The Greville Memoirs

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The Greville Memoirs



Sir R. Peel arrives — The First Council — The King's Address — Lord Stanley and Sir J. Graham decline to join the Government — Lord Wharncliffe and Sir E. Knatchbull join — The Ministers sworn in — Peel's Address to his Constituents — Dinner at the Mansion House — Offer to Lord Roden — Prospects of the Election — Stanley's Want of Influence — Pozzo di Borgo's Views — Russia and England — Nomination of Lord Londonderry to St. Petersburg — Parliament dissolved — State of the Constituencies — A Governor-General for India — Sebastiani and St. Aulaire — Anecdote of Princess Metternich — The City Elections — Lord Lyndhurst's View of the Government — Violence of the Opposition — Close Contest at Rochester —Sidney Herbert — Sir John Hobhouse's Views — Anecdotes — County Elections — The Queen supposed to be with Child — Church Reform — Dinner of Ministers — Story of La Roncière — The King's Crotchets.

December 10th

Sir Robert arrived yesterday morning at eight o'clock. Great was the bustle among his clan; there were the Ross's, the Plantas, and all of them pacing before his door while he was still closeted with the Duke. Sefton came up to town last night, and declares that Lord Stanley has announced his intention of supporting Wood for Lancashire and opposing Francis Egerton, which, if true, is ominous against a junction with Peel.

December 11th.

A Council yesterday. The King insisted upon giving Peel the seal of the Exchequer in Council, though it was not necessary. His object was to make a speech. The Chief Justice, who was trying a cause at Westminster, kept us waiting, and at last a carriage was sent to fetch him. Peel made his first appearance full of spirits and cordiality to the numerous greetings which hailed him. He told me that he had seen the letter which I had written to his brother Jonathan, that he agreed to every word of it, and that he had written to Stanley in exact conformity to and that he had written to Stanley in exact conformity to [175] what I had said. This was a letter I had written to Jonathan Peel, giving him an account of the state of things here, and expressing at some length my own view of Peel's situation and of what he ought to do. When Sir Robert got to Paris he gave it to him, and as he approves of it I am certain that his Government will be liberal enough; but then the Irish Church! Stanley's answer may come to-day, but they expect him in town at all events. When Denman arrived at St. James's he had an audience and gave up the seal. The Council was assembled, and the King, who had got his speech all ready, first asking the Duke of Wellington if he should go on, to which the Duke assented, delivered himself 'in apt and gracious terms.' It really was (however superfluous) not at all ill done, recapitulating what everybody knows, declaring that Sir Robert Peel was now Minister of this country, and thanking the Duke of Wellington in his own name and in that of the country for the part he had taken and for the manner in which he had conducted the public business during the interval; he said that he should request him to hold the seals of the three offices for a few days longer. He was not ridiculous to-day. With regard to Lynn, I have handed George Bentinck over to William Peel and Granville Somerset, and so washed my hands of it.

December 13th.

Stanley has declined; I know not in what terms, but it is said courteous. Now, then, nothing remains but a Tory Government; the Whigs are triumphant that Stanley will have nothing to do with it. Lord Grey, who was moderate, has been lashed into fury by their putting up Liddell for Northumberland. Charles Grey at Holland House the other night threw them all into dismay by the language he held 'that if the Duke and Peel followed his father's steps, and adopted Liberal measures, he should support them.' Lady Holland was almost in fits, and Allen in convulsions.

December 14th.

Lord Wharncliffe, to his great joy, was sent for by Peel yesterday, and very civilly invited to join the new Cabinet. He thought it necessary to enquire if he meant to be liberal, and on receiving an assurance to that effect he at [176] once consented. Graham was with Peel, having come up to town on getting his letter, but he declined joining. Wharncliffe told me that the correspondence between Peel and Stanley was extremely civil. The Cabinet is now pretty nearly completed; they all dined together at Peel's yesterday. I asked Wharncliffe how Sir Edward Knatchbull was to be converted into a Liberal, and he said, 'Oh, there will be no difficulty; he is very reasonable.' It would be (to me) a bitter pill to swallow to take Knatchbull; he is the man who led that section of High Tories which threw out the Duke's Government in 1830. The Whigs are sorry that Graham does not join, for they hate him and want to be rid of him. They are also discomposed at a letter of Stanley's in reply to an address to the King from Glasgow that has been forwarded to him to present, in which his sentiments appear to be alarmingly Conservative.

Stanley and Graham will support the Government, and it now appears that the Duke of Wellington is the real obstacle to their joining. To Peel Stanley has no objection; he has spoken of him in the highest terms; but after the speech which the Duke made when Lord Grey went out, in which he attacked him and his Government with a virulence which gave great disgust at the time, Stanley feels that he could not with any regard to his own honour, and compatibly with his respect and attachment for Lord Grey, form a part of this Government. So there is another evil resulting from one of those imprudences which the Duke blurts out without reflection, thinking only of the present time and acting upon his impulse at the moment. Spring Rice, whom I met yesterday, said that their great object (in which they hoped to succeed) was to keep the whole of their party together their party in the House of Commons, of course. Whether he included Stanley in this or not I don't know, but if he did he reckons probably without his host.

December 15th.

Met the Duke of Richmond yesterday, who came to town for the cattle show, and had a long talk with him; he said they had discussed the whole matter (Stanley, Graham, and himself) at Knowsley, and decided not to [177] join; that the Duke of Wellington's violent speech against all the members of the late Government and their policy made it quite impossible, but that they were determined to support Peel if they possibly could; and he seems not apprehensive there would be any difficulty; he thinks Stanley's support out of office will be more valuable than if he had joined them, and perhaps under the above circumstances (for I had forgotten the Duke's speech) it may be. Nothing can be more satisfactory than the state of feeling between them all; and certainly all those who would have followed Stanley, had he taken office, may find as strong motives for supporting Government now as they could have done then. I told Richmond I thought Knatchbull was so High a Tory that I did not see how they could make him a Liberal. He said he was not at all strongly anti-Liberal, and that he had had the option of being a member of Lord Grey's Government, he having been himself commissioned to offer him the Secretaryship at War. This, however, it is very clear, was offered as a reward for the service he had done in giving the mortal thrust to the Duke, and as he is an honest man, and wanted at that time the Duke's life rather than his purse, he was probably satisfied with his exploit, and never would have done on any terms (what Richmond and others did) so inconsistent a thing as to join a Reform Ministry. It is, however, remarkable that this should have occurred. See what it was. Knatchbull, a High Tory, turns out the Duke and a Tory Government, and lets in the Whigs; he is offered office by the Whig Minister to whose triumph he has been, instrumental, refuses it; and afterwards, on the exclusion of the same Whig Ministry, is offered office by the returning- Tory Government, which he had four years ago destroyed, and takes it.

