LORD CHATHAM—QUEEN CHARLOTTE.
Original Letter, written
on the Resignation of Mr. Pitt, in
1761—Public Feeling on the Subject, and Changes at Court in
consequence—First Impressions of Queen Charlotte.
[The following valuable original letter is now published for the first time. It will be found to be of very considerable historical curiosity and interest. The resignation of the Great Commoner in 1761, and his acceptance at the same time of a pension and a peerage for his family, were events which astonished his admirers as much as any thing else in his wonderful career. Even now, after the recent publication of all the letters relating to these transactions, it is difficult to put any construction on Mr. Pitt’s conduct which is consistent with the high-spirited independence which one desires to believe to have been a leading feature of his character. There may have been great subtlety in the way in which he was tempted; that may be admitted even by the stoutest defenders of the character of George iii; but nothing can excuse the eager, rapturous gratitude with which the glittering bait was caught. The whole circumstances are related in the Chatham Correspondence, ii. 146, coupled with Adolphus’s Hist. of England.
A kind judgment upon them may be read in Lord Mahon’s Hist. of England, iv. 365, and one more severe—perhaps, more just—in Lord Brougham’s Historical Sketches, in the article on Lord Chatham. See also the Pictorial History of the Reign of George III, i. 13. After consulting all these authorities the reader will still find new facts, and a vivid picture of the public feeling, in the following letter.]
Dear Robinson,—I am much obliged to you for both your letters, particularly the last, in which I look upon the freedom of your expostulations as the strongest mark of your friendship, and allow you to charge me with any thing that possibly can be brought against one upon such an occasion, except forgetfulness of you. I left town soon after receiving your first letter, and was moving about from place to place, till the coronation brought me to town again, and has fixed me here for the winter; however I do not urge my unsettled situation during the summer as any excuse for my silence, but aim to lay it upon downright indolence, which I was ashamed of before I received your second letter, and have been angry with myself for it since; however, as often as you’ll do me the pleasure, and a very sincere one it is I assure you, of letting me hear how you do, you may depend upon the utmost punctuality for the future, and I undertake very seriously to answer every letter you shall write me within a fortnight.