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The Creevey Papers
Samuel Romilly to Thomas Creevey, 23 September 1805

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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“Little Ealing, Sept. 23rd, 1805.
“Dear Creevey,

“I have just received your letter. . . . It has indeed very much surprised me, and I am afraid my answer to it will occasion as much surprise in you. I cannot express to you how much flattered I am by the honor which the Prince of Wales does me. No event in the whole course of my life has been so gratifying to me. . . . I have formed no resolution to keep out of Parliament; on the contrary, it has long been my intention and is still my wish, to obtain a seat in the House, though not immediately.* If I had been a member from the beginning of the

* He was elected member for Queenborough in 1806, on taking office as Solicitor-General in “All the Talents.”

present Parliament, my vote would have been uniformly given in a way which I presume would have been agreeable to the Prince of Wales. . . . Upon all questions I should have voted with
Mr. Fox; and yet, with all this, I feel myself obliged to decline the offer which his Royal Highness has the great condescension to make me. . . . When I was a young man, a seat in Parliament was offered me. It was offered in the handsomest manner imaginable: no condition whatever was annexed to it: I was told that I was to be quite independent, and was to vote and act just as I thought proper. I could not, however, relieve myself from the apprehension that . . . the person to whom I owed the seat would consider me, without perhaps being quite conscious of it himself, as his representative in Parliament . . . and that I should have some other than my own reason and conscience to account to for my public conduct. . . . In other respects, the offer was to me a most tempting one. I had then no professional business with which it would interfere. . . . As a young man, I was vain and foolish enough to imagine that I might distinguish myself as a public speaker. I weighed the offer very maturely, and in the end I rejected it. I persuaded myself that (altho’ that were not the case with others) it was impossible that the little talents which I possessed could ever be exerted with any advantage to the public, or any credit to myself, unless I came into Parliament quite independent, and answerable for my conduct to God and to my country alone. I had felt the temptation so strong that, in order to fortify myself against any others of the same kind, I formed to myself the unalterable resolution never, unless I held a public office, to come into Parliament but by a popular election, or by paying the common price for my seat. It is true that, when I formed this resolution, the possibility of a seat being offered me by the Prince of Wales had never entered into my thoughts, and that the rules which I had laid down to regulate my conduct ought perhaps to yield to such a circumstance as this. But yet I have so long acted on this resolution—the principles on which I formed it have become so much a part of the system of my life, and that life is now so far advanced, that I cannot
convince myself—proud as I am of the distinction which his Royal Highness is willing to confer upon me, that I ought to accept it. The answer that I should wish to give to his Royal Highness is to express in the strongest terms my gratitude for the offer, but in the most respectful possible way to decline it; and at the same time to say that, if his R. H. thinks that my being in Parliament can be at all useful to the public, I shall be very glad to procure myself a seat the first opportunity that I can find. But the difficulty is to know how to give such an answer with propriety. I am fearful that it may be thought, in every way that it occurs to me to convey it, not sufficiently respectful to his R. H., and from this embarrassment I know not how to relieve myself. My only recourse is to trust that you will be able to do for me what I cannot do for myself. . . .”