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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 7 of 9)
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Duke departed for Harwich the 9th,) this

new



( 1^4 )

i^'^^ new and once popular ministry was no
more.

The instant Mr. Pitt was removed, he
became more popular than before. The
freedom of London was presented to him
and Mr. Legge, a compliment seconded
by most of the great corporations in
England ; the crime of screening Byng
was at once buried in oblivion ; invective
was changed into applause ; even the ex-
ploded Duke of Newcastle was invited by
the public to unite with Pitt, and compel
the King, perplexed and confounded at
this reflux of Pitt's popularity, to replace
him in the full possession of power.

Truly deserving of censure from a well-
advised and impartial nation, was the cold
countenance Pitt had given to the Militia,
and his inactivity and negligence in pro-
secuting the inquiry. Should it be asked,
why the spirit and activity of Mr. Town-
shend delayed to open that interesting
transaction till the 25th of April, full six
weeks after the determination of Byng's
destiny, 1 can from my own knowledge
reply, that Mr. Townshend's original re-
solution



( 125 )

Solution was, to leave the time, method, irsr,
and direction, to Mr. Pitt; and purposing
himself to act a subordinate part, was
content to see the glory engrossed by one
man, on whom the success confessedly
depended, provided justice could be ob-
tained for his country. Mr. Townshend's
anxiety at this suspense, and the universal
propensity, in this important crisis, to a
coalition with the Duke of Newcastle,
induced me to wait upon Mr. Pitt himself,
without reserve or partiality, to deliver
my sentiments on the public situation and
his own, and expecting a return of candour,
in consequence of his many intimations
conveyed through Lord Temple and others,
of an earnest desire to see me, I made him
two visits within a few days after his resig-
nation. Our conversation and demeanour
were suitable to the intimacy and friend-
ship which had commenced with ouryouth,
and subsisted for no inconsiderable part
of our lives.

The neglect and indifference on my side
for the last twelve years, seemed to have
made no impression upon him, and the

remem-



( 126 )

i76r. remembrance of his frailties, which had
created my former disgust, was lost in the
expectation, which all men conceived from
his altered principles and conduct. The
substance of our conferences may be re-
duced to the following heads :

He frankly disclosed, under my promise
of secrecy, the most material occurrences
between him and the King, who most ap-
parently had never reposed the least con-
fidence in him ; yet awed by his spirit and
popular name, had treated him with a ci-
vil, though inflexible reserve. He asked
me in what manner I would advise him to
word his answer to the City of London^
upon the compliment they intended to
make him of his freedom.* I advised him
to be very general in his expressions, and
to retain in his private thoughts as little re-
gard to their presentapprobation,as he had
done^to their censure in the case of Byng ;
to form, as an honest man, the best opi-
nions he was able, and ever keep in re-
membrance, that

* See Mr. Pitt's answer at the end,

Justum



( 127 )

J ustum ettenacem propositi virum 1757.

Non civium ardor prava jubentium,
Non vultus instantis tyranni,
Mente quatit solida,

That his greatest trial was immediate ; all
orders and conditions of men were now
united in one cry for a coalition between
him and the Duke of Newcastle, whose
instability, treachery, timidity, and ser-
vile devotion to the King, were indispu-
tably known; and to whom, interposed
Mr. Pitt, all our public 1 misfortunes are
more imputable than to any other man.
But what must be done ? we are now in
the most desperate and flagitious hands,
capable of any violence. The Duke of
Cumberland would not hesitate to silence
the complaints of an aggrieved people by
a regiment of the Guards, a measure which
Fox would as little scruple to advise ; I
grant them, said I, to be the heads of a
Catilinarian band ; but will your union
with Newcastle prevent the mischief? Do
not imagine, replied he, that I can be in-
duced to unite with him, unless sure of
power ; I mean power over public mea-
sures :



( 1528 )

175T. sures: the disposition of offices, except
the few efficient ones of Administration,
the creating Deans, Bishops, and every
placeman besides, is quite out of my plan,
and which I willingly would relinquish to
the Duke of Newcastle. Give me leave,
said I, to suppose you united in Adminis-
tration with him ; then let us consider the
part which he (admitting him to be sin-
cere) will have to act. You have no com-
mand in either House of Parliament, and
have experienced the personal dislike of
the King. You must depend altogether
on the Duke of Newcastle for a majority
ia Parliament, and on his fighting your
battles in th^ closet; and, to speak plain-
ly, using his efibrts to alienate a father from
a, favoured son, who is your declared
enemy; ' -.'(''

