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The Creevey Papers
Thomas Creevey to Eleanor Creevey, 1 February 1811

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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“Great George St., 1st Feby., 1811.

“I was very much provoked at being detained so long on the road yesterday that I was just too late for the last Bill, so I eat my mutton chops and drunk a bottle of wine, and then tea, and then sallied forth to Mrs. Taylor’s; but alas, she was dining out, so on I went to Brooks’s, where I found Mr. Ponsonby and others; and then came Whitbread, Sheridan, and Lord Hutchinson, the latter of whom insisted upon my coming to dine with him tête-à-tête to-day, as he had so much to say to me. He had been dining yesterday with the Prince, and was to be with him again this morning. You may suppose I intend accepting his invitation; for to-day Whitbread was deeply involved in private conversation with these gentry; but, before he left the room, he came up to the table where I was, and said—‘Creevey, call upon me to-morrow at twelve if it is not inconvenient to you;’ and, having left the room, Ward, who was there, said—‘There! Mr. Under-Secretary, you are to be tried as to what kind of a hand you write, &c., &c., before you are hired;’ and then we walked home together, and he told me he had

* Formerly Lord Henry Petty.

been offered to be a Paymaster of the Forces, and that he had refused it, and that he was sure this notice of Whitbread was to offer me an under-secretaryship in his office. I went accordingly to Sam this morning, but quite armed, I am certain, against all disappointment, and with all the air of an independent man. He began by giving me his opinion that the Prince would not change the Government, and that he was playing a false, hollow, shabby game. He said the
Queen had written him a letter evidently dictated by Perceval, [illegible] most cursedly, and that he had been quite taken in by it. He expressed himself strongly of opinion that he [the Prince] ought instantly to change the Government; that after all that had passed between him, the Prince and Lords Grenville and Grey, it would be a breach of honour not to overthrow the ministers instantly. I confess I was more penetrated, upon this part of the conversation, with Sam’s anxiety to be in office than I was with the weight of his arguments against the Prince. At the same time, it is due to him to add that Sheridan and Lord Hutchinson insist openly that the Prince, in justice to his character, is bound to make this change; and again, there certainly is nothing to make the Prince expect any rapid amendment of the King. . . . Well, this opinion of Whitbread being advanced and maintained by him as aforesaid, he proceeded to say that, in the event of the change taking place, he was very anxious to know from myself what I should look to—that he and Lord Grey had talked over the subject together—that the latter had spoken of me very handsomely, and said that, tho’ I had in the session before last, fired into the old Government in a manner that had given great offence to several persons, yet that he was very desirous I should form part of the new Government. Whitbread added his own opinion that it was of great importance I should be in the Government, and then added—‘The worst of it is there are so few places suited to you that are consistent with a seat in Parliament; but what is there you should think of yourself?’ So I replied that was rather a hard question to answer; that though I was a little man compared to him in the country, yet that the preservation of my own character and consistency was the first object with me; that I
could go as a principal into no office—that was out of the question—and I would not go into any office as a subaltern, where the character of the principal did not furnish a sufficient apology for my serving under him; that with these views I certainly had looked to going with him into any office he might have allotted to him. He said such had always been his wish, and then said—‘You know by the Act of Parliament that created the third Secretary of State, viz., that for the Colonies, neither of the Under-Secretaries of State can sit in Parliament, and that was what I meant when I said there were so few places consistent with a seat in Parliament.’ He said Grey and he had taken for granted I would not go back to my old place, or a seat at that board, after firing as I had done into the East I. Company; to which I replied they were quite right, and I added that, whenever I might be in office or out, I reserved to myself the right of the free exercise of my opinion upon all Indian subjects. He then said, with some humility, would I take a seat at the Admiralty Board; that
Lord Holland would be there, and that he, of course, would have every disposition to consult my feelings. I said my first inclination was certainly against it; at the same time, I begged nothing might be done to prevent Lord Holland making an offer of any kind to me; that he was a person I looked up to greatly on his own account, as well as his uncle’s;* that in all my licentiousness in Parliament I had never profaned his uncle’s memory; it had been exclusively directed against his enemies; that I would take a thing from Lord Holland that nothing should induce me to do from any Grenvilles; at the same time, I was giving no opinion further than this, that I begged Whitbread not to prevent Lord Holland from making me an offer—let it be what it may. . . .”