The Greville Memoirs

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The Greville Memoirs



Moore and O'Connell — Defeat of the Opposition — The Carlow Election — Lord Alvanley's Speech to the Tory Peers — Norton v. Lord Melbourne — Catastrophe after Epsom — Mendizabal and Queen Christina — Lord John Russell's Moderation in the Ecclesiastical Commission — Theatricals at Bridgewater House — Irish Church — Ministerial Difficulties — Deplorable State of Spain — What was thought of Lord Palmerston in 1836 — Weakness of Government — Lord Lyndhurst's Summary of the Session — Balance of Parties — Lady Augusta Kennedy's Marriage — King's Speech to Princess Victoria — Revolution of La Granja — Rudeness of the King to Ministers— Irritation of the King at the Duchess of Kent — Scene at Windsor on the King's Birthday — Prince Esterhazy's View of the Affairs of Europe — Emperor Nicholas at Vienna — A Crisis in Trade — State of the Court at Vienna — Due de Reichstadt.

March 8th

It is impossible to conceive anything like the stagnation in the political world — the Government secure in their seats, the Opposition aware of the helplessness of their efforts. I met Moore [l] at dinner a day or two ago, not having seen him for a long time. He told us some amusing anecdotes of his own reception in Ireland, which was very enthusiastic, in spite of his having quarrelled with O'Connell. Of this quarrel he likewise narrated the beginning and the end. He was indignant at O'Connell's manner of prosecuting his political objects, and resolved to put his feelings on record. This he did, and he afterwards wrote some letters to a mutual friend explanatory of his sentiments and motives, and these were shown (intentionally) to O'Connell. Moore declined to retract or qualify, and a rupture consequently took place. When they met at Brooks's O'Connell averted his face. So things remained till a short time ago, when the

[1] Thomas Moore, the poet.]

[347] editor of a new quarterly review, which has been established for Catholic and Irish objects, wrote to Moore for his support, and O'Connell, whom he told of it, said, ' Oh, pray let me frank the letter to Mr. Moore.' This was repeated, and when Moore met O'Connell the other day at Brooks's, he went up to him and put out his hand. He said O'Connell was mightily moved, but accepted the proffered reconciliation, and they are again on good terms.

March 10th.

A majority of 64 for Government on Tuesday night ; unexpected by the public, but not, I take it, by the Whig managers, who make their people attend. It is an irrecoverable blow to the other side, and shows that the contest is hopeless there. O'Connell and Stanley made good speeches. It is remarkable that the Tory numbers are precisely what they were last year (243). At the levee yesterday they were all very gay at this victory ; and Hobhouse said to me, ' What fools they are ; they don't know their own interest ; they are beaten in the House of Commons, their people won't attend, they won't see that they can't resist these questions and that it is for their own interest they should be carried ; why, when the appropriation clauses and these Bills are carried there will remain no difference between Peel and us. As for me, I care not who is in, or whether I am in or out of office ; I care for peace and quietness, and that the country should go on. The Tories have rung the changes on this O'Connell cry till they can do no more, and it has failed them entirely ; they have had every chance, and must now give it up ; ' and a good deal more he said, till we were interrupted. I agree about the O'Connell cry ; the subject is worn threadbare, it has been argued and ranted upon usque ad nauseam, and in spite of the mistakes O'Connell has made, the anti-Popery prejudices which prevail, and the blots upon his personal character, I doubt if he is as much hated in England as the Tories would have him. They have overdone their attacks on him, and as it has unluckily been their sole cheval de bataille, they have ridden it till it has not a leg to stand upon.

March 12th.

Fell in with Lyndhurst in the street [348] yesterday returning from Philips', where he had been sitting for his portrait. ' Well,' he said, in his laughing, off-hand way, ' we are done, entirely done.' ' What do you mean to do ? ' ' Oh, we shall pass Peel's Bill, and they will be very glad of it ; it will give the Government all the power which O'Connell would otherwise obtain, and they don't want to see his power increase, and will prefer the augmentation of their own.'

March 13th.

It was only yesterday that I read the report of the Committee and O'Connell's complete acquittal. [1] It is very singular that he does not seem to have known his own case, or he might have rebutted the accusations in the first instance ; but it has turned out lucky for him, as it has afforded him a great triumph and his adversaries an equally great mortification. It is now time for the Tories to give up attacking him that is, making him their grand political butt. They do not lower him ; on the contrary, they raise his importance everywhere, and make his sway in Ireland more absolute. They are abominably sulky at this result of the Committee, which, however, was fairly constituted and unanimous in its decision. I must say I never expected they would make out much of a case. Yesterday I dined with Ben Stanley in Downing Street, and met Lytton-Bulwer and Fonblanque, the latter a very agreeable man.

May 2nd.

Many weeks without a single line. I have been at Newmarket, and have known nothing of any sort or kind. All seems quieter in the political world than for a long time past. There was a meeting of Peers at Apsley House a week or ten days ago, to consider the course they should adopt about the Corporation Bill. After the discussion Alvanley rose and asked the Duke if there would be any more meetings. He said he was not aware that there would be, when Alvanley said that he was of opinion that the majority of the House of Lords, while dealing with the Government measures, were

[1] The proceedings of the Committee on the Carlow election are here referred to. A Mr. Raphael had been returned for Carlow, chiefly by the influence of O'Connell. He was unseated on petition, and it was supposed that the evidence taken by the Committee would incriminate O'Connell, but the reverse was the case. O'Connell was wholly acquitted of any illegal or improper practices.

[349] bound to give notice to the country of the measures of relief that they were themselves prepared to offer to Ireland, that in his opinion the only real relief that could be given was some system of poor law, and the payment of the Catholic clergy, bringing that body under the control of the Government and making it penal to draw contributions from their flocks, and that he trusted their Lordships would be prepared to go so far. He describes the effect of this suggestion to have been most ludicrous. The Duke of Newcastle, who sat by him, was ready to bounce off his chair ; all sorts of indistinct noises, hems, grunts, and coughs of every variety of modulation and expressive intonation were heard, but no answer and no remark. He told me that he had intended on Tuesday last to repeat the same thing in the House of Lords, and asked me to go down and hear him, but they would not allow him. The Duke said it was out of the question, and overruled him. I am very sorry he did not, for these are the true remedies, and I wish to see them put forth, and a beginning made of bringing such principles into action ; but the Duke is not the man to let others have the credit of such measures. I expect to see the day when he will bring them forward himself ; it is a pig not yet fit for killing, and he will not let anybody stick it but himself.

