The Greville Memoirs

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The Greville Memoirs

Chapter 13

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 Athenaeum — 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


[73] November 25th.

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] 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.

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 he 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, and 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] 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.

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 clergymen 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.

Yesterday a levee and Council and Recorder's report. Clanricarde and Robert Grosvenor [1] sworn in. The Liverpool election, which is just over, was,

[1] Afterwards Lord Ebury.

[79] considering the present state of things, a remarkable contest. It is said to have cost near £100,000 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 £15 to £100 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 Euwarts 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 £12,000 or £15,000. 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.

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 £1,000 a year, and Goulburn chose to give him a return of all persons who had more than £1,000 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, [1] if the causes of it are dispassionately traced and considered, affords a great political lesson. His

[1] 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.

[81] 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] 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 [84] disposed 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.

[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.

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, [1] at which the Chief Justice was not present. The Chancellor and the Judge (Sir C.

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

[85] 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.

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] 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 £1,200 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 Buller 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] 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] 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. [1] Palmerston is said to have given the greatest satisfaction to the foreign Ministers, and to have begun very well. So much for the Ministers.

December 14th.

There is a delay in Lyndhurst's appointment, if it takes place at all. Alexander [2] now will not resign,

[1] 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.
[2] The Chief Baron.

[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.

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] 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.

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.

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, [1] 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.

Lamb told me afterwards, talking of the Duke and Polignac, that Sebastiani 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

[1] Sir Frederick Lamb.

[95] 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.

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. Sheil 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] 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, [1] 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.

December 22nd.

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.

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

[1] 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.

[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 [l] 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.

Roehampton, December 26th.

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 riband to be joined with the green.

We had a meeting at the Council Office on Friday to

[1] Thomas Moore, the poet.

[99] 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 Due 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.

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 Buonaparte'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 r 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.


[101] January 2nd. Came up to town yesterday to dine with the Villiers at a dinner of clever men, got up at the Athenaeum, 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, [1] 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.

Roehampton, January 4th.

Called on Lady Canning this

[1]Afterwards Mr. Justice Maule.

[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] 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, [1] 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

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

[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.

January 12th.

Passed two days at Panshanger [the home of Lord Cowper], 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, [1] who brought a letter from Prince

[1] 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.

[105] Czartoryski to Lord Grey, who has not seen him, and whose arrival has naturally given umbrage to the Lievens.

January 19th.

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] 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.

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.

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-decamp 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.

Met Colonel Napier [1] 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 freemasonry 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.

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

[1] Sir William Napier, author of the History of the Peninsular War.

[109] about Reform; probably not true. What a state of terror and confusion we are in, though it seems to make no difference!

January 31st.

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 £7,000 and £8,000. 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 schoolfellows 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; [l] 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.

February 6th.

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

[1] 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.

[111] popularity 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.

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 an ocracy now) his power is any thing but unlimited. There are 20,000 men in Ireland, so Lord Hill told me last night. Hunt [l] 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.

February 12th.

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; £10,000 would give 10 of £500 and 25 of £200; 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

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

[113] 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.

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 today 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!

[114] February 15th.

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 £15,000 a year in possession and £50,000 in reversion, is all of a sudden [115] 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 [l] made his first speech, which was very good.

February 17th.

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 that the reorm 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

[1] Winthrop Mackworth Praed, a young man of great promise, who held 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.

[116] is a son of Murat, the King of Naples, who was said to be 'le dieu Mars jusqu'a 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.) [1]

February 24th.

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; [2] with some cleverness and plenty of fluency, he is unequal to the situation he is placed in, and his difference with Grant the ether 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

[1] 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.
[2] It was on Lord Chandos's motion to take into consideration the state of the West Indies.

[117] 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.

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 £1,000 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] 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.

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.

[*] On appointment to office, all ministers had to stand for re-election. See here for another example [back]

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