LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

In Whig Society 1775-1818
Charles Grey to Lady Melbourne, [1793 c.]

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
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“Whatever my principles may be you need not be afraid of my discussing them at your house. I know how ill it will be received and shall therefore avoid it however angry I may sometimes be at hearing unqualified abuse of Men whose talents and general principles I must admire, particularly when it comes from those who have neither talents nor principles but are guided in all their actions solely by selfishness. Ld. E[gremont]’s

1 Morpeth, the eldest son of the Earl of Carlisle, who in 1801 married Georgiana, the eldest daughter of Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, had espoused the cause of liberty with ardour.

2 Lord Boringdon, afterwards created 1st Earl of Morley, married into the great Whig family of the Jerseys.

opinions do not alarm me; I think his judgment generally good, but on this subject he has always been a croaker.

“How can you know me so little as to suppose any thing could induce me even to accept, much more to ask a favor of the present adminis[tratio]n. I wrote to Ld. O. to thank him for his offer of the Lieut[enan]cy, but to decline it at the same time, telling him I never would take it. I will never subject myself to the caprice of a K[ing], & I might be turned out for my political opinion as others have been. As to the Militia, I deferr’d giving him a positive answer till I see him. I should not have hesitated about accepting it if I had not been convinced that in every respect it would be disagreeable to me, & I could only be induced to do it from a conviction that in the present situation of affairs everybody ought to stand forward, particularly the young ones & those whose keeping back might be attributed to their want of ardour in the cause. I therefore remain still in doubt urged on the one hand by the wish to what I think I ought & on the other by the wish to avoid what would be in every respect a disagreeable situation.

“You mistake me in supposing I am violent in my political opinions. At some moments I feel great apprehensions as to the effects of any change—my inclinations lead me to the reformers, my aversions strengthen these inclinations. I see too with regret Men whom I always hoped would some day rescue the country from the arbitrary, the oppressive, the aristocratic Administration that now governs it, meanly playing a second part and being the dupes by being the Cats paw of the very set of men their principles
must make them detest (at least politically so). Seeing all this I cannot help wishing a speedy reform that will in some degree satisfy the minds of the people. I know the danger of any reform, but I cannot help looking on a present moderate one as the only means of preventing a very serious one soon. Opposition have lost their consequence. Whilst the people had them to look to they flatter’d themselves the hasty strides of the present admin[istratio]n towards encreasing the influence of the Crown would at least be checked if not stopp’d. They can no longer have that hope, for they see the Chiefs fighting
Pitt’s battles.”