The Jacobites threaten the money markets

London, 1st October 1715

By Ruth Herman

I hope this will find my dear Lady Cowper much the better for the country air, and the happiness of being so long in the company you like in quiet. The last is what can’t be had in this place, and I fear it will yet be worse before it is better; for my Lord Stair[1] says, in his last Account, that the Duke of Ormond is gone with a few Servants post from Paris.[2] The Duke of Berwick[3] was seen the Day before, which is all that is said of him in Lord Stair’s letter; but another Person has given an Account that he had lately pawned his Jewels and Plate. My Lord S[tair] had no Notice of the Pretender being gone from Bar when he writ, but the Duke of Ormond may have better Intelligence of his Motions, and if he is not yet removed, that would agree with other Intelligence that he will not come to us till his Friends are in some Order here to receive him. I don’t find that the News from Scotland is so bad as some reported [it] , and I am apt to believe the Duke of Argyle[4] aggravated that Matter a good deal ; for at the very same Time that a very terrible Account came from His Grace, I saw a Letter from the Postmaster of Scotland,[5] which said our Enemies there were not above 2,600 [three thousand six hundred?], and there is no Certainty of any Numbers that have joined them since ; but from so many Men having escaped being secured, and the Duke of Ormond having left Paris, I fear we shall soon hear of some Rising. [I think]They say the Duke of Somerset is at Petworth;[6] but before he went I am told he did what Service he could to our Enemies which was no manner of surprise to me and I do [calm?] myself a little upon what was once called being very obstinate when one of my friends could persuade [me] to have anything to say to that man.


When I see my Lord Townshend,[7] I shall have a great Mind to desire him to compute [compose?] what Good and what Mischief the Duke of Somerset has done since our Friends shook Hands with him. [which] puts me in mind of a thing I once heard which I liked mightily, that if ministers would once take honesty as a servant upon [loyalty] they would never part with it. Tis very probable that I can write nothing that is news to you tho what I have told you is from a good hand.  If that happens to be the case I beg your pardon and now I will desire leave to trouble you with a little of my own affairs in hopes you will be so good as to send me Lord Cowpers advice upon them. About a month ago I wrote to Mr  Wymondesold to desire he would let me know if I was obliged to give him any notice or how much to have the 4100 pounds upon bonds paid in for I thought I should have a mind

[1] Lord Stair was a Whig and had been a successful general and became a British representative in Paris.  He worked hard to prevent the French supporting the Jacobite uprising of 1715.  He ran an intelligence service.

[2] James Butler, Duke of Ormond, Tory. On the change of government in 1714 he was impeached for high treason and left England in July 1715 for Paris. He was appointed the Pretender’s Captain General in 1715 and spent the rest of his life unsuccessfully supporting the Jacobite cause.

[3] The Duke of Berwick was the natural son of James II and the Duke of Marlborough’s sister and lived most of his life in France.  He was appointed captain general of the Jacobite forces in Scotland but was refused leave to leave France to take up his post.

[4] The Duke of Argyle, John Campbell; Marlborough wrote to Sarah: ‘I cannot have a worse opinion of anybody than I have of the duke of Argyle, but what is past cannot be helped’, a supporter of the Hanoverian succession he foiled a Jacobite attempt on Edinburgh

[5] The Secretaries of State found the post office one of the most convenient means for spying on Jacobites.

[6] Somerset was one of Sarah’s life-long enemies, his wife having taken over as Anne’s principal female attendant when Sarah lost her job. He resigned from his office of master of the horse in 1715 when his offer to stand surety for his Jacobite son in law.  Despite being the Churchills’ inveterate enemy, on the death of his wife he proposed to the newly widowed Sarah.  Not surprisingly she declined.

[7] Townshend was secretary of state for the northern department 1714 to 1716 and worked to suppress the Jacobite uprising.

This page was added on 26/02/2016.

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