Joshua Reynolds was young, but he was an artist in diplomacy. His talent, his modesty, his youth, his beauty, won the hearts of the entire Edgecumbe household. He painted portraits of all the family; and of course all the visitors were called upon to admire, not only the pictures, but the painter as well.
It was he of whom it was said that he was wittiest among the witty and gayest among the gay, and his society was much sought after. He and Edgecumbe, with Selwyn, met at Strawberry Hill at stated periods, forming the famous group Walpole's "out-of-town party." He was a captain in the army and a Member of Parliament; it was as a sporting man, however, that he was best known.
On one evening, of which we happen to have a full account, there were present Lord Mulgrave, Lord Bruce, Lord and Lady Edgecumbe, Lord Carrington from the War Office, Lord Sandwich from the Admiralty, Lord Ashburnham, with his gold key dangling from his pocket, and the French Ambassador, M. De Guignes, renowned for his fine person and for his success in gallantry.
On one evening, of which we happen to have a full account, there were present Lord Mulgrave, Lord Bruce, Lord and Lady Edgecumbe, Lord Barrington from the War Office, Lord Sandwich from the Admiralty, Lord Ashburnham, with his gold key dangling from his pocket, and the French Ambassador, M. de Guignes, renowned for his fine person and for his success in gallantry.
Upon the main land, S.W. by W. of this island, and apparently at no great distance from the sea, is a high round mountain, which I called Mount Edgecumbe: it stands in the middle of a large plain, and is therefore the more conspicuous; latitude 37° 59', longitude 183° 7'.
Edgecumbe; that the ordinary duty of the garrison requiring eight hundred men, the whole number was not sufficient for three reliefs; that, if he had detached a battalion on board the fleet, he should not have had above two reliefs, at a time when he believed the place was in danger of being attacked, for good reasons, which he did not think himself at liberty to mention; that his orders being doubtful, he held a council of war, which was of opinion, that as undoubted intelligence was received of the French army's being landed at Minorca, to the number of between thirteen and sixteen thousand men, and that a French squadron of sixteen ships was stationed off the harbour, the sending a detachment equal to a battalion from Gibraltar would be an ineffectual supply for the relief of the place, and a weakening of the garrison from which they must be sent.
Yet among Selwyn's many friends and acquaintances two groups are remarkable. The first was formed of men of his own age Walpole, Edgecumbe, Gilly Williams, and Lord March comprise what may be called the Strawberry Hill group. It was at Walpole's famous villa that they liked best to meet, and it is by Reynolds that Walpole's "out-of-town party" has been handed down to us.
Johnson observed, the situation here was the noblest he had ever seen, better than Mount Edgecumbe, reckoned the first in England; because, at Mount Edgecumbe , the sea is bounded by land on the other side, and though there is there the grandeur of a fleet, there is also the impression of there being a dock-yard, the circumstances of which are not agreeable. At Slains is an excellent old house.
They urgently hungered for an explanation of the inscrutable means by which two battle-cruisers, mined and cast upon the shoals below Mount Edgecumbe under their very eyes, could race hot foot to the South Seas and there lay out a German squadron. As soon as the winter dawn broke an immense crowd surged upon the Hoe gazing into blank space.
Among the island and the inlet dented shores surrounding the town are many interesting places forming an opportunity for delightful excursions. The most desirable of these are: Mount Edgecumbe, 3467 ft. Taking a launch from Sitka the trip may be made to Crab Bay, or to the landing behind the island of St.