December 16th.

A great field-day at Court yesterday; all the new Ministers sworn in, except the Colonial Secretary, who is not yet appointed, and some subordinate officers. The King addressed each of them on his kissing hands, and to Scarlett he made a very pretty speech about the administration of the law. Lord Rosslyn was substituted for [178] Lord Aberdeen (only in the morning) as President of the Council; why did not appear, but I had learnt from Hardinge (in a conversation I had with him) that the arrangements would in some respects be only temporary, and made with a view to the subsequent admission of Stanley and his party; the nature of their communications has been such as to afford a very fair prospect of that junction. Peel is much elated at having got Sugden to go to Ireland as Chancellor. Lord de Grey has been asked to be Lord-Lieutenant. I find Stanley in his letter to Peel said that the Duke of Wellington's speech was an obstacle to his joining the Government. These scruples they think unreasonable; and they allege his own thimble-rig speech, which was more violent against the Whig Government and more insulting than anything the Duke said; but they should comprehend that this speech forms one of the ingredients of the difficulty, as it in fact hampers his political conduct by putting him on uncomfortable personal terms with his old friends.

December 20th.

Peel's letter to his constituents has appeared as his manifesto to the country; a very well written and ingenious document, and well calculated to answer the purpose, if it can be answered at all. The letter was submitted to the Cabinet at a dinner at Lyndhurst's on Wednesday last, and they sat till twelve o'clock upon it, after which it was copied out, a messenger despatched to the three great newspapers ('Times,' 'Herald,' and 'Post') to announce its arrival, and at three in the morning it was inserted. The Whigs affect to hold it very cheap, and to treat it as an artful but shallow and inefficient production. It is rather too Liberal for the bigoted Tories, but all the moderate people are well satisfied with it. Of course it has made a prodigious sensation, and nobody talks of anything else.

December 24th.

Dined yesterday at the Mansion House; never having before seen a civic feast, I thought this a good opportunity. The Egyptian Hall is fine enough; the other rooms miserable. A great company, and all Tories almost. The Lord Mayor boasted of his impartiality, and how he had [179] invited all parties alike, but none of the Whigs would go. Peel spoke tolerably, but not so well as I expected; manly enough and in good tone. In the speeches of the others there was nothing remarkable. Ward made a violent speech, attacking Grote and Lushington, though not by name. The loyal party in the City are making great exertions, and they expect to bring in three out of the four members, which I doubt, not because I know anything of the matter, but because they are generally out in their calculations. In the meantime the vacant places have been gradually filled up, and generally with Tories of a bad description e.g. Roden [l] as Lord Steward, which, though no political situation, would do harm merely from his name appearing in the list. It never will be believed that such men as he — bigoted and obstinate, and virtuous moreover — will consent to join Peel if he has resolved to act upon principles diametrically the reverse of those they have ever sustained, and they persist (the Whigs) in asserting that every fresh appointment of this kind is a new pledge that he means to govern on Tory principles.

A few days ago I fell in with Hobhouse, and he walked with me to my office. He told me that he and his fellow Committee men at Ellice's, astonished at the confident expectations of the Carltonians as to the result of a dissolution, went over the list scrupulously and jealously, and resolved to know the worst; that after making every allowance they could, and excluding all doubtful places and all Stanleyites, they found themselves with a majority of 195 votes, and deducting from that 50 men who might be Waverers, and on whom it might not be safe to count, they still found 145, which they saw no possibility of disputing. On the other hand the Conservatives, without going to actual numbers, retain their confidence, though I confess I do not think on any sufficient grounds as far as present appearances go. As far as I can judge by the slight indications which reach me, the managers of the late Government are acting with

[1] Roden refused on account of his health. - January 4th.

great dexterity, and I begin to think that Rice's expectation of being able to hold together the whole of those who are not with the new Government is not so chimerical as I at first imagined. Although there is a little feeling for the ex-Ministry and no excitement in the country, there is a calm which is quite as alarming to the hopes of one party as it is represented to be expressive with regard to the power of the other, for unless some enthusiasm can be created, some loyal motion to disturb the inertia of the mass, it must be considered as standing much in the same situation as before, and that certainly is not one favourable to the desires and pretensions of the Conservative Government. Then within this day or two there appear indications of a disposition to hold off on the part of Stanley and Graham, if not to join with their old friends, which might well alarm any watchful and anxious mind. Stanley's speech at Glasgow contained not a syllable expressive of regard for the royal prerogative, or of respect for Peel, or of a disposition to try the new Government, but extravagant compliments to Lord Grey, and Whig language generally. I asked Hardinge last night what he thought of it, and he said it struck him as 'too Whiggish.' I then told him that I was struck in like manner, and that I had seen a letter from Graham in the morning, the tone of which I did not at all like. It was to George Bentinck about the Lynn election, for which he was to endeavour to find a man, and failed. He said that Stanley's speech was very good; blamed the composition of the New Government, which would not give satisfaction, though it must always be remembered that Peel had made use of the old materials because he could not procure new ones; said that people were now beginning to discover that the Whigs need not be reduced to the alternative of joining with the Radicals or the Tories, and that when a standard was set up (Stanley's of course) on Conservatively Liberal principles he thought plenty would be found to join it. It is, therefore, very questionable what course Stanley will pursue, even though a party may range itself under him, which I doubt, and no position can be much worse than this [181] Government would be in if they were to hold office at his discretion, and only while he should be pleased to throw his weight into their scale. As far as one can judge his weight will be small, for it is very remarkable that while for some weeks George Bentinck has been endeavouring to find a Stanleyite candidate for Lynn, who would be brought in without trouble or expense, though he has ransacked the Bar and applied to Richmond, Ripon, Graham, and Stanley himself, no such man can be found. There are Whigs and Tories in abundance, but not one man who will come into Parliament as a follower of Stanley and owing his seat to the patronage of the Duke of Richmond.

