"...the French gentlemen always gave ye King [William III] his title, & if they happen’d to call him Prince of Orange, they immediately beg’d pardon".
First Duke of Chandos, he was one of the most remarkable figures of his age. The son of a squire, he rose by force of personality, administrative ability and the favour of the Duke of Marlborough to become Paymaster of the Forces Abroad during the War of the Spanish Succession. This allowed...
First Duke of Chandos, he was one of the most remarkable figures of his age. The son of a squire, he rose by force of personality, administrative ability and the favour of the Duke of Marlborough to become Paymaster of the Forces Abroad during the War of the Spanish Succession. This allowed him to amass an immense fortune and in 1719 he acquired a dukedom. Brydges became a lavish patron of the arts, and kept a “concert” of thirty performers, eventually including Georg Friedrich Handel, who wrote the oratorio Esther at his mansion.
Autograph Letter Signed, July 18, 1697, 2 pages 8vo plus integral address leaf, to a relative he addresses as “cousin,” saying he has word that the war with France is ending. “Ye Elector of Saxony’s being chose King of Poland occasions much rejoycing here and is certainly of very great concern to Europe since we may now hope to see matters succeed much better against ye Turks…My Lord Portland, & Mr. Bouffleers have had another conference at wch was present most of ye English volunteers…that they were above two hours and a half in private during wch time ye English and French were very civil…the French gentlemen always gave ye King [William III] his title, & if they happen’d to call him Prince of Orange, they immediately beg’d pardon…the conference was concerning ye maintaining King James [II, who had escaped to France in 1688]… ye French gentlemen asked them why they would not take their countryman back again, & wish’d they were once well rid of him…”
The conference referred to was part of the negotiations that led to the Treaty of Ryswick, September 30, 1697, by which the decade-long War of the Grand Alliance was ended and France recognized William III as King of England and Princess Anne as his heir. A very interesting and scarce letter by Handel’s patron about the end of one war. Little did he know that French King Louis XIV would soon try again for hegemony in Europe, and that coming war, over the Spanish succession, would give Brydges and his friend John Churchill their great opportunities. Very good.
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