The Greville Memoirs

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The Greville Memoirs


The Duke of Wellington's Administration — Huskisson's Speech — Irritation of Mr. Canning's Friends — Tom Duncombe's Maiden Speech — Mr. Huskisson resigns and the Canningites quit the Government — Princess Lieven Hostile to the Duke — The Catholic Question — Jockey Club Dinner at St. James's — Lord Lyndhurst — Sir Robert Adair — Fox and Burke — Fox and Pitt — The Lord High Admiral dismissed by the King — Dawson's Speech on Catholic Emancipation — The King's Health — His Pages — State of Ireland — Marquis of Anglesey — O'Connell — His Influence in Ireland — Lord Belmore Governor of Jamaica — The Duke's Letter to Dr. Curtis — Recall of Lord Anglesey from Ireland — Causes of this Event — Excitement of the King on the Catholic Question — His Aversion to Sir William Knighton — Character of George IV. — Denman's Silk Gown — Pension to Lady Westmeath — Duke of Wellington on Russia — The Reis-Effendi — Duke of Northumberland goes to Ireland — Privy Council Register — State Paper Office — The Gunpowder Plot — Catholic Emancipation — Navarino.

[124] January 28th, 1828

Until the Duke of Wellington's commission as First Lord of the Treasury appeared many people doubted that he would take the office. [1] The Ordnance was offered to [125] Lord Rosslyn, who refused it, and then given to Lord Beresford, but without a seat in the Cabinet (as Lord Bathurst told me) by his own particular desire. Some days have now elapsed, and time has been afforded for the expression of popular feeling and opinion on the late changes. Lady Canning and many of Canning's friends are very much dissatisfied with Huskisson, and think he deserted his principles and outraged the memory of Canning. Lady C. particularly is much hurt at what has passed. She has not seen Huskisson, but he is aware of her sentiments, though he says she has so high an opinion of him that she is sure he is acting for what he believes to be the best. The majority of Canning's friends have adhered to the Government. The great body of the Whigs who belonged to or supported the late Government are indignant and violent, particularly with Huskisson, who they think has betrayed them. An interview has taken place between Huskisson and Lord Lansdowne, in which the former explained his conduct, and (as far as I can learn) the latter said but little, neither condemning nor approving. But the great body of the party are resolved to oppose the new Government in every way, though without attempting to form a party, which they do not think feasible in their present condition. They intend a desultory and harassing warfare, particularly attacking Huskisson upon Liberal measures, to which he stands pledged,16 November, 2014eagues from carrying into effect. The seceding Whigs are triumphant, because they assert that what has happened is a full justification of their conduct. They forget, however, that all this is mainly attributable to them and to Canning's death, which occurred in the interim. On the other hand the old Tories are not altogether satisfied, and, though rejoiced at the restoration of the party, cannot bear to see Huskisson and his friends members of the Government from abhorrence of Canning and all Liberal

[1] The Duke of Wellington's Administration was at first constituted as follows: —

Duke of Wellington, First Lord of the Treasury.
Lord Lyndhurst, Lord Chancellor.
Earl Bathurst, Lord President of the Council.
Earl of Ellenborough, Lord Privy Seal.
Mr. Peel, Home Secretary.
Lord Dudley, Foreign Secretary.
Mr. Huskisson, Colonial Secretary.
Earl of Aberdeen, Duchy of Lancaster.
Mr. Goulburn, Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Mr. Charles Grant, President of the Board of Trade.
Mr. Herries, Master of the Mint.
Viscount Melville, President of the India Board.
Lord Dudley, Mr. Huskisson, Mr. Grant, and Lord Palmerston (Secretary at War, not in the Cabinet)
were the four Canningite members who resigned in May following. They were replaced by Lord Aberdeen, Sir George Murray, Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, and Sir Henry Hardinge respectively.

[126] principles. However, the principal men have sent in their adhesions in very civil letters to the Duke.

All the Ministers (old and new) were at Windsor the other day; but it was contrived that they should not meet, the ins being in one room and Lansdowne and Carlisle in another, and it was afterwards discovered that in a third room by himself was Goderich. This Lord Sefton told me, and he had it from Lord Lansdowne, who had it from the King and confirmed by Lord Conyngham. His Majesty was remarkably civil to Lords Lansdowne and Carlisle. The King had a scene with the Duke of Devonshire, whom he could not persuade to stay in his place, though he tried hard. Scarlett has resigned the Attorney-Generalship, but not very willingly. He wrote to Milton and asked his advice. Milton advised him to resign, and so he did. One thing that has angered the Tories is the Duke's not having consulted Lord Eldon, nor offered him any place; and it seems he is extremely mortified, for though he did not want the seals again, he would have been very glad to take office as President of the Council.

February 25th, 1828

There is one advantage in writing at intervals of some time instead of keeping a regular diary; I can take a more bird's-eye view of events, and avoid falling into many errors, which it would be afterwards necessary to correct. I went to Newmarket and stayed there three weeks for my health. While I was there Huskisson made his speech at Liverpool. [2] The Tories were furious, and in the [127] House of Lords the Duke of Wellington contradicted it, or rather said he did not believe it was faithfully reported, for all that he was reported to have said about the guarantee was untrue. I returned to town in time for the House of Commons, and found the greatest excitement, curiosity, and violence generally prevailing. As to Huskisson, he had offended the Tories, the Whigs, and Lady Canning, and everybody condemned him. Parties were split to pieces, there was no Opposition, and no man could tell what were the politics of his neighbour, scarcely what his own. Lady Canning was in a state of great rage and resentment, and had inspired George Bentinck with the same sentiments. Clanricarde had been sent down by her to the House of Lords furnished with extracts of Canning's letters to throw in the teeth of his old friends and his old enemies, and she threatened fresh disclosures and fresh documents which were to confound all whom she deemed worthy of her indignation. A very angry colloquy took place at a dinner at Warrender's between Lord Seaford and George Bentinck, in which the latter violently attacked Mr. Canning's friends for joining the present Government, and quoted Huskisson's declaration that he would never act with the men who had abandoned him. Lord Seaford grew angry, and asked George what he knew of that declaration and what his authority was for quoting it. To which George replied that he had it from himself — from Lord Seaford at Paris. This confounded the noble Lord, and altogether there was a pretty violent altercation, which greatly annoyed both him and Howard, who was present, and was regretted by all their common friends. Two days after this came on the debate in the House of Commons and the explanations of Huskisson and Herries. Their speeches were both satisfactory enough till Tierney spoke, who entirely knocked over their cases, or at least that of Herries, for against Huskisson he proved nothing, except that he might perhaps have been more communicative, though I think this reproach applies more to Lord Goderich than to him. The impression left with regard to Herries was as unfavourable as possible.

[2] The speech made by Mr. Huskisson on his re-election at Liverpool on the 5th of February, 1828, is printed in vol. iii. of his 'Collected Speeches,' p. 673. It contains a full account of these transactions. The passage which gave so much offence to the Tories was that 'if the Government was such as satisfied the view I took of the interests of the country, and provided such arrangements were made in its construction as afforded a guarantee that the principle I approved should not be departed from, I was not precluded from joining it;' and again, 'The presence in office of such men as Lord Dudley, Lord Palmerston, Mr. Grant, and Mr. Lamb is the most satisfactory of all guarantees that the general principles of our foreign and commercial system would remain unchanged, and that Ireland would be governed with the strictest impartiality in respect to the Catholic question.' These declarations of Mr. Huskisson had a material effect on the occurrences which not long afterwards took place.

[128] The great event of the night was Duncombe's [3] speech, which was delivered with perfect self-possession and composure, but in so ridiculous a manner that everybody laughed at him, although they were amused with his impudence and at the style and objects of his attack. However, the next day it was discovered that he had performed a great exploit; he was loudly applauded and congratulated on all sides, and made into the hero of the day. His fame was infinitely increased on a subsequent night, when Herries again came before the House and when Tommy fired another shot at him. The newspapers were full of his praises. The Whigs called at his door and eagerly sought his acquaintance. Those who love fun and personality cheered him on with loud applause, and he now fancies himself the greatest man going, and is ready to get up and abuse anybody on the Treasury bench. To me, who knew all the secret strings that moved this puppet, nothing can be more amusing.