It is the fashion to consider Peel's speech at the Mansion House less Liberal in tone and indicative of less confidence than his letter to Tamworth. I don't perceive much difference. Lord Roden has refused to be Lord Steward, but the invitation has done the mischief. Lord Haddington goes to Ireland, after making many difficulties, but finishing by liking the appointment. Both parties remain equally confident as to the result of the elections; the Whigs, as it appears to me, with greater reason, and as the resolution of the allies (the Whigs and Radicals) is to throw out the Government as speedily as possible, and without caring for consequences, I don't see how they ever can stand. The other night at Holland House, Mulgrave, who is one of the leading men of the electioneering committee, admitted that he did not see what was to follow the overthrow of the Government, but that the difficulty was one of their own creating; others of them assert that Melbourne or Spencer will return, and another Whig Government be formed, but they leave out of calculation that the Radicals with whom they have joined will not suffer themselves to be brushed off when done with, nor will the Tories come down to assist them if they endeavour again to make head against the Radicals. The Tories have shown themselves a reckless and desperate party, and I see no reason for supposing that their conduct will belie their character; they overthrow their friends from revenge, and will hardly save their enemies from charity; their [182] interest, their real interest, they seem destined ever to be blind to. There may be a hope that, having put themselves under the orders of Peel, they will act in a body as he shall direct them, and if so they may be a powerful and useful Opposition, and I really believe that he will not turn his eyes from the true interests of the country, or cease to regard all those contingencies which may, under dexterous management, be eventually turned'to account. It is, however, impossible not to feel greatly disquieted at the aspect of affairs — at the mixture of bad spirit and apathy that prevails, for I consider the apathy an evil and not a good sign. Those who express most loudly their alarm and abhorrence of ultra doctrines make little exertion, personal or pecuniary, to stem their torrent. There have been some great examples of liberality. I heard only the other day that the Duke of Buccleuch subscribed £20,000 for the election of 1831; Lord Harrowby (a poor man) has given £1,000 for this. The fact is, it is in politics to a certain degree as in religion. Men fear in the one case in the same manner as they believe in the other; they have some doubts in both cases, but no convictions. Their conduct belies their assertions, and when compared with that which they observe on occasions where there is no room for doubt, it will be seen that their want of energy or decision, their various inconsistencies, proceed from self-deceit, which is just strong enough to permit them to try and deceive others without actual falsehood and hypocrisy.

December 28th.

My brother Henry came from Paris a day or two ago to take the place of précis writer in the Foreign Office. Just before he started old Pozzo gave him a whole string of messages to the Duke of Wellington, adding that he would give the world for an hour's conversation with him. These communications were evidently made upon a supposition that their opinions were generally congenial. He said that the affairs of Belgium required particular attention; that the Belgians were grown insolent, and meant, by deferring a final settlement, to avoid paying their portion of the debt and to keep the disputed Duchies, and that [183] unfortunately the conduct of the King of Holland had not been such as to entitle him to assistance; that in Germany the spirit was good and tranquillity prevailed; in Spain nothing could be worse, and he told the Duke to be on his guard against what Alava should say to him, ' qui n'avait pas le sens commun, mais qui etait devoue au Duc,' and that he might endoctriner him a little. Henry took a memorandum of this and gave it to the Duke; but however disposed he may be to enter into Pozzo's views, he will probably soon be obliged to take a tone very unpleasant to Russia, for I find that the affairs of Turkey are in such a state that they are to be brought under the immediate consideration of the Cabinet. The great object of the late Government was (and that of this Government must be the same) to get the Porte out of the clutches of Russia. The Sultan is a mere slave of the Emperor, but throughout his dominions, and the Principalities likewise, a bitter feeling of hatred against Russia prevails. Our policy has been to induce the Sultan to throw off the yoke — by promises of assistance on one hand, and menaces on the other of supporting Mehemet Ali against him. Hitherto, however, the Sultan has never been induced to bestir himself. It is evident that if this matter is taken up seriously, and with a resolution to curb the power of Russia in the East, the greatest diplomatic judgment and firmness will be requisite in our Ambassador at St. Petersburg; and how under these circumstances the Duke can send Londonderry, and how Peel can have consented to his nomination, I am at a loss to conceive. It appears just worse than what Palmerston did, which was to send nobody at all. In. all this complication of interests in the East, France is ready to act with us if we will let her, and Austria lies like a great log, favouring Russia and opposing her inert mass to anything like mouvement, no matter with what object or in what quarter.


January 1st.

Parliament dissolved at last, and all speculation about the elections will soon be settled in certainty. [184] It is remarkable what confidence is expressed by both sides. Three Tories stand for the City; but Ward told me they rather expected to run their opponents hard than to come in, but that such an exhibition of strength would be important, as it will. The Duke of Wellington is so well aware of the obstacle that he is to Stanley's joining the Government that he wanted not to belong to it originally, and he is now meditating his retreat, in order to open the way for Stanley. It cannot be denied that he has acted very nobly throughout this business, and upon nothing but a sense of duty, without regard for himself. Some doubts have occurred to me of the vast utility of Stanley, and his being so entirely without a party proves that he is not held in very high estimation, and though I should be glad to see a better set of names in the various offices (which are for the most part miserably filled) I should not altogether like to see the Duke of Wellington retire out of deference to such men as the four who would succeed him, and those who would have to retire with him. I heard a ridiculous anecdote of the King the other day. He wrote to the Duke about something no matter what, but I believe some appointment — and added à propos de bottes, 'His Majesty begs to call the attention of the Duke to the theoretical state of Persia.' The Duke replied that he was aware of the importance of Persia, but submitted that it was a matter which did not press for the moment.

