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Archive for June, 2012

Regency Research

For well over twenty years since I first started my infatuation with the Regency Era, I have maintained a lexicon to help me decipher Georgette Heyer (follow the link to Frederica, my favorite of her books), and others. Then as I began to write in the genre in the years 2000, I put more emphasis on it.

I have seen a few others on the web, but I have not seen any as complete as the one maintained at Regency Assembly Press that I have contributed to.

With the emphasis that has been placed recently on Research RegencyResearch-2012-06-22-08-00.jpg there, with not only the Lexicon, but the Timelines, lives of the Prime Ministers, Dance Instruction and Regency Era Money, it is a growing resource for all Regency readers and writers. I urge everyone to have a look as it continues to grow.

I also provide here the first few letters of the alphabet to entice you to visit that page. Or even bookmark it for when you need to look up a particular Regency term.

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  • A Crush–A very successful party where there is no room to circulate.
  • A Fudge–False rumor.
  • A Trifle Disguised–Slightly drunk.
  • Abigail–A lady’s maid.
  • Accoucheur-Man-midwife. Trained or acting as a doctor that specializes in pregnancy and the birth of children. Sir Richard Croft or Sir William Knighton as an example.
  • Affair Of Honor–A duel.
  • All The Crack–Very fashionable
  • Almack’s–Assembly rooms on King Street in London. Private, very exclusive subscription balls were held there each Wednesday night of the Season. Its important patronesses (in 1814 they were Lady Castlereigh, Lady Jersey, Lady Cowper, Lady Sefton, Mrs. Drummond-Burrell, Princess Esterhazy, and Countess Lieven) determined who was allowed to purchase subscription vouchers.
  • Ape-Drunk–Very drunk.
  • Ape-Leader–An old maid or spinster. Their punishment after death for failing to procreate, it was said, would be to lead apes in hell.
  • Apoplexy–A stroke.
  • Assembly Rooms–Halls where dances, concerts and other social events were held. Most towns had assembly rooms. The most famous is Almack’s in London.
  • Astley’s Royal Amphitheatre–A circus in London featuring horseback riding, acrobats, clowns and the like.
  • At home to a peg–Driving term, manage unfamiliar horses. Drive a team of four or even six horses.
  • Bacon-Brained–Foolish, stupid.
  • Bag Of Moonshine–Lot of nonsense.
  • Bamboozle–Trick.
  • Banbury Tale–A roundabout, nonsensical story.
  • Bandeau–A narrow band of (usually) stiffened fabric worn on the head to confine the hair.
  • Bandy Words–Talk.
  • Bang Up To The Mark–On time.
  • Banns – Reading The Banns–A notice of an impending marriage given on three consecutive Sundays in one’s parish church. If no one objected to the match during this period, the marriage could proceed.
  • Banyan–A loose-skirted coat worn by men as a dressing gown.
  • Barking Irons–Pistols.
  • Barouche–A four-wheeled carriage with two facing seats, the forward facing seat having a collapsible hood. It had a driver’s box seat in front and could be pulled by two or four horses. The barouche was the preferred carriage for aristocratic ladies (it was an expensive vehicle) during good weather when the hood could be pushed down.
  • Barque Of Frailty–Woman of easy virtue.
  • Barrister–A lawyer who argues cases in court. See also solicitor.
  • Bartholomew Baby–A person dressed up in a tawdry manner, like the dolls sold at Bartholomew Fair (a two-week festival celebrating the Feast of St. Bartholomew). 
  • Base-Born Child–Illegitimate offspring.
  • Bath Chair–Wheelchair. Probably named because they were used by many invalids taking the waters in Bath.
  • Batman–An orderly assigned to a military officer.
  • Be With Malt Above Water–Be drunk.
  • Bear Leader–A traveling tutor, who leads his charges as if they were trained bears.
  • Beau Monde–The fashionable society, fashionable elite. 
  • Beautiful Stepper–Fine piece of horseflesh.
  • Become A Tenant For Life–marry.
  • Bedlam–An insane asylum in London. The full name was the Hospital of Saint Mary of Bethlehem.
  • Befogged–Confused.
  • Being Cupped–Have blood taken/let.
  • Bellows To Mend With (boxing term)–Having the wind knocked out – this may happen to a young buck who sees an attractive woman.
  • Beneath My Touch–Not good enough.
  • Bird Of Paradise–Woman of easy virtue.
  • Bit O’muslin–A woman of who gives sexual favors in exchange for payment.
  • Black-legs–Gambling cheat and swindler.
  • Bleed Very Freely–Give lots of money.
  • Blue Ruin–Gin.
  • Bluestocking–A lady interested in books, learning and scholarly pursuits. From the so-called “Blue Stocking Society” which a group of society ladies began in the 1750’s to discuss literature and other matters. Interestingly, the “blue stockings” were worn by a man — Benjamin Stillingfleet, who was asked to attend the group, but since he did not own formal evening dress including the requisite black silk stockings, he wore his informal clothes along with blue worsted stockings.
  • Blunt–Money; ready cash.
  • Bombazine–A twilled fabric with a very dull finish. It was commonly dyed black, making it an ideal fabric for mourning garments.
  • Bond Street Beau–A fashionable gentleman, as one might find on Bond Street in London.
  • Bone-Setters–Poor quality horses.
  • Boot Is Quite On The Other Leg–The situation is quite the reverse.
  • Borde 12 pence,a shilling (approx $100).
  • Bosky–Drunk.
  • Bouncer–Lie.
  • Bow Street Runner–The precursor of the metropolitan police, the Bow Street Runners were established in the mid-18th century by the magistrate of the Bow Street court, who happened to be the novelist Henry Fielding at that time. The runners were professional detectives who pursued felons across the country. They could also be hired by private individuals if the magistrate approved and could spare them.
  • Breach Of Promise–If one’s intended broke off the engagement, one could sue for breach of promise and receive moderate financial compensation.
  • Breeches–Short, close-fitting trousers that fastened just below the knees and were worn with stockings.
  • Brought To Point Non Plus–In a situation with no options.
  • Brown – Doing It Much Too Brown–To be roasted (i.e., browned), deceived, taken in.
  • Brown Study–Said of one absent, in a reverie, or thoughtful. From the French expression “sombre réverie.” Sombre and brun both mean sad, melancholy, gloomy, dull.
  • Buckskins–Fashionable trousers made from the skin of deer.
  • Bull–5 shillings, a coachwheel, crown, bullseye, (approx $500).
  • Bullseye–5 shillings, a coachwheel, bull, crown, (approx $500).
  • Bumblebroth–A tangled situation; a mess.
  • Busk–A flat length of wood, bone, whalebone, or steel used to stiffen the front of a bodice. Generally the busk was inserted into a busk sheath down the front of a corset. Sometimes a busk was carved with emblems or romantic symbols and presented as a love token. Sailors, for example, often carved whale bone busks to give their sweethearts back home.
  • By-Blow–An illegitimate child.
  • Cabriolet–An open-air owner-driven two-wheeled vehicle similar in appearance to a curricle (see below) except that is was designed for a single horse only, and instead of a seat in the back for the “tiger” there was only a small platform on which he would stand. It came into use about 1810, but reached its peak of popularity during the early Victorian years.
  • Calf-Clingers–Pantaloons.
  • Calf-Love–Immature love of a young man.
  • Cambric–A very fine, thin linen.
  • Canterbury Tales–Lies.
  • Caper Merchant–Dancing instructor.
  • Capote–A transitional form between a cap (soft, unstructured) and a bonnet (rigid, shaped). The brim is made of stiffened fabric, but the crown is of soft fabric shaped into a sort of pouch.
  • Caps – Pull Caps–To quarrel like two women, who pull each other’s caps.
  • Captain Sharps–Gambling cheat and swindler.
  • Carte-Blanche–An offer by a gentleman that includes living under his protection, but not marriage.
  • Cast Up One’s Accounts–To vomit.
  • Cat-Lap–milk – Champagne if used as a joke.
  • Cattle–Horses.
  • Cent Per Center–Moneylender. From the French meaning “100 for every 100,” in other words interest equal to the amount of the principal.
  • Chaise–A light, open carriage, usually with a folding top. They generally had two wheels and sat two people and were drawn by one horse.
  • Chariot–A traveling chariot was a small privately owned vehicle, the equivalent of the rented post chaise. [See definition of Post Chaise, below, for details.]
  • Chatelaine–A set of decorative and useful items hung at the waist, recreating the concept of the medieval chatelaine or lady of the castle wearing her keys at her waist. Keys were still a part of a housekeeper’s utilitarian chatelaine, but they were also worn for strictly decorative purposes by fashionable ladies, and might include a watch and watch key, various etuis holding sewing or writing implements, vinaigrettes, pens, ivory leaves for notes, seals, and tiny coin purses. They were usually held at the waist with a chain, like a watch chain. Also referred to as waist-hung equipages.
  • Cheltenham Tragedy–To make a Cheltenham tragedy out of something is to make a big deal out of nothing, or blow a situation out of proportion. This may be a reference to the melodramas that were performed at Cheltenham spa.
  • Chemise–A loose-fitting, long, straight shirt with short sleeves worn under the corset as an undergarment. The term shift is also used for this garment, though it was considered a somewhat vulgar term.
  • Chemisette–A sleeveless shirt, much like a dickey, used to fill in the neckline of a gown.  
  • Chère-Amie–A gentleman’s mistress. From the French for “dear friend.”
  • Chit–A young girl.
  • Chitterlings–Inside parts of the pig.
  • Cicisbeo–A married lady’s admirer and escort. From the Italian.
  • Cit–A contemptuous term for a member of the merchant class, one who works in or lives in the City of London, i.e. the central business area of London.
  • Civil Whiskers–Polite small talk.
  • Claret – Draw Someone’s Claret–Give someone a bloody nose.
  • Cleaned Out–Has no money.
  • Climbing Boy–A boy used by chimney sweeps to climb up into small, hard-to-reach places. Regency heroines frequently rescue them.
  • Coachwheel–5 shillings, crown, bull, bullseye, (approx $500).
  • Cock Up One’s Toes–To die.
  • Cock-Sure–Proud and confident.
  • Cogged–Loaded dice used in gambling.
  • Colour Up–To blush.
  • Come Out–A young lady’s first entry into society. She would first be presented at the Royal Court, and a ball would usually be held in her honor. Then she would be free to attend society events and seek a husband.
  • Come Up To Scratch–Make an offer of marriage. Diligent mamas are often hoping their daughters can bring a certain gentleman up to scratch.
  • Commonplace Mind–Dirty or vulgar mind.
  • Congé–To give someone her congé is to dismiss her. Especially used for gentlemen and their mistresses. From the French meaning notice or leave.
  • Consols–Short for Consolidated Annuities. These were government securities that paid a fixed rate of interest each year.
  • Constables–Peacekeeping officers appointed by the local magistrate to arrest criminals. See also Bow Street Runners.
  • Convenients–Women of easy virtue.
  • Copper–A penny, pence (approx $8).
  • Corinthian–A gentleman who is fashionable and adept at sporting activities. It originally meant profligate, after the apparently elegant yet dissipated lifestyle in ancient Corinth.
  • Cork-Brained–Foolish, stupid.
  • Corky–Bright and lively.
  • Corn Laws–Laws passed to put tariffs on imported corn in order to protect domestic farmers. The result was exorbitant food prices that made it difficult for working people to feed their families. The laws were repealed in 1846.
  • Cotillion–A French dance for four or more couples with complicated steps and much changing of partners, led by one couple.
  • Country-Dance–A dance of rural English origin in which partners face each other in two long lines.
  • Coxcomb–A vain, conceited person. It formerly meant “fool,” from the caps fools wore with bells and a piece of red cloth on the top, in the shape of a cock’s comb.
  • Cravat–A gentleman’s neckcloth made of starched linen that could be tied in a variety of styles.
  • Crown–5 shillings, a coachwheel, bull, bullseye, (approx $500).
  • Cry Rope On Someone–Give them away, tell secrets etc.
  • Cucumberish–To have no money.
  • Cups – In One’s Cups–Inebriated, drunk.
  • Curate–A clergyman who assists a pastor, rector or vicar.
  • Curricle–A fashionable open-air two-wheeled sporting vehicle designed for a pair of horses and seating for two (i.e. the Regency equivalent of a two-seater convertible sports car).
  • Cut A Wheedle–Ingratiate self with someone by lying.
  • Cut Up My Peace–Disturb me.
  • Cut, Cut Direct–To cut someone is to refuse to recognize that person socially. The cut direct was the most blatant way — one would look the other person directly in the face but pretend not to know him. The cut indirect involved simply looking another way, the cut sublime involved looking up at the sky until the person passed, and the cut infernal involved looking at the ground or stooping to adjust one’s shoes.
  • Cutting Shams–Lying.
  • Cyprian–A woman of who gives sexual favors in exchange for payment; a mistress or courtesan. Named for the island of Cyprus, famous for the worship of Aprhrodite, goddess of love.
  • Cythereans–Mistresses.