[3] Thomas Slingsby Duncombe, nephew of the first Lord Feversham distinguished for his Radical opinions, M.P. for Finsbury after the Reform Bill. He sat at this time for Hertford; and the incident related in the text appears to have been his debut in political life.

The history of Tom Duncombe and his speech is instructive as well as amusing, for it is a curious proof of the facility with which the world may be deceived, and of the prodigious effect which may be produced by the smallest means, if they are aided by some fortuitous circumstances and happily applied. Tommy came to Henry de Ros and told him that his constituents at Hertford were very anxious he should make a speech, but that he did not know what to say, and begged Henry to supply him with the necessary materials. He advised him to strike out something new, and having received his assurance that he should be able to recollect anything that he learned by heart, and that he was not afraid of his courage failing, Henry composed for him the speech which Duncombe delivered. But knowing the slender capacity of his man, he was not satisfied with placing the speech in his hands, but adopted every precaution which his ingenuity suggested to avert the danger of his breaking [129] down. He made him learn the speech by heart, and then made him think it over again and put it into language of his own, justly fearing that if he should forget any of the more polished periods of the original it would appear sadly botched by his own interpolations. He then instructed him largely as to how and when he was to bring it in, supplying him with various commonplace phrases to be used as connecting links, and by the help of which he might be enabled to fasten upon some of the preceding speeches. I saw Henry de Ros the day before the debate, when he told me what he was doing, and asked me to suggest anything that occurred upon the subject, and at the same time repeated to me the speech with which he had armed his hero. I hinted my apprehensions that he would fail in the delivery, but though he was not without some alarm, he expressed (as it afterwards appeared a well-grounded) confidence in Duncombe's extraordinary nerve and intrepidity.

His speech on the second night was got up precisely in the same manner, and although it appeared to arise out of the debate and of those which preceded it, the matter had been all crammed into him by his invisible Mentor. The amusement to him and to me (especially at the honours that have been thickly poured upon him and the noise which he has made in the world) is indescribably pungent.

Thus Duncombe and his speech have made what is called a great sensation, and he has the reputation (no matter whether justly or not) of having thrown the enemy's camp into greater confusion by the boldness of his language than anybody has ever done, because nobody has ever before dared to mention those whom he dragged forward. To the ignorant majority of the world he appears a man of great promise, of boldness, quickness, and decision, and the uproar that is made about him cannot fail to impress others as well as himself with a high notion of his consequence.

Knighton is gone abroad, I have very little doubt, in consequence of what passed, and as nobody enquires very minutely into the real causes of things where they get apparent ones with ease, it is said and believed at once [130] that Duncombe is the man who has driven him out, and that he has given the first blow to that secret influence which has only been obscurely hinted at before and never openly attacked. These are great and important matters, far exceeding any consequences which the authors of the speech anticipated from its delivery at the time. And what are the agents who have produced such an effect? A man of ruined fortune and doubtful character, whose life has been spent on the race-course, at the gaming-table, and in the green-room, of limited capacity, exceedingly ignorant, and without any stock but his impudence to trade on, only speaking to serve an electioneering purpose, and crammed by another man with every thought and every word that he uttered.

June 12th, 1828

We have now got a Tory Government, and all that remained of Canning's party are gone. [4] The case of the Duke of Wellington and Huskisson is before the world, but nobody judges fairly. Motives are attributed to both parties which had no existence, and the truth is hardly ever told at first, though it generally oozes out by degrees. After the explanations in February the Government went on to all appearance very well, but there lurked under this semblance of harmony some seeds of jealousy and distrust, not I believe so much in the mind of the Duke as in those of his Tory colleagues, and the Canningites on their side certainly felt no cordiality even towards the Duke himself. They said that he never could nor would understand anything; that he said a thing one day and forgot it the next,

[4] Bills had been brought into Parliament for the disfranchisement of the boroughs of Penryn and East Retford, and the transfer of those seats to Manchester and Birmingham. On the East Retford case, which came before the House of Commons on the 19th of May, Mr. Huskisson felt bound in honour to support the measure, and voted against his colleagues. On his return home after the debate he wrote a hasty letter to the Duke of Wellington, in which he said that he 'owed it to the Duke and to Mr. Peel to lose no time in affording them an opportunity of placing his office in other hands.' The Duke regarding this as a formal act of resignation, laid it before the King and filled up the appointment. The correspondence is published in the Duke of Wellington's 'Correspondence,' New Series, vol. iv. p. 449. The resignation of Lord Palmerston, Charles Grant, and Lord Dudley followed. The details of this transaction are sufficiently alluded to in the text.

[131] and instead of that clearness of intellect for which he had credit, nothing could be more puzzled and confused than he was; that nothing could absolve him from the suspicion of duplicity and insincerity but the conviction that his ambiguous conduct on various occasions arose from a confusion of ideas. On the other hand, Lord Bathurst told my father that he thought they (Huskisson and his friends) were too much disposed to act together as a party in the Cabinet; and it is clear that the Duke thought so too, and that this feeling and the resentment it engendered in his mind are the real reasons of his conduct on the late occasion.

There had been a dispute in the Cabinet about the Corn Bill, which occasioned the discussion of it to be put off for a few days at the time, and upon that occasion Grant resigned his office. The matter was made up and he stayed. But when upon the East Retford affair Huskisson resigned, and in such an extraordinary manner, the Duke felt that there was a disposition to embarrass him by these perpetual tenders of resignation, which he believed they thought he would not venture to accept. Upon receiving Huskisson's letter he went to Lord Bathurst and consulted him, and Lord Bathurst advised him to take him at his word. Everybody looks for some cause which does not appear for important events, and people with difficulty admit of very simple solutions and very trifling causes, though such are not unfrequently the real ones. I believe that Huskisson had no intention of embarrassing the Duke and none of resigning; but for a cool and sensible man his conduct is most extraordinary, for he acted with the precipitation of a schoolboy and showed a complete want of all those qualities of prudence and calm deliberation for which he has the greatest credit. But though this breach might have been avoided, from the sentiments which have been expressed by both parties, it is evident other differences would have arisen which must have dissolved the Government before long. After putting aside the violent opinions on both sides, the conclusion is that Huskisson acted very hastily and imprudently, and that his letter (say what he will) was a complete resignation, [132] and that the Duke had a right so to consider it; that in the Duke's conduct there appeared a want of courtesy and an anxiety to get rid of him which it would have been more fair to avow and defend than to deny; that on both sides there was a mixture of obstinacy and angry feeling, and a disposition to treat the question rather as a personal matter than one in which the public interests were deeply concerned. But the charge which is made on one side that Huskisson wanted to embarrass the Duke's Government and enhance his own importance, and that on the other of the Duke's insincerity, are both unfounded.

Some circumstances, however, contributed to place the Duke's conduct in an unfavourable point of view. These were the extravagant and unconcealed joy of the High Tories and of his immediate friends, and his attending at the same time the Pitt dinner and sitting there while Lord Eldon gave his famous 'one cheer more' for Protestant ascendency. That he treated Huskisson with some degree of harshness there is no doubt, but he was angry, and not without reason; the former brought it all upon himself. During the debate upon East Retford, when Huskisson was called upon by Sandon to redeem his pledge, he told Peel that he could not help himself, and must vote against him; but he begged him to put off the question till the following week, that it might be considered again. This Peel refused; had he acceded, all this would not have taken place.

When the King saw Huskisson he was extremely gracious to him, expressed the utmost regret at losing him, and said that he had wished not to see him at first, that he might avoid receiving his resignation, and in hopes that the matter would have been arranged. [5] However, the other party say that the King is very glad to have got rid of him and his party.

[5] Huskisson solicited an audience, which his Majesty refused for some days to grant: he would not see him until he had written again to the Duke of Wellington.

