Greville

The Greville Memoirs

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The Greville Memoirs

1834

Chapter 23

[68] Spain — Russia and Turkey — Sir R. Peel's Pictures — Peel and Stanley — Lord Brougham's Judicial Changes — Lord Brougham's Defence — Admission of Dissenters to the Universities — Lord Denman's Peerage — Growing Ascendency of Peel — An Apology for Lord Brougham — Personal Reflections — Crime in Dorsetshire — Spain and Portugal— Procession of the Trades' Unions — Lady Hertford's Funeral — Petition of the London University for a Charter — Repeal of the Union — Excitement of the King — Brougham and Eldon at the Privy Council — Duke of Wellington's Aversion to the Whigs — Lord Brougham and Lord Wynford — Fete at Petworth — Lord Brougham's Conduct on the Pluralities Bill — Crisis in the Cabinet — Prince Lieven recalled — Stanley, Graham, and the Duke of Richmond resign on the Irish Church Bill — History of the Crisis — Ward's Motion defeated by moving the Previous Question — Affairs of Portugal — Effects of the late Change— Oxford Commemoration — Peel's Declaration — Festival in Westminster Abbey — Don Carlos on his way to Spain — Stanley's 'Thimble-rig' Speech — Resignation of Lord Grey — Mr. Greville's account of the Causes of his Retirement — The Government reconstituted by Lord Melbourne — Lord Duncannon Secretary of State.

March 12th, 1834.

I have been laid up with the gout for the greater part of a fortnight, but went to Newmarket for two days to get well, and succeeded. Weather like summer, nothing particularly new, a long debate on the Corn Laws, which being called an open question, the Ministers voted different ways that is, all the Cabinet voted one way, but the underlings took their own course. Half the Ruralists are furious with Government for their indecision and way of acting on this question, but I am so totally ignorant upon it that I cannot enter into their indignation, or exactly understand from what it proceeds. It was pretty to see Graham and Poulett Thomson, like two game-cocks got loose from one pen, pecking at and spurring one another. [69] Everybody agrees that the debate was very dull, and that is all they do agree upon.

George Villiers writes to his family from Spain, that nothing can be worse and more unpromising than the state of that country. Notwithstanding his Liberal opinions and desire to see a system of constitutional freedom established in the Peninsula, he is obliged to confess that Spain is not fit for such a boon, and that the materials do not exist out of which such a social edifice can be constructed. He regards with dismay and sorrow the tendency towards irremediable confusion and political convulsions, and sees no daylight through the dark prospect. He appears to regret Zea, to whose removal he contributed, and finds more difficulty in dealing with the present Ministers than he had with him.

March 14th.

There is a fresh démêlé with Russia on account of a new treaty concluded by Achmet Pacha at St. Petersburg. By this Russia agrees to remit six millions of the ten which Turkey owes her, and to give up the Principalities, but she keeps the fortress of Silistria and the military road, which gives her complete command over them. The Sultan, 'not to be outdone in generosity,' in return for so much, kindly cedes to Russia a slip of sea-coast on the Black Sea, adjoining another portion already ceded by the Treaty of Adrianople as far south as Poti. This territorial acquisition is not considerable in itself, but it embraces the line of communication with Persia, by which we have a vast traffic, and which Russia will be able at any time to interrupt. This new transaction, so quietly and plausibly effected, has thrown our Government into a great rage, and especially his Majesty King William, who insisted upon a dozen ships being sent off forthwith to the Mediterranean. Nothing vigorous, however, has been done, and Palmerston has contented himself with writing to Lord Ponsonby, desiring him to exhort the Sultan not to ratify this treaty, and rather to pay (or more properly, continue to owe) the whole ten millions than accede to the wily proposal. This advice will probably seem more friendly than disinterested, and I have not the slightest idea of the Sultan's listening to it. He has, [70] in fact, become the vassal of Russia, and his lot is settled in this respect, for from Russia he has most to fear and most to hope. The conduct of our Government in this question has been marked by nothing but negligence and indecision, vainly blustering and threatening at one moment, and tamely submitting and acquiescing at another, 'willing to wound and yet afraid to strike,' treating Russia as if she was the formidable foe of Turkey, and allowing her so to act as to make Turkey think her an ally and protectress, and finally to throw herself into Russia's arms.

I went yesterday morning to Peel's house, to see his pictures; since we met at Buckenham we have got rather intimate. The fact is that, though I have never been a great admirer of his character, and probably he is not improved in high-mindedness, I am so sensible of his capacity, and of the need in which we stand of him, that I wish to see him again in power, and he is a very agreeable man into the bargain. His collection is excellent, and does honour to his taste. We talked of various matters, but the thing that struck me most was what he said had passed between him and Stanley the night before indicative of such good feeling between them. It was about the job of Lord Plunket's with regard to the Deanery of Down, concerning which they say there is a very good case; not that it will do, be it ever so good, for Plunket has a bad name, and public opinion will not pause or retract in any concern of his. He and Stanley met at Madame de Lieven's ball, and Peel said to him, ' Why did you let that appointment take place?' Stanley replied, 'The fact is, I could not give the true and only excuse for Plunket, viz., that he had signed the report, but had never read it.' Peel said, 'You had better give him some other deanery and cancel this appointment.' They talked for a long time, but this tone and this advice exhibit a state of sentiment by no means incompatible with a future union, when matters are ripe for it. I found Peel full of curiosity to know for what purpose Brougham and Denman had been hunting each other about the county of Beds. The Chief Justice was on the circuit at Bedford, and the Chancellor [71] sent to him by special messenger to appoint a meeting. The Chancellor went to Ampthill, and then to Bedford. The Chief Justice had left Bedford in the morning, and went towards London. Brougham had left his carriage at Ampthill and hired a job one, that he might enter Bedford incognito. Somewhere between Barnet and St. Albans they met, and returned to town together in the Chancellor's job coach. They went to Lord Grey's, and the next day Denman returned to the circuit, which he had left without notice to his brother judge or to anybody — a mystery.

March 16th.

Heard last night the explanation of the above. Brougham found that Williams would not do in the Exchequer, so he shuffled up the judges and redealt them. Williams was shoved up to the Common Pleas, Bosanquet sent to the King's Bench, and James Parke put into the Exchequer. I thought this was odd, because the Exchequer is an inferior court; but I was told that Parke likes to be with Lord Lyndhurst, who has now made the Court of Exchequer of primary importance. 48,000 writs were issued from the Exchequer last year, and only 39,000 from the King's Bench. I forget what the proportions used to be, but enormously the other way. It is quite ludicrous to talk to any lawyer about the Chancellor; the ridicule and aversion he has excited are universal. They think he has degraded the profession, and his tricks are so palpable, numerous, and mean, that political partiality can neither screen nor defend them. As to the separation of the judicial from the ministerial duties of his office, it is in great measure accomplished without any legislative act, for nobody ever thinks of bringing an original cause into his Court. He has nothing to hear but appeals, which must come before him, and lunacy and other matters, over which he has sole jurisdiction.

March 19th.

The night before last Sheil brought on a debate on the Turkish question, when Palmerston made a wretched speech, and Peel attacked him very smartly, as it is his delight to do, for he dislikes Palmerston. Talleyrand said to me last night, 'Palmerston a très-bien parlé.' I [72] told him everybody thought it pitiable. He certainly took care to flatter France and not to offend Russia. In the Lords Brougham took occasion, in replying to some question of Ellenborough's, to defend himself from the charges which have been brought against him of negligence and incapacity, in his judicial office, and he made out a good case for himself as far as industry and despatch are concerned. Nobody ever denied him the merit of the former quality. The virulent attacks of the Tory press (that is, of the 'Morning Post', by Praed, for the 'Standard' rather defends him) have overshot their mark, and, though the general opinion of the Bar seems to condemn him as a bad Chancellor, he is probably not near so bad as they endeavour to make him out. A mind so vigorous as his will master difficulties in a short time at which an inferior capacity would in vain hammer away for years; but his life, habits, and turn of mind seem all incompatible with profound law-learning. He said to Sefton, after he had spoken, 'They had better leave me alone. I was afraid that when Londonderry was gone nobody would attack me, and I did not think Ellenborough would have been damned fool enough.' They certainly can't get the best of him at the gab.

George Villiers continues to give a deplorable account of Spanish affairs — of the imbecility of the Government, and of the conduct of the Queen, about whom the stories of gallantry are quite true, and he says it has done irreparable injury to her cause. An embassy had arrived from Pedro, with a proposition that they should concert a combined operation for crushing the Miguelites and the Carlists both, beginning with the former. George Villiers seems to think it feasible, but doubts if the Spanish Government has sufficient energy and courage to undertake such an operation.

March 25th

Dined with Peel on Saturday; a great dinner with the Duke of Gloucester and the Ambassadors. The day before, in the House of Lords, Lord Grey presented a petition from certain members of the University of Cambridge, praying for the admission of Dissenters to take degrees which he introduced with a very good speech. The [73] Duke of Gloucester, who as Chancellor of the University, ought properly to have said whatever there was to say, was not there (in which Silly Billy did a wise thing) so the Duke of Wellington rose to speak in his stead. It may have that, considering himself to stand in the Duke of Gloucester's shoes, he could not make too foolish a speech, and accordingly he delivered one of those harangues which make men shrug their shoulders with pity or astonishment. It is always a matter of great regret to me when he exposes himself in this manner. After dinner at Peel's I talked to Lyndhurst about it; who said, "Unlucky thing that Chancellorship of Oxford; it will make him commit himself in a very inconvenient manner. The Duke is so very obstinate; if he thought that it was possible to act any longer upon those High Church principles it would be all very well. but you hare transferred power to a class of a lower description,, and particularly to the great body of Dissenters, and it is obvious that those principles are now out of date; the question is, under the circumstances, What is best to be done?' Lord Ellenborough entirely threw the Duke over, and made a very good speech, agreeing to the prayer of the petitioners, with the reservation only of certain securities which Lord Grey himself approves of. I dined with him the day following, and he said so, adding at the same time, 'though I dare say they will consider them as an insult, and make great complaints at their imposition. However, I don't care for that, and if they don't choose to accept what is offered then, on such conditions, they may go without it.' There are two things which strike one (at least strike me) in the discussion — that of the two principal actors the Duke of Wellington is incomparably a man of a more vigorous understanding, and of greater firmness, energy, and decision than Lord Grey, but that Lord Grey appears like an accomplished orator, and prudent, sagacious, liberal statesman, while the other exhibits bigoted, narrow-minded views, ignorance almost discreditable and nothing but a blind zeal in deference to the obstinate prejudices of the academical body with which he has connected himself. Who would imagine (who heard [74] the two men and knew nothing more of them) that the latter is in reality immensely superior to the former in mind and understanding? Nor must it be supposed that the Duke of Wellington, if he came into power, would act in a manner corresponding with his declared opinions. Very far from it; he would do just as he did with regard to the Test Act and the Catholic question, and if he was at the head of the Government, he would calculate what sort and amount of concession it was necessary to make, and would make it, without caring a farthing about the University of Oxford or his own former speeches. The 'Times' in its remarks on his speech was very insolent, but excessively droll.