'- Supposing Newcastle sincere, is his com-
position stern enough for such encoun-
ters } But, kiKiwing him false, selfish, and
insatiable of power, v.^ill he not rather
hiake his own wayj and re-establish him-
self in the King's favour by every servile
gratification of his will ? Then shall I be
'i»'' '■ grieved



{ 129 )

grieved to see you, the first man in Great i^^r.
Britain, at this juncture, become a sub-
altern to the lowest. Sir, you are governed
by a noble principle, the love of fame ; do
not hazard that glorious acquisition on such
precarious ground. As you are the only
object in the nation's eye, every wrong
measure, every miscarriage will be impu-
ted to you. You may say you can but
quit your situation again : true; but are
you sure of returning to the same situation
of character and importance which you
now possess } Necessity brought you in,
the last time ; you soon found there was no '
raisino; an edifice without materials : the
materials cannot exist, till calamity has
utterly changed the temper, manners, and
principles of the whole nation. Calamity,
perhaps, is not very distant from us : when
you can command your materials, and ne-
cessity puts the power in your hands, then
resume your task. To conclude, I mean,
that with such a coadjutor as Newcastle,
and with such a House of Commons, it is
impossible for an honest man to serve this
country : and I am satisfied, that your

K niag-



( 130 )

1757. magnanimity, experience, and discern-
ment, must see this coalition in a worse
light than 1 am capable of representing it.
After all, Sir, if you must yield to the
pressure of all your friends, and the whole
public, soliciting and clamouring for this
measure, remember, I compare you to
Curtius, whose courage I should have ad-^
mired when he leapt into the gulph ;
though, as his friend, I never would have
counselled him to take that leap. I then
took occasion to pass some compliments
upon him, which, together with my prece-
ding discourse, drew this answer:

I am quite happy in the good opinion
you entertain of your old acquaintance.
Let me assure you that 1 have drawn a line,
which I will not pass : so far, perhaps, I
may be driven, but beyond it — never. I
then wound up the conversation with re-
minding him of the inquiry and the mili*
tia : the first, then pending in the House '
of Commons, I took for granted he would
prosecute with vigour ; and just hinted,
that at all events it was highly material for
him not to omit so fair an opportunity of

evincing



( 131 )

evincing to mankind the utter incapacity i75r.
of his predecessors in Administration. He
seemed struck with the thought, and gave
me assurances that he would take his part
in that inquiry ; but at the same time, I
perceived, he did not mean to go any great
leni^ths ; that is, would content himself
with shewing the incapacity, &c. without
insisting too earnestly on either punish-
ment or censure.

The militia was at this time in the House
of Lords. The training day, a most es-
sential part, Mr. Pitt had consented to
alter from Sunday to Monday; but the
number still stood for 67,000 men, which
it was apprehended tlie Lords would re-
duce to 30,000. U pon this subject I spoke
as follows : If a coalition must take place,
the Duke of Newcastle has it now in his
power to give a proof of his sincerity. Let
him pass the Militia Bill in its present
shape, 1 would then consent to treat with
him. Leaving this to his consideration, I
rose to depart. He followed and took me
by the hand, and in the most solemn phrase
repeated his former assurances. To this

K 2 decla-



( 132 )

1757. declaration of prescribing certain limits to
his conduct, I gave two interpretations ;
one in a loose and general sense, that he
would not embark in any foreign measures
to the prejudice of this coinitry ; the other,
in a particular sense, that in all events he
would ever withhold his consent from the
sending of British troops to Germany.

This interview was on the 9th of April,
1757, the 25th was the day fixed for open-
ing the inquiry. During the interval Mr.
Pitt was indisposed, and desired Mr.
Townshend to procure a previous meeting
at his house of the principal members, to
settle the several resolutions that should be
moved in Parliament.

It was not till the 23d, on the Saturday
night preceding the Monday morning, the
day appointed for this long expected and
important affair, that Mr. Townshend could
obtain the meeting. As an instance of
their tardy and lukewarm proceeding, he
shewed me a letter from a principal gen-
tleman of the number, where he excused
himself from attending, on account of a
prior and indispensable engagement. Mr.

