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Anglesea, and Sir Thomas Hanmer, and Prior and I dined, by appointment, with Lieutenant-General Webb. My lord and I staid till ten o'clock, but we drank soberly, and I always with water. There was with us one Mr Campain, one of the October Club, if you know what that is; a club of country members, who think the mi. nisters are too backward in punishing and turning out the Whigs. I found my lord and the rest thought I had more credit with the ministry than I pretend to have, and would have engaged me to put them upon something that would satisfy their desires, and indeed I think they have some reason to complain ; however, I will not burn my fingers. I'll remember Stella's chiding : What had you to do with what did not belong to you? &c. However, you will give me leave to tell the ministry my thoughts when they ask them, and other people's thoughts sometimes when they do not ask ; so thinks Dingley
13. I called this morning at Mrs Vedeau's again, who has employed a friend to get the money; it will be done in a fortnight, and then she will deliver me up the parchment. I went then to see Mr Harley, who I hope will be out in a few days ; he was in excellent good humour, only complained to me of the neglect of Guiscard's cure, how glad he would have been to have had him live. Mr Secretary came in to us, and we were very merry till Lord Chamberlain (Duke of Shrewsbury) came up; then Colonel Masham and I went off, after I had been presented to the duke, and that we made two or three silly compliments suitable to the occasion. Then I attended at the House of Commons about your yarn, and ’tis again put off. Then Ford drew me to dine at a tavern, it happened to be the day and the house where the October Club dine. After we had dined, coming down, we called to inquire, whether our yarn business had been over that day, and I sent into the room for Sir George Beaumont. But I had like to be drawn into difficulty ; for in two minutes out comes Mr Finch, Lord Guernsey's son, to let me know, that my Lord Compton, the steward of this feast, desired, in the name of the club, that I would do them the honour to dine with them. I sent my excuses, adorned with about thirty compliments, and got off as fast as I could. It would have been a most improper thing for me to dine there, considering my friendship for the ministry. The club is about a hundred and fifty, and near eighty of them were then going to dinner at two long tables in a great ground room. * At evening I went to the auction of
* The mode in which the Lord Treasurer managed these hotheaded Tories is thus detailed in a vindication of his conduct, called “ The History of the White Staff,” published soon after he lost his office, and written, it has been said, by Daniel De Foe.
“ The other party who acted in concurrence with the White Staff were a set of high, hot, out of temper politicians, whose view was within themselves, and who, acting upon principles of absolute government, pushed at establishing their party in a power or capacity of governing by the severity of the law; to say no farther.
“ These found the White Staff a great deal of trouble ; an account whereof, and of its beginning, will make our secret history complete.
“ These men, in the beginning of the change, of which an account is given above, began to show themselves, and pushed hard at the White Staff, to introduce the tyrannical part, which they always professed, into his administration, and to show that they were able to influence things by their numbers, and to oblige him to it, if they could not otherwise prevail ; to this purpose they separated themselves early from the new men set up for themselves, obtained a title by way of dignity, as well as distinction, of the October Club, and pretended to act upon schemes of their own; but the White Staff, who knew that these precipitations tended to ruin, not the constitution only, but themselves, soon found out methods to untie this knot, and by silent, quiet steps, in a little time, he so effectually separated these gentlemen, that in less than six months, the name of October Club was forgotten in the world, as if such a thing had never been heard of; nay, with so much address was this attempt overthrown, that he lost not the men, though he put them by their design, but united them again, in prosecuting the measures which he had laid down, and giving up their own : this was a victory of great moment to the White Staff, and without which he had lost the day to the displaced party in the other engagements, of which mention is made before.”—Secret History of the White Staff London, 1714, p. 15.
Bernard's books, and laid out three pounds three shil. lings, but I'll go there no more ; and so I said once before, but now I'll keep to it. I forgot to tell, that when I dined at Webb’s with Lord Anglesea, I spoke to him of Clements, as one recommended for a very honest gentleman, and good officer, and hoped he would keep him : he said he had no thoughts otherwise, and that he should certainly hold his place, while he continued to deserve it and I could not find there had been any intentions from his lordship against him. But I tell you, hunny, the impropriety of this. A great man will do a favour for me, or for my friend ; but why should he do it for my friend's friend ? Recommendations should stop before they come to that. Let any friend of mine recommend one of his to me for a thing in my power, I will do it for his sake ; but to speak to another for my friend's friend, is against all reason ; and I desire you will understand this, and discourage any such troubles given me.
- I hope this may do some good to Clements, it can do no hurt ; and I find by Mrs Pratt, that her husband is his friend ; and the Bishop of Clogher says, Clements's danger is not from Pratt, but from some other enemies, that think him a Whig.
14. I was so busy this morning that I did not go out till late. I writ to-day to the Duke of Argyle, but said nothing of Bernage, who, I believe, will not see him till Spain is conquered, and that is not at all. I was to-day at Lord Shelburne's, and spoke to Mrs Pratt again about Clements : her husband hiinself wants some good offices, and I have done him very good ones lately, and told Mrs Pratt, * I expected her husband would stand by Clements in return. Sir Andrew Fountaine and I dined with neighbour Vanhomrigh ; he is mighty ill of an asthma, and apprehends himself in much danger; ’tis his own fault, that will rake and drink, when he is but just crawled out of his grave. I will send this letter just now, because I think my half year is out for my lodging; and, if you please, I would be glad it were paid off, and some deal boxes made for my books, and kept in some safe place: I would give something for their keeping; but I doubt that lodging will not serve me when I come back ; I would have a larger place for books, and a stable, if possible. So pray be so kind to pay the lodging, and all accounts about it ; and get Mrs Brent to put up my things. I would have no books put in that trunk where my papers are. If you do not think of going to the Bath, I here send you a bill on Parvisol for twenty pounds Irish, out of which
for the lodging, and score the rest to me. Do as you please, and love poor Presto, that loves MD better than his life a thousand millions of times. Farewell, MD, &c. &c.
* Probably with the joint Vice-Treasurers Lord Anglesea and Lord Hyde, Mr Pratt being Deputy Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, under them.
London, April 14, 1711. REMEMBER, sirrahs, that there are but nine days between the dates of my two former letters. I sent away my twentieth this moment, and now am writing on like a fish, as if nothing was done. But there was a cause for my hasting away the last, for fear it should not come time enough before a new quarter began. I told you where I dined to-day, but forgot to tell you what I believe, that Mr Harley will be lord-treasurer in a short time, and other great removes and promotions made. This is my thought, &c.
15. I was this morning with Mr Secretary, and he is grown pretty well. I dined with him to-day, and drank some of that wine which the great Duke of Tuscany used to send to Sir William Temple : he always sends some to the chief ministers. I liked it mightily, but he does not; and he ordered his butler to send me a chest of it to-morrow. Would to God MD had it. The queen is well again, and was at chapel to-day, &c.
.16. I went with Ford into the city to day, and dined with Stratford, and drank tockay, and then we went to the auction ; but I did not lay out above twelve shillings. My head is a little out of order to-night, though no formal fit. My lord-keeper has sent to invite me to dinner to-morrow, and you'll dine better with the dean, and