In the middle of all this Madame de Lieven is supposed to have acted with great impertinence if not imprudence, [133] and to have made use of the access she has to the King to say all sorts of things against the Duke and the present Government. Her dislike to the Duke has been increasing ever since that cessation of intimacy which was caused by Canning's accession to power, when she treated him very uncivilly in order to pay court to Canning. Esterhazy told me last night that although her position here was now greatly changed, and that it was far from being so agreeable as it was, he could not accuse her of imprudence in having taken the part she had done, because he thought that it had answered very well, and that the objects of her Court had been in great measure accomplished through her means.

June 18th, 1828

The Duke of Wellington's speech on the Catholic question is considered by many to have been so moderate as to indicate a disposition on his part to concede emancipation, and bets have been laid that Catholics will sit in Parliament next year. Many men are resolved to see it in this light who are anxious to join his Government, and whose scruples with regard to that question are removed by such an interpretation of his speech. I do not believe he means to do anything until he is compelled to it, which if he remains in office he will be; for the success of the Catholic question depends neither on Whigs nor Tories, the former of whom have not the power and the latter not the inclination to carry it. The march of time and the state of Ireland will effect it in spite of everything, and its slow but continual advance can neither be retarded by its enemies nor accelerated by its friends. In the meantime men affect to consider his expressions as of importance enough to influence their conduct in taking or refusing office. Frankland Lewis, [6] who refused the Irish Secretaryship, said that after that speech he regretted his refusal and would be glad to take it, and now he wants to join the Government again. Certainly at this moment the Tories are triumphant, [134] and so far from the Duke's Government having any difficulty in standing, there does not appear to be a disposition in any quarter to oppose it. Not only in Parliament there is no Opposition, but the press is veering round and treating him with great civility. The Government seem well disposed to follow up the Liberal policy, to which they have been suspected of being adverse, and have already declared that they do not intend to deviate either in their foreign or domestic policy from the principles on which the Government was understood to act previous to the separation. Arbuthnot told my father yesterday that they all regret now having resigned in 1827, and Huskisson owned to A. that he had acted with unfortunate precipitancy.

[6] Right Hon. T. Frankland Lewis, a member of the Grenville and Canning section of the Tory party; made a baronet by Sir Robert Peel; the father of the Right Hon. Sir George Cornewall Lewis.

June 29th, 1828

I dined yesterday with the King at St. James's — his Jockey Club dinner. There were about thirty people, several not being invited whom he did not fancy. The Duke of Leeds told me a much greater list had been made out, but he had scratched several out of it. We assembled in the Throne Room, and found him already there, looking very well and walking about. He soon, however, sat down, and desired everybody else to do so. Nobody spoke, and he laughed and said, 'This is more like a Quaker than a Jockey Club meeting.' We soon went to dinner, which was in the Great Supper Room and very magnificent. He sat in the middle, with the Dukes of Richmond and Grafton on each side of him. I sat opposite to him, and he was particularly gracious to me, talking to me across the table and recommending all the good things; he made me (after eating a quantity of turtle) eat a dish of crawfish soup, till I thought I should have burst. After dinner the Duke of Leeds, who sat at the head of the table, gave 'The King.' We all stood up, when his Majesty thanked us, and said he hoped this would be the first of annual meetings of the sort to take place, there or elsewhere under his roof. He then ordered paper, pens, &c., and they began making matches and stakes; the most perfect ease was established, just as much as if we had been dining with the Duke of York, and he seemed delighted. He made one or two little speeches, [135] one recommending that a stop should be put to the exportation of horses. He twice gave 'The Turf,' and at the end the Duke of Richmond asked his leave to give a toast, and again gave 'The King.' He thanked all the gentlemen, and said that there was no man who had the interests of the turf more at heart than himself, that he was delighted at having this party, and that the oftener they met the better, and he only wanted to have it pointed out to him how he could promote the pleasure and amusement of the turf, and he was ready to do anything in his power. He got up at half-past twelve and wished us good night. Nothing could go off better, and Mount Charles told me he was sure he was delighted.

I dined with the Chancellor [Lord Lyndhurst] three days ago; he talked to me a great deal about his acceptance of the Great Seal and of the speculation it was. He was Master of the Rolls with £7,000 a year for life when it was offered to him; he debated whether it was worth while to give this up to be Chancellor for perhaps only one year, with a peerage and the pension. He talked the matter over with his wife, and they agreed that if it only lasted one year (which he evidently thought probable) it was worth while, besides the contingency of a long Chancellorship. He asked me if the Government was popular and reckoned strong. I told him it was apparently popular and reckoned strong, because there was no Opposition and little chance of any. I said that however hazardous his speculation might have been, it had turned out well, for he had a good chance of being Chancellor as long as his predecessor had been, there being so few candidates for the office. He said this was true, and then he talked of his Court, and said it was impossible for one man to do the business of it. In talking of the speculation he had made, political opinions and political consistency seemed never to occur to him, and he considered the whole matter in a light so business-like and professional as to be quite amusing. He talked of the Duke, said he was a good man to do business with, quick and intelligent, and 'how well he managed that little correspondence [136] with Huskisson,' which was droll enough, for Huskisson dined there and was in the room.

August 6th, 1828

About three weeks ago I went to Windsor to a Council. The King had been very ill for a day or two, but was recovered. Rob Adair [7] was sworn in Privy Councillor, and he remained in the room and heard the speech, which he ought not to have done. The Duke attacked me afterwards (in joke) for letting him stay; but I told him it was no business of mine, and his neighbour ought to have told him to go. That neighbour, however, was Vesey Fitzgerald, who said it was the first time he had attended a Council, and he could not begin by turning another man out. I brought Adair back to town, and he told me a great many things about Burke, and Fox, and Fitzpatrick, and all the eminent men of that time with whom he lived when he was young. He said what I have often heard before, that Fitzpatrick was the most agreeable of them all, but Hare the most brilliant. Burke's conversation was delightful, so luminous and instructive. He was very passionate, and Adair said that the first time he ever saw him he unluckily asked him some question about the wild parts of Ireland, when Burke broke out, 'You are a fool and a blockhead; there are no wild parts in Ireland.' He was extremely terrified, but afterwards Burke was very civil to him, and he knew him very well.

[7] Right Hon. Sir Robert Adair, the friend of Fox, formerly ambassador at Constantinople and Vienna. It was he whom Canning once called 'Bobadare-a-dool-powla.'

He told me a great deal about the quarrel between Fox and Burke. Fox never ceased to entertain a regard for Burke, and at no time would suffer him to be abused in his presence. There was an attempt made to bring about a reconciliation, and a meeting for that purpose took place of all the leading men at Burlington House. Burke was on the point of yielding when his son suddenly made his appearance unbidden, and on being told what was going on said, 'My father shall be no party to such a compromise,' took Burke aside and persuaded him to reject the overtures. That son Adair [137] described as the most disagreeable, violent, and wrong-headed of men, but the idol of his father, who used to say that he united all his own talents and acquirements with those of Fox and everybody else. After the death of Richard Burke, Fox and Burke met behind the throne of the House of Lords one day, when Fox went up to Burke and put out both his hands to him. Burke was almost surprised into meeting this cordiality in the same spirit, but the momentary impulse passed away, and he doggedly dropped his hands and left the House.

Adair told me that Lord Holland has written very copious memoirs of his own time, and particularly characters of all the eminent men who have died, in the delineation of which he excels. Soon after Pitt's resignation in 1801 there was an attempt made to effect a junction between Pitt and Fox, to which they were neither of them averse. The negotiation was, however, entrusted to subordinate agents, and Adair said that he had always regretted that they had not met, for if they had he thought the matter would have been arranged. As it was the design was thwarted by the King through the intervention (I think he said) of Lord Loughborough.

There was another Council about a week ago. On these occasions the King always whispers to me something or other about his racehorses or something about myself, and I am at this moment in high favour. We had Howley and Bloomfield [8] at this Council, with the latter of whom I made acquaintance, to the great amusement of the Duke. He laughed at seeing me conversing with this bishop.