Yesterday I dined with Robarts, and after dinner he gave me an account of the state of his borough (Maidstone), and as it is a tolerably fair sample probably of the real condition of the generality of boroughs, and of the principles and disposition of their constituencies, I will put it down. There are 1,200 voters; the Dissenters are very numerous and of every imaginable sect and persuasion. He has been member seventeen years; the place very corrupt. Formerly (before the Reform Bill), when the constituency was less numerous, the matter was easily and simply conducted; the price of votes was as regularly fixed as the price of bread — so much for a single vote and so much for a plumper, and this he had to pay. After the Reform Bill he resolved to pay no [185] more money, as corruption was to cease. The consequence was that during his canvass none of the people who had formerly voted for him would promise him their votes. They all sulked and hesitated, and, in short, waited to see what would be offered them. I asked him what were the new constituencies. 'If possible worse than the old.' The people are generally alive to public affairs — look into the votes and speeches of members, give their opinions — but are universally corrupt. They have a sour feeling against what are nicknamed abuses, rail against sinnicures, as they call them, and descant upon the enormity of such things while they are forced to work all day long and their families have not enough to eat. But the one prevailing object among the whole community is to make money of their votes, and though he says there are some exceptions, they are very few indeed. Robarts too is a Reformer, and supports all Whig and reforming Governments; but he does so (like many others) from fear. What he most dreads is collision, and most desires is quiet, and he thinks non-resistance the best way. There is no reason to believe that other constituencies materially differ from this; what therefore is the result? Power has been transferred to a low class of persons; so low as to be dissatisfied and malignant, high enough to be half- instructed; so poor that money is an object to them, and without any principle which should deter them from getting it in any way they can: they may, on the whole, be considered as disaffected towards existing institutions, for when they contrast their own life of labour and privation with the wealth and splendour which they see around them, there is little difficulty in persuading them that they are grievously wronged, and that the wrong is in the nature of the institutions themselves. These general considerations make them therefore lean towards those who promise better things, and strive to introduce changes; but as their immediate wants are always uppermost, their votes are generally at the disposal of the highest bidder, whatever his politics may be.

January 3rd.

They can find nobody to go to India. Lord Ellenborough (by Peel's desire) wrote to the Duke and [186] asked his advice, at the same time suggesting Sir James Graham. The Duke replied that he thought it better not to have anything to do with that party at present; that the best man he knew would be Lord Heytesbury, if he would go, or such a man as Lord Fitzroy Somerset, whom he mentioned, not because he had been long known to him, and had served under himself, but because he was a very able man, and the best man of business he was acquainted with. Kemp refused it; Ellenborough said that the more he looked into Indian affairs, the more clearly he saw the urgency of sending a Governor-General. Whether by this he means to imply that Lord William Bentinck has done ill, I know not; but he is always said to have done admirably well. In a letter which the Duke wrote to the King, not long ago, he told him that it was desirable to make as few changes in the foreign policy of the Government as possible. Notwithstanding the confidence of his underlings, and of the crowd of fools and females who follow the camp, it is clear that the Duke and Peel are both sensible of the danger of their situation.

January 4th.

There is every prospect of a miserable defeat of the Conservatives in the City, which will be doubly disastrous, first as to the election, which is an important one, and secondly because it will go far to neutralise the effect of the famous address they got up. This is owing to mismanagement. The Committee has been bad and negligent; then they did a very foolish thing in ousting Pattison from Harwich to make room for Bonham; if they had left Pattison alone (which Harris had, I believe, pledged himself should be done), Lyall would have come in for the City, and perhaps Ward too; but when the electioneering affairs are left to William Peel, Ross, and Granville Somerset, no wonder there is not much dexterity and finesse displayed. I have published a pamphlet to help them; but as I never put my name to my pamphlets, of course nobody reads them.

January 5th.

Sebastiani is coming here as Ambassador— that is, unless he changes his mind and pleads ill-health. The French Government notified to us his appointment [187] without asking our consent, and when the Duke stated it to the Cabinet, objections were made; he accordingly wrote the same day to Bacourt, stating that the Cabinet thought the appointment objectionable, and that there would be difficulties in transacting business with him. The French Government expressed surprise, and rather insist upon their appointment, and as ours does not think it worth while to have a dispute about it, he is to come; but we think they have behaved very ill, for the Duke never proposed the Paris Embassy to Lord Cowley till he had communicated with France, and ascertained that the nomination would be agreeable to the King. It was expected that St. Aulaire or Latour-Maubourg would have come here. It is of Madame de St. Aulaire that Talleyrand said, 'Elle cherche 1'esprit que son mari trouve.' (This anecdote I suspect not to be true, or not true of Madame de St. Aulaire, who is a very intelligent, agreeable woman, more lively and with more finesse d'esprit than her husband.)

St. Aulaire is Ambassador at Vienna, and, however clever, he either wants presence of mind or is touchy, as the following anecdote shows. Madame de Metternich is a fine handsome woman, ill brought up, impertinent, insouciante, and assez bourrue — au reste, quick and amusing, She went to a ball at St. Aulaire's with a fine coronet of diamonds on, and when he came to receive her he said, ' Mon dieu, madame. quelle belle couronne vous avez sur la tête !' 'Au moins,' said she, 'ce n'est par une couronne que j'ai volée.' Instead of turning it into a joke, he made a serious affair of it, and went the next day to Metternich with a formal complaint; but Metternich said, 'Mais mon cher, que voulez-vous? Vous voyez que j'ai épousé une femme sans éducation; je ne puis pas 1'empêcher de dire de pareilles sottises, mais vous sentez bien que ce serait fort inconvénant pour moi de m'en mêler. Allons ! il n'y faut plus penser,' and so turned it off, and turned him out, by insisting on making a joke of the affair, as St. Aulaire had better have done at first.

January 7th.

Just as might have been expected, the Conservative candidates in the City are defeated by an enormous [188] majority. Pattison, the Governor of the Bank, the Liberal candidate who came in second on the poll, having been proposed by Jones Loyd, [1] the richest banker in the City, and perhaps the richest man in Europe. [2] Such outward demonstrations as these unquestionably afford a very plausible answer to the opposite cry, and the victory on the Radical side is great and important. Ward told me they should at least run them hard, so that the disappointment must be grievous; still it is asserted that the greatest part of the wealth of the City will be found in the columns of the address — but then the votes are in the other scale. The elections, as far as they have gone, are rather against the Government, but not showing any material difference in numbers sufficient, however, to prove that, in point of fact, Peel's declarations have produced little or no effect, and that the various considerations that have been urged on the country and the appeals to its reason have been all alike thrown away.

I saw a letter which Barnes wrote to Henry de Ros yesterday, in which he speaks with horror and alarm of the prevailing spirit. He says the people are deaf with passion, and in the abrupt dissolution of the late Government and the bad composition of this they will see a conspiracy against their liberties, and mad and preposterous as the idea is, there is no eradicating it from their brains. I am afraid this is too true, and though no alarmist generally, and rather sluggish of fear, I do begin to tremble; and while I cast my eyes about in all directions to see what resource is in store for us, I can find none that is anything like satisfactory; the violence of party-spirit seems to blind everybody concerned in politics to all contingent possibilities, and every feeling of decency and propriety is forgotten.

Last night I was at Lady Holland's; there were Lord and Lady Holland, Mulgrave, Seaford, Allen and Burdett. I asked them if they had read Whittle Harvey's speech at

[1] Mr. Jones Loyd, afterwards created Lord Overstone.
[2] The four City members were : Matthew Wood, James Pattison, William Crawford, and George Grote.

