LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

In Whig Society 1775-1818
Sir Robert Adair to Lady Melbourne, 2 October 1802

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
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“You will hardly believe that the Duchess of Gordon persecutes me even here. She sent me a message by Gen. Fitzpatrick, the substance of which was that she had received a letter from the D[uke] of Bedford, disavowing everything I had said in his name. The Gen[eral] told her that if she desired it he would certainly deliver her message, but that he was quite sure I had never said anything, purporting to be by the D[uke] of B[edford]’s authority, without having had such authority. Soon after that, I received
a letter from the Duke, telling me the whole circumstance about his writing to her, & the substance of what he wrote, which is exactly the same as he has told everybody from the beginning; and he added to this his great surprise that she should build so much upon his letter, and endeavour to throw so much blame upon me. In consequence of these 2 circumstances, I wrote a letter to the Duchess which I have sent to England for the Duke to forward or not as he likes. I have been very civil but very severe with her, and trust that this disagreeable business will terminate here.

“I asked Fox yesterday about his Election to the Institute. He says he knows nothing more about it than that La Place & some of the great literary men told him it was intended. I have no doubt that it will be so. If any body should abuse Fox for receiving these & other distinctions (I say receiving for he does not in the least covet them) tell him to come & live a short time in Paris, & see with his own eyes the necessity of there being some leading man in the Councils of England to whom France can look up for the preservation of Peace. I promise you that War is half declared with the present incapable Ministers, who are just able to irritate but much too weak to encounter France or gain any point over her. Addington and his little council of youngsters will be receiving continued insults from France, & when they can submit no longer they will go to War about a straw. If Fox were Minister, Buonaparte could not quarrel with him without rendering his views plain to the world, and quarrelling with all the publick opinion of his own country at the same time. And do
not believe that there is no such thing as publick opinion in France. I will not fatigue you with a dissertation upon this matter but say, in one word, that the reason why there is no expression of the publick opinion is simply because there is no avowed Party, acting upon party principles, in France. As yet, no man can trust his neighbour. They must begin with individual confidence—then will follow Combination, next to that comes Party, and with Party all those checks upon the Government which publick opinion produces & which constitutes the real liberty of a State. There are many reasons why publick opinion cannot shew itself in this manner in France, but in a question of Peace or War it would be greatly felt, and yet more perhaps decisively, if it were a question of War with a Government of which Chas. Fox was the head. A war with Addington would be much more easy, and indeed as I said before, is half made already.”