London, South Kensington
2 June 2008
ADDISON, Joseph (1672-1719). Autograph letter signed ('J. Addison') to [Mr Stepney], [n.p.], 7 January 1706/7, 2 pages, 4to, on a bifolium, endorsed on verso of blank, laid down at edges on thicker paper (light browning at upper margin). Provenance: Sotheby's sale, 22 July 1980, lot 458; the Albin Schram Collection.
Reporting on the debate in the House of Commons over the grant to the Duke of Marlborough and his heirs, following the Battle of Ramillies. Writing on the day of the debate, most probably to the diplomatist George Stepney (1663-1707), Addison explains that the motion was opposed by Mr Annesley, Ward, Caesar and Sir William Vevian, 'One said that this was showing no honour to His Grace but to a posterity that he was not concern'd in. Casar ... hoped ye Duke tho he had ben Victorious over the Enemy woud not think of being so over a House of Commons: wch was said in pursuance to a Motion made by some of the Craftier sort that woud not oppose the proposition directly but turn it off by a Side-Wind pretending that it being a money affaire it shoud be refer'd to a Committee of the whole House wch in all probability woud have defeated the whole affaire...'.
Following the Duke of Marlborough's highly successful campaigns of 1706, he and George Stepney became the first English regents of the Anglo-Dutch condominium for governing the southern Netherlands. It was Stepney who formally took possession of the principality of Mindelheim in Marlborough's name on 26 May, following the Battle of Ramillies. On Marlborough's return to London in November, Parliament granted his request that his grant of £5,000 'out of ye Post-Office' be made in perpetuity for his heirs.
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