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LORD BULKELEY TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Baronhill, Nov. 25th, 1788. MY DEAR LORD,
When I left London last Saturday, the accounts were not arrived of the state of the King's health. He was much better on the Friday morning, but relapsed in the evening. I am afraid it is a very hopeless case, though much time ought to elapse before anybody ventured to pronounce for a certainty; and the physicians, who have been so warped by party, or by an anxiety to pay their court to the Prince, as to venture to do so, certainly deserve the severest reprehension. The meeting of Parliament was much the fullest, in both Houses, I ever saw; and in the House of Peers, the greatest decency I ever witnessed, considering the hopes and fears of each party. There were but seven Bishops (among whom Chester was one) present, which is a proof that crows soon smell powder. I took the opportunity of coming down here to settle my private affairs, which my sudden departure had left unsettled, your brother William having promised to send for me in case there is no appearance of the King's recovering before the 4th of December, in which case another adjournment would certainly take place, or in case Government should not contest the Prince's becoming Regent without a Council. It will be with great unwillingness I shall return, as I wish to remain here till the beginning of February; but if I find we are all expected to stand to our guns, and that our generals are ready to fight a battle without a compromise, I shall leave my dear Baronhill, and all my comforts, for all pleasures of war's alarms: marching and countermarching in the House of Lords, drums beating, and colours flying, &c. I supped at White's the night before I left town, where Pitt was in high spirits, and Selwyn uncommonly ridiculous; in general, our friends seem to await the approaching storm with the greatest sang-froid and philosophy: the longest faces I saw were Lord Hawkesbury's, Lord Sydney's, and Sir George Yonge's. I heard for certain that the Chancellor, who was suspected of being rattically inclined, was firm as a rock, and that the whole Cabinet were determined to die together. Fox was either not found, or averse to returning, although the Opposition were looking out for him as the Jews look out for their Messiah. Je crois qu'il boude un peu. Sheridan and Lord Loughborough are those who more immediately correspond with the Prince, with which, I believe, the old Rockinghams were much dissatisfied ; in short, there is every reason to think there is a division among them, which, however, a sense of common interest and common danger may rectify before the day of trial. Your sister Williams, and Sir Watkin, were in town both crying up the affection, humanity, filial piety, feeling, &c., of the Prince, and lamenting the little chance of the King's recovery, &c. The Nevilles were to leave town last Sunday, and by being in the neighbourhood of Windsor, can inform
you, if they choose it, of the real state of the late and present behaviour and conduct of some persons in that quarter who are so puffed by the papers and by the Opposition. In the changes and chances of this mortal life, our Barony of Braybroke appears to have been secured at a lucky moment. I left Parry in town, and I set Rose and Steele to coax him a little, for the old grievance sticks by him, and he wants much persuasion to efface the memory of it. Sir Hugh is here, and complains much of never having had one letter answered since Pitt has been in power; notwithstanding which, I shall take him up if the battle is to be fought before Christmas. I am afraid more rats will run, on account of Pitt's inattention to these trifles, than on any other account whatsoever ; indeed I heard as much in town. Rose and Steele may laugh at such details, but they are necessary; and the constituent will not believe the member's assiduity unless he sees a real or ostensible answer. I gave my £100 to the Westminster election, in consequence of a letter from Rose; I could ill spare it, but finding others were dosed in the same manner, I gulped the grievance. I am, my dear Lord's sincere friend,
SIR WILLIAM YOUNG TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Stratton Street, Nov. 25th, 1788. MY DEAR LORD,
However, at a crisis of such national concern as the present, my mind is impressed with its importance, and would communicate to you the vicissitudes and opinions thereon of each hour, as leading in the minutest variation to new consequences, and of the first moment; yet I confess myself at a loss how to arrange these parvula quidam ex queis magun exoriuntur, and give them their due weight, by stating the deductions thereon as they appear to me, within any compass of letter.
As to the fact on which our fears and speculations are to build, the change of mere words in stating the malady, as daily announced at St. James's, may be proper enough to keep alive the hopes of the public, who will argue on mere words, in reality, within this fortnight the King hath remained from day to day without any variation in symptoms : so this very morning Dr. Gisborne told me, as his opinion, resulting from conversation with his brother physicians in immediate attendance. My friend Dr. Milman seems to be of the like opinion. That possibly His Majesty may recover the perfect use of his understanding is not less believed than hoped for: cases have been stated, more desperate than the present, wherein the recovery hath been perfect. Yet much mischief is already done, or rather the basis of mischief is already and irremoveably laid. In future times, designing, ambitious and profligate men may
start the idea that what has been may be, and in the desperate effort of factious opposition, even venture to arraign the temper and health of mind, though it shows its perfect state, and the wise measures of Government should put such daring insult at defiance.
If the King remains a length of time in the same state, I would, on such too probable circumstance, join my speculations to your Lordship’s, could I imagine any resting-place, or outlet, in the labyrinth of cases and deductions which the subject affords. I had best, therefore, confine my correspondence, and take up the immediate matter and language of the mere day, unless I meant a book rather than a letter.
The language touches on the hopes and views of partymen, and on the interests of the country as complicated with the present Administration remaining in power. My business calling me often into the city, I speak as an eye-witness to the temper of men at the Royal Exchange, and Lloyd's Coffeerooms, never did Administration stand so high in opinion of the moneyed and commercial world: throughout the city, the fears of losing Pitt from the finance make as much of the regrets of anticipation, as the fears of losing the King from the throne. Should the change of Ministry (too much appre hended) take place, it is thought that Fox's party—to tem porize with the public opinion, too strong directly to meet in the teeth—will propose a coalescence of some sort; but narrowed, and in regard to Mr. Pitt, moreover, placing him in such jar of official situation, that it cannot be in any manner listened to. The refusal of the insidious offer is then to be noised throughout the country, and a trial to be made to engage the people "to join with those who proffered a sacrifice of enmities to Pitt for the public good.” My opinion is, that the trial will be abortive, and the present Administration retire (if so necessitated), merely to return to power on the shoulders of the nation. The Opposition, I understand, foresee their
difficulties, and are exceedingly embarrassed, even supposing the Regent, or Regency, to venture on the change of Ministry.
I presume to hazard an opinion that such Regent, or Regency, cannot and will not risk a change of Ministry with so precipitate declaration in favour of our opponents, as some expect, at such eventful crisis as the present. It is natural for men's hopes, or fears, to colour too strongly the contingency on which their relative interests depend. Some hope too much, and some fear too much. If the Prince of Wales is made and continues at the head of Regency a twelvemonth, then indeed a revolution in Ministry, or in everything, may be worked out of the occasions ingenuity and ambition may have to take hold of; but here I am running into a book, and to avoid it close my letter. From time to time I shall write, almost from day to day, if aught occurs deserving your perusal. Meantime, and ever, my dear Lord, in truest affection and attachment, Your faithfully devoted friend and servant,
MR. W. W. GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Whitehall, Nov. 25th, 1788. MY DEAR BROTHER,
I am very sorry to be obliged to say that the account from the physicians to-day, confirmed by the most accurate testimony from private quarters, state the King's situation in the most unfavourable manner, his disorder having returned with great violence. I do not understand that there is any return of bodily complaint, so that nothing can be worse than this intelligence. From what I now understand, it should seem that some considerable time must elapse, even after the two Houses meet, before any decisive step can be proposed, as it seems now to be thought necessary that some mode of satisfaction should be given to the Houses themselves, by means of