Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 20.djvu/184
Dover on 19 Oct. 1781. Francis is said to have made judicious suggestions for the government of India, and to have proposed the permanent settlement of Bengal, afterwards carried out by Lord Cornwallis; but is remembered almost solely by his antagonism to Hastings.
Francis had realised a fortune amounting to over 3,000l. a year (Merivale, ii. 211). He had been accused of parsimony, and, as part of this fortune was due to his gambling, his salary of 10,000l. a year would enable him to make the rest without using the corruption imputed to many contemporary ‘nabobs.’ It has been suggested, but apparently without authority, that his appointment was clogged by the condition that he should pay part of his salary to a ‘rider’ (Calcutta Review). He was so unpopular on his arrival in England that no one, it is said (Merivale, ii. 204), except the king and Lord North, would speak to him when he first appeared at court. He seems (ib.) to have contributed many anonymous papers to the press. Attacks upon the Indian administration in the ‘Intrepid Magazine’ and ‘A State of the British Authority in Bengal’ (1781) are attributed to him. He was also supposed to have inspired a book called ‘Travels in Europe, Asia, and America,’ &c., published under the name of Macintosh. Francis solemnly denied the authorship; but he is shown to have paid Macintosh a sum of 1,000l. at this time, besides ‘large advances’ to his cousin, Major Baggs, although he equally denied that Baggs was his agent (ib. pp. 205, 206). An edition of Junius, without the name of printer or publisher, appeared in 1783, and has been attributed to Francis by Parkes (Notes and Queries, 17 Feb. 1855).
In April 1784 Francis was returned to parliament for Yarmouth, Isle of Wight. He failed as a speaker, although he prepared and reported his speeches with great care. Wyndham and Dr. Parr praised them highly; but he was pompous, didactic, and wanting in fluency (Nicholl, Recollections and Reflections, 1822; Wraxall, Memoirs, ii. 200). He was a keen whig, and became intimate with all the assailants of Hastings. He had made Burke's acquaintance before sailing for India, and during his stay here they had had some correspondence. Francis gave Burke information and advice in preparing the charges against Hastings, and in April 1787 he was proposed as one of the managers of the impeachment, but rejected after some sharp debates. The managers, however, asked him in very complimentary terms to assist them, and he was most eager and regular in his attendance at the trial. His own statement of his share in preparing the impeachment and suggesting Burke's arguments is given by Merivale (ii. 287, 288).
In 1790 Francis was returned for Bletchingley. When Burke was alienated from the whigs by his views of the French revolution, Francis remonstrated with him, criticising his sentimental defence of Marie Antoinette with great severity, while Burke treated his dissent with special respect. Their correspondence, however, seems to have dropped, though Francis always spoke respectfully of his old friend.
Francis was an early reformer, and one of the founders of the ‘Society of the Friends of the People,’ of whose original programme (1793) he was in great part the author. He also was a strong opponent of the slave trade. In 1798 he was defeated in an election for Tewkesbury, but continued his intimacy with the whigs, and protested against Fox's secession. He became very intimate with Lord Thanet [see Tufton, Sackville], a radical reformer of the time, and was returned for Appleby in November 1802 by Thanet's influence. He had at this time many family losses, his daughter Harriet dying at Nice on 2 Jan. 1803, another daughter, Elizabeth, on 14 July 1804, and his wife on 5 April 1806.
One of his last performances was an elaborate speech upon India, 5 April 1805. He hoped for the governor-generalship upon the death of Cornwallis (5 Oct. 1805). In March 1806 he quarrelled with Fox for declining to promise him the appointment. The death of Pitt seemed to open the way, and at this period Francis was for some years on terms of close intimacy with the prince regent. Various accounts have been given of the negotiations which took place (see Brougham, Statesmen of the Time of George III; and Lady Francis in Merivale, ii. 351–4). The governor-generalship was clearly out of the question, and Francis is said to have declined the government of the Cape. He had finally to content himself with the honour of adding K.C.B. to his name. Francis was re-elected for Appleby in December 1806, but on the election of 1807 he retired from parliamentary life.
The intimacy with the prince regent gradually declined as the prince dropped the whigs. Francis adhered to his rigid whiggism. At the end of 1814 he married his second wife, Miss Emma Watkins, daughter of a Yorkshire clergyman, born, as she states, ten years after the last Junius letter, or in 1782. He had corresponded with her from 1806, and seems to have been an affectionate husband. His amanuensis in later years was