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Title: The Greville Memoirs
       A Journal of the Reigns of King George IV and King William IV, Vol. II

Author: Charles C. F. Greville

Editor: Henry Reeve

Release Date: December 3, 2009 [EBook #30590]

Language: English

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Transcriber’s Note:

In this work, all spellings and punctuation were reproduced from the original work except in the very few cases where an obvious typo occurred. These typos are corrected without comment.

In the original volumes in this set, each even-numbered page had a header consisting of the page number, the volume title, and the chapter number. The odd-numbered page header consisted of the year of the diary entry, a subject phrase, and the page number. In this set of e-books, the year is included as part of the date (which in the original volume were in the form reproduced here, minus the year). The subject phrase has been converted to sidenotes located below the relevant page number.

In the original book set, consisting of three volumes, the master index was in Volume 3. In this set of e-books, the index has been duplicated into each of the other volumes. Navigation links were created to the entries for the current volume.

The Greville Memoirs


A JOURNAL OF THE REIGNS

OF

KING GEORGE IV.

AND

KING WILLIAM IV.


BY THE LATE

Charles C. F. Greville, Esq.

CLERK OF THE COUNCIL TO THOSE SOVEREIGNS


EDITED BY

HENRY REEVE

REGISTRAR OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL

IN THREE VOLUMES
VOL. II.


Second Edition


LONDON
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
1874

INDEX.


Contents of the Second Volume

CHAPTER XI.

Accession of William IV. — The King’s Proceedings — His Popularity — Funeral of George IV. — Dislike of the Duke of Cumberland — The King’s Simplicity and Good-nature — Reviews the Guards — The First Court — The King in St. James’s Street — Dissolution of Parliament — The King dines at Apsley House — The Duke of Gloucester — The Quaker’s Address — The Ordinances of July — The French Revolution — Brougham’s Election for Yorkshire — Struggle in Paris — Elections adverse to Government — The Duke of Wellington on the French Revolution — Duke of Cumberland resigns the Gold Stick and the Blues — George IV.’s Wardrobe — Fall of the Bourbons — Weakness of the Duke’s Ministry — The King at Windsor — The Duke of Orleans accepts the Crown of France — Chamber of Peers remodelled — Prince Polignac — The New Parliament — Virginia Water — Details of George IV.’s Illness and Death — Symptoms of Opposition — Brougham — Charles X. in England — Dinner in St. George’s Hall — Lambeth — Marshal Marmont — His Conversation — Campaign of 1814 — The Conflict in Paris — Dinner at Lord Dudley’s.

CHAPTER XII.

The Belgian Revolution — The Duke of Wellington and Canning — The King’s Plate — Gloomy Forebodings — Retreat of the Prince of Orange — Prince Talleyrand — Position of the Government — Death of Huskisson — His Character — The Duke of Wellington and Peel — Meeting of Parliament — The Duke’s Declaration — The King’s Visit to the City abandoned — Disturbances in London — Duchesse de Dino — The Cholera — Southey, Henry Taylor, John Stuart Mill — Dinner at Talleyrand’s — The Duke of Wellington resigns — Mr. Bathurst made Junior Clerk of the Council — Lord Spencer and Lord Grey sent for — Formation of Lord Grey’s Administration — Discontent of Brougham — Brougham takes the Great Seal — Character of the New Ministers — Prospects of the Opposition — Disturbances in Sussex and Hampshire — Lord Grey and Lord Brougham — Lord Sefton’s Dinner — The New Ministers sworn at a Council.

CHAPTER XIII.

A Proclamation against Rioters — Appointments — Duke of Wellington in Hampshire — General Excitement — The Tory Party — State of Ireland — More Disturbances — Lord Grey’s Colleagues — Election at Liverpool — The Black Book — The Duke of Wellington’s Position and Character — A Council on a Capital Sentence — Brougham in the House of Lords — The Clerks of the Council — Lord Grey and Lord Lyndhurst — The Chancellor of Ireland — Lord Melbourne — Duke of Richmond — Sir James Graham — Lyndhurst Lord Chief Baron — Judge Allan Park — Lord Lyndhurst and the Whigs — Duke of Wellington and Polignac — The King and his Sons — Polish Revolution — Mechanics’ Institute — Repeal of the Union — King Louis Philippe — Lord Anglesey and O’Connell — A Dinner at the Athenæum — Canning and George IV. — Formation of Canning’s Government — Negotiation with Lord Melbourne — Count Walewski — Croker’s Boswell — State of Ireland — Brougham and Sugden — Arrest of O’Connell — Colonel Napier and the Trades Unions — The Civil List — Hunt in the House of Commons — Southey’s Letter to Brougham on Literary Honours — The Budget — O’Connell pleads guilty — Achille Murat — Weakness of the Government — Lady Jersey and Lord Durham — Lord Duncannon — Ireland — Wordsworth.

CHAPTER XIV.

Introduction of the Reform Bill — Attitude of the Opposition — Reform Debates — Peel — Wilberforce and Canning — Old Sir Robert Peel — The City Address — Agitation for Reform — Effects of the Reform Bill — Brougham as Chancellor — Brougham at the Horse Guards — Miss Kemble — Vote on the Timber Duties — Lord Lansdowne’s Opinion of the Bill — Reform Bill carried by one Vote — The King in Mourning — The Prince of Orange — Peel’s Reserve — Ministers beaten — Parliament dissolved by the King in Person — Tumult in both Houses — Failure of the Whig Ministry — The King in their Hands — The Elections — Illumination in the City — The Queen alarmed — Lord Lyndhurst’s View of the Bill — Lord Grey takes the Garter — The King at Ascot — Windsor under William IV. — Brougham at Whitbread’s Brewery and at the British Museum — Breakfast at Rogers’ — The Cholera — Quarantine — Meeting of Peers — New Parliament meets — Opened by the King — ‘Hernani’ at Bridgewater House — The Second Reform Bill — The King’s Coronation — Cobbett’s Trial — Prince Leopold accepts the Crown of Belgium — Peel and the Tories — A Rabble Opposition — A Council for the Coronation.

CHAPTER XV.

Preparations for the Coronation — Long Wellesley committed by the Chancellor for Contempt — Alderman Thompson and his Constituents — Prince Leopold goes to Belgium — Royal Tombs and Remains — The Lieutenancy of the Tower — The Cholera — The Belgian Fortresses — Secret Negotiations of Canning with the Whigs — Transactions before the Close of the Liverpool Administration — Duke of Wellington and Peel — The Dutch invade Belgium — Defeat of the Belgian Army — The French enter Belgium — Lord Grey’s Composure — Audience at Windsor — Danger of Reform — Ellen Tree — The French in Belgium — Goodwood — The Duke of Richmond — The Reform Bill in Difficulties — Duke of Wellington calls on Lord Grey — The King declines to be kissed by the Bishops — Talleyrand’s Conversation — State of Europe and France — Coronation Squabbles — The King divides the old Great Seal between Brougham and Lyndhurst — Relations of the Duchess of Kent to George IV. and William IV. — The Coronation — Irritation of the King — The Cholera — A Dinner at St. James’s — State of the Reform Bill — Sir Augustus d’Este — Madame Junot — State of France — Poland.

CHAPTER XVI.

Whig and Tory Meetings on Reform — Resolution to carry the Bill — Holland — Radical Jones — Reform Bill thrown out by the Lords — Dorsetshire Election — Division among the Tories — Bishop Phillpotts — Prospects of Reform — Its Dangers — Riots at Bristol — The Cholera at Sunderland — An Attempt at a Compromise on Reform — Lord Wharncliffe negotiates with the Ministers — Negotiation with Mr. Barnes — Proclamation against the Unions — Barbarism of Sunderland — Disappointment of Lord Wharncliffe — Bristol and Lyons — Commercial Negotiations with France — Poulett Thomson — Lord Wharncliffe’s Proposal to Lord Grey — Disapproved by the Duke of Wellington — Moderation of Lord John Russell — The Appeal of Drax v. Grosvenor — The Second Reform Bill — Violence of Lord Durham — More Body-snatchers — Duke of Richmond and Sir Henry Parnell — Panshanger — Creation of Peers — Division of Opinion — Negotiation to avoid the Creation of Peers — Lord Wharncliffe’s Interview with the King — Opposition of the Duke of Wellington — The Waverers resolve to separate from the Duke.

CHAPTER XVII.

Measures for carrying the Second Reading of the Reform Bill in the House of Lords — The Party of the Waverers — The Russo-Dutch Loan — Resistance of the Tory Peers — Lord Melbourne’s Views on the Government — Macaulay at Holland House — Reluctance of the Government to create Peers — Duke of Wellington intractable — Peel’s Despondency — Lord Grey on the Measures of Conciliation — Lord Wharncliffe sees the King — Prospects of the Waverers — Conversations with Lord Melbourne and Lord Palmerston — Duke of Richmond on the Creation of Peers — Interview of Lord Grey with the Waverers — Minute drawn up — Bethnal Green — The Archbishop of Canterbury vacillates — Violence of Extreme Parties — Princess Lieven’s Journal — Lord Holland for making Peers — Irish National Education — Seizure of Ancona — Reform Bill passes the House of Commons — Lord Dudley’s Madness — Debate in the Lords.

CHAPTER XVIII.

Debate in the House of Lords — Lord Harrowby’s Position — Hopes of a Compromise — Lord Melbourne’s View — Disturbances caused by the Cholera — The Disfranchisement Clause — The Number ‘56’ — Peers contemplated — The King’s Hesitation — ‘The Hunchback’ — Critical Position of the Waverers — Bill carried by Nine in the Lords — The Cholera in Paris — Moderate Speech of Lord Grey — End of the Secession — Conciliatory Overtures — Negotiations carried on at Newmarket — Hostile Division in the Lords — Lord Wharncliffe’s Account of his Failure — Lord Grey resigns — The Duke of Wellington attempts to form a Ministry — Peel declines — Hostility of the Court to the Whigs — A Change of Scene — The Duke fails — History of the Crisis — Lord Grey returns to Office — The King’s Excitement — The King writes to the Opposition Peers — Defeat and Disgrace of the Tories — Conversation of the Duke of Wellington — Louis XVIII. — Madame du Cayla — Weakness of the King — Mortality among Great Men — Petition against Lord W. Bentinck’s Prohibition of Suttee heard by the Privy Council — O’Connell and the Cholera — Irish Tithe Bill — Irish Difficulties — Mr. Stanley — Concluding Debates of the Parliament — Quarrel between Brougham and Sugden — Holland and Belgium — Brougham’s Revenge and Apology — Dinner at Holland House — Anecdotes of Johnson — Death of Mr. Greville’s Father — Madame de Flahaut’s Account of the Princess Charlotte — Prince Augustus of Prussia — Captain Hess — Hostilities in Holland and in Portugal — The Duchesse de Berri — Conversation with Lord Melbourne on the State of the Government.

CHAPTER XIX.

Foreign Difficulties — Conduct of Peel on the Resignation of Lord Grey — Manners Sutton proposed as Tory Premier — Coolness between Peel and the Duke — Embargo on Dutch Ships — Death of Lord Tenterden — Denman made Lord Chief Justice — Sketch of Holland House — The Speakership — Horne and Campbell Attorney- and Solicitor-General — The Court at Brighton — Lord Howe and the Queen — Elections under the Reform Act — Mr. Gully — Petworth — Lord Egremont — Attempt to reinstate Lord Howe — Namik Pacha — Lord Lyndhurst’s Version of what occurred on the Resignation of Lord Grey — Lord Denbigh appointed Chamberlain to the Queen — Brougham’s Privy Council Bill — Talleyrand’s Relations with Fox and Pitt — Negro Emancipation Bill — State of the West Indies — The Reformed Parliament meets — Russian Intrigues — Four Days Debate on the Address — Peel’s Political Career.

CHAPTER XX.

Appointment of Sir Stratford Canning to the Russian Embassy — Cause of the Refusal — Slavery in the West Indies — The Reformed Parliament — Duke of Wellington’s View of Affairs — The Coercion Bill — The Privy Council Bill — Lord Durham made an Earl — Mr. Stanley Secretary for the Colonies — The Russians go to the Assistance of the Porte — Lord Goderich has the Privy Seal, an Earldom, and the Garter — Embarrassments of the Government — The Appeal of Drax v. Grosvenor at the Privy Council — Hobhouse defeated in Westminster — Bill for Negro Emancipation — The Russians on the Bosphorus — Mr. Littleton Chief Secretary for Ireland — Respect shown to the Duke of Wellington — Moral of a ‘Book on the Derby’ — The Oaks — A Betting Incident — Ascot — Government beaten in the Lords on Foreign Policy — Vote of Confidence in the Commons — Drax v. Grosvenor decided — Lord Eldon’s Last Judgment — His Character — Duke of Wellington as Leader of Opposition — West India Affairs — Irish Church Bill — Appropriation Clause — A Fancy Bazaar — The King writes to the Bishops — Local Court Bill — Mirabeau.


A JOURNAL
OF THE
REIGN OF KING WILLIAM THE FOURTH


CHAPTER XI.

[1] Accession of William IV. — The King’s Proceedings — His Popularity — Funeral of George IV. — Dislike of the Duke of Cumberland — The King’s Simplicity and Good-nature — Reviews the Guards — The First Court — The King in St. James’s Street — Dissolution of Parliament — The King dines at Apsley House — The Duke of Gloucester — The Quakers’ Address — The Ordinances of July — The French Revolution — Brougham’s Election for Yorkshire — Struggle in Paris — Elections Adverse to Government — The Duke of Wellington on the French Revolution — Duke of Cumberland resigns the Gold Stick and the Blues — George IV.’s Wardrobe — Fall of the Bourbons — Weakness of the Duke’s Ministry — The King at Windsor — The Duke of Orleans accepts the Crown of France — Chamber of Peers remodelled — Prince Polignac — The New Parliament — Virginia Water — Details of George IV.’s Illness and Death — Symptoms of Opposition — Brougham — Charles X. in England — Dinner in St. George’s Hall — Lambeth — Marshal Marmont — His Conversation — Campaign of 1814 — The Conflict in Paris — Dinner at Lord Dudley’s.


1830.

London, July 16th, 1830

I returned here on the 6th of this month, and have waited these ten days to look about me and see and hear what is passing. The present King and his proceedings occupy all attention, and nobody thinks any more of the late King than if he had been dead fifty years, unless it be to abuse him and to rake up all his vices and misdeeds. Never was elevation like that of King William IV. His life has been hitherto passed in obscurity [2] and neglect, in miserable poverty, surrounded by a numerous progeny of bastards, without consideration or friends, and he was ridiculous from his grotesque ways and little meddling curiosity. Nobody ever invited him into their house, or thought it necessary to honour him with any mark of attention or respect; and so he went on for above forty years, till Canning brought him into notice by making him Lord High Admiral at the time of his grand Ministerial schism. In that post he distinguished himself by making absurd speeches, by a morbid official activity, and by a general wildness which was thought to indicate incipient insanity, till shortly after Canning’s death and the Duke’s accession, as is well known, the latter dismissed him. He then dropped back into obscurity, but had become by this time somewhat more of a personage than he was before. His brief administration of the navy, the death of the Duke of York, which made him heir to the throne, his increased wealth and regular habits, had procured him more consideration, though not a great deal. Such was his position when George IV. broke all at once, and after three months of expectation William finds himself King.

July 18th, 1830

King George had not been dead three days before everybody discovered that he was no loss, and King William a great gain. Certainly nobody ever was less regretted than the late King, and the breath was hardly out of his body before the press burst forth in full cry against him, and raked up all his vices, follies, and misdeeds, which were numerous and glaring enough.

The new King began very well. Everybody expected he would keep the Ministers in office, but he threw himself into the arms of the Duke of Wellington with the strongest expressions of confidence and esteem. He proposed to all the Household, as well as to the members of Government, to keep their places, which they all did except Lord Conyngham and the Duke of Montrose. He soon after, however, dismissed most of the equerries, that he might fill their places with the members of his own family. Of course such a King wanted not due praise, and plenty of anecdotes were raked [3] KING WILLIAM’S ACCESSION. up of his former generosities and kindnesses. His first speech to the Council was well enough given, but his burlesque character began even then to show itself. Nobody expected from him much real grief, and he does not seem to know how to act it consistently; he spoke of his brother with all the semblance of feeling, and in a tone of voice properly softened and subdued, but just afterwards, when they gave him the pen to sign the declaration, he said, in his usual tone, ‘This is a damned bad pen you have given me.’ My worthy colleague Mr. James Buller began to swear Privy Councillors in the name of ‘King George IV.—William, I mean,’ to the great diversion of the Council.

A few days after my return I was sworn in, all the Ministers and some others being present. His Majesty presided very decently, and looked like a respectable old admiral. The Duke [of Wellington] told me he was delighted with him—‘If I had been able to deal with my late master as I do with my present, I should have got on much better’—that he was so reasonable and tractable, and that he had done more business with him in ten minutes than with the other in as many days.

I met George Fitzclarence, afterwards Earl of Munster,[1] the same day, and repeated what the Duke said, and he told me how delighted his father was with the Duke, his entire confidence in him, and that the Duke might as entirely depend upon the King; that he had told his Majesty, when he was at Paris, that Polignac and the Duke of Orleans had both asked him whether the Duke of Clarence, when he became King, would keep the Duke of Wellington as his Minister, and the King said, ‘What did you reply?’ ‘I [4] replied that you certainly would; did not I do right?’ ‘Certainly, you did quite right.’

[1] [Eldest son of King William IV. by Mrs. Jordan, who was shortly after the accession created an earl by his father. The rank of ‘marquis’s younger children’ was conferred upon the rest of the family. The King had nine natural children by Mrs. Jordan: 1, George, a major-general in the army, afterwards Earl of Munster; 2, Frederick, also in the army; 3, Adolphus, a rear-admiral; 4, Augustus, in holy orders; 5. Sophia, married to Lord de l’Isle; 6, Mary, married to Colonel Fox; 7, Elizabeth, married to the Earl of Errol; 8, Augusta, married first to the Hon. John Kennedy Erskine, and secondly to Lord John Frederick Gordon; 9, Amelia, married to Viscount Falkland.]

He began immediately to do good-natured things, to provide for old friends and professional adherents, and he bestowed a pension upon Tierney’s widow. The great offices of Chamberlain and Steward he abandoned to the Duke of Wellington. There never was anything like the enthusiasm with which he was greeted by all ranks; though he has trotted about both town and country for sixty-four years, and nobody ever turned round to look at him, he cannot stir now without a mob, patrician as well as plebeian, at his heels. All the Park congregated round the gate to see him drive into town the day before yesterday. But in the midst of all this success and good conduct certain indications of strangeness and oddness peep out which are not a little alarming, and he promises to realise the fears of his Ministers that he will do and say too much, though they flatter themselves that they have muzzled him in his approaching progress by reminding him that his words will be taken as his Ministers’, and he must, therefore, be chary of them.

At the late King’s funeral he behaved with great indecency. That ceremony was very well managed, and a fine sight, the military part particularly, and the Guards were magnificent. The attendance was not very numerous, and when they had all got together in St. George’s Hall a gayer company I never beheld; with the exception of Mount Charles, who was deeply affected, they were all as merry as grigs. The King was chief mourner, and, to my astonishment, as he entered the chapel directly behind the body, in a situation in which he should have been apparently, if not really, absorbed in the melancholy duty he was performing, he darted up to Strathaven, who was ranged on one side below the Dean’s stall, shook him heartily by the hand, and then went on nodding to the right and left. He had previously gone as chief mourner to sit for an hour at the head of the body as it lay in state, and he walked in procession with his household to the apartment. I saw him pass from behind the screen. Lord Jersey had been in the morning to Bushy [5] DISLIKE OF THE DUKE OF CUMBERLAND. to kiss hands on being made Chamberlain, when he had received him very graciously, told him it was the Duke and not himself who had made him, but that he was delighted to have him. At Windsor, when he arrived, he gave Jersey the white wand, or rather took one from him he had provided for himself, and gave it him again with a little speech. When he went to sit in state, Jersey preceded him, and he said when all was ready, ‘Go on to the body, Jersey; you will get your dress coat as soon as you can.’ The morning after the funeral, having slept at Frogmore, he went all over the Castle, into every room in the house, which he had never seen before except when he came there as a guest; after which he received an address from the ecclesiastical bodies of Windsor and Eton, and returned an answer quite unpremeditated which they told me was excellent.

He is very well with all his family, particularly the Duke of Sussex, but he dislikes and seems to know the Duke of Cumberland, who is furious at his own discredit. The King has taken from him the Gold Stick, by means of which he had usurped the functions of all the other colonels of the regiments of the Guards, and put himself always about the late King. He says the Duke’s rank is too high to perform those functions, and has put an end to his services. He has only put the Gold Sticks on their former footing, and they are all to take the duty in turn.

In the meantime the Duke of Cumberland has shown his teeth in another way. His horses have hitherto stood in the stables which are appropriated to the Queen, and the other day Lord Errol, her new Master of the Horse, went to her Majesty and asked her where she chose her horses should be; she said, of course, she knew nothing about it, but in the proper place. Errol then said the Duke of Cumberland’s horses were in her stables, and could not be got out without an order from the King. The King was spoken to, and he commanded the Duke of Leeds to order them out. The Duke of Leeds took the order to the Duke of Cumberland, who said ‘he would be damned if they should go,’ when the Duke of Leeds said that he trusted he would have them [6] taken out the following day, as unless he did so he should be under the necessity of ordering them to be removed by the King’s grooms, when the Duke was obliged sulkily to give way. When the King gave the order to the Duke of Leeds, he sent for Taylor that he might be present, and said at the same time that he had a very bad opinion of the Duke of Cumberland, and he wished he would live out of the country.

The King’s good-nature, simplicity, and affability to all about him are certainly very striking, and in his elevation he does not forget any of his old friends and companions. He was in no hurry to take upon himself the dignity of King, nor to throw off the habits and manners of a country gentleman. When Lord Chesterfield went to Bushy to kiss his hand, and be presented to the Queen, he found Sir John and Lady Gore there lunching, and when they went away the King called for their carriage, handed Lady Gore into it, and stood at the door to see them off. When Lord Howe came over from Twickenham to see him, he said the Queen was going out driving, and should ‘drop him’ at his own house. The Queen, they say, is by no means delighted at her elevation. She likes quiet and retirement and Bushy (of which the King has made her Ranger), and does not want to be a Queen. However, ‘L’appétit viendra en mangeant.’ He says he does not want luxury and magnificence, has slept in a cot, and he has dismissed the King’s cooks, ‘renversé la marmite.’ He keeps the stud (which is to be diminished) because he thinks he ought to support the turf. He has made Mount Charles a Lord of the Bedchamber, and given the Robes to Sir C. Pole, an admiral. Altogether he seems a kind-hearted, well-meaning, not stupid, burlesque, bustling old fellow, and if he doesn’t go mad may make a very decent King, but he exhibits oddities. He would not have his servants in mourning—that is, not those of his own family and household—but he sent the Duke of Sussex to Mrs. Fitzherbert to desire she would put hers in mourning, and consequently so they are. The King and she have always been friends, as she has, in fact, been with all the Royal Family, but it was very [7] THE KING’S ODDITIES. strange. Yesterday morning he sent for the officer on guard, and ordered him to take all the muffles off the drums, the scarfs off the regimentals, and so to appear on parade, where he went himself. The colonel would have put the officer under arrest for doing this without his orders, but the King said he was commanding officer of his own guard, and forbade him. All odd, and people are frightened, but his wits will at least last till the new Parliament meets. I sent him a very respectful request through Taylor that he would pay 300ℓ., all that remained due of the Duke of York’s debts at Newmarket, which he assented to directly, as soon as the Privy Purse should be settled—very good-natured. In the meantime it is said that the bastards are dissatisfied that more is not done for them, but he cannot do much for them at once, and he must have time. He has done all he can; he has made Errol Master of the Horse, Sidney a Guelph and Equerry, George Fitzclarence the same and Adjutant-General, and doubtless they will all have their turn. Of course the stories told about the rapacity of the Conynghams have been innumerable. The King’s will excited much astonishment, but as yet nothing is for certain known about the money, or what became of it, or what he gave away, and to whom, in his lifetime.

July 20th, 1830

Yesterday was a very busy day with his Majesty, who is going much too fast, and begins to alarm his Ministers and astonish the world. In the morning he inspected the Coldstream Guards, dressed (for the first time in his life) in a military uniform and with a great pair of gold spurs half-way up his legs like a game cock, although he was not to ride, for having chalk-stones in his hands he can’t hold the reins. The Queen came to Lady Bathurst’s to see the review and hold a sort of drawing-room, when the Ministers’ wives were presented to her, and official men, to which were added Lady Bathurst’s relations; everybody was in undress except the officers. She is very ugly, with a horrid complexion, but has good manners, and did all this (which she hated) very well. She said the part as if she was acting, and wished the green curtain to drop. After [8] the review the King, with the Dukes of Cumberland, Sussex, and Gloucester, and Prince George and the Prince of Prussia, and the Duchess of Cumberland’s son, came in through the garden gate; the Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Augusta were already there; they breakfasted and then went away, the Duke of Gloucester bowing to the company while nobody was taking any notice of him or thinking about him. Nature must have been merry when she made this Prince, and in the sort of mood that certain great artists used to exhibit in their comical caricatures; I never saw a countenance which that line in Dryden’s M‘Flecknoe would so well describe—

And lambent dulness plays around his face.

At one there was to be a Council, to swear in Privy Councillors and Lords-Lieutenant, and receive Oxford and Cambridge addresses. The review made it an hour later, and the Lieutenants, who had been summoned at one, and who are great, selfish, pampered aristocrats, were furious at being kept waiting, particularly Lord Grosvenor and the Duke of Newcastle, the former very peevish, the latter bitter-humoured. I was glad to see them put to inconvenience. I never saw so full a Court, so much nobility with academical tagrag and bobtail. After considerable delay the King received the Oxford and Cambridge addresses on the throne, which (having only one throne between them) he then abdicated for the Queen to seat herself on and receive them too. She sat it very well, surrounded by the Princesses and her ladies and household. When this mob could be got rid of the table was brought in and the Council held. The Duke was twice sworn as Constable of the Tower and Lieutenant of Hants; then Jersey and the new Privy Councillors; and then the host of Lieutenants six or seven at a time, or as many as could hold a bit of the Testament. I begged the King would, to expedite the business, dispense with their kneeling, which he did, and so we got on rapidly enough; and I whispered to Jersey, who stood by me behind the King with his white wand, ‘The farce is good, isn’t it?’ as they each kissed his hand. I told him their name or county, or [9] THE KING IN ST. JAMES’S STREET. both, and he had a civil word to say to everybody, inviting some to dinner, promising to visit others, reminding them of former visits, or something good-humoured; he asked Lord Egremont’s permission to go and live in his county, at Brighton.

All this was very well; no great harm in it; more affable, less dignified than the late King; but when this was over, and he might very well have sat himself quietly down and rested, he must needs put on his plainer clothes and start on a ramble about the streets, alone too. In Pall Mall he met Watson Taylor, and took his arm and went up St. James’s Street. There he was soon followed by a mob making an uproar, and when he got near White’s a woman came up and kissed him. Belfast (who had been sworn in Privy Councillor in the morning), who saw this from White’s, and Clinton thought it time to interfere, and came out to attend upon him. The mob increased, and, always holding W. Taylor’s arm, and flanked by Clinton and Belfast, who got shoved and kicked about to their inexpressible wrath, he got back to the Palace amid shouting and bawling and applause. When he got home he asked them to go in and take a quiet walk in the garden, and said, ‘Oh, never mind all this; when I have walked about a few times they will get used to it, and will take no notice.’ There are other stories, but I will put down nothing I do not see or hear, or hear from the witnesses. Belfast told me this in the Park, fresh from the scene and smarting from the buffeting he had got. All the Park was ringing with it, and I told Lady Bathurst, who thought it so serious she said she would get Lord Bathurst to write to the Duke directly about it. Lord Combermere wanted to be made a Privy Councillor yesterday, but the Duke would not let it be done; he is in a sort of half-disgrace, and is not to be made yet, but will be by-and-by.

Grove Road, July 21st, 1830

I came and established myself here last night after the Duchess of Bedford’s ball. Lady Bathurst told me that the Queen spoke to her yesterday morning about the King’s walk and being followed, and [10] said that for the future he must walk early in the morning, or in some less public place, so there are hopes that his activity may be tamed. He sent George Fitzclarence off from dinner in his silk stockings and cocked hat to Boulogne to invite the King of Würtemberg to come here; he was back in fifty-six hours, and might have been in less. He employs him in everything, and I heard Fitzclarence yesterday ask the Duke of Leeds for two of his father’s horses to ride about on his jobs and relieve his own, which the Duke agreed to, but made a wry face. Mount Charles has refused to be Lord of the Bedchamber; his wife can’t bear it, and he doesn’t like to go to Windsor under such altered circumstances. I hardly ever record the scandalous stories of the day, unless they relate to characters or events, but what relates to public men is different from the loves and friendships of the idiots of society.

July 24th, 1830

Went to St. James’s the day before yesterday for a Council for the dissolution, but there was none. Yesterday morning there was an idea of having one, but it is to-day instead, and early in the morning, that the Ministers may be able to go to their fish dinner at Greenwich. I called on the Duke yesterday evening to know about a Council, but he could not tell me. Then came a Mr. Moss (or his card) while I was there. ‘Who is he?’ I said. ‘Oh, a man who wants to see me about a canal. I can’t see him. Everybody will see me, and how the Devil they think I am to see everybody, and be the whole morning with the King, and to do the whole business of the country, I don’t know. I am quite worn out with it.’ I longed to tell him that it is this latter part they would willingly relieve him from.

I met Vesey Fitzgerald, just come from Paris, and had a long conversation with him about the state of the Government; he seems aware of the difficulties and the necessity of acquiring more strength, of the universal persuasion that the Duke will be all in all, and says that in the Cabinet nobody can be more reasonable and yielding and deferential to the opinions of his colleagues. But Murray’s appointment, [11] THE KING GOES DOWN TO PARLIAMENT. he says, was a mistake,[2] and no personal consideration should induce the Duke to sacrifice the interests of the country by keeping him; it may be disagreeable to dismiss him, but he must do it. Hay told me that for the many years he had been in office he had never met with any public officer so totally inefficient as he, not even Warrender at the Admiralty Board.

[2] [Sir George Murray was Secretary of State for the Colonial Department.]

In the meantime the King has had his levee, which was crowded beyond all precedent. He was very civil to the people, particularly to Sefton, who had quarrelled with the late King.

Yesterday he went to the House of Lords, and was admirably received. I can fancy nothing like his delight at finding himself in the state coach surrounded by all his pomp. He delivered the Speech very well, they say, for I did not go to hear him. He did not wear the crown, which was carried by Lord Hastings. Etiquette is a thing he cannot comprehend. He wanted to take the King of Würtemberg with him in his coach, till he was told it was out of the question. In his private carriage he continues to sit backwards, and when he goes with men makes one sit by him and not opposite to him. Yesterday, after the House of Lords, he drove all over the town in an open calèche with the Queen, Princess Augusta, and the King of Würtemberg, and coming home he set down the King (dropped him, as he calls it) at Grillon’s Hotel. The King of England dropping another king at a tavern! It is impossible not to be struck with his extreme good-nature and simplicity, which he cannot or will not exchange for the dignity of his new situation and the trammels of etiquette; but he ought to be made to understand that his simplicity degenerates into vulgarity, and that without departing from his natural urbanity he may conduct himself so as not to lower the character with which he is invested, and which belongs not to him, but to the country.

[12] At his dinner at St. James’s the other day more people were invited than there was room for, and some half-dozen were forced to sit at a side table. He said to Lord Brownlow, ‘Well, when you are flooded (he thinks Lincolnshire is all fen) you will come to us at Windsor.’ To the Freemasons he was rather good. The Duke of Sussex wanted him to receive their address in a solemn audience, which he refused, and when they did come he said, ‘Gentlemen, if my love for you equalled my ignorance of everything concerning you, it would be unbounded,’ and then he added something good-humoured. The consequence of his trotting about, and saying the odd things he does, is that there are all sorts of stories about him which are not true, and he is always expected everywhere. In the meantime I believe that politically he relies implicitly on the Duke, who can make him do anything. Agar Ellis (who is bustling and active, always wishing to play a part, and gets mixed up with the politics of this and that party through his various connections) told me the other day that he knew the Duke was knocking at every door, hitherto without success, and that he must be contented to take a party, and not expect to strengthen himself by picking out individuals. I think this too, but why not open his doors to all comers? There are no questions now to stand in his way; his Government must be remodelled, and he may last for ever personally.

July 25th, 1830

Yesterday at Court at eleven; a Council for the dissolution. This King and these Councils are very unlike the last—few people present, frequent, punctual, less ceremony observed. Though these Ministers have been in office all their lives, nobody knew how many days must elapse before Parliament was summoned; some said sixty, some seventy days, but not one knew, nor had they settled the matter previously; so Lord Rosslyn and I were obliged to go to Bridgewater House, which was near, and consult the journals. It has always been fifty-two days of late.

In the afternoon another embarrassment. We sent the proclamations to the Chancellor (one for England and one for Ireland), to have the Great Seal affixed to them; he [13] THE KING DINES AT APSLEY HOUSE. would only affix the Seal to the English, and sent back the Irish unsealed. The Secretary of State would not send it to Ireland without the Great Seal, and all the Ministers were gone to the fish dinner at Greenwich, so that there was no getting at anybody. At last we got it done at Lincoln’s Inn and sent it off. The fact is, nobody knows his business, and the Chancellor least of all. The King continues very active; he went after the Council to Buckingham House, then to the Thames Tunnel, has immense dinners every day, and the same people two or three days running. He has dismissed the late King’s band, and employs the bands of the Guards every night, who are ready to die of it, for they get no pay and are prevented earning money elsewhere. The other night the King had a party, and at eleven o’clock he dismissed them thus: ‘Now, ladies and gentlemen, I wish you a good night. I will not detain you any longer from your amusements, and shall go to my own, which is to go to bed; so come along, my Queen.’ The other day he was very angry because the guard did not know him in his plain clothes and turn out for him—the first appearance of jealousy of his greatness he has shown—and he ordered them to be more on the alert for the future.

July 26th, 1830

Still the King; his adventures (for they are nothing else) furnish matter of continual amusement and astonishment to his liege subjects. Yesterday morning, or the evening before, he announced to the Duke of Wellington that he should dine with him yesterday; accordingly the Duke was obliged, in the midst of preparations for his breakfast, to get a dinner ready for him. In the morning he took the King of Würtemberg to Windsor, and just at the hour when the Duke expected him to dinner he was driving through Hyde Park back from Windsor—three barouches-and-four, the horses dead knocked up, in the front the two Kings, Jersey, and somebody else, all covered with dust. The whole mob of carriages and horsemen assembled near Apsley House to see him pass and to wait till he returned. The Duke, on hearing he was there, rushed down without his hat and stood in his gate in the middle of servants, mob, &c., to [14] see him pass. He drove to Grillon’s ‘to drop’ the King of Würtemberg, and at a quarter past eight he arrived at Apsley House. There were about forty-five men, no women, half the Ministers, most of the foreign Ministers, and a mixture rather indiscriminate. In the evening I was at Lady Salisbury’s, when arrived the Duke of Sussex, who gave a short account to Sefton of what had passed, and of the King’s speech to the company. ‘You and I,’ he said, ‘are old Whigs, my Lord, and I confess I was somewhat astonished to hear his Majesty’s speech.’ I went afterwards to Crockford’s, where I found Matuscewitz, who gave me a whole account of the dinner. The two Kings went out to dinner arm in arm, the Duke followed; the King sat between the King of Würtemberg and the Duke. After dinner his health was drunk, to which he returned thanks, sitting, but briefly, and promised to say more by-and-by when he should give a toast. In process of time he desired Douro to go and tell the band to play the merriest waltz they could for the toast he was about to give. He then gave ‘The Queen of Würtemberg,’ with many eulogiums on her and on the connubial felicity of her and the King; not a very agreeable theme for his host, for conjugal fidelity is not his forte. At length he desired Douro to go again to the band and order them to play ‘See the conquering hero comes,’ and then he rose. All the company rose with him, when he ordered everybody to sit down. Still standing, he said that he had been so short a time on the throne that he did not know whether etiquette required that he should speak sitting or standing, but, however this might be, he had been long used to speak on his legs, and should do so now; he then proposed the Duke’s health, but prefaced it with a long speech—instituted a comparison between him and the Duke of Marlborough; went back to the reign of Queen Anne, and talked of the great support the Duke of Marlborough had received from the Crown, and the little support the Duke of Wellington had had in the outset of his career, though after the battle of Vimeiro he had been backed by all the energies of the country; that, notwithstanding his difficulties, his [15] THE KING’S SPEECH AT APSLEY HOUSE. career had been one continued course of victory over the armies of France; and then recollecting the presence of Laval, the French Ambassador, he said, ‘Remember, Duc de Laval, when I talk of victories over the French armies, they were not the armies of my ally and friend the King of France, but of him who had usurped his throne, and against whom you yourself were combating;’ then going back to the Duke’s career, and again referring to the comparison between him and Marlborough, and finishing by adverting to his political position, that he had on mounting the throne found the Duke Minister, and that he had retained him because he thought his Administration had been and would be highly beneficial to the country; that he gave to him his fullest and most cordial confidence, and that he announced to all whom he saw around him, to all the Ambassadors and Ministers of foreign Powers, and to all the noblemen and gentlemen present, that as long as he should sit upon the throne he should continue to give him the same confidence. The Duke returned thanks in a short speech, thanking the King for his confidence and support, and declaring that all his endeavours would be used to keep this country in relations of harmony with other nations. The whole company stood aghast at the King’s extraordinary speech and declaration. Matuscewitz told me he never was so astonished, that for the world he would not have missed it, and that he would never have believed in it if he had not heard it.

Falck[3] gave me a delightful account of the speech and of Laval. He thought, not understanding one word, that all the King was saying was complimentary to the King of France and the French nation, and he kept darting from his seat to make his acknowledgments, while Esterhazy held him down by the tail of his coat, and the King stopped him [16] with his hand outstretched, all with great difficulty. He said it was very comical.

[3] [Baron Falck, Dutch Minister at the Court of St. James’s. M. de Laval was the French Ambassador. This dinner took place on the day after the publication of the ordinances of July. Three days later Charles X. had ceased to reign. M. de Laval instantly left London on the receipt of the intelligence, leaving M. de Vaudreuil as Chargé d’Affaires.]

July 27th, 1830

Review in the morning (yesterday), breakfast at Apsley House, chapter of the Garter, dinner at St. James’s, party in the evening, and ball at Apsley House. I don’t hear of anything remarkable, and it was so hot I could not go to anything, except the breakfast, which I just looked in to for a minute, and found everybody sweating and stuffing and the royalties just going away. The Duke of Gloucester keeps up his quarrel with the Duke; the Duke of Cumberland won’t go to Apsley House, but sent the Duchess and his boy. The Queen said at dinner the other day to the Duke of Cumberland, ‘I am very much pleased with you for sending the Duchess to Apsley House,’ and then turned to the Duke of Gloucester and said, ‘but I am not pleased with you for not letting the Duchess go there.’ The fool answered that the Duchess should never go there; he would not be reconciled, forgetting that it matters not twopence to the Duke of Wellington and a great deal to himself.

I have been employed in settling half a dozen disputes of different sorts, but generally without success, trifling matters, foolish or violent people, not worth remembering any of them. The Chancellor, who does not know his own business, has made an attack on my office about the proclamations, but I have vindicated it in a letter to Lord Bathurst.

July 28th, 1830

Yesterday Charles Wynn and I settled the dispute between Clive and Charlton about the Ludlow matters. Charlton agrees to retire from the contest both in the Borough and Corporation, and Clive agrees to pay him. 1,125ℓ. towards his expenses, and not to oppose the reception of any petition that may be presented to the House of Commons for the purpose of re-opening the question of the right of voting. Both parties are very well satisfied with this termination of their disputes. Met the Chancellor at Lady Ravensworth’s breakfast yesterday, who told me he had sent a rejoinder to my letter to Lord Bathurst about the proclamations.

July 29th, 1830

Yesterday a standing Council at the levee [17] ORDINANCES OF CHARLES X. to swear in Lord Hereford and Vesey Fitzgerald, and to declare Lord Bathurst President of the Council and the Duke of Northumberland Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. Previously the King received the address of the dissenting ministers, and then that of the Quakers, presented by William Allen; they were very prim and respectable persons; their hats were taken off by each other in the room before the Throne Room, and they did not bow, though they seemed half inclined to do so; they made a very loyal address, but without ‘Majesty,’ and said ‘O King.’ There was a question after his answer what they should do. I thought it was whether they should kiss hands, for the King said something to Peel, who went and asked them, and I heard the King say, ‘Oh, just as they like; they needn’t if they don’t like; it’s all one.’

But the great event of the day was the reception of the King of France’s two decrees, and the address of his Ministers, who produced them; nothing could surpass the universal astonishment and consternation. Falck told me he was reading the newspaper at his breakfast regularly through, and when he came to this the teacup almost dropped from his hands, and he rubbed his eyes to see whether he read correctly. Such was the secresy with which this measure was conceived and acted on, that Pozzo, who is quicker and has better intelligence than anybody, had not a notion of it, as Matuscewitz told me. Aberdeen learnt it through the ‘Times,’ and had not a line from Stuart. That, however, is nothing extraordinary. I suspect somebody had it, for Raikes wrote me a note the day before, to ask me if there was not something bad from France. Matuscewitz told me that Russia would not afford Charles X. the smallest support in his new crusade against the Constitution of France, and this he pronounced openly à qui voulait l’entendre. I suspect the Duke will be desperately annoyed. The only Minister I had a word with about it was Lord Bathurst, whose Tory blood bubbled a little quicker at such a despotic act, and while owning the folly of the deed he could not help adding that ‘he should have repressed the [18] press when he dissolved the Chambers, then he might have done it.’

July 30th, 1830

Everybody anxious for news from France. A few hope, and still fewer think, the King of France will succeed, and that the French will submit, but the press here joins in grand chorus against the suppression of the liberty of that over the water. Matuscewitz told me he had a conference with the Duke, who was excessively annoyed, but what seems to have struck him more than anything is the extraordinary secresy of the business, and neither Pozzo nor Stuart having known one word of it. Up to the last Polignac has deceived everybody, and put such words into the King’s mouth that nobody could expect such a coup. The King assured Pozzo di Borgo the day before that nothing of the sort was in contemplation. This, like everything else, will be judged by the event—desperate fatuity if it fails, splendid energy and accurate calculation of opposite moral forces if it succeeds. I judge that it will fail, because I can see no marks of wisdom in the style of execution, and the State paper is singularly puerile and weak in argument. It is passionate and not dexterous, not even plausible. All this is wonderfully interesting, and will give us a lively autumn.

The King has been to Woolwich, inspecting the artillery, to whom he gave a dinner, with toasts and hip, hip, hurrahing and three times three, himself giving the time. I tremble for him; at present he is only a mountebank, but he bids fair to be a maniac.

Brougham will come in for Yorkshire without a contest; his address was very eloquent. He is rather mad without a doubt; his speeches this year have been sometimes more brilliant than ever they were; but who with such stupendous talents was ever so little considered? We admire him as we do a fine actor, and nobody ever possessed such enormous means, and displayed a mind so versatile, fertile, and comprehensive, and yet had so little efficacy and influence. He told me just before he left town that Yorkshire had been proposed to him, but that he had written word he would not [19] REVOLUTION IN PARIS. stand, nor spend a guinea, nor go there, nor even take the least trouble about the concerns of anyone of his constituents, if they elected him; but he soon changed his note.

July 31st, 1830

Yesterday morning I met Matuscewitz in St. James’s Street, who said, ‘You have heard the news?’ But I had not, so I got into his cabriolet, and he told me that Bülow had just been with him with an account of Rothschild’s estafette, who had brought intelligence of a desperate conflict at Paris between the people and the Royal Guard, in which 1,000 men had been killed of the former, and of the eventual revolt of two regiments, which decided the business; that the Swiss had refused to fire on the people; the King is gone to Rambouillet, the Ministers are missing, and the Deputies who were at Paris had assembled in the Chambers, and declared their sittings permanent. Nothing can exceed the interest and excitement that all these proceedings create here, and unless there is a reaction, which does not seem probable, the game is up with the Bourbons. They richly deserve their fate. It remains to be seen what part Bourmont and the Algerian army will take; the latter will probably side with the nation, and the former will be guided by his own interest, and is not unlikely to endeavour to direct a spirit which he could not expect to control. He may reconcile himself to the country by a double treachery.

At night.—To-day at one o’clock Stuart’s messenger arrived with a meagre account, having left Paris on the night of the 29th. The tricoloured flag had been raised; the National Guard was up, commanded by old Lafayette (their chief forty years ago), who ruled in Paris with Gérard, Odier, Casimir Périer, Lafitte, and one or two more. The Tuileries and the Louvre had been pillaged; the King was at Rambouillet, where Marshal Marmont had retired, and had with him a large force. Nobody, however, believed they would fight against the people. The Deputies and the Peers had met, and the latter separated without doing anything; the former had a stormy discussion, but came to no resolution. Some were for a republic, some for the Duke of Orleans, some for the Duke of Bordeaux with the Duke of Orleans as Regent. [20] Rothschild had another courier with later intelligence. The King had desired to treat, and that proposals might be made to him; all the Ministers escaped from Paris by a subterranean passage which led from the Tuileries to the river, and even at St. Cloud the Duke told Matuscewitz that ‘Marmont had taken up a good military position,’ as if it was a military and not a moral question. Strange he should think of such a thing, but they are all terrified to death at the national flag and colours, because they see in its train revolutions, invasions, and a thousand alarms. I own I would rather have seen an easy transfer of the Crown to some other head under the white flag. There was Lady Tankerville going about to-day enquiring of everybody for news, trembling for her brother ‘and his brigade.’ Late in the day she got Lady Jersey to go with her to Rothschild, whom she saw, and Madame Rothschild, who showed her all their letters. Tankerville, who is a sour, malignant little Whig (since become an ultra-Tory), loudly declares Polignac ought to be hung. The elections here are going against Government, and no candidate will avow that he stands on Government interest, or with the intention of supporting the Duke’s Ministry, which looks as if it had lost all its popularity.

August 2nd, 1830

Yesterday (Sunday) we had no news and no reports, except one that Marmont was killed. I never believe reports. The elections still go against Government. G. Dawson returned from Dublin; all the Peels lose their seats. Fordwich beat Baring at Canterbury by 370 votes. It is said the King was in a state of great excitement at Woolwich the other day, when it was very hot, and he drank a good deal of wine.

Evening.—This morning, on going into town, I read in the ‘Times’ the news of the day—the proclamation of the Provisional Government, the invitation to the Duke of Orleans, his proclamation, and the account of the conversation between Lafitte and Marmont. It is in vain to look for private or official information, for the ‘Times’ always has the latest and the best; Stuart sends next to nothing. Soon after I got to George Street the Duke of Wellington [21] WELLINGTON ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. came in, in excellent spirits, and talked over the whole matter. He said he could not comprehend how the Royal Guard had been defeated by the mob, and particularly how they had been forced to evacuate the Tuileries; that he had seen English and French troops hold houses whole days not one-fourth so strong. I said that there could not be a shadow of doubt that it was because they would not fight, that if they would have fought they must have beat the mob, and reminded him of the French at Madrid, and asked him if he did not think his regiment would beat all the populace of London, which he said it would. He described the whole affair as it has taken place, and said that there can be no doubt that the moneyed men of Paris (who are all against the Government) and the Liberals had foreseen a violent measure on the part of the King, and had organised the resistance; that on the appearance of the edicts the bankers simultaneously refused to discount any bills, on which the great manufacturers and merchants dismissed their workmen, to the number of many thousands, who inflamed the public discontent, and united to oppose the military and the execution of the decrees. He said positively that we should not take any part, and that no other Government ought or could. He does not like the Duke of Orleans, and thinks his proclamation mean and shabby, but owned that under all circumstances his election to the Crown would probably be the best thing that could happen. The Duke of Chartres he had known here, and thought he was intelligent. The Duke considered the thing as settled, but did not feel at all sure they would offer the Crown to the Duke of Orleans. He said he could not guess or form an opinion as to their ulterior proceedings.

After discussing the whole business with his usual simplicity, he began talking of the Duke of Cumberland and his resignation of the command of the Blues. Formerly the colonels of the two regiments of Life Guards held alternately the Gold Stick, and these two regiments were under the immediate orders of the King, and not of the Commander-in-Chief. When the Duke of Wellington returned [22] from Spain and had the command of the Blues, the King insisted upon his taking the duty also; so it was divided into three, but the Blues still continued under the Commander-in-Chief. But when the Duke of Cumberland wanted to be continually about the King, he got him to give him the command of the Household troops; this was at the period of the death of the Duke of York and the Duke of Wellington’s becoming Commander-in-Chief. The Duke of Cumberland told the Duke of Wellington that he had received the King’s verbal commands to that effect, and from that time he alone kept the Gold Stick, and the Blues were withdrawn from the authority of the Commander-in-Chief. The Duke of Wellington made no opposition; but last year, during the uproar on the Catholic question, he perceived the inconvenience of the arrangement, and intended to speak to the King about it, for the Duke of Cumberland was concerned in organising mobs to go down to Windsor to frighten Lady Conyngham and the King, and the Horse Guards, who would naturally have been called out to suppress any tumult, would not have been disposable without the Duke of Cumberland’s concurrence, so much so that on one particular occasion, when the Kentish men were to have gone to Windsor 20,000 strong, the Duke of Wellington detained a regiment of light cavalry who were marching elsewhere, that he might not be destitute of military aid. Before, however, he did anything about this with the King (‘I always,’ he said, ‘do one thing at a time’) his Majesty was taken ill and died.

On the accession of the present King the Duke of Cumberland wished to continue the same system, which his Majesty was resolved he should not, and he ordered that the colonels of the regiments should take the Stick in rotation. He also ordered (through Sir R. Peel) that Lord Combermere should command the troops at the funeral as Gold Stick. This the Duke of Cumberland resisted, and sent down orders to Lord Cathcart to assume the command. The Duke of Wellington, however, represented to Lord Cathcart that he had better do no such thing, as nobody could disobey the [23] WARDROBE OF GEORGE IV. King’s orders gone through the Secretary of State, and accordingly he did nothing. But the King was determined to put an end to the pretensions of the Duke of Cumberland, and spoke to the Duke on the subject, and said that he would have all the regiments placed under the orders of the Commander-in-Chief. The Duke recommended him to replace the matter in the state in which it stood before the Duke of Cumberland’s pretensions had altered it, but he would not do this, and chose to abide by his original intention; so the three regiments were placed under the orders of the Horse Guards like the rest, and the Duke of Cumberland in consequence resigned the command of the Blues.

August 3rd, 1830

Notwithstanding the above story, the King dined with the Duke of Cumberland at Kew yesterday. I went yesterday to the sale of the late King’s wardrobe, which was numerous enough to fill Monmouth Street, and sufficiently various and splendid for the wardrobe of Drury Lane. He hardly ever gave away anything except his linen, which was distributed every year. These clothes are the perquisite of his pages, and will fetch a pretty sum. There are all the coats he has ever had for fifty years, 300 whips, canes without number, every sort of uniform, the costumes of all the orders in Europe, splendid furs, pelisses, hunting-coats and breeches, and among other things a dozen pair of corduroy breeches he had made to hunt in when Don Miguel was here. His profusion in these articles was unbounded, because he never paid for them, and his memory was so accurate that one of his pages told me he recollected every article of dress, no matter how old, and that they were always liable to be called on to produce some particular coat or other article of apparel of years gone by. It is difficult to say whether in great or little things that man was most odious and contemptible.

Nothing from France yesterday but the most absurd reports.

August 5th, 1830

Yesterday morning at a Council; all the Ministers, and the Duke of Rutland, Lords Somers, Rosslyn, and Gower to be sworn Lieutenants. Talked about France [24] with Sir G. Murray, who was silly enough to express his disappointment that things promised to be soon and quietly settled, and hoped the King would have assembled an army and fought for it. Afterwards a levee. While the Queen was in the closet they brought her word that Charles X. was at Cherbourg, and had sent for leave to come here; but nobody knew yesterday if this was true or not. In the afternoon I met Vaudreuil, and had a long conversation with him on the state of things. He said, ‘My family has been twice ruined by these cursed Bourbons, and I will be damned if they shall a third time;’ that he had long foreseen the inevitable tendency of Polignac’s determination, ever since he was here, when he had surrounded himself with low agents and would admit no gentleman into his confidence; one of his affidés was a man of the name of Carrier, a relation of the famous Carrier de Nantes. Vaudreuil’s father-in-law had consulted him many months ago what to do with 300,000ℓ. which he had in the French funds, and he advised him to sell it out and put it in his drawer, which he did, sacrificing the interest for that time. He had hitherto done nothing, been near none of the Ministers, feeling that he could say nothing to them; no communication had been made to him, but whenever any should be he intended to reply to it. Laval ran away just in time, and Vaudreuil was so provoked at his evasion that he sent after him to say that in such important circumstances he could not take upon himself to act without his Ambassador’s instructions. No answer of course. He thinks that if this had not taken place a few years must have terminated the reign of the Bourbons, and that it is only the difference between sudden and lingering death; that when he was at Paris he had seen the dissatisfaction of the young officers in the Guards, who were all Liberal; and with these sentiments, what a condition they must have been in when called upon to charge and fire on the people while secretly approving of their conduct, ‘entre leurs devoirs de citoyens et de militaires!’

I had a conversation with Fitzgerald (Vesey) the other day about the Government and its prospects. They want [25] THE KING GOES TO WINDSOR him greatly to return to office, but he is going abroad again for his health, and I suspect is not very anxious to come in just now, when things look gloomy. He thinks they have acted very injudiciously in sending down candidates to turn out their opponents, attempts which generally failed, and only served to exasperate the people interested more and more against them. Such men as the Grants, as he said, cannot be kept out of Parliament. But they manage everything ill, and it is impossible to look at the present Ministry and watch its acts, and not marvel that the Duke should think of going on with it. If he does not take care he will be dragged down by it, whereas if he would, while it is yet time, remodel it altogether, and open his doors to all who are capable of serving under him (for all are ready to take him as chief), he might secure to himself a long and honourable possession of power. Then it is said he can’t whistle off these men merely because it is convenient, but he had better do that than keep them on bungling through all the business of the country. Besides, I have some doubts of his tender-heartedness in this respect.

Goodwood, August 10th, 1830

On Saturday, the 7th, the King and Queen breakfasted at Osterley, on their way to Windsor. They had about sixty or seventy people to meet them, and it all went off very well, without anything remarkable. I went to Stoke afterwards, where there was the usual sort of party.

The King entered Windsor so privately that few people knew him, though he made the horses walk all the way from Frogmore that he might be seen. On Saturday and Sunday the Terrace was thrown open, and the latter day it was crowded by multitudes and a very gay sight; there were sentinels on each side of the east front to prevent people walking under the windows of the living-rooms, but they might go where else they liked. The King went to Bagshot and did not appear. All the late King’s private drives through the Park are also thrown open, but not to carriages. We went, however, a long string of four carriages, to explore, and got through the whole drive round by Virginia Water, the famous fishing-pagoda, and saw all the penetralia of the late King, [26] whose ghost must have been indignant at seeing us (Sefton particularly) scampering all about his most secret recesses. It is an exceedingly enjoyable spot, and pretty, but has not so much beauty as I expected.

Came here yesterday and found thirty-two people assembled. I rode over the downs three or four miles (from Petworth), and never saw so delightful a country to live in. There is an elasticity in the air and turf which communicates itself to the spirits.

In the meantime the French Revolution has been proceeding rapidly to its consummation, and the Duke of Orleans is King. Montrond, who was at Stoke, thinks that France will gravitate towards a republic, and principally for this reason, that there is an unusual love of equality, and no disposition to profit by the power of making majorats, therefore that there never can be anything like an aristocracy. We are so accustomed to see the regular working of our constitutional system, with all its parts depending upon each other, and so closely interwoven, that we have difficulty in believing that any monarchical Government can exist which is founded on a basis so different. This is the great political problem which is now to be solved. I think, however, that in the present settlement it is not difficult to see the elements of future contention and the working of a strong democratical spirit. The Crown has been conferred on the Duke of Orleans by the Chamber of Deputies alone, which, so far from inviting the Chamber of Peers to discuss the question of succession, has at the same time decreed a material alteration in that Chamber itself. It has at a blow cut off all the Peers of Villèle’s great promotion, which is an enormous act of authority, although the measure may be advisable. There is also a question raised of the hereditary quality of the peerage, and I dare say that for the future at least peerages will not be hereditary, not that I think this signifies as to the existence of an aristocracy, for the constant subdivision of property must deprive the Chamber of all the qualities belonging to an English House of Lords, and it would perhaps be better to establish another principle, [27] FRENCH DEMOCRACY. such as that of promoting to the Chamber of Peers men (for life) of great wealth, influence, and ability, who would constitute an aristocracy of a different kind indeed, but more respectable and efficient, than a host of poor hereditary senators. What great men are Lord Lonsdale, the Duke of Rutland, and Lord Cleveland! but strip them, of their wealth and power, what would they be? Among the most insignificant of mankind; but they all acquire a factitious consideration by the influence they possess to do good and evil, the extension of it over multitudes of dependents. The French can have no aristocracy but a personal one, ours is in the institution; theirs must be individually respectable, as ours is collectively looked up to. In the meantime it will be deemed a great step gained to have a monarchy established in France at all, even for the moment, but some people are alarmed at the excessive admiration which the French Revolution has excited in England, and there is a very general conviction that Spain will speedily follow the example of France, and probably Belgium also. Italy I don’t believe will throw off the yoke; they have neither spirit nor unanimity, and the Austrian military force is too great to be resisted. But Austria will tremble and see that the great victory which Liberalism has gained has decided the question as to which principle, that of light or darkness, shall prevail for the future in the world.

London, August 14th, 1830

Stayed at Goodwood till the 12th; went to Brighton, riding over the downs from Goodwood to Arundel, a delightful ride. How much I prefer England to Italy! There we have mountains and sky; here, vegetation and verdure, fine trees and soft turf; and in the long run the latter are the most enjoyable. Yesterday came to London from Brighton; found things much as they were, but almost everybody gone out of town. The French are proceeding steadily in the reconstruction of their Government, but they have evinced a strong democratical spirit. The new King, too, conducts himself in a way that gives me a bad opinion of him; he is too complaisant to the rage for equality, and stoops more than he need do; in fact, he overdoes [28] it. It is a piece of abominably bad taste (to say no worse) to have conferred a pension on the author of the Marseillaise hymn; for what can be worse than to rake up the old ashes of Jacobinism, and what more necessary than to distinguish as much as possible this Revolution from that of 1789? Then he need not be more familiar as King than he ever was as Duke of Orleans, and affect the manners of a citizen and a plainness of dress and demeanour very suitable to an American President, but unbecoming a descendant of Louis XIV.

The new Charter is certainly drawn up with great moderation, the few alterations which have been made approximating it to the spirit of the English Constitution, and in the whole of the proceedings the analogies of our revolution have been pretty closely followed. But there has been a remarkable deviation, which I think ominous, and I can’t imagine how it has escaped with so little animadversion here. That is the cavalier manner in which the Chamber of Peers has been treated, for the Deputies not only assumed all the functions of Government and legislation, and disposed by their authority of the Crown without inviting the concurrence of the other Chamber, but at the same time they exercised an enormous act of authority over the Chamber of Peers itself in striking off the whole of that great promotion of Charles X., which, however unwise and perhaps unconstitutional, was perfectly legal, and those Peers had, in fact, as good a right to their peerages as any of their colleagues. They have reconstructed the Chamber of Peers, and conferred upon it certain rights and privileges; but the power which can create can also destroy, and it must be pretty obvious after this that the Upper Chamber will be for the future nothing better than a superior Court of Judicature, depending for its existence upon the will of the popular branch. There are some articles of the old Charter which I am astonished at their keeping, but which they may possibly alter[4] at the revision which is to take place next year, those particularly [29] POLIGNAC. which limit the entrance to the Chamber of Deputies to men of forty, and which give the initiation of laws to the King. But on the whole it is a good sign that they should alter so little, and looks like extreme caution and a dislike to rapid and violent changes.

[4] They are altered. The first translation of the Charter which I read was incorrect.

In the meantime we hear nothing of the old King, who marches slowly on with his family. It has been reported in London that Polignac is here, and also that he is taken. Nobody knows the truth. I have heard of his behaviour, however, which was worthy of his former imbecility. He remained in the same presumptuous confidence up to the last moment, telling those who implored him to retract while it was still time that they did not know France, that he did, that it was essentially Royalist, and all resistance would be over in a day or two, till the whole ruin burst on him at once, when he became like a man awakened from a dream, utterly confounded with the magnitude of the calamity and as pusillanimous and miserable as he had before been blind and confident. It must be owned that their end has been worthy of the rest, for not one of them has evinced good feeling, or magnanimity, or courage in their fall, nor excited the least sympathy or commiseration. The Duke of Fitzjames made a good speech in the Chamber of Peers, and Chateaubriand a very fine one a few days before, full of eloquence in support of the claim of the Duke of Bordeaux against that of Louis Philippe I.

In the meantime our elections here are still going against Government, and the signs of the times are all for reform and retrenchment, and against slavery. It is astonishing the interest the people generally take in the slavery question, which is the work of the Methodists, and shows the enormous influence they have in the country. The Duke (for I have not seen him) is said to be very easy about the next Parliament, whereas, as far as one can judge, it promises to be quite as unmanageable as the last, and is besides very ill composed—full of boys and all sorts of strange men.

August 20th, 1830

On Monday to Stoke; Alvanley, Fitzroy Somerset, Matuscewitz, Stanislas Potocki, Glengall, and Mornay [30] were there. Lady Sefton (who had dined at the Castle a few days before) asked the King to allow her to take Stanislas Potocki to see Virginia Water in a carriage, which is not allowed, but which his Majesty agreed to. Accordingly we started, and going through the private drives, went up to the door of the tent opposite the fishing-house. They thought it was the Queen coming, or at any rate a party from the Castle, for the man on board the little frigate hoisted all the colours, and the boatmen on the other side got ready the royal barge to take us across. We went all over the place on both sides, and were delighted with the luxury and beauty of the whole thing. On one side are a number of tents, communicating together in separate apartments and forming a very good house, a dining-room, drawing-room, and several other small rooms, very well furnished; across the water is the fishing-cottage, beautifully ornamented, with one large room and a dressing-room on each side; the kitchen and offices are in a garden full of flowers, shut out from everything. Opposite the windows is moored a large boat, in which the band used to play during dinner, and in summer the late King dined every day either in the house or in the tents. We had scarcely seen everything when Mr. Turner, the head keeper, arrived in great haste, having spied us from the opposite side, and very angry at our carriages having come there, which is a thing forbidden; he did not know of our leave, nor could we even satisfy him that we were not to blame.

The next day I called on Batchelor (he was valet de chambre to the Duke of York, afterwards to George IV.), who has an excellent apartment in the Lodge, which, he said, was once occupied by Nell Gwynne, though I did not know the lodge was built at that time. I was there a couple of hours, and heard all the details of the late King’s illness and other things. For many months before his death those who were about him were aware of his danger, but nobody dared to say a word. The King liked to cheat people with making them think he was well, and when he had been at a Council he would return to his apartments and tell his valets de chambre how he had deceived them. [31] GEORGE IV.’S ILLNESS AND DEATH. During his illness he was generally cheerful, but occasionally dejected, and constantly talked of his brother the Duke of York, and of the similarity of their symptoms, and was always comparing them. He had been latterly more civil to Knighton than he used to be, and Knighton’s attentions to him were incessant; whenever he thought himself worse than usual, and in immediate danger, he always sent for Sir William. Lady Conyngham and her family went into his room once a day; till his illness he always used to go and sit in hers. It is true that last year, when she was so ill, she was very anxious to leave the Castle, and it was Sir William Knighton who with great difficulty induced her to stay there. At that time she was in wretched spirits, and did nothing but pray from morning till night. However, her conscience does not seem ever to have interfered with her ruling passion, avarice, and she went on accumulating. During the last illness waggons were loaded every night and sent away from the Castle, but what their contents were was not known, at least Batchelor did not say. All Windsor knew this. Those servants of the King who were about his person had opportunities of hearing a great deal, for he used to talk of everybody before them, and without reserve or measure.

This man Batchelor had become a great favourite with the late King. The first of his pages, William Holmes, had for some time been prevented by ill health from attending him. Holmes had been with him from a boy, and was also a great favourite; by appointments and perquisites he had as much as 12,000ℓ. or 14,000ℓ. a year, but he had spent so much in all sorts of debauchery and living like a gentleman that he was nearly ruined. There seems to have been no end to the tracasseries between these men; their anxiety to get what they could out of the King’s wardrobe in the last weeks, and their dishonesty in the matter, were excessive, all which he told me in great detail. The King was more than anybody the slave of habit and open to impressions, and even when he did not like people he continued to keep them about him rather than change.

While I was at Stoke news came that Charles X. had [32] arrived off Portsmouth. He has asked for an asylum in Austria, but when once he has landed here he will not move again, I dare say. The enthusiasm which the French Revolution produced is beginning to give way to some alarm, and not a little disgust at the Duke of Orleans’ conduct, who seems anxious to assume the character of a Jacobin King, affecting extreme simplicity and laying aside all the pomp of royalty. I don’t think it can do, and there is certainly enough to cause serious disquietude for the future.

Sefton in the meantime told me that Brougham and Lord Grey were prepared for a violent opposition, and that they had effected a formal junction with Huskisson, being convinced that no Government could now be formed without him. I asked him if Palmerston was a party to this junction, and he said he was, but the first thing I heard when I got to town was that a negotiation is going on between Palmerston and the Duke, and that the former takes every opportunity of declaring his goodwill to the latter, and how unshackled he is. Both these things can’t be true, and time will show which is. It seems odd that Palmerston should abandon his party on the eve of a strong coalition, which is not unlikely to turn out the present Administration, but it is quite impossible to place any dependence upon public men now-a-days. There is Lord Grey with his furious opposition, having a little while ago supported the Duke in a sort of way, having advised Rosslyn to take office, and now, because his own vanity is hurt at not being invited to join the Government, or more consulted at least, upon the slight pretext of the Galway Bill in the last Parliament he rushes into rancorous opposition, and is determined to give no quarter and listen to no compromise. Brougham is to lead this Opposition in the House of Commons, and Lord Grey in the Lords, and nothing is to be done but as the result of general deliberation and agreement. Brougham in the meantime has finished his triumph at York in a miserable way, having insulted Martin Stapylton on the hustings, who called him to account, and then he forgot what he had said, and slunk away with a disclaimer of unintentional offence, as usual beginning with intemperance [33] CHARLES X. IN ENGLAND. and ending with submission. His speeches were never good, but at his own dinner he stated so many untruths about the Duke of Wellington that his own partisans bawled out ‘No, no,’ and it was a complete failure. His whole spirit there was as bad as possible, paltry and commonplace. That man, with all his talents, never can or will do in any situation; he is base, cowardly, and unprincipled, and with all the execrable judgment which, I believe, often flows from the perversion of moral sentiment. Nobody can admire his genius, eloquence, variety and extent of information, and the charm of his society more than I do; but his faults are glaring, and the effects of them manifest to anybody who will compare his means and their results.

August 23rd, 1830

General Baudrand is come over with a letter from King Louis Philippe to King William. He saw the Duke and Aberdeen yesterday. Charles X. goes to Lulworth Castle. What are called moderate people are greatly alarmed at the aspect of affairs in France, but I think the law (which will be carried) of abolishing capital punishment in political cases is calculated to tranquillise men’s minds everywhere, for it draws such a line between the old and the new Revolution. The Ministers will be tried and banished, but no blood spilt. Lord Anglesey went to see Charles X., and told him openly his opinion of his conduct. The King laid it all upon Polignac. The people of Paris wanted to send over a deputation to thank the English for their sympathy and assistance—a sort of fraternising affair—but the King would not permit it, which was wisely done, and it is a good thing to see that he can curb in some degree that spirit; this Vaudreuil told me last night. It would have given great offence and caused great alarm here.

August 24th, 1830

Alvanley had a letter from Montrond yesterday from Paris. He was with M. Molé when a letter was brought him from Polignac, beginning, ‘Mon cher Collègue,’ and saying that he wrote to him to ask his advice what he had better do, that he should have liked to retire to his own estate, but it was too near Paris, that he should like to go into Alsace, and that he begged he would [34] arrange it for him, and in the meantime send him some boots, and shirts, and breeches.

The French King continues off Cowes, many people visiting him. They came off without clothes or preparation of any kind, so much so that Lady Grantham has been obliged to furnish Mesdames de Berri and d’Angoulême with everything; it seems they have plenty of money. The King says he and his son have retired from public life; and as to his grandson, he must wait the progress of events; that his conscience reproaches him with nothing.

The dinner in St. George’s Hall on the King’s birthday was the finest thing possible—all good and hot, and served on the late King’s gold plate. There were one hundred people at table. After dinner the King gave the Duke of Wellington’s health, as it was the anniversary of Vimeiro; the Dukes of Cumberland and Gloucester turned their glasses down. I can’t agree with Charles X. that it would be better to ‘travailler pour son pain than to be King of England.’

I went yesterday all over Lambeth Palace, which has been nearly rebuilt by Blore, and admirably done; one of the best houses I ever saw. Archbishop Juxon’s Hall has been converted into the library of the Palace, and is also a fine thing in its way. It is not to cost above 40,000ℓ. The Lollards’ Tower, which is very curious with its iron rings, and the names of the Lollards written on the walls, is not to be touched.

At night.—Went to Lady Glengall’s to meet Marmont. He likes talking of his adventures, but he had done his Paris talk before I got there; however, he said a great deal about old campaigning and Buonaparte, which, as well as I recollect, I will put down.

As to the battle of Salamanca, he remarked that, without meaning to detract from the glory of the English arms, he was inferior in force there; our army was provided with everything, well paid, and the country favourable, his ‘dénuée de tout,’ without pay, in a hostile country; that all his provisions came from a great distance and under great escorts, [35] CONVERSATION WITH MARSHAL MARMONT. and his communications were kept up in the same way. Of Russia, he said that Buonaparte’s army was destroyed by the time he got to Moscow, destroyed by famine; that there were two ways of making war, by slow degrees with magazines, or by rapid movements and reaching places where abundant means of supply and reorganisation were to be found, as he had done at Vienna and elsewhere, but in Russia supplies were not to be had. Napoleon had, however, pushed on with the same rapidity and destroyed his army. Marshal Davoust (I think, but am not sure) had a corps d’armée of 80,000 men and reached Moscow with 15,000; the cavalry were 50,000 sabres, at Moscow they were 6,000. Somebody asked him if Napoleon’s generals had not dissuaded him from going to Russia. Marmont said no; they liked it; but Napoleon ought to have stopped at Smolensk, made Poland independent, and levied 50,000 Cossacks, the Polish Cossacks being better than the Russian, who would have kept all his communications clear, and allowed the French army to repose, and then he would have done in two campaigns what he wished to accomplish in one; instead of which he never would deal with Poland liberally, but held back with ulterior views, and never got the Poles cordially with him. Of the campaign of 1813 he said that it was ill conducted by Napoleon and full of faults; his creation of the army was wonderful, and the battle of Dresden would have been a great movement if he had not suddenly abandoned Vandamme after pushing him on to cut off the retreat of the Allies. It was an immense fault to leave all the garrisons in the Prussian and Saxon fortresses. The campaign of 1814 was one of his most brilliant. He (Marmont) commanded a corps d’armée, and fought in most of the celebrated actions, but he never had 4,000 men; at Paris, which he said was ‘the most honourable part of his whole career,’ he had 7,500.[5] Napoleon committed a great fault in throwing himself into the rear as he did; he should have fallen back upon Paris, where his own presence would [36] have been of vast importance, and sent Marmont into the rear with what troops he could collect. I repeated what the Duke of Wellington had once told me, that if the Emperor had continued the same plan, and fallen back on Paris, he would have obliged the Allies to retreat, and asked him what he thought. He rather agreed with this, but said the Emperor had conceived one of the most splendid pieces of strategy that ever had been devised, which failed by the disobedience of Eugene. He sent orders to Eugene to assemble his army, in which he had 35,000 French troops, to amuse the Austrians by a negotiation for the evacuation of Italy; to throw the Italian troops into Alessandria and Mantua; to destroy the other fortresses, and going by forced marches with his French troops, force the passage of Mont Cenis, collect the scattered corps d’armée of Augereau (who was near Lyons) and another French general, which would have made his force amount to above 60,000 men, and burst upon the rear of the Allies so as to cut off all their communications. These orders he sent to Eugene, but Eugene ‘rêvait d’être roi d’Italie après sa chute,’ and he sent his aide-de-camp Tascher to excuse himself. The movement was not made, and the game was up. Lady Dudley Stewart was there, Lucien’s daughter and Buonaparte’s niece. Marmont was presented to her, and she heard him narrate all this; there is something very simple, striking, and soldierlike in his manner and appearance. He is going to Russia.

[5] [This assertion of Marmont’s is the more curious as it was to his alleged treachery that Napoleon when at Fontainebleau chose to ascribe his defeat.]

He was very communicative about events at Paris, lamented his own ill-luck, involved in the business against his wishes and feelings; he disapproved of Polignac and his measures, and had no notion the ordonnances were thought of. In the morning he was going to St. Germain for the day; when his aide-de-camp brought him the newspaper with the ordonnances il tomba de son haut. Soon after the Dauphin sent to him to desire that, as there might be some ‘vitres cassées,’ he would take the command of the troops. Directly after the thing began. He had 7,000 or 8,000 men; not a preparation had been made of any sort; they had never thought of resistance, had not consulted Marmont or any [37] CRADOCK’S MISSION TO CHARLES X. military man; he soon found how hopeless the case was, and sent eight estafettes to the King one after another during the action to tell him so and implore him to stop while it was time. They never returned any answer. He then rode out to St. Cloud, where he implored the King to yield. It was not till after seven hours’ pressing that he consented to name M. de Mortemart Minister, but would not withdraw the edicts. He says that up to Wednesday night they would have compromised and accepted M. de Mortemart and the suppression of the edicts, but the King still demurred. On Wednesday night he yielded, but then the communications were interrupted. That night the meeting at the Palais Royal took place, at which the King’s fate was determined; and on Thursday morning when his offers arrived, it was too late, and they would no longer treat. Marmont said he had been treated with the greatest ingratitude by the Court, and had taken leave of them for ever, coldly of the King and Dauphin; the Duchess of Berri alone shook hands with him and thanked him for his services and fidelity. He says never man was so unlucky, that he was maréchal de quartier and could not refuse to serve, but he only acted on the defensive; 2,000 of the troops and 1,500 of the populace were killed. The Swiss did not behave well, but the Lanciers de la Garde beautifully, and all the troops were acting against their feelings and opinions. Marmont said that Stuart had sent Cradock to Charles X. to desire he would go as slowly as he could, to give time for a reaction which he expected would take place. Cradock did go to the King, but I rather doubt this story.[6]

[6] [Colonel Cradock (the late Lord Howden) was sent by the Ambassador to the King, and had an audience at Rambouillet, but it was at the request and instigation of the Duke of Orleans. The proposal entrusted to Colonel Cradock was to the effect that the King and the Dauphin, having abdicated, should quit France with the Princesses, but that Henry V. should be proclaimed King under the regency of the Duke of Orleans. Louis Philippe offered to support this arrangement, and to carry on the Government as Regent, if Charles X. sanctioned it. The King received the communication in bed. The Duchess of Angoulême was consulted, and vehemently opposed the scheme, because, said she, speaking of the Orleans family, ‘ils sont toujours les mêmes,’ and she referred to the preposterous stories current at the time of the death of the Duc de Bourgogne, and the regency of 1715. The offer was therefore rejected. These facts were not known to Mr. Greville at the time, nor till long afterwards, but they confirm his information that ‘Cradock did go to the King,’]

August 27th, 1830

[38] At Court the day before yesterday; Parliament was prorogued and summoned. General Baudrand came afterwards and delivered his letter, also a private letter ‘from the Duke of Orleans to the Duke of Clarence’—as the French King called them, ‘anciens amis.’ He was well received and well satisfied. I never knew such a burst of indignation and contempt as Polignac’s letter has caused—a letter to the President of the Chamber of Peers. As Dudley says, it has saved history the trouble of crucifying that man, and speaks volumes about the recent events. Such a man to have been Prime Minister of France for a year!

August 29th, 1830

Dined with Dudley the day before yesterday to meet Marmont, who is made very much of here by the few people who are left. He had been to Woolwich in the morning, where the Duke of Wellington had given orders that everything should be shown to him, and the honours handsomely done. He was very much gratified, and he found the man who had pointed the gun which wounded him at Salamanca, and who had since lost his own arm at Waterloo. Marmont shook hands with him and said, ‘Ah, mon ami, chacun a son tour.’ Lady Aldborough came in in the evening, and flew up to him with ‘Ah, mon cher Maréchal, embrassez-moi;’ and so after escaping the cannon’s mouth at Paris, he was obliged to face Lady Aldborough’s mouth here. This was my first dinner at Dudley’s, brought about malgré lui by Lady Glengall. He has always disliked and never invited me, but now (to all appearance) we are friends. He said he had been to see an old man who lives near the world’s end—Chelsea—who is 110 years old; he has a good head of hair, with no grey hairs in it; his health, faculties, and memory perfect; is Irish, and has not lived with greater temperance than other people. I sat next to Palmerston, and had a great deal of conversation with him, and from the tenour of his language infer that he has no [39] DINNER AT LORD DUDLEY’S. idea of joining Government. Agar Ellis assured me the other day that there was not a word of truth in the reported junction between Lord Grey and Huskisson. The Duke has got two months to make his arrangements, but I am afraid he is not prepared for all the sacrifices his position requires. It is now said that the exasperation against the late Ministers (particularly Polignac) is so great in France that it is doubtful whether they will be able to save their lives.


CHAPTER XII.

[40] The Belgian Revolution — The Duke of Wellington and Canning — The King’s Plate — Gloomy Forebodings — Retreat of the Prince of Orange — Prince Talleyrand — Position of the Government — Death of Huskisson — His Character — The Duke of Wellington and Peel — Meeting of Parliament — The Duke’s Declaration — The King’s Visit to the City abandoned — Disturbances in London — Duchesse de Dino — The Cholera — Southey, Henry Taylor, John Stuart Mill — Dinner at Talleyrand’s — The Duke of Wellington resigns — Mr. Bathurst made Junior Clerk of the Council — Lord Spencer and Lord Grey sent for — Formation of Lord Grey’s Administration — Discontent of Brougham — Brougham takes the Great Seal — Character of the New Ministers — Prospects of the Opposition — Disturbances in Sussex and Hampshire — Lord Grey and Lord Brougham — Lord Sefton’s Dinner — The New Ministers sworn at a Council.


Stoke, August 31st, 1830

On Sunday I met Prince Esterhazy[1] in Oxford Street with a face a yard long. He turned back with me, and told me that there had been disturbances at Brussels, but that they had been put down by the gendarmerie. He was mightily alarmed, but said that his Government would recognise the French King directly, and in return for such general and prompt recognition as he was receiving he must restrain France from countenancing revolutions in other countries, and that, indeed, he had lost no time in declaring his intention to abstain from any meddling. In the evening Vaudreuil told me the same thing, and that he had received a despatch from M. Molé desiring him to refuse passports to the Spaniards who wanted, on the strength of the French Revolution, to go and foment the discontents in Spain, and to all other [41] WELLINGTON’S FOREIGN POLICY. foreigners who, being dissatisfied with their own Governments, could not obtain passports from their own Ministers. Yesterday morning, however, it appeared that the affair at Brussels was much more serious than Esterhazy had given me to understand; and, as far as can be judged from the unofficial statements which we have, it appears likely that Belgium will separate from Holland altogether, it being very doubtful whether the Belgian troops will support the King’s Government.

[1] [Prince Paul Esterhazy, Austrian Ambassador at the Court of St. James for many years.]

Madame de Falck is just come, but brings no news. Falck[2] has heard nothing. He left Holland before the outbreak. In the event of such a revolution, it remains to be seen what part Prussia will take, and, if she marches an army to reduce Belgium to obedience, whether the Belgians will not make overtures to France, and in that case whether King Louis Philippe will be able to restrain the French from seizing such a golden opportunity of regaining their former frontier; and if they accept the offer, whether a general war in Europe will not ensue.

[2] [Baron Falck, Dutch Minister at the Court of St. James.]

In these difficult circumstances, and in the midst of possibilities so tremendous, it is awful to reflect upon the very moderate portion of wisdom and sagacity which is allotted to those by whom our affairs are managed. I am by no means easy as to the Duke of Wellington’s sufficiency to meet such difficulties; the habits of his mind are not those of patient investigation, profound knowledge of human nature, and cool, discriminating sagacity. He is exceedingly quick of apprehension, but deceived by his own quickness into thinking he knows more than he does. He has amazing confidence in himself, which is fostered by the deference of those around him and the long experience of his military successes. He is upon ordinary occasions right-headed and sensible, but he is beset by weaknesses and passions which must, and continually do, blind his judgment. Above all he wants that suavity of manner, that watchfulness of observation, that power of taking great and enlarged views of events and characters, and of weighing opposite interests [42] and probabilities, which are essentially necessary in circumstances so delicate, and in which one false step, any hasty measure, or even incautious expression, may be attended with consequences of immense importance. I feel justified in this view of his political fitness by contemplating the whole course of his career, and the signal failure which has marked all his foreign policy. If Canning were now alive we might hope to steer through these difficulties, but if he had lived we should probably never have been in them. He was the only statesman who had sagacity to enter into and comprehend the spirit of the times, and to put himself at the head of that movement which was no longer to be arrested. The march of Liberalism (as it is called) would not be stopped, and this he knew, and he resolved to govern and lead instead of opposing it. The idiots who so rejoiced at the removal of this master mind (which alone could have saved them from the effects of their own folly) thought to stem the torrent in its course, and it has overwhelmed them. It is unquestionable that the Duke has too much participated in their sentiments and passions, and, though he never mixed himself with their proceedings, regarded them with a favourable eye, nor does he ever seem to have been aware of the immensity of the peril which they were incurring. The urgency of the danger will unquestionably increase the impatience of those who already think the present Government incapable of carrying on the public business, and now that we are placed in a situation the most intricate (since the French Revolution) it is by no means agreeable to think that such enormous interests are at the mercy of the Duke’s awkward squad.

Sefton gave me an account of the dinner in St. George’s Hall on the King’s birthday, which was magnificent—excellent and well served. Bridge[3] came down with the plate, and was hid during the dinner behind the great wine-cooler, which weighs 7,000 ounces, and he told Sefton afterwards that the plate in the room was worth 200,000ℓ. There is another [43] GLOOMY FOREBODINGS. service of gold plate, which was not used at all. The King has made it all over to the Crown. All this plate was ordered by the late King, and never used; his delight was ordering what the public had to pay for.

