May 28 1812: Prince's State of Perturbation

On  May 28 1812, Thomas Creevey writes to his wife Eleanor Creevey about the political maneuverings taking place to form the next government in Great Britain. Creevey is a Whig member of parliament. In his letter, Creevey passes on rumours and information on the negotiations taking pace with the Prince Regent.  He is told that the Prince Regent is in a "state of perturbation of mind as beyond anything" anyone has ever seen. Prinney, as Creevey calls him, seems in a better mood when he meets Elizabeth, the Duchess of Devonshire. She writes to her son, Augustus Foster  on May 28, that Prinney is in "pretty good spirits." Creevey's letter of May 28 1812 is reproduced below and can be found here.

“House of Commons, 28th.

“. . . Just after I finished my letter yesterday, I met Sheridan coming from a long interview with the Prince, and going with a message to Wellesley; so of course I walked with him and got from him all I could. . . . He described the Prince’s state of perturbation of mind as beyond anything he had ever seen. He conceives the different candidates for office to be determined upon his ruin; and, in short, I begin to think that his reign will end in a day or two in downright insanity. He first sends for one person, then another. Eldon is always told everything that passes, and the Duke of York (Lord Grey’s friend and slave) is the unalterable and inveterate opposer of his brother having anything to do with the Opposition. He and Eldon work day and night to keep Prinney in the right course. Melville is a great favorite too. To-day he (Prinney [his nickname for the Prince Regent]) has seen the Doctor and Westmorland, Buckinghamshire, and now Moira is with him. Canning has been found out in some intrigue with Liverpool already. There has been some explanation between Grey and Whitbread, certainly creditable to the former. He has admitted to the fullest extent the importance of the Brewer and his own unalterable and unfavorable opinion of Canning. He maintained this opinion to his friends as strongly as he could, and pressed them, as they valued able and upright men to shuffling rogues, to stand by Whitbread and abandon Canning. In this proposition, however, he stood alone. Petty and Holland even were against him. Grey pronounced that tho’ he was bound by this decision, he knew such decision must inevitably be their ruin. He has told all this to Brougham, as well as to Whitbread, and you know he always at least tells the truth. Of course you will not quote this. . . . From Lisbon the accounts are very unfavorable. The American embargo has produced the greatest consternation, and our Commissariat is utterly destitute of money or credit. In addition to this, General officers write home that the ravages of the late sieges and other things have made a supply of 30,000 men from this country absolutely necessary, if Portugal alone is to be kept.”

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