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Title: Anticipation

Author: Richard Tickell

Author of introduction, etc.: Randolph Greenfield Adams

Editor: L. H. Butterfield

Release date: April 20, 2022 [eBook #67888]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: King's Crown Press, 1778

Credits: Tim Lindell and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This book was produced from images made available by the HathiTrust Digital Library.)








Reprinted from the
First Edition, London, 1778
With an
Introduction, Notes & a Bibliography
of Tickell’s Writings


King’s Crown Press, Morningside Heights


Introduction, Notes, and Bibliography copyright 1942 by



King’s Crown Press is a division of Columbia University Press organized for the purpose of making certain scholarly material available at minimum cost. Toward that end, the publishers have adopted every reasonable economy except such as would interfere with a legible format. The work is presented substantially as submitted by the author, without the usual editorial attention of Columbia University Press.



To C. J. F. B.



Some years ago a literary investigator came into my office and inquired whether he could find a copy of Richard Tickell’s Anticipation in our library. He was thinking of sending to the British Museum for a photostatic copy, in case we could not supply his need. We were able to reply that we had sixteen editions of this book—ten of them printed in the year 1778 alone. Now publishers do not re-issue a book unless someone is reading it. The number of reprints induced me to read the book, and I found it one of the best of eighteenth-century satires on the ponderous serio-comic addresses delivered in what is still pleased to call itself the M-th-r of P-rl—m-nts. Though Mr. Butterfield has restrained himself in the matter of drawing parallels between the bumbling follies of that legislative conclave, then and now, yet the writer of a foreword may be permitted to do so.

In the summer of 1941, I received in the mail a pamphlet, in an envelope which bore a Chinese postage stamp and the postmark of Shanghai. The pamphlet was one of the familiar blue-covered fascicles which we all recognize as the format of the Parliamentary Debates. This particular fascicle purported to contain the debate for August 15, 1941, and was typographically exact, even to the reproduction of the arms of H-s Br-t-nn-c M-j-sty on the cover. An examination revealed it to be the twentieth-century parallel of Tickell’s Anticipation—a satiric report of the debates in the H—s- of C-mm-ns as of 1941. It was obvious German propaganda, but so well done typographically that I found some of my learned colleagues had read a part of it before it dawned on them that the whole thing was analogous to Tickell’s Anticipation. But let no American be complacent about the failure of the H—s- of C-mm-ns to progress during the intervening one hundred and sixty-three years. Let him dip into our own C-ngr-ss—n-l R-c-rd.

Mr. Butterfield and the publisher could have chosen no more appropriate time than the present at which to issue the twentieth-century edition[viii] of this book. It ought to be read by all students of American history—elementary and advanced.

Randolph G. Adams

The W. L. Clements Library
Ann Arbor



This is the first reprint since 1822 of a politico-literary satire that delighted a generation of readers during and after the American War of Independence. It has seemed to the editor, and to others who encouraged the project, that the neglect of Anticipation has been due less to its want of interest than to the want of a properly edited reprint. The mere presence in it of so many names with deleted letters has discouraged later readers.[1] The present volume provides an account of the author and of the setting and reception of Anticipation, an accurate text, explanatory notes, and a bibliography of Tickell’s writings.

Anticipation was written and printed hastily; and the spelling (especially of proper names), the punctuation, and sometimes even the grammar are erratic. But since it has proved impossible to distinguish the carelessness of the printer from that of the author, I have followed the first issue literally except when corrections were available in the following later ones: “The Third Edition, Corrected,” which appeared within a week of first publication; “The Tenth Edition, Corrected,” 1780, which was the last published during Tickell’s life; and “A New Edition, Corrected,” 1794, a re-issue occasioned, probably, by Tickell’s death and set from new type. Two or three flagrant errors (e.g., the name “Bonille” for “Bouillé” at p. 59) and a few typographical absurdities (such as quotation marks without mates) recur in all the London issues. These I have corrected without warrant from any text.


It should be stated that in the Introduction I have usually not cited sources for dates and other biographical details when the sources are correctly given in W. Fraser Rae’s article on Tickell in The Dictionary of National Biography. Unless otherwise indicated, the place of publication of all works cited is London.

A great many friends have contributed to the making of this book, and almost as many librarians in the United States and England have aided my researches for it. Some special debts I wish to record here. Randolph G. Adams, Director of the William L. Clements Library at Ann Arbor, Julian P. Boyd, Librarian of Princeton University, and Professor George Sherburn of Harvard have read my manuscript and given me helpful advice. W. S. Lewis, Esq., of Farmington, Connecticut, kindly allowed me to quote from notes written by Horace Walpole in a copy of Anticipation now in Mr. Lewis’ collection of Walpoliana; Richard Eustace Tickell, Esq., of London, sent me useful material from the Tickell family papers; Mrs. Flora V. Livingston and Mr. William Van Lennep, curators, respectively, of the Widener Collection and the Theatre Collection in the Harvard College Library, allowed me to quote from manuscript letters in their charge; the New York Public Library gave me permission to reproduce the title-page that precedes the text. For aid in preparing the Bibliography of Tickell’s Writings I am most indebted to Mr. John D. Gordan of the New York Public Library, who read and ably criticized it; to Miss Anne S. Pratt of the Yale University Library, and Mr. Frederick R. Goff of the Library of Congress, who answered numerous bibliographical inquiries; to the Union Catalog in the Library of Congress and its staff; and to the admirable Bibliotheca Americana, begun by Joseph Sabin, continued by Wilberforce Eames, and then completed by R. W. G. Vail, New York, 1868-1937. The services of Herbert B. Anstaett, Librarian of Franklin and Marshall College, have been so various, constant, and indispensable that they deserve my most sincere thanks. No thanks, however, can be adequate for the devoted work and interest bestowed on the preparation of this book, from beginning to end, by my wife.

I am grateful also to the following publishers for permission to quote from the books named: The Clarendon Press, Oxford, for Boswell’s Life of Johnson edited by George Birkbeck Hill, revised and enlarged[xi] edition by L. F. Powell; The Letters of Horace Walpole edited by Mrs. Paget Toynbee; and Satirical Poems Published Anonymously by William Mason with Notes by Horace Walpole edited by Paget Toynbee. Constable and Company, Ltd., for Sheridan: From New and Original Material by Walter Sichel. Henry Holt and Company for Sheridan: A Biography by W. Fraser Rae. The Huntington Library for The American Journal of Ambrose Serle, Secretary to Lord Howe 1776-1778, edited by Edward H. Tatum, Jr. Hutchinson and Company, Ltd., for The Farington Diary by Joseph Farington, R.A., edited by James Greig. John Lane, the Bodley Head, Ltd., for The Last Journals of Horace Walpole during the Reign of George III from 1771-1783 edited by A. Francis Steuart. The Macmillan Company for The Writings of Benjamin Franklin edited by Albert Henry Smyth. John Murray for Private Letters of Edward Gibbon (1753-1794) edited by Rowland E. Prothero. Martin Secker and Warburg, Ltd., for The Linleys of Bath by Clementina Black. The Viking Press, Inc., for The Private Papers of James Boswell from Malahide Castle as originally published in a limited edition by William Rudge and to be published in an unlimited edition by The Viking Press, Inc., under the editorship of Professor Frederick A. Pottle.

L. H. B.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania
March 1941

[1] In the present text deleted letters are supplied within square brackets. Originally the use of blanks and asterisks in names of persons was a means of avoiding libel actions. One should never print a man’s name out at length, said Swift in The Importance of the Guardian Considered, 1713; “but, as I do, that of Mr. St—le: so that, although everybody alive knows whom I mean, the plaintiff can have no redress in any court of justice.” This was such an easy way to add piquancy to defamation that it became conventional in satire. In 1778 the reviewer of an anti-ministerial poem called The Conquerors observed that the work seemed “designed for the perusal of astronomers; there are more stars in it than the galaxy contains” (The Critical Review, XLV, 150).


FOREWORD by Randolph G. Adams vii


He was the happiest of any occasional writer in his day: happy alike in the subject and in the execution of it.—I mention with pleasure Anticipation, the Wreath of Fashion, &c. &c. &c. and I wish to preserve the name and remembrance of such a man as Mr. Tickell. Poets and ingenious men, who write on occasional subjects with great ability, are too often lost in the most undeserved oblivion. But we must recollect, that even such a poem as “The Absalom and Achitophel” of Dryden himself (perhaps his greatest production) was but occasional, and written for a party.⸺The Pursuits of Literature, 5th edition, 1798





Early in 1778 a new satirical poet caused a flutter in the polite circles of London. Within a few weeks of one another two poems, The Project and The Wreath of Fashion, were issued by Becket, the bookseller of the Adelphi in the Strand. Though anonymous, their author was soon known to be a young barrister named Richard Tickell. The Project treats of a scheme overlooked by the Academy of Projectors which Captain Gulliver visited in the course of his third voyage. In deft octosyllabics the satirist proposes applying Montesquieu’s discovery of the effect of climate on character to the problem of the parliamentary Opposition:

Suppose the Turks, who now agree
It wou’d fatigue them to be free,
Should build an ice-house, to debate
More cooly on affairs of state,
Might not some Mussulmen be brought,
To brace their minds, nor shrink at thought?

Surely the philosophers are right who have reasoned that England’s northern air is accountable for Englishmen’s love of liberty, and many a question has been lost by Administration from Parliament’s meeting in cold weather. An obvious solution would be to alter the season of meeting:

But ah, what honest squire would stay
To make his speech, instead of hay?
The Beaux would scarcely think of law,
To give up Scarborough or Spa’:
And say ye sportsmen, wou’d a member
Attend St. Stephen’s in September?

The poet’s more feasible plan is a better mode of heating the Parliament buildings. He suggests that in each House, replacing the table[4] where votes, journals, and mace are laid, a vast “Buzaglo[1] be set up; that is, an open fire of intense heat, over which a Fire Committee should preside with a fuel supply of seditious tracts—Junius, Common Sense, and the works of Tucker and Price. Such a device will mollify the most inveterate foes of Administration:

From bench to bench, in spite of gout,
The soften’d Chatham moves about:
“My good Lord Sandwich, how d’ye do?
I like the speech; ’twas penn’d by you.
America has gone too far;
We must support so just a war.”

The reviewers were delighted with the poem, so distinguished by its good nature and wit amid the current tide of party polemics. The connoisseur in Horace Walpole was stronger than his Whiggism, and he found The Project excellent.[2] Dr. Johnson, who disapproved of flippancy in politics, dissented. At a dinner party at Sir Joshua Reynolds’ on the 25th of April, Dr. Samuel Musgrave, the learned editor of Euripides, read the new poem. Johnson was not amused. “A temporary poem always entertains us,” urged Musgrave. “So,” replied Johnson, “does an account of the criminals hanged yesterday entertain us.”[3]

Rather ungratefully, Tickell followed up his reception as a poet in the circles of ton with a satire on one of society’s most conspicuous foibles. The Wreath of Fashion, or, the Art of Sentimental Poetry, said The Critical Review in its notice, “is levelled at the same vice in the poetical world, at which the School for Scandal was aimed in the theatrical and moral worlds,—at the present fashionable strain of sentimental whining.”[4] It was an age of rhyming peers. Tickell declared in the preface that he was prompted to write his satire by reading a recent volume by a noble author (whom he did not name but who was the Earl of Carlisle, Byron’s “Lord, rhymester, petit-maître, pamphleteer”) containing one ode on the death of Mr. Gray and two on the death of his lordship’s spaniel. In The Wreath of Fashion Tickell deplored, with Sheridan, the vogue of tearful comedies and gently rebuked the inanities of newspaper poets. His chief ridicule was reserved for the poetic salon of Mrs. “Calliope” Miller at Batheaston, where the quality from Bath wrote bouts-rimés about buttered muffins and the[5] like, dropped them into a classic vase, and applauded the winners crowned by Mrs. Miller with wreaths of myrtle.[5] Over these rites of poetic sensibility, said the satirist, the goddess Fashion presides, and thus she must be supplicated:

On a spruce pedestal of Wedgwood ware,
Where motley forms, and tawdry emblems glare,
Behold she consecrates to cold applause,
A Petrefaction, work’d into a Vase:
The Vase of Sentiment!—to this impart
Thy kindred coldness, and congenial art....
With votive song, and tributary verse,
Fashion’s gay train her gentle rites rehearse.
What soft poetic incense breathes around!
What soothing hymns from Adulation sound!

The Wreath of Fashion went through a half-dozen editions. David Garrick wrote a puff for it in The Monthly Review in which he ventured to prophesy that “elegant poetry, refined satire, and exquisite irony” would be revived by the new author;[6] and Samuel Rogers, belated Augustan that he was, always remembered The Wreath as an early favorite.[7]


Who was the new poet? The turn of his couplets and the delicate barbs of his satire suggested a poetic school then growing outmoded. There were those who, when they learned his name, remembered his grandfather, Thomas Tickell, a poet of Queen Anne’s day and the particular friend of Mr. Addison. Thomas Tickell (1685-1740) served as Addison’s Under-Secretary of State and retained his post under Craggs and Carteret. In 1724, when Carteret became Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, Tickell was sent to Dublin as Secretary to the Lords Justices. There were cordial relations between Dublin Castle and the Deanery of St. Patrick’s, and a circle of friends that included Swift, the Delanys, Lord Orrery, and Dr. Sheridan maintained in Dublin an outpost of Augustan literary society. In this propitious atmosphere John Tickell, eldest son of Thomas and father of Richard, our poet, was born in 1729 and grew up to take his place among the Dublin virtuosi. But he had a volatile[6] character and fell into a train of misadventures and difficulties. In 1748 he made a runaway marriage with Esther (or Hester) Pierson, and children to the number of six followed in rapid succession.[8] At length he became disastrously involved in Anglo-Irish politics while serving on the court side as a magistrate after the Dublin riots in December 1759.[9] His conduct on this occasion, though its precise nature is not clear, excited such indignation that he was obliged to leave Dublin. In 1765, according to information in the Tickell family papers, his mother purchased for him a civil appointment at Windsor Castle; but some years later, like other indigent Englishmen at that period, he went to live on the Continent and disappeared from sight.

Richard, the second son of John Tickell, is usually said to have been born at Bath in 1751, but neither the place nor the date can be verified. He and his elder brother Thomas were briefly at Westminster School (from 19 June 1764); when their father went to Windsor Castle, they were transferred to Eton (29 May 1765); three years later Richard proceeded to the Middle Temple (8 November 1768).[10] Having in due time been called to the bar, he was, about the beginning of 1777, appointed by Lord Chancellor Bathurst a commissioner of bankrupts. However, as a contemporary biographer remarked, law was not to Tickell’s taste; “his disposition was too volatile and desultory for that study.”[11] In April or May 1778 he was removed from his post. Doubtless his courtship of the muses had been at the expense of the law, for his fellow-commissioners had complained of his absences. Tickell turned in his distress to his most influential friend, David Garrick, who at once interceded for him with the Lord Chancellor, by way of Lady Bathurst.[12] Garrick obtained from Bathurst a promise of reinstatement, but in June Bathurst was succeeded by Edward Thurlow, and Garrick had to begin all over again. His further attempts met with no success. “I am sorry we were both so unsuccessful in our Schems with the present Chancellor,” Garrick was informed by Lady Bathurst on the 25th of July; “I do assure you I did my part for Mʳ Tickle but I find he has enemies who flung cold water on my solicitations.”[13] The news plunged Tickell into despair.

But Fortune is capricious, and at this moment Tickell made the acquaintance of one who was even closer than Garrick to the springs of patronage. This was William Brummell, whose only claim to remembrance today is the fact that he had a very famous son, but who appears[7] in late eighteenth-century memoirs as an able backstairs politician and private secretary to Lord North. Brummell, we are informed by the Biographia Dramatica, “conceived a strong friendship for our author, and patronised him with a generosity and warmth that did him honour.”[14] With the approval and perhaps at the instigation of Lord North, Tickell was at once set to work on a secret and important project. On the 7th of November he wrote Garrick pleading to be excused from writing a prologue that had been requested of him:

You may be assured Mr. Garrick’s wishes shall always have the force of commands with me; but when I acquaint you that at present ... I am employed in a work that may make or mar my fortune, I can scarcely think you would wish to interrupt my attention to it.[15]

On Monday the 23rd of that month, three days before Parliament met for the new session, Becket announced the publication of a work entitled “ANTICIPATION, Containing the Substance of his M⸻y’s most gracious Speech to both H⸺s of P⸻t, on the Opening of the approaching Session. Together with a full and authentic account of the Debate in the H⸺ of C⸻, that will take place on the motion for the address and amendment.” On Tuesday night Edward Gibbon wrote his friend Holroyd:

You sometimes complain that I do not send you early news; but you will now be satisfied with receiving a full and true account of all the parliamentary transactions of next Thursday. In town we think it an excellent piece of humour (the author is one Tickell). Burke and C. Fox are pleased with their own Speaches, but serious Patriots groan that such things should be turned to farce.[16]

Horace Walpole, though unable to deny the wit of Anticipation, was among those who thought its jocularity ill-timed. Said he:

The drollery of the pamphlet was congenial with the patron: a very unprosperous and disgraceful civil war, just heightened by a bloody proclamation of Sir Henry Clinton, and accompanied by a war with France, was not a very decent moment for joking![17]



No one in any party was disposed to deny the seriousness of the moment. The preceding twelve months, as some were then aware, had proved the turning-point in the war with America. The threat of French aggression following Burgoyne’s defeat had transformed Britain’s war of subjugation into one of defence. After a comfortable winter in Philadelphia, without having struck a blow at the inferior American forces at Valley Forge, Sir William Howe was ordered to evacuate that city lest it be cut off by a French fleet. Englishmen at home could still cling to the official view, held by George III and expressed by Lord North in Anticipation, that most Americans, if given a chance to choose, would prefer conciliation with England to an upstart democracy and an “unnatural connection” with France. But those on the spot saw that the hope of affording Americans such a chance was now dashed. At Philadelphia Admiral Lord Howe’s secretary wrote in his journal on the 22nd of May:

I now look upon the Contest as at an End. No man can be expected to declare for us, when he cannot be assured of a Fortnight’s Protection. Every man, on the contrary, whatever might have been his primary Inclinations, will find it his Interest to oppose & drive us out of the Country.[18]

Two days later General Howe set sail for England and left Sir Henry Clinton to evacuate the troops in June. The incompetence or treachery of an American officer, Charles Lee, saved Clinton’s regiments from severe losses as they crossed New Jersey. After their arrival within the fortifications around New York, the British held not a square mile elsewhere on the mainland of the northern and middle colonies.

The summer was occupied with raids by British irregulars on the Pennsylvania and New York frontier and a series of inconclusive feints and chases between Admirals Howe and D’Estaing. In September Howe resigned his command and followed his brother home to England. Deeply disgruntled with Administration, the Howes joined General Burgoyne in efforts to obtain satisfaction from Parliament. The Whigs, hoping for disclosures embarrassing to the government, at once took up the cause[9] of the commanders; while the ministers, with equal determination, resisted every move for a court-martial or inquiry.

During this year the Tory government had been as hard pressed at home as the King’s forces had been abroad. The news of Saratoga, received early in December 1777, struck a staggering blow to the ministers, who at once adjourned Parliament for six weeks and endeavored to open indirect and secret negotiations with the American commissioners in Paris. When Parliament reconvened, Fox’s motion in the Commons “that no more of the Old Corps be sent out of the kingdom” produced a suddenly swollen minority. There was a cry throughout the country for Chatham. North had lost his zest for the war and would willingly have retired in favor of Chatham, but the King refused to consider such a move. In a desperate effort to counteract American negotiations with France, North then introduced, 17 February 1778, his conciliatory bills, which offered the repeal of the acts that had offended the colonists and conceded all but the name of independence. While the House was recovering from its amazement Charles Fox rose and said that he was glad Ministers had at last concurred with the long-standing views of Opposition. But had not their repentance come too late? Did not Ministers know that a commercial treaty between France and America had already been signed?[19] “Acts of Parliament have made a war,” Walpole wrote Sir Horace Mann three days later, “but cannot repeal one.”[20] On the 13th of March the French ambassador in London announced the treaty of friendship between France and the United States. Thereafter no one in either party expected much of North’s commission to treat with America. Detained in England until mid-April, the commissioners arrived in the Delaware a whole month after Congress had ratified the treaty with France and, to their great chagrin, just in time to take part in the retreat from Philadelphia. One member of the commission, George Johnstone, after futile private overtures to members of Congress, quarreled with his colleagues and returned in a huff to vindicate himself and criticize ministers and commanders before Parliament. On the whole, the commission did little more than aggravate the ill-feeling on both sides.

On the 7th of April, after a long absence, Lord Chatham, wrapped in flannels and supported by his sons, took his seat in the House of Lords. Rising for the second time in the debate to speak on the American war,[10] he was struck down by an apoplexy from which he never recovered. His death, on the 11th of May, was believed and said by many to be a portent of doom to the Empire.

Meanwhile the specter of a French invasion caused the King late in March to communicate to Parliament his intention of ordering the militia “to be drawn out and embodied, and to march as occasion shall require.” Five encampments were established; peers and M.P.’s, Whig and Tory alike, hastened to raise regiments; and by June Gibbon could tell Holroyd that “The chief conversation at Almack’s is about tents, drill-Serjeants, subdivisions, firings, &c.”[21] All summer and autumn the country was full of marching and countermarching for the edification of anxious royalty. In the newspapers appeared advertisements for “martial balsam,” recommended for those afflicted by toothache from exposure to damp canvas and mattresses. Even theater business was depressed by the rage for visiting the encampments. Sheridan, ever resourceful, dashed off as a counter-attraction his entertainment of The Camp, with a musical arrangement by Thomas Linley, a prologue by Tickell, and (according to the newspaper notices) “a perspective Representation of the grand camp at Coxheath, from a view taken by Mr. de Loutherbourg and erected under his direction.”

All this was diverting, but in midsummer occurred an incident that betrayed to the nation the smoldering antagonism between ministers and commanders. In the previous March Admiral Keppel, a staunch Whig who had refused to serve against America, had been promoted commander of the Channel fleet. He found, contrary to the Admiralty’s repeated assurances in Parliament, that ships and equipment were woefully inadequate for his crucial task of defending the coasts. At length reinforced, Keppel on the 27th of July engaged the Brest fleet off Ushant. In command of the British rearward squadron was Sir Hugh Palliser, a Tory M.P. and a Lord of the Admiralty. Following a short and indecisive action, Keppel gave orders for a new line of battle, but Palliser did not obey until after dark. By morning the French had escaped. Keppel did not report Palliser’s insubordination, but accounts of the action appeared in the papers, and before the opening of Parliament the incident had become a heated party issue, with Keppel exalted as a popular hero and Palliser condemned as the agent of a negligent and scheming ministry.



