Richard Glover.

Memoirs by a celebrated literary and political character, from the resignation of Sir Robert Walpole, in 1742, to the establishment of Lord Chatham's second administration, in 1757; containing strictures on some of the most distinguished men of that time online

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Online LibraryRichard GloverMemoirs by a celebrated literary and political character, from the resignation of Sir Robert Walpole, in 1742, to the establishment of Lord Chatham's second administration, in 1757; containing strictures on some of the most distinguished men of that time → online text (page 5 of 9)
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the latter. On this single circumstance Sir sir Edw!
Edward Hawke was dispatched to the
Mediterranean with orders to supersede
both our xldmirals there, Byng and West,
and send them home, together with Fowke,
Governor of Gibraltar, who was charged
with disobedience of orders in not putting
on board the Fleet a detachment of 700
men from that garrison, pursuant to his in-
structions from the Secretary at War.

It was soon apparent, that no small in-
justice had been shewn to West, whose
character remains unimpeached. Fowke
was tried and broke ; Byng, on his land-
ing, was put under arrest, and confined a
close prisoner in Greenwich Hospital.


( 80 )

1756. Those who did not live at this periody
cannot by any description conceive the
excess of national resentment and rage
against that Commander, which was art-
fully and industriously fomented by a
culpable Administration, that to his
cowardice singly the disgrace of our army
might be charged, together with the loss
of Minorca, which, after a very indiffe-
rent defence, surrendered to Richelieu on
the 29th of June. Unheard and untried,
Byng was immediately devoted to de-
struction by King, Ministry, and People.
The proceedings on his trial, sentence, and
death, form a memorable sera, with cir-
cumstances so interwoven with subsequent
events, that I here defer to enter into the

particular detail.*


* I must not omit, that on the 15th of May, 6,000
Hessians landed at Southampton, and 8 or 9,000 Hano-
verians at Chatham, on the 20th. The fear of an inva-
sion had operated so strongly throughout this disarmed
and unmilitary nation, that foreign forces were introduced
among us, not with much reluctance on one part, Uiough
we afterwards raised our spirit just high enough to per-
ceive that our apprehensions had been groundless, and


. ( 81 )

Sir William Murray, the Attorney-ge- 1756.
neral, was in the House of Commons the Mansfield.
principal advocate of the minister : aware
of his inferiority to Pitt in Parliament,
and foreseeing the growing difficulties of
the cause he was expected to defend, he
had obtained from the Duke of Newcastle
an absolute promise of a Peerage, and the
office of Lord Chief Justice, in the room

either through shame or a natural shyness of foreigners,
began soon to murmur at their presence ; however, they
met with no ill treatment in England ; but through the ad-
vice of the King, and the negligence of Government, no
proper persons were appointed to receive them on their
landing, and no interpreters distributed among them, by
which neglect they were exposed to numerous cheats, par-
ticularly from our horse-jockeys. No accommodations
were provided for them against the winter, not one in the
Administration seemed to have remembered that that sea-
son would come again in its turn, or to have foreseen that
ow publicans were neither able nor willing to house and
maintain them at a ruinous expense. Winter returned,
these poor people remained in their camps, patient and re-
signed, well deserving all the hospitality they experienced
from numbers of our gentry. A sum far short of
££20,000 would have prevented their hardships ; but the
Parliament did not meet till December : a mere act of
humanity would not draw one shilling from the King's
own purse. War was declared on the 18th of May.

Q of

( 82 )

1700. of Sir Dadley llider, who died the 25th
of April.

/The disgrace fid loss of Minorca, and
the gloomy aspect of North America,
confirmed Murray's resolution of quitting
the House of Commons. Indexible to all
the persuasions, supplications, and high
, offers of the Duke of Newcastle, that he
would not desert his post in Parliament,
Murray insisted on the promise, and was
appointed Lord Chief Justice of the
King's-bench, and created a Peer of Eng-
land by the name and title of Lord
Mansfield, on the 25th of October.

Fox, one of the Secretaries of State, re-
signed his employment some time before,
convinced that Murray would not alter
his determination, and unwilling as well as
imable to bear a part any longer in an
Administration sinking under the weight
of national calamity and universal indig-
nation. The Duke of Newcastle, the
most trifling and incapable, yet of all men
the most ambitious, struggling to the last
for the continuance of power, offers the
seals first to Lord Halifax, then to the


( 83 )

Earl of Egmont. Them, he finds as averse irss.
to enter a faUing edifice as Fox was to re-
main there. At length he applies to Pitt
throuo-h the channel of Lord Hardwicke,
who presents a carte blanche for the admis-
sion of him and his friends into the high-
est employments of State under the Duke.
Pitt, with a haughtiness confounding the
meanness of Hardwicke, rejects the pro-
position, and disdains all union of actions
or counsels with Newcastle. Thus driven
to despair, that Minister resigns his em-
ployments likewise, leaving his master
naked and helpless like himself.