May 11th.

Great talk about the adjournment of Parliament on the 20th, and about Melbourne's affair with Mrs. Norton, which latter, if it is not quashed, will be inconvenient. John Bull fancies himself vastly moral, and the Court is mighty prudish, and between them our off-hand Premier will find himself in a ticklish position. He has been served with notices, but people rather doubt the action coming on. I asked the Duke of Wellington a night or two ago what he had heard of it, and what he thought would be the result. He said he had only heard what everybody said, and that nothing would result. I said, ' Would Melbourne resign ? ' ' O Lord, no! Resign? Not a bit of it. I tell you all these things are a nine-days' wonder ; it can't come into court before Parliament is up. People will have done talking of it before that happens ; it will all blow over, and won't signify a straw.'[350] So spoke his Grace. I doubt not prime ministers, ex and in, have a fellow-feeling and sympathy for each other, and like to lay down the principle of such things not mattering. I hope, however, that it will blow over, for it would really be very inconvenient and very mischievous. The Tories would fall on the individual from political violence, the Radicals on his class or order from hatred to the aristocracy. I believe the adjournment is principally on account of the affairs of Canada, regarding which the Government is in a difficulty that appears inextricable. I have heard a great deal on the subject, enough to show the magnitude of the embarrassment, but not enough to describe the state of things.

May 25th.

The Epsom races being over, which always absorb every other interest, I have leisure to turn my mind to other things. This year there has been a miserable catastrophe. Berkeley Craven deliberately shot himself after losing more than he could pay. It is the first instance of a man of rank and station in society making such an exit. He had originally a large landed estate, strictly entailed, got into difficulties, was obliged to go abroad, compromised with his creditors and returned, fell into fresh difficulties, involved himself inextricably in betting, and went on with a determination to shoot himself if his speculations failed, and so he did. He was very popular, had been extremely handsome in his youth, and was a fellow of infinite pleasantry and good-humour.

Lord Melbourne's affair after all is likely to come before a court of law. He is very much annoyed at it, and so are his relations, but nobody expects him to resign. The Low Tories, the herd, exult at this misfortune, and find a motive for petty political gratification in it, but not so the Duke of Wellington or any of them who are above the miserable feelings of party spite. I am sorry for it, because it is a bad thing to see men in high places dragged through the mire.

I have heard a curious fact connected with the dismissal of Mendizabal from his post of Prime Minister. He made an attempt on the person of the Queen, which she resented [351] with the greatest aversion and rage. He afterwards wrote an apology, and then, aware of the blunder of so committing himself, endeavoured to get his letter back, which she refused to part with. The consequence was that she availed herself of the first opportunity to get rid of him.

June 9th.

Dined at St. James's yesterday with the Jockey Club. The King made a speech about himself and the Queen and the turf; he told us 'the Queen was an excellent woman, as we all knew, and that of all the societies which he had to entertain (which in his capacity were many and various) we were the most truly British.' He was very tired, and withdrew early. Wharncliffe said he was weary and dejected.

June 27th.

The town has been full of Melbourne's trial ; [l] great exultation at the result on the part of his political adherents, great disappointment on that of the mob of Low Tories, and a creditable satisfaction among the better sort ; it was in point of fact a very triumphant acquittal. The wonder is how with such a case Norton's family ventured into court, but (although it is stoutly denied) there can be no doubt that old Wynford was at the bottom of it all, and persuaded Lord Grantley to urge it on for mere political purposes. There is pretty conclusive evidence of this. Fletcher Norton, who was examined on the trial, is staying in town with a Mr. Lowe, a Nottinghamshire parson, and Denison, who is Norton's neighbour, called on him the other day ; Denison talked to Lowe, who told him that Fletcher Norton had shown him the case on which they were going to proceed, and that he had told him he thought it was a very weak one, to which he had replied so did he, but he believed they expected it would produce a very important political effect. The King behaved very civilly about it, and expressed his satisfaction at the result in terms sufficiently flattering to Melbourne.

To-night is the great night in the House of Lords, when they are to deal with the Commons' amendments

[1] The trial of the cause Norton v. Lord Melbourne, which ended in a verdict for the defendant.

[352] of the Municipal Bill. Lord Grey is expected to speak, and he told his old colleagues that if he did he should say what they would not like. The fact is, he is out of humour. First he doesn't like being laid aside, though he would not own this even to himself, and as he and Howick disagree on many points, Howick tells him nothing, and consequently he knows nothing, and this provokes him ; then he is indignant at the O'Connellism of the Government, and abhors the attacks on his order. Tavistock talked to me a great deal yesterday about Lord John Russell, who he declares is by no means the Radical he is accused by his adversaries of being, that he is opposed tooth and nail to the reform of the House of Lords, much disagreeing with O'Connell, that he has constantly and firmly refused to comply with the demands of the Dissenters in the matter of Church rates, and that in the Ecclesiastical Commission he and the bishops are on the best terms, and they are abundantly satisfied with him, that the greatest Reformer there is Lord Harrowby, and John Russell has had to act as mediator between him and the bishops. The prelates, it seems, have grasped at patronage with all their might, and have taken to themselves that which appertained to the chapters, much to the disgust of the latter ; they likewise endeavoured to get hold of that which belongs to the Chancellor, and on this occasion John wrote on a slip of paper (which he threw across the table to the Archbishop of York), ' I don't object to your robbing one another, but I can't let you rob the Crown.' The Archbishop wrote back, ' That is just what I expected from you.' This shows at least the good-humour that prevails among them.

