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Gt. Brit. HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS COMMISSION,
The first collection noticed in this volume, belonging to the Earl of Buckinghamshire, consists of the correspondence of Robert Trevor, son of the first Baron Trevor, who was Secretary of Legation at the Hague under Horatio Walpole, from 1734 to September 1739, when he was appointed Envoy Extraordinary there, and who in 1741 was raised to the rank of Minister Plenipotentiary. He resigned in November 1746, and was appointed a Commissioner of the Revenue in Ireland. He was joint Postmaster-General from June 1759 to July 1765, succeeded as Baron Trevor in 1764, was created Viscount Hampden in 1776, and died in 1783. His titles became extinct on the death of his youngest son in 1824.
The collection is arranged in sixty bundles, each containing the correspondence of one month or more, the first letter calendared being dated January 27-February 7, 1735-6, and the last November 22, 1746. A very large proportion, probably three-fourths of the whole, consists of despatches from the Foreign Office to Trevor, or copies of his despatches home, of which the copies and originals respectively are preserved among the Foreign Office papers in the Public Record Oifice. The first fifteen bundles were roughly compared with the Foreign Office books preserved there, and those of which duplicates were found were separated in each bundle from the rest, though even of this residue some may be duplicates. It seemed unnecessary to go through the same process with the remaining bundles, but the papers calendared have generally been placed at the beginning of each. A considerable number of the remainder are more or les 3 formal letters addressed by Trevor to the British representatives at foreign courts, or by them to him. The former class has not been noticed in the Calendar, nor have most of the latter, as they generally go over the same ground as the former class. Some letters, however, of the latter class, which appeared to le of interest, or which were written in a style more familiar than official, have been noticed. The ultimate residue is compara0 77960. Wt. 21255.
tively small, but much of its contents is of considerable interest. Trevor was on intimate terms with many of the leading English statesmen, and corresponded with them with great freedom and openness, so much so that in more than one letter is an injunction to the receiver to destroy it as soon as read.
His most regular correspondent, especially in the earlier part of the period, was Horatio Walpole, Sir Robert's younger brother, who, through that relationship, and from his own experience as a diplomatist and a member of Parliament, had exceptional opportunities of observing what went on behind the scenes, and who was Trevor's intimate friend. Till his brother's resignation in 1742, many of his letters give vivid accounts of the debates and speeches in Parliament, some being actually written from the House during the debates. After that event he attended less regularly.
Among the latter parts of the correspondence are several important letters from Trevor to Henry Pelham and from the latter to Trevor, two from Pelham's brother, the Duke of Newcastle, and several, hitherto unpublished, from Lord Chesterfield, in one of which, written in August 1746, he alludes to his son, and recommends to Trevor Lord Charlemont, the well-known Irish statesman, when he visited the Hague on his tour abroad. There is one letter from William Pitt. Several from Sir Thomas Robinson describe the difficulties which he encountered from the pride and obstinacy of the Court of Vienna.
Three of the earlier letters are from the so-called King Theodore of Corsica. In one, dated January 1736-7, he states that the Queen of Spain, with the concurrence of Genoa, intended to propose to the Corsican chiefs the Pretender's son as
their king. This might be supposed to be an invention to rouse . the apprehensions of England, and gain her support for the writer, were there not allusions to some project of the kind in the letters of the Duke of Ormonde, of 23rd October 1737, and of Kelly, of 11th December 1737, intercepted by the English agent, “Le Connu," which have been published in the Calendar of the Weston Papers, in the first Appendix to the Tenth Report of the IIistorical Manuscripts Commission, pages 504 and 509. That agent himself is mentioned in a letter oi 14th August 1738 but without any clue to his identity. Several other secret agents and correspondents are mentioned passim, among them one La Roche, and two Sicilian abbots, one of whom had died before September 1738. Allusions to such persons have been calendared, on the chance of their illustrating any mention of them in other documents of the time.
There are a few letters from Sir R. Walpole, relating for the most part to the purchase of pictures for his collection. In one he remarks that he is not fond of the Dutch school, but would like a specimen of each of the best painters.
The principal topics of the earlier letters are the affairs of the Prince of Orange, the King's son-in-law, particularly his claims on the States of Zealand relative to the Lordships of Flushing and Terveer, and the investment of the fortune of the Princess, the conflicting claims of the Elector of Hanover and the King of Prussia to East Friesland in case of the failure of the ducal line there, and the pretensions of Prussia and the Sulzbach branch of the Palatine family to the Duchies of Berg and Juliers on the extinction of the branch of Pfalzneuberg. The old King of Prussia and George II.'s personal aversion to him are frequently mentioned. In one letter he is said to be “extremely averse to do anything that squints in “ the least towards favouring the King of Prussia.” Horatio Walpole in another thinks Trevor's hint that the Prince Royal of Prussia, afterwards Frederick the Great, would accept a pension from the King, though a matter of great nicety, deserves serious consideration. It does not appear positively that the suggestion was acted on, though perhaps the 2,0001. in gold ducais sent six months afterwards to Berlin with the utmost precautions for secrecy may have had something to do with it.
The Porteous riots and those in London in 1736 are mentioned, the cause of the latter, according to Walpole, being that the English workmen were driven out of their employment by Irish cheap labour. Walpole writes at length about the proposed reduction of the interest on the National Debt. Several letters, printed by Coxe, refer to the last illness and death of Queen Caroline, and there is one to the Princess of Orange from her sister on the same subject.