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Copy Private Admiralty 25th Novr 1832 My Dear Lord About twelve months ago, when Mr Wailes was not expected to live, Ld Grey and You expressed to me an anxious Wish, that Mr Grey of Millfield, in the event of a Vacancy, should be appointed one of the Receivers of the Greenwich Hospital Estates in Northumberland. I acquiesced and I believe some communication was made to Mr Grey at the Time, which may have led him to expect the offer of this appointment from me on the first occurrence of a Vacancy. Mr Wailes still lives, and no opening by Death or Resignation has taken place; but the Board of Admiralty, in compliance with the suggestions of the Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital, has resolved entirely to change the System of Management of the Northern Estates. The precise Nature and Extent of this Change are fully stated in the Confidential Letters addressed by the Commissioners to the Receivers on the 10th of this Month, a Copy of which letter I enclose. It was thought fair to give to Mr Brandling the refusal of the situation of resident Agent on the new Conditions, which we have resolved to impose. By the enclosed Letter from Ld Auckland it is announced to me, that Mr Brandling declined the offer. I have therefore resolved to tender the appointment to Mr Grey on the exact Terms, which were offered to Mr Brandling; and these Conditions must be considered immutable. I should add that the appointment is during pleasure; and that no retiring allowance will henceforth be granted. If Mr Grey should accept the Situation it must be distinctly understood that he resides constantly at Hexham, and relinquishes every other occupation, business and employment. The new System will come into operation on the 1st of January; but the Accounts of the present Receivers must be wound up, and several arrangements made, which the Commissioners and the Board of Admiralty are of opinion will be best executed by their confidential Secretary, whom they propose to send to Hexham for the discharge of these Special Duties, and he will remain there till the 31st of March. If Mr Grey accept the appointment, he will be nominated on the 1st April, and from that day his charge will commence, and the transfer of all the duties will be made to him. – In the mean time his own arrangements must be completed for his change of Residence, and for the surrender of all his existing Engagements. It will also be necessary, if he accept, to settle with the Commissioners the Amount of Security to be provided by him in consideration of receiving & remitting all the Rents. It is advisable that Mr Grey, if he be willing to take the appointment, should notify to me his acceptance without loss of Time; and the transmission of this Letter with its Enclosures to him will be the clearest and readiest mode of conveying the Offer. I must also add a request, that Mr Grey will for the present consider this Communication strictly confidential, and on no account disclose in Northumberland his acceptance of this appointment, if he should consent to take it, without my concurrence. I am satisfied that in making this Offer to Mr Grey I am discharging my duty faithfully to a public Trust, and that if I am so fortunate as to secure his Services for the Hospital, I shall render an essential benefit to this great National Institution. I am always with sincere regards etc J R G Graham The Viscount Howick.
Henry Grey, (1802-94), later the 3rd Earl Grey, was Viscount Howick during the period covered by this correspondence. Sir James Graham was also from the north, having been born at Naworth Castle. He wrote to Howick, the Under-Secretary of State for War in his father’s cabinet, in his capacity as the First Lord of the Admiralty, which had responsibility for the Greenwich Hospital.