[3] [Of the house of Rundell and Bridge, the great silversmiths and jewellers of the day.]

September 9th, 1830

Came from Stoke the day after the Egham races, and went to Brocket Hall on Saturday last; returned the day before yesterday. Nothing can exceed the interest, the excitement, the consternation which prevail here. On Saturday last the funds suddenly fell near three per cent.; no cause apparent, a thousand reports, and a panic on the Stock Exchange. At last on Monday it appeared that the Emperor of Russia had, on the first intelligence of the revolution in France, prohibited the tricoloured cockade and ordered all Russian subjects to quit France. As we went down on Saturday Henry told me that there had been alarming accounts from the manufacturing districts of a disposition to rise on the part of the workmen, which had kept Lord Hill in town; and this I fancied was the cause of the fall, but it was the Russian business. They have since, however, rallied to nearly what they were before. At Brocket I had a long conversation with my brother-in-law,[4] who is never very communicative or talkative, but he takes a gloomy view of everything, not a little perhaps tinctured by the impending ruin which he foresees to his own property from the Liverpool Railroad, which is to be opened with great ceremony on the 15th; moreover he thinks the Government so weak that it cannot stand, and expects the Duke will be compelled to resign. He has already offered him his place, to dispose of in any way that may be useful to him. I said that I thought one of the Duke’s greatest misfortunes was his having no wise head to consult with in all emergencies; this he said was very true, for there was nobody who would even speak to him about anything; that Peel, who [44] was the man who might naturally be expected to put himself forward, never would; and that repeatedly he had got him (Francis) to go to or write to the Duke about some matter or other on which it was necessary to refer to him. In the business of Huskisson, Huskisson himself was most anxious to have it made up, and wished Peel to speak to the Duke; but Peel would not stir, nor would Dudley, and it ended in Francis’ being charged with the negotiation, the result of which everybody knows.

[4] [Lord Francis Egerton, afterwards First Earl of Ellesmere, proprietor of the Bridgewater Estates and Canal, which was threatened by the competition of the newly-made Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Lord Francis held the office of Secretary at War in 1830 for a very short time, having previously been Irish Secretary when Lord Anglesey was Lord Lieutenant.]

In the meantime the affairs of Belgium are in a very critical state; the Prince of Orange has entirely failed in reducing the malcontents to submission, and after passing two or three days at or near Brussels in fruitless negotiation and the interchange of proud civilities, he was obliged to retire and carry back to the King a proposal that Belgium and Holland should be separated and a Federal Union established between them. Last night, however, a proclamation of the King appeared, well drawn up, and couched in firm, temperate, and sensible language, in which he declares that he will do all that the circumstances of the case may render necessary, but that all shall be referred to the States-General, and they shall decide upon the measures to be adopted. This will probably excite great discontent, and it is at least doubtful whether the Belgian Deputies will consent to go to the Hague at all. My belief is that this proclamation is the result of encouragement from Prussia.

The night before last I had a letter from the Duc de Dalberg with a very sensible view of the state of France and of affairs generally in Europe, auguring well of the stability of the present Government, provided the other Powers of Europe do nothing to disturb the general tranquillity. I never was so astonished as when I read in the newspaper of the appointment of Talleyrand to be Ambassador here. He must be nearer eighty than seventy, and though his faculties are said to be as bright as ever (which I doubt), his infirmities are so great that it is inconceivable he should think of leaving his own home, and above all for another country, where public representation is unavoidable. Dalberg told [45] BAD PROSPECTS OF THE SESSION. me that several of the Ministers are going out—Guizot, Marshal Gérard, and Baron Louis, the two latter accablés with the travail, and the first unused to and unfit for official business;[5] Louis is seventy-three.

[5] [A curious estimate, taken at the time, of the man who for the next eighteen years had a larger share of official life and business than any other Frenchman.]

In the meantime the Duke does nothing here towards strengthening his Government, and he will probably meet Parliament as he is. There are some circumstances in his favour, and I think it possible he may still extricate himself from his difficulties. There is unquestionably a notion amongst many persons (of the aristocracy) that he is the only man to rely upon for governing this country in the midst of difficulties. It is hard to say upon what this feeling (for it is more of a feeling than an opinion) is founded; not certainly upon any experience of his abilities for Government either as to principles or the details of particular branches of business, or his profound, dispassionate, and statesmanlike sagacity, but upon certain vague predilections, and the confidence which he has infused into others by his own firm, manly, and even dictatorial character, and the recollection of his military exploits and splendid career, which have not yet lost their power over the minds of men, and to this must be added his great influence over the late and present sovereigns.

The short session which will begin on the 28th of October will be occupied with the Regency and Civil List, and it is probable that both those matters will be produced in a form to give general satisfaction; that will be strength as far as it goes. The Tories are alarmed at the general aspect of affairs, and I doubt whether they will not forget their ancient grievances and antipathies, and, if they do not support the Government, abstain at least from any violent opposition, the result of which could only be to let in the Whigs, of whose principles they have the greatest apprehensions. I can perfectly understand that there may be many men who, wishing sincerely to see a stronger Government [46] formed, may think that any change at this moment which may present to Europe a spectacle of disunion and weakness here would be a greater evil than the temporary toleration of such Ministers as ours; and if the Duke does find such a disposition, and profits by it dexterously and temperately, he may float through the next session, and at the end of it negotiate with other parties on more advantageous terms than he possibly could do now, when all his concessions would appear to be extorted by force or by the urgent difficulties of his position.

September 10th, 1830

The Duke is very much disturbed about the state of affairs, thinks ill of France and generally of the state of Europe. I think the alarmists are increasing everywhere, and the signs of the times are certainly portentous; still I doubt there being any great desire of change among the mass of the people of England, and prudent and dexterous heads (if there be any such) may still steer on through the storm. If Canning were alive I believe he would have been fully equal to the emergency if he was not thwarted by the passions, prejudices, and follies of others; but if he had lived we should not have had the Catholic question settled, and what a state we should be in now if that were added to the rest!

September 14th, 1830

Last Saturday to Panshanger; returned yesterday with Melbourne, George Lamb, and the Ashleys. George said there would be a violent Opposition in the approaching session. William[6] told me he thought Huskisson was the greatest practical statesman he had known, the one who united theory with practice the most, but owned he was not popular and not thought honest; that his remaining in with the Duke when Goderich’s Ministry was dissolved was a fatal error, which he could never repair.

[6] [William Lamb, second Lord Melbourne, afterwards Prime Minister.]

I found Sefton in town last night, and went to the play with him. He has had a letter from Brougham, who told him he should go to the Liverpool dinner and attack the Duke of Wellington; that it was the only opportunity he should ever have in his life of meeting him face to face, and [47] DEATH OF MR. HUSKISSON. he then proceeded to relate all that he should say. Sefton wrote him word that if he said half what he intended the chairman would order him to be turned out of the room. He won’t go, I am persuaded.

Newark, September 18th, 1830

Went back to Panshanger last Tuesday; found there Madame de Lieven, Melbourne, and the Hollands and Allen. Lord Holland was very agreeable, as he always is, and told many anecdotes of George Selwyn, Lafayette, and others. I saw them arrive in a coach-and-four and chaise-and-pair—two footmen, a page, and two maids. He said (what is true) that there is hardly such a thing in the world as a good house or a good epitaph, and yet mankind have been employed in building the former and writing the latter since the beginning almost. Came to town on Thursday, and in the afternoon heard the news of Huskisson’s horrible accident, and yesterday morning got a letter from Henry with the details, which are pretty correctly given in the ‘Times’ newspaper. It is a very odd thing, but I had for days before a strong presentiment that some terrible accident would occur at this ceremony, and I told Lady Cowper so, and several other people. Nothing could exceed the horror of the few people in London at this event, or the despair of those who looked up to him politically. It seems to have happened in this way:—While the Duke’s car was stopping to take in water, the people alighted and walked about the railroad; when suddenly another car, which was running on the adjoining level, came up. Everybody scrambled out of the way, and those who could got again into the first car. This Huskisson attempted to do, but he was slow and awkward; as he was getting in some part of the machinery of the other car struck the door of his, by which he was knocked down. He was taken up, and conveyed by Wilton[7] and Mrs. Huskisson (who must have seen the accident happen) to the house of Mr. Blackburne, eight miles from Heaton. Wilton saved his life for a few hours by knowing how to tie up the artery; amputation was not possible, and he expired at ten o’clock that night. Wilton, [48] Lord Granville, and Littleton were with him to the last. Mrs. Huskisson behaved with great courage. The Duke of Wellington was deeply affected, and it was with the greatest difficulty he could be induced to proceed upon the progress to Manchester, and at last he only yielded to the most pressing solicitations of the directors and others, and to a strong remonstrance that the mob might be dangerous if he did not appear. It is impossible to figure to one’s self any event which could produce a greater sensation or be more striking to the imagination than this, happening at such a time and under such circumstances: the eminence of the man, the sudden conversion of a scene of gaiety and splendour into one of horror and dismay; the countless multitudes present, and the effect upon them—crushed to death in sight of his wife and at the feet (as it was) of his great political rival—all calculated to produce a deep and awful impression. The death of Huskisson cannot fail to have an important effect upon political events; it puts an end to his party as a party, but it leaves the survivors at liberty to join either the Opposition or the Government, while during his life there were great difficulties to their doing either, in consequence of the antipathy which many of the Whigs had to him on one side and the Duke of Wellington on the other. There is no use, however, in speculating on what will happen, which a very short time will show.

[7] [Thomas Grosvenor Egerton, second Earl of Wilton.]

Agar Ellis told me yesterday morning that he had received a letter from Brougham a day or two ago, in which he said that he was going to Liverpool, and hoped there to sign a treaty with Huskisson, so that it is probable they would have joined to oppose the Government. As to the Duke of Wellington, a fatality attends him, and it is perilous to cross his path. There were perhaps 500,000 people present on this occasion, and probably not a soul besides hurt. One man only is killed, and that man is his most dangerous political opponent, the one from whom he had most to fear. It is the more remarkable because these great people are generally taken such care of, and put out of the chance of accidents. Canning had scarcely reached the [49] CHARACTER OF HUSKISSON. zenith of his power when he was swept away, and the field was left open to the Duke, and no sooner is he reduced to a state of danger and difficulty than the ablest of his adversaries is removed by a chance beyond all power of calculation.

Huskisson was about sixty years old, tall, slouching, and ignoble-looking. In society he was extremely agreeable, without much animation, generally cheerful, with a great deal of humour, information, and anecdote, gentlemanlike, unassuming, slow in speech, and with a downcast look, as if he avoided meeting anybody’s gaze. I have said what Melbourne thought of him, and that was the opinion of his party. It is probably true that there is no man in Parliament, or perhaps out of it, so well versed in finance, commerce, trade, and colonial matters, and that he is therefore a very great and irreparable loss. It is nevertheless remarkable that it is only within the last five or six years that he acquired the great reputation which he latterly enjoyed. I do not think he was looked upon as more than a second-rate man till his speeches on the silk trade and the shipping interest; but when he became President of the Board of Trade he devoted himself with indefatigable application to the maturing and reducing to practice those commercial improvements with which his name is associated, and to which he owes all his glory and most of his unpopularity. It is equally true that all the ablest men in the country coincide with him, and that the mass of the community are persuaded that his plans are mischievous to the last degree. The man whom he consulted through the whole course of his labours and enquiries was Hume,[8] who is now in the Board of Trade, and whose vast experience and knowledge were of incalculable service to him. Great as his abilities unquestionably were, it is impossible to admire his judgment, which seems repeatedly to have failed him, particularly in his joining the Duke’s Government on Goderich’s resignation, which was a capital error, his speech afterwards at Liverpool and his subsequent quarrel with the [50] Duke. In all these cases he acted with the greatest imprudence, and he certainly contrived, without exposing himself to any specific charge, to be looked upon as a statesman of questionable honour and integrity; and of this his friends as well as his enemies were aware. As a speaker in the House of Commons he was luminous upon his own subject, but he had no pretensions to eloquence; his voice was feeble and his manner ungraceful; however, he was (unfortunately) one of the first men in the House, and was listened to with attention upon any subject. He left no children. Mrs. Huskisson has a pension of 1,200ℓ. a year. The accounts from Paris improve, inasmuch as there seems a better prospect than there has been lately of tranquillity in the country. Sneyd writes word that there is little doubt but that the Duc de Bourbon was assassinated.[9]

[8] [John Deacon Hume, the Assistant Joint Secretary of the Board of Trade.]

[9] [The Duc de Bourbon-Condé was found hanging in his bedroom. Suspicion pointed to Madame de Fenchères, his mistress, as privy to the cause of his death, which however, was never clearly ascertained. The Duke had made an ample provision for Madame de Fenchères in his will, but the bulk of his vast property, including Chantilly, was bequeathed to the Duc d’Aumale, fourth son of King Louis Philippe. The Duc de Bourbon was the father of the unfortunate Duc d’Enghien.]

Last night to Brockett Hall, where I slept and came on here to-day. The King has paid me 300ℓ. for Goodison, the late Duke’s jockey, which settles all he owed at Newmarket, and was a very good-natured act.

George Seymour is made Master of the Robes, and gives up his place[10] in the House of Lords, so Jersey[11] within two months has got an enormous place to give away.

[10] He did not give it up; wanted Jersey to appoint his brother Frederick, which he refused to do; so the other remained.—November 15th.

[11] [Lord Jersey was Lord Chamberlain of the Household at the time.]

Chatsworth, September 27th, 1830

Got to Sprotborough last Sunday; Lord Talbot and Lady Cecil, William Lascelles, Irby, Lady Charlotte Denison, Captain Grey. It rained all the time of the races. They offered Priam to Chesterfield for 3,000ℓ. before his match, and he refused; he offered it after, and they refused. There were a number of beautiful women there—my cousin Mrs. Foljambe, Misses Mary and Fanny Brandling the best. Came here on Friday night, and [51] HUSKISSON’S LAST MOMENTS. found as usual a large party, but rather dull; Granvilles, Newboroughs, Wharncliffes, G. Seymours, Sir J. and Lady Fitzgerald (very pretty), Talbots, Madame Bathiany, Beaumonts, G. Lamb. Yesterday Brougham came with his brother, sister, and daughter-in-law, in the highest spirits and state of excitement, going about Yorkshire, dining and speechifying; he was at Doncaster too. Lord Granville was just returned from Huskisson’s funeral at Liverpool. It was attended by a great multitude, who showed every mark of respect and feeling. He died the death of a great man, suffering torments, but always resigned, calm, and collected; took the Sacrament, and made a codicil to his will, said the country had had the best of him, and that he could not have been useful for many more years, hoped he had never committed any political sins that might not be easily forgiven, and declared that he died without a feeling of ill-will and in charity with all men. As he lay there he heard the guns announcing the Duke of Wellington’s arrival at Manchester, and he said, ‘I hope to God the Duke may get safe through the day.’ When he had done and said all he desired, he begged they would open a vein and release him from his pain. From the beginning he only wished to die quickly. Mrs. Huskisson was violently opposed to his being buried at Liverpool, and it was with great difficulty she was persuaded to consent to the repeated applications that were made to her for that purpose.

Buckenham, October 25th, 1830

A month nearly since I have written a line; always racing and always idleness. Went from Chatsworth to Heaton Park; an immense party, excellent house and living, and very good sport for the sort of thing in a park, with gentlemen riders.

I have lost sight of politics, and know nothing of what is going on, except that all things look gloomy, and people generally are alarmed. Last week the Arbuthnots were at Cheveley, and I had a curious conversation enough with him. I told him that I was desirous of the success of the Duke of Wellington’s Administration, but felt strongly the necessity of his getting rid of many of his present Cabinet, who were [52] both inefficient and odious, that I thought one great misfortune was that he had nobody to tell him the truth, and very few men with whom he was on terms of confidential cordiality. He owned it was so, but said that he never concealed from him disagreeable truths—on the contrary, told him everything—and assured me that at any time he would tell the Duke anything that I thought he ought to know. I told him to give him a notion how meanly Aberdeen was thought of, that Alvanley had told Talleyrand not to notice him, but to go at once to the Duke when he had any important business to transact, and that he might tell the Duke this if he pleased, but no one else. He said he would, and then he began to talk of Peel, lamenting that there was nothing like intimate confidence between the Duke and him, and that the Duke was in fact ignorant of his real and secret feelings and opinions; that to such a degree did Peel carry his reserve, that when they were out of office, and it had been a question of their returning to it, he had gone to meet Peel at Lord Chandos’s for the express purpose of finding out what his opinions were upon the then state of affairs, and that after many conversations he had come away knowing no more of his sentiments and disposition than before they met. I said that with a Cabinet like this, and the House of Commons in the hands of Peel, I could not imagine anything more embarrassing; he owned it was, and then complained of Peel’s indisposition to encourage other men in the House of Commons, or to suffer the transaction of business to pass through any hands but his own; that the Duke had been accused of a grasping ambition and a desire to do everything himself, whereas such an accusation would be much more applicable to Peel. All this proves how little real cordiality there is between these two men, and that, though they are now necessary to each other, a little matter would sever their political connection.

Here we have an American of the name of Powell, who was here nineteen years ago, when he was one of the handsomest men that ever was seen, and lived in the society of Devonshire House. Three years of such a life spoilt [53] WELLINGTON’S DECLARATION AGAINST REFORM. him, as he confesses, for the nineteen which followed in his native country; and now he is come back with a wife and five children to see the town he recollects become a thousand times more beautiful, and the friends who have forgotten him equally changed, but as much for the worse as London is for the better; he seems a sensible, good sort of fellow.

Baring told me the other day that he remembered his (B.’s) father with nearly nothing, and that out of the house which he founded not less than six or seven millions must have been taken. Several colossal fortunes have been made out of it.

London, November 8th, 1830

Went from Buckenham to Euston, and then back to Newmarket, where I never have time or inclination to write or read. Parliament met, and a great clamour was raised against the King’s Speech, without much reason; but it was immediately evident that the Government was in a very tottering condition, and the first night of this session the Duke of Wellington made a violent and uncalled-for declaration against Reform, which has without doubt sealed his fate. Never was there an act of more egregious folly, or one so universally condemned by friends and foes. The Chancellor said to Lady Lyndhurst after the first night’s debate in the House of Lords, ‘You have often asked me why the Duke did not take in Lord Grey; read these two speeches (Lord Grey’s and the Duke’s), and then you will see why. Do you think he would like to have a colleague under him, who should get up and make such a speech after such another as his?’

The effect produced by this declaration exceeds anything I ever saw, and it has at once destroyed what little popularity the Duke had left, and lowered him in public estimation so much that when he does go out of office, as most assuredly he must, he will leave it without any of the dignity and credit which might have accompanied his retirement. The sensation produced in the country has not yet been ascertained, but it is sure to be immense. I came to town last night, and found the town ringing with his imprudence [54] and everybody expecting that a few days would produce his resignation.

The King’s visit to the City was regarded with great apprehension, as it was suspected that attempts would be made to produce riot and confusion at night, and consequently all the troops that could be mustered were prepared, together with thousands of special constables, new police, volunteers, sailors, and marines; but last night a Cabinet Council was held, when it was definitively arranged to put it off altogether, and this morning the announcement has appeared in the newspapers. Every sort of ridicule and abuse was heaped upon the Government, the Lord Mayor, and all who had any share in putting off the King’s visit to the City; very droll caricatures were circulated.

I met Matuscewitz last night, who was full of the Duke and his speech, and of regrets at his approaching fall, which he considers as the signal for fresh encroachments in France by the Liberal party, and a general impulse to the revolutionary factions throughout Europe. I hear that nothing can exceed the general excitement and terror that prevails, everybody feeling they hardly know what.

November 9th, 1830

Yesterday morning I sallied forth and called on Arbuthnot, whom I did not find at home, but Mrs. Arbuthnot was. I had previously called on the Villiers, and had a long conversation about the state of everything. They did not apprise me of anything new, but Hyde,[12] who ought to be informed, gave me an account of the resolutions which Brougham means to propose, very different from what I heard elsewhere. He said that they were very strong, whereas all other accounts agree that they are very moderate. I walked with Mrs. Arbuthnot down to Downing Street, and, as she utters the Duke’s sentiments, was anxious to hear what she would say about their present condition. I said, ‘Well, you are in a fine state; what do you mean to do?’ ‘Oh, are you alarmed? Well, I am not; everybody says we are to go [55] DISTURBANCES IN LONDON. out, and I don’t believe a word of it. They will be beat on the question of Reform; people will return to the Government, and we shall go on very well. You will see this will be the end of it.’ I told her I did not believe they could stay in, and attacked the Duke’s speech, which at last she owned she was sorry he had made. She complained that they had no support, and that everybody they took in became useless as soon as they were in office—Ellenborough, Rosslyn, Murray. It was evident, however, that she did contemplate their loss of office as a very probable event, though they do not mean to resign, and think they may stave off the evil day. In Downing Street we met George Dawson, who told us the funds had fallen three per cent., and that the panic was tremendous, so much so that they were not without alarm lest there should be a run on the Bank for gold. Later in the day, however, the funds improved. In the House of Lords I heard the Duke’s explanation of putting off the dinner in the City. On the whole they seem to have done well to put it off, but the case did not sound a strong one; it rested on a letter from the Lord Mayor telling the Duke an attempt would be made on his life. Still it is a hundred to one that there would have been a riot, and possibly all its worst evils and crimes. The King is said to be very low, hating Reform, desirous of supporting the Duke, but feeling that he can do nothing. However, in the House of Lords last night the speakers vied with each other in praising his Majesty and extolling his popularity. Lady Jersey told me that the Duke had said to her, ‘Lord, I shall not go out; you will see we shall go on very well.’

[12] [Thomas Hyde Villiers, brother of George, afterwards fourth Earl of Clarendon, died in 1832.]

November 10th, 1830

It was expected last night that there would be a great riot, and preparations were made to meet it. Troops were called up to London, and a large body of civil power put in motion. People had come in from the country in the morning, and everything indicated a disturbance. After dinner I walked out to see how things were going on. There was little mob in the west end of the town, and in New Street, Spring Gardens, a large body of the new police was drawn up in three divisions, ready to be employed [56] if wanted. The Duke of Wellington expected Apsley House to be attacked, and made preparations accordingly. He desired my brother to go and dine there, to assist in making any arrangements that might be necessary. In Pall Mall I met Mr. Glyn, the banker, who had been up to Lombard Street to see how matters looked about his house, and he told us (Sir T. Farquhar and me) that everything was quiet in the City. One of the policemen said that there had been a smart brush near Temple Bar, where a body of weavers with iron crows and a banner had been dispersed by the police, and the banner taken. The police, who are a magnificent set of fellows, behave very well, and it seems pretty evident that these troubles are not very serious, and will soon be put an end to. The attack in Downing Street the night before last, of which they made a great affair, turned out to be nothing at all. The mob came there from Carlile’s lecture, but the sentry stopped them near the Foreign Office; the police took them in flank, and they all ran away.

I went to Brooks’s, but there was hardly anybody there, and nothing occurred in the House of Commons but some interchange of Billingsgate between O’Connell and George Dawson. The Duke talks with confidence, and has no idea of resigning, but he does not inspire his friends with the confidence he feels or affects himself, though they talk of his resignation as an event which is to plunge all Europe into war, and of the impossibility of forming another Administration, all which is mere balderdash, for he proved with many others how easy it is to form a Government that can go on; and as to our Continental relations being altered, I don’t believe a word of it. He may have influence abroad, but he owes it not to his own individual character, but to his possession of power in England. If the Ministry who succeed him are firm and moderate, this country will lose nothing of its influence abroad. I have heard these sort of things said fifty times of Ministers and Kings. The death of the late King was to be the greatest of calamities, and the breath was hardly out of his body before everybody discovered that [57] THE DUCHESSE DE DINO. it was the greatest of blessings, and, instead of its being impossible to go on without him, that there would have been no going on with him.

The King gave a dinner to the Prince of Orange the other day, and invited all his old military friends to meet him. His Majesty was beyond everything civil to the Duke of Wellington, and the Queen likewise. Lord Wellesley, speaking of the letter to the Lord Mayor, and putting off the dinner in the City, said ‘it was the boldest act of cowardice he had ever heard of.’

After some difficulty they have agreed to give Madame de Dino[13] the honours of Ambassadress here, the Duke having told the King that at Vienna she did the honours of Talleyrand’s house, and was received on that footing by the Emperor and Empress, so he said, ‘Oh, very well; I will tell the Queen, and you had better tell her too.’

[13] [The Duchesse de Dino was the niece of Prince Talleyrand, then French Ambassador at the Court of St. James. The precedent is a curious one, for it is certainly not customary for the daughter or niece of an unmarried Ambassador to enjoy the rank and honours of an Ambassadress.]

They say the King is exceedingly bullied by the bâtards, though Errol told me they were all afraid of him. Dolly Fitzclarence lost 100ℓ., betting 100 to 10 that he would go to Guildhall, and he told the King he had lost him 100ℓ., so the King gave him the money. It seems that the Duke certainly did make some overtures to Palmerston, though I do not exactly know when, but I heard that they were very fair ones.

November 11th, 1830

Yesterday the funds rose, and people’s apprehensions began to subside. Everybody is occupied with speculating about the numbers on Tuesday next, and what majority the Ministers will get. Yesterday came a letter from Lord Heytesbury from St. Petersburg,[14] saying that there [58] was reason to believe that the disorder now raging in Russia is a sort of plague, but that they will not admit it, and that it is impossible to get at the truth. We ordered Russian ships to be put under a precautionary quarantine, and made a minute to record what we had done.

[14] [This is the first mention of the cholera morbus, or Asiatic cholera, then first appearing in Europe. The quarantine establishments are under the control of the Privy Council, and Mr. Greville, as Clerk of the Council, was actively employed in superintending them. A Board of Health was afterwards established at the Council Office during the prevalence of the cholera.]

November 12th, 1830

The funds have kept advancing, everything is quiet, and Ministers begin to take courage. The Duke means if he has a majority of twenty on Tuesday to stay in. It seems his idea is that the resolutions of Brougham will be framed in general terms on purpose to obtain as many votes as possible; that they will be no test of the real opinion of the House, because most of those who may concur in a general resolution in favour of Reform would disagree entirely as to specific measures, if any were introduced; but it is evident that the support of the Duke’s friends is growing feebler every day. Yesterday morning I met Robert Clive, a thick and thin Government man, and he began with the usual topic, for everybody asks after the State, as one does about a sick friend; and then he went on to say (concurring with my opinion that everything went on ill), ‘Why won’t the Duke strengthen himself?’ ‘He can’t; he has tried, and you see he can’t do anything.’ ‘Ah! but he must make sacrifices; things cannot go on as they do, and he must make sacrifices.’ Lord Bath, too, came to town, intending to leave his proxy with the Duke, and went away with it in his pocket, after hearing his famous speech; though he has a close borough, which he by no means wishes to lose, still he is for Reform. What they all feel is that his obstinacy will endanger everything; that by timely concession, and regulating the present spirit, real improvements might be made and extreme measures avoided. I met Rothschild coming out of Herries’ room, with his nephew from Paris. He looked pretty lively for a man who has lost some millions, but the funds were all up yesterday; he asked me the news, and said Lafitte was the best Minister France could have, and that everything was rapidly improving there.

November 15th, 1830

Yesterday morning I breakfasted with [59] ROBERT SOUTHEY. Taylor[15] to meet Southey: the party was Southey; Strutt, member for Derby, a Radical; young Mill, a political economist; Charles Villiers, young Elliot, and myself. Southey is remarkably pleasing in his manner and appearance, unaffected, unassuming, and agreeable; at least such was my impression for the hour or two I saw him. Young Mill is the son of Mill who wrote the ‘History of British India,’ and said to be cleverer than his father. He has written many excellent articles in reviews, pamphlets, &c., but though powerful with a pen in his hand, in conversation he has not the art of managing his ideas, and is consequently hesitating and slow, and has the appearance of being always working in his mind propositions or a syllogism.

[15] [Henry Taylor, the author of ‘Philip van Artevelde.’ Edward Strutt was afterwards created Lord Belper. ‘Young Mill’ was the eminent economist and philosopher John Stuart Mill. ‘Young Elliot,’ Sir Thomas Frederick Elliot, K.S.M.G., long one of the ablest members of the Colonial Department, to which Henry Taylor, the poet, himself belonged.]

Southey told an anecdote of Sir Massey Lopes, which is a good story of a miser. A man came to him and told him he was in great distress, and 200ℓ. would save him. He gave him a draft for the money.’ ‘Now,’ says he, ‘what will you do with this?’ ‘Go to the bankers and get it cashed.’ ‘Stop,’ said he; ‘I will cash it.’ So he gave him the money, but first calculated and deducted the discount, thus at once exercising his benevolence and his avarice.

Another story Taylor told (we were talking of the negroes and savages) of a girl (in North America) who had been brought up for the purpose of being eaten on the day her master’s son was married or attained a certain age. She was proud of being the plat for the occasion, for when she was accosted by a missionary, who wanted to convert her to Christianity and withdraw her from her fate, she said she had no objection to be a Christian, but she must stay to be eaten, that she had been fattened for the purpose and must fulfil her destiny.

When I came home I found a note to say my unfortunate colleague Buller[16] was dead. He had had an operation performed [60] on his lip, after which he caught cold, got an inflammation in the windpipe, and died in two or three days. He was a very honourable, obliging, and stupid man, and a great loss to me, for I shall hardly find a more accommodating colleague.

[16] [James Buller, Esq., senior Clerk of the Council.]

In the evening I dined with Lord Sefton to meet Talleyrand and Madame de Dino. There were Brougham and Denman, the latter brought by the former to show Talleyrand to him. After dinner Talleyrand held a circle and discoursed, but I did not come in for his talk. They were all delighted, but long experience has proved to me that people are easily delighted with whatever is in vogue. Brougham is very proud of his French, which is execrable, and took the opportunity of holding forth in a most barbarous jargon, which he fancied was the real accent and phraseology. He told me he should have 250 votes on his motion. I said to him, ‘They think they shall have a majority of 150.’ He said, ‘Then there must be 650 to divide, for at the lowest computation I shall have 250.’ But at night Henry told me that the Duke, though he put a good face on it, was in fact very low, and that, from what Gosh [Arbuthnot] had said, he would certainly resign unless he carried the question by a large majority. In the morning I called on Lady Granville, who told me, as a great secret, that the Duke, notwithstanding his speech, was prepared to offer a compromise, and her story was this:—She had dined at Ludolf’s a few days ago to meet the Duchesse de Berri. All the great people dined there, among others the Chancellor and Lady Lyndhurst, and after dinner Lady Lyndhurst came up to her bursting with indignation, and confided to her that the Duke had resolved to offer a resolution to the effect that in any future case of borough delinquency the representation should be transferred to a great town, and that she thought after what had passed this would be so disgraceful that it disgusted her beyond expression, and a great deal more to this effect. I confess I don’t believe a word of it. I met the Prince of Orange last night in excellent [61] DEFEAT OF THE WELLINGTON MINISTRY. spirits and humour, and quite convinced that he will be recalled to Brussels.

November 16th, 1830

The Duke of Wellington’s Administration is at an end. If he has not already resigned, he probably will do so in the course of the day. Everybody was so intent on the Reform question that the Civil List was not thought of, and consequently the defeat of Government last night was unexpected. Although numbers of members were shut out there was a great attendance, and a majority of twenty-nine. Of those who were shut out, almost all declare that they meant to have voted in the majority.[17]

[17] [The division was taken on Sir Henry Parnell’s motion to refer the Civil List to a Select Committee, which was carried by 233 to 204.]

I went to Mrs. Taylor’s at night and found Ferguson, Denman, and Taylor, who had just brought the news. The exultation of the Opposition was immense. Word was sent down their line not to cheer, but they were not to be restrained, and Sefton’s yell was heard triumphant in the din. The Tories voted with them. There had been a meeting at Knatchbull’s in the morning, when they decided to go against Government. Worcester had dined at Apsley House, and returned with the news, but merely said that they had had a bad division—twenty-nine. Everybody thought he meant a majority for Government, and the Duke, who already knew what had happened, made a sign to him to say nothing. Worcester knew nothing himself, having arrived after the division; they told him the numbers, and he came away fancying they were for Government. So off the company went to Madame de Dino, where they heard the truth. Great was the consternation and long were the faces, but the outs affected to be merry and the ins were serious. Talleyrand fired off a courier to Paris forthwith.

Yesterday morning I went to Downing Street early, to settle with Lord Bathurst about the new appointment to my office. Till I told him he did not know the appointment was in the Crown; so he hurried off to the King, and proposed his son William. The King was very gracious, and said, ‘I can [62] never object to a father’s doing what he can for his own children,’ which was an oblique word for the bâtards, about whom, however, it may be said en passant he has been marvellously forbearing.

I had a long conversation with Lady Bathurst, who told me that the Duke had resolved to stand or fall on the Reform question, that he had asked Lord Bathurst’s opinion, who had advised him by all means to do so; that Lord Bathurst had likewise put his own place at the Duke’s disposal long before, and was ready to resign at any moment. It is clear that Lord Bathurst had some suspicion that the Duke had an idea of not standing or falling by that question, for he asked him whether anybody had given him different advice, to which he replied, though it seems rather vaguely, ‘No, oh no; I think you are quite right.’ I told her the substance of what I had heard about his being disposed to a compromise. She said it was quite impossible, that he would be disgraced irredeemably, but owned it was odd that there should be that notion and the suspicion which crossed Lord Bathurst’s mind. I do think it is possible, but for his honour I hope not. The Bathursts felt this appointment of William was a sort of ‘Nunc dimittis,’ but there is yet something between the cup and the lip, for Stanley got up in the House of Commons and attacked the appointment, and it is just possible it may yet be stopped.

Went to Brookes’ in the evening, where there was nobody left but Sefton baiting Ferguson for having been out of the division. He told me that it was not impossible Lord Spencer would be put at the head of Government. They will manage to make a confounded mess of it, I dare say. Billy Holmes came to the Duke last night with the news of the division, and implored him to let nothing prevent his resigning to-day.

November 17th, 1830

Went to Downing Street yesterday morning between twelve and one, and found that the Duke and all the Ministers were just gone to the King. He received them with the greatest kindness, shed tears, but accepted their resignation without remonstrance. He told [63] THE KING’S BEHAVIOUR AT THE CRISIS. Lord Bathurst he would do anything he could, and asked him if there was nothing he could sign which would secure his son’s appointment. Lord Bathurst thanked him, but told him he could do nothing. The fact is the appointment might be hurried through, but the salary depends upon an annual vote of the House of Commons, and an exasperated and triumphant Opposition would be sure to knock it off; so he has done the only thing he can do, which is to leave it to the King to secure the appointment for him if possible. It will be a great piece of luck for somebody that Buller should have died exactly when he did. William Bathurst may perhaps lose the place from his not dying earlier, or the new Government may lose the patronage because he did not die later; but it is ill luck for me, who shall probably have more trouble because he has died at all.

The Duke and Peel announced their resignations in the two Houses, and Brougham put off his motion, but with a speech signifying that he should take no part in the new Government. The last acts of the Duke were to secure pensions of 250ℓ. a year to each of his secretaries, and to fill up the ecclesiastical preferments. The Garter remains for his successor. The Duke of Bedford got it, and, what is singular, the Duke of Wellington would probably have given it him likewise. He was one of five whom he meant to choose from, and it lay between him and Lord Cleveland.

I met the Duke coming out of his room, but did not like to speak to him; he got into his cabriolet, and nodded as he passed, but he looked very grave. The King seems to have behaved perfectly throughout the whole business, no intriguing or underhand communication with anybody, with great kindness to his Ministers, anxious to support them while it was possible, and submitting at once to the necessity of parting with them. The fact is he turns out an incomparable King, and deserves all the encomiums that are lavished on him. All the mountebankery which signalised his conduct when he came to the throne has passed away with the excitement which caused it, and he is as dignified as the homeliness and simplicity of his character will allow [64] him to be. I understand he sent for Lord Spencer in the course of the day, who probably said he could not undertake anything, for he afterwards sent for Lord Grey (after the House of Lords), and as he must have been very well prepared, it is probable that a new Government will be speedily formed.

I went to Lady Jersey’s in the evening, when she was or affected to be very gay and very glad that the Duke was out. I found there the Prince of Orange, Esterhazy, Madame de Dino, Wilton, Worcester, Duncannon, Lord Rosslyn, Matuscewitz, &c. There has been a strong idea that the Chancellor [Lyndhurst] would keep the seals. Both Holmes and Planta have repeatedly told the Duke that he would be beaten in the House of Commons, and they both knew the House thoroughly. Still he never would do anything. He made overtures to Palmerston just before Parliament met through Lord Clive, and the result was an interview between them at Apsley House, but it came to nothing. I dare say he did not offer half enough. It is universally believed that Peel pressed the Civil List question for the purpose of being beaten upon it, and going out on that rather than on Reform, for Planta told him how it would be, and he might very well have given the Committee if he had liked it; but he said he would abide by it, and he certainly was in excellent spirits afterwards for a beaten Minister. Now that this Reform has served their purpose so well, and turned out the Duke, the Opposition would be well satisfied to put it aside again, and take time to consider what they shall do, for it is a terrible question for them. Pledged as they have been, it is sure to be the rock on which the little popularity they have gained will split, as it is a hundred to one that whatever they do they will not go far enough to satisfy the country.

November 19th, 1830

The day before yesterday Lord Grey went to the King, who received him with every possible kindness, and gave him carte blanche to form a new Administration, placing even the Household at his disposal—much to the disgust of the members of it. Ever since the town has been as usual teeming with reports, but with fewer lies [65] DISCONTENT OF BROUGHAM. than usual. The fact is Lord Grey has had no difficulties, and has formed a Government at once; only Brougham put them all in a dreadful fright. He all but declared a hostile intention to the future Administration; he boasted that he would take nothing, refuse even the Great Seal, and nourished his Reform in terrorem over their heads; he was affronted and furious because he fancied they neglected him, but it all arose, as I am told, from Lord Grey’s letter to him not reaching him directly, by some mistake, for that he was the first person he wrote to. Still it is pretty clear that this eccentric luminary will play the devil with their system.

[The letter could not be the cause. The history of the transaction is this:—When Lord Grey undertook to form a Government he sent for Lord Lansdowne and Lord Holland, and these three began to work, without consulting with Brougham or any member of the House of Commons. Brougham was displeased at not being consulted at first, but was indignant when Lord Grey proposed to him to be Attorney-General. Then he showed his teeth, and they grew frightened, and soon after they sent Sefton to him, who got him into good humour, and it was made up by the offer of the Great Seal.—November 23rd.]

November 20th, 1830

Here I was interrupted, and broke off yesterday morning. At twelve o’clock yesterday everything was settled but the Great Seal, and in the afternoon the great news transpired that Brougham had accepted it. Great was the surprise, greater still the joy at a charm having been found potent enough to lay the unquiet spirit, a bait rich enough to tempt his restless ambition. I confess I had no idea he would have accepted the Chancellorship after his declarations in the House of Commons and the whole tenor of his conduct. I was persuaded that he had made to himself a political existence the like of which no man had ever before possessed, and that to have refused the Great Seal would have appeared more glorious than to take it; intoxicated with his Yorkshire honours, swollen with his own importance, and holding in his hands questions which he could employ to thwart, embarrass, and ruin any Ministry, [66] I thought that he meant to domineer in the House of Commons and to gather popularity throughout the country by enforcing popular measures of which he would have all the credit, and thus establish a sort of individual power and authority, which would ensure his being dreaded, courted, and consulted by all parties. He could then have gratified his vanity, ambition, and turbulence; the Bar would have supplied fortune, and events would have supplied enjoyments suited to his temperament; it would have been a sort of madness, mischievous but splendid. As it is the joy is great and universal; all men feel that he is emasculated and drops on the Woolsack as on his political death-bed; once in the House of Lords, there is an end of him, and he may rant storm and thunder without hurting anybody.[18]

[18] [Lord Grey’s Administration was thus composed:—

First Lord of the TreasuryEarl Grey.
Lord ChancellorLord Brougham.
Lord PresidentMarquis of Lansdowne.
Lord Privy SealLord Ripon (in 1833).
Chancellor of the Exchequer Viscount Althorp.
Home SecretaryViscount Melbourne.
Foreign SecretaryViscount Palmerston.
Colonial SecretaryViscount Goderich, and afterwards Mr. Stanley.
Board of ControlMr. Charles Grant.
Board of TradeLord Auckland.
AdmiraltySir James Graham.
Postmaster-GeneralDuke of Richmond.
Paymaster-GeneralLord John Russell.
Irish SecretaryMr. Stanley.]

The other places present a plausible show, but are not well distributed, some ill filled. Graham Admiralty, Melbourne Home, Auckland Board of Trade—all bad. The second is too idle, the first too inconsiderable, the third too ignorant.[19] They have done it very quickly, however, and without many difficulties. As to the Duke of Richmond, [67] LORD GREY’S ADMINISTRATION. people are indignant at a half-pay lieutenant-colonel commanding the Ordnance Department, and as an acquisition he is of doubtful value, for it seems the Tories will not go with him, at least will not consider themselves as his followers; so said Lord Mansfield and Vyvyan.

[19] [This is a remarkable instance of the manner in which the prognostications of the most acute observers are falsified by events. The value of Mr. Greville’s remarks on the men of his time consists not in their absolute truth, but in their sincerity at the moment at which they were made. They convey a correct impression of the notion prevailing at that time. Thus Sir James Graham became unquestionably a very active First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Melbourne a ‘considerable’ Prime Minister of England, and Lord Auckland a painstaking and well-informed Governor-General of India.]

November 21st, 1830

The Duke of Richmond’s appointment was found so unpalatable to the army that they have been forced to change it, and he is to be Master of the Horse instead, which I suspect will not be to his taste. [He afterwards refused the Mastership of the Horse, and it ended in his being Postmaster-General, but without taking the salary.]

There have been some little changes, but no great difficulties. It was at first said that there would be no Opposition, and that Peel would not stir; but William Peel told me last night that the old Ministerial party was by no means so tranquilly inclined. Peel will not be violent or factious, but he thinks an attentive Opposition desirable, and he will not desert those who have looked up to and supported him. Then there will be the Tories (who will to a certainty end by joining him and his party) and the Radicals—three distinct parties, and enough to keep the Government on the qui vive. The expulsion of the late Government from power will satisfy the vengeance of the Tories, and I have no doubt they will now make it up. Peel will be the leader of a party to which all the Conservative interest of the country will repair; and it is my firm belief that in a very short time (two or three years, or less) he will be Prime Minister, and will hold power long.[20] The Duke will probably never take office again, but will be at the head of the army, and his own friends begin to admit that this would be the most desirable post for him. Lord Lyndhurst will be greatly disgusted at Brougham’s taking the Great Seal. I met him the day before yesterday, when [68] he had no idea of it; he thought it would certainly be put in Commission, and evidently looked forward to filling the office again in a few months. He said that he had long foreseen this catastrophe, and it was far better to be out than to drag on as they did; that he had over and over again said to the Duke, and remonstrated with him on the impossibility of carrying on such a Government, but that he would never listen to anything. Sir John Leach, too, was exceedingly disappointed; he told me he had not heard a word of what was going on, that he was contented where he was, ‘though perhaps he might have been miserable in another situation.’[21]

[20] [This prediction was not fulfilled until 1841 (for the short Administration of Sir Robert in 1834 can hardly be reckoned), but it was fulfilled at last.]

[21] [Lord Grey certainly contemplated at one moment the offer of the Great Seal to Lord Lyndhurst, but the spectre of Brougham rendered that impossible. Brougham himself would have preferred the advancement of Sir John Leach to the Woolsack, which would have left the Rolls at his own disposal, and enabled him to retain his seat in the House of Commons. But this suggestion was by no means welcome to Lord Grey, and Lord Althorp at once declared that he could not undertake the leadership of the House of Commons if Brougham was to remain in it in any official position to domineer over him.]

In the meantime the new Government will find plenty to occupy their most serious thoughts and employ their best talents. The state of the country is dreadful; every post brings fresh accounts of conflagrations, destruction of machinery, association of labourers, and compulsory rise of wages. Cobbett and Carlile write and harangue to inflame the minds of the people, who are already set in motion and excited by all the events which have happened abroad. Distress is certainly not the cause of these commotions, for the people have patiently supported far greater privations than they had been exposed to before these riots, and the country was generally in an improving state.

The Duke of Richmond went down to Sussex and had a battle with a mob of 200 labourers, whom he beat with fifty of his own farmers and tenants, harangued them, and sent them away in good humour. He is, however, very popular. In Hants the disturbances have been dreadful. There was an assemblage of 1,000 or 1,500 men, a part of whom went towards Baring’s house (the Grange) after destroying [69] BROUGHAM LORD CHANCELLOR. threshing-machines and other agricultural implements; they were met by Bingham Baring, who attempted to address them, when a fellow (who had been employed at a guinea a week by his father up to four days before) knocked him down with an iron bar and nearly killed him. They have no troops in that part of the country, and there is a depôt of arms at Winchester.

The Prince of Orange, who has been fancying without the least reason that he should be recalled to Belgium, is now in despair; and the Provisional Government, on hearing of the change of Ministry here, have suspended their negotiations, thinking they shall get from Lord Grey a more extended frontier. Altogether the alarm which prevails is very great, and those even are terrified who never were so before.

November 22nd, 1830

Dined yesterday at Sefton’s; nobody there but Lord Grey and his family, Brougham and Montrond, the latter just come from Paris. It was excessively agreeable. Lord Grey in excellent spirits, and Brougham, whom Sefton bantered from the beginning to the end of dinner.[22] Be Brougham’s political errors what they may, his gaiety, temper, and admirable social qualities make him delightful, to say nothing of his more solid merits, of liberality, generosity, and charity; for charity it is to have taken the whole family of one of his brothers who is dead—nine children—and maintained and educated them. From this digression to return to our dinner: it was uncommonly gay. Lord Grey said he had taken a task on himself which he was not equal to, prided himself on having made his arrangements so rapidly, and on having named no person to any office who was not efficient; he praised Lyndhurst highly, said he liked him, that his last speech was luminous, and that he should like very much to do anything he could for him, but that it was such an object to have Brougham on the Woolsack. So I suppose he would not dislike to take [70] in Lyndhurst by-and-by. He would not tell us whom he has got for the Ordnance. John Russell was to have had the War Office, but Tavistock[23] entreated that the appointment might be changed, as his brother’s health was unequal to it; so he was made Paymaster. Lord Grey said he had more trouble with those offices than with the Cabinet ones. Sefton did nothing but quiz Brougham—‘My Lord’ every minute, and ‘What does his Lordship say?’ ‘I’m sure it is very condescending of his Lordship to speak to such canaille as all of you,’ and a thousand jokes. After dinner he walked out before him with the fire shovel for the mace, and left him no repose all the evening. I wish Leach could have heard Brougham. He threatened to sit often at the Cockpit, in order to check Leach,[24] who, though a good judge in his own Court, was good for nothing in a Court of Appeal; he said that Leach’s being Chancellor was impossible, as there were forty-two appeals from him to the Chancellor, which he would have had to decide himself; and that he (Brougham) had wanted the Seal to be put in Commission with three judges, which would have been the best reform of the Court, expedited business, and satisfied suitors; but that Lord Grey would not hear of it, and had forced him to take it, which he was averse to do, being reluctant to leave the House of Commons.

[22] [Lord Brougham had taken his seat on the Woolsack as Lord High Chancellor on the afternoon of this day, the 22nd of November. The patent of his peerage bore the same date.]

[23] [The Marquis of Tavistock, Lord John Russell’s eldest brother, afterwards Duke of Bedford. Lord John has since held almost every Cabinet office: his brother’s notion that his health was unequal to the War Office in 1830 is amusing.]

[24] [The Master of the Rolls was at that time the presiding Judge of Appeal at the Privy Council, which was commonly spoken of as ‘the Cockpit,’ because it sat on the site of the old Cockpit at Whitehall; but the business was very ill done, which led Lord Brougham to bring in and carry his Act for the creation of the Judicial Committee in 1832—one of his best and most successful measures.]

He said the Duke of Richmond had done admirably in capturing the incendiary who has been taken, and who they think will afford a clue whereby they will discover the secret of all the burnings. This man called himself Evans. They had information of his exciting the peasantry, and sent a Bow Street officer after him. He found out where he lived [71] COUNCIL OF THE NEW MINISTERS. and captured him (having been informed that he was not there by the inmates of the house), and took him to the Duke, who had him searched. On his person were found stock receipts for 800ℓ., of which 50ℓ. was left; and a chemical receipt in a secret pocket for combustibles. He was taken to prison, and will be brought up to town. Montrond was very amusing—‘You, Lord Brougham, when you mount your bag of wool?’

November 23rd, 1830

Yesterday at Court; a great day, and very amusing. The old Ministers came to give up their seals, and the new Ministers came to take them. All the first were assembled at half-past one; saw the King in his closet severally, and held their last Council to swear in George Dawson a Privy Councillor. Each after his audience departed, most of them never to return. As they went away they met the others arriving. I was with the old set in the Throne Room till they went away, and on opening the door and looking into the other room I found it full of the others—Althorp, Graham, Auckland, J. Russell, Durham, &c., faces that a little while ago I should have had small expectation of finding there. The effect was very droll, such a complete changement de décoration. When the old Ministers were all off the business of the day began. All the Cabinet was there—the new Master of the Horse (Lord Albemarle), Lord Wellesley, his little eyes twinkling with joy, and Brougham, in Chancellor’s costume, but not yet a Peer. The King sent for me into the closet to settle about their being sworn in, and to ask what was to be done about Brougham, whose patent was not come, and who wanted to go to the House of Lords. These things settled, he held the Council, when twelve new Privy Councillors were sworn in, three Secretaries of State, Privy Seal, and the declarations made of President of Council and Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. The King could not let slip the opportunity of making a speech, so when I put into his hands the paper declaring Lord Anglesey Lord-Lieutenant he was not content to read it, but spoke nearly as follows:—‘My Lords, it is a part of the duty I have to perform to declare a Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and although I certainly should have [72] acquiesced in any recommendation which might have been made to me for this appointment by Earl Grey, I must say that I have peculiar satisfaction in entrusting that most important charge to the noble Lord, whom I therefore declare with entire satisfaction Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. And, my Lords, I must say that this day is since that of the death of my poor brother (here his voice faltered and he looked or tried to look affected) the most important which has occurred since the beginning of my reign, for in the course of my long life it has never happened to me to see so many appointments to be filled up as on this day; and when I consider that it is only last Tuesday night that the force of circumstances compelled those who were the confidential advisers of the Crown to relinquish the situations which they held, and that in this short space of time a new Government has been formed, I cannot help considering such despatch as holding forth the best hopes for the future, and proving the unanimity of my Government; and, my Lords, I will take this opportunity of saying that the noble Earl (Grey) and the other noble Lords and gentlemen may be assured that they will receive from me the most cordial, unceasing, and devoted support.’ The expressions of course are not exactly the same, but his speech was to this purpose, only longer. Brougham kissed hands in the closet, and afterwards in Council as Chancellor and Privy Councillor, and then went off to the House of Lords.


CHAPTER XIII.

[73] A Proclamation against Rioters — Appointments — Duke of Wellington in Hampshire — General Excitement — The Tory Party — State of Ireland — More Disturbances — Lord Grey’s Colleagues — Election at Liverpool — The Black Book — The Duke of Wellington’s Position and Character — A Council on a Capital Sentence — Brougham in the House of Lords — The Clerks of the Council — Lord Grey and Lord Lyndhurst — The Chancellor of Ireland — Lord Melbourne — Duke of Richmond — Sir James Graham — Lyndhurst Lord Chief Baron — Judge Allan Park — Lord Lyndhurst and the Whigs — Duke of Wellington and Polignac — The King and his Sons — Polish Revolution — Mechanics’ Institute — Repeal of the Union — King Louis Philippe — Lord Anglesey and O’Connell — A Dinner at the Athenæum — Canning and George IV. — Formation of Canning’s Government — Negotiation with Lord Melbourne — Count Walewski — Croker’s Boswell — State of Ireland — Brougham and Sugden — Arrest of O’Connell — Colonel Napier and the Trades Unions — The Civil List — Hunt in the House of Commons — Southey’s Letter to Brougham on Literary Honours — The Budget — O’Connell pleads guilty — Achille Murat — Weakness of the Government — Lady Jersey and Lord Durham — Lord Duncannon — Ireland — Wordsworth.


November 25th, 1830

The accounts from the country on the 23rd were so bad that a Cabinet sat all the morning, and concerted a proclamation offering large rewards for the discovery of offenders, rioters, or burners. Half the Cabinet walked to St. James’s, where I went with the draft proclamation in my pocket, and we held a Council in the King’s room to approve it. I remember the last Council of this sort we held was on Queen Caroline’s business. She had demanded to be heard by counsel in support of her asserted right to be crowned, and the King ordered in Council that she should be heard. We held the Council in his dressing-room at Carlton House; he was in his bedgown, and we in our boots. This proclamation did not receive the sign manual or the Great [74] Seal and was not engrossed till the next day, but was nevertheless published in the ‘Gazette.’

Yesterday the accounts were better. There was a levee and Council, all the Ministers present but Palmerston and Holland. The King made a discourse, and took occasion (about some Admiralty order) to introduce the whole history of his early naval life, his first going to sea and the instructions which George III. gave Admiral Digby as to his treatment. All the old Ministers came to the levee except the Duke of Wellington, who was in Hampshire to try his influence as Lord-Lieutenant in putting down the riots. Anson as Master of the Buckhounds was made a Privy Councillor, not usually a Privy Councillor’s place, but the King said he rather liked increasing the number than not. Clanricarde has a Gold Stick, so there is Canning’s son-in-law in office under Lord Grey! There has been a difficulty about the Master-General of the Ordnance, and a little difference between Lord Grey and Lord Hill: when the Duke of Richmond was withdrawn, Grey determined to appoint Sir W. Gordon, but as Gordon would have to give up a permanent for a temporary office, he bargained that he should have the Grand Cross of the Bath. Lord Grey at the same time promised his brother Sir Charles Grey a Grand Cross, but Lord Hill (who as Commander-in-Chief has all the Crosses at his disposal) was offended at what he considered a slight to him and went to the King to complain. It is probable that Lord Grey knew nothing of the matter, and fancied they were all recommended by himself. As the matter stands now, Gordon’s appointment is suspended. The only other difficulty is to find a Secretary at War. Sandon is to have it, if they can make no better arrangement. I had a long conversation with the Duke of Richmond yesterday about refusing the salary of his office, and entreated him to take it, for most people think his declining it great nonsense. He alleged a great many bad reasons for declining, but promised to consider the matter.

I am in a very disagreeable situation as regards my late colleague’s place. Lord Bathurst wrote a letter to Lord [75] DISTURBED STATE OF THE COUNTRY. Lansdowne stating that the King had approved of his son’s appointment, and that he had intended to reduce the salary of the office. Lord Grey spoke to the King, and said that after what had passed in both Houses he did not wish to do anything, but to leave the office to be dealt with by a Committee of the House of Commons, under whose consideration it would come. Lord Lansdowne said he certainly should do nothing either, so that it remains to be seen whether they will give me a colleague, a deputy, or nothing at all.

November 28th, 1830

The Duke of Wellington, who as soon as he was out of office repaired to Hants, and exerted himself as Lord-Lieutenant to suppress the disorders, returned yesterday, having done much good, and communicated largely with the Secretary of State. The Government are full of compliments and respects to him, and the Chancellor wrote him a letter entreating he would name any gentleman to be added to the Special Commission which was going down to the county over which he ‘so happily presided.’ He named three.

There has been nothing new within these three days, but the alarm is still very great, and the general agitation which pervades men’s minds unlike what I have ever seen. Reform, economy, echoed backwards and forwards, the doubts, the hopes and the fears of those who have anything to lose, the uncertainty of everybody’s future condition, the immense interests at stake, the magnitude and imminence of the danger, all contribute to produce a nervous excitement, which extends to all classes—to almost every individual. Until the Ministers are re-elected nobody can tell what will be done in Parliament, and Lord Grey himself has no idea what sort of strength the Government will have in either House; but there is a prevailing opinion that they ought to be supported at this moment, although the Duke of Wellington and Peel mean to keep their party together. Lyndhurst’s resignation with his colleagues (added to his not being invited to join this Government) has restored him to the good graces of his party, for Lord Bathurst told me had behaved very honourably. He means now to set to work to gain character, [76] and as he is about the ablest public man going, and nearly the best speaker, he will yet bustle himself into consideration and play a part once more. Peel, Lyndhurst, and Hardinge are three capital men for the foundation of a party—as men of business superior to any three in this Cabinet. But I doubt if the Duke will ever be in a civil office again, nor do I think the country would like to see him at the head of a Government, unless it was one conducted in a very different manner from the last. For the present deplorable state of things, and for the effervescence of public opinion, which threatens the overthrow of the constitution in trying to amend it, Peel and the Duke are entirely responsible; and the former is the less excusable because he might have known better, and if he had gone long ago to the Duke, and laid before him the state of public opinion, told him how irresistible it was, and had refused to carry on the Government in the House of Commons with such a crew as he had, the Duke must have given way. Notwithstanding the great measures which have distinguished his Government, such as Catholic Emancipation, and the repeal of the Test Acts, a continual series of systematic blunders, an utter ignorance of, and indifference to, public opinion, have rendered the first of these great measures almost useless. Ireland is on the point of becoming in a worse state than before the Catholic question was settled; and why? Because, first of all, the settlement was put off too long, and the fever of agitation would not subside, and because it was accompanied by an insult to O’Connell, which he has been resolved to revenge, and which he knows he can punish. Then instead of depriving him of half his influence by paying the priests, and so getting them under the influence of Government, they neglected this, and followed up the omission by taxing Ireland, and thus uniting the whole nation against us. What is this but egregious presumption, blindness, ignorance, and want of all political calculation and foresight? What remains now to be done? Perhaps nothing, for the anti-Union question is spreading far and wide with a velocity that is irresistible, and it is the more dangerous because the desire for the repeal of the Union [77] THE RESULTS OF TORY GOVERNMENT. is rather the offspring of imagination than of reason, and arises from vague, excited hopes, not, like the former agitation, from real wrongs, long and deeply felt. But common shifts and expedients, partial measures, will not do now, and in the state of the game a deep stake must be played or all will be lost. To buy O’Connell at any price, pay the Catholic Church, establish poor laws, encourage emigration, and repeal the obnoxious taxes and obnoxious laws, are the only expedients which have a chance of restoring order. It is easy to write these things, but perhaps difficult to carry them into execution, but what we want is a head to conceive and a heart to execute such measures as the enormous difficulties of the times demand.

December 1st, 1830

The last two or three days have produced no remarkable outrages, and though the state of the country is still dreadful, it is rather better on the whole than it was; but London is like the capital of a country desolated by cruel war or foreign invasion, and we are always looking for reports of battles, burnings, and other disorders. Wherever there has been anything like fighting, the mob has always been beaten, and has shown the greatest cowardice. They do not, however, seem to have been actuated by a very ferocious spirit; and considering the disorders of the times, it is remarkable that they have not been more violent and rapacious. Lord Craven, who is just of age, with three or four more young Lords, his friends, defeated and dispersed them in Hampshire. They broke into the Duke of Beaufort’s house at Heythrop, but he and his sons got them out without mischief, and afterwards took some of them. On Monday as the field which had been out with the King’s hounds were returning to town, they were summoned to assist in quelling a riot at Woburn, which they did; the gentlemen charged and broke the people, and took some of them, and fortunately some troops came up to secure the prisoners. The alarm, however, still continues, and a feverish anxiety about the future universally prevails, for no man can foresee what course events will take, nor how his own individual circumstances may be affected by them.

[78] The Government in the meantime promises fair, and they begin by a display of activity, in early attendance at their offices, and unusual recommendation of diligence and economy. But Lord Grey’s Government is already carped at, and not without apparent reason. The distribution of offices is in many instances bad; many of the appointments were bad, and the number of his own family provided for is severely criticised. There are of Lord Grey’s family: Howick, Under-Secretary; Ellice, Secretary of the Treasury; Barrington, Lord of the Admiralty; Durham, Privy Seal; Wood, Private Secretary (though he has no salary); and Lambton’s brother in the Household. Melbourne at the Home Office is considered an inefficient successor to Peel, Graham too young and not enough distinguished for the Admiralty; Poulett Thomson is said to entertain the most Radical opinions; Althorp put him in. There never was a more sudden rise than this; a young merchant, after two or three years of Parliament and two or three speeches, is made Vice-President of the Board of Trade, Treasurer of the Navy, and a Privy Councillor. Then Althorp as Chancellor of the Exchequer may be a good one, but nobody expects much from anything that is already known about him. This constitution of the Government has already done harm, and has stamped a character of rapacity upon Lord Grey, which he will hear of in proper time; but at this moment he has got all the press on his side, and people are resolved to give him credit for good intentions. Brougham has captivated the Archbishop of Canterbury by offering to give livings to any deserving clergyman he would recommend to him. I met him at dinner yesterday in the greatest spirits, elated and not altered by his new dignity. He is full of projects of reform in the administration of justice, and talks of remodelling the Privy Council as a Court of Appeal, which would be of great use.

December 2nd, 1830

Yesterday a levee and Council and Recorder’s report. Clanricarde and Robert Grosvenor[1] sworn in.

[1] [Afterwards Lord Ebury.]

The Liverpool election, which is just over, was, considering [79] LIVERPOOL ELECTION the present state of things, a remarkable contest. It is said to have cost near 100,000ℓ. to the two parties, and to have exhibited a scene of bribery and corruption perfectly unparalleled; no concealment or even semblance of decency was observed; the price of tallies and of votes rose, like stock, as the demand increased, and single votes fetched from 15ℓ. to 100ℓ. apiece. They voted by tallies; as each tally voted for one or the other candidate they were furnished with a receipt for their votes, with which they went to the committee, when through a hole in the wall the receipt was handed in, and through another the stipulated sum handed out; and this scene of iniquity has been exhibited at a period when the cry for Reform is echoed from one end of the country to the other, and in the case of a man (Denison) who stood on the principle of Reform. Nobody yet knows whence the money for Denison comes (the Ewarts are enormously rich), but it will be still more remarkable if he should pay it himself, when he is poor, careful of money, and was going to India the other day in order to save 12,000ℓ. or 15,000ℓ. If anybody had gone down at the eleventh hour and polled one good vote, he would have beaten both candidates and disfranchised the borough. As it is, it is probable the matter will be taken up and the borough disfranchised. The right of voting is as bad as possible in the freemen, who are the lowest rabble of the town and, as it appears, a parcel of venal wretches. Here comes the difficulty of Reform, for how is it possible to reform the electors?

December 5th, 1830

The country is getting quieter, but though the immediate panic is passing away men’s minds are not the less disquieted as to our future prospects. Not a soul knows what plan of Reform the Ministers will propose, nor how far they are disposed to go. The Duke of Devonshire has begun in his own person by announcing to the Knaresborough people that he will never again interfere with that borough. Then the Black Book, as it is called, in which all places and pensions are exhibited, has struck terror into all who are named and virtuous indignation into all who are not. Nothing can be more mal à propos than the appearance [80] of this book at such a season, when there is such discontent about our institutions and such unceasing endeavours to bring them into contempt. The history of the book is this:—Graham moved last year for a return of all Privy Councillors who had more than 1,000ℓ. a year, and Goulburn chose to give him a return of all persons who had more than 1,000ℓ. a year, because he thought the former return would be invidious to Privy Councillors; so he caused that to be published, which will remove no obloquy from those he meant to save, but draw down a great deal on hundreds of others, and on the Government under which such things exist. I speak feelingly, for ‘quorum pars magna sum.’

The Duke of Wellington gave a great dinner yesterday to all the people who had gone out of office (about fifty), so that it is clear they mean to keep together. Whether he looks forward to be Prime Minister again it is impossible to say, but his real friends would prefer his taking the command of the army, whatever his fools and flatterers may do. Lord Lyndhurst, who loses everything by the fall of the late Government, cannot get over it, particularly as he feels that the Duke’s obstinacy brought it about, and that by timely concessions and good management he might have had Lord Grey, Palmerston, and all that are worth having. Peel, on the contrary, is delighted; he wants leisure, is glad to get out of such a firm, and will have time to form his own plans and avail himself of circumstances, which, according to every probability, must turn out in his favour. His youth (for a public man), experience, and real capacity for business will inevitably make him Minister hereafter. The Duke of Wellington’s fall,[2] if the causes of it are dispassionately traced and considered, affords a great political lesson. His [81] POLITICAL CHARACTER OF WELLINGTON. is one of those mixed characters which it is difficult to praise or blame without the risk of doing them more or less than justice. He has talents which the event has proved to be sufficient to make him the second (and, now that Napoleon is gone, the first general) of the age, but which could not make him a tolerable Minister. Confident, presumptuous, and dictatorial, but frank, open, and good-humoured, he contrived to rule in the Cabinet without mortifying his colleagues, and he has brought it to ruin without forfeiting their regard. Choosing with a very slender stock of knowledge to take upon himself the sole direction of every department of Government, he completely sank under the burden. Originally imbued with the principles of Lord Castlereagh and the Holy Alliance, he brought all those predilections with him into office. Incapable of foreseeing the mighty events with which the future was big, and of comprehending the prodigious alterations which the moral character of Europe had undergone, he pitted himself against Canning in the Cabinet, and stood up as the assertor of maxims both of foreign and domestic policy which that great statesman saw were no longer fitted for the times we live in. With a flexibility which was more remarkably exhibited at subsequent periods, when he found that the cause he advocated was lost, the Duke turned suddenly round, and surrendered his opinions at discretion; but in his heart he never forgave Mr. Canning, and from that time jealousy of him had a material influence on his political conduct, and was the primary motive of many of his subsequent resolutions. This flexibility has been the cause of great benefits to the country, but ultimately of his own downfall, for it has always proceeded from the pressure of circumstances and considerations of convenience to himself, and not from a rational adaptation of his opinions and conduct to the necessities and variations of the times. He has not been thoroughly true to any principle or any party; he contrived to disgust and alienate his old friends and adherents without conciliating or attaching those whose measures he at the eleventh hour undertook to carry into execution. Through the whole course of his [82] political conduct selfish considerations have never been out of sight. His opposition to Canning’s Corn Bill was too gross to admit of excuse. It was the old spite bursting forth, sharpened by Canning’s behaviour to him in forming his Administration, which, if it was not contumelious, certainly was not courteous. When at his death the Duke assumed the Government, his disclaiming speech was thrown in his teeth, but without much justice, for such expressions are never to be taken literally, and in the subsequent quarrel with Huskisson, though it is probably true that he was aiming at domination, he was persuaded that Huskisson and his party were endeavouring to form a cabal in the Cabinet, and his expulsion of them is not, therefore, altogether without excuse. On the question of the Test Act it was evident he was guided by no principle, probably by no opinion, and that he only thought of turning it as best he might to his own advantage. Throughout the Catholic question self was always apparent, not that he was careless of the safety, or indifferent to the prosperity of the country, but that he cared as much for his own credit and power, and never considered the first except in their connection with the second. The business of Emancipation he certainly conducted with considerable judgment, boldly trusting to the baseness of many of his old friends, and showing that he had not mistaken their characters; exercising that habitual influence he had acquired over the mind of the King; preserving impenetrable secresy; using without scruple every artifice that could forward his object; and contriving to make tools or dupes of all his colleagues and adherents, and getting the whole merit to himself. From the passing of the Catholic question his conduct has exhibited a series of blunders which have at length terminated in his fall. The position in which he then stood was this:—He had a Government composed of men who were for the most part incompetent, but perfectly subservient to him. He had a considerable body of adherents in both Houses. The Whigs, whose support (enthusiastically given) had carried him triumphantly through the great contest, were willing to unite with him; the Tories, exasperated [83] POLITICAL CHARACTER OF WELLINGTON. and indignant, feeling insulted and betrayed, vowed nothing but vengeance. Intoxicated with his victory, he was resolved to neglect the Whigs, to whom he was so much indebted, and to regain the affections of the Tories, whom he considered as his natural supporters, and whom he thought identity of opinion and interest would bring back to his standard. By all sorts of slights and affronting insinuations that they wanted place, but that he could do without them, he offended the Whigs, but none of his cajoleries and advances had the least effect on the sulky Tories. It was in vain that he endeavoured to adapt his foreign policy to their worst prejudices by opposing with undeviating hostility that of Mr. Canning (the great object of their detestation), and disseminating throughout all Europe the belief of his attachment to ultra-monarchical principles. He opposed the spirit of the age, he brought England into contempt, but he did not conciliate the Tories. Having succeeded in uniting two powerful parties (acting separately) in opposition to his Government, and having nobody but Peel to defend his measures in the House of Commons, and nobody in the House of Lords, he manifested his sense of his own weakness by overtures and negotiations, and evinced his obstinate tenacity of power by never offering terms which could be accepted, or extending his invitations to those whose authority he thought might cope with his own. With his Government falling every day in public opinion, and his enemies growing more numerous and confident, with questions of vast importance rising up with a vigour and celerity of growth which astonished the world, he met a new Parliament (constituted more unfavourably than the last, which he had found himself unable to manage) without any support but in his own confidence and the encouraging adulation of a little knot of devotees. There still lingered round him some of that popularity which had once been so great, and which the recollection of his victories would not suffer to be altogether extinguished. By a judicious accommodation of his conduct to that public opinion which was running with an uncontrollable tide, by a frank invitation to all who were well disposed [84] to strengthen his Government, he might have raised those embers of popularity into a flame once more, have saved himself, and still done good service to the State; but it was decreed that he should fall. He appeared bereft of all judgment and discretion, and after a King’s Speech which gave great, and I think unnecessary offence, he delivered the famous philippic against Reform which sealed his fate. From that moment it was not doubtful, and he was hurled from the seat of power amidst universal acclamations.

[2] [The following passage will no doubt be read with surprise, for in later years Mr. Greville became and remained one of the Duke’s most steady admirers, and as he has himself stated in the memorandum written nineteen years afterwards, which is inserted at the end of it, the opinion he entertained of him at this time was unjust. But he at the same time decided ‘to leave it as it is, because it is of the essence of these Memoirs not to soften or tone down judgments by the light of altered convictions, but to leave them standing as contemporary evidence of what was thought at the time they were written.’ These are his own words.]


[Memorandum added by Mr. Greville in April 1850.]

N.B.—I leave this as it is, though it is unjust to the Duke of Wellington; but such as my impressions were at the time they shall remain, to be corrected afterwards when necessary. It would be very wrong to impute selfishness to him in the ordinary sense of the term. He coveted power, but he was perfectly disinterested, a great patriot if ever there was one, and he was always animated by a strong and abiding sense of duty. I have done him justice in other places, and there is after all a great deal of truth in what I have said here.


December 12th, 1830

For the last few days the accounts from the country have been better; there are disturbances in different parts, and alarms given, but the mischief seems to be subsiding. The burnings go on, and though they say that one or two incendiaries have been taken up, nothing has yet been discovered likely to lead to the detection of the system. I was at Court on Wednesday, when Kemp and Foley were sworn in, the first for the Ordnance, the other Gold Stick (the pensioners). He refused it for a long time, but at last submitted to what he thought infra dig., because it was to be sugared with the Lieutenancy of Worcestershire. There was an Admiralty report,[3] at which the Chief Justice was not present. The Chancellor and the Judge (Sir C. [85] AN ESCAPE FROM THE GALLOWS. Robinson) were there for the first time, and not a soul knew what was the form or what ought to be done; they did, however, just as in the Recorder’s reports. Brougham leans to mercy, I see. But what a curious sort of supplementary trial this is; how many accidents may determine the life or death of the culprit. In one case in this report which they were discussing (before the Council) Brougham had forgotten that the man was recommended to mercy, but he told me that at the last Recorder’s report there was a great difference of opinion on one (a forgery case), when Tenterden was for hanging the man and he for saving him; that he had it put to the vote, and the man was saved. Little did the criminal know when there was a change of Ministry that he owed his life to it, for if Lyndhurst had been Chancellor he would most assuredly have been hanged; not that Lyndhurst was particularly severe or cruel, but he would have concurred with the Chief Justice and have regarded the case solely in a judicial point of view, whereas the mind of the other was probably biassed by some theory about the crime of forgery or by some fancy of his strange brain.

[3] [The High Court of Admiralty had still a criminal jurisdiction, and the capital cases were submitted to the King in Council for approval.]

This was a curious case, as I have since heard. The man owes his life to the curiosity of a woman of fashion, and then to another feeling. Lady Burghersh and Lady Glengall wanted to hear St. John Long’s trial (the quack who had man-slaughtered Miss Cashir), and they went to the Old Bailey for that purpose. Castlereagh and somebody else, who of course were not up in time, were to have attended them. They wanted an escort, and the only man in London sure to be out of bed so early was the Master of the Rolls, so they went and carried him off. When they got to the court there was no St. John Long, but they thought they might as well stay and hear whatever was going on. It chanced that a man was tried for an atrocious case of forgery and breach of trust. He was found guilty and sentence passed; but he was twenty-three and good-looking. Lady Burghersh could not bear he should be hanged, and she went to all the late Ministers and the Judges to beg him off. Leach told her it was no use, that nothing could [86] save that man; and accordingly the old Government were obdurate, when out they went. Off she went again and attacked all the new ones, who in better humour, or of softer natures, suffered themselves to be persuaded, and the wretch was saved. She went herself to Newgate to see him, but I never heard if she had a private interview, and if he was afforded an opportunity of expressing his gratitude with all the fervour that the service she had done him demanded.

In the meantime the Government is going on what is called well—that is, there is a great disposition to give them a fair trial. All they have done and promise to do about economy gives satisfaction, and Reform (the awful question) is still at a distance. There has been, however, some sharp skirmishing in the course of the week, and there is no want of bitterness and watchfulness on the part of the old Government. In the Committee which has been named to enquire into the salaries of the Parliamentary offices they mean to leave the question in the hands of the country gentlemen; but they do not think any great reductions will be practicable, and as Baring is chairman it is not probable that much will be done. They think Brougham speaks too often in the House of Lords, but he has done very well there; and on Friday he made a reply to Lord Stanhope, which was the most beautiful piece of sarcasm and complete cutting-up (though with very good humour) that ever was heard, and an exhibition to the like of which the Lords have not been accustomed. The Duke of Wellington made another imprudent speech, in which (in answer to Lord Radnor, who attributed the state of the country to the late Government) he said that it was attributable to the events of July and August in other countries, and spoke of them in a way which showed clearly his real opinion and feelings on the subject.

After some delay Lord Lansdowne made up his mind to fill up the vacancy in my office, and to give it to William Bathurst; but he first spoke to the King, who said it was very true he had told Lord Bathurst that his son should [87] THE CLERKS OF THE COUNCIL. have it, but that he now left the matter entirely to his decision, showing no anxiety to have William Bathurst appointed. However, he has it, but reduced to 1,200ℓ. a year. I was agreeably surprised yesterday by a communication from Lord Lansdowne that he thought no alteration could be made in my emoluments, and that he was quite prepared to defend them if anybody attacked them. Still, though it is a very good thing to be so supported, I don’t consider myself safe from Parliamentary assaults. In these times it will not do to be idle, and I told Lord Lansdowne that I was anxious to keep my emoluments, but ready to work for them, and proposed that we Clerks of the Council should be called upon to act really at the Board of Trade, as we are, in fact, bound to do; by which means Lack’s place when vacant need not be filled up, and a saving would be made. My predecessors Cottrell and Fawkener always acted, their successors Bailer and Chetwynd were incompetent, and Lack, the Chancellor’s Clerk, was made Assistant-Secretary, and did the work. Huskisson and Hume, his director, made the business a science; new Presidents and Vice-Presidents succeeded one another in different Ministerial revolutions; they and Lack were incompetent, and Hume was made Assistant-Secretary, and it is he who advises, directs, legislates. I believe he is one of the ablest practical men who have ever served, more like an American statesman than an English official. I am anxious to begin my Trade education under him.

Parliament is going to adjourn directly for three or four weeks, to give the Ministers time to make their arrangements and get rid of the load of business which besets them; although there is every disposition to give them credit for good intentions, and to let them have a fair trial, there are not wanting causes of discontent in many quarters.

All the Russells are dissatisfied that Lord John has not a seat in the Cabinet, and that Graham should be preferred to him, and the more so because they know or believe that his preference is owing to Lambton, who does what he likes with Lord Grey. My mind has always misgiven me about Lord [88] Grey, and what I have lately heard of him satisfies me that a more overrated man never lived, or one whose speaking was so far above his general abilities, or who owed so much to his oratorical plausibility. His tall, commanding, and dignified appearance, his flow of language, graceful action, well rounded periods, and an exhibition of classical taste united with legal knowledge, render him the most finished orator of his day; but his conduct has shown him to be influenced by pride, still more by vanity, personal antipathies, caprice, indecision, and a thousand weaknesses generated by these passions and defects. Anybody who is constantly with him and who can avail themselves of his vanity can govern him. There was a time when Sir Robert Wilson was his ‘magnus Apollo’ (and Codrington), till they quarrelled. Now Lambton is all in all with him. Lambton dislikes the Russells, and hence Lord John’s exclusion and the preference of Graham. Everybody remembers how Lord Grey refused to lead the Whig party when Canning formed his junction with the Whigs, and declared that he abdicated in favour of Lord Lansdowne; and then how he came and made that violent speech against Canning which half killed him with vexation, and in consequence of which he meant to have moved into the House of Lords for the express purpose of attacking Lord Grey. Then when he had quarrelled with his old Whig friends he began to approach the Tories, the object of his constant aversion and contempt; and we knew what civilities passed between the Bathursts and him, and what political coquetries between him and the Duke of Wellington, and how he believed that it was only George IV. who prevented his being invited by the Duke to join him. Then George IV. dies, King William succeeds; no invitation to Lord Grey, and he plunges into furious opposition to the Duke.

About three years ago the Chancellor, Lyndhurst, was the man in the world he abhorred the most; and it was about this time that I well recollect one night at Madame de Lieven’s I introduced Lord Grey to Lady Lyndhurst. We had dined together somewhere, and he had been praising her [89] LORD GREY AND LORD LYNDHURST. beauty; so when we all met there I presented him, and very soon all his antipathies ceased and he and Lyndhurst became great friends. This was the cause of Lady Lyndhurst’s partiality for the Whigs, which enraged the Tory ladies and some of their lords so much, but which served her turn and enabled her to keep two hot irons in the fire. When the Duke went out Lord Grey was very anxious to keep Lyndhurst as his Chancellor, and would have done so if it had not been for Brougham, who, whirling Reform in terrorem over his head, announced to him that it must not be. Reluctantly enough Grey was obliged to give way, for he saw that with Brougham in the House of Commons, against him he could not stand for five minutes, and that the only alternative was to put Brougham on the Woolsack. Hence his delay in sending for Brougham, the latter’s speech and subsequent acceptance of the Great Seal. Grey, however, was still anxious to serve Lyndhurst, and to neutralise his opposition has now proposed to him to be Chief Baron. This is tempting to a necessitous and ambitious man. On the other hand he had a good game before him, if he had played it well, and that was to regain character, exhibit his great and general powers, and be ready to avail himself of the course of events; but he has made his bargain and pocketed his pride. He takes the judicial office upon an understanding that he is to have no political connection with the Government (though of course he will not oppose them), and that he is to be Chief Justice on Tenterden’s death or retirement. This is the secret article of the treaty, and altogether he has not done amiss; for there are so few Chancellors in the field that he will probably (if he chooses) return to the Woolsack in the event of a change of Government, and he is now in a position in which he may join either party, and that without any additional loss of character. The public will gain by the transaction, because they will get a good judge.

In Ireland the Government have made a change (the motives of which are not apparent) which will be very unpopular, and infallibly get them into trouble in various ways. [90] They have removed Hart and made Plunket Chancellor. Hart was very popular with the Bar; he was slow, but had introduced order and regularity in the proceedings of the Court. There were no arrears and no appeals. Plunket is unpopular, and was a bad judge in the Common Pleas, and will probably make a worse Chancellor; he is rash, hasty, and imprudent, and it is the more extraordinary as Hart was affronted by Goderich and went with Anglesey, so upon the score of confidence (on which they put it) there is in fact not a pretext for it.

As yet not much can be known of the efficiency of the rest of the Ministers. The only one who has had anything to do is Melbourne, and he has surprised all those about him by a sudden display of activity and vigour, rapid and diligent transaction of business, for which nobody was prepared, and which will prove a great mortification to Peel and his friends, who were in hopes he would do nothing and let the country be burnt and plundered without interruption. The Duke of Richmond has plunged neck-deep in politics, and says he is delighted with it all, and with Lord Grey’s candour and unassuming bearing in the Cabinet. He is evidently piqued that none of his party have followed him, and made a speech in the House of Lords the other night expressing his readiness to defend his having taken office, when nobody attacked him. Knowing him as I do, and the exact extent of his capacity, I fancy he must feel rather small by the side of Lord Grey and Brougham. Graham’s elevation is the most monstrous of all. He was once my friend, a college intimacy revived in the world, and which lasted six months, when, thinking he could do better, he cut me, as he had done others before. I am not a fair judge of him, because the pique which his conduct to me naturally gave me would induce me to underrate him, but I take vanity and self-sufficiency to be the prominent features of his character, though of the extent of his capacity I will give no opinion. Let time show; I think he will fail. [Time did show it to be very considerable, and the volvenda dies brought back our former friendship, as will hereafter appear; he certainly did not fail.]

[91] SIR JAMES GRAHAM. He came into Parliament ten years ago, spoke and failed. He had been a provincial hero, the Cicero and the Romeo of Yorkshire and Cumberland, a present Lovelace and a future Pitt. He was disappointed in love (the particulars are of no consequence), married and retired to digest his mortifications of various kinds, to become a country gentleman, patriot, reformer, financier, and what not, always good-looking (he had been very handsome), pleasing, intelligent, cultivated, agreeable as a man can be who is not witty and who is rather pompous and slow, after many years of retirement, in the course of which he gave to the world his lucubrations on corn and currency. Time and the hour made him master of a large but encumbered estate and member for his county. Armed with the importance of representing a great constituency, he started again in the House of Commons; took up Joseph Hume’s line, but ornamented it with graces and flourishes which had not usually decorated such dry topics. He succeeded, and in that line is now the best speaker in the House. I have no doubt he has studied his subjects and practised himself in public speaking. Years and years ago I remember his delight on Hume’s comparison between Demosthenes and Cicero, and how he knew the passage by heart; but it is one thing to attack strong abuses and fire off well-rounded set phrases, another to administer the naval affairs of the country and be ready to tilt against all comers, as he must do for the future.[4] Palmerston is said to have given the greatest satisfaction to the foreign Ministers, and to have begun very well. So much for the Ministers.

[4] [This opinion of Sir James Graham is the more curious as he afterwards became one of Mr. Greville’s confidential friends, and rose to the first rank of oratory and authority in the House of Commons. As Secretary of State for the Home Department in the great Administration of Sir Robert Peel he showed administrative ability of the highest order, and he was, perhaps, the most trusted colleague of that illustrious chief. The principal failing of Sir James Graham was, in truth, that he was not so brave and bold a man as he looked.]

December 14th, 1830

There is a delay in Lyndhurst’s appointment, if it takes place at all. Alexander[5] now will not resign, [92] though he himself proposed to do so in the first instance. His physician signed a certificate to say that if he went on this Committee it would cost him his life; some difficulty about the pension is the cause, or the peerage that he wants. He is seventy-six and very rich, a wretched judge, and never knew anything of Common Law. If it is not arranged, it will be a bad business for Lyndhurst, for the Duke and his friends are grievously annoyed at his taking the office, having counted on him as their great champion in the House of Lords. Mrs. Arbuthnot told me the other night that they considered themselves released from all obligations to him for the future. However, they have not at all quarrelled, and they knew his deplorable state in point of money. Dined yesterday at Agar Ellis’s with eighteen people. Brougham in great force and very agreeable, and told some stories of Judge Allan Park, who is a most ridiculous man, and yet a good lawyer, a good judge, and was a most eminent counsel.

[5] [The Chief Baron.]

Park is extraordinarily ridiculous. He is a physiognomist, and is captivated by pleasant looks. In a certain cause, in which a boy brought an action for defamation against his schoolmaster, Campbell, his counsel, asked the solicitor if the boy was good-looking. ‘Very.’ ‘Oh, then, have him in court; we shall get a verdict.’ And so he did. His eyes are always wandering about, watching and noticing everything and everybody. One day there was a dog in court making a disturbance, on which he said, ‘Take away that dog.’ The officers went to remove another dog, when he interposed. ‘No, not that dog. I have had my eye on that dog the whole day, and I will say that a better behaved little dog I never saw in a court of justice.’

One of Brougham’s best speeches was one of his last at the Bar, made in moving for a new trial on the ground of misdirection in a great cause (Tatham and Wright) about a will. He said that on that occasion Park did what he thought no man’s physical powers were equal to; he spoke in summing up for eleven hours and a half, and was as fresh at the end as at the beginning; the trial lasted [93] LORD LYNDHURST AND THE WHIGS. eight days. This same evening Lord Grosvenor, who is by way of being a friend to Government, made an amicable attack upon everything, and talked nonsense. Lord Grey answered him, and defended his own family appointments in a very good speech.

December 15th, 1830

Dined yesterday with Lord Dudley; sat next to Lady Lyndhurst, and had a great deal of talk about politics. She said that the Duke never consulted or communicated with the Chancellor, who never heard of his overtures to Palmerston till Madame de Lieven told him; that he had repeatedly remonstrated with the Duke upon going on in his weakness, and on one occasion had gone to Walmer on purpose (leaving her behind that he might talk more freely) to urge him to take in Lord Grey and some of that party, but he would not; said he had tried to settle with them, and it would not do; had tried individuals and had tried the party. Up to a very late period it appears that Lord Grey would have joined him, and Lambton came to her repeatedly to try and arrange something; but this answer of the Duke’s put it out of the question. Then after Lord Grey made his hostile speech it seems as if the Duke wanted to get him, for one day Jersey made an appointment with Lady Lyndhurst, never having called upon her in his life before, came, and entreated her to try and bring about an accommodation with Lord Grey, not making use of the Duke’s name, but saying he and Lady Jersey were so unhappy that the Duke and Lord Grey should not be on good terms, and were so anxious for the junction; but it was too late then, and the Lyndhursts themselves had something else to look to. They both knew very well that Brougham alone prevented his remaining on the Woolsack, still they have very wisely not quarrelled with him. After dinner I took Lyndhurst to Lady Dudley Stuart’s, and had some more talk with him. He thinks, as I do, that this Government does not promise to be strong. What passed in the House of Commons the other night exhibited deplorable weakness and the necessity of depending upon the caprices of hundreds of loose votes, without anything like a party with which they could venture [94] to oppose popular doctrines or measures. He thinks that Peel must be Minister if there is not a revolution, and that the Duke’s being Prime Minister again is out of the question; says he knows Peel would never consent to act with him again in the same capacity, that all the Duke’s little cabinet (the women and the toad-eaters) hate Peel, and that there never was any real cordiality between them. Everything confirms my belief that Peel, if he did not bring about the dissolution of the late Ministry by any overt act, saw to what things were tending, and saw it with satisfaction.

December 16th, 1830

At Court yesterday; William Bathurst sworn in. All the Ministers were there, and the Duke of Wellington at the levee looking out of sorts. Dined at the Lievens’; Lady Cowper told me that in the summer the Duke had not made a direct offer to Melbourne, but what was tantamount to it. He had desired somebody (she did not say who) to speak to Frederick,[6] and said he would call on him himself the next day. Something, however, prevented him, and she did not say whether he did call or not afterwards. He denied ever having made any overture at all. To Palmerston he proposed the choice of four places, and she thinks he would have taken in Huskisson if the latter had lived. He would have done nothing but on compulsion; that is clear. It is very true (what they say Peel said of him) that no man ever had any influence with him, only women, and those always the silliest. But who are Peel’s confidants, friends, and parasites? Bonham, a stock-jobbing ex-merchant; Charles Ross, and the refuse of society of the House of Commons.

[6] [Sir Frederick Lamb.]

Lamb told me afterwards, talking of the Duke and Polignac, that Sébastiani had told him that Hyde de Neuville (who was Minister at the time Polignac went over from here on his first short visit, before he became Minister) said that upon that occasion Polignac took over a letter from the Duke to the King of France, in which he said that the Chambers and the democratical spirit required to be curbed, that he advised him to lose no time in restraining them, and that [95] THE KING AND HIS SONS. he referred him to M. de Polignac for his opinion generally, who was in possession of his entire confidence. I think this may be true, never having doubted that these were his real sentiments, whether he expressed them or not.

There has been a desperate quarrel between the King and his sons. George Fitzclarence wanted to be made a Peer and have a pension; the King said he could not do it, so they struck work in a body, and George resigned his office of Deputy Adjutant-General and wrote the King a furious letter. The King sent for Lord Hill, and told him to try and bring him to his senses; but Lord Hill could do nothing, and then he sent for Brougham to talk to him about it. It is not yet made up, but one of them (Frederick, I believe) dined at the dinner the King gave the day before yesterday. They want to renew the days of Charles II., instead of waiting patiently and letting the King do what he can for them, and as he can.

The affair at Warsaw seems to have begun with a conspiracy against Constantine, and four of the generals who were killed perished in his anteroom in defending him. With the smallest beginnings, however, nothing is more probable than a general rising in Poland; and what between that, Belgians, and Piedmont, which is threatened with a revolution, the Continent is in a promising state. I agree with Lamb, who says that such an imbroglio as this cannot be got right without a war; such a flame can only be quenched by blood.

December 19th, 1830

The week has closed without much gain to the new Government. On the debate in the House of Commons about the Evesham election they did not dare go to a division, as they would certainly have been beaten, but Peel made a speech which was very good in itself, and received in a way which proved that he has more consideration out of office than any of the Ministers, and much more than he ever had when he was in. Men are looking more and more to him, and if there is not a revolution he will assuredly be Prime Minister. The Government is fully aware how little strength they have, so they have taken a [96] new line, and affect to carry on the Government without Parliamentary influence, and to throw themselves and their measures upon the impartial judgment of the House. Sefton informed me the other night that they had resolved not to take upon themselves the responsibility of proposing any renewal of the Civil List, but to refer the whole question to Parliament. I told him that I thought such conduct equally foolish and unjust, and that it amounted to an abdication of their Ministerial functions, and a surrender of them into the hands of the Legislative power; in itself amounting to a revolution not of dynasty and institutions, but of system of Government in this country. He is the âme damnée of Lord Grey, and defends everything of course.

O’Connell is gone rabid to Ireland, having refused a silk gown and resolved to pull down Lord Anglesey’s popularity. Shiel writes word that they have resolved not to give Lord Anglesey a public reception, and to propose an ovation for O’Connell. The law appointments there, made without any adequate reason, have been ingeniously contrived so as to disgust every party in Ireland, and to do, or promise to do, in their ultimate results as much harm as possible. So much for the only act that the Ministers have yet performed.

I had some conversation with Lyndhurst yesterday, who thinks the way is already preparing for Peel’s return to office, and that he must be Prime Minister. I told him that I thought Peel had a fine game to play, but that his own was just as good, as Peel could do nothing without him in the other House; to which he replied that they should have no difficulty, and could make a Government if the Duke of Wellington did not interpose his claims and aspire again to be at the head; to which I said that they must not listen to it, as the country would not bear it; he said he was afraid the Duke’s own set and his women were encouraging him in such views. Now that it is all over his own Cabinet admit as freely as anybody his Ministerial despotism. Lyndhurst partakes of the general alarm at the state of affairs, and of the astonishment which I and others feel at the apathy of those who are most interested in averting the impending [97] BISHOP OF EXETER AND LORD MELBOURNE. danger. Yesterday Mr. Stapleton (Canning’s late private secretary) called on me to discuss this subject, and the propriety and feasibility of setting up some dyke to arrest the torrent of innovation and revolution that is bursting in on every side. All the press almost is silenced, or united on the other side. ‘John Bull’ alone fights the battle, but ‘John Bull’ defends so many indefensible things that its advocacy is not worth much. An anti-Radical upon the plan of the Anti-Jacobin might be of some use, provided it was well sustained. I wrote a letter yesterday to Barnes,[7] remonstrating upon the general tone of the ‘Times,’ and inviting him to adopt some Conservative principles in the midst of his zeal for Reform. Stanley told me that his election (at Preston) was lost by the stupidity or ill-will of the returning officer, who managed the booths in such a way that Hunt’s voters were enabled to vote over and over at different booths, and that he had no doubt of reducing his majority on a scrutiny.

[7] [Mr. Barnes was then editor of the ‘Times’ newspaper, and retained that position till his death in 1841. Mr. Greville was well acquainted with him, and had a high opinion of his talents, character, and influence.]

December 22nd, 1830

Dudley showed me Phillpotts’ (Bishop of Exeter) correspondence with Melbourne and minutes of conversation on the subject of the commendam of the living of Stanhope; trimming letters. The Bishop made proposals to the Government which they rejected, and at last, after writing one of the ablest letters I ever read, in which he exposed their former conduct and present motives, he said that as the Ministers had thought fit to exert the power they had over him, he should show them that he had some over them, and appeal to public opinion to decide between them. On this they gave way, and agreed to an arrangement which, if not satisfactory to him, will leave him as to income not much worse off than he was before.

December 23rd, 1830

Last night to Wilmot Horton’s second lecture at the Mechanics’ Institute; I could not go to the first. He deserves great credit for his exertions, the object of which is to explain to the labouring classes some of the [98] truths of political economy, the folly of thinking that the breaking of machinery will better their condition, and of course the efficacy of his own plan of emigration. The company was respectable enough, and they heard him with great attention. He is full of zeal and animation, but so totally without method and arrangement that he is hardly intelligible. The conclusion, which was an attack on Cobbett, was well done and even eloquent. There were a good many women, and several wise men, such as Dr. Birkbeck, M‘Culloch, and Owen of Lanark.

O’Connell had a triumphant entry into Dublin, and advised that no honours should be shown to Lord Anglesey. They had an interview of two hours in London, when Lord Anglesey asked him what he intended to do. He said, ‘Strive totis viribus to effect a repeal of the Union;’ when Lord Anglesey told him that he feared he should then be obliged to govern Ireland by force, so that they are at daggers drawn. There is not a doubt that Repeal is making rapid advances. Moore[8] told me that he had seen extraordinary signs of it, and that men of the middle classes, intelligent and well educated, wished for it, though they knew the disadvantages that would attend a severance of their connection with England. He said that he could understand it, for as an Irishman he felt it himself.

[8] [Thomas Moore, the poet.]

Roehampton, December 26th, 1830

At Lord Clifden’s; Luttrell, Byng, and Dudley; the latter very mad, did nothing but soliloquise, walk about, munch, and rail at Reform of every kind. Lord Anglesey has entered Dublin amidst silence and indifference, all produced by O’Connell’s orders, whose entry was greeted by the acclamations of thousands, and his speeches then and since have been more violent than ever. His authority and popularity are unabated, and he is employing them to do all the mischief he can, his first object being to make friends of the Orangemen, to whom he affects to humble himself, and he has on all public occasions caused the orange ribband to be joined with the green.

We had a meeting at the Council Office on Friday to [99] LORD ANGLESEY AND O’CONNELL. order a prayer ‘on account of the troubled state of certain parts of the United Kingdom’—great nonsense.

The King of the French has put an end to the disturbances of Paris about the sentence on the ex-Ministers by a gallant coup d’état. At night, when the streets were most crowded and agitated, he sallied from the Palais Royal on horseback, with his son, the Duc de Nemours, and his personal cortége, and paraded through Paris for two hours. This did the business; he was received with shouts of applause, and at once reduced everything to tranquillity. He deserves his throne for this, and will probably keep it.

December 30th, 1830

Notwithstanding the conduct of King Louis Philippe, and the happy termination of the disorders and tumults at Paris last week, the greatest alarm still prevails about the excitement in that place. In consequence of the Chamber of Deputies having passed some resolutions altering the constitution of the National Guard, and voting the post of Commandant-General unnecessary, Lafayette resigned and has been replaced by Lobau. I never remember times like these, nor read of such—the terror and lively expectation which prevail, and the way in which people’s minds are turned backwards and forwards from France to Ireland, then range excursively to Poland or Piedmont, and fix again on the burnings, riots, and executions here.

Lord Anglesey’s entry into Dublin turned out not to have been so mortifying to him as was at first reported. He was attended by a great number of people, and by all the most eminent and respectable in Dublin, so much so that he was very well pleased, and found it better than he expected. War broke out between him and O’Connell without loss of time. O’Connell had intended to have a procession of the trades, and a notice from him was to have been published and stuck over the door of every chapel and public place in Dublin. Anglesey issued his proclamation, and half an hour before the time when O’Connell’s notice was to appear had it pasted up, and one copy laid on O’Connell’s breakfast table, at which anticipation he chuckled mightily. O’Connell instantly issued a handbill desiring the people to obey, as if [100] the order of the Lord-Lieutenant was to derive its authority from his permission, and he afterwards made an able speech. Since the beginning of the world there never was so extraordinary and so eccentric a position as his. It is a moral power and influence as great in its way, and as strangely acquired, as Bonaparte’s political power was. Utterly lost to all sense of shame and decency, trampling truth and honour under his feet, cast off by all respectable men, he makes his faults and his vices subservient to the extension of his influence, for he says and does whatever suits his purpose for the moment, secure that no detection or subsequent exposure will have the slightest effect with those over whose minds and passions he rules with such despotic sway. He cares not whom he insults, because, having covered his cowardice with the cloak of religious scruples, he is invulnerable, and will resent no retaliation that can be offered him. He has chalked out to himself a course of ambition which, though not of the highest kind—if the consentiens laus bonorum is indispensable to the aspirations of noble minds—has everything in it that can charm a somewhat vulgar but highly active, restless, and imaginative being; and nobody can deny to him the praise of inimitable dexterity, versatility, and even prudence in the employment of the means which he makes conducive to his ends. He is thoroughly acquainted with the audiences which he addresses and the people upon whom he practises, and he operates upon their passions with the precision of a dexterous anatomist who knows the direction of every muscle and fibre of the human frame. After having been throughout the Catholic question the furious enemy of the Orangemen, upon whom he lavished incessant and unmeasured abuse, he has suddenly turned round, and inviting them to join him on the Repeal question, has not only offered them a fraternal embrace and has humbled himself to the dust in apologies and demands for pardon, but he has entirely and at once succeeded, and he is now as popular or more so with the Protestants (or rather Orangemen) as he was before with the Catholics, and Crampton writes word that the lower order of Protestants are with him to a man.


1831.

January 2nd, 1831

[101] A DINNER AT THE ATHENÆUM. Came up to town yesterday to dine with the Villiers at a dinner of clever men, got up at the Athenæum, and was extremely bored. The original party was broken up by various excuses, and the vacancies supplied by men none of whom I knew. There were Poulett Thomson, three Villiers, Taylor, Young, whom I knew; the rest I never saw before—Buller, Romilly, Senior, Maule,[9] a man whose name I forget, and Walker, a police magistrate, all men of more or less talent and information, and altogether producing anything but an agreeable party. Maule was senior wrangler and senior medallist at Cambridge, and is a lawyer. He was nephew to the man with whom I was at school thirty years ago, and I had never seen him since; he was then a very clever boy, and assisted to teach the boys, being admirably well taught himself by his uncle, who was an excellent scholar and a great brute. I have young Maule now in my mind’s eye suspended by the hair of his head while being well caned, and recollect as if it was yesterday his doggedly drumming a lesson of Terence into my dull and reluctant brain as we walked up and down the garden walk before the house. When I was introduced to him I had no recollection of him, but when I found out who he was I went up to him with the blandest manner as he sat reading a newspaper, and said that ‘I believed we had once been well acquainted, though we had not met for twenty-seven years.’ He looked up and said, ‘Oh, it is too long ago to talk about,’ and then turned back to his paper. So I set him down for a brute like his uncle and troubled him no further. I am very sure that dinners of all fools have as good a chance of being agreeable as dinners of all clever people; at least the former are often gay, and the latter are frequently heavy. Nonsense and folly gilded over with good breeding and les usages du monde produce often more agreeable results than a collection of rude, awkward intellectual powers.

[9] [Afterwards Mr. Justice Maule.]

Roehampton, January 4th, 1831

Called on Lady Canning this [102] morning, who wanted me to read some of her papers. Most of them (which are very curious) I had seen before, but forgotten. I read the long minute of Canning’s conversation with the King ten days before his Majesty put the formation of the Administration in his hands. They both appear to have been explicit enough. The King went through his whole life, and talked for two hours and a half, particularly about the Catholic question, on which he said he had always entertained the same opinions—the same as those of George III. and the Duke of York—and that with the speech of the latter he entirely concurred, except in the ‘so help me God’ at the end, which he thought unnecessary. He said he had wished the Coronation Oath to be altered, and had proposed it to Lord Liverpool. His great anxiety was not to be annoyed with the discussion of the question, to keep Canning and Lord Liverpool’s colleagues, and to put at the head of the Treasury some anti-Catholic Peer. This Canning would not hear of; he said that having lost Lord Liverpool he had lost his only support in the Cabinet, that the King knew how he had been thwarted by others, and how impossible it would have been for him to go on but for Lord Liverpool, that he could not serve under anybody else, or act with efficacy except as First Minister, that he would not afford in his person an example of any such rule as that support of the Catholic question was to be ipso facto an exclusion from the chief office of the Government, that he advised the King to try and make an anti-Catholic Ministry, and thought that with his feelings and opinions on the subject it was what he ought to do. This the King said was out of the question. In the course of the discussion Canning said that if he continued in his service he must continue as free as he had been before; that desirous as he was to contribute to the King’s ease and comfort, he could not in any way pledge himself on the subject, because he should be assuredly questioned in the House of Commons, and he must have it in his power to reply that he was perfectly free to act on that question as he had ever done, and that he thought the King would better consult his own ease by [103] THE DUKE AND MR. CANNING. retaining him in office without any pledge, relying on his desire above all things to consult his Majesty’s ease and comfort. He said among other things that, though leader of the House of Commons, he had never had any patronage placed at his disposal, nor a single place to give away.

About the time of this conversation Canning was out of humour with the Duke of Wellington, for he had heard that many of the adherents of Government who pretended to be attached to the Duke had spoken of him (Canning) in the most violent and abusive terms. In their opinions he conceived the Duke to be to a certain degree implicated, and this produced some coldness in his manner towards him. Shortly after Arbuthnot came to him, complained first and explained after, and said the Duke would call upon him. The Duke did call, and in a conversation of two hours Canning told him all that had passed between himself and the King, thereby putting the Duke, as he supposed, in complete possession of his sentiments as to the reconstruction of the Government. A few days after Mr. Canning was charged by the King to lay before him the plan of an Administration, and upon this he wrote the letter to his former colleagues which produced so much discussion. I read the letters to the Duke, Bathurst, Melville, and Bexley, and I must say that the one to the Duke was rather the stiffest of the whole,[10] though it was not so cold as the Duke chose to consider it. Then came his letter to the Duke on his speech, and the Duke’s answer. When I read these last year I thought the Duke had much the best of it; but I must alter this opinion if it be true that he knew Mr. Canning’s opinions, as it is stated that he did entirely, after their long interview, at which the conversation with the King was communicated to him. That materially alters the case. There was a letter from Peel declining, entirely on the ground of objecting to a pro-Catholic Premier, and on the impossibility of his administering Ireland with the First Lord of the Treasury of a different opinion on that subject from his own. There was [104] likewise a curious correspondence relative to a paper written by the Duke of York during his last illness, and not very long before his death, to Lord Liverpool on the dangers of the country from the progress of the Catholic question, the object of which (though it was vaguely expressed) was to turn out the Catholic members and form a Protestant Government for the purpose of crushing the Catholic interest. This Lord Liverpool communicated (privately) to Canning, and it was afterwards communicated to the King, who appears (the answer was not there) to have given the Duke of York a rap on the knuckles, for there is a reply of the Duke’s to the King, full of devotion, zeal, and affection to his person, and disclaiming any intention of breaking up the Government, an idea which could have arisen only from misconception of the meaning of his letter by Lord Liverpool. It is very clear, however, that he did mean that, for his letter could have meant nothing else. The whole thing is curious, for he was aware that he was dying, and he says so.

[10] [This correspondence is now published in the third volume of the Duke’s ‘Correspondence,’ New Series, p. 628.]

January 12th, 1831

Passed two days at Panshanger, but my room was so cold that I could not sit in it to write. Nobody there but F. Lamb and J. Russell. Lady Cowper told me what had passed relative to the negotiation with Melbourne last year, and which the Duke or his friends denied. The person who was employed (and whom she did not name) told F. Lamb that the Duke would take in Melbourne and two others (I am not sure it was not three), but not Huskisson. He said that it would be fairer at once to say that those terms would not be accepted, and to save him therefore from offering them, that Melbourne would not be satisfied with any Government which did not include Huskisson and Lord Grey, and that upon this answer the matter dropped. I don’t think the Duke can be blamed for answering to anybody who chose to ask him any questions on the subject that he had made no offer; it was the truth, though not the whole truth, and a Minister must have some shelter against impertinent questioners, or he would be at their mercy. An Envoy is come here from the Poles,[11] who brought a letter from Prince [105] CROKER’S BOSWELL. Czartoryski to Lord Grey, who has not seen him, and whose arrival has naturally given umbrage to the Lievens.

[11] [This Envoy was Count Alexander Walewski, a natural son of the Emperor Napoleon, who afterwards played a considerable part in the affairs of France and of Europe, especially under the Second Empire. During his residence in London in 1831 he married Lady Caroline Montagu, a daughter of the Earl of Sandwich, but she did not live long. I remember calling upon him in St. James’s Place, and seeing cards of invitation for Lady Grey’s assemblies stuck in his glass. The fact is he was wonderfully handsome and agreeable, and soon became popular in London society.]

January 19th, 1831

To Roehampton on Saturday till Monday, having been at the Grove on Friday. George Villiers at the Grove showed me a Dublin paper with an attack on Stanley’s proclamation, and also a character of Plunket drawn with great severity and by a masterly hand; it is supposed to be by Baron Smith, a judge who is very able, but fanciful and disaffected. He will never suffer any but policemen or soldiers to be hanged of those whom he tries. George Villiers came from Hatfield, where he had a conversation with the Duke of Wellington, who told him that he had committed a great error in his Administration in not paying more attention to the press, and in not securing a portion of it on his side and getting good writers into his employment, that he had never thought it necessary to do so, and that he was now convinced what a great mistake it was. At Roehampton nothing new, except that the Reform plan is supposed to be settled, or nearly so. Duncannon has been consulted, and he and one or two more have had meetings with Durham, who were to lay their joint plans before Lord Grey first, and he afterwards brought them to the Cabinet.

Ellis told me (a curious thing enough) that Croker (for his ‘Boswell’s Life of Johnson’) had collected various anecdotes from other books, but that the only new and original ones were those he had got from Lord Stowell, who was a friend of Johnson, and that he had written them under Stowell’s dictation. Sir Walter Scott wanted to see them, and Croker sent them to him in Scotland by the post. The bag was lost; no tidings could be heard of it, Croker had no copy, and Stowell is in his dotage and can’t be got to dictate again. So much for the anecdote; then comes the story. I said how surprising this was, for nothing was so rare as a miscarriage by the post. He said, ‘Not at all, for I [106] myself lost two reviews in the same way. I sent them both to Brougham to forward to Jeffrey (for the “Edinburgh”), and they were both lost in the same way!’ That villain Brougham!

G. Lamb said that the King is supposed to be in a bad state of health, and this was confirmed to me by Keate the surgeon, who gave me to understand that he was going the way of both his brothers. He will be a great loss in these times; he knows his business, lets his Ministers do as they please, but expects to be informed of everything. He lives a strange life at Brighton, with tagrag and bobtail about him, and always open house. The Queen is a prude, and will not let the ladies come décolletées to her parties. George IV., who liked ample expanses of that sort, would not let them be covered. In the meantime matters don’t seem more promising either here or abroad. In Ireland there is open war between Anglesey and O’Connell, to whom it is glory enough (of his sort) to be on a kind of par with the Viceroy, and to have a power equal to that of the Government. Anglesey issues proclamation after proclamation, the other speeches and letters in retort. His breakfasts and dinners are put down, but he finds other places to harangue at, and letters he can always publish; but he does not appear in quite so triumphant an attitude as he did. The O’Connell tribute is said to have failed; no men of property or respectability join him, and he is after all only the leader of a mob; but it is a better sort of mob, and formidable from their numbers, and the organisation which has latterly become an integral part of mob tactics. Nothing can be more awful than the state of that country, and everybody expects that it will be found necessary to strengthen the hands of the Government with extraordinary powers to put an end to the prevailing anarchy. O’Connell is a coward, and that is the best chance of his being beaten at last.

Lord Lyndhurst took his seat as Chief Baron yesterday morning, Alexander retiring without an equivalent, and only having waited for quarter day. Brougham has had a violent squabble in his Court with Sugden, who having [107] O’CONNELL ARRESTED. bullied the Vice-Chancellor and governed Lyndhurst, has a mind to do the same by Brougham; besides, he hates him for the repeated thrashings he got from him in the House of Commons, and has been heard to say that he will take his revenge in the Court of Chancery. The present affair was merely that Brougham began writing, when Sugden stopped and told him ‘it was no use his going on if his Lordship would not attend to the argument,’ and so forth.

I met Lyndhurst at dinner yesterday, who talks of himself as standing on neutral ground, disconnected with politics. It is certainly understood that he is not to fight the battles of the present Government, but of course he is not to be against them. His example is a lesson to statesmen to be frugal, for if he had been rich he would have had a better game before him. He told a curious anecdote about a trial. There was a (civil) cause in which the jury would not agree on their verdict. They retired on the evening of one day, and remained till one o’clock the next afternoon, when, being still disagreed, a juror was drawn. There was only one juror who held out against the rest—Mr. Berkeley (member for Bristol). The case was tried over again, and the jury were unanimously of Mr. Berkeley’s opinion, which was in fact right, a piece of conscientious obstinacy which prevented the legal commission of wrong.

Roehampton, January 22nd, 1831

The event of the week is O’Connell’s arrest on a charge of conspiracy to defeat the Lord-Lieutenant’s proclamation. Lord Anglesey writes to Lady Anglesey thus:—‘I am just come from a consultation of six hours with the law officers, the result of which is a determination to arrest O’Connell, for things are now come to that pass that the question is whether he or I shall govern Ireland.’ We await the result with great anxiety, for the opinion of lawyers seems divided as to the legality of the arrest, and laymen can form none.

January 23rd, 1831

No news; Master of the Rolls, George Ponsonby, and George Villiers here. The latter told a story of Plunket, of his wit. Lord Wellesley’s aide-de-camp Keppel wrote a book of his travels, and called it his [108] personal narrative. Lord Wellesley was quizzing it, and said, ‘Personal narrative? what is a personal narrative? Lord Plunket, what should you say a personal narrative meant?’ Plunket answered, ‘My Lord, you know we lawyers always understand personal as contradistinguished from real.’ And one or two others of Parsons, the Irish barrister. Lord Norbury on some circuit was on the bench speaking, and an ass outside brayed so loud that nobody could hear. He exclaimed, ‘Do stop that noise!’ Parsons said, ‘My Lord, there is a great echo here.’ Somebody said to him one day, ‘Mr. Parsons, have you heard of my son’s robbery?’ ‘No; whom has he robbed?’

Nothing but talk about O’Connell and his trial, and we have more fears he will be acquitted than hopes that he will be convicted. They still burn in the country, and I heard the other day that the manufacturing districts, though quiet, are in a high state of organisation.

January 25th, 1831

Met Colonel Napier[12] last night, and talked for an hour of the state of the country. He gave me a curious account of the organisation of the manufacturers in and about Manchester, who are divided into four different classes, with different objects, partly political, generally to better themselves, but with a regular Government, the seat of which is in the Isle of Man. He says that the agriculturists are likewise organised in Wiltshire, and that there is a sort of free-masonry among them; he thinks a revolution inevitable; and when I told him what Southey had said—that if he had money enough he would transport his family to America—he said he would not himself leave England in times of danger, but that he should like to remove his family if he could.

[12] [Sir William Napier, author of the ‘History of the Peninsular War.’]

The King is ill. I hope he won’t die; if he does, and the little girl, we shall have Cumberland, and (though Lyndhurst said he would make a very good King the other night) that would be a good moment for dispensing with the regal office. It is reported that they differ in the Cabinet [109] O’CONNELL’S CASE. about Reform; probably not true. What a state of terror and confusion we are in, though it seems to make no difference.

January 31st, 1831

At Roehampton on Saturday; Lord Robert Spencer and Sir G. Robinson. Agar Ellis had just resigned the Woods, after asking to be made a Peer, which they refused. All last week nobody thought of anything but O’Connell, and great was the joy at the charge of Judge Jebb, the unanimous opinion of the King’s Bench, and the finding of the Grand Jury. Whatever happens, Government are now justified in the course they have taken; and now he has traversed, which looks like weakness, and it is the general opinion that he is beaten; but he is so astute, and so full of resources, that I would never answer for his being beaten till I see him in prison or find his popularity gone. The subscription produced between 7,000ℓ. and 8,000ℓ. It is an extraordinary thing, and the most wonderful effect I ever heard of the power of moral causes over the human body, that Lord Anglesey, who has scarcely been out of pain at all for years during any considerable intervals, has been quite free from his complaint (the tic douloureux) since he has been in Ireland; the excitement of these events, and the influence of that excitement on his nervous system, have produced this effect. There is a puzzler for philosophy, and such an amalgamation of moral and physical accidents as is well worth unravelling for those who are wise enough.

Yesterday there was a dinner at Lord Lansdowne’s to name the Sheriffs, and there was I in attendance on my old school-fellows and associates Richmond, Durham, Graham, all great men now!

While some do laugh, and some do weep,
Thus runs the world away.

Lord Grey was not there, for he was gone to Brighton to lay the Reform Bill before the King. What a man Brougham is; he wants to ride his Chancery steed to the Devil, as if he had not enough to do. Nothing would satisfy [110] him but to come and hear causes in our Court;[13] but as I knew it was only to provoke Leach, I would not let him come, and told the Lord President we had no causes for him to hear. He insisted, so did I, and he did not come; but some day I will invite him, and then he will have forgotten it or have something else to do, and he won’t come. He is a Jupiter-Scapin if ever there was one.

[13] [At the Privy Council, where the Master of the Rolls was at that time in the habit of sitting with two lay Privy Councillors to hear Plantation Appeals.]

February 6th, 1831

Parliament met again on the 3rd, and the House of Commons exhibited a great array on the Opposition benches; nothing was done the first day but the announcement of the Reform measure for the 2nd of March, to be brought in by Lord John Russell in the House of Commons, though not a Cabinet Minister. The fact is that if a Cabinet Minister had introduced it, it must have been Althorp, and he is wholly unequal to it; he cannot speak at all, so that though the pretence is to pay a compliment to John Russell because he had on former occasions brought forward plans of Reform, it is really expedient to take the burden off the leader of the Government. The next night came on the Civil List, and as the last Government was turned out on this question, there had existed a general but vague expectation that some wonderful reductions were to be proposed by the new Chancellor of the Exchequer. Great, then, was the exultation of the Opposition when it was found that no reductions would be made, and that the measure of this Government only differed from that of the last in the separation of the King’s personal expenses from the other charges and a prospective reduction in the Pension List. There was not much of a debate. Althorp did it ill by all accounts; Graham spoke pretty well; and Calcraft, who could do nothing while in office, found all his energies when he got back to the Opposition benches, and made (everybody says) a capital speech. There is certainly a great disappointment that the Civil List does not produce some economical novelty, and to a certain degree the popularity [111] THE CIVIL LIST. of the Government will be affected by it. But they have taken the manliest course, and the truth is the Duke of Wellington had already made all possible reductions, unless the King and the Government were at once to hang out the flag of poverty and change their whole system. After what Sefton had told me of the intentions of Government about the Pension List, and my reply to him, it was a satisfaction to me to find they could not act on such a principle; and accordingly Lord Althorp at once declared the opinion and intentions of Government about the Pensions, instead of abandoning them to the rage of the House of Commons. There is not even a surmise as to the intended measure of Reform, the secret of which is well kept, but I suspect the confidence of the Reformers will be shaken by their disappointment about the Civil List. It is by no means clear, be it what it may, that the Government will be able to carry it, for the Opposition promises to be very formidable in point of numbers; and in speaking the two parties are, as to the first class, pretty evenly divided—Palmerston, the Grants, Graham, Stanley, John Russell, on one side; Peel, Calcraft, Hardinge, Dawson, on the other; fewer in numbers, but Peel immeasurably the best on either side—but in the second line, and among the younger ones, the Opposition are far inferior.

February 9th, 1831

Just got into my new home—Poulett Thomson’s house, which I have taken for a year. The day before yesterday came the news that the French had refused the nomination of the Duc de Nemours to the throne of Belgium, the news of his being chosen having come on Sunday. The Ministers were rayonnants; Lord Lansdowne came to his office and told it me with prodigious glee.

Met with Sir J. Burke on Sunday at Brooks’s, who said that O’Connell was completely beaten by the address of the merchants and bankers, among whom were men—Mahon, for instance (O’Gorman Mahon’s uncle)—who had always stood by him. I do not believe he is completely beaten, and his resources for mischief are so great that he will rally again before long, I have little doubt. However, what has occurred [112] has been productive of great good; it has elicited a strong Conservative demonstration, and proved that out of the rabbleocracy (for everything is in ocracy now) his power is anything but unlimited. There are 20,000 men in Ireland, so Lord Hill told me last night. Hunt[14] spoke for two hours last night; his manner and appearance very good, like a country gentleman of the old school, a sort of rural dignity about it, very civil, good-humoured, and respectful to the House, but dull; listened to, however, and very well received.

[14] [Henry Hunt, a well-known Radical, had just been returned for Preston, where he had beaten Mr. Stanley.]

February 12th, 1831

The debate three nights ago on Ireland, brought on by O’Gorman Mahon, is said to have been the best that has been heard in the House of Commons for many years. Palmerston, Burdett, Althorp, Peel, Wyse, all made good speeches; it was spirited, statesmanlike, and creditable to the House, which wanted some such exhibition to raise its credit. I saw the day before yesterday a curious letter from Southey to Brougham, which some day or other will probably appear. Taylor showed it me. Brougham had written to him to ask him what his opinion was as to the encouragement that could be given to literature, by rewarding or honouring literary men, and suggested (I did not see his letter) that the Guelphic Order should be bestowed upon them. Southey’s reply was very courteous, but in a style of suppressed irony and forced politeness, and exhibited the marks of a chafed spirit, which was kept down by an effort. ‘You, my Lord, are now on the Conservative side,’ was one of his phrases, which implied that the Chancellor had not always been on that side. He suggested that it might be useful to establish a sort of lay fellowships; 10,000ℓ. would give 10 of 500ℓ. and 25 of 200ℓ.; but he proposed them not to reward the meritorious, but as a means of silencing or hiring the mischievous. It was evident, however, that he laid no stress on this plan, or considered it practicable, and only proposed it because he thought he must suggest something. He said that honours might be desirable to scientific men, as they were so considered on the Continent, and Newton and [113] THE FIRST WHIG BUDGET. Davy had been titled, but for himself, if a Guelphic distinction was adopted, ‘he should be a Ghibelline.’ He ended by saying that all he asked for was a repeal of the Copyright Act which took from the families of literary men the only property they had to give them, and this ‘I ask for with the earnestness of one who is conscious that he has laboured for posterity.’ It is a remarkable letter.

February 13th, 1831

The Budget, which was brought forward two nights ago, has given great dissatisfaction; Goulburn attacked the taxation of the funds (half per cent. on transfer of stock and land) in the best speech he ever made, Peel in another good speech. The bankers assailed it one after another, and not a man on the Government side spoke decently. Great of course was the exultation of the Opposition, and it is supposed that this will be withdrawn and a Property Tax laid on instead. There is a meeting to-day in Downing Street, at which I suspect it will be announced. The Budget must appear hurried, and nothing but the circumstances in which they are placed could have justified their bringing it on so soon. In two months, besides having foreign affairs of the greatest consequence on their hands, they have concocted a Reform Bill and settled the finances of the nation for the next year, which is quite ludicrous; but they are obliged to have money voted immediately, that in case they should be beaten on Reform or any other vital question which may compel them to dissolve Parliament, they may have passed their estimates and be provided with funds. Their secrets are well kept—rather too well, for nobody knew of this Budget, and not a soul has a guess what their Reform is to be. At present nothing can cut a poorer figure than the Government does in the House of Commons, and they have shown how weak a Government a strong Opposition may make.

I have just been to hear Benson preach at the Temple, but I was so distant that I heard ill. His manner is impressive, and language good without being ambitious, but I was rather disappointed. Brougham was there, with Lord King of all people!

February 15th, 1831

[114] Yesterday morning news came that O’Connell had withdrawn his plea of not guilty and (by his counsel, Mr. Perrin) pleaded guilty, to the unutterable astonishment of everybody, and not less delight. Sheil wrote word that his heart sank at the terror of a gaol, and ‘how would such a man face a battle, who could not encounter Newgate?’ Everybody’s impression was that it was a compromise with the law officers, and that he pleaded guilty on condition that he should not be brought up for judgment, but it was no such thing; he made in the preceding days several indirect overtures to Lord Anglesey, who would listen to nothing, and told him that after his conduct he could do nothing for him, and that he must take his own course. He comes to England directly, and will be brought up for judgment (if at all, which I doubt) next term. He gives out that he was forced to do this in order to hasten to England and repair in the House of Commons the errors of O’Gorman Mahon. There is no calculating what may be the extent of the credulity of an Irish mob with regard to him, but after all his bullies and bravadoes this will hardly go down even with them. Sheil says ‘O’Connell is fallen indeed.’ I trust, though hardly dare hope, that ‘he sinks like stars that fall to rise no more.’ It is impossible to form an idea of the astonishment of everybody at this termination of the law proceedings, which have ended so triumphantly for Lord Anglesey and Plunket. Lord Anglesey, however, wrote word to Lady Anglesey that no one could form an idea of the state of that country: that fresh plots were discovered every day, that from circumstances he had been able to do more than another man would, but that it was not, he firmly believed, possible to save it.

There was a meeting at Althorp’s on Sunday, when he agreed to withdraw the Transfer Tax, and that there should be no Property Tax. A more miserable figure was never cut than his; but how should it be otherwise? A respectable country gentleman, well versed in rural administration, in farming and sporting, with all the integrity of 15,000ℓ. a year in possession and 50,000ℓ. in reversion, is all of a sudden [115] LORD ALTHORP’S BUDGET. made leader in the House of Commons without being able to speak, and Chancellor of the Exchequer without any knowledge, theoretical or practical, of finance. By way of being discreet, and that his plan may be a secret, he consults nobody; and then he closets himself with his familiar Poulett Thomson, who puts this notable scheme into his head, and out he blurts it in the House of Commons, without an idea how it will be received, without making either preparations for defending it or for an alternative in case of its rejection. If Althorp and Poulett Thomson are to govern England, these things are likely to happen. The Opposition cannot contain themselves; the women think they are to come in directly. Goulburn said to Baring as they left the House on Friday, ‘Mr. Baring, you said last year you thought my Budget was the most profligate that any Chancellor of the Exchequer had ever brought forward; I think you will now no longer say it was the most profligate.’ Last night Praed[15] made his first speech, which was very good.

[15] [Winthrop Mackworth Praed, a young man of great promise, who had just entered Parliament. He took his degree in 1825, and was regarded by the Tories as the rival and competitor of Thomas Babington Macaulay. But unhappily he died in 1839.]

February 17th, 1831

The day before yesterday Duncannon called on me, and told me O’Connell had got up an opposition to him in Kilkenny; that he was of opinion that the recent events would diminish neither his power nor his popularity, and that in fact he was infallible with the Irish mob. As Richard says, ‘if this have no effect, he is immortal.’

The Duke of Wellington called on my family yesterday; he says the Reform question will not be carried, and he thinks the Government cannot stand, that things are certainly better (internally), and that the great fear is lest people should be too much afraid.

Went to Lady Dudley Stewart’s last night; a party; saw a vulgar-looking, fat man with spectacles, and a mincing, rather pretty pink and white woman, his wife. The man was Napoleon’s nephew, the woman Washington’s granddaughter. What a host of associations, all confused and degraded! He [116] is a son of Murat, the King of Naples, who was said to be ‘le dieu Mars jusqu’à six heures du soir.’ He was heir to a throne, and is now a lawyer in the United States, and his wife, whose name I know not, Sandon told me, was Washington’s granddaughter. (This must be a mistake, for I think Washington never had any children.)[16]

[16] [Achille Murat and his wife were living at this time in the Alpha Road, Regent’s Park. It was said she was Washington’s grand-niece, but I am not sure what the relationship was, if any. She was certainly not his granddaughter.]

February 24th, 1831

At Newmarket for three days, from Saturday till Tuesday; riding out at eight o’clock every morning and inhaling salubrious air. Came back the night before last and found matters in a strange state. The Government, strong in the House of Lords (which is a secondary consideration), is weak in the House of Commons to a degree which is contemptible and ridiculous. Even Sefton now confesses that Althorp is wretched. There he is leading the House of Commons without the slightest acquaintance with the various subjects that come under discussion, and hardly able to speak at all; not one of the Ministers exhibits anything like vigour, ability, or discretion. As Althorp cannot speak, Graham is obliged to talk, or thinks he is, and, as I predicted, he is failing;[17] with some cleverness and plenty of fluency, he is unequal to the situation he is placed in, and his difference with Grant the other night and his apology to O’Gorman Mahon have been prejudicial to the Government and to his own character. The exultation of the Opposition is unbounded, and Peel plays with his power in the House, only not putting it forth because it does not suit his convenience; but he does what he likes, and it is evident that the very existence of the Government depends upon his pleasure. His game, however, is to display candour and moderation, and rather to protect them than not, so he defends many of their measures and restrains the fierce animosity of his friends, but with a sort of sarcastic civility, which, while it is put forth in their defence, is [117] WEAKNESS OF THE GOVERNMENT. always done in such a manner as shall best exhibit his own authority and his contempt for their persons individually. While he upholds the Government he does all he can to bring each member of it into contempt, and there they are, helpless and confused, writhing under his lash and their own impotence, and only intent upon staving off a division which would show the world how feeble they are. Neither the late nor any other Government ever cut so poor a figure as this does. Palmerston does nothing, Grant does worse, Graham does no good, Althorp a great deal of harm; Stanley alone has distinguished himself, and what he has had to do has done very well. It is not, however, only in the House of Commons that the Government are in such discredit; the Budget did their business in the City, and alienated the trading interest. It is a curious circumstance that both Goulburn and Herries have been beset by deputations and individual applications for advice and assistance nearly as much since they left office as when they were in it by merchants and others, who complain to them that it was quite useless to go to Lord Althorp, for they find that he has not the slightest acquaintance with any of the subjects and interests on which they addressed themselves to him, and one man told Herries this, at the same time owning that he was a Whig in principle, and had been an opponent of the late and a supporter of the present Government. The press generally are falling off from the Government, which is an ominous sign. While the Government is thus weak and powerless the elements of confusion and violence are gathering fresh force, and without any fixed and loyal authority to check them will pursue their eccentric course till some public commotion arrives, or till the Conservative resources of the country are called into action and the antagonistic principles are fairly brought to trial.

[17] It was on Lord Chandos’s motion to take into consideration the state of the West Indies.

The King went to the play the night before last; was well received in the house, but hooted and pelted coming home, and a stone shivered a window of his coach and fell into Prince George of Cumberland’s lap. The King was excessively annoyed, and sent for Baring, who was the officer [118] riding by his coach, and asked him if he knew who had thrown the stone; he said that it terrified the Queen, and ‘was very disagreeable, as he should always be going somewhere.’

In the House of Commons Committee on the Parliament Offices they are making the whole thing ridiculous by the sort of reductions they suggest. Hume proposed to cut down the President of the Council to 1,000ℓ. a year, on which Stormont moved he should have nothing, and this (which was intended to ridicule Hume’s proposal) was carried, but will probably be rescinded. There is no directing power anywhere, and the sort of anarchy that is fast increasing must beget confusion. Nobody has the least idea how reform will go, or of the nature of what they mean to propose, but the King said to Cecil Forrester yesterday, who went to resign his office of Groom of the Bedchamber, ‘Why do you resign?’ He said he could not support Government or vote for Reform. ‘Well, but you don’t know what it is, and you might have waited till it came on, for it probably will not be carried;’ and this he repeated twice. Lord Durham has volunteered to give up his salary as Privy Seal, which is no great sacrifice, considering how long he is likely to enjoy it, and everybody gives him credit for having suggested the relief to coals for his own interest. Lady Holland, who has got a West Indian estate, attacked him about the sugar duties, and asked him if they would not reduce them. He said ‘No.’ She retorted, ‘That is because you have no West Indian estate; you have got your own job about coals done, and you don’t care about us.’ In the House of Lords they have it all their own way. The other night, on Lord Strangford’s motion about the Methuen treaty, Brougham exhibited his wonderful powers in his very best style. Without any preparation for the question, and after it had been exhausted in a very good speech of Goderich’s, he got up, and in answer to Strangford and Ellenborough banged their heads together, and displayed all his power of ridicule, sarcasm, and argument in a manner which they could not themselves help admiring. The next night he brought forward his Chancery [119] LADY JERSEY AND LORD DURHAM. Reform measure in a speech of three hours, which, however luminous, was too long for their Lordships, and before the end of it the House had melted away to nothing. But, notwithstanding this success, he must inwardly chafe at being removed from his natural element and proper sphere of action, and he must burn with vexation at seeing Peel riot and revel in his unopposed power, like Hector when Achilles would not fight, though this Achilles can never fight again, but he would give a great deal to go back to the field, and would require much less persuasion than Achilles did.

February 25th, 1831

A drawing-room yesterday, at which the Princess Victoria made her first appearance. I was not there. Lady Jersey made a scene with Lord Durham. She got up and crossed the room to him and said, ‘Lord Durham, I hear that you have said things about me which are not true, and I desire that you will call upon me to-morrow with a witness to hear my positive denial, and I beg that you will not repeat any such things about me,’ or, as the Irishman said, ‘words to that effect.’ She was in a fury, and he, I suppose, in a still greater. He muttered that he should never set foot in her house again, which she did not hear, as after delivering herself of her speech she flounced back again to her seat, mighty proud of the exploit. It arose out of his saying that he should make Lady Durham demand an audience of the Queen to contradict the things Lady Jersey had said of her and the other Whig ladies.

I saw Lady Jersey last night and had a long conversation with her about her squabbles. She declares solemnly (and I believe it) that she never said a syllable to the Queen against her quondam friends, owns she abused Sefton to other people, cried, and talked, and the end was that I am to try to put an end to these tracasseries. She was mighty glorious about her sortie upon Lambton, whom she dislikes, but she is vexed at the hornets’ nest she has brought round her head. All this comes of talking. The wisest man mentioned in history was the vagrant in the Tuileries Gardens some years ago, who walked about with a gag on, and when taken up by the police and questioned [120] why he went about in that guise, he said he was imprudent, and that he might not say anything to get himself into jeopardy he had adopted this precaution. I wonder what Lambton would say now about appointing others instead of Palmerston and Co. if they should go out, which he talked of as such an easy and indifferent matter. What arrogance and folly there is in the world! I don’t know how long this will last, but it must end in Peel’s being Prime Minister. What a foolish proverb that is that ‘honesty is the best policy!’

I am just come home from breakfasting with Henry Taylor to meet Wordsworth; the same party as when he had Southey—Mill, Elliot, Charles Villiers. Wordsworth may be bordering on sixty; hard-featured, brown, wrinkled, with prominent teeth and a few scattered grey hairs, but nevertheless not a disagreeable countenance; and very cheerful, merry, courteous, and talkative, much more so than I should have expected from the grave and didactic character of his writings. He held forth on poetry, painting, politics, and metaphysics, and with a great deal of eloquence; he is more conversible and with a greater flow of animal spirits than Southey. He mentioned that he never wrote down as he composed, but composed walking, riding, or in bed, and wrote down after; that Southey always composes at his desk. He talked a great deal of Brougham, whose talents and domestic virtues he greatly admires; that he was very generous and affectionate in his disposition, full of duty and attention to his mother, and had adopted and provided for a whole family of his brother’s children, and treats his wife’s children as if they were his own. He insisted upon taking them both with him to the drawing-room the other day when he went in state as Chancellor. They remonstrated with him, but in vain.


CHAPTER XIV.

[121] Introduction of the Reform Bill — Attitude of the Opposition — Reform Debates — Peel — Wilberforce and Canning — Old Sir Robert Peel — The City Address — Agitation for Reform — Effects of the Reform Bill — Brougham as Chancellor — Brougham at the Horse Guards — Miss Kemble — Vote on the Timber Duties — Lord Lansdowne’s Opinion of the Bill — Reform Bill carried by one Vote — The King in Mourning — The Prince of Orange — Peel’s Reserve — Ministers beaten — Parliament dissolved by the King in Person — Tumult in both Houses — Failure of the Whig Ministry — The King in their Hands — The Elections — Illumination in the City — The Queen alarmed — Lord Lyndhurst’s View of the Bill — Lord Grey takes the Garter — The King at Ascot — Windsor under William IV. — Brougham at Whitbread’s Brewery and at the British Museum — Breakfast at Rogers’ — The Cholera — Quarantine — Meeting of Peers — New Parliament meets — Opened by the King — ‘Hernani’ at Bridgewater House — The Second Reform Bill — The King’s Coronation — Cobbett’s Trial — Prince Leopold accepts the Crown of Belgium — Peel and the Tories — A Rabble Opposition — A Council for the Coronation.


March 2nd, 1831

The great day at length arrived, and yesterday Lord John Russell moved for leave to bring in his Reform Bill. To describe the curiosity, the intensity of the expectation and excitement, would be impossible, and the secret had been so well kept that not a soul knew what the measure was (though most people guessed pretty well) till they heard it. He rose at six o’clock, and spoke for two hours and a quarter—a sweeping measure indeed, much more so than anyone had imagined, because the Ministers had said it was one which would give general satisfaction, whereas this must dissatisfy all the moderate and will probably just stop short enough not to satisfy the Radicals. They say it was ludicrous to see the faces of the members for those places which are to be disfranchised as they were [122] severally announced, and Wetherell, who began to take notes, as the plan was gradually developed, after sundry contortions and grimaces and flinging about his arms and legs, threw down his notes with a mixture of despair and ridicule and horror. Not many people spoke last night: Inglis followed John Russell, and Francis Leveson closed the debate in the best speech he has ever made, though rather too flowery. Everything is easy in these days, otherwise how Palmerston, Goderich, and Grant can have joined in a measure of this sweeping, violent, and speculative character it is difficult to conceive, they who were the disciples of Castlereagh and the adherents of Canning; but after the Duke of Wellington and Peel carrying the Catholic question, Canning’s friends advocating Radical Reform, and Eldon living to see Brougham on the Woolsack, what may one not expect?

What everybody enquires is what line Peel will take, and though each party is confident of success in this question, it is thought to depend mainly upon the course he adopts and the sentiments he expresses. Hitherto he has cautiously abstained from committing himself in any way, and he is free to act as he thinks best, but he certainly occupies a grand position when he has omnium oculos in se conversos, and the whole House of Commons looking with unalterable anxiety to his opinions and conduct. Such has the course of events and circumstances made this man, who is probably yet destined to play a great part, and it may be a very useful one. God knows how this plan may be received in the country, and what may be its fate in Parliament. The Duke of Wellington, however, is right enough when he says that the great present danger is lest people should be too much afraid, for anything like the panic that prevails I never saw, the apprehension that enough will not be done to satiate the demon of popular opinion, and the disposition to submit implicitly to the universal bellow that pervades this country for what they call Reform without knowing what it is. As to this measure, the greatest evil of it is that it is a pure speculation, and may be productive of the best [123] THE FIRST REFORM BILL. consequences, or the worst, or even of none at all, for all that its authors and abettors can explain to us or to themselves.

O’Connell made his explanation the other night, which was wretched, and Stanley’s was very good, but it matters not; he will tell the people in Ireland that he had a victory, and they will believe him. Nevertheless his defeat in Kilkenny is an excellent thing, and will contribute greatly to destroy the prestige of his power.

March 3rd, 1831

Last night the debate went on, nobody remarkably speaking but Macaulay and Wetherell; the former very brilliant, the latter long, rambling, and amusing, and he sat down with such loud and long cheering as everybody agreed they had never heard before in the House of Commons, and which was taken not so much as a test of the merits of the speech as of an indication of the disposition of the majority of the House. Wetherell was very good fun in a conversation he imagined at Cockermouth between Sir James Graham and one of his constituents. It is thought very strange that none of the Ministers have spoken, except Althorp the first night. The general opinion is that the Bill will be lost in the House of Commons, and that then Parliament will be dissolved, unless the King should take fright and prefer to change his Ministers.

March 5th, 1831

On Thursday night the great speeches were those of Hobhouse on one side and Peel on the other, which last was received with the greatest enthusiasm, and some said (as usual) that it was the finest oration they had ever heard within the walls of Parliament; it seems by the report of it to have been very able and very eloquent. The people come into the ‘Travellers’ after the debate, and bring their different accounts all tinctured by their particular opinions and prejudices, so that the exact truth of the relative merits of the speakers is only attainable by the newspaper reports, imperfect as they are, the next day. The excitement is beyond anything I ever saw. Last night Stanley answered Peel in an excellent speech and one which is likely to raise his reputation very high. He is evidently desirous of pitting himself against Peel, whom he dislikes; and it is probable [124] that they are destined to be the rival leaders of two great Parliamentary parties, if things settle down into the ancient practices of Parliamentary warfare. The other events of last night were the resignation of Charles Wynne and his opposition to the Bill, and the unexpected defection from Government of Lord Seymour, the Duke of Somerset’s son, and Jeffrey’s speech, which was very able, but somewhat tedious.

March 7th, 1831

Nothing talked of, thought of, dreamt of, but Reform. Every creature one meets asks, What is said now? How will it go? What is the last news? What do you think? and so it is from morning till night, in the streets, in the clubs, and in private houses. Yesterday morning met Hobhouse; told him how well I heard he had spoken, and asked him what he thought of Peel’s speech; he said it was brilliant, imposing, but not much in it. Everybody cries up (more than usual) the speeches on their own side, and despises those on the other, which is peculiarly absurd, because the speaking has been very good, and there is so much to be said on both sides that the speech of an adversary may be applauded without any admission of his being in the right. Hobhouse told me he had at first been afraid that his constituents would disapprove this measure, as so many of them would be disfranchised, but that they had behaved nobly and were quite content and ready to make any sacrifices for such an object. I asked him if he thought it would be carried; he said he did not like to think it would not, for he was desirous of keeping what he had, and he was persuaded he should lose it if the Bill were rejected. I said it was an unlucky dilemma when one-half of the world thought like him and the other half were equally convinced that if it be carried they shall lose everything.

Dined at Boodle’s with the Master of the Rolls and Charles Grant, who talked about Peel and the reconstruction of the Tory party; that Peel and Wetherell do not yet speak, but that the parties have joined, and at the meeting at Wetherell’s Herries went to represent Peel with sixteen or eighteen of his friends. Ross, another of Peel’s âmes [125] THE FIRST SIR ROBERT PEEL. damnées, told me the same thing and that they would soon come together again. Grant said he knew that the Duke of Wellington had expressed his readiness to take any part in which it was thought he could render service, either a prominent or a subordinate one or none at all. If so he will be a greater man than he has ever been yet.

Grant talked long and pathetically about the West Indies, and told me a curious anecdote on the authority of Scarlett, who was present. When Wilberforce went out of Parliament he went to Canning and offered him the lead and direction of his party (the Saints), urging him to accept it, and assuring him that their support would give him a strength which to an ambitious man like him was invaluable. Canning took three days to consider it, but finally declined, and then the party elected Brougham as their chief; hence the representation of Yorkshire and many other incidents in Brougham’s career.

Grant gave me a curious account of old Sir Robert Peel. He was the younger son of a merchant, his fortune (very small) left to him in the house, and he was not to take it out. He gave up the fortune and started in business without a shilling, but as the active partner in a concern with two other men—Yates (whose daughter he afterwards married) and another—who between them made up 6,000ℓ.; from this beginning he left 250,000ℓ. apiece to his five younger sons, 60,000ℓ. to his three daughters each, and 22,000ℓ. a year in land and 450,000ℓ. in the funds to Peel. In his lifetime he gave Peel 12,000ℓ. a year, the others 3,000ℓ. and spent 3,000ℓ. himself. He was always giving them money, and for objects which it might have been thought he would have undervalued. He paid for Peel’s house when he built it, and for the Chapeau de Paille (2,700 guineas) when he bought it.

March 10th, 1831

The debate has gone on, and is to be over to-night; everybody heartily sick of it, but the excitement as great as ever. Last night O’Connell was very good, and vehemently cheered by the Government, Stanley, Duncannon, and all, all differences giving way to their zeal; Attwood, the other way, good; Graham a total failure, got into [126] nautical terms and a simile about a ship, in which he floundered and sank. Sir J. Yorke quizzed him with great effect. To-day the City went up with their address, to which the King gave a very general answer. There was great curiosity to know what his answer would be. I rather think this address was got up by Government. Brougham had written to Liverpool to encourage the Reformers there, as he owned to George Villiers last night; and Pearson was with Ellice at the Treasury for an hour the day before this address was moved in the City. They have gone so far that they certainly wish for agitation here. The Duke of Wellington is alarmed; nobody guesses how the question will go. Went to Lady Jersey the day before yesterday to read her correspondence with Brougham, who flummeried her over with notes full of affection and praise, to which she responded in the same strain, and so they are friends again. While I was reading her reply the Duke of Wellington came in, on which she huddled it up, and I conclude he has not seen her effusion. News arrived that the Poles have been beaten and have submitted. There is a great fall in the French funds, as they are expected not to pay their dividends. Europe is in a nice mess. The events of a quarter of a century would hardly be food for a week now-a-days.

March 11th, 1831

It is curious to see the change of opinion as to the passing of this Bill. The other day nobody would hear of the possibility of it, now everybody is beginning to think it will be carried. The tactics of the Opposition have been very bad, for they ought to have come to a division immediately, when I think Government would have been beaten, but it was pretty certain that if they gave time to the country to declare itself the meetings and addresses would fix the wavering and decide the doubtful. There certainly never was anything like the unanimity which pervades the country on the subject, and though I do not think they will break out into rebellion if it is lost, it is impossible not to see that the feeling for it (kept alive as it will be by every sort of excitement) must prevail and that if this particular Bill is not carried some other must very like it, [127] PROBABLE RESULTS OF THE REFORM BILL. and which, if it is much short of this, will only leave a peg to hang fresh discussions upon. The Government is desperate and sees no chance of safety but from their success in the measure, but I have my doubts whether they will render themselves immortal by it. It is quite impossible to guess at its effects at present upon the House of Commons in the first return which may be made under it, but if a vast difference is not made, and if it shall still leave to property and personal influence any great extent of power, the Tory party, which is sure to be revived, will in all probability be too strong for the Reforming Whigs. The Duke of Wellington expected to gain strength by passing the Catholic question, whereas he was ruined by it.

March 15th, 1831

It is universally believed that this Bill will pass, except by some of the ultras against it, or by the fools. But what next? That nobody can tell, though to see the exultation of the Government one would imagine they saw their way clearly to a result of wonderful good. I have little doubt that it will be read a second time, and be a good deal battled in Committee. Although they are determined to carry it through the Committee with a high hand, and not to suffer any alterations, probably some sort of compromise in matters of inferior moment will be made. But when it comes into operation how disappointed everybody will be, and first of all the people! Their imaginations are raised to the highest pitch, but they will open their eyes very wide when they find no sort of advantage accruing to them, when they are deprived of much of the expense and more of the excitement of elections, and see a House of Commons constructed after their own hearts, which will probably be an assembly in all respects inferior to the present. Then they will not be satisfied, and as it will be impossible to go back, there will be plenty of agitators who will preach that we have not gone far enough; and if a Reformed Parliament does not do all that popular clamour shall demand, it will be treated with very little ceremony. If, however, it be true that the tendency of this Bill will be to throw power into the hands of the landed interest, we shall have a great Tory [128] party, which will be selfish, bigoted, and ignorant, and a Radical party, while the Whig party, who will have carried the measure, will sink into insignificance. Such present themselves to my mind as possible alternatives, as far as it is practicable to take anything like a view of probabilities in the chaos and confusion that mighty alterations like these produce.

I dined with Lord Grey on Sunday; they are all in high spirits. Howick told his father that he had received a letter from some merchant in the north praising the Bill, and saying he approved of the whole Government except of Poulett Thomson. In the evening Brougham, John Russell, and others arrived. I hear of Brougham from Sefton, with whom he passes most of his spare time, to relieve his mind by small talk, persiflage, and the gossip of the day. He tells Sefton ‘that he likes his office, but that it is a mere plaything and there is nothing to do; his life is too idle, and when he has cleared off the arrears, which he shall do forthwith, that he really does not know how he shall get rid of his time;’ that ‘he does not suffer the prolixity of counsel, and when they wander from the point he brings them back and says, “You need not say anything on that point; what I want to be informed upon is so.” He is a wonderful man, the most extraordinary I ever saw, but there is more of the mountebank than of greatness in all this. It may do well enough for Sefton, who is as ignorant as he is sharp and shrewd, and captivated with his congenial offhandism, but it requires something more than Brougham’s flippant ipse dixit to convince me that the office of Chancellor is such a sinecure and bagatelle. He had a levee the other night, which was brilliantly attended—the Archbishops, Duke of Wellington, Lord Grey, a host of people. Sefton goes and sits in his private room and sees his receptions of people, and gives very amusing accounts of his extreme politeness to the Lord Mayor and his cool insouciance with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The stories of him as told by Sefton would be invaluable to his future biographer, and never was a life more sure to be written hereafter.

March 17th, 1831

[129] BROUGHAM AT THE HORSE GUARDS. The night before last Wynford attacked Brougham’s Bill, and got lashed in return with prodigious severity. He is resolved to press it, though George Villiers told me he had promised Lyndhurst to wait for his return to town. Notwithstanding his vapouring about the Court of Chancery, and treating it as such child’s play, Leach affirms (but he is disappointed and hates him) that he is a very bad judge and knows nothing of his business. ‘He was a very bad advocate; why should he make a good judge?’

The Reform Bill is just printed, and already are the various objections raised against different parts of it, sufficient to show that it will be pulled to pieces in Committee. Both parties confident of success on the second reading, but the country will have it; there is a determination on the subject, and a unanimity perfectly marvellous, and no demonstration of the unfitness of any of its parts will be of any avail; some of its details may be corrected and amended, but substantially it must pass pretty much as it is.

Brougham has been getting into a squabble with the military. At the drawing-room on Thursday they refused to let his carriage pass through the Horse Guards, when he ordered his coachman to force his way through, which he did. He was quite wrong, and it was very unbecoming and undignified. Lord Londonderry called for an explanation in the House of Lords, when Brougham made a speech, and a very lame one. He said he ordered his coachman to go back, who did not hear him and went on, and when he had got through he thought it was not worth while to turn back. The Lords laughed. A few days after he drove over the soldiers in Downing Street, who were relieving guard; but this time he did no great harm to the men, and it was not his fault, but these things are talked of.

Dined yesterday with General Macdonald to meet the Kembles. Miss Fanny is near being very handsome from the extraordinary expression of her countenance and fine eyes, but her figure is not good. She is short, hands and [130] feet large, arms handsome, skin dark and coarse, and her manner wants ease and repose. Her mother is a very agreeable woman. I did not sit next to Fanny, and had no talk with her afterwards.

March 18th, 1831

Met Robert Clive yesterday morning; very low about the Bill, which he thinks so sure to be carried that he questions the expediency of dividing on the second reading; complained bitterly of the bad tactics and want of union of the party, and especially of Peel’s inactivity and backwardness in not having rallied and taken the lead more than he has; he is in fact so cold, phlegmatic, and calculating that he disgusts those who can’t do without him as a leader; he will always have political but never personal influence.

March 20th, 1831

On Friday night, after not a long but an angry and noisy debate, there was a division on the timber duties, and Government was beaten by forty-three, all the Saints, West Indians, and anti-Free-traders voting with the great body of Opposition. Their satisfaction was tumultuous. They have long been desirous of bringing Ministers to a trial of strength, and they did not care much upon what; they wanted to let the world see the weakness of Government, and besides on this occasion they hoped that a defeat might be prejudicial to the Reform Bill, so that this matter of commercial and fiscal policy is not decided on its own merits, but is influenced by passion, violence, party tactics, and its remote bearing upon another question with which it has no immediate relation. Althorp was obliged to abandon his original proposition of taking off 5s. from the duty on Baltic timber, which is 55s. (and 45s. on deals), and adding 10s. to the Canadian, which is already 10s. He proposed instead to take off 6s. from the former this year, 6s. next, and 3s. next, so as to give plenty of time for the withdrawal of capital, and to meet all contingencies. The proposal was not unfair, and in other times would have been carried. Poulett Thomson made a very good speech, clear and satisfactory. Peel was what is called very factious—that is, in opposition—just what the others were, violent and unreasonable as far as the [131] THE REFORM BILL. question is concerned, but acting upon a system having for its object to embarrass the Government.

I still think the second reading of the Reform Bill will pass, and, all things considered, that it would be the best thing that could happen; it is better to capitulate than to be taken by storm. The people are unanimous, good-humoured, and determined; if the Bill is thrown out, their good humour will disappear, the country will be a scene of violence and uproar, and a most ferocious Parliament will be returned, which will not only carry the question of Reform, but possibly do so in a very different form. We should see the iræ leonum vincla recusantûm, and this proposition is so evident, this state of things is so indisputable, that it is marvellous to me how anybody can triumph and exult in the anticipation of a victory the consequences of which would be more unfortunate than a defeat. If indeed a victory could set the matter at rest, confirm our present institutions, and pacify the people, it would be very well; but Reform the people will have, and no human power, moral or physical, can now arrest its career. It would be better, then, to concede with a good grace, and to modify the measure in Committee, which may still be practicable, than to oppose it point blank without a prospect of success.

March 22nd, 1831

The debate began again last night, and was adjourned. It was dull, and the House impatient. To-night they will divide, and after a thousand fluctuations of opinion it is thought the Bill will be thrown out by a small majority. Then will come the question of a dissolution, which one side affirms will take place directly, and the other that the King will not consent to it, knowing, as ‘the man in the street’ (as we call him at Newmarket) always does, the greatest secrets of kings, and being the confidant of their most hidden thoughts. As for me, I see nothing but a choice of difficulties either way, and victory or defeat would be equally bad. It is odd enough, but I believe Lord Lansdowne thinks just the same, for he asked me yesterday morning what I expected would be the result, and I told him my opinion on the whole question, and he replied, ‘I can add nothing to what you [132] have said; that is exactly my own opinion,’ and I have very little doubt that more than half the Cabinet in their hearts abhor the measure. Knatchbull was taken ill in the morning, and could not go to the House at all.

March 23rd, 1831

The House divided at three o’clock this morning, and the second reading was carried by a majority of one in the fullest House that ever was known—303 to 302—both parties confident up to the moment of division; but the Opposition most so, and at last the Government expected to be beaten. Denman told somebody as they were going to divide that the question would be lost; Calcraft and the Wynnes’ going over at the eleventh hour did the business. I believe that this division is the best thing that could happen, and so I told the Duke in the morning, and that I had wished it to be carried by a small majority; I met him walking with Arbuthnot in the Park. He said, ‘I could not take such a course’ (that was in answer to my saying I wished it to be read a second time, to be lost in the Committee). I said, ‘But you would have nothing to do with it personally.’ ‘No; but as belonging to the party I could not recommend such a course,’ which seemed as if he did not altogether disagree with my view of it. I stopped at the ‘Travellers’ till past three, when a man came in and told me the news. I walked home, and found the streets swarming with members of Parliament coming from the House. My belief is (if they manage well and are active and determined) that the Bill will be lost in Committee, and then this will be the best thing that could have occurred.

March 24th, 1831

The agitation the other night on the division was prodigious. The Government, who stayed in the House, thought they had lost it by ten, and the Opposition, who were crowded in the lobby, fancied from their numbers that they were sure of winning. There was betting going on all night long, and large sums have been won and lost. The people in the lobby were miscounted, and they thought they had 303. At the levee yesterday and Council; the Government are by way of being satisfied, but hardly can be. I met the Duke of Wellington afterwards, who owned to me that he [133] REFORM BILL CARRIED BY ONE VOTE. thought this small majority for the Bill was on the whole the best thing that could have occurred, and that seems to be the opinion generally of its opponents.

Nothing particularly at the levee; Brougham very good fun. The King, who had put off going to the Opera on account of the death of his son-in-law Kennedy, appeared in mourning (crape, that is), which is reckoned bad taste; the public allow natural feeling to supersede law and etiquette, but it is too much to extend that courtesy to a ‘son-in-law,’ and his daughter is not in England. Somebody said that ‘it was the first time a King of England had appeared in mourning that his subjects did not wear.’ In the evening to the Ancient Concert, where the Queen was, and by-the-bye in mourning, and the Margravine and Duchess of Gloucester too, but they (the two latter) could hardly be mourning for Lord Cassilis’s son. Horace Seymour, Meynell, and Calvert were all turned out of their places in the Lord Chamberlain’s department on account of their votes the other night.

The change of Ministers at Paris and Casimir Périer’s speech have restored something like confidence about French affairs. The Prince of Orange is gone back to Holland, to his infinite disgust; he was escorted by Lady Dudley Stewart and Mrs. Fox as far as Gravesend, I believe, where they were found the next day in their white satin shoes and evening dresses. He made a great fool of himself here, and destroyed any sympathy there might have been for his political misfortunes; supping, dancing, and acting, and little (rather innocent) orgies at these ladies’ houses formed his habitual occupation.

A sort of repose from the cursed Bill for a moment, but it is said that many who opposed it before are going to support it in Committee; nobody knows. When the Speaker put the question, each party roared ‘Aye’ and ‘No’ totis viribus. He said he did not know, and put it again. After that he said, ‘I am not sure, but I think the ayes have it.’ Then the noes went out into the lobby, and the others thought they never would have done filing out, and the House looked so empty when they were gone that the Government was in [134] despair. They say the excitement was beyond anything. I continue to hear great complaints of Peel—of his coldness, incommunicativeness, and deficiency in all the qualities requisite for a leader, particularly at such a time. There is nobody else, or he would be deserted for any man who had talents enough to take a prominent part, so much does he disgust his adherents. Nobody knows what are his opinions, feelings, wishes, or intentions; he will not go en avant, and nobody feels any dependence upon him. There is no help for it and the man’s nature can’t be altered. I said all this to Ross yesterday, his devoted adherent, and he was obliged to own it, with all kinds of regrets and endeavours to soften the picture.

April 14th, 1831

The Reform campaign has reopened with a violent speech from Hunt denouncing the whole thing as a delusion; that the people begin to find out how they are humbugged, and that as it will make nothing cheaper they don’t care about it. The man’s drift is not very clear whether the Bill is really unpalatable at Preston or whether he wants to go further directly. At the same time John Russell announced some alterations in the Bill, not, as he asserted, trenching upon its principle, but, as the Opposition declares, altering it altogether. On the whole, these things have inspirited its opponents, and, as they must produce delay, are in so far bad for the Reform cause. Besides, though the opinion of the country is universally in its favour, people are beginning to think that it may be rejected without any apprehension of such dreadful consequences ensuing as have been predicted. Then the state of Ireland is such that it is thought the Ministers cannot encounter a dissolution, not that I feel any security on that head, for I believe the Cabinet is ruled by two or three men reckless of everything provided they can prolong their own power.

April 24th, 1831

At Newmarket all last week, and returned to town last night to hear from those who saw them the extraordinary scenes in both Houses of Parliament (the day before) which closed the eventful week. The Reform battle began again on Monday last. The night before I went out of town [135] DEFEAT AND DISSOLUTION. I met Duncannon, and walked with him up Regent Street, when he told me that he did not believe the Ministers would be beaten, but if they were they should certainly dissolve instantly; that he should have liked to dissolve long ago, but they owed it to their friends not to have recourse to a dissolution if they could help it. On Monday General Gascoyne moved that the Committee should be instructed not to reduce the members of the House of Commons, and this was carried after two nights’ debate by eight. The dissolution was then decided upon. Meanwhile Lord Wharncliffe gave notice of a motion to address the King not to dissolve Parliament, and this was to have come on on Friday. On Thursday the Ministers were again beaten in the House of Commons on a question of adjournment, and on Friday morning they got the King to go down and prorogue Parliament in person the same day. This coup d’état was so sudden that nobody was aware of it till within two or three hours of the time, and many not at all. They told him that the cream-coloured horses could not be got ready, when he said, ‘Then I will go with anybody else’s horses.’ Somebody went off in a carriage to the Tower, to fetch the Crown, and they collected such attendants as they could find to go with his Majesty. The Houses met at one or two o’clock. In the House of Commons Sir R. Vyvyan made a furious speech, attacking the Government on every point, and (excited as he was) it was very well done. The Ministers made no reply, but Sir Francis Burdett and Tennyson endeavoured to interrupt with calls to order, and when the Speaker decided that Vyvyan was not out of order Tennyson disputed his opinion, which enraged the Speaker, and soon after called up Peel, for whom he was resolved to procure a hearing. The scene then resembled that which took place on Lord North’s resignation in 1782, for Althorp (I think) moved that Burdett should be heard, and the Speaker said that ‘Peel was in possession of the House to speak on that motion.’ He made a very violent speech, attacking the Government for their incompetence, folly, and recklessness, and treated them with the utmost asperity and contempt. In the midst of his [136] speech the guns announced the arrival of the King, and at each explosion the Government gave a loud cheer, and Peel was still speaking in the midst of every sort of noise and tumult when the Usher of the Black Rod knocked at the door to summon the Commons to the House of Peers. There the proceedings were if possible still more violent and outrageous; those who were present tell me it resembled nothing but what we read of the ‘Serment du Jeu de Paume,’ and the whole scene was as much like the preparatory days of a revolution as can well be imagined. Wharncliffe was to have moved an address to the Crown against dissolving Parliament, and this motion the Ministers were resolved should not come on, but he contrived to bring it on so far as to get it put upon the Journals. The Duke of Richmond endeavoured to prevent any speaking by raising points of order, and moving that the Lords should take their regular places (in separate ranks), which, however, is impossible at a royal sitting, because the cross benches are removed; this put Lord Londonderry in such a fury that he rose, roared, gesticulated, held up his whip, and four or five Lords held him down by the tail of his coat to prevent his flying on somebody. Lord Lyndhurst was equally furious, and some sharp words passed which were not distinctly heard. In the midst of all the din Lord Mansfield rose and obtained a hearing. Wharncliffe said to him, ‘For God’s sake, Mansfield, take care what you are about, and don’t disgrace us more in the state we are in.’ ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said; ‘I will say nothing that will alarm you;’ and accordingly he pronounced a trimming philippic on the Government, which, delivered as it was in an imposing manner, attired in his robes, and with the greatest energy and excitation, was prodigiously effective. While he was still speaking, the King arrived, but he did not desist even while his Majesty[1] was [137] THE KING DISSOLVES PARLIAMENT. entering the House of Lords, nor till he approached the throne; and while the King was ascending the steps, the hoarse voice of Lord Londonderry was heard crying ‘Hear, hear, hear!’ The King from the robing-room heard the noise, and asked what it all meant. The conduct of the Chancellor was most extraordinary, skipping in and out of the House and making most extraordinary speeches. In the midst of the uproar he went out of the House, when Lord Shaftesbury was moved into the chair. In the middle of the debate Brougham again came in and said, ‘it was most extraordinary that the King’s undoubted right to dissolve Parliament should be questioned at a moment when the House of Commons had taken the unprecedented course of stopping the supplies,’ and having so said (which was a lie) he flounced out of the House to receive the King on his arrival. The King ought not properly to have worn the Crown, never having been crowned; but when he was in the robing-room he said to Lord Hastings, ‘Lord Hastings, I wear the Crown; where is it?’ It was brought to him, and when Lord Hastings was going to put it on his head he said, ‘Nobody shall put the Crown on my head but myself.’ He put it on, and then turned to Lord Grey and said, ‘Now, my Lord, the coronation is over.’ George Villiers said that in his life he never saw such a scene, and as he looked at the King upon the throne with the Crown loose upon his head, and the tall, grim figure of Lord Grey close beside him with the sword of state in his hand, it was as if the King had got his executioner by his side, and the whole picture looked strikingly typical of his and our future destinies.

[1] When Lord Mansfield sat down he said, ‘I have spoken English to them at least.’ Lord Lyndhurst told me that Lord Mansfield stopped speaking as soon as the door opened to admit the King. He said he never saw him so excited before, and in his robes he looked very grand. He also told me that he was at Lady Holland’s giving an account of the scene when Brougham came in. He said, ‘I was telling them what passed the other day in our House,’ when Brougham explained his part by saying that the Usher of the Black Rod (Tyrwhit) was at his elbow saying, ‘My Lord Chancellor, you must come; the King is waiting for you: come along; you must come,’ and that he was thus dragged out of the House in this hurry and without having time to sit down or say any more.

Such has been the termination of this Parliament and of the first act of the new Ministerial drama; there never was a Government ousted with more ignominy than the last, nor a Ministry that came in with higher pretensions, greater professions, and better prospects than the present, but [138] nothing ever corresponded less than their performances with their pretensions. The composition of the Government was radically defective, and with a good deal of loose talent there was so much of passion, folly, violence, and knavery, together with inexperience and ignorance mixed up with it, that from the very beginning they cut the sorriest possible figure. Such men as Richmond, Durham, Althorp, and Graham, in their different ways, were enough to spoil any Cabinet, and consequently their course has been marked by a series of blunders and defeats. Up to the moment of the dissolution few people expected it would happen, some thinking the King would not consent, others that the Government would never venture upon it, but the King is weak and the Ministry reckless. That disposition, which at first appeared so laudable, of putting himself implicitly into the hands of his Ministers, and which seemed the more so from the contrast it afforded to the conduct of the late King, who was always thwarting his Ministers, throwing difficulties in their way, and playing a double part, becomes vicious when carried to the extent of paralysing all free action and free opinion on his part, and of suffering himself to be made the instrument of any measures, however violent. It may be said, indeed, that he cordially agrees with these men, and has opinions coincident with theirs, but this is not probable; and when we remember his unlimited confidence in the Duke up to the moment of his resignation, it is impossible to believe that he can have so rapidly imbibed principles the very reverse of those which the Duke maintained.[2] It is more likely that he has no opinions, and is really a mere puppet in the hands into which he may happen to fall. Lord Mansfield had an audience, and gave him his sentiments upon the state of affairs. He will not say what passed between them, but it is clear that it was of no use.

[2] The King was extremely opposed to the dissolution, and had remonstrated against it ever since it was first proposed to him in March. See Lord Grey’s letter in the ‘Times’ of March 26, 1866.

The Queen and the Royal Family are extremely unhappy at all these things, but the former has no influence whatever [139] THE GENERAL ELECTION. with the King. In the meantime there are very different opinions as to the result of the elections, some thinking that Government will not gain much by the dissolution, others that they (or at least Reform) will win everything. It seems to me quite impossible that they should not win everything, but time is gained to the other side. The census of 1831 will be out, and the chapter of accidents may and must make much difference; still I see no possibility of arresting the progress of Reform, and whether this Bill or another like it passes is much the same thing. The Government have made it up with O’Connell, which is one mouthful of the dirty pudding they have had to swallow, as one of their own friends said of them.

April 26th, 1831

Last night at the Queen’s ball; heaps of people of all sorts; everybody talking of the elections. Both parties pretend to be confident, but the Government with the best reason. The county members, as Sefton says, are tumbling about like nine-pins, and though it seems not improbable that the Opposition will gain in the boroughs, they must lose greatly in the counties; and we must not only look to the relative numbers, but to the composition of the respective parties. A large minority composed of borough nominees, corporation members, and only a sprinkling of what is called independence would not look well. Large sums have been subscribed on both sides, but on that of the Opposition there is a want of candidates more than of places to send them to.

I met Lyndhurst last night, and asked him what it was he said in the House of Lords. He said it was nothing very violent, but that it was not heard. The Duke of Richmond had spoken to the point of order, and said in a very marked way ‘he saw a noble Earl sitting by a junior Baron.’ This was Lyndhurst, who was offended at the sneer upon his want of ancienneté, and who retorted that before the noble Duke made such speeches on points of order he would do well to make himself acquainted with the orders of the House, of which it was obvious he knew nothing. The Duke of Devonshire told Lady Lyndhurst that her husband ought to resign [140] his judicial situation because he had displayed hostility to Government the other night, but it would be a new maxim to establish that the judges were to be amenable to the Minister for their political opinions and Parliamentary conduct.