Denman's peerage is much abused; it is entirely the Chancellor's doing. Denman has no fortune and a feeble son to succeed him, and it was hoped that the practice of making all the Chief Justices peers would have been discontinued in his person. Brougham wrote to Lyndhurst, ostensibly to inform him of this event, but really to apologise for the misstatements he had made in his speech about the business he (Lyndhurst) had done in the House of Lords and in the Court of Chancery. Lyndhurst said (to me), 'What nonsense it is. He has done all he could do, and so did his predecessors before him; he has sat as long as he could, and if he has not got through as much business it is because counsel have made longer speeches, for I am told his practice is never to interrupt them, to take away his papers, and come down a few days after and deliver a written judgement.'

On Sunday at dinner at Lord Grey's I sat next to Charles Grey, who talked of the House of Commons, and said that there could be no question of Peel's superiority over everybody there, that Stanley had not done so well this session, had displayed so much want of judgement now, as well as formerly, that he was evidently not fit to be leader. He owned that Peel's conduct was very fair as well as prudent, and said that if his father was to resign, he himself, and he believed many others, would be willing to support a Government headed by Peel. It is remarkable how men's minds are gradually turning to Peel. I was amused [75] yesterday with Poulett Thomson, who told me that Peel had been very courteous to him, and that they had some important points of coincidence of opinion; that Peel did not like Graham, Palmerston, or Grant, but to the rest of the Government he was remarkably civil. I think he reckons without his host if he calculates upon Peel's politeness extending to the offer of a place to our Vice-President in the event of his coming in.

March 29th.

At the beginning of the week there was a discussion in the House of Commons which lasted for three mornings on the Cambridge petition. Spring Rice, O'Connell, Stanley, and Palmerston spoke for it; Goulburn, Inglis, and Peel against it. Old Cobbett made as mischievous a speech as he could to blow the coals between the parties. Peel spoke last, and as usual very well; but several people expected he would have supported it, and have abstained (from prudential motives) from saying anything likely to offend the Dissenters. I expected no such thing; he was not violent, and addressed his argument to the weak parts of his adversaries' speeches rather than against the general principles of toleration; and I still think that when the great question of concessions to the Dissenters comes to be argued he will not be found in the ranks of their virulent and uncompromising opponents. It would have been an extraordinary thing indeed if he had all of a sudden stood forth in the character of an anti-Churchman, for such he especially would have been considered if he had united himself with the petitioners, and he would have disgusted and alienated all the High Churchmen and High Tories to a degree which must have made a fresh and irreconcileable breach between them. This would not have been judicious in his position, and I am satisfied that he took the most prudent course. I am the more satisfied of it from the circumstance that his speech by no means gave unalloyed pleasure to the 'Standard,' which is the organ of the High Church party. I feel it a strange thing to find myself the advocate and admirer of Peel; but there is such a dearth of talent, his superiority is so obvious, and it is so very desirable that [76] something like strength should be infused into the Government, that I am compelled to overlook his faults without being the least blind to them. I ascribe to him no more elevation of character than I did before; but we must take what we can get and make use of the existing materials, and for this reason I watch with anxiety his conduct, because I am persuaded that he is under present circumstances our best and only refuge.

The Vice-Chancellor [1] called on me the other day, and talking over the business that had been done by Brougham, and the recent discussion about it, he said that he had taken the trouble to examine the returns of hearings, decrees, and orders, and he found that there was scarcely a shade of difference between what had been done severally by Eldon, Lyndhurst, and Brougham in equal spaces of time. Eldon and Lyndhurst had the Bankruptcy business besides. This is a clear case for the Chancellor, and it is only fair that it should be known. His friends think him much altered in spirits and appearance; he has never shaken off his unhappiness at his brother's death, to whom he seems to have been tenderly attached. It is only justice to acknowledge his virtues in private life, which are unquestionably conspicuous. I am conscious of having often spoken of him with asperity, and it is some satisfaction to my conscience to do him this justice. When the greatest (I will not say the best) men are often influenced by pique or passion, by a hundred petty feelings which their philosophy cannot silence or their temperament obeys, it is no wonder that we poor wretches who are cast in less perfect moulds should be still more liable to these pernicious influences; and it is only by keeping an habitual watch over our own minds and thoughts, and steadily resolving never to be turned from considerations of justice and truth, that we can hope to walk through life with integrity and impartiality. I believe what I have said of Brougham to be correct in the main — that he is false, tricking, ambitious, and unprincipled, and as such I will show him up when

[1] Sir Lancelot Shadwell, Vice-Chancellor of England.

[77] I can — but though I do not like him and he has offended me — that is, has wounded my vanity (the greatest of all offences) I only feel it the more necessary on that account to be on my guard against my own impressions and prejudices, and to take every opportunity of exhibiting the favourable side of the picture, and render justice to the talents and virtues which cannot be denied him.

April 3rd.

Yesterday I was forty years old, an anniversary much too melancholy to think of; and when I reflect how intolerably these forty years have been wasted, how unprofitably spent, how little store laid up for the future, how few the pleasurable recollections of the past, a feeling of pain and humiliation comes across me that makes my cheeks tingle and burn as I write. It is very seldom that I indulge in moralising in this Journal of mine; if anybody ever reads it, what will they care for my feelings and regrets? It is no reason, they will think, that because I have wasted my time they should waste theirs in reading the record of follies which are nothing more than the great mass of the world are every day committing; idleness, vanity, and selfishness are our besetting sins, and we are perpetually whirled about by one or other of them. It is certainly more amusing, both to other people and to myself (when I look back at what I have written), to read the anecdotes and events of the day than all this moral stuff (by which I mean stuff as applied to me, not as being despicable in itself), but every now and then the fancy takes me, and I think I find relief by giving vent on paper to that which I cannot say to anybody. 'Cela fait partie de cette doctrine intérieure qu'il ne faut jamais communiquer' (Stendhal). Jam satis est, and I will go to other things the foreign or domestic scraps I have picked up.

Parliament being en relâche, there are few people in town. William Ponsonby, whom I met the other evening, told me he had just returned from the assizes at Dorchester, where some men had been convicted of illegal association. On the event of this trial, he said, the lower and labouring classes had their eyes fixed, and the conviction was therefore of great [78] consequence; any relaxation of the sentence would have been impossible under the circumstances, and though a great disposition was evinced, partly by the press, by petitions, and by some speeches in Parliament, to get them let off more easily, Melbourne very wisely did not wait for more manifestations, but packed them off, and they are gone. William Ponsonby told me that the demoralisation in that part of the country is very great the distress not severe, no political disaffection, but a recklessness, a moral obtuseness, exceedingly disgusting. There was a certain trial, or rather case (for the grand jury could not find a bill), in which a woman had murdered a child, got by her son out of a girl who lodged in her cottage. The only evidence by which she could have been convicted would have been that of the son himself, and he refused to speak. The crime went unpunished; but I mention this to introduce what grew out of it. One of the lawyers said that in the course of the investigations which this case had occasioned it had been discovered (though not in a way which admitted of any proofs being adduced and any measures adopted upon it) that there was a woman whose trade was to get rid of bastard children, either by procuring abortions or destroying them when born, and that she had a regular price for either operation. [1] I don't suppose that the average state of morals is much worse in one county than in another; but it is very remarkable that while education has been more widely diffused than heretofore, and there is a strong Puritanical spirit at work and vast talk about religious observances, there should be such a brutish manifestation of the moral condition of the lower classes, and that they should be apparently so little humanised and reclaimed by either education or religion. In this country all is contrast contrast between wealth the most enormous and poverty the most wretched, between an excess of sanctity and an atrocity of crime.

[1] The same thing was proved more than thirty years later, on the trial of Charlotte Winsor, who eventually escaped the fate she deserved on the ground of some legal technicality which was taken up to the House of Lords, and though it was decided against the prisoner, the Government refused, after a considerable lapse of time, to have her executed.

[79] George Villiers and Howard [1] write equally bad accounts from their respective Courts, neither seeing any hope of the termination of the Peninsular contests, and each of them alike disgusted with the men they have to deal with. Howard says that we could put an end to the Portuguese affair whenever we chose, and that they would submit to British power without thinking it a degradation; that Miguel is not popular in Portugal, but that the priests have made a crusade against Pedro and Liberal principles, and that they drive the peasantry into the Miguelite ranks by the terrors of excommunication; that the only reason why Pedro's military operations are successful is that he has got an English corps, against which the Portuguese will not fight.

April 21st.

At Buckenham and Newmarket for the last fortnight, and all things forgotten but racing. Seymour Bathurst's sudden death called me up to town on Tuesday night, to go to Court on Wednesday. Then I saw the Duke of Wellington march up at the head of the Doctors to present the Oxford petition, attired in his academical robes; and as I looked at him thus bedight, and then turned my eyes to his portraits in the pictures of his battles which adorn the walls, I thought how many and various were the parts he had played. He made a great boggling of reading his petition, for it was on a long and broad parchment, and he required both hands to hold it besides holding his glasses. This is the day for the procession of the Trade Unions, and all London is alive with troops, artillery and police. I don't suppose anything will happen, and so much has the general alarm of these Unions subsided that there is very little apprehension, though some curiosity to see how it goes off.