Affairs stood in this critical posture when Parliament was summoned in the last week of November. Fearing defection in the Tory ranks, North called a private meeting of his friends beforehand to consult on strategy. He was himself there taxed with negligence, and extraordinary steps were taken to secure attendance in the government seats. Now a favorite parliamentary weapon of North’s had always been humor—or, as his opponents styled it, “buffoonery.” His motto, said Walpole, ought to have been “Aut dormitabo, aut ridebo.”[22] And when Anticipation appeared, it was widely believed that North himself had had a hand in its composition.[23] The very favorable reception of the pamphlet must have surpassed the hopes of both author and patron. For some days the papers printed eulogistic notices and long extracts. Representative is the comment in The Morning Chronicle on the day the session opened:

The literary piece of mimickry published on Monday last, under the title of Anticipation, is beyond compare one of the ablest sketches ever hit off by a man of fancy and talents. Mimicks in general distort the features of those they affect to imitate; the author of Anticipation, on the contrary, has preserved the vrais-semblance of each of the objects of imitation with wonderful correctness, and it is a question whether he deserves most applause for the humorous conceits with which he has dished out the oratory of his heroes, or the striking likenesses (in point of order, argument, imagery, and diction) which he has drawn of each speaker. Lord G[ranb]y’s harangue is, to those who have not been in the House of Commons on the first day of a session, a perfect example of Opposition oratory on such an occasion.—Mr. T. L[uttre]ll’s speech need not have had his name prefixed to it; no member, T. L[uttre]ll excepted, could possibly shew so much learning to so little purpose.... In a word, Anticipation is one of the best pamphlets the publick have been favoured with for years, and though it has in some measure a political tendency, ... it serves, contrary to the effect of most political pamphlets, to put all parties in good humour.

The good nature of the parody was remarked by all who spoke of it. Certainly the pleasantest circumstance of the whole episode is the fact that[12] some of the victims of Tickell’s mimicry enjoyed the humor of it; though we learn from Walpole that Welbore Ellis, “another justly and humourously drawn, proved how justly. He said, ‘It is well written, but I perceive the author takes me for a dull man.’”[24]

According to a tradition that is not implausible, North and his friends took copies of Anticipation into the House on the opening day and dispensed them gratis.[25] An apparent consequence of this was Tickell’s luckiest satirical stroke, by virtue of which Anticipation lived on in the memory of anecdotists. Walpole, who was on the spot, reported that Col. Isaac Barré, an Opposition stalwart, “not having seen this pamphlet, the first day of the Session cited a foreign Governor with whom he was acquainted, exactly in the manner here ridiculed, and he also translated a French expression.”[26] This episode grew appreciably in the telling. In 1823 Joseph Jekyll told Tom Moore (who wrote down everything he heard) of the

laughable effect on the House of Col. Barré’s speech; he being the only one (having just arrived from the country) ignorant of the pamphlet, and falling exactly into the same peculiarities which the pamphlet quizzed, particularly that of quoting French words and then translating them. At every new instance of this kind in his speech there was a roar of laughter from the House, which Barré, of course, could not understand.[27]

But this was not the last refinement. The progress of the story, from contemporary witnesses to Jekyll and Moore and finally to “Senex” writing his recollections in Blackwood’s in 1826, is an illustration and a warning of the ways of anecdotists. The humorous success of Anticipation, wrote “Senex,”

I well remember.... The style of the speeches was so well imitated, and the matter in many cases so happily forestalled, that, like Vulcan among Homer’s gods, it caused inextinguishable laughter. What gave much zest to the joke was the ignorance of most of the usual speaking members that any such pamphlet existed. Their great surprise at the loud mirth excited by speeches intended to make a very different impression, and the frequent cries of “Spoke, Spoke!” the meaning of which they could not possibly comprehend, may be easily[13] conceived. One of its effects was to shorten the debate, for, as the joke soon spread, many were afraid to address the House for fear of involving themselves in the predicament of those who had been so humorously anticipated.[28]


Anticipation had a great run. Such was the popular demand that a “Fourth Edition” was advertised by Becket within a week of first publication. Five more London editions and a Dublin reprint appeared before the end of the year. As soon as copies reached America, Anticipation was reprinted at both the British headquarters in New York and the American headquarters in Philadelphia. In announcing his New York reprint, James Rivington stated, with what degree of exaggeration the reader is free to guess, that “such was the reception given to this novel and immensely admired piece, that more than Forty Thousand copies were disposed of in a few days.”[29] In London a rash of imitations broke out at once. Altercation, Deliberation, Anticipation Continued, Anticipation for the Year MDCCLXXIX, The Exhibition, or a Second Anticipation—all these appeared within a year. As late as 1812 appeared Anticipation: or, The Prize Address; which will be delivered at the Opening of the New Drury Lane Theatre, a squib inspired by the same circumstances that gave rise to the celebrated Rejected Addresses of James and Horace Smith. And there were others. But, as Dr. Johnson remarked of The Splendid Shilling, “the merit of such performances begins and ends with the first author.”[30]

There was another result of the publication of the satire that, to Tickell, was perhaps the most gratifying of all. The author was right, observed The London Magazine in its review, in predicting a majority for Administration in his mimic debate; “and we verily believe he might have added by way of note at the end—‘This will get me a place or a pension.’”[31] This impertinence was justified by the event. On the 6th of December Richard Rigby, Paymaster and general factotum in North’s cabinet, wrote David Garrick a short but meaningful note: “I have had a meeting with Anticipation, and like him very much; I wish to have some further discourse with you upon that subject. Could you call here to-morrow morning about eleven?”[32] The subject was unquestionably a ministerial reward for services rendered. About this time Tickell was[14] granted a pension of 200l. per annum.[33] Soon afterward an anonymous poet of the Batheaston circle returned good for evil in praising Tickell while attempting to recall him to virtue:

Some writers be of an amphibious race,
And prose and verse their elemental place.
Such he, whose wit made wond’ring senates roar,
And those to blush that never blush’d before.
Anticipation gave him sterling fame,
The Wreath of Fashion a poetic name.
And Nature gave, and at the gift repines,
At pension’d wit and prostituted lines.
Be your’s, O Tickell, to correct this vice,
That deals out praise or censure at a price,
And in one grand example prove to men,
How weak is Wit, when Party holds the pen;
And while you glow with more than virtue’s flame,
And all admire from whence such virtue came,
Each literary Swiss shall dread thy rage,
Dismiss their weapons, and no more engage.[34]

But man cannot live by wit alone. In the next two years Tickell wrote two more satirical tracts for the ministry, which, though not dull, were scarcely inspired; and in August 1781 he was appointed a commissioner of the Stamp Office. Here, with other beneficiaries of ministerial generosity and a salary of 500l., he stayed. A year earlier (25 July 1780) he had married Miss Mary Linley, a charming and witty young lady if less renowned than her sister Elizabeth (Mrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan). In September 1782, doubtless through the good offices of Lord North, they settled in an apartment in the Gold Staff Gallery at the top of Hampton Court Palace.[35] Tickell’s talents were useful in the Linley-Sheridan family enterprise of Drury Lane Theatre. He served in the capacity of Mr. Puff as “a Practitioner of Panegyric” in the newspapers, refurbished old plays, and tried his hand, with mild success, at composing librettos. When Fox and North formed their coalition government (of unhappy memory), Tickell’s political allegiance was transferred to the Whigs. That he had long had a preference for Whig society appears from the satirical-affectionate picture of Brooks’s Club in his Epistle from the Honourable[15] Charles Fox, Partridge-Shooting, to the Honourable John Townshend, Cruising, 1779. The devoted but sharp-tongued Mrs. Tickell informed her sister in a letter of 1785: “So I find the election has taken a happy turn at last and I am to congratulate myself with being the wife of a member of Brooks’s.... T. is delighted; the great point of his ambition is gained.”[36] To which she added, at the thought of her husband’s increased opportunities for conviviality: “Farewell, a long farewell to all my comforts.”[37] From the many fragments of Mary Tickell’s spritely letters that have been printed here and there, it is impossible not to give at least one representative passage showing both husband and wife in character. In an undated letter from Hampton Court she wrote:

The men stayed last night or rather this morning till four or five tho’ I entreated T⸺. to think of to-night’s fatigue for me and let them go, but ’twas all in vain, for the moment my back was turn’d off they march’d into the other room with their Bottles and Glasses and order’d Stephen to bring the fire after them—so at least they had the grace to think of not disturbing me, for you are to know since the cold wether we dine and sup in the Drawing Room. However unfortunately my ears were quick enough to reach to Stephen’s Pantry where I heard every cruel Pop of that odious five shilling claret which entirely hindered my closing my eyes, so here I am at half past one just after breakfast and thinking of my evening’s dissipation. Don’t you think that I should cut a figure in the great world?[38]

As a member of the glittering Whig fraternity that moved about Fox, Sheridan, and the Prince of Wales, Tickell became a large contributor to the great collective (and perennial) satire known as The Rolliad, a shilling edition of which, George Saintsbury once remarked, if properly annotated, would keep one amused from London to York. He also produced a number of more or less serious pamphlets attacking Pitt’s government; and during the regency crisis of 1788-89 he worked feverishly with the other Foxites in the expectation of a Whig triumph. But the King recovered, the Whigs’ hopes were dashed, and Tickell never obtained his expected seat in Parliament.[39]

Mary Tickell died in July 1787. Two years later Tickell eloped with the daughter of a captain in the East India Company’s service, Miss Sarah[16] Ley, a reigning beauty who was for a time the rival of Emma Hamilton as Romney’s model.[40] She was very young, very extravagant, and without any fortune. In a year or two her husband, who was chronically improvident and was now deprived of Mary Tickell’s common sense, found himself overwhelmed with debts. In May 1793 he appealed to Warren Hastings for a loan of 500l. and obtained it.[41] Hastings was a friend of the Ley family, but that an intimate of the Fox-Sheridan circle and a contributor to The Rolliad should have turned to him for help is an indication of Tickell’s desperate straits. The loan was evidently not sufficient for his needs. On the 4th of November his lifeless body was found below the parapet outside his Hampton Court apartment. Two days later Joseph Farington recorded in his Diary: “Distressed circumstances and an apprehension of being arrested, it is said, is the cause of this momentary phrenzy.”[42]


As a successful parody of parliamentary proceedings and eloquence at the time of the American Revolution, Anticipation retains historical interest. One reviewer went so far as to say that a comparison of the actual debate with Tickell’s anticipated version would show that between the two “the difference as to the material grounds of disputation is trifling.”[43] This is scarcely an exaggeration, though, as it turned out, the House was less full and the debate less animated than had been expected from the presence in town of so many generals and admirals known to be at odds with one another and the ministers. As a parodist, however, Tickell was less concerned to present the substance of a particular debate than the idiosyncracies of those who spoke frequently in the House, whether from Opposition or Administration benches. The verisimilitude of his subjects’ accents, attitudes, and hobby-horses of theme was unanimously acknowledged and praised by contemporaries. Anticipation is in short a speaking picture of that House of Commons in which, as well as in America, a bitter conflict was in progress. Here are Burke’s rumbling periods on the decline of the British Empire, and Fox’s skilful arguments to show that neither an offensive nor a defensive war can be successfully continued in America. David Hartley the younger quotes the recent sentiments of his friend Benjamin Franklin in Paris, and a radical Member from the City praises Washington and threatens ministers with the Tower and the block.[17] Other Whigs attack profiteering army contractors, false news in the Gazettes, and the employment of Indians to butcher the colonists; others demand parliamentary inquiries that government officials suggest deferring until “about six months after Christmas.” Late in the evening Lord North rises and, after invoking the mighty shade of Chatham, takes up his secretary’s notes on speeches by the Opposition and urges upon an unruly House the need of unanimity.

It is a vivid and authentic picture, and it is also an entertaining one. Though parody is a minor genre, it has its masterpieces. But they should be read rather than talked about. Let the last opinion on Anticipation be that of George IV, who was a person of discernment in these matters. J. W. Croker recorded in his diary that at a royal dinner-party in January 1822 the talk had turned to Tickell. The King spoke of Anticipationcon amore and quoted some of the speeches.” He promised to have a copy looked out for Lady Conyngham, who had never read it. “The events and the pieces were gone by,” said the King; “but the wit and pleasantry of it never could fade.”[44]


1 A certain A. Buzaglo, who had a shop in the Strand, opposite Somerset House, frequently advertised in the newspapers in 1778. His warming-pans, for curing the gout, were highly recommended to the nobility.

2 Letter to Mason, 18 April 1778 (The Letters of Horace Walpole, ed. Mrs. Paget Toynbee, Oxford, 1903-05, X, 222).

3 Boswell’s Life of Johnson, ed. G. B. Hill and L. F. Powell, Oxford, 1934—, III, 318.

4 XLV, 1778, 310.

5 See Ruth A. Hesselgrave, Lady Miller and the Batheaston Literary Circle, New Haven, 1927.

6 LIX, 1778, 145. Garrick acknowledged his authorship of this review in a letter to Hannah More, misdated 1777, in William Roberts, Memoirs of ... Mrs. Hannah More, 3rd ed., 1835, I, 116.

7 The Farington Diary, ed. James Greig, New York, 1923-28, I, 186; Recollections of the Table-Talk of Samuel Rogers [ed. Alexander Dyce], New York, 1856, pp. 71-72.


8 Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, new ser., II, 1877, 473; Sir [John] Bernard Burke, Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, 9th ed., 1898, II, “Ireland,” p. 441; Richard Eustace Tickell, Thomas Tickell and the Eighteenth Century Poets, 1931, p. 173 and “Tickell Pedigree.”

9 A long letter from John Tickell to the Duke of Newcastle, 26 August 1767, alludes to these circumstances and appeals to Newcastle’s generosity (Newcastle Papers, British Museum Add. MSS. 32,984, f. 350).

10 G. F. R. Barker and A. H. Stenning (compilers), The Record of Old Westminsters, 1928, II, 919; R. A. Austen-Leigh (ed.), The Eton College Register, 1753-1790, Eton, 1921, p. 517; John Hutchinson, A Catalogue of Notable Middle Templars, 1902, p. 242.

11 David Erskine Baker, Isaac Reed, and Stephen Jones (compilers), Biographia Dramatica, 1812, I, 713.

12 Tickell to Garrick, 11 May 1778 (Private Correspondence of David Garrick [ed. James Boaden], 1831-32, II, 304).

13 Unpublished letter in the Theatre Collection, Harvard College Library.

14 I, 713-714.

15 Garrick, Private Correspondence, II, 317.

16 Private Letters of Edward Gibbon, ed. R. E. Prothero, 1896, I, 348.

17 Last Journals during the Reign of George III, ed. A. Francis Steuart, 1910, II, 206n.

18 The American Journal of Ambrose Serle ... 1776-1778, ed. Edward H. Tatum, Jr., San Marino, California, 1940, p. 296.

19 Walpole, Last Journals, II, 117; Fox, Speeches, 1815, I, 116-118.

20 Letters, ed. Toynbee, X, 195.

21 Private Letters, I, 338.

22 Last Journals, II, 115n. In a debate on the navy estimates, 2 December 1778, Temple Luttrell said of North:

Whenever the noble lord found himself closely pressed in argument, or fact, it was his known practice to get rid of the question by a joke. His manner was no less curious than his matter; when he was half asleep, or seemingly quite asleep, he collected a store of wit and humour, from Æsop, Phædrus, or Joe Miller, or some other book equally distinguished for such species of drollery; and, instead of reasoning, was sure to treat the House with a laugh (The Parliamentary History of England ... to the Year 1803 [compiled by William Cobbett], 1806-20, XIX, 1388).

23 John Taylor, Records of My Life, 1832, I, 144.

24 Last Journals, II, 206.

25 Altercation; Being the Substance of a Debate ... on a Motion to Censure the Pamphlet of Anticipation [1778], p. 10; The Pamphleteer, XIX, 1822, 310.


26 MS. note in Horace Walpole’s copy of Anticipation.

27 Thomas Moore, Memoirs, Journal, and Correspondence, ed. Lord John Russell, 1853-56, IV, 34.

28 “Reminiscences.—No. IV. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, &c.,” Blackwood’s Magazine, XX, 209.

29 The Royal Gazette, 17 March 1779.

30 Though Johnson had disapproved of The Project, he thought Anticipation “a mighty fine thing.” So Boswell told Tickell at a dinner-party in April 1779 (Private Papers of James Boswell from Malahide Castle, ed. Geoffrey Scott and F. A. Pottle, Mount Vernon, N.Y., 1928-34, XIII, 232).

31 XLVII, 1778, 566.

32 Garrick, Private Correspondence, II, 322-323.

33 Biographia Dramatica, I, 714.

34 Hobby-Horses. Read at Batheaston, 1780, pp. 13-14.

35 Ernest Law, The History of Hampton Court Palace, 1890-91, III, 318, 464.

36 W. Fraser Rae, Sheridan, New York, 1896, I, 357.

37 Walter Sichel, Sheridan, 1909, I, 442n.

38 Clementina Black, The Linleys of Bath, 1911, p. 162.

39 Thomas Moore, Memoirs of ... Sheridan, 2nd ed., 1825, II, 62.

40 See Romney’s diary, as given in Humphry Ward and W. Roberts, Romney, 1904, II, 157-158. Romney painted three portraits of the second Mrs. Tickell, the best-known of which is reproduced in Sichel’s Sheridan, II, facing p. 264.

41 British Museum Add. MSS. 29,194, f. 152; 29,173, f. 44.

42 I, 13. There is a circumstantial account of Tickell’s death and the conduct of his widow in [William Smyth] Memoir of Mr. Sheridan, Leeds, 1840, pp. 53-55.

43 The London Magazine, XLVII, 1778, 566.

44 The Croker Papers, ed. L. J. Jennings, 1884, I, 245-246.


Reduced from the original by one third

Containing the Substance of
Most Gracious Speech
H⸻S of P⸺L⸺T,
Opening of the approaching Session,
With a full and authentic Account of the Debate
which will take Place in the H⸺e of C⸻s,
on the Motion for the Address, and the Amendment.


So shall my Anticipation
Prevent your Discovery.

Printed for T. Becket, the Corner of the Adelphi,
in the Strand. 1778.



Several reasons concurred to urge the Editor to this publication. The critical situation of public affairs seemed to require an extraordinary diffusion of political knowledge; yet, in the common course, but few of the millions, who are so deeply interested in the result of parliamentary debates, can be admitted to an audience of them. Sometimes, the Members shut their galleries against the intrusion of any of their Constituents; and it is always a standing order, from the opening of the session, to prohibit the publication of their debates. Under these circumstances, an authentic account of the first day’s debate, put forth at this date, will clearly avoid any breach of that order, and, without exposing the Constituents to crowding in the gallery, to furnish them with their Representatives Speeches, taken down with the strictest fidelity, cannot but afford them some amusement, and indeed real use. Besides, the first day’s debate is generally a kind of outline of the debates of the whole session; so that a critical observer, by contemplating the buds and seedlings of this early eloquence, may calculate what degree of radical strength they possess, how far they will expand and bloom, and whether they are hardy enough to stand the winter.

The Editor cannot but seize this opportunity to thank those Gentlemen who have furnished him with the most authentic materials for some of the speeches, which, they will immediately see, he has copied verbatim from their manuscripts—and he sincerely hopes, their having appeared in print before they are spoken, will not deter the several Gentlemen from delivering them with their usual appearance of extempore eloquence.

November 23, 1778.


The Gentlemen trading to the East-Indies, West-Indies, and other parts, who intend taking or sending thither any pamphlets this season, are hereby informed, that this work is authentic, faithful, and strictly impartial; and as the nice and discerning eye of the British islands and settlements near us, must feel an interest in these matters, good allowance will be given for taking quantities.—Also the best Dutch wax, and stationary wares.



Dom. Comm. Jovis. 26 Nov. die.

Anno 19ᵒ Georgii III Regis, 1778.

Sir Francis M[olyneu]x, gentleman-usher of the black rod, having, with the usual solemnity, at half past two o’clock, given three admonitory raps at the door of the H[ous]e of C[ommo]ns, and being thereupon admitted, and having proceeded towards the table, with three progressive bows, acquainted the S[peake]r,[1] that his M[ajest]y commanded their immediate attendance in the H[ous]e of L[or]ds, where soon after his M[ajest]y delivered his most gracious speech to both Houses; which we should give at length, having an accurate copy now before us, but that many reasons concur to induce us rather to give a general sketch of it. It is scarcely necessary to say, that respect to that great personage is the principal of those motives: It is also universally felt, that the merit of those speeches consists much less in the composition than in the delivery. Besides, as an authentic black letter copy of this speech will infallibly appear, we have too high a respect for our good friends Messrs. the Hawkers and Criers of this great metropolis, to rob them of any part of the fruits of their annual eloquence on this occasion⸺The speech began by saying,

That the situation of public affairs induced him to call them thus early together, that they might more fully enter into the various and important concerns which would naturally engage their attention.

That he had reason to hope that the schemes which the natural enemies of this country, in conjunction with their unnatural allies, had meditated against us in the West-Indies, notwithstanding some[24] appearance of success, might, under Divine Providence, fail in the object of distressing the commercial interest of his people, which, it gave him satisfaction to observe, had hitherto continued to flourish amidst the calamities of war, while that of the enemy had received the most material injuries.

That he could not but behold with particular pleasure the zeal and ardour shewn by all his subjects on this emergency, which had fully secured the safety of this country, and convinced our enemies that every attempt against the internal prosperity of Great Britain must prove ineffectual.

That he continued to receive the most friendly assurances of the pacific dispositions of the other powers of Europe.

That his desire of re-establishing the general tranquility could not be doubted; and as he had not been the first to disturb the peace, so he should embrace the earliest opportunity of putting an end to the horrors of war, whenever that desirable end could be effected, consistently with the honour of his crown, and the interest of his subjects, which he should ever be careful to preserve.

That his faithful C[o]mm[o]ns might depend on the proper officers immediately laying before them the estimate for the expences of the ensuing year.

That he lamented that the present situation of affairs should oblige him to call upon his faithful subjects for any additional supplies, but

That his faithful C[o]mm[o]ns might depend on the strictest œconomy on his part, in the application of such sums as they should judge necessary for the public service, and he doubted not they would see the expediency of providing for such contingencies as might arise from the continuance of war, and the measures necessary to be taken for the re-establishment of peace upon an honourable and permanent foundation.

