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The Creevey Papers
Ch. I: 1793-1804

Vol. I. Contents
‣ Ch. I: 1793-1804
Ch. II: 1805
Ch. III: 1805
Ch. IV: 1806-08
Ch. V: 1809
Ch. VI: 1810
Ch. VII: 1811
Ch. VIII: 1812
Ch. IX: 1813-14
Ch X: 1814-15
Ch XI: 1815-16
Ch XII: 1817-18
Ch XIII: 1819-20
Vol. II. Contents
Ch I: 1821
Ch. II: 1822
Ch. III: 1823-24
Ch. IV: 1825-26
Ch. V: 1827
Ch. VI: 1827-28
Ch. VII: 1828
Ch. VIII: 1829
Ch. IX: 1830-31
Ch. X: 1832-33
Ch. XI: 1833
Ch. XII: 1834
Ch XIII: 1835-36
Ch XIV: 1837-38
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The earliest letter preserved in the huge mass of Mr. Creevey’s correspondence is a very brief one; but it strikes the note which carried dismay and indignation into every court in Europe, and was the prelude to twenty years of widespread war.

Hon. Charles Grey, M.P. [afterwards 2nd Earl Grey], to Mrs. Ord.
“24th Jan., 1793.

“I have only a moment before the post goes out . . . . An account is come that the King of France was executed on Monday morning. Everything in Paris bore the appearance of another tumult and massacre. Bad as I am thought, I cannot express the horror I feel at this atrocity.

“Yours affectionately,
C. Grey.

There are few letters during the remaining years of the eighteenth century referring to anything except
private affairs of little interest.
Dr. J. Currie of Liverpool wrote pretty regularly to Mr. Creevey, who seems to have been reading for the Bar at this time.

Dr. Currie to Thomas Creevey.
“Liverpool, 30th Dec., 1795.

“. . . I once thought you a modest fellow—now I laugh at the very idea of it. Upon my soul, Creevey, it was all a damned hum. What with your election songs and your rompings—what with your carousings with the men and your bamboozlings with the women, you are a most complete hand indeed. Widow, wife, or maid, it is all one to you. . . . If you go on in this way, and keep out of Doctors Commons, the Lord knows what you may rise to. . . .”

“17th Dec., 1798.

“. . . I am, I assure you, deeply concerned to hear that you think so poorly of Dr. Tennant’s health; and perfectly disturbed to think that he has had any trouble about my thermometers.* The truth is I wished to avail myself of his intuitive skill in framing an instrument free of all exception for taking heat in contagious diseases where approach is hazardous. But since he left us . . . I have so far succeeded in constructing a sensible [? sensitive] instrument with Six’s iron index as to answer my purpose. . . . I have done very little but read Voltaire since I saw you. He is an exquisite fellow. One thing in him is peculiarly striking—his clear knowledge of the limits of the human understanding. He pursues his game as far as the scent carries him, but no further. Where this fails, he turns off with a jest, that marks distinctly where a wise man ought to stop. . . . You know, my dear fellow, I owe the delight of reading him to you.”

* The most enduring part of Dr. Currie’s work as a physician consists in the advance he made in the use of the thermometer in fevers.

“20th Jan., 1801.

“. . . I envy you the company you keep. When you tell me of meeting Erskine, Parr and Mackintosh familiarly, I sigh at my allotment in this corner of the Island. It is impossible not to rust here, even if one had talents of a better kind. In London, and perhaps there only, practice and exercise keep men polished and bright. . . . So you are become an intimate friend of Lady Oxford. My dear Creevey—these women—these beautiful women—are the devil’s most powerful temptation—but I will not moralize, on paper at least. . . .”

In 1802 Mr. Creevey was returned to Parliament as member for Thetford, a pocket borough in the gift of the Duke of Norfolk. How he obtained this nomination there is no evidence to show; but he was an enthusiastic Whig of the advanced type which was about to reject that time-worn title, and adopt the more expressive one of Radical. Indeed, the animosity of this section against the old Whigs, under the lead of Lord Grenville, was almost as intense as it was against the Tories under Pitt.

Sir Francis Burdett, M.P., to Mr. Creevey, M.P.
“Piccadilly, August 18th, 1802.

“I have scarcely time to turn round, but will not defer sending a line in answer to your very kind letter—as I am entirely of your opinion in every point. I look upon your advice as excellent, and intend consequently to follow it. You know by this time the Petition is taken out of my hands, in a manner most flattering and honourable. The conduct of the Sheriffs I believe quite unprecedented, but whether they will be punished, protected or rewarded exceeds my sagacity to foretell, perhaps both the latter.

“I regard the issue of this contest exactly in the same light as you do—a subject of great triumph and not of mortification. My friend is compleatly satisfied.
I have done my duty and the Public acknowledge it—surely this is sufficient to satisfy the ambition of an honest man.

“I, however, cannot help envying you your happiness and comfort, and wish most heartily I was of the party. You cannot think how friendly Ord was nor how much I feel obliged to him—we used his house, but I hope not injure it.

Sherry is quite grown loving again; he came here yesterday with all sorts of [illegible] from the Prince, Mrs. Fitzherbert, &c., &c.; it is a year and half, I believe before this Election, since we almost spoke. Mrs. Sheridan came one day on the Hastings, and was much delighted and entertained at being hailed by the multitude as Mrs. Burdett. . . .

“Yours sincerely,
F. Burdett.”
Mr. Creevey, M.P., to Dr. Currie.
“Great Cumberland Place, 8th Nov., 1802.

“. . The Grenvilles are in great spirits; the Morning Post, and Morning Chronicle too, are strongly suspected of being in their pay, and to-day it is said Tom Grenville is to be started as Speaker against Abbott. Great are the speculations about Pitt: it is asserted that he is fonder of his relations [the Grenvilles] than the Doctor,* but I hear of no authority for this opinion. I, for one, if they try their strength in the choice of a Speaker, tho’ I detest Abbott, will vote for him or anybody else supported by Addington, in opposition to a Grenville or a Pittite. I am affraid of this damned Addington being bullied out of his pacific disposition. He will be most cursedly run at, and he has neither talents to command open coadjutors, nor sufficient skill in intriguing to acquire private ones. Still I think we cannot surely be pushed again into the field of battle.