[189] Southwark, which was a tissue of the grossest and most outrageous abuse and ridicule of the King and Queen. They said 'No,' so I read to them some of the most offensive passages. Not the slightest disgust did they express. Holland merely said to one allegation, 'That is not true,' and Mulgrave laughed, and said, ' Whittle is an eccentric politician.'

January 8th.

On the whole the returns yesterday presented a gain to Government of about 10 votes, many elections turning out contrary to expectation both ways, and some very severe contests. The City was a great defeat: the lowest Whig beat the highest Tory by above 1,400. It is remarkable that many who signed the address to the King voted for the Radical candidates.

At dinner yesterday at Lord Chesterfield's I met the Chancellor, whom I have not seen for some time. After dinner we talked about the state of affairs. 'Well,' he said, 'will it do? what do you think?' I said, 'I don't know what to think, but on the whole I am disposed to think it will not do. I don't see how you are to get on.' 'What do you think of Peel? ' said he; 'is he a fit man for the purpose?' 'He is a very able man, and prudent.' 'Aye, but is he enough of a man of the world? does he know enough of what is going on in the world?' To which I said, 'You have just hit upon the point that I have been lamenting. He has not lived in the world, and he has not about him those who do, and who can give him that particular sort of information and advice of which he stands in need; and I think he has, in great measure owing to this, committed a great blunder in forming such a Government as he has done; he has not been able to throw off the old prejudices of keeping to his party, and thought it necessary to depend upon them, when he ought to have seen that the case was one out of ordinary rules, that the support of the Tories alone could not maintain him, and that, if they would not give it him for their own interest, and in furtherance of their own principles, without insisting upon being in office, though he might not be able to get on without it, he would [190] still less be able to get on with their support alone. In his place I should have told them I could not take them in, that if they would confide in me, and let me help the country out of its difficulties in my own way, I would do the best I could for it and for them.' Lyndhurst said that 'he was not much consulted;' that if he had had the formation of the Government he should have gone to work very differently; that he would have had a small Cabinet, eight or ten at most, composed of new men, leaving out Aberdeen, Goulburn, Herries, and the rest of that description, employing them if possible abroad, or if not, telling them that it was necessary to lay them on the shelf for a time, and that he would do what he could for them at a future period; that Ellenborough had told Peel he had much better not take him into the Government; that he was aware he was not popular, and though he might be of some use with regard to details of business, his support out of office would (he thought), on the whole, be more serviceable than his being in the Cabinet. Peel said that his willingness to sacrifice himself only made it more incumbent on him not to permit him to do so, and insisted upon having him. Lyndhurst said he had hoped that Sandon would have been taken, and he had suggested Lord Carnarvon, to which Peel replied that he was still so young that he thought he might be passed over for the present. I said, 'Why it is the present for which it is necessary to provide, and it is now that he might have been made available.' (Carnarvon would not join on account of ill-health.) We then talked over what sort of a Cabinet might have been got together, of new names, moderate men, few in number. He admitted that a great mistake had been committed, and that, as it was irreparable, so it would very probably be fatal. He praised the Duke of Wellington. I said I would not have taken him in, or have got him to go to Ireland, for he was ready to do anything to advance the cause. He liked this idea very much. I reminded him that the first day we had talked over the matter he had admitted that it would never do to bolster up the old concern again, and that Hardinge had told me the Tories were all ready to [191] make any sacrifices or postpone their claims, so that such a course as we suggested need not have been difficult. I told him of Barnes's letter, and of his fears, and what he said of the effect produced by the composition of the Government. He said the 'Times' had behaved admirably to them, and the Government were under great obligations to me for what I had done in that matter. I told him I was glad to hear they were on such good terms, as having been instrumental to the connection, which I had no doubt had entailed an immediate loss on the proprietors of the paper.

He asked me if I thought the Opposition meant to refuse the Supplies. I said I had no doubt they did. 'Then we must go.' But he still expects they will have 300 votes in the House of Commons, and with that he calculates that they may struggle on with one-half of the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the King, and a large proportion of the wealth and respectability of the country. It would be difficult, but he thought they might get on; but that the fact was, there was no going on after the transfer of power to another class, which the Reform Bill had effected. I said there was no doubt of that, and that the Reform Bill had produced virtually a complete revolution in this country. 'Aye,' said he, 'much more than that of '88.'

January 9th.

Dined at Holland House; they are satisfied with the elections. Mulgrave said that, out of the present return, they had to add thirty to their list and to deduct thirteen of their original calculations, giving them seventeen more than they expected. There is a small gain to the Tories, but nothing like enough. It cannot do; all the moderate Whigs (for it is not a question of Tories) are beaten in the metropolitan districts. Spankie's admirable addresses have ensured his defeat. Duncombe, immediately after an exposure of the most disgraceful kind, will be returned by a majority doubling that of any of the other candidates; and it is not a little remarkable that Duncombe is supported by all the Dissenters — even the Quakers, with whom austerity of morals and a decent behaviour are supposed to have weight — but the rabid spirit of disaffection to government and rule [192] bears down every other consideration, and these 'enlightened electors' (as their flatterers always call them) are frantic with passion against everything belonging to what they call ' the aristocracy' of the country. But who can wonder at these people, when we see the great Whig Lords smiling complacently at their brutal violence and senseless rage? At Holland House they talk in the same strain; not that they utter any indecent language, but they are passionate for the success of the movement. One single object have they — to eject Peel and the Tory Government; they own they don't know what is to follow; they do not deny that the movement must be accelerated, but they don't care; they say the Duke is responsible, for he ought not to have accepted the King's commission, and then Melbourne must have been sent for again the next day. Now they must take the consequences — that is, the King and the Tories. They said last night that by the old Government the movement might have been checked; by any that can be formed on the downfall of the new it cannot or at least that it must go farther than it would have done. I asked, 'Then is there anything you think worse than advancing the movement?' 'Yes,' cried out Lord Holland, 'making the movement stand still.' 'And do you mean that you believe there is any danger of that, and that the movement (the progress of improvement) ever can stand still ? ' 'Yes, I do believe it,' &c. . . . Such a miserable apology for their insane violence puts argument and reasoning out of the question; they are resolved to fight for power, 'to let slip the dogs of war,' ignorant whither they will go, and careless what shall be their prey.

