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1741, was appointed one of the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral, which place he resigned in 1744. When the misunderstanding occurred between the two first personages in the royal family, Dr. Lee joined the party of Frederick Prince of Wales; and on the Ministers interfering with the Court of Stannary, in 1748, he, with Lord Egmont and Lord Bolingbroke, organised a parliamentary opposition, to counteract and thwart the servants of the crown in every scheme that had not an evident tendency to the advantage of the nation. But in this he proceeded with caution and discretion, insomuch that Smollett, describing the Prince's “ band of auxiliaries,” says of him, “Dr. Lee was a man of extensive erudition and irreproachable morals, particularly versed in the civil law, which he professed, and perfectly well acquainted with the constitution of his country.” The excellent and amiable Frederick, who, unfortunately for the nation, was cut off in the forty-fifth year of his age, entertained a sincere regard for the Doctor, and had even designed him for his minister; for so entirely had he acquired the Prince's confidence, that his Royal Highness frequently repaired to Doctors' Commons to consult with his learned and able adviser. After this prince's lamented death, in 1750, Dr. Lee became Treasurer of the Household to his widow, the Princess Dowager of Wales, an office which he did not resign till 1757: and there are still preserved among the Hartwell muniments six large volumes of his accounts as Treasurer and Receiver-General, most neatly and elaborately registered, as well as duly audited.
The high consideration which the regretted prince bore for Dr. Lee, may be inferred by the perusal of a letter or two out of numbers among the Hartwell documents: the which will also afford a glimpse of the political strategy of the day.
Clifden, 5 a clock (Aug. 12th, 1747).
Dr. Dr. LEE,—I enclose to Yu this Packitt, sent to me by Ldy Gordon. I read Y: Letter, but not L4 Sutherland's, which, without beeing Seald, was sent to me; You'll be so good to return it me, that I may Send it to that L', and to make the proper Memorandums out of it for next winter. Oswald is chosen for the County he push'd for, against Pelham's will; may be we may have a
Chance for him now. What do Yu think of an Offer made by Y' means through Gordon to him of a Ck of the G” Cloth, provided he'd be thoroughly with us? Tell me YOpinion of it, which Yu know has the greatest Weight with me; I think he is worth having. Good bye, take care of Yr health, and depend in all times on the friendship of
Tuesday, 12 a clock (26th July, 1749). DR. DOCTOR, -I am desir’d by an unfortunate Ldy to know of Yu if Lo Cook has allready engag’d Yu; if not, I hope You'll protect poor Luv Mary. Be so good to keep this private, it must
I come soon to an Eclat. If You are not engag'd You'll receive all the Papers when Yu come here, which I hope will be at the time fix’d. No news, but that th’Ordinance is not giv'n yet: Lo Vere Beauclerk has laid down. Good night.
Thursday, 11 at night (Augt. 11, 1749). These are the Papers, Dr Detr Lee, relating to Lay Mary Cook, they are extracts of her own Letters; severall of these things are vouch'd by a Parson, who, if Sub-Pænad, would Speak. Fazackerly's Opinion to the Family is to move a Habeas Corpus, in the King's Bench; in case that happens She'll Swear the Peace. Fazackerly desired Yr Opinion above all Should be tak’n; these things were drawn and maney'd by poor dead Erskine, who consulted with Fazac. in the Family's
Return these Papers to me when Y" come here, there is no haste till than. Ev'ry thing is at a Stop now at London, except a Battle Royall between the contending Dkrs for the Ad", one insisting for La Trentham, and t’other for long Herbert. God bless 'em all, and rid this Island of tiir Stuft, which is the devout Praver of yr Sleepy and hearty Friend,
L- HI (Leicester House ), at 3 o'clock.
I have slept well, and my cough continu's to diminish, which I owe to my forbearance of yesterday's Ball, where I did not go. I am sorry, Dr Dor, Yr Hoarseness and Cough augments; I hope You'll take all imaginable Care to be better Soon, and don't go out by no means till Yu are thoroughly well. Let us put of the debate intented for Tuesday till Thursday. I fatter my-Self You'll be able to apear than. Be so good to Send me the Qins propos’d by the Bearer, that I may Shew 'em to-morrow at the meeting, and advance things in Such a manner that ev'rything might be settled for Thursday. Write to me who Yu want Should Sea Y"; since the Torys have behav’d So, and we have had Pony last time, I think we ought to take one of our People; in Short, give me all th’ Informations for to-morrow Yu can, for without Y" I am lame. Pray remember Yr health, and get soon well; all the Campain depends upon it. Do (you) think Ptrick Gibbons would like to do it? I mean to Sca Yu. Adieu.
11 clock at night.
DR. LEE,—the Preliminarys are Sign'd, and the Suspension of Arms is agreed; if Yu read Chesterf. apology, You'll see in what it consists, except that the Republiek of Genua keeps Finale, and that Don Philipp gets to Parma, and Plaisance the Mirandole. All the rest is the same, and we might have had the same Peace, even a better one, this time 12 Months, and have sav'd 11 Millions. These are the Facts; what the Consequences will be, Y" and I guess, and time will Show it. Be so good to be at 1 o'clock at L' H«e a Wednesday, where many things must be talk'd o'er. Good night Dr Lee.
4 of clock.
DR. LEE,—I hope Yu come to-morrow to the House to assist us in the following Question, which L' Egmont mov's, and S. Eo Thomas Seconds. The Words of the Treaty are so ambiguous, and, in the room of meaning the Utrecht Peace, may be misconstrued for that one made by Charles II. ; so that I expect rare Sport of it, and a little Swagg’ring and threat’ning will do well just now. Adieu.
L' House, Thursday (2nd March, 1 o'clock).
DR. LEE,—Yesterday's debate has greatly been in our favour, and their Numbers are fallen from 280 to 203; ours augment: the beginning of this Bill their Mts was 120, and that of late nights was but 66. What will become of the Sea Bill Y“ may guess, if our Numbers can but hold; Yu remember th’Excise Bill; pray God this wicked Bill and its Authors may feel the Resentment of the Nation, as those of th’Excise Bill did, and may Yu Soon give 'em the last Stroke. I never doubt of Yr heart and head, only I lament Yr legs. Pray tell me when You'll be able to Adieu.
Il a clock.
DR. DR. LEE,– I am very sorry Y' lameness continues; I hope You'll soon be able to come out again. Yr lameness lam's us all, and I assure Y“ the Whole Party is cripld by it. Th’ Affair of Bucks being o'er in the Hse of Comons, th’Hse of Lds has beeing my great attention this Week, and I can tell Yu with great Pleasure that matters are there in a great forwardness. L' Gville, Chestf., Bath, the old Opposing L`s, and Severall of the Courtiers, will fight it. I dare say things will come nearer there than can be imagin'd. The Ct will have but the two Sr's of Ste and the Chanc. to Support the Bill, and how even he will dare do it, against all Wter Hall, I can't conceive. Y brother, the Chief Jé, may aquire great Reputation on this occasion, and I dare say You'll keep up his Spirits.
Pray put him in mind how nobly Hales and Holt stood in the Gapp, and how happy 'tis to live in such tim's, when Credit can be gain’d, and so easily. I am Sure he'll do well, and if he pleas's this Crisis may turn out greatly. I feel as a friend the great figure Yu have made last Week; Pham and his followers tremble now for Yų, and I thank Yu for the lead Y“ took that day. Things are rip’ning, and our friends are gathering Strength, which is owing to the Prudent way of Y" going on; for which, and all Y' good Services, I am as allways very much oblig'd to Yu.
7 a clock.
Dr. Dr. LEE,-I am confidently told that a Message will be sent next Week to the Hse of Coñons, asking Advice, as I told Yu last night; I think th’only thing in that case we have to do is to avoide giving any, and to move for a Comittee to look into the State of the Nation, which will lead us into a grat Field, and load them Strongly. Be so good to dine Wednesday next with La Carlisle with me here; wee'll be alone, and talk o'er the matters of yesterday. I'll expect Yu at + a clock. Goodnight Dr Lee.