“Now for France—all the world has been there, and various is the information imported from thence.

* The Right Hon. Henry Addington, created Viscount Sidmouth in 1805. He was nicknamed “the Doctor” because his father was a physician.

Whishaw was my first historian, and I think the worst. He was at Paris only a fortnight, but he travelled through France. I apprehend, either from a scanty supply of the language or of proper introductions, he has been merely a stage coach traveller. He has seen soldiers in every part of his tour, and superintending every department of the Government . . . and has returned quite scared out of his wits at the dreadful power and villainy of the French Government. . . . Romilly* is my next relator, and much more amusing. His private friends were the Liancourts, de la Rochefoucaults, &c., and he dined at different times with Talleyrand, Berthier, and all the other Ministers at their houses. Ministers, however, and statesmen are alike in all countries; they alone are precluded from telling you anything about the country in whose service they are, and emigrants are too insecure to indulge any freedom in conversation. Romilly’s account, therefore, as one might suppose, makes his society of Paris the most gloomy possible. He says at Talleyrand’s table, where you have such magnificence as was never seen before in France, the Master of the House, who as an exile in England without a guinea was the pleasantest of Men, in France and in the midst of his prosperity sits the most melancholy picture apparently of sorrow and despair. Romilly sat next to Fox at Talleyrand’s dinner, and had all his conversation to himself; but not a word of public affairs—all vertu and French belles lettres. Romilly would not grace the court of Buonaparte, but left Paris with as much detestation of him and his Government as Whishaw, and with much more reason.

“But the great lion of all upon the subject of Paris is Mackintosh.† He has really seen most entertaining things and people. He, too, dined with Ministers, and has held a long consultation with the Consul

* Samuel Romilly, K.C., entered Parliament in 1806, appointed Solicitor-General, and was knighted. An ardent Reformer, and father of the first Lord Romilly, he committed suicide in 1818.

Sir James Mackintosh [1765-1832], barrister, philosopher, and politician.


upon the Norman and English laws; but his means of living with the active people of France has far exceeded that of any other English. I think his most valuable acquaintance must have been
Madame de Souza. She is a Frenchwoman, was a widow, and is now the wife of the Portuguese ambassador. She is the friend and companion and confidante of Madame Buonaparte, and satisfied all Mackintosh’s enquiries respecting her friend and her husband the Consul. Her history to Mackintosh (confirmed by Madame Cabarenne, late Madame Tallien) of Madame Buonaparte and her husband is this.—Madame Buonaparte is a woman nearly fifty, of singular good temper, and without a little of intrigue. She is a Creole, and has large West India possessions. On these last accounts it was that she was married by the Viscount Beauharnois—a lively nobleman about the old Court; and both in his life and since his death his wife remained a great favorite in Paris.

“Immediately previous to the directorial power being established in 1795, the Sections all rose upon the Convention or Assembly, whatever it was, in consequence of an odious vote or decree they had made. At this period, no general would incur the risque of an unsuccessful attack upon the Sections; Buonaparte alone, who was known only from having served at the siege of Toulon, being then in Paris, said if any General would lend him a coat, he would fight the Sections. He put his coat on; he peppered the Sections with grape shot; the establishment of the Directory was the consequence to them, and to him in return they gave the command of the army of Italy.* He became, therefore, the fashion, and was asked to meet good company, and he was asked to Tallien’s to put him next the widow Beauharnois, that he might vex Hoche, who was then after her and her fortune. Madame Tallien did so, and the new lovers were

* Napoleon’s own report upon the suppression of the Sections places the responsibility of the act upon Barras, who employed him merely as a good artillery officer. Before being appointed to the command of the army in Italy, in 1796, Bonaparte was rewarded, in 1795, for his action against the Sections by succeeding Barras in command of the army of the Interior.

married in ten days. She never was
Barras’ mistress; Madame Cabarenne (Tallien that was) told Mackintosh that was calumny, for that she herself was his mistress at that very time.* Madame de Souza says no one but Madame Buonaparte could live with the Consul; he is subject to fits of passion, bordering upon derangement, and upon the appearance of one of these distempered freaks of his, he is left by all about him to his fate and to the effects of time. It is a service of great danger, even in his milder moments, to propose anything to him, and it is from his wife’s forbearance in both ways that she can possibly contrive to have the respect she meets with from him.

“Every wreck of the different parties in France for the last ten years that is now to be found in Paris, Mackintosh met and lived familiarly with—La Fayette, [illegible], Jean Bon Saint-Andre, Barthelemy, Camille Jourdan, Abbé Morelaix, Fouche, Boissy Danglas, &c., &c. Tallien† no one visits of his countrymen; his conversations with Mackintosh, if one had not his authority, surpass belief. His only lamentation over the revolution was its want of success, and that it should be on account of only half measures having been adopted. He almost shed tears at the mention of Danton, whom he styled bon enfant, and as a man of great promise.

Mackintosh dined at Barthelemy’s the banker—the brother of the ex-director—with a pleasant party. The ex-director was there, and next to him sat Fouché—now a senator—but who formerly, as Minister of Police, actually deported the ex-director to Cayenne. There was likewise a person there who told M. he had seen Fouché ride full gallop to preside at some celebrated massacre, with a pair of human ears stuck one on each side of his hat.‡ The conversation of

* The beautiful Madame de Tallien, previously Comtesse de Fontenay, was as fickle as she was frail, for she was also the mistress of the rich banker Ouvrard. Tallien obtained a divorce in 1802, and she married the Prince de Chimay.

Jean Lambert Tallien, one of the chief organisers and bloodiest agents of the Terror, leader in the overthrow of Robespierre.

Joseph Fouché, afterwards Duc d’Otranto, had as yet but accomplished half his cycle of cynical tergiversation, which brought him to

this notable assembly was as charming as the performers themselves; it turned principally upon the blessings of peace and humanity,

“All the others whom I have mentioned above have no connection with Fouché or Tallien, and are reasonable men, perfectly unrestrained in their conversation, quite anti-Buonapartian, and as much devoted to England. To such men Fox has given great surprise by his conversation, as he has given offence to his friends here. He talks publicly of Liberty being asleep in France, but dead in England. He will be attacked in the House of Commons certainly, and I think will find it difficult to justify himself. He has been damned imprudent.”

