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SECRET HISTORY OF THE COURT, MINISTRY, AND TIMES OF
WITH ANECDOTES OF REIGNING DYNASTIES, ARISTOCRACIES, AND PUBLIC
MEN, INCLUDING RUSSIAN CZARS, AUSTRIAN EMPERORS, FRENCH KINGS, ROYAL DUKES, SECRET SERVICES, &c. &c.
BY AN OLD DIPLOMATIST.
BURDETT came to town quite unexpectedly on Sunday night, and last evening he attended a private meeting, at which were present Hunt, the orator, Major Cartwright, and the other leading friends of Reform. Hunt boasts, that the meeting in Spa-fields, on Monday next, will produce such an assembled multitude as will stagger the contending parties“ denominated the “outs” and “ins.” He means to detail the reception he met with from Colonel M'Mahon and Lord Sidmouth. On Saturday last, he applied to the keeper of the tavern in Palace Yard for the express purpose of engaging it for the first day of the meeting of Parliament, and offered a carte blanche. The overture was refused. Jones Burdett, on Saturday, entered into a long and elaborate investigation of Mr. Hunt's principles, which he defended with uncommon warmth.
You may thus see what side Sir Francis means to take. It was at R-'s that the discussion took place, in the presence of some very able and staunch Whigs. J. Burdett withstood the diversified repulses with more talent than I expected to find in him. A Whig said, “ Had government given Hunt 100,0001., they would not say he was over-paid.” Certainly, the renovated declarations of hostility, against the Opposition, must engender in their bosoms a degree of rancour implacable.
A person, just arrived from Canada, says, " You will have a pretty exposé when Parliament meets; the expenditure there has been so enormous, that even the ministers will be thunderstruck! They have had a few items ; viz., the carriage of a thirty-six pounder from Quebec up the Lake Erie, cost 1500l.” He detailed, among other things, a curious circumstance, corroborative of the wisdom of the projectors: “Machinery having been completed to make salt-water fresh by ventilation, a great quantity was, some time since, sent out from Great Britain, in different vessels, to be brought into operation on the Lake Erie, when, lo! the water was found to be fresh !"
The quartern loaf is now seventeen-pence.
Three o'clock.-A person from the city has just informed me, that the Court of Directors are alarmed at the progress making by a Chinese merchant, who charters American ships for Holland, laden with teas. The duties upon tea here, are ninety-six per cent., which, with all other concomitant expenses, amount to 150 per
cent. Pray,” adds my informant, “ will not teas be conveyed into France, and will they not be smuggled into this country?”
I send you, this day, a copy of the letters published by Ackermann, in the Strand, written by the surgeon of the Northumberland man-of-war, in which Napoleon was conveyed to St. Helena : all comment is unnecessary.
London, November 29, 1816. The grand scheme—the divorce--has been brought upon the tapis, a mass of evidence being collected. In May last, the lord-chancellor received his instructions. Things went on swimmingly. Then, out popped the pamphlet. This staggered the Prince,—but not the wily conspirators; they were invulnerable! I should have previously mentioned a report, some time since in circulation, relative to a letter, said to have been written, some years ago, by the Prince to the Princess, in which the most unguarded expressions have been used ; this report was now received. Alarmed, and fearful of consequences, the legal adviser of the Regent applied to him for information on the subject, when his Royal Highness, in the most unqualified terms, swore that he had not written such a letter. This declaration he repeated, ad infinitum ; it relieved their minds from doubt, and on they went.
During the progress, Brougham went to the continent. About the middle or the latter end of September, Lord Liverpool received the copy
of the famous letter which had been the bone of contention ; it was decisive; it threw the lord-chancellor and the whole body of pro-. jectors on their backs.
So great was the disappointment of , and her rage so unbounded, that she actually said, “she would with the greatest pleasure attend an auto da fe if the Prince Regent were the subject of it.”
This stately lady has positively refused to go to Brighton. The determination has thrown Carlton House into confusion-every application has been rejected. She says her character would be injured.
Three o'clock. at last agrees to go to the Pavilion, provided the queen precedes her. The prince's anxiety is to make a good dash before the Duke Nicholas of Russia ; in consequence he is mustering all his forces. It will be a meagre list, I am told. So eager is the Regent, and so little disposed are the independents to accompany him, that he is now tampering with those who cannot afford the expense of the journey, by promising even to pay their chaise hire !
There is a bit of secret history attached to -'s pamphlet, which I sent you on Tuesday. It is true, when he exhibited the MS. at Sir Joseph Banks's conversazione it was in two volumes ; that is, there was matter for two octavo volumes. Government hearing of his intention, wished to see the production. On inspecting it they tendered him 20001. to give it up! This he refused, but agreed to make the following bargain with them to receive 12001. and publish an abstract. That abstract you receive from me. All objectionable passages have been expunged by Lord Castlereagh.
London, December 27, 1816. I am assured that there is not one word of truth in the report of the Marquis of Wellesley's intention to join the administration. Liverpool remains in statu quo. He has not received an invitation from the Regent. The ministers seem determined to drive the people to revolutionary
They make no scruple to say that in the event of an internal contest their triumph will be complete. In short, they are determined to
carry every thing through the instrumentality of the army with as high a hand as possible.
It is questionable whether the Opposition would have made a stand at the next meeting of Parliament, if their hopes had not been stimulated by the prospect of the establishment of the new Constitutional Club, one of the leading tenets in which is, the reduction of the
of mercenaries and the establishment of a national guard. The idea of this institution has awakened the dormant faculties of the Whigs; their colleagues boast that the spirit of enterprise will bring into full play all their native energies and elicit every strong passion! Tierney, whose discernment and sagacity require no comment, is very sanguine in his hopes of discomfiting ministers by this manoeuvre. He
that “the arrangements want no extraordinary stimulus ; no sort of argumentative materials ; the substantial merits of their cause will alone prove triumphant.” is folly," he added, “to suppose that the House of Commons will reform itself, constituted as it now is !” In other words, is not this tantamount to acknowledging that reform would be revolution ?
The Marquis of Winchester is another on the proscribed list; he has not been invited to the royal festivities at Brighton. The noble lord speaks of this neglect in a tone of exultation rather than depression.
Lord G is daily expected in town. In one of his last letters he speaks in very desponding terms of the state of his pecuniary affairs ; in short, he is miserably depressed from the want of money; almost the whole of his land is unlet, the farms also, every thing running to waste, and, the harvest having failed, the current of supply has stopped altogether.
No event has excited a deeper interest than the proposition of government to invest certain sums in mortgages, by lending money on landed security at five per cent.
You talk of war! No one here will give credit to such a report. John Bull is
upon this point; he will not believe it even possible that ministers have entertained a thought upon the subject.
The people of Birmingham have given great offence to the Grand Duke of Russia— by refusing to permit his attendants to inspect their works, i.e. machinery. The same feeling is becoming pretty general. You would be surprised at the indignation expressed by the Keepers of the Arsenals at Woolwich, even when the Prince Regent accompanied Nicholas and suite.
December 31, 1816. I hope you have received the different periodical works safe. I am sorry to say that I am still at a loss to discover who the person is whom you named in your letter of the 15th instant-viz., Mr. B- Messrs. H
gave me a reference to a Mr. B. who is a Government Contractor for Clothing. I saw him yesterday; he does not know Mr. G. P-Cannot R send the box through the Foreign Office to Sir Charles Stuart ?
An idea is entertained here in the Opposition circles, that Russia and England are now more closely united than they were some short time since.
There is not a word of truth, therefore, in the reports of a disunion between the Russians and us—the coalition is even stronger than ever.” This was positively asserted on Saturday last by a Member of the Privy
Council, to a Noble Lord on the same side of the question, and communicated by him to Tierney.
Lord Grey is now on a visit at Lord Fitzwilliam's, at Milton, near Peterborough, in Northamptonshire: thence he goes to the Duke of Bedford's at Woburn: will be in town on the 6th.
Sir George Cockburn talks of being afloat in the spring-what can this mean? Do they calculate upon having a brush with America ?
General Bis appointed (au secret) Superintendent of the Police ; he says they shall carry every measure, meaning thereby, with the assistance of the bayonet.
London still continues a desert! absolutely without society of any kind -not one thing possessing the slightest portion of interest occurs from morning till night-we vegetate, it is true, but that is all.
Some very recent information has been received from the East: they are private accounts of the system of petty warfare going on against British interests in that quarter of the globe.
Three o'clock.-The Courier of the preceding evening contradicts the report of an intended loan--the contradiction amounts to nothing.
They are still most positive as to the state of our political relations with Russia : they are the best possible. In answer to an inquiry by letter, made by the Marquis of Stafford, one of the Ministers, Charles Long, says there is not the slightest foundation for the various rumours circulated on the continent-no disposition for war ever actuates any of the crowned heads.
London, January 3, 1817. Francis Macerone commences his book with an outline of his own history ; calls himself an Englishman by birth and a Roman by extraction, talks of the property possessed by his grandfather, family alliances, &c. He then gives a detail of the circumstances which led to the capitulation of Paris, and the part Otranto took on the memorable occasion, also that of Prince Talleyrand, and the opposition manifested by Davoust and Carnot. Gives an account of the impediments he met with on his special missions to the head-quarters of the Duke of Wellington; the conduct of the Duke, Prince Blucher, &c. All this possesses little interest to those in the secret. He then goes into the history of the fall of Murat, his own imprisonment afterwards at Marseilles; the conduct of the Marquis de Reviérres and Lord Exmouth towards him, and his subsequent removal to the Conciergerie and the Abbaye in Paris. The time, treatment, and the causes, his ultimate liberation. He then adds the following :-" The day after my liberation I received a note requesting my attendance on the Minister of Police. The following morning I waited on him and found him in company with his private secretary, M. Minars. Question from M. Minars, Pray are you at all acquainted with the circumstances of the death of Berthier ? I answered that I had heard he had not met his death by accident as had been reported, but that I did not know by whose order he had been put to death. On my appearing to be acquainted with the fact of B’s having been murdered, M. M. expected that I should be able to furnish him with the particulars of his death, with which he appeared to be quite unacquainted, and with an air of the greatest seriousness he informed me, that about October or November last a great personage had died in Paris, under circumstances of the greatest mystery, privacy, and suspicion. That his death had been witnessed,
and at that time had been known only to two individuals. He added that the death of this personage and the murder of Berthier were intimately connected, and that one was the consequence of the other. M. Minars continued, · Pray do you know of any Frenchman being implicated in the intrigues at Lyons ? Has Fouché any hand in them ? I answered him that I did not know, he continued, · Indeed, Mr. Macerone, you might be very useful to us ; you have
friends in Paris ; you frequent some of the first circles; you have been too much persecuted by us to be suspected of being our friend: besides you are an Englishman, you can be well with all parties ; you must frequent the Duke of Wellington's and Sir C. Stuart's. You have had intercourse with them both ever since the capitulation of Paris ; by the by do you know Sir Robert Wilson, Lord Sligo, or what they are doing here ? Are they not of the Opposition ? You may render us the greatest service, and you will not have to accuse us of ingratitude. I was so indignant at these unexpected questions that I scarcely knew how to conduct myself
. I thought it necessary, however, to act with caution in the hope of gaining possession of my papers, amongst which was the bill for 20,000 francs, which had been given me by King Joachim.” Macerone concluded with stating that he had addressed a memorial to Lord Castlereagh, but had never been able to obtain an answer or an interview, although he had unremittingly attended at the Foreign Office daily for the space of six months. In the month of March, Mr. Hamilton, the under secretary of state, told him that he thought he had merited the treatment he had received in consequence of the zeal he had shown in the service of Murat.
John Bull fully understood the nature of the Duke of W.'s recent visit, that it related solely to the affairs of France. Speaking yesterday to Matthew Day (who has a singular talent in discovering the most hidden secrets) upon the subject, he said, “ There will be in the Regent's speech something so important relative to Foreign Affairs that we shall no longer think of our own.” Mat Day, as he is called, was in the Prince's circle twenty years, he is now too old or too wise, to indulge in courtly dissipation. Saw General Bolton this morning, he speaks of the despondency of ministers; this from him is extraordinary-things must be getting worse instead of better. Burdett is come to town to call a meeting in Palace Yard ; he means to tell the mob “ That as they have thought proper to set up Mr. Hunt, and desert him, he shall leave them to their fate. I thought, gentlemen, that I was considered too violent a manyou have now set up one who is ten times more violent.” Such I am assured will be the tenor of his opening speech.
Plan of the Reformers. At the first meeting; remove placemen from Parliament; abolish or reduce sinecures ; triennial parliaments, or for five years only. Lords Grey and Holland are willing to go any lengths to obtain parliamentary reform. Fitzwilliam and the Grenvilles oppose the scheme. You may thus perceive that the Opposition are still a rope of sand.
Our situation every day becomes worse. You perhaps heard that an idea has been in contemplation to open the two winter theatres only three times a week. What think you of their shutting up Drury altogether ? Such, I am assured by Elliston, is actually in contemplation. The other house is not in a much better state, for which I have the authority of Dr. Gower of Old Burlington-street. He was in company