Townshend,



( 133 )

Townshend, highly provoked, sent him so i75r.
spirited an answer, as obliged him to break
his engagement, and appear. I was the
only man out of Parliament who was ad-
mitted, and made a malicious discovery,
that this great man's engagement amount-
ed to no more than a promise of waiting on
some ladies to the Play. Sixteen members
of Parliament were present. Mr. George
Grenville seemed to have taken some pains.
The evidence had been already digested
and methodized by Mr. Townshend. The
design of the meeting was to draw up the
necessary resolutions, which for want of
time, and through the apparent indifterence
of most present, were very imperfect, I
prevailed on them to reassemblq on the
Sunday evening, when, at two in the
morning, the most material resolution of
any, after a tedious and indecisive debate,
was left for me to prepare ; which, through
mere lassitude and waste of spirits, I was
incapable of performing: consequently no
resolution on that head was provided at
all. It related to an invasion, which
might have been proved, from undoubted



o



K ^ intelligence



( 134 )

1757. intelligence then before the House, to have
been founded on the most trilling and ab-
surd reports ; and, that the most rational
and best-grounded part of the Govern-
ment's advices asserted the contrary.

The ministerial side took advantage of
our neglect, as appears by the first resolu-
tion of the committee on the 3d of May,
on which day the whole was brought to a
conclusion.

First, *' It appears to this committee,
that his Majest}^ from the 27th of August,
17 o5, to the 20th of April, 1756? received
such repeated and concurrent intelligence
as gave just reason to believe, that the
French King intended to invade his Ma-
jesty's dominions of Great Britain or Ire-
land."

Another resolution was as follows:—
" That on the 1st of April, 1756', there
were twenty-seven of his Majesty's ships
of the line cruizing on the following servi-
ces, that is to say, fourteen ships of the
line cruizing between Brest and Rochefort,
under the command of Sir Edward Hawke;
five more of the line, ordered under the

command



( 135 )

command of Admiral Holbourne, to join nsr.
Sir Edward Hawke ; one between Cape
Clear and Scilly, one between Scilly and
Ushant, two off tiie Isle of Bass, one off
Cape Barlleur, two in the Downs under
the command of Admiral Smith, and one
at Cork ; and twenty-eight ships of the
line in commission at home, that is to say,
seventeen fitted for sea; ten fitting, and
one in harbour service ; all which were ex-
clusive of the squadron under the com-
mand of Admiral Byng, then under orders
to sail for the Mediterranean ; and that
the complement of the said twenty-eight
ships of the line at home, amounted to
14,640 men ; and that there were borne on
the said ships-books 9891 nien, and 7^^49
mustered/'

The next resolution shews, that at the
same time there were forty-five frigates,
sloops, and armed vessels, nearly in the
same stations as above; and seventeen
more fitted or fitting at home, which did
not want more than two-fifths of their com-
plement. It must be observed, that ad-
mitting the design of an invasion, a few

K 4 more



( 136 )

175T. more ships might have been spared for the
Mediterranean.

The number and force of the French
fleet, their design upon Minorca, and the
timely intelligence thereof, were facts as-
certained by other resolutions ; and likcr
wise, that the garrison in Fort St. Philip
amounted to no more than 2860, officers
included ; that thirty-five military officers
were absent from their duty, including the
Governor and Commander in Chief of the
Island, the Governor of Fort St. Philip,
and the Colonels of the four regiments
there : the committee, notwithstanding all
which is related above, concluded with
the following resolution ;

" That the squadron of his Majesty's
ships in the Mediterranean, in the month
of December, 1755, consisted of one ship
of sixty guns, two of fifty guns, four fri-
gates, and one sloop ; and that the garri-
son of Fort St. Philip, in the said month
of December, according to the last re-
turns, made the 31st July, 1755, consist-
ed of 2860, (officers included ;) and that
it doth appear, that no greater number of

ships



( isr )

ships of war could be sent to the Med iter- *'^7.
ranean, than were sent on the 6th of April,
1756, nor any greater reinforcement than
the regiment which was sent, and the de-
tachment equal to a battalion, which was
ordered (vi^. from Gibraltar) to the re-
lief of Fort St. Philip, consistently with the
state of the navy, j^nd the various services
essential to the safety of his Majesty's do-
minions, and the interest of his subjects/'

During these several long debates on
this subject, Mr. Pitt spoke with vehe-
mence, and directed his invective against
Lord Anson, the late First Commissione
of the Admiralty. Colonel Towhshend ac-
quitted himself with great temper, cool-
ness, and ability i and my worthy friend,
Mr. Samuel Martin, late Secretary to the
Treasury, was distinguished above all for
the best digested speech delivered on the
occasion; and with a degree of integrity
which no one could equal but Townshend
himself.

