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THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM TO LORD BULK ELEY.
Dublin Castle, Dec. 2nd, 1788. MY DEAR BULKELEY,
Many thanks for your very interesting and affectionate correspondence, which I have not neglected from inattention, but from anxiety, and from business, which you can easily figure to yourself, and as easily excuse. Much of your Windsor anecdotes had reached me from other quarters; but I could not, without very accurate information, have given credit to details 80 very unpleasant as some of those which I have heard. The messenger, who will deliver this to you, is going to London ; but I was anxious that he should leave this at Baronhill, as I think it may be doubtful whether you know that the new system of government is to be proposed at the next meeting of Parliament; and that unless the King's health should vary materially after the 28th (my last date), there was no idea of a further adjournment. My brother will probably have written to you, to press your attendance, and, in that case, this will find you in London, as I shall order the messenger not to leave it at Baronhill; but, if it should reach you in the country, let me implore you not to lose this (perhaps last) occasion of paying a debt to our master, which every principle of private honour and public duty must make sacred to us. object to which I look is, not to private power or ambition, but to the means of waking our unhappy King, at some future period, to the use, not only of his reason, but of his power. How this is to be secured I cannot, in my uninformed situation, pretend to say ; but I have the fullest confidence on this head in Mr. Pitt, and if I could imagine that he could suffer a consideration of private situation to interfere on such a question, I should despise him as much as I now love him. I can have no doubt, that as soon as His Royal Highness is possessed of
The only the power of dismissing us, we shall feel the full weight of it, and to that you will believe me most indifferent; but the subsequent scene must, in all events, be so interesting, that I must wish every assistance to Mr. Pitt that friends and countenance can give him. If this should be realized, I shall not be long absent from you; and perhaps our Christmas pies may be too hot for the new Government, if their folly and intemperance should urge them to the steps which those immaculate Whigs, Lord Loughborough and Sheridan, may suggest. Adieu. I am almost too late.
Robert and I have made our peace. Pray carry Sir Hugh
MR. W. W. GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Whitehall, Dec. 3rd, 1788. MY DEAR BROTHER,
It is now past four o'clock, and I am but just returned from the Privy Council. The whole number that attended was above fifty, including Lord North, Lord Stormont, Lord Loughborough, &c., &c. Fox was not there, being confined with a flux, which he has got by the rapidity of his journey. None of the Royal Family attended. The physicians who were examined, were Warren, Baker, Pepys, Reynolds, and Addington. The general questions that were proposed to them were three :
1. Whether the King is now incapable of attending to business? 2. What hopes do you entertain of his recovery
? 3. What do you conjecture may be the probable duration of his complaint ?
These are not the precise words, but the substance. They all answered the first question decisively, that he is now incapable, &c.
To the second, Warren gave an ambiguous answer ; but said that the majority of persons afflicted with all the different species of this disorder, recovered. An explanatory question was put to him, which it took about an hour and a half to settle ; whether, as far as experience enabled him to judge, he thought it more probable that the King would or would not recover. To this he said that he had not, and he believed no one else had, sufficient data to answer that question.
All the rest stated, though in terms more or less strong, that the probability is in favour of recovery.
The time, they all declared themselves unable to speak to.
A question was put to them, to show the degree of experience each had had in these cases. That of the three first appeared not to be great; that of Reynolds more; and Addington stated the particulars, which you already know, about his house at Reading.
On the whole, I think the impression of the examination was universally more favourable than was expected.
After the Council was formally broke up, Pitt proposed, in consequence of some things which had been thrown out by Lord Stormont and Lord Loughborough, that it should be understood, that any proposal for further examination in Parliament should be resisted. After some conversation, this was acceded to; and Monday settled as the day when these papers are to be taken into consideration. A Committee is then to be moved to search precedents, so that the motion itself cannot come on till Friday, or more probably Monday se'nnight.
MR. W. W. GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Whitehall, Dec. 4th, 1788. MY DEAR BROTHER,
Lord Sydney sends off this messenger with the proceedings of yesterday's Council. I write a few lines by him, because I know you would wish to hear from me, although I have, in fact, nothing to say.
Our situation continues exactly as it was. The prevailing idea seems to be that of a general dismission, and of an immediate dissolution of Parliament. How far the examinations of yesterday may operate with respect to this, it is impossible to say ; but I thought the Opposition people seemed evidently struck and disappointed with them. If they do dissolve Parliament in such a moment as this, when the physicians concur in declaring the King's recovery probable, I am persuaded the cry will be as strong as it was in 1784.
There is a report, that before the Duke of Portland would consent to have any communication with the Prince of Wales, he insisted on an apology being made to him, for some very rough treatment which he received at the time of the question of the debts; and that this apology has been made. This, however, I give you only as a report, for the truth of which I do not vouch.
I enclose you a pamphlet, which you may perhaps think worth reprinting in Ireland.
I hear as yet of no rats, but I suppose a few days will bring some to light; though I cannot help thinking that the examinations of yesterday donneront à penser à Messieurs les Rats.
I have not heard from you for almost a fortnight, and am impatient to know that you receive my accounts; and to hear your opinions upon them as they arise.
Pray send Bernard back as soon as you can. I cannot guess what his motive was, for persisting so strongly in wishing to undertake two such journeys at this season of the year; but he assured me, that he had no wish to stay any time in Dublin.
The list, which you will see in the “Morning Post,” of the Council is accurate. It makes a curious medley.
James is come to town, looking very sturdy. He is now with me; and has no other message to send, except to wish you all safe home again.
W. W. G.
SIR WILLIAM YOUNG TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Stratton Street, Dec. 5th, 1788. MY DEAR LORD,
When I came home yesterday afternoon from the House, I wrote the enclosed minute of proceedings—a practice I shall continue to pursue until we meet, for your satisfactory information.
As to news, it consists in the rumour of a general change in Administration. I confess that so basty a step as is generally talked of and believed, comes not within the scope of credit which my mind is framed to. Political wisdom suggests a multiplicity of reasons why the Prince of Wales should not act precipitately-nay, why Mr. Fox, &c., should not act precipitately; unless, indeed, to embroil the times, and seek occasions of profit and power from their turbulency and vicissitudes, may be the plot of some desperate men of the party. Of authorities for intentions of change, my best is Colonel Stanhope, who, coming from the Duke of Portland's the day before yesterday, mentioned that the arrangement of the new Administration was finally settled in everything ; but, “that they had not yet succeeded in persuading the Duke of Devonshire to go to Ireland.”