : so far things go as they should do : 'tis pity one cannot be secretary
of state in England and one of the deputies of Ireland at the same time,
but since there is a change made in that Commission, I am glad for my
own private interest that my poor Lord Dursley (for I shall call him so till
he dies) is got into that Government; but, my Lord, this is giving the
whole power to Crop 2 , and setting up at Dublin as absolute a monarch as
him to whom I paid my adorations yesterday.

The King in the 3000 p* extraordinary has been very kind to your
successor, but I find his Excellency 3 will saunter away a month or two.
His beau 4 they say setts out this day for France.

M: L: 5 was on Sunday night with me; he says with the greatest as-
surance imaginable that he has conversed the affair with Wall, and that
Wall has not only let him see the Commissions, but has promised to bring
him this week to Messieurs Torcy and Pontchartrain. I have given the
man money, though I look upon myself at the same time to be his dupe :
I have let Monsieur de Torcy know where he is, that he may have an eye
upon him, and according to the account M : L : shall give me of his ad-

1 Cf. Bath Papers, in. 353. 2 Galway.

3 Manchester. * Stanyan. 6 Mark Lynch.


ventures after this conference which he says he is to have, I shall take my
measures. The man has the most undaunted impudence and the truest
Irish understanding that ever I met with. I gave in another memoir for
the liberty of the 7 last Galeriens which you mentioned before you went
away, and added to it some others which I have received the names of
since your going. I have pleaded the cases of these poor wretches as
well as I could, by alleging what their petitions represent, that they were
taken prisoners of war, and forced into the French service, for deserting
which service, in order to take that of their own country they are con-
demned. Mons r de Torcy says he will speak of it again to the King; and
to say the truth of these things, their denying us this request is injust (sic).
and, I think, against the articles of peace, though I am not half so fierce
for having a war made upon this account, as old Kick was upon that of
the fifth mariner.

I see there is nothing done as to the taking up the Pirates; Mons r de
Torcy told me he thought there was, but would be able to give me a more
positive answer by next Tuesday. My ministry done, I was convie (as
Mons r Heemskirk calls it) to the Mareschall de Villeroy: his meat was
very good, and his questions very simple, so that I ate more than I talked.
He drank your health and is extremely on your side since you are Secretary
of State.

My Lady Sandwich is out of danger and recovering : I easily conceive
all that can be said of the Impolitesse (Tun certain peuple, mats il faut
passer par la. They have not what they should have, but they have one
amongst them capable to give it to them provided they follow his example.

Pray don't be angry with me for that stroke of rhetoric, it came in
naturally, and one may be allowed to say a fine thing an hour before one
goes to dine with Boileau, Fontenelle, 1'abbe Regnier, and Mons r D'acier
at the Baron's fine house at Charonne.

I have not only written you a letter but drawn you a picture; this letter
will find you a little reposed from the fatigue of your Journey. Farewell,
my Lord, I am most faithfully and for ever your servant.

[Postscript] Mons r Tomboneau is just come in to me. He will make
me say that he is your servant and celuy de la belle my Lady Jersey.

No. 1 8.

Paris 27 th June 1699.
My Lord

I wrote so long a letter to your Lordship last post that I have
little to trouble you with this morning : the enclosed billet from M r Adams
tells you that one of the persons accused for the murder of Captain Mansell
is taken, I give the interested at S l Malos and Morlaix an account of what


is done in that affair, though it is (I think) the goods which they have
chiefly in mind to. The Court goes to-morrow to Marly, there will be
no audience on Tuesday, and so all next week is one continued holiday.
The weakness of my eyes with which I am sometimes troubled is fallen
upon them, it came I think by too much reading, and must go away again
by my not reading at all for some time ; which is the way for me to become
a very admirable Secretary, but your kindness will make up my defects,
external accidents may render me less capable of serving you, but I shall
have the will to do it as long as I have life.

I this moment received Monday's letters 1 . John tells me that M r Stan-
yan brings me some from my Lord Jersey, which I long to see though
I do not expect M r Stanyan till towards Monday. Lord Manchester
talks of being ready in a fortnight after, and says he thinks I shall not
stay above a month after he comes: I think so truly, not above a week
I hope. M r Montagu has been very kind to me as to my money matters,
and has too much reason to be angry at my coming home. All friends
salute you, from Count Marsan to Tomboneau. Farewell, my Lord,
I am ever yours.

No. 19.

Paris i July N.S. 1699.
My Lord

M r Stanyan arrived here on Sunday and brought me your
Lordship's letter of the 12 th2 which sufficiently instructed me as to the
faithful and to which (as to all your orders) I shall pay my best obedience.
In a fortnight more we may in all probability expect my Lord Manchester,
which is really all I can learn from my successor, this week being Marly
I have no news or business to write to you, and it is Marly Croissy, so
that I shall not see that Lady till Sunday, in the meantime the ornaments
of the Glass. The Glass itself she shall see, being a better Judge than I of
the goodness of it. Rygault is finishing the copy of the monarch's picture
for you, and takes pains in it : I wish your own may be finished soon enough
for me to send over: he has no notion of a picture without all that em-
barras andfatras round it, and will make a plain figure leaning upon a
table when Madam Gerbois sells her meat unlarded, or the Duke de
Gevres wears a plain coat.

Your seans Belain has promised shall be Chef-d'o2uvres.

Count Marsan is [at] Marly, so I have not sounded him about the sack,
but I take it for granted he would be glad of it with all his heart. I shall
enter into the matter with Count as soon and as well as I can.

I am equally concerned about Lord Villiers' education : I have written
to my two friends about it, I doubt Gaugain is fast : he is trying (if he can)

1 See Bath Papers, HI. 364. 2 Ibid. 357.


to turn over his pupil to Razigade, but I doubt of the success of that
endeavour. You will not be against my coming home by way of Holland,
when I assure you that there shall not be above 8 days' difference in my
stay, in this case Gaugain is at the Hague and I should speak with him,
but I do not pretend that this is the reason of my asking you this leave,
the true cause is that I may run (though post) through Flanders, make
my court and be asked questions about France. But you know, my Lord,
that when I ask you anything, it is not to persuade you to consent to what
I think good, but to acquiesce in your determination of what really is so.
What they expect as to my stay here is, that I conduct his Excellency to
his private audience, which audience may be obtained within a week
or ten days after his arrival. He hardly can have his public audience till
after Fontainebleau. I wish he were come with all my heart.

I received the honour of your letter of the 15 th1 last night, when I am
to leave this Court I know not. If I should not have some sort of letter
of revocation or order to return, a letter from Your Lordship to Torcy
mentioning it to be the King's pleasure that I return will be sufficient
I suppose. The reason of my asking you this is that I may have my present
assured to me, and as (I have heard) augmented above what is usual to
a Secretary : in this you are likewise to be troubled with me.

The volumes of the Stamps are ordered. Clement the library-keeper
has taken care that they are very finely bound. I have seen one volume
of them at the binder's : I have made your compliment on that account
to the Archbishop of Rheims.

Madam Bouillon went from hence last night: you will see her in few
days in England: Count d'Evreaux is gone with her, and I think Count
de Ronsy.

Little Dick 2 writes me word that he is going to Turin, the King is very
well, the young favourite flutters with 8 horses and a gilt coach, and
S r Joseph 3 counterfeits the Gout to stay a little longer at the Hague.

Stepney is out of breath and pants that you are a regent, and secretary
of state; What would the world have? and how inordinate are our
judgements and desires?

I am going to dine at Hauteoil with Boileau and the beaux Esprits,
as soon as I have made up my pacquet; 'tis II o'clock, beau Stanyan is
just up, and sends to me for the news-letter : proud enough that ! but
he will know in a day or two more that he has to do with one that is
twice prouder than himself. I am to my... Lord, the most humble and
faithful of his servants, and long for nothing so much as to be near him
to receive the honour of his commands for ever.

1 Bath Papers, in. 362. 2 Shelton. 3 Williamson.


No. 20.

Paris the 4 th July 1699.
My Lord

Our friends Wall and Lynch are safe in the Bastille; I waited
yesterday on Mons r de Pomponne, he desired the King should know they
were taken, and I accordingly writt a word of it to my Lord Albemarle :
advising him that I expected to hear from your Lordship what his Majesty
would have done with them. I answered to Mons r de Pomponne that
I presumed that His Majesty would leave them to the Justice here; they
have not been yet examined, when they are, we shall better know the
knave from the dupe; neither of them are conscious that I was any way
privy to their being taken.