In two or three days after the 3d of
May, the period of the' inquiry, I had the
honour of a second interview with Mr.

Pitt,



( 138 )

itoT. Pitt. Our converstition principally turned
on the same topics as before, a coalition
with the Duke of Newcastle. I repeated
and enforced all my arguments against it
He heard me with attention, shewed much
regard, and some acquiescence, seemingly
so at least, possibly, at the instant, real
and sincere. At length he assured me,
that no consideration should induce him
to close with the measure, unless the Duke
of Newcastle would pledge himself, and
• his whole party, in the hands of the Prince
of Wales. Hence it Avas evident, that
Leicester-house was an additional pressure
on Mr. Pitt.

Between this time and the 19th of May,
a negociation was carried on, frequently
broke off, frequently renewed. I had ob-
served, in my last visit to Mr. Pitt, that
he spoke of Mr. Legge with some indiffe-
rence, and took notice with a tone and as-
pect of censure, that he had been silent
during all the debates on the inquiry :
Legge, to my knowledge on that subject,
had been very cool and inattentive; and
one morning in particular, at Lord Tem-
ple's



( 139 )

pie's house, he expressed a wish that the i^s?.
inquiry might not be prosecuted, alleging,
that while it remained unexplored, the
odium would be more permanent on the
authors of our disgraces at Minorca, than,
if they should be exculpated in the resolu-
tions of the committee, of which he made
no doubt, and perhaps stand approved,
either through the want of evidence, . or by
parliamentary partiality. I will not affirm,
whether this reasonino- was or was not the
result of an opinion unbiassed and disinte -
rested ; he was certainly justified in some
measure by the event.

1 remember I answered him, that hav-
ing perused the evidence with some care,
I could venture to assert, that negligence,
ignorance, and incapacity, could be made
apparent ; that an inquiry had been so-
lemnly promised to the public, was ex-
pected, and could not be dispensed with ;
to this he readily acquiesced, and declared
his satisfaction on my report of the evi-
dence. This passed about ten days before
the meetings at Townshend's house, where
it was notorious, that Legge took no part,

either



( 140 )

ifbr. either through indolence, despair of suc-
cess, or the apprehension of rendering a
coahtion more difficult. The last proba-
bly was no small motive to this behaviour;
a suspicion appearing but too well ground-
ed from the following anecdote, known to
few besides myself, and fully explanatory
of Mr. Pitt's indifference and haughtiness
towards Legge. It is certain that the lat-
ter, without the other's privity, went singly
to the Duke of Newcastle, while the nego-
ciation for a coalition was pending with
Pitt, who, for a considerable time, had
treated the Duke with the utmost stiffness
and reserve; a conduct extremely neces-
sary, and which was not a little discon-
certed by Legge's forwardness to negociate
by himself. I was first apprised of this
incident by Lord Temple; but as Mr.
Legge afterwards very candidly related the
whole to me himself, I shall defer giving
any conclusive judgment, till the order of
tiftie shall introduce his own narration in
its due place.

The public were perpetually arhused with
reports about this coalition ; one day it
: ' ' I " was



( l-il )

Was said to be concluded, another day to 1757.
be more distant than ever. In the mean
time no Administration was formed. Fox,
indeed^ had the dexterity to procm'e for
the lives of himself and his two sons, the
reversion of Dodino;ton's office of the Pells
in Ireland, a sinecure worth upwards of
2000/. a year; but did not dare, perhaps
cunningly did not choose, to accept imme-
diately of any high office in 'England.
Not one of the vacancies was filled up,
except in the Admiralty; a department
whose operations in time of war cannot be
suspended.

Lord Temple, who had received to his i^d.Xem-

, . 1 , , - - ' - „ pie.

care a sickly and shattered navy from
Lord Anson, left it in a promising condi-
tion when he was dismissed from his post;*
a situation he had accepted with reluc-
tance; and afterthe exertion of unimpeach-
ed fidelity, diligence, and honour, most
cheerfully relinquished it to a temporary
successor, the Earl of Winchelsea.

No successors were appointed to Mr.

* Lord Temple was appointed.to the. Admiralty April
6, 1757, andresignedin the following June.' — Edit.