There has been such a stagnation in politics lately that I have heard nothing, and having been laid up with the gout for a fortnight, have seen scarcely anybody. The greatest interest I have had has been in the dramatic representation at Bridgewater House, to the rehearsals of which I ventured to go. They were very brilliant and successful. As the space was limited, the invitations necessarily were so, and everybody was wild to be there. There were one or two tracasseries growing out of the thing, agitating for the [353] moment, but very uninteresting in themselves. The pieces were 'Glenfinlas,' taken from Walter Scott's ballad, and ' Lalla Rookh,' from Moore's poem ; the principal performers were James Wortley, my brother Henry, Mitford, Mrs. Bradshaw, Miss Kemble (Mrs. Sartoris) ; and the chorus was composed of Mrs. Baring, Mrs. Hartopp, Miss Gent, Miss Paget, Lady Mary Paget (Lady Sandwich), Lady Wallscourt, Lady Georgiana Mitford, my sister, Lord Compton, Messrs. Westmacott, Holford, James Macdonald, Baynton Lushington. Grieve painted beautiful scenery, and the dresses were magnificent ; all the ladies were covered with diamonds, which the great jewellers lent to them for the occasion. Mrs. Bradshaw's acting was perfection itself, and altogether it was singular, striking, and eminently successful, especially ' Glenfinlas,' which was very ingeniously managed, and went off to the amazement of those who were concerned in it, who did not expect such success.

July 1st.

At Stoke for three days ; divine weather, profusion of flowers and shade, and every luxury ; nobody there of any consequence. On Tuesday night at the House of Lords to hear the debate, which was worth hearing. Lyndhurst spoke very ably, by far the finest style of speaking, so measured, grave, and earnest, nothing glittering and gaudy, but a manly and severe style of eloquence. Lord Grey spoke very becomingly, but was feeble compared with what he used to be. He endeavoured to effect a compromise, and said nothing offensive to anybody or any party, spoke strongly in favour of the Ministerial measure, and I think took the sound view. I have no doubt the Tory Lords are all in the wrong in taking the course they do, and their arguments are very frivolous and inefficient. O'Connell was not in the House during Lyndhurst's philippic, but came in soon after, and his arrival made a great bustle.

July 9th.

Since Monday (4th) at De Ros's villa. The division on the appropriation clause and the majority of only twenty-six was hailed with great triumph by the Tories, and was a grievous disappointment to the Government. This, [354] with the Warwickshire election at the same moment, has made them very down in the mouth, and raised the Conservative stock pretty considerably. There was very sharp work between Stanley and John Russell, who left off noble friending and took to noble lording him, to show that they were quite two. The fact is that they are in a huge difficulty with this appropriation clause, which served their turn for a while (when it turned out Peel and cemented, their alliance with the Radicals), and now it hangs like a millstone round their necks, and is not unlikely to produce the dissolution of the Government. Strange that this Irish Church in one way or another is the insuperable obstacle to peace and tranquillity in Ireland, and to the stability of any Administration here ; and yet it is fought for as if the prosperity or salvation of the State depended on it —

Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.

As far as the Whig Ministers are concerned it serves them right, for it was a wicked and foolish proceeding ; their conduct will tell against them in the country, and when the House of Lords is accused of stopping legislation, people will not fail to ask, What else is the House of Commons doing, or rather how much more ? They assert that tithes are the great bane of Ireland, and the cause of the disorder which prevail, and they propose a Tithe Bill as the remedy, but they clog it with a condition which they know, with as much certainty as human knowledge can attain, will prevent its passing into a law, and in this shape they persist in producing it. Lord John Russell and his colleagues, it is said, are pledged not to pass a Tithe Bill without this clause ; but what cares the public for their pledges, and what is their consistency compared with the great interests at stake, and which are involved in the settlement of this question ?

They acted ' Glenfinlas ' for the last time on Thursday, with greater success than ever. The Queen was invited, but did not come. All London is intent upon morning amusements — morning parties, which are extended into the night. The [355] Duchess of Buccleuch gave entertainments on Monday and Wednesday ; De Ros on Friday dinners, tents, illuminations, and dancing ; all very gay for those who can find amusement in it, which I have ceased to do.

July 18th.

On Thursday night, almost as soon as I got back from Newmarket, I heard that it was strongly suspected that the Cabinet were in great embarrassment about the Irish Church question, and of course the Tories were proportionably elated at the visions of return to office which are always ready to dance before their eyes. This report was confirmed to me the next day (Friday) by Lord Tavistock, who told me what really was the case. The late division seems to have made a considerable impression, and several of the supporters of Government have represented that matters cannot continue in their present state, and that the resistance to payment of tithe on the one hand and the threats of rebellion on the other render it of paramount necessity to settle the question, and that it is better after all to take the Bill without the appropriation clause than to let it be again lost. This difference of opinion has of course particularly embarrassed Lord John Russell, and they do not know what to do. With respect to Lord John himself the question is, Can he continue in office and let the Bill pass without the clause ? If he cannot, are his colleagues as completely committed as he is, or may not they elect some other leader on his migration, and take the Bill in that state ? I told Tavistock that he well knew what my opinions had always been with respect to the introduction of that clause, which seemed to be more fully justified by the event ; that I did not think any difference could be made between John and his colleagues, and they must stand or fall together. With respect to their taking the Bill without the clause, they, and Lord John in particular, must make up their minds, if they did so, to have every species of abuse poured upon them from their Tory enemies and their Radical friends; but they were in a scrape, and had, in fact, got the country into a scrape too, and their duty now was to take that course which on the whole seemed to promise the best results, whatever it might personally [356] cost them and to whatever reproaches they might render themselves liable. If they were satisfied that no other Government would at present be formed, and that the Irish Church question could be settled in no other way, they ought to swallow the pill. He said he thought they were not indisposed to face the obloquy, if it must be so, and that all depended upon the conduct of the Lords, and upon their affording the Government a decent pretext for taking the Bill. I asked how. He said that what he thought of was this — earnestly conjuring me not to commit him and his friends by saying he had suggested any such thing (which satisfied me that it was not only his own idea, but that of others also belonging to the Government) that last year the Lords had thrown out the Bill, because the appropriation clause being a money clause, they could not touch it, but that now this objection was removed as to form, and they were at liberty to cut it out if they pleased, and return the Bill without it to the Commons ; that if they would at the same time pass a resolution declaring that if any surplus was reported such surplus should be at the disposal of Parliament, without expressing any opinion as to the way in which Parliament should deal with it, this, he thought, would be sufficient to enable the Whigs salvo honore to take the Bill ; neither party would be compromised or committed to anything at variance with the principles they had already professed, and the alteration in the state of the question produced by the discovery of that legal process to which the clergy had had recourse would, together with such a resolution, be a sufficient warrant to them to pass the Bill. I told him that I would not commit him, and I would endeavour (if I had an opportunity) to ascertain if there was any chance of the Lords taking such a course, to which I could see no objection.

Petworth July 24th.

