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The Creevey Papers
Ch. IV: 1806-08

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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Pitt never rallied from the shock of Ulm and Austerlitz. Parliament was to meet on 21st January, 1806, and he travelled up from Bath by easy stages to his villa at Putney, where he arrived on the 11th, and invitations were issued for the customary official dinner of the First Lord of the Treasury on the 20th. But that dinner never took place. Lord Henry Petty had given notice of an amendment to the Address, censuring Pitt’s administration; but out of respect to a disabled foe, he did not move it, and the Address was agreed to without debate.

Hon. Charles Grey, M.P., to Mr. Creevey.
“Howick, Jan. 13, 1806.

“I received your letter last night, and had from other quarters the same reports of Pitt’s illness and resignation. I think you will probably find these among the false reports of the day. I cannot believe in his resigning again while he has breath; and as to his health, I shall not be surprised to see him making a speech of two hours on the first day of the Session.”

Pitt expired on 23rd January, and the old King had at last to have recourse to the Whigs. Lord
1806-08.]ALL THE TALENTS.75
Grenville formed a coalition Cabinet, nicknamed “All the Talents,” in which Fox held the seals of the Foreign Office, Grey was First Lord of the Admiralty, Addington, now Lord Sidmouth, took the Privy Seal, and Erskine as Whig Lord Chancellor balanced Ellenborough as Tory Lord Chief Justice with a seat in the Cabinet. Mr. Creevey’s past activity and promise of more were not overlooked, and he was appointed Secretary to the Board of Controul—a post which, as his friend Mr. (afterwards Lord) Grey wrote to him, was “better in point of emolument and of more real work” than a seat at the Board of Admiralty which was first intended for him, “and not obliging you to vacate your seat” in Parliament. Associated with this office were the duties of party whip, which Creevey began to discharge forthwith. Some of the Ministers seeking re-election on taking office had to fight fiercely for their seats; and it shows the confusion of the old party lines to find Lord Henry Petty opposed at Cambridge by Lord Palmerston and Lord Althorp—both of them Whigs; Lord Althorp and Lord Palmerston, who were both destined to lead the House of Commons as members of Whig administrations. Petty had accepted office as Chancellor of the Exchequer; Palmerston did not enter upon his twenty years of official work at the War Office until 1809. It was of this contest between Petty and Palmerston that Byron wrote in Hours of Idleness:—
“One on his power and place depends,
The other on the Lord knows what;
Each to some eloquence pretends,
Though neither will convince by that.”

Lord Henry Petty to Mr. Creevey.
“Cambridge, January, 1806.

“We go on well, and I hope to beat Palmerston even if Althorp stands, which is possible, for he tells me he is urged to continue, and tries to think he has some chance of success, which is out of the question. The Johnians have discovered that I am a lurking dissenter. . . . Some five Pittites proposed setting up Ld. Hadley to give the College an opportunity of showing its respect for the memory of Mr. P. by voting against Ld. Althorp and me.”

“Cambridge, 28th Jany., 1806.
“Dear Creevey,

“We go on as well as you will see by the list. I have a very handsome letter from Ld. Percy, who tells me he has written to the Master, Tutors and all his friends at St. John’s in my favor, but I fear they are all engaged to Palmerston. The latter, I am told, has 130 secure. Althorp does not give way, but I threaten with a formal proposal to compare strength, which discomposes him a good deal.

“Ever yrs.,
Hy. Petty.”

The Prince of Wales, as a keen party man, and considering himself leader of the Whigs, was not idle at such a crisis. He sent out his commands right and left; woe betide him who failed to vote as directed. Such, at least, was evidently the apprehension of one of his chaplains, who had rashly pledged himself without consulting his royal master’s wishes.

Rev. W. Price to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales.
“55, Upper John St., Fitzroy Square, Feb. 1st, 1806.

“Permit me to observe to Your Royal Highness, that few events in the course of my Life have impress’d me with more uneasiness than the Letter
which I have receiv’d from
Col. McMahon in which is intimated Your Royal Highness’s commands that I give my Interest to Lord Henry Petty as a Candidate for the University of Cambridge.

