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Mr. Pitt to Lord Harrowby.
1) EAR HARROWBY, Bath, Dec. 21, 1805.
I was prevented from writing a few lines as I
intended by the messenger we sent from hence yesterday. We are sending orders for another to-day, to pass through Berlin in his way to the Emperor's headquarters, to remind them of sending the ratification, which we have never yet received.
We have nothing very authentic from the armies later than your despatch of the 9th, by estafette; but there are accounts through Hamburg from Berlin of the 10th, corroborated by reports from various quarters, which lead us to hope that the sequel of the battle at length terminated in great success on the part of Russia. If this proves true, I flatter myself your subsidiary treaty will have been soon brought to a prosperous issue, and you will be delivered from all your fatigue and anxiety. I am quite grieved to think how much you have suffered, though I trust your complaint is only temporary, and that a good battle and a good treaty will send you back to us in better health than you went.
I see no danger of your exceeding our limit in the amount of subsidy, as we looked if necessary to an actual annual payment of 3,000,000l., and the number proposed in the treaty of 180,000 Prussians and 40,000 Allies will not require more than 2,750,000l., which still leaves room for 25,000 men more if they are wanted and can be had.
* Of Austerlitz, Dec. 2, 1805.
I have been here for ten days, and have already felt the effect of the waters in a pretty smart fit of the gout, from which I am just recovering, and of which I expect soon to perceive the benefit.
I need hardly tell you that every step you have taken has been exactly what we should have desired.
MIR. I?ITT AND HIS PRIVATE SECRETARIES.
William Dacres Adams, Esq. (Private Secretary of Mr.
In thinking of him, I am too apt to dwell less upon the loftier qualities of his mind, and upon the great objects to which they were successfully directed, than upon the milder virtues of his delightful disposition and his unvarying kindness of heart; which so much endeared him to all those who knew him well, and inspired them with the warmest feelings of attachment.
When he left London for the last time, he gave me leave to go for ten days or a fortnight into Devonshire; and on my way back I joined him at Bath, and dined with him there on the very day that he received the fatal news of the battle of Austerlitz. Charles Stanhope was there, and Sir Walter Farquhar, and unless my memory fails me, I think that also Lord Castlereagh came down to talk over the consequences of that calamitous event; and, depressed as Mr. Pitt was by his severe and mortal illness, and the overthrow of all
his hopes and labours for the rescue of Europe, I was struck by the wonderful fortitude with which he bore such a mental and bodily pull upon his nearly exhausted powers.
Earl Stanhope to W. D. Adams, Esq.
You are certainly quite correct in your recollection that Lord Castlereagh joined Mr. Pitt at Bath, to confer with him on the Austerlitz news. Thus says Lord Malmesbury:-‘A few days afterwards, I believe about the end of December, Lord Castlereagh went to Bath to communicate to him (Pitt) the event, and to confirm all the French reports.” You will find this passage at vol. iv. p. 344 of Lord Malmesbury's ‘Diaries.’
Mr. W. D. Adams died on the 8th of June, 1862. His last letter to me bore date the 15th of May; and, as his son informs me, was the last letter that he ever wrote. “I am, as I believe”—so he had written to me in April, 1861—“the only man still in the land of the living, whose happy fortune it was to be admitted to a daily personal intercourse with Mr. Pitt.” Under such circumstances his decease, even though in the fulness of years and after a well-spent life, is mournfully felt to sever the last link of familiar connexion between Mr. Pitt and the present times.
In the same letter of April, 1861, Mr. Adams went on to say of Mr. Pitt: “he was surely a man whom it was quite impossible to know without loving him. During his last administration—forsaken by old friends, which he bitterly felt ; with declining health, and almost the whole weight of the Government on his own shoulders —so delightful was his temper, that with all my shortcomings no harsh word or look ever escaped him, but all towards me was kindness and indulgence.”
As a proof of this constant kindness, Mr. Adams related to me in conversation one of his reminiscences, as follows:—There had fallen vacant an office for life— a Commissionership of Lotteries, with very light duties, and with a salary, I think, of 300l. a year. It became, of course, an object of eager competition. Letters to ask for it poured in. Mr. Pitt desired Mr. Adams, as his private secretary, to take care of and to classify all those letters, and to bring them to him for his decision on an appointed day. When the time came, Mr. Adams brought them accordingly. “All these gentlemen must be answered in the negative,” said Mr. Pitt. “I do not design the office for any one of them. I have another person in view; and that person is yourself!” Mr. Adams added, that though of course greatly pleased at receiving this post for life, he felt the value of the gift inexpressibly enhanced by the cordial manner and the kindly surprise.
Since the decease of Mr. Adams, his son has further communicated to me a letter written by him on the day after the decease of Mr. Pitt. It is addressed to
his brother-in-law, Mr. Thomas Peregrine Courtenay,