At the time of Creevey’s entrance to the House of Commons, Pitt was in seclusion. He had retired from office in March, 1801, putting up the former Speaker, Mr. Addington, as Prime Minister and Leader of the House of Commons. George III. heartily approved of this arrangement, although on the face of it were all the signs of instability. Taking Pitt and Addington aside at the Palace one day—“If we three keep together,” said he, “all will go well.” But as the months went on, Pitt chafed at his own inactivity and fretted at the incapacity of his nominee. Pitt’s friends were importunate for his return; he himself was burning to take the reins again, but was too proud, perhaps too loyal to Addington, to adopt overt action to effect it. Moreover, Addington, who had been an excellent Speaker, had no suspicion of the poor figure he cut as head of the Government. It never occurred to him to take any of the numerous hints offered by Canning and other Tories, until the necessity for some change was forced upon him by

office under Louis XVIII, after the fall of Napoleon. He died in 1820, a naturalised Austrian subject, having amassed enormous wealth.

the imminence of disaster from the disaffection of his followers. He offered to resign the Treasury in favour of a peer, Pitt and he to share the administration of affairs as Secretary of State. This proposal Pitt brushed contemptuously, almost derisively, aside; matters went on as before, except that the former friendship of Pitt and Addington was at an end. When Parliament met on 24th November, Pitt did not appear in the House.

Mr. Creevey to Dr. Currie.
“25th Nov., 1802.

“I went yesterday to the opening of our campaign, with some apprehension, I confess, as I knew Fox was to be there, least his sentiments upon the subject of France and England should diminish my esteem for him. His conduct, however, and his speech were, in my mind, in every respect perfect; and if he will let them be the models for his future imitation, he will keep in the Doctor and preserve the peace. God continue Fox’s prudence and Pitt’s gout! The infamous malignity and misrepresentation of that scoundrel Windham did injury only to himself: never creature less deserved it than poor Fox. You cannot imagine the pleasure I feel in having this noble animal still to look up to as my champion. Nothing can be so whimsical as the state of the House of Commons. The Ministers, feeble beyond all powers of caricaturing, are unsupported—at least by the acclamations—of that great mass of persons who always support all Ministers, but who are ashamed publicly to applaud them. They are insulted by the indignant, mercenary Canning, who wants again to be in place, and they are openly pelted by the sanguinary faction of Windham and the Grenvillites as dastardly poltroons, for not rushing instantly into war. Under these circumstances their only ally is the old Opposition. . . . If they are so supported, I see distinctly that Fox will at least have arrived at this situation that, tho’ unable to be Minister himself, he may in fact
prevent one from being turned out. . . . God send Pitt and
Dundas anywhere but to the House of Commons, and much might, I think, be done by a judicious dandling of the Doctor.

Lord Henry Petty and I dined together yesterday. He is as good as ever. We both took our seats behind old Charley.”

The treaty of Amiens had been concluded in March, 1802, but Bonaparte’s restless ambition, and especially his desire to re-establish the colonial power of France, menaced the maritime ascendancy of Great Britain, and Addington watched uneasily the war-clouds gathering again upon the horizon.

In February, 1803, M. Talleyrand demanded from Lord Whitworth, British Ambassador in Paris, an assurance of the speedy evacuation of Malta by King George’s Government, in compliance with the tenth article of the Treaty of Amiens, which provided for the restoration of that island to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. In reply to this, Lord Whitworth was instructed to point to the aggrandisement of France subsequent to and in contravention of the terms of the said treaty as justifying the British Government in delaying the evacuation. On 18th February Lord Whitworth had a personal interview with the First Consul, when he failed to obtain from him any admission of the violation by the French of the treaty, or any assurance that the redress claimed for certain British subjects would receive consideration. Negotiations dragged on till, on 13th March, Whitworth had a stormy interview with Bonaparte, who charged the British Government with being determined to drag him into war. Finally, on 12th May the rupture was complete; Lord Whitworth requested his passport, and the two countries were at war.

1793-1804.] SIR JOHN MOORE. 11
Mr. Creevey to Dr. Currie.
“11th March, 1803.

“. . . No one knows the precise point on which the damn’d Corsican and the Doctor* have knocked their heads together, but I must think, till I know more, that Addington has been precipitate. The injury done is incalculable. I defy any man to have confidence in public credit in future, till a perfectly new order of things takes place. . . . As long as the neighbouring Monster lives, he will bully and defy us; and being once discovered, as it now is, that even Addington will bluster as well as him in return, I see no prospect of prosperity in this country, that is—the prosperity of peace—as long as Buonaparte lives. . . . Was it not lucky that I sold out at 74¼? They are to-day about 64.

“7th April, 1803.

“. . . I have barely time to say that of all the Men I have ever seen, your countryman General Moore† is the greatest prodigy. I thank my good fortune to have seen so much of him—such a combination of acknowledged fame, of devotion from all who have served under him—of the most touching simplicity and yet most accomplished manners—of the most capital understanding, captivating conversation, and sentiments of honour as exalted as his practice. . . . Think of such a beast as Pitt treating, almost with contempt, certainly with injury, such a man as Moore. . . .”


“. . . I think if I was to say anything more about General Moore to you than what I wrote to you from the House of Commons, it would only be diffusive. . . . I never saw the Man before who made me think so much about him after each time that I had seen him. We all think of him with the same devotion. . . .”

* Mr. Addington.

General Sir John Moore, K.B.

Dr. Currie to Mr. Creevey.
“Liverpool, May 1st, 1803.

“I was infinitely obliged by your last report, and beg of you to give me another, as matters draw fast to a crisis. I will expect to have a few lines at latest by the post of Wednesday.

“I fear this Billy* will come in after all.

“I have to tell you one or two things about your friends here.

“First, I have been attending your aunt, Mrs. Eaton, who was very ill, but is recovered. I was to have written to you about the time she got better, but neglected it. But in answer to her earnest enquiries, I delivered your love (God forgive me) and your congratulations on her recovery. I said everything kind and civil for you to Eaton too, so that you are not to pretend that you did not hear of her illness. But you are now to write a few lines either to him or her as soon as convenient, saying what you see fit on so affecting an occasion—now do not forget this. I cannot think how the old lady came to trust herself in my hands, for I had just been in at the death of two of her neighbours, and I consider my being called to her as a symptom of great attachment to you, and probably in its consequences no way unfavourable to you. For I must tell you that she and I are wondrous great, and we talk you over by the half-hour together. She and he seem very much devoted to you. . . . They are quite pleased, too, with Mrs. Creevey.