There are no letters come from England this post, so I have no commands
from you, nor advice from my Lord Manchester, and if it had not been
for the two apostles mentioned above, I should have had nothing to
trouble you with this post but the assurance of my being ever with perfect

truth and regard ,, T ,

My Lord


No. 21.

Paris July the 8 th 1699.
My Lord

We want two posts from England, the letters of Monday was
Senight which we ought to have received on Saturday last were (as they
say here at the post-house) by mistake put up for Ostend, and those designed
for Ostend came to Calais, so we expect the error to be rectified by the
Ostend post which is to come in this day at Noon.

I was yesterday at Versailles to introduce my successor, and get my
Lord Manchester's passports. They are so far from according his ex-
cellency les droits d' Entree dans Paris that they have ordered all his goods
to be opened at the Custom-house.

As to L... and W... 1 they are in Statu quo, and are likely to continue
so, which is all that I could learn of the ministers about them.

So that not having any commands from your Lordship I need trouble
you no longer, for though I did not express it by writing I am persuaded
you are satisfied that I am every moment of my life yours.

[Postscript] The post is come in this moment (i o'clock). I have
the honour of yours of the 22 nd2 , 1 did not say that M r Montagu has reason
to be angry with me for coming home 3 in the sense 3 as if I deserved his anger,
but I writ thus : Mr Montagu has too much reason to be angry, and by it

1 Lynch and Wall. 2 Bath Papers, in. 364. 3 ~ 3 Repeated in MS.


I meant he has too much sense, too much judgement, that was what I
intended by the word reason, and by no means that he had too much
cause. I own the word was equivoque and that your critique is extremely
just and from this I infer the great necessity of criticising and I take that
equivoque in my letter to be a judgement upon me for turning and finding
fault with the style of all the world.

I find by M r Stanyan's letters that Lord Manchester's coming is not
yet fixed as to the day: the Horse 1 has lost his young colt, but pray
saddle him and send him away for all that.

Pray buy Summerhill near Tunbridge, I shall be so glad of it : a good
air, a convenient distance from London, Knowles 2 not far off, whores,
fiddles, lotteries, waters ! what can be desired more ?

Madam Mazarine was born; that is enough, she must die 3 . I believe
she was the first that ever died of that sex so philosophically; my Lady
Sandwich is capable of doing the same. She has been ill again, and I think
want of money makes her fever return. Though you see, my Lord, I have
nothing to say to you, I have the pleasure of being in haste for the post
stays, and it is almost as good as sending an express to write as fast as I do
without having time to read it over. I am eternally, my Lord, yours.

[Postscript] My Eyes are well again, and shall write, read or do any-
thing else for your service as long as they have the honour to belong to me.

No. 22.

Paris the l/ll July 1699.
My Lord

The post came in last Wednesday so irregularly that I answered
yours of the 22 nd and had not received that of the 19 th4 . I have taken
an extract of the enclosed to you from the post-masters, and sent it with
a memorial to Mons r Pomponne. I shall see him (you know) on Tuesday,
and consequently be able by next post to send you his answer. I shall
likewise speak about Perault and Bedford. The Comtesse de Maille
plagues my heart out likewise about her going to England. The lady is
downright a bawd and her husband a gamester, upon which qualifications
I do not see that they would starve in any kingdom in Christendom. What
she means by a passport is a licence, and that your Lordship should get
it for her. I stave her off well enough, and leave her cause to my Lord

I send you my sentence pronounced by my Lord Galway 5 , and my
answer to it 6 , which I look upon to be civilly penned, and so much for
that matter. King Louis and King Crop 7 are absolute, Fouquet and I

1 Manchester 2 Knole. 3 She died June 22/July 2.

4 Bath Papers, in. 362. 5 Ibid. 358.

' See below, No. 23. 7 Galway.


must obey, if we can defer the evil day till I see you, possibly we might
find some method of appeasing Crop's wrath: if not, hang Ireland, 'tis
a boggy country, and ruled by a fanatical prince.

