Sarah’s opinions on the coming elections.

Ruth Herman

Believed 1715[1] or 1716

Sunday morning

Having the liberty always to open the Duke of Marlborough letters it gives me a pretence of writing to you dear Lady Cowper by a gentleman that will be gone before Lord Marlborough comes home. I desire that you will tell your lord that I don’t doubt of his assisting Sir Ralph Ratcliff[2] as much as he can.  I think nothing is more just and reasonable than to contribute towards the choosing of men that will be honest in this parliament for if the safety of England does not depend immediately upon it, I am sure should the Tories succeed no honest man can expect to be better used than in the last reign but while we are struggling here about two or three votes ‘tis melancholy to reflect upon the power that one great man who has ever betrayed his friends to gratify his own passions and there can be no doubt that a man who could assist my Lord Oxford, and the Duke of Shrewsbury contrary to his pretended principles and the good of his country (of which I have met with several proofs reading old letters since I came to this place) will much more easily  be brought to do mischief when he can propose for himself a more probable account by it, then he can’t reasonably have imagined when the late queen first changed her ministry. [3]

Yet at that time tis certain he helped the under hand [?] in the city, and I have read in burning old papers a letter from a friend at Hampton Court [in] which there is an account of a groom of the Duke of Shrewsbury coming at two in the morning to my lord Halifax at his lodgings I don’t doubt upon some weighty services he was to do for those governors for he rose immediately and attended his grace. I need not tell you of his behaviour in the bill for the precedency of the Ellectors family and if I should say all I knew of his falseness and ill principles, ambition and vanity it would fill a volume.[4]

I am ashamed of this strange hurried Letter but the bearer can’t stay for me to write it over again. And I flatter myself that you are so kind to me as to excuse all such faults and [greater?] I am sure I will never [make?] to you for I do really love you and [mark?] all your good qualities. I hope my lord chancellor is well and all that you are concerned for my dear Lady Cowper.



[1] Catalogued as 1715 or 1716 but likely to be 1715 (see footnote 2)

[2]  Sir  Ralph Ratcliffe unsuccessfully  contested  the Hertford Election on 3 Feb. 1715  See History of Parliament online

[3] The elections of 1715, which took place in the light of a new dynasty, the Hanoverians and the threat of a Stuart/Jacobite invasion proved a landslide victory for the Whigs.  The new king, George I had previously cleared out all the Tory ministers. Lord Oxford (Robert Harley before his elevation to the Lords) was the previous leader of the government and was quickly impeached by the new ministry for dealing with the Jacobites. Shrewsbury was a politician who was mistrusted by the Duke of Marlborough but who had had the Queen’s ear when she was alive and also by King George. In the new ministry he simultaneously held the posts of lord treasurer, lord chamberlain, and lord lieutenant of Ireland. He did not hold these posts for long, however, as the other new ministers looked on him as a turncoat.

[4] Shrewsbury seems to have ben pro-Hanover but perhaps too lenient to the outgoing Tories for Sarah’s liking.

This page was added on 08/07/2016.

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