April 23rd.

Nothing could go off more quietly than the procession on Monday. There were about 25,000 men, mostly well dressed, no noise or tumult, a vast crowd. It was a failure altogether; Melbourne's answer was good. They say 250,000 men are enrolled in the Unions, and the slang name for those who won't belong to them is 'dungs;' the intimidation used is great. There was quite as great a crowd assembled yesterday to see old Lady Hertford's

[1] Lord Howard de Walden was British Minister at Lisbon.

[80] funeral go by. The King sent all the royal carriages, and every other carriage in London was there, I believe — a pompous piece of folly, and the King's compliment rather a queer one, as the only ground on which she could claim such an honour was that of having been George IV.'s mistress. Brougham made one of his exhibitions in the House of Lords the other night about the Cambridge petition, quizzing the Duke of Gloucester with mock gravity. It was very droll and very witty, I fancy, but very unbecoming his station. Last night O'Connell spoke for five hours on the repeal of the Union.

April 25th.

Yesterday the Privy Council met to hear the London University petition, praying for a charter, and the counter-petitions of Oxford and Cambridge and the medical bodies. The assemblage was rather curious, considering the relative political position of some of the parties. All the Cabinet Ministers were summoned; Lords Grey and Holland were there, the Chancellor, Denman, Lyndhurst, Eldon, the two Archbishops, and the Bishop of London. Old Eldon got a fall as he came into the House and hurt his head. Brougham and the rest were full of civilities and tenderness, but he said ' it was of no consequence, for the brains had been knocked out long ago.' Wetherell made an amusing speech, and did not conclude. It is seldom that the sounds of merriment are heard within those walls, but he made the Lords laugh and the gallery too. There were Allen of Holland House and Phillpotts sitting cheek by jowl to hear the discussion.

May 11th.

More than three weeks, and rebus Newmarketianis versatus, I have written nothing. The debate on the repeal of the Union was more remarkable for the length than the excellence of the speeches, except Spring Rice's, which was both long and good, and Peel's, the latter super-eminently so. O'Connell spoke for five hours and a quarter, and Rice for six hours; each occupied a night, after the manner of American orators. The minority was much smaller than was expected. Since that the only question of consequence in the House of Commons has been the Pension [81] List, on which Government got a larger majority than they had hoped for, and such an one as to set the matter at rest for some time. Peel again spoke very well, and old Byng made a very independent, gentlemanlike speech. Independence now-a-days relates more to constituents than to the governing power. Nobody is suspected of being dependent on the Crown or the Minister, and the question is if a man be independent of the popular cry or of his own constituency.

The King has been exhibiting some symptoms of a disordered mind, not, however, amounting to anything like actual derangement, only morbid irritability and activity — reviewing the Guards and blowing up people at Court. He made the Guards, both horse and foot, perform their evolutions before him; he examined their barracks, clothes, arms, and accoutrements, and had a musket brought to him, that he might show them the way to use it in some new sort of exercise he wanted to introduce; in short, he gave a great deal of trouble and made a fool of himself. He was very angry with Lord de Saumarez for not attending Keate's funeral, and still more angry because he would begin explaining and apologising, first at the levee and then at the drawing-room; and he reprehended him very sharply at both places. An explanation afterwards took place through Lord Camden, to whom he said that he was angry because De Saumarez would prate at the levee, when he told him that it was not a proper place for discussing the subject.

The debate at the Council Board terminated after two more days' speaking. It was tiresome on the whole. Brougham is a bad presiding judge, for he will talk so much to the counsel, and being very anxious to abbreviate the business, he ought to have avoided saying pungent things, which elicited rejoinders and excited heat. The extreme gravity and patient attention of old Eldon struck me forcibly as contrasted with the air of ennui, the frequent and audible yawns, and the flippant and sarcastic interruptions of the Chancellor. Wetherell made a very able speech, which he afterwards published. The most striking incident occurred in an answer of Bickersteth's to one of the Chancellor's [82] interruptions. He said, talking of degrees, 'Pray, Mr. Bickersteth, what is to prevent the London University granting degrees now? ' to which he replied, 'The universal scorn and contempt of mankind.' Brougham said no more; the effect was really fine. There was a little debate upon Portugal in the House of Commons on Friday, in which Palmerston got roughly handled by Baring. A report was believed that Don Carlos had sailed for England, and that an agreement had been concluded between Miguel and Pedro, but it turned out to be false. Nobody, however, doubts that the quadruple alliance will settle the Portuguese business, if not the Spanish.

May 12th.

There was a report yesterday that Palmerston was out and Durham in his place. The latter was under the gallery when Palmerston made that woeful exhibition the other night, and must have been well satisfied. I met Peel at dinner yesterday, and after it he talked to me of this report, which he concluded was not true; but he said that Palmerston had seemed bereft of his senses, and that in his speech he had attempted a new line quite unusual with him — that of humour — and anything so miserable he had never heard. He then talked of Stanley; expressed his indignation at hearing O'Connell bepraised by the men he is always vilifying, especially by Stanley himself, of whom he had spoken in the early part of the same night in such terms as these : 'The honourable gentleman, with his usual disregard of veracity, . . . .' and again 'he attacked him, but took care how he attacked others, who he knew were not restrained by obligations such as he was under to bear with his language;' in other words, calling him a liar and a coward; and after this Stanley condescended to flatter him and applaud his speech. He said that he had expected better things of Stanley, and was really distressed to hear it.

I dined with the Duke of Wellington on Saturday. Arbuthnot was there, and he said the Duke is in a state of unutterable disgust with the present Government and their proceedings, particularly with their foreign policy, which he fancies they shape in systematic and wilful opposition to his [83] own. This, of course, is merely his imagination, and rather a preposterous notion. He says the Duke does not think well of the state of the country, but that he grasps with eagerness at any symptoms of returning or increasing prosperity, and (what is rather inconsistent with his bad opinion of affairs) he is always telling the foreigners (i.e. the Ambassadors) who talk to him that they will fall into a great error if they think the power or resources of England in any way impaired. His antipathy to the Whigs is however, invincible, and of very ancient date, as this proves. Arbuthnot said that he was looking over a box of papers the other day, and hit upon the copy of a letter he had written to Lord Liverpool, by desire of some of his principal colleagues, to dissuade him from quitting office, which he thought of doing at the time of the first Lady Liverpool's death. With it there was a scrap on which was written, 'Taken down from the Duke of Wellington's own lips;' and this was an argument that, in the event of his refusing, he (the Duke) should think himself at liberty to join any other party or set of men, but that his great object was to keep the Whigs out of power, as he was convinced that whenever they got in they would ruin the country. Lord Liverpool said that they (the Tories) had been too long in possession of the Government.

May 23rd.

Newmarket, Epsom, and so forth. Nothing remarkably new. In the House of Commons the Poor Law Bill has been going on smoothly; in the House of Lords little of note but one of Brougham's exhibitions. Old Wynford brought in a very absurd Bill for the better observance of the Sabbath (an old sinner he, who never cared three straws for the Sabbath), which Brougham attacked with excessive virulence and all his powers of ridicule and sarcasm. His speech made everybody laugh very heartily, but on a division, the Bishops all voting with Wynford, the latter carried the second reading by three in a very thin House. The next day the Chancellor came down with a protest, written in his most pungent style, very smart, but more like a bit of an article in the 'Edinburgh Review' than [84] a Parliamentary protest. Wynford was in the House when he entered his protest, and he called out to him, 'Halloa, Best, look at my protest!'

There is a very strong impression abroad that the King is cracked, and I dare say there is some truth in it. He gets so very choleric, and is so indecent in his wrath. Besides his squabble with old Lord de Saumarez, he broke out the other day at the Exhibition (Somerset House). They were showing him the pictures, and Sir Martin Shee (I believe, but am not sure), pointing out Admiral Napier's, said, 'That is one of our naval heroes;' to which his Majesty was pleased to reply that if he served him right he should kick him downstairs for so terming him. But the maddest thing of all is what appeared in the 'Gazette' of Tuesday — the peerage conferred on ——. She is a disreputable, half-mad woman; he, perhaps, thought it fair to give her this compensation for not being Queen, for he wanted to marry her, and would have done so if the late king would have consented.

On Monday last I went to Petworth, and saw the finest fête that could be given. Lord Egremont has been accustomed some time in the winter to feast the poor of the adjoining parishes (women and children, not men) in the riding-house and tennis court, where they were admitted by relays. His illness prevented the dinner taking place; but when he recovered he was bent upon having it, and, as it was put off till the summer, he had it arranged in the open air, and a fine sight it was; fifty-four tables, each fifty feet long, were placed in a vast semicircle on the lawn before the house. Nothing could be more amusing than to look at the preparations. The tables were all spread with cloths, and plates, and dishes; two great tents were erected in the middle to receive the provisions, which were conveyed in carts, like ammunition. Plum puddings and loaves were piled like cannon-balls, and innumerable joints of boiled and roast beef were spread out, while hot joints were prepared in the kitchen, and sent forth as soon as the firing of guns announced the hour of the feast. Tickets were given to the [85] inhabitants of a certain district, and the number was about 4,000; but, as many more came, the old Peer could not endure that there should be anybody hungering outside his gates, and he went out himself and ordered the barriers to be taken down and admittance given to all. They think 6,000 were fed. Gentlemen from the neighbourhood carved for them, and waiters were provided from among the peasantry. The food was distributed from the tents and carried off upon hurdles to all parts of the semicircle. A band of music paraded round, playing gay airs. The day was glorious — an unclouded sky and soft southern breeze. Nothing could exceed the pleasure of that fine old fellow; he was in and out of the windows of his room twenty times, enjoying the sight of these poor wretches, all attired in their best, cramming themselves and their brats with as much as they could devour, and snatching a day of relaxation and happiness. After a certain time the women departed, but the park gates were thrown open: all who chose came in, and walked about the shrubbery and up to the windows of the house. At night there was a great display of fireworks, and I should think, at the time they began, not less than 10,000 people were assembled. It was altogether one of the gayest and most beautiful spectacles I ever saw, and there was something affecting in the contemplation of that old man — on the verge of the grave, from which he had only lately been reprieved, with his mind as strong and his heart as warm as ever — rejoicing in the diffusion of happiness and finding keen gratification in relieving the distresses and contributing to the pleasures of the poor. I thought how applicable to him, mutatis mutandis, was that panegyric of Burke's on the Indian kings : 'delighting to reign in the dispensation of happiness during the contracted space of human life, strained with all the Teachings and graspings of a vivacious mind to extend the dominion of his bounty .... and to perpetuate himself from generation to generation as the guardian, the protector, the nourisher of mankind.'

May 24th

The Chancellor, who loves to unbosom himself to Sefton because he knows the latter thinks him the finest fellow breathing, tells him that it is nuts to him to be attacked by noble Lords in the Upper House, and that they had better leave him alone if they care for their own hides. Since he loves these assaults, last night he got his bellyful, for he was baited by a dozen at least, and he did not come out of the mêlée so chuckling and happy as usual. The matter related to the Pluralities Bill, which he had introduced some nights before, in an empty House, without giving notice, and after having told many people (the Archbishop of York among others) that there was nothing more to be done that night. In short, he was at his tricks again, lying and shuffling, false and then insolent, and all for no discernible end. The debate exhibits a detail of his misstatements, and of all his wriggling and plunging to get out of the scrape he had got himself into. It is because scarcely any or rather no motive was apparent that it is with difficulty believed that he meant to deceive anybody. But it is in the nature of the man; he cannot go straightforward; some object, no matter how trivial, presents itself to his busy and distempered mind, and he immediately begins to think by what artifice and what underhand work he can bring it about; and thus he exposes himself to the charges of dishonourable conduct without any adequate consideration or cause. He reminds me of the man in 'Jonathan Wild' who was a rogue by force of habit, who could not keep his hand out of his neighbour's pocket though he knew there was nothing in it, nor help cheating at cards though he was aware he should not be paid if he won. It is thought that the exhibition of last night will not be without its influence upon the fate of this Administration.

May 27th.

The Government is on the very brink of dissolution. The Irish Church Bill is the immediate cause, Stanley and Graham standing out against the majority of the Cabinet with regard to the Appropriation clause. Stanley, they think, would have knocked under if Graham had not been very fierce and urged him on to resistance. They attribute all the present bother to Graham, who pleads conscience and religious feelings. It is impossible to guess how it will [87] end, and there is a terrible turmoil. Stanley was with the King for two hours yesterday. The violent party evidently wish Lord Grey to let Stanley go out, and those who choose to go with him, and to reinforce the Cabinet with Durham, Mulgrave, and that sort of thing, and what they call 'throw themselves on the House of Commons and the country.' On the other hand the half-Tories and moderates wish the Government to adopt a moderate tone and course, and seek support from the House of Lords. As to the House of Commons, it is a curious body, supporting the Ministers through thick and thin one day and buffeting them the next. On the Bank question the night before last Althorp was beaten, after imploring everybody to come and support him and making the strangest declarations. I am very sorry that there should be a chance of a split on such a question as the Irish Church, which really is not tenable. His colleagues (or their friends at least) suspect that Graham kicks up this dust with ulterior views, and they think he aims at a junction with Peel — Stanley of course included — and coming into office with a moderate mixed party. It will be a great evil if the Government is broken up just now, but it is quite clear that they cannot go on long; it is a question of months. The Duke of Wellington told me yesterday that he could do nothing, and he will be rather shy of giving to the world a second volume of that old business in which he got so bedevilled two years ago.

The Lievens are recalled, which is a great misfortune to society. She is inconsolable. The pill is gilded well, for he is made governor to the Imperial Prince, the Emperor's eldest son; but the old story of Stratford Canning, and Palmerston's obstinate refusal to appoint anybody else, has probably contributed to this change. His colleagues have endeavoured to persuade him to cancel the appointment and name Mulgrave, whom they wish to provide for, but he will not hear of it. I can't conceive why they don't let him go out upon it; they would be the gainers in every way. We are now in what is called a mess; the Whigs have put matters in such a condition that they cannot govern the [88] country themselves and that nobody else can govern it either. 'Time and the hour run through the roughest day.'

May 28th.

On returning from Epsom I heard that Stanley, Graham, and Richmond had resigned, and it was supposed Ripon would follow their example. [1] Althorp adjourned the debate till Monday next. Sefton 'never was so happy in his life.' It is a bad sign when he is happy — not meaning to be wicked, only very foolish and violent. I have rarely seen the effects of a neglected education and a vivacious temperament manifested in a more remarkable way than in Sefton, who has naturally a great deal of cleverness, but who, from the above causes and the absence of the habit of moral discipline and of calm and patient reflection, is a fool, and a very mischievous one. They will be forced to put Peers in the vacant places, because nobody can get re-elected. The rotten boroughs now seem not quite such abominations, or at all events they had some compensating advantages.

June 1st.

The arrangements rendered necessary by the recent resignations were pretty quickly made, but they have given universal dissatisfaction. Whigs, Tories, and Radicals join in full cry against them, and the 'Times' in a succession of bitter, vituperative articles, very well done, fires off its contempt and disgust at the paltry patching up of the Cabinet. The most unpopular appears to be Lord Auckland's appointment, and, though I like him personally, it certainly does appear strange and objectionable. He has neither reputation nor political calibre to entitle him to such an elevation, and his want of urbanity and forbidding manner seem to render him peculiarly unfit for the post they have conferred on him. [Auckland turned out a very popular

[1]The members of the Grey Administration who seceded on the Appropriation Resolution (as it was termed), moved by Mr. Ward, were the Duke of Richmond, Postmaster-General; the Earl of Ripon, Privy Seal; Mr. Stanley, Colonial Secretary; and Sir James Graham, First Lord of the Admiralty. The Marquis of Conyngham became Postmaster-general, the Earl of Carlisle Privy Seal, Lord Auckland First Lord of the Admiralty, and Mr. Spring Rice Colonial Secretary.

[89] and, I believe, very good First Lord of the Admiralty. I have heard many praises and not one complaint of him. — December 7th 1834.] The general opinion is that this Cabinet, so amended, cannot go on long; but as they clearly mean to throw themselves upon the House of Commons, and as the House will at all events support them for the present, they will probably last some time longer; they will at any rate scramble through this session, and during the recess it will be seen whether they can acquire public confidence and what chance they have of carrying on the government.

After much conversation with Duncannon, Sefton, Mulgrave, and others, I have acquired a tolerably correct understanding of the history of these inconvenient proceedings. The speech of Lord John Russell, to which all this hubbub is attributed, may have somewhat accelerated, but did not produce, the crisis. The difference has long existed in the Cabinet on the subject of the Irish Church, and was well known, for Althorp stated as much last year. Stanley and Graham were both vehemently opposed to any Parliamentary appropriation of the surplus revenues of the Irish Church, but not exactly on the same grounds. Stanley denies the right of Parliament to interfere at all; that is, he asserts that Parliament has no more right to deal with the revenues of the Church than it would have to deal with his estate. Graham does not deny the right, but contends that it is not expedient, that, the connexion between the two countries is mainly held together by the Protestant Church, and that any meddling with the Establishment will inevitably lead to its downfall. He stands upon religious grounds. I confess myself to be lost in astonishment at the views they take on this subject; that after swallowing the camel of the Reform Bill, they should strain at the gnats which were perched upon the camel's back, that they should not have perceived from the first that such reforms as these must inevitably be consequent upon the great measure, and, above all, that the prevalence of public opinion, abstract justice, and the condition of Ireland all loudly call for their adoption. However, such are their opinions, and doubtless very conscientiously [90] entertained. Upon Ward's motion being announced, it was proposed in the Cabinet that the difficulty should be waived for the present by moving the previous question, and to this the dissentients agreed; but on further investigation they discerned that if this was moved, in all probability it would not be carried, and under these circumstances Stanley proposed at once to resign. In the Cabinet some were for accepting and others for refusing his resignation, and matters remained unsettled when Althorp went down to the House of Commons on the night of Ward's motion. It was strictly true (as he said) that he was informed while Ward was speaking that they had resigned. The King accepted their resignations at once, and appears to have expressed his opinion that they adopted the proper course, but he told the Duke of Richmond that the four members of the Cabinet who had quitted it were the four whom he liked best of them all. When they were gone it was to be settled how their places were to be supplied. Ellice and Spring Rice were indispensable; the Radicals wanted Durham; the Whigs wanted Radnor, Abercromby, and Hobhouse; Lord Lansdowne was wavering, for he is likewise opposed to any meddling with the Church, though not perhaps to the extent that the seceders are, or to such a degree as to make his resignation imperative. However, he haggled, and they appear to have thought him of consequence enough to bribe him high to remain. He made Durham's exclusion a sine quâ non, but I believe all the others were equally opposed to his re-admission. Spring Rice and Auckland are Lansdowne's personal friends and firmest adherents, and their promotion is very agreeable to him (if he did not insist upon it). Mulgrave so entirely expected to come in that he told me on Epsom racecourse on Thursday last that he was to be one of the new Ministers, though he did not know which place he was to have. Great, therefore, was his disgust when they only offered him the Post Office without the Cabinet. He refused it with some indignation, and thinks himself very ill used. I do not yet know what are the reasons which induced them to make the arrangements they [91] have done, and deterred them from applying to any of the above-mentioned men. It certainly has given great disgust, and will not serve to make the Administration more popular than before. Durham is of course furious, and if Abercromby and the others did not expect or desire to come in, they will nevertheless resent being passed over, and in favour of such people.