“I beg with all humility to assure Your Royal Highness, my Inclination no less than my Duty would dictate an obedience to Your Royal Highness upon this and every occasion, but I am to lament when I had the Honor to attend his Majesty at St. James’s with the Address from the University of Cambridge, Lord Spencer solicited my Vote in behalf of his Son Lord Althorp, when I, not conceiving Your Royal Highness had any commands on this occasion, promis’d to Lord Spencer that Vote which he now claims, informing me Your Royal Highness assur’d him yesterday you wou’d not have interfer’d in opposition to Ld. Althorp, had you known his intention to offer himself. I am therefore humbly to solicit Your Royal Highness’s indulgence, and that I may not suffer in your estimation on this occasion, and beg to profess how greatly I feel in Duty and Obedience.

“Your Royal Highness’s most devoted and
most humble Servant and Chaplain,
William Price.”
Lord Robert Spencer* to Mr. Creevey.
“Saturday night.
“Dear Creevey,

“Pray don’t forget that the responsibility rests with you as to C. Fox’s coming to town for Monday or not.

“Yrs. ever,
R. Spencer.”
Capt. Graham Moore, R.N., to Mr. Creevey.
Fame at the Nore, 6th Feb., 1806.

“. . . I think as you are now a staunch supporter of the Government, there can be no great harm in my corresponding with you. I own to you that, since

* Youngest son of the 3rd Duke of Marlborough.

Pitt’s death, I have been clearly of opinion that Charles Fox was the man whom I wished to see at the helm, and, altho’ I have long ceased to be very sangwine in my expectation with regard to the conduct of public men, yet I have hopes that we shall see a manly, decided line of conduct adopted by the present Muphties. . . . We are just on the point of weighing anchor, and are only waiting for daylight to see our way to St. Helens, where I am ordered. We have been manned a few days—so-so—about 90 of the Victory’s form the groundwork. They are not what you might expect from the companions of Nelson, but they will do with some whipping and spurring. We shall be tolerable in about six months; in the meantime we must do our best. . . .”

Mr. Creevey to Dr. Currie.
“July, 1806.

“. . . I dined at the London Tavern last night and there were eight Ministers of State and all the India directors, and secretaries and under-secretaries and fellow-servants of all descriptions without end, in all about 200, but the devil a bit of Turtle! upon which I thought little Kensington* would have cried. Sheridan and I were for crying ‘Off! off! off!’ and damning the whole piece on account of the absence of the principal performer. I sat opposite to Morpeth,† and I made him blush and laugh and almost cry all at once. I swore it was the beggarly budget that frightened the directors out of giving their masters turtle. My comrogues laughed, and the directors did not half like the joke. . . . You see my friend Mr. Howorth has been adding to the amusements of Brighton races by fighting a duel with Lord Barrymore. His lordship was his adversary at whist, and chose to tell him that something he said about the cards was ‘false;’ upon which Howorth gave him such a blow as makes the lord walk about at this moment with a black eye. Of

* The 2nd Lord Kensington.

† Lord Morpeth [1773-1848], afterwards 6th Earl of Carlisle, represented India in the new administration.

1806-08.]FOX’S LAST ILNESS.79
course a duel could not be prevented. When they got to the ground, Howorth very coolly pulled off his coat and said: ‘My lord, having been a surgeon I know that the most dangerous thing in a wound is having a piece of cloth shot into it, so I advise you to follow my example.’ The peer, I believe, despised such low professional care, and no harm happened to either of them.”

Six months had not gone by since Pitt breathed his last, when the health of his great rival, Fox, broke down. He appeared for the last time in the House of Commons on 10th June, already exceedingly ill, but determined to be at his post in order to move certain resolutions preparatory to the bill for abolishing the slave trade. This he accomplished, and the bill giving effect to these resolutions became law in the following year; but by that time Charles Fox was no more. He lingered till 13th September, 1806, and every bulletin during his last illness was anxiously watched for and canvassed by men and women of both parties in the State. Assuredly no public man was ever better beloved than Fox on account of his private qualities. Notwithstanding that his great natural abilities suffered damage, and his energies were diverted and impaired by his excessive conviviality and love of gambling, even his political enemies could not help loving the man. Pitt’s haughtiness repelled; Fox’s simplicity and sweetness of address attracted all hearts. Pitt’s talents and penetrating foresight commanded the confidence and gratitude of his followers; but it was not his lot to secure the passionate affection, approaching to idolatry, which was freely given to Fox.