I am sorry to hear Yu are not well; take care of Yr Self, for next Winter's Campain depends on Y' health. Maddin, by some Indiscretion, is, I'm afraid, in a good deal a danger; Pelham has ofi r'd a Silk Gown and his Protection to Jodrell, who Sais he'll drop this, and lay a considerable Sum down for us to come into Pmeut, if I'll give him the Promise of Solle. My answer has been, I'dd consider, and Speak to Yu, who manage the Hse of Coñons for me. Yu remember, Dr Dtr, he allready offered himSelf last Winter; his Fortune is a very great one, between 2 and 3000£ a Y', one of the promisenst men of the Law; maybe it is an acquisition, and it Sav's a Man of the family. Consider it, and give me Yr opinion, which I allways like to follow. Henly may be had without it, I'm told. Adieu, don't go out to soon, and write to me where Y" Pains are, nurse it, and it'll do Yu good; if Yu have not Flannells enough, I'll Send 'em to Y", but for God's Sake no quacking.
Wednesday, 7 a clock (October 11, 1749). DR. DR. LEE,—I am sorry to hear Yu are not so well as I expected; pray stay a week longer, that may do the business. The Par--- will meet certainly the 16th, the impatience of the has carry'd it, against Pel-–'s representations and promises that, notwithstanding its meeting after Ch—mas, it should be up at Easter. Dodl. has kiss'd hands, and is sufficiently abus'd by them for it, tho' their Orders for attendance is doubld since, and that they show great fears about it. I and my Family are, thank God, very well. I'll stay a week longer in the Country, which, joint to th’Esercise I take there, has fix'd my health for the Winter, I hope. Goodbye, D' Lee, may Y' legs grow as good as Y' good heart and head.
Under such intercourse, we cannot be surprised that Prince Frederic was highly esteemed by the Lees, nor that a fine equestrian statue was erected, in the spring of 1757, to his memory in Hartwell Park ;* while, to hold a candle also towards the father, a figure of George the Second was placed upon a column on Park Hill, in front of the house.
The regard and confidence in which the worthy Doctor was also held by the Princess of Wales, may be judged by the style of her letters to him, several of which are in the Hartwell collection: the earliest (October 30th, 1749) is on a matter of importance, and in these terms
Sir, I was fully convinced of your attachement to the Prince, myself, and my Family, and that made me consult you upon the paper I ordered should be communicated to you; I esteemed you the properest Person to advise me on the occasion, as I have long since valued you upon the reputation of your understanding and Probity.
As I asked your advice in order to follow it, The paper shall be returned in the manner you approve of. The Prince, I believe, designs to see you next Sunday; and, as we go out of town to-morrow, I am concerned it is not in my power to have some conversation wit you
before will speak to the Prince. The first opportunity I can have of a free conversation with you will be very agreable to me. The Prince seems serious to have the Education of His Family considered, and I wish and belive He will consult you alone upon this important subject; I make no dout but that you will enforce the necessity of placing proper Persons about The Children, and shew him the consequence of proposing unexceptionable men. You may easily believe how much I have at heart the proper Education of my Family; and, as I do not know any Person whose merit I have a higher opinion of than yours, I cannot justly place my confidence but in you, whose zeal for the Prince has been so constant and disinterested, and whose attachement for us and our Family I entirely am convinced of, and rely on. I shall therefore be glad to know your sentiments upon all occasions. You will please to consiler of proper methods to facilitate the Prince's good intentions; and, as you will have an opportunity next Sunday to speak your sentiments, I depend that your attachement to us and our Family will dispose you to advise the Prince in the best and strongest manner a point so essential as well to us as the whole Nation. I am, with great esteem,
* There is also a fine portrait of this Prince of Wales in the breakfast-room, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds.