Greville

The Greville Memoirs

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The Greville Memoirs

Chapter 16

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

1831

[197] September 22nd.

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

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

September 24th.

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

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

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

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

Newmarket, October 1st.

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

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

Riddlesworth, October 10th.

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

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

[203] effect in the country, though the unions, which are so well disciplined and under the control of their orators, will make a stir. On the whole I rejoice at this result, though I had taken fright before, and thought it better the Bill should be read a second time than be thrown out by a very small majority.

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

Buckenham, October 11th.

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

October 12th.

The Reformers appear to have rallied their spirits. Lord Grey went to Windsor, was graciously received by the King, and obtained the dismissal of Lord Howe, which [204] will serve to show the King's entire good-will to his present Ministers. Ebrington's resolution of confidence was carried by a great majority in the House of Commons after some violent speeches from Macaulay, Sheil, and O'Connell, and very moderate ones and in a low tone on the other side. Macaulay's speech was as usual very eloquent, but as inflammatory as possible. Such men as these three can care nothing into what state of confusion the country is thrown, for all they want is a market to which they may bring their talents; [1] but how the Miltons, Tavistocks, Althorps, and all who have a great stake in the country can run the same course is more than I can conceive or comprehend. Party is indeed, as Swift says, 'the madness of many,' when carried to its present pitch. In the meantime the Conservative party are as usual committing blunders, which will be fatal to them. Lord Harrowby was to have moved yesterday or the day before, in the House of Lords, a resolution pledging the House to take into consideration early in the next session the acknowledged defects in the representation, with a view to make such ameliorations in it as might be consistent with the Constitution, or something to this effect. This has not been done because the Duke of Wellington objects. He will not concur because he thinks the proposition should come from Government; as if this was a time to stand upon such punctilios, and that it was not of paramount importance to show the country that the Peers are not obstinately bent upon opposing all Reform. I had hoped that he had profited by experience, and that at least his past errors in politics might have taught him a little modesty, and that he would not have thwarted measures which were proposed by the wisest and most disinterested of his own party. I can conceive no greater misfortune at this moment than such a disunion of that party, and to have its deliberations ruled by the obstinacy and prejudices of the Duke. He is a great man in little things, but a little man in great matters I mean in civil affairs; in those mighty questions which

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

[205] embrace enormous and various interests and considerations, and to comprehend which great knowledge of human nature, great sagacity, coolness, and impartiality are required, he is not fit to govern and direct. His mind has not been sufficiently disciplined, nor saturated with knowledge and matured by reflection and communication with other minds, to enable him to be a safe and efficient leader in such times as these.

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

October 14th.

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

October 15th.

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

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

Newmarket, October 23rd.

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

London, November 11th

Nothing written for a long time; I went after the second October meeting to Euston, and from thence to Horsham, returned to Newmarket, was going to Felbrigg, but came to town on Tuesday last (the 8th) on account of the cholera, which has broken out at Sunderland. The country was beginning to slumber after the fatigues of Reform, when it was rattled up by the business of Bristol, [1] which for brutal ferocity and wanton, unprovoked violence may vie with some of the worst scenes of the

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

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

[210] November 14th.

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

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

Roehampton, November 19th.

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

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

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

November 2lst.

Came to town from Roehampton yesterday morning, saw Henry de Ros, who had seen Barnes [l] the evening before, and opened to him the pending negotiation. His rage and fury exceeded all bounds. He swore Brougham and Grey (particularly the former) were the greatest of villains. After a long discussion he agreed to try and persuade his colleagues to adopt a moderate tone, and not to begin at once to jeter feu et flamme. Henry's object was to persuade him, if possible, that the interest of the paper will be in the long run better consulted by leaning towards the side of order and quiet than by continuing to exasperate and inflame. He seemed to a certain degree moved by this argument, though he is evidently a desperate Radical. Henry went to Melbourne afterwards, who is most anxious for the happy consummation of this affair, but expressed some alarm, lest they should be unable to agree upon the details. There is an article in the 'Times' this morning of half-menacing import, sulkily and gloomily written, but not ferocious, and

[1] Then editor of the 'Times' newspaper.

[215] leaving it open to them to take what line they think fit. In the afternoon I met Melbourne, who told me they were going to put forth a proclamation against 'Attwood and the Birmingham fellows,' which was grateful to my ears.

November 22nd.

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

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

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

November 23rd.

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

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

November 28th.

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 30th.

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

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

December 3rd.

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

December 4th.

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

December 7th.

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

December 8th.

At Court yesterday to swear in Erskine, [1] Brougham's new Chief Judge in Bankruptcy and Privy Councillor. The Chancellor is in a great rage with me. There is an appeal to the Privy Council from a judgment of his (in which he was wrong), the first appeal of the kind for above a hundred years. [2] I told him it was ready to be heard, and begged to know if he had any wish as to who should be summoned to hear it. He said very tartly, ' Of course I shall

[1] Right Hon. Thomas Erskine, a son of Lord Chancellor Erskine, Chief Judge in Bankruptcy, and afterwards a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas.
[2] It was an Appeal in Lunacy. No other appeals save in Lunacy lie from the Court of Chancery to the King in Council, and these are very rare. Drax v. Grosvenor is reported in Knapp's 'Privy Council Reports.'

[224] have somebody to hear it with me.' I said, 'Do you mean to hear it yourself, then?' 'And pray why not? Don't I hear appeals from myself every day in the House of Lords? didn't you see that I could not hear a case the other day because Lord Lyndhurst was not there? I have a right to hear it. I sit there as a Privy Councillor.' 'Oh,' I said, 'you have certainly a right if you choose it.' 'You may rely upon it I shall do nothing unusual in the Privy Council,' and then he flounced off in high dudgeon. I told Lord Lansdowne afterwards, who said he should not allow it to be heard by him, and should make a point of summoning all the great law authorities of the Privy Council. This was the case of Drax v. Grosvenor, which excited great interest, in which Brougham tried to play all sorts of tricks to prevent his judgment being reversed, which tricks I managed to defeat, and the judgment was reversed, as is described further on. I never had the advantage of seeing the Chancellor before in his sulks, though he is by no means unfrequently in them, very particularly so this time last year, when he was revolving in his mind whether he should take the Great Seal, and when he thought he was ill-used, so Auckland told me.

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

December 11th.

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

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

In the evening.

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

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

December 13th.

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

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

December 14th.

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

December 20th.

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

1832.

[229] Panshanger, January 1st.

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

Panshanger, January 6th.

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

Gorhambury, January 7th.

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

Panshanger, January 13th.

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

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

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

January 10th.

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

London, January 20th.

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

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

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

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

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