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them speak not a word of English, and they who are the most forward in it are very imperfect. There is but one of the masters who can be said to know anything of it, and he is far indeed from the ability to teach it. There must be a person who, besides going with them through all their Latin readings and construing them into English, will daily converse with them, and ground them in the principles and the utterance of that tongue which belongs to the nation which alone promises them an asylum upon earth. For many reasons, I should prefer a clergyman of their own persuasion, and of our country. But though I have always known that their number was small, I did not conceive it to be so inconsiderable as I now find it. But some English subject must be found to be about these boys at all hours. It would be a terrible thing to condemn these poor creatures to an universal exile, and to be perpetual vagrants, without a possibility of being in a state of effectual communication with the natives of any country or incorporating themselves with any people. God forbid that, under the pretext of a benefit, I should be the cause of their utter ruin.
The Bishop of Leon has written me a letter which, in my present state of health (by no means the best), gives me a good deal of uneasiness. Hitherto, I have received the boys without any inquiry, as they were successively sent to me by the worthy prelate; considering them as the objects of his selection amongst the candidates for this situation. To my astonishment, in a letter which I received from him last Saturday he tells me that all the vacancies are filled : but that he has had nothing in the world to do with the matter, and that he is no more than a simple clerk. Your Lordship will see by the letters that I have the honour to enclose for your perusal, that after filling up all the places, the pleasure of rejecting the rest of the candidates is reserved for me. He has contrived matters so, that others have all the grace of obliging, and all the pleasure of being useful; and that all which is harsh and odious is thrown upon me, as a reward for all the trouble and expense I have been at in this business. On this I shall make no further remark.
By the letters, your Lordship will see that the Bishop of Leon tells the applicants, that the selection is to be made by certain Lords Commissioners. I never have been apprised by the Bishop of the existence of any Commission, or of any Commissioners for the purpose of a choice. If such a thing at all exists, I should have flattered myself that I should have been apprised of it; of their rules, of its proceedings, and of the times of its sitting. I believe I am the very first person who, having had the honour of proposing a plan to Government, and being permitted to have the management of it, have been kept wholly out of the secret of the appointment of its objects. The name of every boy sent to me was unknown to me to the moment of his arrival; the names of those who are to come are equally unknown. Not one circumstance relative to any of them is come to my knowledge. The poorest country schoolmaster would have been favoured with some better account of his pupils.
I must beg leave to remark to your Lordship, that the account given by the Bishop of Leon to the applicants is wholly different from that which he gives to me. In his two last letters to me (one, and the most explicit, of which I received just now) he tells me that the selection and nomination is not in any Commissioners, but solely in your Lordship, and that he is no more than a clerk. If I had not received it from so good an authority, I could hardly have believed that your Lordship, upon a mere abstract of petitions, without further examination, or any consultation, even with the Bishop of Leon, should have decided upon sixty out of perhaps fourscore applications. But, as I am sure you always act with equity and discretion, I am perfectly satisfied in your having assumed this very delicate and critical of all trusts. I only wish that I had been apprised of your Lordship’s having taken on you that office, as, though I should not have ventured to recommend a single person, I really think I might, with all humility, have made some useful suggestions, which your desire of all matters being before you, that might guide you to a sure decision, would make you willing to receive, even from a person so very inconsiderable as I am in every point of view.
I am sure your Lordship wishes that, in the very reprehensible situation in which I stand, I may be able to give some some sort of account of my trust; and when I have engaged with Government for the education of sixty boys, I ought to know at whose hands, on what authority, and on whose recommendation I receive them. Certainly they are not recommended or chosen by me; and when I go to the Treasury, and tell the Minister who issues the money to me (whenever it shall be issued) that I have employed it in the maintenance and the education of those whom I do not myself know, nor can tell in any regular and authorised manner from whom I received them, I should make a very despicable, not to say a criminal figure. I cannot take your Lordship's pleasure from the Bishop of Leon; though he tells me he is (not your Lordship's friend and adviser) but your clerk, as you have never informed me of this his relation to you. I therefore, for my voucher and justification, request that you will be pleased (the Committee and the Bishop absolutely disclaiming all choice) to send me a list of the names, circumstances and description of the boys whom you send to me, or have sent, together with a certificate, that having duly examined into the several claims and pretensions of the candidates, you have found these the best entitled.
When I have received this attestation as my authority and voucher, far from cavilling at either the person naming, or the names, I shall receive them most cheerfully ; happy that your
Lordship having generously and nobly taken to yourself the election, these objects have obtained security for a powerful protection, to place them, as successively they shall be qualified, in some way useful to themselves and to the public. I shall take care that they do no dishonour to your patronage ; at least to the moment in which (having received them from your hands) I deliver them back into the same benevolent and protecting safeguard.
My dear Lord, have the goodness to excuse the length of this letter, on account of the weight of my responsibility and the very difficult situation in which I stand.
Mrs. Burke begs leave to join me in the most truly respectful compliments to Lady Buckingham, and if we may be permitted, on very little acquaintance, to Lord and Lady Temple. No persons can more sincerely wish, than we do, all kind of honour and happiness to you and all that belong to you.
I have the honour to be, with the most perfect respect and affection,
My dear Lord,
The name of Buonaparte appears for the first time in this Correspondence in the month of August. Supported by the patronage of Barras, whose confidence in his talents and activity were so conspicuously justified by the results, he had recently been appointed to the command of the army of Italy, now augmented by large reinforcements. He was at this period only twenty-six years of age, and had never seen a regular engagement; but his genius inspired the highest hopes, and his extraordinary success gave a completely new aspect to the war.
LORD GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Dropmore, Aug. 14th, 1796. MY DEAREST BROTHER,
I was extremely sorry to hear so indifferent an account of your health, but I hope the worst of the attack is now over. I return you the letter from this unfortunate King, whose restoration to the throne of his ancestors is now, at least, as remote as that of Charles II. ever was—I fear, indeed, a great deal more so. I have heard no more particulars of the attempt to assassinate him, than the account which the Duke de Harcourt showed me, and which was the same which they afterwards put into the newspapers.
The Prince of Hohenlohe’s language has always had a leaning to the side of Austria and England; but long experience has satisfied me that, from a Prussian General, language of this sort means no more than to describe to which party in the Berlin politics he may happen to be inclined. We have, however, now made a last effort to ascertain this point, but with very little expectation of success.
I do not wonder that the Navy should wish for a Spanish war, nor that they should be the only set of men in England who do so. I trust it may still be avoided, though the result is certainly very doubtful when treating with such a Court. The distribution of our limited number of sailors, into ships of the line and frigate force, is a very nice and delicate question ; but as far as I can flatter myself that I understand it—which is not very much I have always inclined more to the latter, and I think the experience of this war is in favour of that opinion. The same circumstances would surely operate still more strongly in the case of a war with Spain, whose commerce offers more prise than that of France, and whose line-of-battle force, even separately—and still more if united with French ships--can