Mr. Pitt, immediately after the inter-
view with Hardwicke, doubting the sin-
cerity of his report to the King, paid a
visit to the Countess of Yarmouth ; and
to obviate the eftects of the Chancellor's
disingenuous and fallacious representa-
tion, which might be calculated to amuse^
cajole, and gain time, fairly declared the
truth to that lady, the King's mistress,
amounting: to no less than an absolute re-
fusal to unite with the Duke of Newcas-
tle ; at the same time he professed his

G 2 loyal

( 84 )

1756. loyal attachment to his Majesty's person
and family, which he was zealous to serve
in any situation where his services could
be rendered effectual. It is true, that as
often as Mr. Pitt's name had been men-
tioned to the King, as one necessary to
the Administration at this juncture, he
broke out into the most ungracious vio-
lence of rage, abusing him with every ill
name familiar among the most illiberal of
his subjects ; yet, when the resignation of
Newcastle convinced him of his destitute
condition, when he found his subjects
flaming with resentment, his enemies tri-
umphant abroad, and no one in his court
hardy enough to fill the vacant offices of
State, he at once sacrificed his pride to
his fears, and condescended to make a
personage of the Duke of Devonshire's
rank his emissary to Pitt, and request him
to propose his own terms.

Pitt. The eyes of an afflicted, despairing na-

tion were now lifted up to a private gen-
tleman of a slender fortune, wanting the
parade of birth or title, of no family alii-*
ance, but by his marriage with Lord Tem-

( 85 )

pie's sister, and even confined to a narrow irse.
circle of friends and acquaintance. Under
these circumstances Pitt was considered as
the onl}^ saviour of England. True was it,
that in the lucrative office of paymaster to
the army his conduct had been clear and
disinterested. All past offences were bu- ^
ried in oblivion. The love of power, and I
an ardent thirst for fame, were noble pas- 15 ^
sions, honourable to him, and beneficial to \^ \
his country, when their views were set in
comparison with those which accompany
the base attachment to money, the visible
bane of our times. His good sense and
spirit must surely discover, that neither
power, nor fame, can be permanent with-
out the foundation of virtue. His friends
and relations shared in the public prepos-
session, the public overlooking their im-
perfections, and zealously promulgating
tlieir good qualities. Riot and intempe-
rance, or the dissipation of time in idle
pleasures, composed no part of their cha-
racters. Under Pitt they must be ca-
pable and useful in public employment.
Such were the reasonings and conclu-

G 3 sions

( 86 )

vo6. sions among men of all conditions ; and at
this crisis I was surprised one Saturday
morning, about the end of October, with
a visit from Mr. George Townsbend. He
told me, he was that instant come off his
journey from Norfolk ; invited to London
by a letter from Pitt, he addressed himself
to me for advice at this important conjunc-
ture. I required some further information
than either of us then had, of the princi-
ples and plan on which the new Adminis-
tration was to be established. We set out
from my house in the city to dine with our
common friend Sir Richard Lyttelton,* a
good natured, generous, and benevolent
man, by far the best of his family. We
there fortunately met with the principal
persons of Pitt's small party, Lord Tem-
ple, George Grenville, Elliot, and some
others of less note. Pitt himself was con-
fined to his bed with the gout. It was now
twelve years at least, since my own reser-
ved behaviour and unpliant principles had

* He died Oct. 1, 1770. He was brother to the first
Lord Lyttelton, and uncle to the, present Lord Lyttelton.
— Edit.


( 87 )

kept me remote from this my once intimate 1756.
and most favoured society. They received
me with embraces, time seemed to have
made no alteration in them towards me,
they saluted me with repeating some stan-
zas of my own, lately published without a
name, which they in compliment ascribed
to no one but me, and whose sentiments
they professed to adopt : a circumstance
which renders the inserting of a few of
those lines necessary in this place.

Ne'er shall discipline or merit

Britain's feeble standard wield.
Or an Inniskilling spirit

Train her numbers for the field ;
Till calamity gigantic,

Striding o'er the venal land.
With unbridled rage and frantic,

Hath let loose perdition's band :

Till rude want, and desolation.

Food to pamper'd vice deny,
And despair and indignation

Absent virtue's place supply ;
Then at last may preservation

In the people's arm be foujid.
The torn remnant of a nation,

Then may staunch the public wound.