" ' " ' ' Pitt,



( 142 )

1757. Pitt, Mr. Leggc, and Mr. Greiiville ; and
the Duke of Devonshire, the head of the
Treasury, had declared his intention to
resign, as soon as ail the monej should be
provided for his Majesty's service. The
19th of May was to finish that work, as a
demand of a vote of credit for a million
was then laid before the House. Mr. Pitt
on this motion declared, that, while he
was in his Majesty's service, he was given
to understand, that no farther sum would
be required for the service of the Conti-
nent, than the 200,000/. granted for that
purpose in February last, and proposed an
amendment to the present motion. The
amendment limited the application of the
vote of credit to British services only, ex-
cepting a small portion, which he agreed
might be given to the Hessian troops un-
der the head of forage, in consideration of
the scarcity and unexpected rise in the
price of that article. He laid down an
absolute position, that Great Britain should
be no otherwise concerned upon the Con-
tinent, than in keeping the war alive there
in a defensive manner ; that her oftensive
-i* efforts



( 143 )

efforts should be confined to the sea and 1757.
North America : this was opposed by Lord /

Egniont and Sir George Lee, both decla-
ring without reserve, that this nation ought
to engage on the Continent in operations
of the utmost extent; and that all others
had been proved by recent experience to
be uncertain and ineffectual. However,
th6re was no division on the question,
which was carried in its original words.

After the House was up I joined several
of Pitt's friends ; and having been inform-
ed, that all treaty with the Duke of New-
castle had been broken ofi' two or three
days before, I gave them my congratula-
tions on the event, and received this reply
from Mr. George Grenville. " Have you
not observed from what passed to-day,
what rotten ground we must have stood
upon ? You see, that no coalition could
take place without our plunging into every
Hanoverian measure." This was on the
19th of May ; yet, the negociation be-
tween Pitt and Newcastle was revived be-
tween that day and the 27th, and vanish-
ed again on Pitt's insisting to create George

Grenville



( 144 )

4757. Grenville Cliancellor of the Exchequer in
preference to Legge.

On the 27th I dined at Sir Francis Dash-
wood's with Legge : the two Townshends,
Samuel Martin, and others ; that day s'en-
nisht we were all entertained by Mr.
Lecrse; and then it was universally under-
stood, that every hope of a coalition was
utterly annihilated, to the visible mortifi-
cation of most in company. The part I
took was to wish them all joy ; which I
did most cordially : at the same time, in
the presence of Legge and Martin, after
the meeting broke up> I freely declared
to Grenville my entire disapprobation of
Pitt's conduct ; first, in negociating at all;
lastly, in resting the coalition on a mere
personal point. This circumstance was
artfully turned to Mr. Pitt's disadvantage,
by the Duke of Newcastle, ever dexterous
at these interested transactions, and no
others. By his solemn protestations, that
no difference had arisen between him and
Pitt on the subject of public measures, but
merely on the nomination of a Chancellor
of the Exchequer^ he misled Colonel

Town-



( 145 )

Townshend and all the country gentlemen 1757.
into a disapprobation, if not a dislike, of
Mr. Pitt. I plainly perceived in many of
them, that this disgust proceeded from
some disappointment in the hopes they
had conceived of obtaining employments
by means of a coalition. Another inci-
dent, hinted at already, Mr. Legge's sto-
len interview with the Duke, gave that old
and cunning courtier another advantage,
of which he made an effectual use with
those who were ready to embrace any pre-
tence of coming again into office. In fine,
the coalition took place, and Lord Hard-
wicke at that juncture appeared once more
a principal character on the political
stage.

It was on the 27th or 28th of June, that.
I waited on my friend Mr. Samuel Mar-
tin. Mr. Legge came into the room, and
with the aspect of a man sinking under
self-condemnation and despair, burst into
the following exclamation—" AVell, I must
go into office again ; I have accepted the
Chancellorship of the Exchequer under
that false and perfidious Duke of Newcas-

L tie/'



( X40- )

t75r. tie." Upon this he drew out a paper,
where he had committed to writinor all
which had passed at that ill-judged inter-
view between himself and the Duke.

It appeared to me that the principal er-
ror consisted in his having taken that step
without the privity of any one friend. He
had not made any concession to the detri-
ment of his country, or his party ; his de-
claration against Fox was contained in the
following allusion : " The scum isnow risen
to the top of the pot; if your Grace will
lend us your skimmer we will take it all
off." This meeting was held under the
most sacred promise of mutual secrecy.
After it was over, and when it was too late


1 2 3 4 5 7 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 7 of 9)