From Frankfurt

6 June 1713

By Ruth Herman

 I have received the favour of your letter of the first of May which was very welcome to me. I am very desirous to return my thanks by a conveyance that is very unlikely to fall into ill hands. However, I will not direct it[1] and if any accident should come to it which I don’t expect whatever I happen to say of the of the ministry will be no great discovery, I find by my last letters from England that there is some uneasiness upon account of our giving away so many advantages of our trade to France, but it appears plainly that the P[arliament] acts in all things just as the ministers please and I dare say whatever little struggles they may meet with they will find ways to overcome them all at last, and to cheat the country people till they can have no power to help themselves whatever they may think.[2]  It would fill a volume to tell you all the villainous things that were done in Holland to make the Dutch submit, but I will content myself with repeating only one that I believe you may not have heard but my lord Strafford did certainly give them to understand several times that if they would not sign, the g(?)  troops here should be made use of against them in a country where they had no more to do there. I learnt the general’s behaviour was much more scandalous than ever I heard it represented while I was in England for most people impressed(?) whatever he did to [be] faulty  and he did always put me in mind when I had the honour to see him of what I have heard in some play  that he had fewer words than a parrot and yet was the son of a woman but as he was once engaged on the side of liberty if he had been really no more than such a bird he must have learnt enough to know that he acted a worthless and wretched part in the last campaign and that he is a fool.[3] He has a mixture of something else that makes him a very useful tool for such ministers. The account you have had of his allowances is an [exaggeration] I heard them made out to be a great deal more but in that the m: have all been such ill managers as in other things, for the service he did was very considerable and what money he has is laid out to please his own vanity which gains many simple people hat love eating and drinking and in the true account of his being cry’d  up for an honest good natured man the D of M had none of these arts but I dare say if ever it is fairly examined it will be found that he was full as good  husband for the publick as for himself and I believe there is few things truer than the old saying that he that does not take care of his own concerns  is not fit to be trusted with another’s. The duke of Marlborough is gone  for Mindelheim and I am alone in this place where I have no pleasure but the fresh air  and yet I do protest I would not change my condition  with any of my enemies that have done so much mischief to their country and if I could have my wish it should be only to be in one of my own houses with security, that I might sometimes see my children and enjoy the agreeable conversation of a few friends. That is the life I ever preferred before power or riches or honour nay sometimes I think it is to be desired to even before health which I wish you and all you are concerned for may long enjoy and all other happiness that can be hoped for in so bad a world as this. You did not mistake me concerning Ms Freeman’s affair, who thinks it is for good  reason that she  does not desire to hear anything more of it .  The Duke of Montagu is at Aix? and writes that he finds … by the … of [4]


[1] i.e put an address on the letter

[2] The Commerce Bill signed at Utrecht between Britain and France concerned trade, and was narrowly defeated in the Commons.  The two countries were to enter into a free-trade agreement, abolishing almost all the prohibitive tariffs they had imposed on each other earlier. 

[3] Strafford was a brave solder and he was posted to the Netherlands as ambassador-extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Netherlands.  His instructions were to keep up the pretence of cooperation with the Dutch allies, while the ministry negotiated independent treaties with the French. The Whigs, and therefore Sarah, hated him as he was part of the peace process which they regarded as unnecessarily favourable to the French. Unfortunately, the Dutch weren’t keen on him either as he was invariably rude to them.

[4] The letter runs out here.

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