Scope and Content

From Bishopsgate Street, London, to Madeley, Shropshire. He had the pleasure of receiving the letter from Mary enquiring about the state of public affairs. They have certainly been very bad and it was especially worrying at the time of the mutiny among the seamen [mass mutinies on the warships of the Royal Navy at the Nore and Spithead anchorages in Spring 1797] but providence has always been good to Britain and protected the nation again during those dangerous times. The seamen have returned to their old loyalty and have surrendered the ringleaders, who will doubtless meet with the punishment that their crimes deserve. The example which will be set, will hopefully make the sailors 'more regular in their duty; it is remarked that the most discontented ships were those, where the discipline was the least strict'. Lord Malmesbury [James Harris] sets off tomorrow morning for 'Lisle' [Lille] in Flanders [France] where he is to meet the French commissioners to treat for peace. William has no doubt that he will be able to succeed in such a manner as will satisfy the public and secure the happiness of the nation.

William does not think that the country was as close to ruin if the war had continued as Mary has been led to believe from living in the 'country', although he acknowledges that it would have been very difficult.

If peace is concluded, trade can be expected to increase very fast and the demand from Europe for British manufactured goods will be great.

He is sorry to say that Mr Francks is still at Bristol and that there is little hope for his recovery. The rest of the family are however well; their nephew Charles and his wife and little daughter have gone to Hastings, which is a sea-bathing place on the Sussex coast. Charles works very hard as a West India merchant.

Financial matters are discussed.