The Greville Memoirs

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The Greville Memoirs


The Panic of 1825 — Death of Emperor Alexander — The Duke of Wellington's Embassy to St. Petersburg — Robinson Chancellor of the Exchequer — Small Notes Bill — Death of Arthur de Ros — George III. and Lord Bute — Illness and Death of the Duke of York — His Funeral — Lord Liverpool struck with Paralysis — Rundell's Fortune and Will — Copley and Philpots — The Cottage — Formation of Mr. Canning's Administration — Secession of the Tories — The Whigs join him — Dinner at the Royal Lodge — Difficulties of Canning's Government — Duke of Wellington visits the King — Canning's Death — Anecdotes of Mr. Canning — Recognition of South American States — His Industry — The Duke of Wellington on Canning — Lord Goderich's Administration formed — The Difficulty about Herries — Position of the Whigs — The King's letter to Herries — Peel and George IV. — Interview of Lord Lansdowne with the King — Weakness of the Government — First Resignation of Lord Goderich — Lord Harrowby declines the Premiership — Lord Goderich returns — Brougham and Rogers — Conversation and Character of Brougham — Lord Goderich's Ministry dissolved — Cause of its Dissolution — Hostility of Herries — Position of Huskisson and his Friends — Herries and Huskisson both join the New Cabinet.


[77] February 12th, 1826

The last three months have been remarkable for the panic in the money market, which lasted for a week or ten days — that is, was at its height for that time. The causes of it had been brewing for some months before, and he must be a sanguine and sagacious politician who shall predict the termination of its effects. There is now no panic, but the greatest alarm, and every prospect of great distress, and long continuation of it. The state of the City, and the terror of all the bankers and merchants, as well as of all owners of property, is not to be conceived but by those who witnessed it. This critical period drew forth many examples of great and confiding liberality, as well as [78] some of a very opposite character. Men of great wealth and parsimonious habits came and placed their whole fortunes at the disposal of their bankers in order to support their credit. For many days the evil continued to augment so rapidly, and the demands upon the Bank were so great and increasing; that a Bank restriction was expected by everyone. So determined, however, were Ministers against this measure, that rather than yield to it they suffered the Bank to run the greatest risk of stopping; for on the evening of the day on which the alarm was at its worst there were only 8,000 sovereigns left in the till. [1] The next day gold was poured in, and from that time things got better.

[1] Mr. Baring (Lord Ashburton) stated in his pamphlet on this crisis, 'The gold of the Bank was drained to within a very few thousand pounds, for although the public returns showed a result rather less scandalous, a certain Saturday night closed with nothing worth mentioning. It was then that the Bank applied to Lord Liverpool for an Order in Council to suspend cash payment. A conference took place between Lord Liverpool, Mr. Huskisson, the governor of the Bank, and Mr. Baring. The suspension of cash payments was happily averted, chiefly as it was said by the accidental discovery of a box of one-pound Bank of England notes, to the amount of a million and a half, which had never been issued, and which the public were content to receive.' Mr. Tooke, however, states in his 'History of Prices' (Continuation, vol. iv. p. 342) that the lowest amount of the banking treasure was on the 24th of December, 1825: Coin, £426,000; bullion, £601,000: in all, £1,027,000. The passage in the text refers of course to the banking department only.

In the midst of all this the Emperor Alexander died, and after a short period of doubt concerning his successor it was found that Nicholas was to mount the throne. The first act of the Russian Government was to communicate to ours their resolution no longer to delay a recognition of the independence of Greece, and their determination to support that measure if necessary by force of arms. They invited us to co-operate in this object, but intimated that if we were not disposed to join them they should undertake it alone. The Duke of Wellington is gone to Russia, ostensibly to compliment the new Emperor, but really to concert measures with the Russian Ministry for carrying this measure into effect; and it is remarkable that the Duke, upon taking leave of his friends and family to set out on this journey, [79] was deeply affected, as if he had some presentiment that he should never return. Alava told me that he had frequently taken leave of him, when both expected that they should never meet again, yet neither upon that occasion nor upon any other in the course of the seventeen years that he has known him did he ever see him so moved. Lady Burghersh said that when he took leave of her the tears ran down his cheeks; he was also deeply affected when he parted from his mother.

In the discussion which took place on Friday night in the House of Commons, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer [2] opened his financial plan, he is deemed to have made a very bad speech, and Huskisson a very good one. Robinson is probably unequal to the present difficult conjuncture; a fair and candid man, and an excellent Minister in days of calm and sunshine, but not endowed with either capacity or experience for these stormy times, besides being disqualified for vigorous measures by the remissness and timidity of his character. However, though it is the peculiar province of the Finance Minister to find a remedy for these disorders, he may well be excused for not doing that which the united wisdom of the country seems unequal to accomplish. All men agree as to the existence of the evil, and all differ as to the causes of it and the measures which will effect its removal; not one man seems to see his way clearly through the difficulty; however, 'time and the hour runs through the roughest day,' and probably the country will what is called right itself, and then great credit will be given to somebody or other who deserves none.

[2] Right Hon. Frederick John Robinson, Chancellor of the Exchequer from January 1823 to April 1827; afterwards Viscount Goderich and Earl of Ripon.

February 20th, 1826

The Small Notes Bill, [3] as it is called, lowered the funds and increased the alarm among the [80] monied men. Numerous were the complaints of the inefficacy of the measure for present relief, numerous the predictions of the ultimate impossibility of carrying it into effect. In the City, however, on Thursday afternoon things began to improve; there was more confidence and cheerfulness. On Friday evening the Chancellor of the Exchequer comes down to the House and surprises everyone by abandoning one part of his plan, and authorising the Bank to issue one pound notes till October. The immediate cause of this alteration was a communication which Hudson Gurney made to the Chancellor, that if he persisted in his Bill he should send up £500,000 which he had in Bank of England notes and change them for sovereigns, and that all country bankers would follow his example. From this he found that it would be impossible to persist in his original plan. The great evil now is a want of circulating medium, and as the immediate effect of the measure would be another run upon the Bank, and that probably all the gold drawn from it would disappear — for men now are anxious to hoard gold — this evil would be increased tenfold. The whole country is in distress from the absence of circulating medium for the common purposes of life; no country banker will issue notes, for they are instantly returned upon his hands and exchanged for gold. The circulation of country notes being generally confined within a very limited extent, the holders of them can easily present them for payment. The circulation of a quantity of Bank of England paper will relieve the immediate distress arising from this necessity, and the difficulty of exchanging them for gold will ensure the continuance of their circulation. When men find that they must take notes, and that gold is not to be had without so much pain and trouble, they will be contented to take the notes to which they have been accustomed, and will [81] think the paper of their own bankers as good as that of the Bank of England, besides the advantage of being less exposed to the losses arising from forgery. This is the argument of the opponents of Robinson's Bill. It is generally thought that the Ministers have disgraced themselves by their precipitation and by the crudeness of their measures. Hitherto they have done nothing towards removing the present distress, or satisfying the minds of men, but the contrary. Robinson is obviously unequal to the present crisis. His mind is not sufficiently enlarged, nor does he seem to have any distinct ideas upon the subject; he is fighting in the dark.

[3] On the 10th of February the Chancellor of the Exchequer moved in Committee 'That all promissory notes payable on demand issued by licensed Bankers in England or by the Bank of England for less than £5 shall not be issued or circulated beyond the 5th of April next.' Mr. Huskisson made an able speech in support of the proposal, showing that the inflation produced by the small note paper currency had greatly contributed to cause and aggravate the panic ('Huskisson's Speeches,' vol. ii. p. 444). Mr. Baring, afterwards Lord Ashburton, opposed the restriction of small notes, but with small success. The period allowed for the contraction of their circulation was, however, extended to the 10th of October.

Everybody knows that Huskisson is the real author of the finance measure of Government, and there can be no greater anomaly than that of a Chancellor of the Exchequer who is obliged to propose and defend measures of which another Minister is the real though not the apparent author. The funds rose nearly two per cent, upon this alteration in the Bill before the House, on account of the prospect of an abundance of money. Still it is thought that nothing will be sufficient to relieve the present distress but an issue of Exchequer bills. So great and absorbing is the interest which the present discussions excite that all men are become political economists and financiers, and everybody is obliged to have an opinion.

February 24th, 1826

I have been since yesterday the spectator of a melancholy scene and engaged in a sad office. Arthur de Ros, [4] who was taken ill a fortnight ago, became worse on Monday night. After this time he was scarcely ever sensible, and yesterday, at a quarter-past two, he expired. After they had given up all hopes they were induced again to suffer them to revive from the disappearance of the most unfavourable symptoms; but this was only the weakness which preceded dissolution, and a few moments after his brother Henry had told me that he did not despair he came and said that all was over, and a little while after Rose [82] announced that he had ceased to breathe. He died tranquilly, and did not suffer at all. I never saw such a distress. His father, mother, sisters, William, and his wife went immediately to Boyle Farm. Henry would have followed them, but I persuaded him to go home. He went first to Mrs. — — , to whom Arthur had been attached for ten years, and after a painful interview with her he came to his own house; he has since been too ill to move. I have never seen grief so strong and concentrated as his; it has exhausted his body and overwhelmed his mind, and though I knew him to have been much attached to his brother, I did not believe him capable of feelings so acute as those which he has evinced. William is much more calm and resigned, a strange, unaccountable thing considering the characters of the two men — the one so indifferent, and with feelings so apparently deadened to the affections of this world, and the other with a sensibility so morbid, and such acute susceptibility and strong feelings, that the least thing affects him more deeply than very serious concerns do other men.

[4] Colonel the Hon. Arthur John Hill de Ros, born 1793, died February 1826. He was aide-de-camp to his Royal Highness the Duke of York.