G 4 After

( 88 )

1756. After dinner I had much private dis-

course with George Grcnville, while
Townshend conversed with the rest. Mr.
Grenville most frankly revealed their whole
plan, consisting of inquiries into past mis-
conduct, the establishment of a militia, the
excluding from power unpopular and un-
deserving men, and sending back the fo-
reign forces, whose presence was now
grown irksome to a kingdom recovered
from its fright. I asked him what will be
done with Iloldernesse ? That nobleman
was Secretary of State, and had drawn a
general odium upon him by a letter he had
sent to the Mayor of Maidstone, requiring
him to deliver up a Hanoverian soldier,
who had been committed to trial for a
theft, and whom the party aggrieved was
bound over to prosecute in due course of
law. I found my question not a little per-
plexed my friend ; indeed I put it, know-
ing the difficulty which this accident cre-
ated between them and the King, who ab-
solutely refused to give up Holdernesse.
Grenville replied, *' what can we do ? Lord
Holdernesse desires to be tried for this sup-

( 89 )

posed breach of the Constitution, He i756.
offers fairly; can we insist on turning him
out, in direct violence to the King's in-
clination ; who charges himself with the
whole blame, and is likewise willing that
the affair should be examined in Parlia-
ment ?" This act, I confess, was rather the
effect of imprudence than any ill design ;
but it raised a clamour which had echoed
throughout the kingdom, promoted by no
one more than Mr. Pitt, who talked in a
very high strain to Lord Hardwicke on the

There were other reasons for displacing
Holdernesse ; he was justly thought une-
qual to his office, and a friend of the old
ministry; whence it seemed indispensably
incumbent on the new to fill his post with
a friend of their own. Thus I remonstra-
ted to Mr. Grenville, and recommending
the necessity of acting up to their plan,
without the least concession, I took my
leave, with Townshend, to lodge that
night at his house. We compared the in-
formations we had severally received, and
studied the list which was to compose the


( 90 )

1756. new Administration. I observed that
Dodington was annihilated to make room
for George Grenville, and that the very
honourable office of Treasurer of the
Household was allotted to Mr. Townshend.
We were both much chaorined at the
thought of continuino; Holdernesse Secre-
tary of State ; we had no other objection
to the distribution of offices upon the pa-
per before us: Townshend would not ac-
quiesce, but wrote that night to Lord
Temple, assuring him, that all his services
should be devoted to support the proposed
plan of public measures; but that, if Hol-
dernesse was to remain Secretary of State,
he must excuse himself coming into any
employment. While he was busied in
writing, I set down my sentiments in the
following manner, which I here transcribe,
in the original phrase, uncorrected and un*

1. Mr. Pitt should insist on a militia, and
the dismission of the foreign troops, — on
the strictest inquiry into past misconduct,
— and make a reserve, absolutely not to in-
volve the nation with the continent, ia


( 91 )

case he should at any time disapprove of i756;
such a measure.

2. He should insist on displacing all the
efficient officers of the last Administration,
and all others of every kind who are ob-
noxious to the public.

3. He must not give up one of these
points to the King. In the present cala-
mitous crisis, it is indispensably necessary,
not only that the King should not be mas-
ter ; but that he should know and feel, he
is not and ought not to be so.

4. This conduct of Mr. Pitt will be uni-
versall}' applauded without doors ; if the
King will not acquiesce, Mr. Pitt will have
done his duty, and will be justifiably dis-
engaged .

5. Calamitous events have set Mr. Pitt
in his present high point of light. Fresh
calamities will soon succeed, and raise him
yet higher, and compel the King to these
terms at last.

6. If it be alleged, that Mr. Pitt should
pay some deference to the Houses of Par-
liament, the creatures of the late Adminis-
tration, it is answered, No. He should


( 92 )

1756. think of no other support, as Minister, in
so dangerous a time, but the rectitude of
his measures and intentions; if Parliament
will not support these, that Parliament
may become a victim of public despair,
and he have this satisfaction, at least, of
being the single man spared by an enraged
and ruined nation.
Town- Mr. Townshend entreated that he might

Pitt" ■ communicate these propositions to Mr.
Pitt, without concealing the author. Their
first interview was on the Monday follow-
ing. Townshend frankly declared, that
his sentiments upon the present conjunc-
ture were contained in a short paper com-
posed by an old acquaintance of Mr. Pitt's;
and on his inquiring who it was, mentioned
my name. He was in bed, and so help-
less with pain, that Townshend read the
paper to him : he gave his assent, excep-
ting to no part, assuring him that that pa-
per contained his sentiments likewise. One
circumstance, minute indeed, but serving
to illustrate his character, must not be
omitted. Mr. Townshend told me, that
when he came to the fifth article, which


( 93 )

ascribes Pitt's exaltation merely to calami- i756.
tous events, without any compliment to
his abihties or merit, he shrunk back ; —
Townshend perceiving his pride was hurt,
interposed a manly comment, that what-
ever esteem the author might have for him
personally, this was not an occasion to
make compliments, but to state facts and
argument ; Pitt soon recollecting himself,
answered, I understand my friend perfect-
ly, I agree with him entirely^.