Came here yesterday from Hillingdon, the day before from London. In the morning (Friday) there was a meeting of the Ministerialists at the Foreign Office ; called by Lord John Russell, to talk to them about the Church Bill. After the skirmish in the House of Commons [357] between him and Charles Buller a deputation, headed by Hume, waited on Melbourne to remonstrate, and they reported that the interview was on his part very civil and good-natured, but very unsatisfactory. Lord John Russell therefore called them together and harangued them. He is said to have spoken very well, stating that Government could not and would not give way with respect to this measure, and reminding Hume that in a former speech he had already assented to the principle of the Bill. The English Radicals were, however, not to be appeased, spoke strongly, and declared they would oppose the Bill in every stage. O'Connell rose, and said that he would support Government, that it was of vital consequence to Ireland that there should be no appearance of disunion in the party, and that no idea should prevail there that there was a chance of its being broken up ; and for this reason Government should have his support.

I met them all coming away, and fastened on Tom Duncombe, who told me what had passed, and how angry they (the English Radicals) were. I asked him whether their resentment would induce them to desert Government on the appropriation clauses and stay away, because, if so, they must go out ; and he said that it would not push them to that length. It may be presumed that O'Connell's behaviour at this meeting will have bound the Government still more not to give way on this clause, and that whatever the Lords may do, they will fight the battle.

The Lords in the meantime have gone quietly into Committee, and the second reading passed off with tolerable harmony. Melbourne made a good speech, and produced a surplus, but which the Duke of Wellington will take very good care to reduce again to nil. This is very easily done on one side, and the contrary on the other ; redistribution can accomplish either desideratum — surplus or no surplus. However, the Government seems to be in a pretty state between their moderate and their violent adherents, and though they may scramble through this session, and hustle Parliament to an end, it is difficult to see how they will ever [358] pass the ordeal of another, for they can neither continue in their present course nor adopt any other with safety.

I met old Denison (the member for Surrey) — a strong supporter of the Government and an old Whig — coming from the meeting on Friday, and suggested to him what a scrape his friends were in. He owned that it was so, but said that parties were so balanced that Peel could not go on if he came in. I said Peel could not go on if the King turned out the Government as he had done before, or if Peel was instrumental in compelling them to resign ; but that if they resigned of their own accord, and because they were themselves conscious that they could not go on, I thought Peel would be supported by a majority even of this House of Commons ; for, after all, the country must have a Government, and if Peel took it because it was vacant, and nobody else could be found to occupy it, he could not be refused the trial, which he had in vain asked for before. He owned this was true, and such an admission from such a man was a great deal. The King is evidently waiting with the greatest impatience for the moment when his Ministers must resign. He complained bitterly of my brother-in-law's [1] going abroad, and said it was a time when every Conservative ought to be at his post, which means that every opponent of his Ministers should strive with ceaseless zeal to drive them to the wall. He is a true king of the Tories, for his impatience fully equals theirs.

August 7th.

After the meeting at the Foreign Office there seems to have been an end of all notion of any compromise, or any giving way on the part of the Government about the clauses in the Tithe Bill, and Lord John Russell held very strong language. The debate presented nothing remarkable. Sheil came over from Ireland on purpose to speak, not being able to vote, as he had paired. Great exertions were made on both sides, and the Tories dragged up Sir Watkin Williams Wynn from Wales, very infirm ; and had a blind man in the House, led about by Ross. The

[1] Lord Francis Egerton.

[359] majority of twenty-nine ought to have been twenty-six, just the same as the last division. Sir Charles Cockerell (Whig) was shut out, whilst on the other side Lord Arthur Hill's [l] vote was lost by his mother's death, which made him a Peer, and the Lennoxes and Poyntz stayed away. The whole thing went off tamely enough ; everybody in Parliament knew what was to happen, and out of doors people don't care. While the revenue presents an excess of two millions, and everything flourishes, political excitement is impossible. The Lords continue to throw out Bills, and many complaints are made of their evident determination to reject as many of the Commons' measures as they can. Some of them have been opposed, particularly the Stafford Disfranchisement Bill, by the Ministers themselves. The Lords, however, no doubt evince a very imprudent disposition to exercise their power of rejection without grave and sufficient cause, and needlessly to expose themselves to the charge of wanton and intemperate opposition to the measures of the Commons. It is the height of folly to make the line between the two Houses as broad as possible, and to publish to the world on every occasion that the one House is Whig and the other Tory ; not but what (in the present rage for legislation, and the careless and hurried way in which measures are bustled through the House of Commons) the revision and watchful superintendence of the House of Lords are more than ever necessary.

There was a report of General Evans' death the other day, which was believed for some time, and long enough to show that there would have been a contest for Westminster if it had been true.

The accounts from Spain are deplorable, and it is curious enough that while Palmerston was proclaiming in the House of Commons his conviction of the ultimate success of the Christino cause he must have had letters from Villiers in his pocket telling him that it was almost hopeless. I saw one from him a few days ago, written in the greatest

[1] Lord Arthur Hill became Baron Sandys on the death of his mother, the Marchioness of Downshire, who was Baroness Sandys in her own right.

[360] despondency. He said that he had been stopped on his road to St. Ildefonso by intelligence that the Carlists were approaching the place, and that the Queen had taken flight. He found all the relays of mules ready for her Majesty, and he returned to Madrid. It turned out to be a false alarm, and the Queen stayed where she was ; but he said that he could only compare the progress of the Carlists to water spreading over table-land. It will be a severe blow to Palmerston if this cause is overthrown, though perhaps no fault of his policy. Had France acted fairly, the result of the Quadruple Alliance would have answered the expectation of its authors, but France, instead of co-operating according to the spirit of that treaty, has thrown every impediment in its way. It is surprising to hear how Palmerston is spoken of by those who know him well officially — the Granvilles, for example. Lady Granville, a woman expert in judging, thinks his capacity first-rate ; that it approaches to greatness from his enlarged views, disdain of trivialities, resolution, decision, confidence, and above all his contempt of clamour and abuse. She told me that Madame de Flahault had a letter written by Talleyrand soon after his first arrival in England, in which he talked with great contempt of the Ministers generally, Lord Grey included, and said there was but one statesman among them, and that was Palmerston. His ordinary conversation exhibits no such superiority ; but when he takes his pen in his hand his intellect seems to have full play, and probably when engaged exclusively in business.

August 13th.

On Monday last I was riding early in the Park and met Lord Howick. We rode together for some time. He said that ' he supposed they should be out after this session, and they ought to be out, as they could carry none of their measures, and the Lords rejected Bill after Bill sent up from the other House ; that since the Tories chose to go on in this way, they must make the experiment and carry on the Government if they could, but they must look for every opposition from his friends and his party. It was quite impossible things could go on upon their present [361] footing ; the country would not stand it, and the Lords must look to those changes which their own conduct rendered indispensable.' I said to Howick that the appropriation clause made the great difficulty of the Whigs ; that I believed they were, on the whole, a very Conservative Government, but why struggle for this absurdity, and why not bring forward a measure at once of real relief and pay the Catholic clergy ? He said they could not do it ; their own friends would not support them ; that the Tories might have done it, but that the Whigs could not. ' So,' I replied, ' both parties are in such a position that no Conservative measures can be carried but by the Whigs, and no Liberal ones but by the Tories.'

Since this there has been a free conference, and the Lords have been bowling down Bills like ninepins. This certainly cannot go on ; either the Tories must come into power again, or the Whigs must do something to control the House of Lords, or the Lords must lower their tone and adopt more moderate counsels. The latter would be the best, as it is the least probable, of the three alternatives.

His Majesty was pleased to be very facetious at the Council the other day, though not very refined. A new seal for the Cape of Good Hope was approved, and the impression represented a Caffre, with some ornaments on his head which resembled horns. The King asked Lord Glenelg what these horns meant, but Glenelg referred his Majesty to Poulett Thomson, to whom he said, ' Well, Mr. Thomson, what do you say to this ? I know you are a man of gallantry, but if you choose to be represented with a pair of horns I am sure I have no objection ; ' at which sally their Lordships laughed, as in duty bound.

August 21st.

Yesterday the King prorogued Parliament with a very moderate, inoffensive Speech. The Tories had spread a report that the Ministers wanted to thrust into the Speech some allusions to the conduct of the House of Lords, but no such thing was ever contemplated.

The session was wound up by an oration from Lyndhurst in the House of Lords, introduced with a considerable note of [362] preparation. It was announced a day or two before that he was going down to deliver a vindication of the majority of the Lords and of himself for their conduct during the session, and the expectation which was raised was not disappointed. It seems to have been a great display, and sufficiently well answered by Melbourne. As his opponents universally admit that Lyndhurst's speech was of consummate ability, while his friends confess that it was not discreet and well judged, we may safely conclude that it deserves both the praise and the blame ; and as the Duke of Wellington rose afterwards and made a speech of remarkable moderation, it would certainly appear as if he thought it necessary to temper the violence of Lyndhurst by a more conciliatory tone. When I say his friends have expressed the opinions above stated, I should say that I have conversed with only two Lords — Bathurst and Ripon — and they both expressed themselves to this effect. Lord Holland, who endeavoured to answer it, said he thought Lyndhurst's one of the best speeches he had ever heard in Parliament.

If he had confined himself to a temperate and dignified vindication of the proceedings of the House of Lords (that is, of his own), and had abstained from any attack on the Government, and especially from any language reflecting on the Commons, perhaps it would have been a wise measure, but it cannot be wise to widen the differences which already exist between the two Houses, and to render all the animosities of public men more bitter and irreconcileable than they were before. The Tories are convinced that they are becoming more and more popular, and that the country approves of the daring behaviour of the Lords. The Whigs insist that the apathy of the country (which they mistake for approbation) is nothing but the imperturbability resulting from prosperity arid full employment, but that if adverse circumstances arise a storm will burst on the Lords, and they will see how miserably deceived they are. I think the Lords have gone too far, and though a vast deal of crude legislation comes up from the Commons, requiring much supervision, and often great alteration, they [363] have shown an animus and adopted a practice quite foreign to the usual habits of the House of Lords, and which is in itself an important innovation. The truth is, it is not (as has been represented) a contest between the two Houses, but between the two great parties very nearly balanced, of which the stronghold of one is in the Lords, and that of the other in the Commons. It can scarcely cross the minds of either party, or of any individual of either, that the substantive power of Government can or ought to be transferred from the House of Commons to the House of Lords, and Lyndhurst and the Tories would not venture to make the havoc which they do in the Government Bills if they were not persuaded that if ever a crisis is produced by the collision their party will succeed in obtaining the sanction of the country and an ascendency in the other House. If they have estimated correctly their own strength and the real disposition of the country, their Parliamentary tactics have been skilful, but the game which they play is a very desperate one, for if it fails the House of Lords can hardly avoid suffering very materially from the conflict. However, much is to be said on the subject when considered in all its bearings.

The King at his last levee received Dr. Allen to do homage for the See of Ely, when he said to him, ' My Lord, I do not mean to interfere in any way with your vote in Parliament except on one subject, the Jews, and I trust I may depend on your always voting against them.'

August 30th.

At Hillingdon from Saturday to Monday. There were great festivities at Windsor during the Egham race week, when the King's daughter Lady Augusta was married at the Castle. [1] It was remarked that on the King's birthday not one of the Ministers was invited to the Castle, and none except the Household in any way connected with the Government. At the Queen's birthday a short time

[1] Lady Augusta Fitzclarence. fourth daughter of King William IV. by Mrs. Jordan, married first, on the 5th of July, 1827, to the Hon. John Kennedy Erskine, and secondly, on the 26th of August, 1836, to Lord John Frederick Gordon. She died in 1865.

[364] before not one individual of that party was present. Nothing can be more undisguised than the King's aversion to his Ministers, and he seems resolved to intimate that his compulsory reception of them shall not extend to his society, and that though he can't help seeing them at St. James's, the gates of Windsor are shut against them. All his habitual guests are of the Tory party, and generally those who have distinguished themselves by their violence or are noted for their extreme opinions — Winchilsea and Wharncliffe, for example, of the former, and the Duke of Dorset of the latter sort. At the dinner on his birthday the King gave the Princess Victoria's health rather well. Having given the Princess Augusta's he said, ' And now, having given the health of the oldest, I will give that of the youngest member of the Royal Family. I know the interest which the public feel about her, and although I have not seen so much of her as I could have wished, I take no less interest in her, and the more I do see of her, both in public and in private, the greater pleasure it will give me.' The whole thing was so civil and gracious that it could hardly be taken ill, but the young Princess sat opposite, and hung her head with not unnatural modesty at being thus talked of in so large a company.

While London is entirely deserted, and everything is quiet and prosperous here, there is a storm raging in Spain which has already had an effect in France, by producing the dissolution of Thiers's Ministry', [1] and may very likely end by

[1] M. Thiers came into power for the first time as Minister of Foreign Affairs and head of the Government on the 22nd of February, 1836. He had boasted that he should be able to engage the King in a more active intervention in Spain in favour of the young Queen — 'Nous entraînerons le Roi' was his expression but in this he was deceived, and his Administration came to a speedy termination. Lord Palmerston proposed on the 14th of March that some of the ports on the coast of Biscay should be occupied by British seamen and marines, and that Passages, Fontarabia, and the valley of Bartan should be occupied by the French. This scheme was strenuously opposed by the King, though M. Thiers was willing to assent to it. The Revolution of La Granja in August only increased the repugnance of Louis Philippe to interfere actively in Spain, and early in September the Thiers Cabinet was dissolved. Mr. Villiers's narrative of the Revolution of La Granja is alluded to in the passage next following.

[365] creating disturbances in that country and embroiling Europe. The complication of French politics, the character and designs of the King, his relations with the great Powers of Europe, and the personal danger to which he is exposed from the effects of a demoralised mass of floating hostility and disaffection, rendered doubly perilous from the mixture of unnatural excitement and contempt of life which largely enter into it, present a very curious and very interesting subject of political observation and speculation for those who have the means of investigating it closely.

September 7th.

Mrs. Villiers sent me to-day the copies of two despatches of George Villiers's to Palmerston, containing a narrative of the events which took place at St. Ildefonso on the 12th, 13th, and 14th of last month ; these he sent to her, because he had not time to write the details all over again. Nothing can be more curious, nothing more interesting, nothing more admirably described, all the details given with great simplicity, extreme clearness, and inimitable liveliness of narration. It reminds one of the scenes enacted during the French Revolution ; but as these despatches will probably be published, I shall not be at the pains to give an analysis of them here. It is remarkable how courageously and prudently the Queen seems to have behaved. What energies a difficult crisis called forth ! How her spirit and self-possession bore up in the midst of danger and insult, and how she contrived to preserve her dignity even while compelled to make the most humiliating concessions ! No romance was ever more interesting than this narrative. George Villiers's correspondence will some day or other make one of the most valuable and entertaining publications that ever appeared, though I shall not live to see it. He writes incomparably well, with a mixture of vivacity and energy peculiarly his own.

September 21st

I have recorded nothing about the revolutions at Madrid and Lisbon, because I know nothing besides what has appeared in all the newspapers, and it would be very useless to copy facts from their columns. As to private matters, and the exploits or interests of [366] individuals, I only note them as the fancy takes me, and the fancy has not taken me of late. I cannot keep a journal — that is, a day by day memorial — and I have an invincible repugnance to making my MS. books the receptacles of scandal, and handing down to posterity (if ever posterity should have an opportunity of seeing and would take the trouble to read these pages) the private faults and follies of my friends, acquaintance, and associates.

To-day we had a Council, the first since Parliament was prorogued, when his most gracious Majesty behaved most ungraciously to his confidential servants, whom he certainly does not delight to honour. The last article on the list was a petition of Admiral Sartorius praying to be restored to his rank, and when this was read the King, after repeating the usual form of words, added, 'And must be granted. As Captain Napier was restored, so must this gentleman be, for there was this difference between their cases : Admiral Napier knew he was doing wrong, which Admiral Sartorius was not aware of.' Lord Minto said, 'I believe, sir, there was not so much difference between the two cases as your Majesty imagines, for Admiral Sartorius —' Then followed something which I could not catch, but the King did, for he said, with considerable asperity, ' Unless your Lordship is quite sure of that, I must beg leave to say that I differ from you and do not believe it to be so, but since you have expressed your belief that it is so, I desire you will furnish me with proofs of it immediately. The next time I see you you will be prepared with the proofs of what you say, for unless I see them I shall not believe one word of it.' Minto made no reply to this extraordinary sortie, and the rest looked at each other in silence.

This, however, was nothing compared with what took place at Windsor with the Duchess of Kent, of which I heard something a long time ago (August 30th), but never the particulars till last night. It is very remarkable that the thing has not been more talked about. The King invited the Duchess of Kent to go to Windsor on the 12th of August to celebrate the Queen's birthday (13th), and to stay there over [367] his own birthday, which was to be kept (privately) on the 21st (the real day, but falling on Sunday) and publicly the day following. She sent word that she wanted to keep her own birthday at Claremont on the 15th (or whatever the day is), took no notice of the Queen's birthday, but said she would go to Windsor on the 20th. This put the King in a fury ; he made, however, no reply, and on the 20th he was in town to prorogue Parliament, having desired that they would not wait dinner for him at Windsor. After the prorogation he went to Kensington Palace to look about it ; when he got there he found that the Duchess of Kent had appropriated to her own use a suite of apartments, seventeen in number, for which she had applied last year, and which he had refused to let her have. This increased his ill-humour, already excessive. When he arrived at Windsor and went into the drawing-room (at about ten o'clock at night), where the whole party was assembled, he went up to the Princess Victoria, took hold of both her hands, and expressed his pleasure at seeing her there and his regret at not seeing her oftener. He then turned to the Duchess and made her a low bow, almost immediately after which he said that ' a most unwarrantable liberty had been taken with one of his palaces ; that he had just come from Kensington, where he found apartments had been taken possession of not only without his consent, but contrary to his commands, and that he neither understood nor would endure conduct so disrespectful to him.' This was said loudly, publicly, and in a tone of serious displeasure. It was, however, only the muttering of the storm which was to break the next day. Adolphus Fitzclarence went into his room on Sunday morning, and found him in a state of great excitement. It was his birthday, and though the celebration was what was called private, there were a hundred people at dinner, either belonging to the Court or from the neighbourhood. The Duchess of Kent sat on one side of the King and one of his sisters on the other, the Princess Victoria opposite. Adolphus Fitzclarence sat two or three from the Duchess, and heard every word of what passed. After dinner, by the Queen's desire, ' His [368] Majesty's health, and long life to him ' was given, and as soon as it was drunk he made a very long speech, in the course of which he poured forth the following extraordinary and foudroyante tirade : ' I trust in God that my life may be spared for nine months longer, after' which period, in the event of my death, no regency would take place. I should then have the satisfaction of leaving the royal authority to the personal exercise of that young lady (pointing to the Princess), the heiress presumptive of the Crown, and not in the hands of a person now near me, who is surrounded by evil advisers and who is herself incompetent to act with propriety in the station in which she would be placed. I have no hesitation in saying that I have been insulted — grossly and continually insulted by that person, but I am determined to endure no longer a course of behaviour so disrespectful to me. Amongst many other things I have particularly to complain of the manner in which that young lady has been kept away from my Court ; she has been repeatedly kept from my drawing-rooms, at which she ought always to have been present, but I am fully resolved that this shall not happen again. I would have her know that I am King, and I am determined to make my authority respected, and for the future I shall insist and command that the Princess do upon all occasions appear at my Court, as it is her duty to do.' He terminated his speech by an allusion to the Princess and her future reign in a tone of paternal interest and affection, which was excellent in its way.

This awful philippic (with a great deal more which I forget) was uttered with a loud voice and excited manner. The Queen looked in deep distress, the Princess burst into tears, and the whole company were aghast. The Duchess of Kent said not a word. Immediately after they rose and retired, and a terrible scene ensued ; the Duchess announced her immediate departure and ordered her carriage, but a sort of reconciliation was patched up, and she was prevailed upon to stay till the next day. The following morning, when the King saw Adolphus, he asked him what people said to his speech. He replied that they thought the [369] Duchess of Kent merited his rebuke, but that it ought not to have been given there ; that he ought to have sent for her into his closet, and have said all that he felt and thought there, but not at table before a hundred people. He replied that he did not care where he said it or before whom, that ' by God he had been insulted by her in a measure that was past all endurance, and he would not stand it any longer.'

Nothing can be more unaccountable than the Duchess of Kent's behaviour to the King, nothing more reprehensible ; but his behaviour to her has always been as injudicious and undignified as possible, and this last sortie was monstrous. It was his duty and his right to send for her, and signify to her both his displeasure at the past and his commands for the future ; but such a gross and public insult offered to her at his own table, sitting by his side and in the presence of her daughter, admits of no excuse. It was an unparalleled outrage from a man to a woman, from a host to his guest, and to the last degree unbecoming the station they both of them fill. He has never had the firmness and decision of character a due display of which would have obviated the necessity of such bickerings, and his passion leads him to these indecent exhibitions, which have not the effect of correcting, and cannot fail to have that of exasperating her, and rendering their mutual relations more hopelessly disagreeable.

November 7th.

An interval of above six weeks. I went to Newmarket on the 3rd of October, returned to town for a Council on Wednesday in the first October week ; after the first October meeting I went to Buckenham, after the second to Euston, and after the third came to town. At Buckenham I met Adolphus Fitzclarence, who told me over again the particulars of the scene with the Duchess of Kent, which did not differ materially from what I have put down. He added one item, that the day following the Queen was not ready for dinner, and when dinner was announced and he was waiting he asked, ' Where's the Queen ? ' They told him she was waiting for the Duchess of Kent, when he said, loud enough for everybody to hear, ' That [370] woman is a nuisance.' He was very angry at King Leopold's coming here, received him very coldly at Windsor, had no conversation with him on business, and on one occasion exhibited a rudeness even to brutality. It seems he hates water-drinkers ; God knows why. One day at dinner Leopold called for water, when the King asked, ' What's that you are drinking, sir ? ' ' Water, sir.' ' God damn it ! ' re- joined the other King ; ' why don't you drink wine ? I never allow anybody to drink water at my table.' Leopold only dined there, and went away in the evening. All this is very miserable and disgraceful.

Of politics during this period I have heard little or nothing, except that while the Conservatives are feasting and spouting in all parts of the country, and rallying their forces, there is a split among their opponents, an event which was inevitable, considering the different shades of opinion prevailing amongst them, though they hope to reconcile all their differences by the time Parliament meets, which they will probably do, in order to baffle their common enemy. It is, however, a good thing that these differences should arise amongst them. I wish I could see a party formed upon really Conservative principles, determined to maintain the Constitution and steer clear of Tory nonsense and bigotry ; but this I doubt to be practicable.

November 8th

I dined on Sunday with Cunningham and met Prince Esterhazy, with whom I had a long conversation. He talked a great deal about the state of Europe, of the bickerings between Palmerston and Louis Philippe on the Spanish question, between England and Russia in the East, and of the position of Austria in the midst of it all ; that he had conversed often and at great length with the Emperor of Russia at Prague and with Louis Philippe at Paris, both having talked in the most open manner, and that he was endeavouring (he thought successfully) to bring Palmerston to an amicable tone and feeling, and to effect some sort of compromise with respect to the debated points. Both sovereigns have the same desire to avoid war, and Louis Philippe told him that his object was ' de rendre la guerre impossible,' [371] that no power could be so much interested as Austria was in restraining the power and ambition of Russia within reasonable bounds, and that the Emperor had held the most moderate language, as he believed with sincerity ; that our prejudices against Russia were unreasonably violent, and they arose in some degree from mortification at our own misconduct in letting opportunities slip out of our hands, and throwing advantages and influence into those of Russia, which we were now angry that she availed herself of ; but that if we continued to act frankly and firmly in conjunction with Austria and France (France and Austria being perfectly agreed) we should have nothing to fear from Russia. They (the northern Powers) were content that we should exercise an especial influence in the Peninsula ; they were aware that these questions were the peculiar concern and interest of France and England, and they did not want to interfere. But for the escape of Don Carlos, which altered the aspect of affairs in Spain, and some trifling points of etiquette which might easily have been adjusted, the Spanish question would have been settled among the Powers long ago, and the Queen recognised by them all. He said that for a long time past the affairs of Europe had been extensively influenced by personal feelings and individual interests and passions, greatly so on Palmerston's own part and very much during the embassy of the Lievens, Madame de Lieven having been so much influenced by partisanship and by her fluctuating friendships and connexions. The Emperor told Esterhazy that it was impossible for him to leave Lieven there, that he was not represented by him as he ought to be, that they in some respects fell short of, and in others went beyond, the line which their duty and his interests demanded. He said that the Emperor Nicholas was a very remarkable man — absolute master, his own Minister, and under no other influence whatever — that his perceptions were just and his ideas remarkably clear, although his views were not very extensive, and the circle within which these ideas ranged was limited, Nesselrode not having a particle of influence ; his Ministers and Ambassadors were clerks ; and while his [372] ease and affability to foreigners (to him — Esterhazy — in particular) were excessively striking, he treated his Russians with a loftiness that could not be conceived, and one and all trembled in his presence with the crouching humility of slaves. When he was at Prague he on a sudden set off and travelled with amazing rapidity to Vienna, without giving any notice to anybody. His object was to visit the Dowager Empress and the tomb of the late Emperor. He alighted at Tatischefs (his Ambassador's), where, as soon as his arrival was known, the Russian ladies who were at Vienna full-dressed themselves and hurried off to pay their devoirs. They were met in all their diamonds and feathers on the staircase by Benkendorf, who said, ' Allez-vous-en bien vite ; 1'Empereur ne veut pas voir une seule de vous,' and they were obliged to bustle back with as much alacrity as they had come. Though the best understanding prevailed between the French and Austrian Governments, and the latter is cordially allied with Louis Philippe, there is some sourness and disappointment at the failure of the project of marriage with which the Duke of Orleans went to Vienna. Esterhazy said that it had failed in great measure through an imprudent precipitation ; that the Duke had given universal satisfaction, but there were great prejudices to surmount, and the recollection of Marie Antoinette and Marie Louise. He thought the advantages of the match were overrated at Paris, but they were so anxious for it there that the disappointment was considerable ; he said he thought that it might still be brought about. These are the few fragments I have retained from the talk we had.

November 13th.

Nomination of the Sheriffs yesterday. Two of the Judges — old Park and Alderson — would not send me their lists, nonsensically alleging that it was unconstitutional ; all the others did. [1] Old Park is peevish and foolish. The Ministers are come to town, having enough upon their hands ; the war in Spain, and approaching downfall of the

[1] The lists of Sheriffs for the ensuing year are commonly handed in by the Judges to the Clerk of the Council in the Court of Exchequer on the morrow of St. Martin.

[373] Christino cause, will be a blow which will shake Palmerston's credit severely, and many think will force him to retire, which, however, I do not expect. Then the nervousness in the City about the monetary state, the disappearance of gold, the cessation of orders from America, and the consequent interruption to trade, and dismissal of thousands of workmen, who have been thrown out of employment, present the prospect of a disquieting winter. It is remarkable that all accounts agree in stating that so great is the improvidence of the artisans and manufacturing labourers, that none of those who have been in the receipt of the highest wages have saved anything against the evil days with which they are menaced. Rice affected to be very cheerful yesterday, and said it would all come right. A good deal of alarm, however, prevails in what are called practical quarters. Then there is a split among the Radicals, some of whom are dissatisfied that Government will not take up their views, and others are affronted at the personal neglect or incivility which they have experienced. As the Ministers disclaim any connexion with the Radicals while existing upon their support, they think it necessary in proof of the first to exclude them from any participation in those social civilities which Ministers usually dispense to their adherents, and as these patriots are not free from the same stirrings of pride and vanity which are found in other men, they are mortified and disgusted, as well as indignant, at such unworthy usage ; they will, however, smooth their ruffled plumage before Parliament meets, for they must support the present Government, and Government will perhaps be a little more cordial, as they can't do without these allies.

November 17th.

I have had two other conversations with Esterhazy at different times. He went to Brighton and saw the King, whom he thought much baissé, but I do not know whether it is a proof of it that he could not prevail upon his Majesty to enter upon foreign politics with him. He repeated to me what he had said before of the necessity of a strict and cordial union between Austria and England, and the disposition of the former not to contest our supremacy and [374] influence in the Peninsula, but he harps upon the mode of doing this, which I don't quite understand. I gathered from him, and have heard from other quarters, that Metternich's influence is much diminished, and that the Austrian Cabinet is no longer ruled by him as heretofore, and that there is not the same union : but there would appear to be a very complete union in the Austrian Imperial Family, who cling together from a sense of their common interest, and in great measure from the respect and attachment which they all feel for the memory of the late Emperor. Esterhazy said it was remarkable, considering the condition of the Imperial House — the Emperor [1] in a state bordering on idiocy, not likely to live above four or five years at the outside, and his uncles all men of talent and energy ; the next heir, the brother of the Emperor, [2] is a man of competent sense, but the late Emperor's brothers he describes to be all superior men.

He told me a great deal about the Duke of Reichstadt, who, if he had lived, would have probably played a great part in the world. He died of a premature decay, brought on apparently by over-exertion and over-excitement; his talents were very conspicuous, he was pétri d'ambition, worshipped the memory of his father, and for that reason never liked his mother ; his thoughts were incessantly turned towards France, and when he heard of the days of July he said, ' Why was I not there to take my chance ? ' He evinced great affection and gratitude to his grandfather, who, while he scrupulously observed all his obligations towards Louis Philippe, could not help feeling a secret pride in the aspiring genius and ambition of Napoleon's son. He was well educated, and day and night pored over the history of his father's glorious career. He delighted in military exercises, and not only shone at the head of his regiment,

[1] The Emperor Ferdinand, here described, filled the throne until 1848, when he abdicated in the great convulsion of that year ; he spent the rest of his life in retirement at Prague, but he survived this prediction nearly forty years.

[2] The Archduke Franz Joseph, father of the present Emperor. But this Archduke never filled the throne.

[375] but had already acquired the hereditary art of ingratiating himself with the soldiers. Esterhazy told me one anecdote in particular, which shows the absorbing passion of his soul overpowering the usual propensities of his age. He was to make his first appearance in public at a ball at Lady Cowley's (to which he had shown great anxiety to go) and was burning with impatience to amuse himself with dancing and flirting with the beauties he had admired in the Prater. He went, but there he met two French marshals — Marmont and Maison. He had no eyes or ears but for them ; from nine in the evening to five the next morning he devoted himself to these marshals, and conversed with them without ceasing. Though he knew well enough all the odium that attached to Marmont, he said to him that he was too happy to have the opportunity of making the acquaintance of one who had been among his father's earliest companions, and who could tell him so many interesting details of his earlier days. Marmont subsequently either did give or was to have given him lessons in strategy.

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