Arthur was an excellent creature, and will be regretted by the Duke and deeply lamented by all who knew him intimately. His talents were not brilliant, but he had good sound sense, and was besides modest, diligent, honest, and trustworthy in a high degree. There breathed not a more honourable man, and as his ambition did not extend beyond the sphere in which fortune had placed him and he was contented with his destiny, but for this illness his career might have been long and prosperous. I went last night to sleep at the house, that it might not appear to have been entirely abandoned to the care of servants. The only wish he expressed was that Francis Russell should succeed him, which I have no doubt he will do.

February 25th, 1826

Received a letter from the Duke of York (to whom I had written to announce poor Arthur's death) expressive of the greatest regret for his loss.

March 2nd, 1826

I am just come from poor Arthur's funeral. There were present William de Ros, the two Hills, Craufurd, Torrens, Taylor, Francis Russell, Campbell, and B. Paget. The Duke appointed Francis his aide-de-camp directly.

[83] July 2nd, 1826

Four months since I have written anything. The Duke of York has been dangerously ill, and it is still doubtful whether he will recover. I was with him at Frogmore before Ascot; we went with the King to see Windsor Castle. His Majesty has since been very much annoyed about the Duke, cried a great deal when he heard how bad he was, and has been twice to see him.

The elections have been particularly violent and the contests very numerous. A batch of Peers has been made; everybody cries out against Charles Ellis's peerage [5] (Lord Seaford); he has no property, and is of no family, and his son is already a Peer. The King, when these other Peers were created, asked Canning to name somebody. He said he had nobody about whom he was interested but Charles Ellis, and the King consenting to his elevation, it was all arranged without his knowledge. However, it is thought very ridiculous, and that he would have done much better to have declined it. Clanricarde, too, being made a Marquis and an English Peer is thought an indirect exertion of Canning's influence.

[5] Charles Rose Ellis, created Baron Seaford in 1826. Lord Seaford was the father of Charles Augustus Ellis, who succeeded to the title of Lord Howard de Walden through his mother, Elizabeth Catherine Caroline Hervey, granddaughter of the fourth Earl of Bristol, who was the last Baron Howard de Walden, as heir general of Thomas, first Baron. The son of Lord Seaford had married a daughter of the fifth Duke of Portland, and was consequently a connection of Mr. Canning.

London, December 14th, 1826

The Duke of York very ill; has been at the point of death several times from his legs mortifying. Canning's speech the night before last was most brilliant; much more cheered by the Opposition than by his own friends. He is thought to have been imprudent, and he gave offence to his colleagues by the concluding sentence of his reply, when he said, 'I called into existence the new world to redress the balance of the old.' The I was not relished. Brougham's compliment to Canning was magnificent, and he was loudly cheered by Peel; altogether it was a fine display.

Yesterday the Duke [of York] told me that the late King [84] [George III.] was walking with him one day at Kew, and his Majesty said, 'The world tells many lies, and here is one instance. I am said to have held frequent communication with Lord Bute, and the last time I ever saw or spoke to him was in that pavilion in the year 1764.' The King went over to breakfast with his mother, the Princess Dowager, and she took him aside and said, 'There is somebody here who wishes very much to speak to you.' 'Who is it?' 'Lord Bute.' 'Good God, mamma! how could you bring him here? It is impossible for me to hold any communication with Lord Bute in this manner.' However, he did see him, when Lord Bute made a violent attack upon him for having abandoned and neglected him. The King replied that he could not, in justice to his Ministers, hold any communication with him unknown to them, when Lord Bute said that he would never see the King again. The King became angry in his turn, and said, 'Then, my Lord, be it so, and remember from henceforth we never meet again.' And from that day he never beheld Lord Bute or had any communication with him.


Friday night, January 5th, 1827, half-past one

I am just come from taking my last look at the poor Duke. [6] He expired at twenty minutes after nine. Since eleven o'clock last night the physicians never left his room. He never moved, and they repeatedly thought that life was extinct, but it was not till that hour that they found it was all over. The Duke of Sussex and Stephenson were in the next room; Taylor, Torrens and Dighton, Armstrong and I were upstairs. Armstrong and I had been there about half an hour when they came and whispered something to Dighton and called out Taylor. Dighton told Torrens and they went out; immediately after Taylor came up, and told us it was all over and begged we would go downstairs. We went directly into the room. The Duke was sitting exactly as at the [85] moment he died, in his great arm-chair, dressed in his grey dressing-gown, his head inclined against the side of the chair, his hands lying before him, and looking as if he were in a deep and quiet sleep. Not a vestige of pain was perceptible on his countenance, which, except being thinner, was exactly such as I have seen it a hundred times during his life. In fact, he had not suffered at all, and had expired with all the ease and tranquillity which the serenity of his countenance betokened. Nothing about or around him had the semblance of death; it was all like quiet repose, and it was not without a melancholy satisfaction we saw such evident signs of the tranquillity of his last moments.

[6] His Royal Highness the Duke of York, second son of King George III., died on the 5th of January, 1827.

In about a quarter of an hour Taylor and Halford set off to Windsor to inform the King; the Duke of Sussex went to the Princess Sophia; letters were written to all the Cabinet Ministers, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, and the Speaker of the House of Commons. Orders were given that the great bell of St. Paul's should toll. The servants were then admitted to see the Duke as he lay. Worley [7] was very much affected at the sight, and one woman, the wife of Kendal, cried bitterly, and I saw her stoop down and kiss his hand. The room was then cleared and surrendered to the Lord Chamberlain's people. Thus did I take my last leave of the poor Duke. I have been the minister and associate of his pleasures and amusements for some years, I have lived in his intimacy and experienced his kindness, and am glad that I was present at this last sad occasion to pay my poor tribute of respect and attachment to his remains.

[7] Worley was the Duke's stud-groom.

After the October meetings of 1825 the Duke came to town, not in good health. At the end of November the Duchess of Rutland died, which was a great blow to him, and probably made him worse. A short time after her funeral he went to Belvoir, when the Duke of Rutland took him down into the vault, where he stayed an hour and returned excessively chilled. From that moment he grew [86] worse till the time of the Ascot races. We went to Frogmore two days before the party began, and for those two days he led a quiet life. When the party was assembled he lived as he had been used to do, going to the races, sitting at table, and playing for hours at whist. He slept wretchedly and seldom went to bed, but passed the greater part of the night walking about the room or dozing in his chair. I used to go into his room, which was next to mine, the moment I was out of bed, and generally found him in his dressing gown, looking harassed and ill. He showed me his legs, which were always swelled. Still he went on till the last day of the party, and when we got to town he was so ill that M'Gregor, who came to him that night, thought him in danger. From that moment the illness was established which has ended in his death. They began by putting him through several courses of mercury, and they sent him to the Greenwoods' villa at Brompton. Here he continued to receive everybody who called on him, and went out in his carriage every day. They always said that he was getting better. In August he went to Brighton, and soon after his arrival his legs mortified. It was then that Taylor went down to him and told him that he was in great and immediate danger. He received the information with perfect composure. The gangrene, however, was stopped, and he came to town to the Duke of Rutland's house. The dropsy continued to make rapid progress, and some time in September he was tapped; twenty-two pints of water were drawn. from him. This operation was kept secret, for the Duke did not like that his situation should be known. He recovered from the operation and regained his strength; no more water formed in his body, but there was still water in his system, and a constant discharge from his legs, which occasioned him great pain and made wounds which were always open and extending. These wounds again produced gangrene, but they always contrived to stop its progress, and put the legs in a healing condition. As often, however, as the legs began to heal the water began to rise, and the medicines that were given to expel the water drove it again [87] to the legs, through which it made its way, making fresh sores and entailing fresh mortification. In this way he went on, the strength of his constitution still supporting him, till towards the end of December, when the constitution could resist no longer; his appetite totally failed, and with loss of appetite came entire prostration of strength, and in short a complete break-up. From that moment it was obvious that his recovery was impossible, but he continued to struggle till the 5th of January, although he had tasted no solid food whatever for above a fortnight. At all the different periods at which his state was critical it was always made known to him, and he received the intimation with invariable firmness and composure. He said that he enjoyed life but was not afraid to die. But though perfectly acquainted with his own danger he never could bear that other people should be informed of it, and so far from acknowledging it, he always told his friends that he was better, and his language was invariably that of a man who did not doubt of his recovery. He was particularly anxious that nobody should know he had been tapped, and it was not till many weeks after that operation that he talked of it one day to me. Up to the last moment that I saw him (the day week before he died) he told me he was better, and he desired me to tell Montrond, who had called upon him, that he would see him as soon as he was well enough. He held the same language to everybody until the day previous to his death, when he sent for Taylor and Stephenson into his room. He could then hardly speak, but he took hold of Stephenson's hand, and looking at Taylor, said, 'I am now dying.' He tried to articulate something else, but he was unintelligible. About a fortnight before his death, soon after his appetite began to fail, Taylor had to announce to him his danger. He received the intelligence with the same coolness he had before shown, but it was not without difficulty that he admitted the conviction. A few days after he received the Sacrament, which was administered by the Bishop of London, in the presence of Sir H. Halford, Taylor, and the Princess Sophia. He was then very weak, but calm [88] and collected during the ceremony. When it was over he shook hands with the men and kissed the Princess. The King saw him the next day, but he was in a lethargic state nearly the whole time that he was there. For many days before his death the physicians thought that every day must close the scene, but such was the natural strength of his constitution that he evinced a tenacity of life and maintained a struggle which astonished them all, and of which they unanimously declared that their practice had never furnished them with a similar instance. It seems that three years ago, when he was very unwell, M'Gregor told him that unless he was more prudent he would certainly be afflicted with dropsy. He had been subject to spasms, and in consequence of them was averse to lie down in bed, and to this pernicious habit and that of sitting for many hours together at table, or at cards, they attribute the origin, of the complaint which has terminated so fatally. Had he been a more docile patient, from the amazing vigour of his constitution he might have looked forward to a very long life. His sufferings in the course of his illness have been very great, and almost without cessation. Nothing could exceed the patience and courage with which he endured them; his serenity and good humour were never disturbed, and he never uttered a word or complaint, except occasionally at the length of his confinement. He not only saw all the visitors who chose to call upon him, even those with whom he was not in habits of intimacy, but he transacted the whole of his public business every day, and every paper was laid before him and every detail gone through as if he had been in perfect health. This he continued to within a few days of his death, till his strength was so entirely exhausted that he lay in a state of almost complete insensibility. It is remarkable that from the beginning to the end of his illness I never saw him that he did not tell me that he was a great deal better, and he never wrote to me without assuring me that he was going on as well as possible.