[8] The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London.

I hear from Frederick Lamb that the Duke is greatly alarmed about Ireland. By-the-by he, Frederick, [9] is come back from Portugal, thinking that our Government have acted very ill and very foolishly, first encouraging and then abandoning these wretched Constitutionalists to their fate, and he is no particular friend to Liberalism.

[9] Sir Frederick Lamb, afterwards created Lord Beauvale, and who became Lord Melbourne on the death of his brother William.

August 14th, 1828

Just returned from Goodwood, where I [138] went on the 11th, and heard on arriving that the Lord High Admiral had resigned, but no particulars. It is a very good thing at all events.

August 16th, 1828

The Lord High Admiral was turned out. [10] The Duke told him that he must go, but that he might resign as if of his own accord. The Duke is all-powerful. It is strongly reported that Peel will resign, that the Duke means to concede the Catholic question and to negotiate a concordat with the Pope. Many people think Lord Grey will join the Government, and that he will be First Lord of the Admiralty. The Duke gave his brother Dr. Bloomfield's living without any solicitation. Esterhazy told me to-night that Palmella entertains from twenty to thirty of his countrymen at dinner every day, of whom there are several hundred in London, of the best families, totally destitute. All Palmella's property is sequestrated, but he receives the appointment of Portuguese Minister from the Brazilian Government.

[10] The King's letter dismissing the Duke of Clarence from the office of Lord High Admiral was dated the 11th of August, 1828. It is published in the Duke of Wellington's 'Correspondence,' New Series, vol. iv. p. 595.

August 22nd, 1828

Went to Stoke on the 19th and came back yesterday. There were the Dowager Lady Salisbury, Duchess of Newcastle, Worcester and Lady W. Russell, Giles, Billy Churchill. On the 18th Dawson's speech [11] at Derry reached us, and I never remember any occurrence which excited greater surprise. The general impression was that he made the speech, with the Duke's knowledge and concurrence, which I never believed. I thought from what he said to me just before he went to Ireland that he had changed his own opinion, and now many people say they knew this; but I was little prepared to hear of his making [139] such a speech at such a place as Derry, and on such an occasion as a 'Prentice Boy' commemoration. The rage and fury of the Orangemen there and of the Orange press here are boundless, and the violence and scurrility of their abuse are the more absurd because Dawson only described in glowing colours, and certainly without reserve, the actual state of Ireland, but did not argue the question at all further than leaving on his hearers the inevitable inference that he thought the time for granting emancipation was come. The truth is that the conversion of one of the most violent anti-Catholics must strike everybody as a strong argument in favour of the measure, and they know not by how many and by whom his example may be followed. The Orangemen are moving heaven and earth to create disturbances, and their impotent fury shows how low their cause is sunk. The Catholics, on the contrary, are temperate and calm, from confidence in their strength and the progressive advance of their course. But although I think the Catholics are now in a position which renders their ultimate success certain, I am very far from participating in the sanguine expectations of those who think the Duke of Wellington is convinced that the question must be settled directly, and that he will carry it through in the ensuing session. In the first place I see clearly that the Government are extremely annoyed at Dawson's speech. I saw Goulburn to-day, and though he did not say much, what he did say was enough to satisfy me of this: 'he hoped that it had been incorrectly reported.' Dawson has written to the Duke, [12] and the letter was sent to him to-day. But what has put me in despair about it is a letter of the Duke's which Drummond read to me to-day addressed, I do not know to whom, but upon that subject. It began, 'My dear sir,' and after other matter proceeded nearly as follows: — 'This subject has been more discussed and more pamphlets have been written upon it in [140] the course of the last twenty-five years than any other that I can remember. No two people are agreed upon what ought to be done, and yet the Government is expected at once to settle the question.' This is the old argument, as if after thirty years' discussion in every shape it was not time to settle the question. As if those who undertake to govern the country were not the men who are bound to find the means of settling it and allaying the irritation it causes. And as if, instead of no two persons being agreed upon the subject, all the ablest and wisest men in the country were not cordially agreed that complete emancipation is the only remedy for the evils that exist, and that they are opposed by the most despicable faction which ever existed, animated by the most base and sordid motives. This letter was read to me as conveying the Duke's opinions, which his secretary thought were very sound and sensible, and which I think evinced a degree of anility quite pitiable, and proves how little there is to expect from any liberality and good sense on his part.

[11] Mr. Peel's confidential letter to the Duke of Wellington, stating his reluctant conviction that it was indispensably necessary for the Government to change its policy on the Catholic question, was written on the 11th of August, 1828. The letter is published in Sir Robert Peel's 'Posthumous Memoirs,' vol. i, p. 189. It is a remarkable circumstance that Mr. Dawson's speech at Derry was made just one week afterwards; but there is no evidence that he knew of the change in his brother-in-law's opinion. See for further details as to the effect of Dawson's speech infra.
[12] [This letter is published in the Duke of Wellington's 'Correspondence,' New Series, vol. iv. p. 633. The Duke said, 'Dawson's speech is too bad. Surely a man who does such things ought to be put in a strait waistcoat.' Ibid. p. 636.]

I do not yet know the whole truth of the Lord High Admiral's resignation, but it seems that it is not yet certain. Negotiations on the subject are still going on. I believe he quarrelled with his council, particularly Cockburn, and that Government took part with Cockburn. The Duke of Clarence wants to promote deserving officers, but they oppose it on account of the expense, and they find in everything great difficulty in keeping him in order. His resignation will be very unpopular in the navy, for his system of promotion was more liberal and impartial than that of his predecessor, whose administration was one perpetual job, and who made the patronage of the Admiralty instrumental to governing Scotland. Hitherto the appointments of Government have not been the most judicious — Lord Belmore to Jamaica, because he is a Lord, and a very dull one; Lord Strangford to the Brazils, though the Duke knows as well as anybody that he cannot be trusted, and was recalled by Canning because he said and did all sorts of things at Constantinople for which he had no authority, and they found that no reliance whatever [141] was to be placed in him. Lord Stuart de Rothesay, too, is sent back to Paris, though personally obnoxious to the King and universally disliked.

Stoke, August 25th, 1828

Went to Windsor to-day for a Council and came on here after it. There were the Chancellor, Peel, Fitzgerald, Ellenborough, Sir G. Murray, the Archbishop, and Bishop of London, who came to do homage. The King gave the Chancellor a long audience, and another to Peel, probably to talk over Dawson's speech and Orange politics. After the Council the King called me and talked to me about racehorses, which he cares more about than the welfare of Ireland or the peace of Europe. We walked over the Castle, which is nearly finished, but too gaudy. The King told me he would go to Egham races to-morrow. I talked to Fitzgerald about Dawson's speech. He said he believed Dawson had never told the Duke or Peel what he meant to do, that he thought he was very bold and imprudent. However, he was glad of it, as it must assist the cause, and the moral effect in Ireland would be produced before the Duke's sentiments could be known. Lord Mount Charles told me the day before yesterday that the reason the Duke of Clarence had resigned was, that he had in many instances exceeded his powers, which had produced remonstrances from the Duke of Wellington, whereupon the Duke of Clarence tendered his resignation, and the Duke immediately carried it to the King without asking him to stay. [13] Afterwards there were some negotiations, when the Duke of Clarence refused to stay if Cockburn did. They would not, [142] however, part with Cockburn, but subsequently the Duke shook hands with him and asked him to dine at Bushy on his birthday. He said that his successor was not appointed, but it will probably be Lord Melville. The King has not been well; he goes fishing and dining at Virginia Water, stays out late, and catches cold.