I have been much with S* M[aurice], he says he will write to you ; I need
not write plainly to you about that thing, but I believe feu d pen it will do.

I have a thousand Services to you: President de Mesmes, Tamboneau
and Blue-eyes for men of the robe ; Villeroy, Count Marsan, Marquis de
Gevres amongst the beaux and Courtiers. I am glad everybody loves you,
but I never know how perfectly, how much I love you, as when I am from
you, but that knowledge is a burden that I do not desire to bear long.
I have thought upon that subject a little too tender for a philosopher,
adieu, my Lord, God bless you and yours for ever.

[Postscript] The post is not yet come in. The Marshal de Duras and
the Due de la Meleraye are going to law for pretensions the Marshal
has upon the Mazarine family for his daughter's allowance. He has put
a seal, [that is an arrest] upon Palais Mazarin.

Forsain a famous merchant of this city and a nouveau reuni is put into
the Bastile for letting his daughter and a hundred thousand crowns escape
to Geneva.

The King of Spain is ill again : these people had an express from Madrid
three days since, which told them so.

You see by the enclosed verses that they have damned poetry at

S* Germains. Adieu, my Lord, I am eternally


No. 23.
[To Earl of Galway.] de Paris ce II Juillet 1699.

My Lord

J'apprens par la Lettre que vous m'avez fait ecrire du 13/23
Juin 1 que vous destinez 1'Employ dont je suis honore en Irelande a
Monsieur May qui en a rempli si dignement les fonctions pendant mon
absence. Ainsi dans un bon Depute Je voy un Rival dangereux, sa diligence
sera bien recompensee, mais, helas! Mon absence ne sera-t-elle punie
un peu trop severement? je me suis donne 1'honneur Mi Lord, de vous
marquer dans ma derniere Lettre que je ne savois pas tout a fait a quoy
j'etois destine a mon retour en Angleterre, que j'ay cru portant que ce
seroit pour trauailler sous Mi Lord Jersey, mais je scay bien que sa
Majeste a eu la bonte de dispenser de mes Services en Irelande pendant
que je continuerois par Ses Ordres en france. j'y suis encore mi Lord et
dois etre icy pour quelque temps, car je ne voy pas Mi Lord Manchester se
presse extremement a me venir relever ; en attendant Mi Lord, vous prierois-
je de laisser 1'Affaire dans 1'Etat ou elle est, et de faire continuer Monsieur
1 Bath Papers, in. 358.


May comme mon Depute jusqu'a ce que la Volonte de Sa Majeste soit
sceiie la dessus. Si vous m'accordez ce delay, Mi Lord, ce sera une nouvelle
marque de la bonte qui vous avez eiie pour moy, si non, J'obeis a votre
volonte sans oser examiner sur quelles raisons elle est fondee, c'est mon
Malheur, mais non pas ma faute de n'avoir pas etc en Irelande j'ay
toujours fait ce que les Ordres de Sa Majeste m'ont commande de faire,
et je suis sur qu'Elle est trop juste de me voir ruine pour 1'avoir fait,
ainsi Sa Majeste me demet de ma Charge en Irelande, elle m'en pourvoira
de quelque autre, et quand Votre Excellence ne me permettra pas
1'honneur d'etre votre Secretaire, vous me reserverez toujours celuy
d'etre avec un tres profond respect

Mi Lord

Votre tres humble et
tres Obeissant Serviteur.

No. 26.
[To Earl of Jersey.] Paris the 5/15 July 1699.

My Lord

On Monday night I had the honour of your letter of the z6 thl
and last night I had that of the 29 th2 so that now the posts come sooner.
I yesterday discoursed Mons r de Pomponne about the post from England,
having 3 days before sent him an abstract of the letter which your Lord-
ship had upon that subject from the post -masters. Mons r Pomponne
was I perceived a little surprised at the article which obliges him to have
an express ready at Calais, to take the letters the moment they arrive;
Pajot who made the treaty has been out of town for 3 or 4 days. Mons r de
Pomponne will speak with him and give me his answer on friday when he
will be at Paris. He comes hither, the Court going this day to Marly
for 10 days.

According to your Lordship's commands of the 29 th I made a further
application to the ministers in behalf of the English Merchants concerned
in the Dunkirk ships taken by Du Bart, and carried to Copenhague : I gave
in upon this subject a copy of your memorial of the 9 th of February, and
to it I added another drawn up from the abstracts I received with your
Lordship's letters. Mons r de Torcy will lay the thing before the Council,
that upon what we have alleged and the accounts which the French have
had from their Ambassador at Copenhague I may have an answer, which
Mons r de Torcy will (he says) procure me as soon as possible. I am ever

With great respect

My Lord,

Your Lordships most ob 4
and most humble serv 1

1 Bath Papers, in. 364. 2 Ibid. 365.


The Spaniards have I hear, had a skirmish with the Scotch Company at
Darien, if they go on to act offensively the French will certainly underhand
if not openly help the Spaniards. I know not how far we avow the Scotch
Enterprize, but if we intend they shall be defended, care should be taken
of that business in time.

No. 28.

Paris the 8/18 July 1699.

I just now received your Lordship's letter of the 3 rd1 and shall obey
your commands in drawing the money as you order : I have spoken with
Madam Croissi about the glass, which I do not see we are likely to have
soon enough for me to bring it over: she does not like any glass which
has hitherto been made, and the monarch has given order for all the glasses
of a considerable bigness to be set by for him as they are made that he
may have his choice. She does not like the frame, and will have another
ordonnance. She says she waited a year for her own glass, and I think
expects we should have as long patience.

I have shown my successor twice at Versailles, they say he is,
bel bomme, mafoy, mais Man? Prior at-il de I' 'Esprit? always follows. The
man is well enough truly but he has a quiet lazy genius that will not brille
enough at Versailles, nor be feared enough at the Coffee-house amongst
the bullies of S* Germains.

My Lord Manchester names no day for his coming, I presume he
designs to show my Lady Bartholomew-Fair before she leaves London.
Patience; I live amongst my savants, and Boileau says I have more genius
than all the Academy good again. So mankind is, and our judgements
of other people are commonly founded upon the value they have of us.

I must tell you a story: the abbe de Louvois going out t'other day
Doctor of Divinity brought (as the custom is) his thesis to persons of
quality his friends, and to the public ministers, which is a civil way of
desiring them to be at his act : Excellency was not at home when the abbe
came to his house: so the abbe paid Madame a visit, and when he had
sat a little while, and saw that the woman put on a stately look and hardly
spoke to him, he took his leave. Madame (to show her breeding and
generosity) sends a servant after the Abbe, who clapt four new crowns
into his hand for his thesis; the abbe thought the fellow mad, and sent
him back with the money; the ambassadrice thought that the abbe's
refusal proceeded from the money not being enough, and sends back the
fellow with 2 crowns more; he overtook the abbe in his coach and offered
him the 6 crowns: which the abbe refusing still, Madam let him go like
a proud priest as he was: I believe Louvois' son never was so used, nor
any secretary ever wrote so foolish a story. Adieu, my Lord, I am
perfectly your servant.

[Endorsed by Jersey, Answered July y 6 13 th [?] 1699.]
1 Bath Papers, in. 366.


No. 30.

My Lord Paris the 22d J ul ? l6 99'

Having understood that Mons r de Pomponne had referred to
the memorial I gave him concerning the posts to Mons r Pajot, I have been
with Pajot, Mons r Pomponne not being in town, and Marly being such
a time that no man can be found. Pajot says the posts were always upon
the foot they now are; and (though he does not deny the strength of the
article) he pleads a mutual consent on both sides and that their letters lie
as long at Dover, that to have a messenger come away with them after
5 at night would only occasion the letters' arrival here likewise in the
night, and consequently (since they would not be given out till next
morning) no time would be saved, for that they arrive here at noon now,
and are distributed in the afternoon, and all the posts that go forward to
Italy and Spain go out at midnight. So far of this is certain that the letters
come here about noon and that the Italian and Spanish letters do not go
away till midnight, but it is as certain that if the letters did come in the

Online LibraryL. G. Wickham (Leopold George Wickham) LeggMatthew Prior: a study of his public career and correspondence → online text (page 25 of 30)