February 12th, 1827

The Duke of York was no sooner dead than the public press began to attack him, and while those [89] private virtues were not denied him for which he had always been conspicuous, they enlarged in a strain of severe invective against his careless and expensive habits, his addiction to gambling; and above all they raked up the old story of Mrs. Clark and the investigation of 1809, and published many of his letters and all the disgusting details of that unfortunate affair, and that in a manner calculated to throw discredit on his character. The newspapers, however, soon found they had made a mistake, that this course was not congenial to public feeling, and from that moment their columns have been filled with panegyrics upon his public services and his private virtues. The King ordered that the funeral should be public and magnificent; all the details of the ceremonial were arranged by himself. He showed great feeling about his brother and exceeding kindness in providing for his servants, whom the Duke was himself unable to provide for. He gave £6,000 to pay immediate expenses and took many of the old servants into his own service. There appeared a few days after the Duke's death an infamous forgery, purporting to be a letter or declaration written by him a short time before his death (principally upon the subject of the Catholic question), which, however, was disavowed by Taylor, but not till after many thousand copies had been sold. I dare say many people believe still that he was the author of this pamphlet. All his effects either have been or will be sold by auction. The funeral took place a fortnight after his death. Nothing could be managed worse than it was, and except the appearance of the soldiers in the chapel, which was extremely fine, the spectacle was by no means imposing; the cold was intense, and it is only marvellous that more persons did not suffer from it. As it is the Bishop of Lincoln has died of the effects of it; Canning has been dangerously ill, and is still very unwell; and the Dukes of Wellington and Montrose were both very seriously unwell for some days after. The King was very angry when he heard how miserably the ceremony had been performed. I have been this evening to hear Peel move the address of condolence to the King, which Canning would [90] have done if he had been here; and it is a pity he was not, for Peel did it very ill: it was poor and jejune, and undistinguished by eloquence or the appearance of deep feeling. I was greatly disappointed, for I expected to hear a worthier tribute to his merits. Canning was very anxious to have been here to have performed this duty himself. The letters which he wrote to the Royal Family abroad announcing the event of his death were admirable and gave great satisfaction to the King.

February 21st, 1827

Three days ago Lord Liverpool was seized with an apoplectic or paralytic attack. The moment it was known every sort of speculation was afloat as to the probable changes this event would make in the Ministry. It was remarked how little anybody appeared to care about the man; whether this indifference reflects most upon the world or upon him, I do not pretend to say. A report was generally circulated that the Duke of Cumberland was dead, which was believed, but turns out to be untrue.

Old Rundell (of the house of Rundell and Bridge, the great silversmiths and jewellers) died last week, and appointed Robarts one of his executors. Robarts called on me this morning, and told me he had been yesterday to Doctors' Commons to prove the will. Rundell was eighty years old, and died worth between £1,400,000 and £1,500,000, the greater part of which is vested in the funds. He has left the bulk of his property to his great-nephew, a man of the name of Neal, who is residuary legatee and will inherit £900,000 — this Mr. Neal had taken care of him for the last fourteen years — to a woman who had lived with him many years, and in whose house he died, and to two natural sons by her he only left £5,000 apiece. The old man began the world without a guinea, became in the course of time partner in that house during its most flourishing period, and by steady gains and continual parsimony amassed this enormous wealth. He never spent anything and lived wretchedly. During the panic he came to Robarts, who was his banker, and offered to place at his disposal any sum he might require. When the executors went to prove the will, they [91] were told at Doctors' Commons that it was the largest sum that ever had been registered there.

March 13th, 1827

Since the debate on the Catholic question there has been a great expectation that Canning would resign. Many of his friends think he made an imprudent speech that night, and if he had not lashed the Master of the Rolls so severely that he would have got more votes. [8] The truth is he was mightily nettled by Dr. Philpots' pamphlet and at Copley making a speech taken entirely from it. The Master protested that he had no idea of offending Canning, and until he got up had no notion that Canning had taken offence at his speech. The question was lost by accident; several pro-Catholics were suddenly taken ill or arrived too late for the division, and the election petitions went all against them.

[8] Sir John Copley was then Master of the Rolls, but this occurrence did not prevent Canning from making him Lord Chancellor on the 2nd of May following, when he was raised to the peerage with the title of Baron Lyndhurst.

March 16th, 1827

On Wednesday at the Council at St. James's the King desired I would go down to Windsor, that he might speak to me. I went down on Thursday to the Cottage, and, after waiting two hours and a half, was ushered into his bedroom. I found him sitting at a round table near his bed, in a douillette, and in pretty good health and spirits. He talked about his horses and told some old stories, lamented the death of the Duke of York, which he said was a loss to him such as no one could conceive, and that he felt it every instant. He kept me about an hour, was very civil, and then dismissed me.

Canning made an apology to the Master of the Rolls for his severity in the debate on the Catholic question.

March 25th, 1827

When the King heard of Lord Liverpool's illness he was in great agitation. He sent for Peel in the night, and told him he must see the Duke of Wellington. Peel endeavoured to dissuade him, but in vain. The Duke was sent for, but he refused to go. He sent the King word that he had nothing to say to him, and that it would not be [92] fair to his colleagues that he should see the King at such a moment. Consequently he saw none of his Ministers till he saw Canning, who was taken to the Pavilion in a chair one day. There have been a variety of reports about Lord Liverpool's successor and a new Administration, as always happens on such occasions.

The King is in very good health and excellent spirits. He had a large party at the Lodge last week, and Canning, the Granvilles, Carlisles, Lievens, are going there next week. Mount Charles told me yesterday that next week he thinks something must be decided, and he told me what I did not know, that the King's opinions on the Catholic question are just the same as those of the Duke of York, and equally strong. This is the great difficulty which Canning has to get over with him. He does not much like Canning, though C. does everything he can to gratify and please him. Mount Charles told me that his mother (Lady Conyngham) has strong opinions in favour of the Catholics, but that she never talks to the King on the subject, nor indeed upon politics at all.

April 13th, 1827

The King came to town a week ago. From the moment of his arrival every hour produced a fresh report about the Administration; every day the new appointment was expected to be declared, and the Ministers Peel, Lord Bathurst, Duke of Wellington, and Canning were successively designated as the persons chosen to form a Government. He had no sooner arrived than he saw his Ministers seriatim, but nothing could induce him to come to any determination. He wavered and doubted, and to his confidants, with whom he could bluster and talk big, he expressed in no measured terms his detestation of Liberal principles, and especially of Catholic Emancipation. He begged his Ministers to stand by him, and day after day elapsed and nothing was settled. In the meantime London was alive with reports; and the on dit of the day, repeated with every variety of circumstance and with the usual positiveness of entire ignorance, would fill a volume. Time [93] crept on, and Parliament was to adjourn on the 13th (this day). On the 9th Canning went to the King, and, after a long audience, he came away without anything being settled. On the 10th he went again, and told his Majesty that longer delay was impossible, and that he must come to some determination. On the evening of the 10th we received a note from Lord Bathurst, saying that the King had desired Canning to form an Administration on the principles of that of which Lord Liverpool had been at the head. This was not generally known that evening. Last night it was said that the Duke of Wellington would not remain in the new Cabinet, and we heard that Peel had resigned. To-day everything will probably be known. Canning and his friends say that the King has behaved admirably in this business, and they affect to consider his appointment unconditional and unfettered; but this is by no means the view which the others take of it. The King, however, has acted in such a way that all his Ministers (except those whose interest it now is to laud him to the skies) are disgusted with his doubting, wavering, uncertain conduct, so weak in action and so intemperate in language. It is now supposed that he has been influenced by Knighton in coming to this determination, in which he certainly has acted in a manner quite at variance with his professions and the whole tenor of his language. It must be owned, if this is so, that although Canning has gained his point — has got the power into his hands and is nominally Prime Minister — no man ever took office under more humiliating circumstances or was placed in a more difficult and uncertain situation; indeed, a greater anomaly cannot be imagined. Canning, disliked by the King, opposed by the aristocracy and the nation, and unsupported by the Parliament, is appointed Prime Minister. The King, irresolute and uncertain, is induced to nominate a man whose principles and opinions he fears and dislikes by the advice and influence of his physician. The measure which is of paramount importance Canning cannot carry as he desires and believes to be necessary; he must form a Cabinet full of disunion, [94] and he is doubtful what support he can expect from the old adherents of Government, by whom he is abhorred.

