The Greville Memoirs

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The Greville Memoirs

Chapter 20

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


[357] February 16th.

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

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

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

London, February 22nd.

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

Stephen, who is one of the great apostles of emancipation, and who resigned a profession worth £3,000 a year at the Bar for a place of £1,500 in the Colonial Office, principally in

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

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

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

February 27th.

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

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

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

March 4th.

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

March 13th.

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

I have been again worried with a new edition of Brougham's Privy Council Bill, [1] and the difficulty of getting

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

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

March 15th.

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

* * * * *

March 29th.

Lord Goderich is Privy Seal, [1] and Stanley Secretary for the Colonies, after much trouble. Last year a

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

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

March 20th.

Saw Madame de Lieven yesterday, who told me the story of the late business at St. Petersburg. The Sultan after the battle of Koniah applied to the Emperor of Russia for succour, who ordered twelve sail of the line and 30,000 men to go to the protection of Constantinople. At the same time General Mouravieff was sent to Constantinople, with orders to proceed to Alexandria and inform the Pacha that the Emperor could only look upon him as a rebel, that he would not suffer the Ottoman Empire to be overturned, and that if Ibrahim advanced 'il aurait affaire à 1'Empereur de Russie.' Orders were accordingly sent to Ibrahim to suspend his operations, and Mouravieff returned to Constantinople. Upon the demand for succour by the Sultan, and the Emperor's compliance with it, notification was made to all the Courts, and instructions were given to the Russian commanders to retire as soon as the Sultan should have no further occasion for their aid. So satisfactory was this that Lord Grey expressed the greatest anxiety that the Russian armament should arrive in time to arrest the progress of the Egyptians. They did arrive — at least the fleet [367] did — and dropped anchor under the Seraglio. At this juncture arrived Admiral Roussin in a ship of war, and as Ambassador of France. He immediately informed the Sultan that the interposition of Russia was superfluous, that he would undertake to conclude a treaty, and to answer for the acquiescence of the Pacha, and he sent a project one article of which was that the Russian fleet should instantly withdraw. To this proposition the Sultan acceded, and without waiting for the Pacha's confirmation he notified to the Russian Ambassador that he had no longer any wish for the presence of the Russian fleet, and they accordingly weighed anchor and sailed away. This is all that is known of the transaction, but Madame de Lieven was loud and vehement about the insolence of Roussin; she said the Emperor would demand 'une satisfaction éclatante ' — 'le rappel et le désaveu de 1'amiral Roussin,' and that if this should be refused the Russian Ambassador would be ordered to quit Paris. She waits with great anxiety to see the end of the business, for on it appears to depend the question of peace or war with France. She said that the day before Namik went away intelligence of this event arrived, which Palmerston communicated to him. The Turk heard it very quietly, and then only said, ' Et où était l'Angleterre dans tout ceci? '

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

[368] London, April 28th.

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

May 2nd.

The Government affair is patched up, and nobody goes but Hobhouse, [1] who thought fit to resign both his seat in Parliament and his office, thereby creating another great embarrassment, which can only be removed by his re-election and re-appointment, and then, what a farce !

There were two great majorities in the House of Commons the night before last. The King was all graciousness and favour to Lord Grey, and so they are set up again, and fancy themselves stronger than before. But although everybody (except the fools) wished them to be re-established, it was evident that this was only because, at this moment, the time is not ripe for a change, for they inspired no interest either individually or collectively. It was easy to see that the Government has no consideration, and that people are

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

[369] getting tired of their blunders and embarrassments, and begin to turn their eyes to those who are more capable, and know something of the business of Government to Peel and to Stanley, for the former, in spite of his cold, calculating selfishness and duplicity, is the ablest man there is, and we must take what we can get, and accept services without troubling ourselves about the motives of those who supply them. It must come to this conclusion unless the reign of Radicalism and the authority of the Humes 'et hoc genus omne' is to be substituted. That the present Government loses ground every day is perfectly clear, and at the same time that the fruits of the Reform Bill become more lamentably apparent. The scrape Government lately got into was owing partly to the votes that people were obliged to give to curry favour with their constituents, and partly to negligence and carelessness in whipping in. Hobhouse's resignation is on account of his pledges, and because he is forced to pledge himself on the hustings he finds himself placed in a situation, which compels him to save his honour and consistency by embarrassing the public service to the greatest degree at a very critical time. Men go on asking one another how is it possible the country can be governed in this manner, and nobody can reply.