It concluded with relying on the wisdom and unanimity of Parliament; on the good conduct of his Generals and Admirals; on the valor of his Fleets and Armies; and on the zeal and spirit of all his faithful subjects.


Upon the return of the C[ommo]ns to their House, the speech having been read as usual from the chair, a motion for an Address, conformable to the several sentences in the speech, and expressive of the firmness and unanimity of the House at this important crisis, was made and seconded by two young Members; the particular phraseology of which leading speeches we shall not retail, it being universally admitted that the rhetoric applied to these occasions, is not very replete with originality. Our readers will easily imagine the proper quantity of tropes and metaphors, apologies for inexperience, elegant timidities, graceful blushes, studied hesitations, army safe at New-York, fleets likewise safe, individuals enriched, perfect content at home, nothing wanting but unanimity in council, &c. &c. &c. which ornamented and enriched these anniversary panegyrics. We shall hasten therefore to the more material part of the debate, which commenced by the following speech from Lord G[ranb]y[2], proposing the amendment.

Lord G[ran]by.

Lord G[ran]by. Conscious of my own inability, and sinking under the sense of my little knowledge or experience, totally unprovided with any ideas for the present occasion, and absolutely ignorant not only of the forms but even the modes of proceeding in this house, may I, Sir, in this state of imbecility, be permitted to take the lead on this first and most important day of the session? May I, Sir, all unequal to so arduous a task, be allowed to dictate, if not to the whole house, at least to this side of it, the proper and only constitutional method of compelling ministers to furnish us with the means of discovering some errors in their conduct; and to enable us to demonstrate to the nation at large their total incapacity for filling the places which they now hold?—There was a time, Sir, when this side of the house would not tamely acquiesce in so dangerous a precedent as any minister’s retaining his office for the unconstitutional duration of seven years. Have we forgot, Sir, the great name of Pulteny? Pulteny, Sir! the virtuous Pulteny! Pulteny, the wonder of the age! Pulteny, that steady[26] Patriot, whose Herculean eloquence overcame the Hydra of corruption! or have we forgot, Sir, that inestimable character of our own times, whose virtues compelled the admiration of this profligate age; whose memory excites the veneration of every patriot mind? Let it not be objected that these illustrious characters were dazzled by the splendour of a coronet: I will not answer such frivolous remarks:—Sir, I wander from the question: Yet let me remind this House, that those great patriots were ever foremost in taking that part which now falls to my lot. They, Sir, were ever ready to awaken the fears, and rouze the apprehensions, of the Country Gentlemen; and that, Sir, is my object:—They, Sir, compelled Adm[i]n[i]str[a]t[io]n to disclose the inmost recess of official iniquity; and that, Sir, that is also my intention. Sir, with this view, I shall humbly move you, that in place of the present Address, which I cannot but consider as the selfish panegyric of Adm[i]n[i]str[a]t[io]n, immediately after the general expressions of respect for his M[ajest]y, the following words may be substituted, in order to our acquiring that full and comprehensive knowledge of public affairs, which is so indispensably necessary at the opening of this interesting and important session of P[a]rl[ia]m[e]nt.

“Your faithful C[o]mm[o]ns, deeply impressed with a sense of your M[ajest]y’s unwearied anxiety to promote the dignity and glory of Great Britain, cannot but lament the many unhappy circumstances which have conspired to disturb your M[ajest]y’s happiness, and to prejudice the interests and honour of this country. When we find that the most liberal supplies for our naval equipments have as yet produced none of those happy effects which might reasonably have been expected to be derived from so powerful an armament, particularly under the direction of an officer of experienced conduct and courage, we cannot but express our serious apprehensions of some fatal misconduct, either on the part of Administration, by forming indecisive and contradictory instructions for the direction of the Navy, or, in the particular department for naval affairs, of some misapplication of those liberal supplies, which, if wisely and faithfully applied, could not have failed, under divine[27] providence, and your M[ajest]y’s wisdom, of obtaining the most salutary effects.

For these reasons, we, your M[ajest]y’s most faithful C[o]mm[o]ns, most humbly intreat your M[ajest]y to order the proper Officers to lay before the House, copies of the secret instructions for the conduct of the Fleet commanded by Admiral K[e]pp[e]l—estimates of the quantity of ballast used in the several ships of the division of the fleet commanded by Admiral K[e]pp[e]l—bills of parcel of the number of square yards of sail-cloth, together with samples of ditto, intended to be used in the division of the Fleet commanded by Vice Admiral Sir H[u]gh P[a]ll[i]s[e]r—succinct accounts of the quota of biscuits, and ratio of salt-beef distributed in the Fleet—faithful transcripts of the several Log-Books of each vessel—abstracts of all letters, notes, and messages that passed and repassed, off Ushant, between the Admirals and Ph[i]l[i]p St[e]v[e]ns, Esq. during the course of last summer—and, finally, minute copies of all accounts unsettled or passed, open or closed, paid or unpaid, between the Commissioners of the Navy, and all sorts of Manufacturers, Sailors, Contractors, &c. &c. &c. employed by them for these twenty years last past⸺It is from a minute investigation of these important papers, that your M[ajest]y’s most faithful C[o]mm[o]ns can alone derive just grounds for censure or exculpation. And, however laborious this investigation may prove, we, your M[ajest]y’s most faithful C[o]mm[o]ns, beg leave to assure your M[ajest]y, we shall most readily devote our utmost attention to so salutary a study, in order to promote a quick dispatch of public business at this momentous and aweful crisis, and to give vigour and effect to those measures which your M[ajest]y, in your great wisdom, may think necessary to secure the safety, interest, and honour of Great Britain.”

Such, Sir, is the amendment which I have the honour to offer to the consideration of this house. It will immediately strike you, Sir, that in the accounts which I propose to have submitted to the investigation of P[a]rl[ia]m[e]nt, I have avoided asking for one scrap of paper that is not absolutely necessary to be seen and thoroughly studied by the House. Should it, however, appear necessary[28] to Gentlemen to add to the list of these official documents, I am sure I shall not oppose such an improvement to the motion, to whatever quantity it may extend.

Mr. G[eor]g[e] S[u]tt[o]n.

Mr. G[eo]rg[e] S[u]tt[o]n seconded the motion for the amendment, beginning with a similar acknowledgement of his incapacity, his inexperience and ignorance of P[a]rl[ia]m[e]nt[a]ry affairs; declining therefore to enter into any further argument, the subject having been discussed in so full and able a manner by his most noble cousin.

Mr. W[e]lb[o]re Ell[i]s.

Mr. W[e]lb[o]re Ell[i]s, in reply, threw out many sagacious and novel observations. He said that he highly commended the caution and circumspection of the noble Lord, but, that in his opinion, a more proper time would arrive, about six months after Christmas, for entering into the details proposed by the Amendment; as, at that period, Administration would certainly have more leisure for furnishing the papers now called for.

He very properly observed, that selecting these few curious articles of political intelligence from a variety of miscellaneous papers, would require some short time, together with no small degree of discernment, not to mention several thousands of extra clerks. He said, he had taken the trouble to make a most serious investigation into the Journals, the Votes, the Debates, and all the P[a]rl[ia]m[e]nt[a]ry Records of this country; and he was free to say, that notwithstanding it might at first appear rather a novel idea, yet it was his opinion, that The Address on the first day was a matter of compliment. Nay, touching the matter before him, (and weighty and powerful indeed it was) after the most mature and serious deliberation, daily and nightly, he would for once venture to hazard a rhetorical, a figurative expression, to wit, that the Address was an eccho, as it were, a complimentary eccho, of his M[ajest]y’s most gracious speech.—He hinted, that, if any Gentleman wished for particular enquiries, he would, as an old Member, long conversant with the forms of the House, tell him, that certainly a Committee might be appointed to carry on any public enquiry; and he believed such Committees were not unfrequent.—And here he remarked, that, from all his researches, it appeared to him, that the constitution of this country was of a triple nature—K[i]ng—L[o]rds—and[29] C[o]mm[o]ns—that, these three opposite and repelling powers, reciprocally ballanced and counteracted each other; at the same time that they contributed to the proportion and harmony of the whole.—He took occasion to observe, that freedom of Debate was clearly a P[a]rl[ia]m[e]nt[a]ry privilege, and he would pledge himself to prove that every Member in that House was a representative of his constituents.

For these reasons, he concluded with dissenting from the Amendment as trite, abstruse, dangerous, and frivolous.

D[a]v[i]d H[a]rtly, Esq.

D[a]v[i]d H[a]rtly, Esq.[3] observed, that these were no times for flattery and empty adulation.—For his part, he should enter at large into the rise and origin of all Colonies, ancient and modern, into the history of Taxation, and its effects on every state that had exercised it over its colonies; and then review the cause, commencement, and conduct of the whole American war. He felt how arduous, how complicated a task this must prove to himself, and how difficult for the House to understand. That, to lessen that difficulty, both to the House and to himself, he would adopt the most logical method to give clearness and perspicuity to such a multitude and diversity of ideas; and for that purpose, he begged Gentlemen to take notice, that he should divide his speech into four and twenty grand divisions, each of which should contain as many subdivisions, which subdivisions should also be separately discussed in equal number of sections, each section to be split also into the same number of heads; so that with grand divisions, subdivisions, sections, and heads, the number of distinct propositions would amount to several thousands; but that Gentlemen, by attending closely, and correctly taking down the number of any particular argument, should have an immediate explicit answer to any query touching that individual number: and he flattered himself this numerical logic and arithmetic of eloquence would greatly tend to clarify their understandings.


To follow this gentleman thro’ even one of his grand divisions, was a task much beyond the utmost rapidity of a short-hand writer. Indeed the noise from all parts of the house was so excessive, during the several hours which he engrossed in this laborious harangue, that it was totally impossible to catch up any thing beyond the mutilated fragments, and ruins of his oratory. At length however the house sunk into a sudden calm, upon the disclosure of a fact, which seemed to startle even the wildest zealots of faction.—For, after every other argument was exhausted to so little purpose, inflamed by disappointment, and hurried, as we are willing to suppose, by the violence of patriotism, the Honourable Gentleman avowed to the House, that one of his grounds for denouncing ruin to his country was his private knowledge of Dr. Franklyn’s sentiments on that head.[4] “Dr. Franklyn (he exclaimed) the Cromwell of his age, Dr. Franklyn, Ambassador Plenipotentiary from America to France, is my most intimate and most cordial friend!”⸺He went on by declaring, he had passed great part of the summer at Paris, with Dr. Franklyn, in the most unreserved communication of sentiments and facts; and he concluded with repeating, as the joint result of his own and Dr. Franklin’s deliberation, that the glory of England was destroyed for ever!⸺This extraordinary confession produced however no violent effect. Ministers seemed to receive it with a contemptuous pity, not unmingled with ridicule,[5] when Mr. W[ilke]s, finding the little success of serious treason, rose, and indulged himself in the more ludicrous stile of it.


Mr. W[ilke]s.

Mr. W[ilke]s[6] adverted with some degree of humour to the inference of victory and triumph which might be deduced from the return of our Generals and our Admirals, and one of our commissioners too. They found (he said) that being on the spot interrupted their manœuvres, and he supposed they were come three thousand miles off to act cooly. That, the object they were sent to accomplish was confessedly a great one; and it is well known, that objects of a certain magnitude are best contemplated at a distance. Probably, their optics were too tender to distinguish with accuracy amidst the smoak and confusion incident to actual engagements; or perhaps, they reflected on the more imminent dangers of domestic invasion, and hastened home from pure patriotism to guard their native country.—At any rate, he must compliment their discernment in pursuing a line of conduct, which could not fail of conciliating the good opinion and sympathetic regard of the Noble Lord, who presided in the American department. If therefore, Mr. Speaker, by any miraculous change, I were, this day, to become the Advocate of Administration, I should mark the inutility of recurring to the written evidence, which the Amendment calls for, at a moment when we are so copiously provided with vivâ voce testimony. Yet, Sir, I do not think, upon reflexion, that Ministers will adopt this ground for rejecting the noble Lord’s Amendment. They, Sir, will more boldly tell you—you shall have neither,—for, in these times, it is the fashion for all modern Statesmen, first to tell their own story, and then protest solemnly against being cross-examined—or directly, or indirectly, answering question, query, or otherwise. I believe I am accurate in my quotation.—I am not indeed surprized at these declarations of obstinate silence—this is Scottish policy—the example was set by my good old friend, the E[a]rl of B[u]te—for therein I am orthodox in my faith, that the Son is equal to the Father; and I am sure I may add with Athanasian zeal, the father is incomprehensible, and the Son is incomprehensible, yet there are not two incomprehensibles, but one incomprehensible.

(Here a confused cry of order, and the Chaplain reprimanded for laughing.)


There is indeed one North Briton of whom I entertain a better hope.—He seems to have caught that itch for liberty, which, to our great wonder, broke out in the Highlands last summer. He, Sir, even in the character of his M[ajest]y’s Commissi[o]ner, solicited the intimacy of General Washington. But indeed, Sir, if ever a Scotchman can be suspected of loving liberty, it is not when he has recently become a convert to Administration: Washington therefore sent his Excellency, the worthy Commissioner, a flat refusal.—Mr. Laurens too refused his Excellency the hearing he so generously solicited by imploring Congress, “not to follow the example of Br[i]t[ai]n in the hour of her insolence;” the hearing was however refused, nay even the “sight of the country,” and “the sight of its worthy patriots” was peremptorily refused. The Americans, Sir, think that a Scotchman has neither eyes nor ears for liberty, or, at least, they distrusted the capacity of his Excellency’s organs for such an object.—I have a letter, Sir, in my pocket from my honest friend Ethan Allen; I would read it, but I am sure you won’t let me: He knows I am fond of scripture quotations, and tells me Congress would have given your Scotch commissioner this hearing, but they knew “he was like unto the deaf adder, who regardeth not the voice of the charmer.”

Let me then trouble his Excellency with one question; who was it suggested this secret correspondence with the enemy? was it not the Scottish secretary of this wise commission, Dr. Adam Ferguson? It must have been one of Sir John Dalrymple’s associates in literature. The Scotch, if they can get no Englishman to act, as they pretend to say the great Sidney did, will make even their own countrymen treacherous in one age, to furnish some literary assassin of the next with the foul vouchers of treachery and baseness. At all events, Sir, I shall heartily give my vote for the amendment, as the only means to convict the M[i]n[i]stry of what I know they are guilty, weakness, incapacity, ignorance, obstinacy, baseness, and treachery.

Governor J[o]hns[o]n.

Governor J[o]hns[o]n[7] now rose, and said every thing that a Gentleman in his melancholly situation could be supposed to urge.[33] Spoke much of the want of candour in putting a false construction on his actions, which he could assure the House, upon his honour, were all dictated by the best intentions; that he should not undertake to enter into a full defence of his conduct at present, as it was a very delicate business, and turned upon a very nice chain of circumstances. One part of the charges against him he would slightly touch upon, his letters, and what he supposed was meant to be hinted at, his attempts of bribery. That the artful policy of France had made it necessary for him to parry her attacks by similar weapons; that he believed it was felt and would be admitted by all parts of that House, that there is no greater spring of public actions, in all political assemblies, than self-interest. That he felt himself justified in his own mind for every step he had taken, for he would venture to affirm, that in every negociation true wisdom and sound policy justified the moral fitness of secret articles, and the honourable expediency of powerful temptations. As to the failure of success, on the part of the commissioners, various causes had concurred to occasion it. They were sent to treat of peace with a retreating army. Philadelphia, the chief residence of the moderate men, and most friendly to their negociation, was evacuated by the army, on the Commissioners arrival. A little after they had got to New-York, Mons. D’Estaign was upon the coast. These circumstances gave spirits to a declining cause; and America, in this hour of her insolence, refused to treat, unless her independence was specifically acknowledged.

What followed afterwards is a very serious business, indeed; but I trust I shall be pardoned by a noble Lord opposite to me, high in character, and in the esteem of his country, if I freely say, as my opinion, that Monsieur D’Estaign’s fleet ought to have been attacked by the Br[i]t[i]sh at Rhode-Island, as soon as the French came out of the harbour to fight them. And I will further say, considering the spirit, the gallantry, and the heroism of the British Seamen, the inequality of the force of the fleets was not sufficient to justify the not attacking the French fleet, without waiting a length of time to gain the weather guage, and trusting so long as the Engl[i]sh fleet did there to an unruly element. Sir, in the actions in the West-Indies, between the English and French fleets, last war, where the former were greatly inferior both in number and[34] weight of metal, the French were beat off and obliged to fly for it. So, in the case of the Monmouth, the Dorsetshire, and several other instances, inferiority in the outset of the contest proved victorious in the end. I will not, however, dwell upon matters which merely depend upon opinion, and upon which the best officer in the world may be mistaken. But, Sir, after the tempest at Rhode-Island, when the Noble Lord returned to New-York to refit, was not time lost? the very time that might have been employed in separating D’Estaign from Boston harbour? I might say, Sir, in the defeat of D’Estaign; for, after the arrival of some of B[y]r[o]n’s squadron, the Noble Lord was superior to him.⸺It is a very unpleasant task to speak out, but I cannot avoid giving my opinion as a seaman, and as one upon the spot, acquainted with the delays in this business.

Upon the whole, Sir, my opinion, in a very few words is this: The violent and impolitic measures of the M[i]n[i]stry of this country first lost America⸺the Br[i]t[i]sh army might have regained it⸺and our fleet has lost more than one opportunity of crushing that of France, upon which American resistance chiefly depended for protection and support.

Lord H[o]we.

Lord H[o]we and Mr. R[i]gby now rose; but the house appearing inclined to give the former an immediate opportunity to reply, Mr. R[i]gby sat down, and Lord H[o]we, in very modest yet pointed terms, remarked on the unfairness which, he must say, the Honourable Gentleman who spoke last, had discovered both in the design and manner of his speech. That, first, to avoid entering into the motives and principles of his own conduct, as being more proper objects for a particular committee of enquiry, and then to launch out into vague and desultory accusations of any other person, was inconsistent, and, he was sorry to add, illiberal. That whatever prejudices those reflections were intended to create against his conduct, he would not then interrupt the business of the day, and the more general subjects of the present debate, but trust to the candour of the house for suspending their opinion, until the whole of his conduct might be minutely investigated by a committee appointed for that purpose; which committee, he himself should be the first man in that house to solicit, nay demand.


Mr. R[i]gby.

Mr. R[i]gby.⸺I should not, Sir, have troubled the house on this first day, but that I felt it the indispensable duty of private friendship, to express my feelings on the happy return of our worthy Commissioner, who has given you, Sir, so full and satisfactory an account both of his principles and conduct.⸺I shall not trouble you long, Sir; I rise only for that purpose.⸺I am sure there is no Gentleman in this house, who more heartily congratulates the worthy Commissioner on his unembarrassed countenance and his good looks. He certainly has passed the summer very profitably—the voyage seems to have improved his stock of spirits—I think, I never saw him appear to more advantage—I own, however, I sincerely regret the unpoliteness of his American friends. After such condescending invitations of himself, it was not very civil of those Gentlemen to send excuses—If he had been admitted to their society, I have no manner of doubt of the wonderful effects his eloquence would have wrought. Even if they had allowed him a sight of the country, a man of his taste would have brought us home some curious American memoirs: but, alas! he was not only disappointed in that wish, but in one of a still gentler kind. I mean, Sir, a Flirtation Treaty, which he attempted, to negotiate with a celebrated female politician, the Messalina of Congress. I say attempted, Sir; for unfortunately even there too his Excellency met with as cold a reception. Unfortunately! for, had the Lady indulged him with a hearing, or even a sight, what surer line to lay the foundation of a more lasting connection? But, in short, Sir, whether from fate or insufficiency, the affair dropt, and the Flirtation Treaty fell to the ground⸺ ⸺Sir, I trouble the house very seldom, and with as few words as possible⸺my opinion continues to be what it invariably has been, with respect to America—this country may be deprived of its interests, its dignity, and its honour; but, as I never can give my assent to a voluntary surrender of them, I most heartily agree in the support which the address proposes to afford to his M[ajest]y.

Mr. T. T[o]wns[e]nd.

Mr. T. T[o]wns[e]nd rose, and with great vehemence arraigned the levity of the Right Honourable Gentleman who spoke before him; he thought it highly indecent, at this important crisis, when the very existence of this country is at stake, that any Gentleman[36] should endeavour to raise a laugh, and turn the momentous deliberations of that day into ridicule. Under such circumstances, in his opinion, jocularity was flagitious, and wit became blasphemy. He had, himself, sat in three P[a]rl[ia]m[e]nts, and he appealed to the candour of that house, whether in that length of time he had once raised a laugh, or on any occasion intentionally distorted the muscles of any Honourable Member? “No Sir, the true design of our meeting here, is for far other purposes than those of calling forth the risibility of Honourable Gentlemen: a risibility at any time highly improper for this house, but particularly so at this tremendous, this disgraceful moment.—It is with the highest astonishment that I now see Gentlemen shifting their places, as if already tired of public business, or afraid to look into the deplorable and calamitous situation of this country: nay, so great is their inattention to their duty in P[a]rl[ia]m[e]nt, that, upon my rising, I find the house almost cleared—where are the Members?—I am afraid—at dinner! Is this a time for revelling in taverns, when the dignity of the Imperial Crown of this country is violated, and much harm done to our merchants?—Is this a time for revelling, when the glory of Britannia, Sir, I say, is sullied, and when, Sir, the French are riding on your narrow seas.”⸺He then entered into a copious detail of the blunders of Administration, with respect to Falkland’s Islands, the Middlesex Election, Corsica, and the massacre in St. George’s Fields, Gibraltar, and Mr. Horne’s imprisonment; together with cursory observations on the illegality of impressing, the bad policy of Lotteries, the fatal example of the Justitia, and the tremendous perils to this devoted country from the frequent exhibition of the Beggar’s Opera.⸺At length, returning a little closer to the question, he again animadverted on the surprising inattention of the House: “Yet Sir, (he exclaimed) before I sit down let me ask Ministers a few questions—I do not expect any answer from them, yet I will ask them⸺Is Dominica the only one of our West India Islands now in the possession of France? Are we to go on for ever with the American war?—Who are our allies?—Is Omiah to pay us another visit?—Where is Sir Harry Cl[i]nt[o]n?⸺How is the Czarina affected?—What will D’Estaign do after Christmas?⸺Where will the Brest fleet be[37] next summer?⸺If Ministers will not, and I know they dare not, answer these questions, then Sir, how, in God’s name, can they refuse the papers called for by the noble Lord’s Amendment? From those papers, I pledge myself to the house, the whole of these nefarious proceedings will be brought to light—discouraged, as I well might be, from again pledging my person, (having been the constant and unredeemed pledge of this House, for one thing or another, for these one and twenty years last past,) I repeat it, Sir, I will pledge the reversion of myself, that these papers will furnish us with all necessary and constitutional information.—And, for these reasons, Sir, the Amendment meets with my most hearty concurrence.”

