Document ReferencePw A 1039/1-8
TitleLetter from Matthew Prior, Paris, France, to William Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland; 11 Mar. 1699
Date11 March 1699
Extent9 ff
Content DescriptionStates that, contrary to what he wrote in cipher in his last letter to 'Mr Secretary' [Vernon?], the Duke of Berwick has not left for England but is headed for Italy; is going there to 'remonstrate to the Pope the hardships which the Catholics are under in England'; it is rumoured that he intends to take Orders; states that if Portland wishes to see what he writes to 'Mr Secretary', he should order a copy of the cipher; this will certainly be necessary if the king [William III] decides to go into Holland in the summer; informs him that 'Lord Melford is come in again, and Lord Middleton quite disgraced', explaining the circumstances of the change in fortunes.

Refers to an address of the House of Commons to the king asking him to remove papist and other discontented people from London; says he will make good use of this at Versailles; comments that people in England are 'separate from the commerce and knowledge of the affairs of Europe'; thinks that no-one should serve the king who is too attached to any other party; comments on how William should treat parliament, stating that Henry VII, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I 'refused more things than any others of our princes, and yet governed us best'; states that the country is hurt as much by bad subjects as by a bad king, and that 'we suffered as much by popular rage in 45 as by arbitrary power in 88'.

Comments on how the clergy in England should be treated, referring to the attitude of those 'bred up in Bishop Burnett's seminary'; states how much the people of England love the monarchy in general; comments that he has written openly and asks Portland not to show the letter to anybody; informs him of a paper which has come over to the court of St Germain, recommending the interest of the Prince of Wales to members of parliament, but making no case for King James.

Pw A 1039/3-8 is a transcript of the letter.
Termintelligence, reports
religions, Roman Catholicism
parliamentary business, addresses
parliamentary business, management
religious affairs, clergy, attitudes towards
royalty, attitudes towards

Click the links below to view related name indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA30381Vernon; James (1646-1727); Mr; traced out Sir John Fenwick's plot 1696; principal secretary of state 1698-17021646-1727
NA30908Fitzjames; James (1670-1734); 1st Duke of Berwick; illeg. son of James II by Arabella Churchill; cr. 16871670-1734
NA1083William III (1650-1702); King of England Scotland and Ireland1650-1702
NA30399Drummond; John (1649-1714); 1st Earl of Melfort; also titular Duke of Melfort; Secretary of State for Scotland 1684; outlawed 16941649-1714
NA31065Middleton; Charles (1640-1719); 2nd Earl of Middleton; secretary of state to James II; also titular Earl of Monmouth1640-1719
NA18601Burnet; Gilbert (1643-1715); Bishop of Salisbury; attended Lord Russell on the scaffold; Bishop of Salisbury 1689-17151643-1715
NA15001James II (1633-1701); King of England Scotland and Ireland; succ. 1685; also styled Duke of York1633-1701
NA18922James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766); Prince of Wales; 'the Old Pretender'; son of James II; also known as Chevalier de St George1688-1766
NA31066Henry VII (1457-1509 ); King of England; ( succ. 1485)1457-1509
NA14968Henry VIII (1491-1553); King of England and Ireland; ( succ. 1409)1491-1553
NA10913Elizabeth I (1533-1603); Queen of England and Ireland; ( succeeded 1558)1533-1603
NA1124Prior; Matthew (1664-1721); poet and diplomat1664-1721
NA1043Bentinck; H. William (1649-1709); 1st Earl of Portland; diplomat and adviser of William of Orange; alias Hans Willem1649-1709
Add to My Items