Letters to His Son


LONDON,October 17,1757.

MY DEAR FRIEND:Your last,of the 30th past,was a very good letter;and I will believe half of what you assure me,that you returned to the Landgrave's civilities.I cannot possibly go farther than half,knowing that you are not lavish of your words,especially in that species of eloquence called the adulatory.Do not use too much discretion in profiting of the Landgrave's naturalization of you;but go pretty often and feed with him.Choose the company of your superiors,whenever you can have it;that is the right and true pride.The mistaken and silly pride is,to PRIMER among inferiors.

Hear,O Israel!and wonder.On Sunday morning last,the Duke gave up his commission of Captain General and his regiment of guards.You will ask me why?I cannot tell you,but I will tell you the causes assigned;which,perhaps,are none of them the true ones.It is said that the King reproached him with having exceeded his powers in making the Hanover Convention,which his R.H.absolutely denied,and threw up thereupon.

This is certain,that he appeared at the drawing-room at Kensington,last Sunday,after having quitted,and went straight to Windsor;where,his people say,that he intends to reside quietly,and amuse himself as a private man.But I conjecture that matters will soon be made up again,and that he will resume his employments.You will easily imagine the speculations this event has occasioned in the public;I shall neither trouble you nor myself with relating them;nor would this sheet of paper,or even a quire more,contain them.Some refine enough to suspect that it is a concerted quarrel,to justify SOMEBODY TO SOMEBODY,with regard to the Convention;but I do not believe it.

His R.H.'s people load the Hanover Ministers,and more particularly our friend Munchausen here,with the whole blame;but with what degree of truth I know not.This only is certain,that the whole negotiation of that affair was broached and carried on by the Hanover Ministers and Monsieur Stemberg at Vienna,absolutely unknown to the English Ministers,till it was executed.This affair combined (for people will combine it)with the astonishing return of our great armament,not only 're infecta',but even 'intentata',makes such a jumble of reflections,conjectures,and refinements,that one is weary of hearing them.Our Tacituses and Machiavels go deep,suspect the worst,and,perhaps,as they often do,overshoot the mark.For my own part,I fairly confess that I am bewildered,and have not certain 'postulata'enough,not only to found any opinion,but even to form conjectures upon:and this is the language which I think you should hold to all who speak to you,as to be sure all will,upon that subject.Plead,as you truly may,your own ignorance;and say,that it is impossible to judge of those nice points,at such a distance,and without knowing all circumstances,which you cannot be supposed to do.And as to the Duke's resignation;you should,in my opinion,say,that perhaps there might be a little too much vivacity in the case,but that,upon the whole,you make no doubt of the thing's being soon set right again;as,in truth,I dare say it will.Upon these delicate occasions,you must practice the ministerial shrugs and 'persiflage';for silent gesticulations,which you would be most inclined to,would not be sufficient:something must be said,but that something,when analyzed,must amount to nothing.As for instance,'Il est vrai qu'on s'y perd,mais que voulez-vous que je vous dise?--il y a bien du pour et du contre;un petit Resident ne voit gueres le fond du sac.--Il faut attendre.--Those sort of expletives are of infinite use;and nine people in ten think they mean something.But to the Landgrave of Hesse Ithink you would do well to say,in seeming confidence,that you have good reason to believe that the principal objection of his Majesty to the convention was that his Highness's interests,and the affair of his troops,were not sufficiently considered in it.To the Prussian Minister assert boldly that you know 'de science certaine',that the principal object of his Majesty's and his British Ministry's intention is not only to perform all their present engagements with his Master,but to take new and stronger ones for his support;for this is true--AT LEAST AT PRESENT.

You did very well in inviting Comte Bothmar to dine with you.You see how minutely I am informed of your proceedings,though not from yourself.


I go to Bath next Saturday;but direct your letters,as usual,to London.

Dormer StanhopePhilip