Mrs. Creevey to Mr. Creevey.
“July 10, 1806.

“. . . Hester* and Sheridan dined with us yesterday, as well as Harry Scott, and we were extremely sociable and agreeable all the evening, until Lord and Lady Howick,† General Grey and Charlotte Hughes added to our party. Poor Charlotte! was rather ‘in the basket,’ for you know Ogles and Greys do not take much pains to make a stranger comfortable; but old Sherry with his usual good taste was very attentive to her. . . . Lord Howick was in better spirits and very amiable, no doubt owing to his improved hopes about Mr. Fox. He had been that morning for the first time convinced that he was materially better, both from the opinion of Vaughan and from having seen him—that his looks were wonderfully improved. He is sure his body and legs are lessened and Mr. Fox said himself, ‘whatever my disease has been, I am convinced it is much abated, and I think I shall do again.’ . . . Lord and Lady Howick and the General went away before 12, and then Sherry, who had been very good at dinner and most agreeable all the evening, seem’d to have a little hankering after a broiled bone . . . so in due time he had it.

Mr. Creevey to Dr. Currie.
“12th July.

“. . . Fox is a great deal better to-day certainly than he has ever been yet, and is walking about in his garden; so I hope to G— we shall all do. . . . We had a devil of a business last night altogether. We got off from the House to Sherry’s a little before 8—about 14 of us—without him, so I made him give me

* Mrs. Sheridan, née Lindley.

Sir Charles Grey of Howick having been created Earl Grey in this year, his eldest son assumed the courtesy title of Lord Howick.

Mrs. Hughes of Kinmel, whose husband was created Lord Dinorben in 1831.

1806-08.]SHERIDAN’S JIBS.81
a written order to his two cooks to serve up the turtle in his absence, which they did, and which we presently devoured. In the midst of the second course, a black, sooty kitchenmaid rushed into the room screaming ‘Fire!’ At the house door were various other persons hallooing to the same purpose, and it turned out to be the curtains in
Mrs. Sheridan’s dressing-room in a blaze, which Harry Scott had presence of mind to pull down by force, instead of joining in the general clamour for buckets, which was repeated from all the box-keepers, scene-shifters, thief-takers, and sheriffs officers who were performing the character of servants out of livery. So the fire was extinguished, with some injury to Harry’s thumb.

“Half an hour afterwards we were summoned to a division which did not take place till three, and another at four. Our situation in the House was as precarious as at Sheridan’s. His behaviour was infamous.* . . . He said he had stayed away all the session from disapproving all our military measures, and finally made a motion which, if the Addingtonians had supported, would have left us in a minority. . . . Grey made one of his best speeches, full of honor, courage and good faith—it made a great impression, and Sherry was left to the contempt from all sides he so justly deserved. . . . Prinney† sent McMahon to me yesterday desiring to know whether I would induce Tufnell to withdraw his pretensions to Colchester. He was asked to make this request to me by Sir Wm. Smith, that —— of a fellow you may remember at Brighton, and who himself has started. But I returned Prinney such a bill of fare of Tuffy’s merits and pretensions, that I have no doubt old Smith in his turn will be asked to give way.”

* Sheridan held office in “All the Talents” as Treasurer of the Navy; but he declared on this occasion that “he was sure the Cabinet would never look to him for the subserviency of sacrificing his independence of opinion to any consideration of office; at least, if ever they should so expect, they would be disappointed” [Hansard, July 11, 1806.]

† The Prince of Wales.

Mrs. Creevey to Miss Ord.
“15th July.

“. . . I am returned from my morning’s travels, but they were sadly shortened by going first to the Admiralty and hearing from Lady Howick that Hester [Mrs. Sheridan] was not well. I proceeded to Somerset House; Mr. Secretary* got into the coach in Parliament Street, and when we got to Somerset House, we found Hester so well, and with such a nice cold chicken and tongue before her, that we made him get out of the coach and eat with us. Then I had only time to call at Mr. Fox’s, who continues better. . . . He is advised, I hear, to go to the sea, and McMahon says it will be Brighton, for Prinney has offered him one of his houses, and presses him much to take it. McMahon says he will, but I cannot say I think the dinners at the Pavilion will be good for him. . . . The offer, I think, looks as if Prin thought he could make up the quarrel with Mrs. Fitzherbert,† which I wish he may, but you know he does sometimes fancy he can do more than in the end he performs.”

“30th July.

“. . . In our return from walking in the Park last night at 10 o’clock we saw the Prince’s chariot at Mr. Fox’s door, and I find from Mrs. Bouverie that he stayed a long time, and Mr. Fox was not fatigued by it, but had a good night. . . . She has not seen him for some days, but she says that is accident, owing to Lady Holland being there whom he will not see; but she plants herself in one of the rooms below stairs, under pretence of waiting for Lord Holland, and so prevents his admitting any other woman.”

“25th August.

“. . . Mr. Creevey dined yesterday at Lord Cowper’s. It was a grand dinner after the christening of his son, to whom the Prince stood godfather. The ceremony

* Mr. Creevey, Secretary to the Board of Controul.

† In 1806 the Prince fell in love with Lady Hertford, and Mrs. Fitzherbert’s excellent and quasi-legitimate influence waned.

1806-08.]HIGH LIVING.83
was going on in one drawing-room when Mr. Creevey arrived. After it was over, the Prince, on coming into the room where the rest of the company were assembled, said: ‘Ho, Creevey! you there,’ and sprang across the room and shook hands with him. When he sat opposite to him at dinner he hardly spoke to anyone else, beginning directly with—‘Well, tell me now, Creevey, about
Mrs. Creevey and the girls, and when they come to Brighton;’ and on hearing ‘probably in October,’ he said—‘Oh delightful! we shall be so comfortable,’ and then went over the old stories . . . till, as Mr. C. says, the company did not know very well what to make of it. They all adjourned to Melbourne House to supper. At 2 o’clock in the morning, that terrible Sheridan seduced Mr. Creevey into Brookes, where they stayed till 4, when Sherry affectionately came home with him, and upstairs to see me. They were both so very merry, and so much pleased with each other’s jokes, that, though they could not repeat them to me very distinctly, I was too much amused to scold them as they deserved.”

The constant bulletins about Fox, which it is not necessary to repeat, continued favourable till 9th September, when the dropsy began to gain ground upon him. But, considering how the letters even of this amiable and accomplished lady are pervaded with the fumes of wine and the aroma of broiled bones, the marvel is, not that so many men of her acquaintance suffered in their health, but why more of them did not bring their lives prematurely to a close by perpetual stuffing and swilling. Wine in excess was not only the chief cause of a disordered system, but it was made to serve as the invariable remedy, supplemented by the free use of the lancet and by drastic purges.

Mrs. Creevey to Miss Ord.
“12 Sept., 1806.

“. . . I am going to Somerset House to enquire after poor Sheridan, who went from this house very ill at 12 o’clock last night. . . . He complained of sore throat and shivering, and his pulse was the most frightful one I ever felt; it was so tumultuous and so strong that when one touched it, it seemed not only to shake his arm, but his whole frame. . . . I lighted a fire and a great many candles, and Mr. Creevey, who was luckily just come home from Petty’s, began to tell him stories. . . . Then we sent for some wine, of which he was so frightened it required persuasion to make him drink six small glasses, of which the effect was immediate in making him not only happier, but composing his pulse. . . . In the midst of his dismals he said most clever, funny things, and at last got to describing Mr. Hare, and others of his old associates, with the hand of a real master, and made one lament that such extraordinary talents should have such numerous alloys. He received a note from Lady Elizabeth Forster, with a good account of Mr. Fox. It ended with—‘try to drink less and speak the truth.’ He was very funny about it and said: ‘By G—d! I speak more truth than she does, however.’ Then he told us how she had cried to him the night before, ‘because she felt it her severe duty to be Duchess of Devonshire!’*

With Fox was extinguished the brightest of “All the Talents.” The administration continued during the succeeding winter, but when the King, in March, 1807, demanded an assurance from his Ministers that they would bring in no measure of Roman Catholic Relief, Grenville, who, with Pitt, had resigned office in 1801 because of the King’s determination on this

* The Duchess of Devonshire had died in March of this year. Lady Elizabeth married the Duke, but not till three years later, 1809.

subject, declined to continue in office on such terms, and the Cabinet resigned. Some of his colleagues disapproved highly of this course,
Sheridan observing that “he had known many men knock their heads against a wall, but he had never before heard of a man collecting bricks and building a wall for the express purpose of knocking out his own brains against it.” Probably Mr. Creevey shared this view, but there is an almost total blank in his correspondence during the year which brought his brief tenure of office to a close. The coalition of parties was at an end, and the Duke of Portland became nominal head of a Tory Cabinet.

Lord Henry Petty to Mr. Creevey.
“Teignmouth, Nov. 2nd, 1807.

“. . . Altho’ I understand that Ld. Wellesley claims all the glory of the Copenhagen expedition, I think Ld. Chatham’s negative will prevail over his positive qualities, and that he will be the minister of next year. Archd. Hamilton writes to me that Melville is more than ever Minister de facto in Scotland, and that a year’s fasting has so sharpened the appetites of his followers, that not a chaise is to be got on any of the roads which lead to Dunira, so numerous are the solicitors and expectants that attend his court.

“Dartmouth harbour—a beautiful basin—exhibits a curious spectacle at present. The flags of Portugal and Denmark flying on board at least twelve or fourteen detained ships of both nations, the crews of which are maintained by Govt. . . . I am now an inhabitant of New Burlington Street, but a letter directed London will be sure to find me.”

The year 1808 was perhaps the most momentous of the century to the destiny of Great Britain. Not many months before his death Pitt had laid his finger on the map of Spain as the only part of the Continent
where a successful stand might be made against
Napoleon. But Spain was allied with France as the foe of England, and since Pitt’s death the idea had been entertained by Portland’s Cabinet of assisting the South American colonies of Spain in a revolt against the mother country. A certain young general, Sir Arthur Wellesley, who had won considerable renown in India, and, on returning to this country, had:entered Parliament for the express purpose of defending his brother, Marquess Wellesley, against the attacks upon his administration as Viceroy, happened to be Secretary for Ireland at this time. He had retained that responsible office while commanding a division under Lord Cathcart in the successful but inglorious Copenhagen campaign of 1807. Sir Arthur, then, in the spring of 1808, was directed to confer with General Miranda, emissary of the revolutionary party in Spanish South America, and to prepare plans for an expedition to support the rebellion there. Such plans Wellesley prepared, making out in his own handwriting lists of all the stores required, down to the very number of flints required for small arms. Nevertheless, he disapproved of the policy of this projected expedition. “I have always had a horror,” he afterwards said to Lord Mahon, “of revolutionising any country for a political object. I always said—if they rise of themselves, well and good, but do not stir them up; it is a fearful responsibility.” Moreover, in the concluding paragraph of his memorandum, Sir Arthur could not refrain from alluding pointedly to “the manner in which Napoleon’s armies are now spread in all parts of Europe,” and asking pointedly whether it was impossible to operate against him in the Old World, rather
than undertake speculative projects in the New. If possible, said he, it is “an opportunity which ought not to be passed by.”*

Fortunately affairs took a sudden turn which, by ranging Spain alongside of her ancient enemy Great Britain in the struggle with Napoleon, brought Ministers to the views of the dead Pitt and the future Duke of Wellington. The rulers of Spain had proved both corrupt and incompetent; her armies, commanded by ignorant and vain aristocrats, were utterly unfit to take the field against Napoleon’s marshals; yet the ancient spirit still burned in the hearts of her people. In the month of May news came to England that the Spaniards had risen in revolt against the French. Nine thousand troops lay at Cork, ready to embark for South America, there to aid in overturning the government of the King of Spain in his colonies. At the beginning of June, Sir Arthur Wellesley, being still Secretary for Ireland, was sent to take command of these, to sail with them to Spain, there to aid in restoring the King of Spain’s authority in his home dominions. A strange piece of scene-shifting, opening, as it did, the long and tremendous drama of the Peninsular war.

Creevey’s correspondence continues extremely fragmentary during this exciting period. Such letters as remain betray the growing bitterness of party spirit and the intense impatience of the extreme members of the Opposition, of whom Creevey was one, with Lord Grenville, who, though not a Whig, could no longer be reckoned as a Tory, and with the more responsible and moderate Whigs, who, like Lord Grey, were not prepared to push the interests of

* Wellington’s Supplementary Despatches, vi. 82.

party before those of the country. Creevey’s leader at this time was
Samuel Whitbread, a man of unblemished character, absolute honesty, and considerable debating power, but one who did not shrink from the responsibility of hampering and thwarting Ministers, even when the safety of the Empire seemed at stake. He opposed to the utmost the war policy of the Government, and was specially hostile to the Wellesleys—both the Marquess and Sir Arthur.

Samuel Whitbread, M.P., to Mr. Creevey.
“Southill, Ap. 18, 1808.

“. . . Whatever some squeamish voters in the Ho. of Commons may think and wish, the publick will not be satisfied without the active pursuit of Melville, and I shall not be inclined to make any compromise with shabbiness. It’s a pleasant circumstance, amongst others, that the Admiralty cannot be disposed of. . . .”

“Margate, June 29, 1808.

“. . . The insurrection [in Spain against the French] has taken a much greater degree of method and consistency than I had expected, and the accession of two such persons as Filanqueri and Sovilliano is of the utmost importance. God send them successful! and we ought and must give them every possible assistance; but I dread the account of the first conflict between the French army and this patriotic band. It is the business of the Patriots to avoid it, and that of Bonaparte to seek it as soon as possible. . . . You have asked me two or three times for my speculations upon another session? Will you be so good as to give me yours? and as I wish to be master of the E[ast] I[ndia] subject by the autumn, be so good as to point out to me a course of reading.”

Wellesley’s expedition sailed from Cork on 15th June; before the end of September the only French troops left in Portugal were the garrisons of Elvas
and Almeida;
General Junot, with a beaten army of 26,000 men, had been conveyed in British ships to Rochelle; the Russian Admiral Siniavin had surrendered his whole fleet in the Tagus to Sir Charles Cotton. Such were the conditions of the famous Convention of Cintra, forced upon the French by the victorious little army under Sir Arthur Wellesley. Yet was the nation almost unanimous in demanding his degradation, if not his death, with that of the two generals who successively took command over his head. They were even blamed in the King’s Speech from the Throne for “acceding to the terms of the Convention.” The sagacious Whitbread and his friends found solace in the discomfiture of the Wellesleys.

Samuel Whitbread, M.P., to Mr. Creevey.
“Bounds, near Tunbridge, Sept. 25th, 1808.

“. . . I conclude the same sentiment prevails all over the country respecting the Portuguese convention. Cobbet’s dissertation upon it is excellent, tho’ it by no means explains, nor can anything explain, the mystery. I grieve for the opportunity that has been lost of acquiring national glory, but am not sorry to see the Wellesley pride a little lowered. . . .”

Wm. Cobbett* to Lord Folkestone, M.P.†
“9 Oct., 1808.
“My Lord,

“Thank you kindly for both your letters. It is, indeed, a damned thing that Wellesley‡ should

* Ex-sergeant-major and publisher of the well-known Weekly Political Register, which began in 1802. He was elected member for Oldham to the first reformed Parliament.

† Afterwards 3rd Earl of Radnor; Radical M.P. for Salisbury from 1802 to 1828: died in 1869.

Sir Arthur Wellesley, whose share in the Convention of Cintra had been sent before a Court of Inquiry.

give the lie direct to the protesting part of the statement of his friends. How the devil will they get over this? Now we have the rascals upon the hip. It is evident that he was the prime cause—the only cause—of all the mischief, and that from the motive of thwarting everything after he was superseded. Thus do we pay for the arrogance of that damned infernal family. But it all comes at last to the House of Commons. The corruptions of that infamous [? place] sent them out,* and we are justly punished. . . .”

