[From Atholl Papers - AP 42B-10]

[Letter from Lord Mansfield to Duke of Atholl, 12 August 1764]

Kenwood 12 Au: 1764

My dear Lord

I have this moment received your Grace's. Your answer seems to me guarded & proper, & therefore I see no reason to stop it. You cannot be too cautious. Their letter is a strange one, it is insidious & looks like laying a trap to put you in the wrong so as to justify some act of violence. their idea, I suspect, is to check the importation without making you any satisfaction at all, but that may not be so easy. Your answer in every respect is wise & well penned & as sensible. Mr Grenville ought to treat first positively & personally, the proposal ought to come from those who desire the thing & they should explain what they desire. it insinuates menaces, & seems not so much the opening of a negotiation, as wrote to draw an answer from you to be laid before the House of Commons. Taking for granted that your answer will or may be made publick as seems proper & wise. Make no complaint of the letter & don't find any fault with it, whatever may come out to be Mr Grenville's design. Keep your temper & stick to the plan of this answer. The only thing wanting which occurs to me, is, that I think you should have wrote a private letter to Mr Grenville & inclosed to him your ansr to the Lords of the treasury.

I really think you had better do so still especially as the board is adjourned & he out of town. & you may give that as a reason for not answering immediately. I think a civil letter to Mr Greville, relying upon his honour & justice you will treat with him with the frankness & confidence the late Duke did with Sr R. W. [Robert Walpole] Mr Pelham & the D. of Newcastle. As I send your answer back, I propose the following small alterations.

2d page line 14 say

It was resumed by the D. of N. when he was first Lord of the Treasury upon the same principle of honour & justice & received the D. of Atholl treated with the same confidence Being averse to sell but always ready to submit to the King's pleasure in any matter which is thought for the publick good & having a full reliance in the Duke of Newcastle's honour & justice that as his predr ?[predeccesor ?] had said, so his Grace would propose no terms which he would not award as an arbitrator. After the D. of N. was fully informed the matter was likewise in the same manner laid aside.

2d page line 23 Say between 30 & 40,000 inhabitants

3r page 5 line (after the word case, say)I have heard that they have often thought in Ireland of raising a large sum to offer towards the consideration & upon fuller deliberation dropped it.

3 page line 12 (after the word proper) & I never heard of any nation to purchase a part only, I don't at all understand what it is.

My compliments to the Ds
yrs [] most assly

Obviously written in haste it is fascinating to see Lord Mansfield's thought processes at work.


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