“Give my love to Moore† when you see him. Scarlett‡ has been here with his brother; a very worthy fellow. He says you are coming on. What sort of a thing is this presentation? I see you are a nominee in the Boston election. I hope it is for Maddock, whom I know a little and like a good deal.

“We are all cursed flatt here about the spun out negociations. Nothing doing. Everything stagnated.

* Mr. Pitt.

Captain (afterwards Admiral Sir Graham) Moore, R.N., brother to Sir John Moore.

‡ Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer in 1834; created Lord Abinger in 1835.

We shall have war, because it is just the most absurd thing in creation.”

Mr. Creevey to Dr. Currie.
“Saturday, 7th May.

“No news is good news, you know they say, and at this moment I think it certainly is. Lord Whitworth was certainly at Paris on Wednesday night late, and I think he is traced as far as Thursday. It is equally certain that he had a new proposal from the Consul,* and this is still better news. There is a general inclination to-day to think we shall have peace after all. . . .”

“11th May.

“. . . I supped last night with Fox at Mrs. Bouverie’s . . . There were there Grey, Whitbread, Lord Lauderdale, Fitzpatrick, Lord Robert Spencer,† Lord John Townshend and your humble servant. . . . You would be perfectly astonished at the vigour of body, the energy of mind, the innocent playfulness and happiness of Fox. The contrast between him and his old associates is the most marvellous thing I ever saw—they having all the air of shattered debauchees, of passing gaming, drinking, sleepless nights, whereas the old leader of the gang might really pass for the pattern and the effect of domestic good order. . . . A telegraphic dispatch announces that Lord Whitworth has left Paris.”‡

“Saturday, 14th May.

“. . . A messenger has arrived to-day who left Paris at 9 o’clock Thursday night, and Lord Whitworth was to leave it in the night, or rather morning, at two; so I presume he will be in England on Monday. Think only what a day Monday or Tuesday will be in the House of Commons! and think likewise what a damn’d eternal fool the Doctor must turn out to be. Upon my soul! it is too shocking to think of the wretched destiny of mankind in being placed

* Bonaparte.

† Third son of the 3rd Duke of Marlborough,

‡ News was telegraphed by semaphore signals.

in the hands of such pitiful, squirting politicians as this accursed Apothecary* and his family and friends! . . .”

On 16th May the King sent a message to the House of Commons calling upon it to support him in resisting the aggressive policy of France and the ambitious schemes of the First Consul. Pitt might no longer hold aloof.

Mr. Creevey to Dr. Currie.
“16th May.

“. . . I supped with Fox, Grey, &c., &c., last night at Whitbread’s. Fox says there are no state papers to be given us; the whole dispute has been carried on by conversation. It began in consequence of some intemperate furious expression of Buonaparte; it related to Egypt. . . . The Consul got irritated; said he would put himself at the head of his army and invade England. But the offence is about Egypt. He said upon this subject—Nous l’aurons malgre vous! Fox says he believes this conversation to be the origin of the dispute, and that our claims upon Malta are in the way of recognizance to make Buonaparte keep the peace. . . .”


“. . . This damned fellow Pitt has taken his seat and is here, and, what is worse, it is certain that he and his fellows are to support the war. They are to say the time for criticism is suspended; that the question is not now whether Ministers have been too tardy or too rash, but the French are to be fought. Upon my soul! the prospect has turned me perfectly sick. . . .”


“. . . It is really infinitely droll to see these old rogues so defeated by the Court and Doctor. I really think Pitt is done: his face is no longer red, but yellow; his looks are dejected; his countenance I

* Mr. Addington.

1793-1804.]THE RETURN OF PITT.15
think much changed and fallen, and every now and then he gives a hollow cough. Upon my soul, hating him as I do, I am almost moved to pity to see his fallen greatness. I saw this once splendid fellow drive yesterday to the House of Lords in his forlorn, shattered equipage, and I stood near him behind the throne till two o’clock this morning. I saw no expression but melancholy on the fellow’s face—princes of the blood passing him without speaking to him, and, as I could fancy, an universal sentiment in those around him that he was done. . . .”

An offer of mediation between Britain and France having been received from the Emperor Alexander of Russia, a debate arose in the House of Commons.

24th May, 1803.

“. . . Lord Hawkesbury* then began and made a very elaborate speech of two hours, containing little inflammatory matter, and being a fair and reasonable representation of his case and justification of the war. Erskine followed in the most confused, unintelligible, inefficient performance that ever came from the mouth of man. Then came the great fiend himself—Pitt—who, in the elevation of his tone of mind and composition, in the infinite energy of his style, the miraculous perspicuity and fluency of his periods, outdid (as it was thought) all former performances of his. Never, to be sure, was there such an exhibition; its effect was dreadful. He spoke nearly two hours—all for war, and for war without end. He would say nothing for Ministers, but he exhorted or rather commanded them to lose no time in establishing measures of finance suited to our situation. . . . Wilberforce made an inimitable speech for peace and on grounds the most calculated for popular approbation. . . . It is said the House of Commons never behaved so ill as in their reception of this speech. They tried over and over again to cough him down, but without effect. . . .”

* Afterwards Earl of Liverpool and Prime Minister.


The speech referred to above was universally acknowledged as one of the finest ever delivered by Pitt; but it is not included among his published speeches, owing to the accidental exclusion of reporters from the gallery. Fox replied on the second night of the debate in a speech of equal merit; but there is a gap in Creevey’s letters covering the whole of the rest of the session, and we know not, though we may imagine, the effect of his leader’s eloquence upon his mind. His next letter to Dr. Currie deals with a matter of common criticism and objection at the present day, by men of all parties—namely, the anomaly of the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland. Nobody can explain its merits: its defects are patent to everybody; while the selection of a peer to fill what ought to be one of the most responsible posts in any administration, has to be made from a very limited number, with more regard to their private means than to their capacity for public service; so excessive is the expenditure entailed upon the Lord Lieutenant’s private income. It is apparent from the following letter that the objection is nearly as old as the Union:—

Mr. Creevey to Dr. Currie.
“22nd Aug., 1803.

“. . . I saw a great deal of Sheridan. We dined together several times, got a little bosky, and he took great pains to convince me he was sincere and confidential with me. . . . A plan of his relates to Ireland, and it is the substitution of a Council for the present Viceroy, the head of the Council to be the Prince of Wales, his assistants to be Lord Moira, Lord Hutchinson and Sheridan himself. The Prince is quite heated upon the subject; nothing else is discussed by them. Lord Hutchinson is as deep in the design as any of them, but God knows it is about as probable as the
1793-1804.]PER MARE ET TERRAS.17
embassy of
old Charley* to Russia. I believe Sherry is very much in the confidence of the Ministers. They have convinced him of the difficulty of pressing the King for any attentions to the Prince of Wales; he is quite set against him, and holds entirely to the Duke of York, who, on the other hand, is most odious to the Ministry. . . . Have you begun your visits to Knowsley yet? . . . If you see Mrs. Hornby, cultivate her. She is an excellent creature; her husband, the rector, is the most tiresome, prosy son of a —— I ever met with, but is worthy. . . .”

General Sir John Moore to Mr. Creevey.
“Sandgate, 15th Sept., 1803.

“. . . The newspapers have disposed of me and my troops at Lisbon and Cherbourgh, but we believe that we have not moved from this place. I begun to despair of seeing you here, and am quite happy to find that, at last, I am to have that pleasure. If the Miss Ords do not think they can trust to the Camp for beaux, or if they have any in attendance whose curiosity to see soldiers they may chuse to indulge, assure them that whoever accompanies them shall be cordially received by everybody here. . . .”

Capt. Graham Moore, R.N., to Mr. Creevey.
“Plymouth, August 7th, 1803.

“. . . I never had to do with a new ship’s company before made up of Falstaff’s men—‘decayed tapsters,’ &c., so I do not bear that very well and I get no seamen but those who enter here at Plymouth, which are very few indeed. The Admiralty will not let me have any who enter for the ship at any of the other ports, which cuts up my hopes of a tolerable ship’s company. . . . I hear sometimes from my brother Jack.† He says they have had a review of his whole Corps before the Duke of York. . . . My mother was more delighted with the scene than any boy or girl of fifteen. N.B.—she is near 70. . . . She is an excellent mother of a soldier. I am not afraid of showing her

* Mr. Fox. General Sir John Moore.

Mrs. Creevey, altho’ she is of a very different cast from what she has generally lived with. If Mrs. Creevey does not like her, I shall never feel how the devil she came to like me.

Jack says his Corps are not at all what he would have them, yet that they will beat any of the French whom he leads them up to. I am convinced the French can make no progress in England, and do not believe now that they will attempt it; but how is all this to end? However that may be, as I am in for it, I wish to God I was tolerably ready, and scouring the seas. What the devil can Fox mean by his palaver about a military command for the Prince of Wales? That may come well enough from Mrs. Barham perhaps.”

Indefatigable, Cawsand Bay, Sept. 16th, 1803.

“. . . It has pleased the Worthies aloft to keep us in expectation of sailing at an hours notice since Sunday last. This is very proper, I am sure, and rather inconvenient too. I hate to be a-going agoing. It is disagreeable to Jack, because I have sent all his wives and his loves on shore, and altho’ I have made him an apology, he must think the Captain is no great things. The blackguards will know me by-and-by. They seem a tolerable set, and I am already inclined to love them. If they fight, I shall worship them. . . . There is another very fine frigate here, as ready as we are—the Fisgard, commanded by a delightful little fellow, Lord Mark Kerr.* He is an honour to Lords as they go. . . . If there is to be a war with Spain, it would be well to let us know of it before we sail, as money—altho’ nothing to a philosopher—is something to me. I am growing old, and none of the women will have me now if I cannot keep them in style, and you know there is no carrying on the war ashore in the peace, when it comes, without animals of that description. . . . The most cheerful fellow on politics is my brother Jack; you’ll hear no croaking from him. He says it’s all nonsense. . . .”

* Third son of the 5th Marquess of Lothian: married the Countess of Antrim in her own right, and became father of the 4th and 5th Earls of Antrim. Died in 1840.

1793-1804.] THE FRONT BENCH. 19
Mr. Creevey to Dr. Currie.
“London, Dec. 21, 1803.

“. . . My impression of Addington and his colleagues during this short part of the Session, has been pretty much what it has heretofore been. They are, upon my soul, the feeblest—lowest almost—of Men, still more so of Ministers. When there is anything like a general attack upon them, they look as if they felt it all; they blush and look at one another in despair; they make no fight; or, if they offer to defend themselves, no one listens but to laugh at them. When the House is empty and their enemies are scattered, they rally and fall in a body upon Windham, call him all kinds of names, and adopt all kinds of the most unfounded misrepresentations of his sentiments. Upon these occasions they are quite altered men; they talk loud and long, and cheer one another enough to pull the house down. These periodical triumphs look well upon paper, and no doubt must captivate a great portion of the publick; but rely upon it, the bitterest enemy Windham has in the world, who is possessed of any sense and any character, turns with disgust from the sound of these low-lived philippics. Bad—miserable as I have heard Erskine in the House of Commons, never was he so execrable as on the night when you rejoice that he attacked Windham. These creatures of imbecillity have no such thing as a plan; they live by temporary expedients from hand to mouth—by the contrary views and characters of their opponents—by that very feebleness which in itself cannot rouse up personal animosity in nobler minds—by low cunning—by appropriate adoption of humility and impudence. In addition to all this, they have done what the worst men might have done—they have most wickedly and wantonly plunged us into this contemptible war, and the just reputation of their besotted folly throughout the world is a security for our remaining in it, till chance or accident shall relieve us.

“With all their faults, I confess they are well-behaved and civil, as compleatly so as your own
servant can be, and I must believe that, had they no restraint upon them from their Master, the mediocrity of their understandings, their situation in life, their private characters and turns of mind, would not permit them to think of gratifying any ambition or resentment by either desolating the world by war or tyrannically invading the liberties of their country.

