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By the last night's Gazette, which I have this moment received, I perceive that an extensive promotion has taken place in the army, wherein my pretensions are not noticed; a circumstance which, whatever may have happened upon other occasions, it is impossible for me to pass by, at this momentous crisis, without observation.
My standing in the army, according to the most ordinary routime of promotion, had it been followed up, would have placed me either at the bottom of the list of generals, or at the head of the list of lieutenant-generals. When the younger branches of my family are promoted to the highest military situations, my birth, according to the distinctions usually conferred
on it, should have placed me first on that list. I hope you know me too well, to imagine that idle, inactive rank is in my view; much less is the direction and patronage of the military departments an object which suits my place in the state, or my inclinations; but, in a moment when the danger of the country is thought by government so urgent as to call forth the energy of every arm in its defence, I cannot but feel myself degraded, both as a i. and a soldier, if I am not alowed to take a forward and distinguished part in the defence of that empire and crown, of the glory, P. and even existence of that people, in all which mine is the greatest stake. To be told I may display this zeal solely and simply at the head of my regiment, is a degrading mockery. If that be the only situation allotted me, I shall certainly do my duty, as others will; but the considerations to which I have already alluded entitle me to expect, and bind me in every way to require, a situation more correspondent to the dignity of my own character and to the public expectation. It is for the sake of tendering my services in a way more formal and official than I have before pursued, that I address this to you, my dear brother, as the commander in chief, by whose counsels the constitution presumes that the military department is administered. If those who have the honour to advise his majesty on this occasion, shall deem my pretensions, among those of all the royal family, to be the only one fit to be rejected and disdained, I may at least hope, as a debt of justice and honour, to have it explained, that I am laid by in virtue of that judegment, and H 4) not not in consequence of any omission or want of energy on my part, &c. &c. &c. (Signed) G. P.W. His Royal Highness the Duke of York, &c.
Horse Guards, Oct. 6, 1803. Dearest Brother,
Nothing but an extraordinary press of business would have prevented me from acknowledging sooner your letter of the 2d instant, which I received while at Oatlands on Monday evening. I trust that you are too well acquainted with my affection for you, which has existed since our most tender years, not to be assured of the satisfaction I have felt, and ever must feel, in forwarding, when in my power, every desire or object of yours; and therefore will believe how much I must regret the impossibility there is, upon the present occasion, of my executing your wishes of laying the representation contained in your letter before his majesty. Suffer me, my dearest brother, as the only answer that I can properly give you, to recal to your memory what passed upon the same subject soon after his majesty was graciously pleased to place me at the head of the army; and I have no doubt that, with your usual candour, you will yourself see the absolute necessity of my declining 1t. In the year 1795, upon a general romotion taking place, at your instance I j a letter from you to his majesty, urging your pretensions to promotion in the army; to which his majesty was F. to answer, that, before ever e had appointed you to the command of the 10th light dragoons, he had caused it to be fully explained to you what his sentiments
were with respect to a prince of Wales entering into the army, and the public grounds upon which he could never admit of your considering it as a profession, or of your being promoted in the service. And his majesty, at the same time, added his positive commands and injunctions to me, never to mention this subject again to him, and to decline bein i. bearer of any a lication of the same nature, should it be proposed to me; which message I was, of course, under the necessity of delivering to you, and have constantly made it the rule of my conduct ever since; and indeed I have ever considered it as one of the greatest proofs of affection and consideration towards me, on the part of his majesty, that he never allowed me to become a party in this business. Having thus stated to you, fairly and candidly, what has passed, I must trust you will see that there can be no ground for the apprehen: sion expressed in the latter part of your letter, that any slur can attach to your character as an officer —particularly as I recollect your mentioning to me yourself on the day on which you received the notification of your appointment to the 10th light dragoons, the explanation and condition attached to it by his majesty; and, therefore, surely you must be satisfied that your not being advanced in military rank proceeds entirely from his majesty's sentiments respecting the high rank you hold in the state, and not from any impression unfavourable to you. Believe me ever, with the greatest truth, Dearest Brother, Your most affectionate Brother, (Signed) FREDErick. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
Brighton, Brighton, Oct. 9, 1803. My Dear Brother, I have taken two days to consider the contents of your letter of the 6th inst. in order to be as accurate as possible in my answer, which must account to you for its being longer perhaps than I intended, or I could have wished. I confide entirely in the personal kindness and affection expressed in your letter, and am, for that reason, the more unwilling to trouble you again on a painful subject, in which you are not free to act, as your inclination I am sure would lead you. But, as it is not at all improbable, that every part of this transaction may be publicly canvassed hereafter, it is of the utmost importance to my honour, without which I can have no happiness, that my conduct in it shall be fairly represented, and correctly understood. When I made a tender of my services to his majesty’s ministers, it was with a just and natural expectation that my offer would have been accepted in the way in which alone it could have been most beneficial to my country, or creditable to myself: or, if that failed, that at least (in justice to me) the reasons for a refusal would have been distinctly stated; so that the nation might be satisfied that nothing had been omitted on my part, and enabled to judge of the validity of the reasons assigned for such a refusal. In the first instance, I was referred to his majesty's will and pleasure; and now I am informed by your letter, that before “he had appointed me to the command of the 10th light dragoons, he had caused it to be fully explained to me what his sentiments were with respect to a prince of Wales entering into the army.” It is impossible, my dear bro
ther, that I should know all that
