Letter from WILLIAM BURKE to JAMES BARRY, written 10 October 1766, at London

Source: Fryer, Works of Barry, i. 55-56.

William Burke (1728-98) had studied law at the Middle Temple with Edmund Burke in the early 1750s; the two became very close friends and referred to one another as ‘cousin’ or ‘kinsman', although there seem to have been no blood ties between them (see George C. McElroy, ‘Burke, William ’, DNB [go] ). William, recently appointed an Under-Secretary of State to Henry Seymour Conway (1719-95), had offices in St. James’ and had arranged a letter of introduction for Barry from Lord Shelburne (1737-1805).

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St. James's, Oct. 10, 1766.

Dear Barry,

As I wrote pretty much at large, by the last post,1 I shall at present do little more than forward the enclosed, and assure you that all which comes for, or from you, shall be taken care of. I was yesterday morning with Lord Shelburne,2 who very obligingly permitted me to prepare a draft for his signing to the British Minister at Florence.3 I am assured that a countenance4 from him, will much facilitate your access to places you may wish to be open to you. You will receive the letter by this post, and if only to oblige me, let me beg you not to consider it as idle or improper, but wait on Sir Horace with the letter. I do assure you, that letters of this kind from the Secretary of State are sought for by people of the first consequence when they go abroad, and don't let any whim make you despise it. I write with the same freedom I used to speak to you, for I regard you with the same warmth. If it is asked what your road of access to the Secretary of State is, do Macleane and me the honour of saying, that the principal under Secretary of State in each office are your most intimate friends; though we are not very great men, people have some little attention to us. Adieu5 my dear Barry, and believe me always, your earnest and warm friend and servant

Wm. William Burke.

I open my letter to put up Lord Shelburne's to Sir Horace Mann, which his Lordship has been so kind just to send me.

Again I open my letter to acknowledge yours of the 26th of last month from Turin,6 and for which I am most entirely obliged to you. In my life I never read a more satisfactory account, and add to it, that I learn you are well and satisfied; you will therefore easily believe how happy it made me; I shall by to-morrow's post let Ned7 participate my satisfaction. I have only time to say this, Adieu.