From these conversations on the Satur-
day, first with a set of men enlivened by
the prospect of power and emoluments, —
afterwards with Townshend, more anima-
ted still with his own zeal and rapid ideas
— I passed, on the Sunday following, to a Doding-
forlorn interview with one sinking under
the dismal certainty of losing his place,
without a remnant of public character, or
the least consciousness of public virtue to
assuage his wounded spirit ; this was with
Mr. Dodington at Hammersmith. I can-
didly imparted to him the great business in
agitation, and gave him warning of his own
fate. Nothing, indeed, had passed which



( 94 )

n5(j. any party might be ashamed of; nor did I
ever find him cajDable of abusing the con*
fidence of a friend. By him I learnt some
curious incidents from the other quarter.
Two main propositions in our pkms, I
found, must have taken place without any
requisition of ours.

The Duke of Newcastle, when he re-
signed his office, insisted at the same time
on a formal scrutiny into his conduct ; and
the return of the foreign forces had been a
point determined by the King himself, who
wanted their services in Hanover, early
the ensuing spring. As to the militia, says
Dodington, such a one as it will be, you
would have had from the old ministry ;
and it is most true, that he wrote to me in
the summer on that subject, and proposed
to consult with Lord Hardwicke upon it ;
to this I replied, that alwa_ys suspecting
unfair dealing from this channel, and that
a snake in the grass would lie concealed
even under a militia of his contriving, I
earnestly entreated Mr. Dodington to have
no concert with the Chancellor oft that
head, and for that reason declined to give


( 95 )

ttiy sentiments. It must likewise be ob- usq.
served, that after the Duke of Newcastle's
unsuccessful application to Pitt, Fox un-
dertook to be an emissary, and meeting
Pitt on one of the landing-places of the
stair-case in Leicester-house, accosted him
with saying, that he came from the King,
who was very desirous of taking Mr. Pitt
into his service. You, Sir.? replies Mr.
Pitt with a look which implied the utmost
aversion and contempt ; are you come from
the King ? Fox persisting to have some
more explicit answer, was told by Mr. Pitt,
with a haughtiness peculiar to himself, that
he had none to give him; Must I under-
stand, rejoins Fox, that you refuse to send
an answer, because it is through me ? Sir,
says Pitt, when his Majesty shall conde-
scend to signify his pleasure to me, by any
one entitled to my confidence and esteem,
I shall not be wanting in expressions of
duty to his Majesty, and devotion to his
service. This was the substance of their
conversation ; the words may difter, and I
sincerely believe are rather weakened by
my relation. Dodington assured mc, that


( 96 )

1756. Lord Granville had used his endeavours to
persuade Fox to take upon him the Ad-
ministration in defiance of Pitt and all the
dangers of the present crisis : Fox most
prudently rejected the proposal ; and
Granville a few days after united himself
with Pitt.

During the treaty with that gentleman,
some new and striking incident, highly to
his advantage, became daily the topic of
every conversation in the capital, and pro-
mulgated by fame to the most distant parts,
had animated the minds of people with
rapturous admiration, ascribing to their
supposed deliverer all the talents, genius,
and virtue, which the credulity of hope
could suggest, or their own distresses re-
quire. A pleasing expectation stole upon
the most rigid, effacing the remembrance
of past failures, till even those few, who,
long harassed with evil times, had quitted
all public concerns, on this occasion, stept
out of their retirement to join the nation
in support of Mr. Pitt. Among the fore*
most was the old Earl of Westmoreland, a

Ld. West-
moreland, veteran patriot, slow, but solid; always


( 97 )

meaning well, and therefore judging right, i^se.
He was the only Whig of note who voted
against the Septennial Act, the only mili-
tary officer who constantly opposed the
army, and spoke in favour of a Place Bill.
From his uninfluenced conduct Sir Robert
Walpole once drew an argument to shew
the little necessity of excluding placemen
from the Houseof Commons ; and had the
assurance the very next sessions to turn
him out of a commission, not given to him,
but purchased by him at the expense of
6,000/. Unchanged in principles and ac-
tions, through the course of a long life,
this nobleman gave a sanction to Pitt's
elevation. Sir Francis Dash wood and
Lord Talbotj eminent, and hitherto con-
sistent men, and Earl Stanhope, of the Earistan-
most pure and philosophical integrity. Con-
curred with the public choice of a Minis-
ter. The country gentlemen deserted their
hounds and their horses, preferring for
once their parliamentary duty ; and under
their new Whig leader, the gallant George
Townshend, displayed their banner for
Pitt. The Prince of Wales and his Court,

H . the

( 98 )

1756. the powerful City of London, the majo-
rity of the Clergy, Law and Army, toge-
ther with the whole populace, cordially
and full of hope, co-operated in this signal

The only discontented were the King
and both Houses of Parliament ; the first
grossly retaining his ancient prejudices,
the two last dreading a change, which
might lessen the price of corruption.* To
these may be added two small bands ; one,
headed by Lord Egmont and Sir George
Lee, formerly the rulers of Leicester-
house, but supplanted by Lord Bute, who
had introduced Mr. Pitt to the favour and
confidence of that quarter; they had re-
signed their employments, and now form-
ed a little faction of their ' own : the other
had no less a leader than the Duke of Cum-
berland, with the Duke of Bedford and

* " The triplet union of Crown, Lords and Commons
against England displays itself with a violence and a can-
dour, which statesmen in other conspiracies seldom have
adopted." — " What has an Englishman now to hope for ?
He must turn from King, Lords, and Commons, and look
up to God and himself if he means to be free." — JuniuSf
Vol. iii. p. 344 and 349. — Edit.


( 99 )

Vox for subalterns. Each of these parties 1755.
disliked the other, the Duke of Newcastle
tnore, but Pitt the most of all.

The experienced Waller was of all men
the most zealous for the new Administra-
tioft. Forgetting his former ill-treatment
from them, he posts up from Beaconsfield,
and appears the next morning in my cham-
ber with all the hopes and vigour of youth.
He was pleased to approve of what I had
said, written, or done ; however, he was
unwilling to put the new system in hazard,
by persisting too far in the removal of Hol-
dernesse, and entreated me to employ my
weight with the Townshends, particularly
the Colonel, to go into place ; as sufficient
numbers seemed wanting to take full pos-
session of the Administration. This I re-
presented to Colonel Townshend, but made
little impression. He said, the part he
had to act, was to be the servant of Pitt,
while Pitt served his country ; the being in
place would not render him more so, and
the being out, was more proper, as well as
more agreeable to him, who was determi-
ned to undertake the whole burthen of the

H 2 inquiries

( 100 )

ii56. inquiries and Militia-Bill : and it happen-
ed that a tolerable shift was made without

At last this great transaction was brought
to a conclusion. Pitt and Holdernesse
were to be Secretaries of State; Earl
Temple, First Lord of the Admiralty ; *
the Duke of Devonshire, First Lord of
the Treasury ; Legge, Chancellor of the
Exchequer ; George Grenville, Treasurer
of the Navy; and the Court of Chancery
was put into commission, consisting of
Lord Chief Justice Willes and the Judges
AVilmot and Sniythe. No alteration was
made in the army. Pitt did not chuse to
make an attack, at that time, on the Duke
of Cumberland. By these means Lord
Barrington remained Secretary at War, a
place much wanted by Charles Town-
shend, who, full young for such high pre-
tensions, but conceiving more highly of
his own desert, accepted, with discontent
and disdain, the office of Treasurer to the
Chambers, worth, as he told me, 2,700/. a

* Appointed November 20th, 1750.— Edit.


( 101 )

The continuance of Holdernesse in his nss.
great office, and the appearance of Nu-
gent's name among; the commissioners of
the Treasury, staggered many without
doors. The crime of the first, in taking
the Hanoverian delinquent from the civil
magistrate, was altogether imputable to
the Privy Council, approving that uncon-
stitutional measure under the influence,
and by the opinion of two such lawyers
as Hardwicke and Murray. A plausible
excuse was made, that Holdernesse should
be tried for the misdemeanor, and it
would be unjust to punish without a trial.

1 2 3 5 7 8 9

Online LibraryRichard GloverMemoirs by a celebrated literary and political character, from the resignation of Sir Robert Walpole, in 1742, to the establishment of Lord Chatham's second administration, in 1757; containing strictures on some of the most distinguished men of that time → online text (page 5 of 9)