June 2nd.

Yesterday I dined with Stanley; there was a vast deal of fine company, outs and ins, Richmond, who would not stay in the Post Office, and Mulgrave who would not come into it, Auckland, Palmerston, &c. After dinner Stanley talked to Mulgrave and me about the whole business; he said that above three weeks ago, in consequence of the difference in the Cabinet, which everybody knew, he had pressed his resignation on his colleagues, who refused to take it, that he had agreed to vote for the previous question on Ward's motion, but they were informed it would not be carried. He then said, 'Why don't you take my resignation?' Still they demurred, and on that day nothing was settled. He then saw the King, who agreed to accept his resignation conditionally, provided Lord Grey could make other arrangements, and desired Stanley to go down to his colleagues and talk it over. He replied that it was too late, that he ought then to be in his place in the House of Commons, as the debate was going on. He went down, saw Lord Grey, settled with him that he should resign, and then sent into the House of Commons to Althorp to let him know that it was so settled. In such hurry, uncertainty, and confusion was this business done. Stanley talked not with acrimony, but with something like contempt of the strange situation in which the Government, and particularly Lord Grey, is placed, and he 'hoped' they might be able to go on in a tone which implied great doubt whether they would. He said 'that Lord Grey continues to preside over a Cabinet which is to a certain degree committed to the principle of a measure of which he disapproves, and he accepts the resignation of the colleagues with whom he agrees; that if in the House of Commons to-night no concession is made to the principle of [92] the measure under discussion, it will appear strange and unaccountable why the seceders have been suffered to go. If any be made, it will be inconsistent with the letter which Lord Grey has just written to Ebrington, in a strain as conservative as the King's speech to the bishops.' Thus Lord Grey appears to be tossed on the horns of a very inconvenient dilemma. This speech of the King, which Stanley alluded to, has made a great noise, and is matter of considerable triumph to the Conservatives. It is reported in the papers as it was really delivered, except some absurdities with which it was mixed. It is by no means a bad speech, and very decided in its tone; but what matters decision and a peremptory tone from a man so easily lead or misled as the King? Lord Grey's letter was addressed to Ebrington in reply to an address signed by many supporters of Government, and has been lying on the table at Brooks' for public inspection.

June 3rd.

Lord Althorp summoned a meeting yesterday in Downing Street, which was numerously attended, though some of the usual supporters of Government stayed away as followers of Stanley. He invited then to support the previous question, when there was a good deal of speaking for and against, chiefly among county members, and a good deal of cheering at his saying he hoped he had their confidence; but the meeting broke up without any satisfactory conclusion, and at five o'clock the general impression was that Government would be beaten, and this in spite of a conviction that they would resign if they were. In the morning I met Graham, who said that he did not know whether he and Stanley would speak or not, that they could not support the previous question without repudiating the declaration with which it was to be accompanied, that he considered the question to involve the fate of the Irish Church, and with it the connexion between the two countries. I told him we differed entirely, but that I would not enter upon any argument on the subject; that it was very unfortunate, and I thought the Government would not stand. He said a [93] tremendous contest must ensue upon the great question, and so we parted.

In the evening a very full House. Lord Althorp stated that the King had issued a Commission, or rather extended the powers of one that already existed, for the purpose of effecting the objects contemplated by the resolution, and begged Ward to withdraw his motion. He would not, and then Althorp moved the previous question, which, to the astonishment of everybody, was carried by a very great majority, all the Tories voting with Government. Stanley spoke, and spoke very well, but with considerable acrimony and in a tone which demonstrates the breach between him and his old colleagues to be irreparable. He was vociferously cheered by the Tories, especially at one passage of his speech about a Chancellor of the Exchequer and his clerical budget, which, however pungent and smart, appears to me imprudent and worth nothing as argument. I am very sorry he has taken such a line upon this question. His scruples have come too late to be serviceable to the cause he espouses, and all he can do is to fan the flame of religious discord and throw innumerable embarrassments in the way of settling a very difficult question, the ultimate solution of which is no longer doubtful.

June 5th.

The Portuguese business is over —that is, for the present — but Lord William Russell (whom I met at dinner at Richmond the day before yesterday) told me he did not think Pedro would be able to keep possession of the country, and that another revolution would probably take place whenever the foreign troops in his pay were disbanded; the party against him is too strong; he said that nothing but an inconceivable succession of blunders and great want of spirit and enterprise on the part of Miguel could have prevented his success, as at one time he had 70,000 men, while the other had not above 8,000 or 10,000 cooped up in Oporto, which is not a defensible place; that Miguel might at any moment during the contest have put an end to it. The country is in a dreadfully ruined state from frequent exactions and the depression of commerce and cultivation, but Carvalho, Pedro's [94] Minister of Finance, told Lord William he should have no difficulty with his budget, and could find money to discharge all the claims upon Government. The source from which he expects to derive his assets is the confiscated Church property, which is very great. Money, however, is so plentiful here that the Portuguese Government have been offered a loan of a million at eighty, which .they have declined. [1]

June 7th.

I was in the House of Lords last night to hear a long debate on the Commission, when Goderich made a very good speech, defending himself for his resignation and attacking the instrument; like other people, as soon as he got out of office he spoke with greater energy and force. I thought Lord Grey was rather feeble, though energetic enough in declaration and expression. Phillpotts I did not hear, but he was wretchedly bad, they told me. The Chancellor, to the surprise of everyone, made the strongest declaration of his resolution not to permit a fraction of the revenues of the Irish Church to be diverted to Catholic purposes — the purposes, in my mind, to which they ought to be diverted, and to which they in the end must and will be. The Government is now re-formed, and will scramble and totter on for some time. Things are not ripe for a change, but people will continue more and more to look for a junction between Peel and Stanley. God forbid, however, that we should have two parties established upon the principles of a religious opposition to each other; it would be the worst of evils, and yet the times appear to threaten something of the sort. There is the gabble of 'the Church in danger,' the menacing and sullen disposition of the Dissenters, all armed with new power, and the restless and increasing turbulence of the Catholics, all hating one another, and the elements of discord stirred up first by one and then another.

June 9th.

Melbourne said to me on Saturday night, 'You

[1] The Quadruple Treaty for the pacification of the Peninsular kingdoms was signed in London on the 22nd of April; and on the 9th of May a decisive battle had been gained by the troops of Don Pedro over those of Don Miguel. Don Carlos and Don Miguel soon afterwards withdrew from the Peninsula.

[95] know why Brougham made that violent declaration against the Catholics in his speech the other night, don't you? ' I said, ' No.' Then he added, ' That was for Spring Rice's election, to please the Dissenters.' However, Duncannon says he does not believe it was for that object, but certainly thrown out as a sop to the Dissenters generally, who are violently opposed to any provision being made for the Catholic Clergy. Duncannon added that 'those were his (Brougham's) opinions as far as he had any, as they were not very strong on any subject.'

June 15th.

Ascot races last week; many people kept away at Oxford, which seems to have been a complete Tory affair, and on the whole a very disgraceful exhibition of bigotry and party spirit; plenty of shouting and that sort of enthusiasm, which is of no value except to the foolish people who were the object of it, and who were quite enraptured. [1] The reception of the Duke, however vociferous, can hardly on reflection have given him much pleasure when he saw Newcastle, Winchilsea, Wetherell, and hoc genus omne as much the objects of idolatry as himself. Peel very wisely would have nothing to do with the concern, and they are probably very angry with him for absenting himself. The resentment he must feel towards the University on account of their conduct to him must afford full scope to all the contempt these proceedings are calculated to excite. There was a vast mob of fine people, Mrs. Arbuthnot among the rest. The Duke made rather indifferent work of his Latin speeches. As usual he seemed quite unconcerned at the applause with which he was greeted; no man ever courted that sort of distinction less.

June 18th.

Lord Conyngham is to be Postmaster and George Byng a Lord of Treasury, Abercromby is to be Master of the Mint, and Cutler Fergusson Judge Advocate, appointments sneered and laughed at. When Althorp announced the first in the House of Commons Hume said, 'God bless us ! is it possible?' Some think Abercromby will be of

[1] The Duke of Wellington was installed as Chancellor of the University of Oxford on the 10th of June.

[96] use to them that he is grave, practical, industrious, and carries weight in the House. I am unable to discover anything in him, except his consistency, to entitle him to any praise. An odd thing happened to Brougham the other day. He got a note from Althorp while he was sitting in his Court about the insolence and violence of the 'Times,' and that its lies and abuse of the Government ought to be put a stop to by some means. The Chancellor tore the note up, and after finishing his business departed. Two hours after Lemarchant got a note from the editor to say that the note had been picked up, put together, and was in his possession. Brougham was furious, and sent to ask the name of the person who gave it, promising to forgive him if it was given up, and threatening if it was not to dismiss every officer in his Court, and not to replace any of them till the culprit was discovered.

June 20th.

The Tories are in arms and eager for the fray. There was a dinner of fifty at the Conservative Club on the 18th (Waterloo day), with healths and speeches, when Peel delivered himself of a speech half an hour long, to which vast importance is attached. People, however, hear things, as they see things, differently. Theodore Hook, who was present, told me ' it was very satisfactory, a declaration of war; that he announced his having supported the Government while he could from a sense of duty, but that seeing they were resolved to attack the Church, he was prepared to act with, or lead (I forget which), any party which might be formed upon the principle of supporting the Establishment; that the Tories were few in numbers, but strong in character,' and so on. Vesey Fitzgerald, who was likewise there, said it was no declaration of war whatever — a strong Conservative speech, but not violent in any way, nor indicative of any intended deviation from the course Peel has heretofore pursued. So his acts must show which report is the more correct. When we hear that his speech pleased Chandos and Falmouth, one can't help believing it must have been somewhat fierce. I have great confidence in Peel's watchful sagacity, but his game is a very difficult one, and with all his prudence he may make a false step. It is so much his interest to ascertain [97] the real disposition of the country that I am disposed to defer very much to his views and notions of probabilities, otherwise I can with difficulty believe that it is wise in him to encourage and head a High Church party and promote the senseless cry of the Church in danger. It is the contest itself as much as the triumph of any party that is to be deprecated, for nothing is like the exasperation of religious quarrels, and victory is always abused and moderation forgotten, whichever side has the ascendant. Every day, however, it becomes more apparent that this Government cannot last; living as I do with men of all parties, I collect a variety of opinions, some of them intrinsically worth little, except as straws show which way the wind blows, but which satisfy me that the present House of Commons has no great affection for them, and would not have much difficulty in supporting any other Administration that presented a respectable appearance, and would act upon principles at once liberal and moderate. The majority of the members dread a dissolution, knowing that the next elections must be fiercely contested, and be expensive and embarrassing in all ways. Altogether it is difficult to conceive a more unsettled and unsatisfactory state of things, nor one from which it appears more hopeless to emerge. In the state of parties and of the country the one thing needful — a strong Government — appears the one thing that it is impossible to obtain.