passed between the king and you; but I perfectly recollect the statement you made of the conversation you had had with his majesty, and which strictly corresponds with that in your letter now before me. But I must, at the same time, recal to your memory my positive denial, at that time, of any condition or stipulation having been made upon my first coming into the army ; and I am in possession of full and complete documents, which prove that no terms whatever were then proposed, at least to me, whatever might have been the intention: and the communications which I have found it necessary subsequently to make, have ever disclaimed the existence of such a compromise at any period, as nothing could be more averse to my nature, or more remote from my mind. As to the conversation you quote in 1796 (when the king was pleased to appoint me to succeed sir William Pitt), I have not the most slight recollection of its having .#. place between us. My dear brother, if your date is right, you must be mistaken in your exact terms, or at least in the conclusion you draw from it; for, in the intimacy and familiarity of private conversation, it is not at all unlikely that I should have remembered the communication you made me the year before; but that I should have acquiesced in, or referred to, a compromise which I never made, is utterly impossible. Neither in his majesty's letter to me, nor in the correspondence with Mr. Addington (of which you may not be fully informed), is there one word, or the most distant allusion to the condition stated in your letter; and even if I had accepted the command of a regiment on such terms, my acquiescence could only have relation to the ordinary situation of the country, and not to a case so completely out of all contemplation at that time, as the probable or projected invasion of this kingdom by a foreign force sufficient to bring its safety into question. When the king is pleased to tell me, “that, shoid e enemy land, he shall think it his duty to set an example in defence of the country;” that is, to expose the only life which, for the public welfare, ought not to be hazarded, I respect and admire the principles which dictate that resolution; and as my heart glows with the same sentiments, I wish to partake in the same danger, that is, with dignity and effect. Whenever his majesty appears as king, he acts and commands; you are commander in chief; others of my family are high in military station; and even by the last brevet a considerable number of junior officers are put over me. In all these arrangements the prince of Wales alone, whose interest in the event yields to none but that of the king, is disregarded, omitted; his services rejected: so that, in fact, he has no post or station whatsoever, in a contest on which the fate of the crown and the kingdom may de
I do not, my dear brother, wonder, that, in the hurry of your present occupation, these considerations should have been overlooked. They are now in your view, and I think cannot fail to make a due impression.
As to the rest, with every degree of esteem possible for your judgement of what is due to a soldier's honour, I must be the guardian of mine to the utmost of my power, &c. &c. (Signed) G. P. His Royal Highness the
Duke of York.
Horse Guards, Oct. 11.
My Dear Brother,
I have this moment, upon my arrival in town, found your letter, and lose no time in answering that ; of it which appears to me ighly necessary should be clearly understood. Indeed, my dear brother, you must give me leave to repeat to you, that, upon the fullest consideration, I perfectly recollect your having yourself told me at Carltonhouse, in the year 1793, on the day on which you was informed of his majesty's having acquiesced in your request of being appointed to the command of the 10th regiment of light dragoons, of which sir William Pitt was then colonel, the message and condition which was delivered to you from his majesty; and which his majesty repeated to me, in the year 1795, as mentioned in my letter of Thursday last. And I have the fullest reason to know, that there are others, to whom, at that time, you mentioned the same circumstance; nor have I the least recollection of your having denied it to me, when I delivered to you the king's answer; as I should certainly have felt it incumbent upon me to recal to your memory what you had told me yourself in the year 1793. No conversation whatever passed between us, as you justly remark, in the year 1796, when sir William Pitt was promoted to the king's dragoon guards, which was done in consequence of what was arranged in 1795, upon your first appointment to the 10th light dragoons; and I conceive, that your mentioning in your letter my having stated a conversation to have passed between us in 1798, must have arisen from some misapprehension, as I do do not find that year ever adverted to in my letter. I have thought it due to us both, my dear brother, thus fully to reply to those parts of your letter in which you appear to have mistaken mine; but, as I am totally unacquainted with the correspondence which has taken place upon this subject, I must decline entering any further into it. I remain ever, my dear Brother, with the greatest truth, Your most affectionate Brother, (Signed) FREDERick. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
Brighton, Oct. 22, 1803. My Dear Brother, By my replying to your letter of the 6th instant, which contained no sort of answer to mine of the second, we have fallen into a very frivolous altercation upon a topic which is quite foreign to the present purpose. Indeed, the whole importance of it lies in a seeming contradiction in the statement of a fact, which is unpleasant even upon the idlest occasion. I meant to assert, that no previous condition to forego all pretensions to ulterior rank, under any circumstances, had been imposed upon me, or even submitted to me, in any shape whatsoever, on my first coming into the service; and with as much confidence as can be used in maintaining a negative, I eat that assertion. When I first became acquainted with his majesty's purpose to withhold from me further advancement, it is impossible to recollect; but that it was so early as the year 1793, I do not remember; and, if our expressions were less positive, should add, nor believe: but I
certainly knew it, as you well knew in 1795, and possibly before.—We were then engaged in war, therefore I could not think of resigning my regiment, if under other circumstances I had been disposed to do so; but, in truth, my rank in the nation made military rank, in ordinary times, a matter of little consequence, except to my own private feelings. This sentiment I conveyed to you in my letter of the second, saying expressly that mere idle inactive rank was in no sort my object; but upon the prospect of an emergency, when the kin was to take the field, and the spirit of every Briton was roused to exertion, the place which I . in the nation made it indispensable to demand a post correspondent to that place, and to the public expectation. This sentiment I have the happiness to be assured, in a letter on this occasion, made a strong inpression upon the mind, and commanded the respect and admiration of one very high in government. The only purpose of this letter, my dear brother, is to explain, since that is necessary, that my former ones meant not to give you the trouble of interceding as my advocate for mere rank in the army. Urging further my other more important claims upon government, would be vainly addressed to any person, who can really think that a former refusal of mere rank, under circumstances so widely different, or the most express waving of such pretensions, if that had been the case, furnishes the slightest colour for the answer I have received to the tenders I have now made of my services. Your department, my dear brother, was meant, if I must repeat it, simply as a channel to convey that tender to government, and to obtaln