January 10th.

Nothing is more remarkable in these elections than the confidence of both parties in the result, and the difference of their statements as to actual numbers, Bonham, who is now, faute de mieux, the man-of-all-work of the Tories, told me last night that they had an actual majority on the returns of about twenty, whereas I went through the list, and after detecting some errors, made out that there is a majority of about thirty the other way. The Whig [193] language is still the same always, and everywhere — that they do not see what is to happen when this Government is out; that no daylight appears, but still that out it shall go. They own that they must (if they return to power) do a great deal more than they would otherwise have done, but that while they obey that necessity, they make it easy to their consciences, because it is the other party which has imposed it upon them.

January 11th.

The Government people still declare their satisfaction at the result of the elections, and make out that the numbers are tolerably even. The contests are curious from their closeness. Charles Wellesley lost at Rochester by one, Lushington by four. There is a great number of similar cases; in that of Rochester it is more remarkable from the accident by which the election was lost. There were two ships in quarantine, one of which had one voter on board and the other two; they had both sailed the same day from the port they left, but one had been longer on the voyage. The ship with one voter had a right to be released on the 9th, the last day of the election, the other not till three days later. As the circumstances were the same, Sir J. Marshall, the Superintendent, suggested that both might be released together, but I did not dare relax the severity of the restriction. [1] Rosslyn was rather for doing it, but I persuaded him it would be dangerous, as, if the election should turn upon it, we should never hear the last of it, especially the Duke, to whose charge it would be laid; and the election actually turned on those two votes. The best chance that I see is, that when the hour of struggle arrives there may be more moderate men than the Whig leaders are aware of — more who, without supporting, still less joining, the new Government, will abstain from taking a violent part against them. This is my only hope, for as to a majority, I have not the slightest expectation of any such thing, and am at a loss to conceive on what they count.

January 12th

Up to the latest returns the Tories make

[1] The administration of the Quarantine Regulations is vested in the Privy Council, and exercised by the Clerk of the Council.

[194] out that they have a majority, or at least an equality; the Whigs, that they have a majority of about seventy. The latter calculation is nearer to the truth, and it only remains to be seen how many of their people will refuse to support extreme measures. Last night at Holland House Mulgrave was perfectly furious with Charles Fox for saying he would not oppose Manners Sutton being put in the chair. It has been asserted all along by some of the opposite party that Peel's measures have been influenced (especially in the composition of his Government) by a desire to keep the Tories together, and prepare a strong Opposition. I suspect there is some truth in this, for I can account in no other way for the strange appointments he makes, and the undiluted Toryism of his Government. He goes on the old aristocratic principle of taking high birth and connection as substitutes for other qualifications, and he never seems to consider the former avowed sentiments of any man in weighing his fitness for office. He has just made Sidney Herbert Secretary to the Board of Control, an office of great labour and involving considerable business in the House of Commons. [1] He is about twenty-two or twenty three years old, unpractised in business, and never spoke but once in the House of Commons, when he made one of those pretty first speeches which prove little or nothing, and that was in opposition to the Dissenters. He may be very fit for this place, but it remains to be proved, and I am surprised he did not make him begin with a Lordship of the Treasury or some such thing, and put Gladstone, who is a very clever man, in that post. Praed is First Secretary to the Board of Control, and will do the business.

I very much incline to believe that, although Peel says

[1] The injustice of this remark has since become very obvious, for no man was better qualified to enter upon official life, or to run a great career in it, than Sidney Herbert. It must also be said of Sir Robert Peel that he was ever on the watch for the young and rising statesmen who, he said, were hereafter to govern the country; and a very large proportion of the men who have since played a most conspicuous and useful part were introduced by Sir Robert Peel to public life — Sidney Herbert, the Duke of Newcastle, Mr. Gladstone, Lord Cardwell, and others.

[195] he is satisfied with, the returns, he does not expect the thing will last, and that upon this conviction he is determined to secure a retreat with such a force as shall make him formidable hereafter. Such as the appointments are at home, so are they abroad : Londonderry to St. Petersburg, Stuart to Vienna, and in all probability Strangford to Constantinople— the three men who are considered the great upholders of the Anti-Liberal system. (Stuart told everybody he had the offer, but it was not true.)

The Duke of Leuchtenberg arrived last night. The picture of the young Queen of Portugal (which is probably flattered) does not make her very tempting.

January 15th.

The day before yesterday I fell in with Hobhouse, and we walked together for some time. He said he could not understand what the Government people meant by claiming a majority, as he heard they did; that on the Borough returns the Opposition had a majority of 100 more or less, but that the difference could only be accounted for by one party including all those who call themselves Whigs, and who supported the late Government, and by the other party counting those who, though not supporters, would be disposed to give them a trial. He wondered at and blamed the constitution of the Government, ridiculed the idea of Stanley succeeding Peel, acknowledged that he saw no possibility of any other Government being formed on the dissolution of this, and had no conception what would happen — that another dissolution would be indispensable. I said that I did not see any more than he did what they were to do when they had got Peel out; that their junction with the Radicals must end there, unless (which I could not believe) they meant to come into office on the principle of supporting and carrying all the measures they had opposed last year. He said, 'I for one will go no farther than I did then; no, that is out of the question.' He said the restoration of Melbourne's Government was impossible after what had passed; they could not look the King in the face again, nor he them, after such a clear intimation on his part that he disliked them, and dreaded their [196] principles. Soon after, however, he said that any other Government must be formed on a more popular principle, and especially must make the arrangement of the House of Lords a condition, for it was impossible to go on as things were, between the two houses; that it might have been discovered when the Reform Bill was proposed that this would be the inevitable consequence of passing that measure, but that all this he did not expect to be accomplished without a violent collision, which would very likely lead to a republic; that he should be sorry for the disturbance, but was prepared for it, and if a sacrifice was to be made, he could not hesitate in choosing the object of it.