[13] A letter from the Duke of Wellington to Sir Robert Peel, dated the 13th of August, 1828, explains the circumstances that led to the removal of the Duke of Clarence from the office of Lord High Admiral. This letter is published in the first volume of Sir Robert Peel's 'Posthumous Memoirs on the Catholic Question and the Repeal of the Corn Laws,' p. 269. The Duke of Wellington says, 'He behaved very rudely to Cockburn. I saw Cockburn and Croker, and both agreed in stating that the machine could no longer work.' In a subsequent letter the Duke added, 'I quite agree with you that it is very unfortunate the Duke of Clarence has resigned. I did everything in my power to avoid that result, excepting give up Cockburn.' The whole correspondence is published in the fourth volume of the Duke's 'Correspondence,' New Series.

August 29th, 1828

Came from Stoke last night. There were the Lievens, Cowper, Lord Melbourne, Luttrell, Pierre d'Aremberg, Creevy, Russell, Montrond. The King went to Egham races Tuesday and Thursday, was very well received and pleased. He was very gracious to me. Madame de Lieven went over to the Lodge to see Lady Conyngham, who finding she had never seen Clifden, carried her off there, ordered luncheon and the pony carriage, took her all over the place, and then carried her back to Salthill, where the King's carriage met her and took her back to Virginia Water to dinner. Lieven told me they had never expected to find this Turkish expedition an easy business, and had always been prepared for great difficulties, &c., from which I conclude that they have met with some check. I met Bachelor, the poor Duke of York's old servant, and now the King's valet de chambre, and he told me some curious things about the interior of the Palace; but he is coming to call on me, and I will write down what he tells me then. There is a report that the Admiralty has been offered to Lord Melbourne. I asked him (at Stoke), and he said he had never heard of it.

London, November 25th, 1828

I have not written anything since I left town, because nothing occurred worth remembering. Yesterday I went to the Council at Windsor. Most of the Ministers were there, the Recorder, two foreign Ministers, and the Duke of Clarence. The King seemed to be very well. The Duke of Wellington did not arrive till late, and before he was come the King sent for Peel and gave him an audience of two hours at least. I thought there must be something in the wind, and was struck with Peel's taking the Duke into one of the window recesses and talking to him very earnestly as soon as he came out. I returned to town after the Council, and in the evening went to the play, and coming out I met Henry de Ros and Frederick Lamb. The former made me go with him in his carriage, when he told me what fully explained the cause of Peel's long audience — that the Duke has at last made up his mind to carry the Catholic question, and that Peel [14] and the rest of the violent anti-Catholics are going out; that the Duke's present idea is to apply to Huskisson, but that nothing will be done or said till the Ministers assemble in town and hold their cabinets.

[14] It had not then transpired, nor was it known until long afterwards, that the proposal to carry Catholic Emancipation was made by Mr. Peel to the Duke of Wellington on the 11th of August. Sir Robert Peel states, however, in his 'Memoir,' p. 269, 'At the close of the year 1828 little, if any, progress had been made in removing the difficulties with which the Duke of Wellington had to contend;' and, p. 274, 'The chief difficulty was the King. At the commencement of the month of January 1829 his Majesty had not yet signified his consent that the whole subject of Ireland, including the Catholic question, should be taken into consideration by his confidential servants.'

He told me also that the French Government have at last agreed to make common cause with us in preventing the Russians from prosecuting the war against Turkey.

December 16th, 1828

A Council at Windsor yesterday; very few present, and no audiences but Aberdeen for three-quarters of an hour and the Duke for five minutes. I sent for Bachelor and had a long talk with him. He said the King was well, but weak, his constitution very strong, no malady about him, but irritation in the bladder which he could not get rid of. He thinks the hot rooms and want of air and exercise do him harm, and that he is getting every day more averse to exercise and more prone to retirement, which, besides that it weakens his constitution, is a proof that he is beginning to break. Bachelor thinks he is in no sort of danger; I think he will not live more than two years. He says that his attendants are quite worn out with being always about him, and living in such hot rooms (which obliges them to drink) and seldom getting air and exercise. B. is at present well, but he sits up every other night with the King and never leaves him. He is in high favour, and Sir William Knighton is now as civil and obliging to him as he used to be the reverse. The King instructs him in his [144] duties in the kindest manner, likes to have him about him, and talks a great deal to him. But his Majesty keeps everybody at a great distance from him, and all about him are afraid of him, though he talks to his pages with more openness and familiarity than to anybody. He thinks Radford (who is dying) is not in such favour as he was, though he is always there; of O'Reilly the surgeon, who sees the King every day and carries him all the gossip he can pick up, Bachelor speaks with very little ceremony. The King told them the other day that 'O'R. was the damnedest liar in the world,' and it seems he is often in the habit of discussing people in this way to his valets de chambre. He reads a great deal, and every morning has his boxes brought to him and reads their contents. They are brought up by Knighton or Watson, both of whom have keys of all the boxes. He says there is not one person about him whom he likes — Mount Charles pretty well, Taylor better than anybody, Knighton constantly there and his influence unbounded; he thinks K. can do anything.

December 20th, 1828

Hyde Villiers called on me ten days ago to give me an account of his visit to Ireland. He seems to have been intimate with several of the leading men, particularly Sheil [actually spelled 'Sheil'], whom all agree in describing as the cleverest man of his party. He also saw a good deal of the Lord-Lieutenant; [15] and was struck by his imprudence and unreserve. He spoke very positively of his determination not to be a party to any measures contrary to his opinions, and did not scruple to complain of the little information he received from the Government here concerning their intentions. He also appears to have been flattered by O'Connell into entire confidence in him, and told Villiers that he would trust him implicitly. O'Connell and Sheil detest each other, though Sheil does not oppose him. Lawless detests him too, and he does everything he can to thwart and provoke him, and opposes him in the Association [16] upon all occasions. Lately in the affair of the 'exclusive dealing' he [145] met with such opposition in the Association that it required a great deal of time and management to get rid of that proposition, although in the end he carried the matter very triumphantly. But O'Connell, though opposed by a numerous party in the Association, is all-powerful in the country, and there is not one individual who has a chance of supplanting him in the affections of the great mass of the Catholics. For twenty-five years he has been continually labouring to obtain that authority and consideration which he possesses without a rival, and is now so great that they yield unlimited obedience to his individual will. As an orator he would probably fail in the English House of Commons; but to a mob, especially an Irish mob, he is perfect, exactly the style and manner which suits their tastes and comprehensions, and consequently his success with them is unbounded. He has a large landed property, is at the head of his profession, an admirable lawyer and manager of a cause, and never for a moment diverted by political or other considerations from the due discharge of his professional duties. He is besides a man of high moral character and great probity in private life, and has been for years in the habit of affording his professional assistance gratis to those of his own religion who cannot afford to pay for it. These are some of the grounds of his popularity, to which may be added his industry and devotion to the Roman Catholic cause; he rises at three every morning and goes to bed at eight. He possesses a very retentive memory, and is particularly strong in historical and constitutional knowledge. The great object of his ambition is to be at the head of his own profession, and his favourite project to reform the laws, a task for which he fancies himself eminently qualified. To accomplish any particular object he cares not to what charges of partial inconsistency he exposes himself, trusting to his own ingenuity to exonerate himself from them afterwards. Neither O'Connell nor Sheil are supposed to be men of courage, but Lawless is, and he is thought capable of the most desperate adventures. Sheil is of opinion that the Association might be suppressed by law; [146] O'Connell thinks it could not, and that if it might legally it could not practically. O'Connell says he can keep the country quiet another year certainly, Doyle thinks not. Doyle is a very able man, a man of the world, dislikes O'Connell, but is obliged to act in concert with him. Doyle, conscious of his own talents, is deeply mortified that no field is open for their display, and he is one of those men who must be eminent in whatever cause they are engaged. Murray [17] is a clever man, but not so ambitious as Doyle; Francis Leveson is extremely cautious, cold in his manners, and therefore conciliates no general regard in Ireland, where they like an exactly opposite character. William Lamb was popular beyond all precedent, but Francis seems to have avoided giving offence to either party, which is perhaps as much as could have been expected from him, and in a country where the rival factions are so exasperated against each other to be able to preserve a character for impartiality is no small praise. I wrote to my brother Henry what I have mentioned under the head of November 21st, and in return he told me that it was in contemplation to put down the Association, and that the law officers in Ireland had reported that it was practicable, and their opinion had come over here, but the decision of the Government had not arrived.