“The impression of Pitt was what his enemies most triumphantly delight in; but what they never could have been sanguine enough to expect, his speech was the production of the dirtiest of mankind, and so it was received. His intimates—his nearest neighbours—Canning and Co., sat mute, astounded and evidently thinking themselves disgraced by the shuffling tacticks of their military leader. His lingering after Addington, tho’ at open war with him in print—his caution of touching either Fox or Windham, those proscribed victims of fortune—his senseless vapouring and most untrue and envious criticism upon volunteers, and, above all, his officious and disgusting sentiment as to the recovery of his Majesty’s electoral dominion,* accommodated all his hearers with sufficient reasons for condemnation, and, for once in his life, I have no doubt this prodigy of art and elocution had in his favorite theatre not a single admirer. Canning and Sturges, talking to me afterwards about the excellence of Fox’s speech, said what a pity it was Pitt had not taken the same manly part. I asked why he had not done so, and they shrugged up their shoulders and said a man who had been minister eighteen years was a bad opposition man.

Old Charley was himself, and of course was exquisitely delightful. Unfettered by any hopes or fears—by any systems or connection—he turned his huge understanding loose amongst these skirmishers, and it soon settled, with its usual and beautiful perspicuity, all the points that came within the decision of reasoning, judgment, experience and knowledge of mankind. In addition to the correctness of his views and delineations, he was all fire and simplicity and sweet temper; and the effect of these united perfections upon the House was as visible in his favor as

* The kingdom of Hanover.

their disappointment and disgust had been before at the unworthy performance of
Colonel Pitt.

“It is almost too advanced a state of my letter to take in the Windhams and Co. We all know that he and the Grenvilles have been the merciless bloodhounds of past times, and no friend of Fox can ever forget or forgive the bitter malignity with which Windham pursued and hunted down the great and amiable creature. But as a party, and with such a foil to it as the present administration, they are entitled to greater weight than they have.”

One constantly hears lamentation from grave persons over the deterioration of the House of Commons from some past ideal; but just as people are accustomed now to look back upon the time when Pitt and Fox were protagonists as the true parliamentary golden age, so it was in that day. In concluding this long letter, Creevey, who had just one year of parliamentary experience, moralises upon the lowered tone of the debates.

Windham, Lord Grenville and Elliott have great parliamentary talents, and Tom Grenville is most respectable in the same way, and of a high and unsullied character. They are of the old school as compared with the Ministry; they are full of courage, of acquirements, of elevated manners; there is nothing low in the fellows, there is no cringing to power or popularity. In Fox’s absence they are the only representatives of past and better days in Parliament.”

“21 Jan., 1804.

“. . . When I repeat any of Sheridan’s opinions, I do so with more doubt than in stating the opinions of any other persons, for he has acquired such tricks at Drury Lane, such skill in scene-shifting, that I am compelled by experience to listen with distrust to him. For the last three months he has been damning Fox in the midst of his enemies, and in his drunken and unguarded moments has not spared him even in the
circles of his most devoted admirers. He did so at Woburn, the
Duke of Bedford’s, and was (as you may have heard) challenged for it upon the spot by Adair.* Whitbread, who was present and who made it up (for Sheridan accepted the challenge), told me all the particulars. Now he apparently is much pacified and less inclined to volunteer his panegyric upon the Doctor;† and if one may venture to guess at the motive in so perfect a performer in all mysterious arts, I should say he had been damnably galled by the coldness with which Fox’s friends resented the abuse of the old fellow, and that the dinners and stupidity of Addington and his family parties had been but a poor recompense for his treachery to Fox, and that he was creeping back as well as he is able into his old place. Tierney, as you may suppose, would be dished by Pitt and Addington embracing, and he is therefore laboring to keep the present administration as it is, and with this view is incessantly intriguing for support of it. . . . I forget whether I ever told you of his inviting me to dinner once. It was to meet Brogden and Col. Porter, two cursed rum touches that he has persuaded to vote with him and to desert Fox; so I told Mrs. Creevey before I went that I was sure I was invited to be converted. Accordingly, after a decent time and a considerable allowance of wine had been consumed after dinner, my gentlemen begun to open their batteries upon me. I returned their fire by telling them I should save them much time and trouble by stating to them at once that my political creed was very simple and within a very narrow compass—that it was ‘Devotion to Fox.’ And so we all got to loggerheads directly, and jawed and drank till twelve or one o’clock, and I suppose I was devilish abusive, for they are all as shy as be damned of me ever since.”

* Sir Robert Adair [1763-1855], Whig member for Appleby, famous as the target of Canning’s frequent satire. Canning wrote of him as “Bawba-dara-adul-phoolah,” and introduced him to immortality by making him the hero of the ballad “Sweet Matilda Pottingen,” which was supposed to describe the course of Adair’s love when he was a student at Gottingen.


1793-1804.] PITT AND FOX AS ALLIES. 23

Pitt’s intolerance of Addington now passed into an active phase, and the unfortunate Prime Minister found himself under a cross-fire directed by the two most powerful men in the House—Pitt and Fox. The following notes dispel any doubt which may still exist as to the formal and explicit understanding between these ancient antagonists for the object which both had at heart, though for very different reasons, namely, the overthrow of Addington:—

Rt. Hon. Charles Fox to Mr. Creevey.
“Arlington St., Saturday [1804].
“Dear Sir,

“I enclose you a part of a letter from Grey. If you can speak to Brandling* upon the subject you may tell him that in all the divisions we shall have this next week, either Mr. Pitt will be with us or we with him.

C. J. Fox.”
Enclosure in above.

“I forgot yesterday to answer your question about Brandling. He is not at present in this county [Northumberland], and I don’t know whether he is in London or in Yorkshire. Creevey, his brother-in-law, will be able to suggest the best mode of applying to him; but I should think, notwithstanding his hatred of the Doctor, that he would not vote against him without Pitt.”

The unnatural alliance between Pitt and Fox was manifested in its least commendable aspect upon the occasion of Pitt’s motion for an inquiry into the administration of the First Lord of the Admiralty,

* Mr. Brandling, M.P. for Newcastle-on-Tyne, was Mrs. Creevey’s brother.