June 24th

Lord Auckland told me the other night that Government are prepared for the Dissenters Bill being thrown out in the House of Lords, and that they don't care. He thinks it never will be carried, and will be a standing grievance of no great weight. The Chancellor made an admirable speech on secondary punishments, connecting with it the question of education. He told me he was called on to pronounce an essay without any preparation, and he did the best he could. I did not hear it, but was told it was excellent. He shines in this sort of thing; his views are so enlarged and philosophical, and they are expressed in such becoming and beautiful language.

June 26th.

There was a good debate on Monday in the [98] House of Commons on the Irish Tithes Bill. Peel made a very clever speech, attacking the Commission with great felicity, and John Russell made an excellent speech in reply, failing to excuse the Commission, which is inexcusable, but very good upon the question. Both he and Ellice spoke out. I was at the Abbey on Tuesday and yesterday for a performance and a rehearsal of the 'Messiah' The spectacle is very fine, and it is all admirably managed — no crowd or inconvenience, and easy egress and ingress — but the 'Messiah' is not so effective as I expected, not so fine as in York Minster; the choruses are admirably performed, but the single voices are miserable singers of extreme mediocrity, or whose powers are gone; old Bellamy, who was at Handel's commemoration as a singing boy, Miss Stephens, &c.

June 27th.

Lord William Russell told me last night that his brother John has frequently offered to resign, and they never would let him; at last he said he must speak out on this Church appropriation question, or positively he would not stay in, so that his speech was not blurted out, as I supposed, but was the result of a fixed resolution. This alters the case as far as he is concerned, and it can't be denied that he was right in thinking it better that Government should make itself clearly understood, and that a break-up was preferable to going on without any real cordiality or concurrence amongst each other and the Administration an object of suspicion to all parties. William Russell said that Government were quite aware that Peel and the Duke could turn them out when they would, but that they would not know what to do next.

Don Carlos is coming to town to Gloucester Lodge. When they told him the Spanish Ambassador (Miraflores) was come to wait upon him, he replied, 'I have no Ambassador at the Court of London.' He will not take any money, and he will neither relinquish his claims to the Spanish throne nor move hand or foot in prosecuting them. 'If chance will have me king, why let chance crown me, without my stir.' (He was meditating evasion at this time, and got away undiscovered soon after.) They say he can get all the money he wants [99] from his partisans in Spain, and that there is no lack of wealth in the country. Strange infatuation when men will spend their blood and their money for such a miserable object. If he had anything like spirit, enterprise, and courage, he would make a fine confusion in Spain, and probably succeed; his departure from the Peninsula and taking refuge here has not caused the war to languish in the north. Admiral Napier is arrived, and has taken a lodging close to him in Portsmouth. Miraflores paid a droll compliment to Madame de Lieven the other night. She was pointing out the various beauties at some ball, and among others Lady Seymour, and asked him if he did not admire her. He said, ' Elle est trop jeune, trop fraîche,' and then, with a tender look and squeezing her hand, 'J'aime les femmes un peu passées.'

July 4th.

The other night Stanley made a fierce speech on Irish tithes, and plainly showed that no reconciliation between him and the Government is feasible. Last night Littleton made a melancholy exhibition with O'Connell. Formerly a Minister must have resigned who cut such a figure; now it is very different, for no matter how unfit a man may be, it is ten to one nobody better can be found to replace him. A more disgraceful affair never was seen; the Tories chuckled, the Government and their friends were disgusted, ashamed, and vexed; Durham sat under the gallery and enjoyed the fun.

I was at Woolwich yesterday to see the yacht in which the Queen is to sail to the Continent. Such luxury and splendour, and such gorgeous preparations. She will sail like Cleopatra down the Cydnus, and though she will have no beautiful boys like Cupids to fan her, she will be attended by Emily Bagot, who is as beautiful as the Mater Cupidinum. She will return to her beggarly country in somewhat different trim from that in which she left it, with all her earls and countesses, equipages, pages, valets, dressers, &c. The Duke of Wellington gave a great ball the other night, and invited all the Ministers. The Chancellor was there till three or four o'clock in the morning, and they say it was very amusing to see the Duke doing the honours to him. [100] The Tories have had a great disappointment in the Finsbury election, which they fancied Pownall was sure of carrying the first day, but Tommy Duncombe beat him hollow the second. It is certainly a great exhibition of Radical strength in that metropolitan district, and may serve to sober the Tories a little, and bring some of them down from their high horses.

July 6th.

When I wrote the above I had not read Stanley's speech, and had only heard he had used very strong language. I was greatly astonished when I did read it, and fully concur in the nearly universal opinion that, however clever and laughable it may have been, it was a most injudicious and unfortunate exhibition, and is calculated to do him a serious and lasting injury. (This was the famous 'thimblerig' speech.) I do not know when I have read or heard so virulent and coarse an invective, and it is rather disgusting than anything else to see such an one fired off at the men with whom he has been acting for some years (up to three weeks ago), with whom he declared his entire concurrence on every other question, from whom he expressed the liveliest regret at separating, and to whom he was individually bound by the strongest ties of friendship and regard. (It will be seen that he made similar professions when he separated from Peel's Government in '46, and instantly rushed into a similar opposition.) The Tories cheered him lustily; and what must he on reflection think of such cheers, and of his position in the House — to be halloa'd on by the party which he has hitherto treated with the greatest contempt, and which he thinks the very essence of bigotry and prejudice, at least on all secular matters, against his old friends and colleagues, to whom he is still allied in opinion upon almost every great question of foreign or domestic policy? He availed himself of his knowledge that there was nobody on the Treasury Bench who could answer him to fling out this spiteful and intemperate invective. If Brougham could have been thrown for half an hour into the House, 'like an eagle in a dovecot,' what a grand opportunity there would have been for his tremendous sarcasm to vent itself. As it was, Stanley went away unscathed, for though Althorp [101] was not bad in the few words he said with great good-humour, and Littleton made a very tolerable speech, the former twaddled, and the latter has been too much damaged to allow of his saying anything with effect; besides, he quoted a speech of Stanley's against him (at all times a poor argument) and did not quote the whole of it. I dare say Peel was not very sorry to hear Stanley's speech, and justly estimated the value of the cheers with which it was hailed. It places him at an immeasurable distance below Peel, and puts an end to any pretensions of rivalship, if he ever entertained any. If a junction is to take place between them, Stanley must be content with a subordinate part; and, act with whomsoever he may, he will never inspire real confidence or conciliate real esteem. I entertain this opinion with regret, and could have wished he had cut a better figure. I dined with a Tory at the 'Travellers' yesterday, and he said, 'Of course we cheered him as loudly as we could; we want to get him, but I must own that it was a very injudicious speech and very unbecoming.' These are the sort of events in a man's life which influence his destiny ever after; it is not that his political career will be marred, or that anything can prevent his talents rendering it on the whole important, and probably successful, but there is a revulsion in men's minds about him, which cannot fail to produce a silent, but in the end a sensible effect upon his fortunes. It is remarkable that Lord Derby, who is a very shrewd and sagacious old man, never would hear of his grandson's superlative merits, and always in the midst of his triumph questioned his ultimate success.

July 10th

Came to town last night from Newmarket, and found things in a fine state. Althorp had resigned three days ago; his resignation was accepted, on which Lord Grey resigned too. Both of them explained in Parliament last night, Lord Grey, as they tell me, in a very moving and gentlemanlike speech, admirably delivered. The Duke of Wellington made a violent attack upon him in reply, which it is thought he might as well have omitted. (The Duke's speech gave great disgust to many even of his own party, and was afterwards assigned as a reason by Stanley and [102] his friends for not taking office with the Duke.) Nobody knows what is to happen. The King sent for Melbourne, and his nephew, John Ponsonby, told me last night he believed he would endeavour to carry on the Government; but whether he does or not it can't last; the Whig Government is virtually at an end. The Tories, who were shouting the night before last, are considerably disappointed that the King did not instantly avail himself of Lord Grey's resignation to send for them, or at least for Peel. I don't suppose, however, that it is from any predilection for the Whigs that he tries to bolster up this Government, but he is said to have an exceeding horror of a dissolution, and it is just possible he may be acting under some good advice surreptitiously conveyed to him, for under all circumstances I think he is taking the most prudent part he can. It is very essential that he should have no hand in the dissolution of this Cabinet, and if he does his best to reconstruct it, and gives the remaining Ministers a fair trial, he will have a good right to call upon the House of Commons and the country to support him in any ulterior measures that circumstances may compel him to adopt.