[15] The Marquis of Anglesey was then Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.
[16] The Catholic Association. The 'exclusive dealing' was a pledge required of members of the Association not to deal with Orangemen.
[17] Dr. Murray, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. Lord Francis Leveson (afterwards Lord Francis Egerton and Earl of Ellesmere), Mr. Greville's brother-in-law, was then Irish Secretary. William Lamb, afterwards Lord Melbourne, had preceded him in that office. Henry Greville held a place at the Vice-Regal Court.

I very soon saw enough to satisfy me that the Duke is endeavouring to prevail on Peel to stay in office, and his repeated conferences with the Bishop of Oxford and other bishops are enough to prove that he is negotiating with the Church, but nothing transpires of his intentions. Not one word has been said to Huskisson or any of his friends. My belief is that in that long conference at Windsor the King tried to prevail on Peel not to go; since which discussions between Peel, the Duke, and the Bishop have been going on to see how the matter can be arranged so as to make Peel's acquiescence palatable to the Church and the [147] Brunswickers, and perhaps to engage the Duke to modify his intended measures accordingly. This is conjecture. The Duke is gone to Wootton and to Middleton; he is always going about.

December 21st, 1828

A few days ago I saw Lord Belmore just as he was setting out for Jamaica. I went to talk to him about my plan. [18] He was very civil and said he would do all that depended upon him. He does not seem to be bright, but whatever his talents may be, he seems to be left to the free exercise of them, for he told me that he felt his situation to be one of some difficulty, never having received any instructions (except of course the formal instructions given to every governor in writing) as to his conduct from the Secretary of State, having had no conversation with any of the authorities about the state of the colony, nor any intimation of their views and intentions in respect to the principal matters of interest there. He said that as the Assembly of Jamaica is now sitting, he had proposed to postpone his departure till the end of their session, when the Bills they passed would come over here, and he might discuss them with the Government and learn their sentiments and wishes as to the course he should adopt; a very sensible proposition. But he received for answer that he had better go now, for that when these Bills came over here Parliament would be sitting, and Government would not have leisure to attend to the affairs of Jamaica. And this is the way our colonies are governed! Stephen, [19] to whom I told this, said he was not surprised, for that Sir George Murray did nothing — never wrote a despatch — [148] had only once since he has been in office seen Taylor, who has got all the West Indies under his care.

[18] Mr. Greville held the office of Secretary of the Island of Jamaica. The duties of the office were performed by a deputy paid by the Secretary out of the fees received in the island. He never visited Jamaica, and the office held on these conditions was a sinecure; but he occasionally took part in the affairs of Jamaica in this country. The 'plan' alluded to in this passage is unknown to me. Somerset, second Earl of Belmore, had just been appointed Governor of Jamaica at this time.
[19] James Stephen, Esq., then law adviser of the Colonial Office, and afterwards Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. Mr. Henry Taylor, the accomplished author of 'Philip von Artevelde,' was at the head of the West India department of the office. Sir George Murray was Secretary of State.

I might as well have put in on the 25th of November what the King said to me, as it seems to have amused everybody. I was standing close to him at the Council, and he put down his head and whispered, 'Which are you for, Cadland or the mare?' (meaning the match between Cadland and Bess of Bedlam); so I put my head down too and said, 'The horse;' and then as we retired he said to the Duke, 'A little bit of Newmarket.'

December 30th, 1828

Hyde Villiers brought me on Thursday or Friday last a copy of the Duke's letter to Dr. Curtis, [20] which had been sent to him from Dublin under strict injunction of not showing it. The next day it appeared in all the newspapers, O'Connell having read it to the Association. It has made a great noise, and being as usual ambiguous, both parties affect to consider it to be in their favour. I fancy the Duke is very angry at its publication, at least judging from what his secretaries say.

[20] The Duke of Wellington had corresponded with Dr. Curtis, the titular Roman Catholic Primate of Ireland, for many years. Indeed, as appears in the text, he had known him long before at Salamanca, when this prelate was at the Irish College there. Several excellent letters by Dr. Curtis to the Duke are published in the second volume of the Duke's 'Correspondence,' New Series. The letter adverted to in the text was that in which the Duke said (not very wisely) that 'if men could bury the subject (of Catholic Emancipation) in oblivion for a short time, it might be possible to discover a satisfactory remedy.' Curtis put a copy of the letter in O'Connell's hands, and he read it aloud at the Catholic Association. Curtis sent a copy of the letter and his own reply to the Lord-Lieutenant, who answered him in another letter, in which he said that 'he did not before know the precise sentiments of the Duke upon the present state of the Catholic question.' This letter was also made public, and added fuel to the flames.

The word the in the first paragraph was substituted for a, and this alteration these blockheads pretend makes a great difference in the sense. It makes none, and is only worthy of remark because they probably echo what he has said. It is clear enough as to his opinion, but nothing more. Curtis was in Spain and imprisoned by the French at Salamanca. After the battle the Duke delivered him and had a good deal [149] of communication with him. He returned to Ireland, and from that period has been in occasional correspondence with the Duke. Curtis had written him a long letter, desiring information about his intentions, and this was the answer. A few days ago Hyde Villiers called on the Duke and placed in his hands the resolutions which were agreed to by a committee of the general meeting to be held in Dublin next month. He took them, but said he must decline saying anything; as Minister of the Crown he could not say a word, as whatever he did must be done in conjunction with his colleagues and with the King; that there was a disposition to draw inferences from everything, as, for example, that a gentleman he had known in Spain had written to him on the subject, and his answer had been handed about, and all sorts of inferences drawn from it, which was very inconvenient, and proved how cautious he must be. No doubt it was the Curtis correspondence to which he alluded.


January 2nd, 1829

Lord Anglesey was recalled last Sunday. The Duke of Wellington came to see my mother either Saturday or Sunday last, and told her he had been with the King three hours the day before, talking to him about Lord A., that his Majesty was furious with him, thought he took upon himself as if he were King of Ireland, and was indignant at all he said and all he did. The Duke talked a great deal about him, but did not say he was recalled, though his manner was such that he left an impression that he had something in his mind which he would not let out. He gave it to be understood, however, that he had been endeavouring to appease the King, and that Lord A.'s recall was insisted on by his Majesty against his (the Duke's) desire. I enquired warmly whether he had asserted or only implied this, because I don't believe one word of it. I was told that he had only implied it, but had left that impression. But the Duke complained of Lord A.'s conduct to himself; that he had at first written him insolent letters, and latterly had hardly [150] ever written to him at all. My belief is that the Duke has for some time wished to get rid of Lord Anglesey, that these Cabinets have been upon this subject, and that his recall was settled there. As to the King's dictation and the Duke's submission, I don't believe a word of it. It has been clear to me for some time that the Irish Government could not remain in Lord Anglesey's hands. I am very sorry for it, for I think it will have a bad effect, and have little hope of its being followed by any measures likely to counteract the evil it immediately occasions.

January 4th, 1829

I have seen letters from Dublin stating that the immediate cause of the recall was a letter which Lord Anglesey had written to the Duke (but what that was I have not ascertained), and that his imprudence was so great it was impossible he could have gone on. Certainly the writing and then publishing this letter of Curtis' is an enormous act of indiscretion. The consternation in Dublin seems to have been great, and Henry says that if Lord A. does not decline all demonstrations of popular feeling towards him, he will leave Ireland as Lord Fitzwilliam did, attended by the whole population. Yesterday I asked Fitzgerald [21] if it was true that Lord A. was recalled. He put on a long face, and said 'he did not know; recalled he certainly was not.' I saw he was not disposed to be communicative, so I said no more; he, however, began again of his own accord, and asked me whether I thought, in the event of Lord A.'s coming away, that Francis Leveson would remain. I told him under what conditions he had taken the place, viz. that he was only to stay while Lord A. did; that circumstances might make a difference, but that I knew nothing. He said he had done remarkably well, given great satisfaction, and shown great discretion in a difficult situation; that the rock Lord A. had split upon was his vanity.

