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occurrence there proves that it must then have been a well known anecdote.
Right Hon. T. B. Macaulay to Lord Mahon. DEAR MAHON, Albany, May 7, 1851.
It seems to me very strange that, if the story
about Charles and his clocks be true, it should not be in Brantôme. It is an anecdote after Brantôme's own heart. Observe, too, that he mentions the report that the Emperor “avoit tenu quelques propos legers de foy.”
I strongly suspect that the story originated in a frigid rhetorical conceit of Famianus Strada. You will find it in his first book: “Saepe fabricandis horologiis (quorum videlicet rotis multo quam Fortunae facilius temperabat) . . . . operam dare.”
Now, I think it almost impossible that Strada could have written thus, if the saying ascribed to Charles had already been famous. On the other hand it is easy to see how Strada's expressions, after being inaccurately translated, might be gradually distorted and expanded into something like the popular fable which Robertson has repeated. This is my present opinion. But I never examined the matter deeply, and may very likely be mistaken.
I return Mr. Stirling's letter. His articles are, as you say, very good.
Ever yours truly,
T. B. MACAULAY,
THE IRED COATS OF THE ARMY.
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Lord Mahon to the Right Hon. T. B. Macaulay.
\ly DEAR MACAULAY osvenor Place, * ay 17, 1851.
You have sometimes allowed me—as lately in the case of the Emperor Charles W. at San Yuste—to refer to you when I am asked an antiquarian question which I cannot answer. In the present instance I would appeal to you in your double capacity of student and of Secretary at War. Pray when was the British army for the first time clothed in red? That was the inquiry addressed to me yesterday by no less a person than the Duke of Wellington. I answered that I did not know exactly, but imagined it to be in the reign of Charles the Second. The Duke seemed to think that it was earlier, and that Monk's troops, for example, were Itedcoats.
What say you?
Right Hon. T. B. Macaulay to Lord Mahon.
DEAR MAHON, Albany, May 19, 1851.
The Duke is certainly right. The army of the Commonwealth was clothed in red. Remember Hudibras:—
“So Cromwell with deep oaths and vows
Ever yours truly,
BLUE AND BUFF.
IN the last volume of my ‘IIistory of England, as published at the beginning of 1854, I quoted a statement of Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, speaking of the year 1781 (“Memoirs, vol. ii., p. 2, ed. 1815), that Mr. Fox in the House of Commons constantly wore a blue frock-coat and a buff waistcoat. “Nor ought it to be forgotten,” says Sir Nathaniel, “that these colours then constituted the distinguishing badge or uniform of the American insurgents.”
I observed upon this passage that the authority of Wraxall, though very slight, might suffice for the fact of a dress. “Yet here,” I added, “I cannot but suspect some misrepresentation of the motive. It is hard to believe, even of the most vehement days of party spirit, that any Englishman could avowedly assume in the House of Commons the colours of those who, even though on the most righteous grounds, bore arms against England; and I should be willing to take in preference any other explanation that can be plausibly alleged.”
Some correspondence ensued upon the subject.
Lord Mahon to the Right Hon. Sir Robert Adair.
- Grosvenor Place, MY DEAR SIR ROBERT, March 14, 1854.
I avail myself of the acquaintance which—
though slight and at some years' distance—I had once the honour of forming with you, to take the liberty of addressing an inquiry to you respecting a point of bygone history. Sir —— —— assures me that you have a full recollection of a point on which some uncertainty exists; the circumstance, namely, that gave rise to the choice of Blue and Buff as the colours of the old Whig party. Would you have any objection to state to me, for the sake of historical accuracy, what you conceive the reason to have been 2
I would further beg leave to ask you whether you would allow me to cite your high authority as evidence upon this subject, should I have occasion to notice it in my next volume of ‘History P’
In any case I hope that you will be disposed to forgive the trouble I am giving you in this letter, and will believe me, &c. &c.,
Sir Robert Adair to Lord Mahon.
Chesterfield Street, MY DEAR LORD MAHON, March 15, 1854.
I am highly flattered by your letter, to which I fear, however, that I can give but a very imperfect answer. I have no recollection of any “circumstance” that gave rise to the adoption of Blue and Buff colours