The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,055 pages of information about The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4.

(361) The Inquiry into the Conduct of the American war.

(362) In the course of a debate in the House of Commons, on the 3d of June, Governor Johnstone told Colonel Barr`e, that he was making a scaramouch of himself.  The Colonel got up to demand an explanation, but the Speaker put an end to the altercation.-E.

Letter 174 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.  Strawberry Hill, June 16, 1779. (page 227)

Your Countess was here last Thursday, and received a letter from you, that told us how slowly you receive ours.  When you will receive this I cannot guess; but it dates a new era, which you with reason did not care to look at as possible.  In a word, behold a Spanish war!  I must detail a little to increase your wonder.  I heard here the day before yesterday that it was likely; and that night received a letter from Paris, telling me (it was of the 6th) that Monsieur de Beauveau was going, they knew not whither, at the head of twenty-five thousand men, with three lieutenant-generals and six or eight mar`echaux de camp under him.  Yesterday I went to town, and Thomas Walpole happened to call on me.  He, who used to be informed early, did not believe a word either of a Spanish war or a French expedition.  I saw some other persons in the evening as ignorant.  At night I went to sup at Richmond-house.  The Duke said the Brest fleet was certainly sailed, and had got the start of ours by twelve days:  that Monsieur de Beauveau was on board with a large sum of money, and with white and red cockades; and that there would certainly be a Spanish war.  He added, that the Opposition were then pressing in the House of Commons to have the Parliament continue sitting, and urging to know if we were not at the eve of a Spanish war; but the ministers persisted in the prorogation ,for to-morrow or Friday, and would not answer on Spain.

I said I would make you wonder-But no-Why should the Parliament continue to sit?  Are not the ministers and the Parliament the same thing?  And how has either House shown that it has any talent for war?

The Duke of Richmond does not guess whither the Brest fleet is gone.  He thinks, if to Ireland, we should have known it by this time.  He has heard that the Prince of Beauveau has said he was going on an expedition that would be glorious in the eyes of posterity. asked, if that might not mean Gibraltar?  The Duke doubts, but hopes it, as he thinks it no wise measure on their side:  yet he was very melancholy, as you will be, on this heavy accession to our distresses.

Well! here we are, aris et focis and all at stake!  What can we be meaning?  Unable to conquer America before she was assisted—­scarce able to keep France at bay—­are we a match for both, and Spain too?  What can be our view? nay, what can be Our expectation?  I sometimes think we reckon it will be more creditable to be forced by France and Spain to give up America, than to have the merit with the latter of doing it with grace.-But, as Cato says,

Project Gutenberg
The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook