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and published long ago. I am, however, totally without letters from Eden by the last mail, from which I conclude that he has, for expedition's sake, sent a messenger with his letters, who will some time or another arrive. But there are many occasions of sending a messenger besides this news. It does seem likely that Malta will itself drive out the French. What a wonderful change in twelve months !
God bless you.
The affairs of the continent, which had undergone latterly some considerable alterations, appearing to open a favourable opportunity for laying the foundation of a new confederation against France, Mr. Thomas Grenville was charged with a mission to undertake negotiations for that purpose. His destination was Vienna and Berlin, with a roving commission subject to circumstances. The rash and impolitic ambition of France had awakened an angry resistance on the part of Austria, who had recently entered into an alliance with the Court of St. Petersburg; and England, desiring to avail herself of these events, employed Mr. Grenville to ascertain the views of Prussia and Austria with reference to the formation of a general combination against the common enemy. “He will have, if I mistake not,” observes Lord Grenville, “ very much the glory of signing the overthrow of Jacobin France.”
MR. T. GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Charles Street, Nov. 16th, 1798. MY DEAREST BROTHER,
I had yesterday a long conversation with Lord G., who assured me that his friend here had continued to the present moment to express the same wish with respect to my destination, as he had at first conveyed in the month of June last ; but that a strong wish being expressed on your side of the water for the present shape, the great man here had thought it necessary to give way to the great man there. Be this, however, as it may, he continued to state so strongly the conviction of his own mind, and that of his colleagues, to be that I could do a service in foreign mission highly important to do, and with greater probability of success than any other man, he appealed so directly to that sense of duty which I had always announced as governing my conduct against even the course of my own inclinations, that I told him, much as I thought I had reason to complain, I would still be faithful to the sense of duty to which he appealed; and upon his assurances, that his colleagues felt as strongly as himself the importance of my giving way to their wishes, I agreed to do whatever came within the description of real or important service.
The general view of that service I cannot better describe to you in large, than by saying that my local situation must be governed by the circumstances of the time; but wherever I may be, my business will be to arrange a better understanding among the powers of the continent than has hitherto been found in them. It is again upon this subject that I have more than ever to regret our separation, because you will easily see how much of a subject like the present I should anxiously wish to talk confidentially over with you, that it would yet be impossible for me to put upon paper in the shape of a letter; but in this short description you will see at once the importance of the subject, and your readiness in all business will easily suggest to you the numberless difficulties which are likely to attach upon this. To those difficulties I am not blind; but it is because they are felt to be such, that I think it my duty to engage in them, and in that sentiment I am sure to have your concurrence.
With respect to Mr. Fisher, you will easily see that for such a situation I shall want the assistance which I have understood from you he is well qualified and well disposed to give; I dare say, therefore, that you will advise and recommend to me, to make this proposal to him; and yet, till I have again seen Lord Grenville, to know upon what footing of expense this stands, I do not know what I can afford to offer to him, nor how far the situation of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary will, in point of pay, furnish what Mr. Fisher ought to have; I will write again as soon as I am better informed, for I apprehend that there will not be much time to lose.
I think with you, that Tone's business has been awkwardly bothered. I met Lord G. and Mr. P. this morning in the park; and was glad to show them your letter, to give them the information, with your own comments upon this strange jumble so unnecessarily produced. Do not make any proposal to Fisher till you hear again from me. Can he cypher ? Does he understand German, &c. ? I suppose, by your recommending him, he does. My chief doubt is the insufficiency of pay, and the impossibility of holding out future expectation whatever. My route will probably be Berlin in about a fortnight; but nothing can be more uncertain than my stay.
God bless you, dearest brother.
MR. T. GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Charles Street, November 19th, 1798. MY DEAREST BROTHER,
I have been anxious, as you will naturally suppose, to lose no time in making such arrangements as may in any shape assist a situation so little to my taste, and so repeatedly refused by me, till it was put in such a shape of duty, as neither my opinions nor yours could allow me to put by. I have therefore pressed for information on the subject of Mr. Fisher, and wish to take the earliest opportunity of stating to you how that matter stands. My mission will be a special mission to Berlin and Vienna, and William is desirous of putting it upon the footing and establishment of Ambassador in Ordinary, though with the rank only of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, and with that of Privy Councillor ; for I understood that this last high honour will facilitate the means of increasing the establishment of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to that of Ambassador in Ordinary. If this meets with no difficulty, he hopes likewise, upon inquiry, to find himself justified in allowing me a private secretary, at something less than that of a Secretary of Legation, which is a guinea per day. With this general description, therefore, I immediately acquaint you, and hope you will think its outline tempting enough to Mr. Fisher to engage him to come immediately, although I cannot yet name the specific sum to be allowed to him. I must, however, add that William has urged me in the strongest manner to hold out to Mr. Fisher no expectation of farther remuneration or promotion in consequence of this employment; not only because officially he never admits any such claim of a private secretrary, but also because, by the many foreign appointments lost in the present state of Europe, he is overloaded with claims of promotion, so as to leave him no such means whatever. I think it fair to state this as strongly as it was told me ; but, as in your former letter you had expressed Mr. Fisher's readiness to come to me without any expectation of farther remuneration, I am still inclined to think that I may depend upon this arrangement as made, and trust to you for obtaining immediate leave of absence for him in Ireland; I say immediate, because I apprehend that VOL. II.
my stay in England cannot possibly exceed a fortnight from to-day, though I cannot well be prepared much under that time.
Of course, you will suppose me to be very impatient for Mr. Fisher's arrival; and I trust he will lose no time, but will let me see him in London as soon after you receive this letter as he conveniently can. I cannot describe the probable duration of my absence, it may be three months, or twelve, or more or less ; but it is too uncertain to leave me any fixed opinion even in my own mind. Lord Elgin goes to Constantinople, where he will find Sir Sydney, Koehler, &c. &c.
There is no foreign news whatever by the last mail ; but many accounts are come in of great loss on both sides, both insurgents and the republican troops in Flanders; and the country is in such a state, that the six last mails from France have not yet reached Rotterdam.
A strong report prevails of Guadaloupe having given itself to the English. It is believed in the city, on the credit of a Danish ship, arrived from St. Thomas at Portsmouth; and I think they are disposed to believe it at the Admiralty, though they have no official account of it.
Our idea in London is, that all Irish courts-martial proceeding on martial law will be suspended till this question is decided; my own opinion is, that if the courts of law can safely sit, the courts of martial law cannot exist at the same time. These latter seem to me to grow only out of such a disturbed state of things as will not allow of the due administration of justice by the regular course of law, and therefore that for a time military government must for the common safety stand in lieu of the courts of law; but to allow the courts of law to resume their functions, is, in itself, as it strikes me, a notice of the cessation of martial law: they cannot go on together inter arma silent leges.
It is expected that Fox and his friends will continue to