Mr. V[y]n[e]r.

Mr. V[y]n[e]r professed himself to be one of the independant Country Gentlemen, and took occasion to inform the house, that five Indiamen arrived in the River Thames about six weeks ago.—He said he embraced this earliest opportunity to repeat his offer of fifteen shillings in the pound, if Ministers would but seriously go on with the war, which, for his part, he now considered in a new point of view—for, as a great statesman had once boasted to have conquered, in his time, America in Germany, so he would hope and believe, that we, in our days, might conquer France in America.—And here, from regretting the loss of that great statesman, he fell into a train of melancholy thoughts, which led him insensibly to a pathetic eulogy on the memory of his dear departed friend, the well-known Mr. Van.—“A long course of congenial studies (he exclaimed, with torrents of tears and frequent sobs) had entwined our hearts in political sympathy—we had but one idea between us!—Yes, Sir, I repeat it, but one—Well therefore may I say with the Poet,

In infancy our hopes and fears
Were to each other known,
And friendship in our riper years,
Had twined our hearts in one.”

Here he broke off, oppressed with a flood of tears, while a confused noise of encore and order resounded from several parts of the[38] house. At length, when the uproar began to subside, and Gentlemen became collected enough to proceed on business,

Hon. T. L[u]ttr[e]l.

Hon. T. L[uttre]l rose, and with great solemnity, addressed himself to the chair in the following words:⸺Notwithstanding the general silence, which, I find, it is the fashion for Ministers of this day not only to hold themselves, but likewise to encourage in others, on the important subject of maritime affairs, I cannot, Sir, acquiesce in so culpable a silence, nor content myself with sitting still, until the close of the debate, to be numbered with the tacit votes in its disfavour. Sir, the Navy, I have ever considered not only as the true and constitutional safe-guard of this insular territory, but as the very spirit and soul of all traffic, the quintessence of merchandize, and indeed, I may say, the palladium of commerce. With this view, Sir, my studies have ever tended to the investigation of the origin of that stupendous piece of mechanism, a ship.⸺Noah, Sir, was, in my opinion, the first circumnavigator—(I beg to be understood, I mean no reflection on the memory of Sir Francis Drake)—he was therefore, Sir, justly entitled to the highest situation in the naval department of that early period—take him for all in all, we shall not look upon his like again—though, in truth, there are traits in his character not totally dissimilar to some leading features of the noble Earl who is now at the head of that department—But it is not for me to draw the parallel.

Sir, The Phœnicians

It was a custom also among the Chaldeans and the Nazareens


Recollect, Sir, when news was brought to the Persians

So the Macedonians

In like manner the Lacedemonians, and the Athenians

Thus too the Carthagenians

Here let me call your attention to the Romans and Syracusians

Need I remind you of the northern hive, or trouble you with the Goths and Vandals?


So too, Sir, the Chinese

At length, Mr. Sp[ea]k[e]r, the Danes, Dutch, Swedes, Venetians, Neapolitans, Spaniards, French, Portuguese, Muscovites, Turks, Saracens, and others, that I skip over to avoid tediousness

And to bring it home to our feelings, the ancient Britons, hardy Welch, Milesians, wild Irish, Saxons, Picts, Normans, English, and Regattaites rush upon our mind, and

From this historical deduction, I cannot but think, Sir, navigation highly necessary, highly favourable to liberty.

If, Sir, I wanted any additional reason for opposing the address, it would best arise from the shameful neglect and inattention to those brave and humane French officers, (particularly the Captain of the Licorne,) lately on their parole at Alresford, half of whom, indeed, ministry have cruelly suffered to run away. Besides, Sir, let us advert to the wretched deficiency in our late naval equipments.⸺I have it, Sir, from undoubted authority, that the several ships crews laboured under a total deprivation of Tobacco. Tobacco! that staple commodity of our once flourishing subjects, now, alas, our avowed enemies, in Virginia, and the Southern[41] colonies.—Sir, not only the quota of Gin was miserably retrenched, but adultery, so congenial to the Noah of this day, pervaded every keg in the Royal Navy.—Sir, I myself know it for a fact, that the speaking trumpet of the Albion was sent out in so wretched a condition, that, in haling a fishing-boat, (I believe a cod-smack) off Scilly, the second mate cracked his pipe, and half the crew have been hoarse ever since—some of your ships, Sir, wanted their complement of Chaplains:—and in others, I will not say that I know there were not surgeons, but I will say, I do not know that there were. Sir, more fatal consequences have arisen from a strange neglect of vegetables—Potatoes, radically rotten!—Carrots, diabolically dry!—Turnips, totally tough!—Parsnips, pitifully putrid!⸺Scurvy, Sir, Scurvy, like the angry Dæmon of Pestilence, has lighted up everlasting bon-fires in the blotched brows and cicatracious cheeks of your scarified seamen; so that every crew has flashed contagion, and reeked like a floating Pest-house, with the baneful exhalations of disease.—And now, Sir, that I’m on my legs, a word or two to trowzers—Such is the pitiful œconomy of Administration, such the paltry treachery of Contractors, that, what from an original coarseness of yarn, what, from the more pernicious and slovenly texture of the workmanship, not a trowzer but gaped with lacerations, whose expanded apertures discovered what⸺the P[a]rl[ia]m[e]nt[a]ry decorum of this house, forbids me to reveal. Spurred on by such powerful incentives, I take this earliest occasion to give notice to the house, that I shall move, on this day fortnight, for the house to resolve itself into a Committee, in order to take into consideration the several weighty grievances, the outline of which I have just now had the honour to give you a rude sketch.—When, I shall also move you, Sir, that the several Maltsters, Distillers of Gin, Venders of Tobacco, Traders in Trowzers, Retailers of Rum, Picklers of Pork, and Purveyors of Potatoes, together with their several servants, followers, apprentices and retainers, be ordered to attend this house de die in diem, to answer all such questions and matters touching the said enquiry, as shall be put to them by the Committee so to be appointed.—In the mean time, Sir, I shall give my hearty concurrence to the noble Lord’s[42] Amendment, as promising to afford some degree of preliminary information, which may tend to illustrate the more important matter in the Enquiry which I have now proposed to set on foot.

Mr. P[e]nt[o]n.

Mr. P[e]nt[o]n, in reply, begged pardon for troubling the house, but hoped they would indulge him in a few words, as he felt himself particularly called on to answer some reflections which the Honourable Gentleman, who had spoke last, had thought proper to throw out against that board where he had the honour to sit.—He said, that, at the time of the fitting out of Mr. K[e]pp[e]l’s fleet, he had made it his business to be very much at Portsmouth, where, though it was a task exceedingly repugnant to his private feelings and taste, he had, however, considered it as an official service incumbent on one in his department, to personally experiment the several provisions and stores prepared for that equipment. That, impelled by such motives, he had, on several occasions, drank the small beer, not unfrequently tasted the gin, and sometimes smoak’d, nay chewed the tobacco; that, in his humble opinion, they were all super-excellent in their several kinds. And, as to the imputed delinquency relative to potatoes, he could assure the house, he had bought up several tuns of the same species, for the consumption of his own family—nay, he would go further, he would venture to acquaint that house, that with some of those very identical potatoes, he had lately had the happiness and honour to regale a certain Great Personage, then his guest; a personage indeed of too high a rank to have his name even alluded to, though on so weighty, and so important a business.

Mr. B[urke].

Mr. B[u]rke⸺I must confess, Sir, notwithstanding my long and melancholy experience of the present administration, I cannot hear, without astonishment, the language held forth by the speech, and echoed in this day’s debate. This session, Sir, at a period big with horror, pregnant with ruin to this country, is ushered in with the song of triumph; and parliament are bid to rejoice at a time when nothing but the language of despair is to be heard throughout the nation. Surely, Sir, the hour is at last arrived, when humility and moderation ought to take place of pride and confidence; when, instead of launching further into a sea of troubles, we might be content to try what little can be saved from the[43] wreck of national honour and prosperity. Ministers might at length condescend to tell us, what means are left to avert the gathering ruin; how we are to tread back the mazes of error and folly, through which we have been led; and where are the resources from which one gleam of hope might dawn upon us, in the hour of danger and despair—But, deaf to the solemn call of occasion and necessity, they rejoice in the absence of thought, in the contempt of foresight. Like the wretch who seeks in stupefaction a momentary relief from sorrow, they sink from a voluntary intoxication into a torpid insensibility. The illusion, indeed, is not to be confined within the narrow limits of their own minds; its baneful influence must be circulated through every corner of the nation; and, by a shameful perversion, that anxiety for the public welfare, which, in times like these, is, in my opinion, the highest of public virtues, must be amused with the pageantry of domestic warfare, or lulled by the opiate of our American Gazettes. I own, Sir, even on principles of criticism, I cannot but consider the stile of these Ministerial annals, as no very favourable criterion of the present times. In happier days, their characteristic was plain conciseness. Victories were then too rapid, too numerous, to admit of a dilated relation.—Success is seldom tedious, but I am afraid our highest atchievements have amounted to no more than the inroads of savages, or the depredations of pyrates. Upon my word, Sir, though we may censure our Officers, our Ministers at least shew some generalship; if they cannot deceive the enemy, they are prompt enough to mislead their countrymen; though they discover but little skill in the arrangement of armies, they have an admirable talent in marshalling Gazettes. They have given celebrity to sheep-stealing, and blazoned, in all the pompous prolixity of ostentatious phraseology, the important depredations at—Martha’s Island—Certainly, Sir, the gallant Commander of that expedition may vie in pastoral atchievements with Ajax, with Jason, or at least Don Quixote; and, if he does not obtain a triumph, he is clearly entitled to an ovation. Not, Sir, that I mean to cast any reflection on those Officers and Soldiers to whose lot these ridiculous services have fallen—they, no doubt, have effected every thing that the bravery of the British troops in such a situation could accomplish; but the Hand of[44] Nature, Sir, has thrown in their way obstacles which it was not in the most obstinate valour, in the most consummate wisdom to surmount. It is a want of confidence in the directors of this war that has chilled every vein, and slackened every sinew of military enterprize. Besides, Sir, if I may be permitted to indulge a little superstition, there is a certain fatality attending the measures of Administration: through all their bungling operations of war, through all their wretched plans of peace, the evil Genius, Sir, of this country, seems to haunt their footsteps. He it is that has suffered them to wander on, undismayed by danger, unabashed by reproaches, from one absurdity to another, ’till our blunders and our follies have at length reared that stupendous fabric of American Empire that now engrosses the attention, and claims the wonder of mankind. Allow me, Sir, to pause for a moment, while I contemplate this phœnomenon of modern ages, this new constellation in the western hemisphere; a mighty and extensive empire, not rising by slow degrees and from small beginnings, but bursting forth at once into full vigour and maturity; not cherished in the soft lap of peace and commerce, but shaking off in its outset the long established dominion of a powerful master, and thriving in the midst of carnage and desolation. “Ab ipso ducit opes animumq. bello.” If we view them in another light, as completely enthroned in sovereignty, as receiving embassies from distant potentates, as forming leagues with the princes and states of Europe, we shall find more abundant matter for self-humiliation—I could wish to shut my eyes on the scene that follows: The parent baffled and depressed, imploring pardon of her injured and alienated children, yielding to their successful resistance, what she had denied to their prayers and petitions, and offering every concession short of a total emancipation; but scorned and rejected in her turn, not (as she had rejected them) with rudeness and insolence, but with firmness and with dignity; and convinced, at length, that the day of conciliation is past, and that the groundwork of peace can only be laid on the broad basis of equality and independance.

Is this the unconditional submission the noble Lord in the American department so prodigally announced? This is indeed unconditional[45] submission, but unconditional submission from Great Britain to America.

Gentlemen may remember how often my voice has preached peace within these walls; how often it has warned administration to healing measures, while the wounds of America might yet have been closed. I will still repeat it, ’till the echo of this house shall be conscious of no other sound; Peace, Peace, Peace, is still my object.

It is now high time, Sir, that Gentlemen should awaken to a sense of our danger, that Parliament should discard those wretched schemes of short-sighted policy, which cannot, in our present situation, afford even a temporary refuge. As yet, we experience only the beginnings of our sorrows; but the storms of adversity are gathering fast around us, and the vessel is still trusted to the direction of Pilots, whose ignorance and obstinacy has been manifest to all the world.⸺What thanks, Sir, to the vigilance of our Rulers, that we are not already sunk beyond the possibility of redemption? What thanks to them, that the flower of our army and navy, and with them all the hopes of Britain had not withered before the power of a lately dejected but now triumphant enemy? Is it owing to their care that the rich produce of the Western Isles has not flowed into every harbour of France?

No, Sir, it is the hand of Providence that wards off for a while the ruin of this declining empire. It is Providence alone that has preserved our gallant Admirals in America, by an almost miraculous interposition.—It is due to Providence alone, that the heart-strings of our commerce are not cut asunder by the sword of our adversaries.

I own, Sir, I cannot join in an implicit approbation of such ministers: I must be a little better acquainted with their merits before I can place an unlimited confidence in their wisdom and discretion; that discretion which has led us into a labyrinth of difficulties; that wisdom that cannot find a clue for our deliverance.

Mr. D[u]nn[in]g.

Mr D[u]nn[i]ng said a few words, which, from the learned gentleman’s being particularly hoarse and uncommonly inarticulate, owing (as has been suggested) to a violent cold, and a multiplicity of business in Westminster-hall, we could not collect with[46] the accuracy that we wish to observe on every occasion. His language was neat and pointed, though somewhat tinctured with professional pedantry: his arguments seemed ingenious, though perhaps too refined for the comprehension of his auditors. He had much antithesis, much verbal gingle, and many whimsical climaxes. He talked of the competency or incompetency of the House to the discussion of the present question; of the materiality or immateriality of the proposed amendment; of the responsibility or irresponsibility of Ministers. He said, he neither asked, nor knew, nor cared to what the present question might ultimately tend; but of this he was confident, that it’s propriety was clearly evinced, and it’s necessity irrefragably proved by that opposition which purported to baffle it.—Upon the whole, his harrangue seemed to be a medley of legal quibble and quaint humour.

Mr. S[olicito]r G[enera]l.

Mr. S[o]ll[i]c[i]t[o]r-G[e]n[e]r[a]l, Contra, began with declaring, that when he tuk his present office, he understud it to be a General Retainer, to shew cause in behalf of Administration: That, therefore, he hoped to be favoured with a few words by way of replication to his learned friend: That he might in this case have insisted on want of notice, but, for the sake of candour in practice, he would waive that objection; for, that he had no doubt, on the merits, but that judgment wud be given in his favour: Protesting, that the speech was warranted by precedent, and had the highest authority in it’s support: Protesting also, that no gud objection cud be made to the address, as it strictly pursued the very words of the speech. He justified, under an immemorial custom, that Administration have been accustomed to have, and still of right ought to have, certain echoes in this House, called Addresses.—He admitted, that true it was, there had been some errors in our proceedings with respect to America; but he was informed, and believed, that Sir Henry Clinton intended to have a new trial. As to the cause of Great Britain versus France, he had been given to understand and be informed, that the place in which the trespass was supposed to have been committed, was, parcel of the Island of Dominica, in parts beyond the seas; which place said French, with force of arms, to wit, with ships of divers guns, drums, trumpets, bayonets, hand grenades, and cartridge boxes, had broken and entered, doing nevertheless as little[47] damage on that occasion as they possibly cud: but that he was clearly of opinion, that if the troops of said France should traverse the Channel, and lay a Venue in Kent or Sussex, issue might be joined by the militia at Cox-Heath; and, in that case, afterwairds, if verdict shud be given in our favour, the adverse party would sustain heavy and exemplary damages.—He concluded with averring, that he approved of the address in it’s present form; and that he should demur to the amendment moved by the Noble Lud, as multifarious, uncertain, insufficient, and informal.

Mr F[o]x.

Mr F[o]x now rose; and, with that extent of information, refined perspicuity, and vehemence of eloquence, by which he so invariably commands the attention and admiration of the House, entered at large into the subject of debate.

To do justice to the force of his reasoning, or elegance of his stile, is totally beyond the utmost efforts of the editor.—All that he can attempt is, to give an imperfect sketch of an inimitable original.⸺He began with lamenting the accomplishment of that ruin, which, from time to time, he had too justly predicted. He confessed, that little merit could be ascribed to those prophecies; which, however chimerical and visionary ministers had affected to consider them, were, in fact, no more than plain deductions of what must necessarily ensue from their own measures. He proceeded to recapitulate the conduct of Administration since the prorogation of Parliament; particularly observing on the impolitic removal of the troops from Philadelphia at the moment, when, if ever, their continuance there might have effected some good purpose. The concealment of that intended evacuation, even from the Commissioners themselves, was a part (he said) of that system of duplicity and deception which pervaded the whole of ministerial conduct. Possibly, indeed, Ministers were aware, that gentlemen of high character and esteem would not have become the executive tools of a plan so wretchedly concerted. The Commissioners therefore were not suffered to participate in counsels, which, if they had known, they must have despised. Nor was folly more conspicuous in the origin than in the prosecution of this paltry disingenuous plan. Sir Henry Clinton, to whose courage and conduct every praise is due, was ordered to return to New-York. Encumbered with baggage,[48] and pursued by an army superior in numbers, he made his way thro’ the almost impervious forests of that country; and, by almost a miraculous effort, not only secured his retreat, but in the Jerseys had the good fortune to resist the enemy with some success—a success however, which, without disparaging the British troops, must in great part be attributed to General Lee; who, in consequence of his misconduct in that affair, was immediately put in arrest, and afterwards suspended for the space of a year.

He went on with indicating the circumstance of a fleet of Victuallers having been sent to Philadelphia, after the army, which was to be supplied by that fleet, had been ordered to evacuate Philadelphia.—That fleet, he said, had narrowly escaped being taken in the Delaware; and, thence, he argued Ministers were as culpable, as if, in consequence of the capture of that fleet, the army, then arrived at New-York, had famished for want of those provisions, on which their future subsistance was wholly dependant.

He said, he was yet to learn what plan Administration could pretend to alledge they had followed, or meant to follow, in America. Upon what grounds could they attempt to prosecute an offensive war? Or, taking the alternative, how can they presume to say they have acted on the defensive?⸺As to the first, they have thirty thousand men to conquer the continent of America: admitting then the superiority of their army and their navy, still he contended that superiority had been, and ever must be ineffectual and useless; because, as long as the English army and navy co-operate, the Americans will never have the unnecessary temerity to give up the advantage of situation, or expose their cause to the hazard of one decisive engagement. The last campaign was the clearest proof of that position; and, now, though our fleet was superior to the French, yet D’Estaign is safe at Boston.—It was, on that principle, he doubted not, the gallant and experienced Commanders of the last campaign had formed their conduct: It was their policy, and, in his opinion, the best policy, to keep a collected force, and to avoid any inferior exertions, that might require a separation, or weaken that superiority, which, in case of a decisive action, they rightly judged could alone have been fatal to American resistance.—It remained for General Clinton to pursue a contrary policy.—Yet, though (he[49] declared) no man in that house entertained a higher respect for the personal and professional merit of that able Commander, (who from his particular talent for military enterprise, and his education under the Prince of Brunswick, was best calculated for effecting such a plan) yet, from the minutest investigation of the late Gazettes, he could not collect any very auspicious presage of his military career. If indeed, from his observation, of what had already happened, he might hazard an opinion of what may happen, we had no reason to rejoice at the revival of that plan of separation, which had proved so fatal in the Northern expedition. He was sorry he had mentioned that expedition—It led him to a subject he wished to avoid.—He had been accused of an asperity of reflexion on the conduct of the noble Lord who planned that expedition. He would strive, in future, to overcome his indignation, by indulging his contempt for the Adviser of it.—Yet, thus much he would say; though unhappy for this country, it was happy for our troops, happy for our officers, to be directed and controlled by a Minister, to whose wisdom not even Envy could ascribe one particle of their success, in whose imbecillity even Justice would afford them an asylum from every disgrace.

Having thus stated the impracticability of an offensive war in America, either on the former plan of united force, or on the present separate efforts, he recurred to the other part of his argument, whether Administration could pretend to alledge their having adopted the alternative, and formed even a defensive plan for America and the West-Indies?⸺If they dared to assume that merit, how could they expect the House to attend, with any degree of patience, to such a mockery of all truth? On any rational plan of mere defence, would they not have left a force at New-York, Rhode-Island, and Halifax, fully able to prevent any attack in that quarter; at the same time, detaching a sufficient force to protect the West-India Islands?—Upon such a plan, would not any spirited Minister have grafted some degree of activity and enterprise? Would He not have attacked Martinique, Guadaloupe, or St. Domingo? Such conduct would have struck terror to France, we should have been enriched by new acquisitions, or, at least, have prevented the disgrace of our own losses.


But, admitting that this defensive plan may have been but recently adopted, how are Administration to regain the time they have lost, or what resources of finance are still unexhausted to prosecute even this plan? Are all the Country Gentlemen equally disposed to devote fifteen shillings in the pound to carry on this defensive war? Are they all equally delighted with the great and growing ruin of an accumulating debt and a decreasing revenue? Or do they rest their hopes on the wealth of our East-India trade? Do they know that, there too, the French are undermining the foundation of our commerce? Or is it studiously concealed from them, that the French ministry have sent Monsieur Vaugelin to Canton, in the quality of their Consul at the Chinese Court?⸺He had heard much of a sudden increase of national wealth by our late captures, but, at best, the prizes of privateers are a partial benefit; they can enrich but a few individuals; they afford no diminution of the general burthens of a whole people. In the present instance, the truth was these boasted prizes were, in fact, public losses; the French having had the art to insure their most valuable ships, particularly the Indiamen, by English policies—besides that, several of the richest captures were actually freighted with consignments to English merchants.