The writ was moved for Canning yesterday by Wynne, 'he having accepted the office of First Commissioner of the Treasury.' This morning the Chancellor, Peel, Lord Westmoreland, and the Duke of Wellington resigned. Lord Bathurst immediately wrote to Canning, saying that, finding they had resigned, he could not avoid sending in his resignation also; that it was unnecessary to enter into explanations, which could only tend to widen the breach such a separation must make. Afterwards Lord Melville resigned, although well with Canning and a friend to the Catholics; he said he could not desert the men with whom he had acted for so many years. The Whigs seem greatly elated at the breaking up of this Administration. The Tories evidently think Canning is in a scrape, that he will not be able to form a Government, and that the power will return into their hands. How Canning and his friends feel is not yet known, nor what the King feels at being deserted by half his Cabinet. The opinion prevalent with the Opposition is that Canning has been deserted by his colleagues, who induced him to accept the Government by promising their support and adherence, and that when he had taken the final step they left him to make the arrangements and fill up their places as he could. This, however, is not the case. I saw George Dawson [9] this evening, and he assured me that Canning had received ample notice from all these Ministers that they would not hold office under him, and that if he was appointed Prime Minister they should resign. Peel told him this three weeks ago: 'that he could not, with a due regard to his own character, continue in office under a man whose opinions are so diametrically opposite to his own upon the most important question; that he had no views of personal ambition, but [95] that as the administration of Ireland was his peculiar province it was impossible they should not come into constant collision upon that subject.' They had no objection to act with Canning, always considering him as one of the most influential members of the Cabinet, but they could not hold offices under him. He said that he could not imagine how Canning with his knowledge could take such a step, and it is evident that he has no idea of his being able to carry on the Government at all.

[9] The Right Hon. George Robert Dawson was Secretary of the Treasury from 1828 to 1830, and was made a Privy Councillor on resigning that office. He married in 1816 Mary, the eldest daughter of the first Sir Robert Peel, and was consequently the brother-in-law of Mr. Peel, the Minister.

April 30th, 1827

From the period of Canning's acceptance of office up to Thursday night there have been continual negotiations between Canning and the Whigs, and it is not possible to imagine greater curiosity and more intense anxiety than have been exhibited during the interval. The violence and confusion of parties have been extreme — the new Ministers furious with their old colleagues, the ex-Ministers equally indignant with those they left behind them.

May 12th, 1827

It is necessary to go back to the first formation of the Government. [10] As soon as Canning had got the King's commission he began to negotiate, and the Whigs readily enough entered into negotiation. The friends of Ministers resigned one after another, and for some time it seemed very doubtful whether Canning would be able to form a Government at all. His first measure was, however, very [96] judicious — that of appointing the Duke of Clarence Lord High Admiral — nothing served so much to disconcert his opponents. The negotiations went on (through the Duke of Devonshire) up to the end of the Easter recess, when Lord Lansdowne came to town, and after much delay it was announced that the Whigs would support the new Government, but that none of them would take office immediately. The places were all filled up, but the appointments were understood to be only provisional, and the Duke of Portland, Lord Dudley, and Sturges Bourne were considered to hold their offices until Lord Lansdowne, Lord Carlisle, and Tierney should join the Cabinet. With this arrangement Parliament met, and the rage which had been accumulating in the minds of the seceders soon burst forth in a furious attack on this provisional arrangement. The Whigs have nearly in a body joined Government, with the exception of Lord Grey in the House of Lords, who in a speech full of eloquence attacked Canning's political life and character and announced his intention of remaining neuter. In the meantime it was understood that there was a reason for Lord Lansdowne not joining Government immediately, which was not to be made public till that event took place, and this secret was only imparted to a very few people; it was even concealed from Brougham and the leaders of the party. The secret, however, turns out to be this: Lord Lansdowne insisted upon modelling the Irish Government as he pleased — that is, in putting a Lord-Lieutenant, a Chancellor, and a Secretary there favourable to the Catholic claims, to which the King would not consent. Canning entreated Lord Lansdowne to have patience, to allow time to elapse, during which the King's scruples might be removed, and promised that every endeavour should be made to reconcile the King to the arrangement Lord Lansdowne desired. After much discussion it was resolved that Lord Lansdowne should support Government, but that he should not take office until this point was settled; and so the matter has remained.

[10] The Cabinet formed by Mr. Canning was thus constituted:—

Mr. Canning, First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Lord Lyndhurst, Lord High Chancellor.
Earl of Harrowby, Lord President of the Council.
Duke of Portland, Lord Privy Seal, and afterwards the Earl of Carlisle.
Lord Dudley, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
Lord Goderich, Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs and War.
Mr. Sturges Bourne, Secretary of State for the Home Department (this office was shortly afterwards transferred to the Marquis of Lansdowne)
Mr. Huskisson, President of the Board of Trade.
Mr. Wynn, President of the Board of Control.
Lord Bexley, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Mr. Tierney, Master of the Mint.
The Duke of Clarence was named Lord High Admiral.
The Office of Commander-in-Chief remained vacant during the Administration of Mr. Canning. This Administration lasted ninety-eight days, until the death of Mr. Canning.

June 3rd, 1827

Soon after writing this Lord Lansdowne came [97] into the Cabinet, together with Tierney and Lord Carlisle, M'Donald and Abercromby also taking places. They found so many objections to the unsettled state of the Cabinet, and the provisional arrangements had brought so much odium and ridicule upon the Government, that it was thought necessary to settle this matter without loss of time, but Lord Lansdowne would not consent to take the Home Office except upon the conditions on which he had before insisted. He therefore came into the Cabinet without a place. But it is quite evident that the present state of affairs is far from satisfactory; the Government is not established on a firm or secure basis, and the members of it are not altogether satisfied with each other or themselves. Lord Lansdowne particularly does not feel comfortable where he is, and does not think that he has been well treated by his own friends. It seems that when first overtures were made to him by Canning he called a meeting of his friends at Lansdowne House, at which he declared his own sentiments and the conditions on which he would join the Government. The persons there assembled unanimously agreed with him, but a few days after a meeting was called at Brooks's which was more numerously attended, and there certain resolutions were agreed upon which were not in conformity with the opinions expressed in Lansdowne House, and these resolutions were communicated to Canning as the sentiments of the great body of the Whigs, but without the same being imparted to Lord Lansdowne, who was then at Bowood (this fact I had last night from Duncannon [11] and Hobhouse [12]). Matters, however, went on quietly enough till the other night, when the Government was beat in the House of Lords upon the clause in the Corn Bill, and this defeat it is obvious has enraged and embarrassed them to the greatest [98] degree. [13] Duncannon, who is entirely in the confidence of the moderate Whig party, says that it is impossible the thing can go on in this way; three Lords in the King's household (Errol, Macclesfield, and Delawarr) voted against the Bill, and if they are not dismissed it will be such a proof of the feebleness of Government as will disgust all the Whigs and make their support very lukewarm. [14] Burdett, who was more active and zealous than anybody in bringing about the Coalition, is very much disgusted already, and there appears altogether such a want of confidence and unanimity among them as must lead to the dissolution of the Government unless Canning can by some vigorous measures establish his credit and convince the world of his strength. In Ireland the Chancellor [15] has refused to put the Great Seal to the appointment of Doherty as Solicitor-General. It is supposed that he will take this occasion to resign, and it will then be seen what part the King will take in the nomination of his successor. The King sees numbers of people, talks incessantly, and does nothing. Canning was with him yesterday evening, and the result of his audience will be very interesting, because it will appear whether he has insisted upon, and the King consented to, the dismissal of the refractory Lords, as well as what he will do about the Irish Chancellor. Government are indignant with the Duke of Wellington and the other ex-Ministers for opposing the Corn Bill, which they had been themselves (when in office) instrumental in framing, as well as for the use which the Duke made of Huskisson's letter.

[11] John William, Viscount Duncannon, afterwards fourth Earl of Bessborough.
[12] Mr. John Cam Hobhouse, M.P. for Westminster, afterwards Sir John C. Hobhouse, Bart., raised to the peerage in 1851 by the title of Baron Broughton de Giffard.
[13] It was with reference to this defeat that Canning said soon afterwards in the House of Commons that 'the Duke of Wellington had been made the instrument of others for their own particular views,' and he pledged himself to bring in another Corn Bill in the following session. But these were almost the last words uttered by Canning in Parliament.
[14] Lord Delawarr resigned of his own accord, Lord Errol was obliged to resign, and Lord Macclesfield came over and voted with Government on the second reading of the Corn Bill.
[15] Lord Manners was still Lord Chancellor of Ireland, as he had been since 1807. Mr. Doherty was made Solicitor-General for Ireland on the 18th of June.

June 17th, 1827

I was at the Royal Lodge for one night last [99] Wednesday; about thirty people sat down to dinner, and the company was changed nearly every day. It is a delightful place to live in, but the rooms are too low and too small for very large parties. Nothing can exceed the luxury of the internal arrangements; the King was very well and in excellent spirits, but very weak in his knees and could not walk without difficulty. The evening passed off tolerably, owing to the Tyrolese, whom Esterhazy brought down to amuse the King, and he was so pleased with them that he made them sing and dance before him the whole evening; the women kissed his face and the men his hand, and he talked to them in German. Though this evening went off well enough, it is clear that nothing would be more insupportable than to live at this Court; the dulness must be excessive, and the people who compose his habitual society are the most insipid and uninteresting that can be found. As for Lady Conyngham, she looks bored to death, and she never speaks, never appears to have one word to say to the King, who, however, talks himself without ceasing. Canning came the day I went away, and was very well received by his Majesty; he looked dreadfully ill. The only thing which interested me was the account I heard from Francis Conyngham about Knighton. He is seldom there, and when he comes scarcely stays above a night or two. But he governs everything about the house, and cannot endure anybody who is likely to dispute his empire. The King certainly does not like him, is always happier when he is away, and never presses him to stay or to return. When he is there he has constant access to the King at all times and whenever he pleases. He is on bad terms with Mount Charles, he bullies Lord Conyngham, and he is barely civil to Lady C.; he knows that Mount Charles is independent of him, and that the King likes him and admits him continually and familiarly to his presence, and of this it seems that he is jealous. I was more struck with one word which dropped from him than with all he told me of Sir W. Knighton. While the Tyrolese were dancing and singing, and there was a sort of gay uproar going on, with which the King was greatly delighted, he said, 'I would [100] give ten guineas to see Knighton walk into the room now,' as if it were some master who was absent, and who should suddenly return and find his family and servants merrymaking in his absence; it indicates a strange sort of power possessed by him.

The King was very civil to the Duke of Dorset, and repeatedly told him that what had passed would make no difference in their private friendship. In the meantime the Corn Bill has been thrown out, and I think political animosities are full as strong as ever, though they have taken rather a sulky than a violent tone. I had a long conversation with Duncannon yesterday, who is fully possessed of the sentiments of all the Whigs, and by what he says it is clear that they are extremely dissatisfied; they want Canning to display his power by some signal act of authority, and to show that he is really supported cordially by the King. The opposite party are persuaded that the King is secretly inclined to them and averse to his present Government, and this opinion obtains more or less with the public in consequence of the impunity with which Canning has been braved by the Chancellor in Ireland. The appointment of Doherty as Solicitor-General has never yet passed the Great Seal, and Lord Manners refuses to sanction it; he has likewise refused to put Sir Patrick Bellew (a Catholic) in the Commission of the Peace, though he is a respectable man and he has been strongly pressed to do it even by Protestants. This refusal so disgusted Duncannon that he was very near withdrawing his name from the Commission, and if he had his example would have been followed by many others, but Lord Spencer dissuaded him from doing so. Lord Grey is in such a state of irritation that he will hardly speak to any of his old friends, and he declares that he will never set his foot in Brooks's again. All this is the more extraordinary, and the vivacity of his temper the more unaccountable, because he has constantly declined taking an active part in politics when invited to do so for a long time past; and whenever Duncannon has asked his advice or consulted his opinions or wishes, he has invariably referred him to Lord Lansdowne as [101] the person whom his friends were to look upon as their leader, asserting that he had withdrawn himself from public life and would have no more concern with politics. More than this, when first overtures were made by Canning to the Whigs, it was the unanimous opinion of all those who have since joined the Government that Lord Lansdowne and his friends could not join an Administration of which Peel was to be a member (for at that time the resignation of Peel was not contemplated as a probable event), and this opinion was warmly combated by Lord Grey, who contended that there was no reason why they should not coalesce with Canning and Peel. What induced him to alter his opinion so decidedly and to become so bitter an enemy to the present arrangements does not appear, unless it is to be attributed to a feeling of pique and resentment at not having been more consulted, or that overtures were not made to himself. The pretext he took for declaring himself was the appointment of Copley to be Chancellor, when he said that it was impossible to support a Government which had made such an appointment.

July 5th, 1827

The session is over, and has been short but violent enough. There is apparently a majority against the Ministry in the House of Lords, though they seem safe in the House of Commons. All depends upon Canning's prudence and firmness during the recess. As to the King, he seems desirous of living a quiet life and disposing of all patronage; public measures and public men are equally indifferent to him. The Duke of Wellington, who knows him well, says he does not care a farthing about the Catholic question, but he does not like to depart from the example of his father and the Duke of York, to which they owed so much of their popularity. His conduct is entirely influenced by selfish considerations, and he neither knows nor cares what measures the exigencies of the country demand. The present state of parties is so extraordinary that it cannot last, and it remains to be seen whether Lord Grey and the other Whigs will reunite themselves to the main body and support Canning's Government, or whether they will join with the Tories in [102] their efforts to overturn it. Lord Grey's temper, irritated by the attacks which have been made on him, seems likely to urge him to the latter alternative.

July 25th, 1827

Canning is gone to Chiswick, where he has had the lumbago, and could not go to the Council last week. He is very unwell, and in a very precarious state, I think. I was at the Council last Monday week; it was held for the appointment of Lords Lansdowne and Carlisle, Lord Lansdowne having consented to take the Home Office, and Lord Carlisle the Privy Seal; the only Cabinet Ministers present were the four who changed places. It was the first time the King had given Lord Lansdowne an audience, but I believe he was very civil to him. The King gave him an account of the Duke of Buckingham's visit to him (from Dropmore), the result of which was that he sent his proxy to Lord Goderich, but not with a good grace.

The Duke of Wellington has been to the Lodge, and great is the speculation thereupon. [16] It is fiercely debated whether he went by invitation or not, and how long he stayed. He was only with the King twenty minutes, for so Prince Leopold, who was there, told Lambton, who told me. I don't know if he was invited or no. The King has taken from Prince Leopold the plate that was given, or, as they now say, lent to him, on his marriage. The Chamberlain sent to Sir E. Gardiner for it in the Prince's absence, and he refused to give it up without his Royal Highness's orders, but the Prince, as soon as he heard of it, ordered it to be sent to the Chamberlain.

[16] The causes and consequences of this visit, which was by invitation from the King, are related in the Duke of Wellington's 'Correspondence,' New Series, vol. iv. p. 63 et seq.

The Irish Chancellor has given way about Doherty's appointment, and put the Great Seal to it before his own resignation. He did it with a good grace, Lord Lansdowne told me.

We went all over the Castle the other day; his Majesty will not let anybody see it now. I don't think enough is effected for the enormous sums expended, though it is a fine [103] and will be a good house; still, how far (as a palace) from Versailles, St. Cloud, and the other palaces in France! The external terrace has spoilt the old one, and is altogether a frightful excrescence, and should never have been made.

August 9th, 1827

Canning died yesterday morning at four o'clock. His danger was only announced on Sunday night, though it had existed from the preceding Wednesday. When he saw the King on Monday his Majesty told him he looked very ill, and he replied that 'he did not know what was the matter with him, but that he was ill all over.' Nothing could exceed the consternation caused by the announcement of his danger and the despair of his colleagues. From the first there was no hope. He was aware of his danger, and said, 'It is hard upon the King to have to fight the battle over again.' The Cabinet met on Monday, and great unanimity prevailed among them. They all agreed to stand by each other in the event of his death. As soon as it happened Lord Lansdowne went down to Windsor and saw the King. His Majesty spoke with great affection of Canning, and said something of the difficulties in which he was again involved. Lord L. replied that he had come down, as it was his official duty to do, to announce to him the event; that nothing could be further from his wish or intention than to elicit from him any opinion as to the future, and he begged his Majesty would not say one word upon that subject. The King said that the first thing he should do would be to show every mark of respect to the memory and attachment to the person of Canning, and that he should therefore send for those of his Ministers who had been the most closely connected with him in public and private life. He sent immediately for Lord Goderich and Sturges Bourne, who went down to him when Lord Lansdowne returned.

Yesterday I saw some letters from Mr. Arbuthnot [17] (Gosh) [104] giving an account of the break-up of the old Government, and of the reasons by which they had been influenced in resigning. They were three in number, very violent and indignant, defending the Duke and attacking Canning, but they contained little more than has since appeared and been made public. The only fact that appeared to me of consequence was this: that Peel, though he had resigned on different grounds, was indignant at the way in which the Duke had been treated, and was resolved never to take office till full reparation had been made to him; that Lord Bathurst had begged Gosh (Mr. Arbuthnot) not to mention this, as it might do harm. The next letter was a long tirade with a great deal of wrath and indignation, such as might be expected. He says that they knew Canning was negotiating with the Whigs while he was pretending that he wished the old Government to go on; and that in the course of the negotiation with his old colleagues he offered Peel, if he would stay with him, to recall the pro-Catholic Lord-Lieutenant and send a Protestant. Peel wanted the Duke to give up the army and take the Treasury, which he would not hear of. He was miserable at the idea, and opposed it so strongly that they could not press it upon him. However, the Peers — meaning all the Lords who had made such a stir — applied to the Duke to put himself at the head of the Government, but he hardly sent an answer to their application — he would not hear of it.

[17] Right Hon. Charles Arbuthnot, the most confidential friend of the Duke of Wellington, with whom he lived. He was known in society by the nickname of 'Gosh,' by which he is frequently described in these Journals.

I may here introduce some anecdotes of Canning told me by Lord George Bentinck, his private secretary: —

Some time after they had been in office (after Lord Londonderry's death) they found in a drawer, which apparently had been forgotten or overlooked, some papers, which were despatches and copies of correspondence between Lord Castlereagh and Lord Stewart. These despatches were very curious, and more particularly so after his attack last year on Canning for misappropriating the secret service money, for they gave an account of his own employment of the secret service money in getting Italian witnesses for the Queen's trial. There was likewise an account of the discovery [105] Stewart had made of the treachery of an office messenger, who had for a long time carried all his despatches to Metternich before he took them to England, and Lord Stewart says, 'I tremble when I think of the risk which my despatches have incurred of coming before the House of Commons, as there were letters of Lord Londonderry's written expressly "to throw dust in the eyes of the Parliament."' These were his own expressions, and he said, 'You will understand this and know what to say to Metternich.' In fact, while Lord Castlereagh was obliged to pretend to disapprove of the Continental system of the Holy Alliance he secretly gave Metternich every assurance of his private concurrence, and it was not till long after Mr. Canning's accession that Metternich could be persuaded of his sincerity in opposing their views, always fancying that he was obliged to act a part as his predecessor had done to keep the House of Commons quiet.

From the moment Mr. Canning came into the Cabinet he laboured to accomplish the recognition of the South American Republics, but all the Cabinet were against him except Lord Liverpool, and the King would not hear of it. The King was supported in his opposition by the Duke of Wellington and by Lieven and Esterhazy, whom he used to have with him; and to them he inveighed against Canning for pressing this measure. The Duke of Wellington and those Ambassadors persuaded his Majesty that if he consented it would produce a quarrel between him and his allies, and involve him in inextricable difficulties. Canning, who knew all this, wrote to Mrs. Canning in terms of great bitterness, and said if the King did not take care he would not let him see these Ambassadors except in his presence, and added, 'I can tell his Majesty that his father would never have acted in such a manner.' At length after a long contest, in the course of which Peel came round to him, he resolved to carry the measure or resign. After a battle in the Cabinet which lasted three hours, and from which he came heated, exhausted, and indignant, he prepared a memorial to the King, and Lord Liverpool another, in which they tendered their resignations, [106] alleging at length their reasons, and this they submitted to the Cabinet the following day. When their colleagues found they were in earnest they unanimously surrendered, and agreed upon a declaration to the King that they would all resign unless the measure was adopted. This communication was made to his Majesty by the Duke of Wellington, who told him that he found Canning was in earnest, and that the Government could not go on without him, and he must give way. The King accordingly gave way, but with a very ill grace. [18] When he saw Canning he received him very ill, and in a letter to him signifying his assent to the measure he said that it must be his business to have it carried into effect in the best way it would admit of. Canning took fire at the ungracious tone of the letter, and wrote for answer that he feared he was not honoured with that confidence which it was necessary that the King should have in his Ministers, and that his Majesty had better dismiss him at once. The King sent no answer, but a gracious message, assuring him he had mistaken his letter, and desiring he would come to the Cottage, when he received him very well. From that time he grew in favour, for when the King found that none of the evils predicted of this measure had come to pass, and how it raised the reputation of his Minister, he liked it very well, and Canning dexterously gave him all the praise of it, so that he soon fancied it had originated with himself, and became equally satisfied with himself and with Canning.

[18] The memorial of Mr. Canning on this subject, the counter-opinions of the Duke of Wellington, and the King's minute upon them have been published in the second volume of the New Series of the 'Duke of Wellington's Correspondence,' pp. 354, 364, and 402.

Canning concealed nothing from Mrs. Canning, nor from Charles Ellis. When absent from Mrs. C. he wrote everything to her in the greatest detail. Canning's industry was such that he never left a moment unemployed, and such was the clearness of his head that he could address himself almost at the same time to several different subjects with perfect precision and without the least embarrassment. He wrote very fast, but not fast enough for his mind, composing [107] much quicker than he could commit his ideas to paper. He could not bear to dictate, because nobody could write fast enough for him; but on one occasion, when he had the gout in his hand and could not write, he stood by the fire and dictated at the same time a despatch on Greek affairs to George Bentinck and one on South American politics to Howard de Walden, each writing as fast as he could, while he turned from one to the other without hesitation or embarrassment.

August 10th, 1827

The Cabinet sat yesterday morning and again at night. It is generally believed that Lord Goderich will succeed Canning at the Treasury, and Lord Lansdowne has no objection to serve under him. The Tories were full of hope and joy at first, but in proportion as they were elated at first so were they dejected yesterday, when they found that the King sent for Lord Goderich and not for the Duke of Wellington. He never seems to have thought of the Duke at all. It will all be out to-day or to-morrow. The Tories may now give the King up. They have taken leave of office, except Peel, who will come in some day or other.

They remained out of office five months. What a prophecy!

January 28th, 1828.

The Duke of Wellington talked of Canning the other day a great deal at my mother's. He said his talents were astonishing, his compositions admirable, that he possessed the art of saying exactly what was necessary and passing over those topics on which it was not advisable to touch, his fertility and resources inexhaustible. He thought him the finest speaker he had ever heard; though he prided himself extremely upon his compositions, he would patiently endure any criticisms upon such papers as he submitted for the consideration of the Cabinet, and would allow them to be altered in any way that was suggested; he (the Duke) particularly had often 'cut and hacked' his papers, and Canning never made the least objection, but was always ready to adopt the suggestions of his colleagues. It was not so, however, in conversation and discussion. Any difference of opinion or dissent from his [108] views threw him into ungovernable rage, and on such occasions he flew out with a violence which, the Duke said, had often compelled him to be silent that he might not be involved in bitter personal altercation. He said that Canning was usually very silent in the Cabinet, seldom spoke at all, but when he did he maintained his opinions with extraordinary tenacity. He said that he was one of the idlest of men. This I do not believe, for I have always heard that he saw everything and did everything himself. Not a despatch was received that he did not read, nor one written that he did not dictate or correct.

August 20th, 1827

There was a Council at Windsor Castle on Friday last, which was a very curious scene. What I saw puzzled me very much till matters have since been explained to me.

On Tuesday morning Drummond, Lord Goderich's private secretary, came to me at my office and told me the Council would be held on Friday, and that Herries was to be appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer and was going down that day with Lord Goderich to Windsor. Accordingly when I arrived at the Castle I found Herries in the room, and I asked him if he was to take an oath as Chancellor of the Exchequer, because there was none in the oath-book for Chancellor, but one for the Treasurer of the Exchequer, and whether he was to take that. He said he did not know, upon which I asked Wynn if he knew. He did not; when we all agreed to wait till Lord Bexley came, [19] and enquire of him what he had done. When Lord Bexley arrived we asked him, and he said that Herries would only be sworn then as a Privy Councillor, and must take the oath of Chancellor of Exchequer in the Court of Exchequer. Shortly after we walked round the Castle, and some conversation occurring about the elevation of the Round Tower, which Wyattville was anxious to accomplish, Herries said to him, 'But it is my business now to ask you what you will do it for, how much it will cost. Will you do it for £10,000?' [109] Wyattville said, 'You must give me £15,000,' so that I could have no doubt that Herries was Chancellor of the Exchequer. In the meantime all the Ministers arrived, the whole Cabinet being present except the Chancellor and Lord Anglesey, who arrived afterwards. As soon as Lord Goderich and Lord Lansdowne were come they retired into the next room and had a long conference. Shortly afterwards the King came, when Lord Goderich went into his room. He stayed some time, when the Duke of Portland went in, then Herries. When Lord Goderich came out he had another conference with Lord Lansdowne, at the end of which he went again to the King. He came out, and at the end of three-quarters of an hour went a third time, and after him Herries a second time, and with him Lord Bexley. Another very animated conversation took place between Lord Lansdowne and Lord Goderich, when the latter went to the King a fourth time, and after him Lord Lansdowne, Goderich whispering something to him as he went in. Previous to this I remarked a conference between Lord Lansdowne, Goderich, and Carlisle, after which Carlisle took Tierney into the next room, evidently communicating what had passed. Something was clearly going on, but I could not make out what. I fancied that Lord Lansdowne insisted upon Lord Holland's being in the Cabinet. Yesterday, however, I discovered that it was all about Herries and his appointment. The appointment was the King's, with whom Herries had ingratiated himself by transacting some of his pecuniary business, and getting odds and ends for him out of droits, &c. The King then named him, and Goderich made no objection. Herries came to Windsor, not doubting but that he was to receive the seals, which in fact Goderich brought down with him on purpose. Lord Lansdowne, however, declared that he would not consent to the appointment, and hence arose all the conferences and audiences for which I could not account at the time. The Whigs dislike Herries' politics, and still more do they object to the King taking upon himself to nominate the members of the Government without consulting his Ministers. They are determined to resist [110] this nomination, and the consequence of Lord Lansdowne's remonstrance was the suspension at least of the appointment. Such is the state of affairs, and not a very agreeable state certainly.

[19] Lord Bexley as Mr. Vansittart had been Chancellor of the Exchequer, from 1812 to 1823.

The Whigs are satisfied of the candour, fairness, and plain dealing of Goderich, but dissatisfied with his facility and want of firmness. The King is grasping at power and patronage, and wants to take advantage of the weakness of the Government and their apparent dependence upon him to exercise all the authority which ought to belong to the Ministers. The Whigs are not easy in their places. They feel that they are not treated with the consideration to which they are entitled. But they have got too far to recede, and they evidently are alarmed lest, if they exasperate the King, he should accept their resignation and form a Government by a junta of the old Tories with the rest of his Administration, by which their exclusion would be made certain and perpetual. I find that the Duke of Portland was likewise named by the King himself. They do not object to the Duke, on the contrary, but they object greatly to his being so appointed. All this I have from Tierney, who added, if the Duke had been proposed to the King by Lord Goderich, not a member of the Cabinet would have objected, but they don't like his being named by the King. At the end of the Council, on Friday, Lord Anglesey arrived, having travelled day and night, and brought with him the Duke of Wellington's acceptance of the command of the army. Altogether it was a day of unusual interest, and unlike the dulness of ordinary Councils.

September 1st, 1827

Since the Council on the 17th the affair of Herries has still been going on. It appears that when Goderich went into the King (at the Council) to announce to him the objection that had been raised, his Majesty was very angry, angry at having been so committed and at being obliged to give up a nomination he liked. Herries naturally felt himself very ill treated and nettled by the attacks upon him in the newspapers. He has ever since insisted upon being admitted to the Cabinet as the only [111] thing which could afford due reparation to his honour, and prove that he had not been rejected for the reasons which had been assigned. This the Ministers opposed, and it was at length determined that this matter should rest till Huskisson's return. Huskisson agreed with his colleagues about Herries, went to the King, and spoke to him openly and firmly on the subject. The King consented that another arrangement should be made; the one proposed was, that Sturges Bourne should be Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Herries take the Woods and Forests without a seat in the Cabinet. Herries, who had constantly refused to accede to any arrangement by which he was to be excluded from the Cabinet, said he would consider of it; but in the meantime Sturges took fright, and refused to take the Exchequer. In vain Huskisson offered to take all the trouble on himself, and they all tried to persuade Sturges. He would not do it, and so this arrangement fell to the ground. They went again to the King yesterday to report progress and state to him what had occurred. When they came back (Goderich, Huskisson, Sturges, Herries, and the Chancellor) Goderich wrote a long letter to Lord Lansdowne, and he is to go to the King again this evening.

I had a long conversation with Tierney yesterday, and I find that the Whig Ministers are sick to death of their situation and anxious to resign. They think they are not treated with the consideration which is due to them whether as individuals or as the representatives of a great party who are supporting the Government. Then they think Goderich has behaved so ill in this affair that they can have no confidence in him. They believe so much in the integrity of his character that they do not suspect him of any duplicity in what has passed, but his conduct has been marked by such deplorable weakness as shows how unfit he is for the situation he occupies. He has acted equally ill to the King, to his colleagues, and to Herries himself. The history of the transaction is this: — While Goderich was Chancellor of the Exchequer Herries was the man upon whose assistance he relied to carry on the business of his office, and who in fact [112] did it all for him. As soon as he was at the head of the Treasury he felt that Herries would be equally necessary to him, and he accordingly pressed him to take the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, which Herries declined. After repeated solicitations, Herries told him that he had no objection to belong to his Government, and that he would take the office of Vice-President of the Board of Trade, and do all his Treasury business for him (this is the account of Herries' friends, which seems to me somewhat doubtful), though he did not wish to be in the Cabinet. At last, however, Goderich prevailed on Herries to let him propose him to the King, which was done. The appointment was particularly agreeable to the King, who wrote a letter with his own hand to Herries, desiring him to take the place. When Goderich returned to town, with this letter in his pocket, he went (before he delivered it) to the Cabinet, and then mentioning Herries, without saying what had passed, he found that the Cabinet would not approve of the appointment, on which he went to Herries, and said that he found that it would not do, and begged him to allow his appointment to be cancelled. Herries told him that he had never desired it, and was quite ready to give it up. As soon as Herries had agreed to give it up Goderich pulls out of his pocket the King's letter, and says, 'By-the-by, here is a letter which I ought to have given you before.' When Herries had read this letter he said, 'This puts me quite in another situation, and though I am still ready to give up being Chancellor of the Exchequer, I must have my conduct explained to the King, and you must take me down to Windsor to-morrow for that purpose.' This Goderich refused to do, when Herries said he should go down by himself. He did so, and then passed all which I have described above in the account of the Council on the 19th. I ought to have mentioned, as not the least curious circumstance of the Council, that in the middle of it the King sent for Sir William Knighton, who was closeted with him for an hour. I see this account is not altogether the same as the preceding, a proof of the inaccuracy of anecdotes [113] and historical facts whenever they differ. This is the true one.

Henry de Ros told me that he saw George Dawson, Peel's brother-in-law, at Brighton, who told him that he believed there was nobody the King was more exasperated against than Peel, and for this reason: — When the late Government (Canning's) was forming, Peel went to the King, and in reply to his desire that he should form a part of it told him he could not continue in any Government the head of which was a supporter of Catholic Emancipation. The King proposed to him to remain, with a secret pledge and promise from him that the question should not be carried. This of course Peel refused, and the King, who construed his rejection of the disgraceful proposal as conveying a doubt of his word, dismissed him with much resentment.

September 15th, 1827

Taking up the account from where I left off, Goderich went to the King, and it was settled Herries was to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. He returned and wrote to Lord Lansdowne entreating him to acquiesce. Lord Lansdowne went to the King, and the result of his interview was that he retained office together with his friends. He wrote a letter to one of them, which he intended might be communicated to others, giving an account of his conduct and motives. I saw this letter. He said the King received him very well and spared no entreaties to him to keep office. The King said that he was most anxious the present Government should continue on every account, but more particularly on account of what was now passing on the Continent; that Lord Lansdowne's holding office was indispensable for this object, and he asked him in his own name and for the sake of the country not to resign; that what had occurred had arisen out of a series of blunders which, 'let me say,' he added, 'were neither yours nor mine.' Lord Lansdowne said it was put to him in such a way that he could not do otherwise; that he had insisted with Goderich that Stanley and Mackintosh [20] should be employed. This [114] was the pith of his letter. I have been with Huskisson for a week in the country; he is in good health and excellent spirits. Capo d'Istria was there, going to Greece. Huskisson told me he wanted money. He owned to me that he considered Greece as a great humbug. I discovered from what he said that they only interfered that they might keep the Russians quiet and prevent a war between Russia and Turkey. The Sultan had announced his intention of sending any Minister to the Seven Towers who should communicate the treaty to him. [21] Everything is now quiet for the moment, and will probably continue so till the meeting of Parliament.

[20] Mr Stanley, afterwards Earl of Derby, had taken office under Mr. Canning, and was Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies from April 1827 till January 1828. Lord Lansdowne must have recommended him for a higher office.
[21] The Treaty of London for the Settlement of the Affairs of Greece was signed by England, France, and Russia on the 7th of July, 1827. It was of course received with indignation by the Porte, and led three months afterwards to the battle of Navarino, which was fought on the 20th of October.

December 13th, 1827

Three months have passed since the above was written. I went to Doncaster and Chatsworth, then to Newmarket, and returned to town the middle of last month. The battle of Navarino has been fought, and after three weeks' expectation we know very little about the matter. The strong part of the Cabinet, with Huskisson at the head, are for letting things take their course, and for suffering Russia to go to war with Turkey, and leaving it to her to enforce the articles of the Treaty of London. The plan is that Russia should occupy Moldavia and Wallachia; that the terms should then be offered to the Sultan, and that on his yielding the Greek independence these provinces should be evacuated by the Russians; this is what they propose that our mediation shall effect. In the meantime the Ministers are uneasy about the approaching meeting of Parliament. They anticipate a violent opposition in the House of Lords; they are by no means sure of a majority in that House, and there is not one among them who has spirit and character enough to face it. Lord Dudley is terrified [115] to the greatest degree at the notion of being attacked by Lord Grey. Then, though they are not disunited, they derive no strength from mutual co-operation and support, and the tone which the King has assumed, and the peremptory manner in which he has claimed the disposal of every sort of patronage, is both a proof of the weakness of Government, a source of discord among themselves, and the cause of distrust mixed with contempt on the part of many of their friends. The King and the Duke of Clarence made the promotions and dispensed the honours after the battle of Navarino without consulting the Ministers. The King gave Sumner the Bishopric of Winchester in the same way, [22] and there is a very general opinion that the Cabinet is weak, that they do not act together with cordiality, that they have neither energy nor authority, and are not likely to keep their places. It has been currently reported that they would willingly have censured Codrington, and have thrown the responsibility of the battle from their own shoulders upon his, if they had dared, but that they were prevented by the precipitate approbation expressed by the King. These things are greatly exaggerated, but are not without foundation.

[22] Vide supra, when Lord Liverpool caused the nomination of Mr. Sumner to a canonry of Windsor to be cancelled, because he had not been consulted. The King took the earliest opportunity of appointing him to the See of Llandaff, whence he was soon afterwards translated to that of Winchester. He died in 1874.

December 15th, 1827

The Ministry is at an end. Goderich resigned either by letter to the King yesterday or at the Council on Thursday. They have been going on ill together for some time. Goderich has no energy, and his colleagues are disgusted at his inefficiency, and at the assumption by the King of all power in disposing of patronage. Huskisson is away, and wishes to be out. They are embarrassed with the Greek question, and have to meet Parliament with an immense deficiency in the revenue. This state of things and mutual irritation and dissatisfaction have at length produced Goderich's resignation. [116] Yesterday the Chancellor, Dudley, and Huskisson were backwards and forwards to the King all day, and when he went to Windsor at half-past five they were still in the Palace, and he left them there in consultation. He is gone, but Knighton remains behind to negotiate and communicate. In the meantime I find that the King is quite mad upon the Catholic question, and that his real desire is to get rid of the Whigs, take back the Duke of Wellington, and make an anti-Catholic Government. This seems to be quite impossible in the present state of affairs, but a few days will probably produce some decisive change.


January 2nd, 1828

As soon as Lord Goderich had resigned they sent to Lord Harrowby and offered him the Premiership. He came to town directly, and went to the King, but refused the place. His refusal was immediately known, and of course there were a variety of conjectures and opinions afloat as to the man who would be chosen. A few days, however, put an end to these, for it was announced, to the astonishment of everybody, that Goderich had returned to town, and that he would not resign. Here ended this matter, which made a great noise for a few days; but the effects of what passed are yet to be seen when Parliament meets. The injury which Goderich's conduct has done to the Government is incalculable, for it has brought them into such low estimation that it is the general opinion they will not be able to retain their places, and there are a great variety of persons in both Houses of Parliament who are disposed to withdraw from them the support which they did give to Canning's Government, and which they were previously inclined to give to this. As matters now stand they do not themselves know upon whom they can count, nor who are their friends and who their foes. They are, however, to have Lord Holland in the Cabinet, to help them on in the House of Lords, but it is very doubtful whether his appointment will not lead to the resignation of some of the Tory members of the Government and the secession of some [117] of its Tory supporters. Nothing can exceed the alarm which they feel at the prospect of the approaching contest in Parliament, and thus, full of fears and weakness, neither inspiring nor feeling confidence, there seems a bad chance of their getting through the session.

I have heard no more of the King and of his intentions, except that he said he did not see why he was to be the only gentleman in his dominions who was not to eat his Christmas dinner in quiet, and he was determined he would. Don Miguel has been with him at the Cottage these two days. He has been received with great magnificence; they say he behaves well enough, but is very shy. He went out stag-hunting in red coat and full hunting costume, and rode over the fences like anybody else.

M'Gregor told me the other day that not one of the physicians and surgeons who attended the Duke of York through his long and painful illness had ever received the smallest remuneration, although their names and services had been laid before the King. He told me in addition that during sixteen years that he attended the Duke and his whole family he never received one guinea by way of fee or any payment whatever.

About three weeks ago I passed a few days at Panshanger, where I met Brougham; he came from Saturday till Monday morning, and from the hour of his arrival to that of his departure he never ceased talking. The party was agreeable enough — Luttrell, Rogers, &c. — but it was comical to see how the latter was provoked at Brougham's engrossing all the talk, though he could not help listening with pleasure. Brougham is certainly one of the most remarkable men I ever met; to say nothing of what he is in the world, his almost childish gaiety and animal spirits, his humour mixed with sarcasm, but not ill-natured, his wonderful information, and the facility with which he handles every subject, from the most grave and severe to the most trifling, displaying a mind full of varied and extensive information and a memory which has suffered nothing to escape it, I never saw any man whose conversation impressed me with such [118] an idea of his superiority over all others. As Rogers said the morning of his departure, 'this morning Solon, Lycurgus, Demosthenes, Archimedes, Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Chesterfield, and a great many more went away in one post chaise.' He told us a great many details relating to the Queen's trial, and amongst other things (which I do not believe) his conviction that the Queen had never had any intrigue with Bergami. He told us the whole story of his finding out the departure of Rastelli, which happened from a friend of his accidentally seeing Rastelli in the street, recognising him, and telling Brougham. [23] Brougham told none of his colleagues, and at first did not believe the story, but by putting artful questions, and watching their effect, he found it was so, and then out he came with it. There was a grand discussion whether they should not throw up their briefs and stop there, and he was all for it, but was overruled and gave way. The person who was most anxious they should go on was Lord Grey, for he had got a notion that they could not any of them speak to evidence, and he wanted to make such a speech, which he fancied he could do very well. Brougham said that as leading counsel for the Queen he always reserved to himself the power of acting as he thought fit, whatever the opinions of his colleagues might be, though they always consulted together and gave their sentiments upon every debated point seriatim. He and Denman invariably thought alike. The Queen never could bear him, and was seldom civil to him. When she had to answer the address of the House of Commons she appealed to her counsel for their advice, which they declined to give, and she was furious, for she wanted to make them advise her to accept the propositions of the House, which would have been very unpopular, and then throw the odium of doing so on them. [24] He spoke very [119] highly of Alderman Wood, who behaved very well, never annoyed or interfered with them, and seems to have been altogether a brave homme.

[23] For the use made by Mr. Brougham of the accidental departure of Rastelli during the Queen's trial vide supra, October 15, 1820.
[24] This was the address moved by Mr. Wilberforce on the 22nd of June, 1820 (vide supra June 23rd, 1820). Lord Brougham states in his 'Memoirs' that the Queen resolved to reject the advice of Parliament without consulting her lawyers. In one of Lord Brougham's letters written at the time he calls Wood 'the ass and alderman called Thistlewood, and attributed to him the intrigue which brought the Queen to England.

If it had been possible to recollect all that Brougham said on this and a hundred other subjects, it would be well worth writing down, but such talk is much too evanescent, and I remember no more.

After all Brougham is only a living and very remarkable instance of the inefficacy of the most splendid talents, unless they are accompanied with other qualities, which scarcely admit of definition, but which must serve the same purpose that ballast does for a ship. Brougham has prospered to a certain degree; he has a great reputation and he makes a considerable income at the bar; but as an advocate he is left behind by men of far inferior capacity, whose names are hardly known beyond the precincts of their courts or the boundaries of their circuits. As a statesman he is not considered eligible for the highest offices, and however he may be admired or feared as an orator or debater, he neither commands respect by his character nor inspires confidence by his genius, and in this contrast between his pretensions and his situation more humble abilities may find room for consolation and cease to contemplate with envy his immense superiority. To suppose that his ambition can be satisfied in the possession of natural and acquired powers far greater than the majority of mankind would be contrary to all experience. Such men consider their acquirements as means for the attainment of greater ends, and the disappointments which they frequently meet with in the pursuit of their objects of ambition more than counteract all the feelings of pride and satisfaction which conscious superiority is calculated to inspire. The life of a politician is probably one of deep mortification, for the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, and few things can be more galling than to see men far inferior to ourselves enabled by fortune and circumstances to attain what we [120] toil after in vain, and to learn from our own experience how many things there are in this life of greater practical utility than splendid abilities and unwearied industry.

London, January 19th

The Ministry is at last settled, and now for its history. Early in last week Goderich went down to the King and told him there was such a quarrel in the Cabinet between Huskisson and Herries about the Finance Committee that both could not remain, and that Huskisson would resign if he had not his own way. The King was furious at this new disturbance, and said he could not understand it; if Huskisson resigned, the Government was at an end. 'Go,' he ended, 'and send the Chancellor to me.' The Chancellor [Lord Lyndhurst] went, and was desired to bring the Duke of Wellington. The Government was dissolved and the King desired the Duke to form a new one. All this was immediately known, and first it was asked, 'What is the quarrel between Huskisson and Herries which broke up the old Cabinet?' The friends of each put about a story, one of which appeared in the 'Times,' the other in the 'Morning Chronicle.' The question was Lord Althorp's appointment as chairman of the Finance Committee. Huskisson's story is this: — In November Tierney went to Goderich and proposed Althorp as a good man to be in the chair of that Committee. Goderich assented, and said, 'But you had better speak to Huskisson about it, as it is a House of Commons matter.' He did so, and Huskisson approved of it. A few days after Tierney called on Huskisson and found Herries with him, when they discussed the matter generally, as well as the particular appointment of Althorp, and Herries made no objection, and, as they thought, agreed with them; but shortly after Herries went to Goderich, complained that this matter had been settled without his knowledge and concurrence, that it was a slight put upon him, and said he would not agree to Althorp's nomination, nor stay in office if it were persisted in.

This is one story, told me by Sefton, who had it (I am sure) from Brougham, and verbatim the same by Robarts, who had it (he told me himself) from Tierney. Herries' [121] story only differs in this: it omits the interview between the three Ministers, and declares the matter was never mentioned to him at all till they had decided on it, when it was shown him as a plan which was not to be discussed, but which he was at once to assent to. It appears difficult to know which to believe, and at first my impression was that they had probably not treated Herries with as much consideration as he was entitled to as Finance Minister, and that he had been prone to take offence and touchy from old recollections, which were probably not effaced. But a circumstance I heard afterwards convinced me that Herries has been all along full of ill-will towards his colleagues, and not a little desirous of breaking up the Ministry. When he found, too, with what difficulties they would have to contend in Parliament and the weakness of Goderich, he probably thought they would never be able to go on, and was not sorry to find an opportunity of accelerating their dissolution. The circumstance is this: — In the old business of his appointment to the Chancellorship of the Exchequer, when he thought he was not to be appointed, he wrote to Arbuthnot telling him how ill he had been treated, and promising to send him all the correspondence on the subject. Subsequently he was appointed, when he wrote again to A., saying that as it was settled and he was appointed, he did not think it would be right to send him the correspondence, which he was sure he would understand; that there he was, and he should do his best to act cordially with his new colleagues; but he finished, 'I shall hail the day which brings all of you back again.' Such an expression to a man who was the bitterest enemy of the Government of which he was a member did not evince much cordiality towards his colleagues.

The first thing to be done by the Duke was to negotiate with Huskisson. He sent forthwith for his own friends, Peel, Lord Bathurst, and Melville, and for many days the great question was whether Huskisson would join or not, the Whigs of course most anxious he should refuse, the new Government ready to make great concessions to tempt him to [122] join them. He has acceded, however, but much to the disgust of many of his friends, some of whom think he has behaved shabbily in abandoning the Whigs, who supported him, and who had supported Canning at his utmost need. Some think he was pledged never to act with the men who they consider to have behaved so ill to Canning, and some think he has compromised his dignity and independence by not insisting on higher terms, particularly the lead in the House of Commons. At present the exact terms of his bargain are not known, and without being acquainted with all that has passed de part et d'autre it is impossible to form a judgment as to the wisdom or the fairness of his conduct. Those who think he would have acted a wiser part and have made himself of greater importance by heading a third party in the House of Commons and keeping aloof, judge too hastily. He would have been followed by all those who call themselves Canning's personal friends, and probably by a considerable body of neutrals, who would not have been disposed to support a Tory Government, and still less to join a Whig Opposition. But however weak the Ministry (without Huskisson) might have appeared at first sight in the House of Commons, it would very possibly have proved stronger than was imagined. Strength and weakness are relative terms, and it remained to be seen what sort of power would have been brought against it, and to what attacks the Government would have exposed itself. The old Tory Ministry, which was voted out for incapacity by the House of Commons, was the strongest and longest that we have seen for many years, though opposed by all the talent and power of an Opposition more formidable than this can be. To be sure it must always be remembered that they floated through their difficulties on the tide of the Duke of Wellington's victories. Of all the party who would have ranged themselves under Huskisson, only Canning's friends, a select few, would have considered themselves bound to him, and the rest, if they found the Government strong and likely to last, would probably have dropped off and gradually joined it. In that case Huskisson would never have been [123] able to treat as an independent power, and though they might have been glad to take him into the Administration, he could not have made his own terms. I do not think he ever could have looked to overturning the Tory Government and coming in with the whole body of the Whigs, for he has no natural partiality (any more than Canning had) for that party, and he is fully aware how odious they are to the King and how unpopular in the country, which is always more inclined to the Tories than to them. If the Tories have agreed to those measures (except the Catholic question, for that is to remain on its old footing) which he deems necessary, and of which he is the author — that is, of Free Trade, &c. — he would probably rather act with them than with the Whigs; and in joining Government he is liable to no reproach but that of having shaken off his Whig colleagues too easily. But it remains to be proved whether they could have gone on, and at all events Lords Lansdowne and Carlisle might have remained in office if they pleased, though certainly it was not probable that they would do so. The part of the transaction which will appear extraordinary is, that the Government having been broken up by a quarrel between Huskisson and Herries, the opposite party come in and both these Ministers remain with them. In private life the transaction would look very like a fraud, and be open to great suspicion. It would appear as if they had got up a sham quarrel in order to get out their colleagues and stay in themselves with the Tories. This, however, I believe not to have been the case, at least as far as Huskisson is concerned, though perhaps Herries may not be altogether so clear.

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