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The Creevey Papers
Samuel Whitbread to Thomas Creevey, 20 December 1808

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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“Southill, 20 Dec, 1808.
“My dear Creevey,

“To the usual occupations of hanging Mad Dogs, swearing Bastards, convicting Poachers, and such like country performances, has been added the amusement of Hunting, which I have resumed to the great benefit of my health, and the complete fugitation hope, of all critical Deposits in consequence of high

* Referring to the Indian appointments held respectively by the Marquess Wellesley and his brother Sir Arthur, and to the first Peninsular expedition of the latter.

General Sir John Moore.

living. Besides, we have had a House pretty full of Company, amongst which have been the
Lady Grey and Lady Hannah; so you will perceive with half an eye that, however acceptable your letter, as it really and truly was, you had but little chance of receiving any answer, till the frost came and locked up my Playthings. Now I can find a moment to thank you for it, and to ask for a continuation of your sentiments, both which I do with unaffected sincerity. I value your opinion, and you are one of the very few Persons who will say what you think of me to myself. I hope I deserve to be so treated.

“You mix more with the World in general than I am enabled to do from particular circumstances, and I believe you have the good of the Country at Heart. I further believe that you are interested in my Reputation. I acknowledge that in the course of the last Session of Parliament, I may have dwelt too much and too often upon topicks which are not generally interesting, because they are not generally understood, and I am quite aware that I may have spoken both too often and too much; but you confirm the feeling I before had that the Result of my Parliamentary Campaign was not injurious to my Fame, and I have heard from friends and foes the agreeable Truth which on that score you repeat to me. I shall go to the House of Commons to the coming Session with feelings very different from those which I carried there last January. You know that I was then piqued. I was not certainly ambitious of being placed nominally at the Head of a Party in the House of Commons, and really to be the Slave of a Party in the House of Lords; but I had been ambitious of being thought the fit Person in all essentials to fill the vacant Place. By the Person who had [illegible] held it with so much Dignity and Reputation,* that Ambition had been disappointed. I had closed my Conference by saying—‘We shall all find our Level;’ and however unconscious of it at the time, I daresay I was actuated by a desire to show that my level, at least in the present generation, was not very low. If what you say be true, my

* Right Hon. George Ponsonby [1755-1817].

gratification on that score is complete. I am no Candidate for the Lead: I have what I wanted. It is said I ought to have been the Leader, and nothing should tempt me to take the place, because I know on many accounts I ought not to be Leader, and ought never to have been the Leader. So much for that.

“I am fully aware of the apathy of the Publick and of their indifference towards the proceedings of the House of Commons, and of their Distrust of all Publick Men; and I cannot but agree with you that poor Fox did overset the Publick opinion with regard to Statesmen. The last administration completed the job. Still, whilst I have a seat in Parliament, and can obtain a hearing, I cannot help proceeding as if I thought the World would give me credit for the Purity of my Motives. The tone you propose to me to adopt in the ensuing session I will certainly attend to with assiduity, and altho’ I think in every point, both internal and external, our situation is nearly as forlorn and hopeless as any that ever was imagined by the most gloomy Politician, I will endeavour to act as if the case were not desperate—as if the corrupted and corruptors would be brought to a sense of Duty, and to see the Necessity of Retrenchment and Reform.

“I have written a shameful deal about myself, but as your letter was expressly on that subject, you must pardon me: and as it is for you alone that I write, am not afraid of sarcastical animadversion. . . .”