But, supposing this extraordinary spirit of bounty should become general among the Country Gentlemen, and that, to support a war which had totally lost the original object of revenue, for which they had been tempted to engage in it; supposing they were all well inclined to a land-tax of fifteen shillings in the pound, and determined to overflow the Exchequer with an extraordinary redundance of profusion, yet would they be particularly happy that all that wealth should be portioned out to subsidise Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, Hanau, Waldeck, Brandebourg-Anspach, and all the mercenaries of Germany? Or that it should wholly be devoted to satiate the monopolising avarice of a Russian alliance? You have no force at home—you are almost defenseless.⸺

Col. T[u]ffn[e]ll.

(Here he was called to order by Colonel Tuffnell for speaking of the defenceless state of this country.) Col. T[u]ffn[e]ll said, the word defenceless was, to the last degree, improper and disorderly; for that he himself had the command at Dover Castle, opposite[51] Calais, where, though the country all about it was rather flat, he would not wish such a word as defenceless to be sent from that house to Paris, by any friend of Dr. Franklin’s. And, as he was on his legs, he must say, that word defenceless was doubly wrong, from the late state of the camps; where, in spite of French spies, there had been the utmost discipline, unanimity, peace, and quietness; except, indeed, some desertions, much nakedness, frequent floggings, and several duels.

Mr. F[o]x then proceeded, without any remark on this interruption; and observed, that every petty Landgrave and Margrave had already been exhausted; they had no more Chasseurs, no more mercenary boors, to fight, or rather not to fight, our battles. Russia is frozen up for some months; and, not improbably, the courts of Berlin and Vienna would sufficiently engage her in their Bavarian contest; or, at least, not make it adviseable for her to lessen the internal defence of a country surrounded with such powerful armies. As to the Fleet, how could it be recruited with sailors or marines? Though even the spirit of adventure could instantly man every Privateer that had been fitted out, yet the noble Lord at the head of the Admiralty had pretended to palliate his own incapacity and criminal neglect, by alledging it was almost impossible, even with an extraordinary bounty, and the utmost rigour of an Impress and an Embargo, to man the Royal Fleet—the fact was, the minds of the people were obstinately bent against this American war; nay, even against a French war, when France became the protector of America.

With such Ministers, such principles, such plans, such internal resources, such prospects of alliance; Gentlemen were now called on to echo the Speech, to panegyrize an Administration too despicable for satire, to plunge this devoted country in aggravated ruin, and, with a remorseless dispair, to desolate what they had found impossible to subdue.

Lord N[o]rth.

L[o]rd N[o]rth.[8] Mr. Sp[eake]r, at the same time that I[52] agree with many Gentlemen who have spoken in the course of this day’s debate, that the present is a very serious moment of deliberation, I can by no means join with them in thinking our situation is desperate, though, I confess, it is distressing.

Sir, in all cases of distress or difficulty there is some relief to be found in comparison. Gentlemen who hear me, will admit that this country, in former wars, has been acquainted with unfortunate events. The loss of some of our possessions, and the failure of enterprizes, marked the onset of last war. Commanders were unsuccessful, perhaps criminal;—I do not mean to draw a complete analogy between that period and the present—I only mean to observe, that there has been no difficulty in modern times, from which this Country has not been able to extricate itself, when rouzed by a sense of its wrongs, and determined to vindicate its justice, its dignity, and its honour.⸺In saying this, I shall be told by Gentlemen that we were indebted to a great Character in the midst of our misfortunes during the last war, and that, by his vigour and enterprizing genius, this Country was extricated from her embarrassing situation. I will join heartily in paying that tribute of truth to his memory⸺Would to God that such a man were alive at this moment, to step forward with the full exertion of the same zeal, and the same talents. I would yield to none as a second in the work, though I confess my inability to be employed as a first.

Sir, the Honourable Gentleman who spoke last, has gone over such a variety of ground, and has given so large a history of the wickedness of Ministers during the American war, that the asperity with which he has delivered it, would be a sufficient reason for my silence, did I not think it necessary, from a duty I owe to this house and to my country, to give some answers to assertions which have fallen from him.

Sir,[9] to the first complaint, which the Honourable Gentleman makes, of the Minister’s concealment from the Commissioners of the removal of the troops from Philadelphia, I shall only answer,[53] that the importance of that proceeding required the nicest secrecy, and (though I do not mean to suggest the least idea disadvantageous to the confidence of the Commissioners) it is perhaps owing to the secret decision upon that matter, that the removal of the fleet and army from the Delaware was so timely, and so effectually executed. And I will add, that (whatever opinions may have been conceived either by the Commissioners or any other persons) the events, which have since happened, amply justify the wisdom of the measure.⸺With respect to the bad policy, as some Gentlemen have called it, of opening a negotiation with a retreating army, will any one tell me, that, had your army and navy been blocked up by Mons. D’Estaign’s fleet, with the prospect of all of the latter being utterly destroyed in the Delaware, the Congress would have been more inclined to treat with your Commissioners, than when all were safe at New-York?—Were they inclined to negotiate with Lord H[o]we and Sir William H[o]we, (who had sufficient powers) at Philadelphia, after the receipt of the bills, and before the arrival of the new Commissioners?⸺No, Sir—no appearances of reconciliation on the part of the Congress were shewn at that time:—their minds, worked up by their leaders to a spirit of enthusiasm, indulged the expectation of destruction to our fleet, at least, from the powers of France.—I am free to confess, Sir, that when I heard Mons. D’Estaign had arrived in America previous to Admiral Byron, (whose fleet had been so unfortunately dispersed) I had little hopes from the temper and inclinations of the Congress, that they would be induced to treat; until some blow had been struck, and that on our part, of a successful nature.—My confidence was, and still is, Sir, in the people there at large—groaning under the worst of all tyrannies, involved in a ruinous, and, I maintain, an unsuccessful war; and driven by their corrupted leaders into a most unnatural connection with France; I say, Sir, if one spark of British sense and honour yet remains, if one drop of blood of this country still flows in the veins of the Americans, they will avail themselves of our liberality, and return to their former happy and enviable subordination to this country.

With respect to the Fleet of Victuallers, which, the Honourable[54] Gentleman observed, had a narrow escape from the Delaware, it was supposed they had sailed from Corke, some time before the orders were sent from hence for the evacuation of Philadelphia; and it is very lucky they did not sail for New-York; for, if they had, they would have met with Monsieur D’Estaign there.

It has been urged by the Honourable Gentleman, that the American war can be no longer made offensive; and therefore, if a defensive one has been adopted, why not leave a sufficient number of troops for the defence of New-York, Rhode-Island, Halifax, and the Floridas? and strike some blow at the French Settlements in the West-Indies.—Gentlemen will recollect the little time that has elapsed since the evacuation of Philadelphia, the attack and defence of Rhode-Island, and the transactions between Lord Howe’s and D’Estaign’s Fleet, and they will see how difficult it was to be at a great many places at the same time.—With respect to Dominica, Sir, the loss of it is certainly a misfortune, but, I trust, only a temporary one. There can be no blame laid upon the Ministers for that event, because, in the very beginning of the war with France, ships were sent sufficient to make at least a superior force to the French in the West-Indies. I am aware of the force of the argument that will be made use of upon this occasion—Gentlemen will say, You have so many places and possessions to guard, that many of them must be vulnerable; and therefore it is impossible to go on in a war with France and America at the same time, with any reasonable expectations of success.—This argument will lead me to enter a little into what I conceive to be our actual situation at home and abroad.—With respect to this country, Sir, it is protected by a fleet superior to the French.—It contains, to the honour of those who have sacrificed domestic ease to public spirit, a very fine army, including the regulars, of 50,000 men.—Your ships of trade and merchandise have arrived safe and unmolested; whilst the Privateers and Letters of Marque have made considerable havock upon the property of our enemies.⸺And here I must remark upon two observations which have fallen from the Honourable Gentleman who spoke last.—The first, with respect to the number of sailors who have entered on board these ships at a time when there was so much difficulty in manning the fleet, and[55] which is a charge of ignorance in obtaining them upon the Admiralty.—Sir, the bounty which has been given to seamen by individuals, to enter on board Privateers and Letters of Marque, has been enormous—I have been told 10 l.—15 l.—and 20 l. a-man.—This, with the expectation of the larger share of prize-money received by lesser vessels, has been a sufficient inducement to men to enter on board those ships.⸺Upon the other observation, that the prizes we have taken consist chiefly of British property, and are insured here—I shall only remark, that the Merchant here who employs French shipping and French navigation, in preference to the British, ought to suffer.—But, Sir, with respect to insurance, let us see which of the two countries suffers most on that head.—The insurance upon French ships homeward bound has been very high.—Upon the French Indiamen, I have heard, so high as 75 l. per cent.—Then, Sir, this being the case, if the Frenchman arrives safe in France, the Englishman gets 75 l. per cent.—If he is taken, he loses but 25 l. per cent. whilst his neighbour shares the prize entirely.—Surely, therefore, Sir, this country has certainly much the best of the bargain.—This, however, Sir, great as these advantages are, is no reason nor no inducement with me for continuing the war.—I am obliged to recur so often to what has been said, that I beg pardon for deviating from the chief object, at least of my consideration—that of our actual situation at home and abroad.—I have already said, Sir, that we are sufficiently defended by our navy and army at home.—We have certainly a greater superiority of both in North America—of ships in the West-Indies—superior in the East-Indies, and shall be more so when the ships now ready to proceed thither, and with troops, are arrived there.—Sir, there is wealth, I trust there is likewise spirit enough in this country, to support us even in a more embarrassing situation than the present. And, though Gentlemen may have wished to impeach the security of this country, I will fairly tell them, that, such is the confidence, even in the hour of her distress, foreigners of all nations have given, and do give, the preference to our funds;—the falling of which, immediately after the opening of the last budget, is to be imputed entirely to the jobbing of a good purchase at a low bargain, and not to a want of[56] confidence in the nation. I could deduce many reasons to justify me in this opinion; and I could call upon the Dutch, as the best politicians, in support of it.—Nor, Sir, will I admit the prospect of ruin to be before us, until I see that the justice of our cause has left us, and that there no longer exists that zeal and bravery which have distinguished the people of Great Britain, as superior to the rest of the world⸺Sir, a great deal has been said by Gentlemen (who have in my idea gone over, unnecessarily at this time, the whole of the American war) with respect to the conduct of it.⸺I believe, even the most inveterate enemies Ministers may have, will allow that there was transported to a greater distance, than ever was known before, the finest army; that you fed and maintained it at that distance; and that, from its excellence and its superiority, you had a right to expect the most happy advantages. So far the business, as it concerned Ministry, was well transacted. But, Sir, then comes the question—were the plans and the directions to execute them wise and practicable?⸺I cannot but say, Sir, for my own part, and, as far as my Judgment went, they were so⸺I do not mean to suggest any thing invidious towards the Officers to whom commands and responsibility were delegated⸺I am not one of those who easily condemn, certainly never will, before I have just grounds for doing so⸺If our Army and Navy have not done in every part of the world what was expected of them—Parliament can enquire, can approve, or censure⸺This however appears to me but a secondary subject for our consideration.

Sir, much has been said with respect to the Union of France and America, and the probability there is that Spain will soon be a party in it. I will not rob many honourable Gentlemen of the gift of prophecy, of what Spain will do in this conjuncture; but, Sir, surely her interest and her policy should be to resist the Independance of America—She will never, by protecting rebellion in our colonies, hold out encouragement to her own to follow their example. It is idle, Sir, to indulge the idea of the Spanish settlements in South America trading with the North Americans, by purchasing, with Spanish Bullion, North American commodities.[57] The Court of Spain is much too wise, I think, to adopt such a measure. What, Sir, might be the consequence? An intercourse and trade between the extremes of that great quarter of the globe might at last be united by a centre, and establish the greatest dominion in the World. For, time may produce daring and flagitious characters in that continent also, whose object it may be to destroy the sovereignty of Spain over her Colonists—Neither can I agree with Gentlemen in thinking, that the union of America and France can be lasting. I might as well suppose that different religions, Liberty and slavery, in short, that contrarieties can form a system, as admit that unity and harmony can ever last between France and America—Neither of the countries expect it—The one supports, and the other receives, merely for the temporary purpose of distressing Great Britain⸺France can have no thoughts of establishing herself in the Heart of America. And America will only avail herself of the assistance of France, until she is at peace with this Country.

In the mean time, however, our exertions must be of a powerful nature to resist this unnatural alliance—And here, Sir, let me return to the consideration of what is proper to be done in consequence of his M[ajes]ty’s speech.

Sir, in giving my entire approbation of what has been proposed by the Honourable Gentleman in the motion for the Address, I trust I shall be forgiven, if I submit to the House the necessity there is at this time of vigour and firmness in all our proceedings, in order to give a spirit to national exertion. And, whilst we regret that even our unanimity and liberal offers have not been productive of peaceable accommodation with America, I trust that her ingratitude may yet meet with the recompence such a conduct has deserved: in holding out this doctrine, I mean not to forget that America is still the offspring of Great Britain: that when she returns to her duty, she will be received with open arms, and all her faults be buried in oblivion.

In a word, Sir, the period is arrived, when it is no longer a question who is to be Minister, who are to compose a party, or who have been to blame. Such discussions will not probably obtain[58] conviction on either side—The day has passed for reflexions on those who have been alledged to have given confidence to Insurgency, or on those who have been said to have provoked it. The object of your consideration is now⸺the salvation of your Country.

For myself, Sir, I shall no longer desire to remain in my own situation, than his Majesty, and this House, think I can be useful in it. If any one Man will take it from me, He will relieve me from the most anxious tasks that any Minister probably ever experienced: But, till then, Sir, I look to the support of this house, and to that of all good Men in defending and maintaining the glory and honour of Great Britain.

Col. B[a]rré.

Col. B[a]rré began with recounting his predictions.—I foretold in the outset of the American contest, that your obstinacy would establish independance of the colonies. My first prophecy was, that France would join them—was I wrong?—I will boldly hazard one prediction more—I say, Spain sooner or later will join both⸺such are the allies of America.—Who are your’s? The Onandagas, the Tuscaroras, and the Choctaws! These are your copper coloured allies, that fix a stain on the name of Britain; and disgrace this country even in victory, as well as defeat—I knew of these alliances, and their barbarities, so early as the 8th of June last. I have a letter from a friend of mine at Poughkeepsie, of that date;—the Indians, headed by Col. B[u]tl[e]r, began their rapine in Cherry Valley; parties of Indians and Tories (so my friend couples those blood-hounds of desolation) butchered the innocent inhabitants of Sacandago, and spread ruin and carnage through Minisink—I am sure, Col. B[u]tl[e]r, (who is indeed as gallant and amiable an Officer as ever I knew, and I know him well) never would have embrued his hands in innocent blood, but that he knew he must sacrifice his feelings to the speculative, I do not say practical, violence, of the American Secretary. Gen. C[a]rlt[o]n lost the Noble Lord’s favour by his abhorrence of the tomahawk and the scalping knife:—have not we tried those satanic instruments of death too long? Is the whole of Miss Macreas race to be sacrificed? Not one innocent babe left unbutchered to lisp out the tale of that devoted, that unhappy family? Of whom are we now to enquire for any[59] official documents of your war? I see no Secretary of War in this house? Does the American Secretary monopolize and consolidate all warlike business? I hope not.⸺

Sir, I beg pardon for the heat which I find rising within me—but the inexorable hour of vengeance is not far distant; the heavy load of black and bloody guilt will sink you all.—The time will come when the thunder of the cannon will be heard at your walls. Examples will be made. The Tower and the Block must expiate the crimes of Ministers. The voice of truth will be heard. The Rubicon is passed.⸺Sir, what is the comparative state of the revenues of France, and of this country? Mons. Neckar, a very able and a very amiable man, has, I understand, found taxes, and not oppressive ones, for two years;—is that a fact?—The revenue of this country is diminished—it has been gradually so during this detestable war—will Ministers deny it? Good God, Sir, what a state are we in? Dominica lost!—Sir, Monsieur Bouillé was once my particular friend—Sir, he is returned to France for fresh powers and orders—look to your West-India settlements, callous as we are, we cannot bear the loss of them.

Sir, I am astonished at the blind credulity of Ministry—can they be so very simple as to trust to vague compliments against those decisive words of the Pacte de Famille, the Family Compact, “Qui attaque une couronne attaque l’autre;” (I translate for the country Gentlemen) whoever attacks one crown attacks the other.⸺I know Count Almodovar—I was introduced to him by my old friend, Don Francisco Buccarelli:—I never shall forget dining with him at a kind of Table d’Hotes, in a tavern opposite the Escurial;—as chance would have it, many more illustrious characters dined with us that day; there was the Count, his wife’s cousin, and myself, on one side of the table;—Count Cobentzel, and Baron Reidesdel (who were then on their travels) and Duke de Chartres (who had just come from Paris) sat opposite to us—Monsieur de Sartine (who came in the Duke’s vis a vis) was at the foot of the table; and we put Buccarelli in the chair⸺we had an excellent dinner—the wine was good—and we toasted the Madrid beauties in bumpers of Packeretti—however,[60] I was not so far gone but I can very well remember what Almodovar whispered in my ear, while Cobentzel and Reidsdale were drinking Maxamilian Joseph of Bavaria’s health. Colonel (says he) Il alte se volto Estremadura che molto—I won’t translate it. I feel the respect due to Ambassadors.—But, will Ministry answer a plain question? I put it roundly, because I ask for a positive answer—Is there no treaty now on the tapis to cede Gibraltar, or Port Mahon?—I say, the neutrality of Spain is to be trucked for by the dismembring this country of its best possessions.—Here he proceeded to read variety of Gazettes, American News-papers, two or three Treaties, letters from gallant Officers in all parts of the world; accounts of Cl[i]nt[o]n’s retreat; transactions of Lord H[o]we, and Mons. D’Estaign; Alderman Oliver’s letter—affair at Rhode Island, &c. &c. &c. He went also into a string of similar surmises, recognized various intimates in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, and interspersed the whole with a multiplicity of anecdotes, proverbs, quotations, menaces and bon mots—concluding, that having then read to the house all the various papers he himself could collect, he found it necessary to give his vote for the Amendment, as the only way to get at more.

Mr H. St[anle]y.

Mr. H. St[anle]y observed, that many Gentlemen had deviated from the business immediately before the house, which, in his opinion, was merely this: Whether this house will or will not support his M[ajest]y, and the executive powers of government, in the endeavours to recal the Americans to obedience, and to punish the natural enemies of this country?[10] That his own opinion was determined by a conviction of the necessity, in this hour of difficulty and distress, for exertion and firmness. Much has been said of the wealth and resources of France in comparison of those of England. I can only say, Sir, from all the observations I have been able to make, that France is, with respect to its finances, certainly an impoverished country. It has not yet recovered the impression[61] made by the last war; and, whatever Gentlemen may think, neither Mons. Neckar (whom I very much respect) nor any other person, will be able, at least for a great length of time, to overturn the old mode of attainment of French money; I mean, Sir, by the vehicle of the Fermeurs Generaux. It must be a minister of great courage indeed, and a King of Terrors, that will new model the French finances; new taxes may be imposed, but I much doubt of the collection of them. When a good contract has been long in possession, it is too sweet to resign easily; and the Fermeurs Genereaux are too important to be offended, especially, when the state is necessitated to have recourse to their assistance. In saying this, I give full credit to Mons. Neckar for his attempt to improve the revenue of France, and that too, when the attempt is surrounded with so much difficulty and danger.⸺The revenue of this country, Sir, has not suffered by the American war; the surpluses of the sinking fund, are as great as during the state of perfect peace with America. Other countries have taken from us those manufactures which we exported before with bounties to America.

As I think Britain is still equal to resist, and, I trust, to subdue all its Enemies, I am clearly for the Motion which has been proposed, and seconded, by the honourable Gentlemen, with so much credit to themselves, and with so particular a desert of the approbation of their Country.

Gen. C[o]n[wa]y.

Gen. C[o]n[wa]y. Mr. Sp[eake]r, I beg pardon for troubling the House with one short word, Sir, at this late hour of the night, Sir, when there are many Gentlemen very desirous⸺and much more capable than I am, of speaking—upon so material—so important—so comprehensive a business—I may say, Sir—as that which now immediately comes before us—for our deliberation.⸺In doing this, Sir—in offering my poor sentiments—upon this matter, Sir⸺I own, I feel some degree of warmth, at the supineness—at the coolness—I may say—of the Ministers in so dangerous—so hazardous—and, God knows, probably so destructive an hour⸺And, Sir, I hope I may suggest my thoughts at so critical a period, when, indeed, all Europe and America are convulsed—and shaken—by the imbecillity, the inattention, and the indecision of Ministers; who have so supinely, so cooly, and so indecisively[62] sat with their hands before them, waiting for events—and contingencies⸺In saying this, Sir,—I mean not to throw any reflexion upon any of them—Most of them I know to be men of honour and ability—but, Sir, I beg pardon, Sir, for taking up the time of the house, Sir; I think the moment is past when any system can prevail, I mean on the part of this country over America. Your West-India Islands are unprotected—Dominica is gone—Who knows but Jamaica is gone too? What force have you at Antigua? I understand, Admiral Barrington is gone from Barbadoes. What is to become of St. Vincents and Grenada? Good God! Sir, will the Nation sit still under these apprehensions? Have Ministers taken care of Ireland? Does the Noble Lord underneath me know the state of Guernsey and Jersey? Will they be able to resist Count Broglio with 50,000 men? Is your force, particularly at Jersey, equal to resistance—Sir, at this moment, I tremble for Jersey.[11]

In one short word, Sir, I beg pardon—I do trust in God, Sir ... in the King ... Sir, and in the spirit of this unhappy Nation, Sir, that we shall be relieved from these dreadful apprehensions, and difficulties, and that we shall see once more, Peace, Harmony, and Wisdom, resume their order in this country, in the stead of weakness, irresolution, wavering folly, absurd doubts, and indecision, Sir.

Mr S[aw]b[rid]ge.

Mr S[aw]b[rid]ge⸺Example—impeachment—axes—Tower—blood—Sister Mac[au]ly—republicanism—Washington, greatest man in the World—will be heard—tyranny at Warley-Common—militia men turned to road-pioneers—undermining trees—sand in bread—waste of powder—Middlesex election—vast expence of flints—triennial parliaments—body politic—ill humours—state-surgeons—example—axes—Tower—blood⸺Da Capo.

The question being now called for with most violent impatience, the House prepared to divide.⸺The Editor cannot but lament that the eloquence of the day is compriseable in so small a compass.—He regrets, with many others, the silence of[63] those who might have been supposed, from attachment, from principle, and a sense of honour, to have taken a more decided part in the debate. Probably it might be considered too severe to impute the conduct of those Gentlemen to the precariousness of the times, to the expectation of new Administrations, or to the fretfulness of an insatiable avarice of wealth and power.