[21] Right Hon. Vesey Fitzgerald, then President of the Board of Trade. He was raised to the peerage of the United Kingdom in 1835, as Baron Fitzgerald and Vesci.

January 5th, 1829

The exact history of what took place in Dublin is as follows: — Lord Anglesey first of all desired [151] George Villiers would get his letter to Dr. Curtis inserted in the newspaper. He took it to Sheil, who agreed to write as good an article as he could to go with it, and then he went to Dr. Murray to inform him (as Dr. Curtis's friend) of the intended publication, as Curtis himself was absent, and his consent ought to have been previously obtained. He went afterwards to the Phoenix Park, and Lord Anglesey laid the whole case and correspondence before him. Some time ago the Duke wrote to Lord Anglesey proposing that O'Gorman Mahon and Steele should be removed from the Commission of the Peace on account of their conduct to the Sheriff of Clare. Lord Anglesey wrote word that the subject had engaged his attention, and he had laid the case before the law officers, who had reported to him that there were no grounds for any legal proceedings against them. 'How, therefore,' said the Lord-Lieutenant, 'could I degrade men against whom my law officers advised me that no charge could be brought?' This was one offence; and another, that he had countenanced Lord Cloncurry, who, being a member of the Association, was unworthy to receive the King's representative and the Chancellor. Lord Anglesey warmly defended Lord Cloncurry as a magistrate and a man, and appealed to his known loyalty and respect for the King as a proof that he would never have done anything derogatory to his own situation. The Duke's letter he described to have been overbearing and insolent, Lord Anglesey's [22] temperate, but firm. Lord Anglesey declares that these were all the grounds of offence he had given. Five weeks elapsed, during which he heard nothing from the Duke, and at the end of that time he received his letter of recall, conceived nearly in these words: — 'My dear Lord Anglesey, — I am aware of the impropriety of having allowed your letter to remain so long unanswered, but I wished to consult my colleagues, who were out of town. I have now done so, and they concur with me that with such [152] a difference of opinion between the King's Minister and the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland the government of that country could not be conducted by you with advantage to the public service. I have therefore taken the King's pleasure on the subject, and he commands me to inform you that you will be immediately relieved from your government. I will give you the earliest information of the arrangement which will be made in consequence. Believe me, &c.' This is nearly the letter. [23] From Lord Anglesey George Villiers went to Sheil, and with him to O'Connell, to whom Lord A. desired he would communicate the event. O'Connell was dreadfully dejected, so much so that Sheil and G. Villiers were glad to go home and dine with him in order to calm him. They at length succeeded in doing so, and made him engage to abstain from any discussion of the recall in the Association the next day (a promise which he did not keep). Sheil made a very fine speech in the Association. Nothing, they say, can exceed the general feeling on the subject, and Lord Anglesey appears to be acting with great dignity and reserve; he wishes to decline all popular honours, and he put off going to the play, which he was to have done.

[22] The correspondence of Lord Anglesey with the Duke of Wellington on these charges is now published in the 'Wellington Correspondence,' New Series, vol. v. p. 244.
[23] The letter itself is now published in the 'Wellington Correspondence,' New Series, vol. v. p. 366. Mr. Greville's version of it differs in no material point from the original, though the language is slightly altered.

January 7th, 1829

The Duke wrote to Francis Leveson to say he must not be surprised to hear that a letter would reach Lord Anglesey by that day's post, conveying to him his recall; that the King was so furious with him that he said he would make any sacrifice rather than allow him to remain there five minutes longer. His Secretary had repeatedly remonstrated with the Lord-Lieutenant on his imprudent language in Ireland, and on the tone of his letters to the Duke, but that he always defended both on principle. The Duke said that his letters were most offensive towards him, yet he continued to declare that he should have been glad to keep Lord Anglesey on but for the King. The Lord-Lieutenant did not go to the play, but [153] his family did, and were received with great applause, although the pit was full of Orangemen. Lord Melville has refused the Lord-Lieutenancy.

January 11th, 1829

When George Villiers sent me the accounts of what had passed in Ireland about Lord Anglesey's letter to Curtis I wrote him a long letter, in which I told him why I thought the letter and its publication were unjustifiable and indiscreet, and particularly cautioned him against connecting himself much with the agitator, on account of the harm it would do him here. He wrote me a long answer, defending Lord Anglesey and his measures, but I do not think he makes out a case for him, and if the Lord-Lieutenant makes in the House of Lords the defence which he proposes to make I think he will fail; but if he can keep Lord Plunket on his side, who is now said to be very eager about him, he will do. Plunket is under the influence of Blake, who keeps, as George Villiers says, 'Lord Plunket's mind in his breeches' pocket.' Lord Anglesey has behaved very well since the quarrel, declining all honours and expressions of public feeling.

January 12th, 1829

Lord Mount Charles came to me this morning and consulted me about resigning his seat at the Treasury. He hates it and is perplexed with all that has occurred between the Duke and Lord Anglesey. I advised him to resign, feeling as he does about it. He told me that he verily believed the King would go mad on the Catholic question, his violence was so great about it. He is very angry with him and his father for voting as they do, but they have agreed never to discuss the matter at all, and his mother never talks to the King about it. Whenever he does get on it there is no stopping him. Mount Charles attributes the King's obstinacy to his recollections of his father and the Duke of York and to the influence of the Duke of Cumberland. He says that 'his father would have laid his head on the block rather than yield, and that he is equally ready to lay his head there in the same cause.' He is furious with Lord Anglesey, but he will be very much afraid of him when he sees him. Mount Charles was in the room [154] when Lord Anglesey took leave of the King on going to Ireland, and the King said, 'God bless you, Anglesey! I know you are a true Protestant.' Anglesey answered, 'Sir, I will not be considered either Protestant or Catholic; I go to Ireland determined to act impartially between them and without the least bias either one way or the other.' Lord Anglesey dined with Mount Charles the day before he went. The same morning he had been with the Duke and Peel to receive their last instructions, and he came to dinner in great delight with them, as they had told him they knew he would govern Ireland with justice and impartiality, and they would give him no instructions whatever. He showed me a letter from Mr. Harcourt Lees full of invectives against the Duke and lamentations at the recall, to show how the Protestants regretted him as well as the Catholics.

He then talked to me about Knighton, whom the King abhors with a detestation that could hardly be described. He is afraid of him, and that is the reason he hates him so bitterly. When alone with him he is more civil, but when others are present (the family, for instance) he delights in saying the most mortifying and disagreeable things to him. He would give the world to get rid of him, and to have either Taylor or Mount Charles instead, to whom he has offered the place over and over again, but Mount Charles not only would not hear of it, but often took Knighton's part with the King. He says that his language about Knighton is sometimes of the most unmeasured violence — wishes he was dead, and one day when the door was open, so that the pages could hear, he said, 'I wish to God somebody would assassinate Knighton.' In this way he always speaks of him and uses him. Knighton is greatly annoyed at it, and is very seldom there. Still it appears there is some secret chain which binds them together, and which compels the King to submit to the presence of a man whom he detests, and induces Knighton to remain in spite of so much hatred and ill-usage. The King's indolence is so great that it is next to impossible to get him to do even the most ordinary business, and Knighton is still the only man who can prevail on [155] him to sign papers, &c. His greatest delight is to make those who have business to transact with him, or to lay papers before him, wait in his anteroom while he is lounging with Mount Charles or anybody, talking of horses or any trivial matter; and when he is told, 'Sir, there is Watson waiting,' &c., he replies, 'Damn Watson; let him wait.' He does it on purpose, and likes it.