Capt. Graham Moore, R.N., to Mr. Creevey.
Marlborough, Rio Janeiro, Oct. 11th, 1808.

“. . . My whole heart and soul is with the Spaniards, and I hope and trust we shall support them and fight for them to the uttermost. . . . This great event in Spain must of course put a stop to any plan we may have had to emancipate the Spanish Colonies. . . . I hope Bonoparte has now enough on his hands without thinking of invading England. He has overshot his mark, and, I have great hopes, has done for himself. However, he will die game. . . . I am very anxious to hear of my brother Jack† coming into play. I daresay he will have some Right Honble. Torpedo set over him to counteract his fire and genius; but in spite of the Devil, he is invaluable wherever he is, and the soldiers know that. . . .”

Samuel Whitbread, M.P., to Mr. Creevey.
“Southill, 20 Dec, 1808.
“My dear Creevey,

“To the usual occupations of hanging Mad Dogs, swearing Bastards, convicting Poachers, and such like country performances, has been added the amusement of Hunting, which I have resumed to the great benefit of my health, and the complete fugitation hope, of all critical Deposits in consequence of high

* Referring to the Indian appointments held respectively by the Marquess Wellesley and his brother Sir Arthur, and to the first Peninsular expedition of the latter.

General Sir John Moore.

living. Besides, we have had a House pretty full of Company, amongst which have been the
Lady Grey and Lady Hannah; so you will perceive with half an eye that, however acceptable your letter, as it really and truly was, you had but little chance of receiving any answer, till the frost came and locked up my Playthings. Now I can find a moment to thank you for it, and to ask for a continuation of your sentiments, both which I do with unaffected sincerity. I value your opinion, and you are one of the very few Persons who will say what you think of me to myself. I hope I deserve to be so treated.

“You mix more with the World in general than I am enabled to do from particular circumstances, and I believe you have the good of the Country at Heart. I further believe that you are interested in my Reputation. I acknowledge that in the course of the last Session of Parliament, I may have dwelt too much and too often upon topicks which are not generally interesting, because they are not generally understood, and I am quite aware that I may have spoken both too often and too much; but you confirm the feeling I before had that the Result of my Parliamentary Campaign was not injurious to my Fame, and I have heard from friends and foes the agreeable Truth which on that score you repeat to me. I shall go to the House of Commons to the coming Session with feelings very different from those which I carried there last January. You know that I was then piqued. I was not certainly ambitious of being placed nominally at the Head of a Party in the House of Commons, and really to be the Slave of a Party in the House of Lords; but I had been ambitious of being thought the fit Person in all essentials to fill the vacant Place. By the Person who had [illegible] held it with so much Dignity and Reputation,* that Ambition had been disappointed. I had closed my Conference by saying—‘We shall all find our Level;’ and however unconscious of it at the time, I daresay I was actuated by a desire to show that my level, at least in the present generation, was not very low. If what you say be true, my

* Right Hon. George Ponsonby [1755-1817].

gratification on that score is complete. I am no Candidate for the Lead: I have what I wanted. It is said I ought to have been the Leader, and nothing should tempt me to take the place, because I know on many accounts I ought not to be Leader, and ought never to have been the Leader. So much for that.

“I am fully aware of the apathy of the Publick and of their indifference towards the proceedings of the House of Commons, and of their Distrust of all Publick Men; and I cannot but agree with you that poor Fox did overset the Publick opinion with regard to Statesmen. The last administration completed the job. Still, whilst I have a seat in Parliament, and can obtain a hearing, I cannot help proceeding as if I thought the World would give me credit for the Purity of my Motives. The tone you propose to me to adopt in the ensuing session I will certainly attend to with assiduity, and altho’ I think in every point, both internal and external, our situation is nearly as forlorn and hopeless as any that ever was imagined by the most gloomy Politician, I will endeavour to act as if the case were not desperate—as if the corrupted and corruptors would be brought to a sense of Duty, and to see the Necessity of Retrenchment and Reform.

“I have written a shameful deal about myself, but as your letter was expressly on that subject, you must pardon me: and as it is for you alone that I write, am not afraid of sarcastical animadversion. . . .”