The Greville Memoirs

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The Greville Memoirs

Chapter 17

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


[237] January 24th

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

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

January 25th

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

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

January 29th.

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

After having, as I supposed, settled every thing with Wharncliffe about his declaration, I got a letter from him yesterday (from Brighton), saying he thought it would be premature, and wished to put it off till the first reading of the Bill in the House of Lords. I took his letter to Melbourne, and told him I was all against the delay. He

[1] For a more particular account of the question of the Russo-Dutch Loan see infra, p. 49. It has since been universally admitted that the conduct of the Government was wise and honorable, and that the separation of Holland and Belgium did not exonerate Great Britain from a financial engagement, to foreign Powers.]

[242] said it was no doubt desirable they should get as many adherents as they can, and if the delay would enable them to do so it might be better, but they must not imagine Government was satisfied with the division in the House of Lords. However, the question of Peers seems not to be under discussion at this moment, though it is perpetually revived. In the evening I went to Harrowby's and showed him Wharncliffe's letter. He concurred in the expediency of delay, but without convincing me. He showed me a letter, and a very good one, he has written to Lord Talbot, explaining his views, and inviting his concurrence, and of this he has sent copies to other Peers, whom he thinks it possible he may influence. The question of time and manner is to be reserved for future discussion.

February 2nd.

Met Frederick Lamb at dinner to talk over the state of affairs before he goes to Vienna. What he wishes for is the expulsion of this Government, and the formation of a moderate one taken from all parties. Received another letter from Wharncliffe yesterday, in which he stated that he had communicated to the Duke of Wellington his intention of supporting the second reading, and asked if the Duke would support his amendments in Committee. In the meantime I wrote to Harrowby, begging he would communicate with Lord Carnarvon and the Duke of Buckingham. They keep doubting and fearing about who will or who will not join them, but do not stir a step. George Bentinck told me that Lord Holland said to the Duke of Richmond the other day 'that he had heard a declaration was in agitation; that nothing could be more unfortunate at this moment, as it would make it very difficult to create fifty Peers.' In the meantime a difficulty is likely to arise from another source, and the Government to derive strength from their very weakness. Robert Clive (who is a moderate Tory) called on me the other day, and when (after expressing his anxiety that the question should be settled) I asked him whether such a declaration would meet with much success, said he thought that it would have done so a fortnight ago, but that the extreme discredit into which Ministers were fallen would now operate as a reason against supporting them in any stage of [243] the business, and offered so good a chance of expelling them altogether that people would be anxious to try it. Still it must be so obvious that it would be next to impossible to make a Government now, that it is to be hoped all but the most violent will feel it. Herries indeed told somebody that he had no doubt the Tories could make a Government, and that on a dissolution they would get a Parliament that would support them. Parnell, [1] has been turned out for not voting on the Russian Loan affair, and Hobhouse appointed in his place. Tennyson resigned from ill health. Parnell was properly enough turned out, and he is a good riddance, but it is not the same thing as turning people out on Reform. He wrote an excellent book on finance, but he was a very bad Secretary at War, a rash economical innovator, and a bad man of business in its details. After waiting till the last moment for the arrival of the Russian ratification, the French and English signed the Belgian treaty alone, and the others are to sign after as their powers arrive.

February 4th.

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

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

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

February 5th.

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

February 6th.

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

February 7th.

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

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

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

May point a moral or adorn a tale.

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

February 9th.

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

February 11th.

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

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

February 14th.

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

In the evening I got a message from Palmerston to beg I would call on him, which I did at the Foreign Office yesterday. He is infinitely more alert than Melbourne, and more satisfactory to talk to, because he enters with more warmth and more detail into the subject. He began by referring to the list of Peers likely to vote for the second reading, which I showed to him. At the same time I told [255] him that though he might make use of the information generally as far as expressing his own belief that Lord Harrowby would have a sufficient following, he must not produce the list or quote the names, for, in fact, not one of them had given any authority to be so counted; that he must be aware there were persons who would be glad to mar our projects, and they could not more effectually do so than by conveying to these Peers the use that had been made of their names. To all this he agreed entirely. He then talked of the expediency of a declaration from Lord Harrowby, and how desirable it was that it should be made soon, and be supported by as many as could be induced to come forward; that Lord Grey had said to him very lately that he really believed he should be obliged to create Peers. I said that my persuasion was that it would be quite unnecessary to do so to carry the second reading; that nothing was required but confidence in Lord Harrowby, and that his character and his conduct on this occasion entitled him to expect it from them; that if they were sincere in their desire to avoid this measure they would trust to his exertions; that I knew very well the efforts that were made to force this measure on Lord Grey; that it was in furtherance of this that Duncombe's [1] ridiculous affair in the House of Commons had been got up, which had been such a complete failure; but that I could not believe Lord Grey would suffer himself to be bullied into it by such despicable means, and by the clamor of such men as Duncombe and O'Connell, urged on by friends of his own. He said this was very true, but the fact was they could not risk the rejection of the Bill again; that he knew from a variety of communications that an explosion would inevitably follow its being thrown out on the second reading; that he had had letters from Scotland and

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

[256] other places, and had no doubt that such would be the case. I said that he would find it very difficult to persuade our friends of this, and it appeared to me as clear as possible that the feeling for the Bill and the excitement had subsided; that they might be to a certain degree renewed by its rejection, but no man could doubt that modifications in it, which would have been impossible a few months ago, would now be easy; that if it was not for that unfortunate declaration of Lord Grey, by which he might consider himself bound, he might safely consent to such changes as would make the adjustment of the question no difficult matter; that with regard to the rejection of the Bill, whatever excitement it might produce, it was evident the Government had an immediate remedy; they had only to prorogue Parliament for a week and make their Peers, and they would then have an excellent pretext — indeed, so good a one that it was inconceivable to me that they should hesitate for a moment in adopting that course. This he did not deny. I then told him of the several conversations between Lord Harrowby and Lords Grey and Lansdowne, and mine with Lord Grey; that Lord Harrowby protested against Lord Grey's availing himself of any disunion among the Opposition (produced by his support of the second reading) to carry those points, to resist which would be the sole object of Lord Harrowby in seceding from his party; and that Lord Grey had said he could not make a sham resistance. Palmerston said: 'We have brought in a Bill which we have made as good as we can; it is for you to propose any alterations you wish to make in it, and, if you can beat us, well and good. There are indeed certain things which, if carried against us, would be so fatal to the principle of the Bill that Lord Grey would not consider it worth carrying if so amended; but on other details he is ready to submit, if they should be carried against him.' I said that would not do, that I must refer him to the early negotiations and the disposition which was then expressed to act upon a principle of mutual concession; that when Lord Harrowby and his friends were prepared to concede to its fullest extent the principle of [257] disfranchisement (though they might propose alterations in a few particulars), they had a right to expect that the Government should surrender without fighting some of those equivalents or compensations which they should look for in the alterations or additions they might propose. He said that 'while Lord Harrowby was afraid that Ministers might avail themselves of his weakness to carry their details, they were afraid lest Lord Harrowby and his friends should unite with the ultra-Tories to beat them in Committee on some of the essential clauses of the Bill.' I replied, then it was fear for fear, and under the circumstances the best thing was an understanding that each party should act toward the other in a spirit of good faith, and without taking any accidental advantage that might accrue either way. We then discussed the possibility of an agreement upon the details, and he inquired what they would require. I told him that they would require an alteration of Schedule B to exclude the town voters from county representation, perhaps to vary the franchise, and some other things, with regard to which I could not speak positively at the moment. He said he thought some alteration might be made in Schedule B, particularly in giving all the towns double members, by cutting off the lower ones that had one; that it was intended no man should have a vote for town and county on the same qualification, and he believed there were very few who would possess the double right. That, I said, would make it more easy to give up, and it was a thing the others laid great stress upon. He seemed to think it might be done. As to the £10, he said he had at first been disposed to consider it too low, but he had changed his mind, and now doubted if it would not turn out to be too high. We then talked of the metropolitan members, to which I said undoubtedly they wished to strike them off, but they knew very well the Government desired it equally. We agreed that I should get from Lord Harrowby specifically what he would require, and he would give me in return what concessions the Government would probably be disposed to make; that these should be communicated merely as the private opinions of individuals, and not as formal proposals; [258] and we should try and blend them together into some feasible compromise.

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

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

February 14th.

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

February 17th.

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

'Lords Harrowby and Wharncliffe cannot give any names, or pledge themselves to any particular persons or numbers who will support their views, but they have no doubt in their own minds that there will be, in the event of no creation of Peers, a sufficient number to carry the second reading of the Bill. In voting themselves for the second reading, their intention is to propose such alterations in Committee as, in their opinion, can alone render it a measure fit to be passed into law, and in the event of their being unable to effect the changes they deem indispensable, they reserve to themselves the power of opposing the Bill in its subsequent stages. Lord Grey considers the great principles of the Bill of such vital importance that he could not agree to any alteration in them, but admits that a modification of its details need not be fatal to it, reserving to himself, if any of its vital principles should be touched, the power of taking such ulterior measures as he may find necessary to insure its success. Lords Harrowby and Wharncliffe are prepared to make a declaration of their sentiments and intentions in the House of Lords at a proper time, that time to be a subject of consideration; and in the event of their having reason to believe that their present expectations are not likely to be fulfilled, they will feel bound to give Lord Grey information thereof, in order that he may take such measures as he may think right.' [1]

At present the principal difficulty promises to be the £10 clause. Lord Grey seemed to think this could not be altered. Wharncliffe asked if it might not be modified, and so settled

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

[261] as to secure its being a bonâ fide £10 clause, from which Lord Grey did not dissent, but answered rather vaguely.

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

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

February 20th.

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

February 23rd.

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

February 24th

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

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

February 29th.

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

March 6th.

The ultra-Whigs and ultra-Tories are both outrageous. Day after day the 'Times' puts forth paragraphs, evidently manufactured in the Durham shop, about Harrowby's letter, and yesterday there was one which exhibited their mortification and rage so clearly as to be quite amusing, praising the Duke and the Tories, and abusing Harrowby and Wharncliffe and the moderates. In the mean time, while Lord Grey is negotiating with Harrowby for the express purpose of avoiding the necessity of making Peers, Durham, his colleague and son-in-law, in conjunction with Dover, is (or has been) going about with a paper for signature by Peers, being a requisition to Lord Grey to make new Peers, inviting everybody he could find to sign this by way of assisting that course of bullying and violence he has long pursued, but happily in vain. Lord Grey is, I believe, really disgusted with all these proceedings; he submits and does nothing. Richmond quarrels with Durham, Melbourne damns him, and the rest hate him. But there he is, frowning, sulking, bullying, and meddling, and doing all the [266] harm he can. Never certainly was there such a Government as this, so constituted, so headed — a chief with an imposing exterior, a commanding eloquence, and a character [1] below contempt, seduced and governed by anybody who will minister to his vanity and presume upon his facility.

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

March 9th.

Went to Lord Holland's the other night, and had a violent battle with him on politics. Nobody so violent as he, and curious as exhibiting the opinions of the ultras of the party. About making Peers — wanted to know what Harrowby's real object was. I told him none but to prevent what he thought an enormous evil. What did it signify (he said) whether Peers were made now or later? that the present House of Lords never could go on with a Reformed Parliament, it being opposed to all the wants and wishes of the people, hating the abolition of tithes, the press, and the

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

[267] French Revolution, and that in order to make it harmonize with the Reformed Parliament it must be amended by an infusion of a more Liberal cast. This was the spirit of his harangue, which might have been easily answered, for it all goes upon the presumption that his party is that which harmonizes with the popular feeling, and what he means by improving the character of the House is to add some fifty or sixty men who may be willing to accept peerages upon the condition of becoming a body-guard to this Government.

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

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

March 10th.

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

March 12th.

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

March 16th.

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

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

March 26th.

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

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

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

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

March 27th.

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

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