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interrupting your attention by considerations of this sort, while there are so many others of a different nature to which all our minds ought to be directed.
Believe me, &c.,
Mr. Pitt to Earl Fitzwilliam.
MY DEAR LORD, February 21, 1795. After the sentiments contained in my last letter, on the subject of the different official arrangements, and the communication of the opinion of Government respecting the Catholic Question, which you have received from the Duke of Portland, your Lordship will easily judge of the pain with which I have learnt your determination, as stated in your letter to me of the
14th, and in your despatches by the same messenger. With respect to the present state of the Catholic Question, I refer to the despatches from the Duke of Portland, in the sentiments of which I entirely concur; and which must make me anxious that all who wish well to the interests of Government should join in preventing any further progress being made in Mr. Grattan's Bill till we have received and considered the information
which we have thought it our duty to call for.
With respect to arrangements, I need only add that I feel myself bound to adhere to the sentiments which I have stated, not only with respect to Mr. Beresford, but
24 MR. PITT ON THE IRISH APPOINTMENTS. 1794-5,
to the line of conduct adopted in so many instances to. wards the former supporters of Government. By these sentiments I must be guided, from a regard to the King's service and my own honour, however sincerely I may lament the consequence which, as your Lordship has announced, must result from the present situation.
I have the honour, &c.,
MR. PITT AND LORD HARROWBY.
1798 — 1805.
THE letters of Mr. Pitt to Lord Harrowby (though important, few in number and making a very small packet) were supposed to be lost or destroyed. It was not till late in the autumn of 1862 that the present Earl by accident found them on examining the contents of a piece of furniture till then overlooked. He had the kindness to place them at my free disposal, and I selected from them the four of chief importance to include in my first edition. But, finding that they excite considerable interest, I have since increased the number to eight. The first was written by Mr. Pitt on Saturday, May 26th, 1798, the evening before his duel with Mr. Tierney, in which Mr. Dudley Ryder, afterwards Lord Harrowby, acted as his second. The next, of September, 1804, was when Lord Harrowby, at that time Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, was absent upon a visit to the King at Weymouth. It shows that the bold and resolute order to seize the Spanish treasure-ships—an order which was carried into effect near Cadiz on the 5th of October following, and which led to a declaration of war on the part of Spain—was entirely and emphatically the act of Mr. Pitt.
The other letters, written in November and December, 1805, when Lord IIarrowby had gone on a special embassy to the Court of Berlin, will explain the projects and the hopes of Mr. Pitt at that momentous crisis of the war with France.
S. JIr, Pitt to Mr. Dudley Ryder. [Secret.] Downing Street, I) EAR TRYDER, Saturday, past 5, P.M.
If you can find five minutes, I should be much obliged to you if you would call here, if possible before dinner; if not, as soon after as is possible, on a business on which I know I may trust to your friendship, and which does not admit of delay. Yours ever,
You will receive by this messenger some despatches which were received yesterday at the Admi
ralty from Admiral Cochrane off Ferrol. Frere arrived last night, and we have seen him this morning. He confirms the opinion given by Admiral Cochrane, that there is no prospect of the dispute between Spain and America leading to a rupture, and he states this on the authority of Pinckney, who told him he was persuaded that the Spanish Government had instructed its Minister in America to give way on the subject of the ratification. This circumstance seems to take away all pretext for the armament in the Spanish ports, and to leave little doubt of its being really destined to cooperate with the French force against this country. Indeed the bare circumstance of such an armament taking place, unaccompanied by any explanation to us of its object, and after the repeated declarations which have been made to the Spanish Court that such a measure would be considered by us as inconsistent with the continuance of their neutrality, seems at once to call for a decisive line on our part. On this ground it has appeared to all the Members of the Cabinet, who were within reach of town, that instructions should be immediately sent to our naval commanders to stop at all events the sailing of either Spanish or French ships from Ferrol, or any further reinforcements being collected there; and also (if it be not too late) to intercept and detain till further orders the frigates expected with the remaining treasure from America. This determination will, I am pretty Sure, appear to you, as it has done to us, to be the only one which can
1 Mr. Hookham Frere, lately Minister at the Court of Madrid.