Little more remains to add, than that the House having become very clamorous for a division, at half past three the question on the Amendment being put, the motion was rejected by a majority of 261 to 148. Tellers for the Ayes, Mr T. T[ownshe]nd and Mr B[y]ng—for the Noes, Sir G[re]y C[oope]r and Mr C[harles] T[ownshe]nd.⸺The main question being then put, the original Address was carried in nearly the same proportion.

Immediately after the division, the H[ous]e were much astonished at Mr C[harle]s T[u]rn[e]r’s calling their attention to a most libellous, nefarious, and enormous pamphlet, entitled Anticipation, calculated to misrepresent the debates, and vilify the proceedings of P[arliamen]t; observing, that the publication of Honourable Gentlemen’s speeches before they could possibly have been spoken, was infinitely more dangerous to the constitution than mistaking them after they had actually been delivered; as not only the public were thereby much more likely to be deceived, but many country Gentlemen were most illegally hurried up to town before the time, to the great annoyance of themselves and cattle. Besides, what struck at the very heart-strings of debate, many good speeches were marred thereby, and Honourable Gentlemen stopt from repeating their own words, lest they should authenticate the said publication.

For all which reasons, he humbly moved, that the Publisher of a pamphlet, entitled, Anticipation, be immediately taken into custody by a Messenger of this House, together with all papers in his shops and warehouses, in order that this House may be enabled to discover the Author or Authors of this very black conspiracy. He moved also, that the several statutes against forgery, coining,[64] and uttering, knowing to be false, forestallers, and regraters, &c. &c. be forthwith all read. And further⸺But, the laughter having now become intense, the remnant of his oratory was cut short by a most clamorous repetition of Adjourn, Adjourn; so that it was impossible for the Editor to collect the result of this important motion.

And then the House adjourned till the morning, nine of the clock.



[1] It was observed the S[peake]r was remarkable civil to the new Att[o]rn[e]y G[e]n[e]r[a]l, as supposed upon his succeeding to that great object of his wishes, which leaves Sir F[letche]r some chance of a Chief Justiceship and a Peerage.

[2] Exempli gratiâ, for whether it is his Lordship’s Speech, or Lord J. C[a]v[e]nd[i]sh’s, or Sir W. M[e]r[e]dith’s, or Sir G. Y[ou]ng’s, &c. the subject matter and stile, with a few exceptions, is of course much the same.

[3] Here Mr. B[a]mb[e]r G[a]sc[oy]ne headed the dinner troop, which followed him with great precipitation—at the same time departed Sir John Irw[i]n and Mr. S[e]lw[y]n, with his Honour Mr. Br[u]d[e]n[e]ll, of whom great enquiries were made, respecting the present arrangements of the Opera.—Nor were there wanting many cries for the question.

[4] Here Sir Gr[e]y C[oo]p[e]r caught at a pen, and began to take notes.

[5] Probably, from supposing the first origin of their connection to have arisen (at least on the part of Dr. Franklyn) from a philosophical rather than a political curiosity. And certainly, no two projectors in Science were ever more strikingly contrasted: the one, like a modern Prometheus, collecting fire from vapour to inflame the terrestrial mass by its pernicious infusion: the other employing his magic plates to freeze its ardour and quench its malignity.—Happy for this country, if these professors had shifted their pursuits! as the former, could his inclinations have been propitious to the peace of mankind, might then have become a powerfull Extinguisher, while the other, however malignant his intentions, must always have been acknowledged an innocent Incendiary.

[6] The Editor was furnished with copies of this speech from the Printers of the respective News Papers, many weeks ago.

[7] Gentlemen were here desired by the Sp[ea]k[e]r to take their seats, and the Serjeant to clear the bar—places! places! was repeated with great vehemence.

[8] As the Noble Lord was almost the only Speaker on the side of Administration, the Editor felt it the duty of impartiality, after giving so many excellent speeches on the opposite side, to collect this with particular accuracy, which he was the better enabled to do, from the deliberate manner of its being delivered, and the respectful attention with which it was received.

[9] Here Lord N[o]rth took up Sir G[re]y C[oo]p[e]r’s notes.

[10] Whilst Mr. St[anle]y was speaking, Mr. B[yn]g was making numerical criticisms on the state of the House, which Mr. R[o]b[i]ns[o]n had done before, with his usual assiduity; and had taken his place at the door accordingly.

[11] N.B. G[enera]l C[onwa]y is Governor of it.—Query, Whether he had not better be there at this dangerous crisis?






Page 22

The Gentlemen trading to the East-Indies, &c. The publisher’s advertisement burlesques a practice of the bookseller John Almon (1737-1805), friend and biographer of John Wilkes, and between the years 1761-81 publisher-in-ordinary to the Whig Opposition. Almon had extensive connections in the American colonies and was the compiler of The Remembrancer, 1775-84, a valuable collection of materials relating to the Revolution. In his satire on the French ministry, The Green Box of Monsieur de Sartine, 1779, Tickell represents a French spy in London reporting ruefully:

News-papers, pamphlets, parliamentary debates, remembrancers, and all the infinite variety of periodical libels, under the conduct of our good friend Mr. Almon, leave but a scanty and beaten field of politics for private discovery (pp. 12-13).

Page 23

Sir Francis Molyneux. Sir Francis Molyneux (d. 1812), Knt.; succeeded his father as seventh Baronet, 1781.

the Speaker. Sir Fletcher Norton (1716-1789), Knt.; M.P. for Guildford; Speaker of the House of Commons, 1770-80; cr. Baron Grantley of Markenfield, 1782.

the merit of those speeches. Since the speech from the throne rarely contains more than generalities, Tickell was able to approximate its substance fairly closely. In the debate on the opening day John Wilkes had the temerity to say that there were only two particulars in the King’s speech to which he could assent: “They are, that we are called together in a conjuncture, which demands our most serious attention, and that a restoration of the blessings of peace ought to be our first wish” (Parliamentary History, XIX, 1334).

the new Attorney General. Alexander Wedderburn (1733-1805), M.P. for Bishop’s Castle; succeeded Edward Thurlow as Attorney-General, June 1778; elevated to the Chief Justiceship of the Common Pleas as Baron Loughborough of Loughborough, 1780; cr. Earl of Rosslyn, 1801. In the spring of 1778 Sir Fletcher Norton, by a threat of impeachment, had blocked Wedderburn’s intrigue to obtain the Chief Justiceship; see Walpole to Mason, 31 May 1778 (Letters, ed. Toynbee, X, 254).


Page 25

Lord Granby. Charles Manners (1754-1787), second son of the Marquis of Granby famous as a military hero; M.P. for Cambridge University; succeeded his grandfather as fourth Duke of Rutland, 1779.

Pulteny. Sir William Pulteney (1684-1764), Earl of Bath; long the leader of the “patriot” opposition during Sir Robert Walpole’s administration, but politically ruined by his acceptance, upon Walpole’s fall, of an earldom.

Cavendish ... Meredith ... Young. Three supporters of the Whig Opposition: John Cavendish (1732-1796), fourth son of the third Duke of Devonshire, M.P. for York, friend and correspondent of Burke; Sir William Meredith (1725?-1790), third Baronet, M.P. for Liverpool; Sir George Yonge (1731-1812), fifth Baronet, M.P. for Honiton.

Page 26

that inestimable character of our own times. William Pitt (1708-1778), first Earl of Chatham. The “Great Commoner’s” acceptance of a peerage in 1766 occasioned a storm of popular indignation.

Page 27

Admiral Keppel ... Vice Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser. Augustus Keppel (1725-1786), second son of the second Earl of Albemarle; M.P. for Windsor; Admiral of the Blue and Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet, 1778; cr. Viscount Keppel, 1782. Sir Hugh Palliser (1723-1796), first Baronet; M.P. for Scarborough and a Lord of the Admiralty; Vice-Admiral of the Blue, 1778.

The allusions are to the indecisive action off Ushant between the Channel fleet under Keppel, with Palliser as third in command, and the Brest fleet under D’Orvilliers, 27 July 1778; see Introduction, p. 10. On the third day of the session an altercation broke out in the House of Commons between the two admirals, and a few days later Palliser applied to his colleagues at the Admiralty Board for a court-martial on Keppel. After a protracted trial the court declared Palliser’s charges “malicious and ill-founded.” This verdict so delighted the populace that street riots ensued in which the Admiralty was attacked and Palliser’s house in Pall-Mall was gutted. Palliser was obliged to resign all his public appointments. See Sir G. O. Trevelyan, George the Third and Charles James Fox: The Concluding Part of the American Revolution, New York, 1912-14, I, ch. v.

Philip Stevens, Esq. Philip Stephens (1723-1809), M.P. for Sandwich and First Secretary to the Admiralty; cr. a baronet, 1795.

Page 28

Mr. George Sutton. George Manners-Sutton (1751-1804), nephew of the famous Marquis of Granby; M.P. for Newark.


Mr. Welbore Ellis. Welbore Ellis (1713-1802), M.P. for Weymouth and Treasurer of the Navy; cr. Baron Mendip of Mendip, 1794; see Introduction, p. 12.

Page 29

David Hartly, Esq. David Hartley the younger (1732-1813), son of the philosopher; M.P. for Kingston-upon-Hull; published Letters on the American War, 1777-79, which critically reviewed the history of British colonial policy; friend and correspondent of Franklin (whose letters he sometimes read in the House of Commons); British plenipotentiary at Paris to negotiate peace with America, 1783. He was the Cassandra of the House and a tireless advocate of peace, but his long-windedness made him disliked. In The Abbey of Kilkhampton, 1780, Sir Herbert Croft’s satirical garland of epitaphs, Hartley’s epitaph reads as follows (Part II, p. 124):

Here rests,
If we may trust the Silence of his Grave,
D.... H....y, Esq.
His abilities were the Subject of Admiration, and the
public Utility was the generous Object they had
in view,
But⸺he was troublesome.

Mr. Bamber Gascoyne. Bamber Gascoyne (1725-1791), M.P. for Truro and a Lord of Trade and Plantations. Of this footnote and the speech by Hartley, The London Magazine observed:

The description of a certain fat member heading the dinner troop and drawing them out of the house, upon a dry, metaphysical, long winded speaker getting up, is truly characteristic; and strangers frequenting the gallery may congratulate themselves on this happy stroke, for it has partly silenced the tedious declaimer, who never considered that if each speaker claimed the same right, to pay no regard to time, a whole session might be passed in adjourned debates from three in the afternoon to three in the morning, day after day (XLVII, 566).

Sir John Irwin. Sir John Irwin (1728-1788), K.B.; M.P. for East Grinstead; Major-General and Commander-in-Chief in Ireland; famous for his sartorial elegance and convivial habits.

Mr. Selwyn. George Augustus Selwyn (1719-1791), M.P. for Gloucester; the celebrated wit and club-man. Though he sat in Parliament for about thirty years, Selwyn was notoriously apathetic towards politics. But since he returned two members besides himself, and always woke up in time to give his vote for the ministers when a division was called, Selwyn was amply rewarded by successive administrations. He was, wrote Sir George Otto Trevelyan,


at one and the same time surveyor-general of crown lands—which he never surveyed—registrar in chancery at Barbadoes—which he never visited—and surveyor of the meltings and clerk of the irons in the mint—where he showed himself once a week in order to eat a dinner which he ordered, but for which the nation paid (The Early History of Charles James Fox, New York, 1881, pp. 94-95).

his Honour Mr. Brudenell. James Brudenell (1725-1811), second son of the third Earl of Cardigan; M.P. for Marlborough; cr. Baron Brudenell of Deene, 1780; succeeded his brother as fifth Earl of Cardigan, 1790.

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Mr. Wilkes. John Wilkes (1727-1797), M.P. for Middlesex; the radical politician and hero of the London populace. He had a reputation for facetious wit, and he made a practice of sending his speeches in advance to the newspapers. Wilkes was another, like Fox and Burke, who enjoyed Tickell’s anticipation of his speech. Boswell reported Wilkes as saying to Tickell in April 1779: “Much obliged for your speech for me. If you’ll make me another for next session, I’ll be damn’d if I don’t speak it” (Private Papers of James Boswell, XIII, 231).

Here Sir Grey Cooper caught at a pen. Sir Grey Cooper (1726?-1801), third Baronet; M.P. for Saltash and a Secretary of the Treasury. The allusion is to Lord North’s habit of sleeping through Whig speeches and answering them from the notes of his favorite secretary. The following lines are from The London Magazine, XLVIII, 1779, 186:

Whilst B[ur]ke and B[arr]é strain their throats
The mild Sir Grey is taking notes;
And, wise as owl, is seen composing,
For the good Premier, who is dozing:
Whilst to each patriot’s loudest roar
N[or]th answers with a well-tim’d snore.
Till by some shriller trebles vex’d,
He discants on the good Knight’s text.

magic plates. Hartley had invented an arrangement of thin iron strips to be placed as a lining under floors and above ceilings to prevent fire. An anonymous handbill of four quarto pages, dated July 1776 and called An Account of Some Experiments Made with the Fire-Plates, Together with a Description of the Manner of Application, and an Estimate of the Expence, contains newspaper accounts of unsuccessful attempts to burn a house near Reading equipped with Hartley’s plates.

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the Noble Lord, who presided in the American department. George Sackville Germain (1716-1785), called Lord George Germain, third son of the first Duke of Dorset; M.P. for East Grinstead and Secretary of State for[71] Colonies; cr. Viscount Sackville, 1782. As minister in charge of military operations in America, Germain bore the brunt of frequent and savage onslaughts by Opposition. His famous Kentish holiday, which delayed dispatches to Sir William Howe in New York, was long supposed to have caused Burgoyne’s defeat at Saratoga; Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, Life of William, Earl of Shelburne, 1875-76, I, 358-359; but cf. Troyer Steele Anderson, The Command of the Howe Brothers during the American Revolution, New York, 1936, ch. xiv. Germain’s resignation was forced in January 1782, two months before North’s government fell.

the Earl of Bute. John Stuart (1713-1792), third Earl of Bute; favorite of George III in the early years of the reign; First Lord of the Treasury, 1762-63, but forced to resign on account of his unpopularity, to which the anti-Scots propaganda of Wilkes largely contributed. Lord North was popularly regarded as the political heir of Lord Bute.

Page 32

one North Briton. George Johnstone; see last note on this page.

Mr. Laurens. Henry Laurens (1724-1792), of South Carolina; President of Congress, 1777-78. The quoted phrases that follow are from Johnstone’s letter to Laurens, 10 June 1778, soliciting a private interview. This letter, with Laurens’ answer, was promptly made public by Congress.

Ethan Allen. Ethan Allen (1738-1789), famous for his partisan exploits as leader of the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont; surprised and took Fort Ticonderoga, May 1775; a captive in England, Canada, and New York, September 1775-May 1778; author of a deistic treatise, Reason the Only Oracle of Man, Bennington, Vermont, 1784.

Dr. Adam Ferguson. Adam Ferguson (1723-1816), LL.D.; Professor of Pneumatics and Moral Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh; secretary to the British commissioners to treat with America, 1778.

Sir John Dalrymple. Sir John Dalrymple (1726-1810), fourth Baronet; author of the Tory Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland. From the Dissolution of the Last Parliament of Charles II until the Sea-Battle off La Hogue, 1771, the design of which (according to Horace Walpole) was “to degrade & blacken the brightest names in English Story, & more particularly the Protomartyrs of the Revolution, Lord Russel & Algernon Sydney” (Satirical Poems Published Anonymously by William Mason with Notes by Horace Walpole, ed. Paget Toynbee, Oxford, 1926, p. 115).

the great Sidney. Algernon Sidney (1622-1683), son of the second Earl of Leicester; tried before Jeffreys and executed, December 1683, for complicity in the Rye House Plot to murder Charles II and the Duke of York.

Governor Johnson. George Johnstone (1730-1787), M.P. for Appleby; formerly Governor of West Florida; one of North’s commissioners to treat[72] with America; see Introduction, p. 9. His conduct as commissioner was quarrelsome, clumsy, and ineffectual; Carl Van Doren, Secret History of the American Revolution, New York, 1941, pp. 96-104. Of his speech on the opening day of the session Walpole reported:

Governor Johnston made a strange, unintelligible speech (it was impossible for him to make a clear one without condemning himself); he endeavoured to wipe off some of his attempt to bribe some of the Congress, yet owned at much as he denied, condemned and approved the march to Philadelphia, and rather insinuated blame on Keppel than on anybody else. He was soon after called upon in several newspapers to say, whether he did not still retain his pay of Commissioner, though he had so long quitted the office. He made no answer—consequently was by that sinecure retained by the Court (Last Journals, II, 209).

Page 33

Mons. D’Estaign. Jean-Baptiste-Charles-Henri-Hector, Comte d’Estaing (1729-1794), French admiral in command in American waters, 1778-80.

a noble Lord opposite to me. Richard, Lord Howe; see below, note to p. 34.

D’Estaign’s fleet ought to have been attacked. In August Howe pursued D’Estaing to Newport, but a storm prevented an engagement.

Page 34

Byron’s squadron. John Byron (1723-1786), Vice-Admiral; sailed from Plymouth with a squadron in pursuit of D’Estaing, June 1778; his ships joined Howe’s fleet piecemeal during the summer.

Lord Howe. Richard Howe (1726-1799), fourth Viscount Howe in the peerage of Ireland; M.P. for Dartmouth; Vice-Admiral; Commander-in-Chief on the North American station, 1776-78; resigned his command because of discontent with the ministry, September 1778; cr. an English peer, 1782, and Earl Howe, 1788.

Mr. Rigby. Richard Rigby (1722-1788), M.P. for Tavistock and Paymaster of the Forces. Reputed to have derived immense profits from his office during the American war, Rigby served as the model for Disraeli’s corrupt politician of the same name in Coningsby, 1844.

Page 35

Mr. T. Townsend. Thomas Townshend (1733-1800), nephew of the third Viscount Townshend; M.P. for Whitchurch, 1754-83; cr. Baron Sydney of Chislehurst, 1783, and Viscount Sydney, 1789, the city in Australia being named for him. He was one of the most voluble and pertinacious speakers in debates. His contemptuous reference in the House of Commons to Johnson’s[73] pension earned Townshend a passing glance in Goldsmith’s Retaliation, where Burke is said to be,

Though fraught with all learning, yet straining his throat
To persuade Tommy Townshend to lend him a vote.

Page 36

the blunders of Administration, with respect to Falkland’s Islands, &c. Townshend views with alarm an assortment of the events, momentous and trivial, that had agitated the public mind in the preceding decade.

As to Falkland’s Islands, west of the southern tip of South America, a dispute over their possession nearly brought on war between Great Britain and Spain in 1770-71. After a display of force by Spain and a demand for restitution by the British government, diplomatic exchanges resulted in a conciliation that was unpopular in England (The Annual Register for 1771, “History of Europe,” chs. i-v). At the request of the ministers, Dr. Johnson wrote a spirited defence of their conduct, Thoughts on the Late Transactions respecting Falkland’s Islands, 1771.

The Middlesex Election was a remarkable exploit in the career of John Wilkes, who in 1768 returned from France still an outlaw for his offence in North Briton No. 45, and was elected to Parliament for the county of Middlesex. Expelled before he could take his seat, he was thrice re-elected and as many times expelled. After his fourth victory at the polls Parliament declared his opponent, the ministerial candidate, duly elected. This breach of electoral rights led to street-rioting, protracted debates in and out of Parliament, and, eventually, the formation of a Radical party. See Horace Bleackley, Life of John Wilkes, 1917, chs. xii-xiii.

The revolt of Corsica under Pasquale Paoli against the French, who had purchased the island from Genoa in 1768, won wide public sympathy in England. The leading advocate of British intervention in favor of the Corsicans was James Boswell. See Chauncey Brewster Tinker, Nature’s Simple Plan, Princeton, 1922, ch. ii.

The massacre in St. George’s Fields, 10 May 1768, occurred when a crowd of London citizens waiting for Wilkes to attend the opening of Parliament taunted a detachment of foot-guards into firing on them. Several persons were killed and about a dozen wounded. This “massacre” was the forerunner and partly the inspiration of that in King Street, Boston, two years later.

Mr. Horne’s imprisonment resulted from the zeal of that radical parson in the cause of America. The Rev. John Horne (1736-1812), afterwards Horne Tooke, wrote and circulated an advertisement for the Constitutional Society, June 1775, stating that 100l. was to be raised for “the relief of the widows, orphans, and aged parents of our beloved American fellow-subjects, who, faithful to the character of Englishmen, preferring death to slavery, were, for that reason only, inhumanly murdered by the king’s troops” at Lexington and Concord on the 19th of April. In July 1777 Horne was brought to[74] trial before Lord Mansfield, found guilty, and in November sentenced to a year’s imprisonment and a fine of 200l. (The Annual Register for 1777, “Appendix to the Chronicle,” pp. 234-245).

The fatal example of the Justitia is an allusion to the Justitia hulk, a convict-ship stationed at Woolwich by an act of 1776 for the purpose of dredging the Thames.

The frequent exhibition of the Beggar’s Opera evidently alludes to remarks by Townshend that had excited mirth in a debate on a bill for licensing a play-house in Birmingham, 29 April 1777. Townshend opposed the bill because, he said,

He had heard from good authority that the theatre licensed at Manchester, in consequence of a similar application, had done a great deal of mischief already: nor could it be wondered at, if we consider what pieces are sometimes represented, which, not being new, are not subject to the controul of the Lord Chamberlain: the Beggar’s Opera, for instance, which had brought more unhappy people to the gallows, than any one thing he could name. As to the country gentlemen, surely this was not such an age of domestic retirement, but what they might find sufficient amusement in visiting their neighbours in the summer, without wanting to frequent a theatre.... Considering, then, the circumstances of Birmingham as a great manufacturing and trading town, depending on the industry and frugality of the poorer class of people, he was of opinion it would be highly improper to license any theatre there (Parliamentary History, XIX, 202).

Is Omiah to pay us another visit? Omiah or Omai, a native of Otaheite (Tahiti), was brought to England in 1774 by Captain Tobias Furneaux of the Adventure. As the first South Sea Islander ever seen in England, Omiah made a stir in fashionable and literary society, sat for his portrait to the most eminent artists, and was the subject of countless newspaper paragraphs and several pamphlet poems. There are well-known lines by Cowper on Omiah in the first book of The Task, 1785:

The dream is past; and thou hast found again
Thy cocoas and bananas, palms and yams,
And homestall thatch’d with leaves. But hast thou found
Their former charms? And, having seen our state,
Our palaces, our ladies, and our pomp
Of equipage, our gardens, and our sports,
And heard our music; are thy simple friends,
Thy simple fare, and all thy plain delights,
As dear to thee as once?