April 29th, 1831

The night before last there was an illumination, got up by the foolish Lord Mayor, which of course produced an uproar and a general breaking of obnoxious windows. Lord Mansfield and the Duke of Buccleuch went to Melbourne in the morning and remonstrated, asking what protection he meant to afford to their properties. A gun (with powder only) was fired over the heads of the mob from Apsley House, and they did not go there again. The Government might have discouraged this manifestation of triumph, but they wished for it for the purpose of increasing the popular excitement. They don’t care what they do, or what others do, so long as they can keep the people in a ferment. It is disgusting to the last degree to hear their joy and exultation at the success of their measures and the good prospects held out to them by the elections; all of which may turn out very well, but if it does not ‘who shall set hoddy-doddy up again?’ Lord Cleveland has subscribed 10,000ℓ. to the election fund.

Lord Yarborough, by a very questionable piece of political morality, has given the Holmes boroughs in the Isle of Wight to Government; they are the property of Sir L. Holmes’s daughter, whose guardian he is as well as executor under the will. In this capacity he has the disposal of the boroughs, and he gives them to the Ministers to fill with men who are to vote for their disfranchisement. A large price is paid for them—4,000ℓ.—but it makes a difference of eight votes, and if the Bill is carried they will be worth nothing. The elections promise well for Government even in the boroughs, as I was persuaded they would. O’Connell has put forth a proclamation entreating, commanding peace, order, and support of the Bill’s supporters. Tom Moore called on me yesterday morning. He said that he was a Reformer and liked the Bill, but he was fully aware of all that it might produce of evil to the [141] THE QUEEN ALARMED IN THE CITY. present system. He owned frankly that he felt like an Irishman and that the wrongs of Ireland and the obstinacy of the faction who had oppressed her still rankled in his heart, and that he should not be sorry at any vengeance which might overtake them at last. I hear renewed complaints of Peel, of his selfish, cold, calculating, cowardly policy; that we are indebted to him principally for our present condition I have no doubt—to his obstinacy and to his conduct in the Catholic question first, to his opposition and then to his support of it. Opposing all and every sort of Reform totis viribus while he dared, now he makes a death-bed profession of acquiescence in something which should be more moderate than this. All these things disgust people inconceivably, and it is not the less melancholy that he is our only resource, and his capacity for business and power in the House of Commons places him so far above all his competitors that if we are to have a Conservative party we must look to him alone to lead it.

May 7th, 1831

Nothing could go on worse than the elections—Reformers returned everywhere, so much so that the contest is over, and we have only to await the event and see what the House of Lords will do. In the House of Commons the Bill is already carried. It is supposed that the Ministers themselves begin to be alarmed at the devil they have let loose, and well they may; but he is out, and stop him who can. The King has put off his visit to the City because he is ill, as the Government would have it believed, but really because he is furious with the Lord Mayor at all the riots and uproar on the night of the illumination. That night the Queen went to the Ancient Concert, and on her return the mob surrounded the carriage; she had no guards, and the footmen were obliged to beat the people off with their canes to prevent their thrusting their heads into the coach. She was frightened and the King very much annoyed. He heard the noise and tumult, and paced backwards and forwards in his room waiting for her return. When she came back Lord Howe, her chamberlain, as usual preceded her, when the King said, ‘How is the Queen?’ and went [142] down to meet her. Howe, who is an eager anti-Reformer, said, ‘Very much frightened, sir,’ and made the worst of it. She was in fact terrified, and as she detests the whole of these proceedings, the more distressed and disgusted. The King was very angry and immediately declared he would not go to the City at all. It is supposed that Government will make a large batch of Peers to secure the Bill in the House of Lords, but the press have already begun to attack that House, declaring that if they pass the Bill it will be from compulsion, and if they do not that they are the enemies of the people.

May 11th, 1831

The elections are going on universally in favour of Reform; the great interests in the counties are everywhere broken, and old connexions dissevered. In Worcestershire Captain Spencer, who has nothing to do with the county, and was brought there by his brother-in-law, Lord Lyttelton, has beaten Lygon, backed by all the wealth of his family; the Manners have withdrawn from Leicestershire and Cambridgeshire, and Lord E. Somerset from Gloucestershire; Lord Worcester too is beaten at Monmouth. Everywhere the tide is irresistible; all considerations are sacrificed to the success of the measure. At the last Essex election Colonel Tyrrell saved Western, who would have been beaten by Long Wellesley, and now Western has coalesced with Wellesley against Tyrrell, and will throw him out. In Northamptonshire Althorp had pledged himself to Cartwright not to bring forward another candidate on his side, and Milton joins him and stands. The state of excitement, doubt, and apprehension which prevails will not quickly subside, for the battle is only beginning; when the Bill is carried we must prepare for the second act.

May 14th, 1831

The elections are still going for Reform. They count upon a majority of 140 in the House of Commons, but the Tories meditate resistance in the House of Lords, which it is to be hoped will be fruitless, and it is probable the Peers will trot round as they did about the Catholic question when it comes to the point. There is a great hubbub at Northampton about a pledge which Althorp is supposed to have [143] LORD MUNSTER’S PEERAGE. given not to bring forward another candidate against Cartwright which the anti-Reformers say he has violated in putting up Milton, and moreover that such conduct is very dishonest; and as his honesty was his principal recommendation, if he should have forfeited that what would remain to him? On the contrary his friends say that he gave no such pledge, that he expressed a hope there might be no contest, but the people would have Milton, and though Althorp regretted his standing, as he did stand they were obliged to join for their common safety. So much for this electioneering squabble, of which time will elicit the truth. Last night I went to Prince Leopold’s, where was George Fitzclarence receiving congratulations on his new dignity (Earl of Munster). He told me everybody had been very kind about it—the King, Lord Grey, his friends, and the public. He had told Lord Grey he was anxious his brothers and sisters should have the rank of marquis’s sons and daughters (to give them titles). Grey had only objected that their titles would then represent a higher rank than his own,[3] but that he laid no stress on that objection, and it would be done directly. Melbourne has written a letter to the Lord Mayor assuring him that ill health is the only obstacle to the King’s visit to the City, and that there is no foundation for the report of his displeasure, the Lord Mayor’s explanation having proved quite satisfactory. This is not true, I believe, but they make him say so.

[3] [If Lord Grey said this it was a mistake. The younger sons and daughters of marquises take rank after earls.]

May 22nd, 1831

At Epsom all last week for the races at a house which Lord Chesterfield took; nobody there but the three sisters[4] and their two husbands. Rode out on the downs every morning, and enjoyed the fine country, as beautiful as any I have seen of the kind. After the races on Friday I went to Richmond to dine with Lord and Lady Lyndhurst, and was refreshed by his vigorous mind after the three or four days I had passed. He thinks the state of things very bad, has a great contempt for this Government, is very [144] doubtful what will happen, thinks Lord Grey will not stand, and that Brougham will be Chancellor and Prime Minister, like Clarendon; he talked of the late Government, the Duke of Wellington and Peel; he said that the former meddled with no department but that of Foreign Affairs, which he conducted entirely; that he understood them better than anything else, and if he came into office again would be Foreign Secretary; that in the Cabinet he was always candid, reasonable, and ready to discuss fairly every subject, but not so Peel. He, if his opinion was not adopted, would take up a newspaper and sulk. Lyndhurst agreed with me about his manners, his coldness, and how he disgusted instead of conciliating people; he said that when any of his friends in Parliament proposed to speak in any debate, he never encouraged or assisted them, but answered with a dry ‘Do you?’ to their notification of a wish or intention. He said that this Bill was drawn up by Lambton himself, but so ill done, so ignorantly and inefficiently, that they were obliged to send for Harrison, who, in conjunction with the Attorney-General, drew it up afresh; that when John Russell brought it forward the Bill was still undrawn.[5] He says that there is not the least doubt they never had an idea of bringing forward any such measure as this till they found themselves so weak in the House of Commons that nothing but a popular cry and Radical support could possibly save them. It is very remarkable when we look back to the moment of the dissolution of the late Government, when Brougham was in the House of Commons armed with his Bill, which, though unknown, was so dreaded, and which turns out to have been mere milk and water compared with this. He said Brougham was offered the Attorney-Generalship by a note, which he tore in pieces and stamped upon, and sent word that there was no answer; that he has long aspired to be Chancellor, and wished to get into the House of Lords. He ridicules his pretensions to [145] LORD BROUGHAM AS A JUDGE. such wonderful doings in his Court and in the Bills he has announced; says that he has decided no bankruptcy cases, and, except some Scotch appeals in the House of Lords, has got rid of hardly any arrears; and as to his Bills, the Bankruptcy Bill was objectionable and the Chancery Bill he has never brought on at all; that he knows he affects a short cut to judicial eminence, but that without labour and reading he cannot administer justice in that Court, although no doubt his great acuteness and rapid perception may often enable him at once to see the merits of a case and hit upon the important points. This he said in reply to what I told him of Brougham’s trumpeter Sefton, who echoes from his own lips that ‘the Court of Chancery is such a sinecure and mere child’s play.’

[4] [Lady Chesterfield, Mrs. Anson, and Miss Forester.]

[5] [Compare the details of the preparation of the Reform Bill published by Lord Russell in the last edition of his ‘Essay on the British Constitution.’ Much of this conversation of Lord Lyndhurst’s is extremely wide of the truth, but it is retained to show what was said and believed by competent persons at the time.]

In the meantime the elections have been going languidly on, and are now nearly over; contrary to the prognostications of the Tories, they have gone off very quietly, even in Ireland not many contests, the anti-Reformers being unable to make any fight at all; except in Shropshire they are dead-beat everywhere. Northamptonshire the sharpest contest, and the one which has made the most ill blood; this particular election has produced a good deal of violence; elsewhere the Reformers have it hollow, no matter what the characters of the candidates, if they are only for the Bill. Calcraft and Wellesley, the former not respected, the latter covered with disgrace, have beat Bankes and Tyrrell. Lowther had not a chance in Cumberland, where Sir James Graham got into another scrape, for in an impertinent speech he made an attack upon Scarlett, which drew upon him a message and from him an apology. Formerly, when a man made use of offensive expressions and was called to account, he thought it right to go out and stand a shot before he ate his words, but now-a-days that piece of chivalry is dispensed with, and politicians make nothing of being scurrilous one day and humble the next. Hyde Villiers has been appointed to succeed Sandon at the Board of Control as a Whig and a Reformer. He was in a hundred minds what line he should take, and had written a pamphlet to prove the necessity of [146] giving Ministers seats in both Houses (as in France), which he has probably put in the fire. I am very glad he has got the place, and though his opinions were not very decided before, he has always been anti-Tory, and has done nothing discreditable to get it, and it was offered to him in a very flattering manner.

May 28th, 1831

Yesterday Lord Grey was invested with the blue ribband, though there is no vacancy; the only precedent is that of Lords Liverpool and Castlereagh (which was thought wrong), but it was on the occasion of the peace after Bonaparte’s overthrow and when Castlereagh returned with such éclat from Paris that the whole House of Commons rose and cheered him as he entered it.

I met Alexander Baring the other night, who said it was certain that the King was full of regrets at the extent of the measures into which he had been hurried, when I told him of Lord Grey’s Garter, and asked him what he said to that, and how that bore out the assertion of the King’s regrets. The fact is that although on one side a most indecent though effectual use of the King’s name has been made, on the other there is nothing that is not asserted with equal confidence about ‘his difficulties and his scruples.’ Sefton told me that it was the sort of things that were said that made the King write to Lord Grey (he saw the letter) and tell him that he thought it of the greatest importance at the present moment to confer upon him a signal mark of his regard and of his satisfaction with the whole of his conduct. It is, I believe, true that the King felt some alarm and some doubt about the dissolution, but I do not believe that he has any doubts or fears at present. Indeed, how should he not have suffered himself to be led away by these people and to become identified with their measure? They have given him an ample share of the praise of it; they assure him it will be eminently successful; he sees himself popular and applauded to the skies, and as far as things have gone it has been successful, for the elections have gone on and gone off very peaceably, and the country in expectation of the passing of the Bill is in a state of profound tranquillity.

June 5th, 1831

[147] THE KING AT ASCOT. All last week at Fern Hill for the Ascot races; the Chesterfields, Tavistocks, Belfasts, George Ansons, Montague, Stradbroke, and Brooke Greville were there. The Royal Family came to the course the first day with a great cortége—eight coaches and four, two phaetons, pony sociables, and led horses—Munster riding on horseback behind the King’s carriage, Augustus (the parson) and Frederick driving phaetons. The Duke of Richmond was in the King’s calèche and Lord Grey in one of the coaches. The reception was strikingly cold and indifferent, not half so good as that which the late King used to receive. William was bored to death with the races, and his own horse broke down. On Wednesday he did not come; on Thursday they came again. Beautiful weather and unprecedented multitudes. The King was much more cheered than the first day, or the greater number of people made a greater noise. A few cheers were given to Lord Grey as he returned, which he just acknowledged and no more. On Friday we dined at the Castle; each day the King asked a crowd of people from the neighbourhood. We arrived at a little before seven; the Queen was only just come in from riding, so we had to wait till near eight. Above forty people at dinner, for which the room is not nearly large enough; the dinner was not bad, but the room insufferably hot. The Queen was taken out by the Duke of Richmond, and the King followed with the Duchess of Saxe Weimar, the Queen’s sister. He drinks wine with everybody, asking seven or eight at a time. After dinner he drops asleep. We sat for a short time. Directly after coffee the band began to play; a good band, not numerous, and principally of violins and stringed instruments. The Queen and the whole party sat there all the evening, so that it was, in fact, a concert of instrumental music. The King took Lady Tavistock to St. George’s Hall and the ball room, where we walked about, with two or three servants carrying lamps to show the proportions, for it was not lit up. The whole thing is exceedingly magnificent, and the manner of life does not appear to be very formal, and need not be disagreeable but for the bore of never dining [148] without twenty strangers. The Castle holds very few people, and with the King’s and Queen’s immediate suite and toute la bâtardise it was quite full. The King’s four sons were there, signoreggianti tutti, and the whole thing ‘donnait à penser’ to those who looked back a little and had seen other days. We sat in that room in which Lyndhurst has often talked to me of the famous five hours’ discussion with the late King, when the Catholic Bill hung upon his caprice. Palmerston told me he had never been in the Castle since the eventful day of Herries’ appointment and non-appointment; and how many things have happened since. What a changement de décoration; no longer George IV., capricious, luxurious, and misanthropic, liking nothing but the society of listeners and flatterers, with the Conyngham tribe and one or two Tory Ministers and foreign Ambassadors; but a plain, vulgar, hospitable gentleman, opening his doors to all the world, with a numerous family and suite, a Whig Ministry, no foreigners, and no toad-eaters at all. Nothing can be more different, and looking at him one sees how soon this act will be finished, and the same be changed for another probably not less dissimilar. Queen, bastards, Whigs,[6] all will disappear, and God knows what replaces them. Came to town yesterday, and found a quarrel between Henry Bentinck and Sir Roger Gresley, which I had to settle, and did settle amicably in the course of the evening.

[6] Not Whigs—they are les bienvenus, which they were not before.—July 1838.

June 7th, 1831

Dined with Sefton yesterday, who gave me an account of a dinner at Fowell Buxton’s on Saturday to see the brewery, at which Brougham was the ‘magnus Apollo.’ Sefton is excellent as a commentator on Brougham; he says that he watches him incessantly, never listens to anybody else when he is there, and rows him unmercifully afterwards for all the humbug, nonsense, and palaver he hears him talk to people. They were twenty-seven at dinner. Talleyrand was to have gone, but was frightened by being told that he would get nothing but beefsteaks and porter, so he stayed [149] DINNER AT HANBURY’S BREWERY. away. They dined in the brewhouse and visited the whole establishment. Lord Grey was there in star, garter, and ribband. There were people ready to show and explain everything, but not a bit—Brougham took the explanation of everything into his own hands—the mode of brewing, the machinery, down to the feeding of the cart horses. After dinner the account books were brought, and the young Buxtons were beckoned up to the top of the table by their father to hear the words of wisdom that flowed from the lips of my Lord Chancellor. He affected to study the ledger, and made various pertinent remarks on the manner of book-keeping. There was a man whom Brougham called ‘Cornelius’ (Sefton did not know who he was) with whom he seemed very familiar. While Brougham was talking he dropped his voice, on which ‘Cornelius’ said, ‘Earl Grey is listening,’ that he might speak louder and so nothing be lost. He was talking of Paley, and said that ‘although he did not always understand his own meaning, he always contrived to make it intelligible to others,’ on which ‘Cornelius’ said, ‘My good friend, if he made it so clear to others he must have had some comprehension of it himself;’ on which Sefton attacked him afterwards, and swore that ‘he was a mere child in the hands of “Cornelius,”’ that ‘he never saw anybody so put down.’ These people are all subscribers to the London University, and Sefton swears he overheard Brougham tell them that ‘Sir Isaac Newton was nothing compared to some of the present professors,’ or something to that effect. I put down all this nonsense because it amused me in the recital, and is excessively characteristic of the man, one of the most remarkable who ever existed. Lady Sefton told me that he went with them to the British Museum, where all the officers of the Museum were in attendance to receive them. He would not let anybody explain anything, but did all the honours himself. At last they came to the collection of minerals, when she thought he must be brought to a standstill. Their conductor began to describe them, when Brougham took the words out of his mouth, and dashed off with [150] as much ease and familiarity as if he had been a Buckland or a Cuvier. Such is the man, a grand mixture of moral, political, and intellectual incongruities.

June 10th, 1831

Breakfasted the day before yesterday with Rogers, Sydney Smith, Luttrell, John Russell, and Moore; excessively agreeable. I never heard anything more entertaining than Sydney Smith; such bursts of merriment and so dramatic. Breakfasts are the meals for poets. I met Wordsworth and Southey at breakfast. Rogers’ are always agreeable.

June 15th, 1831

Five new peerages came out yesterday—Sefton, Kinnaird, Fingall, Leitrim, and Agar Ellis; John Russell and Stanley are to be in the Cabinet. At the ball at St. James’s the other night George Dawson told me that they had 270 people in the House of Commons on the side of the Opposition, if they could command their attendance; that he did not mean to say no Reform Bill would pass, but that the details of this Bill had never yet been discussed, and when they were it would be so clearly shown that it is impracticable that this identical measure never could pass. The Opposition are beginning to recover from their discouragement; there is to be a meeting at Lord Mansfield’s on Friday, and they do, I believe, mean to fight it out.

June 19th, 1831

The last few days I have been completely taken up with quarantine, and taking means to prevent the cholera coming here. That disease made great ravages in Russia last year, and in the winter the attention of Government was called to it, and the question was raised whether we should have to purify goods coming here in case it broke out again, and if so how it was to be done. Government was thinking of Reform and other matters, and would not bestow much attention upon this subject, and accordingly neither regulations nor preparations were made. All that was done was to commission a Dr. Walker, a physician residing at St. Petersburg, to go to Moscow and elsewhere and make enquiries into the nature and progress of the disease, and report the result of his investigation to us. He turned out, however, to be a very useless and inefficient [151] THE CHOLERA. agent. In the meantime as the warm weather returned the cholera again appeared in Russia, but still we took no further measures until intelligence arrived that it had reached Riga, at which place 700 or 800 sail of English vessels, loaded principally with hemp and flax, were waiting to come to this country. This report soon diffused a general alarm, and for many days past the newspapers have been full of letters and full of lies, and every sort of representation is made to Government or through the press, as fear or interest happen to dictate. The Consuls and Ministers abroad had been for some time supplying us with such information as they could obtain, so that we were in possession of a great deal of documentary evidence regarding the nature, character, and progress of the disease. The first thing we did was to issue two successive Orders in Council placing all vessels coming from the Baltic in quarantine, and we sent for Sir Henry Halford and placed all the papers we had in his hands, desiring that he would associate with himself some other practitioners, and report their opinion as speedily as possible whether the disease was contagious and whether it could be conveyed by goods. They reported the next day yes to the first question, no to the second. In 1804, on the occasion of the yellow fever at Gibraltar, Government formed a Board of Health, and took the opinion of the College of Physicians, and it was intended to pursue the same course in this instance, but Lords Lansdowne and Auckland chose to take Halford’s preliminary opinion, contrary to my advice, for I foresaw that there would be a great embarrassment if he and the College did not agree. Just so it turned out, for when the case was submitted, with all the papers, to the College, they would not adopt his opinion, much to his annoyance, and, as I believe, because they did not like to be merely called on to confirm what he had already said, and that they thought their independence required a show of dissent. The report they sent was very short and very unsatisfactory, and entirely against all the evidence they had before them; they advised precautionary measures. I immediately wrote back an answer saying that their report [152] was not satisfactory, and desiring a more detailed opinion, and the reasons which had dictated their conclusion; but in the meantime we set to work in earnest to adopt measures against any emergency. The only way of performing quarantine (with goods), it was found, would be by the employment of men-of-war, and we accordingly asked the Admiralty to supply ships for the purpose. This Lord Grey, Sir James Graham, and Sir Byam Martin objected to, but Sir Thomas Hardy and Captain Elliot did not. We proved that the ships would sustain no injury, so after a battle they agreed to give them. We made a variety of regulations, and gave strict orders for the due performance of quarantine, and to-morrow a proclamation is to be issued for constituting a Board of Health and enjoining obedience to the quarantine laws, so that everything has been done that can be done, and if the cholera comes here it is not our fault. Most of the authorities think it will come, but I doubt it. If indeed it is wafted through the air it may, but I don’t think it will if it is only to be communicated by contact. All the evidence proves that goods cannot convey it; nevertheless we have placed merchandise under a discretionary quarantine, and though we have not promulgated any general regulations, we release no vessels that come from infected places, or that have got enumerated goods on board. Poulett Thomson, who is a trader as well as Privy Councillor, is very much disgusted in his former capacity at the measures he is obliged to concur in in his latter. This topic has now occupied for some days a good deal of the attention even of the fine fools of this town, and the Tories would even make it a matter of party accusation against the Government, only they don’t know exactly how. It is always safe to deal in generalities, so they say that ‘Government ought to be impeached if the disease comes here.’

There was a meeting of Peers to the amount of nearly seventy at Lord Mansfield’s the other day, which went off greatly to their satisfaction. They unanimously agreed to determine upon nothing in the way of amendment until they had seen the King’s Speech, to which, however, they will consider [153] MEETING OF PEERS. themselves bound to move an amendment, provided it contains anything laudatory of the Reform Bill. The Duke of Wellington was not at the meeting, having been taken ill. I met him the day before at dinner, and had a good deal of conversation with him. He is in pretty good spirits, and thinks they may make a good fight of it yet; told me that Lyndhurst would certainly go thoroughly with them, praised him largely, said he was the best colleague that any man ever had, and that he should be very sorry ever to go into any Cabinet of which he was not a member. The King dined with the Duke yesterday, and was to give him a very fine sword. Aubin, who was to have acted in ‘Hernani’ before the Queen on Wednesday next, is suddenly gone off to Rome as attaché to Brook Taylor, who is there negotiating. Taylor happened to be in Italy, and they sent him there, some doubts existing whether they could by law send a diplomatic agent to negotiate with the Pope; but it was referred to Denman, who said there was no danger. He is not accredited, and bears no official character, but it is a regular mission. Lord Lansdowne told me that Leopold is inconceivably anxious to be King of Belgium, that short of going in direct opposition to the wishes and advice of all the Royal Family and of the Government he would do anything to be beking’d, and, what is equally absurd, that the others cannot bear that he should be thus elevated.

June 23rd, 1831

The King opened Parliament on Tuesday, with a greater crowd assembled to see him pass than was ever congregated before, and the House of Lords was so full of ladies that the Peers could not find places. The Speech was long, but good, and such as to preclude the possibility of an amendment. There was, however, a long discussion in each House, and the greatest bitterness and violence evinced in both—every promise of a stormy session. Lord Lansdowne said to the King, ‘I am afraid, sir, you won’t be able to see the Commons.’ ‘Never mind,’ said he; ‘they shall hear me, I promise you,’ and accordingly he thundered forth the Speech so that not a word was lost.

There has been a reconciliation between the Wellingtonians [154] and the old Tories, and they are now firmly knit in opposition to the present Government. Winchilsea, who was the last Tory who stuck to Lord Grey, renounced him in a hot speech, which evidently annoyed Lord Grey very much, for he made a long one in reply to him. Winchilsea is a silly, blustering, but good-natured and well-meaning man. Last night ‘Hernani’ was acted at Bridgewater House before the Queen and all the Royal Family. Aubin, who had acted Don Ruy, was sent to Rome, so Francis Leveson took the part. I was disappointed, though all the company were or pretended to be in ecstasies. The rhyme does not do, the room is not good for hearing, and with the exception of Miss Kemble (who was not so effective as I expected) and Craven, the actors were execrable.

News came the day before yesterday that Marshal Diebitsch had died of the cholera. It was suspected that he had made away with himself, for he has failed so signally in his campaign against the Poles that his military reputation is tarnished; and it is known that his recall had been decreed, and that Count Paskiewitch was to succeed him. The alarm about the cholera still continues, but the Government are thrown into great perplexity by the danger on one hand of the cholera and the loss to trade on the other. A board of health has been formed, composed of certain members of the College of Physicians, Sir William Pym, Sir William Burnet, Sir Byam Martin, Sir James M‘Grigor, and Mr. Stewart; and they in their first sitting advised that all the precautions established by our Orders in Council against the plague should be adopted against the cholera. This opinion was given under the authority of Dr. Warren, who, it appears, exercises the same ascendency in this Board that he had previously done in the College of Physicians on the same subject. The fact is that he takes the safe side. They have nothing to do with trade and commerce, which must shift for themselves, and probably the other members will not take upon themselves the responsibility of opposing measures which, if the disease ever [155] PREVENTION OF CHOLERA. appears here, and should they be relaxed, will expose the physicians to the odium and reproach of having been instrumental to its introduction. We, however (Auckland, Poulett Thomson, and I), are resolved to make the Cabinet take upon themselves the responsibility of framing the permanent rules which are to guide us during the continuance of the malady. It is remarkable that there never was more sickness than there is at present, without its being epidemic, but thousands of colds, sore throats, fevers, and such like; and a man at Blackwall has died of the English cholera, and another is ill of it, but their disorders seem to have nothing to do with the Indian cholera, though some of the symptoms are similar. These men cannot have got their cholera from Russia, but their cases spread alarm.

June 25th, 1831

John Russell brought his Bill in last night, in a good speech as his friends, and a dull one as his enemies, say. In the Lords Aberdeen attacked Lord Grey’s foreign policy in a poor speech, which just did to show his bitterness and as a peg for Grey to hang a very good reply upon. The Duke of Wellington spoke afterwards; not much of a speech, but gentlemanlike and anti-factious, and approving of all Lord Grey had done about Belgium. Lord Grey passed a very fine eulogium upon Lord Ponsonby. However, this was necessary, for he is going as Minister to Naples, not having a guinea. The Emperor Don Pedro is coming here, and Henry Webster is to be his conductor.

June 30th, 1831

At Court yesterday to swear in the Duke of Leinster, Mr. Justice Vaughan, and Sir E. Hyde East. Lord Ponsonby was there, just returned from Brussels. The first time of Stanley’s and John Russell’s being at a Council since they came into the Cabinet.

July 3rd, 1831

Went to Oatlands on Saturday, returned on Monday; nobody there but Emily Eden. Many revolutions that place has undergone in my time, from the days of the Duke of York and its gaieties (well remembered and much regretted) to its present quiet state. The Belgians have not yet made up their mind about Leopold, who does not know [156] whether he is king or no king. The Reform Bill came on again last night, but it no longer excites so much interest. Nobody spoke well but Lord Porchester.

July 5th, 1831

The night before last Lord Harewood attacked Brougham in the House of Lords about the appointment of a magistrate without consulting him as Lord-Lieutenant. As usual his own party say he made out a good case, and the others that he made none. They say (and I believe with truth) that Brougham does not dislike such scrapes, and is so confident in his own ingenuity that he never doubts of getting out of them. Lyndhurst attacked him sharply. In the House of Commons last night the debate went on languidly, except a splendid speech from Macaulay and an answer (not bad, they say) from Murray. Lord Grey sent for me yesterday morning to talk over the coronation, for in consequence of what the Duke of Wellington said in the House the night before he thinks there must be one. The object is to make it shorter and cheaper than the last, which occupied the whole day and cost 240,000ℓ.

July 8th, 1831

The second reading of the Reform Bill was carried at five in the morning by 136 majority, somewhat greater than the Opposition had reckoned on. Peel made a powerful speech, but not so good as either of his others on Reform. Goulburn told me that the speech in answer to the Lord Advocate on the Irish Bill, when not 100 people were in the House, was his best. The coronation fixed for the 23rd. Breakfasted with Rogers; went afterwards to the Duchess of Bedford’s, where I met Lady Lyndhurst. I desired her to tell Lyndhurst all the Duke had said to me about him, for in these times it is as well they should draw together. He will be a match for Brougham in the House of Lords, for he can be concise, which the other cannot, and the Lords in the long run will prefer brevity to art, sarcasm, and anything else.

People are beginning to recover from their terror of the cholera, seeing that it does not come, and we are now beset with alarms of a different kind, which are those of the Scotch merchants for their cargoes. We have a most [157] CONTEST IN POLAND. disagreeable business on our hands, very troublesome, odious, and expensive. The public requires that we should take care of its health, the mercantile world that we should not injure their trade. All evidence proves that goods are not capable of bringing in the disorder, but we have appointed a Board of Health, which is contagionist, and we can’t get them to subscribe to that opinion. We dare not act without its sanction, and so we are obliged to air goods. This airing requires more ships and lazarets than we have, and the result is a perpetual squabbling, disputing, and complaining between the Privy Council, the Admiralty, the Board of Health, and the merchants. We have gone on pretty well hitherto, but more ships arrive every day; the complaints will grow louder, and the disease rather spreads than diminishes on the Continent. This cholera has afforded strong proofs of the partiality of the Prussians in the contest between the Russians and the Poles. The quarantine restrictions are always dispensed with for officers passing through the Prussian territory to join the Russian army. Count Paskiewitch was allowed to pass without performing any quarantine at all, and stores and provisions are suffered to be conveyed to the army, with every facility afforded by the Prussian authorities and every relaxation of the sanitary laws. The Duke of Wellington says that the contest will very soon be over, that the Russian army could not act before June, and that between February and June the country is not practicable for military operations. They have now so many months before them that the weight of their numerical superiority will crush the Poles. Austria and Prussia, too, do their utmost by affording every sort of indirect assistance to the Russians and thwarting the Poles as much as they can.

July 10th, 1831

The last two or three days I have been settling everything for the coronation,[7] which is to be confined to the ceremony in the Abbey and cost as little money and as little trouble as possible; and yesterday I was the medium [158] of great civilities from Lord Grey to the Duke. He desired me to go to the Duke and show him the course of proceeding we mean to adopt, and request him to make any suggestion that occurred to him, and to enquire if he would have any objection to attend the Council at which it is to be formally settled on Wednesday, to which Peel and Rosslyn are likewise invited. I spoke to the Duke and Peel, and they will both come. All this is mighty polite.

[7] [The arrangements for coronations are made by a Committee of the Privy Council, which sits as a Court of Claims.]

They have made a fine business of Cobbett’s trial; his insolence and violence were past endurance, but he made an able speech. The Chief Justice was very timid, and favoured and complimented him throughout; very unlike what Ellenborough would have done. The jury were shut up the whole night, and in the morning the Chief Justice, without consulting either party, discharged them, which was probably on the whole the best that could be done. Denman told me that he expected they would have acquitted him without leaving the box, and this principally on account of Brougham’s evidence, for Cobbett brought the Chancellor forward and made him prove that after these very writings, and while this prosecution was hanging over him, Brougham wrote to his son ‘Dear Sir,’ and requesting he would ask his father for some former publications of his, which he thought would be of great use on the present occasion in quieting the labourers. This made a great impression, and the Attorney-General never knew one word of the letter till he heard it in evidence, the Chancellor having flourished it off, as is his custom, and then quite forgotten it. The Attorney told me that Gurney overheard one juryman say to another, ‘Don’t you think we had better stop the case? It is useless to go on.’ The other, however, declared for hearing it out, so on the whole it ended as well as it might, just better than an acquittal, and that is all.

July 11th, 1831

Dined with Lord Grey yesterday. In the middle of dinner Talleyrand got a letter announcing that Leopold’s conditional acceptance of the Belgian throne had been agreed to by a great majority of the Chamber; and a Mr. Walker, who brought the news (and left Brussels at five [159] WELLINGTON AND THE GOVERNMENT. o’clock the day before), came to Lord Grey and told him with what enthusiasm it had been received there. Lord Grey wrote to the Chancellor, with whom Leopold was dining, to tell him of the event.

This morning I got a note from the Duke of Wellington declining to attend the Council on Wednesday, and desiring I would impart the same to Lord Grey and the King. He says that it would give rise to misrepresentations, and so it would. He is right to decline. It is, however, Peel who has prevented him, I am certain. When I told Peel on Saturday, he looked very grave, did not seem to like it, and said he must confer with the Duke first, as he should be sorry to do otherwise than he did. Yesterday I know the Duke dined with Peel, who I have no doubt persuaded him to send this excuse. The Government are in exceeding delight at the Duke’s conduct ever since he has been in opposition, which certainly has been very noble, straightforward, gentlemanlike, and without an atom of faction or mischief about it. He has done himself great honour; he threw over Aberdeen completely on that business about foreign policy which he introduced soon after the meeting of Parliament, and now he is assisting the Government in their Lieutenancy Bill, and is in constant communication with Melbourne on the subject.

July 13th, 1831

I took the Duke’s note to Lord Grey, who seemed annoyed, and repeated that he had only intended the invitation as a mark of attention, and never thought of shifting any responsibility from his own shoulders; that as there was a deviation from the old ceremonial, he thought the Duke’s sanction would have satisfied those who might otherwise have disputed the propriety of such a change. ‘Does he then,’ he asked, ‘mean to attend the Committee?’ I did not then know; but yesterday in the House of Lords I asked the Duke, and he said ‘No, for the same reasons,’ that upon consideration he was sure he had better not go, that by so doing he might give umbrage to his own party, and he could only do good by exercising a powerful influence over them and restraining them, and that his means of doing good would be [160] impaired by any appearance of approximating himself to Government, that when the general plan of the arrangements was settled, he should have no objection to lend a helping hand, if wanted, to the details with which he was very conversant. I wrote on a slip of paper that he would not come, and gave it to Lord Grey, who said nothing. Peel did not write to me, but he and Rosslyn do the same as the Duke.

The Belgian deputation came yesterday, and Lebeau and his colleagues were in the House of Lords. We had been promised a good day there between Londonderry and Brougham and Plunket, but the former made a tiresome, long speech; the latter spoke civilly and dully; and Brougham not at all, so it ended in smoke. In the other House on Monday the Ministers got a good majority (102) on the wine duties, to their great delight, but the Opposition were not only mortified at the defeat, but disgusted and enraged at the conduct of Peel (their leader, as they considered him), who came into the House, got up in the middle of Herries’ speech, walked out and was heard of no more that night; never voted, nor gave any notice of his intention not to vote. The moral effect of this upon his party is immense, and has served to destroy the very little confidence they had in him before. It is impossible to conceive by what motives he is actuated, because if they were purely selfish it would seem that he defeats his own object; for what can he gain by disgusting and alienating his party, when although they cannot do without him, it is equally true that he cannot do without them? I walked home with William Banks, who went largely into the whole question of Peel’s extraordinary disposition and conduct, and said how disheartening it was, and what a blow to those who looked to him as a leader in these troublous times. Henry Currey (no important person, but whose opinion is that of fifty other like him) told me that his conduct had been atrocious, and that he had himself voted in the minority against his opinion because he thought it right to sacrifice that opinion to the interests of his party. The fact is, if Peel had imparted his sentiments to his party he [161] RESERVE OF MR. PEEL. might have prevented their dividing on this question with the greatest ease. There is nothing they are not ready to do at his bidding, but his coldness and reserve are so impenetrable that nobody can ascertain his sentiments or divine his intentions, and thus he leaves his party in the lurch without vouchsafing to give them any reason or explanation of his conduct. In the meantime the other party (as if each was destined to suffer more from the folly of its friends than the hostility of its foes) has been thrown into great confusion by Lord Milton’s notice to propose an alteration in the franchise, and a meeting was called of all the friends of Government at Althorp, when Milton made a speech just such as any opponent of the Bill might make in the House of Commons, going over the old ground of Fox, Pitt, Burke, and others having sat for rotten boroughs. They were annoyed to the last degree, and the more provoked when reflecting that it was for him Althorp had been led to spend an immense sum of money, and compromise his character besides in the Northamptonshire election. His obstinacy and impracticability are so extreme that nobody can move him, and Sefton told me that nothing could be more unsatisfactory than the termination of the meeting. I guess, however, that they will find some means or other of quieting him.

The Opposition divided last night 187 against 284 on the question of hearing counsel for the condemned boroughs—not so good a division for the minority as they expected, and after a very powerful speech of Attwood’s, to which nobody listened.

There is a fresh access of alarm on account of the cholera, which has broken out at St. Petersburg, and will probably spread over Germany. The cordon of troops which kept it off last year from St. Petersburg appears to have been withdrawn, which is no doubt the cause of its appearance there. We have constant reports of supposed cases of disease and death, but up to this period it does not appear to have shown itself here, though a case was transmitted to us from Glasgow exceedingly like it. The sick man had not come from [162] any infected place. The Board of Health are, however, in great alarm, and the authorities generally think we shall have it. From all I can observe from the facts of the case I am convinced that the liability to contagion is greatly diminished by the influence of sea air, for which reason I doubt that it will be brought here across the water. If it does come it will pass through France first. The King of Prussia has at last insisted upon a rigid execution of the quarantine laws in his dominions. Marshal Paskiewitch was detained on his road to take the command of the army, and sent a courier to the King to request he might be released forthwith, urging the importance of the Emperor to have his report of the state of the army; but the King refused, and sent word that the Emperor himself had submitted to quarantine, and so his aide-de-camp might do the same.

July 14th, 1831

The effects of Peel’s leaving the party to shift for itself were exhibited the night before last. He went away (there was no reason why he should not, except that he should have stayed to manage the debate and keep his people in order), and the consequence was that they went on in a vexatious squabble of repeated adjournments till eight o’clock in the morning, when Government at last beat them. The Opposition gradually dwindled down to twenty-five people, headed by Stormont, Tullamore, and Brudenell, while the Government kept 180 together to the last; between parties so animated and so led there can be no doubt on which side will be the success. The Government were in high spirits at the result, and thought the fatigue well repaid by the display of devotion on the part of their friends and of factious obstinacy on that of their enemies. After these two nights it is impossible not to consider the Tory party as having ceased to exist for all the practical and legitimate ends of political association—that is, as far as the House of Commons is concerned, where after all the battle must be fought. There is still a rabble of Opposition, tossed about by every wind of folly and passion, and left to the vagaries and eccentricities of Wetherell, or Attwood, or Sadler, or the intemperate [163] PREPARATIONS FOR THE CORONATION. zeal of such weak fanatics as the three Lords above mentioned; but for a grave, deliberative, efficient Opposition there seem to be no longer the elements, or they are so scattered and disunited that they never can come together, and the only man who might have collected, and formed, and directed them begs leave to be excused. It is a wretched state of things and can portend no good. If there had not been prognostications of ruin and destruction to the State in all times, proceeding from all parties, which the event has universally falsified, I should believe that the consummation of evil was really at hand; as it is I cannot feel that certainty of destruction that many do, though I think we are more seriously menaced than ever we were before, because the danger is of a very different description. But there is an elasticity in the institutions of this country, which may rise up for the purpose of checking these proceedings, and in the very uncertainty of what may be produced and engendered by such measures there is hope of salvation.

Yesterday a Council was held at St. James’s for the coronation; the Princes, Ministers, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Bishop of London were present. The King read an address to the Lords desiring that his coronation might be short, and that all the ceremonies might be dispensed with except those in the church. Lord Grey had composed a paper in which he had made the King say that these ceremonies were at variance with the genius of the age we live in, and suited to another period of society; but the Archbishop objected to these expressions, and thought it better to give the injunction without the comments; so Lord Grey wrote another and shorter paper, but he showed the first to Lord Lansdowne and me, and we both told him that we thought the Archbishop was right and that the second paper was the best. The Duke of Gloucester was very indignant at not having been summoned in a more respectful way than by a common circular, and complained to the Lord President.[8] I told him to throw it all on [164] me. He had been grumbling to the Duke of Sussex before, who did not care. Leopold was too much of a king to attend, so he came to the levee (but en prince only) and not to the Council. Lieven told me it was true that the Grand Duke Constantine was dead, and that it was a very good thing.

[8] [It is customary to summon the Royal Dukes to a Council by a letter This formality seems to have been overlooked in this instance.]


CHAPTER XV.

[165] Preparations for the Coronation — Long Wellesley committed by the Chancellor for Contempt — Alderman Thompson and his Constituents — Prince Leopold goes to Belgium — Royal Tombs and Remains — The Lieutenancy of the Tower — The Cholera — The Belgian Fortresses — Secret Negotiations of Canning with the Whigs — Transactions before the Close of the Liverpool Administration — Duke of Wellington and Peel — The Dutch invade Belgium — Defeat of the Belgian Army — The French enter Belgium — Lord Grey’s Composure — Audience at Windsor — Danger of Reform — Ellen Tree — The French in Belgium — Goodwood — The Duke of Richmond — The Reform Bill in Difficulties — Duke of Wellington calls on Lord Grey — The King declines to be kissed by the Bishops — Talleyrand’s Conversation — State of Europe and France — Coronation Squabbles — The King divides the old Great Seal between Brougham and Lyndhurst — Relations of the Duchess of Kent to George IV. and William IV. — The Coronation — Irritation of the King — The Cholera — A Dinner at St. James’s — State of the Reform Bill — Sir Augustus d’Este — Madame Junot — State of France — Poland.


July 15th, 1831

A Committee of Council sat yesterday at the Office about the coronation; present, the Cabinet, Dukes of Gloucester and Sussex, Archbishop and Bishop of London; much discussion and nothing done. Brougham raised every sort of objection about the services and the dispensing with them, and would have it the King could not dispense with them; finally, the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General were sent for to the House of Lords and desired to reconsider the Proclamation.

July 20th, 1831

I have been laid up with the gout these last few days, unable to move, but without violent pain. The Committee of Council met again on Friday last, when the Proclamation was settled. A Court of Claims is to sit, but to be prohibited from receiving any claims except those relating to the ceremonies in the Abbey. The Lords went to St. [166] James’s and held the Council, at which the King made a little speech, to the effect that he would be crowned to satisfy the tender consciences of those who thought it necessary, but that he thought that it was his duty (as this country, in common with every other, was labouring under distress) to make it as economical as possible. A difficulty arose about the publication of the Proclamation, usually done by heralds with certain ceremonies. The first proclamation is not the one to be acted on; the second does not announce the coronation, but refers to the first. I asked Brougham what was to be done. He said both must be read. Lord Grey suggested neither, which was done.

The other day Long Wellesley carried off his daughter, a ward in Chancery, from her guardians, and secreted her. The matter was brought before the Chancellor, who sent for Wellesley. He came, and refused to give her up; so Brougham committed him to the Fleet Prison. The matter was brought the next day before the House of Commons, and referred to their Committee of Privileges; and in the meantime Brougham has been making a great splutter about his authority and his Court both on the judicial bench and from the Woolsack. The lawyers in the House of Commons were divided as to Wellesley’s right of privilege in such a case.[1]

[1] [Both the Chancellor and Mr. Wellesley wrote to the Speaker, and their letters were read to the House before the Committee of Privileges was appointed. Meanwhile Mr. Wellesley remained at his house in Dover Street in charge of two officers of the Court of Chancery. There is, I believe, no doubt that the committal was good, and that Mr. Wellesley’s privilege as a member of Parliament did not protect him, a contempt of the Court having been committed. A similar point has recently been raised in the Court of Queen’s Bench upon the committal of Mr. Whalley.]

There has been exhibited in the course of the last few days one of the most disgraceful scenes (produced by the Reform Bill) ever witnessed. On the question of the disfranchisement of Appleby a certain Alderman Thompson, member for the City, who stood deeply pledged to Reform, voted for hearing counsel in defence of the borough, on which there was a meeting of his ward, or of certain of his constituents, [167] ALDERMAN THOMPSON AND HIS CONSTITUENTS. to consider his conduct. He was obliged to appear before them, and, after receiving a severe lecture, to confess that he had been guilty of inadvertence, to make many submissive apologies, and promise to vote no more but in obedience to the Minister. It is always an agreeable pastime to indulge one’s virtuous indignation, and wish to have been in the place of such an one for the sake of doing what he ought to have done but did not do, by which, without any of the risk of a very difficult and unpleasant situation, one has all the imaginary triumph of eloquence, independence, and all kinds of virtue; and so in this instance I feel that I should have liked to pour upon these wretches the phials of my wrath and contempt. If the alderman had had one spark of spirit he would have spurned the terrors of this plebeian inquisition, and told them that they had elected him, and that it was his intention, as long as he continued their representative, to vote as he thought proper, always redeeming the pledges he had given at his election; that he would not submit to be questioned for this or any other vote, and if they were not satisfied with his conduct when the Parliament should be over they might choose whom they would in his place. What makes the case the more absurd is, that this question of Appleby is monstrous, and it never ought (by their own principle) to have been put in Schedule A at all. There was a debate and a division on it last night, and a majority for the Ministers of seventy-five in a very full House; the worst division they have yet had. Every small victory in the House of Commons is probably equivalent to a great defeat in the House of Lords, unless they do what is now talked of—make as many Peers as may be necessary to carry the Bill, which I doubt their daring to do or the King consenting to do. The lapse of time and such difficulties and absurdities will probably obstruct the Bill, so as to prevent its passing. God knows what we shall have instead.

Prince Leopold started on Saturday, having put his pension into trustees’ hands (by the advice of Lambton), to keep up Claremont and pay his debts and pensions, and then hand over the residue to the Exchequer, the odds being that [168] none of it ever gets there, and that he is back here before the debts are paid. It seems that, desirous as he had been to go, when the time drew near he got alarmed, and wanted to back out, but they brought him (though with difficulty) to the point. He has proposed to the Princess Louise, King Louis Philippe’s daughter.

Halford has been with me this morning gossiping (which he likes); he gave me an account of his discovery of the head of Charles I. in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, to which he was directed by Wood’s account in the ‘Athenæ Oxonienses.’ He says that they also found the coffin of Henry VIII., but that the air had penetrated and the body had been reduced to a skeleton. By his side was Jane Seymour’s coffin untouched, and he has no doubt her body is perfect. The late King intended to have it opened, and he says he will propose it to this King. By degrees we may visit the remains of the whole line of Tudor and Plantagenet too, and see if those famous old creatures were like their effigies. He says Charles’s head was exactly as Vandyke had painted him.

July 26th, 1831

At Oatlands on Saturday, and came back on Sunday night. Nobody there but my father, mother, Walpole, Sneyd, and Alava; very different from what I once remember it. There has been a great deal of talk about the Duke of Wellington giving Lord Munster the Lieutenancy of the Tower, the truth of which is as follows:—It is in the King’s gift, and he sent to the Duke and desired him to name somebody. The Duke would have liked to name one of three—Fitzroy Somerset, Colin Campbell, or Hardinge. The latter would not have been agreeable to Government, and therefore it would have occasioned the King an embarrassment; the second was provided for, and Lord Hill advised the first to remain as he is (though I don’t see why he could not have had both); so the Duke thought it would gratify the King if he was to name Munster. Munster wrote a very civil letter to the Duke, full of thanks and saying that he begged he would not think of him if he had anybody else to give it to, and that he would take upon himself to explain to the King his [169] THE CHOLERA. not accepting it. The Duke persisted, and so he had it. I must say he might have found some one out of the number of his old officers to give it to rather than Munster.

The King of France’s Speech arrived yesterday, but nothing was said in the House of Lords, because Lord Grey was at Windsor. It will make a stir—the general tone of it, and the demolition of the fortresses which cost us seven millions. Not one of the papers made a remark upon it; nothing will do for them but Reform.

Fresh claims have been raised about cholera morbus. A man at Port Glasgow insists upon it, without much apparent reason, that it prevails there; so we have sent a medical man down, in order to quiet people’s minds and to set the question at rest. Lord Grey, who is credulous, believes the Glasgow man’s story, and spread the news in his own family, who immediately dispersed it over the rest of the town, and yesterday nobody could talk of anything else; not believing it very much, and not understanding it at all, for if they did they would not be so flippant. Lady Holland wrote to Lord Lansdowne to desire he would recommend her the best cholera doctor that he had heard of. I have just received a letter from Moore, saying he has ordered his publisher to send me a copy of ‘Lord Edward Fitzgerald,’ and that he only sends copies to the Duke of Leinster and me, but begs I will send him no opinion, for ‘opinions fidget him’—‘genus irritabile vatum.’

July 27th, 1831

Yesterday Aberdeen asked Lord Grey some questions in a very few words, accompanied as usual with a sneer, which is very unbecoming, and of course gave Lord Grey the advantage of repelling it with scorn. The Duke spoke, and pretty well, but laid some stress more on Portugal than upon Belgium, which is what I cannot understand, but Alava told me that when he came to town yesterday he had said to him that, as an Englishman, he had never felt so deeply affected for the honour of his country as in this transaction. I met him after the debate, and he said he thought he had done some good by what he said. The question of the Belgian fortresses is not without great difficulty, [170] and the strong part of it for Government is that their demolition was agreed to by all the Powers interested (except Holland), and without the presence of the French Plenipotentiary at the meeting when it was decided. I am inclined to think that the manner in which it was blurted out in the King of France’s Speech, as a clap-trap for him, will have made the principal difficulty, though the policy may be very questionable.

July 28th, 1831

On Tuesday night they got through Schedule A, but in a very bungling manner, and the events of the night, its enemies say, damaged the Bill, not, however, that anything can hurt it in the House of Commons, though such things may tell in the House of Lords; but on the question of Saltash, which the Opposition did not consider as a very strong case, so little that they had not intended to divide on it, John Russell and the rest suddenly gave way, and without informing their friends moved that it ought to be in Schedule B. On a division all the Ministers voted with, the Opposition, so the borough was transferred to B. Their friends were furious, and not without reason, that they had not determined where it ought to be placed, and have transferred it themselves instead of leaving them in the dilemma they were in when the division arrived. A court and levee yesterday.

Oatlands, July 31st, 1831

The Arbuthnots and Mr. Loch here. I rode down after the Opera last night; walked for an hour and a half with Arbuthnot under the shade of one of the great trees, talking of various old matters and some new, principally about Canning and his disputes and differences with the Duke of Wellington. He says that the Duke’s principal objection to Canning was the knowledge of his having negotiated with the Whigs previously to Lord Liverpool’s illness, which was communicated to the Duke; he would not say by whom. The person who went between them was Sir Robert Wilson, deputed by Brougham, and those who afterwards joined Canning. Sir Robert spoke to Huskisson, and he to Canning. What they said was this: that finding his view so liberal, they were ready to support and join him, and [171] CANNING’S NEGOTIATION WITH THE WHIGS. in the event of his becoming Minister (on Lord Liverpool’s death or resignation) that they would serve under him. Arbuthnot does not know what answer Canning sent to this, nor whether he did anything on it, but when on Lord Liverpool’s illness Canning went to the King at Windsor, he told him that if the Tories would not consent to his being named Minister ‘he was sure of the Whigs,’ but this he entreated the King not to mention. Immediately after Canning the Duke went to the King, and to him the King directly repeated what Canning had said. The Duke told the King that he was already aware of Canning’s intercourse with the Whigs, and with that knowledge that he could not consent to his being Prime Minister, as he could have no confidence in him. Shortly after this, and before the resignation of the Ministers, but after the difficulties had begun, Knighton came to Arbuthnot, and said he was afraid his Royal Master had done a great deal of mischief by repeating to the Duke what Canning had said, that he was very anxious to bring the Duke and Canning together again, and asked him (Arbuthnot) to go with him to Canning and see what could be done. Arbuthnot declined, but said if Canning wished to see him he would go. Canning sent for him, and they had a long conversation, in which he expressed his desire to go on with the Duke, and it was agreed the Duke should call on him and have a conversation and see what could be arranged. The Duke called on him, and they talked of a variety of matters, but not a word passed about the formation of a new Ministry. Arbuthnot went to the House, and told Canning how much he was surprised and disappointed that nothing had come of this conversation, to which he made no reply, but Arbuthnot found afterwards that between his leaving Canning and the Duke’s going to him Peel had been to him and proposed that the Duke should be Prime Minister. This so offended Canning, believing that it was a measure of the party and done with the Duke’s consent, that he resolved not to utter a word to the Duke on the subject, and so ended the hopes of their agreement.

It does not appear, however, as if anything could have [172] been done, for Canning was bent upon being Prime Minister; and I asked Arbuthnot to what the Duke would have consented, and he said, ‘Not to that,’ that after the transaction with the Whigs he could not have felt sufficient confidence in Canning to agree to his being Prime Minister. (If he distrusted Canning he ought to have refused to act with him at all, not merely objected to his being Prime Minister, but the ground of his objection was shifted.) Originally the King could not bear Canning, and he was only persuaded by the Duke to take him into the Cabinet. Afterwards he was so offended at the influence he acquired there, and particularly with that which he had got over the mind of Lord Liverpool, that he one day sent for Arbuthnot and desired him to tell Lord Liverpool that he could not endure to see Canning make a puppet of him, and he would rather he was Prime Minister at once than have all the power without the name by governing him (Lord Liverpool) as he pleased, and that unless he could shake off this influence he was determined not to let him continue at the head of the Government, and, moreover, he must find some means of getting rid of Canning altogether. This Arbuthnot wrote to Lord Liverpool, who wrote an answer couched in terms of indignation, saying he by no means coveted his situation, that he was sure his colleagues would resent any indignity offered to him, and that the King had better take care what he was about, and not, by producing disunion in the Government, incur the risk of making the end of his reign as disastrous as the beginning of it had been prosperous.

Not very long after Canning got into favour, and in this way:—Harriet Wilson at the time of her connexion with Lord Ponsonby got hold of some of Lady Conyingham’s letters to him, and she wrote to Ponsonby, threatening, unless he gave her a large sum, to come to England and publish everything she could. This produced dismay among all the parties, and they wanted to get Ponsonby away and to silence the woman. In this dilemma Knighton advised the King to have recourse to Canning, who saw [173] CANNING AND THE LIVERPOOL ADMINISTRATION. the opening to favour, jumped at it, and instantly offered to provide for Ponsonby and do anything which could relieve the King from trouble. Ponsonby was sent to Buenos Ayres forthwith, and the letters were bought up. From this time Canning grew in favour, which he took every means to improve, and shortly gained complete ascendancy over the King.

Arbuthnot said that Canning and Castlereagh had always gone on well together after their reconciliation, but that Lord Liverpool’s subjection to him arose more from fear than affection. Liverpool told Arbuthnot that he earnestly desired to resign his office, that his health was broken, and he was only retained by the consideration that his retirement might be the means of breaking up a Government which he had (through the kindness of his colleagues to him) been enabled to hold together; that Canning worked with a twenty-horse power; that his sensitiveness was such that he [Canning] felt every paragraph in a newspaper that reflected on him, and that the most trifling causes produced an irritation on his mind, which was always vented upon him (Lord Liverpool), and that every time the door was opened he dreaded the arrival of a packet from Canning. Arbuthnot had been in great favour with the King, who talked to him and consulted him, but he nearly cut him after the disunion consequent on Canning’s appointment. Knighton came to Arbuthnot and desired him to try and prevail on the Duke to consent to Canning’s being Prime Minister, which he told him was useless, and from that time the King was just civil to the Duke and that was all. The Duke had always suspected that Canning wanted all along to be Prime Minister, and that when he sent him to Russia to congratulate Nicholas it was to get him out of the way, and he was the more convinced because Canning proposed to him to go on to Moscow for the coronation, which he positively refused, having promised his friends to be back in April, which he accordingly was. Canning never had a great opinion of Huskisson, nor really liked him, though he thought him very useful from being conversant with the subjects on which he was [174] himself most ignorant—trade and finance; but he did not contemplate his being in the Cabinet, and had no confidence in his judgment or his discretion; and this tallies with what Lady Canning told me, though certainly he did not do Huskisson justice in any way, which Arbuthnot admitted. Knighton behaved exceedingly well during the King’s illness, and by the vigilant watch he kept over the property of various kinds prevented the pillage which Lady Conyngham would otherwise have made. She knew everything, but did not much trouble herself about affairs, being chiefly intent upon amassing money and collecting jewels.

He talked a great deal of Peel, of the difficulty of going on with him, of his coldness, incommunicativeness; that at the time of the opening the Liverpool Railroad he had invited the Duke, Aberdeen, and some more to meet at Drayton to consider of strengthening themselves; that they had left the place just as they had gone to it, nothing settled and nothing elicited from Peel; that on the late occasion of the wine duties they had gone to Peel and asked him whether they should fight out and divide on it; that he had referred them to Goulburn, who had decided in the affirmative, on which he had agreed to their friends being mustered, but that he took offence at something that was said in debate, and marched off sans mot dire; that somebody was sent after him to represent the bad effect of his departure, and entreat him to return, but he was gone to bed. This is by no means the first time Arbuthnot has spoken to me about Peel in this strain and with such feelings. How are the Duke and he to make a Government again, especially after what Lyndhurst said of the Duke? Necessity may bring them together, but though common interest and common danger may unite them, there the seeds of disunion always must be. I have scribbled down all I can recollect of a very loose conversation, and perhaps something else may occur to me by-and-by.

In the meantime to return to the events of the present day. Althorp raised a terrible storm on Friday by proposing that the House should sit on Saturday. They spent six hours debating the question, which might have been occupied [175] LONG WELLESLEY AND BROUGHAM. in the business; so that, though they did not sit yesterday, they gained nothing and made bad blood. Yesterday morning Murray made a conciliatory speech, which Burdett complimented, and all went on harmoniously. John Russell is ill, nearly done up with fatigue and exertion and the bad atmosphere he breathes for several hours every night.

Long Wellesley has given up his daughter and has been discharged from arrest. I met the Solicitor-General yesterday, who told me this, and said that Brougham had been in the midst of his blustering terribly nervous about it. This was clear, for both he and Wellesley were waiting for the report of the Committee of the House of Commons, though Brougham affected to hold it cheap, and talked very big of what he should do and should have done had it been unfavourable to his authority. The fact is that Long Wellesley was contumacious, but after a short confinement he knocked under and yielded to the Chancellor on all points, and was released from durance.

We had a meeting on the Coronation business yesterday morning, and took into consideration the estimates. That from the Chamberlain’s Office was 70,000ℓ. and upwards, which was referred to a sub-committee to dissect and report upon.

August 5th, 1831

Yesterday morning arrived the news of Casimir Périer’s resignation in consequence of the division in the Chamber of Deputies on the election of President. He had very unnecessarily committed himself by declaring he would resign if Lafitte was elected, and though the other candidate (M. Girod de l’Ain) was chosen, as it was, only by a majority of five, he considered this tantamount to a defeat, and accordingly went out of office.[2] It was supposed, but not quite certain, that Molé would be First Minister, but without much chance of being able to keep that post.

[2] [M. Casimir Périer did not retire from office on this occasion, though he had momentarily resigned it. He remained in power till his death which took place from cholera in the following year.]

At the same time comes intelligence that the King of Holland has marched into Belgium at three points with [176] three corps under the Prince of Orange, Prince Frederick, and the Prince of Nassau. This, however, was premature, for it turns out that the Prince of Orange in a proclamation to his army declares that the armistice was to end last night at half-past nine, and that he marches ‘to secure equitable terms of separation,’ not therefore for the purpose of reconquest. I saw Lord Grey in the morning in a state of great consternation, the more particularly as he told me a Dutch Plenipotentiary had arrived the day before with full powers to treat, and that he had not in his intercourse with him and with Palmerston uttered one word of the King of Holland’s intentions. In the evening I had a long conversation with Matuscewitz. He says that it is impossible to foresee the end of all this, but that the most probable event is a general war. Coming at the moment of a change in the French Ministry, nobody can guess what the French may do, and the Conferences are useless, because any resolution they may make may probably be totally inapplicable to the state of things produced by events hastening on elsewhere. The King of Holland has all along very justly complained of the proceedings of the Allies towards him, which they justify by necessity (‘the tyrant’s plea’) and to which he has been obliged sulkily to submit, though always protesting and never acquiescing, except in an armistice to which he agreed. Meantime the Allies went on negotiating, but without making much progress, and the Dutchman borrowed money and put his army on a respectable footing. It is remarkable that as long as he held out that he sought the reunion he could get no money at all, but no sooner did he renounce the idea of reunion, and propose to make war for objects more immediately national to the Dutch, than he got a loan filled (in two days) to the amount of about a million sterling. When the proposition was made to Leopold, though no arrangement was actually agreed upon, there was a general understanding that the King of Holland would consent to the separation of the two States, and that the Belgians should resign their claims to Limbourg and Luxembourg, and after Lord Ponsonby’s letter which made so much noise, Falck’s [177] HOLLAND AND BELGIUM. protestation, and Ponsonby’s recall this seemed to be clearly established. When Leopold received the offer of the Crown, he only consented to take it upon an understanding that the Belgians would agree to the terms prescribed by the Allies; but before the whole thing was settled he took fright and began to repent, and it was with some difficulty he was at last persuaded to go by the Belgian deputies with assurances that these terms would be complied with. Go, however, he did, and that unaccompanied by any person of weight or consequence from this country. Matuscewitz told me that he went on his knees to Palmerston to send somebody with him who would prevent his getting into scrapes, and that Talleyrand and Falck, by far the best heads among them, had both predicted that Leopold would speedily commit some folly the consequences of which might be irreparable.[3] Our Government, however, paid no attention to these remonstrances, and he was suffered to go alone. Accordingly he had no sooner arrived than, intoxicated with the applause he received, he forgot all that had occurred here and all the resolutions of the Allies, and flourished off speeches in direct contradiction to them, and announced his determination to comprehend the disputed provinces in his new kingdom. It is no wonder that this excited the indignation of the King of Holland, but it is unfortunate that he could [178] not be patient a little longer. Notwithstanding his march, however, his Plenipotentiary here has full power to treat of all the disputed points, and is authorised to put a stop to hostilities at any moment when he can see the prospect of satisfaction; it is, however, believed here (though at present not on any sufficient grounds) that Prussia secretly supports the King of Holland. The danger is that France may without any further communication with her Allies consider the aggression of the Dutch as a justification of a corresponding movement on her part, and should this happen the Prussians would no longer deem themselves bound by the common obligations which united all the conferring and mediating Powers, and a general war would infallibly ensue. Nor is it unlikely that the French Ministry, beset as they are with difficulties, and holding their offices de die in diem, may think a war the best expedient for occupying the nation and bringing all the restless spirits and unquiet humours into one focus. I have long been of opinion that such mighty armaments and such a nervous state of things cannot end without a good deal of blood-letting. [The Prussians did not support the Dutch, the French did march, and war did not ensue.—August 28th.]

[3] [This account of Leopold’s arrival in Belgium is hardly fair, and forms an amusing contrast to Baron Stockmar’s narrative of the same occurrence in his ‘Memoirs,’ p. 180. Unquestionably Leopold showed far more foresight, judgment, and resolution than Mr. Greville gave him credit for. He was not accompanied by ‘any person of weight or consequence’ from this country, because that would have given him the air of a puppet and a British nominee. But Stockmar was with him. The King entered Brussels on the 21st of July, and was well received. On the 4th of August the Dutch broke the truce and invaded Belgium. It was impossible to provide against so sudden a movement, and the Army of the Scheldt was beaten at Louvain on the 12th of August. The King then claimed the intervention of France and England in defence of the neutrality and independence of Belgium, which had been guaranteed to him by the treaty of the eighteen articles under which he had accepted the Crown. But the passage in the text is curious, because it shows how little confidence was felt at that time in a prince who turned out to be one of the ablest rulers and politicians of his time.]

At night.—Lord Grey was attacked by Aberdeen to-night on his foreign policy, and particularly about Portugal, and he is said to have made a splendid speech. Sir Henry Seton arrived from Liverpool to announce what is going on, and he is bent on fighting at present. Abercromby, who is come likewise, reports that he has 50,000 or 60,000 men.

August 9th, 1831

On Saturday morning we were saluted with intelligence that on the French King’s hearing of the Dutch invasion he ordered Marshal Gérard, with 50,000 men, to march into Belgium; and great was the alarm here: the funds fell and everybody was prepared for immediate war. In the afternoon I called upon Lord Grey at East Sheen (in my way to Monk’s Grove, where I was going) to say something to him about the coronation, and found him with a more cheerful countenance than I expected. He did not appear alarmed at what the French had done, [179] THE QUEEN’S CROWN. and very well satisfied with the manner of their doing it, marching only in virtue of their guarantee and proclaiming their own neutrality and the Belgian independence, and the King had previously received the Belgian Minister. I told him I thought Leopold’s folly had been the cause of it, and that his speeches about Luxembourg had given the Dutch King a pretext. He said, not at all, and that the King of Holland would have done this under any circumstances, which I took leave to doubt, though I did not think it necessary to say so.[4]

[4] [Lord Grey’s composure was mainly due to the entire confidence he felt in the honour of the Duc de Broglie, then French Minister of Foreign Affairs, who had given positive assurances to the British Cabinet that the intervention of France would be confined to the immediate object in view. This confidence was equally honourable to both statesmen, and these assurances were faithfully fulfilled.]

On Sunday, overtaken by the most dreadful storm I ever saw—flashes of lightning, crashes of thunder, and the rain descending like a waterspout—I rode to Windsor, to settle with the Queen what sort of crown she would have to be crowned in. I was ushered into the King’s presence, who was sitting at a red table in the sitting-room of George IV., looking over the flower garden. A picture of Adolphus Fitzclarence was behind him (a full-length), and one of the parson, Rev. Augustus Fitzclarence, in a Greek dress, opposite. He sent for the Queen, who came with the Landgravine and one of the King’s daughters, Lady Augusta Erskine, the widow of Lord Cassilis’s son. She looked at the drawings, meant apparently to be civil to me in her ungracious way, and said she would have none of our crowns, that she did not like to wear a hired crown, and asked me if I thought it was right that she should. I said, ‘Madam, I can only say that the late King wore one at his coronation.’ However she said, ‘I do not like it, and I have got jewels enough, so I will have them made up myself.’ The King said to me, ‘Very well; then you will have to pay for the setting.’ ‘Oh, no,’ she said; ‘I shall pay for it all myself.’ The King looked well, but seemed infirm. I talked to Taylor afterwards, who said he had very little doubt this [180] storm in Belgium would blow over, and agreed that Leopold’s folly had been in great measure the cause of it. There have been discussions in both Houses, which have in some measure quieted people’s apprehensions. To-day that ass Lord Londonderry (who has never yet had his windows mended from the time they were broken by the mob at the Reform illumination) brings on a motion about Belgium.

August 11th, 1831

Nothing new these last two days. Londonderry’s motion produced an angry debate, but no division. Brougham is said to have been very good. The Government wanted to divide, but the Opposition know that it is not their interest to provoke a trial of strength. The Ministers, if beaten, would not go out, and they are anxious to see what their opponents’ strength is. At Court yesterday, when Van de Weyer, the new Belgian Minister, made his appearance. I said to Esterhazy, ‘You will blow this business over, sha’n’t you?’ He said, ‘Yes, I think we shall this time.’

Nothing remarkable in the House of Commons but Lord John Russell’s declaration that ‘this Bill would not be final if it was not found to work as well as the people desired,’ which is sufficiently impudent considering that hitherto they have always pretended that it was to be final, and that it was made so comprehensive only that it might be so; this has been one of their grand arguments, and now we are never to sit down and rest, but go on changing till we get a good fit, and that for a country which will have been made so fidgety that it won’t stand still to be measured. Hardinge, whom I found at dinner at the Athenæum yesterday, told me he was convinced that a revolution in this country was inevitable; and such is the opinion of others who support this Bill, not because they think concession will avert it, but will let it come more gradually and with less violence. I have always been convinced that the country was in no danger of revolutiorobberies n, and still believe that if one does come it will be from the passing of this Bill, which will introduce the principle of change and whet the appetites of those who never will be satisfied with any existing order of things; or if it follows on the rejection of this Bill, which [181] ELLEN TREE. I doubt, it will be owing to the concentration of all the forces that are opposed to our present institutions, and the divisions, jealousies, rivalships, and consequent weakness of all those who ought to defend them. God only knows how it will all end. There has been but one man for many years past able to arrest this torrent, and that was Canning; and him the Tories—idiots that they were, and never discovering that he was their best friend—hunted to death with their besotted and ignorant hostility.

I went to the play last night at a very shabby little house called the City Theatre—a long way beyond the Post Office—to see Ellen Tree act in a translation of ‘Une Faute,’ one of the best pieces of acting I ever saw. This girl will turn out very good if she remains on the stage. She has never been brought forward at Covent Garden, and I heard last night the reason why. Charles Kemble took a great fancy for her (she is excessively pretty), and made her splendid offers of putting her into the best parts, and advancing her in all ways, if she would be propitious to his flame, but which she indignantly refused; so he revenged himself (to his own detriment) by keeping her back and promoting inferior actresses instead. If ever she acquires fame, which is very probable, for she has as much nature, and feeling, and passion as I ever saw, this will be a curious anecdote. [She married Charles Kean, lost her good looks, and became a tiresome, second-rate actress.]

August 12th, 1831

Yesterday a Committee of Council met to settle the order of the coronation and submit the estimates, which we have brought under 30,000ℓ. instead of 240,000ℓ., which they were last time.

The question now is whether our Ministry shall go along with France, or whether France shall be pulled up; and it is brought to this point by Leopold’s having sent to the French to thank them for their aid, but to say that he can do without them, and to beg they will retire, which they have refused to do. It was known yesterday that they are at Mons, and strongly suspected they will not so easily be got out of it; but the French Government will not venture [182] to quarrel with us if we take a peremptory tone. It is not, however, clear that the French Government can control the French army; and I have heard it said that if they had not ordered the troops to march, the troops would have marched without orders. L. is all for curbing France; so a very short time must bring matters to a crisis, and it will be seen if the Government has authority to check the war party there. In the meantime the French have taken the Portuguese ships without any intention of giving them back; and this our Ministers know, and do not remonstrate. J. asked L. if it was true, and he said, ‘Oh, yes,’ for that having been compelled to force the Tagus, they were placed in a state of war, and the ships became lawful prizes. If it was not for Reform I doubt that this Government could stand a moment, but that will bring them up. In the country it is too clear that there are no symptoms of a reaction, and if a state of indifference can be produced it is all that can be hoped and more than should be expected. I do not think the Government by any means responsible for the embroiled state of Europe, but they certainly appear to have no fixed plan or enlightened view of foreign policy, and if they have not been to blame hitherto (which in acting with all the Allies, and endeavouring to keep things quiet, they have not been), they are evidently in great danger of floundering now.

Goodwood, August 20th, 1831

Here I have been a week to-day for the races, and here I should not be now—for everybody else is gone—if it were not for the gout, which has laid me fast by the foot, owing to a blow. While on these racing expeditions I never know anything of politics, and, though I just read the newspapers, have no anecdotes to record of Reform or foreign affairs. I never come here without fresh admiration of the beauty and delightfulness of the place, combining everything that is enjoyable in life—large and comfortable house, spacious and beautiful park, extensive views, dry soil, sea air, woods, and rides over downs, and all the facilities of occupation and amusement. The Duke, who has so strangely become a Cabinet Minister in a Whig Government, and who is a very good sort of man and my [183] REFORM BILL IN DIFFICULTIES. excellent friend, appears here to advantage, exercising a magnificent hospitality, and as a sportsman, a farmer, a magistrate, and good, simple, unaffected country gentleman, with great personal influence. This is what he is fit for, to be,

With safer pride content,
The wisest justice on the banks of Trent,

and not to assist in settling Europe and making new constitutions.

I find on arriving in town that there is nothing new, but the Bill, which drags its slow length along, is in a bad way; not that it will not pass the Commons, but now everybody attacks it, and the press is all against what remains of it. Lord Chandos’s motion and the defeat of Government by so large a majority have given them a great blow. Still they go doggedly on, and are determined to cram it down anyhow, quite indifferent how it is to work and quite ignorant. As to foreign affairs, the Ministers trust to blunder through them, hoping, like Sir Abel Handy in the play, that the fire ‘will go out of itself.’ Sefton has just been here, who talks blusteringly of the Peers that are to be made, no matter at what cost of character to the House of Lords, anything rather than be beaten; but I am not sure that he knows anything. In such matters as these he is (however sharp) no better than a fool—no knowledge, no information, no reflection or combination; prejudices, partialities, and sneers are what his political wisdom consists of; but he is Lord Grey’s âme damnée.

Stoke, August 28th, 1831

My gout is still hanging on me. Very strange disorder, affecting different people so differently; with me very little pain, much swelling, heat, and inconvenience, more like bruised muscles and tendons and inflamed joints; it disables me, but never prevents my sleeping at night. Henry de Ros called on me yesterday; nothing new, and he knows everything from L., who sits there picking up politics and gossip, to make money by the one and derive amusement from the other. L. is odd enough, and very malin with what he knows. He is against Reform, but not against the Government; for the Duke of Wellington and not for the Opposition—in [184] short, just as interest, fancy, caprice, and particular partialities sway him. It was he who told me the fact of the French having carried away the Portuguese ships, and he said that I might tell the Duke that he might make what use he pleased of it; but soon after, wishing if it did come out that it should fall harmless, he bethought him of the following expedient:—Seeing that Valletort (who is a good-natured blockhead) is always spluttering in the House of Commons, he thought in his hands it would do no harm, so he told him the fact with some flattering observations about his activity and energy in the House, which Valley swallowed and with many thanks proceeded to put questions to Palmerston, which sure enough were so confused and unintelligible that nobody understood him, and the matter fell very flat. I don’t see that Government is saved by this ruse, if the case against them is a good one; but it is curious as indicative of the artifice of the person, and of his odd sort of political disposition. As I don’t write history I omit to note such facts as are recorded in the newspapers, and merely mention the odd things I pick up, which are not generally known, and which may hereafter throw some light on those which are.

The Belgian business is subsiding into quiet again. The Dutch have gained some credit, and the Prince of Orange has (what was of importance to him) removed the load of odium under which he had been labouring in Holland, and acquired great popularity. Leopold has cut a ridiculous figure enough; not exhibiting any want of personal courage, but after all the flourishes at the time of his accession finding himself at the head of a nation of blustering cowards who would do nothing but run away. The arrival of the French army soon put an end to hostilities, and now the greater part of it has been recalled; but Leopold has desired that 10,000 men may be left for his protection, whether against the Dutch or against the Belgians does not appear. This excites considerable jealousies here, for as yet it is not known why he asked for such aid, nor on what terms it is to be granted.

L. told me an odd thing connected with these troops. [185] TALLEYRAND’S CONVERSATION. Easthope received a commission from a secretary of Soult to sell largely in our funds, coupled with an assurance that the troops would not retire. I don’t know the fate of the commission.

There are various reports of dissensions in the Cabinet, which are not true. The Duke of Wellington was sent for by Lord Grey the other day, to give his opinion about the demolition of the Belgian fortresses; so the ex-Prime Minister went to visit his successor in the apartment which was so lately his own. No man would mind such a thing less than the Duke; he is sensitive, but has no nonsense about him. He is very well and, however disgusted with the state of everything at home and abroad (which after all is greatly imputable to himself), in high spirits.

The King did a droll thing the other day. The ceremonial of the coronation was taken down to him for approval. The homage is first done by the spiritual Peers, with the Archbishop at their head. The first of each class (the Archbishop for the spiritual) says the words, and then they all kiss his cheek in succession. He said he would not be kissed by the bishops, and ordered that part to be struck out. As I expected, the prelates would not stand it; the Archbishop remonstrated, the King knocked under, and so he must undergo the salute of the spiritual as well as of the temporal Lords.

August 30th, 1831

Left Stoke yesterday morning; a large party—Talleyrand, De Ros, Fitzroy Somersets, Motteux, John Russell, Alava, Byng. In the evening Talleyrand discoursed, but I did not hear much of him. I was gouty and could not stand, and all the places near him were taken. I have never heard him narrate comfortably, and he is difficult to understand. He talked of Franklin. I asked him if he was remarkable in conversation; he said he was from his great simplicity and the evident strength of his mind. He spoke of the coronation of the Emperor Alexander. Somebody wrote him a letter at the time from Moscow with this expression: ‘L’Empereur marchait, précédé des assassins de son grand-père, entouré de ceux de son père, et suivi par les siens.’ [186] He said of the Count de Saint-Germain (whom he never saw) that there is an account of him in Craufurd’s book; nobody knew whence he came nor whither he went; he appeared at Paris suddenly, and disappeared in the same way, lived in an hôtel garni, had always plenty of money, and paid for everything regularly; he talked of events and persons connected with history, both ancient and modern, with entire familiarity and a correctness which never was at fault, and always of the people as if he had lived with them and known them; as Talleyrand exemplified it, he would say, ‘Un jour que je dînais chez César.’[5] He was supposed to be the Wandering Jew, a story which has always appeared to me a very sublime fiction, telling of

That settled ceaseless gloom
The fabled Hebrew wanderer bore,
Which will not look beyond the tomb,
Which cannot hope for rest before.

Then he related Mallet’s conspiracy and the strange way in which he heard it. Early in the morning his tailor came to his house and insisted on seeing him. He was in bed, but on his valet de chambre’s telling him how pressing the tailor was he ordered him to be let in. The man said, ‘Have you not heard the news? There is a revolution in Paris.’ It had come to the tailor’s knowledge by Mallet’s going to him the very first thing to order a new uniform! Talleyrand said the conspirators ought to have put to death Cambacérès and the King of [187] STATE OF EUROPE AND FRANCE. Rome. I asked him if they had done so whether he thought it possible the thing might have succeeded. He said, ‘C’est possible.’ To my question whether the Emperor would not have blown away the whole conspiracy in a moment he replied, ‘Ce n’est pas sûr, c’est possible que cela aurait réussi.’

[5] [This mysterious adventurer died in the arms of Prince Charles of Hesse, in 1784; and some account of him is to be found in the ‘Memoirs’ of that personage, quoted in the ‘Edinburgh Review,’ vol. cxxiii. p. 521. The Count de Saint-Germain was a man of science, especially versed in chemistry botany, and metallurgy. He is supposed to have derived his money from an invention in the art of dyeing. According to his own account of himself he was a son of Prince Ragozky of Transylvania and his first wife, a Tekely, and he was Protestant and educated by the last of the Medicis. He was supposed to be ninety-two or ninety-three when he died. His knowledge of the arcana of science and his mysterious manner of life had given him something of the reputation of a wizard and a conjuror, but he was an honourable and benevolent man, not to be confounded with such charlatans as Mesmer and Cagliostro.]

He afterwards talked of Madame de Staël and Monti. They met at Madame de Marescalchi’s villa near Bologna, and were profuse of compliments and admiration for each other. Each brought a copy of their respective works beautifully bound to present to the other. After a day passed in an interchange of literary flatteries, and the most ardent expressions of delight, they separated, but each forgot to carry away the present of the other, and the books remain in Madame de Marescalchi’s library to this day.

August 31st, 1831

Dined at Osterley yesterday; Lady Sandwich, Esterhazy and the Bathursts, Brooke Greville and George Villiers. Esterhazy told me he had no doubt that there would be a war, that General Baudron was arrived from Brussels, and Leopold had sent word by him that the French troops were absolutely necessary to his safety, to protect him from the turbulence of his own subjects. He considered that the Polish business was over, at which he greatly rejoiced. He said that nobody was prepared for war, and the great object was to gain time, but a few weeks must now bring matters to a crisis; the only difficulty appears to be what to go to war about, and who the belligerents should be, for at the eleventh hour, and with the probability of a general war, it is a toss-up whether we and the French are to be the closest allies or the deadliest enemies. He told me that Casimir Périer would probably be unable to keep his ground, that the modified law about the House of Peers did not give satisfaction. If he is beaten on this he goes out, and if he does, with him will probably vanish all hopes of peace. It is pretty evident that France is rapidly advancing to a republic. Her institutions have long been republican, and, though very compatible with a despotic empire, incompatible with a constitutional and limited monarchy. This Buonaparte knew.

Another Coronation Committee yesterday, and, I am happy [188] to say, the last, for this business is the greatest of all bores. There is a furious squabble between the Grand Chamberlain and the Earl Marshal (who is absent and has squabbled by deputy) about the box of the former in Westminster Abbey. At the last coronation King George IV. gave Lord Gwydir his box in addition to his own, and now Lord Cholmondeley claims a similar box.[6] This is resisted. The present King disposes of his own box (and will probably fill it with every sort of canaille); the Lords won’t interfere, and the Grand Chamberlain protests, and says he has been shamefully used, and there the matter stands. The Grand Chamberlain is in the wrong.

[6] [Lord Gwydir and Lord Cholmondeley filled the office of Lord High Chamberlain for alternative lives as the representatives of the joint claimants of the office.]

September 3rd, 1831

On Wednesday a Council was held. Very few of the Ministers stay for the Councils; small blame to them, as the Irish say, for we are kept about three times as long by this regular, punctual King as by the capricious, irregular Monarch who last ruled over us. This King is a queer fellow. Our Council was principally for a new Great Seal and to deface the old Seal. The Chancellor claims the old one as his perquisite. I had forgotten the hammer, so the King said, ‘My Lord, the best thing I can do is to give you the Seal, and tell you to take it and do what you please with it.’ The Chancellor said, ‘Sir, I believe there is some doubt whether Lord Lyndhurst ought not to have half of it, as he was Chancellor at the time of your Majesty’s accession.’ ‘Well,’ said the King, ‘then I will judge between you like Solomon; here (turning the Seal round and round), now do you cry heads or tails?’ We all laughed, and the Chancellor said, ‘Sir, I take the bottom part.’ The King opened the two compartments of the Seal and said, ‘Now, then, I employ you as ministers of taste. You will send for Bridge, my silversmith, and desire him to convert the two halves each into a salver, with my arms on one side and yours on the other, and Lord Lyndhurst’s the same, and you will take one and give him the other, and both keep them as presents from me.’ The Duchess of Kent [189] ANECDOTES OF GEORGE IV. will not attend the coronation, and there is a report that the King is unwilling to make all the Peers that are required; this is the current talk of the day.

September 5th, 1831

At Gorhambury since Saturday; the Harrowbys, Bathursts, Frankland Lewes’s, Lady Jersey, Mahon, Lushington, Wortleys; rather agreeable and lively; all anti-Reformers, so no quarrelling about that, though Lord Harrowby is ready to squabble with anybody either way, but furiously against the Bill.

September 8th, 1831

Dined with the Duke of Wellington yesterday; thirty-one people, very handsome, and the Styrian Minstrels playing and singing all dinner time, a thing I never saw before. I sat next to Esterhazy and talked to him (a very little) about Belgian affairs. He said Talleyrand had given positive assurances that the French troops should be withdrawn whenever the Dutch retired, that the other Powers were aware of Périer’s difficulties, and were ready to concede much to keep him in power, but that if he had not sufficient influence to repress the violent war faction there was no use in endeavouring to support him. Our Government had behaved very well and had been very strong in their remonstrances.