Yesterday morning I met Duncannon, and talked it all over. I asked him if he saw any chance of forming a Government, and if he figured to himself what the King would do. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘he will send for Stanley.’ ‘What next?’ ‘He may send for Lord Grey.’ ‘Will Lord Grey propose such measures as you think indispensable?’ ‘If he will not return, or won’t go the length, he may send for Melbourne again; but it is clear he — the King — must be prepared for a more Radical Government.’ I said, ‘I don’t think he will ever consent to take such a one, or to agree to the measures they will propose to him.’ ‘Oh, but he must, he can’t help himself.’ ‘Well, but my belief is that, happen what may, he will not.’ ‘Why, you don’t think he will abdicate?’ ‘Yes, I do, rather than agree to certain things.’ ‘Well, but then he must abdicate.’ Such is the language of the leaders of the other party, and so calmly do they contemplate the possibility of such a consummation. The point on which all this turns is evidently the destruction of the House of Lords. The Whigs find it necessary to finish the work they began, and to destroy the last bulwark of Conservative power. Stanley’s speech at his election, which was very able and eloquent, has evidently disappointed them. They had cherished a hope that he would unite with them at last, which they now find he will not do. There has been a great debate in their camp whether they shall attack the Speaker or not, but it seems fixed that [197] they shall, and probably they will be beaten. I am glad they do this.

Theodore Hook, whom I met at dinner the other day, and who is an âme damnée of the Speaker’s, said that he was ready to give up the chair if it was thought imprudent to fight for it; he also said (which I don’t believe) that the Home Office had been offered him, and that he had declined it because he could not quit the chair without a peerage, and that he should be of more use in it than in the House of Lords.

Theodore Hook improvised in a wonderful way that evening; he sang a song, the burthen of which was ‘Good Night,’ inimitably good, and which might have been written down. I heard two good things at dinner yesterday, one of Spankie’s. In his canvass he met with a refusal from some tradesman, who told him he should vote for Duncombe and Wakley. Spankie said, ‘Well, my friend, I am sorry you won’t vote for me, and I can only say that I hope you may have Tom Duncombe for your customer, and Wakley for your tenant.’ [1] The other is attributed to Alvanley. Some reformer was clamouring for the expulsion of the Bishops from the House of Lords, but said he would not have them all go; he would leave two: ‘To keep up the breed, I suppose,’ said the other.

January 17th

The Middlesex election terminated in the return of Hume by about 400 votes—Wood got a majority of about 250 at first, but could not sustain it. It would have been a capital thing to turn out Hume, but I never expected it.

January 20th

Sir George Murray is beaten at Perth; James Wortley at Forfar — blows to the Government. On the other hand, Palmerston is beaten in Hants, at which everybody rejoices, for he is marvellously unpopular; they

[1] The one was celebrated for non-payment of his bills, and the other was suspected of setting fire to his house. Wakley’s house was burnt, and he brought an action against the Insurance Office, which declined to pay his policy. I forget what was the result of the trial, but that of the evidence was a conviction of his own instrumentality.

[198] would have liked to illuminate the Foreign Office. Lord Harrowby called on me yesterday; he told me my pamphlet had been attributed to Croker in some company where he had been. Jonathan Peel told me yesterday morning that Lady Alice Kennedy had sent word to his wife that the Queen is with child; if it be true, and a queer thing if it is, it will hardly come to anything at her age, and with her health; but what a difference it would make!

January 23rd

Within the last few days the county elections have given a considerable turn to the state of affairs. The Conservatives have been everywhere triumphant. Norfolk, Derbyshire, Hants, Lancashire—two Whigs turned out and two Conservatives returned; Ingilby in Lincolnshire; one in Surrey, one in Kent: and if these affairs had not been infamously managed, they would have returned two in Surrey, two in Kent, and (if they had put up a better man) one in the other division of Norfolk. The great and most important victory, however, is Francis Egerton in Lancashire, who is nearly 1,000 above his opponents, and has been received with astonishing enthusiasm, and was the popular candidate, even at Manchester and with the mob. These elections have damped the spirits of the Radicals, and proportionally raised those of the Government. The ‘Morning Chronicle’ was yesterday quite silent on the subject, and at Holland House, where I dined, they were evidently in no small disgust. I told Lord Holland that I considered the Lancashire election as the most important event that had occurred, and one calculated to have a great moral effect in favour of the Government, which he owned was true, and they did not deny that the Government had cause for elation.

In the morning we had a meeting at the Council Office to consider of the removal of assizes, when Lyndhurst in his off-hand way said to me, ‘Well, I think we are safe now; I have no fears.’ ‘Haven’t you,’ I said, ‘but I have.’ ‘Oh no, we are on a rock—adamant.’ I don’t think they are yet in a condition to begin triumphing, but I certainly see daylight, which I did not before. Nobody can possibly deny that there is a great reaction in the country; and though the [199] weight of the towns, and the power of the ten-pounders thrown into the other scale, make it preponderate, there is a strong counteracting force which will enable the better cause to maintain a respectable fight. I expect that Francis Egerton’s election will produce indirectly very important consequences, and will be the means of proving to moderate, doubting, timorous politicians that they need not shrink from avowing whatever Conservative sentiments they really do entertain. Much remains to be done, many difficulties to be surmounted, before anything like security can be felt, but undoubtedly the political horizon looks much brighter than it did.

January 25th

A ridiculous thing happened the other day. The Speaker came to the Council Office in a great stew about the attacks on him, and wanted to look at the register of the names of those who had attended at the different Councils. Though I think he is a pauvre sire, he has a very tolerable case here, and I wrote a letter to the ‘Times’ in his defence, and signed it ‘Onslow,’ happening to think of Speaker Onslow. The next day appeared a letter from Lord Onslow, declaring that he was not the author of a letter which had appeared in his name. The ‘Times’ published it, adding they thought he could hardly be serious. Munster told me the day before yesterday that he was told of the Queen’s being with child on the day of the Lord Mayor’s dinner; that she is now between two and three months gone. Of course there will be plenty of scandal. Alvanley proposes that the psalm ‘Lord, how wonderful are thy works’ should be sung. It so happens, however, that Howe has not been with the Court for a considerable time.