Earl St. Vincent, who had not only contributed to securing for his country the mastery of the ocean, but, by means of the Commission of Inquiry which he established as First Lord, had exposed and put an end to many abuses in the service. Pitt’s motion, of course, was hostile to the gallant admiral, through whose discredit he sought to bring Addington’s Government into disgrace; and Fox supported the motion in a speech the insincerity of which was not inferior to that of Pitt, and staggered even such a good party man as Creevey.

Capt. Graham Moore, R.N., to Mr. Creevey.
“Plymouth Dock, Feby. 1st, 1804.

“. . . I suppose you mean to join the set that prepare to worry the poor Doctor when Parliament meets. What can he do? He seems, or we seem, to do as well as Bonoparte—fretting and fuming and playing off his tricks from Calais to Boulogne and back again. The fellow has done too much for a mere hum; he certainly will try something, and I hope to be in at the death of some of his expeditions. If they do not take my men, we shall soon be ready for sea again. New copper, my boy! we shall sail like the wind. . . .”

Mr. Creevey to Dr. Currie.
“22 March, 1804.

“. . . With respect to the debate . . . nothing could be . . . so unlike a case against Lord St. Vincent: I really doubted the fidelity of my ears all the time I listened to him (Fox), he was so very unlike himself. His first reply was a great and striking display of his powers, but the charge against the Admiralty derived little support or elucidation from it. I confess I felt a wish that Fox would not have taken the part he did, because I cannot reconcile it to my notions either of private friendship or parliamentary justice to put a
1793-1804.]THE BONDS OF PARTY.25
man upon his trial, because I am sure he is innocent. There were, however, most powerful arguments urged by Fox that in a great measure reconciled me to the vote I gave, and indeed had they been much less and much weaker, I should most readily have gone with him. A Leader of a Party has a most difficult part imposed upon him on such an occasion. It is impossible he can be alone influenced by the abstract question of merit or demerit of the motion but of course must calculate in every way upon the effects of his vote. As a private of a party there is nothing so fatal to publick principle, or one’s own private respect and consequence, as acting for oneself upon great questions. I am more passionately attached every day to Party. I am certain that without it nothing can be done, and I am more certain from every day’s experience that the leader of the party to which I belong is as superior in talents, in enlightened views, in publick and private virtues, to all other party leaders as one human being can be to another. He must therefore give many, many votes that I may think are wrong, before I vote against him or not with him.

“I scarcely know an earthly blessing I would purchase at the expense of those sensations I feel towards the incomparable Charley!”

“2nd April.

“. . . The fact is I believe, as I have always done, that the Regal function will never more be exercised by him (George III.), and the Dr.* has most impudently assumed these functions in doing what he has done.

“And now again for speculation. I can swear to what Sheridan will try for, if the thing does not too suddenly come to a crisis. His insuperable vanity has suggested to him the brilliancy of being first with the Prince and governing his councils. He will, if he sees it practicable, try, and is now trying, to alienate the Prince from Fox, and to reconcile him to the wretched Addington. The effect of such a diabolical project is doubtless to be dreaded with a person so unsteady as the Prince; but then again there are

* Mr. Addington.

things that comfort me. If the Prince has a point on which he is uniform, it is a proud and just attachment to the old Nobility of the country, articles which fortunately find no place in the composition of the present ministers. His notion, too, of Sheridan, I believe, has not much to do with his qualities for a statesman. Devonshire House, too, is his constant haunt, where every one is against Sheridan; and where the Prince, at his own request, met
Grey three weeks ago and offered him any pledge as a security for his calling Fox to his councils whenever he had the power. Master Sherry does not know this, and of course it must not be known; but I know it and am certain of the fact. Sheridan displays evident distrust of his own projects, and is basely playing an under game as Fox’s friend, in the event of defeat to him and his Dr. I never saw conduct more distinctly base than his.”

“1st May.

“. . . The enemy of mankind is Pitt. I detest from the bottom of my heart him and all his satellites. I am sure, too, that, independent of his dispositions, his mind is of a mean and little structure, much below the requisite for times like these—active, intriguing and most powerful, but all in detail, quite incapable of accompanying the elevated views of Fox.”

Addington stuck stiffly to his post, but the forces allied against him in the Commons proved irresistible in the end; in May, 1804, he resigned, and Pitt entered upon his last administration. Addington showed no overt resentment for the rough handling he had received, and joined Pitt’s Cabinet as President of the Council in January, 1805, accepting at the same time the peerage which he had previously declined. Pitt would have given Fox a share in the administration hardly inferior to his own, but the King would not hear of it, and thus was lost for ever the noble project of uniting the chief political parties for the defence of the Empire.

1793-1804.] THE HOPE OF THE WHIGS. 27
Mr. Creevey to Dr. Currie.
“2nd May, 1804.

“. . . It is felt by the Pittites that the Prince and a Regency must be resorted to, and as the Prince evinced on every occasion the strongest decision in favor of Fox, the Pittites are preparing for a reciprocity of good offices. God send we may have a Regency, and then the cards are in our hands. I wish you had seen the party of which I formed one in the park just now. Lord Buckingham, his son Temple, Ld. Derby, Charles Grey,* Ld. Fitzwilliam, Canning, Ld. Morpeth† and Ld. Stafford.‡ . . . The four physicians were at Buckingham House this morning: feel certain he (the King) is devilish bad. . . .”

“3rd May.

“Under our present circumstances no news is good news, because it shows there are great difficulties in making the peace between the King and Pitt. . . . The King has communicated to him that he will see him to-morrow or Saturday, which communication Pitt immediately forwarded to Fox. There is, I hope, much value in these facts: they show, I hope, that the Monarch is done, and can no longer make Ministers; they show too, I hope, that Pitt thinks so. Why this delay at such a time if the King is well? Why this civility from Pitt to Fox? if the former did not suspect no good was to come of his interviews with his Master. We are all in better spirits—by ‘all,’ I mean the admirers of Fox and haters of Pitt. . . .”

“8th May.

“. . . I was too late for last night’s post, and besides I was struck dumb and lifeless by the elevation of that wretch Pitt to his former fatal eminence—sick to death, too, with something like a sensation of Fox’s disgrace and defeat, and of the

* Afterwards 2nd Earl Grey.

† Afterwards 6th Earl of Carlisle.

