Wednesday, 18 July 2012

18th July 1812: General Maitland makes his move for command of the West Riding

In this secret letter to the Home Secretary, Viscount Sidmouth, General Maitland - despite his words to the contrary, is plainly suggesting that he be placed in military command of the West Riding:

Secret & Confidential

Buxton 18th July 1812

My dear Lord.

I see from Becket Your Lordship's Commands relative to Major Seale, and I have transmitted to him, the Answer I sent that officer.

Upon this Subject which is to me, one of a most delicate Nature, I now beg leave to trouble you with a few Words.—

I came down here, the Inland and North West Districts were put under my immediate Orders, but Yorkshire was left under Lieut. General Grey, and we were to communicate together.

From the habits in which he & I are, it is extremely improbable any impediment can arise to the Public Service from this Arrangement, and I am certainly the last Man that would wish to propose any thing that could in the smallest degree affect his Situation: We have been & I trust ever will be, on the most friendly terms, But Your Lordship will easily perceive that I cannot from delicacy take any direct interference upon myself in his District, without running the risk of disturbing that Harmony, so congenial to my own feelings, and so necessary for the good of the Service.

I have not hesitated, where I thought it was for the real Good, to interfere all along the Borders, but except in such instances, I have always waved it.

I will not conceal from Your Lordship my private Opinion, that in the present State of things, the Disturbed Part had better be under one Head, which I am sure Your Lordship will not attribute to any other feeling but part of stating a fair & honorable Opinion.—

No command in such a Situation of things can be desirable, it is neither pleasant to the Officer nor to the Soldier: to the Head considerable responsibility attaches, without chance of obtaining any Character.

Under such circumstances any Wish to extend my own responsibility, or to interfere with the command of my Friend is out of the Case, but at the same time, I think it right you should be privately informed, particularly after the Application relative to Major Seale, of my real Feelings, and what I think upon the Subject.—

I write this to you, in the most perfect Confidence, I am sure I need not state the Reasons in regard to Grey, that makes it to me a most unpleasant Subject to enter on, and I am equally sure Your Lordship will give me due credit to the Motives by which I am actuated.—

I am
My dear Lord. Yours &c
T Maitland

[To] Rt Honble
Lord Viscount Sidmouth
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/125.

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