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strongly tinctured by the wishes of those who send them, that no reliance can be placed upon them; and the private letters of the physicians are frequently inconsistent with each other, and even with the public account which they send to St. James's. In general, that account has been uniformly found to be the least favourable ; and seems as if it was drawn for the purpose of discouraging the hopes which their own letters and conversation excite. The letters which they read to Pitt, though frequently varying in their general tenor from the public account, are not at all more detailed than that is, and take no sort of notice of the most material circumstances. I imagine all this is to be imputed to a difference of opinion which is supposed to prevail amongst them, it being believed that Warren is strongly inclined to think the disorder permanent, and that Reynolds is sanguine in the contrary opinion. Pitt is gone down again to Windsor to-day; but will hardly be back again time enough for me to insert his account in this letter. The public account of to-day says, I understand, that the King has had much quiet and composed sleep, but is nearly the same as before. The sleep, I am told, is generally considered as a favourable symptom.
Under these circumstances, there can, I think, be no doubt that the two Houses will adjourn on Thursday, without opposition.
Everything remains as before. I think you clearly have done right in stopping Corry, it being so much our interest to prevent, and not to promote, negotiation. I think, on more reflexion, that the idea of refusing the power of dissolving is impracticable, and may be turned against us in the end ; the other limitations will, I believe, be proposed ; and that alone will be sufficient to put all negotiation out of the question.
Fox is expected in three or four days; but it seems impossible that he should be here so soon.
Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.
MR. W. W.GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Whitehall, Nov. 18th, 1788. MY DEAR BROTHER,
I do not find from Pitt that he learnt anything very particular yesterday in addition to what you already know. The King continues much quieter, but still deranged in his intellects and conversation. The fever has not yet entirely left him. The physicians seem very unwilling to say anything with respect to his situation, and declare that it must still be eight or ten days before they can pronounce at all decisively as to the nature of his disorder.
You seem, in your letter, to conceive the point of his recovery to be much more desperate than I understand it to be thought even after a derangement of months, or even years. There hardly passes a day in which one does not hear of cases of that sort, and we are now told that a disorder of this sort bas appeared in several instances in Devonshire in the course of this autumn, where the patient has been in this way for six weeks together, and has then entirely recovered. I have no other news. Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.
MR. W. W. GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Whitehall, Nov. 20th, 1788. MY DEAR BROTHER,
I went down yesterday to Windsor, as a matter of form, to inquire after the King's health. Having nothing very material to write to you in the morning, I thought it best to take the chance of being back early enough to write before the post went out. This, however, I found impossible, on account of the different people whom I met at Windsor, and with whom I was naturally anxious to converse.
The account, as far as relates to the King's actual situation for these two or three last days, is much less favourable than it has been. The disorder of his intellects has continued almost, if not entirely, without intermission for the whole of that time. He talks incessantly for many hours together, and without any appearance of sense or reason, sometimes knowing the persons who are about him, at other times mistaking them, or fancying himself employed in different occupations, such as taking notes on books, or giving different orders. He has appeared several times to have that sort of consciousness of his situation which lunatics are observed to possess, and to use the same sort of methods for concealing it.
All this constitutes the gloomy side of the picture; and Warren is so much impressed with this, that he told Pitt there was now every reason to believe that the disorder was no other than direct lunacy.
On the other hand, I understand that he, as well as the other physicians, are now agreed as to the cause of the disorder. You may remember that, at the beginning of this unhappy situation, I mentioned to you that an idea had been entertained of its proceeding from some local cause, such as water on the brain, or some change in the texture of the brain itself, by induration or ossification. Warren has decidedly said, that he is satisfied this is entirely out of the question; this he told Pitt in express terms. The cause to which they all agree
to ascribe it, is the force of a humour which was beginning to show itself in the legs, when the King's imprudence drove it from thence into the bowels; and the medicines which they were then obliged to use for the preservation of his life, have repelled it upon the brain. The consequence of this opinion is so plain, that there certainly requires no professional skill to know that his recovery must depend upon this single circumstance, whether there is, or is not strength enough in his constitution to throw off this humour by any other channel. The physicians are now endeavouring, by.warm baths, and by great warmth of covering, to bring it down again into the legs, which nature had originally pointed out as the best mode of discharge.
I was mentioning these circumstances yesterday to a person who lives in intimacy with John Hunter, the anatomist. He told me that they had been all stated to him three days ago, by Hunter, who had collected them from the different inquiries he had made. Hunter added, that we must still expect for some days, and perhaps even weeks, to hear of no decisive alteration, but possibly of some occasional variation from day to day; that at the end of this it would probably come to some sort of crisis, by which it would appear whether there was strength enough in the constitution to prevail over the disease ; that all he had heard of the manner of the King's life, did unquestionably make him an unfavourable subject for such a struggle, but that if it was the case of any common man, he should have no hesitation in pronouncing even now that it would be very bad luck indeed if he did not recover, and that the chances were nine to one in his favour. You will easily suppose that this was said under the seal of confidence, and that a professional man would not choose to have his name quoted in a case of so much importance in which he is not employed, and in which his opinions may be either founded at present on false information, or may be defeated by the mode of treatment adopted by those who are called in. I have, therefore, mentioned this only to you, though possibly you may hear it from other channels. On such authority, one certainly may be allowed to indulge some degree of hope. I am, however, far from letting this expectation take possession of my mind, but, on the contrary, have prepared myself for the worst, and can with truth say that I have made up my mind to meet it with cheerfulness, and to accommodate myself as a reasonable man ought to do to my situation.
You will particularly see that this consideration had no effect on my judgment, and that I feel as you do. On the question of a coalition, no offers have as yet been made. The language of Opposition inclines one to think that their idea is to that, but the conduct of the Prince of Wales marks a desire of avoiding Pitt. I believe he has had no communication with the Duke of Portland, or with any of them, except Sheridan and Lord Loughborough; the latter is supposed to be much in his confidence. Pitt has opened his plan of Regency to Thurlow and Lord Weymouth, and they both approved it; he is to lay it before the Prince of Wales in a few days, and will then make it public.
Whatever is done, I have no conception that it can be brought to a point so as to enable you to form any decisive judgment with respect to your situation so early as the beginning of next month. We are now at the 19th. Pitt means to-day to move an adjournment to this day sevennight, and a call of the House for this day fortnight. It is doubtful whether the business will even then be brought on, and the intervening adjournment is made with the view of enabling Pitt to put off the call to a more distant day if the King's situation should be thought to render that a proper step.
Bernard is now out of town, but I understood from him that your house in Pall Mall was let to the Duke of Gordon for another year, to commence from Christmas.
I am just returned from the House, where Pitt moved the adjournment for the whole fortnight (in consequence of an opinion of the Chancellor's), and a call at the end of that term. Not a word was said by any other person, and he himself barely stated that the continuance of the King's illness had prevented the prorogation, and that the same circumstance made it desirable to have the public attendance when the House met again.
The public account of to-day is that he has passed a less disturbed night, but that the fever continues. Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.