Thus Littleton has been the instrument of breaking up this Government; a man powerless to serve his party has contrived to destroy it. It is curious to trace this matter from the outset. When Hobhouse threw up his office and his seat, it was extremely difficult to find a successor to him in the Irish Office, principally because not one man in fifty could procure a seat in Parliament, or his re-election if already there. In this emergency Littleton volunteered his services; he was sure of his seat, and he wanted eventually a peerage, so he wrote to Lord Grey, and said that if he thought him capable of filling the place he would undertake it. [1] Nothing better suggested itself; it was a way out of the

[1] This statement, though doubtless current at the time, is to my certain knowledge entirely inaccurate. Mr. Littleton was confined to his sofa at the time by an accident, and knew little of what was going on. Nobody was more surprised than himself to receive from Lord Grey a spontaneous and unexpected offer of the Chief Secretaryship of Ireland. He was fully aware of the extreme difficulties of the office, which was at that moment, perhaps, the most important in the Government. With equal modesty and candour he distrusted his own ability to fill it, and he still more distrusted his own want of caution and prudence, which was his weak point. He accepted it, however, to relieve the Government from embarrassment, but he accompanied his acceptance with a declaration to Lord Grey that he would gladly resign his office whenever a better man could be found to fill it. It had previously been offered to Mr. Abercromby, who refused to accept it without a seat in the Cabinet.]

[103] difficulty, and they closed with his offer. No man could be less fit for such a situation; his talents are slender, his manners unpopular, and his vanity considerable. When warned against O'Connell he said, ' Oh, leave me to manage Dan,' and manage him he did with a vengeance, and a pretty tartar he caught. His first attempts at management were exhibited in the business of Baron Smith. When the coercion question came to be agitated, he thought himself very cunning in beginning a little intrigue without the knowledge of his colleagues, and he wrote to Lord Wellesley for the purpose of prevailing upon him to recommend to the Cabinet that the Bill should pass without the strong clauses, and most unaccountably Lord Wellesley did so. [1] He stated that this omission was desirable on account of circumstances connected with the Government in England, and Lord Wellesley replied that if it was necessary on that account he would contrive to manage matters without the clauses. Upon this he put himself in communication with O'Connell, and never doubting that his and Lord Wellesley's advice (in accordance as it was with the opinions of certain members of this Cabinet) would prevail, he gave O'Connell

[1]These details are also far from accurate, as has now been demonstrated by the publication (1872) of Lord Hatherton's own memoir on the subject, and of the original correspondence, which proves that the letter to Lord Wellesley was written at the instigation of the Lord Chancellor, and that it expressed the deliberate opinions of several members of the Cabinet. It must, however, be acknowledged that it was written without the knowledge of Lord Grey, and in opposition to his views. The subsequent communication made by Mr. Littleton to O'Connell was made with the knowledge and concurrence of Lord Althorp, though Mr. Littleton said more to O'Connell than Lord Althorp had intended — an indiscretion which Mr. Littleton himself admitted : but O'Connell made a very base and ungenerous use of the confidence which had been extended to him.

[104] those expectations the disappointment of which produced the scene between them in the House of Commons. Lord Grey, however, was equally astonished and dissatisfied with this last recommendation from Lord Wellesley, which was directly at variance with the opinion he had given some time before, and he accordingly asked him to explain why he had changed his mind, and requested him to reconsider his latter opinion. He still replied that if it was necessary, he would do without the clauses. Upon this there was a discussion in the Cabinet, and Althorp, Grant, Ellice, Abercromby, and Rice were in a minority, who, however, ultimately gave in to the majority. All this time Littleton went on negotiating with O'Connell, [1] having told Althorp alone that he was doing so, though not telling him all that passed, and neither of them telling Lord Grey. Upon the blow-up which O'Connell made, Althorp very unnecessarily resolved to resign, and when he did Lord Grey followed his example.

The Tories have been mighty cock-a-hoop, but their joy is a good deal damped within the last twelve hours, for it is now universally believed that Althorp will be prevailed upon to remain, and will himself be at the head of the Government. His popularity is so great in the House of Commons, and there is such a dread of a dissolution, that if this arrangement takes place they will scramble on some time longer, and at this advanced period of the session it may be doubted whether the House of Lords will throw out any of their essential measures. I met Duncannon, Ellice, and John Russell this evening riding, and they seemed in very good spirits. I have no doubt Ellice and Duncannon have had a main hand in all this business, and that they urged on Littleton to do what he did. The House was adjourned till Monday, to afford time for the new arrangement. Brougham spoke like a maniac last night, and his statements were at direct variance with Althorp's, the latter declaring that they were all out and the former that they were all still in office, and that Grey and Althorp had alone resigned.

[1] Mr. Littleton had but one conversation with O'Connell.

[105] July 12th.

I went out of town yesterday morning, and did not return till seven o'clock; in the meantime affairs were materially altered. I met Duncannon riding with a face as long as the pictures of Hudibras, which at once told the tale of baffled hopes. Melbourne's negotiation had failed entirely. 'Jack,' [1] who was backed at even against the field the night before in the House of Commons, would have nothing to say to it. I have not yet heard in detail the circumstances of this failure, but it will probably turn out that the King insisted upon some Conservative conditions, or an attempt at coalition, which is a favourite plan of his. Yesterday it was generally expected that Peel would be sent for, or the Duke of Wellington. Peel called at Apsley House and was with the Duke a long time yesterday, and afterwards, as the Duke rode through the Park, Ellice, who was sitting on his horse talking to Sir Edward Kerrison, said, 'There goes a man who knows more than he did an hour ago.' It is expected that Peel, if called upon, will endeavour to form and carry on a Government; but opinions are greatly divided, as to the support he would get in the House of Commons, and as to the effect of a dissolution, should he be driven to adopt that hazardous alternative. I think that almost everything depends upon the course which Althorp takes, as far as the rest of this session is concerned. His popularity in the House of Commons is very great, and even surprising; it is a proof of the influence which personal character may obtain when unadorned with great abilities and shining parts; his remarkable bonhomie, unalterable good nature and good temper, the conviction of his honesty and sincerity, and of his want of ambition, his single-mindedness, his unfeigned desire to get out of the trammels and cares of office, have all combined to procure for him greater personal regard, and to a certain degree greater influence, than any Minister ever possessed in my recollection. There is no such feeling as animosity against Althorp. Some detest his principles, some despise his talents, but none detest or despise the man; and he is said by those who are

[1] The cant name given at the time to John, Lord Althorp.

[106] judges of such matters to have one talent, and that is a thorough knowledge of the House of Commons and great quickness and tact in discovering the bias and disposition of the House. If Althorp abstains from any rough opposition, and endeavours to restrain others, upon the principle of giving a fair trial to those who may have taken his place because he would not continue to hold it, it is probable that the majority will avail themselves of such an opportunity for avoiding a dissolution, and give a sulky and suspicious assent to the measures of the new Ministry, for a cordial support cannot be expected. This, however, must depend upon circumstances which are still in nubibus. To-day must, in all probability, decide who is to attempt the task of forming a Government. Stanley, it is supposed, if invited, will not join Peel, at least not at present; all, however, is speculation, curiosity, and excitement.

July 13th.

All yesterday nothing was done; the King remains very quietly at Windsor, still in communication with Melbourne, and I believe with the Chancellor. He declines talking upon the present state of affairs to anybody. What he wanted was, that some attempt should be made towards a coalition, but this the remaining Ministers would not consent to. Poulett Thomson called on me at my office in the afternoon, and told me that it was by no means true that Althorp would not on any terms take the Government; but that he would not unless he had carte blanche, in which case he could not refuse it; if he did refuse, Thomson added, that everybody ought to support Peel or any Tory Government. He is convinced that if Peel took the Government he would be driven out by the House of Commons instanter, unless he could show that he had done so in consequence of the King being deserted by the present men. I afterwards met Mulgrave, who had been riding with Althorp, who told him that though it would be very disagreeable to him on every account, and especially as regards Lord Grey, he might have it put to him in a way that left him no option. Lord Grey and his friends and family think that he has been extremely ill-used, and they are indignant with all [107] the actors in the Littleton affair, and only burning with desire to expose those who are still concealed. Charles Grey talked to me for half an hour in the lobby of the Opera House last night, and said that Lord Wellesley ought to disclose all that was still secret in the transaction, and produce the private letters he had received from England, and by which his opinions and advice had been influenced. Such letters they know were written, and they believe by the Chancellor; this belief, whether it turns out to be true or false, is, I perceive, very general. It is inconceivable what a reputation that man has, and how universally he is distrusted, and despised as much as anybody with such great abilities can be. His political character is about on a par with Whittle Harvey's moral character; his insolence and swaggering, bullying tone in the House of Lords have excited as much disgust out of the House as they have given offence in it, and the only excuse for him is — what many people believe — that there is a taint of madness about him. The other night, in his reply to the Duke of Wellington's violent and foolish speech, he chose to turn upon Lord Rolle, a very old man and a choleric, hard- bitten old Tory. Rolle was greatly exasperated, and after he sat down went up to him on the Woolsack and said, ' My Lord, I wish you to know that I have the greatest contempt for you both in this House and out of it.'

While Lord Grey has been very indignant against the plotters in his Cabinet he has been sorely wounded by the seceders, or rather by the chief of them, Stanley; but this has been all made up in a way soothing enough to his feelings, but not advantageous, though not discreditable, to Stanley. The latter wrote a letter to Lord Grey expressing his deep regret at having said anything to offend him, disclaiming the slightest intention of the kind, pouring forth the warmest protestations of gratitude, veneration, and attachment to him, and finishing by an assurance that he would take office under nobody else. After the gross attack he made it is honourable in him to make such an apology, but it only enhances the folly of his former [108] conduct to find himself placed under the necessity of writing a penitential letter. Lord Grey replied in corresponding terms, and he says they shall be as good friends again as ever, and that Stanley's speech shall henceforward be forgotten; but it will be very long before the effect produced by it will be forgotten, or that the recollection of it will cease to have an influence on Stanley's reputation and prospects. His especial friends, the other seceders, were as much annoyed at it as anybody; and the Duchess of Richmond told me that her husband regretted it very bitterly. It is but justice to Richmond to own that he has acted a fair, open, and manly part in this business, and has satisfied all parties. Lord Grey was not annoyed at what passed between them in the House of Lords, and their friendship has never suffered any interruption.

July 15th.

This interval of feverish anxiety has ended by the formation of the Administration being entrusted to Lord Melbourne. He refused to undertake it unless Althorp could stay with him. The King wanted Lord Grey to come back, and spoke to Taylor about it, but he told him it was out of the question, and therefore the King did not propose it, but he has constantly written to him in the most flattering terms, and desired he might be consulted in every step of these proceedings. Lord Grey has acted very cordially towards Melbourne, and pressed Althorp so earnestly to stay that he has consented, and last night the announcements were made to the two Houses. The Tories (the High and foolish) are down in the mouth, but Peel is himself well content not to have been mixed up in the concern. The present conjecture is that Abercromby will go to the Home Office and Durham to Ireland. Nobody thinks the Government will last long, and everybody 'wonders' how Melbourne will do it. He is certainly a queer fellow to be Prime Minister, and he and Brougham are two wild chaps to have the destinies of this country in their hands. I should not be surprised if Melbourne was to rouse his dormant energies and be excited by the greatness of his position to display the vigour and decision in which he is not deficient. Unfortunately his [109] reputation is not particularly good; he is considered lax in morals, indifferent in religion, and very loose and pliant in politics. He is supposed to have consented to measures of which he disapproved because it suited his ease and convenience to do so, and because he was actuated by no strong political principles or opinions.

July 17th.

Yesterday it was announced that Duncannon is to be Secretary of State and called to the House of Peers; Hobhouse in his place and in the Cabinet, and to stand for Nottingham. This completes the concern; Duncannon Secretary of State! Who could ever have thought of him in such a station? His proper element seemed to be the House of Commons, where he was a bustling, zealous partisan and a very good whipper-in; but he cannot speak at all, and though a tolerably candid talker, his capacity is slender; he has no pre- tensions of any sort to a high office, and nothing but peculiar circumstances could put him in one; but the difficulty has been how to deal with Durham, for the majority of the Cabinet were decided upon having nothing to do with him, although there were some few who wanted to take him in. By I know not what process of reasoning they arrived at the conclusion that Duncannon's elevation was the only solution of this difficulty, but so it is, for I believe he would have preferred to stay in his old place. They are all in raptures with the King, and with his straightforward dealing on this occasion. In the first instance he desired Melbourne to write to the Duke, Peel, and Stanley, stating his wish that an Administration should be formed upon a wide and comprehensive plan. He wrote accordingly to each, and with his letters he sent copies of his own letter to the King, in which he gave his opinion that the formation of such a Government was impossible. The Duke and Peel each replied, with expressions of duty, to his Majesty, that they agreed with Lord Melbourne, but did not see any necessity for giving reasons for their opinions. The King, however, desired to have their reasons, which have since been sent to him by them. Stanley wrote a long letter, with a peremptory refusal to form part of any such Government. He appears [110] anxious to pacify the Whigs by disclaiming any intention of connecting himself with the Tories. Though all the Grey family are very indignant, and by no means silent, at the way the Earl has been treated, he has behaved with great temper and forbearance, and has lent his old colleagues his cordial assistance in patching up the broken concern.

July 19th.

Two angry debates in the Lords last night and the night before; I was present at the last, but not at the first. On Thursday Lord Wicklow made a virulent attack on the Government; the Duke of Buckingham was coarse, the Chancellor rabid, and a disgraceful scene of confusion and disorder arose. Melbourne made his first speech, declaration, and explanation, and is thought to have done it very well —a good beginning. Last night Wharncliffe moved for the production of Lord Wellesley's letter, by which the opinion of the Cabinet had been shaken about the Coercion Bill. Lord Grey made a very handsome speech indeed, throwing his shield over his old colleagues, declaring he neither complained nor had he been ill-used, and entreated that the new Government might be fairly tried, and not embarrassed without cause in the outset. It was certainly the speech of a thorough gentlemen, but the case is after all a bad one. The dates show what must have happened. It was on the 20th of June that Mr. Littleton told O'Connell there was a discussion going on in the Cabinet; and that the Coercion Bill was not yet settled. Now on the 20th of June it was settled, but on the 23rd of June came Lord Wellesley's letter, which unsettled it. [1] It is clear, then; that a communication was made

[1] This again is not accurate. It was on the 23rd of June, after the arrival of Lord Wellesley's letter, that Mr. Littleton saw O'Connell. The question was still under discussion on that day, and the opinions of different members of the Cabinet were much divided. Those Ministers (including the Chancellor) who were opposed to the renewal of the Coercion Bill in its integrity wished to secure the assent of Lord Wellesley to their views. After the receipt of Lord Wellesley's letter of the 21st of June both Lord Melbourne and Lord Althorp declared that 'it was impossible to ask Parliament for an unconstitutional power which the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland had been led to disclaim.' (See Hatherton's Memoir, p. 13.) The question was not finally settled till the Cabinet of the 29th of June. Mr. Littleton had been distinctly informed by Lord Althorp, on the same day that he saw O'Connell, that the matter was not settled, and that he (Lord Althorp) would resign rather than allow the disputed clauses to form part of the new Bill.

[111] to Lord Wellesley which it was confidently; expected would elicit from him such a letter as would enable the authors of the communication to revive the discussion, and Littleton, not being able to wait for its arrival, anticipated it, and told O'Connell that the discussion was begun before the cause of it was in operation. There certainly never was a more complete underhand intrigue perpetrated than this, and although no official document, or demi-official, will now be produced to reveal the name of the prime mover, everybody's finger is pointed at Brougham, and the young Greys make no secret of their conviction that he is the man. But undoubtedly the greatest evil resulting from the proceedings and the termination of them (in the reconstruction of this Government, with its additions, and the alteration of the Bill) is the vast increase which must be made to the power and authority of O'Connell. He has long been able to make the Irish believe anything he pleases, and he will certainly have no difficulty in persuading them that he himself has brought about this state of things, that he has ousted Lord Grey, introduced Duncannon (who of all the Whigs has been his greatest friend), and expunged the obnoxious clauses from the Coercion Bill, and the fact is that all this is not very far from the truth. Between his dexterity in availing himself of circumstances and his betrayal of Littleton, between the folly of some men and the baseness of others, he has appeared the most prominent character in the drama. Even now I cannot make out why everybody wished the Bill to be thus emasculated, for there would have been no difficulty in passing it through both Houses. To the surprise of everybody Littleton is suffered to keep his place, probably by the protection of Althorp, who may have been as dogged about him on this occasion as he was about the Speakership, and as he is considered (on account of his character) so indispensable in the House of Commons, of course he can make his own terms. [1]

[1] This was so. Lord Althorp positively refused to hold office in the Melbourne Government, unless Mr. Littleton could be prevailed upon to resume and retain his office as Irish Secretary. Nothing could be more honourable to both parties than this conduct of Lord Althorp; but it was due to the fact that he had himself been a party to the communication made by Mr. Littleton to O'Connell, and that he knew Mr. Littleton had been exposed to more censure than he deserved.]

[112] July 20th.

At Court yesterday to swear in Duncannon Secretary of State. He told me he had made Stanley [1] (the man they call Sir Benjamin Backbite, and familiarly Ben) his under-secretary, telling him he must speak, for that he (Duncannon) could not. Auckland and Duncannon will not certainly add much to the oratorical splendour of the Government. Ellice was there, and told me about a grand case the Tories have got hold of against him, growing out of Lord Western's evidence in Whittle Harvey's Committee. It there came out that Western had applied to Ellice, then Secretary of the Treasury (at the time of the great Reform election), for money, to assist at the Colchester election, and he sent £500. They want to make out that this was public money, but they won't catch him. He says several individuals subscribed large sums, which were placed at his disposal to be employed to the best advantage for the cause. He will get out of it. He talked of the Government, said it was a great error to suppose it was inclined to movement principles, and that in point of fact there was very little difference, except on Church matters, between Sir Robert Peel and himself, that there never was so good a House of Commons for the Government, that in all this mess— for mess it was — the Tories could not succeed in getting up a feeling or a prejudice against the Government, and it was clear they were utterly powerless there, that the House only required to be a little cajoled, and was easily led; the word Reform was still potent there, and had only to be uttered on occasions to bring the majority round when they began to show a refractory disposition.

July 21st.

The Chancellor and the Hollands urged Lord Grey to take the Privy Seal. This Sefton told me as a great secret yesterday, but the indignation of the Greys burst through all restraint, and they told it 'à qui voulait les

[1] Afterwards Lord Stanley of Alderley.

[113] entendre,' with every expression of rage and disgust, 'adding insult to injury'. Lord Grey was more philosophical, and rather smiled at the proposition, but he did not repress the pious resentment of his children. The Grey women would murder the Chancellor if they could. It certainly was a curious suggestion. The Hollands think of nothing on earth but how they may best keep the Duchy of Lancaster, and they fancied Lord Grey's holding the Privy Seal might be of service to the Government, and if they could make him commit such a bassesse so much the better. It is not always easy to discover the Chancellor's motives, but as he is as vindictive as he is false and tricking, he perhaps took this opportunity of revenging him- self for the old offer of the Attorney-Generalship, which he has never forgiven. [1]

[1] This view of the case is certainly unjust to Lord Brougham, who had more respect and regard for Lord Grey than for any other statesman of the time, as his correspondence with the Earl, now recently published in Brougham's 'Posthumous Memoirs,' sufficiently proves.

The first Administration of Lord Melbourne was thus constituted :

First Lord of the Treasury   Viscount Melbourne.
Lord Chancellor   Lord Brougham
Lord President   Marquis of Lansdowne
Home Secretary   Viscount Duncannon.
Foreign Secretary   Viscount Palmerston
Colonial Secretary   Mr. Spring Rice.
Chancellor of the Exchequer   Viscount Althorp
Admiralty   Lord Auckland
Board of Control   Mr. Charles Grant.
Board of Trade   Mr. Poulett Thomson
Duchy of Lancaster   Lord Holland.
Paymaster of the Forces   Lord John Russell.
Secretary-at-War   Mr. Edward Ellice.
Lord Privy Seal   Earl of Mulgrave.
Postmaster-General   Marquis of Conyngham
Irish Secretary   Mr. Littleton

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