2nd Marquess of Stafford; created Duke of Sutherland in 1833.

termination of all our hopes. But I am better to-day; the Grenvilles and Wyndhamites have to a man stuck fast to Fox and refuse to treat with Pitt. The
Prince, too, loads Fox with caresses, and swears his father’s exception to Fox alone is meant as the last and greatest of personal injuries to himself, because the King knows full well that Fox is the first favorite of the Prince.”

Park Place, June 2nd, 1804.

“. . . Well—I think, considering we have certainly been out-jockeyed by the villain Pitt, we are doing famously. Pitt, I think, is in a damnable dilemma; his character has received a cursed blow from the appearance of puzzle in his late conduct, from the wretched farce of [illegible] turning out Addington, and keeping those who were worse than him; and from his having produced no military plans yet, after all his anathemas against the late Ministers for their delay. The country, I now firmly believe, was tired of Pitt and even of the Court, and conceived some new men and councils, and above all an union of all great men, was a necessary experiment for the situation. Pitt has disappointed this wish and expectation, and has shown no necessity that has compelled him so to do. He has all the air of having acted a rapacious, selfish, shabby part; he is surrounded by shabby partizans; in comparison with his own relations, the Grenvilles, he is degraded; he has no novelty to recommend him; his Master* is on the wane, and to a certain extent is evidently hostile to him. In addition to all this, the daily and nightly attendance of Dr. Simmonds and four physicians at Buckingham House must inevitably increase the Prince’s power, and diminish that of Pitt. I saw these five Drs. and Dundass, the surgeon from Richmond, come out of Buckingham House with Pitt half an hour ago. Simmonds and one of the physicians allways return at five in the evening—the former for the night—the latter for some hours. I have watched and know their motions well. This must end surely at no distant period—a Regency—and then I hope

* George III.

the game’s our own! In the mean time, these dinners and this activity of the Prince are certainly doing good, and our friends are much more numerous than expected. We are a great body—the Prince at the head of us.
Fox, Grey, &c., are all in great spirits. . . . Your humble servant partakes in the passing festivities of these Opposition grandees. I dine to-morrow at Lord Fitzwilliam’s, this day week at Carlton House; Monday I dined at Lord Derby’s. I really believe I have played my cards, so far, excellently with these people.”

General Sir John Moore to Mr. Creevey.
“Sandgate, 27th Aug., 1804.

“. . . We understand that Government have positive information that we are to be invaded, and I am told that Pitt believes it. The experience of the last twelve months has taught me to place little confidence in the information or belief of Ministers, and as the undertaking seems to me so arduous, and offering so little prospect of success, I cannot persuade myself that Bonoparte will be mad enough to attempt it. He will continue to threaten, by which means alone he can do us harm. The invasion would, I am confident, end in our glory and in his disgrace.

“The newspapers continue to mention secret expeditions, and have sometimes named me as one of the Generals to be employed. I put these upon a par with the invasion. We have at present no disposeable force, and, if we had, I see no object worthy upon which to risk it. Thus, without belief in invasion or foreign expeditions, my situation here becomes daily more irksome, and I am almost reduced to wish for peace. I am tired of the confinement, without the occupation, of war.”

In the following letter from Dr. Currie occurs the first mention of one, hitherto unheard of, with whom Creevey was destined to be long and intimately
associated. Currie complains of the unfairness of
Henry Brougham’s criticism of “Lord Lauderdale’s very ingenious book.”

“2nd October, 1804.

“. . . The review of his book in the Edinr. Review is every way unfair and foul. It is by a scatter-brained fellow, one Brougham, who wrote two volumes on colonial policy, the two practical objects of which were—to abolish the slave-trade, and to propose that we should join our armies to those of the French for the extirpation of the Negroes of St. Domingo. . . . He has got a sort of philosophical cant about him, and a way of putting obscure sentences together, which seem to fools to contain deep meaning, especially as an air of consummate petulance and confidence runs through the whole. He has been taken up, I am told, by Wilberforce, and is paying his court to Pitt. He is a notorious prostitute, and is setting himself up to sale. It seems Ld. Lauderdale offended him by refusing to be introduced to him, but it is to pay court to Pitt, depend on it, that he writes as he does. . . . You may mention this to Mr. Grey.”

Lord Henry Petty [afterwards 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne] to Mr. Creevey.
“Bath, Nov. 23rd, 1804.

“. . . [We are] within a few doors here of Ld. Thurlow’s house, which has been recently honor’d with a Royal visit, when, as you may suppose, the whole scene of ministerial intrigue and family negociation was laid open: some legal business of importance was also transacted, for one lawyer came down with the P., and another was sent for while he remained. . . . Most probably it relates to some arrangement for the Princess. I am really glad to find he has conducted himself with so much firmness, and at the same time with some decorum. I give him the more credit for it, as I suspect the councils of
Carlton House are not composed of the most high-minded or immaculate statesmen.*

“I have received a long and interesting letter from Mr. Parnell with an account of the Catholic proceedings in Dublin, which have at last assumed a very formidable aspect. . . . He says—‘In a month’s time three millions of men will be formed into a well-disciplined and united body, headed by men of great wealth, and, what is better, great prudence. Weak as this Empire was in civil power, it is still further weakened by being divided with Foster;† so that I do not think I shall be mistaken in saying that all the moral force which influences men’s minds and their actions thro’ their opinions will be lodged in the hands of the Catholics; and unless the Irish Govt. can raise a rebellion, which I do not think they can, they will fall into an insignificance equal to their deserts.’ He adds that the meeting in Dublin was attended by upwards of eighty gentlemen, the poorest of whom has £2000 per ann. However the mere question of numbers may stand, Pitt’s situation must, I think, appear far more critical at the commencement of the ensuing, than at the close of the last, session. No army raised at home—no foreign connections made or improved—on the contrary, a new war unnecessarily undertaken, and ungraciously entered upon—the Catholic body united in their demands, founded on past promises, and a powerfull and unbroken Opposition ready and willing to support. If such a combination of circumstances does not shake the Treasury bench, what mortal power can? . . .”

* “At that period we had a kind of Cabinet, with whom I used to consult. They were the Dukes of York, Portland, Devonshire and Northumberland, Lord Guilford (that was Lord North), Lords Stormont, Moira and Fitzwilliam and Charles Fox.”—Statement by George IV. to J. W. Croker [The Croker Papers, i. 289].

Right Hon. J. Foster, Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland.