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see by their papers, that measures of much more violence are intended.
Pitt has been induced, from his regard to the King, to dissemble his knowledge of Thurlow's conduct, and to suppress the resentment which it so naturally excites. There is no reason, but the contrary, for believing that any of those who have acted with him are at all disposed to follow his example. It is universally reprobated, and explicitly by them. I think you will do well, if it comes in question, to do as I do, which is to avoid saying anything on the subject as long as I can ; and when pressed, to profess ignorance.
There is no great inconvenience arising, in reality, from the communication of these intentions to the Prince. His intentions are sufficiently decided, and he has no means of traversing our schemes.
We do not yet know with certainty whether he has any idea of negotiation ; but if he has, it is unquestionably only as a cloak, and meaning that it should be rejected. But the prospect of detaching the Chancellor may make this less probable, although he may perhaps insist on something of the sort being done to provide for his delicacy. The general language is universal and immediate dismission. If I am not mistaken, a storm is rising that they little expect, and the sense of the country, instead of being nearly as strong as in 1784, will be much stronger. But the party in general are so hungry and impatient, that I think they will act upon the better judgment of their leaders, and prevent them from doing anything which may allow a moment's delay. Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.
It was beginning to be suspected that Thurlow was about to rat. His conduct justified the worst doubts. Sir William Young confirms the intelligence about his increasing and suspicious intimacy with the Prince of Wales.
SIR WILLIAM YOUNG TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM,
Stratton Street, Nov. 30th, 1788. MY DEAR LORD,
Since my last, all the intelligence to be given consists merely of rumours and of opinions respecting the probable changes in the Administration, on accession of the Prince to the executive authority. The Prince, it is said, is wonderfully of late attached to Thurlow. His Royal Highness hath not been equally gracious to Mr. Pitt; and from the authority of a person who dined with him, I am assured that bis melancholy derived from the malady of his father and King, is not of that deep and rooted sort for which “no physic of the mind” can be found. Drinking and singing were specifics on the day stated to me.
As to opinions alluded to above, they appear to me, who am not in the secret, mere sermons to Skakspeare's text of " Harry, thy wish was father to the thought.” If aught is settled, your Lordship is undoubtedly apprised of it; if things yet remain for arrangement, your grounds for mere fabrics of speculation must ere this be better laid than mine; and so, in either case, I'd better e'en refrain from the subject, until Thursday begins the course of authentic matter for my letters.
Meantime, a word in regard to myself. I write under the greatest embarrassment of mind, between pressing necessity of not moving from London and a justness of sentiment which would particularly at this moment urge my repairing to you at the Castle. When your kind friendship conferred what, at that moment, was a most essential aid to my family subsistence, your goodness added that I need not visit Ireland oftener than the convenience of my family allowed. Of this goodness I by
no means thought to avail myself, and proposed this winter proceeding with my wife and son to the Castle, and returning to accomplish the passing of my “Poor Laws,” in February or March.
The loss of my father hath placed me in a situation wherein, from the magnitude and delicacy of the concern, every hour may afford an important crisis; and in which a single omission, a momentary absence, may entail consequences irretrievable, in matters wherein the result to me and mine is to be conjoined reputation and affluence, or disgrace and penury. I cannot, under impression of such alternatives, delegate an iota of conduct to a second person. I have laid down a systematic plan of conduct for myself, which in executing I am sure of honour and credit, have a certainty of competence, and a prospect of considerable wealth. The more I reflect, the more I am confirmed in the propriety of the grounds of procedure which I have adopted, and I feel myself equal to the accomplishment, as far as it depends on steady pursuit of a well-weighed purpose. Obstacles, however, may arise, and difficulties occur, such as I have daily to obviate or to surmount, in shape of impatient creditors, who, if they were not led to just understanding of circumstances, would not wait two years for a final liquidation of private claims, with an inventory before them in the Commons of property to the amount of £200,000, but would jump forward to their own and my loss. One of the two years I have now securely in hand; the crop of 1789 being shipped from Christmas to March, of produce all grown, and partly manufactured. If Government leaves me the year 1790, at the close of it there will not be a private debt, nor an article alienated of security for public claims; and my gain of the income of 1788-9-90 is actually the amount of £45,000 clear gain, above the result of immediate sale of the estates, which in ordinary course, or other line than I have chalked out, would be the direct legal recurrence for general liquidation of first public and then private claims. One year of this gain to my residue I have already secured, the second I have no doubt of, the third I have great hopes of, and at the period thereof, the gross total of the Crown demand, without a deduction or charge per centage, would scarcely necessitate any sale, or but a partial one, should I wish quickly to clear all away.
Having no reserve for you, my best friend, I have, in accounting for my “fixing myself on the watch” in England this winter run into these details; and further (which will explain them fully) enclose a rough copy of my instructions to iny attorneys in St. Vincent's, which, when read, you will consign to the flames.
I have that grateful attachment to you, that I should yet scarcely hesitate in hazarding a month's absence from home, did not I anticipate that your friendship would rather chide than approve the sacrifice. I am ever at your command, being, my dear Lord, in truest affection, Your devoted and obliged friend, &c.,
The plans of Ministers are further developed in the next letter from Mr. Grenville.
MR. W. W. GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Whitehall, Tuesday, Dec. 2nd, 1788. MY DEAR BROTHER,
I have nothing of any importance to add to my letter of Sunday, everything remaining here precisely in the same state. It is determined to proceed, after Thursday, without any further adjournment. A Privy Council is summoned for to-morrow, to which all the Privy Councillors are summoned; those of the Royal Family by letters from the Lord President. The physicians are ordered to attend, and questions will be put to them, to which they will be to give their answers on Wednesday. It is then meant, that on Friday, the Lord President in the House of Lords, and Pitt in the House of Commons, should communicate these questions and answers, but not as a message, from the Privy Council. We hope that Parliament will be disposed to proceed, without any inquiry, by themselves; but on the ground of the examination of the Privy Council, a Committee is then to be appointed to search precedents, so that it will be more than a week from this day before the propositions can formally be made. They will, I believe, be nearly, if not exactly, the same as I have already stated them to you. The point, on the prudence of which you had doubts, is of such absolute necessity, that I am sure, by a very little conversation, I could satisfy you in a moment that it must be taken care of. It is intended to say of the whole plan, that it is merely temporary, adapted to the present circumstances, when we are obliged to act after the King has been ill a very short time, and when there is much uncertainty with respect to the nature of his complaint, and an absolute ignorance as to its probable duration ; that if, under different circumstances, and after a longer and more defined illness, Parliament shall think it necessary to make other arrangements, that power must rest with them, which cannot, indeed, be taken from them. This would, I think, cure your difficulty.