William Cayley, who was British Consul in the Iberian peninsula for much of his life, and then, after an interval, MP for Dover (1752-1755), towards the end of his parliamentary term sought a senior government post as a reward for his long service abroad and his loyal support of the Whig government in the Commons. Having been disappointed in his hope of becoming a member of the Board of Trade, he wrote the following begging letter to the then Prime Minister, the Duke of Newcastle, on 1 June 1754.
“Your Grace’s Time and Thoughts are taken up in the publick Service with so little Interruption, that desirous as I have been to find an opportunity of speaking to your Grace, it has not been in my power; and therefore if I have recourse to this means of conveying a few words to your Grace, I hope you will pardon me.
“Your Grace, I am persuaded, is no Stranger to the favourable Opinion Mr Pelham was pleased to entertain of me; tho’ some particular Marks of it may not perhaps have come to your Grace’s knowledge. He had, upon your Grace’s kind Interposition with him in my Behalf, not only brought me into parliament, but thought of placing me at the Board of Trade, as My Lord Dupplin I believe can further inform your Grace; and when the number of pretenders that arose to any vacancy which might happen there, had begun to make his Intention with regard to me in that particular of more difficult execution, he was then pleased to have me in his eye for the Excise, if in the Interim it should not be in his power to provide for me in a way as desireable, and at the same time compatible, with my Continuance in parliament, of which Mr West, I have reason to think, is not unapprised.
“These, My Lord, are circumstances that I mention to your Grace merely in testimony of my own Behaviour, and not for any view of intimating to your Grace in what manner, I either hope or desire your Grace to dispose of me. All I shall presume to say upon that head, and with great Submission beseech your Grace to consider it, is that I have spent my best days in the King’s Service, with the Zeal and Fidelity that are known to your Grace, and have hitherto had no advantages fall to my Lot; that I am now, My Lord, making hasty approaches to the close of my humble part in life; and that of consequence, if the Effects of your Grace’s Friendship do not reach me soon, there will be no room left me to expect they can do it at all. Be my Fate however in that respect what it will, I am sure of remembering the protection your Grace has already done me the Honour to show me with all the Sentiments of a gratefull heart, and with my latest breath to profess myself,
My Lord, Your Grace’s most obliged and most devoted humble Servant, Wm Cayley”
William Cayley eventually got the sort of post he desired: the following year, 1755, he was made a Commissioner of Excise.
Source: British Library BL ADD 32735 f.355