Charles Middleton, 2nd Earl of Middleton (1649/1650 – 1719) was an English and Scottish politician who held many offices, including serving as Secretary of State to James II and his son James III during their exile in St. Germain, France.
When James II of England fled to France after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 Middleton remained in England. He was held in the Tower of London for two months in 1692. Upon his release he joined James in St. Germain, where he acted as James's Secretary of State.
In the present letter, written a year after the death of James II, he elaborates on his wish to resign from office:
“Having shewed, that my attendance on the King, would be not only useless, but hurtful to his service. And that a retreat for the rest of my life is absolutely necessary for myself, I hope the Queen [Mary of Modena] will have the charity to consent to it; whereby Her Majesty will reward me more, than by all the glittering triffles men contest for”.
However, the Queen did not agree: Middleton remained in office under James III until 1713. In 1715, Middleton returned to France to serve Queen Mary of Modena. He died in France in 1719.
Manuscript letter signed by the 2nd Earl of Middleton, 1702
Charles Middleton, 2nd Earl of Middleton.
A true Coppie of the E. of Middleton’s letter to his Lady upon his leaving of St Germains Sept. 1702.
Manuscript letter, signed “sic subscribitur Middletone”.