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The Creevey Papers
Thomas Creevey to James Currie, 21 December 1803

Vol. I. Contents
Ch. I: 1793-1804
Ch. II: 1805
Ch. III: 1805
Ch. IV: 1806-08
Ch. V: 1809
Ch. VI: 1810
Ch. VII: 1811
Ch. VIII: 1812
Ch. IX: 1813-14
Ch X: 1814-15
Ch XI: 1815-16
Ch XII: 1817-18
Ch XIII: 1819-20
Vol. II. Contents
Ch I: 1821
Ch. II: 1822
Ch. III: 1823-24
Ch. IV: 1825-26
Ch. V: 1827
Ch. VI: 1827-28
Ch. VII: 1828
Ch. VIII: 1829
Ch. IX: 1830-31
Ch. X: 1832-33
Ch. XI: 1833
Ch. XII: 1834
Ch XIII: 1835-36
Ch XIV: 1837-38
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“London, Dec. 21, 1803.

“. . . My impression of Addington and his colleagues during this short part of the Session, has been pretty much what it has heretofore been. They are, upon my soul, the feeblest—lowest almost—of Men, still more so of Ministers. When there is anything like a general attack upon them, they look as if they felt it all; they blush and look at one another in despair; they make no fight; or, if they offer to defend themselves, no one listens but to laugh at them. When the House is empty and their enemies are scattered, they rally and fall in a body upon Windham, call him all kinds of names, and adopt all kinds of the most unfounded misrepresentations of his sentiments. Upon these occasions they are quite altered men; they talk loud and long, and cheer one another enough to pull the house down. These periodical triumphs look well upon paper, and no doubt must captivate a great portion of the publick; but rely upon it, the bitterest enemy Windham has in the world, who is possessed of any sense and any character, turns with disgust from the sound of these low-lived philippics. Bad—miserable as I have heard Erskine in the House of Commons, never was he so execrable as on the night when you rejoice that he attacked Windham. These creatures of imbecillity have no such thing as a plan; they live by temporary expedients from hand to mouth—by the contrary views and characters of their opponents—by that very feebleness which in itself cannot rouse up personal animosity in nobler minds—by low cunning—by appropriate adoption of humility and impudence. In addition to all this, they have done what the worst men might have done—they have most wickedly and wantonly plunged us into this contemptible war, and the just reputation of their besotted folly throughout the world is a security for our remaining in it, till chance or accident shall relieve us.

“With all their faults, I confess they are well-behaved and civil, as compleatly so as your own
servant can be, and I must believe that, had they no restraint upon them from their Master, the mediocrity of their understandings, their situation in life, their private characters and turns of mind, would not permit them to think of gratifying any ambition or resentment by either desolating the world by war or tyrannically invading the liberties of their country.

“The impression of Pitt was what his enemies most triumphantly delight in; but what they never could have been sanguine enough to expect, his speech was the production of the dirtiest of mankind, and so it was received. His intimates—his nearest neighbours—Canning and Co., sat mute, astounded and evidently thinking themselves disgraced by the shuffling tacticks of their military leader. His lingering after Addington, tho’ at open war with him in print—his caution of touching either Fox or Windham, those proscribed victims of fortune—his senseless vapouring and most untrue and envious criticism upon volunteers, and, above all, his officious and disgusting sentiment as to the recovery of his Majesty’s electoral dominion,* accommodated all his hearers with sufficient reasons for condemnation, and, for once in his life, I have no doubt this prodigy of art and elocution had in his favorite theatre not a single admirer. Canning and Sturges, talking to me afterwards about the excellence of Fox’s speech, said what a pity it was Pitt had not taken the same manly part. I asked why he had not done so, and they shrugged up their shoulders and said a man who had been minister eighteen years was a bad opposition man.

Old Charley was himself, and of course was exquisitely delightful. Unfettered by any hopes or fears—by any systems or connection—he turned his huge understanding loose amongst these skirmishers, and it soon settled, with its usual and beautiful perspicuity, all the points that came within the decision of reasoning, judgment, experience and knowledge of mankind. In addition to the correctness of his views and delineations, he was all fire and simplicity and sweet temper; and the effect of these united perfections upon the House was as visible in his favor as

* The kingdom of Hanover.

their disappointment and disgust had been before at the unworthy performance of
Colonel Pitt.

“It is almost too advanced a state of my letter to take in the Windhams and Co. We all know that he and the Grenvilles have been the merciless bloodhounds of past times, and no friend of Fox can ever forget or forgive the bitter malignity with which Windham pursued and hunted down the great and amiable creature. But as a party, and with such a foil to it as the present administration, they are entitled to greater weight than they have.”