Since I have been out of town the appeal against the Chancellor's judgment in the Drax (lunacy) case has been heard at the Privy Council, and will be finally determined on Saturday. [1] Two years have nearly elapsed since that case

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

[370] was lodged, and the Chancellor has always found pretexts for getting the hearing postponed; at length the parties became so clamorous that it was necessary to fix a day. He then endeavoured to pack a committee, and spoke to Lord Lansdowne about summoning Lord Plunket, Lord Lyndhurst, and the Vice-Chancellor, but Leach, who hates Brougham, and is particularly nettled at his having reversed some of his judgments, bestirred himself, and represented to Lord Lansdowne the absolute necessity (in a case of such consequence) of having all the ex-Chancellors to hear it. Plunket was gone to Ireland, so the Committee consisted of the Lord President, the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Master of the Rolls, Lords Eldon, Lyndhurst, and Manners. They say the argument was very able — Sugden in support of the Chancellor's judgment, and Pemberton against it; they expect it will be reversed. Leach, foolishly enough, by question and observation, exhibited a strong bias against the Chancellor, who never said a word, and appeared very calm and easy, but with rage in his heart, for he was indignant at these Lords having been summoned (as his secretary told Lennard [1] ), and said 'he was sure it was all Leach's doing.' What a man! how wonderful! how despicable! carrying into the administration of justice the petty vanity, personal jealousy and pique, and shuffling arts that would reflect ridicule and odium on a silly woman of fashion. He has smuggled his Privy Council Bill through the House of Lords without the slightest notice or remark.

May 16th.

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

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

[371] At the same time with Hobhouse's defeat came forth Stanley's plan for slave emancipation, which produced rage and fury among both West Indians and Saints, being too much for the former and not enough for the latter, and both announced their opposition to it. Practical men declare that it is impossible to carry it into effect, and that the details are unmanageable. Even the Government adherents do not pretend that it is a good and safe measure, but the best that could be hit off under the circumstances; these circumstances being the old motive, 'the people will have it.' The night before last Stanley developed his plan in the House of Commons in a speech of three hours, which was very eloquent, but rather disappointing. He handled the preliminary topics of horrors of slavery and colonial obstinacy and misconduct with all the vigour and success that might have been expected, but when he came to his measure he failed to show how it was to be put in operation and to work. The peroration and eulogy on Wilberforce were very brilliant. Howick had previously announced his intention of opposing Stanley, and accordingly he did so in a speech of considerable vehemence which lasted two hours. He was not, however, well received; his father and mother had in vain endeavoured to divert him from his resolution; but though they say his speech was clever, he has damaged himself by it. His plan is immediate emancipation. [1]

While such is the state of things here — enormous interests under discussion, great disquietude and alarm, no feeling of security, no confidence in the Government, and a Parliament that inspires fear rather than hope — matters abroad seem to be no better managed than they are at home. It is remarkable that the business in the East has escaped with so little animadversion, for there never was a fairer object of attack. While France has been vapouring, and we have been doing nothing at all, Russia has established her own influence in Turkey, and made herself virtually mistress of the Ottoman

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

[372] Empire. At a time when our interests required that we should be well represented, and powerfully supported, we had neither an Ambassador nor a fleet in the Mediterranean; and because Lord Ponsonby is Lord Grey's brother-in-law he has been able with impunity to dawdle on months after months at Naples for his pleasure, and leave affairs at Constantinople to be managed or mismanaged by a Chargé d' Affaires who is altogether incompetent.

May 19th.

They have found a Secretary for Ireland in the person of Littleton, [1] which shows to what shifts they are put. He is rich, which is his only qualification, being neither very able nor very popular. The West India question is postponed. The Duke of Wellington told me that he thought it would pass away for this time, and that all parties would be convinced of the impracticability of any of the plans now mooted. I said that nothing could do away the mi chief that had been done by broaching it. He thought 'the mischief might be avoided;' but then these people do nothing to avoid any mischief. I was marvellously struck (we rode together through St. James's Park) with the profound respect with which the Duke was treated, everybody we met taking off their hats to him, everybody in the park rising as he went by, and every appearance of his inspiring great reverence. I like this symptom, and it is the more remarkable because it is not popularity, but a much higher feeling towards him. He has forfeited his popularity more than once; he has taken a line in politics directly counter to the

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

[373] popular bias; but though in moments of excitement he is attacked and vilified (and his broken windows, which I wish he would mend, still preserve a record of the violence of the mob), when the excitement subsides there is always a returning sentiment of admiration and respect for him, kept alive by the recollection of his splendid actions, such as no one else ever inspired. Much, too, as I have regretted and censured the enormous errors of his political career (at times), I believe that this sentiment is in a great degree produced by the justice which is done to his political character, sometimes mistaken, but always high-minded and patriotic, and never mean, false, or selfish. If he has aimed at power, and overrated his own capacity for wielding it, it has been with the purest intentions and the most conscientious views. I believe firmly that no man had ever at heart to a greater degree the honour and glory of his country; and hereafter, when justice will be done to his memory, and his character and conduct be scanned with impartial eyes, if his capacity for government appears unequal to the exigencies of the times in which he was placed at the head of affairs, the purity of his motives and the noble character of his ambition will be amply acknowledged.

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

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

May 27th.

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

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

June 3rd.

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

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

[376] London, June 11th.

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

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

On Saturday, the day after I came back, I found a final meeting at the Council Office on the lunacy case, the appeal of Grosvenor against Drax. There were Lord Lansdowne, the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Master of the Rolls, Lord Manners, Lord Eldon, and Lord Lyndhurst. The rule is that the President of the Council collects the opinions and votes, beginning with the junior Privy Councillor. This was the Chancellor, [1] who made a sort of apology for his

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

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

June 15th.

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

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

June 19th.

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

I had a long conversation with Sir Willoughby Cotton on Sunday about Jamaica affairs. He is Commander-in-Chief, just come home, and just going out again. He told me what he had said to Stanley, which was to this effect: that the compensation would be esteemed munificent, greater by far than they had expected; that they had looked for a loan of fifteen millions at two per cent, interest, but that the [381] plan would be impracticable, and that sugar could not be cultivated after slavery ceased; that the slave would never understand the system of modified servitude by which he was to be nominally free and actually kept to labour, and that he would rebel against the magistrate who tried to force him to work more fiercely than against his master; that the magistrate would never be able to persuade the slaves in their new character of apprentices to work as heretofore, and the military who would be called in to assist them could do nothing. He asked Stanley if he intended, when the military were called in, that they should fire on or bayonet the refractory apprentices. He said no, they were to exhort them. He gave him to understand that in his opinion they could do nothing, and that the more the soldiers exhorted the more the slaves would not work. With regard to my own particular case he was rather encouraging than not, thought they would not molest me any more, [1] that the Assembly might try and get me out, but that the Council considered it matter of loyalty to the King not to force out the Clerk of his Privy Council, but that if anything more was said about it, and I went out to Jamaica, I might be sure of getting leave again in a month or six weeks.

June 26th.

This morning at six saw my mother and Henry start for the steamboat which is to take them abroad. I wish I was going with them, and was destined once more to see Rome and Naples, which I fear will never be. Last week was marked by a division in the House of Commons which made a great noise. It was on that clause of the Irish Church Bill which declared that the surplus should be appropriated by Parliament, and Stanley thought fit to leave out the clause. The Tories supported him; the Radicals and many of the Whigs — Abercromby and C. Russell among the number — opposed him. The minority was strong — 148 — but the fury it excited among many of the

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

[382] friends of Government is incredible, and the Tories were very triumphant without being at all conciliated. The Speaker said he should not be surprised to see the Bill thrown out by the junction of the Tories and Radicals on the third reading, which is not likely, and the suppression of this clause, which after all leaves the matter just as it was, will probably carry it through the House of Lords. It is, however, very questionable whether they were right in withdrawing it, and Tavistock told me that though he thought it was right it was ill done, and had given great offence. Somehow or other Stanley, with all his talents, makes a mess of everything, but this comes of being (what the violent Whigs suspect him of being) half a Tory. Measures are concocted upon ultra principles in the Cabinet, and then as his influence is exerted, and his wishes are obliged to be consulted, they are modified and altered, and this gives a character of vacillation to the conduct of Government, and exhibits a degree of weakness and infirmity of purpose which prevents their being strong or popular or respectable. Nobody, however, can say that they are obstinate, for they are eternally giving way to somebody. In the House of Lords there was a sharp skirmish between Brougham and Lyndhurst, and high Parliamentary words passed between these 'noble friends' on the Local Courts Bill. The Tories did not go down to support Lyndhurst, which provoked him, and Brougham was nettled by his and old Eldon's attacks on the Bill.

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

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

June 28th.

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

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

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