The Writing LIfe

My new writing project is another regency, tentatively titled The Heir. I am now over 300 pages into it and nearly done. The heroine of course can not stand the hero, who is trying to understand why she dislikes him so. Part of the action takes place in St. James Square, where I have located our Heroine’s home. That was written about, in a blog post from fellow writer Angelyn Schmid on her post about Let’s do Business in Bed.

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I enclose a few more paragraphs from the first draft.

Chapter 2 continued

They had run three fat purses and more from their betting on the charger that cousin Henry had gifted him. The Earl had made some jest that should Sebastian get the desire to see how breeding horses produced winners, champions, then he had the assurance that the work with the stables would continue to the next generation. Sebastian was not opposed to the idea. He saw no harm in being regarded as a successful breeder but he knew that it was not going to define him. Nor was service in the house of Lords.

He had expressed an interest in being attached to the Foreign Office when he had thought he might have to earn a living. What else was reading the classics good for. He did not want to read law in the Temple. He thought nothing might make him wish to expire than doing that. And after his adventure, he did not wish to return to see any signs of war. That did not leave many professions, and truth was he was really only trained now to be a Peer. His cousin had seen to that to an extent. As the years went by and further inactivity was his lot, it became more apparent that the path his cousin followed would be the one he did as well.

A landowner, as his cousin had once told him, meant that he had a role to fill for thousands of families relied upon him to survive and flourish. Perhaps not thrive and become the richest of men, but to have more at the end of the year, then one had the previous year. That way all the people who did rely on one would know they still could rely on one.

Of them all, Hamilton was the closest to trade and actually earning money as any of them. His father dealt in supplying and outfitting the regiments of the army with guns. A lot of guns, and one became rich. When ear had been nearly continuous for twenty years against the French, a lot of guns were manufactured and a man became rich. So rich that his sone was able to be a gentleman and always at his leisure.

Sebastian said, “There shall be another race in early March, we I hope shall be prepared. Zuma shall be sure to run fast and I hope we shall see success again. This will be the last year he shall do well, I fear. Two years of strong racing and then shall we see about another horse, that is the question I ask myself. I think the Earl of Bath wished that I shall.”

“My uncle knows that I am a friend and have gone and wagered on your horse. Zuma has done well but the Earl does not offer me a great racer as a gift. He says he will gladly sell me one, and offer me a very favorable deal as I am family. I am much closer family, than you, Bass.” The Viscount said.

“Yet, I am the heir. That may count for something.” Sebastian responded.

Viscount Beauchamp said, “With my uncle, it is hard to say. Though this last year, as mother has spent time with Lady Annabella, I have seen I think more than all the years before. I do remember when I was a child traveling to Combe Edinsley when my Aunt was alive.”

“I have been once to that property for a mere few hours,” Sebastian said. “Before I left for Oxford, I was shown the property as quick as one can see anything in such a short amount of time. I believe after your aunt died, the Earl’s grief left him without much thought to regular social amenities.”

The Viscount barked a short laugh, “If you mean that he was so overcome that he forgot all, I think you are correct. Even before that I am sure it was my aunt who guided his hand. But since, I can not say who has restored his wits to what they are now. I do not think it is the new Countess.”

“That may be the case. Lady Elizabeth is very gracious.” Sebastian did not say more, but privately he was sure the woman was overwhelmed by those of society, the Ton. She, Sebastian thought, dreaded that she become an ondit in their eyes, and of course, she had started life as an ondit since she was but a poor Vicar’s daughter who had never entered society now one of the great ladies.

“Well, a fine day is wasted if all we are to do is talk of the Earl of Bath, what horses he will sell you and his family, though I suppose half of us here are his family. I think shopping for anything should be keep me far better occupied, and I believe the plan was to select a new cane for Marlowe today. The old one had broken when Marlowe had scared off two footpads some few evenings before. He thought he had been heroic.

Sebastian had to agree, though that was not near the heroism that had been displayed at Corunna. Perhaps dwelling on that had caused the dream that had awoken him that morning. It would be nice to find something that could predict when he would have such dreams and something else that would cause them to flee before they took full hold of him. He was only thankful that his thrashing and occasional shouts did not waken the servants. That would have caused some embarrassment.

An income of two thousand a year, and now his sisters joining him, sent him in the direction of having many servants in his London house. Four in the kitchen, two maids, three men to manage the house, and then two men who saw to the gardens in the back, and two who took care of the horses housed in the mews. Thirteen people who saw to the care of one man. Soon to be augmented by a governess, two additional maids, an additional footman, and his butler informed him, that it would be time for a housekeeper as well. Sebastian supposed that eighteen taking care of three was much more fair than thirteen taking care of one.

He still had an allowance of far more than he was able to spend. Even if he was going to see to his sisters Seasons, he had more than he could possibly spend. And it was worse with the recent winnings at the tables.

“If Napoleon and his armies had not gobbled up so much of the rest of Europe, I would think that I should like to travel.” Sebastian said to his friends as towards the shops.

“Did you not already travel once upon the continent? Was that not enough?” Hamilton asked.

“I did not spend much time as a tourist during that occasion. I shall muddle through this season, though with some direction as I shall launch my sister Jennifer, but after, when they return to my aunts, or I pray, Jennifer has met a man to marry, I shall be at loose ends again. It would be nice to have some direction and surely a trip abroad would give me that.” Sebastian said.

“I have the place, then,” Peter Marlowe said. “Why not Egypt. We sent the Frenchies packing and I understand that there is a great deal to be done there and to be seen. Surely that would be an eye-opener.” The man thought he was being witty.

“You could visit the Russian Court. Summer is the only time to do so, I have heard. And the Baltic is not a serious impediment.” Viscount Beauchamp supplied.

“Or Austria, much more civilized court. Would have liked to have seen the old Holy Roman Emperor. But then at the end, it really wasn’t much of an empire.” Hamilton said.

“To think in our lifetime so much has happened. There is now Australia in the Pacific. The French began heroically to get rid of a class of nobles that lived excessively and denigrated into the terror, to now, they are once again our enemy. The little corporal carving up all of the world it would seem and toppling a thousand year empire. Never could such have been written but in some novel. Yet it is our world.” Sebastian said.

“You should have read maths at school. You see too much poetry in the world,” Marlowe said to him.

“I am afraid that you actually may be right about something. My training has left me with no great task, and yet my ambition is to succeed at one.” Sebastian said.

The Viscount laughed as they neared the shop that they wanted, “Bass, you still do not see that your great task is to follow my uncle as Earl of Bath. The ninth Earl. That your great task is to make sure that Bath is a great title amongst the lords of the land, and that its people’s sustenance are always foremost amongst your thoughts. That is what my father said to me of our title and holdings of Lowford. Such a title to preserve, the Viscount of Lowford. Is not the water that crosses a ford always low? Could not my great ancestor have asked for something different when the title was bestowed upon him?”

Sebastian said, “I have well been made aware that is my only task in life. I am another of your uncles prime breeding studs, and that I live a pampered life where I am groomed and fed the best. Where my cares are minimized that when the proper filly has come along, I shall give good service.”

Francis Hamilton said, “I think you have touched a point my Lord Viscount. Our friend seems pricked by those nettles of yours. Come Sir Bass, we all have our parts to play in this drama of life. Yours is not just to be a stud for service, and it seems to me that should that be all that you are, you have avoided your responsibilities for some time now.”

“Do I have a reputation?” Sebastian asked.

“Yes,” all three said at the same instant.

The doorman saw them approach and pulled open the wooden panel. Sebastian had a few pennies to hand and placed it discreetly in the man’s palm. He had a campaign medal and it was possible that he had seen service in one of the wars that England had fought for so long. Some men bought and sold such pieces of metal amongst them so they could pretend to have served. Sebastian was no fool. The men who were in service to him were very careful to ensure that no man claimed more than he had truly been a part of, and all his men, to the lowest man in the stables, had once served in the navy or army. His current valet was from his brother James last ship. A wounded arm had sent him ashore and missed the last sailing. James had written an introduction for the man. But when James docked in England again, Sebastian knew he would be in search of a new valet.

A good think for the man was adequate at tying his cravat, and buffing his coat. But he was only that, adequate. George, the valet, was better suited to the sea, then land, and until he was too old for a life at sea, that was the best place for him.

“Pray tell, what is my reputation then in society? Is is so damning that I should fear to see ladies raise their fans when I enter a room that they may gossip behind them all about myself?”

“We must add vain and forward this descriptive to the Times for the next occasion where you are cited within those pages. You will allow how there has been some mention of you in the papers. Mention with regard to women you have been seen to be honoring.” Hamilton said.

“You make me sound like a rake? You have seen me woo ladies, Beauchamp, Hamilton. Am I blatant or make any promise in any way?”

“Marlowe you have been spared for you have not seen how our friend comports himself in a Season. First there is the dance. I do believe it is during the dance that you decide whether you are attracted to the young miss.” The Viscount was summing up his character. “You do realize my uncle asks what is taking you such a long time to find a wife?”

Hamilton took up the narrative, “I agree with your lordships observation. Do you not notice that the women who he then calls on are of a certain type. Handsome and beauties with raven locks. Those who are light featured do not get a second dance or a second glance after he has done the social courtesies of one such perusal.”

“Yes, of course, they must be dark haired. I shall strive to keep Henrietta away from you this year, for she is much too fine for the likes of a blackguard such as you, Sir Bass.” Beauchamp said. Sebastian had met the young lady and she was quite fine. And dark haired. Most of the senoritas in Spain and Portugal had those raven tresses as well. Some had captured his heart with their defiance of life during the hardships of war that they had to endure. Who could not profess their love for such women. Is that why he liked to gaze upon such ladies here in London?

“So let me see if I understand,” Sebastian began, “I am a directionless parasite whom the mamas have decided shall never come up to scratch. That I but play with the chits affections and that overall, I am worthless.”

Viscount Beauchamp said, “It would seem so. And do not forget, the Earl is not yet dead. Were he to father a son, for he should still be able, then you will not have a title or lands to look forward to.”

At that Sebastian smiled. He had purchased some lands and they did have an income associated with it. The possibility of expanding them so that they would support a comfortable living did not seem so far fetched. Not perhaps the living he enjoyed in London at the moment, but he certainly could live modestly on the money that was brought in now by his lands. 150 pounds a year would keep a man with two servants in several decent, if not fashionable parts of Town.

“Then to give the lie to what is said, I must make a change. I believe the Earl will settle on me something much more permanent than a yearly allowance should I marry the correct brood mare to match to myself, the family stud. That should make any of the mama’s happy. He has several lessor estates besides Combe Edinsley. And since he only lives in Somerset, or here in London, he would not miss them.” Sebastian said. “I shall have to be something other than I have been,” he concluded.

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Regency History

Often in my research I keep needing to find who was leading the government and do this through every book. I thought that having the list handy would be good, and then turning it into a research webpage even better. Here is the list. After I post a few more Timeline years and write some more, I will work on the web page with notes about each PM.

The next PM I am doing is William Wyndham Grenville and I am hosting a page devoted to him and then all our period PMs at Regency Assembly Press. That page is here.

Prime Ministers of England

William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland 04/02/1783
12/19/1783
Whig
William Pitt the Younger 12/19/1783
03/14/1801
Tory
Henry Addington 1st Viscount Sidmouth, “The Doctor” 03/14/1801
05/10/1804
Tory
William Pitt the Younger 05/10/1804
01/23/1806
Tory
William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville 02/11/1806
03/31/1807
Whig
William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland 03/31/1807
10/04/1809
Tory*
Spencer Perceval
10/04/1809
05/11/1812
Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool
06/08/1812
04/09/1827
George Canning
04/10/1827
08/08/1827
Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich
08/31/1827
01/21/1828
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
01/22/1828
11/16/1830
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey
11/22/1830
07/16/1834
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
07/16/1834
11/14/1834
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
11/14/1834
12/10/1834
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet
12/10/1834
04/18/1835
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
04/18/1835
08/30/1841
Tory* (Tory government, PM a Whig)

William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville

Born 10/25/1759 Buckinghamshire

Died 12/12/1834 Buckinghamshire

Major Acts:

Slave Trade Act 1807:The Abolishment of the slave trade in the British Empire

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William Wyndam Grenville was the son of George Grenville, an earlier prime minister. Holding office for only a year, he shared his father’s poor public image, though he did achieve one notable achievement – the abolition of slavery.

Entering the Commons in 1782, Grenville became a close ally of Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger. He served in Pitt’s government as Home Secretary, Leader of the House of Lords as Baron Grenville, and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

As Foreign Secretary, Grenville oversaw the tumultuous Wars of the French Revolution, focusing on fighting on the continent as the key to victory, rather than war at sea and in the colonies.

In 1801 Grenville left office at the same time as Pitt, over the issue of Catholic Emancipation.

In his years out of office, Grenville became close to Opposition leader Charles James Fox, and when Pitt returned to office in 1804, Grenville did not take part.

Cross-party alliance

On Pitt’s death Grenville was invited to form a government, but did so reluctantly. He formed a cross-party alliance of MPs which became known as the “Ministry of all The Talents”.

It was a coalition between Grenville’s supporters, the Foxite Whigs, and the supporters of former Prime Minister Lord Sidmouth. Grenville, as First Lord of the Treasury, and Fox, as Foreign Secretary, were joint leaders.

Grenville’s ministry was mostly unsuccessful, failing to make peace with France or to accomplish Catholic emancipation. It did, though, result in one momentous achievement – the abolition of the slave trade in 1807.

The end of his term came soon after, however, as a result of struggle over the perennial issue of Catholic emancipation. He tendered his resignation with palpable relief.

In the following years, Grenville continued in opposition maintaining his alliance with the Whigs, criticizing the Peninsular War and refusing to join Lord Liverpool’s government in 1812.

In years after the Peninsular War, Grenville gradually moved back closer to the Tories, but his political career was ended by a stroke in 1823, the start of a long period of ill-health which led to his death a decade later.

Ministry

02/11/1806                                03/31/1807

Lord Grenville – First Lord of the Treasury and Leader of the House of Lords

Charles James Fox – Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons

The Lord Erskine – Lord Chancellor

The Earl Fitzwilliam – Lord President of the Council

The Viscount Sidmouth – Lord Privy Seal

The Earl Spencer – Secretary of State for the Home Department

William Windham – Secretary of State for War and the Colonies

Viscount Howick – First Lord of the Admiralty

Lord Henry Petty – Chancellor of the Exchequer

The Earl of Moira – Master-General of the Ordnance

The Lord Ellenborough – Chief Justice, King’s Bench

Changes

September, 1806 – On Fox’s death, Lord Howick succeeds him as Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons. Thomas Grenville succeeds Howick at the Admiralty. Lord Fitzwilliam becomes Minister without Portfolio, and Lord Sidmouth succeeds him as Lord President. Lord Holland succeeds Sidmouth as Lord Privy Seal.

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On his resignation; “The deed is done and I am again a free man, and to you I may express what it would seem like affection to say to others, the infinite pleasure I derive from emancipation.

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Honourable Anne Pitt was born in 1772. She was the daughter of Thomas Pitt, 1st Lord Camelford, Baron of Boconnoc and Anne Wilkinson. She married William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, son of Rt. Hon. George Grenville and Elizabeth Wyndham, on 18 July 1792. She died on 13 June 1864. Her married name became Grenville. The marriage was childless.

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The Regency Timeline

My previous posts I’ve explained that I was working on the Regency timeline. I posted my entries for 1788 thru 1797. Now I have the entrees for 1798 and have uploaded all these years to the Regency Assembly Press website. You can see a little preview of this below in the picture.

My sources which include the Internet and The Timetables of History by Grun and Stein1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__PastedGraphic-2012-06-19-11-50.jpg as well as the Chronology of CULTURE y Paxton and Fairfield should cover a lot of events. There are now over 5000 listed for the period between 1788 and 1837 when Victoria comes to the Throne. I have also just found a third book I own with timelines in it, very USA centric though. 1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__PastedGraphic-2012-06-19-11-50.jpg What Happened When by Carruth. I also have added a Dorling Kindersley book PastedGraphic-2012-06-19-11-50.jpg, History of the World.

I may post a year at time every so often in between scanning through all these to find something that will be a good article for this blog and the blog at English Historical Fiction Authors. I will also have the full listing up shortly at Regency Assembly Press.

Those who have feedback, it is appreciated or if someone would like a specific year in a future post. The very first entry is to show who was Prime Minister of Great Britain, later it was the United Kingdom, during the period of the chronology. In choosing our dates, 1788 is the first sign of madness in George the III, it is the beginning of the end of the French Monarchy with the riots in Paris, it is the time when the mama’s of the girls during the true Regency would be girls going to London for their own season, and when our heroes are young lads or babes as well.

We need to know of the events that occurred when they were children, as well as what happens when they are on stage in our stories.

Click on the link below or the picture to go to the entry. More years coming. The list is now over 5000 event entries long and growing.

Regency Assembly Press 1798 Tineline

TheRegencyEraTimeline-2012-06-19-11-50.jpg

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The Regency Timeline

My previous posts I’ve explained that I was working on the Regency timeline. I posted my entries for 1788 thru 1797.

Now I have the 1794 Timeline again. I went back added a significant amount of graphics. I will be doing this with all the years I previously posted and then ensuring that the new years have a lot of graphics as well.        

I have uploaded all these years to the Regency Assembly Press website. You can see a little preview of this below in the picture. I especially like how the Duchess of Alba by Goya looks a lot like Cher.

My sources which include the Internet and The Timetables of History by Grun and Stein1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__PastedGraphic-2012-06-18-04-56.jpg as well as the Chronology of CULTURE y Paxton and Fairfield should cover a lot of events. There are now over 5000 listed for the period between 1788 and 1837 when Victoria comes to the Throne. I have also just found a third book I own with timelines in it, very USA centric though. 1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__1__%252524%252521%252540%252521__PastedGraphic-2012-06-18-04-56.jpg What Happened When by Carruth. I also have added a Dorling Kindersley book PastedGraphic-2012-06-18-04-56.jpg, History of the World.

I may post a year at time every so often in between scanning through all these to find something that will be a good article for this blog and the blog at English Historical Fiction Authors. I will also have the full listing up shortly at Regency Assembly Press.

Those who have feedback, it is appreciated or if someone would like a specific year in a future post. The very first entry is to show who was Prime Minister of Great Britain, later it was the United Kingdom, during the period of the chronology. In choosing our dates, 1788 is the first sign of madness in George the III, it is the beginning of the end of the French Monarchy with the riots in Paris, it is the time when the mama’s of the girls during the true Regency would be girls going to London for their own season, and when our heroes are young lads or babes as well.

We need to know of the events that occurred when they were children, as well as what happens when they are on stage in our stories.

Click on the link below or the picture to go to the entry. More years coming. The list is now over 5000 event entries long and growing.

After the Regency Timeline, I plan to do a short addition on Regency Prime Ministers. They always come up in my research and I think we need a page where we can find out all about them in one place. Then, the Edwardian Timeline. I am thinking the years 1890 to 1918 (The end of WWI)

Regency Assembly Press 1794 Tineline

TheRegencyEraTimeline-2012-06-18-04-56.jpg

The Writing LIfe

My new writing project is another regency, tentatively titled The Heir. I am now over 200 pages into it. The heroine of course can not stand the hero, who is trying to understand why she dislikes him so. Part of the action takes place in St. James Square, where I have located our Heroine’s home. That was written about, in a blog post from fellow writer Angelyn Schmid on her post about Let’s do Business in Bed.

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I enclose a few more paragraphs from the first draft.

Chapter 2

Sebastian could attest to that. He had met with the enemy at Corunna and tried his best to keep it from his memory. However, all too often in the depth of night, the remembrance of the battle would bring him forth from deep slumber. His brow heavy with sweat and his mind filled with the horrors of that battle.

The battle was now a little over three years gone. And still Sebastian was troubled by it. He was troubled a great many things. The battles effects troubled he that he often was awoken in the night when his dreams were distressed by the memories. When you see a human being torn apart by the cannon balls, more than one, it is a memory you wish you did not have and could never rid yourself of.

Drink helped, but then he never knew what night he would be set upon by these visages in his mind. And he was not in the habit of drinking so that he was in a stupor. Such a habit led to becoming an ondit of the Ton. And the only thing that the Ton did scold him for was his wooing of far too many women, and offering for none.

Sebastian had taken the advice of his uncle to heart. To find a woman to wed and beget more heirs for the Earldom of Bath. Ones the eighth Earl would take pride in. Three years more of his and Lady Elizabeth having no joy. And from what he had heard of his cousin Annabella and her first season, the hope that she would marry a man of quality was dashed when she surrounded herself like a ninny with only flatterers who knew to the farthing how much the Earl would part with, and what the estate would be worth should a son come of her body.

He had approached her once at Almacks but she had said all her dances were taken and she did not need his pity to be seen lifting her up. That was a fine how do you do, and should the Earl have been in attendance at Almacks, Sebastian would have been so embarrassed that he would not have been able to meet the man, who was his benefactor.

Annabella must have had some reflection or talked to the Countess who was always pleasant, for he had received a curtly written letter, which one might even take for an apology. You would have to be generous in order to do so. Sebastian had little idea that his cousin, whom he had not seen since before going down to Oxford, until the once at Almacks, was so proud that she could not be seen with her cousin, a commoner.

Or rather, he had been a commoner. His actions at Corunna had been recognized, and as the heir to the Earl of Bath, the Prince Regent had decided he should be a baronet. Sir Sebastian Lennox. A singular honor that he was to pay for the privilege. Prinny expected a nice gift for such a nice title, and that he be honored for some few months. Then, it was fine for Sebastian to leave the company of the Prince’s close circle and return to his own friends.

“Your cousin the Earl returns to Town, I see in the paper,” That was Marlowe. His father and the Earl had been good friends at one time. Some years back there had been a falling out. Sebastian was not sure why. He and Marlowe found that they favored the same play of cards at White’s and had become friends the last six months.

“Yes, he plans I am sure, to be ensconced on his bench when the House of Lords opens and gets down to business. The man is very much attuned and interested in politics.” Sebastian and Peter had talked of the Earl on some few occasions but usually the discussion of his cousin and Peter’s father did not arise.

“My father called me to his study the week before last and spoke to me at length of the Earl, and of my aunt. He, if you shall allow, told me all the sordid details.” And for the next few minutes, Peter explained how the Earl had offered for his aunt. How she had agreed, but a cavalry captain had come to also ask for her hand, after she had accepted the Earl. How she had loved the captain and was torn but in the end ran off with the officer. Who was dead not three months later from a sickness he had contracted most likely from his service in India. By then it was too late. The Earl had married the current Countess.

A woman that was known to Sebastian and he had only good things to say about. One didn’t say ill of a woman who you were related to, even to your closest friend. One never said ill of a lady. A shrew perhaps, but one honored a lady. Especially the Countess of Bath who was barren and the hopes of everyone, including Bass, seemed to be thwarted. “My father knows that we are friends and hopes that you shall come to dinner on occasion that he may hear of his old friend, and perhaps through our offices, if we deem the moment right, a reconciliation between the friends can be achieved.”

“Well, I am shocked, and though I should love to meet your father and do what I can, you should know that I am summoned to Lords when my cousin comes to Town, early when they sit. And then at the end of the season as they prepare to leave, I am invited to visit my cousin at St. James Square. I have been to dine there on occasion and the Countess has invited me to make evens for dinner, though now that my cousin, Lady Annabella has debuted, I was not needed last year. I fear my cousin has little regard for me. The girl. And that has caused the father to shun me somewhat. We did much better some years ago. He visited me at Oxford, and was quite about when my mother fell deathly ill shortly after our father died. We had no need to maintain much of a household then for the Earl bought James his commission, and paid for Hank to be a midshipman. He gave me an allowance at Oxford, and so we were sent to the corners of the globe. It was the girls who needed some mothering and family.”

Peter smiled, “I have met you sisters and know that you would not want to have had such young misses with you when you studied at Oxford.”

“Not so, I proposed that I should use my allowance and rent a small house for the girls there. The Earl sent them to my mother’s sister and paid handsomely for their upbringing. The eldest will be coming out this season, and the younger in two seasons hence. They both wish their other brothers, dressed smartly in their uniforms should attend them. Unfortunately all they have is myself.” Sebastian said. He looked forward to reuniting with his sisters, both to come to London in the next few weeks. He had the staff prepare the house, a nice townhouse that he rented on Panton Street. It was within walking distance or riding from everywhere.

“Well I look forward to meeting your sisters. I should imagine that they will be as pleasant as you old fellow. For the life of me I do not know how we have become friends.”

“It is because I bring calm to a life that was anything but. That, and we are quite successful when we partner at the card table.” Sebastian said.

“That is so. Do you realize I have not had to draw on my allowance since November? My father wanted to ask if I was alright or if I had stopped all my expenses. He was worried that he was to get a great dunning with hundreds of bills coming due all at once. That I had somehow convinced all my creditors to defer their settlements.”

Sebastian laughed, “I can not say quite the same. I still draw my allowance, though what money I have earned has been invested in land in Kent. Should the Earl ever be given a son, then I am out as heir, and though promised to be kept at my current generous estate, I should not want to be a burden to a man who must plan for the expenses of a son.”

Peter said, “Should that happen, then perhaps we should consider more cardplay. Our luck will only last for such a length of time that we best see how much we can manage to make from it as quickly as possible.”

That brought a laugh even as they were joined by the other two members of their set. Sir Francis Hamilton and Lord Beauchamp.

“Kit, Marlowe here was talking to me of trying to engineer a reconciliation with the Earl and his father. They were quite good friends at one time.” The Viscount Beauchamp’s mother was sisters to the Earl of Lennox’s first wife. That made Christopher Beauchamp the nephew of the Earl.

“Well, that would be awkward I think. My mother told me the whole story some time ago. And then reminded me of it after you came to dinner last week. She did not realize that you were the son of Sir Lambert. She said that your father had once been a welcome guest in my father’s house. That is before your aunt broke her engagement to my uncle. Can’t fault her. The man likes his horses, and likes Lords. Often say I can’t see much difference between the two of them.”

Sebastian thought that wasn’t very fair. Though he had not had as much interaction with his cousin, he had several long hours with the man. The man had more to him than his horses and the House of Lords.

“The interest that the Earl of Bath takes in the country by attending Lords, I should think you would consider admirable, my lord. How often did you attend Lords last year, was it twice I believe you boasted proudly?” That was Francis Hamilton. He said exactly what Sebastian was thinking. “Come Bass, I have heard you speak in favor of your cousin some few times. Not to mention that he gave you that courser last year and have we not made some money on his running, so his work at breeding horses is worthwhile as well.”

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Regency History

Often in my research I keep needing to find who was leading the government and do this through every book. I thought that having the list handy would be good, and then turning it into a research webpage even better. Here is the list. After I post a few more Timeline years and write some more, I will work on the web page with notes about each PM.

The next PM I am doing is Henry Addington and I am hosting a page devoted to him and then all our period PMs at Regency Assembly Press. That page is here.

Prime Ministers of England

William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland 04/02/1783
12/19/1783
Whig
William Pitt the Younger 12/19/1783
03/14/1801
Tory
Henry Addington 1st Viscount Sidmouth, “The Doctor” 03/14/1801
05/10/1804
Tory
William Pitt the Younger 05/10/1804
01/23/1806
Tory
William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville
02/11/1806
03/31/1807
William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland 03/31/1807
10/04/1809
Tory*
Spencer Perceval
10/04/1809
05/11/1812
Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool
06/08/1812
04/09/1827
George Canning
04/10/1827
08/08/1827
Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich
08/31/1827
01/21/1828
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
01/22/1828
11/16/1830
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey
11/22/1830
07/16/1834
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
07/16/1834
11/14/1834
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
11/14/1834
12/10/1834
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet
12/10/1834
04/18/1835
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
04/18/1835
08/30/1841
Tory* (Tory government, PM a Whig)

Henry Addington 1st Viscount Sidmouth, “The Doctor”

Born 05/30/1757 Holburn, London

Died 02/15/1844 London

Major Acts:

Treaty of Amiens 1802-The Intermission of the great world war with Revolutionary and Napoleonic France

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The son of a doctor (Anthony Addington), who was the Physician of the Elder Pitt, Henry Addington was the first middle-class prime minister, holding office from 1801 to 1804. Having served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 1789, Addington became PM when King George III rejected Pitt’s Emancipation of Catholics Bill, forcing his resignation.

Addington also enjoyed royal favour because he had treated George III as a doctor during one of his bouts of madness.

Addington’s ministry was most notable for the negotiation of the Treaty of Amiens of 1802, in which the government agreed to an unfavourable peace with France. A peace which didn’t last. It was a brief chance to catch their breath.

It quickly broke down, and Addington could not persuade Pitt to support him as war loomed on the continent. With Napoleon’s forces readying themselves for an invasion of Britain, Addington resigned.

A notably poor orator, Addington continued to serve under Pitt, and was later elevated to the House of Lords as Viscount Sidmouth. He went on to hold office in the governments of Grenville and Lord Liverpool.

Ministry

03/17/1801                        05/10/180

Henry Addington        First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer

Lord Eldon        Lord Chancellor

Lord Chatham        Lord President of the Council and Master-General of the Ordnance

Lord Westmorland        Lord Privy Seal

The Duke of Portland         Secretary of State for the Home Department

Lord Hawkesbury          Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

Lord Hobart        Secretary of State for War and the Colonies

Lord St Vincent        First Lord of the Admiralty

Lord Liverpool         President of the Board of Trade

Changes

  • May, 1801 – Lord Lewisham (who becomes Lord Dartmouth in July), the President of the Board of Control, enters the Cabinet
  • July, 1801 – The Duke of Portland succeeds Lord Chatham as Lord President (Chatham remains Master of the Ordnance). Lord Pelham succeeds Portland as Home Secretary.
  • July, 1802 – Lord Castlereagh succeeds Lord Dartmouth at the Board of Control.
  • August, 1803 – Charles Philip Yorke succeeds Lord Pelham as Home Secretary.

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“In youth, the absence of pleasure is pain, in old age the absence of pain is pleasure.”

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A Gilray cartoon:

A faint Britannia seated on bed with three “doctors,” William Pitt kicking Henry Addington and stepping on Charles James Fox. The figure of death, with Napoleon’s head, strides from behind bed curtains.

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Regency History

Often in my research I keep needing to find who was leading the government and do this through every book. I thought that having the list handy would be good, and then turning it into a research webpage even better. Here is the list. After I post a few more Timeline years and write some more, I will work on the web page with notes about each PM.

The next PM I am doing in William Pitt the Younger and I am hosting a page devoted to him and then all our period PMs at Regency Assembly Press. That page is here.

Prime Ministers of England

William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland 04/02/1783
12/19/1783
Whig
William Pitt the Younger 12/19/1783
03/14/1801
Tory
William Addington 1st Viscount Sidmouth
03/14/1801
05/10/1804
William Pitt the Younger 05/10/1804
01/23/1806
Tory
William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville
02/11/1806
03/31/1807
William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland 03/31/1807
10/04/1809
Tory*
Spencer Perceval
10/04/1809
05/11/1812
Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool
06/08/1812
04/09/1827
George Canning
04/10/1827
08/08/1827
Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich
08/31/1827
01/21/1828
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
01/22/1828
11/16/1830
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey
11/22/1830
07/16/1834
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
07/16/1834
11/14/1834
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
11/14/1834
12/10/1834
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet
12/10/1834
04/18/1835
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
04/18/1835
08/30/1841
Tory* (Tory government, PM a Whig)

William Pitt, The Younger

Born 05/28/1759 Hayes Place, near Hayes Kent

Died 01/23/1806 Putney Heath, London

Major Acts:

India Act 1784-overall control of British Territorial possessions and control of affairs of ‘The Company’

Act of Union 1800-unification of Great Britain and Ireland

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SUMMARY

William Pitt was a British politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He became the youngest Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24. He left office in 1801, but was Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806. He was also the Chancellor of the Exchequer throughout his premiership. He is known as “the Younger” to distinguish him from his father, William Pitt the Elder, who previously served as Prime Minister of Great Britain. In 1766 he gained the style of The Honourable when his father was created the Earl of Chatham. Pitt was the second son, his brother becoming the Earl of Chatham after their father. Pitt’s brother also served in his 2nd Cabinet.

The younger Pitt’s prime ministerial tenure, which came during the reign of George III, was dominated by major events in Europe, including the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Pitt, although often referred to as a Tory, or “new Tory”, called himself an “independent Whig” and was generally opposed to the development of a strict partisan political system.

He is best known for leading Britain in the great wars against France and Napoleon. Pitt was an outstanding administrator who worked for efficiency and reform, bringing in a new generation of outstanding administrators. Regained financial stability for Britain after the American War of Independence. He raised taxes to pay for the great war against France, and cracked down on radicalism. To meet the threat of Irish support for France, he engineered the Acts of Union 1800 and tried (but failed) to get Catholic Emancipation as part of the Union. Pitt created the “new Toryism,” which revived the Tory Party and enabled it to stay in power for the next quarter-century. He defined the role of the Prime Minister as the supervisor and co-ordinator of the various Government departments.

Taking up office at the age of 24 years and 205 days, William Pitt was the youngest ever prime minister, and one of the longest in the role.

YOUTH

The son of Pitt the Elder, the Earl of Chatham, William Pitt was almost born to be prime minister. Immersed in political life from a young age, Pitt the Younger is said to have expressed parliamentary ambitions even at the age of seven. The Honourable William Pitt, second son of William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, was born at Hayes Place in the village of Hayes, Kent. Pitt was from a political family on both sides. His mother, Hester Grenville, was sister to former prime minister George Grenville. Pitt inherited brilliance and dynamism from his father’s line, and a determined, methodical nature from the Grenvilles.

Suffering from occasional poor health as a boy, he was educated at home by the Reverend Edward Wilson. An intelligent child, Pitt quickly became proficient in Latin and Greek. In 1773, aged fourteen, he attended Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he studied political philosophy, classics, mathematics, trigonometry, chemistry, and history. At Cambridge, Pitt was tutored by George Pretyman, who became a close personal friend. Pitt later appointed Pretyman Bishop of Lincoln then Winchester and drew upon his advice throughout his political career.

While at Cambridge, he befriended the young William Wilberforce, who became a lifelong friend and political ally in Parliament. Pitt tended to socialize only with fellow students and others already known to him, rarely venturing outside the university grounds. Yet he was described as charming and friendly. According to Wilberforce, Pitt had an exceptional wit along with an endearingly gentle sense of humour: “no man … ever indulged more freely or happily in that playful facetiousness which gratifies all without wounding any.”

In 1776, Pitt, plagued by poor health, took advantage of a little-used privilege available only to the sons of noblemen, and chose to graduate without having to pass examinations at the age of seventeen. Pitt’s father, who had by then been raised to the peerage as Earl of Chatham, died in 1779. As a younger son, Pitt the Younger received a small inheritance. He received legal education at Lincoln’s Inn and was called to the bar in the summer of 1780.

EARLY POLITICAL CAREER

During the general elections of September 1780, Pitt contested the University of Cambridge seat, but lost. Still intent on entering Parliament, Pitt, with the help of his university comrade, Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland, secured the patronage of James Lowther. Lowther effectively controlled the pocket borough of Appleby; a by-election in that constituency sent Pitt to the House of Commons in January 1781. He was then 21. Pitt’s entry into parliament is somewhat ironic as he later railed against the very same pocket and rotten boroughs that had given him his seat.

In Parliament, the youthful Pitt cast aside his tendency to be withdrawn in public, emerging as a noted debater right from his Maiden speech. Pitt originally aligned himself with prominent Whigs such as Charles James Fox. With the Whigs, Pitt denounced the continuation of the American War of Independence, as his father strongly had. Instead he proposed that the Prime Minister, Lord North, make peace with the rebellious American colonies. Pitt also supported parliamentary reform measures, including a proposal that would have checked electoral corruption. He renewed his friendship with William Wilberforce, now MP for Hull, with whom he frequently met in the gallery of the House of Commons.

After Lord North’s ministry collapsed in 1782, the Whig Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham was appointed Prime Minister. Pitt was offered the minor post of Vice-Treasurer of Ireland; but he refused, considering the post too subordinate.

The following year Pitt became Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House under Lord Shelburne. His acceptance was regarded as a betrayal by Fox, who had refused to serve in this government himself. He was 24 when he took on the role, which caused some public concern. A popular ditty commented that it was “a sight to make all nations stand and stare: a kingdom trusted to a schoolboy’s care.”

Lord Rockingham died only three months after coming to power; he was succeeded by another Whig, William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne. Many Whigs who had formed a part of the Rockingham ministry, including Fox, now refused to serve under the new Prime Minister. Pitt, however, was comfortable joining the Shelburne Government; he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Fox, who became Pitt’s lifelong political rival, then joined a coalition with Lord North, with whom he collaborated to bring about the defeat of the Shelburne administration. When Lord Shelburne resigned in 1783, King George III, who despised Fox, offered to appoint Pitt to the office of Prime Minister. But Pitt wisely declined, for he knew he would be incapable of securing the support of the House of Commons. The Fox-North Coalition rose to power in a Government nominally headed by William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland.

Pitt, who had been stripped of his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer, joined the Opposition. He raised the issue of parliamentary reform in order to strain the uneasy Fox-North Coalition, which included both supporters and detractors of reform. He did not advocate an expansion of the electoral franchise, but he did seek to address bribery and rotten boroughs. Though his proposal failed, many reformers in Parliament came to regard him as their leader, instead of Charles James Fox with whom he had become a fierce rival.

The Fox-North Coalition fell in December 1783, after Fox had introduced Edmund Burke’s bill to reform the East India Company to gain the patronage he so greatly lacked while the King refused to support him. Fox stated the bill was necessary to save the company from bankruptcy. Pitt responded that: “Necessity was the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It was the argument of tyrants; it was the creed of slaves.”

The King was opposed to the bill; when it passed in the House of Commons, he secured its defeat in the House of Lords by threatening to regard anyone who voted for it as his enemy. Following the bill’s failure in the Upper House, George III dismissed the coalition government and finally entrusted the premiership to William Pitt, after having offered the position to him three times previously.

A constitutional crisis arose when the king dismissed the Fox-North coalition government and named Pitt to replace it. Faced by a hostile majority in Parliament Pitt in a matter of months solidified his position. Some historians argue that his success was inevitable given the decisive importance of monarchical power; others argue that the king gambled on Pitt and that both would have failed but for a run of good fortune.

Pitt, at the age of 24, became Great Britain’s youngest Prime Minister ever and was ridiculed for his youth. A popular ditty commented that it was “a sight to make all nations stand and stare: a kingdom trusted to a schoolboy’s care”. Many saw it simply as a stop-gap appointment until some more senior statesman took on the role. However, although it was widely predicted that the new “mince-pie administration” would not last out the Christmas season, it survived for seventeen years.

So as to reduce the power of the Opposition, Pitt offered Charles James Fox and his allies posts in the Cabinet; Pitt’s refusal to include Lord North, however, thwarted his efforts. The new Government was immediately on the defensive and in January 1784 was defeated on a motion of no confidence.

Pitt, however, took the unprecedented step of refusing to resign, despite this defeat. He retained the support of the King, who would not entrust the reins of power to the Fox-North Coalition. He also received the support of the House of Lords, which passed supportive motions, and many messages of support from the country at large, in the form of petitions approving of his appointment which influenced some Members to switch their support to Pitt. At the same time, he was granted the Freedom of the City of London.

When he returned from the ceremony to mark this, men of the City pulled Pitt’s coach home themselves, as a sign of respect. When passing a Whig club, the coach came under attack from a group of men who tried to assault Pitt. When news of this spread, it was assumed Fox and his associates had tried to bring down Pitt by any means.

Pitt gained great popularity with the public at large as “Honest Billy” who was seen as a refreshing change from the dishonesty, corruption and lack of principles widely associated with both Fox and North. Despite a series of defeats in the House of Commons, Pitt defiantly remained in office, watching the Coalition’s majority shrink as some Members of Parliament left the Opposition to abstain.

In March 1784, Parliament was dissolved, and a general election ensued. An electoral defeat for the Government was out of the question because Pitt enjoyed the support of King George III. Patronage and bribes paid by the Treasury were normally expected to be enough to secure the Government a comfortable majority in the House of Commons but on this occasion the government reaped much popular support as well. In most popular constituencies, the election was fought between candidates clearly representing either Pitt or Fox and North. Early returns showed a massive swing to Pitt with the result that many Opposition Members who still hadn’t faced election either defected, stood down, or made deals with their opponents to avoid expensive defeats.

A notable exception came in Fox’s own constituency of Westminster which contained one of the largest electorates in the country. In a contest estimated to have cost a quarter of the total spending in the entire country, Fox bitterly fought against two Pittite candidates to secure one of the two seats for the constituency. Great legal wranglings ensued, including the examination of every single vote cast, which dragged on for more than a year. Meanwhile, Fox sat for the pocket borough of Tain Burghs. Many saw the dragging out of the result as being unduly vindictive on the part of Pitt and eventually the examinations were abandoned with Fox declared elected. Elsewhere Pitt won a personal triumph when he was elected a Member for the University of Cambridge, a constituency he had long coveted and which he would continue to represent for the remainder of his life.

IMPACT OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Losing the war and the 13 colonies was a shock to the British system. The war revealed the limitations of Britain’s fiscal-military state when it had powerful enemies, no allies, depended on extended and vulnerable transatlantic lines of communication, and was faced for the first time since the 17th century by both Protestant and Catholic foes.

The defeat heightened dissension and escalated political antagonism to the King’s ministers. Inside parliament, the primary concern changed from fears of an over-mighty monarch to the issues of representation, parliamentary reform, and government retrenchment. Reformers sought to destroy what they saw as widespread institutional corruption. The result was a crisis from 1776-1783. The peace in 1783 left France financially prostrate, while the British economy boomed thanks to the return of American business.

That crisis ended in 1784 thanks to the King’s shrewdness in outwitting Fox and renewed confidence in the system engendered by the leadership of Pitt. Historians conclude that loss of the American colonies enabled Britain to deal with the French Revolution with more unity and organization than would otherwise have been the case.

THE FIRST MINISTRY

Against early predictions, Pitt’s ministry survived for 17 years. In government, he stood for parliamentary reform to reduce the direct influence of the monarch and the capacity for bribery; union with Ireland; Catholic emancipation; reorganization of the East India Company; reduction of the national debt; and free trade.

During his first year he suffered many defeats but was undeterred, and was increasingly fired by criticisms from his rival, Fox. His popularity rose steadily, and he won a very large majority in a well-timed General Election in 1784. During 1784 Pitt set about reducing the national debt and combating smuggling.

His administration secure, Pitt could begin to enact his agenda. His first major piece of legislation as Prime Minister was the India Act 1784, which re-organized the British East India Company and kept a watch over corruption. The India Act created a new Board of Control to oversee the affairs of the East India Company. It differed from Fox’s failed India Bill 1783 and specified that the Board would be appointed by the King.

Pitt was appointed, along with Lord Sydney who was appointed President. The Act centralized British rule in India by reducing the power of the Governors of Bombay and Madras and by increasing that of the Governor-General, Charles Cornwallis. Further augmentations and clarifications of the Governor-General’s authority were made in 1786, presumably by Lord Sydney, and presumably as a result of the Company’s setting up of Penang with their own Superintended (Governor), Captain Francis Light, in 1786.

In domestic politics, Pitt also concerned himself with the cause of parliamentary reform. The session of 1785 was more difficult. Pitt launched a Reform Bill, which would rationalize dozens of “rotten borough” constituencies. This key bill was rejected, as was a Union with Ireland Bill. In 1785, he introduced a bill to remove the representation of thirty-six rotten boroughs, and to extend in a small way, the electoral franchise to more individuals. Pitt’s support for the bill, however, was not strong enough to prevent its defeat in the House of Commons. The bill introduced in 1785 was Pitt’s last parliamentary reform proposal introduced in Parliament.

Another important domestic issue with which Pitt had to concern himself was the national debt, which had increased dramatically due to the rebellion of the American colonies. Pitt sought to eliminate the national debt by imposing new taxes. Pitt also introduced measures to reduce smuggling and fraud. In 1786, he instituted a sinking fund to reduce the national debt. Each year, £1,000,000 of the surplus revenue raised by new taxes was to be added to the fund so that it could accumulate interest; eventually, the money in the fund was to be used to pay off the national debt. The system was extended in 1792 so as to take into account any new loans taken by the government.

Pitt sought European alliances to restrict French influence, forming the Triple Alliance with Prussia and the United Provinces in 1788. During the Nootka Sound Controversy in 1790, Pitt took advantage of the alliance to force Spain to give up its claim to exclusive control over the western coast of North and South America. The Alliance, however, failed to produce any other important benefits for Great Britain.

In 1788, Pitt faced a major crisis when the King fell victim to a mysterious illness, a form of mental disorder that incapacitated him. (The Madness) If the sovereign was incapable of fulfilling his constitutional duties, Parliament would need to appoint a regent to rule in his place. All factions agreed the only viable candidate was the king’s eldest son, HRH The Prince George, Prince of Wales. The Prince, however, was a supporter of Charles James Fox; had he come to power, he would almost surely have dismissed Pitt. However, he did not have such an opportunity, as Parliament spent months debating legal technicalities relating to the Regency. Fortunately for Pitt, the king recovered in February 1789, just after a Regency Bill had been introduced and passed in the House of Commons.

The general elections of 1790 resulted in a majority for the government, and Pitt continued as Prime Minister. In 1791, he proceeded to address one of the problems facing the growing British Empire: the future of British Canada. By the Constitutional Act of 1791, the province of Quebec was divided into two separate provinces: the predominantly French Lower Canada and the predominantly English Upper Canada. In August 1792, George III appointed Pitt to the honorary post of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. The King had in 1791 offered him a Knighthood of the Garter, but he suggested the honour go to his elder brother, the second Earl of Chatham.

In the early 1790s the development of the revolution in France caused Pitt to worry about its effects in Britain. He reacted by expelling the French ambassador, and was blamed by Fox for the war with France that began in 1793.

The French Revolution encouraged many in Great Britain to once again speak of parliamentary reform, an issue which had not been at the political forefront since Pitt’s reform bill was defeated in 1785. The reformers, however, were quickly labelled as radicals and as associates of the French revolutionaries. Subsequently, in 1794 Pitt’s administration tried three of them for treason but lost. Parliament began to enact repressive legislation in order to silence the reformers. Individuals who published seditious material were punished, and, in 1794, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus was suspended. Other repressive measures included the Seditious Meetings Act (which restricted the right of individuals to assemble publicly) and the Combination Acts (which restricted the formation of societies or organisations that favoured political reforms). Problems manning the Royal Navy also led to Pitt to introduce the Quota System in 1795 addition to the existing system of Impressment.

The war with France was extremely expensive, straining Great Britain’s finances. Unlike the latter stages of the Napoleonic Wars, at this point Britain had only a very small standing army, and thus contributed to the war effort mainly by sea power and by supplying funds to other coalition members facing France. In 1797, Pitt was forced to protect the kingdom’s gold reserves by preventing individuals from exchanging banknotes for gold. Great Britain would continue to use paper money for over two decades. Pitt was also forced to introduce Great Britain’s first ever income tax. The new tax helped offset losses in indirect tax revenue, which had been caused by a decline in trade. Despite the efforts of Pitt and the British allies, the French continued to defeat the members of the First Coalition, which collapsed in 1798. A Second Coalition, consisting of Great Britain, Austria, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire, was formed, but it, too, failed to overcome the French. The fall of the Second Coalition with the defeat of the Austrians at Marengo (14 June 1800) left Great Britain facing France alone.

The French Revolution revived religious and political problems in Ireland, a realm under the rule of the King of Great Britain. In 1798, Irish nationalists even attempted a rebellion, believing that the French would help them overthrow the monarchy. Pitt firmly believed that the only solution to the problem was a union of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the defeat of the rebellion which was assisted by France, he advanced this policy. The union was established by the Act of Union 1800; compensation and patronage ensured the support of the Irish Parliament. Great Britain and Ireland were formally united into a single realm, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, on 1 January 1801.

Pitt sought to inaugurate the new kingdom by granting concessions to Roman Catholics, who formed a majority in Ireland, by abolishing various political restrictions under which they suffered. George III, however, did not share the same view. The King was strongly opposed to Catholic Emancipation; he argued that to grant additional liberty would violate his coronation oath, in which he had promised to protect the established Church of England. Pitt, unable to change the King’s strong views, resigned on 16 February 1801, so as to allow Henry Addington, his political friend, to form a new administration. At about the same time, however, the King suffered a renewed bout of madness; thus, Addington could not receive his formal appointment. Though he had resigned, Pitt temporarily continued to discharge his duties; on 18 February 1801, he brought forward the annual budget. Power was transferred from Pitt to Addington on 14 March, when the King recovered.

Pitt supported the new administration, but with little enthusiasm; he frequently absented himself from Parliament, preferring to remain in his Lord Warden’s residence of Walmer Castle – before 1802 usually spending an annual late-summer holiday there, and later often present from the spring until the autumn.

From the castle, he helped organize a local volunteer force in anticipation of a French invasion, acted as colonel of a battalion raised by Trinity House – he was also a Master of Trinity House – and encouraged the construction of Martello towers and the Royal Military Canal in Romney Marsh. He rented land abutting the Castle to farm, and on which to lay out trees and walks. His niece Lady Hester Stanhope designed and managed the gardens and acted as his hostess.

After France had forced peace and recognition of the French Republic from the Russian Empire in 1799 and from the Holy Roman Emperor (Austria) in 1801, the Treaty of Amiens between France and Britain marked the end of the French Revolutionary Wars. By 1803, however, war had broken out again between Britain and the new First French Empire under Napoleon. Although Addington had previously invited him to join the Cabinet, Pitt preferred to join the Opposition, becoming increasingly critical of the government’s policies. Addington, unable to face the combined opposition of Pitt and Fox, saw his majority gradually evaporate. By the end of April 1804, Addington, who had lost his parliamentary support, had decided to resign.

Three years after leaving office, King George III asked Pitt to form a second government when Napoleon was threatening invasion. Pitt accepted, despite his failing health, possible alcoholism and limited support in the House of Commons.

SECOND MINISTRY

Pitt returned to the premiership on 10 May 1804. He had originally planned to form a broad coalition government, but faced the opposition of George III to the inclusion of Fox. Moreover, many of Pitt’s former supporters, including the allies of Addington, joined the Opposition. Thus, Pitt’s Second Ministry was considerably weaker than his first.

The British Government began placing pressure on the French Emperor, Napoleon I. Thanks to Pitt’s efforts, Britain joined the Third Coalition, an alliance that also involved Austria, Russia, and Sweden. In October 1805, the British Admiral, Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, won a crushing victory in the Battle of Trafalgar, ensuring British naval supremacy for the remainder of the war.

At the annual Lord Mayor’s Banquet toasting him as “the Saviour of Europe”, Pitt responded that, “I return you many thanks for the honour you have done me; but Europe is not to be saved by any single man. England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example.”

Nevertheless, the Coalition collapsed, having suffered significant defeats at the Battle of Ulm (October 1805) and the Battle of Austerlitz (December 1805). After hearing the news of Austerlitz Pitt referred to a map of Europe, “Roll up that map; it will not be wanted these ten years.”

DEATH

The setbacks took a toll on Pitt’s health. He had long suffered from poor health, beginning in childhood, and was plagued with gout and “biliousness” worsened by a fondness for port that began when he was advised to drink the wine to deal with his chronic ill-health. On 23 January 1806, Pitt died, probably from peptic ulceration of his stomach or duodenum; he was unmarried and left no children. He died at the age of 46. His last words were ‘Oh my country! How I love my country!’

Pitt’s debts amounted to £40,000 when he died, but Parliament agreed to pay them on his behalf. A motion was made to honour him with a public funeral and a monument; it passed despite the opposition of Fox. Pitt’s body was buried in Westminster Abbey on 22 February, having lain in state for two days in the Palace of Westminster. Pitt was succeeded as Prime Minister by William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville, who headed the Ministry of All the Talents, a coalition which included Charles James Fox.

William Pitt the Younger was a powerful Prime Minister who consolidated the powers of his office. Though he was sometimes opposed by members of his Cabinet, he helped define the role of the Prime Minister as the supervisor and co-ordinator of the various Government departments. He was not, however, the supreme political influence in the nation, for the King remained the dominant force in Government. Pitt was Prime Minister not because he enjoyed the support of the electorate or of the House of Commons, but because he retained the favour of the Crown.

One of Pitt’s most important accomplishments was a rehabilitation of the nation’s finances after the American War of Independence. Pitt helped the Government manage the mounting national debt, and made changes to the tax system in order to improve its efficiency.

Some of Pitt’s other domestic plans were not as successful; he failed to secure parliamentary reform, emancipation, or the abolition of the slave trade – although this last did take place with the Slave Trade Act 1807, the year after his death.

First Ministry

12/19/1783                        03/14/1801

Office
Name
Term
First Lord of the Treasury

Chancellor of the Exchequer

William Pitt
1783-1801
Lord Chancellor
The Lord Thurlow
1783-1792
Lord President of the Council
The Earl Gower
1783-1784
Lord Privy Seal
The Duke of Rutland
1783-1784
Foreign Secretary
The Marquess of Carmarthen
1783-1791
Home Secretary
The Lord Sydney
1783-1789
First Lord of the Admiralty
The Viscount of Howe
1783-1788
Master-General of the Ordnance
The Duke of Richmond
1784-1795

Changes

  • March, 1784 – The Duke of Rutland becomes Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, remaining also Lord Privy Seal.
  • December, 1784 – Lord Gower (Lord Stafford from 1786) succeeds the Duke of Rutland as Lord Privy Seal (Rutland remains Viceroy of Ireland). Lord Camden succeeds Gower as Lord President.
  • November, 1787 – Lord Buckingham succeeds the Duke of Rutland as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland
  • July, 1788 – Lord Chatham, Pitt’s elder brother, succeeds Lord Howe as First Lord of the Admiralty
  • June, 1789 – William Wyndham Grenville (Lord Grenville from 1790), succeeds Lord Sydney as Home Secretary.
  • October, 1789 – Lord Westmorland succeeds Lord Buckingham as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland
  • June, 1791 – Lord Grenville succeeds the Duke of Leeds (Lord Carmarthen before 1789) as Foreign Secretary. Henry Dundas succeeds Grenville as Home Secretary. Lord Hawkesbury (from 1796 the Earl of Liverpool), the President of the Board of Trade, joins the Cabinet.
  • June, 1792 – Lord Thurlow resigns as Lord Chancellor. The Great Seal goes into commission.
  • January, 1793 – Lord Loughborough becomes Lord Chancellor
  • July, 1794 – Lord Fitzwilliam succeeds Lord Camden as Lord President. Henry Dundas takes the new Secretaryship of State for War, while the Duke of Portland succeeds Dundas as Home Secretary. Lord Spencer succeeds Stafford as Lord Privy Seal. William Windham enters the Cabinet as Secretary at War.
  • December, 1794 – Lord Chatham succeeds Spencer as Lord Privy Seal. Lord Spencer succeeds Chatham as First Lord of the Admiralty. Lord Fitzwilliam succeeds Lord Westmorland as Viceroy of Ireland. Lord Mansfield succeeds Fitzwilliam as Lord President.
  • February, 1795 – Lord Cornwallis succeeds the Duke of Richmond as Master-General of the Ordnance.
  • March, 1795 – Lord Camden succeeds Lord Fitzwilliam as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.
  • September, 1796 – Lord Chatham succeeds Lord Mansfield as Lord President, remaining also Lord Privy Seal.
  • February, 1798 – Lord Westmorland succeeds Lord Chatham as Lord Privy Seal. Chatham remains Lord President.
  • June, 1798 – Lord Cornwallis succeeds Lord Camden as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, remaining also Master-General of the Ordnance.
  • February, 1801 – Lord Grenville, Lord Spencer, and William Windham resign from the Cabinet. The first two are succeeded by Lord Hawkesbury and Lord St Vincent, while Windham’s successor is not in cabinet.

Second Ministry

05/10/1804                        01/23/1806

Name
Office
Term
First Lord of the Treasury

Chancellor of the Exchequer

William Pitt
1804-1806
Lord Chancellor
The Lord Eldon
1804-1806
Lord President of the Council
The Duke of Portland
1804–1805
Lord Privy Sea
The Earl of Westmorland
1804-1806
Foreign Secretary
The Lord Harrowby
1804–1805
Home Secretary
The Lord Hawkesbury
1804-1806
War and Colonial Secretary
The Earl Camden
1804–1805
First Lord of the Admiralty
The Viscount Melville
1804–1805
Master-General of the Ordnance
The Earl of Chatham
1804-1806
President of the Board of Trade
The Duke of Montrose
1804-1806
President of the Board of Control
Viscount Castlereagh
1804-1806
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
The Lord Mulgrave
1804–1805

Changes

  • January, 1805 – Lord Mulgrave succeeds Lord Harrowby as Foreign Secretary. Lord Buckinghamshire (previously Lord Hobart) succeeds Mulgrave at the Duchy of Lancaster. Lord Sidmouth succeeds the Duke of Portland as Lord President. Portland becomes a Minister without Portfolio.
  • April, 1805 – Lord Barham succeeds Lord Melville as First Lord of the Admiralty
  • July, 1805 – Lord Harrowby succeeds Lord Buckinghamshire as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Lord Camden succeeds Lord Sidmouth as Lord President. Lord Castlereagh succeeds Camden as Colonial Secretary, remaining also at the Board of Control.

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“On every principle by which men of justice and honour are actuated, it is the foulest and most atrocious deed which the history of the world has yet had occasion to attest.

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“Oh, my country! How I leave my country.”

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“My country! Oh, my country!”

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“Roll up that map: it will not be wanted these ten years.”

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“I think I could eat one of Bellamy’s veal pies.”

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“…the foulest and most atrocious deed.”

The Writing LIfe

My new writing project is another regency, tentatively titled The Heir. I am now over 180 pages into it. The heroine of course can not stand the hero, who is trying to understand why she dislikes him so. Part of the action takes place in St. James Square, where I have located our Heroine’s home. That was written about, in a blog post from fellow writer Angelyn Schmid on her post about Let’s do Business in Bed.

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I enclose a few more paragraphs from the first draft.

Chapter 2

Sebastian woke with a start, again. It was one of those nights. Where he remembered the battle. He had been a fool. And now James was with Wellesley fighting somewhere in Spain. A Major and would be a Colonel if the Earl would see to it to pay for the promotion. Or if Hank would give of some of the prize money he had been earning as Captain of the Northumberland Frigate.

Sebastian’s cousin the Earl had used some influence with friends of his who were Lords of the Admiralty to see to it that Hank, who was named for their cousin the peer, got a ship that allowed for him to gain riches. The command of a Frigate in the Mediterranean allowed for that. The chance to capture shipping from those who supported the tyrant had proven somewhat lucrative for Sebastian’s brother.

But that his brothers were doing well as officers of the King, such was not a course for Sebastian. He had finished his reading literature at Oxford. Not that he expected to do anything with it. His cousin had made it plain that as long as he was heir to the title and fortunes of Bath, then Sebastian had little he could do with his life.

It was some years previous but Sebastian did remember the interview. “Well look at you. Just down from Oxford and ready to make something of yourself I should say.” They had met in a chamber at the House of Lords, other members were about the room reading, drinking, napping. It was like a gentlemen’s club except below them in a great hall, men would stand and speak in support of some law or notion that the government of England was involved in.

“Yes cousin Henry, now that I have finished I should like to find some occupation for you are in fairly grand health. Your new Countess will be bounden to give you many healthy sons and you have little need for me haring about.”

“Well my boy, the Countess and I of course hope to be blessed with a young boy soon, but until then, the line is to you. And as I have exerted myself to help your younger brothers, placing them in the way of harm, I should not like that you follow that path. If all three of you were to perish in this infernal war, then I am afraid your father would think I had done so intentionally.”

Since Sebastian’s father had been dead more than ten years, and at sea before that, he was not sure that the Earl had talked to him about any such thing ever. They had not been fond of each other, for Sebastian’s branch was far removed from owning property, but had to ply any of the king’s trades to find a living. Trades that often suffered fatalities. “I am sure that father would have thanked you greatly for the help you gave my brother Henry, your influence, and James, the purchase of his commission has made him. Three years in India and now on the Peninsula, he is a good leader.”

Sometimes a rascal, but the boy was a fine cavalry officer. Boy, he was a boy who had become a man serving as an ensign in India, and then buying a captaincy in the Light Dragoons. It being the end of the season, Sebastian had begun to think of traveling to Spain and visit his brother on campaign. Several other gentlemen that Sebastian knew were planning to do so, and the French did seem to be on the run.

“Well, the spares for the military. My own brother served too, though he is gone.” Henry had a brother named Sebastian who had perished in the wars with the colonies. Almost thirty years ago. That was when Sebastian’s father became the Earl’s heir. And since the Earl had never had a son, and Sebastian’s father had died at sea, Sebastian was now heir to the title.

“Yes of course my lord, but I can not live my life just as a canker on London. I know of several men of my station who produce nothing and live as leeches upon society.”

The Earl laughed loud which drew some attention from the other members gathered in the room. He apologized and waved then turned his attention back to Sebastian, “Bass, that was well said and I know your character despite you coloring yourself with that brush. You may have spent a little beyond your allowance while at school, but then the allowance I sent you was not large at all. And our banker assures me that he was as surprised as I how little you did abuse it. Therefore, I am happy to pay for your carefree years here in Town. Once you have the title, then you will have a lot less freedoms then now. And should I be blessed to have a son, I shall not forget how you stood and waited in the wings as it were. Your allowance shall continue. It is four times what I allowed you at school and should be quite adequate for any gentlemen.”

Two thousand a year was rich. “My lord, that is is far too much.”

“Nonsense Bass. If you were my son and not just my heir, I would do no less. And I hope I would not be so selfish to say I would do any more, but then I most likely would and do not think you would fault me for it.”

“No my lord, of course not. I should be overjoyed were you to have a son. And were that the case, I could not take such an allowance from you. I should make my way then.”

The Earl laughed, but much more quietly, “On having read literature? What career can one make of that? Would you be a Don yourself?” Suggesting that Sebastian return to a life of academia was a possibility, but Sebastian knew that his specialty did not leave room for earning much of a living. He thought, and had written, some pastiches for those in the theatre. Under the pseudonym he had chosen, there had been even some success. With diligence at the craft, if he could turn his hand at more than a hundred a year, he could keep himself fed and clothed, even housed. But then, he wasn’t going to turn his nose up at the riches that two thousand a year would purchase.

He could buy some land with that allowance. It would serve in the event that his cousin was fortunate and produced a son that would take Sebastian’s place.

Sebastian knew that he should have found some means to earn some sort of living. His father had left some little money and there was some inheritance from previous generations of this branch of the Lennox family. There might have been two thousand all told in property, yet Sebastian was looked to provide for his sisters, two of them, and the two thousand would quickly go were they to make any good marriage. Now, they were fortunate that Hank had done well. Hank who had begun to amass some monies that could help in the support of their sisters. If he did so, then Sebastian, were he left without a sinecure from his cousin, could ask for support from his youngest brother.

“I thank you for this allowance. I shall do my best to be a credit to the Lennox name.”

“Of that I am assured. I know that you young men have much to achieve. All young man would like to achieve something and make there names. But as I became the heir and as you are now the heir to the County, then you must act accordingly. There are thousands of families that rely on you, at the top of a pyramid, as it were to be there to guide them. To not bankrupt the fortunes of the family when they are yours to shepherd. It is why you are given an allowance to live in. Think of it as the income that the estates will one day have you gather and spend. The household that you set up a reflection for when the lands are yours to oversee.”

“I comprehend the analogy that you are making, my lord. I shall not disappoint.”

What Sebastian had not mentioned then was his desire to not be thought a coward and to journey to the Peninsula and see how his brother fared. That he would see the enemy, who was on the retreat, and that he would know a little danger by doing so. Sebastian would test his mettle and know that he was not cowardly in anyway that great money could see to his safety.

The Earl, if he had known that was Sebastian’s intentions would have forbid. As it was, when Sebastian and James returned from the victory of Corunna, they each were talked to by the Earl at his London residence. James, congratulated for his heroism, and mentioned in despatches. A significant honor. The Earl did not say confirm any accolades on Sebastian then.

“It was just a few months ago we were talking of your allowance and how you would spend your salad days here in Town. Instead you risk life and limb to have an adventure. Sir, that is unacceptable. You have jeopardized our line, and that we can not have. Did I not note to you in August that your brothers were in danger and I should not like to find who is in line to inherit beyond them. I am sure you are aware we have a cousin named Charles who is the most likely connection and he has had problems of mind that would make the passing of the title, problematic.”

Cousin Charles was old and had trouble remembering a persons name from one hour to the next. Sebastian had to silently agree that cousin Charles would not do the line much credit. Though should Charles be the next to inherit after his own brothers, Sebastian would little care about what was occurring at the time for he would be dead. “My lord, after seeing such horrors I assure you that I do not wish to see such again. I am well finished with my desire to attend the war. I am surprised that more men do not think the same.”

The Earl had smiled then, “That is something I have often wondered myself. Not that I think we should turn the other cheek at all times, for our enemies sometimes find that they only way they can hear reason is if a cannonball has crashed into their homes. But Bass, do you not see that our entire line is on a precipice. Still, Lady Elizabeth has not shown signs of becoming with child. I should hope that you will see that your duty is here in Town and that you should spend time seeking a bride. She not even need be rich, for your allowance would increase were you to wed. Bass, marry and have many boys. So that they can grow up to have boys. We used to have many more. Now, we have quite few that I would acknowledge in the family.”

Sebastian took a deep breath, “I can only assure you that I am done with tempting fate in such a way. I shall look to Almacks as you suggest and tempt fate in that way now. Instead of battlefields I shall wage war on the ballroom floor.”

“That’s a good boy, Bass. I much prefer that none of you get hurt, but I do not see the Tyrant being finished with us any time soon.”

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Regency History

Often in my research I keep needing to find who was leading the government and do this through every book. I thought that having the list handy would be good, and then turning it into a research webpage even better. Here is the list. After I post a few more Timeline years and write some more, I will work on the web page with notes about each PM.

The First PM I am doing in William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck and I am hosting a page devoted to him and then all our period PMs at Regency Assembly Press. That page is here.

Prime Ministers of England

William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland 04/02/1783
12/19/1783
Whig
William Pitt the Younger
12/19/1783
03/14/1801
William Addington 1st Viscount Sidmouth
03/14/1801
05/10/1804
William Pitt the Younger
05/10/1804
01/23/1806
William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville
02/11/1806
03/31/1807
William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland 03/31/1807
10/04/1809
Tory*
Spencer Perceval
10/04/1809
05/11/1812
Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool
06/08/1812
04/09/1827
George Canning
04/10/1827
08/08/1827
Frederick John Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich
08/31/1827
01/21/1828
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
01/22/1828
11/16/1830
Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey
11/22/1830
07/16/1834
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
07/16/1834
11/14/1834
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
11/14/1834
12/10/1834
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet
12/10/1834
04/18/1835
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
04/18/1835
08/30/1841
Tory* (Tory government, PM a Whig)

William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland

Born 04/14/1738

Died 10/30/1809 Bulstrode, Buckinghamshire

Major Acts:

Treaty of Paris 1783-End of the American War of Independence

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A tall, dignified and handsome man, Portland was prime minister for two short periods separated by over 20 years, but was not especially successful in either. The Duke of Portland entered Parliament via the House of Lords, by virtue of his title, in 1761. Chancellor of the University of Oxford. In 1783, he was appointed Prime Minister of the Whig administration by King George III and again from 1807 to 1809. The 24 years between his two terms as Prime Minister is the longest gap between terms of office of any Prime Minister. He was known before 1762 by the courtesy title Marquess of Titchfield. He held a title of every degree of British nobility—Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, and Baron.

Lord Titchfield was the eldest son of William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland and Margaret Cavendish-Harley and inherited many lands from his mother and his maternal grandmother. He was educated at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford, and was elected to sit in the Parliament for Weobley in 1761 before entering the Lords when he succeeded his father as Duke of Portland the next year. Associated with the aristocratic Whig party of Lord Rockingham, Portland served as Lord Chamberlain of the Household in Rockingham’s first Government (1765–1766) and then as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in Rockingham’s second ministry (April–August 1782); he resigned from Lord Shelburne’s ministry along with other supporters of Charles James Fox following Rockingham’s death.

The Duke of Portland’s first government was concerned with the power of the East India Company.

In April 1783, Portland was brought forward as titular head of a coalition government as Prime Minister, whose real leaders were Charles James Fox and Lord North. He served as First Lord of the Treasury in this ministry until its fall in December of the same year. During his tenure the Treaty of Paris was signed formally ending the American Revolutionary War. In 1783 Charles Fox attempted to persuade Parliament to pass a bill that would replace the company’s directors with a board of commissioners. George III made it known to the House of Lords that he would consider anyone voting with the Bill an enemy. As a result of this interference, Portland’s government resigned.

In 1789, Portland became one of several vice presidents of London’s Foundling Hospital. This charity had become one of the most fashionable of the time, with several notables serving on its board. At its creation, fifty years earlier, Portland’s father, William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland, had been one of the founding governors, listed on the charity’s royal charter granted by George II. The hospital’s mission was to care for the abandoned children in London; and it achieved rapid fame through its poignant mission, its art collection donated from supporting artists, and popular benefit concerts put on by George Frideric Handel. In 1793, Portland took over the presidency of the charity from Lord North.

Portland served in the governments of other Whig leaders until his second government, over 20 years later. Along with many such conservative Whigs as Edmund Burke, Portland was deeply uncomfortable with the French Revolution and broke with Fox over this issue, joining Pitt’s government as Home Secretary in 1794. He continued to serve in the cabinet until Pitt’s death in 1806—from 1801 to 1805 as Lord President of the Council and then as a Minister without Portfolio.

In 1807 Portland became PM, insisting that he was still a Whig, despite heading a Tory government. In March 1807, after the collapse of the Ministry of all the Talents, Pitt’s supporters returned to power; and Portland was, once again, an acceptable figurehead for a fractious group of ministers that included George Canning, Lord Castlereagh, Lord Hawkesbury, and Spencer Perceval.

Portland’s second government saw the United Kingdom’s complete isolation on the continent but also the beginning of recovery, with the start of the Peninsular War. In late 1809, with Portland’s health poor and the ministry rocked by the scandalous duel between Canning and Castlereagh, Portland resigned, dying shortly thereafter.

By now too old and ill to run the government, he mostly left his Cabinet to do what they wanted. The period was marked by rivalry between two powerful ministers, Castlereagh and Canning, culminating in a duel between the two in 1809 over the running of the Peninsular War.

Portland resigned in 1809, just weeks before his death.

First Ministry

04/02/1783                        12/19/1783

The Duke of Portland — First Lord of the Treasury

Lord Stormont — Lord President of the Council

Lord Carlisle — Lord Privy Seal

Lord North — Secretary of State for the Home Department

Charles James Fox — Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

Lord Keppel — First Lord of the Admiralty

Lord John Cavendish — Chancellor of the Exchequer

Lord Townshend — Master-General of the Ordnance

Lord Northington — Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland

The Great Seal is in Commission

Second Ministry

03/31/1807                        10/04/1809

The Duke of Portland — First Lord of the Treasury

Lord Eldon — Lord Chancellor

Lord Camden — Lord President of the Council

Lord Westmorland — Lord Privy Seal

Lord Hawkesbury, after 1808, Lord Liverpool – Secretary of State for the Home Department

George Canning — Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

Lord Castlereagh — Secretary of State for War and the Colonies

Lord Mulgrave — First Lord of the Admiralty

Spencer Perceval — Chancellor of the Exchequer and of the Duchy of Lancaster

Lord Chatham — Master-General of the Ordnance

Lord Bathurst — President of the Board of Trade

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“My fears are not that the attempt to perform this duty will shorten my life, but that I shall neither bodily nor mentally perform it as I should.”

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His wife Dorothy Cavendish, daughter of the 4th Duke of Devonshire. They had six children, 4 boys and 2 girls. The duke and duchess are the the 3x great grandparents of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Writing LIfe

My new writing project is another regency, tentatively titled The Heir. I am now over 180 pages into it. The heroine of course can not stand the hero, who is trying to understand why she dislikes him so. Part of the action takes place in St. James Square, where I have located our Heroine’s home. That was written about, in a blog post from fellow writer Angelyn Schmid on her post about Let’s do Business in Bed.

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I enclose a few more paragraphs from the first draft first chapter.

Chapter 1 continued

Annabella suspected that Lady Elizabeth had been surprised that she had received an offer from the Earl. Annabella thought in all the stories she had read as a child, that was what would happen. Lady Elizabeth had read those stories to her in the schoolroom, and Annabella had first truly thought that her father and Lady Elizabeth were happy. Now, she was beginning to see that they were not happy like the people in her stories. Annabella wondered if anyone was ever as happy as the people in her stories.

“You must realize how scared she is not. For we are going to be in Town for more than six months and there will be many people who she does not know how to address well, in our house at St. James Square all treating her as the head of our social circle yet she will want to stay to her room and then…” Annabella stopped.

“Then you will again have to take over as hostess for your father, I know my lady. I am sorry. I should accompany you and be of aide, but your father has made it clear that in Town, your stepmother must be in charge. I must stay here. I will prepare the house for your return. It will be a tribute and your father will see that it supports all of his endeavors.”

“Then I thank you. I am sure that you shall see that the rest of the day’s packing goes smoothly and that her ladyship is not troubled should she ask for a thing. That you will see it done promptly knowing the burden that is shortly to be thrust upon her.” Annabella implied that the few requests that Lady Elizabeth made, and they were always just a few, were seen to, and not ignored or an issued made of it. Mrs. Drake nodded.

“You leave it all to me Lady Anna. I’ll see it gets done.”

“Thank you so much.” Mrs. Drake left and Annabella finished her coffee. She savored the quiet in the room, though there was still pandaemonium just outside the closed doors. When she stood, and entered the hall, and became a part of it, she would find that she would not be given the opportunity to catch her breath. The servants, when they saw her, she knew, would stop and ask her questions. The answer would invariably be “Please ask Mrs. Drake.” Or “That must be addressed to Lady Elizabeth.” She knew from experience that were she to make a decision, it would be followed.

Yet even were it the same decision that either Lady Elizabeth or Mrs. Drake would have made on moving day, and from her participation in previous moving days, Annabella knew that her thoughts would have served as theirs, the two ladies would be upset in no small way, that she would have taken it unto herself to have made known her thoughts.

Such was not done in the Earl’s household. Well it was done, Annabella reflected with great regularity. But when it was done, those two great forces that thought the control of the house was their prerogative took it upon themselves to feel as if some great conspiracy had been begun to rob of their very dignity.

Yet she loved each lady in ways the same and separate from the other. Each was a part of who she had grown to become. Annabella knew that she was emerging as a woman that was to be sought after, and not by the dregs of society that wanted to love her for her fortune, or the fortune the expected her to breed much as her father bred horses. Annabella knew that she had much more to give to a husband than a son which would enable him to be rich and powerful amongst the richest men of the world.

Annabella knew that the year of 1812 was sure to bring much change, and was also sure that England would show the world her colors. Not just Annabella showing London society her nature, but that the English were destined to make their mark, and this was the year it would happen.

Her father, she was sure, would be asked by Prime Minister Perceval to be a member of his cabinet. The Prince Regent had shown that he backed the Tories once he had become the Regent. He was much more liberal with his views before he actually came to power. The Whigs and Charles James Fox had thought the Prince Regent their fast friend. And her father had despaired that such was the truth of the matter. Coming into power, Prinny certainly saw that he benefited with friends who wanted a monarch.

And the eighth Earl of Bath was a supporter of the Tories all his life. He even ensured that the man who represented his pocket borough also held the same believes. Of course as a pocket borough, it was the Earl’s vote and only his vote that saw to the member going up to London and sitting in the Commons. Annabella was sure that the Whigs thought very ill of that.

The way outside was evident in the window that she sat looking out of. Annabella could open the window and step through to the outside of the house. She could escape and then none of the servants would ask her thoughts, opinions or desires. That was certainly enticing. She summoned a servant to take the tray of coffee away, and then stepped through the window and made her escape. The groundsmen, half of them, were inside the house helping with the packing. There was no need for a clipping of a flower, or a shrubbery to be packed and sent to Town. She was safe from any questions, except that some of the men wished her opinions only on what should be carted to town later when the flowers came back and bloomed in Spring.

Then, Combe Edinsley sent bunches of flowers twice a week to London to adorn the house in St. James Square. The efforts of the gardeners and groundsmen was greatly appreciated then. Three times during the season, in no specific date, she wrote to the estate that Mr. Tavish, who had the management of all the grounds, could have read her letters thanking the men that sent such abundance to London. She knew that it built morale amongst them. Her father had said that her mother had done the same, and Lady Elizabeth did trouble herself to write a letter as well, yet the groundsmen knew to expect it always on the 17th of June, and always a little short and perfunctorily done.

Annabella knew that a long letter written on how bright blue the chrysanthemum was and how when set in a drawing room, which she would describe for the men would never be up to London to see it. Though the carter would and report back how the flowers looked displayed. That meant the world. She had done this as an exercise first while still in the school room. Mr. Tavish had shared that the men had made him keep all of her letters, and that they would sit for a good hour or two, having a beer on the days her new letter would arrive. Then they would ask a favorite passage from one of the older ones be read as well.

Mr. Tavish had told her that nothing made the men love her more than her letters. So whenever a groundsman or gardener stopped to speak with her, it was always with great respect from them. She held that dear. The stablemen though, they thought nothing of her but her father’s spoiled daughter.

“Lady Anna, if you be looking for your father, he be back in the stables there aways.”

“Yes, thank you, Mr. McClure.” The head groom of the estate. And as one of the greatest source of income for Lord Lennox was the money from breeding, Mr. McClure was to be respected at every turn.

There were other sources of money for the Bath fortunes. A lot of land and tenancies, including in the city of Bath which had been part of the original land grant. Then the man of accounts of the Earl protected the fortune with investments in various things. A little here and a little there Mr. Becoomb was fond of saying.

“Father? Are you there?” She wandered into the stables. The groomsmen and lads were all respectful of her, but she knew that they thought her an interloper. That she only wished to have a riding horse, and did not care at all for the racing lines that they were breeding too. Her father also was looking to breed strong hunters as well, though he only went hunting when it was his turn to host the meet.

“Ah, back here Anna. Regal wants to run and we just can’t let him out yet.” Regal was the new favorite. Or the one the Earl was most concerned with that day. He had more than a dozen favorites and could talk for some time on how all of them were doing.

“Good horse,” she reached out and patted the animal. “One day you will race and win and all will admire you as much as your grandsire.”

“Well, if we find a buyer for him. I think Lord Cameron is ready to indulge and that will be a pretty penny.”

“A lot of sterling is what you mean, father.”

He laughed, “Yes Anna, a lot of sterling. Father had some good ideas when he bred from Eclipse and other great horses. We have the best stables in all the country I should wager.”

“Well, you don’t though. You let others purchase our mares and stallions and they race them. Why not us?”

The Earl shook his head. “I should do so locally, but I do not want to rush about and tend to such details as a race here, or there. There is already enough fuss living here or in London. I have little desire to live in the rooms in an Inn while traveling to a race. No, let some other have that fun, which I think is not at all. Besides my friends will travel to our stables here and purchase a champion.”

Hunters and racehorses, two sets of horses for the carriages, and one horse each for herself and the Countess to ride. The Earl did not ride his friends, and Annabella did not have a horse for a chaperone to accompany her. Last season that had been an issue and in London she did have an extra mount for that need. Here at Combe Edinsley, it was not necessary.

“Well, are you ready to return to the house any time soon. Your presence is of course sorely needed.”

He smiled, “Anna you know it is why I am here. Were I to come between my wife and my housekeeper I will only lose. A man never wins in such a match. And even when they both smile at me and pretend they are thanking me for arbitrating between them, they are both angered at me and thinking of some revenge upon me. And, then, if I am not incorrect about the way the wind is blowing, you have already seen to the worst of it, and my presence is not so sorely needed at all.”

She laughed, “That is indeed the way of it. How do you know these things.”

“I think all men do, but it may take some time for them to realize that they do. I should have dismissed Mrs. Drake when I married Elizabeth. But your new mama said that I should do no such thing as they were such good friends from her days when she was just your governess. There is no going back. That is a lesson that is hard to learn. We may long for such a time when we do not have the responsibilities, or positions that we have now, but when we try to return to the friendships that once were strong and now are colored by all that we have done, you learn, that you can only keep those of the past, if they have walked along side you in the present. There is no going back.”

Her father would often say things like that. And the last few years he had risen in the House of Lords to say such things as well. It made him seem very wise. The reason she was sure that he was talked about as a future appointee to the Cabinet.

But he was her father and she could also recognize that much of what the Earl said was also nonsense. A great deal was nonsense. And a lot of what he did was folly as well. Not taking the horses to races to see how they performed, but letting his customers do so, after they had brought the horse could result in tragedy. Some, who expected a better showing with their steeds had asked for their money back. Not in so many words, but hinted at such an action.

That the name Lennox and word swindle were some how linked. That was upsetting and she hoped that her father would respond by taking their racers out and showing everyone that they were winners. Yet still, despite their return to London, he was afraid. Perhaps it meant that Lady Elizabeth and he were very well suited to each other. That the man who had been called gregarious in his youth was not quite a recluse but wished to be, once his first wife died. And now, still, nothing had really changed.

When at home at Combe Edinsley, the Earl never left the property for all the months they lived there, and in Town, he was either at St. James Square, or the House of Lords. Seldom did he go anywhere else. Not even his clubs.

“You must venture into the fray soon, as you always do, and give all your blessing. They expect it and a few kind words about how pleased you are always seems to leave them at peace.”

He laughed, “Yes, come we shall return to the house, for I expect you have laid the groundwork for me. As long as I say how pleased I am and not make any decisions, I look the hero. Should I choose a side, then the war is truly on. Come, a few more hours of their packing and tearing the house apart and it shall be done. I have learned that with patience, much does resolve itself. And usually to ones benefit.”

Annabella hoped that was the case, but she was not as sure as her father.

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