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Andrew Stone and the Duke of Newcastle



Andrew Stone and the Duke of Newcastle

From "The House of Commons, 1754-1790"
by Lewis Bernstein Namier, John Brooke, Great Britain Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1964
page 484

"SHELBURNE, quoting a clerk in NEWCASTLE's office, said that the Duke of NEWCASTLE did Andrew STONE's business and STONE the Duke of NEWCASTLE's. Contemporaries gave STONE the reputation of an intriguer, but in fact he seems to have had little political ambition."

"... important political decisions by the advice of a small group of intimate friends, on whom he could cast the blame if anything went wrong. In 1754 Andrew STONE and William MURRAY (q.v.) were among the Duke's most trusted and influential advisers, and were mainly responsible for the decision to choose FOX instead of PITT as leader of the House of Commons ..."

From "The Grasshopper" in Lombard Street
by John Biddulph Martin, 1892
page 73

"Still later Mr. STONE filled the important office of sub-governor to Prince George, the heir-apparent; and he acted with his usual discretion ..."

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From "Memoirs of the Life and Reign of King George the Third"
by John Heneage Jesse, 1867
Chapter I.

"... The death of Frederick Prince of Wales completely revolutionised the fortunes and the social position of his eldest son. The young Prince had now become Heir-Presumptive to a Crown, the present wearer of which had entered into his sixty-eighth year. Under these circumstances, it was only to be expected that the Prime Minister, Mr. PELHAM; and his brother in blood and power, the Duke of NEWCASTLE, should have endeavoured to establish a guiding, if not exclusive influence, over the mind of the future Sovereign. In order to accomplish this purpose it was necessary, in the first instance, to effect an almost entire change among those who had the present charge of the Prince's education. Hitherto he had had for his governor Francis Lord NORTH, whose chief qualifications for that responsible post would seem to have been amiability, and good moral conduct. In his room the PELHAMs obtained the appointment of Simon Lord HARCOURT, a nobleman whom WALPOLE sarcastically describes as 'a civil sheepish' peer, more in want of a governor himself than qualified to be the governor of others. Devoted to the pleasures of the table and of the hunting-field, Lord HARCOURT is said to have been perfectly satisfied that he had done his duty, so long as he was unremitting in his exhortations to his royal pupil to turn out his toes. He was intended, indeed, to be a mere puppet in the hands of the PELHAMs. 'He is a cipher,' said Lord MANSFIELD to the Bishop of Norwich; 'he must be a cipher, and was put in to be a cipher.'

Simultaneously with the removal of Lord NORTH, the services of AYSCOUGH were also dispensed with; Dr. Thomas HAYTER, Bishop of Norwich, being appointed in his room. Although we find George the Third, in after life, speaking in no very complimentary terms of Bishop HAYTER he was nevertheless a man of sense, learning, and refined breeding. Moreover, he seems to have discharged the duties of his important calling with singular zeal and fidelity. Resisting all interference on the part of the Princess and her friends, he persevered, despite the frowns of the one and the remonstrances of the latter, in carrying out the system of discipline which he had prescribed.

The person selected for the post of sub-governor was Andrew STONE, an elder brother of Dr. George STONE, Archbishop of Armagh. STONE had formerly been private secretary to the Duke of NEWCASTLE, and was still the confidant of that nobleman. WALPOLE, at the same time that he admits his superior abilities, denounces him as having been a morose, proud, and mercenary man. These charges, however, appear to be altogether undeserved. Lord WALDEGRAVE has done justice to STONE's integrity, and his friend, Bishop NEWTON, regrets that his abilities were lost to the Church. STONE was in fact a fine scholar, and at Oxford, where he had been the friend and rival of the celebrated Lord MANSFIELD, had succeeded in carrying off some of the first honours of the University.* The services of SCOTT were retained as sub-preceptor. Happily, with the change of preceptors, some improvement seems to have taken place in the scholarship of the heir to the throne. 'The Bishop of Norwich,' writes Mr. Philip YORKE to the Lord Chancellor, 'was with the King in his closet this morning, in relation to the improvements made by his royal pupils in their studies. He is disposed, as I find by Lord ANSON, to speak favourably of their application, and of the progress they have made since they have been under his care.' But, although the change in the Prince's establishment was undoubtedly for the better, the new governor and preceptors were unluckily unable to agree among themselves. Certain misunderstandings which had occurred between Lord HARCOURT and the Bishop on the one side, and between STONE and SCOTT on the other, terminated at length in an open rupture. The Princess not only sided with the sub-governor and sub-preceptor, but, on her own account, complained of the Earl and Prelate. The former, she said, avoided her card-parties; the latter puzzled her sons with logic. The Bishop charged STONE with being a Jacobite, while STONE, on his part, accused the Bishop, not only with having habitually treated him in a very slighting manner, but with having, on one occasion, lain violent hands upon him, with the design of ejecting him from the royal schoolroom. At length, formal charges were drawn up by Lord HARCOURT and the Bishop against STONE, which charges, without any previous communication with the Princess, were laid before the King (December 6, 1752). STONE, they insisted, had not only repeatedly drunk the health of the Pretender in former days, but had also been recently guilty of the glaring impropriety of permitting the heir to the throne to peruse the 'Revolutions d'Angleterre, by P?re d'Orleans,' a work expressly written in defence of the unconstitutional measures of James the Second. In the same sweeping charges of Jacobitism, and of systematic intents to infect the mind of the heir to the throne with arbitrary principles, were included the sub-preceptor SCOTT, and the Princess's secretary and favourite, CRESSET. The latter, by the way, was connected by blood with the royal family, being related to the King's maternal grandmother, Eleanor d'EMIERS, wife of George William Duke of ZELL, a lady of the French family of d'OLBREUSE.

George the Second very properly referred the matter to his constitutional advisers, by whom, after a due investigation, the charges were declared to be without foundation. Even the timid and suspicious old Duke of NEWCASTLE could see no grounds for consternation. Dissatisfied with this judgment, Lord HARCOURT and the Bishop again preferred an appeal to the throne for the dismissal of then-subordinates, and, on its being rejected, adopted the only alternative that seems to have been left them, namely that of tendering their resignations, which were unhesitatingly accepted. Some months afterwards, the conduct of STONE was made the subject of Parliamentary investigation; the Duke of BEDFORD taking upon himself to move in the House of Lords an address to the throne, for the production of the papers connected with the late investigations. This second attack, however, proved as unsuccessful as the previous one. Only three peers and one prelate accompanied the Duke below the bar, and accordingly the motion was negatived without the House coming to a division."
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" * STONE was a personal favourite of George the Second, to whom he had acted as private secretary in Hanover in 1748, during the absence of the Duke of NEWCASTLE. (COXE's Pelham Administration, vol. i. p. 423.) At a later period he held the appointments of Treasurer to Queen Charlotte and Keeper of the State Paper office. He died in December, 1773, at the age of seventy-two.

'Andrew STONE,' writes Bishop NEWTON, 'was a most excellent scholar. At school and at college he distinguished himself by his compositions; and the knowledge, not only of Greek and Latin, but of the Hebrew language, which he had first learned at school, he retained and improved to the last; and was withal a man of grave deportment, of good temper, and of tho most consummate prudence and discretion.'

(Bishop NEWTON "Life of Himself, Works", vol. i., p. 134. See also Lord WALDEGRAVE's "Memoirs", p. 10, and COXE's "Pelham Administration", vol. i. p. 430, and note.)"

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From "Memoirs of the Administration of the Right Honourable Henry Pelham"
by William Coxe, 1829

[The Duke of Newcastle writing from The Hague]

"dear Brother, June 29?July 10, 1748.

I have been extremely concerned, that your long absence from London made it immaterial for me to give you a particular account of every thing that has passed since my arrival in Holland, as I could not expect an answer in any reasonable time; and my letters must have been very imperfect, as they would have referred to the accounts sent to the duke of BEDFORD and Mr. STONE, which accounts you could not have received. I will, therefore, now, notwithstanding the great hurry I am in, give you the best account I can, of every thing that has passed."

"My letter to Mr. STONE from the Hague, and the short letter I wrote to you, will have given you a pretty good notion how I found things there. ..."

"Every body here, by all that I can judge, is as much for coming immediately to a general pacification, as you can be at London. You will not be surprised, that whatever regard is shewn to me, from character or reputation, is shewn to Mr. STONE,* from their knowledge of him. The king, and every body, shews him the greatest distinction, as the king expressed himself to me upon his subject, with the greatest regard and approbation; so that hitherto every thing is as well as possible, and I do not see the least appearance of its being otherwise. ..."
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" * Andrew STONE, who is mentioned in this correspondence, in such terms of friendship and confidence, was a native of Winchester, and born on the 5th of February, 1702. He acquired the first rudiments of learning, at Hyde-abbey School, Winchester, then under the direction of Mr. TITTLE. He was, in 1717, placed on the Royal foundation at Westminster; and, in 1722, was admitted a student of Christ-church, in the University of Oxford. He was distinguished for his classical proficiency; and was well versed in the different branches of polite literature and science. During his residence at college, he formed an intimate connection with Dr., afterwards bishop NEWTON, and Mr. MURRAY, afterwards earl of MANSFIELD, both of whom were also students of Christ-church, and by whom he was highly esteemed. He was first introduced to the duke of NEWCASTLE, by Dr. BARNARD, then rector of Esher, and afterwards successively bishop of Raphoe and Deny, who had espoused his sister.

His sedate deportment, sound discretion, accurate judgment, suavity of manners, and extensive knowledge, added to the elegance and perspicuity of his compositions, were strong recommendations to the favour of the duke of NEWCASTLE, by whom he was appointed his private secretary. In this capacity, by his assiduity and attention, he rose rapidly in the esteem of his noble patron; and was admitted to the most intimate degree of trust and confidence. He was, about this period appointed under-secretary of state, in order to give consequence to his attendance on the king, by whom he was highly favoured. Of the great affection with which the noble secretary regarded Mr. STONE, numerous instances will appear in these pages; and, until the close of his life, he was considered rather as a friend and coadjutor, than as a dependent. He was equally respected by Mr. PELHAM; and, like the lord chancellor, frequently acted as a mediator, in reconciling the differences between the two brothers.

It affords a striking proof of Mr. STONE's discretion, that, though highly distinguished by the king, and generally respected by all the members of government, he never excited the slightest degree of that official jealousy, which the duke of NEWCASTLE occasionally manifested, towards those with whom he was politically connected. On the contrary, both in his private concerns, and in affairs of state, the duke of NEWCASTLE invariably recurred to Mr. STONE, for advice and assistance; and derived essential advantage from his prudent suggestions and disinterested attachment.

We shall hereafter find Mr. STONE filling the important office of sub-governor to Prince George, the heir apparent; and he acted with his usual discretion, in a post surrounded with peculiar difficulties. He was also appointed keeper of the State-Paper-office; and, on the death of George the Second, he owed, to the kindness of the new sovereign, the place of treasurer to the queen.

After passing through a long political career, with singular felicity and general estimation, he died in December 1773, at the age of seventy-two. By his wife, Miss MAUVILLION, whom he espoused in 1743, he left no issue; his only son dying before him, at the age of twelve.

(For these communications I am principally indebted to Charles ARBUTHNOT, esq., Mr. STONE's grand-nephew, and to his niece, Mrs. Sarah STONE.)"


Linked toDuke Prime Minister Thomas Pelham-Holles; Andrew Stone

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