The Age of George III

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The Letters of Junius

Letter XL: To Lord North: 22 August 1770

[161] MY LORD

Mr. LUTTRELL'S services were the chief support and ornament of the Duke of GraftonDuke of Grafton's administration. The honour of rewarding them was reserved for your Lordship. The Duke, it seems, had contracted an obligation he was ashamed to acknowledge, and unable to acquit. You, my Lord, had no scruples. You accepted the succession with all its encumbrances, and have paid Mr. Luttrell his legacy, at the hazard of ruining the estate.

When this accomplished youth declared himself the champion of government, the world was busy, inquiring what honours or emoluments could be a sufficient recompense to a young man of his rank and fortune, for submitting to mark his entrance into life with the universal contempt and detestation of his country. His noble father had not been so precipitate. To vacate his seat in parliament; to intrude upon a country in which he had no interest or connexion; to possess him self of another man's right, and to maintain it in defiance of public shame, as well as justice, bespoke a degree of zeal or of depravity, which all the favour of a pious prince could hardly requite. I protest, my Lord, there is in this young man's conduct a strain of prostitution, which, for its singularity, I cannot but admire. He has discovered a new line in the human character; he has degraded even the name of Luttrell, and gratified his father's most sanguine expectations.

The Duke of Grafton, with every possible disposition to patronize this kind of merit; was contented with pronouncing Colonel Luttrell's panegyric. The gallant spirit, the disinterested zeal of the young adventurer, were echoed through the House of Lords. His Grace repeatedly pledged himself to the house, as an evidence of the purity of his friend Mr. Luttrell's intentions, that he had engaged without any prospect of personal benefit, and that the [162] idea of compensation would mortally offend him.* The noble Duke could hardly be in earnest; but he had lately quitted his employment, and began to think it necessary to take some care of his reputation. At that very moment the Irish negotiation was probably begun. Come forward, thou worthy representative of Lord Bute, and tell this insulted country, who advised the king to appoint Mr. Luttrell adjutant-general to the army in Ireland. By what management was Colonel Cunninghame prevailed on to resign his employment, and the obsequious Gisborne to accept of a pension for the government of Kinsale?† Was it an original stipulation with the Princess of Wales; or does he owe his preferment to your Lordship's partiality, or to the Duke of Bedford's friendship? My Lord, though it may not be possible to trace this measure to its source, we can follow the stream, and warn the country of its approaching destruction. The English nation must be roused, and put upon its guard. Mr. Luttrell has already shown us how far he may be trusted, whenever an open attack is to be made upon the liberties of this country. I do not doubt that there is a deliberate plan formed. Your Lordship best knows by whom. The corruption of the legislative body on this side, a military force on the other, and then farewell to England! It is impossible that any minister shall dare to advise the king to place such a man as Luttrell in the confidential post of adjutant-general, if there were not some secret purpose in view, which only such a man as Luttrell is fit to promote. The insult offered to the army in general is as gross as the

* He now says that his great object is the rank of colonel, and that he will have it.
† This infamous transaction ought to be explained to the public. Colonel Gisborne was quarter-master general in Ireland. Lord Townshend persuaded him to resign to a Scotch officer, one Frazer, and gives him the government of Kinsale. Colonel Cunninghame was adjutant-general in Ireland. Lord Townshend offers him a pension, to induce him to resign to Luttrell. Cunninghame treats the offer with contempt. What is to be done? Poor Gisborne must move once more. He accepts of a pension of £500 a year, until a government of greater value shall become vacant. Colonel Cunninghame is made governor of Kinsale; and Luttrell, at last, for whom the whole machinery is put in motion, becomes adjutant-general, and, in effect, takes the command of the army in Ireland.

[163] outrage intended to the people of England. What! Lieutenant-colonel Luttrell adjutant-general of an army of sixteen thousand men! One would think his majesty's campaigns at Blackheath and Wimbledon might have taught him better. I cannot help wishing General Harvey joy of a colleague who does so much honour to the employment. But, my Lord, this measure is too daring to pass unnoticed, too dangerous to be received with indifference or submission. You shall not have time to new model the Irish army. They will not submit to be garbled by Colonel Luttrell. As a mischief to the English constitution, (for he is not worth the name of enemy) they already detest him. As a boy, impudently thrust over their heads, they will receive him with indignation and contempt. As for you, my Lord, who, perhaps, are no more than the blind, unhappy instrument of Lord Bute and her royal highness the Princess of Wales, be assured, that you shall be called upon to answer for the advice which has been given, and either discover your accomplices, or fall a sacrifice to their security.


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