‘Dear Brother,’ the unpublished letters of Charles Cadogan, part 6: from Hanover to Florence, via Copenhagen and Munich

Charles Cadogan leaves Germany and heads back to Italy across the Alps. ‘These wars’ that Cadogan mentions keeping Sir Hugh Elliot busy are the Russo-Swedish War 1788 – 1790. The ‘uncertain times’ that have cut off Dr Nicolson in Constantinople are the Russo-Turkish War 1787 – 1791. Cadogan makes a diplomat’s progress through Germany, a region crucial to British interests, where King George III is also ruler of Hanover, the Duchess of Brunswick is his sister and the King of Denmark is his son-in-law . Cadogan’s hosts include German rulers and the British ambassadors in Munich in Copenhagen, Thomas Walpole and Sir Hugh Elliot. Elliot would end Denmark’s participation in the Russo-Swedish War by making an unofficial threat of war. (It worked, but he was reprimanded when he got back to London.)

In other news, Cadogan wonders about getting married to a neighbour, Frances Jennings, back home. William and Jane Cadogan have been on holiday, and Jane has been sea-bathing for her health. Cadogan doesn’t say whose music he enjoys every night at the Elector of Mainz’s Court in Aschaffenburg, but Johan Franz Xaver Sterkel the Court Composer was up there with Mozart in his day.

Brunswick June 27th 1788

Dear Brother,

I found your’s of the 8th here on my Arrival the day before Yesterday, after a charming tour by Hamburgh to Copenhagen, where I spent three weeks most comfortably with Hugh Elliot, who made the most kind enquiries after you. He’ll probably go to England as soon as these wars in the North are over, and I hope you’ll see him.

Had you met me at Hanover this would have been the tour I should have proposed to you, and we should now have been here together most hospitably received by the Duke and Dutchess, with whom I dine every day. I am only sorry I must leave them so soon as after tomorrow. My Route lays thro’ Gottingen, Cassell, Franckfort, Ratisbon and Augsburg, to Munich; where I mean to be early in October, and shall stay about a week in my way to Italy. I hope to receive a Letter from you there. Had you gone with me, we would have gone as far as Franckfort together, where you could have embarked on the Rhine, and gone all the way home by water so as to have been there by Michaelmas. You would probably have had as Itch to have trod Luther’s Ground, but this would have been quite out of your way. I gave you the best Description I could of it in my last.

I am glad Mrs Cadogan is better, and hope the Sea bathing may quite reestablish her, and by your­­­ account of Vatas and old Loveday, I have no doubt of seeing them again not the least altered. I was quite surprised at the Nature of the Death of Lord Say and Sele*. I hear he was much in debt. If Miss Jennings is not snapt up by somebody before my Return, perhaps I may open proposals to the Jury; for If I know any thing of the State of affairs at Coley; I am of the Opinion that when She puts her finger back and resolves upon a thing; that the Consent of Miss Frances and Lady Jennings will follow of Course. I have no doubt of finding them the same as I left them.

I shall much better be able to describe personally to you what I have seen at Hamburgh, Copenhagen, Lubeck, and in the Dutchy of Mecklenburg, where I spent two days, most agreeably on my Return here with the Duke and Dutchess at their Noble Country Seat, than I can here; and therefore conclude by assuring you that I remain Dear Brother, most affectionately your’s CH Cadogan


*Major General the 13th Lord Saye and Sele committed suicide July 1st 1788. This tragedy must have reminded Cadogan of his grandfather the 1st Lord Montfort, who had shot himself because of his debts, but according to family tradition, Lord Saye and Sele committed suicide because he was told that a pain in his head was incurable (Complete Peerage). In 1780 Lord Saye and Sele had commanded the troops defending the Bank of England in the Gordon Riots. Cadogan has dated this letter ‘June 27th’ but he means July 27th; his previous letter from Hanover is correctly dated July 1st 1788.


Munich October 19th 1788

Dear Brother,

I am extremely glad to hear by your last letter that you and Mrs Cadogan not only had an agreeable but also a salubrious tour to the Isle of Wight. I have had a no less agreeable journey from Brunswick hither; where I arrived a week ago, and have lived chiefly with Mr Walpole, Cousin German to Lord Walpole’s Son. I spent a Couple of Days with the young Princes in Gottingen, whereof the Eldest especially is a very fine Youth. Besides this, I experienced great Hospitatility from the Elector of Mayence at Aschaffenburg with whom I spent a delightful week not only living well, but having every day the finest Music imaginable.

The Latter part of my tour of Germany thro’ Franckfort, Nuremberg, Ratisbon, and Augsburg; has been on the whole as interesting as the former, in the Course of it, I drove over the field of the battle of Dettingen.

My Scheme for Miss Jennings, is truely one, but Who knows what time with it’s Wings may bring about? I consider the Thomsons, Loveday, and Vatas as everlasting, but what is become of Blare? I hope he is werry well.

Dr Nicolson Sir Robert Ainslie’s Chaplain, has wrote the inclosed to me; and I am sure if you can serve him, and be the means of serving him as an excellent Man and Orthodox Clergyman, in the way he sets forth; you’ll be happy to do it both for his sake, and to oblige me. If you see him, pray remember me most kindly to him. He gave up £200 a year last war at Amsterdam, which was his whole bread; rather than pray for the Success of the Dutch Arms. His Letter sets forth every thing, therefore I shall proceed; and conclude by telling you that I set off in a day or two for Italy, meaning to compleat the tour of that heavenly Country, and shall take a 3 Months touch at Rome. In the meantime Adress me a Letter to Florence where I shall be about the Middle of December; and d’ont forget Nicolson. Believe me dear Brother with my kind Love to Mrs Cadogan and Compliments to all friend in and out of your Neighbourhood, your most Affectionately CH Cadogan


Florence December 19 1788

Dear Brother,

My Journey from Munich here, thro’ and over the Tyrolese Alps, and by Milan, Parma and Bologna, has been so interesting; that it has delayed my arrival here a week at least. I found your’s of the 19th Ultimate on my arrival this very morning, and thank you heartily for it. I am sorry to hear that Old Loveday and the Jury break, tho’ this must be expected being both as old as the Poles. I’m concerned however, that they are both as strait as an arrow, and d’ont follow our old Rule of double and treble for 70 and 80. I’m heartly glad that Blare and his Wife are werry well, and have no doubt but that Vatas would continue so, were I to stay abroad these ten Years. Such being the Case I beg you’ll congratulate Mrs Cadogan from me in the amelioration of her health.

Nicolson may be still at Constantinople for any thing I know. His being able to get away from thence in these troublesome times, is very uncertain, nor can I get a Letter conveyed to him with any certainty. Experto crede Roberto, and therefore his getting to England is very uncertain. My Lord and I are on very good terms together, yet I know he d’ont like to be troubled about livings etc for any body, and therefore if ever he gets any thing of that sort, it will be thro’ me, however distant the Prospect, and if in the mean time, you can serve him in an inferior way, I’m sure you’ll do it. He is not interested; he only wants Employment. You’ll like him vastly if you ever see him. Experto crede Roberto. I have told you his true history in my last. I’m sorry to hear by My Lord’s Letter, that poor Hunter will probably be dead before you receive this. Pray let me know about him in your next. Direct it to me at Rome, and believe me Dear Brother most affectionately your’s.

CH Cadogan

To describe my journeys to you in a Letter would be endless. I have kept a journal such as it is; and if we live to meet again, will communicate to you what is worth Notice. I shall stay here about 3 weeks, get (please God) to Rome by or before the 20th of next Month, and stay there the holy week over. [and then in Latin] I’m keen to brush up on my Latin. I’ve been reading Virgil, Horace, Livy, and I’m reading others. But what would do me the most good would be a Latin Corrsespondence with you, and where I go wrong you should tell me candidly, without sugar-coating; that’s the sign of true friendship.

Parliamentary Archive CAD 4/18 – 20


JMW Turner RA Alpine Pass, perhaps La Grivola c.1802/3 (Property of a Gentleman) Sotheby’s July 4th 2018 lot 66, Photo (c) Sotheby’s

I thought it would be good to hear something by Sterkel too. Here’s Johan Franz Xaver Sterkel Symphony No 1, from the 1770s.



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