The Greville Memoirs
I am happy that you are using this web site and hope that you found it useful. Unfortunately, the cost of making this material freely available is increasing, so if you have found the site useful and would like to contribute towards its continuation, I would greatly appreciate it. Click the button to go to Paypal and make a donation.
Dinner at Greenwich — Monk Lewis — The King's Letter — Lord Althorp's Finance — Salutes to the Royal Family — Death of Lord Dover — His Character — Lyndhurst and Brougham on the Local Courts Bill — Charles Napier captures the Miguelite Fleet — The Irish Church Bill — The Duke of Wellington and the Bonapartes — Blount's Preaching — Sir Robert Peel on Political Unions — Mr. George Villiers appointed to Madrid — Duke of Richmond —Suspension Clause in Irish Church Bill — Apprenticeship Clause in West India Bill — State of House of Commons — Lucien and Joseph Bonaparte — Lord Plunket — Denis Lemarchant — Brougham and Sugden — Princess Lieven — Anecdotes of the Emperor Nicholas — Affairs of Portugal — Don Miguel at Stratfieldsaye — Prorogation of Parliament — Results of the Reform Bill.
 June 29th
I am going, if not too lazy, to note down the everyday nothings of my life, and see what it looks like.
We dined yesterday at Greenwich, the dinner given by Sefton, who took the whole party in his omnibus and his great open carriage; Talleyrand, Madame de Dino, Standish, Neumann, and the Molyneux family; we dined in a room called 'the Apollo' at the Crown and Sceptre. I thought we should never get Talleyrand up two narrow perpendicular staircases, but he sidles and wriggles himself somehow into every place he pleases. A capital dinner, tolerably pleasant, and a divine evening. Went afterwards to the 'Travellers,' and played at whist, and read the new edition of 'Horace Walpole's Letters  to Sir Horace Mann.' There is something I don't like in his style; his letters don't amuse me so much as they ought to do.
A letter this morning from Sir Henry Lushington about Monk Lewis. He is rather averse to a biographical sketch, because he thinks a true account of his life and character would not do him credit, and adds a sketch of the latter, which is not flattering. Lord Melbourne told me the other day a queer trait of Lewis. He had a long-standing quarrel with Lushington. Having occasion to go to Naples, he wrote beforehand to him, to say that their quarrel had better be suspended, and he went and lived with him and his sister (Lady Lushington) in perfect cordiality during his stay. When he departed he wrote to Lushington to say that now they should resume their quarrel, and put matters in the 'status quo ante pacem,' and accordingly he did resume it, with rather more acharnement than before.
Charles Wood came into my room yesterday, and talked of the King's letter; he understood the Archbishop had imparted it to the seven bishops who had voted, but that nothing would come of it, for it was a private letter which nobody had a right to take up. I see the Government are not displeased at such an evidence of the King's goodwill. The King and Taylor both love letter-writing, and both are voluminously inclined. Wood told me that last year Lord Grey got one letter from them (for Taylor writes and the King approves) of seven sheets; what a mass of silly verbiage there must have been to wade through. 
Nothing to put down these last two days, unless I go back to my old practice of recording what I read, and which I rather think I left off because I read nothing, and had nothing to put down: but in the last two days I have read a little of Cicero's 'Second Philippic,' Voltaire's 'Siecle de Louis XIV.,' Coleridge's 'Journey to the West Indies;' bought some books, went to the opera to hear Bellini's 'Norma,' and thought it heavy, Pasta's voice not what it was.
 This is not just. The published correspondence of King William IV, and Earl Grey proves that the King's letters were written by Sir Herbert Taylor with the greatest ability.
 Everybody was talking yesterday of Althorp's exhibition in the House of Commons the night before (for particulars of which see newspapers and Parliamentary debates). It is too ludicrous, too melancholy, to think of the finances of this country being managed by such a man: what will not people endure? What a strange medley politics produce: a wretched clerk in an office who makes some unimportant blunder, some clerical error, or who exhibits signs of incapacity for work, which it does not much signify whether it be well or ill done, is got rid of, and here this man, this good-natured, popular, liked-and-laughed-at good fellow, more of a grazier than a statesman blurts out his utter ignorance before a Reformed Parliament, and people lift up their eyes, shrug their shoulders, and laugh and chuckle, but still on he goes.
At Court yesterday, and Council for a foolish business. The King has been (not unnaturally) disgusted at the Duchess of Kent's progresses with her daughter through the kingdom, and amongst the rest with her sailings at the Isle of Wight, and the continual popping in the shape of salutes to Her Royal Highness. He did not choose that this latter practice should go on, and he signified his pleasure to Sir James Graham and Lord Hill, for salutes are matter of general order, both to army and navy. They (and Lord Grey) thought it better to make no order on the subject, and they opened a negotiation with the Duchess of Kent, to induce her of her own accord to waive the salutes, and when she went to the Isle of Wight to send word that as she was sailing about for her amusement she had rather they did not salute her whenever she appeared. The negotiation failed, for the Duchess insisted upon her right to be saluted, and would not give it up. Kemp told me he had heard that Conroy (who is a ridiculous fellow, a compound of 'Great Hussy' and the Chamberlain of the Princess of Navarre  ) had said, 'that as Her Royal Highness's confidential adviser, he could not recommend her to give way on this point.' As she declined to accede to the proposals, nothing remained
 Mr. Greville formed a very different estimate of Lord Althorp's services and character at a later period. See the character of this statesman written on the occasion of his death, 7th September, 1845.
 See Sir C. Hanbury Williams' poems.
 but to alter the regulations, and accordingly yesterday, by an Order in Council, the King changed them, and from this time the Royal Standard is only to be saluted when the King or the Queen is on board.
Friday, July 12th
I went to Newmarket on Sunday, came back yesterday, got back at half-past nine, went to Crockford's, and heard on the steps of the house that poor Dover had died that morning. The accounts I had received at Newmarket confirmed my previous impression that there was no hope; and, indeed, the sanguine expectations of his family are only to be accounted for by that disposition in the human mind to look at the most favourable side, and to cling with pertinacity to hope when reason bids us despair. There has seldom been destroyed a fairer scene of happiness and domestic prosperity than by this event. He dies in the flower of his age, surrounded with all the elements of happiness, and with no drawback but that of weak health, which until within the last few months was not sufficiently important to counterbalance the good, and only amounted to feebleness and delicacy of constitution; and it is the breaking up of a house replete with social enjoyment, six or seven children deprived of their father, and a young wife and his old father overwhelmed with a grief which the former may, but the latter never can get over, for to him time sufficient cannot in the course of nature be allotted. Few men could be more generally regretted than Lord Dover will be by an immense circle of connexions and friends for his really amiable and endearing qualities, by the world at large for the serious loss which society sustains, and the disappointment of the expectations of what he one day might have been. He occupied as large a space in society as his talents (which were by no means first-rate) permitted; but he was clever, lively, agreeable, good-tempered, good-natured, hospitable, liberal and rich, a zealous friend, an eager political partisan, full of activity and vivacity, enjoying life, and anxious that the circle of his enjoyment should be widely extended. George Agar Ellis was the only son of Lord Clifden, and obtained early the reputation of being a prodigy of youthful talent and information.  He was quick, lively, and had a very retentive memory, and having entered the world with this reputation, and his great expectations besides, he speedily became one of the most conspicuous youths of the day. Having imbibed a great admiration for Lord Orford (Horace Walpole), he evinced a disposition to make him his model, and took pains to store his mind with that sort of light miscellaneous literature in which Lord Orford delighted. He got into the House of Commons, but never was able to speak, never attempted to say more than a few words, and from the beginning gave up all idea of oratorical distinction. After running about the world for a few years he resolved to marry, and as his heart had nothing to do with this determination, he pitched upon a daughter of the Duke of Beaufort, who he thought would suit his purpose, and confer upon him a very agreeable family connexion. Being on a tour in the North, he intended to finish it at Badminton, and there to propose to Lady Georgiana Somerset, with full assurance that he should not be rejected; but having stopped for a few days at Lord Carlisle's at Castle Howard, he there found a girl who spared him the trouble of going any further, and at the expiration of three or four days he proposed in form to Lord Morpeth's second daughter, Georgiana Howard, who, not less surprised than pleased and proud at the conquest she found she had so unconsciously made, immediately accepted him. There never was a less romantic attachment, or more business-like engagement, nor was there ever a more fortunate choice or a happier union. Mild, gentle, and amiable, full of devotion to, and admiration of her husband, her soft and feminine qualities were harmoniously blended with his vivacity and animal spirits, and produced together results not more felicitous for themselves than agreeable to all who belonged to their society. Soon after his marriage, Ellis, who had never been vicious or profligate, but who was free from anything like severity or austerity, began to show symptoms of a devout propensity, and not contented with an ordinary discharge of religious duties, he read tracts and sermons, frequented churches and preachings, gave up driving on Sundays, and  appeared in considerable danger of falling into the gulf of methodism; but this turn did not last long, and whatever induced him to take it up, he apparently became bored with his self-imposed restrictions, .and after a little while he threw off his short-lived sanctity, and resumed his worldly habits and irreverent language, for he was always a loose talker. Active and ambitious in his pursuits, .and magnificent in his tastes, he devoted himself to literature, politics, and society; to the two first with greater success than would be expected of a man whose talents for composition were below mediocrity, and for public speaking none at all. He became the patron of various literary institutions and undertakings connected with the arts, he took the chair at public meetings for literary or scientific purposes, he read a good deal and wrote a little. The only work which he put forth of any consequence was 'The Life of Frederick II.,' which contained scarcely any original matter, and was remarkably barren of original ideas; but as it was a compilation from several very amusing writers was not devoid of entertainment.  Though unable to speak in Parliament, he entered warmly into politics, formed several political intimacies, especially with the Chancellor (Brougham), and undertook much of the minor Government work of keeping proxies, making houses (in the House of Lords), and managing the local details of the House itself. But however contracted his sphere both in literature and politics, in society his merits were conspicuous and his success unquestionable. Without a strong understanding, destitute of fancy and imagination, and with neither eloquence nor wit, he was a remarkably agreeable man. He was hospitable, courteous, and cordial; he collected about him the most distinguished persons in every rank and condition of life. He had a constant flow of animal spirits, much miscellaneous information, an excellent memory, a great enjoyment of fun and humour, a refined taste and
 Lord Dover's volume on the 'Man in the Iron Mask' deserves not to be altogether forgotten, though more recent researches have proved that his theory identifying the 'Iron Mask' with Mathioli, the captured agent of the Duke of Mantua, cannot be supported.
 perfect good breeding. But his more solid merit was the thorough goodness of his heart, and the strong and durable nature of his friendships and early attachments. To the friends of his youth he was bound to the last moment of his life with unremitting kindness and never-cooling affection; no greater connexions or more ambitious interests cancelled those early ties, and though he was not unnaturally dazzled and flattered by the later intimacies he contracted, this never for a moment made him forgetful of or indifferent to his first and less distinguished friends.
The Local Courts Bill was thrown out by twelve. His party made the amende honorable to Lyndhurst, and went down in a body to back him. He and Brougham each spoke for two hours or more, and both with consummate skill, the latter especially in his very best style, and with extraordinary power and eloquence. It would not perhaps be easy to decide which made the ablest speech; that of Lyndhurst was clear, logical, and profound, replete with a sort of judicial weight and dignity, with a fine and cutting vein of sarcasm constantly peeping from behind a thick veil of complimentary phraseology. Brougham more various, more imaginative, more impassioned, more eloquent, and exceedingly dexterous. Unable to crush Lyndhurst, he resembled one of Homer's heroes, who, missing his great antagonist, wreaked his fury on some ignominious foe, and he fell upon Wynford with overpowering severity. As somebody told me who heard him, 'He flayed him alive, and kept rubbing salt upon his back.' It appears to have been a great exhibition. There was Lyndhurst after his speech, drinking tea, not a bit tired, elated and chuckling: 'Well, how long will the Chancellor speak, do you think, eh? we shall have some good fun from him. What lies he will tell, and how he will misrepresent everything! Come, let's have done our tea, that we mayn't miss him, eh?' The truth seems to be that the Bill is not a good Bill, and is condemned by the lawyers, that some such measure is required, but that this is nothing more than a gigantic job, conferring enormous patronage upon the  Chancellor. The debate, however, appears to have afforded a grand display of talent. 
Macaulay is said to have made an admirable speech last night on the Indian question in the House of Commons. I observe, by-the-bye, that very few of the bishops voted the other night, but all who did voted with Government; even Exeter went away before the division, so the King's letter seems to have produced some effect. I have had a squabble with Lady Holland about some nonsense, but she was insolent, so I was fierce, and then she was civil, as she usually is to those who won't be bullied by her.
It is extraordinary how little sensation the defeat of Government in the House of Lords has caused. Everybody talks of the debate, nobody thinks of the event, but I find several people expect that the Church Bill will be thrown out, which would be a much more serious thing. I betted Stanley five pounds to one yesterday that they were not beaten on the second reading of the Irish Church Bill. I have concluded a bargain with Murray for Lewis's journal and sold it him for 400 guineas, the MSS. to be returned to Lushington and fifteen copies for him, and five for me, gratis.
Wharncliffe told me yesterday that the Duke and the Opposition do not mean to throw out the Irish Church Bill on the second reading. He had been in great alarm himself after the Duke's speech lest they should, but had since heard what satisfied him they would not; he said that Sir John Wrottesley's motion for a call of the House had given them great offence, and was an extreme piece of folly, for it was obviously for the purpose of bullying the House of Lords, who would not be bullied, and this species of menace only increased the obstinacy of the majority there, but that
 The successful efforts of the Tories to prevent the establishment of a system of Local Courts of limited jurisdiction, retarded for many years that important measure to which we, at last, owe the County Courts — now an institution of the utmost social utility. Nothing can be more characteristic of the blind bigotry of the Tory party at that time, and the party spirit of Lord Lyndhurst; for the measure had no bearing upon politics, and was simply a cheap and easy mode of recovering small debts.
 the Duke could command the greater number, and though there might be a division (as some cannot be restrained from dividing) there would be no endeavour to throw it out. Thus it is that one folly produces another: the Duke's silly speech about the Coronation Oath (a piece of nonsense quite unworthy of his straight- forward, manly sense) produced Wrottesley's bravado in the other House. But Wharncliffe says he is persuaded nothing can prevent a collision between the two Houses ultimately. There is a great idea that the Government will fall to pieces before the end of this year. Tavistock told me that Althorp would certainly go out in a very few months, and that he would go on the turf! Tom Duncombe is found guilty at Hertford of a libel, and recommended to mercy, to the infinite diversion of his friends.
Yesterday came the news of Captain Napier having captured the whole of Don Miguel's fleet, to the great delight of the Whigs, and equal mortification of the Tories. It appears to have been a dashing affair, and very cowardly on the part of the Miguelites. The day before the news came, Napier had been struck out of the British Navy.
Met Duncannon in the morning, who was very gloomy about Wednesday, at the same time saying he rather hoped the Tories would throw out the Irish Church Bill, for it was impossible to go on as they were now doing; that if they did, two motions would infallibly be made in the House of Commons, an address to the Crown to make Peers, and a vote for the expulsion of the Bishops, and that both would be carried by great majorities. He talked much of the Irish Church, and of the abominations that had been going on even under his own eyes. One case he mentions of a man who holds a living of£1,000 a year close to Bessborough, whom he knows. There is no house, no church, and there are no Protestants in the parish. He went there to be inducted, and dined with Duncannon at Bessborough the day after. Duncannon asked him how he had managed the necessary form, and he said he had been obliged to borrow the clerk and three Protestants from a neighbouring parish, and had  read the morning and evening service to them within the ruined walls of the old Abbey, and they signed a certificate that he had complied with the forms prescribed by law; he added that people would no longer endure such things, that no existing interests were to be touched, and that if remedial measures were still opposed the whole fabric would be pulled down. He was still persuaded that the Opposition meant to throw out the Bill.
In the evening I dined at the Duke of Richmond's, and found Stanley informed of the result of the meeting at the Duke of Wellington's in the morning, which was decisive on the question. The Duke, after his extraordinary speech in the House of Lords, when he mounted the old broken-down hobby of the Coronation Oath and cut a curvet that alarmed his friends and his enemies, assembled the Tories at Apsley House, and there, resuming his own good sense, though not very consistently, made them a speech, and told them that some such measure must be passed, for nothing else could save the Irish Church: that there were things in this Bill that he did not approve of at all, but he could not resist its going into Committee, and he finished by announcing that he should either vote for it or not vote at all, according to circumstances. Lyndhurst goes on the circuit on Wednesday, so that though the House will divide there will be a large majority for the Bill, which is the best thing that could happen. Stanley said there would be a great speech from Lord Grey, talked of his power in that line, thought his reply at five in the morning on the Catholic question the most Perfect speech that ever was made. He would rather have made it than four of Brougham's. He gave the following instance of Lord Grey's readiness and clear-headed accuracy. In one of the debates on the West India question, he went to Stanley, who was standing under the gallery, and asked him on what calculation he had allotted the sum of twenty millions. Stanley explained to him a complicated series of figures, of terms of years, interest, compound interest, value of labour, etc., after which Lord Grey went back to his place, rose, and went through the whole with as much  clearness and precision as if all these details had been all along familiar to his mind. It is very extraordinary that he should unite so much oratorical and Parliamentary power with such weakness of character. He is a long way from a great man altogether.
I met the Duke in the evening at the Duchess of Cannizzaro's, talked of Napier's affair, at which he was extremely amused, though he thinks it a very bad thing, and not the least bad part of it that Napier should be lost to the service, so distinguished as he is. It was he who in 1803 (I believe) was the cause of the capture of a French squadron by Sir Alexander Cochrane.  The English fell in with and cleared the French fleet, but Napier in a sloop outsailed the rest, and firing upon the stern of the French Admiral's flagship, so damaged her (contriving by skilful evolutions to avoid being hurt himself) that the rest of the ships were obliged to haul to, to save the Admiral's ship, which gave time to the British squadron to come up, when they took four out of the five sail. The Whigs all talk of this action as decisive of the Portuguese contest; the Duke says it is impossible to say what the moral effect may be, but in a military point of view it will not have much influence upon it. Lucien Bonaparte was there, and was introduced to the Duke. He laughed and said, 'He shook hands with me, and we were as intimate as if we had known each other all our lives!' He said he had likewise called on Joseph, who had called on him, but they had never met: he added that some civilities had passed between them in Spain. Before the battle of Salamanca he had regularly intercepted the French correspondence, and as one of the King's daughters was ill at Paris, and daily intelligence came of her health, he always sent it to him. He did not forward the letters, because they contained other matters, but he sent a flag every day to the outposts, who said, 'Allez dire au Roi que sa fille se porte mieux,' or as it might be. There was Lucien running downstairs to look for his carriage, one brother of Napoleon who refused to be a king, and another who was King of Naples, and afterwards King of Spain, both living as private gentlemen in England!
 This exploit took place in 1809, and not in 1803 as stated in former editions. Charles Napier was then in command of the 'Recruit.' The event is related in Yonge's Naval History, vol. ii. pp. 440-442.
 July 16th.
The Cabinet met at the instance of Lord John Russell to take into consideration Lord Hill's not voting on Brougham's Local Courts Bill. Nothing came of it, and it is extremely absurd when their own people continually vote as they please — Duncannon, Ellice, Charles Grey, etc. On Sunday I went to hear Mr. Blount preach. He is very popular, and has a great deal of merit, not so clever as Thorpe, not so eloquent as Anderson, but with a great appearance of zeal and sincerity, and he is very conscientious and disinterested, for he refused the living of Chelsea (which Lord Cadogan offered him) because he thought he could not discharge the duties belonging to it together with those of his present cure. Went last night to hear Malibran in the 'Sonnambula,' a fine piece of acting and fine singing.
I fell in with Sir Robert Peel yesterday in the Park, and rode with him for an hour or two, never having had so much conversation with him before in my life. He was very agreeable, told me that he had just come from the Police Committee, when a member of one of the political unions had been under examination, who had acknowledged that they were provided with arms, and exercised themselves in their use, to be ready for the struggle which they thought was fast approaching. This evidence will appear in the Report to the House of Commons, but what will not appear is that an attempt was made (by Mr. Charles Buller especially) to prevent its being elicited, and the aforesaid gentleman endeavoured to put down Peel, who drew it out. The room was cleared, and they had an angry discussion, but Peel insisted upon asking his question, and carried his point, even in this Radical Committee. It seems to have been very curious, and the man was nothing loth to say all he knew. Peel thinks very ill of everything. I asked him if there was no way of putting down the Repeal Union. He said none, and that they had found the impossibility of doing so in Ireland, except by investing the Lord Lieutenant with extraordinary powers; talked of the Government and its strange way of going on, spoke highly of Stanley in all ways.
Althorp's retirement seems certain, and if the Government  goes on Stanley will be leader, but unless he puts it all on a different footing it must break up, and unless the Government people can be brought under better discipline it will fall to pieces, for nobody will support it on that motion of Wrottesley's for a call of the House. Both Stanley and Althorp deprecated it in the strongest way, in the name of their colleagues as well as their own, with whom Stanley said they had consulted, and that they felt it would materially embarrass the Government if persisted in, and after this Duncannon, Kennedy, and Charles Grey voted for the call, Ellice and Poulett Thomson stayed away. The other night (I forget on what question) Ellice voted one way and Stanley the other, and the former said to the latter as he was going out of the House, 'You will see if the boys don't go with me instead of with you.' The vote of the night before last against sinecures was carried in a thin House, only one Cabinet Minister present (Althorp), no pains taken to secure a majority, and he saying that it signified more to the Tories than to him, and they ought to have come down and rejected it. Peel thinks it of great importance, and very difficult to get out of. However, it will be got out of by some particular case being tried, on which Hume, or whoever brings it forward, will be beaten, and then it will sleep for a time; but there stands and will stand the resolution on the journals, and the House of Commons has admitted the principle of dealing with actual vested interests, and not confining their operation to the future.
There seems every probability of Stanley's West India Bill being thrown out. The Saints, who at first had agreed to support it, object to pay the twenty millions for emancipation to take place twelve years hence, and the present condition of the question seems to be that all parties are dissatisfied with it, and there is nearly a certainty that it will be received with horror by the planters, while the slaves will no longer work when they find the fiat of their freedom (however conditional or distant the final consummation may be) has at length gone forth.
I dropped into the House of Lords last night,  and heard the Bishop of London reply severally to the Duke of Newcastle and Lord Winchilsea, the first of whom muttered, and the latter bellowed something I could not hear, but I gathered that the last was on the subject of the King's letter to the bishops. The Bishop made very pertinent answers to both, but the Duke of Wellington got up after Winchilsea, and entreated nothing might be said upon the subject, and put down discussion with that authority which the Tories dare not resist, and which he exercised on this occasion with the good sense and, above all, consideration for public convenience and disdain of party rancour which distinguish him above all men I have ever seen, and which compel one to admire him in spite of the extraordinary things he occasionally says and does.
George Villiers is to go as Minister to Madrid, instead of Addington, who is so inefficient they are obliged to recall him, and at this moment Madrid is the most important diplomatic mission, with reference to the existing and the prospective state of things. The Portuguese contest, the chance of the King of Spain's death and a disputed succession, the recognition of the South American colonies, and commercial arrangements with this country, present a mass of interests which demand considerable dexterity and judgement; besides, Addington is a Tory, and does not act in the spirit of this Government, so they will recall him without ceremony. There is another Ambassador (Frederic Lamb) whose principles are equally at variance with those of Palmerston, and who is completely be-Metternich'd, but his removal is out of the question; he knows it, and no doubt conducts himself accordingly. George Villiers told me that he touched incidentally one day with Palmerston: on Lamb's conduct in some matter relating to Lord Granville, and he found that it was sacred ground, and he only got, 'Ah, aw — yes, Metternich is, I suppose, too old to mend now.'
The Duke of Wellington did not vote on Friday night, but he made a bitter speech against Government, and attacked Lord Anglesey very unnecessarily, when Melbourne retorted on him very well. Lord Grey's reply  appears to have been exceedingly good. I met the Duke of Richmond last night, and talked to him about the prospects of Government, and suggested that if Stanley (when Althorp retires) does not make it a sine quâ non that better discipline should be observed, in their ranks, the Government cannot go on. He agreed, and said Stanley would, but he thought the House of Lords were going on in such a way that before three years there would be none. It appears to me totally impossible for Stanley or anybody to go on without remodelling the Government, and one of his difficulties would be in getting rid of Richmond himself. He is utterly incapable, entirely ignorant, and his pert smartness, saying sharp things, cheering offensively, have greatly exasperated many people against him in the House of Commons, and these feelings of anger have been heightened by his taking frequent opportunities of comporting himself with acrimony towards the Duke of Wellington, though he always professes great veneration for him, and talks as if he had constantly abstained from anything like incivility or disrespect towards him. It is remarkable certainly that his colleagues appear to entertain a higher opinion of him than he deserves, and you hear of one or another saying, 'Oh, you don't know the Duke of Richmond.' He has, in fact, that weight which a man can derive from being positive, obstinate, pertinacious, and busy, but his understanding lies in a nutshell, and his information in a pin's head. He is, however, good-humoured, a good fellow and personally liked, particularly by Stanley and Graham, who are of his own age, and have both the same taste for sporting and gay occupations. The Tories threaten mighty things in the Committee, but I don't think they will attempt much.
Divisions in both Houses last night. The Duke of Wellington proposed an important amendment (which he would afterwards have withdrawn, but his friends would not let him), and he was beaten by fourteen. A great division for Government in the House of Lords. In the Commons 166 minority for triennial Parliaments, and by every  sort of whipping and Billy Holmes's assistance a majority, but only of sixty or seventy; fine work this.
July 25th-26th. Half -past two in the morning.
Just come home, having heard of the division in the House of Lords, in which Ministers were beaten on what they call the Suspension clause by two. Alvanley, Belhaven, and Clanricarde got there too late. Gower could not attend, nor Lord Granville. Lyndhurst came all the way from Norwich (being on the circuit) to vote. The question is, what Ministers will do — go on with the Bill, or throw it up, resign, make Peers, or what? Nothing can be more silly than the amendment, although it may be questioned whether it signifies very materially; but the light in which Ministers see it is this: are they to submit night after night to the vexatious insolence of the Tories, who are constantly on the watch to find some vulnerable point, and without intending or daring to throw over their great measures, to mangle their details as much as they can venture to do, and hold the Government in a sort of subjugation and in a state of sufferance? The Tory lords are perfectly rabid, and reckless of consequences, regardless of the embarrassment they cause the King, and of the aggravation of a state of things they already think very bad, they care for nothing but the silly vain pleasure of beating the Government, every day affording fresh materials for the assaults that are made upon them by the press, and fresh cause for general odium and contempt. The Duke of Wellington has no power over them for good purposes, and they will only follow him when he will lead them on to some rash and desperate enterprise. This event has affected people differently according to their several views and opinions, but all are in eager curiosity to see what the Government will do.
In the House of Commons things are no better than in the House of Lords. Stanley was nearly beaten on the Apprenticeship clause in the West Indian Bill on Wednesday night, Macaulay opposing him; so yesterday morning he came down to the House and gave it up. It is remarkable that he made an admirable speech in defence of his clause,  was unusually and enthusiastically cheered, Macaulay's speech falling very flat, and to all appearance the whole House with Stanley, yet upon division he only carried it by some seven or eight votes. It is said that after the vote he could not do otherwise than give it up, but that if he had taken a higher tone in his speech, and treated it as a compact fixed and agreed upon, which nothing could shake, and to which he was irrevocably pledged, he would have carried the House with him, and have got a larger majority. But the truth is that the House of Commons is in such a state that it is next to impossible to say what Ministers can or ought to do, or what the House will do. There is no such thing as a great party knit together by community of opinion, 'idem sentientes de republicâ.' The Government conciliate no attachment, command no esteem and respect, and have no following. Althorp is liked, Stanley admired, but people devote themselves to neither; every man is thinking of what he shall say to his constituents, and how his vote will be taken, and everything goes on as it were from hand to mouth ; by fits and starts the House of Commons seems rational and moderate, and then they appear one day subservient to the Ministers, another riotous, unruly, and fierce, ready to abolish the Bishops and crush the House of Lords, and to vote anything that is violent. The Tories in the House of Commons are lukewarm, angry, frightened: they say, Why should we come and support a Government that won't support itself? the Government from weakness or facility, or motives of personal feeling and partiality, suffers itself to be bearded and thwarted by its own people, and does nothing. Duncannon, on the triennial motion the other night, stayed in the House of Lords and would not vote; there are some half-dozen of them whose votes the Ministerial bench cannot count upon. Then it is no small aggravation to the present difficult state of things that Stanley does not appear to be a man of much moral political firmness and courage, a timid politician, ignavus adversum lupos. He is bold and spirited against individuals, but timid against bodies, and with respect to results. Labouchere went to him some time ago, and told  him that it was evident a feeling was growing up in the House of Commons against this Apprenticeship clause, and that he had better make up his mind early what course he should pursue, that if he meant to stand to it they would support him, but if not, he had better give it up early and from foresight rather than from necessity at last, but above all, not to drag them through the mire by making them support him, and then throwing them over. He declared he would stand to his clause. They supported him, and he threw them over. This will not do for a man who aspires to be leader, and Sandon told me last night that men would not be led by him, in spite of his talents, that when Althorp went under Stanley's banner the friends of Government would not enlist. God only knows how it all will end, and out of such a mass of confusion, of so much violence and folly and weakness, and the working of so many bad passions, what will result, but any day the chance becomes less of the elements of disorder being resolved into a state of tranquillity and good government. It is every day more apparent that with such a House of Commons, so elected, so acted upon, no Government can feel secure; none can undertake with confidence to carry on the affairs of the country. It is difficult to describe the state of agitation into which the minds of people of all persuasions are thrown by the continual recurrence of these little events, of the feeling of insecurity, of doubt, of apprehension which pervades all classes. Nobody thinks the present Government can go on, at the same time they can see no party and no individual who could go on as well if they were to retire. The present House of Commons it is found impossible to manage, but it is believed that in the event of a dissolution another would be much worse; in short, all is chaos, confusion, and uncertainty, and the only thing in which all parties agree is that things are very bad, and every day getting worse.
I dined the day before yesterday with old Lady Cork, to meet the Bonapartes. There were Joseph, Lucien, Lucien's daughter, the widow of Louis Bonaparte, Hortense's son,  the
 This must have been the Emperor Napoleon III.
 Dudley Stuarts, Belhavens, Rogers, Lady Clarendon, and Lady Davy and myself ; not very amusing, but curious to see these two men, one of whom would not be a king, when he might have chosen almost any crown he pleased (conceive, for instance, having refused the kingdom of Naples), and the other, who was first King of Naples and then King of Spain, commanded armies, and had the honour of being defeated at Vittoria by the Duke of Wellington. There they sat, these brothers of Napoleon, who once trampled upon all Europe, and at whose feet the potentates of the earth bowed, two simple, plain-looking, civil, courteous, smiling gentlemen. They say Lucien is a very agreeable man, Joseph nothing. Joseph is a caricature of Napoleon in his latter days, at least so I guess from the pictures. He is taller, stouter, with the same sort of face, but without the expression, and particularly without the eagle eye. Lucien looked as if he had once been like him, that is, his face in shape is like the pictures of Napoleon when he was thin and young, but Lucien is a very large, tall man. They talked little, but stayed on in the evening, when there was a party, and received very civilly all the people who were presented to them. There was not the slightest affectation of royalty in either. Lucien, indeed, had no occasion for any, but a man who had ruled over two kingdoms might be excused for betraying something of his former condition; on the contrary, however, everything regal that he ever had about him seemed to have been merged in his American citizenship, and he looked more like a Yankee cultivator than a King of Spain and the Indies. Though there was nothing to see in Joseph, who is, I believe, a very mediocre personage, I could not help gazing at him, and running over in my mind the strange events in which he had been concerned in the course of his life, and regarding him as a curiosity, and probably as the most extraordinary living instance of the freaks of fortune and instability of human grandeur.
The Duke of Sutherland is dead, a leviathan of wealth. I believe he is the richest individual who ever died, and I  should like to know what his property amounts to, out of pure curiosity.
This affair in the House of Lords blew over. The Patriots at Brooks' were loud in their indignation, and talked nonsense about dignity and resignation, and so forth, but Lord Grey took the better course, and came down to the House with a lecture, conceived in mild yet firm language, and announced his intention of going on with the Bill. Accordingly they got through the Committee last night without further obstructions. The amendment is in fact so trivial that I don't think he will attempt to re-establish the original clause on the report, and if he does not, the Commons (I am told) will not either.
At Goodwood from Saturday se'nnight to Saturday last. Magnificent weather, numerous assemblage, tolerable racing, but I did not win the great cup, which I ought to have won, a most vile piece of ill-luck, but good fortune seems to have deserted me, and the most I can do is not to lose.
George Villiers is appointed to Madrid, but he tells me that he can neither see nor hear from Palmerston, that though his appointment is in everybody's mouth it has never been notified to him. All this negligence is because our Foreign Secretary is engaged in the Conferences, in which, however, he gives no greater satisfaction to those he is concerned with, for Talleyrand complains that he invariably makes them wait from one to two hours, and Dedel says that his manner is so insulting towards the Dutch nation and King, and that on every occasion he acts with so much partiality towards Belgium, that it is with the greatest difficulty he can transact business with him at all. They say the Duke of Wellington has scarcely missed a day during this session in his attendance in the House of Lords, always in his place from the beginning to the end of the debates, speaking and evidently preparing himself on every subject, doing duty as the head of a party.
Met Lord Grey in the street; he said this session had nearly done him up, and he must have repose,  he talked of Portugal, of the desirableness of getting rid of Pedro, and of putting Palmella at the head of the Government. I said he must take care they did not establish too liberal a Government. He replied the Portuguese certainly were not fit for any such thing, and that the constitution had undoubtedly done all the mischief; spoke of the Duke of Wellington, and of his being always in the House of Lords, speaking on anything, and generally not well, that he had made a most tiresome bad speech on the India Charter question, etc. Brougham's Privy Council Bill has, I perceive, passed the House of Commons, having gone through both Houses without a syllable said upon it in either.
George Villiers is at last acknowledged Minister to Madrid. He told me he was with Palmerston at his house yesterday morning, and was much struck with his custom of receiving all his numerous visitors and applicants in the order in which they arrive, be their rank what it may. Neumann told him he had never known him vary in this practice, or deviate from it in anybody's favour. It is a merit. There seems little danger of any movement on the part of Spain, for Zea Bermudez (Palmerston told George Villiers) is struck to the earth by the events in Portugal, and only anxious to curry favour with England.
At a Council yesterday to swear in James Parke and Bosanquet (who did not come) Privy Councillors, in order to carry into operation the Chancellor's new Bill for the establishment of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. 
To Stoke on Saturday with Creevey and Lemarchant, the Chancellor's secretary. The Chancellor and others of the Ministry were to have come, but they all dined at Blackwall. Brougham, Plunket, and John Russell came the next day. Brougham is not so talkative as he was; his dignities, his labours, and the various cares of his situation have dashed his gaiety, and pressed down his once elastic spirits; however, he was not otherwise than cheerful and lively. Plunket I never met before, he was pretty much at his ease, and talked sufficiently without exhibiting anything
 This was, I believe, the first time that any puisne Judges had been sworn of the Privy Council, Parke was a Baron of the Exchequer, and Bosanquet a Justice of the Court of King's Bench. They had agreed to attend, and did for many years attend, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
 remarkable. Lemarchant is a clever, industrious fellow, whom I remember at Eton. The Chancellor's secretaryship must be no sinecure, and he has particularly distinguished himself by his reports of the debates in the House of Commons. He goes there every night, and forwards to the Chancellor from time to time an account of the debate, and the manner of it, very well executed indeed. He talked to me of Brougham's labours and their intensity, which put me in mind of his gasconading to Sefton a year or two ago about his idleness, and finding the Great Seal a mere plaything; Lemarchant said that by severe and constant application he had made himself very tolerably acquainted with equity law, and very extensively with cases. I find from Sefton that he means to propose next year that his salary should be reduced to £8,000 a year, and that the new Equity Judges should be paid out of what he now has. I believe he is liberal about money, and not careless, but I have some doubts whether this project will be executed. Lemarchant told me that the cause of Sugden's inveterate animosity against Brougham was this — that in a debate in the House of Commons, Sugden in his speech took occasion to speak of Mr. Fox, and said that he had no great respect for his authority, on which Brougham merely said, loud enough to be heard all over the House, and in that peculiar tone which strikes like a dagger, 'Poor Fox.' The words, the tone, were electrical, everybody burst into roars of laughter, Sugden was so overwhelmed that he said afterwards it was with difficulty he could go on, and he vowed that he never could forgive this sarcasm.
Sefton talked to me of Brougham's reluctance when the Government was formed to take the Great Seal; after they had offered him the Attorney-Generalship, which he so indignantly refused, they sent Sefton to cajole him and get him to take the Seal. He wanted to be made Master of the Rolls, and left in the House of Commons, the Seal being put in Commission. This they would not hear of, naturally enough not choosing to exist at his mercy in the House of Commons, and rely upon his doubtful and capricious support. It was very well for him to act the part of Atlas, and bear  the Government on his shoulders, but they shrewdly enough guessed that they would not ride on them very comfortably, that they would be considerably jolted, and perhaps at last shoved off. He, on the other hand, would not suffer anybody to be Chancellor but himself; and at last, with many misgivings, he yielded to the gentle violence which would make him the first officer of the Crown. Great was his lamentation at this necessity. 'How,' he said, 'am I fallen! As member for Yorkshire in the House of Commons, what a position was mine.' Sefton tried to comfort him by representing that 'the fall' upon the woolsack was somewhat of the softest, and that a few years ago he would not have considered it so grievous a misfortune if it had been foretold him that he should be seated there at such a time.
After dinner on Sunday Brougham talked of the Reform Bill and its first appearance in the House of Commons. He said that once allowed to take root there it could not be crushed, and that their only opportunity was thrown away by the Tories. Had Peel risen at once and declared that he would not even discuss such a measure, that it was revolution, and opposed its being brought in, he would have thrown it out, and if he had then come down with a moderate measure, it would have satisfied the country for the time. This is exactly what William Banks said to me last year, and the very thing Peel had intended to do, and from which he was deterred by Granville Somerset. The Duke of Wellington has continued to attend in the House of Lords day after day, proposing alterations and amendments to all the Bills, evidently reading hard, and preparing himself for each occasion, always loaded with papers. Lyndhurst said to somebody, 'I shall attend no more, what's the use of it? The Duke comes down every day, and tries to make the Bills better; if I could make them worse, I would come too.'
Called on Madame de Lieven yesterday, who is just come back from Petersburg, rayonnante at her reception and treatment. The Emperor went out to sea to meet her, took her into his own boat, when they landed he drove her to the palace, and carried her into the Empress's  room, who was en chemise. She told me a comical anecdote illustrative of the good humour of the Emperor (who, she says, is an angel), and of the free and frank reception he gives to strangers. In the midst of some splendid military fêtes, which terminated with a sham siege by 50,000 of his guards the last day, word was brought him that two strange-looking men had presented themselves at the lines, and requested to be allowed to see what was going on. They said they were English, had come from Scotland on purpose to see the Russian manoeuvres, and had started from Petersburg under the direction of a laquais de place, who had conducted them to where they heard the firing of the cannon. The Emperor ordered them to be admitted, received them with the greatest civility, and desired apartments to be prepared for them in the palace (Peterhof), at the same time inviting them to dine with him, and be present at a ball he gave at night. She said that one was a Don Quixote sort of figure; they called themselves Johnstone. The Emperor asked her if she knew them. She said no, but that there were many of that name in England. There they remained, enchanted, astonished, behaving, however, perfectly well. After seeing all the sights, they were one evening led into a great hall, where all sorts of pastimes were going on, and among others a Montagne Russe, of which the Emperor is passionately fond. He is a very tall powerful man, and his way is to be placed at the top of the machine, when a man mounts astride on his shoulders, and another on his, and so on till there are fourteen; when a signal is given, with the rapidity of lightning down they go. On this occasion the Emperor took the Johnstones on his back, and she says their astonishment at the position they occupied, and at the rapidity of the descent, was beyond everything amusing. They were asked how they liked it, and they said they thought it 'very good fun,' and should like to begin again. So they were allowed to divert themselves in this way for an hour. Bligh told her afterwards that these men returned to Petersburg their heads turned, and utterly bewildered with such an unexpected reception.
 In her serious talk the Princess said that the Emperor was full of moderation and desire for peace, ' s'il y a des orages ce ne sera pas de ce côté qu'ils viendront,' that he could not comprehend the English Parliament, nor the sort of language which was held there about him, that he was 'le plus généreux, le plus humain, le meilleur des hommes,' that they believed all the lies which were 'débités sur les affaires de Pologne, qui enfin est notre affaire, qu'il était peu connu ici, qu'elle avait vu en Russie beaucoup de respects, beaucoup d'amour pour 1'Empereur, et voilà tout.' In short, she is returned in a state of intoxication, and her adoration for the Emperor is only exceeded by that which she has for the Empress.
Matters have taken a bad turn in Portugal. Bourmont is marching on Lisbon with 18,000 men, 'regna il terror nella citta.' William Russell, in a fit of enthusiasm, says, 'the capital must be saved even at the hazard of a war.' Admiral Parker says he shall land 1,200 marines and make them occupy the forts. Our Government are in great confusion and alarm, and have despatched a swift steamer to Parker to desire him to do no such thing; but the steamer will probably arrive too late, and if Bourmont is really there, we shall cut a pretty figure with our non-intervention, for Parker will probably have to surrender the forts to Miguel. I dined with Talleyrand yesterday, who is furious, laughing non-intervention to scorn; and he told me he had for the last ten days been endeavouring to get the Government to take a decided part. What he advised was that we should recognise Donna Maria and the Regency appointed by the Charter; that is, Donna Isabella Regent, with a Council to be composed of Palmella, Villa Flor, and any other; that our Minister should be directed to acknowledge no other government, and at the same time concert with Palmella that Pedro should be sent away, and the constitution be suspended till the Queen shall be of age. Pedro has committed, since he was in Lisbon, every folly and atrocity he could squeeze into so small a space of time; imprisoning, confiscating, granting monopolies, attacking the Church, and  putting forth the constitution in its most offensive shape. I suspect we shall have made a sad mess of this business.
Just come from the Duke of Wellington; talked about Portugal and the intercepted letters; the writer said that he (the Duke) had told Neumann he approved of Bourmont's going, whereas he thought it an objectionable nomination, because he had formerly deserted from the Portuguese service.  He had never had any communication with these agents, and did not believe Aberdeen had had any either: he said Lisbon was more defensible than Oporto, but required more men. Talking of Miguel, the Duke related that he was at Stratfieldsaye with Palmella, where in the library they were settling the oath that Miguel should take, Miguel would pay no attention, and instead of going into the business and saying what oath he would consent to take (the question was whether he should swear fidelity to Pedro or to Maria) he sat flirting with the Princess Thérèse Esterhazy. The Duke said to Palmella, 'This will never do, he must settle the terms of the oath, and if he is so careless in an affair of such moment, he will never do his duty.' Palmella said, 'Oh, leave him to us, we will manage him.' He had no idea of overturning the constitution and playing false when he went there, but was persuaded by his mother and terrified by the lengths to which the constitutional party was disposed to go. The Duke said the Government would be very foolish to interfere for Pedro, who was a ruffian, and for the constitution, which was odious, and that Pedro would never have more than the ground he stood on; talked of our foreign policy, his anxiety for peace, but of France as our 'natural enemy!' and of the importance of maintaining our influence in Spain, which so long as we did we should have nothing to fear from France.
On Wednesday last when the King's Speech was read there was no Council. Brougham brought
 Bourmont was an emigrant, and went into the Portuguese service. When Junot came to Portugal he joined him, was taken into the French service, in which he continued to rise, till he deserted just before the battle of Waterloo from Napoleon to Louis XVIII. In 1833 he commanded the troops of Don Miguel.
 Sir Alexander Johnston, formerly Chief Justice in Ceylon, to be sworn a Privy Councillor without giving any notice, consequently I was not there. The King, therefore, comes again tomorrow on purpose, and, what is unpleasant, desired a Clerk of the Council might always be in attendance when there was anything going on. This, I suppose, His Majesty will repeat to me himself to-morrow. The Parliament is at last up; it was a fine sight the day the King went down, the weather splendid, and park full of people, with guards mounted and dismounted, making a picturesque show. He was very coolly received, for there is no doubt there never was a King less respected. George IV. with all his occasional unpopularity, could always revive the external appearance of loyalty when he gave himself the trouble.
The Parliament is up, and not before people were dead sick of it, and had dropped out of town one by one till hardly any Parliament was left. It may be worth while to take a little survey of the present condition of things as compared with what it was a few months ago, and consider at this resting time what has been the practical effect of the great measure of Reform, without going very deeply into the question. The Reform Bill was carried in toto, the Tories having contrived that everything that was attempted should be gained by the Reformers. No excuse, therefore, was left for the Parliament, and if 'the people' did not choose a good one it was their own fault. It was chosen, and when it met was found to be composed of a majority of supporters of the present Government, a certain number of Tories, not enough to be powerful, and many Radicals, who soon proved to be wholly inefficient. It speedily became manifest that in point of ability it was not only inferior to the last, but perhaps to any Parliament that has sat for many years. There were 350 new members (or some such number) but not one man among them of shining or remarkable talent; Cobbett, Silk Buckingham, Roebuck, and such men soon found their level and sunk into insignificance. The House appeared at first to be very unruly, not under the command of Government, talkative, noisy, and ill-constituted  for the transaction of business. After a little while it got better in this respect, the majority, however, though evidently determined to support Government, would not be commanded by it, and even men in place often took up crotchets of their own, and voted against Government measures; but whenever the Ministers seemed to be in danger they always found efficient support, and on the Malt Tax the House even stultified itself to uphold them. As the session proceeded the men who gained reputation and established the greatest personal influence were Peel and Stanley; Macaulay rather lost than gained; Althorp lost entirely, but the weight of his blunders and unfitness could not sink him, his personal character and good humour always buoyed him up. The great measures, some of the greatest that any Parliament ever dealt with, were got through with marvellous facility. They did not for the most part come on till late in the session, when the House had got tired, and the East India Charter Bill was carried through most of the stages in empty Houses. The measures have generally evinced a Conservative character, and the Parliament has not shown any disposition to favour subversive principles or to encourage subversive language. It has been eminently liberal in point of money, granting all that Ministers asked without the slightest difficulty; twenty millions for the West Indians, a million for the Irish clergy, were voted almost by acclamation. Hume cut no figure in this Parliament. Notwithstanding apprehensions and predictions the Government has contrived to carry on the business of the country very successfully, and great reforms have been accomplished in every department of the State, which do not seem liable to any serious objections, and in the midst of many troubles, of much complaining and bickering; the country has been advancing in prosperity, and recovering rapidly from the state of sickly depression in which it lay at the end of last year. It is fair to compare the state of affairs now and then, merely reciting facts, and let the praise rest where it may, whether it be due to the wisdom of men or the result of that disposition to right itself which  has always appeared inherent in the British commonwealth. Some months ago there appeared every prospect of a war in Europe; the French were in Belgium, whence many predicted they would never be got away; Ireland was in a flame, every post brought the relation of fresh horrors and atrocities; in England trade was low, alarm and uncertainty prevalent, and a general disquietude pervaded the nation, some fearing and others desiring change, some expecting, others dreading the great things which a Reformed Parliament would do. The session is over, and a Reformed Parliament turns out to be very much like every other Parliament, except that it is rather differently and somewhat less ably composed than its predecessors. The hopes and the fears of mankind have been equally disappointed, and after all the clamour, confusion, riots, conflagrations, furies, despair, and triumphs through which we have arrived at this consummation, up to the present time, at least, matters remain pretty much as they were, except that the Whigs have got possession of the power which the Tories have lost. We continue at peace, and with every prospect of so being for some time; we are on good terms with France, and by degrees inducing the French to extend their incipient principles of free trade, to the benefit of both countries. In Ireland there never has been a period of many years when the country was so quiet; it may not last, but so it is at the present moment. In England trade flourishes, running in a deep and steady stream, there are improvement and employment in all its branches. The landed interest has suffered and suffers still, but the wages of labour have not fallen with the rents of landlords, and the agricultural labourers were never better off. Generally there is a better spirit abroad, less discontent, greater security, and those vague apprehensions are lulled to rest which when in morbid activity, carrying themselves from one object to another, are partly the cause and partly the effect of an evil state of things. We hear nothing now of associations, unions, and public meetings, and (compared with what it was) the world seems in a state of repose.
|Meet the web creator||
These materials may be freely used for
non-commercial purposes in accordance with applicable statutory allowances
and distribution to students.
Last modified 9 May, 2017
|American Affairs 1760-83||The Age of the French Wars 1792-1815||Irish Affairs 1760-89|
|Economic Affairs in the Age of Peel||Irish
|Primary sources index||British Political Personalities||British Foreign policy 1815-65||European history||