Sir Harry Clinton. Sir Henry Clinton (1738?-1795), K.B.; Major-General; succeeded Sir William Howe as Commander-in-Chief in America, May 1778.


Page 37

Mr. Vyner. Robert Vyner (1717-1799), M.P. for Lincoln. He was, said Nathaniel Wraxall, a gentleman of large property in Lincolnshire, whose person suggested “the portraits of ‘Hudibras’” (Historical and Posthumous Memoirs ... 1772-1784, ed. H. B. Wheatley, 1884, V, 203).

his offer of fifteen shillings in the pound. In a debate on the budget, 3 May 1775, Vyner defended the motives of the country gentlemen in supporting the ministers’ coercive American policy. He said, in part:

In support of such a cause ... he was willing to pay not only 4s. but 14s. in the pound: and as he entertained not a single doubt but we should prevail in the contest, we ought to oblige America to pay the expence she had wantonly put us to, and which would likewise enable us to bring back our quondam peace establishment, that of a land-tax of 2s. in the pound (Parliamentary History, XVIII, 625).

a great statesman had once boasted, &c. William Pitt the elder, during the Seven Years’ War.

Mr. Van. Charles Van, prior to his death, in April 1778, M.P. for Brecon.

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Hon. T. Luttrel. Temple Simon Luttrell (d. 1803), third son of the first Earl of Carhampton; M.P. for Milborne Port. A florid orator, Luttrell was always pertinacious in debates on naval affairs. Tickell’s parody perhaps reflects an interminable speech on the state of the navy, 11 March 1778, in which Luttrell described the timber used for ship-repairs as so “singularly spungy and porous” that “your seamen ... are frequently set afloat in their hammocks, from the water soaking in, over-head, through the planks,” related an instance of a seaman’s driving his fist, “without much pain to his knuckles,” through the hull of a man-of-war, and entered into a detail of the twenty-four invasions of Great Britain and Ireland since the Norman Conquest (Parliamentary History, XIX, 874-892).

the noble Earl who is now at the head of that department. John Montagu (1718-1792), fourth Earl of Sandwich; First Lord of the Admiralty. Sandwich was notorious for the dissoluteness of his private life.

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Regattaites. Not a tribe or nation, but participants in the summer regattas on the Thames. In The Annual Register for 1775 appears “Some Account of the new Entertainment, called a Regatta, introduced from Venice into England, in the Course of the Year 1775,” from which the following sentences are extracted:


Before five o’clock, Westminster bridge was covered with spectators, in carriages and on foot, and men even placed themselves in the bodies of the lamp-irons. Plans of the regatta were sold from a shilling to a penny each, and songs on the occasion sung, in which Regatta was the rhyme for Ranelagh, and Royal Family echoed to Liberty.... Before six o’clock it was a perfect fair on both sides the water, and bad liquor, with short measure, was plentifully retailed.... The Thames was now a floating town. All the cutters, sailing-boats, &c. in short, every thing, from the dung-barge to the wherry, was in motion (“Appendix to the Chronicle,” pp. 216, 217).

the Captain of the Licorne. The Licorne frigate, encountered and detained by Admiral Keppel on the 17th of June, yielded Keppel information respecting the strength of the French fleet.

the wretched deficiency in our late naval equipments. War-profiteering is not of recent origin; in the Eighteenth Century the loose organization of finance and supply in both services gave large opportunities to contractors and commissaries. “You must not think of persuading us that you are no gainer,” Lord Loudoun remarked to Benjamin Franklin when the latter sought reimbursement for outlays in connection with Braddock’s expedition in 1755; “we understand better those affairs, and know that every one concerned in supplying the army finds means, in the doing it, to fill his own pockets” (Franklin, Writings, ed. A. H. Smyth, New York, 1905-07, I, 430). Satirists frequently exposed this form of parasitism. Samuel Foote produced a comedy called The Commissary in 1765. In Sheridan’s The Camp, 1778, the commissary Gage supplied a regiment with lime (which he dug himself, at no expense) instead of hair-powder. It did very well, he reported, while the weather was fine, but when a shower came up the troops’ heads were all slacked in an instant. “I stood a near chance of being tied up to the halberts; but I excused myself by saying, they looked only like raw recruits before; but now they appeared like old veterans of service” (I, i).

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Mr. Penton. Henry Penton (1736-1812), M.P. for Winchester and a Lord of the Admiralty.

a certain Great Personage. On their tour of the militia camps at Winchester and Salisbury in September, the King and Queen “alighted at Mr. Penton’s house [in Winchester], where they were waited on by the Mayor and Corporation” (The Annual Register for 1778, “Appendix to the Chronicle,” p. 235).

Mr. Burke. Edmund Burke (1729-1797), M.P. for Bristol. The dominant theme of Burke’s speech, “the ruin of this declining empire” was a favorite one among anti-ministerial orators, pamphleteers, and poets during the Revolution. Soon after the appearance, in 1781, of the second and third volumes of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, Thomas Powys, M.P. for Northamptonshire,[77] read extracts from that work in a debate on a motion for putting an end to the American war. Powys ventured to say that the description of Rome in the Fifth Century by Mr. Gibbon,

whose enrolment in the administration was the only accession of which his Majesty’s ministers had to boast, ... was so strong, so expressive, so applicable, that though it was said to belong to Rome, he could not help thinking that it alluded to a nearer country, and a nearer period (Parliamentary History, XXII, 805).

Page 43

the pageantry of domestic warfare. An allusion to the vogue of the militia encampments as places of fashionable resort.

important depredations at—Martha’s Island. Early in September Major-General Grey, under orders from Sir Henry Clinton, invested Martha’s Vineyard and carried off “a considerable and most desirable contribution, consisting of 10,000 sheep, and 300 oxen, for the public service at New York” (The Annual Register for 1779, “History of Europe,” p. 2).

Page 45

Mr Dunning. John Dunning (1731-1783), M.P. for Calne; the leading Whig lawyer in the House of Commons; cr. Baron Ashburton of Ashburton, 1782.

Page 46

Mr. Sollicitor-General. James Wallace (d. 1783), M.P. for Horsham; succeeded Wedderburn as Solicitor-General, June 1778.

Page 47

Mr Fox. Charles James Fox (1749-1806), third son of the first Baron Holland; M.P. for Malmesbury and leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons. Either out of personal regard for Fox or at the request of Lord North, Tickell does not burlesque Fox’s oratory. It is stated in the review of Anticipation in The Town and Country Magazine that Fox’s speech actually “was noticed by that gentleman in the house, who, at the same time, lamented his incapacity of making so good an harangue upon the occasion” (XI, 1779, 45). According to a note in Horace Walpole’s copy of Anticipation, “Charles Fox said, ‘he has anticipated many things I have intended to say, but I shall say them nevertheless.’”

Page 48

General Lee. Charles Lee (1731-1782), Lieutenant-Colonel in the British army; appointed Major-General by Congress, 1775; court-martialed and suspended from service for disobedience to orders and misbehavior before the enemy during the battle of Monmouth Court House, June 1778.


Page 49

the Prince of Brunswick. Either Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick (1721-1792), Commander of the English and Hanoverian forces in the Seven Years’ War; or his nephew, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand (1735-1806), Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, who commanded a division in his uncle’s army. Clinton served in Germany, 1760-63, acting for a time as aide-de-camp to the Hereditary Prince.

the noble Lord who planned that expedition. Lord George Germain; see above, note to p. 31.

Page 50

Monsieur Vaugelin. Not further identified. The name is unusual and may be misspelled.

Colonel Tufnell. George Foster Tufnell. (1725-1798), M.P. for Beverly and Colonel of the East Middlesex Militia.

Page 51

their Bavarian contest. The War of the Bavarian Succession, 1778-79, occasioned by the extinction of the electoral house of Bavaria upon the death of Maximilian Joseph.

Lord North. Frederick, Lord North (1732-1792), eldest son of the first Earl of Guilford; M.P. for Banbury; First Lord of the Treasury, 1770-82; succeeded as second Earl of Guilford, 1790; see Introduction, passim.

Page 52

a great Character. William Pitt, Lord Chatham.

Page 58

Col. Barré. Isaac Barré (1726-1802), M.P. for Calne. Barré, who had served with Wolfe in America, was a devoted friend of the colonists and in Parliament was regarded as a master of invective and the special antagonist of Lord North. North had his revenge in Anticipation; see Introduction, p. 12.

the Indians, headed by Col. Butler, began their rapine in Cherry Valley. John Butler (1725-1796), Indian agent under the Johnsons in the Mohawk Valley; Lieutenant-Colonel of Militia, 1768; Major in command of Butler’s Rangers, 1777. Under his leadership parties of Loyalists and their Indian allies of the Six Nations systematically harried the back settlements in New York and Pennsylvania during the Revolution. Their raids reached a peak of frequency and destructiveness in the early summer of 1778, the notorious “Wyoming Massacre” occurring 3-4 July. None of the settlements mentioned by Barré had been attacked at the time his informant is supposed to have written; but rumors were rife on the frontier as well as at the Poughkeepsie headquarters of the[79] Continental Army; and the worst fears of the settlers were realized when Butler’s son, Captain Walter Butler, together with the Mohawk chief Joseph Brant, sacked the village of Cherry Valley on the 11th of November. See Howard Swiggett, War out of Niagara: Walter Butler and the Tory Rangers, New York, 1933, chs. vi-vii.

Gen. Carlton. Guy Carleton (1724-1808), Lieutenant-General; Governor of Quebec, 1775-78; requested his recall because of differences with Lord George Germain, May 1777; cr. Baron Dorchester of Dorchester (Oxford), 1786.

Miss Macrea. Jane MacCrea, daughter of a Tory clergyman residing near Fort Edward on the upper Hudson, was scalped by a marauding party of Burgoyne’s Indian allies, 27 July 1777. This incident, about which a mass of romantic legend soon grew up, proved highly embarrassing to Burgoyne and the Administration.

Page 59

no Secretary of War in this house. “Ld Barrington [William Wildman Barrington (1717-1793), second Viscount] was out of Parliament, and no successor was then appointed” (note by Horace Walpole in his copy of Anticipation). Barrington, Secretary at War since 1765, had given notice of his retirement in the previous May; in December Charles Jenkinson was named his successor.

Mons. Neckar. Jacques Necker (1732-1804), Director-General of Finances in the French government, 1777-81; famous for his fiscal and administrative reforms.

Monsieur Bouillé. The island of Dominica, ceded by France to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris, 1763, was retaken, 7 September 1778, by the French under the command of the Marquis de Bouillé (1739-1800), Governor of Martinique.

the Pacte de Famille. The defensive alliance formed in 1761 among the Bourbon states of France, Spain, and the Two Sicilies.

Count Almodovar. Pedro Jiménez de Góngora, Marquès (later Duque) de Almodóvar (d. 1794), Spanish Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, 1778-79.

Don Francisco Buccarelli. Spanish Governor of Buenos Aires who ordered the expedition against the Falkland Islands that led to the surrender of the English garrison at Port Egmont, June 1770, and aroused great indignation in England; see above, note to p. 36, on Falkland’s Islands. Probably a member of the family of Bucareli y Ursúa, of Seville, several of whom held high military and colonial posts at that period.

Count Cobentzel. This may refer either to Johann Philipp, Graf von Cobenzl (1741-1810), Austrian statesman who drafted the Peace of Teschen, 1779; or[80] to his cousin, Johann Ludwig Joseph, Graf von Cobenzl (1753-1809), Austrian Ambassador to the Court of Catherine II, 1779-97.

Baron Reidesdel. Joseph Herman, Baron Riedesel (1740-1785), Prussian diplomat, traveler, and archeologist.

Duke de Chartres. Louis-Philippe-Joseph de Bourbon (1747-1793), Duc de Chartres, son of the Duc d’Orléans, whom he succeeded, 1785; later known as Philippe Égalité.

Monsieur de Sartine. Antoine-Raimond-Jean-Gualbert-Gabriel de Sartine (1729-1801), Comte d’Alby, French statesman; Lieutenant-General of Police, 1759-74; Minister of Marine, 1774-80. He was satirized in Tickell’s Green Box of Monsieur de Sartine, 1779; see Bibliography, pp. 88-90.

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Il alte se volto, &c. This defies translation. Tickell perhaps deliberately garbled Barré’s Italian.

Alderman Oliver’s letter. Richard Oliver (1734?-1784), Alderman of Billingsgate Ward and M.P. for the City of London; remembered for his defiance of the House of Commons in the case of the printer Millar, for which he was committed to the Tower, 1771. On 6 September 1778 Oliver wrote a letter, soon published in the papers, declining nomination as Lord Mayor and quitting his seat in Parliament in view of a prospective visit to his property in Antigua, W.I., which he feared stood in danger of seizure by France; The Annual Register for 1778, “Chronicle,” pp. 200-201.

Mr. H. Stanley. Hans Stanley (1720?-1780), M.P. for Southampton, Governor of the Isle of Wight, and Cofferer of the Household. He had lived for some years in France and was regarded as an authority on the affairs of that nation.

Mr. Byng. George Byng (1735-1789), nephew of the third Viscount Torrington; M.P. for Wigan. An ardent supporter of Fox, he here acts in the role of party whip.

Mr. Robinson. John Robinson (1727-1802), M.P. for Harwich and a Secretary of the Treasury. A favorite of George III’s, Robinson managed the Treasury boroughs and served as the King’s personal agent in Parliament. In The Castle of Infamy, 1780, an anonymous satirist describes

how Rob[in]son’s quick Eye
Controll’d the pension’d, plac’d, expectant Fry....
At his shrewd Look, his pregnant Nod, or Wink,
The Spirits of all Parties rise or sink.

Page 61

the Fermeurs Generaux. The Fermiers-Généraux were the body of French officials who, under the Ancien Régime, leased as a concession the collection of taxes.


Gen. Conway. Henry Seymour Conway (1721-1795), second son of the first Baron Conway; M.P. for Bury St. Edmunds; General; Governor of Jersey; cousin and correspondent of Horace Walpole.

Page 62

Admiral Barrington. Samuel Barrington (1729-1800), fifth son of the first Viscount Barrington; Rear-Admiral; Commander-in-Chief in the West Indies until superseded by Byron in January 1779.

Count Broglio. Victor-François, Duc de Broglie (1718-1804), Marshal of France; appointed Commander-in-Chief on the Coasts on the Ocean, May 1778.

Mr Sawbridge. John Sawbridge (1732?-1795), Radical M.P. for the City of London; an intimate of John Wilkes’, and active in founding the Society of the Supporters of the Bill of Rights.

Sister Macauly. Catharine Sawbridge Macaulay (1731-1791), afterwards Mrs. Graham, sister of the foregoing; republican bluestocking; wrote The History of England from the Accession of James I to That of the Brunswick Line, 1763-83, much praised and damned in its day for its republicanism; visited America and stopped with Washington for ten days, 1785. Dr. Johnson took satisfaction in having exposed her principles by once desiring her to invite her footman to sit at table with her; Boswell’s Johnson, ed. Hill and Powell, I, 447.

Warley-Common. In Essex, where one of the militia camps was situated.

Page 63

a majority of 261 to 148. The motion for the amendment to the address was rejected on the opening day of the session by a vote of 226 to 107, an indication that the House was less crowded than had been expected.

Mr Charles Townshend. Charles Townshend (1728-1810), nephew of the third Viscount Townshend; M.P. for Yarmouth; cr. Baron Bayning of Foxley, 1797.

Mr Charles Turner. Charles Turner (1726?-1803), M.P. for York; cr. a baronet, 1782. He was a staunch Whig and according to Nathaniel Wraxall “one of the most eccentric men who ever sat in Parliament” (Historical and Posthumous Memoirs, II, 267).







The entries in this bibliography, with a few necessary exceptions, are arranged as follows:

a. a transcript of the text of the title-page of the first edition;

b. a collation of the first edition by pages;

c. locations of copies of the first edition that I have used and have had reproduced or consulted for me;

d. a list of later editions, variant issues, and reprints.

Under c a complete census has not been attempted, and not every copy located may be assumed to be perfect. Under d sufficient information is given to identify the various editions, but differences in title, text, and collation are not recorded unless they are essential for identification. To give complete descriptions of all the issues of Tickell’s writings would require from two to three times the space of the present bibliography.

The symbols for locations should be expanded thus: BA = Boston Athenæum, BM = British Museum, BP = Boston Public Library, C = Library of Congress, HC = Harvard College Library, HEH = Henry E. Huntington Library, JCB = John Carter Brown Library, LHB = the present editor, NEWB = Newberry Library, NYP = New York Public Library, WLC = William L. Clements Library, YU = Yale University Library.

As stated earlier, the place of publication, unless otherwise indicated, is London.


The Project. A Poem. Dedicated to Dean Tucker. Verum, ubi, tempestas, et cæli mobilis humor Mutavêre vias, et Jupiter uvidus Austris Densat erant quæ rara modo, et quæ densa, relaxat; Vertuntur species animorum;⸺Virgil. London: Printed for T. Becket, Adelphi, in the Strand. M DCC LXXVIII.

4to. P. [i], title, verso blank; pp. [iii—iv], “Dedication”; pp. [1]-12, text.

Copies: BM, HC, LHB.


Second, Third, and Fourth Editions, Becket, 1778. Fifth Edition, Becket, 1779. Sixth Edition, Becket, 1780. Reprinted in The New Foundling Hospital for Wit.... A New Edition.... In Six Volumes, J. Debrett, 1786, I, 307-317. Reprinted in Bell’s Classical Arrangement of Fugitive Poetry, British Library, 1789-94, IV, [92]-101.


The Wreath of Fashion, or, the Art of Sentimental Poetry. ⸺ Demetri, teq; Tigelli, Discipularum inter jubeo plorare cathedras. Horace. London: Printed for T. Becket, Adelphi, in the Strand. M DCC LXXVIII. [Price One Shilling.]

4to. P. [i], title, verso blank; pp. [iii]-iv, “Advertisement”; pp. [1]-14, text; p. [15], advertisement of The Project, Second Edition, verso blank.

Copies: BM, HC, LHB.

Second, Third, and Fourth Editions, Becket, 1778. Fifth Edition, Becket, 1778 or 1779 (I have traced no copy). Sixth Edition, Becket, 1780. Dublin: Wm. Wilson, 1779. Reprinted in The New Foundling Hospital for Wit.... A New Edition.... In Six Volumes, J. Debrett, 1786, I, 295-306. Reprinted in Bell’s Classical Arrangement of Fugitive Poetry, British Library, 1789-94, V, [76]-85. Reprinted in The School for Satire: or, A Collection of Modern Satirical Poems Written during the Present Reign, Jacques and Co., 1801 (sometimes 1802), pp. 143-159.


Prologue to the Camp. Written by Richard Tickell, Esq.

This entry is from The London Chronicle, 23 October 1778. Though printed in several magazines at the time of the production, the Prologue seems first to have accompanied the text of the play in John Murray’s edition of Sheridan’s Works, 1821, II, 161-162.

The Camp, “a musical entertainment,” was first performed 15 October 1778, at Drury Lane Theatre; it was first printed, without publisher’s name, London, 1795. Sheridan’s authorship was universally accepted by the press of the time and in the early biographical notices of Sheridan; see R. Crompton Rhodes’ edition of Sheridan’s Plays and Poems, New York, 1929, II, 271. The first to question it was Tate Wilkinson, who asserted that Sheridan “never wrote a line” of this “catchpenny for the[87] time” (The Wandering Patentee, York, 1795, IV, 124). Later, Thomas Moore likewise thought The Camp “unworthy” of Sheridan’s genius and declared, on the evidence of a rough copy in Tickell’s hand, that Tickell was the author (Sheridan, 2nd ed., 1825, I, 264). Following Moore, some editors have omitted it from editions of Sheridan. Library catalogues and recent bibliographies, apparently following Walter Sichel (Sheridan, I, 443), whose statements on these matters are sometimes merely conjectures, generally assign The Camp to Tickell as “revised” by Sheridan.

A rough copy in Tickell’s hand is very inconclusive evidence of his authorship. In view of known “catchpenny” work by Sheridan, the alleged inferiority of The Camp is still less conclusive. Tickell may of course have contributed to the dialogue, as he later did in many of the Drury Lane productions. But there are no adequate grounds for denying the contemporary attribution to Sheridan.


Anticipation: Containing the Substance of His M⸺y’s Most Gracious Speech to both H⸺s of P⸺l⸺t, on the Opening of the approaching Session, together With a full and authentic Account of the Debate which will take Place in the H⸺e of C⸺s, on the Motion for the Address, and the Amendment. With Notes. “So shall my Anticipation Prevent your Discovery.” Hamlet. London: Printed for T. Becket, the Corner of the Adelphi, in the Strand. 1778.

8vo. P. [i], half-title, verso blank; p. [iii], title, verso blank; pp. [v]-vi, “Advertisement”; p. [vii], “The Gentlemen trading to the East-Indies ...,” verso blank; pp. [1]-74, text. (The last leaf of the text is signed L, and it is likely that a blank leaf should follow as the conjugate. In all the copies I have seen and in all but one of those consulted for me by librarians, this final leaf is wanting. Miss Anne S. Pratt reports a copy in the Mason-Franklin Collection at Yale that, though closely bound, appears to have been issued with this final blank leaf.)

Copies: BA, BP, C, HC, HEH, JCB, NEWB, NYP, WLC, YU. Sabin #95788.

Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Editions, Becket, 1778. Also a variant “Second Edition,” with the same imprint and date but with a different number of blanks in the words containing deleted letters in the title and with different collation: p. [i], title, verso blank; pp. [iii]-iv, “Advertisement”; pp. [5]-67, text; p. [68], blank. Tenth Edition, Becket, 1780. A New Edition, Becket, 1794. Dublin: Byrn and Son, 1778. Philadelphia: T. Bradford, 1779; called “The Sixth Edition.” New York: James Rivington, 1779 (no copy traced; announced[88] as published in Rivington’s Royal Gazette, 17 March). Reprinted in The Pamphleteer; Dedicated to Both Houses of Parliament, A. J. Valpy, XIX, 1822, [309]-345.