January 27th

There is a Committee sitting at my office to arrange the Church Bill—Rosslyn, Wharncliffe, Ellenborough, and Herries. It is generally believed they mean to bring forward some very extensive measures. Allen says, ‘The honest Whigs cannot oppose it with honour, nor the Tories support it without infamy,’ that all the honest Whigs would support it, the honest Tories oppose it, the dishonest Tories would support, and the dishonest Whigs oppose it. He [200] told me an anecdote at the same time which shows what the supineness and sense of security of the Church were twenty years ago. An architect built a chapel on Lord Holland’s land, near Holland House, and wished it to be appropriated to the service of the Church of England, and served by a curate. The rector objected and refused his consent. There was no remedy against him, and all that could be done was to make it a Methodist meeting-house, or a Roman Catholic chapel, either of which by taking out a licence, the builder could do. However, he got Lord Holland to speak to the Archbishop of Canterbury (Sutton), to tell him the difficulty, and request his interference with the rector to suffer this chapel to be opened to an Orthodox congregation. After some delay the Archbishop told Holland that he had better advise his friend to take out a licence, and make it a Catholic or Dissenting chapel, as he thought best. The builder could not afford to lose the capital he had expended, and acted upon the advice of the Primate. The chapel is a meeting-house to this day. I shall be very glad if this reform of the Church is well done and gives satisfaction, and I do not know that any of the present Ministers are pledged against a measure which improves the discipline without diminishing the revenues of the Church, but certainly reforms, and especially ecclesiastical reforms, do come with a bad grace from them. It is ludicrous to see the ‘Standard’ writing Church reform articles; and the other day I looked back at Knatchbull’s speech at the Kentish meeting, a week after the dissolution of the late Government, in which he expressed an earnest hope that he might leave this country ‘without any change in Church or State.’ He has been Anti-everything during his whole life, and now he is come into office to carry into effect ‘safe and necessary reforms,’ which he never could perceive the slightest occasion for while he was out. All these things are disgusting; they disgust one with political life, they lower the characters of public men. One strains one’s eyes in vain to catch a sight of sincerity, straightforwardness, disinterestedness, consistency; each party we have constantly acting with a view to its own [201] interests as a party, and always disregarding consequences with miserable shortsightedness.

February 2nd

The elections are over, and still each side claims a majority. It will turn out probably that the Government have about 270 thick and thin men. Since the Lancashire election, the Whigs have certainly not been so elated, though they still expect to succeed. They begin with the Speakership, and put up Abercromby, who is probably the best candidate they could select; he is a dull, grave man, sensible and hard-headed I fancy, but it has always been matter of astonishment to me that they should make so much of him as they do. The Duke of Wellington is constantly regretting that he did not abstain from taking office, as he wished to do, and I hear that Peel now thinks it would have been better: but he thinks so because he fancies that Stanley would have joined if the Duke had not been there, which is after all very doubtful. Stanley has preserved the strictest neutrality through the late contest, and been very guarded and cautious in his language—so much so, that the Whigs think he will vote for Abercromby against Manners Sutton, which I don’t believe. The Church Reform is in active preparation; I know nothing of its details.

Pozzo di Borgo is coming here, and the Emperor sends him partly to save time and, Madame de Lieven writes me word, ‘to prove his goodwill, by sending his ablest and most confidential diplomatist.’ Old Talleyrand would very likely have been glad enough to come back too (while the Duke is in office), but he is gone to Richecote. A great mystery is still made about the Queen’s grossesse; the medical men believe it, though they think it no certainty.

February 8th

On Monday last we had the Sheriffs’ dinner at Lord Rosslyn’s, [1] where I met for the first time all the new men. Murray did not come, for since his defeat in Perthshire he no longer considers himself of the Cabinet. Before dinner Peel told me he had offered the vacant Lordship

[1] The Lord President’s annual dinner to the Cabinet, at which the Sheriffs for the ensuing year are selected, to be appointed by the King at the next Council.

[202] of the Treasury to Charles Canning, [1] in a letter to Lady Canning, saying it would give him great pleasure to introduce her son into public life, and that he should be glad to treat him with confidence, and do all that lay in him to promote his success. Lady Canning wrote a very gracious answer, saying that she preferred his being in Parliament some time before he took office, but neither he nor she was indisposed to support him and his Government. At this dinner the Duke talked to me about Spain, and said that the affair at the Post Office at Madrid, in which Canterac was killed, was the most lamentable thing that had happened, and the most discreditable to the Government; that if the Carlists did not rise upon it all over Spain, it was clear there were none; that it was a most extraordinary war, in which the Carlists had the superiority in the field, but possessed no fortified and even no open town; and that, notwithstanding all the plunder and devastation incidental to such a state of things, all the farmers in the disturbed provinces regularly paid their rents.

Sandon is to move the address in the House of Commons, Lord Carnarvon refused to move it in the House of Lords. I think the Church Reform Commission, which was gazetted a few days ago, has done good, especially as it is backed up by Peel’s refusing to fill up the vacant Prebendary of Westminster, and placing it at the disposal of the Commissioners.

I went to Oatlands on Wednesday for two nights, and met the Duchess, Countess, the Granvilles, and Pahlen. It was agreeable enough. Lord Granville told us a curious story of an atrocity very recently committed in France. The governor of a military academy had objected to one of the officers, a professor, bringing a woman who lived with him into the establishment. The man persisted, and he finally ordered her to be ejected. Resolving to be revenged, the officer took these means; he bribed a servant of the governor’s, who let him into the house at night; when he got into the bedroom of his daughter, ravished her, and

[1] Afterwards Viscount Canning and Governor-General of India in 1856.

then wounded her severely with some sharp instrument, but not mortally. The girl is still alive, but in a state of frenzy; the case is coming before the French tribunals. [This was the famous case of La Roncière, very inaccurately stated above. There is now little doubt that La Roncière was innocent, and that the story was got up by the girl to revenge herself on him for some slight.]

My brothers tell me that the Duke is bored to death with the King, who thinks it necessary to be giving advice and opinions upon different matters, always to the last degree ridiculous and absurd. He is just now mightily indignant at Lord Napier’s affair at Canton, and wants to go to war with China. He writes in this strain to the Duke, who is obliged to write long answers, very respectfully telling him what an old fool he is. Another crotchet of his is to buy the Island of St. Bartholomew (which belongs to Denmark, and which the Danes want to sell) for fear the Russians should buy it, as he is very jealous of Russia. The Duke told him that it would cost £70,000 or £80,000, for which they must go to Parliament; and he did not think any House of Commons we were likely to have would vote such a sum for such a purpose. Then he does not at all like Pozzo di Borgo’s coming here, and wrote to say that since he was to come, it was well that he would have the vigilant eye of the Duke to watch him, for he never could look upon him in any other light than as the servile tool of advancing the ambitious objects of an aggrandising and unprincipled Power, or words to that effect. He thinks his present Ministers do not treat him well, inasmuch as they do not tell him enough. The last, it seems, constantly fed him with scraps of information which he twaddled over, and probably talked nonsense about; but it is difficult to imagine anything more irksome for a Government beset with difficulties like this than to have to discuss the various details of their measures with a silly bustling old fellow, who can by no possibility comprehend the scope and bearing of anything.

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