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to me; as great, indeed, entre nous, as if I knew the new Governor was actually arrived there. We have nothing like force enough for all the objects that present themselves, and you know my settled aversion to undertaking little points of detail; some of which might succeed, but the result of the whole must be to cut to pieces the small force we have, without adequate success. Besides this, the reliance on the dispositions of the country, with the single exception of Toulon, pressed as it was by famine at one door, and the guillotine at the other, has always failed us.
I believe it is true, that almost in every part of France they detest the Convention, but that they are quite incapable of giving any solid footing in the country.
Ever yours most affectionately,
LORD GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Walmer Castle, Oct. 11th, 1793. MY DEAREST BROTHER,
I was just going to write to you when I received your letter. My present plans are to return to town about Tuesday next, and to get to Dropmore by dinner on Friday, if possible; but I would not wish you to let your dinner depend on that. I conclude, from what you say of your having been reviewed, that you will be able to get away soon, and it will be a great gratification to us both to see you, especially if, as I hope, Lady Buckingham comes with you. Lady Camelford writes to Anne that she much wishes to see you, and if she knows of the time of your coming will endeavour to contrive to be with us. I return you Freemantle's letter, for fear of accidents. You have, perhaps, guessed that it anticipates part of what I had to say to you, but I hope you have also felt the singularly embarrassing situation in which the King's Ministers are placed in this respect, with the cause of Royalty to defend, and with the great obligations they owe to the extreme liberality and honour of the King's conduct towards them. They are obliged, therefore, to say nothing, and to let nothing be said : and indeed I hardly know what I should wish to be said, so great is the difficulty in all respects. I know I may reckon upon your discretion, not only in saying nothing from me, but also in saying as little as possible from yourself, which would not fail to be repeated, and to be ascribed to me. We will talk this over fully when I see you, and I really much wish to know what you think ought ultimately to be done on the subject. You will have seen that it is not the camp of Mauberge, but the advanced posts that had been unsuccessfully attacked. The attack of the camp itself was to take place somewhere about this time, and yesterday the British troops marched to Cysoing, where they thought it not improbable they might be engaged with the French, who are collecting at Bouchain and Cambray.
George Nugent had written to me twice on the subject of his proposal, and I sent him Lord Amherst's answer, which is negative, at least for the present. He seems to have an invincible aversion to new corps, I fancy, from all the badgering he got upon that subject last war. He now states only the plea of seniority, that the number intended to be raised is filled up by older Lieutenant-Colonels. I fancy Nugent had not received my letter when he wrote to you.
The language of the Convention looks as if some serious attack might be expected here; serious at least as they intend it, but ridiculous, I trust, it will prove. An attempt in force requires preparations they have not, and a superiority in naval force which they certainly have not. Buccaneering expeditions I take to be practicable, with only the certainty of much greater loss to themselves than to us. They would be unpleasant in their effect here, but what help.
I have profited of your advice about the manifesto, and now send you the English translation which I have prepared, with
the transpositions you recommended. I do not think it reads as well in English as in French, which I am sorry for, as it must be read in English by John Bull, whose approbation of my writings I should like to retain. I hardly know how to ask you to correct, as it must be a translation, and a literal one. But mark what you dislike, and I will try if, retaining the translation, it can be altered. I have kept guerre defensive and that pour cause : which indeed you may guess, when you see in the papers that His Prussian Majesty is returned to Berlin, and when I tell you that we had no previous notice of his journey. Ever most affectionately yours,
LORD GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
St. James's Square, Nov. 21st, 1793. MY DEAREST BROTHER,
I had already spoken to Pitt upon the idea of G. Nugent's being appointed one of the aides-de-camp, if the promotion mentioned by him should take place. I have reason to be sure, that for the present no idea exists of that promotion. If it had, I should certainly have pressed his declining the offer of the corps; because, though that is no absolute bar according to any rule, yet it may, certainly, in the King's mind, stand in his way; and such exceptions as Lord Chenton and Lord Rawdon do not prove much. I am very confident, that, as it is, whatever can be done by Pitt will be done, if the promotion should hereafter take place; but I am sure you know that the King's Ministers do not name his aides-de-camp; and that the pressing such a request, beyond a certain point, makes difficulties in his mind, instead of removing them. Besides his wish to oblige you, Pitt is personally well-disposed towards Nugent, and I have reason to think that Lord Amherst is so too.
Sir James Murray will, I think, not continue in his present situation; and the mode of removing him, will probably be by putting him at the head of some corps; but this is not yet mentioned to him, and, therefore, I rely on your not speaking of it to any one else. I do not know whether, in that case, the King will fill up his place as aide-de-camp, or not; but one vacancy cannot be expected to make room for Nugent, who is at the end of his year ; besides, the natural claim which Manners has on the King. It is, therefore, I think, better on the whole, that Nugent should go on with his corps.
With respect to your lesser army jobs, I say nothing about them, because I really do not understand them, and am unable to judge of the facility or difficulty of Lord Amherst's complying with them. It is useless for me to talk about Pitt's share in all this, though I certainly do not think it very fair that he should bear on his shoulders all the grievances of cornetcies and lieutenancies, which Lord Amherst or any other Commander-in-chief is sure to create.
I have spoken about the précis, and you will certainly have them whenever there is news to send. The army is safe, and I hope quiet, in its winter quarters. Lord Moira sets out tomorrow morning, and will find everything ready for him at Portsmouth. You see how right you was about the impossibility of keeping secret at Portsmouth the new destination of this force. Luckily, it is so ready, that the thing itself will take place even now as soon as the news can reach Paris.
Lord Malmesbury is going to Berlin, to bring our good ally to a point-ay or no. I think it will end in no.
I certainly will not forget my engagement; and I still hope we shall find a Saturday and Sunday for Stowe. God bless you, my dear brother, and believe me
Ever most affectionately yours,
LORD GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
St. James's Square, Dec. 12th, 1793. MY DEAREST BROTHER,
At your request, I certainly will do a thing extremely disagreeable to myself, by putting into Mr. Pitt's hands the letter you desire me to show him. In any case where you or yours could have the smallest interest, I should never consider whether a compliance with your wishes is or is not pleasant to me; but I freely own, that I hardly think you would be repaid, by Mr. Pigott's getting his company, for the uneasiness I feel in being made (unprofitably, too, as I think, even to the object) the channel of such a communication between two persons whom I have so much reason to love and value.
The accounts of the Duke of Brunswick's victory, though they have not come to us from any channel that we can consider as strictly official, are such as to leave no doubt of the fact. There appears to have been different actions for three days, from the 29th of November to the 1st of December; and on the last of these days the victory was obtained, which persons, pretty well informed, seem to consider as decisive of the fate of Landan. The great object of the French was to relieve that place, and surround Wurmser; and in both they have failed, having been repulsed in a last attack they made on the latter the 1st instant. It appears likely now that little more will be done on that frontier till Landan is obliged to surrender ; nor anything after that.
All our expectations are turned towards Brittany; but the news from that quarter is by no means favourable, as far as it goes. The Royalist army appears unable to make any siege, or even to continue twenty-four hours in the same place; and this for want of provisions. There is, besides, among them much disunion, and a total want of discipline; and they seemed to have formed the resolution of retiring inwards into France.