Of the numerous continuations and imitations that appeared in the next few years, none except Common-Place Arguments, 1780 (no. viii, below), is by Tickell. Opposition Mornings: with Betty’s Remarks, J. Wilkie, 1779, is assigned to him in Halkett and Laing (Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous Literature, new ed., Edinburgh, 1926-34, IV, 265), in Sabin (#95797), and in library catalogues generally. Not made by earlier bibliographers, this attribution is probably based on a conjecture in The Monthly Review that Opposition Mornings might be an inferior work by Tickell (LX, 1779, 473). The tract makes use of several of Tickell’s satirical devices of the kind easily borrowed. But there is no good evidence that he wrote it, and the lack of a spark of wit in the whole performance is strong evidence to the contrary.


La Cassette Verte de Monsieur de Sartine, Trouvée chez Mademoiselle Du Thé. Ipse dolos tecti ambagesque resolvit. Virgil. (Cinquième Edition revue & corrigée sur celles de Leipsic & d’Amsterdam.) A La Haye: Chez la Veuve Whiskerfeld, in de Platte Borze by de Vrydagmerkt. M,DCC,LXX,IX.

8vo. P. [i], half-title, verso blank; p. [iii], title, verso blank; pp. [1]-4, “Avis au Lecteur”; p. [5], “Avant Propos,” verso blank; pp. [7]-71, text; p. [72], blank.

Copies: HEH, NYP, YU. Sabin #95793.

Sixième Edition, with identical title (except for change in number of edition), identical imprint and date; the text is set largely from the same type but extended by new matter to p. 76, and there is no blank page at the end. The Cinquième Edition described above may be safely regarded as the editio princeps; there were, however, at least three variant issues, two of which are easily confused with the original edition. One of these corresponds exactly in imprint, pagination, and signatures with the regular Cinquième Edition but is set from different type, has a different title-page border, and uses less elaborate printer’s ornaments throughout; it may be at once distinguished from the original by the fact that the words “Monsieur de Sartine” in the title are printed, not in red as in the original, but in black; copies in BA, NYP. A second variant has the same imprint as the regular Cinquième Edition, but the title-page has a still different border,[89] no rubrication, and the word “Cinquième” is erroneously printed with an acute instead of a grave accent; the pagination is the same as that of the regular Cinquième Edition, but the variant is a smaller octavo, the type is not the same, nor are the signatures (regular: []², B-K⁴; variant: []², B-E⁸, F⁴); copies in NYP, YU. There is, finally, in the Yale University Library an issue called the “Cinquieme [sic] édition,” with a title-page border different from any in the preceding issues, with the same pagination as the regular Cinquième Edition, but from different type, with signatures[]¹, B⁸, C-I⁴ (half-title doubtless wanting), and with the puzzling date “M. DCC. LXXXII.”

La Cassette verte is a political and bibliographical hoax. The text purports to be secret papers found in a dispatch-box belonging to M. de Sartine, French Minister of Marine. (On Mademoiselle Du Thé, i.e., Rosalie Duthé, a Parisian courtesan who had recently visited England, see Pierre Larousse, Grand dictionnaire ... du XIXᵉ siècle, Paris, 1866-90, VI, 1447-1448.) The papers expose the motives of the French government in aiding the United States and satirize Franklin’s activities in Paris, English sympathizers with the American cause, and the like. A letter supposedly written by one of Sartine’s agents in London provides a gloss on certain passages in Anticipation. I quote from the English version (no. vi, below):

Alas! in these times, a spy’s office here is almost a sinecure: a dozen newspapers in the morning, and as many fresh ones every evening, rob us of all our business: a secret even in private affairs is a prodigy in London; but as to public matters, it is the patriot’s boast, that a free constitution abhors secrecy: and so indeed it seems; for, not only the minutest accounts of the army, the navy, and the taxes, but the minister’s letters, official instructions, and in short, every paper, the disclosure of which may serve opposition, and tend to prejudice the ministers by a premature discovery of their plans, are perpetually called for, and must lie on the tables of Parliament; where, as soon as they are once brought, their contents one way or other get into print; consequently, ... the French ministers are not only as much in possession of them as the English, but study them far more attentively, and to ten times more advantage than they do who called for their disclosure in England⸺All this is bad encouragement to a spy at London.

Bibliographically, the pamphlet raises questions that cannot be answered with complete certainty. How is the number of variant issues to be accounted for, and what are their relations to the editio princeps? The satire was originally written by Tickell in English and was then translated into bad French to circulate on the Continent as propaganda against the Franco-American alliance (see the extract from The Monthly Review under the next entry, and that from Bachaumont’s Mémoires further on in the present entry). However, the French version, purporting to be the[90] “Cinquième Edition,” published “A La Haye,” and “revue & corrigée sur celles de Leipsic & d’Amsterdam,” appeared in England earlier than the English original (La Cassette verte was noticed in The Monthly Review for May 1779, p. 394; The Green Box in the following month, p. 473). It seems most likely that the regular Cinquième and the Sixième Editions were printed on the Continent and that the variant issues were English reprints. Typographical evidence tends to confirm this supposition. The type and ornaments of the regular Cinquième Edition and the Sixième seem clearly not to be English. The variants, on the other hand, all appear to be English in origin, and it may be noted that their less elaborate ornaments give the impression of feeble imitation.

There is evidence that the hoax was disliked in certain high quarters. In Louis Petit de Bachaumont’s Mémoires secrets pour servir à l’histoire de la republique des lettres en France, 1780-89, appears an “Extrait d’une lettre d’Amsterdam du 22 Mai 1780,” which reads, in part:

Il a paru dans ce pays, il y a déja du tems, peut-être un an, une brochure très courte, intitulée la cassette verte.... On ne sait si M. de Sartine en a été piqué, ou si c’est un zele de ses partisans dans ce pays; mais on mande de la Haye que le jeudi 19 de ce mois, on y a arrêté une Dame Godin, comme ayant eu quelque part à cette cassette verte & qu’elle en est partie le jour même avec des gardes qui la conduisent jusqu’aux frontieres de France, d’où vraisemblement elle sera transférée à la Bastille (XV, 189).


The Green Box of Monsieur de Sartine, Found at Mademoiselle du Thé’s Lodgings. From the French of the Hague Edition. Revised and corrected by those of Leipsic and Amsterdam. “I translate for the Country Gentlemen.” Anticipation. London: Sold by A. Becket, corner of the Adelphi, Strand; and R. Faulder, Bond-street. M DCC LXXIX.

8vo. P. [i], half-title, verso blank; p. [iii], title, verso blank; pp. [1]-4, “Advertisement”; p. [5], note by the “Editor,” verso blank; pp. [7]-71, text; p. [72], advertisement of Anticipation, Ninth Edition, La Cassette verte, and other works by Tickell.

Copies: BP, HC, HEH, NYP. Sabin #95796.

Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Editions, Becket and Faulder, 1779. Dublin: James Byrn and Son, 1779. Also an edition dated 1779 without place or publisher’s name and with different collation; evidently a piracy. Heartman’s Historical Series No. 19; “Sixty-five copies printed for Charles F. Heartman, New York City 1916”; this is an independent translation of La Cassette verte.


“It now appears that this pretended English translation is the original work, as it came from the ludicrous pen of Mr. Tickell ...; and that the French edition ... was only a circumstance in the joke” (The Monthly Review, LX, 1779, 473).

A number of imitations followed La Cassette verte and The Green Box. Among these are An English Green Box ..., G. Kearsly, 1779; Histoire d’un pou françois ..., “A Paris, de l’Imprimerie Royale,” 1779, and the English version of the latter, History of a French Louse ..., T. Becket, 1779—all of which have been erroneously ascribed to Tickell.


Epistle from the Honourable Charles Fox, Partridge-Shooting, to the Honourable John Townshend, Cruising. London: Printed for R. Faulder, New Bond Street. M DCC LXXIX.

4to. P. [1], half-title, verso blank; p. [3], title, verso blank; pp. [5]-14, text; pp. [15-16], blank.

Copies: BM, HC. Sabin #95795.

A New Edition, Faulder, 1779. Third Edition, Faulder, 1780. Dublin: R. Marchbank, 1779. Reprinted in The New Foundling Hospital for Wit ... A New Edition ... In Six Volumes, J. Debrett, 1786, I, 318-323. Reprinted in Bell’s Classical Arrangement of Fugitive Poetry, British Library, 1789-94, IV, [86]-91.

The Epistle is a pleasing Horatian piece that makes good-natured fun of the Whig wits and politicians of Brooks’s Club. On John Townshend (1757-1833), later called Lord John, second son of the first Marquis Townshend, see W. P. Courtney, Eight Friends of the Great, 1910, pp. 172-183. Fox, in the country, is depicted urging on his pointers with “patriot names”:

No servile ministerial runners they!
Not Ranger then, but Washington, I cry;
Hey on! Paul Jones, re-echoes to the sky:
Toho! old FranklinSilas Deane, take heed!—
Cheer’d with the sound, o’er hills and dales they speed.

But as he toils through fields of stubble he yearns for “The long lost pleasures of St. James’s Street,” which are set forth by Tickell in graceful and glowing lines. The Epistle was very highly praised by the reviewers and by others, but Horace Walpole, in a letter to Lady Ossory of 2 December 1779, recorded an acute dissent: “Towards the end there seems some very pretty lines; but, upon the whole, à quoi bon? à quel propos? I believe it was meant for a satire, but the author winked, and it flashed in the pan (Letters, ed. Toynbee, XI, 74-75).”



Common-Place Arguments against Administration, with Obvious Answers, (Intended for the Use of the New Parliament.) London: Printed for R. Faulder, New Bond Street. M DCC LXXX.

8vo. P. [i], half-title, verso blank; p. [iii], title, verso blank; pp. [v]-viii, “Advertisement”; pp. [an inserted leaf], “Contents”; pp. [9]-101, text; p. [102], blank.

Copies: HC, NYP. Sabin #95794.

Second, Third, and Fourth Editions, Faulder, 1780. Dublin: R. Marchbank, 1780; called “The Third Edition.”

A transparent attempt to repeat the success of Anticipation, this satire was unanimously assigned to Tickell by the reviews and is clearly his. Opposition charges and ministerial replies are provided on such topics as “Best Officers drawn from the Service,” “The last Campaign, and State of the Nation,” and the like, together with a section of “Miscellaneous Eloquence, or, Collateral Rhetoric for the Gallery,” which contains the best mimicry the tract affords. The reviewers justly taxed Tickell with writing for hire and borrowing from himself.


Select Songs of the Gentle Shepherd. As It Is Performed at the Theatre-Royal, Drury-Lane London: Printed for T. Becket, Adelphi, Strand. M DCC LXXXI. [Price Six-pence.]

8vo. P. [1], title, verso blank; pp. [3]-19, text; p. [20], blank.

Copy: HEH.

There were no other issues.

This pastoral opera in two acts, performed as an afterpiece at Drury Lane, 29 October 1781, is an alteration of Allan Ramsay’s Gentle Shepherd, 1725, which had already had a long stage history. It ran for twenty-two nights and remained the standard stage version until after 1800. In an article entitled “Reviving ‘The Gentle Shepherd,’” W. J. Lawrence condemned Tickell’s alteration out of hand because “the abounding Doric had been bled white, and new music had been substituted for the fine old Scots melodies” (The [London] Graphic, CVIII, 1923, 340). The music has not survived, but the discriminating review in The Universal Magazine praised Linley’s skill in preserving the original airs while providing accompaniments for an expanded orchestra (LXIX, 1781, 237). The dialogue, however handled, was certain to produce disagreement, but Tickell was more faithful to the original than previous adapters had been. On this point James Boaden wrote:


The simple beauties of the poem were ... felt on this occasion, and the lovers of rustic nature were obliged to Mr. Tickell for the restoration of its original language—the pronunciation, and still more the cadence, suffered as might be expected from diffidence and badness of ear (Memoirs of Mrs. Siddons, 1827, I, 252).


Songs, Duos, Trios, Chorusses, &c., in the Comic Opera of the Carnival of Venice, as it is Performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. London. 1781. Pr. Iˢ.

8vo. P. [1], title, verso blank; p. [3], “Dramatis Personæ,” verso blank; pp. 5-27, text; p. [28], blank.

Copy: BM.

There were no other issues.

The Carnival of Venice opened on 13 December 1781 and played twenty-three times during the season but was never revived. It was written to suit what Tickell himself, in a letter to an aspiring playwright, called “the present taste for complicated plot and perplexed incidents” (unpublished letter to A. Becket, August 1781, in the Widener Collection, Harvard College Library); for the plot, see the review in The Universal Magazine, LXIX, 1781, 328. The music was provided by Linley, and the elaborate sets and costumes by De Loutherbourg. In particular the songs were admired: Tom Moore and Samuel Rogers remembered and quoted them in the next century (Moore, Sheridan, 2nd ed., 1825, II, 227; Rogers, Table-Talk, p. 72). Mary Young, in her Memoirs of Mrs. Crouch, 1806, said that “Many of the songs in this piece so perfectly resemble, in poetic beauty, those which adorn the Duenna [by Sheridan], that they declare themselves to be the offspring of the same Muse” (I, 127). Sheridan’s biographers have variously ascribed the songs, in part or entirely, to him and Mrs. Sheridan, but on what grounds save their excellence does not appear (Sichel, Sheridan, I, 443, and II, 459; Rae, article on Tickell in the DNB).


[Prologue to] Variety; A Comedy, in Five Acts: as it is performed at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane. London: Printed for T. Becket, Adelphi, Strand, Bookseller to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and Their Royal Highnesses the Princes. MDCCLXXXII.

Copies: BM, C.

8vo. P. [i], half-title, verso blank; p. [iii], title, verso blank; pp. [v-vi], “Prologue, by Richard Tickell, Esq;”; p. [vii], “Epilogue”; p. [viii],[94] “Epilogue,” continued, and “Dramatis Personæ”; pp. [1]-71, text; p. [72], publisher’s advertisements.

Subsequent issues disregarded here.

Variety was written by Richard Griffith (d. 1788), and was first performed 25 February 1782.


Remarks on the Commutation Act. Addressed to the People of England. London: Printed for T. Becket, in Pall-Mall. M DCC LXXXV. [Price One Shilling and Six-pence.]

8vo. P. [i], title, verso blank; pp. [1]-81, text; p. [82], blank.

Copy: YU.

Second, Third, and Fourth Editions, Becket, 1785.

Assigned to Tickell by a MS. note on the title-page of a copy of the Fourth Edition in the New York Public Library. It is characteristically Tickell’s in substance and style. Intended as an attack on a proposed reduction of the tea-duty, it enlarges into a satire on Pitt’s administration, especially the ascendancy of the East India Company interest therein. While the Company continues its corrupt sway, Pitt directs the energies of Parliament to “Edicts against the Waste of Wafers in Public Offices, and Registrations of the Nett Consumption of Quills; together with Sworn Meters of Sand, and a Comptroller-General of Blotting-Paper.”


Contributions to The Rolliad.

The work known as The Rolliad is only for the sake of convenience so styled. The name serves as a collective title for a group of many works, differently titled and separately published, ranging from squibs a quatrain long to extended mock-heroic poems. These collaborative Whig satires began to appear in Henry Bate’s Morning Herald late in 1784; and the inclusive editions, issued from 1795 on under the title of The Rolliad, contain Criticisms on The Rolliad, Political Eclogues, Probationary Odes for the Laureateship, and Political Miscellanies. Many ancillary pieces by the same group of authors appeared in newspapers and fugitive miscellanies but were never reprinted.

A good deal has been written in appreciation of the literary and political satire of the Rolliad pieces, but no thorough study of their history and bibliography has been attempted. So complex is their bibliography that it is impossible to give a satisfactory account of any single author’s share. The principal information on authorship will be found in several contributions to Notes and Queries, 1st ser., II, 1850, and III, 1851, from copies of The Rolliad annotated by the authors or by those who knew[95] them, as follows: French Laurence’s notes, II, 373, and III, 129-131; George Ellis’ notes, II, 114-115; Alexander Chalmers’ notes, II, 242; Sir James Mackintosh’s notes, III, 131. To these should be added Sheridan’s notes in a copy used by Walter Sichel; see his Sheridan, II, 87ff. There is much other scattered information, of which full use has not yet been made, in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century memoirs and journals.

According to French Laurence, who acted as editor, “the piece first published, and the origin of all that followed,” was the “Short Account of the Family of the Rollos, now Rolles,” written principally by Tickell and purporting to be a genealogy of the family of John Rolle, M.P. for Devon, the unlucky hero of the projected mock epic. Tickell designed the absurd family tree that served as frontispiece for Criticisms on The Rolliad (information from Sheridan, in Lord Broughton [John Cam Hobhouse], Recollections of a Long Life, ed. Lady Dorchester, 1909-11, I, 202). He had also a leading hand in the next project of the group, the Probationary Odes, for which he provided the editorial preliminaries, the first of the trial odes, supposed to be by Sir Cecil Wray, and the ninth, supposed to be by Nathaniel Wraxall and one of the best in the series. (According to Mackintosh, the ninth ode was “sketched by Canning, the Eton boy, finished by Tickell.”) The most successful of the Political Eclogues, a satire on Lord Lansdowne called Jekyll, was the collaborative work of Tickell and Lord John Townshend; it first appeared as a quarto poem published by J. Debrett, 1788. For the smaller contributions of Tickell, which are numerous, the lists in Notes and Queries may be consulted.


A Woollen Draper’s Letter on the French Treaty, to His Friends and Fellow Tradesmen All over England. “The clothiers all not able to maintain “The many to them ’longing, have put off “The spinsters, carders, fullers, weavers.” Shakespeare’s Henry VIII. London: Printed for the Author, and sold by J. French, Bookseller, No. 164, Fenchurch-street, by the Booksellers near the Royal Exchange, Pater-Noster-Row, Fleet-street, &c. &c. &c. M,DCC,LXXXVI.

8vo. P. [i], title, verso blank; pp. [I]-48, text.

Copies: HC, NYP.

Second Edition, French, 1786.

This tract is here first assigned to Tickell, who stated he was the author in a letter to Samuel Parr, 20 February [1787] (Parr, Works, ed. J. Johnstone, 1828, VIII, 131). It is assigned to a different author in Halkett and Laing (new ed., 1926-34, VI, 252), where a copy is reported that contains a MS. dedication signed “Lieut. J. Mackenzie.” Tickell’s statement of authorship, the lack of any information about J. Mackenzie, and various circumstances (too involved to detail here) relating to[96] Whig propagandist activity at this time, all suggest that Lieut. J. Mackenzie is a fictitious person. As the Foxites’ chief pamphleteer Tickell did his duty, but as a member of Brooks’s he did not care to associate his name with a sober commercial tract.

This supposed Woollen Draper, who seems to be well acquainted with the subject he treats, endeavours to shew his fellow tradesmen the very great injuries to which the woollen trade is exposed, by the commercial treaty, lately signed at Paris.... In his own style, the sample, which he hath here offered to the Public, is well wrought, and of a good fabric (The Monthly Review, LXXVI, 1787, 71).


The People’s Answer to the Court Pamphlet: Entitled A Short Review of the Political State of Great Britain. Quid prius dicam solitis Parentis Laudibus?⸺Printed for J. Debrett, opposite Burlington-house Piccadilly. MDCCLXXXVII.

8vo. P. [i], half-title, verso blank; p. [iii], title, verso blank; pp. [1]-50, text; pp. [51-52], blank.

Copies: HC, NYP, WLC.

Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Editions, Debrett, 1787. Dublin: White, Byrne, Moore, and Jones, 1787.

This tract is here first assigned to Tickell. His letter to Parr of 20 February [1787], mentioned in the preceding entry, begins:

From some enquiries in your letter to Mrs. Sheridan, I believe you thought it was right to answer the Political Review. I mean the pamphlet that traduced the Prince of Wales and every one else except Hastings. I now send you the answer I gave it, because, as you thought it right it should be answered, you will excuse faults in a paper written in a hurry (Parr, Works, VIII, 131).

The pamphlet to which Tickell refers is A Short Review of the Political State of Great-Britain at the Commencement of the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-Seven, Debrett, 1787, a collection of political portraits and cursory observations as thin in substance as they are florid in style. Its authorship was acknowledged in the Posthumous Memoirs, 1836, of Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, who told there of its immense success upon publication: it ran through six editions in the last ten days of January, sold 17,000 copies, and elicited a half-dozen replies within a month (Historical and Posthumous Memoirs, 1884, IV, 372-375). The People’s Answer was written from Tickell’s precise political position at this time and displays his characteristic style.

Beginning in his usual brisk and pointed manner, Tickell suggests that the celebrity of the Short Review is due largely to such a total want of polite wit among the supporters of Administration “that even a Charade from one of the King’s Friends[97] would excite ... admiration.” The author has provided “the dull desponding train of an unlettered Court” with

a sort of handy manual for the Levee ..., lightly touching on the topicks most in vogue, and sketching out handy sentences for the Lords of the Bedchamber to retail, or the Maids of Honour to scribble on their fans.

Here is the hand of the author of The Wreath of Fashion. In his treatment of Pitt’s commercial treaty, his gift of mimicry is also apparent. Tickell the elegant amateur cannot resist parodying the style of writers on commercial subjects:

Every leaf of these motley compositions displays an epitome of all the tricks of invitation, that are practised by the trades they discuss; some of them intoxicating the eye, like Vintners’ windows, with BRANDY! RUM! and BRITISH SPIRIT! in capitals—while others denote their beaten track, and towns of baiting; like the lettered pannels of a stage coach, in characters of a most extensive and convincing size; as,

  • HULL,
  • LEEDS,
  • YORK,



Perhaps the most amusing thing about this passage is that Tickell is ridiculing, among others, himself, for these are the very devices of the honest Woollen Draper’s Letter. The defence of the Prince of Wales’ conduct and friends, which occupies the later pages of The People’s Answer, is in a more serious tone.


[Prologue to] The Fugitive: A Comedy. As it is performed at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket. By Joseph Richardson, Esq. Barrister at Law. Ætherias, lascive cupis, volitare per auras I, fuge, sed poteris, tutior esse domi. Martial. London: Printed for J. Debrett, opposite Burlington-House, Piccadilly. MDCCXCII.

8vo. P. [i], half-title, verso blank; p. [iii], title, verso blank; pp. [v-viii], “Advertisement”; pp. [ix-x], “Prologue written by Richard Tickell, Esq.”; p. [xi], “Dramatis Personæ,” verso blank; pp. [1]-83, text; p. [84], blank; pp. [85-86], “Epilogue, written by the Right Hon. Lieutenant General Burgoyne.”

Copies: BM, C.

Subsequent issues disregarded here.

Joseph Richardson (1755-1803) was an intimate of the Sheridan circle, a Foxite politician, and one of the largest contributors to The Rolliad. The Fugitive was first performed 20 April 1792.