After dinner I had much talk with the Duke, who told me a good deal about the late King and the Duchess of Kent; talked of his extravagance and love of spending, provided that it was not his own money that he spent; he told an old story he had heard of Mrs. Fitzherbert’s being obliged to borrow money for his post-horses to take him to Newmarket, that not a guinea was forthcoming to make stakes for some match, and when on George Leigh’s[7] entreaty he allowed some box to be searched that 3,000ℓ. was found in it. He always had money. When he died they found 10,000ℓ. in his boxes, and money scattered about everywhere, a great deal of gold. There were about 500 pocket-books, of different dates, and in every one money—guineas, one pound notes, one, two, or three in each. There never was anything like the [190] quantity of trinkets and trash that they found. He had never given away or parted with anything. There was a prodigious quantity of hair—women’s hair—of all colours and lengths, some locks with the powder and pomatum still sticking to them, heaps of women’s gloves, gages d’amour which he had got at balls, and with the perspiration still marked on the fingers, notes and letters in abundance, but not much that was of any political consequence, and the whole was destroyed. Of his will he said that it was made in 1823 by Lord Eldon, very well drawn, that he desired his executors might take all he had to pay his debts and such legacies as he might bequeath in any codicils he should make. He made no codicils and left no debts, so the King got all as heir-at-law. Knighton had managed his affairs very well, and got him out of debt. A good deal of money was disbursed in charity, a good deal through the medium of two or three old women. The Duke, talking of his love of ordering and expense, said that when he was to ride at the last coronation the King said, ‘You must have a very fine saddle.’ ‘What sort of saddle does your Majesty wish me to have?’ ‘Send Cuffe to me.’ Accordingly Cuffe went to him, and the Duke had to pay some hundreds for his saddle. (While I am writing the King and Queen with their cortége are passing down to Westminster Abbey to the coronation, a grand procession, a fine day, an immense crowd, and great acclamations.)

[7] [Colonel George Leigh, who managed his race-horses; he was married to Lord Byron’s half-sister.]

We then talked of the Duchess of Kent, and I asked him why she set herself in such opposition to the Court. He said that Sir John Conroy was her adviser, that he was sure of it. What he then told me throws some light upon her ill-humour and displays her wrong-headedness. In the first place the late King disliked her; the Duke of Cumberland too was her enemy, and George IV., who was as great a despot as ever lived, was always talking of taking her child from her, which he inevitably would have done but for the Duke, who, wishing to prevent quarrels, did all in his power to deter the King, not by opposing him when he talked of it, which he often did, but by putting the thing off as well [191] THE DUCHESS OF KENT. as he could. However, when the Duchess of Cumberland came over, and there was a question how the Royal Family would receive her, he thought he might reconcile the Cumberlands to the Duchess of Kent by engaging her to be civil to the Duchess of Cumberland, so he desired Leopold to advise his sister (who was in the country) from him very strongly to write to the Duchess of Cumberland and express her regret at being absent on her arrival, and so prevented from calling on her. The Duchess sent Leopold back to the Duke to ask why he gave her this advice? The Duke replied that he should not say why, that he knew more of what was going on than she possibly could, that he gave her this advice for her own benefit, and again repeated that she had better act on it. The Duchess said she was ready to give him credit for the goodness of his counsel, though he would not say what his reasons were, and she did as he suggested. This succeeded, and the Duke of Cumberland ceased to blow the coals. Matters went on quietly till the King died. As soon as he was dead the Duchess of Kent wrote to the Duke, and desired that she might be treated as a Dowager Princess of Wales, with a suitable income for herself and her daughter, who she also desired might be treated as Heiress Apparent, and that she should have the sole control over the allowance to be made for both. The Duke replied that her proposition was altogether inadmissible, and that he could not possibly think of proposing anything for her till the matters regarding the King’s Civil List were settled, but that she might rely upon it that no measure which affected her in any way should be considered without being imparted to her and the fullest information given her. At this it appears she took great offence, for she did not speak to him for a long time after.

When the Regency Bill was framed the Duke desired the King’s leave to wait upon the Duchess of Kent and show it to her, to which his Majesty assented, and accordingly he wrote to her to say he would call upon her the next day with the draft of the Bill. She was at Claremont, and sent word that she was out of town, but desired he would send it to her in [192] the country. He said she ought to have sent Sir John Conroy to him, or have desired him to go to her at Claremont, which he would have done, but he wrote her word that he could not explain by letter so fully what he had to say as he could have done in a personal interview, but he would do so as well as he could. In the meantime, Lord Lyndhurst brought on the measure in the House of Lords, and she sent Conroy up to hear him. He returned to Claremont just after the Duchess had received the Duke’s letter. Since that he has dined with her.

[I must say the King is punctual; the cannon are now firing to announce his arrival at the Abbey, and my clock is at the same moment striking eleven; at eleven it was announced that he would be there.]

His Majesty, I hear, was in great ill-humour at the levee yesterday; contrary to his usual custom he sent for nobody, and gave no audiences, but at ten minutes after one flounced into the levee room; not one Minister was come but the Duke of Richmond. Talleyrand and Esterhazy alone of the Corps Diplomatique were in the next room. He attacked the officer of the Guards for not having his cap on his head, and sent for the officer on guard, who was not arrived, at which he expressed great ire. It is supposed that the peerages have put him out of temper. His Majesty did a very strange thing about them. Though their patents are not made out, and the new Peers are no more Peers than I am, he desired them to appear as such in Westminster Abbey and do homage. Colonel Berkeley asked me what he should do, and said what the King had desired of him. I told him he should do no such thing, and he said he would go to the Chancellor and ask him. I don’t know how it ended. Howe told me yesterday morning in Westminster Abbey that Lord Cleveland is to be a duke, though it is not yet acknowledged if it be so. There has been a battle about that; they say that he got his boroughs to be made a marquis, and got rid of them to be made a duke.[8]

[8] [The Earl of Darlington had been made Marquis of Cleveland in 1827, and was raised to the dukedom in January 1833.]

September 17th, 1831

[193] A DINNER AT ST. JAMES’S. The coronation went off well, and whereas nobody was satisfied before it everybody was after it. No events of consequence. The cholera has got to Berlin, and Warsaw is taken by the Russians, who appear to have behaved with moderation. Since the deposition of Skrznecki, and the reign of clubs and mobs and the perpetration of massacres at Warsaw, the public sympathy for the Poles has a good deal fallen off. The cholera, which is travelling south, is less violent than it was in the north. It is remarkable that the common people at Berlin are impressed with the same strange belief that possessed those of St. Petersburg that they have been poisoned, and Chad writes to-day that they believe there is no such disease, and that the deaths ascribed to that malady are produced by poison administered by the doctors, who are bribed for that purpose; that the rich finding the poor becoming too numerous to be conveniently governed have adopted this mode of thinning the population, which was employed with success by the English in India; that the foreign doctors are the delegates of a central committee, which is formed in London and directs the proceedings, and similar nonsense.

The talk of the town has been about the King and a toast he gave at a great dinner at St. James’s the other day. He had ninety guests—all his Ministers, all the great people, and all the foreign Ambassadors. After dinner he made a long, rambling speech in French, and ended by giving as ‘a sentiment,’ as he called it, ‘The land we live in.’ This was before the ladies left the room. After they were gone he made another speech in French, in the course of which he travelled over every variety of topic that suggested itself to his excursive mind, and ended with a very coarse toast and the words ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense.’ Sefton, who told it me said he never felt so ashamed; Lord Grey was ready to sink into the earth; everybody laughed of course, and Sefton, who sat next to Talleyrand, said to him, ‘Eh bien, que pensez-vous de cela?’ With his unmoved, immovable face he answered only, ‘C’est bien remarquable.’

In the meantime Reform, which has subsided into a calm for some time past, is approaching its termination in the [194] House of Commons, and as it gets near the period of a fresh campaign, and a more arduous though a shorter one, agitation is a little reviving. The ‘Times’ and other violent newspapers are moving heaven and earth to stir up the country and intimidate the Peers, many of whom are frightened enough already. The general opinion at present is that the Peers created at the coronation will not be enough to carry the Bill (they are a set of horrid rubbish most of them), but that no more will be made at present; that the Opposition, if united, will be strong enough to throw out the Bill, but that they are so divided in opinion whether to oppose the Bill on the second reading or in Committee that this dissension will very likely enable it to pass. Up to this time there has been no meeting, and nothing has been agreed upon, but there would have been one convened by the Duke of Wellington but for Lady Mornington’s death, and this week they will arrange their plan of operations. From what Sefton says (who knows and thinks only as Brougham and Grey direct him) I conclude that the Government are resolved the Bill shall pass, that if it is thrown out they will do what the Tories recommended, and make as many Peers as may be sufficient, for he said the other day he would rather it was thrown out on the second reading than pass by a small majority. With this resolution (which after having gone so far is not unwise) and the feeling out of doors, pass it must, and so sure are Government of it that they have begun to divide the counties, and have set up an office with clerks, maps, &c., in the Council Office, and there the Committee sit every day.

Stoke, September 18th, 1831

I came here yesterday with the Chancellor, Creevey, Luttrell, my father and mother, Esterhazy, Neumann. Brougham was tired, never spoke, and went to bed early. This morning I got a letter from the Lord President enclosing an order from the King for a copy of the proceedings in Council on the marriage of the Duke of Sussex and Lady Augusta Murray. The Chancellor told me that the young man Sir Augustus d’Este had behaved very ill, having filed a bill in Chancery, into which he had put all [195] STATE OF FRANCE. his father’s love letters, written thirty years ago, to perpetuate evidence; that it was all done without the Duke of Sussex’s consent, but that D’Este had got Lushington’s opinion that the marriage was valid on the ground that the Marriage Act only applied to marriages contracted here, whereas this was contracted at Rome. He said Lushington was a great authority, but that he had no doubt he was wrong. The King is exceedingly annoyed at it.

September 19th, 1831

Came to town. Talleyrand, Madame de Dino, and Alava came to Stoke yesterday. Talleyrand had a circle, but the Chancellor talked too much, and they rather spoilt one another. He said one neat thing. They were talking of Madame d’Abrantès’s ‘Memoirs,’ and of her mother, Madame Pernon. My father said, ‘M. de Marbœuf était un peu l’amant de Madame Pernon, n’est-ce pas?’ He said, ‘Oui, mais je ne sais pas dans quelles proportions.’

September 20th, 1831

News arrived of great riots at Paris, on account of the Polish business and the fall of Warsaw. Madame de Dino (who, by-the-bye, Talleyrand says is the cleverest man or woman he ever knew) said last night that she despaired of the state of things in France, that this was no mere popular tumult, but part of an organised system of disaffection, and that the Carlists had joined the ultra-Republicans, that the National Guard was not to be depended upon, that ‘leur esprit était fatigué.’ Talleyrand himself was very low, and has got no intelligence from his Government. This morning I met Lord Grey, and walked with him. I told him what Madame de Dino had said. He said he knew it all, and how bad things were, and that they would be much worse if the Reform Bill was thrown out here. I asked him how they would be affected by that. He said that a change of Ministry here would have a very bad effect there, from which it may be inferred that if beaten they mean to resign. He said the French Ministry had been very imprudent about Poland. I said, ‘How? for what could they have done? They could only get at Poland through Prussia.’ He said they might have sent a fleet to the Baltic with our concurrence, though we could not urge [196] them to do so. I asked him what he thought would be the result of the dissolution of Périer’s Government; I said that there appeared to me two alternatives, a general bouleversement or the war faction in power under the existing system. He replied he did not think there would now be a bouleversement, but a Ministry of Lafayette, Lamarque, and all that party who were impatient to plunge France into war. I said I did not think France could look to a successful war, for the old alliance would be re-formed against her. He rejoined that Russia was powerless, crippled by this contest, and under the necessity of maintaining a great army in Poland; Austria and Prussia were both combustible, half the provinces of the former nearly in a state of insurrection; that the latter had enough to do to preserve quiet, and the French would rouse all the disaffected spirit which existed in both. I said ‘then we were on the eve of that state of things which was predicted by Canning in his famous speech.’ Here we met Ellis, and I left them.

I afterwards saw George Villiers, who told me that he knew from a member of the Cabinet that there had been a division in it on the question of going out if the Reform Bill should be rejected, and that it had been carried by a majority that they should. He told me also a curious thing about Stanley’s Arms Bill: that it had never been imparted to Lord Anglesey, nor to the Cabinet here, and that Lord Grey had been obliged to write an apology to Lord Anglesey, and to tell him he (Lord Grey) had himself seen the Bill for the first time in the newspapers. This he had from Lord C., who is a great friend of Lord Anglesey’s, and who had seen Lord Grey’s letter before he left Ireland; but the story appears to me quite incredible, and is probably untrue.


CHAPTER XVI.

[197] Whig and Tory Meetings on Reform — Resolution to carry the Bill — Holland — Radical Jones — Reform Bill thrown out by the Lords — Dorsetshire Election — Division among the Tories — Bishop Phillpotts — Prospects of Reform — Its Dangers — Riots at Bristol — The Cholera at Sunderland — An Attempt at a Compromise on Reform — Lord Wharncliffe negotiates with the Ministers — Negotiation with Mr. Barnes — Proclamation against the Unions — Barbarism of Sunderland — Disappointment of Lord Wharncliffe — Bristol and Lyons — Commercial Negotiations with France — Poulett Thomson — Lord Wharncliffe’s Proposal to Lord Grey — Disapproved by the Duke of Wellington — Moderation of Lord John Russell — The Appeal of Drax v. Grosvenor — The Second Reform Bill — Violence of Lord Durham — More Body-snatchers — Duke of Richmond and Sir Henry Parnell — Panshanger — Creation of Peers — Division of Opinion — Negotiation to avoid the Creation of Peers — Lord Wharncliffe’s Interview with the King — Opposition of the Duke of Wellington — The Waverers resolve to separate from the Duke.


September 22nd, 1831

The night before last Croker and Macaulay made two fine speeches on Reform; the former spoke for two hours and a half, and in a way he had never done before. Macaulay was very brilliant. There was a meeting at Lord Ebrington’s yesterday, called by him, Lyttelton Lawley, and of members of the House of Commons only, and they (without coming to any resolution) were all agreed to prevail on the Government not to resign in the event of the Reform Bill being rejected in the House of Lords. I have no doubt, therefore, in spite of what Lord Grey said, and the other circumstances I have mentioned above, that they will not resign, and I doubt whether there will be any occasion for it.

There was a dinner at Apsley House yesterday; the Cabinet of Opposition, to discuss matters before having [198] a general meeting. At this dinner there were sixteen or seventeen present, all the leading anti-Reformers of the Peers. They agreed to oppose the second reading. Dudley, who was there, told me it was tragedy first and farce afterwards; for Eldon and Kenyon, who had dined with the Duke of Cumberland, came in after dinner. Chairs were placed for them on each side of the Duke, and after he had explained to them what they had been discussing, and what had been agreed upon, Kenyon made a long speech on the first reading of the Bill, in which it was soon apparent that he was very drunk, for he talked exceeding nonsense, wandered from one topic to another, and repeated the same things over and over again. When he had done Eldon made a speech on the second reading, and appeared to be equally drunk, only, Lord Bathurst told me, Kenyon in his drunkenness talked nonsense, but Eldon sense. Dudley said it was not that they were as drunk as lords and gentlemen sometimes are, but they were drunk like porters. Lyndhurst was not there, though invited. He dined at Holland House. It is pretty clear, however, that he will vote for the second reading, for his wife is determined he shall. I saw her yesterday, and she is full of pique and resentment against the Opposition and the Duke, half real and half pretended, and chatters away about Lyndhurst’s not being their cat’s paw, and that if they choose to abandon him, they must not expect him to sacrifice himself for them. The pretexts she takes are, that they would not go to the House of Lords on Tuesday and support him against Brougham on the Bankruptcy Bill, and that the Duke of Wellington wrote to her and desired her to influence her husband in the matter of Reform. The first is a joke, the second there might be a little in, for vanity is always uppermost, but they have both some motive of interest, which they will pursue in whatever way they best can. The excuse they make is that they want to conceal their strength from the Government, and accordingly the Duke of Wellington has not yet entered any of his proxies. The truth is that I am by no means sure now that it is safe or prudent to oppose the second reading; [199] PROSPECTS OF THE REFORM BILL. and though I think it very doubtful if any practicable alteration will be made in Committee, it will be better to take that chance, and the chance of an accommodation and compromise between the two parties and the two Houses, than to attack it in front. It is clear that Government are resolved to carry the Bill, and equally clear that no means they can adopt would be unpopular. They are averse to making more Peers if they can help it, and would rather go quietly on, without any fresh changes, and I believe they are conscientiously persuaded that this Bill is the least democratical Bill it is possible to get the country to accept, and that if offered in time this one will be accepted. I had heard before that the country is not enamoured of this Bill, but I fear that it is true that they are only indifferent to the Conservative clauses of it (if I may so term them), and for that reason it may be doubtful whether there would not be such a clamour raised in the event of the rejection of this Bill as would compel the Ministers to make a new one, more objectionable than the old. If its passing clearly appears to be inevitable, why, the sooner it is done the better, for at least one immense object will be gained in putting an end to agitation, and restoring the country to good-humour, and it is desirable that the House of Lords should stand as well with the people as it can. It is better, as Burke says, ‘to do early, and from foresight, that which we may be obliged to do from necessity at last.’ I am not more delighted with Reform than I have ever been, but it is the part of prudence to take into consideration the present and the future, and not to harp upon the past. It matters not how the country has been worked up to its present state, if a calm observation convinces us that the spirit that has been raised cannot be allayed, and that is very clear to me.

September 24th, 1831

Peel closed the debate on Thursday night with a very fine speech, the best (one of his opponents told me, and it is no use asking the opinions of friends if a candid opponent is to be found) he had ever made, not only on that subject, but on any other; he cut Macaulay to ribands. Macaulay is very brilliant, but his speeches are [200] harangues and never replies; whereas Peel’s long experience and real talent for debate give him a great advantage in the power of reply, which he very eminently possesses. Macaulay, however, will probably be a very distinguished man. These debates have elicited a vast deal of talent, and have served as touchstones to try real merit and power. As a proof of what practice and a pretty good understanding can do, there is Althorp, who now appears to be an excellent leader, and contrives to speak decently upon all subjects, quite as much as a leader need do; for I have always thought that it should not be his business to furnish rhetoric and flowers of eloquence, but good-humour, judgment, firmness, discretion, business-like talents, and gentlemanlike virtues.

Dined at Richmond on Friday with the Lyndhursts; the mari talks against the Bill, the women for it. They are like the old divisions of families in the Civil Wars.

My brother-in-law and sister are just returned from a tour of three weeks in Holland; curious spectacle, considering the state of the rest of Europe, nothing but loyalty and enthusiasm, adoration of the Orange family; 2,000,000 of people, and an army of 110,000 men; everybody satisfied with the Government, and no desire for Reform.

Paris, on the point of exploding, is again tranquil, but nobody can tell for how long. They bet two to one here that the Reform Bill is thrown out on the second reading; and what then? The meeting at Ebrington’s was flat, nothing agreed on. Hume wanted to pass some violent resolution, but was overruled. Milton made a foolish speech, with prospective menaces and present nothingness in it, and they separated without having done good or harm.

Newmarket, October 1st, 1831

Came here last night, to my great joy, to get holidays, and leave Reform and cholera and politics for racing and its amusements. Just before I came away I met Lord Wharncliffe, and asked him about his interview with Radical Jones. This blackguard considers himself a sort of chief of a faction, and one of the heads of the sans-culottins of the present day. He wrote to Lord Wharncliffe and said he wished to confer with him, that if he would grant him an [201] PROSPECTS OF THE REFORM BILL. interview he might bring any person he pleased to witness what passed between them. Lord Wharncliffe replied that he would call on him, and should be satisfied to have no witness. Accordingly he did so, when the other in very civil terms told him that he wished to try and impress upon his mind (as he was one of the heads of anti-Reform in the House of Lords) how dangerous it would be to reject this Bill, that all sorts of excesses would follow its rejection, that their persons and properties would be perilled, and resistance would be unavailing, for that they (the Reformers) were resolved to carry their point. Lord Wharncliffe asked whether if this was conceded they would be satisfied. Jones replied, ‘Certainly not;’ that they must go a great deal further, that an hereditary peerage was not to be defended on any reasonable theory. Still, he was not for doing away with it, that he wished the changes that were inevitable to take place quietly, and without violence or confusion. After some more discourse in this strain they separated, but very civilly, and without any intemperance of expression on the part of the Reformer.

On Monday the battle begins in the House of Lords, and up to this time nobody knows how it will go, each party being confident, but opinion generally in favour of the Bill being thrown out. There is nothing more curious in this question than the fact that it is almost impossible to find anybody who is satisfied with the part he himself takes upon it, and that it is generally looked upon as a choice of evils, in which the only thing to do is to choose the least. The Reformers say, You had better pass the Bill or you will have a worse. The moderate anti-Reformers would be glad to suffer the second reading to pass and alter it in Committee, but they do not dare do so, because the sulky, stupid, obstinate High Tories declare that they will throw the whole thing up, and not attempt to alter the Bill if it passes the second reading. Every man seems tossed about by opposite considerations and the necessity of accommodating his own conduct to the caprices, passions, and follies of others.

Riddlesworth, October 10th, 1831

At Newmarket all last week; [202] all the Peers absent; here since Friday. Yesterday morning the newspapers (all in black[1]) announced the defeat of the Reform Bill by a majority of forty-one, at seven o’clock on Saturday morning, after five nights’ debating. By all accounts the debate was a magnificent display, and incomparably superior to that in the House of Commons, but the reports convey no idea of it. The great speakers on either side were:—Lords Grey, Lansdowne, Goderich, Plunket, and the Chancellor, for the Bill; against it, Lords Wharncliffe (who moved the amendment), Harrowby, Carnarvon, Dudley, Wynford, and Lyndhurst. The Duke of Wellington’s speech was exceedingly bad; he is in fact, and has proved it in repeated instances, unequal to argue a great constitutional question. He has neither the command of language, the power of reasoning, nor the knowledge requisite for such an effort. Lord Harrowby’s speech was amazingly fine, and delivered with great effect; and the last night the Chancellor is said to have surpassed all his former exploits, Lyndhurst to have been nearly as good, and Lord Grey very great in reply. There was no excitement in London the following day, and nothing particular happened but the Chancellor being drawn from Downing Street to Berkeley Square in his carriage by a very poor mob. The majority was much greater than anybody expected, and it is to be hoped may be productive of good by showing the necessity of a compromise; for no Minister can make sixty Peers, which Lord Grey must do to carry this Bill; it would be to create another House of Lords. Nobody knows what the Ministers would do, but it was thought they would not resign. A meeting of members of the House of Commons was held under the auspices of Ebrington to agree upon a resolution of confidence in the Government this day. The majority and the magnificent display of eloquence and ability in the House of Lords must exalt the character and dignity of that House, and I hope increase its efficacy for good purposes and for resistance to this Bill. It may be hoped, too, that the apathy of the capital may have some [203] DORSETSHIRE ELECTION. effect in the country, though the unions, which are so well disciplined and under the control of their orators, will make a stir. On the whole I rejoice at this result, though I had taken fright before, and thought it better the Bill should be read a second time than be thrown out by a very small majority.

[1] [Not all of them; neither the ‘Times’ nor the ‘Morning Herald.’]

While the debates have been going on there have been two elections, one of the Lord Mayor in the City, which the Reformers have carried after a sharp contest, and the contest for Dorsetshire between Ponsonby and Ashley, which is not yet over. Ponsonby had a week’s start of his opponent, notwithstanding which it is so severe that they have been for some days within ten or fifteen of each other, and (what is remarkable) the anti-Reformer is the popular candidate, and has got all the mob with him. This certainly is indicative of some change, though not of a reaction, in public opinion. There is no longer the same vehemence of desire for this Bill, and I doubt whether all the efforts of the press will be able to stimulate the people again to the same pitch of excitement.

Buckenham, October 11th, 1831

Came here yesterday; nobody of note, not lively, letters every day with an account of what is passing. The Radical press is moving heaven and earth to produce excitement, but without much effect. There was something of a mob which marched about the parks, but no mischief done. Londonderry and some others were hooted near the House of Lords. Never was a party so crestfallen as I hear they are; they had not a notion of such a division. There seems to be a very general desire to bring about a fair compromise, and to have a Bill introduced next session which may be so framed as to secure the concurrence of the majority of both Houses. The finest speeches by all accounts were Harrowby’s, Lyndhurst’s, and Grey’s reply; but Henry de Ros, who is a very good judge, writes me word that Lyndhurst’s was the most to his taste.

October 12th, 1831

The Reformers appear to have rallied their spirits. Lord Grey went to Windsor, was graciously received by the King, and obtained the dismissal of Lord Howe, which [204] will serve to show the King’s entire good-will to his present Ministers. Ebrington’s resolution of confidence was carried by a great majority in the House of Commons after some violent speeches from Macaulay, Sheil, and O’Connell, and very moderate ones and in a low tone on the other side. Macaulay’s speech was as usual very eloquent, but as inflammatory as possible. Such men as these three can care nothing into what state of confusion the country is thrown, for all they want is a market to which they may bring their talents;[2] but how the Miltons, Tavistocks, Althorps, and all who have a great stake in the country can run the same course is more than I can conceive or comprehend. Party is indeed, as Swift says, ‘the madness of many,’ when carried to its present pitch. In the meantime the Conservative party are as usual committing blunders, which will be fatal to them. Lord Harrowby was to have moved yesterday or the day before, in the House of Lords, a resolution pledging the House to take into consideration early in the next session the acknowledged defects in the representation, with a view to make such ameliorations in it as might be consistent with the Constitution, or something to this effect. This has not been done because the Duke of Wellington objects. He will not concur because he thinks the proposition should come from Government; as if this was a time to stand upon such punctilios, and that it was not of paramount importance to show the country that the Peers are not obstinately bent upon opposing all Reform. I had hoped that he had profited by experience, and that at least his past errors in politics might have taught him a little modesty, and that he would not have thwarted measures which were proposed by the wisest and most disinterested of his own party. I can conceive no greater misfortune at this moment than such a disunion of that party, and to have its deliberations ruled by the obstinacy and prejudices of the Duke. He is a great man in little things, but a little man in great matters—I mean in civil affairs; in those mighty questions which [205] LORD GREY AND BISHOP PHILLPOTTS. embrace enormous and various interests and considerations, and to comprehend which great knowledge of human nature, great sagacity, coolness, and impartiality are required, he is not fit to govern and direct. His mind has not been sufficiently disciplined, nor saturated with knowledge and matured by reflection and communication with other minds, to enable him to be a safe and efficient leader in such times as these.

[2] This was very unjust to Macaulay, and not true as to Sheil; to O’Connell alone applicable.

[In reading over these remarks upon the Duke of Wellington, and comparing them with the opinions I now entertain of his present conduct, and of the nature and quality of his mind, I am compelled to ask myself whether I did not then do him injustice. On the whole I think not. He is not, nor ever was, a little man in anything, great or small; but I am satisfied that he has made great political blunders, though with the best and most patriotic intentions, and that his conduct throughout the Reform contest was one of the greatest and most unfortunate of them.—July 1838.]

October 14th, 1831

The town continues quite quiet; the country nearly so. The press strain every nerve to produce excitement, and the ‘Times’ has begun an assault on the bishops, whom it has marked out for vengeance and defamation for having voted against the Bill. Althorp and Lord John Russell have written grateful letters to Attwood as Chairman of the Birmingham Union, thus indirectly acknowledging that puissant body. There was a desperate strife in the House of Lords between Phillpotts and Lord Grey, in which the former got a most tremendous dressing. Times must be mightily changed when my sympathies go with this bishop, and even now, though full of disgust with the other faction, I have a pleasure in seeing him trounced. The shade of Canning may rejoice at the sight of Grey smiting Phillpotts. Even on such a question Phillpotts was essentially in the right; but he lost his temper, floundered, and got punished. It was most indecent and disgusting to hear Brougham from the Woolsack, in a strain of the bitterest irony and sarcasm, but so broad as to be without the semblance of disguise, attack the bench of bishops. I am of [206] opinion that it would have been far better never to have let them back into the House of Lords, but now that they are there I would not thrust them out, especially at this moment. Lord Grey in this debate gave no handle certainly, for he interposed in their favour, and rebuked Lord Suffield, who attacked them first, and told him he was out of order, and then Phillpotts very foolishly attacked him.

October 15th, 1831

A furious attack in the House of Commons upon Althorp’s and John Russell’s letters to Attwood by Hardinge and Vyvyan. Peel not there, having hopped off to Staffordshire, to the great disgust of his party, whom he never scruples to leave in the lurch. They made wretched excuses for these letters, and could only have recourse to the pretence of indignation at being thought capable of fomenting disorders, which is all very well; but they do foment discord and discontent by every means in their power. With a yelling majority in the House, and a desperate press out of it, they go on in their reckless course without fear or shame. Lord Harrowby made a speech in the House of Lords, and declared his conviction that the time was come for effecting a Reform, and that he would support one to a certain extent, which he specified. In the House he was coolly received, and the ‘Times’ hardly deigned to notice what he said. Parliament is to be up on Thursday next, and will probably not meet till January, when of course the first thing done will be to bring in the Bill again. What, then, is gained? For as Ministers take every opportunity of declaring that they will accept nothing less efficient (as they call it) than the present Bill, no compromise can be looked for. Lord Harrowby is the only man who has said what he will do, and probably he goes further than the bulk of his party would approve of; and yet he is far behind the Ministerial plan. So that there seems little prospect of getting off for less than the old Bill, for the Opposition will hardly venture to stop the next in limine as they did this. I do not see why they should hope to amend the next Bill in Committee any more than the last, and the division which they dreaded the other day is not less likely, and would not [207] DANGERS OF REFORM. be less fatal upon another occasion. If, then, it is to pass at last, it comes back to what I thought before, that it might as well have passed at first as at last, and the excitement consequent on its rejection have been spared, as well as the odium which has accrued to the Peers, which will not be forgotten or laid aside.

The Dorsetshire election promises to end in favour of Ashley, and there will be a contest for Cambridgeshire, which may also end in favour of the anti-Reform candidate. These victories I really believe to be unfortunate, for they are taken (I am arguing as if they were won, though, with regard to the first, it is the same thing by contrast with the last election) by the Tories and anti-Reform champions as undoubted proofs of the reaction of public opinion, and they are thereby encouraged to persevere in opposition under the false notion that this supposed reaction will every day gain ground. I wish it were so with all my soul, but believe it is no such thing, and that although there may be fewer friends to the Bill than there were, particularly among the agriculturists, Reform is not a whit less popular with the mass of the people in the manufacturing districts, throughout the unions, and generally amongst all classes and in all parts of the country. When I see men, and those in very great numbers, of the highest birth, of immense fortunes, of undoubted integrity and acknowledged talents, zealously and conscientiously supporting this measure, I own I am lost in astonishment, and even doubt; for I can’t help asking myself whether it is possible that such men would be the advocates of measures fraught with all the peril we ascribe to these, whether we are not in reality mistaken, and labouring under groundless alarm generated by habitual prejudices and erroneous calculations. But often as this doubt comes across my mind, it is always dispelled by a reference to and comparison of the arguments on both sides, and by the lessons which all that I have ever read and all the conclusions I have been able to draw from the study of history have impressed on my mind. I believe these measures full of danger, but that the manner in which they have been introduced, [208] discussed, defended, and supported is more dangerous still. The total unsettlement of men’s minds, the bringing into contempt all the institutions which have been hitherto venerated, the aggrandisement of the power of the people, the embodying and recognition of popular authority, the use and abuse of the King’s name, the truckling to the press, are things so subversive of government, so prejudicial to order and tranquillity, so encouraging to sedition and disaffection, that I do not see the possibility of the country settling down into that calm and undisturbed state in which it was before this question was mooted, and without which there can be no happiness or security to the community. A thousand mushroom orators and politicians have sprung up all over the country, each big with his own ephemeral importance, and every one of whom fancies himself fit to govern the nation. Amongst them are some men of active and powerful minds, and nothing is less probable than that these spirits of mischief and misrule will be content to subside into their original nothingness, and retire after the victory has been gained into the obscurity from which they emerged.

Newmarket, October 23rd, 1831

Nothing but racing all this week; Parliament has been prorogued and all is quiet. The world seems tired, and requires rest. How soon it will all begin again God knows, but it will not be suffered to sleep long.

London, November 11th, 1831

Nothing written for a long time; I went after the second October meeting to Euston, and from thence to Horsham, returned to Newmarket, was going to Felbrigg, but came to town on Tuesday last (the 8th) on account of the cholera, which has broken out at Sunderland. The country was beginning to slumber after the fatigues of Reform, when it was rattled up by the business of Bristol,[3] which for brutal ferocity and wanton, unprovoked violence may vie with some of the worst scenes of the [209] RIOTS AT BRISTOL. French Revolution, and may act as a damper to our national pride. The spirit which produced these atrocities was generated by Reform, but no pretext was afforded for their actual commission; it was a premature outbreaking of the thirst for plunder, and longing after havoc and destruction, which is the essence of Reform in the mind of the mob. The details are ample, and to be met with everywhere; nothing could exceed the ferocity of the populace, the imbecility of the magistracy, or the good conduct of the troops. More punishment was inflicted by them than has been generally known, and some hundreds were killed or severely wounded by the sabre. One body of dragoons pursued a rabble of colliers into the country, and covered the fields and roads with the bodies of wounded wretches, making a severe example of them. In London there would probably have been a great uproar and riot, but fortunately Melbourne, who was frightened to death at the Bristol affair, gave Lord Hill and Fitzroy Somerset carte blanche, and they made such a provision of military force in addition to the civil power that the malcontents were paralysed. The Bristol business has done some good, inasmuch as it has opened people’s eyes (at least so it is said), but if we are to go on as we do with a mob-ridden Government and a foolish King, who renders himself subservient to all the wickedness and folly of his Ministers, where is the advantage of having people’s eyes open, when seeing they will not perceive, and hearing they will not understand? Nothing was wanting to complete our situation but the addition of physical evil to our moral plague, and that is come in the shape of the cholera, which broke out at Sunderland a few days ago. To meet the exigency Government has formed another Board of Health, but without dissolving the first, though the second is intended to swallow up the first and leave it a mere nullity. Lord Lansdowne, who is President of the Council, an office which for once promises not to be a sinecure, has taken the opportunity to go to Bowood, and having come up (sent for express) on account of the cholera the day it was officially declared really to be that disease, he has trotted back to his house in the country.

[3] [Riots broke out with great violence at Bristol on the 29th of October, the pretext being the entry of Sir Charles Wetherell into that city (of which he was Recorder), who was notorious for his violent opposition to the Reform Bill. Much property was destroyed, and many lives lost.]

November 14th, 1831

[210] For the last two or three days the reports from Sunderland about the cholera have been of a doubtful character. The disease makes so little progress that the doctors begin again to doubt whether it is the Indian cholera, and the merchants, shipowners, and inhabitants, who suffer from the restraints imposed upon an infected place, are loudly complaining of the measures which have been adopted, and strenuously insisting that their town is in a more healthy state than usual, and that the disease is no more than what it always is visited with every year at this season. In the meantime all preparations are going on in London, just as if the disorder was actually on its way to the metropolis. We have a Board at the Council Office, between which and the Board at the College some civilities have passed, and the latter is now ready to yield up its functions to the former, which, however, will not be regularly constituted without much difficulty and many jealousies, all owing to official carelessness and mismanagement. The Board has been diligently employed in drawing up suggestions and instructions to local boards and parochial authorities, and great activity has prevailed here in establishing committees for the purpose of visiting the different districts of the metropolis, and making such arrangements as may be necessary in the event of sickness breaking out. There is no lack of money or labour for this end, and one great good will be accomplished let what will happen, for much of the filth and misery of the town will be brought to light, and the condition of the poorer and more wretched of the inhabitants can hardly fail to be ameliorated. The reports from Sunderland exhibit a state of human misery, and necessarily of moral degradation, such as I hardly ever heard of, and it is no wonder, when a great part of the community is plunged into such a condition (and we may fairly suppose that there is a gradually mounting scale, with every degree of wretchedness up to the wealth and splendour which glitter on the surface of society), that there should be so many who are ripe for any desperate scheme of revolution. At Sunderland they say there are houses with 150 inmates, who are huddled five and six in [211] OVERTURES FOR A COMPROMISE. a bed. They are in the lowest state of poverty. The sick in these receptacles are attended by an apothecary’s boy, who brings them (or I suppose tosses them) medicines without distinction or enquiry.

I saw Lord Wharncliffe last night, just returned from Yorkshire; he gives a bad account of the state of the public mind; he thinks that there is a strong revolutionary spirit abroad; told me that the Duke of Wellington had written to the King a memorial upon the danger of the associations that were on foot.

Roehampton, November 19th, 1831

On Tuesday last I went with the Duke of Richmond to pass a day at Shirley Lodge, a house that has been lent him by Mr. Maberly, and there we had a great deal of conversation about Reform and general politics, in the course of which I was struck by his apparent candour and moderation, and when I told him that nothing would do but a compromise between the parties he acceded to that opinion, and said that he should like to go to Lord Wharncliffe, and talk the matter over with him. This was on Wednesday. Yesterday morning I called on Lord Wharncliffe, and told him what Richmond had said. He was sitting before a heap of papers, and when I told him this he laughed and said that Richmond was behindhand, that matters had gone a great deal further than this, and then proceeded to give me the following account of what had passed. A short time ago Palmerston spoke to his son, John Wortley, and expressed a desire that some compromise could be effected between the Government and the Opposition leaders, which John imparted to Lord Harrowby and his father. The overture was so well received by them that Stanley went to Sandon, Lord Harrowby’s place in Staffordshire, in his way to Ireland, with Lord Grey’s consent, to talk it over with Lord Sandon. After this Lord Wharncliffe went to Sandon, and the two fathers and two sons discussed the matter, and came to a sort of general resolution as to the basis on which they would treat, which they drew up, and which Wharncliffe read to me. It was moderate, temperate, embraced ample concessions, and [212] asserted the necessity of each party refraining from demanding of the other what either was so pledged to as to be unable to concede without dishonour. On Wharncliffe’s return to town he again saw Palmerston, and communicated to him Harrowby’s concurrence in an equitable adjustment of the Reform question, and then suggested that if Government really desired this, it would be better that he (Wharncliffe) should see Lord Grey himself on the subject. Palmerston told Lord Grey, who assented, and gave Wharncliffe a rendezvous at East Sheen on Wednesday last. There they had a long conversation, which by his account was conducted in a very fair and amicable spirit on both sides, and they seem to have come to a good understanding as to the principle on which they should treat. On parting, Grey shook hands with him twice, and told him he had not felt so much relieved for a long time. The next day Lord Grey made a minute of their conversation, which he submitted to the Cabinet; they approved of it, and he sent it to Wharncliffe to peruse, who returned it to Lord Grey. In this state the matter stood yesterday morning, apparently with every prospect of being arranged. Wharncliffe had already spoken to Dudley, Lyndhurst, and De Ros, the only Peers of his party he had seen, and to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who were all delighted at what had passed. He had written to the Duke of Wellington and Peel, and he is busying himself in consulting and communicating with all the Peers and influential Commoners of the party whom he can find in town. The terms are not settled, but the general basis agreed upon seems to be this: the concession of Schedule A, of representatives to the great towns, and a great extension of the county representation on one side; the abandonment, or nearly so, of Schedule B, such an arrangement with regard to the 10ℓ. qualification as shall have the practical effect of a higher rate, and an understanding that the manufacturing interest is not to have a preponderating influence in the county representation; a great deal to be left open to discussion, especially on all the subordinate points.

[213] NEGOTIATION WITH THE WAVERERS. Such is the history of this curious transaction, which affords a triumphant justification of the course which the Opposition adopted; indeed, Palmerston admitted to Wharncliffe that their tactics had been entirely judicious. It is likewise a great homage rendered to character, for Wharncliffe has neither wealth, influence, nor superior abilities, nor even popularity with his own party. He is a spirited, sensible, zealous, honourable, consistent country gentleman; their knowledge of his moderation and integrity induced Ministers to commit themselves to him, and he will thus be in all probability enabled to render an essential service to his country, and be a principal instrument in the settlement of a question the continued agitation of which would have been perilous in the extreme. Besides the prospect of a less objectionable Bill, an immense object is gained in the complete separation of the Ministry from the subversive party, for their old allies the Radicals will never forgive them for this compromise with the anti-Reformers, and they have now no alternative but to unite with those who call themselves the Conservative party against the rebels, republicans, associators, and all the disaffected in the country. After all their declarations and their unbending insolence, to have brought down their pride to these terms, and to the humiliation of making overtures to a party whose voice was only the other day designated by John Russell as ‘the whisper of a faction,’ shows plainly how deeply alarmed they are at the general state of the country, and how the conflagration of Bristol has suddenly illuminated their minds. That incident, the language of the associations, the domiciliary visits to Lord Grey at midnight of Place and his rabble, and the licentiousness of the press, have opened their eyes, and convinced them that if existing institutions are to be preserved at all there is no time to be lost in making such an arrangement as may enable all who have anything to lose to coalesce for their mutual safety and protection. Whatever may be the amount of their concessions, the Radicals will never pardon Lord Grey for negotiating with the Tories at all, and nothing will prevent his being henceforward the [214] object of their suspicion and aversion, and marked out for their vengeance. By what process Althorp and John Russell were induced to concur, and how they are to set about swallowing their own words, I do not guess.

As a proof of the disposition which exists, and the good understanding between Wharncliffe and the Government, he told me that some time ago Ward and Palmer went to him, and said that in the City the majority of men of weight and property were favourable to Reform, but not to the late Bill, and that they were desirous of having a declaration drawn up for signature, expressive of their adherence to Reform, but of their hope that the next measure might be such as would give satisfaction to all parties. Wharncliffe drew this up (there was likewise an acknowledgment of the right of the House of Lords to exercise their privileges as they had done) and gave it to them. It is gone to be signed, having been previously submitted to Grey and Althorp, who approved of it.

November 21st, 1831

Came to town from Roehampton yesterday morning, saw Henry de Ros, who had seen Barnes[4] the evening before, and opened to him the pending negotiation. His rage and fury exceeded all bounds. He swore Brougham and Grey (particularly the former) were the greatest of villains. After a long discussion he agreed to try and persuade his colleagues to adopt a moderate tone, and not to begin at once to jeter feu et flamme. Henry’s object was to persuade him, if possible, that the interest of the paper will be in the long run better consulted by leaning towards the side of order and quiet than by continuing to exasperate and inflame. He seemed to a certain degree moved by this argument, though he is evidently a desperate Radical. Henry went to Melbourne afterwards, who is most anxious for the happy consummation of this affair, but expressed some alarm lest they should be unable to agree upon the details. There is an article in the ‘Times’ this morning of half-menacing import, sulkily and gloomily written, but not ferocious, and [215] PROCLAMATION AGAINST THE UNIONS. leaving it open to them to take what line they think fit. In the afternoon I met Melbourne, who told me they were going to put forth a proclamation against ‘Attwood and the Birmingham fellows,’ which was grateful to my ears.

[4] [Then editor of the ‘Times’ newspaper.]

November 22nd, 1831

The King came to town yesterday for a Council, at which the meeting of Parliament on the 6th of December was settled. The proclamation against the unions (which was not ready, and the King signed a blank) and some orders about cholera were despatched. Lord Grey told me that the union had already determined to dissolve itself.

My satisfaction was yesterday considerably damped by what I heard of the pending negotiation concerning Reform. Agar Ellis at Roehampton talked with great doubt of its being successful, which I attributed to his ignorance of what had passed, but I fear it is from his knowledge that the Government mean, in fact, to give up nothing of importance. George Bentinck came to me in the morning, and told me he had discovered from the Duke of Richmond that the concessions were not only to be all one way, but that the altered Bill would be, in fact, more objectionable than the last, inasmuch as it is more democratic in its tendency, so much so that Richmond is exceedingly dissatisfied himself, for he has always been the advocate of the aristocratic interest in the Cabinet, and has battled to make the Bill less adverse to it. Now he says he can contend no longer, for he is met by the unanswerable argument that their opponents are ready to concede more. I own I was alarmed, and my mind misgave me when I heard of the extreme satisfaction of Althorp and Co.; and I always dreaded that Wharncliffe, however honest and well-meaning, had not calibre enough to conduct such a negotiation, and might be misled by his vanity. He bustles about the town, chatting away to all the people he meets, and I fear is both ignorant himself of what he is about and involuntarily deceiving others too; he is in a fool’s paradise. I spoke to Henry de Ros about this last night, who seemed by no means aware of it, and it is difficult to believe that Lyndhurst and Harrowby should not be perfectly alive to all the consequences of Wharncliffe’s proceedings, or that they [216] would sanction them if they had really the tendency that George Bentinck gives me to understand.

The cholera, which is going on (but without greatly extending itself) at Sunderland, has excited an unusual alarm, but it is now beginning to subside. People seeing that it does not appear elsewhere take courage, but the preparations are not relaxed, and they are constantly enforced by the Central Board of Health (as it is called), which is established at the Council Office, and labours very assiduously in the cause. Undoubtedly a great deal of good will be done in the way of purification. As to the disorder, if it had not the name of cholera nobody would be alarmed, for many an epidemic has prevailed at different times far more fatal than this. On Friday last we despatched Dr. Barry down to Sunderland with very ample powers, and to procure information, which it is very difficult to get. Nothing can be more disgraceful than the state of that town, exhibiting a lamentable proof of the practical inutility of that diffusion of knowledge and education which we boast of, and which we fancy renders us so morally and intellectually superior to the rest of the world. When Dr. Russell was in Russia, he was disgusted with the violence and prejudices he found there on the part of both medical men and the people, and he says he finds just as much here. The conduct of the people of Sunderland on this occasion is more suitable to the barbarism of the interior of Africa than to a town in a civilised country. The medical men and the higher classes are split into parties, quarrelling about the nature of the disease, and perverting and concealing facts which militate against their respective theories. The people are taught to believe that there is really no cholera at all, and that those who say so intend to plunder and murder them. The consequence is prodigious irritation and excitement, an invincible repugnance on the part of the lower orders to avail themselves of any of the preparations which are made for curing them, and a proneness to believe any reports, however monstrous and exaggerated. In a very curious letter which was received yesterday from Dr. Daur, he says (after complaining of the [217] DISAPPOINTMENT. medical men, who would send him no returns of the cases of sickness) it was believed that bodies had been dissected before the life was out of them, and one woman, was said to have been cut up while she was begging to be spared. The consequence of this is that we have put forward a strong order to compel medical men to give information, and another for the compulsory removal of nuisances. It is, however, rather amusing that everybody who has got in their vicinity anything disagreeable, or that they would like to be rid of, thinks that now is their time, and the table of the Board of Health is covered with applications of this nature, from every variety of person and of place.

November 23rd, 1831

Dr. Barry’s first letter from Sunderland came yesterday, in which he declares the identity of the disease with the cholera he had seen in Russia. He describes some cases he had visited, exhibiting scenes of misery and poverty far exceeding what one could have believed it possible to find in this country; but we who float on the surface of society know but little of the privations and sufferings which pervade the mass. I wrote to the Bishop of Durham, to the chief magistrates, and sent down 200ℓ. to Colonel Creagh (which Althorp immediately advanced) to relieve the immediate and pressing cases of distress.

Saw George Bentinck in the afternoon, who confirmed my apprehension that Wharncliffe had been cajoled into a negotiation which Government intended should end by getting all they want. Richmond, Grey, and Palmerston were in a minority of three in the Cabinet for putting off the meeting of Parliament. One of the most Radical of the Cabinet is Goderich. Such a thing it is to be of feeble intellect and character, and yet he is a smart speaker, and an agreeable man. The moderate party are Richmond, who cannot have much weight, Stanley, who is in Ireland, Lansdowne, who is always ‘gone to Bowood,’ Palmerston, and Melbourne. Yet I am led to think that if Wharncliffe had insisted on better conditions, and held out, he would have got them, and that the Cabinet were really disposed to make all the concessions they could without compromising [218] themselves. The meeting in the City yesterday was a total failure. Henry Drummond, who is mad, but very clever, and a Reformer, though for saving the rotten boroughs, spoke against the declaration, some others followed him, and after a couple of hours wasted in vain endeavours to procure unanimity the meeting broke up, and nothing was done. I saw Wharncliffe last night, who was exceedingly disappointed.

November 28th, 1831

The negotiation with Wharncliffe goes on languidly; he wrote to Lord Grey the other day, and suggested some heads as the basis of an accommodation, consisting of some extension of Schedule B, excluding town voters from county voting, and one or two other points; to which Lord Grey replied that some of the things he mentioned might be feasible, but that there would be great difficulty about others, that he feared nothing might come of their communications, as he would not hear of any other Peers who were disposed to go along with him. It is not a bad thing that they should each be impressed with a salutary apprehension, the one that he will have the same difficulties to encounter in the House of Lords, the other that nobody will follow him, for it will render an arrangement more probable than if they both thought they had only to agree together, and that the rest must follow as a matter of course. The Duke of Wellington has written again to Wharncliffe, declining altogether to be a party to any negotiation. De Ros told me that he never saw such a letter as Peel’s—so stiff, dry, and reserved, just like the man in whom great talents are so counteracted, and almost made mischievous, by the effects of his cold, selfish, calculating character. In the meantime the state of the country is certainly better, the proclamation putting down the unions has been generally obeyed, the press has suspended its fury, and the approach of the meeting of Parliament seems to have calmed the country to a great degree. The event most to be desired is that the Government may carry their Bill quietly through the House of Commons, amendments be carried in the Committee of the House of Lords, and upon these there may be [219] POULETT THOMSON. a compromise, though after all it is impossible not to have a secret misgiving that the alterations which appear desirable may prove to be mischievous, for it is the great evil of the measure that being certainly new no human being can guess how it will work, or how its different parts will act upon one another, and what result they will produce.

There seems to be a constant sort of electrical reciprocity of effort between us and France just now. The three days produced much of our political excitement, and our Bristol business has been acted with great similarity of circumstance at Lyons, and is still going on. Talleyrand produced the ‘Moniteur’ last night with the account, lamented that the Duc d’Orléans had been sent with Marshal Soult to Lyons, which he said was unnecessary and absurd, that Soult was the best man for the purpose of putting it down. It was begun by the workpeople, who were very numerous, not political in its objects, but the cries denoted a mixture of everything, as they shouted ‘Henri V., Napoléon II, La République, and Bristol.’ He was at Lady Holland’s, looking very cadaverous, and not very talkative, talked of Madame du Barri, that she had been very handsome, and had some remains of beauty up to the period of her death; of Luckner, who was guillotined, and as the car passed on the people cried (as they used), ‘À la guillotine! à la guillotine!’ Luckner turned round and said, ‘On y va, canaille.’

We have just sent a commission to Paris to treat with the French Government about a commercial treaty on the principles of free trade. Poulett Thomson, who has been at Paris some time, has originated it, and Althorp selected George Villiers for the purpose, but has added to him as a colleague Dr. Bowring, who has in fact been selected by Thomson, a theorist, and a jobber, deeply implicated in the ‘Greek Fire,’ and a Benthamite. He was the subject of a cutting satire of Moore’s, beginning,

The ghost of Miltiades came by night,
And stood by the bed of the Benthamite;

but he has been at Paris some time, understanding the [220] subject, and has wound himself into some intimacy with the French King and his Ministers. It is, however, Poulett Thomson who has persuaded Althorp to appoint him, in order to have a creature of his own there.

I have never been able to understand the enormous unpopularity of this man, who appears civil, well-bred, intelligent, and agreeable (only rather a coxcomb), and has made a certain figure in the House of Commons, but it has been explained to me by a person who knows him well. He was originally a merchant, and had a quantity of counting-house knowledge. He became member of a club of political economists, and a scholar of M‘Culloch’s. In this club there were some obscure but very able men, and by them he got crammed with the principles of commerce and political economy, and from his mercantile connections he got facts. He possessed great industry and sufficient ability to work up the materials he thus acquired into a very plausible exhibition of knowledge upon these subjects, and having opportunities of preparing himself for every particular question, and the advantage of addressing an audience the greater part of which is profoundly ignorant, he passed for a young gentleman of extraordinary ability and profound knowledge, and amongst the greatest of his admirers was Althorp, who, when the Whigs came in, promoted him to his present situation. Since he has been there he has not had the same opportunities of learning his lesson from others behind the curtain, and the envy which always attends success has delighted to pull down his reputation, so that he now appears something like the jackdaw stripped of the peacock’s feathers.

November 30th, 1831

Went to breakfast at the Tower, which I had never seen. Dined with Lady Holland, first time for seven years, finished the quarrel, and the last of that batch; they should not last for ever. In the morning Wharncliffe came to me from Lord Grey’s, with whom he had had a final interview. He showed me the paper he gave Grey containing his proposals, which were nearly to this effect: conceding what the Government required, with these exceptions and [221] WHARNCLIFFE’S PROPOSAL. counter-concessions, an alteration in Schedule B with a view to preserve in many cases the two members; that voters for the great manufacturing towns should have votes for the counties; that London districts should not have so many representatives; that when the franchise was given to great manufacturing towns, their county should not have more representatives; that corporate rights should be saved, though with an infusion of 10ℓ. voters where required; that Cheltenham and Brighton (particularly) should have no members. These were the principal heads, proposed in a paper of moderate length and civil expression. Grey said the terms were inadmissible, that some parts of his proposal might be feasible, but the points on which Wharncliffe most insisted (London, and town and county voting) he could not agree to. So with many expressions of civility and mutual esteem they parted. He is disappointed, but not dejected, and I tried to persuade him that an arrangement on this basis is not less probable than it was.

The fact is it would have been nearly impossible for Government to introduce a Bill so different from the first as these changes would have made it, as the result of a negotiation. They would have been exposed to great obloquy, and have had innumerable difficulties to encounter, but if the Bill goes into a Committee of the Lords, and the other clauses pass without opposition, the Government may not think themselves obliged to contest these alterations. I think the Government would accept them, and probably they feel that in no other way could they do so. It seems to me that the success of these amendments depends now very much upon the Opposition themselves, upon their firmness, their union, and above all their reasonableness. Saw Talleyrand last night, who said they had better news from Lyons, that there was nothing political in it. News came yesterday morning that the cholera had broken out at Marseilles.

December 3rd, 1831

Wharncliffe showed me his correspondence with the Duke of Wellington on this negotiation. They differed greatly, but amicably enough, though I take it he was not very well pleased with Wharncliffe’s last letter, [222] in which he distinctly told the Duke that his speech on the Address, and declaration against any Reform, was what overthrew his Government. This he never will admit, and, passing over the proximate cause, always refers his fall to (what was certainly the remote cause) the Catholic question—that is, to the breaking up of the Tory party which followed it, and the union of the old Tories with the Whigs and Radicals on purpose to turn him out. In this correspondence Wharncliffe has much the best of it, and I was surprised to find with what tenacity the Duke clings to his cherished prejudices, and how he shuts his eyes to the signs of the times and the real state of the country. With the point at issue he never would grapple. Wharncliffe argued for concession, because they have not the means of resistance, and that they are in fact at the mercy of their opponents. The Duke admitted the force against them, but thought it would be possible to govern the country without Reform ‘if the King was not against them’—an important increment of his conditions; there is no doubt that ‘the King’s name is a tower of strength, which they upon the adverse faction want’—and he continued through all his letters arguing the question on its abstract merits, and repeating the topic that had been over and over again urged, but without reference to the actual state of things and the means of resistance. It seems, however, pretty clear that he will oppose this Bill just as he did the last, and he will probably have a great many followers; but the party is broken up, for Wharncliffe and Harrowby will vote for the second reading; the bishops will generally go with them, and probably a sufficient number of Peers. If Lord Grey can see a reasonable chance of carrying the Bill without making Peers, there can be very little doubt he will put off that resource till the last moment.

December 4th, 1831

Dined with Talleyrand yesterday. He complained to me of Durham’s return, and of ‘sa funeste influence sur Lord Grey:’ that because he had been at Brussels and at Paris, he fancied nobody but himself knew anything of foreign affairs; he praised Palmerston highly. In the evening to Lady Harrowby, who told me John [223] AN APPEAL FROM LORD CHANCELLOR BROUGHAM. Russell had been with her, all moderation and candour, and evidently for the purpose of keeping alive the amicable relations which had been begun by Wharncliffe’s negotiation. When Lady Harrowby said it was over, he replied, ‘For the present,’ said how glad he should be of a compromise, hinted that Sandon might be instrumental, that he might move an amendment in the House of Commons; abused Macaulay’s violent speech—in short, was all mild and doucereux—all which proves that they do wish to compromise if they could manage it conveniently. Lord John Russell told her that there was no going on with Durham, that he never left Lord Grey, tormented his heart out, and made him so ill and irritable that he could not sleep. Durham wanted to be Minister for Foreign Affairs.

December 7th, 1831

Parliament opened yesterday; not a bad speech, though wordy and ill-written. There was an oversight in the Address, which was corrected in both Houses by Peel and Lord Harrowby, but not taken as an amendment. Lord Grey begged it might be inserted in Lord Camperdown’s address, which was done. It was about the King of Holland and the treaty. The Address says that they rejoice at the treaty, whereas there is none at present. Lord Lyttelton made a very foolish speech, and was very well cut up by Lord Harrowby, and Peel spoke well in the other House.

December 8th, 1831

At Court yesterday to swear in Erskine,[5] Brougham’s new Chief Judge in Bankruptcy and Privy Councillor. The Chancellor is in a great rage with me. There is an appeal to the Privy Council from a judgment of his (in which he was wrong), the first appeal of the kind for above a hundred years;[6] I told him it was ready to be heard, and begged to know if he had any wish as to who should be summoned to hear it. He said very tartly, ‘Of course I shall [224] have somebody to hear it with me.’ I said, ‘Do you mean to hear it yourself, then?’ ‘And pray why not? don’t I hear appeals from myself every day in the House of Lords? didn’t you see that I could not hear a case the other day because Lord Lyndhurst was not there? I have a right to hear it. I sit there as a Privy Councillor.’ ‘Oh,’ I said, ‘you have certainly a right if you choose it.’ ‘You may rely upon it I shall do nothing unusual in the Privy Council,’ and then he flounced off in high dudgeon. I told Lord Lansdowne afterwards, who said he should not allow it to be heard by him, and should make a point of summoning all the great law authorities of the Privy Council. This was the case of Drax v. Grosvenor, which excited great interest, in which Brougham tried to play all sorts of tricks to prevent his judgment being reversed, which tricks I managed to defeat, and the judgment was reversed, as is described farther on. I never had the advantage of seeing the Chancellor before in his sulks, though he is by no means unfrequently in them, very particularly so this time last year, when he was revolving in his mind whether he should take the Great Seal, and when he thought he was ill-used, so Auckland told me.

[5] [Right Hon. Thomas Erskine, a son of Lord Chancellor Erskine, Chief Judge in Bankruptcy, and afterwards a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas.]

[6] [It was an Appeal in Lunacy. No other appeals save in Lunacy lie from the Court of Chancery to the King in Council, and these are very rare. Drax v. Grosvenor is reported in Knapp’s ‘Privy Council Reports.’]

The cholera is on the decline at Sunderland, but in the meantime our trade will have been put under such restrictions that the greatest embarrassments are inevitable. Intelligence is already come that the Manchester people have curtailed their orders, and many workmen will be out of work. Yesterday a deputation from Coventry came to Auckland, and desired a categorical answer as to whether Government meant to resume the prohibitory system, because if they would not the glove trade at Coventry would discharge their workmen.

December 11th, 1831

Yesterday Harrowby had an interview with Lord Grey, the result of which I do not know; walked with Stuart (de Rothesay) in the morning, who had seen the Duke of Wellington the day before. I said I was afraid he was very obstinate. He said ‘No, he thought not, but that the Duke fancied Wharncliffe had gone too far.’

[225] THE SECOND REFORM BILL. To-morrow the Reform Bill comes on. Some say that it will be as hotly disputed as ever, and that Peel’s speeches indicate a bitterness undiminished, but this will not happen. It is clear that the general tone and temper of parties is softened, and though a great deal of management and discretion is necessary to accomplish anything like a decent compromise, the majority of both parties are earnestly desirous of bringing the business to an end by any means. What has already taken place between the Government and Wharncliffe and Harrowby has certainly smoothed the way, and removed much of that feeling of asperity which before existed. The press, too, is less violent, the ‘Morning Herald’ openly preaching a compromise, and the ‘Times’ taking that sort of sweep which, if it does not indicate a change, shows a disposition to take such a position as may enable it to adopt any course.

In the evening.—Called on Lord Bathurst in the morning; met him going out, and stopped to talk to him. He knew of the meeting in Downing Street; that Lords Harrowby, Wharncliffe, and Chandos were to meet the Chancellor and Lords Althorp and Grey; that Chandos had gone to Brighton, ostensibly to talk to the King about the West Indies, but had taken the opportunity to throw in something on the topic of Reform; that the King desired him to speak to Palmerston, and allowed him to say that he did so by his orders. (The King, it seems, knows nothing of what is going on, for he reads no newspapers and the Household tell him nothing.) Accordingly Chandos did speak to Palmerston, and the result was a note to him, begging these three would meet the three Ministers above mentioned. Lady Harrowby told me that they went. Brougham did not arrive till the conference was nearly over. There was an abundant interchange of civilities, but nothing concluded, the Ministers declining every proposition that Lord Harrowby made to them, though Lord Grey owned that they did not ask for anything which involved an abandonment of the principle of the Bill. They are, then, not a bit nearer an accommodation than they were before.

[226] George Bentinck told me this evening of a scene which had been related to him by the Duke of Richmond, that lately took place at a Cabinet dinner; it was very soon after Durham’s return from abroad. He was furious at the negotiations and question of compromise. Lord Grey is always the object of his rage and impertinence, because he is the only person whom he dares attack. After dinner he made a violent sortie on Lord Grey (it was at Althorp’s), said he would be eternally disgraced if he suffered any alterations to be made in this Bill, that he was a betrayer of the cause, and, amongst other things, reproached him with having kept him in town on account of this Bill in the summer, ‘and thereby having been the cause of the death of his son.’ Richmond said in his life he never witnessed so painful a scene, or one which excited such disgust and indignation in every member of the Cabinet. Lord Grey was ready to burst into tears, said he would much rather work in the coal-mines than be subject to such attacks, on which the other muttered, ‘and you might do worse,’ or some such words. After this Durham got up and left the room. Lord Grey very soon retired too, when the other Ministers discussed this extraordinary scene, and considered what steps they ought to take. They thought at first that they should require Durham to make a public apology (i.e. before all of them) to Lord Grey for his impertinence, which they deemed due to them as he was their head, and to Althorp as having occurred in his house, but as they thought it was quite certain that Durham would resign the next morning, and that Lord Grey might be pained at another scene, they forbore to exact this. However, Durham did not resign; he absented himself for some days from the Cabinet, at last returned as if nothing had happened, and there he goes on as usual. But they are so thoroughly disgusted, and resolved to oppose him, that his influence is greatly impaired. Still, his power of mischief and annoyance is considerable. Lord Grey succumbs to him, and they say in spite of his behaviour is very much attached to him, though so incessantly worried that his health visibly suffers by his presence. There is nothing in which he does not [227] CONFESSION OF A BODY-SNATCHER. meddle. The Reform Bill he had a principal hand in concocting, and he fancies himself the only man competent to manage our foreign relations. Melbourne, who was present at this scene, said, ‘If I had been Lord Grey, I would have knocked him down.’

December 13th, 1831

Lord John Russell brought on his Bill last night in a very feeble speech. A great change is apparent since the last Bill; the House was less full, and a softened and subdued state of temper and feeling was evinced. Peel made an able and a bitter speech, though perhaps not a very judicious one. There are various alterations in the Bill; enough to prove that it was at least wise to throw out the last. Althorp, who answered Peel, acknowledged that if the old Bill had been opposed in its earliest stage it never could have been brought forward again, or made an avowal to that effect. In fact, Peel is now aware (as everybody else is) of the enormous fault that was committed in not throwing it out at once, before the press had time to operate, and rouse the country to the pitch of madness it did. On what trifles turn the destinies of nations! William Bankes told me last night that Peel owned this to him; said that he had earnestly desired to do so, but had been turned from his purpose by Granville Somerset! And why? Because he (in the expectation of a dissolution) must have voted against him, he said, in order to save his popularity in his own county.

Met Melbourne at Lord Holland’s; they were talking of a reported confession to a great extent of murders, which is said to have been begun and not finished, by the Burkers, or by one of them. Melbourne said it was true, that he began the confession about the murder of a black man to a Dissenting clergyman, but was interrupted by the ordinary. Two of a trade could not agree, and the man of the Established Church preferred that the criminal should die unconfessed, and the public uninformed, rather than the Dissenter should extract the truth. Since writing this I see Hunt put a question to George Lamb on this point, and he replied that he knew nothing of any other confession, which is not true. I have heard, but on no authority, that some surgeons are [228] so disagreeably implicated that they choose to conceal these horrors.

December 14th, 1831

People generally are mightily satisfied at the tone of the discussion the other night, and, what is of vast importance, the press has adopted a moderate and conciliatory tone, even the ‘Times,’ which, is now all for compromise. It is clear as daylight that the Government will consent to anything which leaves untouched the great principles of the Bill, and the country desires to see the question settled, and, if possible, rest from this eternal excitement.

December 20th, 1831

The second reading of the Reform Bill was carried at one o’clock on Saturday night by a majority of two to one, and ended very triumphantly for Ministers, who are proportionately elated, and their opponents equally depressed. Croker had made a very clever speech on Friday, with quotations from Hume, and much reasoning upon them. Hobhouse detected several inaccuracies, and gave his discovery to Stanley, who worked it up in a crushing attack upon Croker. It is by far the best speech Stanley ever made, and so good as to raise him immeasurably in the House. Lord Grey said it placed him at the very top of the House of Commons, without a rival, which perhaps is jumping to rather too hasty a conclusion. He shone the more from Peel’s making a very poor exhibition. He had been so nettled by Macaulay’s sarcasms the night before on his tergiversation, that he went into the whole history of the Catholic question and his conduct on that occasion, which, besides savouring of that egotism with which he is so much and justly reproached, was uncalled for and out of place. The rest of his speech was not so good as usual, and he did not attempt to answer Stanley.


1832

Panshanger, January 1st, 1832

[229] PANSHANGER. Distress seems to increase hereabouts, and crime with it. Methodism and saintship increase too. The people of this house are examples of the religion of the fashionable world, and the charity of natural benevolence, which the world has not spoiled. Lady Cowper and her family go to church, but scandalise the congregation by always arriving half an hour too late. The hour matters not; if it began at nine, or ten, or twelve, or one o’clock, it would be the same thing; they are never ready, and always late, but they go. Lord Cowper never goes at all; but he employs multitudes of labourers, is ready to sanction any and every measure which can contribute to the comfort and happiness of the peasantry. Lady Cowper and her daughters inspect personally the cottages and condition of the poor. They visit, enquire, and give; they distribute flannel, medicines, money, and they talk to and are kind to them, so that the result is a perpetual stream flowing from a real fountain of benevolence, which waters all the country round and gladdens the hearts of the peasantry, and attaches them to those from whom it emanates.

Panshanger, January 6th, 1832

Talleyrand, Dino, Palmerston, Esterhazy, came yesterday and went away to-day—that is, the two first and the Seftons did. There has been another contest in the Cabinet about the Peers, which has ended in a sort of compromise, and five are to be made directly, two new ones and three eldest sons called up. Old Talleyrand came half-dead from the conferences, which have been incessant these few days, owing to the Emperor of Russia’s refusal to ratify the treaty and the differences about the Belgian fortresses. One conference lasted eleven hours and a quarter, and finished at four o’clock in the morning.

Gorhambury, January 7th, 1832

Came here to-day. Berkeley Paget and Lushington; nobody else. Had a conversation with Lady C. before I came away; between Palmerston, Frederick Lamb, and Melbourne she knows everything, and is a furious anti-Reformer. The upshot of the matter is this: [230] the question about the Peers is still under discussion; Lord Grey and the ultra party want to make a dozen, now, the others want only to yield five or six. Lord Grey wrote to Palmerston saying the King had received his proposition (about the Peers) very well, but desired to have his reasons in writing, and to-day at twelve there was to be another Cabinet on the subject, in order probably that the ‘reasons’ might go down by the post. The moderate party in the Cabinet consists of Lansdowne, Richmond, Palmerston, Melbourne, and Stanley. Palmerston and Melbourne, particularly the latter, are now heartily ashamed of the part they have taken about Reform. They detest and abhor the whole thing, and they find themselves unable to cope with the violent party, and consequently implicated in a continued series of measures which they disapprove; and they do not know what to do, whether to stay in and fight this unequal battle or resign. I told her that nothing could justify their conduct, and their excuses were good for nothing; but that there was no use in resigning now. They might still do some good in the Cabinet; they could do none out of it. In fact, Durham and the most violent members of the Cabinet would gladly drive Palmerston and Melbourne to resign if they could keep Stanley, who is alone of importance of that squad; but he is of such weight, from his position in the House of Commons, that if he can be prevailed upon to be staunch, and to hold out with the moderates against the ultras, the former will probably prevail. Durham wants to be Minister for Foreign Affairs, and would plague Lord Grey till he gave him the seals, unless his other colleagues put a veto upon the appointment. But the anxiety of the Reformers to make Peers has not reference to the Reform Bill alone; they undoubtedly look further, and knowing their own weakness in the House of Lords, they want to secure a permanent force, which may make them stronger than their antagonists in that House. Otherwise they would not be so averse to all questions of conciliation, express their disbelief in conversions, and trumpet forth their conviction that any individual of the late majority will vote just the same way again. The earnest [231] EFFORTS OF THE MODERATE PARTY. desire of the moderate party in the Cabinet is that those who will vote for the second reading shall make haste to declare their intention, and I have written to Lady Harrowby to endeavour to get Lord Harrowby to take some such step. I had already written to De Ros, urging him to speak to Wharncliffe, and get him to take an opportunity of giving the King to understand that the necessity for a creation of Peers is by no means so urgent as his Ministers would have him believe.

Panshanger, January 13th, 1832

Returned here yesterday; found Melbourne, Lamb, the Lievens, the Haddingtons, Luttrell, the Ashleys, John Ashley, and Irby. While I was at Gorhambury I determined to write to Wharncliffe and urge him to speak to the King, and accordingly I did so. I received a letter from him saying that De Ros had already spoken to him, that he had had a conversation with Sir Herbert Taylor, which he had desired him to repeat to the King and to Lord Grey, that he had intended to leave the matter there, but in consequence of my letter he should ask for an audience. This morning I have heard again from him. He saw the King, and was with him an hour; put his Majesty in possession of his sentiments, and told him there would be no necessity for creating Peers if the Government would be conciliatory and moderate in the Committee of the House of Commons; he promised to tell me the particulars of this interview when we meet.

Last night Frederick Lamb told me that Lord Grey had sent word to Melbourne of what Wharncliffe had said to Sir Herbert Taylor, and Lord Grey assumed the tenour of Wharncliffe’s language to have been merely an advice to the King not to make Peers, whereas all I suggested to him was to explain to the King that the creation was not necessary for the reasons which have been assigned to his Majesty by his Ministers, viz., the intention of all who voted against the second reading last year to vote against it this. In the meantime the dispute has been going on in the Cabinet, time has been gained, and several incidents have made a sort of cumulative impression. There is a petition to the King, got up by Lord Verulam and [232] Lord Salisbury, which is in fact a moderate Reform manifesto. It has been numerously signed, and Verulam is going to Brighton to present it. I have been labouring to persuade him to make up his mind to vote for the second reading, and to tell the King that such is his intention, which he has promised me he will. When I had obtained this promise from him I wrote word to Lady Cowper, telling her at the same time that Lord Harris (I had heard) would vote for the second reading, and this letter she imparted to Melbourne, who stated the fact in the Cabinet, where it made a considerable impression. All such circumstances serve to supply arms to the moderate party.

This morning Melbourne went up to another Cabinet, armed with another fact with which I supplied him. Lord Craven declared at his own table that if the Government made Peers he would not vote with them, and if he was sent for he should reply that as they could create Peers so easily they might do without him. All such circumstances as these, I find, are considered of great importance, and are made available for the purpose of fighting the battle in the Cabinet. As to Lord Grey, it is exceedingly difficult to understand his real sentiments, and to reconcile his present conduct with the general tenour of his former professions; that he was averse to the adoption of so violent a measure I have no doubt—his pride and aristocratic principles would naturally make him so—but he is easily governed, constantly yielding to violence and intimidation, and it is not unlikely that the pertinacity of those about him, the interests of his party, and the prolongation of his power may induce him to sacrifice his natural feelings and opinions. It is very probable that, although he may have allowed himself to be at the head of those who are for the creation, he may have such misgivings and scruples as may prevent his carrying that point with the high hand and in the summary way which he might do.

January 15th, 1832

This morning Frederick Lamb showed me a letter he had got from Melbourne to this effect: ‘that they had resolved to make no Peers at all at present; that to make a few would be regarded as a menace, and be as bad as [233] WHARNCLIFFE’S INTERVIEW WITH THE KING. if they made a great many; but that as many as would be necessary to carry the Bill would be made, if it was eventually found that it must be so;’ he added ‘it only remained for people to come forward and declare their intention of supporting the second reading.’ This is certainly a great victory, and I do believe mainly attributable to our exertions, to the spirit we have infused into Melbourne himself, and the use we have made of Wharncliffe and Verulam, and the different little circumstances we have brought to bear upon the discussion. What now remains is the most difficult, but I shall do all I can to engage Peers to take a moderate determination and to declare it. Lamb told me that the King has an aversion to making a few Peers, that he has said he would rather make twenty-five than five, that whatever he must make he should like to make at once, and not to have to return to it. Anyhow, time is gained, and a victory for the moment.

London, January 20th, 1832

Came up on Monday last. I have been changing my house, and so occupied that I have not had time to write. Wharncliffe came to town on Wednesday, and came straight to my office to give me an account of his interview with the King, in which it appears as if he had said much about what he ought, and no more. He told his Majesty that the reports which had been circulated as to the disposition and intentions of himself and his friends, and the argument for the necessity of making Peers, which he understood to have been founded on these reports, had compelled him to ask for this audience, that he wished to explain to his Majesty that he (Lord Wharncliffe) had no intention of opposing the second reading of the Reform Bill as he had done before, that he had reason to believe that many others would adopt the same course, and if Ministers showed a moderate and conciliating disposition in the House of Commons, he was persuaded they would have no difficulty in carrying the second reading in the House of Lords. He then implored the King well to consider the consequences of such a coup d’état as this creation of Peers would be; to look at what had happened in France, and to bear in mind that [234] if this was done for one purpose, and by one Government, the necessity would infallibly arise of repeating it again by others, or for other objects. He was with the King an hour dilating upon this theme. The King was extremely kind, heard him with great patience, and paid him many compliments, and when he took leave told him that he was extremely glad to have had this conversation with him. Sir Herbert Taylor gave Lord Wharncliffe to understand that he had made an impression, only impressions on the mind of the King are impressions on sand. However, from Taylor’s cautious hints to him to persevere, it is likely that he did do good. He is himself persuaded that his audience principally produced the delay in the creation of Peers.

In the meantime he was not idle at Brighton. Lord Ailesbury, who saw the King, consulted Wharncliffe, and agreed at last to tell the King that his sentiments were the same as those which Lord Wharncliffe had expressed to him, and Lord Kinnoull and Lord Gage have promised him their proxies.

Yesterday morning he came to me again, very desponding. He had found Harrowby in a state of despair, uncertain what he should do, and looking upon the game as lost, and he had been with the Duke of Wellington, who was impracticably obstinate, declaring that nothing should prevent his opposing a Bill which he believed in his conscience to be pregnant with certain ruin to the country; that he did not care to be a great man (he meant by this expression a man of great wealth and station), and that he could contentedly sink into any station that circumstances might let him down to, but he never would consent to be a party directly or indirectly to such a measure as this, and, feeling as he did, he was resolved to do his utmost to throw it out, without regard to consequences. Wharncliffe said he was quite in despair, for that he knew the Duke’s great influence, and that if he and Harrowby endeavoured to form a party against his views, they had no chance of making one sufficiently strong to cope with him. He spoke with great and rather unusual modesty of himself, and of his inadequacy for [235] THE WAVERERS AND WELLINGTON. this purpose; that Harrowby might do more, and would have greater influence, but that he was so undecided and so without heart and spirit that he would not bestir himself. However, he acknowledged that nothing else was left to be done.

In the evening went to Lady Harrowby’s, where I found him and Lord Haddington. We stayed there till near two, after which Wharncliffe and I walked up and down Berkeley Square. He was in much better spirits, having had a long conversation with these two Lords, both of whom he said were now resolved to sail along with him, and he contemplates a regular and declared separation from the Duke upon this question. In the morning he had seen Lyndhurst, who appeared very undecided, and (Wharncliffe was apprehensive) rather leaning towards the Duke, but I endeavoured to persuade him that Lyndhurst was quite sure to adopt upon consideration the line which appeared most conducive to his own interest and importance, that he had always a hankering after being well with Lord Grey and the Whigs, and I well remembered when the late Government was broken up he had expressed himself in very unmeasured terms about the Duke’s blunders, and the impossibility of his ever again being Prime Minister; that with him consistency, character, and high feelings of honour and patriotism were secondary considerations; that he relied upon his great talents and his capacity to render himself necessary to an Administration; that it was not probable he would like to throw himself (even to please the Duke) into an opposition to the earnest desire which the great mass of the community felt to have the question settled; and that both for him and themselves much of the difficulty of separating themselves from the Duke might be avoided by the manner in which it was done. I entreated him to use towards the Duke every sort of frankness and candour, and to express regret at the necessity of taking a different line, together with an acknowledgment of the purity of the Duke’s motives; and if this is done, and if other people are made to understand that they can separate from the Duke on this occasion without offending or quarrelling [236] with him, or throwing off the allegiance to him as their political leader, many will be inclined to do so; besides, it is of vital importance, if they do get the Bill into Committee, to secure the concurrence of the Duke and his adherents in dealing with the details of it, which can only be effected by keeping him in good humour. On the whole the thing looks as well as such a thing can look.


CHAPTER XVII.

[237] Measures for carrying the Second Reading of the Reform Bill in the House of Lords — The Party of the Waverers — The Russo-Dutch Loan — Resistance of the Tory Peers — Lord Melbourne’s Views on the Government — Macaulay at Holland House — Reluctance of the Government to create Peers — Duke of Wellington intractable — Peel’s Despondency — Lord Grey on the Measures of Conciliation — Lord Wharncliffe sees the King — Prospects of the Waverers — Conversations with Lord Melbourne and Lord Palmerston — Duke of Richmond on the Creation of Peers — Interview of Lord Grey with the Waverers — Minute drawn up — Bethnal Green — The Archbishop of Canterbury vacillates — Violence of Extreme Parties — Princess Lieven’s Journal — Lord Holland for making Peers — Irish National Education — Seizure of Ancona — Reform Bill passes the House of Commons — Lord Dudley’s Madness — Debate in the Lords.


January 24th, 1832

Yesterday morning Frederick Lamb came to me and told me that the question of the Peers was again in agitation, that the King had agreed to make as many as they pleased, and had understood Wharncliffe’s conversation with his Majesty not to have contained any distinct assurance that he would vote for the second reading of the Bill. Our party in the Cabinet still fight the battle, however, and Stanley (on whom all depends) is said to be firm, but circumstances may compel them to give way, and Lord Grey (who is suspected to have in his heart many misgivings as to this measure), when left to Durham and Co., yields everything. Under these circumstances I went to Wharncliffe last night, to persuade him to declare his intentions without loss of time. He owned that he had not pledged himself to the King, and he was frightened to death at the idea of taking this step, lest it should give umbrage to the Tories, and he should find himself without any support at all. We went, however, together [238] to Grosvenor Square, and had a long conference with Harrowby, whom I found equally undecided.

In the meantime the Tories are full of activity and expectation, and Lord Aberdeen is going to bring on a motion about Belgium on Thursday, on which they expect to beat the Government, not comprehending that a greater evil could not occur, or a better excuse be afforded them for an immediate creation; still they have got it into their heads that if they can beat the Government before the Reform Bill comes on they will force them to resign. I found Harrowby and Wharncliffe equally undecided as to the course they should adopt, the former clinging to the hope that the Peerage question was at last suspended, that Lord Grey was compunctious, the King reluctant, and so forth—Wharncliffe afraid of being abandoned by those who are now disposed to consult and act with him, and indisposed to commit himself irretrievably in the House of Lords. After a long discussion I succeeded in persuading them that the danger is imminent, that there is no other chance of avoiding it, and they agreed to hoist their standard, get what followers they can, and declare in the House for the second reading without loss of time. Harrowby said of himself that he was the worst person in the world to conciliate and be civil, which is true enough, but he has a high reputation, and his opinion is of immense value. Until they declare themselves not a step will be made, and if they cannot gain adherents, why the matter is at an end; while if their example be followed, there is still a chance of averting the climax of all evils, the swamping the House of Lords and the permanent establishment of the power of the present Government. Wharncliffe is to go to the Duke of Wellington to-day, to entreat him not to let his party divide on Aberdeen’s motion on Thursday, and Harrowby will go to the Archbishop to invite his adhesion to their party. I am very doubtful what success to augur from this, but it is the only chance, and though the bulk of the Tory Peers are prejudiced, obstinate, and stupid to the last degree, there are scattered amongst them men of more rational views and more moderate dispositions. Sandon [239] PLANS OF CONCILIATION. came in while we were there, and expressed precisely the same opinion that I had been endeavouring to enforce upon them. He said that in the House of Commons, whence he was just come, the Government had refused to give way upon a very reasonable objection, without assigning any reason (the numbers in Schedule B), that this evinced an unconciliatory spirit, which was very distressing to those who wished for a compromise, that Hobhouse came to him after the debate, and said how anxious he was they should come to some understanding, and act in a greater spirit of conciliation, and talked of a meeting of the moderate on either side, that his constituents were eager for a settlement, and by no means averse to concession, but that while Peel, Croker, and others persisted in the tone they had adopted, and in the sort of opposition they were pursuing, it was quite impossible for the Government to give way upon anything, or evince any disposition to make concessions. Sandon said he had no doubt whatever that if Peel had assumed a different tone at the beginning of the session the Government would have been more moderate, and mutual concessions might have been feasible even in the House of Commons. Hobhouse, however, said that the alterations, whatever they might be (and he owned that he should like some), would come with a better grace in the House of Lords, and this is what I have all along thought. O’Connell arrived yesterday, took his seat, and announced his intention of supporting Government at any rate. All the Irish members do the same, and this great body, that everyone expected would display hostility to the Bill, have formed themselves into a phalanx, and will carry it through any difficulties by their compactness and the regularity of their attendance.

January 25th, 1832

We met at Lord Harrowby’s last night—Wharncliffe, Harrowby, Haddington, and Sandon—and I found their minds were quite made up. Wharncliffe is to present a petition from Hull, and to take that opportunity of making his declaration, and the other two are to support him. Wharncliffe saw the Bishop of London in the morning, who is decided the same way, and he asked Lord Devon, [240] who knows the House of Lords very well, if he thought, in the event of their raising the standard of moderate Reform, that they would have adherents, to which he replied he was convinced they would. Lord Harrowby saw the Archbishop, who would not pledge himself, but appeared well disposed; and altogether they think they can count upon nine bishops. Wharncliffe spoke to the Duke of Wellington about Lord Aberdeen’s motion, and represented all the impolicy of it at this moment, and the connection it might have with the Peerage question; to which he only replied by enlarging on ‘the importance of the Belgic question,’ either unable or unwilling to embrace this measure in its complex relations, and never perceiving that the country cares not a straw about Belgium or anything but Reform, though they may begin to care about such things when this question is settled. Haddington also went to Aberdeen, who would hear nothing; but he and the Duke severally promised to speak to one another. The question last night was whether Wharncliffe should say his say directly, or wait (as he wishes to do) for a few days. The decision of this he referred to me, and I have referred it to Melbourne, to whom I have communicated what has passed.

News came yesterday that the cholera had got within three miles of Edinburgh, and to show the fallacy of any theory about it, and the inutility of the prescribed precautions, at one place (Newport, I think) one person in five of the whole population was attacked, though there was no lack of diet, warmth, and clothing for the poor. This disease escapes from all speculation, so partial and eccentric is its character.

January 29th, 1832

There were two divisions on Thursday night last—in the House of Lords on the Belgian question, and in the House of Commons on the Russian Loan. Harrowby, Wharncliffe, and Haddington stayed away; Lyndhurst voted. Only two bishops, Durham and Killaloe. Ministers had a majority of thirty-seven, for Aberdeen and the Duke persisted in bringing on the question and dividing upon it. The former spoke nearly three hours, and far [241] DISCREDIT OF MINISTERS. better than ever he had done before; the Duke was prosy. In the other House the Government had not a shadow of a case; their law officers, Home and Denman, displayed an ignorance and stupidity which were quite ludicrous, and nothing saved them from defeat but a good speech at the end from Palmerston, and their remonstrances to their friends that unless they carried it they must resign. Not a soul defends them, and they are particularly blamed for their folly in not coming to Parliament at once, by which they might have avoided the scrape.[1] They had only a majority of twenty-four. They were equally disgusted with both these divisions, both plainly showing that they have little power (independently of the Reform question) in either House. To be sure the case in the House of Commons was a wretched one, but in the House of Lords there was nothing to justify a vote of censure on Government, to which Aberdeen’s motion was tantamount. But while they had a majority which was respectable enough to make it impossible to propose making Peers on that account, it was so small that they see clearly what they have to expect hereafter from such a House of Lords, and accordingly their adherents have thrown off the mask. Sefton called on me the day after, and said it was ridiculous to go on in this way, that the Tories had had possession of the Government so many years, and the power of making so many Peers, that no Whig or other Ministry could stand without a fresh creation to redress the balance.

[1] [For a more particular account of the question of the Russo-Dutch Loan, see infra [February 4, 1832], p. 244. It has since been universally admitted that the conduct of the Government was wise and honourable, and that the separation of Holland and Belgium did not exonerate Great Britain from a financial engagement to foreign Powers.]

After having, as I supposed, settled everything with Wharncliffe about his declaration, I got a letter from him yesterday (from Brighton), saying he thought it would be premature, and wished to put it off till the first reading of the Bill in the House of Lords. I took his letter to Melbourne, and told him I was all against the delay. He [242] said it was no doubt desirable they should get as many adherents as they can, and if the delay would enable them to do so it might be better, but they must not imagine Government was satisfied with the division in the House of Lords. However, the question of Peers seems not to be under discussion at this moment, though it is perpetually revived. In the evening I went to Harrowby’s and showed him Wharncliffe’s letter. He concurred in the expediency of delay, but without convincing me. He showed me a letter, and a very good one, he has written to Lord Talbot, explaining his views, and inviting his concurrence, and of this he has sent copies to other Peers, whom he thinks it possible he may influence. The question of time and manner is to be reserved for future discussion.

February 2nd, 1832

Met Frederick Lamb at dinner to talk over the state of affairs before he goes to Vienna. What he wishes for is the expulsion of this Government, and the formation of a moderate one taken from all parties. Received another letter from Wharncliffe yesterday, in which he stated that he had communicated to the Duke of Wellington his intention of supporting the second reading, and asked if the Duke would support his amendments in Committee. In the meantime I wrote to Harrowby, begging he would communicate with Lord Carnarvon and the Duke of Buckingham. They keep doubting and fearing about who will or will not join them, but do not stir a step. George Bentinck told me that Lord Holland said to the Duke of Richmond the other day ‘that he had heard a declaration was in agitation; that nothing could be more unfortunate at this moment, as it would make it very difficult to create fifty Peers.’ In the meantime a difficulty is likely to arise from another source, and the Government to derive strength from their very weakness. Robert Clive (who is a moderate Tory) called on me the other day, and when (after expressing his anxiety that the question should be settled) I asked him whether such a declaration would meet with much success, said he thought that it would have done so a fortnight ago, but that the extreme discredit into which Ministers were fallen would now operate as a reason against supporting them in any stage of [243] SIR HENRY PARNELL. the business, and offered so good a chance of expelling them altogether that people would be anxious to try it. Still it must be so obvious that it would be next to impossible to make a Government now, that it is to be hoped all but the most violent will feel it. Herries indeed told somebody that he had no doubt the Tories could make a Government, and that on a dissolution they would get a Parliament that would support them. Parnell[2] has been turned out for not voting on the Russian Loan affair, and Hobhouse appointed in his place. Tennyson resigned from ill health. Parnell was properly enough turned out, and he is a good riddance, but it is not the same thing as turning people out on Reform. He wrote an excellent book on finance, but he was a very bad Secretary at War, a rash economical innovator, and a bad man of business in its details. After waiting till the last moment for the arrival of the Russian ratification, the French and English signed the Belgian treaty alone, and the others are to sign after as their powers arrive.

[2] [Sir Henry Parnell had been appointed Secretary at War on the formation of Lord Grey’s Ministry. He had exasperated his colleagues by entering upon an unauthorised negotiation with the French Post Office, without the knowledge of the Duke of Richmond, then Postmaster-General, and by encouraging Joseph Hume to bring on a motion against the Post Office. Hume brought this letter to the Duke of Richmond, who was indignant and laid the whole matter before Lord Grey, who behaved very well about it. Parnell narrowly escaped dismissal at that time, and on his next sign of disaffection to the Government he was turned out of office.]

February 4th, 1832

Called on Lord Harrowby in the morning; found him in very bad spirits, as well he might, for to all the invitations he had written to Peers he had received either refusals or no reply, so that he augurs ill of their attempt. Carnarvon and Talbot refused; these besotted, predestinated Tories will follow the Duke; the Duke will oppose all Reform because he said he would. Those who are inclined will not avow their conversion to moderate principles, and so they will go on, waiting and staring at one another, till one fine day the Peers will come out in the ‘Gazette.’ The thing looks ill. Dined with Lord Holland. Melbourne, who was there, asked me if I had heard from Wharncliffe, but I did not tell him of Lord Harrowby’s refusals.

[244] Falck dined there, and in conversation about the Russian Loan he told us the original history of it. The Emperor of Russia had borrowed ninety millions of florins, and when his concurrence and support were desired to the new kingdom of the Netherlands he proposed in return that the King of Holland should take this debt off his hands. The King said he would gladly meet his wishes, but could not begin by making himself unpopular with his new subjects and saddling them with this debt. Whereupon England interposed, and an arrangement was made [in 1815] by which Russia, England, and the King of the Netherlands divided the debt into three equal shares, each taking one. With reference to the argument that the countries being divided we ought no longer to pay our share, Falck said the King of the Netherlands had not refused to pay on those grounds, that he had only (with reference to his heavy expenses) expressed his present inability and asked for time, which the Emperor of Russia had agreed to. What he meant was that the kingdoms were not as yet de jure separated, and that the casus had not yet arrived. This, however, is nothing to the purpose, for the King and the Emperor understand one another very well, and it is not likely that the King should do anything to supply us with a motive or a pretext for refusing our quota to his imperial ally. Brougham’s speech on the Russian Loan everybody agrees to have been super-excellent—‘a continued syllogism from the beginning to the end.’ Lord Holland said, and the Duke of Wellington (I am told) declared, it was the best speech he had ever heard.

February 5th, 1832

Met Melbourne yesterday evening, and turned back and walked with him; talked over the state of affairs. He said Government were very much annoyed at their division in the House of Commons, though Brougham had in some measure repaired that disaster in the House of Lords; that it became more difficult to resist making Peers as Government exhibited greater weakness. I told him the Tories were so unmanageable because they wished to drive out the Government, and thought they could. Dined at the Sheriff’s dinner—not unpleasant—and went in the evening [245] MACAULAY AT HOLLAND HOUSE. to Lady Harrowby; Lord Harrowby gone to his brothers’. Melbourne had told me that he had spoken to Haddington, and I found Haddington had given a report of what he said such as I am sure Melbourne did not mean to convey; the upshot of which was that there was only one man in the Cabinet who wished to make Peers, that there was no immediate danger, and that it would do more harm than good if they declared themselves without a good number of adherents. Called this morning on Lady C., who said that Melbourne was in fact very much annoyed at his position, wanted caractère, was wretched at having been led so far, and tossed backwards and forwards between opposite sentiments and feelings; that he thought the Government very weak, and that they would not stand, and in fact that he did not desire they should remain in, but the contrary. And this is Frederick’s opinion too, who has great influence over him, while at the same time he is rather jealous of Frederick.

February 6th, 1832

Dined yesterday with Lord Holland; came very late, and found a vacant place between Sir George Robinson and a common-looking man in black. As soon as I had time to look at my neighbour, I began to speculate (as one usually does) as to who he might be, and as he did not for some time open his lips except to eat, I settled that he was some obscure man of letters or of medicine, perhaps a cholera doctor. In a short time the conversation turned upon early and late education, and Lord Holland said he had always remarked that self-educated men were peculiarly conceited and arrogant, and apt to look down upon the generality of mankind, from their being ignorant of how much other people knew; not having been at public schools, they are uninformed of the course of general education. My neighbour observed that he thought the most remarkable example of self-education was that of Alfieri, who had reached the age of thirty without having acquired any accomplishment save that of driving, and who was so ignorant of his own language that he had to learn it like a child, beginning with elementary books. Lord Holland quoted Julius Cæsar and Scaliger [246] as examples of late education, said that the latter had been wounded, and that he had been married and commenced learning Greek the same day, when my neighbour remarked ‘that he supposed his learning Greek was not an instantaneous act like his marriage.’ This remark, and the manner of it, gave me the notion that he was a dull fellow, for it came out in a way which bordered on the ridiculous, so as to excite something like a sneer. I was a little surprised to hear him continue the thread of conversation (from Scaliger’s wound) and talk of Loyola having been wounded at Pampeluna. I wondered how he happened to know anything about Loyola’s wound. Having thus settled my opinion, I went on eating my dinner, when Auckland, who was sitting opposite to me, addressed my neighbour, ‘Mr. Macaulay, will you drink a glass of wine?’ I thought I should have dropped off my chair. It was Macaulay, the man I had been so long most curious to see and to hear, whose genius, eloquence, astonishing knowledge, and diversified talents have excited my wonder and admiration for such a length of time, and here I had been sitting next to him, hearing him talk, and setting him down for a dull fellow. I felt as if he could have read my thoughts, and the perspiration burst from every pore of my face, and yet it was impossible not to be amused at the idea. It was not till Macaulay stood up that I was aware of all the vulgarity and ungainliness of his appearance; not a ray of intellect beams from his countenance; a lump of more ordinary clay never enclosed a powerful mind and lively imagination. He had a cold and sore throat, the latter of which occasioned a constant contraction of the muscles of the thorax, making him appear as if in momentary danger of a fit. His manner struck me as not pleasing, but it was not assuming, unembarrassed, yet not easy, unpolished, yet not coarse; there was no kind of usurpation of the conversation, no tenacity as to opinion or facts, no assumption of superiority, but the variety and extent of his information were soon apparent, for whatever subject was touched upon he evinced the utmost familiarity with it; quotation, illustration, anecdote, seemed ready in his hands for every topic. Primogeniture [247] RELUCTANCE TO MAKE PEERS. in this country, in others, and particularly in ancient Rome, was the principal topic, I think, but Macaulay was not certain what was the law of Rome, except that when a man died intestate his estate was divided between his children. After dinner Talleyrand, and Madame de Dino came in. He was introduced to Talleyrand, who told him that he meant to go to the House of Commons on Tuesday, and that he hoped he would speak, ‘qu’il avait entendu tous les grands orateurs, et il désirait à présent entendre Monsieur Macaulay.’

February 7th, 1832

Called on Melbourne. He said he had not meant Haddington to understand that it was desirable the declaration should be delayed; on the contrary, that it was desirable Ministers should be informed as speedily as possible of the intentions of our friends and of the force they can command, but that if only a few declared themselves, they would certainly be liable to the suspicion that they could not get adherents; he added that every man in the Government (except one) was aware of the desperate nature of the step they were about to take (that man of course being Durham.) I told him that his communication to Haddington had to a certain degree had the effect of paralysing my exertions, and he owned it was imprudent. I was, however, extremely surprised to hear what he said about the Cabinet, and I asked him if it really was so, and that all the members of it were bonâ fide alarmed at, and averse to, the measure; that I had always believed that, with the exception of those who were intimate with him, they all wanted the pretext in order to establish their power. He said no, they really all were conscious of the violence of the measure, and desirous of avoiding it; that Lord Grey had been so from the beginning, but that Durham was always at him, and made him fall into his violent designs; that it was ‘a reign of terror,’ but that Durham could do with him what he pleased. What a picture of secret degradation and imbecility in the towering and apparently haughty Lord Grey! I told Melbourne that it was important to gain time, that there was an appearance of a thaw among the 199, but that most [248] of them were in the country; communications by letter were difficult and unsatisfactory; that many were averse to breaking up the party or leaving the Duke—in short, from one cause or another doubtful and wavering; that it was not to be expected they should at a moment’s warning take this new line, in opposition to the opinions and conduct of their old leaders, and that when Lord Harrowby was exerting himself indefatigably to bring them to reason, and to render a measure unnecessary which in the opinion of the Cabinet itself was fraught with evil, it was fair and just to give him time to operate. He said this was very true, but that time was likewise required to execute the measure of a creation of Peers, that people must be invited, the patents made out, &c. We then parted. Downstairs was Rothschild the Jew waiting for him, and the valet de chambre sweeping away a bonnet and a shawl.

On my way from Melbourne called on Lord Harrowby, and read a variety of letters—answers from different Peers to his letters, Wharncliffe’s correspondence with the Duke of Wellington, and Peel’s answer to Lord Harrowby. Wharncliffe wrote a long and very conciliatory letter to the Duke, nearly to the effect of Lord Harrowby’s circular, and containing the same arguments, to which the Duke replied by a long letter, written evidently in a very ill humour, and such a galimatias as I never read, angry, ill expressed, and confused, and from which it was difficult to extract anything intelligible but this, ‘that he was aware of the consequences of the course he should adopt himself,’ and wished the House of Lords to adopt, viz., the same as last year, but that be those consequences what they might, the responsibility would not lie on his shoulders, but on those of the Government; he acknowledged that a creation of Peers would swamp the House of Lords, and, by so doing, destroy the Constitution, but the Government would be responsible, not he, for the ruin that would ensue; that he was aware some Reform was necessary (in so far departing from his former declaration of the 30th of November), but he would neither propose anything himself, nor take this measure, nor try and amend it.’ In short, he will do nothing but talk nonsense, despair, and be [249] PEEL’S DESPONDENCY. obstinate, and then he is hampered by declarations (from which he now sees himself that he must dissent), and obliged from causes connected with the Catholic question and the Test and Corporation Acts to attend more to the consistency of his own character than to the exigencies of the country, but with much more personal authority than anybody, and still blindly obeyed and followed by men many of whom take very rational and dispassionate views of the subject, but who still are resolved to sacrifice their own sense to his folly. He really has accomplished being a prophet in his own country, not from the sagacity of his predictions, but from the blind worship of his devotees.

Peel’s letter, though arriving at the same conclusion, was in a very different style. It certainly was an able production, well expressed and plausibly argued, with temper and moderation. He owned that much was to be said on the side of the question which he does not espouse, but the reasons by which he says he is mainly governed are these: that it is of vital importance to preserve the consistency of the party to which we are to look for future safety, and that when this excitement has passed away the conduct of the anti-Reformers will have justice done to it. But there is a contradiction which pervades his argument, for he treats the subject as if all hope had vanished of saving the country, ‘desperat de republicâ,’ and he does not promise himself present advantage from the firmness and consistency of the Tories, but taking it in connection with the folly and wickedness of the other party (who he is persuaded bitterly regret their own precipitate violence and folly), he expects it to prove serviceable as an example and beacon to future generations. All the evils that have been predicted may flow from this measure when carried into complete operation, but it is neither statesmanlike nor manly to throw up the game in despair, and surrender every point, and waive every compensation, in order to preserve the consistency of himself and his own party, not that their consistency is to produce any advantage, but that hereafter it

May point a moral or adorn a tale.

[250] So senseless is this, that it is clear to me that it is not his real feeling, and that he promises himself some personal advantage from the adoption of such a course. Peel ‘loves’ himself, ‘not wisely but too well.’

February 9th, 1832

Yesterday I met Lord Grey and rode with him. I told him that the Tories were pleased at his speech about the Irish Tithes. He said ‘he did not know why, for he had not said what he did with a view to please them.’ I said because they looked upon it as an intimation that the old Protestant ascendency was to be restored. He rejected very indignantly that idea, and said he had never contemplated any ascendency but that of the law and the Government. I said I knew that, but that they had been so long used to consider themselves as the sole representatives of the law and the Government, that they took the assertion he had made as a notification that their authority was again to be exercised as in bygone times. He then asked me if I knew what Lord Harrowby had done, said he had spoken to him, that he was placed in a difficult position and did not know what to do. I said that Harrowby was exerting himself, that time was required to bring people round, that I had reason to believe Harrowby had made a great impression, but that most of the Peers of that party were out of town, and it was impossible to expect them on the receipt of a letter of invitation and advice to reply by return of post that they would abandon their leaders and their party, and change their whole opinions and course of action, that I expected the Archbishop and Bishop of London would go with him, and that they would carry the bench. He said the Bishop of London he had already talked to, that the Archbishop was such a poor, miserable creature that there was no dependence to be placed on him, that he would be frightened and vote any way his fear directed. Then he asked, how many had they sure? I said, ‘At this moment not above eight Lords and eight bishops.’ He said that was not enough. I said I knew that, but he must have patience, and should remember that when the Duke of Wellington brought the Catholic Bill into the House of Commons he had a majority [251] CONVERSATION WITH LORD GREY. on paper against him in the House of Lords of twenty-five, and he carried the Bill by a hundred. He said he should like to talk to Harrowby again, which I pressed him to do, and he said he would. I find Lord John Russell sent for Sandon, and told him that he and the others were really anxious to avoid making Peers, and entreated him to get something done by his father and his associates as soon as possible, that there was no time to be lost, that he should not deny that he wished Peers to be made, not now, but after the Reform Bill had passed. I called on Lord Harrowby in the afternoon, and found him half dead with a headache and dreadfully irritable. Letters had come (which he had not seen) from Lord Bagot refusing, Lord Carteret ditto, and very impertinently, and Lord Calthorpe adhering. I told him what had passed between Lord Grey and me. He said their insolence had been hitherto so great in refusing to listen to any terms (at the meeting of the six), and in refusing every concession in the House of Commons and not tolerating the slightest alteration, that he despaired of doing anything with them, that Lord Grey had told him he could not agree to make a sham resistance in Committee, but that he on the other hand would not agree to go into Committee, except on an express understanding that they should not avail themselves of the probable disunion of the Tories to carry all the details of their Bill. The difficulties are immense, but if Grey and Harrowby get together, it is possible something may be done, provided they will approach each other in a spirit of compromise. It is certainly easier now, and very different from the House of Commons, where I have always thought they could make no concession. In the House of Lords they may without difficulty. I dread the obstinate of both parties.

February 11th, 1832

Wharncliffe came to town on Thursday and called on me. At Brighton he had seen Sir Andrew Barnard, and showed him the correspondence with the Duke of Wellington, telling him at the same time he might mention it to Taylor if he liked, and if Taylor had any wish to see it he should. Accordingly Taylor sent him word he should be glad to have an interview with him. They [252] met at Lord Wharncliffe’s house and had a long conversation, in the course of which Taylor gave him to understand that it was quite true that the King had consented to everything about the creation of Peers, but multa gemens, and that he was much alarmed, and could not endure the thought of this measure. The end was that a memorandum was drawn up of the conversation, and of Wharncliffe’s sentiments and intentions, which were much the same as those he had put forth at the time of the old negotiations. This was taken away by Taylor and shown to the King, and copies of it were forwarded to Grey, Brougham, and Melbourne. The next day Wharncliffe dined with the King, and after dinner his Majesty took him aside and said, ‘I have seen your paper, and I agree with every word you say; we are indeed in a scrape, and we must get out of it as we can. I only wish everybody was as reasonable and as moderate as you, and then we might do so perhaps without difficulty.’ That the King is alarmed is pretty clear, but it is more probable that his alarm may influence his Ministers than himself, and it looks very much as if it had done so. Sir H. Taylor likewise told Wharncliffe that the Duke of Wellington had written a letter which had been laid before the King, and had given him great offence, and that it certainly was such a letter as was unbecoming in any subject to write. This letter is supposed to have been addressed to Strangford; it got into Londonderry’s hands, and he laid it before the King (upon the occasion of his going with some address to Brighton), who desired it might be left with him till the next day. The reason why they think it was Strangford is that the word ‘Viscount’ was apparent at the bottom, but the name was erased. In the meantime Harrowby has had some conversation with Lord Lansdowne, who pressed the necessity of making a demonstration of their strength, and added that if the Archbishop could be induced to declare himself that would be sufficient. Lord Harrowby is accordingly working incessantly upon the Archbishop on the one hand, while he exhorts to patience and reliance on the other. Yesterday he took a high tone with Lord Lansdowne, told him that [253] WELLINGTON AND WHARNCLIFFE. he had, as he firmly believed, as many as twenty-five Lords, lay and spiritual, with him, which would make a difference of fifty, but that as to a public irrevocable pledge, it was not to be had, and that Lord Grey must place confidence in his belief and reliance upon his exertions, or, if not, he must take his own course. Upon Lord Grey’s meeting with him, and the Archbishop’s being brought to the post, the matter now hinges.

In the meantime I have discovered the cause of the Duke of Wellington’s peevish reply to Wharncliffe, and the reason why Lord Harrowby’s letter to Lord Bagot was unanswered for ten days, and then couched in terms so different from what might have been expected. Lord Howe was at Bliffield at the time, and they, between them, sent Harrowby’s letter up to the Duke of Wellington, who of course wrote his sentiments in reply. For this they waited, and on this Lord Bagot acted. My brother told me yesterday that the Duke had seen the letter, and that Lord Howe had been the person who sent it him. This explains it all. Wharncliffe’s letter was but another version of Lord Harrowby’s, and he had therefore in fact seen it before, but seen it addressed to those whom he considered bound to him and his views, and I have no doubt he was both angry and jealous at Lord Harrowby’s interference. Nothing could be more uncandid and unjustifiable than Lord Bagot’s conduct, for he never asked Lord Harrowby’s leave to communicate the letter, nor told him that he had done so; on the contrary, he gave him to understand that the delay (for which he made many apologies) was owing to his reflection and his consulting his brother the bishop. The Duke, no doubt, gave him his own sentiments; yet, in his letter to Wharncliffe, he says ‘he has not endeavoured to influence anybody, nor shall he;’ and at the same time eludes the essential question ‘whether he will support in Committee.’ So much for Tory candour. As to the Duke, he is evidently piqued and provoked to the quick; his love of power and authority are as great as ever, and he can’t endure to see anybody withdrawn from his influence; provoked with himself [254] and with everybody else, his mind is clouded by passion and prejudice, and the consequences are the ill-humour he displays and the abominable nonsense he writes, and yet the great mass of these Tories follow the Duke, go where he will, let the consequences be what they may, and without requiring even a reason; sic vult sic jubet is enough for them. One thing that gives me hopes is the change in the language of the friends of Government out of doors—Dover, for instance, who has been one of the noisiest of the bawlers for Peers. I walked with him from the House of Lords the night before last, and he talked only of the break-up of the 199, and of the activity of Harrowby and Wharncliffe and its probable effects.

February 14th, 1832

On Saturday evening I found Melbourne at the Home Office in his lazy, listening, silent humour, disposed to hear everything and to say very little; told me that Dover and Sefton were continually at the Chancellor to make Peers, and that they both, particularly the latter, had great influence with him. Brougham led by Dover and Sefton!! I tried to impress upon him the necessity of giving Harrowby credit, and not exacting what was not to be had, viz., the pledges of the anti-Reformers to vote for the second reading. He owned that in their case he would not pledge himself either. I put before him as strongly as I could all the various arguments for resisting this desperate measure of making Peers (to which he was well inclined to assent), and pressed upon him the importance of not exasperating the Tories and the Conservative party to the last degree, and placing such an impassable barrier between public men on both sides as should make it impossible for them to reunite for their common interest and security hereafter.

In the evening I got a message from Palmerston to beg I would call on him, which I did at the Foreign Office yesterday. He is infinitely more alert than Melbourne, and more satisfactory to talk to, because he enters with more warmth and more detail into the subject. He began by referring to the list of Peers likely to vote for the second reading, which I showed to him. At the same time I told [255] CONVERSATION WITH LORD PALMERSTON. him that though he might make use of the information generally as far as expressing his own belief that Lord Harrowby would have a sufficient following, he must not produce the list or quote the names, for, in fact, not one of them had given any authority to be so counted; that he must be aware there were persons who would be glad to mar our projects, and they could not more effectually do so than by conveying to these Peers the use that had been made of their names. To all this he agreed entirely. He then talked of the expediency of a declaration from Lord Harrowby, and how desirable it was that it should be made soon, and be supported by as many as could be induced to come forward; that Lord Grey had said to him very lately that he really believed he should be obliged to create Peers. I said that my persuasion was that it would be quite unnecessary to do so to carry the second reading; that nothing was required but confidence in Lord Harrowby, and that his character and his conduct on this occasion entitled him to expect it from them; that if they were sincere in their desire to avoid this measure they would trust to his exertions; that I knew very well the efforts that were made to force this measure on Lord Grey; that it was in furtherance of this that Duncombe’s[3] ridiculous affair in the House of Commons had been got up, which had been such a complete failure; but that I could not believe Lord Grey would suffer himself to be bullied into it by such despicable means, and by the clamour of such men as Duncombe and O’Connell, urged on by friends of his own. He said this was very true, but the fact was they could not risk the rejection of the Bill again; that he knew from a variety of communications that an explosion would inevitably follow its being thrown out on the second reading; that he had had letters from Scotland and [256] other places, and had no doubt that such would be the case. I said that he would find it very difficult to persuade our friends of this, and it appeared to me as clear as possible that the feeling for the Bill and the excitement had subsided; that they might be to a certain degree renewed by its rejection, but no man could doubt that modifications in it, which would have been impossible a few months ago, would now be easy; that if it was not for that unfortunate declaration of Lord Grey, by which he might consider himself bound, he might safely consent to such changes as would make the adjustment of the question no difficult matter; that with regard to the rejection of the Bill, whatever excitement it might produce, it was evident the Government had an immediate remedy; they had only to prorogue Parliament for a week and make their Peers, and they would then have an excellent pretext—indeed, so good a one that it was inconceivable to me that they should hesitate for a moment in adopting that course. This he did not deny. I then told him of the several conversations between Lord Harrowby and Lords Grey and Lansdowne, and mine with Lord Grey; that Lord Harrowby protested against Lord Grey’s availing himself of any disunion among the Opposition (produced by his support of the second reading) to carry those points, to resist which would be the sole object of Lord Harrowby in seceding from his party; and that Lord Grey had said he could not make a sham resistance. Palmerston said, ‘We have brought in a Bill which we have made as good as we can; it is for you to propose any alterations you wish to make in it, and if you can beat us, well and good. There are indeed certain things which, if carried against us, would be so fatal to the principle of the Bill that Lord Grey would not consider it worth carrying if so amended; but on other details he is ready to submit, if they should be carried against him.’ I said that would not do, that I must refer him to the early negotiations and the disposition which was then expressed to act upon a principle of mutual concession; that when Lord Harrowby and his friends were prepared to concede to its fullest extent the principle of disfranchisement [257] CONVERSATION WITH LORD PALMERSTON. (though they might propose alterations in a few particulars), they had a right to expect that the Government should surrender without fighting some of those equivalents or compensations which they should look for in the alterations or additions they might propose. He said that ‘while Lord Harrowby was afraid that Ministers might avail themselves of his weakness to carry their details, they were afraid lest Lord Harrowby and his friends should unite with the ultra-Tories to beat them in Committee on some of the essential clauses of the Bill.’ I replied, then it was fear for fear, and under the circumstances the best thing was an understanding that each party should act towards the other in a spirit of good faith, and without taking any accidental advantage that might accrue either way. We then discussed the possibility of an agreement upon the details, and he enquired what they would require. I told him that they would require an alteration of Schedule B to exclude the town voters from county representation, perhaps to vary the franchise, and some other things, with regard to which I could not speak positively at the moment. He said he thought some alteration might be made in Schedule B, particularly in giving all the towns double members, by cutting off the lower ones that had one; that it was intended no man should have a vote for town and county on the same qualification, and he believed there were very few who would possess the double right. That I said would make it more easy to give up, and it was a thing the others laid great stress upon. He seemed to think it might be done. As to the 10ℓ., he said he had at first been disposed to consider it too low, but he had changed his mind, and now doubted if it would not turn out to be too high. We then talked of the metropolitan members, to which I said undoubtedly they wished to strike them off, but they knew very well the Government desired it equally. We agreed that I should get from Lord Harrowby specifically what he would require, and he would give me in return what concessions the Government would probably be disposed to make; that these should be communicated merely as the private opinions of individuals, and not as formal proposals; [258] and we should try and blend them together into some feasible compromise.

[3] Duncombe brought forward a petition from six men at Barnet complaining that they had been entrapped into signing Lord Verulam’s and Lord Salisbury’s address to the King. The object was to produce a discussion about the Peers. It totally failed, but it was got up with an openness that was indecent by Durham and that crew, who were all (Durham, Sefton, Mulgrave, Dover) under the gallery to hear it. The thing was ridiculed by Peel, fell flat upon the House, and excited disgust and contempt out of it.

I afterwards saw the Duke of Richmond, who said that Dover and Sefton had both attacked him for being against making Peers, and he should like to know how they knew it. I told him, from the Chancellor, to be sure, and added how they were always working at him and the influence they had with him. He said the Chancellor’s being for making Peers was not enough to carry the question; that if it was done it must be by a minute of the Cabinet, with the names of the dissentients appended to it; and then the King must determine; that if the dissentients seceded upon it it would be impossible. He recollected, when there was a question of making Peers on the Catholic question by the Duke of Wellington, that he and some others had resolved, should it have been done, to avail themselves of the power of the House to come down day after day and move adjournments before any of the new Peers could take their seats; that the same course might be adopted now, though it would produce a revolution. I told him that I had little doubt there were men who would not scruple to adopt any course, however violent, that the power of Parliament would admit of; that there were several who were of opinion that the creation of Peers would at once lay the Constitution prostrate and bring about a revolution; that they considered it would be not a remote and uncertain, but a sure and proximate event, and if by accelerating it they could crush their opponents they would do so without hesitation.

In the meantime the cholera has made its appearance in London, at Rotherhithe, Limehouse, and in a ship off Greenwich—in all seven cases. These are amongst the lowest and most wretched classes, chiefly Irish, and a more lamentable exhibition of human misery than that given by the medical men who called at the Council Office yesterday I never heard. They are in the most abject state of poverty, without beds to lie upon. The men live by casual labour, are employed by the hour, and often get no more than four or five hours’ employment in the course of the week. They are huddled [259] INTERVIEW OF LORD HARROWBY AND LORD GREY. and crowded together by families in the same room, not as permanent lodgers, but procuring a temporary shelter; in short, in the most abject state of physical privation and moral degradation that can be imagined. On Saturday we had an account of one or more cases. We sent instantly down to inspect the district and organise a Board of Health. A meeting was convened, and promises given that all things needful should be done, but as they met at a public-house they all got drunk and did nothing. We have sent down members of the Board of Health, to make preparations and organise boards; but, if the disease really spreads, no human power can arrest its progress through such an Augean stable.

February 14th, 1832

Dined with Lord Harrowby, and communicated conversation with Palmerston and Melbourne. He has not been able to decide the Archbishop, who is on and off, and can’t make up his mind. Lord Harrowby is going to Lord Grey to talk with him. The Tories obstinate as mules. The Duke of Buccleuch, who had got Harrowby’s letter, and copied it himself that he might know it by heart, has made up his mind to vote the other way, as he did before; Lord Wallace (after a long correspondence) the same. There can be little doubt that they animate one another, and their cry is ‘to stick to the Duke of Wellington.’ The cholera is established, and yesterday formal communications were made to the Lord Mayor and to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs that London was no longer healthy.

February 17th, 1832

Wharncliffe came to town the night before last, it having been settled that Harrowby was to go to Lord Grey yesterday morning. After consultation we agreed he had better go alone, that it would be less formal, and that Lord Grey would be more disposed to open himself. The same evening, at Madame de Lieven’s ball, Melbourne and Palmerston both told me that Grey was in an excellent disposition. However, yesterday morning Harrowby had such a headache that he was not fit to go alone, so the two went. Nothing could be more polite than Grey, and on the whole the interview was satisfactory. Nothing was agreed upon, all left dans le vague; but a disposition to mutual confidence [260] was evinced, and I should think it pretty safe that no Peers will be made. Lord Grey told them that if they could relieve him from the necessity of creating Peers he should be sincerely obliged to them, showed them a letter from the King containing the most unlimited power for the purpose, and said that, armed with that authority, if the Bill could be passed in no other way, it must be so. A minute was drawn up to this effect, of which Wharncliffe showed me a copy last night.

‘Lords Harrowby and Wharncliffe cannot give any names, or pledge themselves to any particular persons or numbers who will support their views, but they have no doubt in their own minds that there will be, in the event of no creation of Peers, a sufficient number to carry the second reading of the Bill. In voting themselves for the second reading, their intention is to propose such alterations in Committee as, in their opinion, can alone render it a measure fit to be passed into law, and in the event of their being unable to effect the changes they deem indispensable, they reserve to themselves the power of opposing the Bill in its subsequent stages. Lord Grey considers the great principles of the Bill of such vital importance that he could not agree to any alteration in them, but admits that a modification of its details need not be fatal to it, reserving to himself, if any of its vital principles should be touched, the power of taking such ulterior measures as he may find necessary to ensure its success. Lords Harrowby and Wharncliffe are prepared to make a declaration of their sentiments and intentions in the House of Lords at a proper time, that time to be a subject of consideration; and in the event of their having reason to believe that their present expectations are not likely to be fulfilled, they will feel bound to give Lord Grey information thereof, in order that he may take such measures as he may think right.’[4]

[4] This is the substance, not a textual copy.

At present the principal difficulty promises to be the 10ℓ. clause. Lord Grey seemed to think this could not be altered. Wharncliffe asked if it might not be modified, and so settled [261] DISTRESS IN BETHNAL GREEN. as to secure its being a bonâ fide 10ℓ. clause, from which Lord Grey did not dissent, but answered rather vaguely.

In the meantime I think some progress is made in the work of conversion. Harris has gone back, and Wilton, whom I always doubted. I doubt anybody within the immediate sphere of the Duke, but Wynford is well disposed, and the Archbishop has nearly given in. His surrender would clinch the matter. I am inclined to think we shall get through the second reading. Lord Grey was attacked by Madame de Lieven the other day, who told him he was naturally all that is right-minded and good, but was supposed to be influenced against his own better judgment by those about him. She also said something to the Duke of Wellington about Lord Harrowby, to which he replied that Lord Harrowby ‘était une mauvaise tête!’ Very amusing from him, but he is provoked to death that anybody should venture to desert from him.

The cholera has produced more alertness than alarm here; in fact, at present it is a mere trifle—in three days twenty-eight persons. Nothing like the disorders which rage unheeded every year and every day among the lower orders. It is its name, its suddenness, and its frightful symptoms that terrify. The investigations, however, into the condition of the different parishes have brought to light dreadful cases of poverty and misery. A man came yesterday from Bethnal Green with an account of that district. They are all weavers, forming a sort of separate community; there they are born, there they live and labour, and there they die. They neither migrate nor change their occupation; they can do nothing else. They have increased in a ratio at variance with any principles of population, having nearly tripled in twenty years, from 22,000 to 62,000. They are for the most part out of employment, and can get none; 1,100 are crammed into the poor-house, five or six in a bed; 6,000 receive parochial relief. The parish is in debt; every day adds to the number of paupers and diminishes that of ratepayers. These are principally small shopkeepers, who are beggared by the rates. The district is in a complete [262] state of insolvency and hopeless poverty, yet they multiply, and while the people look squalid and dejected, as if borne down by their wretchedness and destitution, the children thrive and are healthy. Government is ready to interpose with assistance, but what can Government do? We asked the man who came what could be done for them. He said ‘employment,’ and employment is impossible.

February 20th, 1832

Lord Grey was very much pleased with the result of his interview, and expresses unbounded reliance on Lord Harrowby’s honour. The ultras, of course, will give him no credit, and don’t believe he can command votes enough; ‘l’affaire marche, mais lentement,’ and the seceders (or those we hope will be so) will not declare themselves positively. There is no prevailing upon them. The Archbishop is with us one day, and then doubts, though I think we shall have him at last. A good deal of conversation passed between Grey and Harrowby, which the latter considers confidential and won’t repeat. It was about the details; the substance of the minute he feels at liberty to communicate. By way of an episode, news came last night of an insurrection of the slaves in Jamaica, in which fifty-two plantations had been destroyed. It was speedily suppressed by Willoughby Cotton, and the ringleaders were executed by martial law.

February 23rd, 1832

At Court yesterday; long conversation with Melbourne, and in the evening with Charles Wood and Richmond, who is more alarmed about the Peers. Melbourne had got an idea that Lord Harrowby’s letter, which had been reported if not shown to the Government, had done a great deal of harm, inasmuch as it set forth so strongly the same arguments to the Tories to show them the danger of letting Peers be made that Durham and Co. make use of as an argument for the same. I promised to show it him, and replied that they could not expect Lord Harrowby to do anything but employ the arguments that are most likely to take effect with these people, but they are not put in an offensive manner. Melbourne said that the King is more reconciled to the measure, i.e. that they have [263] LORD HARROWBY’S LETTER. got the foolish, old man in town and can talk him over more readily. A discussion last night about the propriety of making a declaration to-day in the House of Lords, when the Duke of Rutland presents a petition against Reform. The Archbishop will not decide; there is no moving him. Curious that a Dr. Howley, the other day Canon of Christ Church, a very ordinary man, should have in his hands the virtual decision of one of the most momentous matters that ever occupied public attention. There is no doubt that his decision would decide the business so far. Up to this time certainly Harrowby and Wharncliffe have no certainty of a sufficient number for the second reading; but I think they will have enough at last.

February 24th, 1832

Harrowby and Wharncliffe agreed, if the Duke of Rutland on presenting his petition gave them a good opportunity, they would speak. It was a very good one, for the petition turned out to be one for a moderate Reform, more in their sense than in the Duke’s own; but the moment it was read Kenyon jumped up. Harrowby thought he was going to speak upon it, whereas he presented another; and I believe he was put up by the Duke to stop any discussion.

In the evening went to Lord Holland’s, when he and she asked me about the letter. Somebody had given abstracts of it, with the object of proving to Lord Grey that Harrowby had been uncandid, or something like it, and had held out to the Tories that if they would adopt his line they would turn out the Government. Holland and the rest fancied the letter had been written since the interview, but I told them it was three weeks before, and I endeavoured to explain that the abstracts must be taken in connection not only with the rest of the text, but with the argument. Holland said Lord Grey meant to ask Harrowby for the letter. From thence I went to Harrowby, and told him this. He said he would not show it, that Grey had no right to ask for a private letter written by him weeks before to one of his friends, and it was beneath him to answer for and explain anything he had thought fit to say. But he has done what will probably answer as well, [264] for he has given Ebrington a copy of it for the express purpose of going to Lord Grey and explaining anything that appears ambiguous to him. As the business develops itself, and the time approaches, communication becomes more open and frequent; the Tories talk with great confidence of their majority, and the ultra-Whigs are quite ready to believe them; the two extreme ends are furious. Our list up to this day presents a result of forty-three votes to thirty-seven doubtful, out of which it is hard if a majority cannot be got. I have no doubt now that they will take a very early opportunity of making a declaration. Peel, in the other House, is doing what he can to inflame and divide, and repress any spirit of conciliation. Nothing is sure in his policy but that it revolves round himself as the centre, and is influenced by some view which he takes of his own future advantage, probably the rallying of the Conservative party (as they call themselves, though they are throwing away everything into confusion and sinking everything by their obstinacy) and his being at the head of it. He made a most furious and mischievous speech.

February 29th, 1832

Ebrington took Harrowby’s letter to Lord Grey, who was satisfied but not pleased; the date and the circumstances (which were explained) removed all bad impressions from his mind. Since this a garbled version (or rather extracts) has appeared in the ‘Times,’ which endeavours to make a great stir about it. Harrowby was very much annoyed, and thought of sending the letter itself to the ‘Times’ to be published at once; but Haddington and I both urged him not, and last night he put a contradiction in the ‘Globe.’ I have little doubt that this as well as the former extracts came from the shop of Durham and Co., and so Melbourne told me he thought likewise. There was a great breeze at the last Cabinet dinner between Durham and Richmond again on the old subject—the Peers. I believe they will now take their chance. Our list presents forty-seven sure votes besides the doubtful, but not many pledges. As to me, I am really puzzled what to wish for—that is, for the success of which party, being equally disgusted with the folly of both. [265] VIOLENCE OF EXTREME PARTIES. My old aversion for the High Tories returns when I see their conduct on this occasion. The obstinacy of the Duke, the selfishness of Peel, the pert vulgarity of Croker, and the incapacity of the rest are set in constant juxtaposition with the goodness of the cause they are now defending, but which they will mar by their way of defending it. A man is wanting, a fresh man, with vigour enough to govern, and who will rally round him the temperate and the moderate of different parties—men unfettered by prejudices, connections, and above all by pledges, expressed or implied, and who can and will address themselves to the present state and real wants of the country, neither terrified into concession by the bullying of the press and the rant of public meetings and associations, nor fondly lingering over bygone systems of government and law. That the scattered materials exist is probable, but the heated passion of the times has produced so much repulsion among these various atoms that it is difficult to foresee when a cooler temperature may permit their cohesion into any efficient mass.

March 6th, 1842

The ultra-Whigs and ultra-Tories are both outrageous. Day after day the ‘Times’ puts forth paragraphs, evidently manufactured in the Durham shop, about Harrowby’s letter, and yesterday there was one which exhibited their mortification and rage so clearly as to be quite amusing, praising the Duke and the Tories, and abusing Harrowby and Wharncliffe and the moderates. In the meantime, while Lord Grey is negotiating with Harrowby for the express purpose of avoiding the necessity of making Peers, Durham, his colleague and son-in-law, in conjunction with Dover, is (or has been) going about with a paper for signature by Peers, being a requisition to Lord Grey to make new Peers, inviting everybody he could find to sign this by way of assisting that course of bullying and violence he has long pursued, but happily in vain. Lord Grey is, I believe, really disgusted with all these proceedings; he submits and does nothing. Richmond quarrels with Durham, Melbourne damns him, and the rest hate him. But there he is, frowning, sulking, bullying, and meddling, and doing all the [266] harm he can. Never certainly was there such a Government as this, so constituted, so headed—a chief with an imposing exterior, a commanding eloquence, and a character[5] below contempt, seduced and governed by anybody who will minister to his vanity and presume upon his facility.

[5] By character I mean what the French call caractère, not that he is wanting in honour and honesty, nor in ability, but in resolution and strength of mind.

There has been nothing remarkable in either House of Parliament but an attack made by Londonderry on Plunket, who gave him so terrific a dressing that it required to be as pachydermatous as he is to stand it. He is, however, a glutton, for he took it all, and seemed to like it. I dined with Madame de Lieven a day or two ago, and was talking to her about politics and political events, and particularly about the memoirs, or journal, or whatever it be, that she has written. She said she had done so very irregularly, but that what she regretted was not having kept more exact records of the events and transactions of the Belgian question (which is not yet settled), that it was in its circumstances the most curious that could be, and exhibited more remarkable manifestations of character and ‘du cœur humain,’ as well as of politics generally, than any course of events she knew. I asked her why she did not give them now. She said it was impossible, that the ‘nuances’ were so delicate and so numerous, the details so nice and so varying, that unless caught at the moment they escaped, and it was impossible to collect them again.

March 9th, 1832

Went to Lord Holland’s the other night, and had a violent battle with him on politics. Nobody so violent as he, and curious as exhibiting the opinions of the ultras of the party. About making Peers—wanted to know what Harrowby’s real object was. I told him none but to prevent what he thought an enormous evil. What did it signify (he said) whether Peers were made now or later? that the present House of Lords never could go on with a Reformed Parliament, it being opposed to all the wants and wishes of the people, hating the abolition of tithes, the press, and the [267] IRISH NATIONAL EDUCATION. French Revolution, and that in order to make it harmonise with the Reformed Parliament it must be amended by an infusion of a more Liberal cast. This was the spirit of his harangue, which might have been easily answered, for it all goes upon the presumption that his party is that which harmonises with the popular feeling, and what he means by improving the character of the House is to add some fifty or sixty men who may be willing to accept peerages upon the condition of becoming a body-guard to this Government.

The ‘Times’ yesterday and the day before attacked Lord Grey with a virulence and indecency about the Peers that is too much even for those who take the same line, and he now sees where his subserviency to the press has conducted him. In the House of Commons the night before last, Ministers would have been beaten on the sugar duties if Baring Wall, who had got ten people to dinner, had chosen to go down in time.

The principal subject of discussion this last week has been the Education Board in Ireland, the object of which is to combine the education of Catholics and Protestants by an arrangement with regard to the religious part of their instruction that may be compatible with the doctrines and practice of both. This arrangement consists in there being only certain selections from the Bible, which are admitted generally, while particular days and hours are set apart for the separate religious exercises of each class. This will not do for the zealous Protestants, who bellow for the whole Bible as Reformers do for the whole Bill. While the whole system is crumbling to dust under their feet, while the Church is prostrate, property of all kind threatened, and robbery, murder, starvation, and agitation rioting over the land, these wise legislators are debating whether the brats at school shall read the whole Bible or only parts of it. They do nothing but rave of the barbarism and ignorance of the Catholics; they know that education alone can better their moral condition, and that their religious tenets prohibit the admission of any system of education (in which Protestants and Catholics can be joined) except such [268] an one as this, and yet they would rather knock the system on the head, and prevent all the good that may flow from it, than consent to a departure from the good old rules of Orange ascendency and Popish subserviency and degradation, knowing too, above all, that those who are to read and be taught are equally indifferent to the whole Bible or to parts of it, that they comprehend it not, have no clear and definite ideas on the subject but as matter of debate, vehicle of dispute and dissension, and almost of religious hatred and disunion, and that when once they have escaped from the trammels of their school, not one in a hundred will trouble his head about the Bible at all, and not one in a thousand attend to its moral precepts.

March 10th, 1832

Yesterday morning Wharncliffe came to me to give me an account of the conversation the other day between him and Harrowby on one side and Lords Grey and Lansdowne on the other. Harrowby was headachy and out of sorts. However, it went off very satisfactorily; the list was laid before Grey, who was satisfied, and no Peers are to be made before the second reading; but he said that if the Bill should be carried by so small a majority as to prove that the details could not be carried in Committee, he must reserve the power of making Peers then. At this Harrowby winced, but Wharncliffe said he thought it fair; and in fact it is only in conformity with the protocol that was drawn up at the last conversation. They entered into the details, and Lord Grey said the stir that had been made about the metropolitan members might raise difficulties, and then asked would they agree to this, to give members to Marylebone and throw over the rest? To this Harrowby would not agree, greatly to Wharncliffe’s annoyance, who would have agreed, and I think he would have been in the right. It would have been as well to have nailed Grey to this, and if Harrowby had not had a headache I think he would have done so. With regard to the 10ℓ. clause, Wharncliffe thinks they will not object to a modification. Grey spoke of the press, and with just wrath and indignation of the attacks on himself. On the whole this was good. The capture of Vandamme was [269] IRISH TITHES. the consequence of a bellyache, and the metropolitan representation depended on a headache. If the truth could be ascertained, perhaps many of the greatest events in history turned upon aches of one sort or another. Montaigne might have written an essay on it.

March 12th, 1832

Durham made another exhibition of temper at the Cabinet dinner last Wednesday. While Lord Grey was saying something he rudely interrupted him, as his custom is. Lord Grey said, ‘But, my dear Lambton, only hear what I was going to say,’ when the other jumped up and said, ‘Oh, if I am not to be allowed to speak I may as well go away,’ rang the bell, ordered his carriage, and marched off. Wharncliffe came to me yesterday morning to propose writing a pamphlet in answer to the ‘Quarterly Review,’ which has got an article against his party. I suggested instead that an attempt should be made by Sandon (who has been in some communication with the editor about this matter) to induce the ‘Morning Herald’ to support us, and make that paper the vehicle of our articles. This he agreed to, and was to propose it to Sandon last night. We have no advocate in the press; the Whig and Tory papers are equally violent against us. Yesterday I saw a letter which has been circulated among the Tories, written by young Lord Redesdale to Lord Bathurst, a sort of counter-argument to Lord Harrowby’s letter, although not an answer, as it was written before he had seen that document; there is very little in it.

March 16th, 1832

Lord Grey made an excellent speech in the House of Lords in reply to Aberdeen’s questions about Ancona, and Peel made another in the House of Commons on Irish Tithes, smashing Sheil, taking high ground and a strong position, but doing nothing towards settling the question. He forgets that the system is bad, resting on a false foundation, and that it has worked ill and been bolstered up by him and his party till now it can no longer be supported, and it threatens to carry away with it that which is good in itself. We owe these things to those who wilfully introduced a moral confusion of ideas into their [270] political machinery, and, by destroying the essential distinction between right and wrong, have deprived the things which are right of the best part of their security. I have never been able to understand why our system should be made to rest on artificial props when it did not require them, nor the meaning of that strange paradox which a certain school of statesmen have always inculcated, that institutions of admitted excellence required to be conjoined with others which were founded in crime and error, and which could only be supported by power. This has brought about Reform; it would be easy to prove it. The Ancona affair will blow over. George Villiers writes me word that it was a little escapade of Périer’s, done in a hurry, a mistake, and yet he is a very able man. Talleyrand told me ‘c’est une bêtise.’ Nothing goes on well; the world is out of joint.

Fanny Kemble’s new tragedy came out last night with complete success, written when she was seventeen, an odd play for a girl to write. The heroine is tempted like Isabella in ‘Measure for Measure,’ but with a different result, which result is supposed to take place between the acts.

March 26th, 1832

Ten days since I have written anything here, but en revanche I have written a pamphlet. An article appeared in the ‘Quarterly,’ attacking Harrowby and his friends. Wharncliffe was so desirous it should be answered that I undertook the job, and it comes out to-day in a ‘Letter to Lockhart, in reply,’ &c. I don’t believe anybody read the last I wrote, but as I have published this at Ridgway’s, perhaps it may have a more extensive sale. The events have been the final passing of the Bill, after three nights’ debate, by a majority of 116, ended by a very fine speech from Peel, who has eminently distinguished himself through this fight. Stanley closed the debate at five o’clock in the morning, with what they say was a good and dexterous speech, but which contained a very unnecessary dissertation about the Peers. This, together with some words from Richmond and the cheerfulness of Holland, makes my mind misgive me that we shall still have them created for the Committee. The conduct of the ultra-Tories has been so bad and so silly that I cannot wish to bring them in, though I have a great desire to turn [271] REFORM BILL IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS. the others out. As to a moderate party, it is a mere dream, for where is the moderation? This day Lord John Russell brings the Bill up to the House of Lords, and much indeed depends upon what passes there. Harrowby and Wharncliffe will make their speeches, and we shall, I conclude, have the Duke and Lord Grey. I expect, and I beg his pardon if I am wrong, that the Duke will make as mischievous a speech as he can, and try to provoke declarations and pledges against the Bill. The Ministers are exceedingly anxious that Harrowby should confine himself to generalities, which I hope too, for I am certain no good can, and much harm may, be done by going into details. Grey, Holland, and Richmond all three spoke to me about it last night, and I am going to see what can be done with them. I should not fear Harrowby but that he is petulant and sour; Wharncliffe is vain, and has been excited in all this business, though with very good and very disinterested motives, but he cannot bear patiently the abuse and the ridicule with which both the extreme ends endeavour to cover him, and he is uneasy under it, and what I dread is that in making attempts to set himself right, and to clear his character with a party who will never forgive him for what he has done, and to whom whatever he says will be words cast to the winds, he will flounder, and say something which will elicit from Lord Grey some declaration that may make matters worse than ever. What I hope and trust is that the Government and our people will confine themselves to civil generalities, and pledge themselves de part et d’autre to nothing, and that they will not be provoked by taunts from any quarter to depart from that prudent course.

There was another breeze in the House of Lords about Irish Education, the whole bench of bishops in a flame, and except Maltby, who spoke for, all declared against the plan—Phillpotts in a furious speech. What celestial influences have been at work I know not, but certain it is that the world seems going mad, individually and collectively. The town has been more occupied this week with Dudley’s extravagancies than the affairs of Europe. He, in fact, is mad, but is to be cupped and starved and disciplined sound again. It has been fine talk for the town. The public curiosity and [272] love of news is as voracious and universal as the appetite of a shark, and, like it, loves best what is grossest and most disgusting; anything relating to personal distress, to crime, to passion, is greedily devoured by this monster, as Cowley calls it.

I see
The monster London laugh at me;
I would at thee, too, foolish City,
But thy estate I pity.
Should all the wicked men from out thee go,
And all the fools that crowd thee so,
Thou, who dost thy thousands boast,
Would be a wilderness almost.—Ode to Solitude.

But of all the examples of cant, hypocrisy, party violence, I have never seen any to be compared to the Irish Education business; and there was Rosslyn, an old Whig, voting against; Carnarvon stayed away, every Tory without exception going against the measure. As to madness, Dudley has gone mad in his own house, Perceval in the House of Commons, and John Montague in the Park, the two latter preaching, both Irvingites and believers in ‘the tongues.’ Dudley’s madness took an odd turn; he would make up all his quarrels with Lady Holland, to whom he has not spoken for sixteen years, and he called on her, and there were tears and embraces, and God knows what. Sydney Smith told her that she was bound in honour to set the quarrel up again when he comes to his senses, and put things into the status quo ante pacem. It would be hard upon him to find, on getting out of a strait waistcoat, that he had been robbed of all his hatreds and hostilities, and seduced into the house of his oldest foe.

March 27th, 1832

I did the Duke of Wellington an injustice. He spoke, but without any violence, in a fair and gentlemanlike manner, a speech creditable to himself, useful and becoming. If there was any disposition on the part of his followers to light a flame, he at once repressed it. The whole thing went off well; House very full; Harrowby began, and made an excellent speech, with the exception of one mistake. He dwelt too much on the difference between this Bill and the last, as if the difference of his own conduct resulted from that cause, and this I could see they were taking up in their [273] DEBATE IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS. minds, and though he corrected the impression afterwards, it will be constantly brought up against him, I have no doubt. After him Carnarvon, who alone was violent, but short; then Wharncliffe (I am not sure which was first of these two), very short and rather embarrassed, expressing his concurrence with Lord Harrowby; then the Bishop of London, short also, but strong in his language, much more than Lord Harrowby; then Lord Grey, temperate and very general, harping a little too much on that confounded word efficiency, denying that what he said last year bore the interpretation that had been put upon it, and announcing that he would give his best consideration to any amendments, a very good speech; then the Duke, in a very handsome speech, acknowledging that he was not against all Reform, though he was against this Bill, because he did not think if it passed it would be possible to carry on the government of the country, but promising that if the Bill went into Committee he would give his constant attendance, and do all in his power to make it as safe a measure as possible. So finished this important evening, much to the satisfaction of the moderate, and to the disgust of the violent party. I asked Lord Holland if he was satisfied (in the House after the debate), and he said, ‘Yes, yes, very well, but the Bishop’s the man;’ and in the evening at Lord Grey’s I found they were all full of the Bishop. Lord Grey said to me, ‘Well, you will allow that I behaved very well?’ I said, ‘Yes, very, but the whole thing was satisfactory, I think.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘on the whole, but they were a little too strong, too violent against the Bill,’ because Harrowby had declared that he felt the same objection to the measure he had felt before. Sefton was outrageous, talked a vast deal of amusing nonsense, ‘that he had never heard such twaddle,’ ‘but that the success was complete, and he looked on Harrowby and Wharncliffe as the two most enviable men in the kingdom.’ I have no doubt that all the ultras will be deeply mortified at the moderation of Lord Grey and of the Duke of Wellington, and at the success so far of ‘the Waverers.’


CHAPTER XVIII.

[274] Debate in the House of Lords — Lord Harrowby’s Position — Hopes of a Compromise — Lord Melbourne’s View — Disturbances caused by the Cholera — The Disfranchisement Clause — The Number ‘56’ — Peers contemplated — The King’s Hesitation — ‘The Hunchback’ — Critical Position of the Waverers — Bill carried by Nine in the Lords — The Cholera in Paris — Moderate Speech of Lord Grey — End of the Secession — Conciliatory Overtures — Negotiations carried on at Newmarket — Hostile Division in the Lords — Lord Wharncliffe’s Account of his Failure — Lord Grey resigns — The Duke of Wellington attempts to form a Ministry — Peel declines — Hostility of the Court to the Whigs — A Change of Scene — The Duke fails — History of the Crisis — Lord Grey returns to Office — The King’s Excitement — The King writes to the Opposition Peers — Defeat and Disgrace of the Tories — Conversation of the Duke of Wellington — Louis XVIII. — Madame du Cayla — Weakness of the King — Mortality among Great Men — Petition against Lord W. Bentinck’s Prohibition of Suttee heard by the Privy Council — O’Connell and the Cholera — Irish Tithe Bill — Irish Difficulties — Mr. Stanley — Concluding Debates of the Parliament — Quarrel between Brougham and Sugden — Holland and Belgium — Brougham’s Revenge and Apology — Dinner at Holland House — Anecdotes of Johnson — Death of Mr. Greville’s Father — Madame de Flahaut’s Account of the Princess Charlotte — Prince Augustus of Prussia — Captain Hess — Hostilities in Holland and in Portugal — The Duchesse de Berri — Conversation with Lord Melbourne on the State of the Government.


March 28th, 1832

There appear to have been as many differences of opinion as of people on the discussion in the House of Lords when the Bill was brought up, and it seems paradoxical, but is true, that though it was on the whole satisfactory, nobody was satisfied. Lord Grey complained to me that Lord Harrowby was too stiff; Lord Harrowby complained that Lord Grey was always beating about the bush of compromise, but never would commit himself fairly to concession. Melbourne complained last night that what was done was done in [275] LORD HARROWBY’S PATRIOTIC CONDUCT. such an ungracious manner, so niggardly, that he hated the man (Harrowby) who did it. The ultra-Tories are outrageous ‘that he gave up everything without reason or cause;’ the ultra-Whigs equally furious ‘that he had shown how little way he was disposed to go in Committee; his object was to turn out the Government;’ and what is comical, neither party will believe that Harrowby really is so obnoxious to the other as he is said to be. Each is convinced that he is acting in the interests of the other. What a position, what injustice, blindness, folly, obstinacy, brought together and exhibited! If ever there was a man whose conduct was exempt from the ordinary motives of ambition, and who made personal sacrifices in what he is doing, it is Lord Harrowby, and yet there is no reproach that is not cast upon him, no term of abuse that is not applied to him, no motive that is not ascribed to him. No wonder a man who has seen much of them is sick of politics and public life. Nothing now is thought of but the lists, and of course everybody has got one. The Tories still pretend to a majority of seven; the Government and Harrowby think they have one of from ten to twenty, and I suspect fifteen will be found about the mark. The unfortunate thing is that neither of our cocks is good for fighting, not from want of courage, but Harrowby is peevish, ungracious and unpopular, and Wharncliffe carries no great weight. To be sure neither of them pretends to make a party, but then their opponents insist upon it that they do, and men shrink from enlisting (or being supposed to enlist) under Wharncliffe’s banner. However, notwithstanding the violence of the noisy fools of the party, and of the women, there is a more rational disposition on the part of practical men, for Wharncliffe spoke to Ellenborough yesterday, and told him that though he knew he and Harrowby were regarded as traitors by all of them, he did hope that when the Bill came into Committee they would agree to consult together, and try and come to some understanding as to the best mode of dealing with the question, that it was absurd to be standing aloof at such a moment; to which Ellenborough replied that he perfectly agreed with [276] him, was anxious to do so, and intended to advise his friends to take that course.

April 1st, 1832

Wharncliffe got Lord Grey to put off the second reading for a few days on account of the Quarter Sessions, which drew down a precious attack from Londonderry, and was in fact very foolish and unnecessary, as it looks like a concert between them, of which it is very desirable to avoid any appearance, as in fact none exists. The violence of the Tories continues unabated, and there is no effort they do not make to secure a majority, and they expect either to succeed or to bring it to a near thing. In the meantime the tone of the other party is changed. Dover, who makes lists, manages proxies, and does all the little jobbing, whipping-in, busy work of the party, makes out a clear majority, and told me he now thought the Bill would get through without Peers. The Government, however, are all agreed to make the Peers if it turns out to be necessary, and especially if the Bill should be thrown out, it seems clear that they would by no means go out, but make the Peers and bring it in again; so I gather from Richmond, and he who was the most violently opposed of the whole Cabinet to Peer-making, is now ready to make any number if necessary. There is, however, I hope, a disposition to concession, which, if matters are tolerably well managed, may lead to an arrangement. Still Wharncliffe, who must have a great deal to do in Committee, is neither prudent nor popular. The Tories are obstinate, sulky, and indisposed to agree to anything reasonable. It is the unity of object and the compactness of the party which give the Government strength. Charles Wood told me the other day that they were well disposed to a compromise on two special points, one the exclusion of town voters from the right of voting for counties, the other the metropolitan members. On the first he proposed that no man voting for a town in right of a 10ℓ. house should have a vote for the county in right of any freehold in that town. That would be half-way between Wharncliffe’s plan and the present. The second, that Marylebone should return two members, and Middlesex two more—very like [277] CONVERSATION WITH LORD MELBOURNE. Grey’s proposition which Harrowby rejected—but I suggested keeping the whole and varying the qualification, to which he thought no objection would lie.

At the Duchesse de Dino’s ball the night before last I had a very anxious conversation with Melbourne about it all. He said that ‘he really believed there was no strong feeling in the country for the measure.’ We talked of the violence of the Tories, and their notion that they could get rid of the whole thing. I said the notion was absurd now, but that I fully agreed with him about the general feeling. ‘Why, then,’ said he, ‘might it not be thrown out?’—a consummation I really believe he would rejoice at, if it could be done. I said because there was a great party which would not let it, which would agitate again, and that the country wished ardently to have it settled; that if it could be disposed of for good and all, it would be a good thing indeed, but that this was now become impossible. I asked him if his colleagues were impressed as he was with this truth, and he said, ‘No.’ I told him he ought to do everything possible to enforce it, and to make them moderate, and induce them to concede, to which he replied, ‘What difficulty can they have in swallowing the rest after they have given up the rotten boroughs? That is, in fact, the essential part of the Bill, and the truth is I do not see how the Government is to be carried on without them. Some means may be found; a remedy may possibly present itself, and it may work in practice better than we now know of, but I am not aware of any, and I do not see how any Government can be carried on when these are swept away.’ This was, if not his exact words, the exact sense, and a pretty avowal for a man to make at the eleventh hour who has been a party concerned in this Bill during the other ten. I told him I agreed in every respect, but that it was too late to discuss this now, and that the rotten boroughs were past saving, that as to the minor points, the Waverers thought them of importance, looked upon them as securities, compensations, and moreover as what would save their own honour, and that the less their real importance was the more easily might they be conceded. We had a great deal more [278] talk, but then it is all talk, and à quoi bon with a man who holds these opinions and acts as he does? Let it end as it may, the history of the Bill, and the means by which it has been conceived, brought forward, supported, and opposed, will be most curious and instructive. The division in the Lords must be very close indeed.

Orloff, who was looked for like the Messiah, at last made his appearance a few days ago, a great burly Russian, but no ratification yet.[1]

[1] [Of the Belgian Treaty.]

I have refrained for a long time from writing down anything about the cholera, because the subject is intolerably disgusting to me, and I have been bored past endurance by the perpetual questions of every fool about it. It is not, however, devoid of interest. In the first place, what has happened here proves that ‘the people’ of this enlightened, reading, thinking, reforming nation are not a whit less barbarous than the serfs in Russia, for precisely the same prejudices have been shown here that were found at St. Petersburg and at Berlin. The disease has undoubtedly appeared (hitherto) in this country in a milder shape than elsewhere, but the alarm at its name was so great that the Government could do no otherwise than take such precautions and means of safety as appeared best to avert the danger or mitigate its consequences. Here it came, and the immediate effect was a great inconvenience to trade and commerce, owing to restrictions, both those imposed by foreigners generally on this country and those we imposed ourselves between the healthy and unhealthy places. This begot complaints and disputes, and professional prejudices and jealousies urged a host of combatants into the field, to fight about the existence or non-existence of cholera, its contagiousness, and any collateral question. The disposition of the public was (and is) to believe that the whole thing was a humbug, and accordingly plenty of people were found to write in that sense, and the press lent itself to propagate the same idea. The disease, however, kept creeping on, the Boards of Health which were everywhere established immediately became odious, and the [279] THE CHOLERA IN ENGLAND. vestries and parishes stoutly resisted all pecuniary demands for the purpose of carrying into effect the recommendations of the Central Board or the orders of the Privy Council. In this town the mob has taken the part of the anti-cholerites, and the most disgraceful scenes have occurred. The other day a Mr. Pope, head of the hospital in Marylebone (Cholera Hospital) came to the Council Office to complain that a patient who was being removed with his own consent had been taken out of his chair by the mob and carried back, the chair broken, and the bearers and surgeon hardly escaping with their lives. Furious contests have taken place about the burials, it having been recommended that bodies should be burned directly after death, and the most violent prejudice opposing itself to this recommendation; in short, there is no end to the scenes of uproar, violence, and brutal ignorance that have gone on, and this on the part of the lower orders, for whose especial benefit all the precautions are taken, and for whose relief large sums have been raised and all the resources of charity called into activity in every part of the town. The awful thing is the vast extent of misery and distress which prevails, and the evidence of the rotten foundation on which the whole fabric of this gorgeous society rests, for I call that rotten which exhibits thousands upon thousands of human beings reduced to the lowest stage of moral and physical degradation, with no more of the necessaries of life than serve to keep body and soul together, whole classes of artisans without the means of subsistence. However complicated and remote the causes of this state of things, the manifestations present themselves in a frightful presence and reality, and those whose ingenuity, and experience, and philosophical views may enable them accurately to point out the causes and the gradual increase of this distress are totally unable to suggest a remedy or to foresee an end to it. Can such a state of things permanently go on? can any reform ameliorate it? Is it possible for any country to be considered in a healthy condition when there is no such thing as a general diffusion of the comforts of life (varying of course with every variety of circumstance which can affect [280] the prosperity of individuals or of classes), but when the extremes prevail of the most unbounded luxury and enjoyment and the most dreadful privation and suffering? To imagine a state of society in which everybody should be well off, or even tolerably well off, would be a mere vision, as long as there is a preponderance of vice and folly in the world. There will always be effects commensurate with their causes, but it has not always been, and it certainly need not be, that the majority of the population should be in great difficulty, struggling to keep themselves afloat, and, what is worse, in uncertainty and in doubt whether they can earn subsistence for themselves and their families. Such is the case at present, and I believe a general uncertainty pervades every class of society, from the highest to the lowest; nobody looks upon any institution as secure, or any interest as safe, and it is only because those universal feelings of alarm which are equally diffused throughout the mass but slightly affect each individual atom of it that we see the world go on as usual, eating, drinking, laughing, and dancing, and not insensible to the danger, though, apparently indifferent about it.

April 4th, 1832

Charles Wood[2] came to me yesterday, and brought a paper showing the various effects of a different qualification from 10ℓ. to 40ℓ. for the metropolitan districts, to talk over the list, but principally to get me to speak to Harrowby about a foreseen difficulty. The first clause in the Bill enacts that fifty-six boroughs be disfranchised. This gave great offence in the House of Commons, was feebly defended, but carried by the majority, which was always ready and required no reason; it was an egregious piece of folly and arrogance there, here it presents a real embarrassment. I told him I knew Harrowby had an invincible repugnance to it, and that the effect would be very bad if they split upon the first point. He said he should not defend it, that all reason was against it, but that there it was, and how was it to be got rid of? I suggested that it should be passed over, and that they should go at once to the boroughs [281] A DIFFICULTY AT SCHEDULE A. seriatim. He said if that clause was omitted a suspicion would immediately arise that there was an intention of altering Schedule A, and nothing would avert that but getting through a great part of it before Easter, and that this might be difficult, as the longest time they could expect to sit would be three days in Passion Week. He talked a great deal about the country expecting this, and that they would not be satisfied if it was not done, and all the usual jargon of the Reformers, which it was not worth while to dispute, and it ended by my promising to talk to Lord Harrowby about it. This I did last night, and he instantly flew into a rage. He said ‘he would not be dragged through the mire by those scoundrels. It was an insolence that was not to be borne; let them make their Peers if they would, not Hell itself should make him vote for fifty-six; he would vote for sixty-six or any number but that, that he would not split with the Tories on the first vote; if indeed they would consent to fifty-six he would, or to anything else they would agree to, but if the Government brought this forward no consideration on earth should prevent his opposing it.’ We then discussed the whole matter, with the proposed amendments which Wood and I had talked over with reference to the metropolitan members and town and county voting, and I am to go to-day and propose that after the second reading is carried they should adjourn till after Easter, and give a little time for the excitement (which there must be) to subside, and to see how matters stand, and what probability there is of getting the thing through quietly.

[2] [Mr. Charles Wood, afterwards Viscount Halifax, but at this time private Secretary to Earl Grey, whose daughter he married.]

April 6th, 1832

I called on the Duke of Richmond on Wednesday morning, and told him what had passed between Wood and me, and Lord Harrowby and me afterwards. He was aware of the difficulty, and regretted it the more because he might have to defend it in the House of Lords. He wished me very much to go to Downing Street and see Lord Grey himself if possible before the levee, and he suggested that the words fifty-six might be left in blank by Lord Grey’s own motion, that this would be in conformity with the forms of the House. I set off, but calling at home on my way found Lord [282] Harrowby at my door. He came in, and was anxious to know if I had said anything; he was more quiet than the night before, but still resolved not to agree to fifty-six, though anxious to have the matter compromised in some way. Lord Harrowby wanted to adjourn after the second reading, but owned that the best effect would be to get through Schedule A before Easter. Yesterday I saw Wood; he harped upon the difficulty and the old strain of the country. I suggested the point of form which Richmond had mentioned, but he said that could not be now in the Bill, as it was sent up from the Commons, that if they were beaten on fifty-six the country would consider it tantamount to throwing out Schedule A, and would highly approve of a creation of Peers, and that, in fact (if they wished it), it would be the best opportunity they could have. I told him that it would heap ridicule upon all the antecedent proceedings, and the pretext must be manifest, as it would appear in the course of the discussions what the real reason was. In the middle of our conversation Ellice came in, and directly asked if my friends would swallow fifty-six, to which I said, ‘No.’ We had then a vehement dispute, but at last Wood turned him out, and he and I resumed. We finally agreed that I should ask Lord Harrowby whether, if Lord Grey of his own accord proposed to leave out the words fifty-six, but with an expression of his opinion that this must be the number, he (Lord Harrowby) would meet him with a corresponding declaration that he objected to the specification of the number in the clause, without objecting to the extent of the disfranchisement, it being always understood that what passes between us is unauthorised talk, and to commit nobody—‘without prejudice,’ as the lawyers say.

I heard yesterday, however, from Keate, who is attending me (and who is the King’s surgeon, and sees him when he is in town), that he saw his Majesty after the levee on Wednesday, and that he was ill, out of sorts, and in considerable agitation; that he enquired of him about his health, when the King said he had much to annoy him, and that ‘many things passed there (pointing to the Cabinet, out of which he had just come) which were by no means agreeable, [283] THE KING’S RELUCTANCE TO MAKE PEERS. and that he had had more than usual to occupy him that morning.’ Keate said he was very sure from his manner that something unpleasant had occurred. This was, I have since discovered, the question of a creation of Peers again brought forward, and to which the King’s aversion has returned so much so that it is doubtful if he will after all consent to a large one. It seems that unless the Peers are made (in the event of the necessity arising) Brougham and Althorp will resign; at least so they threaten. I have seen enough of threats, and doubts, and scruples, to be satisfied that there is no certainty that any of them will produce the anticipated effects, but I am resolved I will try, out of these various elements, if I cannot work out something which may be serviceable to the cause itself, though the materials I have to work with are scanty. The Ministers were all day yesterday settling who the new Peers shall be, so seriously are they preparing for the coup. They had already fixed upon Lords Molyneux, Blandford, Kennedy, Ebrington, Cavendish, Brabazon, and Charles Fox, Littleton, Portman, Frederick Lawley, Western, and many others, and this would be what Lord Holland calls assimilating the House of Lords to the spirit of the other House, and making it harmonise with the prevailing sense of the people.

April 8th, 1832

Lord Harrowby was out of town when I called there on Friday, so I wrote to him the substance of my conversation with Wood. Yesterday he returned. In the evening I met Wood at dinner at Lord Holland’s, when he told me that he found on the part of his friends more reluctance than he had expected to give up the fifty-six, that he had done all he could to persuade them, but they made great objections. Moreover he had had a conversation with Sandon which he did not quite like, as he talked so much of holding the party together. All this was to make me think they are stouter than they really are, for I am better informed than he thinks for.

Yesterday morning I got more correct information about what had passed with the King. Lord Grey went to him with a minute of Cabinet requiring that he should make [284] Peers in case the second reading was thrown out.[3] To this he demurred, raised difficulties and doubts, which naturally enough alarm the Government very much. However, when he got back to Windsor he wrote two letters, explaining his sentiments, from which it appears that he has great reluctance, that he will do it, but will not give any pledge beforehand, that he objects to increasing the Peerage, and wants to call up eldest sons and make Irish and Scotch Peers, that he did not say positively he would make the Peers, but that he would be in the way, and come up when it was necessary. They think that he has some idea that his pledging himself beforehand (though in fact he did so two months ago) might be drawn into an improper precedent. However this may be, his reluctance is so strong that a great deal may be made of it, as it is probable (if he continues in the same mind, and is not turned by some violence of the Opposition) that he will resist still more making Peers when the Bill is in Committee to carry the details, some of which he himself wishes to see altered, but the difficulty is very great. It is impossible to communicate with the Tory leaders; they will not believe what you tell them, and if they learnt the King’s scruples they would immediately imagine that they might presume upon them to any extent, and stand out more obstinately than ever. I went to Harrowby last night, and imparted to him the state of things, which I shall do to nobody else. To Wharncliffe I dare not. He is not indisposed to Wood’s compromise, and I trust this will be settled, but he still leans to putting off the second reading till after Easter, and if the Tories also resolve upon that (which they are mightily disposed to do) he will not separate from them on that point, and they are sure to carry it. Unless this was accompanied with some declaration from them that they would be disposed to concede the great principles of the Bill, I think the Government would consider it such an indication of hostility as to call for an immediate creation [285] ‘THE HUNCHBACK.’ of Peers, and I doubt whether the King could or would resist. There are many reasons why it would be desirable to make the second reading a resting-place, and adjourn then till after Easter, provided all parties consented, but it would be very unwise to make it the subject of a contest, and nobody would ever believe that the real reason was not to get rid of Schedule A by hook or by crook, or of a good deal of it. Harrowby will, I am sure, not divide against them on this, and they will not give it up; that there are means of resistance, if they were judiciously applied, I am sure, and if there were temper, discretion, and cordiality, the Bill might be licked into a very decent shape.

[3] [This Cabinet minute of the 3rd of April, 1832, and the King’s remarks upon it, have been printed in the ‘Correspondence of William IV. and Earl Grey,’ vol. ii. p. 307.]

I went to see Sheridan Knowles’ new play the other night, ‘The Hunchback.’ Very good, and a great success. Miss Fanny Kemble acted really well—for the first time, in my opinion, great acting. I have not seen anything since Mrs. Siddons (and perhaps Miss O’Neill) so good.

The Duke of Wellington made a very good speech on Irish affairs on Friday, one of his best, and he speaks admirably to points sometimes and on subjects he understands. I wish he had let alone that Irish Education—disgraceful humbug and cant. I don’t know that there is anything else particularly new. Orloff is made a great rout with, but he don’t ratify. The real truth is that the King of Holland holds out, and the other Powers delay till they see the result of our Reform Bill, thinking that the Duke of Wellington may return to power, and then they may make better terms for Holland and dictate to Belgium and to France. If the Reform Bill is carried, and Government stays in, they will ratify, and not till then. The cholera is disappearing here and in the country.

April 9th, 1832

Saw Lord Harrowby yesterday morning. He can’t make up his mind what is best to be done, whether to go into Committee or not. He rather wishes to get through Schedule A, but he won’t vote against the Tories if they divide on adjourning. Then went to Wood and told him there would be no difficulty about fifty-six. Lord Grey came in, and talked the whole thing over. He said he [286] was ill—knocked up—that in his speech to-day he should be as moderate and tame as anybody could wish. From what Wood said, and he himself afterwards, I should think they wish to adjourn after the second reading, but to make a merit of it if they do. Duncannon, whom I saw afterwards, seemed to be of the same opinion, that it would be best not to sit in Passion Week. At night Wharncliffe came back from Yorkshire. He is all for getting into Schedule A, and making no difficulties about fifty-six or anything else, and Harrowby, now that he fancies the Government want to adjourn, rather wants not, suspecting some trick. Upon going all over the list, we make out the worst to give a majority of six, and the best of eighteen, but the Tories still count upon getting back some of our people. We had a grand hunt after Lord Gambier’s proxy; he sent it to Lord de Saumarez, who is laid up with the gout in Guernsey, and the difficulty was to get at Lord Gambier and procure another. At last I made Harrowby, who does not know him, write to him, and Wood sent a messenger after him, so we hope it will arrive in time.

April 11th, 1832

The day before yesterday Lord Grey introduced the Reform Bill in a speech of extreme moderation; as he promised, it was very ‘tame.’ The night’s debate was dull; yesterday was better. Lord Mansfield made a fine speech against the Bill; Harrowby spoke well, Wharncliffe ill. Nothing can equal the hot water we have been in—defections threatened on every side, expectations thwarted and doubts arising, betting nearly even. Even de Ros came to me in the morning and told me he doubted how he should vote; that neither Harrowby nor Wharncliffe had put the question on the proper ground, and his reason for seceding from the Opposition was the menaced creation of Peers. I wrote to Harrowby and begged him to say something to satisfy tender consciences, and moved heaven and earth to keep De Ros and Coventry (who was slippery) right, and I succeeded—at least I believe so, for it is not yet over. Nothing can equal the anxiety out of doors and the intensity of the interest in the town, but the debate is far less animated than that of [287] REFORM BILL CARRIED IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS. last year. As to our business, it is ‘la mer à boire,’ with nobody to canvass or whip in, and not being a party. We shall, however, I believe, manage it, and but just.

I saw Keate this morning, who had been with the King. His Majesty talked in high terms of Ellenborough and of Mansfield. It is difficult to count upon such a man, but if the second reading is passed I do not believe he will make Peers to carry any points in Committee, unless it be the very vital ones, but it is very questionable if the Opposition will fight the battle then at all, or, if they do, fight in a way to secure a fair, practical result.

April 14th, 1832

The Reform Bill (second reading) was carried this morning at seven o’clock in the House of Lords by a majority of nine. The House did not sit yesterday. The night before Phillpotts, the Bishop of Exeter, made a grand speech against the Bill, full of fire and venom, very able. It would be an injury to compare this man with Laud; he more resembles Gardiner; had he lived in those days he would have been just such another, boiling with ambition, an ardent temperament, and great talents. He has a desperate and a dreadful countenance, and looks like the man he is. The two last days gave plenty of reports of changes either way, but the majority has always looked like from seven to ten. The House will adjourn on Wednesday, and go into Committee after Easter; and in the meantime what negotiations and what difficulties to get over! The Duke of Wellington and Lord Harrowby have had some good-humoured talk, and the former seems well disposed to join in amending the Bill, but the difficulty will be to bring these extreme and irritated parties to any agreement as to terms. The debate in the Lords, though not so good as last year, has been, as usual, much better than that in the Commons.

The accounts from Paris of the cholera are awful, very different from the disease here. Is it not owing to our superior cleanliness, draining, and precautions? There have been 1,300 sick in a day there, and for some days an average of 1,000; here we have never averaged above fifty, I think, and, except the squabbling in the newspapers, we have seen [288] nothing of it whatever; there many of the upper classes have died of it. Casimir Périer and the Duke of Orleans went to the Hotel Dieu, and the former was seized afterwards, and has been very ill, though they doubt if it really was cholera, as he is subject to attacks with the same symptoms.

April 15th, 1832

The debate in the House of Lords was closed by a remarkable reply from Lord Grey, full of moderation, and such as to hold out the best hopes of an adjustment of the question—not that it pacified the ultra-Tories, who were furious. The speech was so ill reported at that late hour that it is not generally known what he did say, and many of those who heard it almost doubt their own accuracy, or suspect that he went further than he intended, so unlike was it to his former violent and unyielding language. He said, with regard to a creation of Peers, that nothing would justify him in recommending the exercise of that prerogative but a collision between the two Houses of Parliament, and that in such a case (he is reported to have said) he should deem it his duty first to recommend a dissolution, and to ascertain whether the feeling of the country was with the other House (these were not the words, but to this effect). If this be at all correct, it is clear that he cannot make Peers to carry the clauses, for, in fact, the collision between the two Houses will not have arrived unless the Commons should reject any amendments which may be made by the Lords. The tone, however, of the violent supporters of Government is totally changed; at Lord Holland’s last night they were singing in a very different note, and, now, if the councils of the Lords are guided by moderation and firmness, they may deal with the Bill almost as they please; but they must swallow Schedule A. The difficulties, however, are great; the High Tories are exasperated and vindictive, and will fiercely fight against any union with the seceders. The Duke is moderate in his tone, ready to act cordially with all parties, but he owes the seceders a grudge, is anxious to preserve his influence with the Tories, and will probably insist upon mutilating the Bill more than will be prudent and feasible. The Harrowby and Wharncliffe party, now that the second [289] LORD WHARNCLIFFE AND LORD HARROWBY. reading is over, ceases to be a party. It was a patched-up, miscellaneous concern at best, of men who were half reasoned, half frightened over, who could not bear separating from the Duke, long to return to him, and, besides, are ashamed of Wharncliffe as a chief. There never was such a ‘chef de circonstance.’ He is a very honest man, with a right view of things and a fair and unprejudiced understanding, vain and imprudent, without authority, commanding no respect, and in a false position as the ephemeral leader he is, marching in that capacity pari passu with Harrowby, who is infinitely more looked up to, but whose bilious complexion prevents his mixing with society and engaging and persuading others to follow his opinions; nor has he (Lord Harrowby) any plan or design beyond the object of the moment. He has no thought of mixing again in public life, he does not propose to communicate with anybody on anything further than the middle course to be adopted now, and few people are disposed to sever the ties on which their future political existence depends for the sake of cultivating this short-lived connection. If the Government, therefore, looks to the seceders who have carried the question for them to carry other points, they will find it won’t do, for their followers will melt into the mass of the anti-Reformers, who, though they will still frown upon the chiefs, will gladly take back the rank and file. A fortnight will elapse, in the course of which opportunities will be found of ascertaining the disposition of the great party and the probability of an arrangement.

The debate was good on Friday, but very inferior to the last. Phillpotts got a terrific dressing from Lord Grey, and was handled not very delicately by Goderich and Durham, though the latter was too coarse. He had laid himself very open, and, able as he is, he has adopted a tone and style inconsistent with his lawn sleeves, and unusual on the Episcopal Bench. He is carried away by his ambition and his alarm, and horrifies his brethren, who feel all the danger (in these times) of such a colleague. The episode of which [290] he was the object was, of course, the most amusing part of the whole.

Newmarket, April 22nd, 1832

Ill and laid up with the gout for this week past. Came here on Friday, the 20th. The carrying of the second reading of the Bill seems to have produced no effect. Everybody is gone out of town, the Tories in high dudgeon. The Duke of Wellington has entered a protest with all the usual objections, which has been signed by a whole rabble of Peers, but not by Lyndhurst, Ellenborough, or Carnarvon, who monopolise the brains of the party; they declined. In the meantime things look better. Wharncliffe, Harrowby, and Haddington have had two interviews with Lyndhurst and Ellenborough, and though they did not go into particulars the result was satisfactory, and a strong disposition evinced to co-operation and moderation. It was agreed they should meet again next week, and see what could be arranged. On Friday Palmerston sent to Wharncliffe and desired to see him. They met, and Palmerston told him that he came from Lord Grey, who was desirous of having an interview with him, adding that Lord Grey had now become convinced that he might make much more extensive concessions than he had ever yet contemplated. He added that Lord Grey would rather see Wharncliffe alone, without Harrowby, whose manner was so snappish and unpleasant that he could not talk so much at his ease as he would to Wharncliffe alone. Wharncliffe replied that he could have no objection to see Lord Grey, but that he must fairly tell him his situation was no longer the same, having put himself in amicable communication with Lyndhurst and Ellenborough; that the concurrence of the Tories was indispensable to him and his friends to effect the alterations they contemplated, and he could not do anything which might have to them the appearance of underhand dealing; that he could tell Lyndhurst and Ellenborough, and if they made no objection he would see Lord Grey. Ellenborough was gone out of town, but he went to Lyndhurst, who immediately advised him to see Lord Grey, and said it was most desirable they should be made acquainted with the [291] MEETING OF LORD GREY AND LORD WHARNCLIFFE. views and disposition of Government, and he undertook to write word to the Duke of Wellington of all that had passed. Lord Grey was unable to leave Sheen yesterday, so it was arranged that the meeting should be delayed till Wharncliffe’s return to London. The Duke of Richmond has, however, got a letter of four sides from Grey, empowering him to treat here with Wharncliffe, and Stanley and Graham being expected, it is very likely some progress may be made. Nothing can promise better, and if the chiefs of the Tories can be brought to moderation the stupid obstinacy of the mass will not matter, and I do not think they will dare hold out, for when a negotiation on such a conciliatory basis is proposed, a terrible case would be made hereafter against those who should refuse to listen to it. The advantages are so clear that nothing would make them persist in the line of uncompromising opposition but an unconquerable repugnance to afford a triumph to the Waverers, which a successful termination would do; not that they would profit by it, for they are so few, and those who will have been wrong so many, that clamour will silence justice, and a thousand excuses and pretences will be found to deprive them of their rightful credit. It is a long time—not probably since the days of Charles II.—that this place (Newmarket) has been the theatre of a political negotiation, and, conceding the importance of the subject, the actors are amusing—Richmond, Graham, Wharncliffe, and myself. By-the-bye it is perfectly true that (if I have not mentioned it before) the Royal carriages were all ready the morning of the decision of the second reading to take the King to the House of Lords to prorogue Parliament, and on Tuesday the Peers would have appeared in the ‘Gazette.’

London, May 12th, 1832

Nothing written for a long time, nor had I anything to write till a few days ago. From the time of Wharncliffe’s departure I heard nothing, and I bitterly regret now not having been in town last week.[4] The Committee [292] stood for Monday; on Friday se’nnight last I was at Buckenham, when the Duke of Rutland told me he was going to London, that they meant to divide on Monday on a proposal to postpone Schedules A and B till after C and D, and expected to beat the Government; I wrote by that post to Lady Harrowby, saying I hoped this was not true, and that if it was it appeared to me most injudicious. On Tuesday I received by the post a letter from Wharncliffe, saying that they had been in frequent communication with Ellenborough and Lyndhurst, that the Opposition were prepared to make great and satisfactory concessions, and he thought all would go off well. The only difficulty he apprehended was from the postponement of the disfranchising clause, which the Tories insisted on, and to which he and Harrowby had thought it right to agree. The next day I received a second letter, with an account of the debate and its consequences, to which I wrote him a trimming reply, and another to Lady Harrowby, expressing my sentiments on their conduct on the occasion. Before all this happened Wharncliffe had had to encounter abuse of every kind, and he has certainly continued to play his cards in such a way, from first to last, as to quarrel with Whigs and Tories in succession. With very good intentions, and very honest, he has exposed himself to every reproach of insincerity, intrigue, and double-dealing.

[4] [It was on the 7th of May that the Lords went into Committee on the Bill, and Lord Lyndhurst’s motion to postpone the disfranchising clauses until after the enfranchising clauses had been agreed to was carried by a majority of thirty-five against the Government. The seventeen Peers who had assisted to carry the second reading on the 11th of April relapsed into the Conservative ranks, and the result was, for the moment, such as to stop the progress of the Bill and turn out the Government.]

On arriving in town I found a note from him, desiring I would see him and hear his defence of himself before I expressed elsewhere the opinion I had given to him. Accordingly I went to Boodle’s, where I found him, and he immediately began his case. He said that on his return to town he saw Lord Grey, who said that he wished to know what were the intentions of his party, and how far they were disposed to go, and what concessions they looked for. He replied that Lord Grey must understand that he now [293] DEFEAT OF GOVERNMENT IN COMMITTEE. stood in a very different position, and that, reunited as he was with the Tories, he must act with them—much, in short, what he had before said to Palmerston. They then discussed the question, and he said that there was one point for which Lord Grey ought to be prepared, and that he knew the Tories were much bent upon proposing the postponement of Schedules A and B. Lord Grey said this would be productive of the greatest embarrassment, that it would be a thing they could not agree to, and he hoped he would do all in his power to prevent it. Wharncliffe said that he would endeavour, but he believed they were very eager about it, and he added that Lord Grey might be sure he would support nothing calculated to interfere with the essential provisions of the Bill. After this his and Harrowby’s communications with Ellenborough and his friends continued, and on the Saturday (I think) Lyndhurst told him that the Tories were so irrevocably bent upon this, and that they were so difficult to manage and so disposed to fly off, that it was absolutely necessary to give way to them, and it must be proposed, though he would gladly have waived it, but that was impossible; upon which Harrowby and Wharncliffe gave in and agreed to support it. One of them (Haddington, I think) suggested that Wharncliffe ought to communicate this intention to Lord Grey, to which, however, Lyndhurst objected, said that the Tories were suspicious, had already taken umbrage at the communications between Wharncliffe and Grey, and that it must not be. To this prohibition Wharncliffe fatally submitted, and accordingly not a word was said by anybody till the afternoon of the debate, when just before it began Wharncliffe told the Duke of Richmond, who of course told Lord Grey. Wharncliffe at the same time had some conversation with John Russell and Stanley, who strongly deprecated this intention, but it was too late to arrange or compromise anything then. The debate came on; the proposition was made in a very aggravating speech by Lyndhurst, and on its being carried Lord Grey threw up the Bill and the Government in a passion. It is the more remarkable that they should have taken this course at once, because [294] they certainly had very strong reason to doubt whether the King would consent to a creation of Peers, though they probably thought he might be bullied upon an occasion which they fancied they could turn to great account; but he was stout and would not hear of it.

The day after the debate Grey and Brougham went down to Windsor and proposed to the King to make fifty Peers. They took with them a minute of Cabinet signed by all the members except the Duke of Richmond. Palmerston proposed it in Cabinet, and Melbourne made no objection. His Majesty took till the next day to consider, when he accepted their resignations, which was the alternative they gave him. At the levee the same day nothing occurred; the King hardly spoke to the Duke, but he afterwards saw Lyndhurst (having sent for him). I do not know what passed between them, but the Duke of Wellington was soon sent for. The Duke and Lyndhurst endeavoured to prevail on Peel to take the Government upon himself, and the former offered to act in any capacity in which he could be useful, but Peel would not. Some communication also took place between Lyndhurst and Harrowby, but the latter declared at once he would support the new Government, but not take office. When Peel finally declined, the Duke accepted, and yesterday at three o’clock he went to St. James’s. The King saw Peel and the Speaker. Nothing is known of the formation of the Cabinet, but the reports were first that Alexander Baring was to be Chancellor of the Exchequer, and since that he has refused on account of his health, and that Lyndhurst is to go to the King’s Bench, Tenterden to retire, and the Great Seal to be put in commission.

The first act of the Duke was to advise the King to reject the address of the Birmingham Union, which he did, and said he knew of no such body. All very proper. In the morning I called upon Wood at the Treasury, to explain to him that I had never been cognisant of the late proceedings in the House of Lords, and that I was far from approving the conduct of my old associates. He said he had never believed [295] POSITION OF PARTIES. that I was any party to it, and regretted that I had not been in town, when it was just possible I might have persuaded them of the unworthiness of the course they were taking. He said that I did not know how bad it was, for that Wharncliffe had distinctly said that if such a thing was proposed he should oppose it, and that Palmerston was present when he said so. This Wharncliffe positively denies, and yesterday he went to Palmerston to endeavour to explain, taking with him a minute which he said he had drawn up at the time of all that passed, but which he had never before shown or submitted for correction, and which Palmerston told him was incorrect, inasmuch, as it omitted that engagement. They are at issue as to the fact. The position of the respective parties is curious. The Waverers undertook a task of great difficulty with slender means, and they accomplished it with complete success. All turned out as they expected and desired, but, after having been in confidential communication with both parties, they have contrived mortally to offend both, and to expose themselves to odium from every quarter, and to an universal imputation of insincerity and double-dealing, and this without any other fault than mismanagement and the false position in which they found themselves, without influence or power, between two mighty parties. The Tories, who have exhibited nothing but obstinacy and unreasonableness, and who thwarted the Waverers by every means they could devise, have reaped all the benefit of their efforts, and that without admitting that they were right or thanking them for bringing matters to this pass. They are triumphant, in spite of all they did to prevent their own triumph, and have had all the spiteful pleasure of abuse and obloquy, all the glory of consistency, and the satisfaction of pertinacity, with all the advantages that an opposite line of conduct promised to give them. [Their triumph was of short duration, and nothing so complete as their final discomfiture.]

The King took leave of his Ministers with a great effusion of tenderness, particularly to Richmond, whom he entreated [296] to remain in office; but I take it that he easily consoles himself, and does not care much more for one Minister than another.

The debate in the House of Commons was not so violent as might have been expected, and the Tories were greatly elated with the divisions on Ebrington’s motion, because there was a majority less by fifty-six than on a similar motion when the Bill was rejected in October. The circumstances were, however, different, and some would not vote because they disapprove of creating Peers, which this vote would have committed them to approve of. There is so much of wonder, and curiosity, and expectation abroad that there is less of abuse and exasperation than might have been expected, but it will all burst forth. The town is fearfully quiet. What is odd enough is that the King was hissed as he left London the other day, and the Duke cheered as he came out of the Palace. There have been some meetings, with resolutions to support the Bill, to express approbation of the Ministers, and to protest against the payment of taxes, and there will probably be a good deal of bustle and bluster here and elsewhere; but I do not believe in real tumults, particularly when the rabble and the unions know that there is a Government which will not stand such things, and that they will not be able to bandy compliments with the Duke as they did with Althorp and John Russell, not but what much dissatisfaction and much disquietude must prevail. The funds have not fallen, which is a sign that there is no alarm in the City. At this early period of the business it is difficult to form any opinion of what will happen; the present Government in opposition will again be formidable, but I am disposed to think things will go on and right themselves; we shall avoid a creation of Peers, but we must have a Reform Bill of some sort, and perhaps a harmless one after all, and if the elements of disorder can be resolved into tranquillity and order again, we must not quarrel with the means that have been employed, nor the quantum of moral injustice that has been perpetrated.

The Tories are very indignant with Peel for not taking office, and if, as it is supposed, he is to support Government [297] PEEL REFUSES TO TAKE OFFICE. and the Bill out of office, and when all is over come in, it is hardly worth while for such a farce to deprive the King and the country of his services in the way that they could be most useful, but he is still smarting under Catholic question reminiscences, while the Duke is more thick-skinned. After he had carried the Catholic question the world was prepared for a good deal of versatility on his part, but it was in mere derision that (after his speech on Reform in 1830) it used to be said that he would very likely be found proposing a Bill of Reform, and here he is coming into office for the express purpose of carrying on this very Bill against which the other day he entered a protest which must stare him in the face through the whole progress of it, or, if not, to bring in another of the same character, and probably nearly of the same dimensions. Pretexts are, however, not wanting, and the necessity of supporting the King is made paramount to every other consideration. The Duke’s worshippers (a numerous class) call this the finest action of his life, though it is difficult to perceive in what the grandeur of it consists, or the magnitude of the sacrifice. However, it is fair to wait a little, and hear from his own lips his exposition of the mode in which he intends to deal with this measure, and how he will reconcile what he has hitherto said with what he is now about to do. Talleyrand is of course in a state of great consternation, which will be communicated like an electrical shock to the Powers specially favoured and protected by the late Government—Leopold and Don Pedro, for instance. It will be a difficult thing for the Duke to deal with some of the questions on which he has committed himself pretty considerably while in opposition, both with respect to foreign politics and especially Irish Education.

Monday, May 14th, 1832

Nothing more was known yesterday, but everybody was congregated at the clubs, asking, discussing, and wondering. There was a great meeting at Apsley House, when it was supposed everything was settled. The Household went yesterday to St. James’s to resign their sticks and badges; amongst the rest Lord Foley. The King was very civil to him; made him sit down and said, ‘Lord Foley, [298] you are a young man.’ ‘Sir, I am afraid I cannot flatter myself that I have any right to that appellation.’ ‘Oh, yes; you are a young man—at all events in comparison with me—and you will probably come into office again; but I am an old man, and I am afraid I shall not have the pleasure of seeing you there.’ It is supposed that this coup has been preparing for some time. All the Royal Family, bastards and all, have been incessantly at the King, and he has probably had more difficulty in the long run in resisting the constant importunity of his entourage, and of his womankind particularly, than the dictates of his Ministers; and between this gradual but powerful impression, and his real opinion and fears, he was not sorry to seize the first good opportunity of shaking off the Whigs. When Lord Anglesey went to take leave of him at Windsor he was struck with the change in his sentiments, and told Lady Anglesey so, who repeated it to my brother.

It is gratifying to find that those with whom I used to dispute, and who would hear of nothing but rejecting the second reading, now admit that my view was the correct one, and Vesey Fitzgerald, with whom I had more than one discussion, complimented me very handsomely upon the justification of my view of the question which the event had afforded. The High Tories, of course, will never admit that they could have been wrong, and have no other resource but to insist boldly that the King never would have made Peers at all.[5]

[5] [Everyone knows how short-lived were the expectations caused by the temporary resignation of Lord Grey’s Government. It will be seen in the following pages how soon the vision passed away; but the foregoing passages are retained precisely because they contain a vivid and faithful picture of the state of opinion at the moment.]

London, May 17th, 1832

The events of the last few days have passed with a rapidity which hardly left time to think upon them—such sudden changes and transitions from rage to triumph on one side, and from foolish exultation to mortification and despair on the other. The first impression was that the Duke of Wellington would succeed in forming a Government, with or without Peel. The first thing he did was to try [299] WELLINGTON’S EFFORTS TO FORM A MINISTRY. and prevail upon Peel to be Prime Minister, but he was inexorable. He then turned to Baring,[6] who, after much hesitation, agreed to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. The work went on, but with difficulty, for neither Peel, Goulburn, nor Croker would take office. They then tried the Speaker, who was mightily tempted to become Secretary of State, but still doubting and fearing, and requiring time to make up his mind. At an interview with the Duke and Lyndhurst at Apsley House he declared his sentiments on the existing state of affairs in a speech of three hours, to the unutterable disgust of Lyndhurst, who returned home, flung himself into a chair, and said that ‘he could not endure to have anything to do with such a damned tiresome old bitch.’ After these three hours of oratory Manners Sutton desired to have till the next morning (Monday) to make up his mind, which he again begged might be extended till the evening. On that evening (Monday) ensued the memorable night in the House of Commons, which everybody agrees was such a scene of violence and excitement as never had been exhibited within those walls. Tavistock told me he had never heard anything at all like it, and to his dying day should not forget it. The House was crammed to suffocation; every violent sentiment and vituperative expression was received with shouts of approbation, yet the violent speakers were listened to with the greatest attention.[7] Tom Duncombe made one of his blustering Radical harangues, full of every sort of impertinence, which was received with immense applause, but which contrasted with an admirable speech, full of dignity, but also of sarcasm and severity, from John Russell—the best he ever made. The conduct of the Duke of Wellington in taking office to carry the Bill, which was not denied, but which his friends feebly attempted to justify, was assailed with the most merciless severity, and (what made the greatest impression) was condemned (though in more measured terms) by moderate men and Tories, such as Inglis and Davies Gilbert. Baring, who spoke four times, [300] at last proposed that there should be a compromise, and that the ex-Ministers should resume their seats and carry the Bill. This extraordinary proposition was drawn from him by the state of the House, and the impossibility he at once saw of forming a new Government, and without any previous concert with the Duke, who, however, entirely approved of what he said. After the debate Baring and Sutton went to Apsley House, and related to the Duke what had taken place, the former saying he would face a thousand devils rather than such a House of Commons. From that moment the whole thing was at an end, and the next morning (Tuesday) the Duke repaired to the King, and told him that he could not form an Administration. This communication, for which the debate of the previous night had prepared everybody, was speedily known, and the joy and triumph of the Whigs were complete.

[6] [Alexander Baring, afterwards Lord Ashburton.]

[7] [The debate arose on a petition of the City of London, praying that the House would refuse supplies until the Reform Bill had become law.]

The King desired the Duke and Lyndhurst (for they went together) to advise him what he should do. They advised him to write to Lord Grey (which he did), informing him that the Duke had given up the commission to form a Government, that he had heard of what had fallen from Mr. Baring in the House of Commons the night before on the subject of a compromise, and that he wished Lord Grey to return and resume the Government upon that principle. Lord Grey sent an answer full of the usual expressions of zeal and respect, but saying that he could give no answer until he had consulted his colleagues. He assembled his Cabinet, and at five o’clock the answer was sent.[8]

[8] [These communications have been published in the ‘Correspondence of Earl Grey with William IV.,’ vol. ii. pp. 406-411.]

Yesterday morning Lord Grey saw the King; but up to last night nothing was finally settled, everything turning upon the terms to be exacted, some of the violent of the party desiring they should avail themselves of this opportunity to make Peers, both to show their power and increase their strength; the more moderate, including Lord Grey himself and many of the old Peer-makers, were for sparing the King’s feelings and using their victory with moderation, [301] TRIUMPH OF THE WHIGS. all, however, agreeing that the only condition on which they could return was the certainty of carrying the Reform Bill unaltered, either by a creation of Peers or by the secession of its opponents. Up to the present moment the matter stands thus: the King at the mercy of the Whigs, just as averse as ever to make Peers, the violent wishing to press him, the moderate wishing to spare him, all parties railing at each other, the Tories broken and discomfited, and meditating no further resistance to the Reform Bill. The Duke is to make his exposé to-night.

Peel, who has kept himself out of the scrape, is strongly suspected of being anything but sorry for the dilemma into which the Duke has got himself, and they think that he secretly encouraged him to persevere, with promises of present support and future co-operation, with a shrewd anticipation of the fate that awaited him. I am by no means indisposed to give credit to this, for I well remember the wrath of Peel when the Duke’s Government was broken up in 1830, and the various instances of secret dislike and want of real cordiality which have peeped from under a decent appearance of union and friendship. Nothing can be more certain than that he is in high spirits in the midst of it all, and talks with great complacency of its being very well as it is, and that the salvation of character is everything; and this from him, who fancies he has saved his own, and addressed to those who have forfeited theirs, is amusing.

The joy of the King at what he thought was to be his deliverance from the Whigs was unbounded. He lost no time in putting the Duke of Wellington in possession of everything that had taken place between him and them upon the subject of Reform, and with regard to the creation of Peers, admitting that he had consented, but saying he had been subjected to every species of persecution. His ignorance, weakness, and levity put him in a miserable light, and prove him to be one of the silliest old gentlemen in his dominions; but I believe he is mad, for yesterday he gave a great dinner to the Jockey Club, at which (notwithstanding his cares) he seemed in excellent spirits; and after dinner he made a [302] number of speeches, so ridiculous and nonsensical, beyond all belief but to those who heard them, rambling from one subject to another, repeating the same thing over and over again, and altogether such a mass of confusion, trash, and imbecility as made one laugh and blush at the same time.

As soon as the Duke had agreed to try and form a Government he applied to the Tories, who nearly all agreed to support him, and were prepared to go to all lengths, even to that of swallowing the whole Bill if necessary; the Duke of Newcastle particularly would do anything. These were the men who were so squeamish that they could not be brought to support amendments even, unless they were permitted to turn the schedules upside-down, straining at gnats out of office and swallowing camels in. It is remarkable that after the sacrifice Wharncliffe made to re-ingratiate himself with the Tories, incurring the detestation and abuse of the Whigs, and their reproach of bad faith, the former have utterly neglected him, taking no notice of him whatever during the whole of their proceedings from the moment of the division, leaving him in ignorance of their plans and intentions, never inviting him to any of their meetings, and although a communication was made by Lyndhurst to Harrowby (they wanted Harrowby to be Prime Minister), the latter was not at liberty to impart it to Wharncliffe. It is not possible to be more deeply mortified than he is at the treatment he has experienced from these allies after having so committed himself. From the account of the King’s levity throughout these proceedings, I strongly suspect that (if he lives) he will go mad. While the Duke and Lyndhurst were with him, at one of the most critical moments (I forget now at which) he said, ‘I have been thinking that something is wanting with regard to Hanover. Duke, you are now my Minister, and I beg you will think of this; I should like to have a slice of Belgium, which would be a convenient addition to Hanover. Pray remember this,’ and then resumed the subject they were upon.

May 19th, 1832

The night before last the Duke made his statement. It was extremely clear, but very bald, and left [303] THE KING’S LETTER TO THE PEERS. his case just where it was, as he did not say anything that everybody did not know before. His friends, however, extolled it as a masterpiece of eloquence and a complete vindication of himself. The Tory Lords who spoke after him bedaubed him with praise, and vied with each other in expressions of admiration. These were Carnarvon, Winchelsea, and Haddington. There was not one word from the Duke (nor from the others) indicative of an intention to secede, which was what the Government expected. His speech contained a sort of covert attack upon Peel; in fact, he could not defend himself without attacking Peel, for if the one was in the right in taking office the other must have been in the wrong in refusing to join him. There was nothing, however, which was meant as a reproach, though out of the House the Duke’s friends do not conceal their anger that Peel would not embark with him in his desperate enterprise.

Lyndhurst was exceedingly able, highly excited, very eloquent, and contrived to make his case a good one. It was a fine display and very short. Carnarvon and Mansfield were outrageously violent, but both in their way clever, and parts of the speech of the latter were eloquent. Lord Grey was excellent, short, very temperate and judicious, exactly what was requisite and nothing more. Nobody else spoke on his side, except Mulgrave at the end.

The debate, however interesting, left the whole matter in uncertainty; and the next day the old question began again. What was to be done—Peers or no Peers? A Cabinet sat nearly all day, and Lord Grey went once or twice to the King. He, poor man, was at his wits’ end, and tried an experiment (not a very constitutional one) of his own by writing to a number of Peers, entreating them to withdraw their opposition to the Bill. These letters were written (I think) before the debate. On Thursday nothing was settled, and at another meeting of the Cabinet a minute was drawn up agreeing to offer again the same advice to the King. Before this was acted upon Richmond, who had been absent, arrived, and he prevailed upon his colleagues to cancel it. In the meantime the Duke of Wellington, Lyndhurst, and other [304] Peers had given the desired assurances to the King, which he communicated to Lord Grey. These were accepted as sufficient securities, and declarations made accordingly in both Houses of Parliament. If the Ministers had again gone to the King with this advice, it is impossible to say how it would have ended, for he had already been obstinate, and might have continued so on this point, and he told Lord Verulam that he thought it would be contrary to his coronation oath to make Peers. Our princes have strange notions of the obligations imposed by their coronation oath.

On Thursday in the House of Commons Peel made his statement, in which, with great civility and many expressions of esteem and admiration of the Duke, he pronounced as bitter a censure of his conduct, while apparently confining himself to the defence of his own, as it was possible to do, and as such it was taken. I have not the least doubt that he did it con amore, and that he is doubly rejoiced to be out of the scrape himself and to leave others in it.

May 31st, 1832

Since I came back from Newmarket there has not been much to write about. A calm has succeeded the storm. Last night Schedules A and B were galloped through the Committee, and they finished the business. On Thursday next the Bill will probably be read a third time. In the House of Lords some dozen Tories and Waverers have continued to keep up a little skirmish, and a good deal of violent language has been bandied about, in which the Whigs, being the winners, have shown the best temper. In society the excitement has ceased, but the bitterness remains. The Tories are, however, so utterly defeated, and the victory of their opponents is so complete, that the latter can afford to be moderate and decorous in their tone and manner; and the former are exceedingly sulky, cockering up each other with much self-gratulation and praise, but aware that in the opinion of the mass of mankind they are covered with odium, ridicule, and disgrace. Peel and the Duke are ostensibly great friends, and the ridiculous farce is still kept up of each admiring what he would not do himself, but what the other did.

June 1st, 1832

[305] FAVOURITES OF LOUIS XVIII. Met the Duke of Wellington at dinner yesterday, and afterwards had a long talk with him, not on politics. I never see and converse with him without reproaching myself for the sort of hostility I feel and express towards his political conduct, for there are a simplicity, a gaiety, and natural urbanity and good-humour in him, which are remarkably captivating in so great a man. We talked of Dumont’s book and Louis XVIII.’s ‘Memoirs.’ I said I thought the ‘Memoirs’ were not genuine. He said he was sure they were, that they bore the strongest internal evidence of being so, particularly in their accuracy as to dates, that he was the best chronologist in the world, and that he knew the day of the week of every event of importance. He once asked the Duke when he was born, and when he told him the day of the month and year, he at once said it was on a Tuesday; that he (the Duke) had remembered that throughout the book the day of the week was always mentioned, and many of the anecdotes he had himself heard the King tell. He then talked of him, and I was surprised to hear him say that Charles X. was a cleverer man, as far as knowledge of the world went, though Louis XVIII. was much better informed—a most curious remark, considering the history and end of each. [Nothing could be more mistaken and untrue than this opinion.] That Louis XVIII. was always governed, and a favourite indispensable to him. At the Congress of Vienna the Duke was deputed to speak to M. de Blacas, his then favourite, and tell him that his unpopularity was so great in France that it was desirable he should not return there. Blacas replied, ‘You don’t know the King; he must have a favourite, and he had better have me than another. I shall go; he will have another, and you should take pains to put a gentleman in that situation, for he is capable of taking the first person that finds access to him and the opportunity of pleasing him.’ He added that he should not wonder if he took Fouché. He did not take Fouché, who was not aware of the part he might have played, but he took De Cazes, who governed him entirely. This continued till the Royal Family determined to get rid of him, and by threatening [306] to make an esclandre and leave the château they at last succeeded, and De Cazes was sent as Ambassador to London. Then the King wrote to him constantly, sending him verses and literary scraps. The place remained vacant till accident threw Madame du Cayla in his way.[9] She was the daughter of Talon, who had been concerned in the affair of the Marquis de Favras, and she sent to the King to say she had some papers of her father’s relating to that affair, which she should like to give into his own hands. He saw her and was pleased with her. The Royal Family encouraged this new taste, in order to get rid entirely of De Cazes, and even the Duchesse d’Angoulême promoted her success. It was the same thing to him to have a woman as a man, and there was no sexual question in the matter, as what he wanted was merely some one to whom he could tell everything, consult with on all occasions, and with whom he could bandy literary trifles. Madame du Cayla, who was clever, was speedily installed, and he directly gave up De Cazes. He told the Duke that he was brouillé with De Cazes, who had behaved very ill to him, but he had nothing specific to allege against him, except that his manner to him was not what it ought to have been. The Ministers paid assiduous court to Madame du Cayla, imparted everything to her, and got her to say what they wanted said to the King; she acted all the part of a mistress, except the essential, of which there never was any question. She got great sums of money from him and very valuable presents.

[9] [This lady has already been noticed in a previous portion of these Memoirs, when she visited England. See vol. i. p. 215 [July 10th, 1829].]

June 18th, 1832

Breakfasted on Thursday with Rogers, and yesterday at the Athenæum with Henry Taylor, and met Mr. Charles Austin, a lawyer, clever man, and Radical. The Bills are jogging on and there is a comparative calm. The Whigs swear that the Reformed Parliament will be the most aristocratic we have ever seen, and Ellice told me that they cannot hear of a single improper person likely to be elected for any of the new places. [Their choice did not correspond with this statement of their disposition.] The metropolitan districts [307] CHARACTER OF WILLIAM IV. want rank and talent. The Government and their people have now found out what a fool the King is, and it is very amusing to hear them on the subject. Formerly, when they thought they had him fast, he was very honest and rather wise; now they find him rather shuffling and exceedingly silly. When Normanby went to take leave of him on going to Jamaica, he pronounced a harangue in favour of the slave trade, of which he has always been a great admirer, and expressed sentiments for which his subjects would tear him to pieces if they heard them. It is one of the great evils of the recent convulsion that the King’s imbecility has been exposed to the world, and in his person the regal authority has fallen into contempt; his own personal unpopularity is not of much consequence as long as it does not degrade his office; that of George IV. never did, so little so that he could always as King cancel the bad impressions which he made in his individual capacity, and he frequently did so. Walter Scott is arrived here, dying. A great mortality among great men; Goethe, Périer, Champollion, Cuvier, Scott, Grant, Mackintosh, all died within a few weeks of each other.

June 25th, 1832

At Fern Hill all last week; a great party, nothing but racing and gambling; then to Shepperton, and to town on Saturday. The event of the races was the King’s having his head knocked with a stone. It made very little sensation on the spot, for he was not hurt, and the fellow was a miserable-looking ragamuffin. It, however, produced a great burst of loyalty in both Houses, and their Majesties were loudly cheered at Ascot. The Duke of Wellington, who had been the day before mobbed in London, also reaped a little harvest of returning popularity from the assault, and so far the outrages have done rather good than harm.

July 12th, 1832

The suttee case was decided at the Privy Council on Saturday last, and was not uninteresting. The Chancellor, Lord President, Graham, John Russell and Grant, Sir Edward East, the Master of Rolls, Vice-Chancellor, Lord Amherst, and Lord Wellesley were present (the latter not the last day). Lushington was for the appeal, and Home and [308] Starkie against. The former made two very able and ingenious speeches; when the counsel withdrew the Lords gave their opinions seriatim. Leach made a very short and very neat speech, condemning the order[10] of the Governor-General, but admitting the danger of rescinding it, and recommending, therefore, that the execution of it should be suspended. Sir Edward East, in a long, diffusive harangue, likewise condemned the order, but was against suspension; Sir James Graham was against the order, but against suspension; Lord Amherst the same. The rest approved of the order altogether. John Russell gave his opinion very well. The Chancellor was prolix and confused; he hit upon a bit of metaphysics in one of the cases on which he took pleasure in dilating. The result was that the petition was dismissed.

[10] The order was a decree of the Governor-General of India abolishing the practice of suttee, against which certain Hindoos appealed to the King in Council. Another party, however, were in favour of the order, and the Rajah Rammohun Roy is acting in this country as their agent.

I know nothing of politics for some time past. The Reform fever having subsided, people are principally occupied with speculations on the next elections. At present there is every appearance of the return of a House of Commons very favourable to the present Government, but the Tory party keeps together in the House of Lords, and they are animated with vague hopes of being able to turn out the Ministry, more from a spirit of hatred and revenge than from any clear view of the practicability of their carrying on the Government. I conceive, however, that as soon as Parliament is up there will be a creation of Peers. In the House of Commons the Irish Tithe question has been the great subject of interest and discussion. O’Connell and the Irish members debate and adjourn just as they please, and Althorp is obliged to give way to them. When Stanley moved for leave to bring in his Bill, he detailed his plan in a speech of two hours. They thought fit to oppose this, which is quite unusual, and O’Connell did not arrive till after Stanley had sat down. Not having heard his speech he could not answer him, and he therefore moved the adjournment. [309] O’CONNELL’S DREAD OF CHOLERA. Upon a former occasion, during the Reform Bill, when the Tories moved an adjournment after many hours’ debate, the Government opposed it, and voted on through the night till seven o’clock in the morning; now the Tories were ready to support Government against the Irish members, but they would not treat the Radicals as they did the Tories, and then on a subsequent occasion they submitted to have the debate adjourned.

O’Connell is supposed to be horridly afraid of the cholera. He has dodged about between London and Dublin, as the disease appeared first at one and then the other place, and now that it is everywhere he shirks the House of Commons from fear of the heat and the atmosphere. The cholera is here, and diffuses a certain degree of alarm. Some servants of people well known have died, and that frightens all other servants out of their wits, and they frighten their masters; the death of any one person they are acquainted with terrifies people much more than that of twenty of whom they knew nothing. As long as they read daily returns of a parcel of deaths here and there of A, B, and C they do not mind, but when they hear that Lady such a one’s nurse or Sir somebody’s footman is dead, they fancy they see the disease actually at their own door.

July 15th, 1832

I had a good deal of conversation yesterday with Lord Duncannon and Lord John Russell about Ireland. The debate the night before lasted till four o’clock. O’Connell made a furious speech, and Dawson the other evening another, talking of resistance and of his readiness to join in it. This drew up Peel, who had spoken before, and who, when attacked with cries of ‘Spoke!’ said, ‘Yes, I have spoken, but I will say that no party considerations shall prevent my supporting Government in this measure, and giving them my cordial support.’ He was furious with Dawson, and got up in order to throw him over, though he did not address himself to him, or to anything he had said expressly. John Russell spoke out what ought to have been said long ago, that the Church could not stand, but that the present clergyman must be paid. Both he and Duncannon are aware of the [310] false position in which the Government is placed, pretending to legislate with a knowledge that their laws cannot be enforced, and the latter said that, whatever might be done, the Irish would take nothing at the hands of Stanley. It is unfortunate that his attachment to the Church makes him the unfittest man in the country to manage Irish affairs, and he has contrived to make himself so personally unpopular that with the best intentions he could not give satisfaction. Under these circumstances his remaining there is impossible, but what is to be done with him? He is of such importance in the House of Commons that they cannot part with him. I asked John Russell why they did not send Hobhouse to Ireland and make Stanley Secretary of War. He said would he consent to exchange? that he was tired of office, and would be glad to be out. I said I could not suppose in such an emergency that he would allow any personal considerations to influence him, and that he would consent to whatever arrangement would be most beneficial to the Government and conducive to the settlement of Irish affairs. The truth is (as I told him) that they are, with respect to Ireland, in the situation of a man who has got an old house in which he can no longer live, not tenable; various architects propose this and that alteration, to build a room here and pull down one there, but at last they find that all these alterations will only serve to make the house habitable a little while longer, that the dry rot is in it, and that they had better begin, as they will be obliged to end, by pulling it down and building up a new one. He owned this was true, but said that here another difficulty presented itself with regard to Stanley—whether he would, as a leading member of the Cabinet, consent to any measures which might go so much further than he would be disposed to do. I said that I could not imagine (whatever might be his predilections) that his mind was not awakened to the necessity of giving way to the state of things, and that he might consent to measures which he felt he was not a fit person to introduce and recommend. He assented to this. He then talked of the views of the Protestants, of the Lefroys, &c., that they began to admit the necessity of [311] IRISH TITHES. a change, but by no means would consent to the alienation of Church property from Protestant uses, that they were willing where there was a large parish consisting entirely of Catholics that the tithes should be taken from the rector of such parish and given to one who had a large Protestant flock—an arrangement which would disgust the Catholics as much as or more than any other, and be considered a perfect mockery. The fact is we may shift and change and wriggle about as much as we will, we may examine and report and make laws, but tithe, the tithe system is at an end. The people will not pay them, and there are no means of compelling them. The march of events is just as certain as that of the seasons. The question which is said to be beset with difficulties is in fact very easy—that is, its difficulties arise from conflicting interests and passions, and not from the uncertainty of its operation and end. Those conflicting passions are certainly very great and very embarrassing, and it is no easy matter to deal with them, but it seems to me that the wisest policy is to keep our eyes steadfastly fixed on the end, and, admitting the inevitable conclusion, labour to bring it about with the smallest amount of individual loss, the greatest general benefit, and the best chance of permanence and stability. By casting lingering looks at the old system, and endeavouring to save something here and there, by allowing the Church to remain in the rags and tatters of its old supremacy, we shall foster those hostile feelings which it is essential to put down for ever, and leave the seeds of grievance and hatred to spring up in a future harvest of agitation and confusion.

July 25th, 1832

Nothing of moment has occurred lately; the dread of cholera absorbs everybody. Mrs. Smith, young and beautiful, was dressed to go to church on Sunday morning, when she was seized with the disorder, never had a chance of rallying, and died at eleven at night. This event, shocking enough in itself from its suddenness and the youth and beauty of the person, has created a terrible alarm; many people have taken flight, and others are suspended between their hopes of safety in country air and their dread of being removed from [312] metropolitan aid. The disease spreads gradually in all directions in town and country, but without appearing like an epidemic; it is scattered and uncertain; it brings to light horrible distress. We, who live on the smooth and plausible surface, know little of the frightful appearance of the bowels of society.

Don Pedro has never been heard of since he landed, and nobody seems much to care whether he or Miguel succeed. The Tories are for the latter and the Whigs for the former. In a fourth debate on the Russian Dutch Loan Ministers got a good finale, a large division, and a brilliant speech from Stanley, totally unprepared and prodigiously successful. Nothing could be worse in point of tactics than renewing this contest, neither party having, in fact, a good case. Parliament is going to separate soon, and the cholera will accelerate the prorogation; not a step has been made towards an approximation between the rival parties, who appear to be animated against each other with unabated virulence. The moderate Tories talk of their desire to see the Government discard their Radical friends, but the great body give them no encouragement to do so by evincing any diminished hostility to them as a party. Opinions are so different as to the probable composition of the next Parliament, that it is difficult to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion about it. The Tories evidently expect that they shall reappear in very formidable strength, though in particular places the Tory party is entirely crushed; the sooner it is so altogether the better, for no good can be expected from it, and it would be far better to erect a Conservative party upon a new and broader basis than to try and bolster up this worn-out, prejudiced, obstinate faction. But the times are difficult and men are wanting; the middle classes are pressing on, and there are men enough there of fortune, energy, activity, zeal, and ambition—no Cannings perhaps or Broughams, but a host of fellows of the calibre of the actors in the old French Constituent Assembly.

July 29th, 1832

There has been a great breeze between the Chancellor and Sugden, abusing and retorting upon each [313] QUARREL BETWEEN BROUGHAM AND SUGDEN. other from their respective Houses of Parliament. As all personal matters excite greater interest than any others, so has this. Scott, Lord Eldon’s son, died, and his places became vacant. Brougham had recommended their abolition long ago in his evidence before the House of Commons, and both publicly and privately. Some days ago Sugden gave notice to Horne (Solicitor-General) that he meant to put a question to him in the House of Commons as to whether these appointments were to be filled up or not, but before he did so (at four o’clock in the morning) the writ was moved for James Brougham, who had been put by the Chancellor in Scott’s place. Accordingly the next day Sugden attacked the appointment in the House of Commons, and though he was by way of only asking a question, he in fact made a long vituperative speech. Nobody was there to reply. Althorp said he knew nothing of the matter, and various speeches were made, all expressive of a desire that the appointment should only be temporary. Horne (it seems) had never told the Chancellor what Sugden said, and Denman, who had no authority from him, did not dare get up and say that it was not to be permanent. Later in the day, having received instructions from the Chancellor, he did get up and say so. The next day Brougham introduced the subject in the House of Lords, and attacked Sugden with all the sarcasm and contumely which he could heap upon him, comparing him to ‘a crawling reptile,’ &c. Not one of his Tory friends said a word, and, what is curious, the Duke of Wellington praised Brougham for his disinterestedness, and old Eldon defended the place. The following day (Friday) Sugden again brought the matter before the House of Commons, complained bitterly of the Chancellor’s speech, was called to order by Stanley, when the Speaker interfered, and, dexterously turning Sugden’s attack upon the newspaper report, enabled him to go on. A violent discussion followed, rather awkward for the Chancellor, whose friends endeavoured to soften the thing down by denying the accuracy of the report. After much acrimonious debate the matter ended. Yesterday the ‘Times,’ throwing over Brougham and Sugden, asserted [314] the accuracy of its own reporter, and declared that whether the Chancellor was right or wrong to have uttered them, the words were spoken by him exactly as they had been reported. Both parties are furious, but on the whole the Chancellor seems at present to have the worst of it, for it is worse for a man in his station to be in the wrong, and more indecent to be scurrilous, than for an individual who is nothing. Sugden now declares he will bring on a motion he has long meditated on the subject of the Court of Chancery, in which he will exhibit to the world the whole conduct of Brougham since he has held the Great Seal, his early haste and precipitation, his recent carelessness and delay, his ignorance, inattention, and incompetence for the office he holds. In this he expects to be supported by Wetherell, Knight, and Pemberton, three of the most eminent Chancery lawyers, while Brougham has nobody but Horne (of the profession) to defend him. If this should occur he may thank himself, for he would put Horne there.

Sir Charles Bagot called on me yesterday; told me that he thought the Belgian question was at last on the point of being settled, that the King of Holland had made ‘the great concession,’ and that the rest must soon follow, that he had never passed two such years amidst such difficulties, the King so obstinate. His view was that by holding out and maintaining a large army events would produce war, and that he would be able to sell himself to some one of the contending parties, getting back Belgium as the price of his aid, that he now only gave in because not a hope was left, that the difficulties were so great that it was not the fault of this Government that matters were not settled before. I asked him how the Dutch had contrived to make such an exertion. He said it was very creditable to them, but that they were very rich and very frugal, and had lugged out their hoards. They had saddled themselves with a debt the interest of which amounts to about 700,000ℓ. a year—a good deal for two millions of people.

August 1st, 1832

Here is an anecdote exhibiting the character of Brougham, hot, passionate, and precipitate. He is preparing [315] BROUGHAM’S RESENTMENT. his Bill for the amendment of the Court of Chancery, by which the patronage is to be done away with. Compensation was to be given to the present interests, but upon this recent affair between Sugden and him, to revenge himself upon men who are all or mostly of Sugden’s party, he ordered the compensation clauses to be struck out. Sefton (who is a sort of Sancho to him) came up to dinner quite elated at having heard the order given. ‘I wish,’ said he, ‘you had heard a man treated as I did in the Chancellor’s room. He came in to ask him about the Bill he was drawing up. “I suppose the compensation clauses are to be put in?” “Compensation?” said Brougham. “No, by God; no compensation. Leave them out, if you please. They chose to attack me, and they shall have enough of it.”’ And what will be the end of all this—that the Chancellor shows his spite and commits himself, shows that he is influenced in legislation by personal feelings, and incurs the suspicion that because he cannot get a compensation for his brother he is resolved nobody else shall have any? Althorp’s speech about the pensions on Monday set at rest the question of compensation, and if these offices are abolished the Chancellor cannot prevent their getting it. In the House of Lords the eternal Russian Dutch Loan came on again. The Duke made a speech and Wynford made a speech, and they were opposed to each other; the Duke hit the right nail on the head, and took that course which he frequently does, and which is such a redeeming quality in his political character—addressed himself to the question itself, to the real merits of it, without making it a mere vehicle for annoying the Government. Aberdeen sneered, but when the Duke throws over his people they can do nothing.

August 8th, 1832

Pedro’s expedition, which always has hobbled along, and never exhibited any of that dash which is essential to the success of such efforts, may be considered hopeless; Palmella arrived here a day or two ago, very low, and the Regency scrip has fallen four per cent. Nobody joins them, and it seems pretty clear that, one coquin for another, the Portuguese think they may as well have Miguel. [316] The Dutch affair is not yet settled, but on the point of it; for the fiftieth time a ‘little hitch’ has again arisen. Last night, in the House of Lords, the Chancellor, in one of his most bungling ways, made what he meant to be a sort of amende to Sugden, making the matter rather worse than it was before, at least for his own credit, for he said that ‘he had never intended to give pain, which he of all things abhorred,’ and that he had not been at all in a passion—both false, and the latter being in fact his only excuse. I sat next to Melbourne at dinner, who concurred in the judgment of the world on the whole transaction, and said, ‘The real truth is, he was in a great rage, for he had forgotten all his own evidence and his own speeches, and he meant to have kept the place.’ This evidence from his own colleague and friend is conclusive, and will be a nice morsel for the future biographer of Brougham.

I dined at Holland House yesterday; a good many people, and the Chancellor came in after dinner, looking like an old clothes man and dirty as the ground. We had a true Holland House dinner, two more people arriving (Melbourne and Tom Duncombe) than there was room for, so that Lady Holland had the pleasure of a couple of general squeezes, and of seeing our arms prettily pinioned. Lord Holland sits at table, but does not dine. He proposed to retire (not from the room), but was not allowed, for that would have given us all space and ease. Lord Holland told some stories of Johnson and Garrick which he had heard from Kemble. Johnson loved to bully Garrick, from a recollection of Garrick’s former impertinence. When Garrick was in the zenith of his popularity, and grown rich, and lived with the great, and while Johnson was yet obscure, the Doctor used to drink tea with him, and he would say, ‘Davy, I do not envy you your money nor your fine acquaintance, but I envy you your power of drinking such tea as this.’ ‘Yes,’ said Garrick, ‘it is very good tea, but it is not my best, nor that which I give to my Lord this and Sir somebody t’other.’

Johnson liked Fox because he defended his pension, and said it was only to blame in not being large enough. [317] CHARACTER OF MACAULAY. ‘Fox,’ he said, ‘is a liberal man; he would always be “aut Cæsar aut nullus;” whenever I have seen him he has been nullus.’ Lord Holland said Fox made it a rule never to talk in Johnson’s presence, because he knew all his conversations were recorded for publication, and he did not choose to figure in them.

August 12th, 1832

The House of Commons has finished (or nearly) its business. Althorp ended with a blunder. He brought in a Bill to extend the time for payment of rates and for voters under the new Bill, and because it was opposed he abandoned it suddenly; his friends are disgusted. Robarts told me that the Bank Committee had executed their laborious duties in a spirit of great cordiality, and with a general disposition to lay aside all political differences and concur in accomplishing the best results; a good thing, for it is in such transactions as these, which afford an opportunity for laying aside the bitterness of party and the rancorous feelings which animate men against each other, that the only chance can be found of a future amalgamation of public men. He told me that the evidence all went to prove that little improvement could be made in the management of the Bank.

Dined yesterday at Holland House; the Chancellor, Lord Grey, Luttrell, Palmerston, and Macaulay. The Chancellor was sleepy and would not talk; he uttered nothing but yawns and grunts. Macaulay and Allen disputed history, particularly the character of the Emperor Frederick II., and Allen declared himself a Guelph and Macaulay a Ghibelline. Macaulay is a most extraordinary man, and his astonishing knowledge is every moment exhibited, but (as far as I have yet seen of him, which is not sufficient to judge) he is not agreeable. His propositions and his allusions are rather too abrupt; he starts topics not altogether naturally; then he has none of the graces of conversation, none of that exquisite tact and refinement which are the result of a felicitous intuition or a long acquaintance with good society, or more probably a mixture of both. The mighty mass of his knowledge is not animated by that subtle spirit of taste and discretion which [318] alone can give it the qualities of lightness and elasticity, and without which, though he may have the power of instructing and astonishing, he never will attain that of delighting and captivating his hearers. The dinner was agreeable, and enlivened by a squabble between Lady Holland and Allen, at which we were all ready to die of laughing. He jeered at something she said as brutal, and chuckled at his own wit.

Shepperton, August 31st, 1832

I came here last Sunday to see my father, who (my mother wrote me word) had been unwell for a day or two. I got here at four o’clock (having called on Madame de Lieven at Richmond on the way), and when I arrived I found my father at the point of death. He was attacked as he had often been before; medicines afforded him no relief, and nothing would stay on his stomach. On Saturday violent spasms came on, which occasioned him dreadful pain; they continued intermittingly till Sunday afternoon, when as they took him out of bed to put him in a warm bath, he fainted. From this state of insensibility he never recovered, and at half-past twelve o’clock he expired. My brothers were both here. I sent an express for my sister, who was at Malvern, and she arrived on Tuesday morning. Dr. Dowdeswell was in the house, and he stayed on with us and did all that was required. This morning he was buried in the church of this village, close to the house, in the simplest manner, and was followed to the grave by my brothers and brother-in-law, Dowdeswell, Ives, the doctor who attended him, and the servants. He had long been ailing, and at his age (nearly 70 years) this event was not extraordinary, but it was shocking, because so sudden and unexpected, and no idea of danger was entertained by himself or those about him. My father had some faults and many foibles, but he was exposed to great disadvantages in early youth; his education was neglected and his disposition was spoilt. His father was useless, and worse than useless, as a parent, and his mother (a woman of extraordinary capacity and merit) died while he was a young man, having been previously separated from her husband, and having [319] ANECDOTES OF PRINCESS CHARLOTTE. retired from the world.[11] The circumstances of his marriage, and the incidents of his life, would be interesting to none but his own family, and need not be recorded by me. He was a man of a kind, amiable, and liberal disposition, and what is remarkable, as he advanced in years his temper grew less irritable and more indulgent; he was cheerful, hospitable, and unselfish. He had at all times been a lively companion, and without much instruction, extensive information, or a vigorous understanding, his knowledge of the world in the midst of which he had passed his life, his taste and turn for humour, and his good-nature made him a very agreeable man. He had a few intimate friends to whom he was warmly attached, a host of acquaintance, and I do not know that he had a single enemy. He was an affectionate father, and ready to make any sacrifices for the happiness and welfare of his children—in short, he was amiable and blameless in the various relations of life, and he deserved that his memory should be cherished as it is by us with sincere and affectionate regret.

[11] [Mr. Charles Greville, senior, was the fifth son of Fulk Greville of Wilbury, by Frances Macartney, a lady of some literary reputation as the authoress of an ‘Ode to Indifference.’ She was the daughter of General Macartney. Horace Walpole speaks of her as one of the beauties of his time. She died in 1789. Mr. Greville may have inherited from her his strong literary tastes.]

September 18th, 1832

I have been in London, at Shepperton, and twice at Brighton to see Henry de Ros; came back yesterday. The world is half asleep. Lord Howe returns to the Queen as her Chamberlain, and that makes a sensation. I met at Brighton Lady Keith [Madame de Flahaut], who told us a great deal about French politics, which, as she is a partisan, was not worth much, but she also gave us rather an amusing account of the early days of the Princess Charlotte, at the time of her escape from Warwick House in a hackney coach and taking refuge with her mother, and of the earlier affair of Captain Hess. The former escapade arose from her determination to break off her marriage with the Prince of Orange, and that from her falling suddenly in love with Prince Augustus of Prussia, and her resolving to marry him and [320] nobody else, not knowing that he was already married de la main gauche in Prussia. It seems that she speedily made known her sentiments to the Prince, and he (notwithstanding his marriage) followed the thing up, and had two interviews with her at her own house, which were contrived by Miss Knight, her governess. During one of these Miss Mercer arrived, and Miss Knight told her that Prince Augustus was with the Princess in her room, and what a fright she (Miss Knight) was in. Miss Mercer, who evidently had no mind anybody should conduct such an affair for the Princess but herself, pressed Miss Knight to go and interrupt them, which on her declining she did herself. The King (Regent as he was then) somehow heard of these meetings, and measures of coercion were threatened, and it was just when an approaching visit from him had been announced to the Princess that she went off. Miss Mercer was in the house at the time, and the Regent, when he came, found her there. He accused her of being a party to the Princess’s flight, but afterwards either did or pretended to believe her denial, and sent her to fetch the Princess back, which after many pourparlers and the intervention of the Dukes of York and Sussex, Brougham, and the Bishop of Salisbury, her preceptor, was accomplished at two in the morning.

Hess’s affair was an atrocity of the Princess of Wales. She employed him to convey letters to her daughter while she used to ride in Windsor Park, which he contrived to deliver, and occasionally to converse with her; and on one occasion, at Kensington, the Princess of Wales brought them together in her own room. The Princess afterwards wrote him some letters, not containing much harm, but idle and improper. When the Duke of York’s affair with Mrs. Clark came out, and all the correspondence, she became very much alarmed, told Miss Mercer the whole story, and employed her to get back her letters to Hess. She accordingly wrote to Hess (who was then in Spain), but he evinced a disinclination to give them up. On his return to England she saw him, and on his still demurring she threatened to put the affair into the Duke of York’s hands, which frightened him, and then he surrendered them, and signed a paper declaring [321] BELGIUM, SPAIN, FRANCE. he had given up everything. The King afterwards heard of this affair, and questioning the Princess, she told him everything. He sent for Miss Mercer, and desired to see the letters, and then to keep them. This she refused. This Captain Hess was a short, plump, vulgar-looking man, afterwards lover to the Queen of Naples, mother of the present King, an amour that was carried on under the auspices of the Margravine at her villa in the Strada Nova at Naples. It was, however, detected, and Hess was sent away from Naples, and never allowed to return. I remember finding him at Turin (married), when he was lamenting his hard fate in being excluded from that Paradiso Naples.

September 28th, 1832

At Stoke from the 22nd to the 26th, then to the Grove, and returned yesterday; at the former place Madame de Lieven, Alvanley, Melbourne; tolerably pleasant; question of war again. The Dutch King makes a stir, and threatens to bombard the town of Antwerp; the French offered to march, and put their troops in motion, but Leopold begged they would not, and chose rather to await the effect of more conferences, which began with great vigour a few days ago. What they find to say to each other for eight or ten hours a day for several consecutive days it is hard to guess, as the question is of the simplest kind. The King of Holland will not give up the citadel of Antwerp, nor consent to the free navigation of the Scheldt; the Belgians insist on these concessions; the Conference says they shall be granted, but Russia, Prussia, and Austria will not coerce the Dutchman; England and France will, if the others don’t object. A French army is in motion, and a French fleet is off Spithead; so probably something will come of it. Nothing has damaged this Government more than these protracted and abortive conferences.

Four days ago there was a report that the King of Spain was dead, accompanied with a good many particulars, and all the world began speculating as to the succession, but yesterday came news that he was not dead, but better. Pedro and Miguel are fighting at Oporto with some appearance of spirit; Miguel is the favourite. The French Government is [322] represented to be in a wretched state, squabbling and feeble, and nobody is inclined to be Minister. Dupin was very near it, but refused because Louis Philippe would not make him President of the Council. The King is determined to be his own Minister, and can get nobody to take office on these terms. They think it will end in Dupin. The present Government declares it cannot meet the Chambers until Antwerp is evacuated by the Dutch and the Duchesse de Berri departed out of France or taken. This heroine, much to the annoyance of her family, is dodging about in La Vendée and doing rather harm than good to her cause. The Dauphiness passed through London, when our Queen very politely went to visit her. She has not a shadow of doubt of the restoration of her nephew, and thinks nothing questionable but the time. She told Madame de Lieven this. I talked to Madame de Lieven about war, and added that if any did break out it would be the war of opinion which Canning had predicted. She said yes, and that the monarchical principle (as she calls the absolute principle) would then crush the other.

I came up with Melbourne to London. He is uneasy about the state of the country—about the desire for change and the general restlessness that prevails. We discussed the different members of the Government, and he agreed that John Russell had acted unwarrantably in making the speech he did the other day at Torquay about the Ballot, which, though hypothetical, was nothing but an invitation to the advocates of Ballot to agitate for it; this, too, from a Cabinet Minister! Then comes an awkward sort of explanation, that what he said was in his individual capacity, as if he had any right so to speak. Melbourne spoke of Brougham, who he said was tossed about in perpetual caprices, that he was fanciful and sensitive, and actuated by all sorts of littlenesses, even with regard to people so insignificant that it is difficult to conceive how he can ever think about them; that he is conservative, but under the influence of his old connexions, particularly of the Saints. His friends are so often changed that it is not easy to follow him in this respect. [323] CONVERSATION WITH LORD MELBOURNE. Durham used to be one; now he hates him; he has a high opinion of Sefton! of his judgment!! What is talent, what are great abilities, when one sees the gigantic intellect of Brougham so at fault? Not only does the world manage to go on when little wisdom guides it, but how ill it may go on with a great deal of talent, which, however, is different from wisdom. He asked me what I thought of Richmond, and I told him that he was ignorant and narrow-minded, but a good sort of fellow, only appearing to me, who had known him all my life, in an odd place as a Cabinet Minister. He said he was sharp, quick, the King liked him, and he stood up to Durham more than any other man in the Cabinet, and that altogether he was not unimportant; so that the ingredients of this Cabinet seem to be put there to neutralise one another, and to be good for nothing else; because Durham has an overbearing temper, and his father-in-law is weak, there must be a man without any other merit than spirit to curb that temper. He talked of Ireland, and the difficulty of settling the question there, that the Archbishop of Canterbury was willing to reform the Church, but not to alienate any of its revenues. ‘Not,’ I asked, ‘for the payment of a Catholic clergy?’ ‘No, not from Protestant uses.’ I told him there was nothing to be done but to pull down the edifice and rebuild it. He said you would have all the Protestants against you, but he did not appear to differ. To this things must come at last. Melbourne is exceedingly anxious to keep Lord Hill and Fitzroy Somerset at the head of the army, from which the violent of his party would gladly oust them, but he evidently contemplates the possibility of having occasion for the army, and does not wish to tamper with the service or play any tricks with it. It is curious to see the working and counterworking of his real opinions and principles with his false position, and the mixture of bluntness, facility and shrewdness, discretion, levity and seriousness, which, colouring his mind and character by turns, make up the strange compound of his thoughts and his actions.


CHAPTER XIX.

Foreign Difficulties — Conduct of Peel on the Resignation of Lord Grey — Manners Sutton proposed as Tory Premier — Coolness between Peel and the Duke — Embargo on Dutch Ships — Death of Lord Tenterden — Denman made Lord Chief Justice — Tableau of Holland House — The Speakership — Horne and Campbell Attorney- and Solicitor-General — The Court at Brighton — Lord Howe and the Queen — Elections under the Reform Act — Mr. Gully — Petworth — Lord Egremont — Attempt to reinstate Lord Howe — Namik Pacha — Lord Lyndhurst’s Version of what occurred on the Resignation of Lord Grey — Lord Denbigh appointed Chamberlain to the Queen — Brougham’s Privy Council Bill — Talleyrand’s Relations with Fox and Pitt — Negro Emancipation Bill — State of the West Indies — The Reformed Parliament meets — Russian Intrigues — Four Days’ Debate on the Address — Peel’s Political Career.


London, October 7th, 1832

[324] I went to Newmarket on the 30th of September, to Panshanger on the 5th, and came to town on the 6th. Great fears entertained of war; the obstinacy of the Dutch King, the appointment of Soult to be Prime Minister of France, and the ambiguous conduct of the Allied Courts look like war. Miguel has attacked Oporto without success; but, as he nearly destroyed the English and French battalions, he will probably soon get possession of the city. It is clear that all Portugal is for him, which we may be sorry for, but so it is. The iniquity of his cause does not appear to affect it.

October 12th, 1832

Lady Cowper told me at Panshanger that Palmerston said all the difficulties of the Belgian question came from Matuscewitz, who was insolent and obstinate, and astute in making objections; that it was the more provoking as he had been recalled some time ago (the Greek business being settled, for which he came), and Palmerston and some of the others had asked the Emperor to allow him to stay here, [325] TORY ATTEMPTS TO FORM A MINISTRY. on account of his usefulness in drawing up the minutes of the proceedings of the Conference; that Lieven had by no means wished him to stay, but could not object when the others desired it. Accordingly he remained, and now he annoys Palmerston to death. All this she wrote to Madame de Lieven, who replied that it was not the fault of Matuscewitz, and that he and Lieven agreed perfectly. She talked, however, rather more pacific language. This clever, intriguing, agreeable diplomatess has renewed her friendship with the Duke of Wellington, to which he does not object, though she will hardly ever efface the impression her former conduct made upon him. My journal is getting intolerably stupid, and entirely barren of events. I would take to miscellaneous and private matters if any fell in my way, but what can I make out of such animals as I herd with and such occupations as I am engaged in?

Euston, October 26th, 1832

Went to Downham on Sunday last; the Duke of Rutland, the Walewskis, Lord Burghersh, and Hope. Came here on Wednesday morning; the usual party. At Downham I picked up a good deal from Arbuthnot (who was very garrulous) of a miscellaneous description, of which the most curious and important was the entire confirmation of (what I before suspected) the ill blood that exists between the Duke of Wellington and Peel; though the interests of party keep them on decent terms, they dislike one another, and the Duke’s friends detest Peel still more than the Duke does himself. He told me all that had passed at the time of the blow-up of the present Government, which I have partly recorded from a former conversation with him, and his story certainly proves that the Duke (though I think he committed an enormous error in judgment) was not influenced by any motives of personal ambition.

As soon as the King sent for Lyndhurst the latter went to the Duke, who (as is known) agreed to form a Government, never doubting that he was to be himself Prime Minister. Lyndhurst went to Peel, who declined to take office, and he then went to Baring. Lyndhurst and Arbuthnot sent for Baring out of the House of Commons, and took [326] him to old Bankes’ house in Palace Yard, where they had their conversation with him. He begged for time to consider of it, and to be allowed to consult Peel, to which they assented. He afterwards agreed, but on condition that Manners Sutton should also be in the Cabinet. Lyndhurst had about the same time made overtures to Manners Sutton, and though nothing was finally settled it was understood he would accept them. So matters stood, when one day (it must have been the Wednesday or Thursday) Vesey Fitzgerald called on the Arbuthnots, and in a conversation about the different arrangements he intimated that Manners Sutton expected to be Prime Minister, and on asking him more particularly they found that this was also his own impression. The next morning Arbuthnot went off to Lyndhurst’s house, where he arrived before Lyndhurst was dressed, and told him what had fallen from Fitzgerald, and asked what it could mean. Lyndhurst answered very evasively, but promised to have the matter cleared up. Arbuthnot, not satisfied, went to the Duke and told him what had passed, and added his conviction that there was some such project on foot (to make Sutton Premier) of which he was not aware. The Duke said he did not care a farthing who was Premier, and that if it was thought desirable that Sutton should be he had not the smallest objection, and was by no means anxious to fill the post himself. I asked whether the Duke would have taken office if Sutton had been Minister, and was told that nothing was settled, but probably not.

The same day there was a meeting at Apsley House, at which the Duke, Lyndhurst, Baring, Ellenborough, and (I think) Rosslyn or Aberdeen, or both, were present, and to which Sutton came, and held forth for nearly four hours upon the position of their affairs and his coming into office. He talked such incredible nonsense (as I have before related) that when he was gone they all lifted up their hands and with one voice pronounced the impossibility of forming any Government under such a head. Baring was then asked why he had made Sutton’s coming into office [327] MANNERS SUTTON PROPOSED AS PREMIER. the condition of his own acceptance, and why he had wished him to be Prime Minister. He said that he had never desired any such thing himself, and had hardly any acquaintance with Sutton, except that as speaker he was civil to him, and he dined with him once a year, but that when he had gone to consult Peel, Peel had advised him to insist upon having Sutton, and to put him at the head of the Government. This avowal led to further examination into what had passed, and it came out that when Lyndhurst went to Peel, Peel pressed Manners Sutton upon him, refusing to take office himself, but promising to support the new Government, and urging Lyndhurst to offer the Premiership to Sutton. At the same time he put Sutton up to this, and desired him to refuse every office except that of Premier. Accordingly, when Lyndhurst went to Sutton, the latter said he would be Prime Minister or nothing, and Lyndhurst had the folly to promise it to him. Thus matters stood when Lady Cowley, who was living at Apsley House, and got hold of what was passing, went and told it to her brother, Lord Salisbury, who lost no time in imparting it to some of the other High Tory Lords, who all agreed that it would not do to have Sutton at the head of the Government, and that the Duke was the only man for them. On Saturday the great dinner at the Conservative Club took place, at which a number of Tories, principally Peers, with the Duke and Peel, were present. A great many speeches were made, all full of enthusiasm for the Duke, and expressing a determination to support his Government. Peel was in very ill humour and said little; the Duke spoke much in honour of Peel, applauding his conduct and saying that the difference of their positions justified each in his different line. The next day some of the Duke’s friends met, and agreed that the unanimous desire for the Duke’s being at the head of the Government which had been expressed at that dinner, together with the unfitness of Sutton, proved the absolute necessity of the Duke’s being Premier, and it was resolved that a communication to this effect should be made to Peel. Aberdeen charged himself with it and went to Peel’s house, [328] where Sutton was at the time. Peel came to Aberdeen in a very bad humour, said he saw from what had passed at the dinner that nobody was thought of but the Duke, and he should wash his hands of the whole business; that he had already declined having anything to do with the Government, and to that determination he should adhere. The following Monday the whole thing was at an end.

I am not sure that I have stated these occurrences exactly as they were told me. There may be errors in the order of the interviews and pourparlers, and in the verbal details, but the substance is correct, and may be summed up to this effect: that Peel, full of ambition, but of caution, animated by deep dislike and jealousy of the Duke (which policy induced him to conceal, but which temper betrayed), thought to make Manners Sutton play the part of Addington, while he was to be another Pitt; he fancied that he could gain in political character, by an opposite line of conduct, all that the Duke would lose; and he resolved that a Government should be formed the existence of which should depend upon himself. Manners Sutton was to be his creature; he would have dictated every measure of Government; he would have been their protector in the House of Commons; and, as soon as the fitting moment arrived, he would have dissolved this miserable Ministry and placed himself at the head of affairs. All these deep-laid schemes, and constant regard of self, form a strong contrast to the simplicity and heartiness of the Duke’s conduct, and make the two men appear in a very different light from that in which they did at first. Peel acted right from bad motives, the Duke wrong from good ones. The Duke put himself forward, and encountered all the obloquy and reproach to which he knew he exposed himself, and having done so, cheerfully offered to resign the power to another. Peel endeavoured to seize the power, but to shield himself from responsibility and danger. It is a melancholy proof of the dearth of talent and the great capacity of the man that, notwithstanding the detection of his practices and his motives, the Tories are compelled still to keep well with [329] EMBARGO ON DUTCH SHIPS. him and to accept him for their leader. No cordiality, however, can exist again between him and the Duke and his friends, and, should the Whig Government be expelled, the animosity and disunion engendered by these circumstances will make it extremely difficult to form a Tory Administration. [In a short time it was all made up—forgiven, if not forgotten.]

November 7th, 1832

Came to town on Sunday. The answer of the Dutch King to the demand of England and France that he should give up Antwerp was anxiously expected. It arrived on Monday afternoon, and was a refusal. Accordingly a Council met yesterday, at which an order was made for laying an embargo on Dutch merchant ships, which are to be sequestrated, but not confiscated. The French army marches forthwith, and Palmerston told me they expected two or three days of bombardment would suffice for the capture of the citadel, after which the French would retire within their own frontier. The combined fleets will remain at the Downs, for they can do nothing on the coast of Holland at this season of the year. There is a good deal of jealousy and no friendly spirit between the English and French sailors; and the Duke of Richmond told me yesterday that the Deal pilots desired nothing so much as to get the French ships into a scrape. Great excitement prevails about this Dutch question, which is so complicated that at this moment I do not understand its merits. Matuscewitz, however, who is opposed totis viribus to the policy of England and France, told me that nobody could have behaved worse than the King of Holland has done, shuffling and tricking throughout; but they say he is so situated at home that he could not give way if he would. A few days must now decide the question of war or peace. All the Ministers, except Brougham, Lord Holland, Grant, and Carlisle, were at the Council yesterday—the Archbishop of Canterbury for a prayer (for we omit no opportunity of offering supplications or returning thanks to Heaven), and the new Lord Chief Justice to be sworn a Privy Councillor.

Lord Tenterden died on Sunday night, and no time was [330] lost in appointing Denman as his successor. Coming as he does after four of the greatest lawyers who ever sat upon the Bench, this choice will not escape severe censure; for the reputation of Denman as a lawyer is not high, and he has been one of the most inefficient Attorneys-General who ever filled the office. It has been a constant matter of complaint on the part of the Government and their friends that the law officers of the Crown gave them no assistance, but, on the contrary, got them into scrapes. Denman is an honourable man, and has been a consistent politician; latterly, of course, a Radical of considerable vehemence, if not of violence. The other men who were mentioned as successors to Tenterden were Lyndhurst, Scarlett, and James Parke. The latter is the best of the puisne judges, and might have been selected if all political considerations and political connexions had been disregarded. Lyndhurst will be overwhelmed with anguish and disappointment at finding himself for ever excluded from the great object of his ambition, and in which his professional claims are so immeasurably superior to those of his successful competitor; nor has he lost it by any sacrifice of interest to honour, but merely from the unfortunate issue of his political speculations. When he was made Chief Baron a regular compact was made, a secret article, that he should succeed on Tenterden’s death to the Chief Justiceship; which bargain was of course cancelled by his declaration of war on the Reform question and his consequent breach with Lord Grey; though by far the fittest man, he was now out of the question. It will be the more grating as he has just evinced his high capabilities by pronouncing in the Court of Exchequer one of the ablest judgments (in Small v. Attwood) that were ever delivered. [It was afterwards reversed by the House of Lords.] Scarlett, who had been a Whig for forty years, and who has long occupied the first place in the Court of King’s Bench, would have been the man if his political dissociation from his old connexions, and his recent hostility to them, had not also cancelled his claims; so that every rival being set aside from one cause or another, Denman, by one of the most extraordinary pieces [331] DENMAN LORD CHIEF JUSTICE. of good fortune that ever happened to man, finds himself elevated to this great office, the highest object of a lawyer’s ambition, and, in my opinion, one of the most enviable stations an Englishman can attain. It is said that as a Common Serjeant he displayed the qualities of a good judge, and his friends confidently assert that he will make a very good Chief Justice; but his legal qualifications are admitted to be very inferior to those of his predecessors. [He made a very bad one, but was personally popular and generally respected for his high, and honourable moral character.]

Tenterden was a remarkable man, and his elevation did great credit to the judgment which selected him, and which probably was Eldon’s. He had never led a cause, but he was a profound lawyer, and appears to have had a mind fraught with the spirit and genius of the law, and not narrowed and trammelled by its subtleties and technicalities. In spite of his low birth, want of oratorical power, and of personal dignity, he was greatly revered and dreaded on the Bench. He was an austere, but not an ill-humoured judge; his manners were remarkably plain and unpolished, though not vulgar. He was an elegant scholar, and cultivated classical literature to the last. Brougham, whose congenial tastes delighted in his classical attainments, used to bandy Latin and Greek with him from the Bar to the Bench; and he has more than once told me of his sending Tenterden Greek verses of John Williams’, of which the next day Tenterden gave him a translation in Latin verse. He is supposed to have died very rich. Denman was taken into the King’s closet before the Council, when he was sworn in; the King took no particular notice of him, and the appointment is not, probably, very palatable to his Majesty.

November 15th, 1832

Sheriff business at the Exchequer Court on Monday; saw Lyndhurst and Denman meet and shake hands with much politeness and grimace.

November 20th, 1832

Dined at Holland House the day before yesterday; Lady Holland is unwell, fancies she must dine at five o’clock, and exerts her power over society by making everybody go out there at that hour, though nothing can be more [332] inconvenient than thus shortening the day, and nothing more tiresome than such lengthening of the evening. Rogers and Luttrell were staying there. The tableau of the house is this:—Before dinner, Lady Holland affecting illness and almost dissolution, but with a very respectable appetite, and after dinner in high force and vigour; Lord Holland, with his chalkstones and unable to walk, lying on his couch in very good spirits and talking away; Luttrell and Rogers walking about, ever and anon looking despairingly at the clock and making short excursions from the drawing-room; Allen surly and disputatious, poring over the newspapers, and replying in monosyllables (generally negative) to whatever is said to him. The grand topic of interest, far exceeding the Belgian or Portuguese questions, was the illness of Lady Holland’s page, who has got a tumour in his thigh. This ‘little creature,’ as Lady Holland calls a great hulking fellow of about twenty, is called ‘Edgar,’ his real name being Tom or Jack, which he changed on being elevated to his present dignity, as the Popes do when they are elected to the tiara. More rout is made about him than other people are permitted to make about their children, and the inmates of Holland House are invited and compelled to go and sit with and amuse him. Such is the social despotism of this strange house, which presents an odd mixture of luxury and constraint, of enjoyment physical and intellectual, with an alloy of small désagréments. Talleyrand generally comes at ten or eleven o’clock, and stays as long as they will let him. Though everybody who goes there finds something to abuse or to ridicule in the mistress of the house, or its ways, all continue to go; all like it more or less; and whenever, by the death of either, it shall come to an end, a vacuum will be made in society which nothing will supply. It is the house of all Europe; the world will suffer by the loss; and it may with truth be said that it will ‘eclipse the gaiety of nations.’

November 27th, 1832

At Roehampton from Saturday till Monday. The Chancellor had been there a few days before, from whom Lord Dover had picked up the gossip of the Government. [333] THE SPEAKERSHIP. There had been a fresh breeze with Durham, who it seems has returned from Russia more odious than ever. His violence and insolence, as usual, were vented on Lord Grey, and the rest of the Cabinet, as heretofore, are obliged to submit. I have since heard from the Duke of Richmond that the cause of this last storm was something relating to Church Reform, and that he had been forced to knock under. I fancy he wanted to go much further than the others, probably to unfrock the Bishop of Durham and Bishop Phillpotts, the former because he is a greater man in the county than himself, and the latter from old and inextinguishable hatred and animosity.

There has been another dispute about the Speakership. All the Cabinet except Althorp want to put Abercromby in the chair, and Althorp insists on having Littleton. The former is in all respects the best choice, and the man whom they ought, from his long connexion with the Whigs and his consistency and respectability, to propose, but Althorp thought fit to commit himself in some way to Littleton, who has no claims to be compared with those of Abercromby (having been half his life in opposition to the present Government), and he obstinately insists upon the expectations held out to him being realised. Lord Grey, though very anxious for Abercromby, thinks it necessary to defer to the leader of the House of Commons, and the consequence is a very disagreeable dispute on the subject. Abercromby is greatly mortified at being postponed to Littleton, and not the less as Althorp has always been his friend. The language of Dover, who is a sort of jackal to Brougham, clearly indicates the desire of that worthy to get rid of Lord Grey and put himself in his place. All these little squabbles elicit some disparaging remarks on Lord Grey’s weakness, folly, or cupidity. Hæret lateri—the offer of the Attorney-Generalship, and the day of vengeance is intended to come.[1]

[1] [This refers to Lord Grey’s having offered the Attorney-Generalship to Brougham when Government was formed.]

After considerable delay Horne and Campbell were appointed Attorney- and Solicitor-General; the delay was [334] occasioned by ineffectual attempts to dispose of Horne elsewhere. They wanted to get some puisne judge to resign, and to put Horne on the Bench, but they could not make any such arrangement, so Horne is Attorney. Pepys was to have been Solicitor if the thing could have been managed. I don’t think I picked up anything else, except that the King was very averse to the French attack upon Antwerp, and consented to the hand-in-hand arrangement between France and England with considerable reluctance. The fact is he hates this Government so much that he dislikes all they do.

Lord Lansdowne is just come from Paris, and gives a flourishing account of the prospects of King Louis Philippe and his Government, but as he is the Duc de Broglie’s intimate friend his opinion may be prejudiced. The King appears certainly to have rather gained than not by the attack which was made on him, from the coolness and courage he evinced, and it is a great point to have proved that he is not a coward.

Brighton, December 14th, 1832

Came here last Wednesday week; Council on the Monday for the dissolution; place very full, bustling, gay, and amusing. I am staying in De Ros’s house with Alvanley; Chesterfields, Howes, Lievens, Cowpers, all at Brighton, and plenty of occupation in visiting, gossiping, dawdling, riding, and driving; a very idle life, and impossible to do anything. The Court very active, vulgar, and hospitable; King, Queen, Princes, Princesses, bastards, and attendants constantly trotting about in every direction: the election noisy and dull—the Court candidate beaten and two Radicals elected. Everybody talking of the siege of Antwerp and the elections. So, with plenty of animation, and discussion, and curiosity, I like it very well. Lord Howe is devoted to the Queen, and never away from her. She receives his attentions, but demonstrates nothing in return; he is like a boy in love with this frightful spotted Majesty, while his delightful wife is laid up (with a sprained ancle and dislocated joint) on her couch.

Brighton, December 17th, 1832

On Sunday I heard Anderson preach. He does not write his sermons, but preaches from [335] MR. GULLY. notes; very eloquent, voice and manner perfect, one of the best I ever heard, both preacher and reader.

The borough elections are nearly over, and have satisfied the Government. They do not seem to be bad on the whole; the metropolitans have sent good men enough, and there was no tumult in the town. At Hertford Duncombe was routed by Salisbury’s long purse. He hired such a numerous mob besides that he carried all before him. Some very bad characters have been returned; among the worst, Faithful here; Gronow at Stafford; Gully, Pontefract; Cobbett, Oldham; though I am glad that Cobbett is in Parliament. Gully’s history is extraordinary. He was taken out of prison twenty-five or thirty years ago by Mellish to fight Pierce, surnamed the ‘Game Chicken,’ being then a butcher’s apprentice; he fought him and was beaten. He afterwards fought Belcher (I believe), and Gresson twice, and left the prize-ring with the reputation of being the best man in it. He then took to the turf, was successful, established himself at Newmarket, where he kept a hell, and began a system of corruption of trainers, jockeys, and boys, which put the secrets of all Newmarket at his disposal, and in a few years made him rich. At the same time he connected himself with Mr. Watt in the north, by betting for him, and this being at the time when Watt’s stable was very successful, he won large sums of money by his horses. Having become rich he embarked in a great coal speculation, which answered beyond his hopes, and his shares soon yielded immense profits. His wife, who was a coarse, vulgar woman, in the meantime died, and he afterwards married the daughter of an innkeeper, who proved as gentlewomanlike as the other had been the reverse, and who is very pretty besides. He now gradually withdrew from the betting ring as a regular blackleg, still keeping horses, and betting occasionally in large sums, and about a year or two ago, having previously sold the Hare Park to Sir Mark Wood, where he lived for two or three years, he bought a property near Pontefract, and settled down (at Ackworth Park) as John Gully, Esq., a gentleman of fortune. At the Reform dissolution he was [336] pressed to come forward as candidate for Pontefract, but after some hesitation he declined. Latterly he has taken great interest in politics, and has been an ardent Reformer and a liberal subscriber for the advancement of the cause. When Parliament was about to be dissolved, he was again invited to stand for Pontefract by a numerous deputation; he again hesitated, but finally accepted; Lord Mexborough withdrew, and he was elected without opposition. In person he is tall and finely formed, full of strength and grace, with delicate hands and feet, his face coarse and with a bad expression, his head set well on his shoulders, and remarkably graceful and even dignified in his actions and manners; totally without education, he has strong sense, discretion, reserve, and a species of good taste which has prevented, in the height of his fortunes, his behaviour from ever transgressing the bounds of modesty and respect, and he has gradually separated himself from the rabble of bettors and blackguards of whom he was once the most conspicuous, and tacitly asserted his own independence and acquired gentility without ever presuming towards those whom he has been accustomed to regard with deference. His position is now more anomalous than ever, for a member of Parliament is a great man, though there appear no reasons why the suffrages of the blackguards of Pontefract should place him in different social relations towards us than those in which we mutually stood before.

Petworth, December 20th, 1832

Came here yesterday. It is a very grand place; house magnificent and full of fine objects, both ancient and modern; the Sir Joshuas and Vandykes particularly interesting, and a great deal of all sorts that is worth seeing. Lord Egremont was eighty-one the day before yesterday, and is still healthy, with faculties and memory apparently unimpaired. He has reigned here for sixty years with great authority and influence. He is shrewd, eccentric, and benevolent, and has always been munificent and charitable in his own way; he patronises the arts and fosters rising genius. Painters and sculptors find employment and welcome in his house; he has built a gallery which is full of [337] EARL OF EGREMONT. pictures and statues, some of which are very fine, and the pictures scattered through the house are interesting and curious. Lord Egremont hates ceremony, and can’t bear to be personally meddled with; he likes people to come and go as it suits them, and say nothing about it, never to take leave of him. The party here consists of the Cowpers, his own family, a Lady E. Romney, two nieces, Mrs. Tredcroft a neighbour, Ridsdale a parson, Wynne, Turner, the great landscape painter, and a young artist of the name of Lucas, whom Lord Egremont is bringing into notice, and who will owe his fortune (if he makes it) to him. Lord Egremont is enormously rich, and lives with an abundant though not very refined hospitality. The house wants modern comforts, and the servants are rustic and uncouth; but everything is good, and it all bears an air of solid and aristocratic grandeur. The stud groom told me there are 300 horses of different sorts here. His course, however, is nearly run, and he has the mortification of feeling that, though surrounded with children and grandchildren, he is almost the last of his race, and that his family is about to be extinct. Two old brothers and one childless nephew are all that are left of the Wyndhams, and the latter has been many years married. All his own children are illegitimate, but he has everything in his power, though nobody has any notion of the manner in which he will dispose of his property. It is impossible not to reflect upon the prodigious wealth of the Earls of Northumberland, and of the proud Duke of Somerset who married the last heiress of that house, the betrothed of three husbands. All that Lord Egremont has, all the Duke of Northumberland’s property, and the Duke of Rutland’s Cambridgeshire estate belonged to them, which together is probably equivalent to between 200,000ℓ. and 300,000ℓ. a year. Banks told me that the Northumberland property, when settled on Sir H. Smithson, was not above 12,000ℓ. a year.[2]

[2] [The eleventh Earl of Northumberland, Joscelyn Percy, died in 1670, leaving an only daughter, who married Charles Seymour, ninth Duke of Somerset. This lady is described as ‘the betrothed of three husbands,’ because she was married at fourteen to Henry Cavendish, son of the Duke of Newcastle, who died in the following year. She was then affianced to Thomas Thynne of Longleat, who was assassinated in 1682; and at last married to the Duke of Somerset. The eldest son of this marriage, Algernon Seymour, who succeeded to the Dukedom of Somerset in 1748, was created Earl of Northumberland on the 2nd of October, 1749, and Earl of Egremont on the following day, with remainder (as regards the latter title) to his nephew Sir Charles Wyndham, who succeeded him in February 1750. The Earldom of Northumberland passed at the same time to Sir Hugh Smithson, son-in-law of Duke Algernon, who was created Duke of Northumberland in 1766. The titles and the vast property of the Duke of Somerset, Earl of Northumberland, thus came to be divided.

George O’Brien Wyndham, third Earl of Egremont, to whom Mr. Greville paid this visit, was born on the 18th of December, 1751. He was therefore eighty-two years old at this time; but he lived five years longer, and died in 1837, famous and beloved for his splendid hospitality and for his liberal and judicious patronage of the arts, and likewise of the turf.]

Brighton, December 31st, 1832

[338] Lady Howe gave me an account of the offer of the Chamberlainship to her husband again. They added the condition that he should not oppose Government, but was not to be obliged to support them. This he refused, and he regarded the proposal as an insult; so the Queen was not conciliated the more. She likewise told me that the cause of her former wrath when he was dismissed was that neither the King nor Lord Grey told her of it, and that if they had she would have consented to the sacrifice at once with a good grace; but in the way it was done she thought herself grossly ill-used. It is impossible to ascertain the exact nature of this connexion. Howe conducts himself towards her like a young ardent lover; he never is out of the Pavilion, dines there almost every day, or goes every evening, rides with her, never quitting her side, and never takes his eyes off her. She does nothing, but she admits his attentions and acquiesces in his devotion; at the same time there is not the smallest evidence that she treats him as a lover. If she did it would be soon known, for she is surrounded by enemies. All the Fitzclarences dislike her, and treat her more or less disrespectfully. She is aware of it, but takes no notice. She is very civil and good-humoured to them all; and as long as they keep within the bounds of decency, and do not break out into actual impertinence, she probably will continue so.

[339] NAMIK PACHA. Two nights ago there was a great assembly after a dinner for the reception of the Turkish Ambassador, Namik Pacha. He was brought down by Palmerston and introduced before dinner to the King and Queen. He is twenty-eight years old, speaks French well, and has good manners; his dress very simple—a red cap, black vest, trousers and boots, a gold chain and medal round his neck. He did not take out any lady to dinner, but was placed next the Queen. After dinner the King made him a ridiculous speech, with abundant flourishes about the Sultan and his friendship for him, which is the more droll from his having been High Admiral at the time of the battle of Navarino, to which the Pacha replied in a sonorous voice. He admired everything, and conversed with great ease. All the stupid, vulgar Englishwomen followed him about as a lion with offensive curiosity.


1833.

January 3rd, 1833

Lady Howe begged her husband to show me the correspondence between him and Sir Herbert Taylor about the Chamberlainship. It is long and confused; Taylor’s first letter, in my opinion, very impertinent, for it reads him a pretty severe lecture about his behaviour when he held the office before. Howe is a foolish man, but in this business he acted well enough, better than might have been expected. Taylor, by the King’s desire, proposed to him to resume the office; and after some cavilling he agreed to do so with liberty to vote as he pleased, but promising not to be violent. So stood the matter on the 9th of September. He heard nothing more of it till the 5th of November, when young Hudson[3] wrote by the King’s orders to know definitely if he meant to take it, but that if he did he must be ‘neutral.’ Howe wrote back word that on such terms he declined it. I [340] told him my opinion of the whole business, and added my strenuous advice that he should immediately prevail on the Queen to appoint somebody else. I could not tell him all that people said, but I urged it as strongly as I could, hinting that there were very urgent reasons for so doing. He did not relish this advice at all, owned that he clung tenaciously to the office, liked everything about it, and longed to avail himself of some change of circumstances to return; and that though he was no longer her officer, he had ever since done all the business, and in fact was, without the name, as much her Chamberlain as ever. Lady Howe, who is vexed to death at the whole thing, was enchanted at my advice, and vehemently urged him to adopt it. After he went away she told me how glad she was at what I had said, and asked me if people did not say and believe everything of Howe’s connexion with the Queen, which I told her they did. I must say that what passed is enough to satisfy me that there is what is called ‘nothing in it’ but the folly and vanity of being the confidential officer and councillor of this hideous Queen, for whom he has worked himself up into a sort of chivalrous devotion. Yesterday Howe spoke to the Queen about it, and proposed to speak to the King; the Queen (he says) would not hear of it, and forbad his speaking to the King. To-day he is gone away, and I don’t know what he settled, probably nothing.

[3] [‘Young Hudson’ was the page of honour who was sent to Rome in the following year to fetch Sir Robert Peel, when, as Mr. Disraeli expressed it, ‘the hurried Hudson rushed into the chambers of his Vatican.’ He grew up to be a very able and distinguished diplomatist, Sir James Hudson, G.C.B., who rendered great services to the cause of Italian independence.]

Lyndhurst dined here the day before yesterday. Finding I knew all that had passed about the negotiations for a Tory Government in the middle of the Reform question, he told me his story, which differs very little from that which Arbuthnot had told me at Downham, and fully corroborates his account of the duplicity of Peel and the extraordinary conduct of Lyndhurst himself. He said that as soon as he had left the King he went to the Duke, who said he must go directly to Peel. Peel refused to join. The Duke desired him to go back to Peel, and propose to him to be Prime Minister and manage everything himself. Peel still declined, on which he went to Baring. Baring begged he might consult [341] LYNDHURST AND MANNERS SUTTON. Peel, which was granted. He came back, said he would take office, but that they must invite Manners Sutton also. They did so, and Sutton refused. Vesey Fitzgerald, however, suggested to Lyndhurst that if they proposed to Sutton to be Prime Minister perhaps he would accept. Another conversation ensued with Sutton, and a meeting was fixed at Apsley House on the Sunday. In the meantime Lyndhurst went down to the King and told him what had taken place, adding that Sutton would not do, and that the Duke alone could form a Government. At Apsley House Sutton talked for three hours, and such infernal nonsense that Lyndhurst was ready to go mad; nor would he decide. They pressed him to say if he would take office or not. He said he must wait till the next morning. They said, ‘It must be very early, then.’ In the morning he put off deciding (on some frivolous pretext) till the afternoon. He went to the House of Commons without having given any answer. The famous debate ensued, and the whole game was up.

All this tallies with the other account, only he did not say that Peel had desired Baring to insist on Sutton, and had advised Sutton to take no place but the highest, nor that he had without the Duke’s knowledge offered Sutton that post, and concealed from Sutton his subsequent opinion of his incapacity and determination that he should not have it. I asked Lyndhurst how he managed with Sutton, and whether he had not come to Apsley House with the impression on his mind that he was to be Premier. He said that ‘he had evaded that question with Sutton’—that is, all parties were deceived, while the Duke, who meant to act nobly, suffered all the blame. He showed great disregard of personal interests and selfish views, but I shall always think his error was enormous. It is remarkable that this story is so little known.

They had a dinner and dancing the night before last at the Pavilion for New Year’s Day; and the King danced a country dance with Lord Amelius Beauclerc, an old Admiral.

London, January 11th, 1833

Came to town with Alvanley the day before yesterday. Howe plucked up courage, spoke to [342] the King and Queen, and settled Denbigh’s appointment,[4] though not without resistance on the part of their Majesties. Lord Grey came down, and was very well received by both. At the commerce table the King sat by him, and was full of jokes; called him continually ‘Lord Howe,’ to the great amusement of the bystanders and of Lord Grey himself. Munster came down and was reconciled, condescending moyennant a douceur of 2,500ℓ. to accept the Constableship of the Round Tower. The stories of the King are uncommonly ridiculous. He told Madame de Ludolf, who had been Ambassadress at Constantinople, that he desired she would recommend Lady Ponsonby to all her friends there, and she might tell them she was the daughter of one of his late brother’s sultanas (Lady Jersey). His Majesty insisted on Lord Stafford’s taking the title of Sutherland, and ordered Gower to send him an express to say so. One day at dinner he asked the Duke of Devonshire ‘where he meant to be buried!

[4] [William Basil Percy, seventh Earl of Denbigh, was appointed Chamberlain to Queen Adelaide at this time, and remained in the service of her Majesty—a most excellent and devoted servant—to the close of her life.]

I received a few days ago at Brighton the draft of a Bill of Brougham’s for transferring the jurisdiction of the Delegates to the Privy Council, or rather for creating a new Court and sinking the Privy Council in it. Lord Lansdowne sent it to me, and desired me to send him my opinion upon it. I showed it to Stephen, and returned it to Lord Lansdowne with some criticisms in which Stephen and I had agreed. It is a very bungling piece of work, and one which Lord Lansdowne ought not to consent to, the object evidently being to make a Court of which Brougham shall be at the head, and to transfer to it much of the authority of the Crown, Parliament, and Privy Council; all from his ambitious and insatiable desire of personal aggrandisement. I have no doubt he is playing a deep game, and paving the way for his own accession to power, striving to obtain popularity and influence with the King; that he will succeed to a great degree, and for a certain time, is probable. Manners [343] STATE OF THE TORY PARTY. Sutton is to be again Speaker. Althorp wrote him a very flummery letter, and he accepted. The Government wants to be out of the scrape they are in between Abercromby and Littleton, and Sutton wants his peerage. Everything seems prosperous here; the Government is strong, the House of Commons is thought respectable on the whole and safe, trade is brisk, funds rising, money plentiful, confidence reviving, Tories sulky.

January 17th, 1833

The Government don’t know what to do about the embargo on the Dutch ships. Soon after they had laid it on they made a second order allowing ships with perishable goods to go free; and thinking the whole thing would be soon over, they desired this might be construed indulgently, and accordingly many ships were suffered to pass (with goods more or less perishing) under that order. Now that the King of Holland continues obstinate they want to squeeze him, and to construe the order strictly. There have been many consultations what to do, whether they should make another order rescinding the last or execute the former more strictly. Both are liable to objections. The first will appear like a cruel proceeding and evidence of uncertainty of purpose; the last will show a capricious variation in the practice of the Privy Council, with which the matter rests. Their wise heads were to be put together last night to settle this knotty point.

Wharncliffe showed me a paper he has written, in which, after briefly recapitulating the present state of the Tory party and the condition of the new Parliament (particularly as to the mode in which it was elected, or rather under what influence), he proceeds to point out what ought to be the course for the Tories to adopt. It is moderate and becoming enough, and he has imparted it to the Duke of Wellington, who concurs in his view. I wonder, however, that he is not sick of writing papers and imparting views, after all that passed last year, after his fruitless attempts, his false moves, and the treatment he received at the hands of the Tories; but he seems to have forgotten or forgiven everything, and is disposed to wriggle himself back amongst the party upon [344] any terms. He acknowledges one thing fully, and that is the desperate and woebegone condition of the party itself, and the impossibility of their doing anything now as a party.

Lord Lansdowne received very complacently my criticisms on Brougham’s Bill, and has acknowledged since he came to town that it would not do at all as it now stands. The King has been delighting the Whigs, and making himself more ridiculous and contemptible by the most extravagant civilities to the new Peers—that is, to Western and about Lord Stafford. He now appears to be very fond of his Ministers.

January 19th, 1833

I have at last succeeded in stimulating Lord Lansdowne to something like resistance (or rather the promise of it) to Brougham’s Bill. I have proved to him that his dignity and his interest will both be compromised by this Bill, which intends to make the Chancellor President of the Court, and ergo of the Council, and to give him all the patronage there will be. Against these proposals he kicks; at least he is restive, and shows symptoms of kicking, though he will very likely be still again. I sent the Bill to Stephen, who instantly and currente calamo drew up a series of objections to it, as comprehensive and acute as all his productions are, and last night I sent it to Leach (who hates the Chancellor), and he has returned it to me with a strong condemnatory reply. Stephen having told me that Howick would be too happy to oppose this Bill, on account of the influence it would have on Colonial matters, particularly about Canada, I took it to him, but he declined interfering, though he concurred in Stephen’s remarks.

January 22nd, 1833

Dined with Talleyrand the day before yesterday. Nobody there but his attachés. After dinner he told me about his first residence in England, and his acquaintance with Fox and Pitt. He always talks in a kind of affectionate tone about the former, and is now meditating a visit to Mrs. Fox at St. Anne’s Hill, where he may see her surrounded with the busts, pictures, and recollections of her husband. He delights to dwell on the simplicity, gaiety, [345] VISIT TO HARTWELL. childishness, and profoundness of Fox. I asked him if he had ever known Pitt. He said that Pitt came to Rheims to learn French, and he was there at the same time on a visit to the Archbishop, his uncle (whom I remember at Hartwell,[5] [346] a very old prelate with the tic-douloureux), and that he and Pitt lived together for nearly six weeks, reciprocally teaching each other French and English. After Chauvelin had superseded him, and that he and Chauvelin had disagreed, he went to live near Epsom (at Juniper Hall) with Madame de Staël; afterwards they came to London, and in the meantime Pitt had got into the hands of the émigrés, who persuaded him to send Talleyrand away, and accordingly he received orders to quit England in twenty-four hours. He embarked on board a vessel for America, but was detained in the river off Greenwich. Dundas sent to him, and asked him to come and stay with him while the ship was detained, but he said he would not set his foot on English ground again, and remained three weeks on board the ship in the river. It is strange to hear M. de Talleyrand talk at seventy-eight. He opens the stores of his memory and pours forth a stream on any subject connected with his past life. Nothing seems to have escaped from that great treasury of bygone events.

[5] [Mr. Greville had paid a visit with his father to the little Court of Louis XVIII. at Hartwell about two years before the Restoration, when he was eighteen years of age. His narrative of this visit has been printed in the fifth volume of the ‘Miscellany of the Philobiblon Society,’ but it may not be inappropriately inserted here.]

A VISIT TO HARTWELL.

April 14th, 1814.

I have often determined to commit to paper as much as I can remember of my visit to Hartwell; and, as the King is about to ascend the throne of his ancestors, it is not uninteresting to recall to mind the particulars of a visit paid to him while in exile and in poverty.

About two years ago my father and I went to Hartwell by invitation of the King. We dressed at Aylesbury, and proceeded to Hartwell in the afternoon. We had previously taken a walk in the environs of the town, and had met the Duchesse d’Angoulême on horseback, accompanied by a Madame Choisi. At five o’clock we set out to Hartwell. The house is large, but in a dreary, disagreeable situation. The King had completely altered the interior, having subdivided almost all the apartments in order to lodge a greater number of people. There were numerous outhouses, in some of which small shops had been established by the servants, interspersed with gardens, so that the place resembled a little town.

Upon entering the house we were conducted by the Duc de Grammont into the King’s private apartment. He received us most graciously and shook hands with both of us. This apartment was exceedingly small, hardly larger than a closet, and I remarked pictures of the late King and Queen, Madame Elizabeth, and the Dauphin, Louis XVII., hanging on the walls. The King had a manner of swinging his body backwards and forwards, which caused the most unpleasant sensations in that small room, and made my father feel something like being sea-sick. The room was just like a cabin, and the motions of his Majesty exactly resembled the heaving of a ship. After our audience with the King we were taken to the salon a large room with a billiard table at one end. Here the party assembled before dinner, to all of whom we were presented—the Duchesse d’Angoulême, Monsieur the Duc d’Angoulême, the Duc de Berri, the Prince and Princess de Condé (ci-devant Madame de Monaco), and a vast number of ducs, &c.; Madame la Duchesse de Serron (a little old dame d’honneur to Madame d’Angoulême), the Duc de Lorges, the Duc d’Auray, the Archevêque de Rheims (an infirm old prelate, tortured with the tic-douloureux), and many others whose names I cannot remember. At a little after six dinner was announced, when we went into the next room, the King walking out first. The dinner was extremely plain, consisting of very few dishes, and no wines except port and sherry. His Majesty did the honours himself, and was very civil and agreeable. We were a very short time at table, and the ladies and gentlemen all got up together. Each of the ladies folded up her napkin, tied it round with a bit of ribbon, and carried it away. After dinner we returned to the drawing-room and drank coffee. The whole party remained in conversation about a quarter of an hour, when the King retired to his closet, upon which all repaired to their separate apartments. Whenever the King came in or went out of the room, Madame d’Angoulême made him a low curtsy, which he returned by bowing and kissing his hand. This little ceremony never failed to take place. After the party had separated we were taken to the Duc de Grammont’s apartments, where we drank tea. After remaining there about three quarters of an hour we went to the apartment of Madame d’Angoulême, where a great part of the company were assembled, and where we stayed about a quarter of an hour. After this we descended again to the drawing-room, where several card tables were laid out. The King played at whist with the Prince and Princess de Condé and my father. His Majesty settled the points of the game at ‘le quart d’un sheling.’ The rest of the party played at billiards or ombre. The King was so civil as to invite us to sleep there, instead of returning to the inn at Aylesbury. When he invited us he said, ‘Je crains que vous serez très-mal logés, mais on donne ce qu’on peut.’ Soon after eleven the King retired, when we separated for the night. We were certainly ‘très-mal logés.’ In the morning when I got out of bed, I was alarmed by the appearance of an old woman on the leads before my window, who was hanging linen to dry. I was forced to retreat hastily to bed, not to shock the old lady’s modesty. At ten the next morning we breakfasted, and at eleven we took leave of the King (who always went to Mass at that hour) and returned to London. We saw the whole place before we came away; and they certainly had shown great ingenuity in contriving to lodge such a number of people in and about the house—it was exactly like a small rising colony. We were very much pleased with our expedition; and were invited to return whenever we could make it convenient.

January 24th, 1833

I have at last made Lord Lansdowne [347] ABOLITION OF SLAVERY. fire a shot at the Chancellor about this Bill. He has written him a letter, in which he has embodied Stephen’s objections and some of his own (as he says, for I did not see the letter). The Chancellor will be very angry, for he can’t endure contradiction, and he has a prodigious contempt for the Lord President, whom he calls ‘Mother Elizabeth.’ He probably arrives at the sobriquet through Petty, Betty, and so on.

Dined with Talleyrand yesterday; Pozzo, who said little and seemed low; Talleyrand talked after dinner, said that Cardinal Fleury was one of the greatest Ministers who ever governed France, and that justice had never been done him; he had maintained peace for twenty years, and acquired Lorraine for France. He said this à propos of the library he formed or left, or whatever he did in that line, at Paris. He told me he goes very often to the British Museum, and has lately made them a present of a book.

January 26th, 1833

It seems that the Government project (or perhaps only the fact that they have one) about West Indian emancipation has got wind, and the West Indians are of course in a state of great alarm. They believe that it will be announced, whatever it is to be, in the King’s Speech, though I doubt there being anything but a vague intention expressed in it. Of all political feelings and passions—and such this rage for emancipation is, rather than a consideration of interest—it has always struck me as the most extraordinary and remarkable. There can be no doubt that a great many of the Abolitionists are actuated by very pure motives; they have been shocked at the cruelties which have been and still are very often practised towards slaves, their minds are imbued with the horrors they have read and heard of, and they have an invincible conviction that the state of slavery under any form is repugnant to the spirit of the English Constitution and the Christian religion, and that it is a stain upon the national character which ought to be wiped away. These people, generally speaking, are very ignorant concerning all the various difficulties which beset the question; their notions are superficial; they pity [348] the slaves, whom they regard as injured innocents, and they hate their masters, whom they treat as criminal barbarians. Others are animated in this cause purely by ambition, and by finding that it is a capital subject to talk upon, and a cheap and easy species of benevolence; others have satisfied themselves that slavery is a mistaken system, that the cruelty of it is altogether gratuitous, and that free labour will answer the purpose as well or better, and get rid of the odium; and thousands more have mixed feelings and opinions, compounded of some or all of the above in various degrees and proportions, according to the bent of individual character; but there are some persons among the most zealous and able of the Abolitionists who avail themselves of the passions and the ignorance of the people to carry this point, while they carefully conceal their own sentiments as to the result of the experiment. I say some because, though I only know (of my own knowledge) of one, from the sagacity of the man and the conformity of his opinions with those of others on this and other topics, I have no doubt that there are many who view the matter in the same light. I allude to Henry Taylor,[6] who rules half the West Indies in the Colonial Office, though with an invisible sceptre. Talking over the matter the other day, he said that he was well aware of the consequences of emancipation both to the negroes and the planters. The estates of the latter would not be cultivated; it would be impossible, for want of labour; the negroes would not work—no inducement would be sufficient to make them; they wanted to be free merely that they might be idle. They would, on being emancipated, possess themselves of ground, the fertility of which in those regions is so great that very trifling labour will be sufficient to provide them with the means of existence, and they will thus relapse rapidly into a state of barbarism; they will resume the habits of their African brethren, but, he thinks, without the ferocity and savageness which distinguish the latter. Of [349] HENRY TAYLOR ON ABOLITION OF SLAVERY. course the germs of civilisation and religion which have been sown among them in their servile state will be speedily obliterated; if not, as man must either rise or fall in the moral scale, they will acquire strength, with it power, and as certainly the desire of using that power for the amelioration of their condition. The island (for Jamaica may be taken for example, as it was in our conversation) would not long be tenable for whites; indeed, it is difficult to conceive how any planters could remain there when their property was no longer cultivable, even though the emancipated negroes should become as harmless and gentle as the ancient Mexicans. Notwithstanding this view of the matter, in which my friend has the sagacity to perceive some of the probable consequences of the measure, though (he admits) with much uncertainty as to its operation, influenced as it must be by circumstances and accidents, he is for emancipating at once. ‘Fiat justitia ruat cœlum’—that is, I do not know that he is for immediate, unconditional emancipation; I believe not, but he is for doing the deed; whether he goes before or lags after the Government I do not at this moment know. He is, too, a high-principled man, full of moral sensibility and of a grave, reflecting, philosophical character, and neither a visionary in religion nor in politics, only of a somewhat austere and uncompromising turn of mind, and with some of the positiveness of a theorist who has a lofty opinion of his own capacity, and has never undergone that discipline of the world, that tumbling and tossing and jostling, which beget modesty and diffidence and prudence, from the necessity which they inculcate of constant compromises with antagonist interests and hostile passions. But what is the upshot of all this? Why, that in the midst of the uproar and confusion, the smoke and the dust of the controversy, one may believe that one sees a glimmering of the real futurity in the case—and that is a long series of troubles and a wide scene of ruin.

[6] [Afterwards Sir Henry Taylor, K.M.G., author of ‘Philip van Artevelde.’ Nearly forty years later Sir H. Taylor continued to fill the same position described by Mr. Greville in 1833. He resigned in 1872.]

January 30th, 1833

The intentions of Government with regard to the West Indies (or rather that they have intentions [350] of a nature very fatal to that interest) having got wind, the consternation of the West India body is great. A deputation, headed by Sir Alexander Grant, waited upon Lords Grey and Goderich the other day, and put certain questions to them, stating that the prevalence of reports, some of which had appeared in the newspapers, had greatly alarmed them, and they wished to ascertain if any of them had been authorised by Government. Lord Grey said ‘certainly not; the Government had authorised nothing.’ They asked if he would reappoint the Committees. He would give no pledge as to this, but they discussed the propriety of so doing, he seeming indisposed. To all their questions he gave vague answers, refusing to communicate anything except this, that nothing was decided, but a plan was under the consideration of the Cabinet in which the interests of all parties were consulted. He added that he could not pledge himself to give any previous intimation of the intentions of Government to the West India body, nor to disclose the measure at all until it was proposed to Parliament. There are in the meantime no end of reports of the nature and extent of the proposed measure, and no end to the projects and opinions of those who are interested.

I dined at Lord Bathurst’s yesterday, and sat next to Lord Ellenborough, who said that he was convinced the best thing the proprietors could do would be to agree instantly to stop their orders, which he believes would compel Government to arrest their course. I am not enough acquainted with the subject to judge how far they might operate, but I doubt it, or that in the temper of the people of this country, or rather of those zealots who represent it, and with the disposition of this Government to yield to every popular cry, the fear of any consequences would prevent their going on. It would, I believe, only give them and the House of Commons a pretext for refusing them pecuniary compensation. I was much amused with a piece of vanity of Ellenborough’s. We were talking of the war between the Turks and the Egyptians, and the resources of Egypt, &c., when he said, ‘If I had [351] RUSSIA AND TURKEY. continued at the Board of Control I would have had Egypt, got at it from the Red Sea; I had already ordered the formation of a corps of Arab guides!’

February 1st, 1833

The Reformed Parliament opened heavily (on Tuesday), as Government think satisfactorily. Cobbett took his seat on the Treasury Bench, and spoke three times, though the last time nobody would stay to hear him. He was very twaddling, and said but one good thing, when he called O’Connell the member for Ireland.

Saw Madame de Lieven the day before yesterday, who fired a tirade against Government; she vowed that nobody ever had been treated with such personal incivility as Lieven, ‘des injures, des reproches,’ that Cobbett, Hunt, and all the blackguards in England could not use more offensive language; whatever event was coming was imputed to Russia—Belgium, Portugal, Turkey, ‘tout était la Russie et les intrigues de la Russie;’ that she foresaw they should be driven away from England. With reference to the war in Asia Minor, she said the Sultan had applied to the Emperor for assistance, ‘et qu’il l’aurait, et que le Sultan n’avait pas un meilleur ami que lui,’ that the Egyptians would advance no farther, and a great deal more of complaint at the injustice evinced towards them and on their political innocence. In the evening I told all this to Mellish of the Foreign Office, who knows everything about foreign affairs, and he said it was all a lie, that Russia had offered her assistance, which the Sultan had refused, and she was, in fact, intriguing and making mischief in every Court in Europe. George Villiers writes me word that she has been for months past endeavouring to get up a war anywhere, and that this Turkish business is more likely than anything to bring one about.[7]

[7] [The state of the Ottoman Empire was most critical. In the latter months of 1832 the victorious troops of Mehomet Ali had forced their way across the Taunus; the peace of Koniah was concluded early in 1833 with the Egyptians; and the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi with the Russians in July 1833.]

February 2nd, 1833

Dinner at Lord Lansdowne’s for the [352] Sheriffs; soon over and not particularly disagreeable, though I hate dining with the Ministers; had some conversation with Goderich about Jamaica; he says Mulgrave has done very well there, perhaps rather too vigorously, that the dissolution of the Assembly under all circumstances is questionable, but he must be supported; he hopes nothing from another assembly, nor does Mulgrave, who says that they are incorrigible. The fact is their conduct paralyses the exertions of their friends here, if, indeed, they have any friends who would make any exertions.

February 4th, 1833

At Court for the King’s Speech and the appointment of Sheriffs. Lord Munster and Lord Denbigh were sworn Privy Councillors. The West Indians have taken such an attitude of desperation that the Government is somewhat alarmed, and seems disposed to pause at the adoption of its abolitionary measures. George Hibbert told me last night that if they were driven to extremities there was nothing they were not ready to do, and that there would be another panic if Government did not take care, and so Rothschild had told them.

I dined with Madame de Lieven yesterday, who is in the agonies of doubt about her remaining here. It turns upon this: Stratford Canning has been appointed Ambassador at St. Petersburg, and the Emperor will not receive him. Palmerston is indignant, and will not send anybody else. If the Emperor persists, we shall only have a Chargé d’Affaires at his Court, and in that case he will not leave an Ambassador at ours. There seems to be at present no way out of the quarrel. Stratford Canning’s mission to Madrid cannot last for ever, and when it is over the point must be decided.

The people of Jamaica have presented a petition to the King (I don’t know exactly in what shape, or how got up), praying to be released from their allegiance. Goderich told me that it was very insolent. Mulgrave’s recent coup de théâtre is severely condemned. Nothing can save these unhappy colonies, for all parties vie with each other in violence and folly—the people here and the people there, the Government here and the Government there.

February 10th, 1833

[353] DEBATE ON THE ADDRESS. After four days’ debate in the House of Commons (quite unprecedented, I believe) the Address was carried by a large majority.[8] Opinions are of course very various upon the state of the House and the character of the discussion. The anti-Reformers, with a sort of melancholy triumph, boast that their worst expectations have been fulfilled. The Government were during the first day or two very serious, and though on the whole they think they have reason to be satisfied, they cannot help seeing that they have in fact very little power of managing the House. Everybody agrees that the aspect of the House of Commons was very different—the number of strange faces; the swagger of O’Connell, walking about incessantly, and making signs to, or talking with, his followers in various parts; the Tories few and scattered; Peel no longer surrounded with a stout band of supporters, but pushed from his usual seat, which is occupied by Cobbett, O’Connell, and the Radicals; he is gone up nearer to the Speaker.

[8] [The first Reformed Parliament met and was formally opened on the 29th of January, 1833. After the election of the Speaker (Manners Sutton) the King delivered his Speech from the Throne on the 5th of February.]

The whole debate turned upon Ireland. O’Connell pronounced a violent but powerful philippic, which Stanley answered very well. Macaulay made one of his brilliant speeches the second night, and Peel spoke the third. It was not possible to make a more dexterous and judicious speech than he did; for finding himself in a very uncomfortable position, he at once placed himself in a good one, and acknowledging that his situation was altogether different from what it had been, he contrived to transfer to himself personally much of the weight and authority which he previously held as the organ and head of a great and powerful party. He pronounced an eulogium of Stanley, declared that his confidence in Government was not augmented, but that he would support them if they would support law and order. The Government were extremely pleased at his speech, though I think not without a secret misgiving that they are likely to be more in his power than is pleasant. [354] But the benefit resulting from the whole is that the Radicals all opposed the Government, while Peel supported them; so that we may hope that a complete line of separation is drawn between the two former, and that the Government will really and boldly take the Conservative side. On the whole, perhaps, this bout may be deemed satisfactory.

February 14th, 1833

The night before last Althorp brought forward his plan of Irish Church Reform, with complete success. He did it well, and Stanley made a very brilliant speech. The House received it with almost unanimous applause, nobody opposing but Inglis and Goulburn, and Peel, in a very feeble speech, which scarcely deserves the name of opposition; it will be of great service to the Government. O’Connell lauded the measure up to the skies; but Sheil said he would bite his tongue off with vexation the next morning for having done so, after he had slept upon it. It was clear that Peel, who is courting the House, and exerting all his dexterity to bring men’s minds round to him, saw the stream was too strong for him to go against it, so he made a sort of temporising, moderate, unmeaning speech, which will give him time to determine on his best course, and did not commit him. Poulett Thomson said to me yesterday that Peel’s prodigious superiority over everybody in the House was so evident, his talent for debate and thorough knowledge of Parliamentary tactics, gained by twenty years of experience, so commanding, that he must draw men’s minds to him, and that he was evidently playing that game, throwing over the ultra-Tories and ingratiating himself with the House and the country. He, in fact, means to open a house to all comers, and make himself necessary and indispensable. Under that placid exterior he conceals, I believe, a boundless ambition, and hatred and jealousy lurk under his professions of esteem and political attachment. His is one of those contradictory characters, containing in it so much of mixed good and evil, that it is difficult to strike an accurate balance between the two, and the acts of his political life are of a corresponding description, of questionable utility and merit, though always marked by great ability. It is very sure that he has been [355] CHARACTER OF PEEL. the instrument of great good, or of enormous evil, and apparently more of the latter. He came into life the child and champion of a political system which has been for a long time crumbling to pieces; and if the perils which are produced by its fall are great, they are mainly attributable to the manner in which it was upheld by Peel, and to his want of sagacity, in a wrong estimate of his means of defence and of the force of the antagonist power with which he had to contend. The leading principles of his political conduct have been constantly erroneous, and his dexterity and ability in supporting them have only made the consequences of his errors more extensively pernicious. If we look back through the long course of Peel’s life, and enquire what have been the great political measures with which his name is particularly connected, we shall find, first, the return to cash payments, which almost everybody now agrees was a fatal mistake, though it would not be fair to visit him with extraordinary censure for a measure which was sanctioned by almost all the great financial authorities; secondly, opposition to Reform in Parliament and to religious emancipation of every kind, the maintenance of the exclusive system, and support, untouched and unconnected, of the Church, both English and Irish. His resistance to alterations on these heads was conducted with great ability, and for a long time with success; but he was endeavouring to uphold a system which was no longer supportable, and having imbibed in his career much of the liberal spirit of the age, he found himself in a state of no small perplexity between his old connections and his more enlarged propensities. Still he was chained down by the former, and consequently being beaten from all his positions, he was continually obliged to give way, but never did so till rather too late for his own credit and much too late for the interest at stake. Notwithstanding, therefore, the reputation he has acquired, the hold he has had of office, and is probably destined to have again, his political life has been a considerable failure, though not such an one as to render it more probable than not that his future life [356] will be a failure too. He has hitherto been encumbered with embarrassing questions and an unmanageable party. Time has disposed of the first, and he is divorced from the last; if his great experience and talents have a fair field to act upon, he may yet, in spite of his selfish and unamiable character, be a distinguished and successful Minister.


CHAPTER XX.

[357] Appointment of Sir Stratford Canning to the Russian Embassy — Cause of the Refusal — Slavery in the West Indies — The Reformed Parliament — Duke of Wellington’s View of Affairs — The Coercion Bill — The Privy Council Bill — Lord Durham made an Earl — Mr. Stanley Secretary for the Colonies — The Russians go to the Assistance of the Porte — Lord Goderich has the Privy Seal, an Earldom, and the Garter — Embarrassments of the Government — The Appeal of Drax v. Grosvenor at the Privy Council — Hobhouse defeated in Westminster — Bill for Negro Emancipation — The Russians on the Bosphorus — Mr. Littleton Chief Secretary for Ireland — Respect shown to the Duke of Wellington — Moral of a ‘Book on the Derby’ — The Oaks — A Betting Incident — Ascot — Government beaten in the Lords on Foreign Policy — Vote of Confidence in the Commons — Drax v. Grosvenor decided — Lord Eldon’s Last Judgment — His Character — Duke of Wellington as Leader of Opposition — West India Affairs — Irish Church Bill — Appropriation Clause — A Fancy Bazaar — The King writes to the Bishops — Local Court Bill — Mirabeau.


February 16th, 1833

Madame de Lieven gave me an account (the day before yesterday) of the quarrel between the two Courts about Stratford Canning. When the present Ministry came in, Nesselrode wrote to Madame de Lieven and desired her to beg that Lord Heytesbury might be left there—‘Conservez-nous Heytesbury.’ She asked Palmerston and Lord Grey, and they both promised her he should stay. Some time after he asked to be recalled. She wrote word to Nesselrode, and told him that either Adair or Canning would succeed him. He replied, ‘Don’t let it be Canning; he is a most impracticable man, soupçonneux, pointilleux, défiant;’ that he had been personally uncivil to the Emperor when he was Grand Duke; in short the plain truth was they would not receive him, and it was therefore desirable somebody, anybody, else should be sent. She told this to Palmerston, and he engaged that Stratford Canning should not be named. [358] Nothing more was done till some time ago, when to her astonishment Palmerston told her that he was going to send Canning to St. Petersburg. She remonstrated, urged all the objections of her Court, his own engagement, but in vain; the discussions between them grew bitter; Palmerston would not give way, and Canning was one day to her horror gazetted. As might have been expected, Nesselrode positively refused to receive him. Durham, who in the meantime had been to Russia and bien comblé with civilities, promised that Canning should not go there, trusting he had sufficient influence to prevent it; and since he has been at home it is one of the things he has been most violent and bitter about, because Palmerston will not retract this nomination, and he has the mortification of finding in this instance his own want of power. However, as there have been no discussions on it lately, the Princess still hopes it may blow over, and that some other mission may be found for Canning. At all events it appears a most curious piece of diplomacy to insist upon thrusting upon a Court a man personally obnoxious to the Sovereign and his Minister, and not the best way of preserving harmonious relations or obtaining political advantages. She says, however (and with all her anger she is no bad judge), that Palmerston ‘est un très-petit esprit—lourd, obstiné,’ &c., and she is astonished how Lady C. with her finesse can be so taken with him.

Lady Cowper has since told me that Madame de Lieven has been to blame in all this business, that Palmerston was provoked with her interference, that her temper had got the better of her, and she had thought to carry it with a high hand, having been used to have her own way, and that he had thought both she and her Court wanted to be taken down a peg; that she had told Nesselrode she could prevent this appointment, and, what had done more harm than anything, she had appealed to Grey against Palmerston, and employed Durham to make a great clamour about it. All this made Palmerston angry, and determined him to punish her, who he thought had meddled more than she ought, and had made the matter personally embarrassing and disagreeable to him.

[359] LORD GREY’S COERCION BILL. Last night Lord Grey introduced his coercive measures in an excellent speech, though there are some people who doubt his being able to carry them through the House of Commons. If he can’t, he goes of course; and what next? The measures are sufficiently strong, it must be owned—a consommé of insurrection-gagging Acts, suspension of Habeas Corpus, martial law, and one or two other little hards and sharps.[1]

[1] [In the debate on the Address O’Connell had denounced the coercive measures announced in the Speech from the Throne as ‘brutal, bloody, and unconstitutional.’ But the state of Ireland was so dreadful that it demanded and justified the severest remedies. Lord Grey stated in the House of Lords that between January 1st and December 31st 9,000 crimes had been committed—homicides 242, robberies 1,179, burglaries 401, burnings 568, and so on. The Bill gave the Lord-Lieutenant power to proclaim disturbed districts, to substitute courts-martial for the ordinary courts of justice, to prohibit meetings, and to punish the distributors of seditious papers. Such were the powers which Lord Wellesley described as more formidable to himself than to the people of Ireland, for the greater part of them were never exercised. The Act produced the desired effect. In a year Ireland was pacified; and the abandonment of several of the most important clauses in the Act (contrary to Lord Grey’s wishes) was the cause which led to the dissolution of the Ministry in the month of June 1834.]

London, February 22nd, 1833

Dined yesterday with Fortunatus Dwarris, who was counsel to the Board of Health; one of those dinners that people in that class of society put themselves in an agony to give, and generally their guests in as great an agony to partake of. There were Goulburn, Serjeant ditto and his wife, Stephen, &c. Goulburn mentioned a curious thing à propos of slavery. A slave ran away from his estate in Jamaica many years ago, and got to England. He (the man) called at his house when he was not at home, and Goulburn never could afterwards find out where he was. He remained in England, however, gaining his livelihood by some means, till after some years he returned to Jamaica and to the estate, and desired to be employed as a slave again.

Stephen, who is one of the great apostles of emancipation, and who resigned a profession worth 3,000ℓ. a year at the Bar for a place of 1,500ℓ. in the Colonial Office, principally in [360] order to advance that object, owned that he had never known so great a problem nor so difficult a question to settle. His notion is that compulsory labour may be substituted for slavery, and in some colonies (the new ones, as they are called—Demerara, &c.) he thinks it will not be difficult; in Jamaica he is doubtful, and admits that if this does not answer the slaves will relapse into barbarism, nor is he at all clear that any disorders and evils may not be produced by the effect of desperation on one side and disappointment on the other; still he does not hesitate to go on, but fully admitting the right of the proprietors to ample compensation, and the duty incumbent on the country to give it. If the sentiments of justice and benevolence with which he is actuated were common to all who profess the same opinions, or if the same sagacity and resource which he possesses were likely to be applied to the practical operation of the scheme, the evils which are dreaded and foreseen might be mitigated and avoided; but this is very far from the case, and the evils will, in all probability, more than overbalance the good which humanity aims at effecting; nor is it possible to view the settlement (as it is called, for all changes are settlements now-a-days) of this question without a misgiving that it will only produce some other great topic for public agitation, some great interest to be overturned or mighty change to be accomplished. The public appetite for discussion and legislation has been whetted and is insatiable; the millions of orators and legislators who have sprung up like mushrooms all over the kingdom, the bellowers, the chatterers, the knaves, and the dupes, who make such an universal hubbub, must be fed with fresh victims and sacrifices. The Catholic question was speedily followed by Reform in Parliament, and this has opened a door to anything.

In the meantime the Reformed Parliament has been sitting for a fortnight or so, and begins to manifest its character and pretensions. The first thing that strikes one is its inferiority in point of composition to preceding Houses of Commons, and the presumption, impertinence, and self-sufficiency of the new members. Formerly new [361] ASPECT OF THE NEW HOUSE OF COMMONS. members appeared with some modesty and diffidence, and with some appearance of respect for the assembly into which they were admitted; these fellows behave themselves as if they had taken it by storm, and might riot in all the insolence of victory. There exists no party but that of the Government; the Irish act in a body under O’Connell to the number of about forty; the Radicals are scattered up and down without a leader, numerous, restless, turbulent, and bold—Hume, Cobbett, and a multitude such as Roebuck, Faithfull, Buckingham, Major Beauclerck, &c. (most of whom have totally failed in point of speaking)—bent upon doing all the mischief they can and incessantly active; the Tories without a head, frightened, angry, and sulky; Peel without a party, prudent, cautious, and dexterous, playing a deep waiting game of scrutiny and observation. The feelings of these various elements of party, rather than parties, may be thus summed up:—The Radicals are confident and sanguine; the Whigs uneasy; the Tories desponding; moderate men, who belong to no party, but support Government, serious, and not without alarm. There is, in fact, enough to justify alarm, for the Government has evidently no power over the House of Commons, and though it is probable that they will scramble through the session without sustaining any serious defeat, or being reduced to the necessity of any great sacrifice or compromise, they are conscious of their own want of authority and of that sort of command without which no Government has been hitherto deemed secure. The evil of this is that we are now reduced to the alternative of Lord Grey’s Government or none at all; and should he be defeated on any great measure, he must either abandon the country to its fate, or consent to carry on the Government upon the condition of a virtual transfer of the executive power to the House of Commons. If this comes to pass the game is up, for this House, like animals who have once tasted blood, if it ever exercises such a power as this, and finds a Minister consenting to hold office on such terms, will never rest till it has acquired all the authority of the Long Parliament and reduced that of the Crown to a [362] mere cypher. It is curious, by-the-bye, that the example of the Long Parliament in a trivial matter has just been adopted, in the sittings of the House at twelve o’clock for the hearing of petitions.

February 27th, 1833

Laid up ever since that dinner at Dwarris’s with the gout. Frederick Fitzclarence has been compelled to resign the situation at the Tower which the King gave him; they found it very probable that the House of Commons would refuse to vote the pay of it—a trifle in itself, but indicative of the spirit of the times and the total want of consideration for the King. O’Connell made a speech of such violence at the Trades Union the other day—calling the House of Commons six hundred scoundrels—that there was a great deal of talk about taking it up in Parliament and proposing his expulsion, which, however, they have not had the folly to do. The Irish Bill was to come on last night. The sense of insecurity and uneasiness evidently increases; the Government assumes a high tone, but is not at all certain of its ability to pass the Coercive Bills unaltered, and yesterday there appeared an article in the ‘Times’ in a style of lofty reproof and severe admonition, which was no doubt as appalling as it was meant to be. This article made what is called a great sensation; always struggling, as this paper does, to take the lead of public opinion and watching all its turns and shifts with perpetual anxiety, it is at once regarded as undoubted evidence of its direction and dreaded for the influence which its powerful writing and extensive sale have placed in its hands. It is no small homage to the power of the press to see that an article like this makes as much noise as the declaration of a powerful Minister or a leader of Opposition could do in either House of Parliament.

Yesterday morning the Duke of Wellington came here upon some private business, after discussing which he entered upon the state of the country. I told him my view of the condition of the Government and of the House of Commons, and he said, ‘You have hit the two points that I have myself always felt so strongly about. I told Lord Grey so [363] DUKE OF WELLINGTON’S VIEW OF AFFAIRS. long ago, and asked him at the time how he expected to be able to carry on the Government of the country, to which he never could give any answer, except that it would all do very well. However, things are not a bit worse than I always thought they would be. As they are, I mean to support the Government—support them in every way. The first thing I have to look to is to keep my house over my head, and the alternative is between this Government and none at all. I am therefore for supporting the Government, but then there is so much passion, and prejudice, and folly, and vindictive feeling, that it is very difficult to get others to do the same. I hear Peel had only fifty people with him the other night on some question, though they say that there are 150 of that party in the House of Commons. He thinks as ill of the whole thing as possible. [While I am writing Poodle Byng is come in, who tells me what happened last night. Althorp made a very bad speech and a wretched statement; other people spoke, pert and disagreeable, and the debate looked ill till Stanley rose and made one of the finest speeches that were ever heard, pounding O’Connell to dust and attacking him for his ‘six hundred scoundrels,’ from which he endeavoured to escape by a miserable and abortive explanation. Stanley seems to have set the whole thing to rights, like a great man.]

I told the Duke what Macaulay had said to Denison: ‘that if he had had to legislate, he would, instead of this Bill, have suspended the laws for five years in Ireland, given the Lord-Lieutenant’s proclamation the force of law, and got the Duke of Wellington to go there.’ He seemed very well pleased at this, and said, ‘Well, that is the way I governed the provinces on the Garonne in the south of France. I desired the mayors to go on administering the law of the land, and when they asked me in whose name criminal suits should be carried on (which were ordinarily in the name of the Emperor), and if they should be in the name of the King, I said no, that we were treating with the Emperor at Chatillon, and if they put forth the King they would be in a scrape; neither should it be in the Emperor’s name, because [364] we did not acknowledge him, but in that of the Allied Powers.’ In this I think he was wrong (par parenthèse), for Napoleon was acknowledged by all the Powers but us, and we were treating with him, and if he permitted the civil authorities to administer the law as usual, he should have allowed them to administer it in the usual legal form. Their civil administration could not affect any political questions in the slightest degree.

March 4th, 1833

Sir Thomas Hardy told my brother he thought the King would certainly go mad; he was so excitable, loathing his Ministers, particularly Graham, and dying to go to war. He has some of the cunning of madmen, who fawn upon their keepers when looked at by them, and grin at them and shake their fists when their backs are turned; so he is extravagantly civil when his Ministers are with him, and exhibits every mark of aversion when they are away. Peel made an admirable speech on Friday night; they expect a great majority.

March 13th, 1833

The second reading of the Coercive Bill has passed by a great majority after a dull debate, and the other night Althorp deeply offended Peel and the Tories by hurrying on the Church Reform Bill. It was to be printed one day, and the second reading taken two days after. They asked a delay of four or five days, and Althorp refused. He did very wrong; he is either bullied or cajoled into almost anything the Radicals want of this sort, but he is stout against the Tories. The delay is required by decency, but it ought to have been enough that Peel and the others asked it for him to concede it. He ought to soften the asperities which must long survive the battles of last year as much as he can, and avoid shocking what he may consider the prejudices of the vanquished party. It was worse than impolitic; it was stupid and uncourteous, and missing an opportunity of being gracious which he ought to have seized.

I have been again worried with a new edition of Brougham’s Privy Council Bill,[2] and the difficulty of getting [365] LORD BROUGHAM’S PRIVY COUNCIL BILL. Lord Lansdowne to do anything. This is the way Brougham goes to work:—He resolves to alter; he does not condescend to communicate with the Privy Council, or to consult those who are conversant with its practice, or who have been in the habit of administering justice there; he has not time to think of it himself; he tosses to one of his numerous employés (for he has people without end working for him) his rough notion, and tells him to put it into shape; the satellite goes to work, always keeping in view the increase of the dignity, authority, and patronage of the Chancellor, and careless of the Council, the King, and the usages of the Constitution. What is called the Bill is then, for form’s sake, handed over to the Lord President (Lord Lansdowne), with injunctions to let nobody see it, as if he was conspiring against the Council, secure that if he meets with no resistance but what is engendered by Lord Lansdowne’s opposition he may enact anything he pleases. Lord Lansdowne sends it to me (a long Act of Parliament), with a request that I will return it ‘by the bearer,’ with any remarks I may have to make on it. The end is that I am left, quantum impar, to fight this with the Chancellor.

[2] [This was the Bill for the establishment of a Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which eventually became the Act 3 & 4 Will. IV., cap. 41, and definitively created that tribunal. Mr. Greville objected to several of the provisions of the measure, because he regarded them as an unnecessary interference of Parliament with the authority of the Sovereign in his Council. The Sovereign might undoubtedly have created a Committee of the judicial members of the Privy Council: but the Bill went further, and by extending and defining the power of the Judicial Committee as a Court of Appeal it undoubtedly proved a very useful and important measure.]

March 15th, 1833

Ministerial changes are going on; Durham is out, and to be made an earl. Yesterday his elevation was known, and it is amusing enough that the same day an incident should have occurred in the House of Lords exhibiting in a good light the worthiness of the subject, and how much he merits it at the hands of Lord Grey.


March 29th, 1833

Lord Goderich is Privy Seal,[3] and Stanley Secretary for the Colonies, after much trouble. Last year a [366] positive pledge was given to Stanley that he should not meet Parliament again but as Secretary of State. It was not, however, specified who was to make room for him. The Cabinet settled that it should be Goderich, when Durham went out, and Palmerston was charged with the office of breaking it to Goderich with the offer of an earldom by way of gilding the pill, but Goderich would not hear of it, said it would look like running away from the Slave question, and, in short, flatly refused. Stanley threatened to resign if he was not promoted, and in this dilemma the Duke of Richmond (who was going to Windsor) persuaded Lord Grey to let him lay the case before the King, and inform him that if this arrangement was not made the Government must be broken up. He did so, and the King acquiesced, and at the same time a similar representation was made to Goderich, who after a desperate resistance knocked under, and said that if it must be so he would yield, but only to the King’s express commands.

[3] [Down to this time Lord Goderich had been Secretary for the Colonial Department in Lord Grey’s Government.]

March 30th, 1833

Saw Madame de Lieven yesterday, who told me the story of the late business at St. Petersburg. The Sultan after the battle of Koniah applied to the Emperor of Russia for succour, who ordered twelve sail of the line and 30,000 men to go to the protection of Constantinople. At the same time General Mouravieff was sent to Constantinople, with orders to proceed to Alexandria and inform the Pacha that the Emperor could only look upon him as a rebel, that he would not suffer the Ottoman Empire to be overturned, and that if Ibrahim advanced ‘il aurait affaire à l’Empereur de Russie.’ Orders were accordingly sent to Ibrahim to suspend his operations, and Mouravieff returned to Constantinople. Upon the demand for succour by the Sultan, and the Emperor’s compliance with it, notification was made to all the Courts, and instructions were given to the Russian commanders to retire as soon as the Sultan should have no further occasion for their aid. So satisfactory was this that Lord Grey expressed the greatest anxiety that the Russian armament should arrive in time to arrest the progress of the Egyptians. They did arrive—at least the fleet [367] PRECARIOUS STATE OF THE GOVERNMENT. did—and dropped anchor under the Seraglio. At this juncture arrived Admiral Roussin in a ship of war, and as Ambassador of France. He immediately informed the Sultan that the interposition of Russia was superfluous, that he would undertake to conclude a treaty, and to answer for the acquiescence of the Pacha, and he sent a project one article of which was that the Russian fleet should instantly withdraw. To this proposition the Sultan acceded, and without waiting for the Pacha’s confirmation he notified to the Russian Ambassador that he had no longer any wish for the presence of the Russian fleet, and they accordingly weighed anchor and sailed away. This is all that is known of the transaction, but Madame de Lieven was loud and vehement about the insolence of Roussin; she said the Emperor would demand ‘une satisfaction éclatante’—‘le rappel et le désaveu de l’amiral Roussin,’ and that if this should be refused the Russian Ambassador would be ordered to quit Paris. She waits with great anxiety to see the end of the business, for on it appears to depend the question of peace or war with France. She said that the day before Namik went away intelligence of this event arrived, which Palmerston communicated to him. The Turk heard it very quietly, and then only said, ‘Et où était l’Angleterre dans tout ceci?’

I have heard to-night the Goderich version of his late translation. He had agreed to remain in the Cabinet without an office, but Lord Grey insisted on his taking the Privy Seal, and threatened to resign if he did not; he was at last bullied into acquiescence, and when he had his audience of the King his Majesty offered him anything he had to give. He said he had made the sacrifice to please and serve him, and would take nothing. An earldom—he refused; the Bath—ditto; the Garter—that he said he would take. It was then discovered that he was not of rank sufficient, when he said he would take the earldom in order to qualify himself for the Garter, and so it stands. There is no Garter vacant, and one supernumerary already, and Castlereagh and Lord North, viscounts, and Sir Robert Walpole (all Commoners) had blue ribands!

London, April 28th, 1833

[368] Came to town last night from Newmarket, and the intervening week at Buckenham. Nothing but racing and hawking; a wretched life—that is, a life of amusement, but very unprofitable and discreditable to anybody who can do better things. Of politics I know nothing during this interval, but on coming to town find all in confusion, and everybody gaping for ‘what next.’ Government was beaten on the Malt Tax, and Lord Grey proposed to resign; the Tories are glad that the Government is embarrassed, no matter how, the supporters sorry and repentant, so that it is very clear the matter will be patched up; they won’t budge, and will probably get more regular support for the future. Perhaps Althorp will go, but where to find a Chancellor of the Exchequer will be the difficulty. Poulett Thomson wants it, but they will not dare commit the finances of the country to him, so we go scrambling on ‘du jour la journée.’ Nobody knows what is to happen next—no confidence, no security, great talk of a property tax, to which, I suppose, after wriggling about, we shall at last come.

May 2nd, 1833

The Government affair is patched up, and nobody goes but Hobhouse,[4] who thought fit to resign both his seat in Parliament and his office, thereby creating another great embarrassment, which can only be removed by his re-election and re-appointment, and then, what a farce!

[4] [Sir John Hobhouse, who had consented to take the Irish Secretaryship a month before, resigned now because he felt unable to oppose a resolution for the abolition of the window duties; and resigning office he resigned his seat for Westminster also, and was not re-elected. See in the ‘Edinburgh Review,’ April 1871 (No. 272), an account of this transaction.]

There were two great majorities in the House of Commons the night before last. The King was all graciousness and favour to Lord Grey, and so they are set up again, and fancy themselves stronger than before. But although everybody (except the fools) wished them to be re-established, it was evident that this was only because, at this moment, the time is not ripe for a change, for they inspired no interest either individually or collectively. It was easy to see that the Government has no consideration, and that people are [369] EMBARRASSMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT. getting tired of their blunders and embarrassments, and begin to turn their eyes to those who are more capable, and know something of the business of Government—to Peel and to Stanley, for the former, in spite of his cold, calculating selfishness and duplicity, is the ablest man there is, and we must take what we can get, and accept services without troubling ourselves about the motives of those who supply them. It must come to this conclusion unless the reign of Radicalism and the authority of the Humes ‘et hoc genus omne’ is to be substituted. That the present Government loses ground every day is perfectly clear, and at the same time that the fruits of the Reform Bill become more lamentably apparent. The scrape Government lately got into was owing partly to the votes that people were obliged to give to curry favour with their constituents, and partly to negligence and carelessness in whipping in. Hobhouse’s resignation is on account of his pledges, and because he is forced to pledge himself on the hustings he finds himself placed in a situation which compels him to save his honour and consistency by embarrassing the public service to the greatest degree at a very critical time. Men go on asking one another how is it possible the country can be governed in this manner, and nobody can reply.

Since I have been out of town the appeal against the Chancellor’s judgment in the Drax (lunacy) case has been heard at the Privy Council, and will be finally determined on Saturday.[5] Two years have nearly elapsed since that case [370] was lodged, and the Chancellor has always found pretexts for getting the hearing postponed; at length the parties became so clamorous that it was necessary to fix a day. He then endeavoured to pack a committee, and spoke to Lord Lansdowne about summoning Lord Plunket, Lord Lyndhurst, and the Vice-Chancellor, but Leach, who hates Brougham, and is particularly nettled at his having reversed some of his judgments, bestirred himself, and represented to Lord Lansdowne the absolute necessity (in a case of such consequence) of having all the ex-Chancellors to hear it. Plunket was gone to Ireland, so the Committee consisted of the Lord President, the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Master of the Rolls, Lords Eldon, Lyndhurst, and Manners. They say the argument was very able—Sugden in support of the Chancellor’s judgment, and Pemberton against it; they expect it will be reversed. Leach, foolishly enough, by question and observation, exhibited a strong bias against the Chancellor, who never said a word, and appeared very calm and easy, but with rage in his heart, for he was indignant at these Lords having been summoned (as his secretary told Lennard[6]), and said ‘he was sure it was all Leach’s doing.’ What a man! how wonderful! how despicable! carrying into the administration of justice the petty vanity, personal jealousy and pique, and shuffling arts that would reflect ridicule and odium on a silly woman of fashion. He has smuggled his Privy Council Bill through the House of Lords without the slightest notice or remark.

[5] [An appeal lies to the King in Council from orders of the Lord Chancellor in lunacy, but there are very few examples of the prosecution of appeals of this nature. This case of Drax v. Grosvenor, which is reported in ‘Knapp’s Privy Council Cases,’ was therefore one of great peculiarity. The Bill constituting the Judicial Committee had not at this time become law; this appeal was therefore heard by a Committee of the Lords of the Council, to which any member of the Privy Council might be summoned. Care was taken that the highest legal authorities should be present. It was the last time Lord Eldon sat in a court of law. Lord Brougham, the Chancellor, sat on the Committee, although the appeal was brought from an order made by himself: this practice had not been uncommon in the House of Lords, but it had not been the practice of the Privy Council, where indeed the case could seldom arise.]

[6] [John Barrett Lennard, Esq., was Chief Clerk of the Council Office.]

May 16th, 1833

On coming to town found the Westminster election just over, and Evans returned. They would not hear Hobhouse, and pelted him and his friends. No Secretary for Ireland is to be found, for the man must be competent, and sure of re-election. Few are the first and none the last. Hobhouse is generally censured for having put Government in this great difficulty, but the Tories see it all with a sort of grim satisfaction, and point at it as a happy illustration of the benefits of the Reform Bill. I point too, but I don’t rejoice.

[371] SLAVE EMANCIPATION. At the same time with Hobhouse’s defeat came forth Stanley’s plan for slave emancipation, which produced rage and fury among both West Indians and Saints, being too much for the former and not enough for the latter, and both announced their opposition to it. Practical men declare that it is impossible to carry it into effect, and that the details are unmanageable. Even the Government adherents do not pretend that it is a good and safe measure, but the best that could be hit off under the circumstances; these circumstances being the old motive, ‘the people will have it.’ The night before last Stanley developed his plan in the House of Commons in a speech of three hours, which was very eloquent, but rather disappointing. He handled the preliminary topics of horrors of slavery and colonial obstinacy and misconduct with all the vigour and success that might have been expected, but when he came to his measure he failed to show how it was to be put in operation and to work. The peroration and eulogy on Wilberforce were very brilliant. Howick had previously announced his intention of opposing Stanley, and accordingly he did so in a speech of considerable vehemence which lasted two hours. He was not, however, well received; his father and mother had in vain endeavoured to divert him from his resolution; but though they say his speech was clever, he has damaged himself by it. His plan is immediate emancipation.[7]

[7] [The result proved that Lord Howick was right. The apprenticeship system proposed by Lord Stanley was carried, but failed in execution, and was eventually abandoned.]

While such is the state of things here—enormous interests under discussion, great disquietude and alarm, no feeling of security, no confidence in the Government, and a Parliament that inspires fear rather than hope—matters abroad seem to be no better managed than they are at home. It is remarkable that the business in the East has escaped with so little animadversion, for there never was a fairer object of attack. While France has been vapouring, and we have been doing nothing at all, Russia has established her own influence in Turkey, and made herself virtually mistress of the Ottoman [372] Empire. At a time when our interests required that we should be well represented, and powerfully supported, we had neither an Ambassador nor a fleet in the Mediterranean; and because Lord Ponsonby is Lord Grey’s brother-in-law he has been able with impunity to dawdle on months after months at Naples for his pleasure, and leave affairs at Constantinople to be managed or mismanaged by a Chargé d’Affaires who is altogether incompetent.

May 19th, 1833

They have found a Secretary for Ireland in the person of Littleton,[8] which shows to what shifts they are put. He is rich, which is his only qualification, being neither very able nor very popular. The West India question is postponed. The Duke of Wellington told me that he thought it would pass away for this time, and that all parties would be convinced of the impracticability of any of the plans now mooted. I said that nothing could do away the mischief that had been done by broaching it. He thought ‘the mischief might be avoided;’ but then these people do nothing to avoid any mischief. I was marvellously struck (we rode together through St. James’s Park) with the profound respect with which the Duke was treated, everybody we met taking off their hats to him, everybody in the park rising as he went by, and every appearance of his inspiring great reverence. I like this symptom, and it is the more remarkable because it is not popularity, but a much higher feeling towards him. He has forfeited his popularity more than once; he has taken a line in politics directly counter to the [373] RESPECT SHOWN TO WELLINGTON. popular bias; but though in moments of excitement he is attacked and vilified (and his broken windows, which I wish he would mend, still preserve a record of the violence of the mob), when the excitement subsides there is always a returning sentiment of admiration and respect for him, kept alive by the recollection of his splendid actions, such as no one else ever inspired. Much, too, as I have regretted and censured the enormous errors of his political career (at times), I believe that this sentiment is in a great degree produced by the justice which is done to his political character, sometimes mistaken, but always high-minded and patriotic, and never mean, false, or selfish. If he has aimed at power, and overrated his own capacity for wielding it, it has been with the purest intentions and the most conscientious views. I believe firmly that no man had ever at heart to a greater degree the honour and glory of his country; and hereafter, when justice will be done to his memory, and his character and conduct be scanned with impartial eyes, if his capacity for government appears unequal to the exigencies of the times in which he was placed at the head of affairs, the purity of his motives and the noble character of his ambition will be amply acknowledged.

[8] [The Rt. Hon. E. J. Littleton, M.P. for Staffordshire, and afterwards first Lord Hatherton.

It was Lord John Russell who advised Lord Grey to make Littleton Irish Secretary. He told me so in May 1871, but added, ‘I think I made a mistake.’ The appointment was wholly unsolicited and unexpected by Mr. Littleton himself, who happened to be laid up at the time by an accident. On the receipt of the letter from Lord Grey offering him the Secretaryship of Ireland, and requesting him to take it, Mr. Littleton consulted Mr. Fazakerly, who was of opinion that he ought to accept the offer. This therefore he did, though not, as I know from his own journals, without great diffidence and hesitation; and he intimated to Lord Grey that he would only retain his office until some other man could be found to accept it.]

The Duke of Orleans is here, and very well received by the Court and the world. He is good-looking, dull, has good manners and little conversation, goes everywhere, and dances all night. At the ball at Court the Queen waltzed with the two Dukes of Orleans and Brunswick.

Peel compelled old Cobbett to bring on his motion for getting him erased from the Privy Council, which Cobbett wished to shirk from. He gave him a terrible dressing, and it all went off for Peel in the most flattering way. He gains every day more authority and influence in the House of Commons. It must end in Peel and Stanley, unless everything ends.

May 27th, 1833

All last week at Epsom, and now, thank God, these races are over. I have had all the trouble and excitement and worry, and have neither won nor lost; nothing but the hope of gain would induce me to go through this demoralising drudgery, which I am conscious reduces me to [374] the level of all that is most disreputable and despicable, for my thoughts are eternally absorbed by it. Jockeys, trainers, and blacklegs are my companions, and it is like dram-drinking; having once entered upon it I cannot leave it off, though I am disgusted with the occupation all the time. Let no man who has no need, who is not in danger of losing all he has, and is not obliged to grasp at every chance, make a book on the Derby. While the fever it excites is raging, and the odds are varying, I can neither read, nor write, nor occupy myself with anything else. I went to the Oaks on Wednesday, where Lord Stanley kept house for the first, and probably (as the house is for sale) for the last time. It is a very agreeable place, with an odd sort of house built at different times and by different people; but the outside is covered with ivy and creepers, which is pretty, and there are two good living-rooms in it. Besides this, there is an abundance of grass and shade; it has been for thirty or forty years the resort of all our old jockeys, and is now occupied by the sporting portion of the Government. We had Lord Grey and his daughter, Duke and Duchess of Richmond, Lord and Lady Errol, Althorp, Graham, Uxbridge, Charles Grey, Duke of Grafton, Lichfield, and Stanley’s brothers. It passed off very well—racing all the morning, an excellent dinner, and whist and blind hookey in the evening. It was curious to see Stanley. Who would believe they beheld the orator and statesman, only second, if second, to Peel in the House of Commons, and on whom the destiny of the country perhaps depends? There he was, as if he had no thoughts but for the turf, full of the horses, interest in the lottery, eager, blunt, noisy, good-humoured, ‘has meditans nugas et totus in illis;’ at night equally devoted to the play, as if his fortune depended on it. Thus can a man relax whose existence is devoted to great objects and serious thoughts. I had considerable hopes of winning the Derby, but was beaten easily, my horse not being good. An odd circumstance occurred to me before the race. Payne told me in strict confidence that a man who could not appear on account of his debts, and who had been, much connected with turf robberies, came to him, and entreated [375] ANECDOTE OF THE DERBY. him to take the odds for him to 1,000ℓ. about a horse for the Derby, and deposited a note in his hand for the purpose. He told him half the horses were made safe, and that it was arranged this one was to win. After much delay, and having got his promise to lay out the money, he told him it was my horse. He did back the horse for the man for 700ℓ., but the same person told him if my horse could not win Dangerous would, and he backed the latter likewise for 100ℓ., by which his friend was saved, and won 800ℓ. He did not tell me his name, nor anything more, except that his object was, if he had won, to pay his creditors, and he had authorised Payne to retain the money, if he won it, for that purpose.

We heard, while at the Oaks, that M. Dedel had signed the convention between France, England, and Holland, on which all the funds rose. The King of Holland’s ratification was still to be got, and many people will not believe in that till they see it.

June 3rd, 1833

The Government are in high spirits. The Saints have given in their adhesion to Stanley’s plan, and they expect to carry the West India question. The Bank measure has satisfied the directors, and most people, except Peel. The Duke of Wellington told me he was very well satisfied, but that they had intended to make better terms with the Bank, and he thought they should have done so. Melbourne says, ‘Now that we are as much hated as they were, we shall stay in for ever.’

As I came into town (having come by the steamboat from Margate very luxuriously) on Saturday I found a final meeting at the Council Office to dispose of the lunacy case. It was so late when Horne finished his reply that I thought there was no chance of any discussion, and I did not go in; but I met the Master of the Rolls afterwards, who told me they had delivered their opinions, Lord Eldon cautiously, he himself ‘broadly,’ which I will be bound he did (for he hates Brougham), and that, though no judgment had been yet given, the Chancellor’s decree would be reversed; so that after all Brougham’s wincing and wriggling to this he has been forced to submit at last.

London, June 11th, 1833

[376] At a place called Buckhurst all last week for the Ascot races; a party at Lichfield’s, racing all the morning, then eating and drinking, and play at night. I may say, with more truth than anybody, ‘Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor.’ The weather was charming, the course crowded, the King received decently. His household is now so ill managed that his grooms were drunk every day, and one man (who was sober) was killed going home from the races. Goodwin told me nobody exercised any authority, and the consequence was that the household all ran riot.

The first day of the races arrived the news that the Duke of Wellington, after making a strong muster, had beaten the Government in the House of Lords on the question of Portuguese neutrality and Don Miguel, that Lord Grey had announced that he considered it a vote of censure, and threw out a sort of threat of resigning. He and Brougham (after a Cabinet) went down to the King. The King was very much annoyed at this fresh dilemma into which the Tories had brought him, and consented to whatever Lord Grey required. In the meantime the House of Commons flew to arms, and Colonel Dawes gave notice of a motion of confidence in Ministers upon their foreign policy. This was carried by an immense majority after a weak debate, in which some very cowardly menaces were thrown out against the Bishops, and this settled the question. Ministers did not resign, no Peers were made, and everything goes on as before. It has been, however, a disastrous business. How the Duke of Wellington could take this course after the conversation I had with him in this room, when he told me he would support the Government because he wished it to be strong, I can’t conceive. At all events he seems resolved that his Parliamentary victories should be as injurious as his military ones were glorious to his country. Some of his friends say that he was provoked by Lord Grey’s supercilious answer to him the other day, when he said he knew nothing of what was going on but from what he read in the newspapers, others that he ‘feels so very strongly’ about Portugal, [377] TORY BLUNDERS. others that he cannot manage the Tories, and that they were determined to fight; in short, that he has not the same authority as leader of a party that he had as general of an army, for nobody would have forced him to fight the battle of Salamanca or Vittoria if he had not fancied it himself. The effect, however, has been this: the House of Lords has had a rap on the knuckles from the King, their legislative functions are practically in abeyance, and his Majesty is more tied than ever to his Ministers. The House of Lords is paralysed; it exists upon sufferance, and cannot venture to throw out or materially alter any Bill (such as the India, Bank, Negro, Church Reform, &c.) which may come up to it without the certainty of being instantly swamped, and the measures, however obnoxious, crammed down its throat. This Government has lost ground in public opinion, they were daily falling lower, and these predestinated idiots come and bolster them up just when they most want it. Tavistock acknowledged to me that they were unpopular, and that this freak had been of vast service to them; consequently they are all elated to the greatest degree. The Tories are sulky and crestfallen; moderate men are vexed, disappointed, grieved; and the Radicals stand grinning by, chuckling at the sight of the Conservatives (at least those who so call themselves, and those who must be so really) cutting each others’ throats.

On Saturday, the day after I came back, I found a final meeting at the Council Office on the lunacy case, the appeal of Grosvenor against Drax. There were Lord Lansdowne, the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Master of the Rolls, Lord Manners, Lord Eldon, and Lord Lyndhurst. The rule is that the President of the Council collects the opinions and votes, beginning with the junior Privy Councillor. This was the Chancellor,[9] who made a sort of apology for his [378] judgment, stating that he had made the order just after two or three very flagrant cases of a similar description had been brought under his notice, and then he went into this case, and endeavoured to show that there was fraud (and intentional fraud) on the part of the Grosvenors, and he maintained, without insisting on, and very mildly, his own former view of the case. Leach then made a speech strongly against the judgment, and Lord Eldon made a longish speech, very clear, and very decided against it, interlarded with professions of his ‘sincere’ respect for the person who delivered the judgment. The Chancellor did not reply to Lord Eldon, but put some questions—some hypothetical, and some upon parts of the case itself—which, together with some remarks, brought on a discussion between him and Leach, in which the latter ended by lashing himself into a rage. ‘My Lord,’ said he to the Chancellor, ‘we talk too much, and we don’t stick to the point.’ Brougham put on one of his scornful smiles, and in reply to something (I forget what) that the Vice-Chancellor said he dropped in his sarcastic tone that he would do so and so ‘if his Honour would permit.’ For a moment I thought there would be a breeze, but it ended without any vote, in the adoption of a form of reversal suggested by Lord Eldon, which left it to the option of the respondent to institute other proceedings if he should think fit. Afterwards all was harmony. Eldon seemed tolerably fresh, feeble, but clear and collected. He was in spirits about the dinner which had just been given him by the Templars, at which he was received with extraordinary honours. He said he hoped never to be called to the Council Board again, and this was probably the last occasion on which he will have to appear in a judicial capacity. It is remarkable that his last act should be to reverse a judgment of Brougham’s, Brougham being Chancellor and himself nothing. I could not help looking with something like emotion at this extraordinary old man, and reflecting upon his long and laborious career, which is terminating gently and by almost insensible gradations, in a manner more congenial to a philosophic mind than to an ambitious spirit. [379] LORD ELDON’S GREAT CAREER. As a statesman and a politician he has survived and witnessed the ruin of his party and the subversion of those particular institutions to which he tenaciously clung, and which his prejudices or his wisdom made him think indispensable to the existence of the Constitution. As an individual his destiny has been happier, for he has preserved the strength of his body and the vigour of his mind far beyond the ordinary period allotted to man, he is adorned with honours and blessed with wealth sufficient for the aspirations of pride and avarice, and while the lapse of time has silenced the voice of envy, and retirement from office has mitigated the rancour of political hostility, his great and acknowledged authority as a luminary of the law shines forth with purer lustre. He enjoys, perhaps, the most perfect reward of his long life of labour and study—a foretaste of posthumous honour and fame. He has lived to see his name venerated and his decisions received with profound respect, and he is departing in peace, with the proud assurance that he has left to his country a mighty legacy of law and secured to himself an imperishable fame.

[9] [This must be a mistake. The Chancellor takes rank in the Privy Council after the Lord President and before everyone else. Lord Brougham was junior Privy Councillor in mere seniority, but his office gave him rank over the others present. His opinion was probably taken first out of compliment to him, as he had made the order under review.]

June 15th, 1833

The day before yesterday I had occasion to see the Duke of Wellington about the business in which we are joint trustees, and when we had done I said, ‘Well, that business in the House of Lords turned out ill the other day.’ ‘No; do you think so?’ he said, and then he went into the matter. He said that he was compelled to make the motion by the answer Lord Grey gave to his question a few nights before; that his party in the House of Lords would not be satisfied without dividing—they had been impatient to attack the Government, and were not to be restrained; that on the question itself they were right; that so far from his doing harm to the Government, if they availed themselves wisely of the defeat they might turn it to account in the House of Commons, and so far it was of use to them, as it afforded a convincing proof to their supporters that the House of Lords might be depended upon for good purposes, and they might demand of their supporters in the other House that they should enable them to carry good measures, [380] and they keep the House of Commons in harmony with the House of Lords. He said the Government would make no Peers, and that they could not; that the Tories were by no means frightened or disheartened, and meant to take the first opportunity of showing fight again; in short, he seemed not dissatisfied with what had already occurred, and resolved to pursue the same course. He said the Tories were indignant at the idea of being compelled to keep quiet, and that if they were to be swamped the sooner it was done the better, and that they would not give up their right to deal with any question they thought fit from any motive of expediency whatever.

I don’t know what to make of the Duke and his conduct. The Catholic question and the Corn Laws and Canning rise up before me, and make me doubt whether he is so pure in his views and so free from vindictive feelings as I thought and hoped he was. When Lords Grey and Brougham went down to the King after the defeat, they did not talk of Peers, and only proposed the short answer to the Lords, to which he consented at once. His Majesty was very indignant with the Duke, and said it was the second time he had got him into a scrape, he had made a fool of him last year, and now wanted to do the same thing again. Some pretend that all this indignation is simulated; the man is, I believe, more foolish than false.

June 19th, 1833

The King dined with the Duke at his Waterloo dinner yesterday, which does not look as if he had been so very angry with him as the Government people say. The Duke had his windows mended for the occasion, whether in honour of his Majesty or in consequence of H.B.’s caricature I don’t know.

I had a long conversation with Sir Willoughby Cotton on Sunday about Jamaica affairs. He is Commander-in-Chief, just come home, and just going out again. He told me what he had said to Stanley, which was to this effect: that the compensation would be esteemed munificent, greater by far than they had expected; that they had looked for a loan of fifteen millions at two per cent interest, but that the [381] IRISH CHURCH BILL. plan would be impracticable, and that sugar could not be cultivated after slavery ceased; that the slave would never understand the system of modified servitude by which he was to be nominally free and actually kept to labour, and that he would rebel against the magistrate who tried to force him to work more fiercely than against his master; that the magistrate would never be able to persuade the slaves in their new character of apprentices to work as heretofore, and the military who would be called in to assist them could do nothing. He asked Stanley if he intended, when the military were called in, that they should fire on or bayonet the refractory apprentices. He said no, they were to exhort them. He gave him to understand that in his opinion they could do nothing, and that the more the soldiers exhorted the more the slaves would not work. With regard to my own particular case he was rather encouraging than not, thought they would not molest me any more,[10] that the Assembly might try and get me out, but that the Council considered it matter of loyalty to the King not to force out the Clerk of his Privy Council, but that if anything more was said about it, and I went out to Jamaica, I might be sure of getting leave again in a month or six weeks.

[20] [This refers to Mr. Greville’s holding the office of Secretary of the Island of Jamaica with permanent leave of absence. The work of the office was done by a deputy, who was paid by a share of the emoluments which were in the shape of fees.]

June 26th, 1833

This morning at six saw my mother and Henry start for the steamboat which is to take them abroad. I wish I was going with them, and was destined once more to see Rome and Naples, which I fear will never be. Last week was marked by a division in the House of Commons which made a great noise. It was on that clause of the Irish Church Bill which declared that the surplus should be appropriated by Parliament, and Stanley thought fit to leave out the clause. The Tories supported him; the Radicals and many of the Whigs—Abercromby and C. Russell among the number—opposed him. The minority was strong—148—but the fury it excited among many of the [382] friends of Government is incredible, and the Tories were very triumphant without being at all conciliated. The Speaker said he should not be surprised to see the Bill thrown out by the junction of the Tories and Radicals on the third reading, which is not likely, and the suppression of this clause, which after all leaves the matter just as it was, will probably carry it through the House of Lords. It is, however, very questionable whether they were right in withdrawing it, and Tavistock told me that though he thought it was right it was ill done, and had given great offence. Somehow or other Stanley, with all his talents, makes a mess of everything, but this comes of being (what the violent Whigs suspect him of being) half a Tory. Measures are concocted upon ultra principles in the Cabinet, and then as his influence is exerted, and his wishes are obliged to be consulted, they are modified and altered, and this gives a character of vacillation to the conduct of Government, and exhibits a degree of weakness and infirmity of purpose which prevents their being strong or popular or respectable. Nobody, however, can say that they are obstinate, for they are eternally giving way to somebody. In the House of Lords there was a sharp skirmish between Brougham and Lyndhurst, and high Parliamentary words passed between these ‘noble friends’ on the Local Courts Bill. The Tories did not go down to support Lyndhurst, which provoked him, and Brougham was nettled by his and old Eldon’s attacks on the Bill.

There is great talk of a letter which the King is said to have written to the bishops—that is, to the Archbishop for the edification of the episcopal bench. It is hardly credible that he and Taylor should have been guilty of this folly, after the letter which they wrote to the Peers a year and a half ago and the stir that it made.

I have got from Sir Henry Lushington Monk Lewis’s journals and his two voyages to the West Indies (one of which I read at Naples), with liberty to publish them, which I mean to do if I can get money enough for him. He says Murray offered him 500ℓ. for the manuscripts some years [383] THE KING WRITES TO THE ARCHBISHOP. ago. I doubt getting so much now, but they are uncommonly amusing, and it is the right moment for publishing them now that people are full of interest about the West India question. I was very well amused last week at the bazaar in Hanover Square, when a sale was held on four successive days by the fine ladies for the benefit of the foreigners in distress. It was like a masquerade without masks, for everybody—men, women, and children—roved about where they would, everybody talking to everybody, and vast familiarity established between perfect strangers under the guise of barter. The Queen’s stall was held by Ladies Howe and Denbigh, with her three prettiest maids of honour, Miss Bagot dressed like a soubrette and looking like an angel. They sold all sorts of trash at enormous prices, and made, I believe, four or five thousand pounds. I went on Monday to hear Lushington speak in the cause of Swift and Kelly. He spoke for three hours—an excellent speech. I sat by Mr. Swift all the time; he is not ill-looking, but I should think vulgar, and I’m sure impudent, for the more Lushington abused him the more he laughed.

June 28th, 1833

The King did write to the Archbishop of Canterbury a severe reproof to be communicated to the bishops for having voted against his Government upon a question purely political (the Portuguese), in which the interests of the Church were in no way concerned. He sent a copy of the letter to Lord Grey, and Brougham told Sefton and Wharncliffe the contents, both of whom told me. It is remarkable that nothing has been said upon the subject in the House of Lords. The Archbishop, the most timid of mankind, had the prudence (I am told) to abstain from communicating the letter to the bishops, and held a long consultation with the Archbishop of York as to the mode of dealing with this puzzling document. If he had communicated it, he would as a Privy Councillor have been responsible for it, but what answer he made to the King I know not. Never was there such a proceeding, so unconstitutional, so foolish; but his Ministers do not seem to mind it, and are [384] rather elated at such a signal proof of his disposition to support them. I think, as far as being a discouragement to the Tories, and putting an end to their notion that he is hankering after them, it may be of use, and it is probably true that he does not wish for a change, but on the contrary dreads it. He naturally dreads whatever is likely to raise a storm about his ears and interrupt his repose.

Lyndhurst is in such a rage at his defeat in the House of Lords on the Local Courts Bill that he swore at first he would never come there again. What he said—that ‘if they had considered it a party question the result would have been very different,’ which Brougham unaccountably took for a threat against the Government—was levelled at his own Tory friends for not supporting him. On the third reading they mean to have another fight about it. I understand the lawyers that the Bill is very objectionable, and calculated to degrade the profession. I sat by Talleyrand at dinner the day before yesterday, who told me a good deal about Mirabeau, but as he had a bad cold, in addition to his usual mode of pumping up his words from the bottomest pit of his stomach, it was next to impossible to understand him. He said Mirabeau was really intimate with three people only—himself, Narbonne, and Lauzun—that Auguste d’Aremberg was the negotiator of the Court and medium of its communications with Mirabeau; that he had found (during the provisional Government) a receipt of Mirabeau’s for a million, which he had given to Louis XVIII.


END OF THE SECOND VOLUME.


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INDEX.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z