This account corresponds with all I have before heard, and confirms the opinion I have long had that a more contemptible, cowardly, selfish, unfeeling dog does not exist than this King, on whom such flattery is constantly lavished. He has a sort of capricious good-nature, arising however out of no good principle or good feeling, but which is of use to him, as it cancels in a moment and at small cost a long score of misconduct. Princes have only to behave with common decency and prudence, and they are sure to be popular, for there is a great and general disposition to pay court to them. I do not know anybody who is proof against their seductions when they think fit to use them in the shape of civility and condescension. The great consolation in all this is the proof that, so far from deriving happiness from their grandeur, they are the most miserable of all mankind. The contrast between their apparent authority and the contradictions which they practically meet with must be peculiarly galling, more especially to men whose minds are seldom regulated, as other men's are, by the beneficial discipline of education and early collision with their equals. There have been good and wise kings, but not many of them. Take them one with another they are of an inferior character, and this I believe to be one of the worst of the kind. The littleness of his character prevents his displaying the dangerous faults that belong to great minds, but with vices and weaknesses of the lowest and most contemptible order it would be difficult to find a disposition more abundantly furnished.

January 16th, 1829

I went to Windsor to a Council yesterday. There were the Duke, the Lord Chancellor, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Master of the Mint, Lord President, Lord Aberdeen, Peel, Melville, Ellenborough. The King kept us waiting rather longer than usual. He looked very well, and was dressed in a blue great coat, all over gold frogs and embroidery. Lord Liverpool was there to give up the late Lord's Garter, and had an audience. He said to me afterwards that the King had asked him all sorts of questions about his family concerns, with which he seemed extraordinarily well acquainted, and to some of which he was puzzled to give an answer. The King is the greatest master of gossip in the world, and his curiosity about everybody's affairs is insatiable. I spoke to Peel about the Council books, [24] which are in the State Paper Office, and he promised they should be restored to the Council Office.

[24] At the fire which took place at Whitehall in 1619 several volumes of the 'Council Register' were lost or dispersed. Some of these missing volumes were in the State Paper Office, and two are still in the British Museum.

Just before I set off to Windsor I heard from Ireland, and this is an extract of the letter: — 'Lord Anglesey received a letter from Peel this morning to the effect "that as he had written and published a letter such as no Lord-Lieutenant was justified in writing, it was his Majesty's pleasure that Lords Justices should be immediately appointed." Francis found him very smiling and glorious, but angry, and declaring that he would do just the same again if he had to choose his line of conduct.'

A propos of Denman's silk gown, Mount Charles told me the other day that Denman wrote a most humble apology to the King, notwithstanding which the Duke of Wellington had great trouble in mollifying him. At last he consented, but wrote himself on the document that in consideration of his humble apology his Majesty forgave him, as he thought it became the King to forgive a subject, but desired this note might be preserved in the Treasury, where Mount Charles says it now is. [25]

[25] This curious correspondence has now been published in the fifth volume of the Duke of Wellington's 'Despatches,' New Series, pp. 117 and 153. The cause of the quarrel was a Greek quotation from Dion which Denman had introduced into one of his speeches at the Queen's trial. In the King's answer to the memorial (which answer was drawn up by the Duke of Wellington) the following passage occurs: — 'The King could not believe that the Greek quotation referred to had occurred to the mind of the advocate in the eagerness and heat of his argument, nor that it was not intended, nor that it had not been sought for and suggested for the purpose of applying to the person of the Sovereign a gross insinuation.' Denman, however, prayed his Majesty to believe that 'no such insinuation was ever made by him, that the idea of it never entered his mind,' &c. The truth about this quotation is this: — During the Queen's trial Dr. Parr, who was a warm supporter of the Queen and an intimate friend of Denman, employed himself in ransacking books for quotations which might be used in the defence. Thus he lit in Bayle's Dictionary, article 'Octavia,' upon the answer made by Pythias, one of the slaves of Octavia, to Tigellinus, when he was torturing the slaves of the Empress in order to convict her of adultery. The same answer occurs in substance in Tacitus' 'Annals,' book xiv. cap. 60. This Parr sent to Denman, and Denman used it in his speech. The fact is, therefore, that the quotation had been 'sought for and suggested' for the express purpose of saying something personally offensive to the King. The King's resentment against Denman did not end here as will be seen lower down, where he refused to receive the Recorder's report through the Common Serjeant.]

January 21st, 1829

The sealed orders with which the ships [157] have sailed from Plymouth, were orders to prevent the Portuguese (who have been sent away) from landing at Terceira.

Lady Westmeath was the woman meant in the article in the 'Times' from Ireland about the pension to which Lord Anglesey would not agree. The story is very true. There was £700 disposable on the Pension Fund, and the Duke of Wellington desired £400 might be given to Lady Westmeath, which Lord Anglesey and the Secretary both protested against, and were resolved to resign rather than agree to it. They wrote to the Duke such strong remonstrances that he appears to have desisted from the design, for they heard no more of it. It is therefore false that this had anything to do with the recall, though it is by no means improbable that it served to alienate the Duke from the Marquis and to make him desire the more to get rid of him. This happened as long ago as last August, I think.

Yesterday the Duke dined with us, in very good spirits, and agreeable as he always is, though not so communicative and free as he used to be. He had never told Francis Leveson about the Duke of Northumberland [26] till Sunday, when [158] he wrote to announce the appointment. His Grace seems mightily pleased with it, and fancies that his figure and his fortune are more than enough to make him a very good Lord-Lieutenant. He says he was obliged to coax him a little to get him to accept it.

[26] Hugh, third Duke of Northumberland, was declared Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland on the recall of Lord Anglesey.

He said that he was on the best terms with France, talked of Russia and her losses in the war, adding that the notion of her power was at an end. He believed that the Russians were numerically as strong as the Turks in the last campaign, and they were much more numerous than they said: first, because they said they were not so; and secondly, that he had other reasons for believing it; he thought they had begun the campaign with 160,000 men and had lost 120,000. [27] They were talking of St. Petersburg and its palaces. The Duke said that the fortunes of the great Russian nobles — the Tolstoys, &c. — were so diminished that they lived in corners of their great palaces; but this was owing to the division of property and the great military colonies, by which the Crown lands were absorbed, and the Emperors had no longer the means of enriching the nobles by enormous donations as formerly. When to these circumstances are added the amelioration of the condition of the serfs, and the spirit of general improvement, and the growth of Liberal ideas, generated by intercommunication with the rest of Europe, it is impossible to doubt that a revolution must overtake Russia within a short period, and probably the Emperor has undertaken this war in order to give vent to the restless humours which are beginning to work. I said so to Lord Bathurst, and he replied that 'he thought so too, but that the present Emperor was a man of great firmness,' as if any individual authority or character could stem the torrent of determined action impelled by universal revolution of feeling and opinion. [159] He said the late Emperor was so well aware of this that he died of the vexation it had caused him, which was aggravated by the reflection that he was in great measure himself the cause of it. He was so bit by Liberal opinions, and so delighted with the effects he saw in other countries flowing from the diffusion of intelligence and freedom, that he wished to engraft these dangerous exotics upon the rude and unprepared soil of his own slavish community. When he went to Oxford he was so captivated with the venerable grandeur of that University that he declared he would build one when he got home, and it is equally true that he said he 'would have an Opposition.' These follies were engendered in the brain of a very intelligent man by the mixture of such crudities with an unbounded volition, and the whole fermented by a lively imagination and a sincere desire to confer great benefits on his country.

[27] This seems an extraordinary statement, but it shows how well informed the Duke was. In Major von Moltke's narrative of the campaign of 1828 he estimates the average force of the Russian army at 100,000. But from May 1828 to February 1829 no less than 210,108 men passed through the hospitals, or died in them. So that, as Moltke remarks, in the course of those ten months every man in his army was twice in hospital. Never did an army suffer more severely from sickness.

January 25th, 1829

Lord Anglesey's departure from Dublin was very fine, and his answer to the addresses good. I fancy George Villiers had some hand in penning them. The Duke when he dined with us the other day said that a Russian Extraordinary Ambassador was coming here to overhaul Lieven, a M. Matuscewitz. He is the principal writer in their Foreign Office, a clever man. Their despatches are more able than they used to be, but the Duke said that the Turkish offices are better conducted than any, and the Turkish Ministers extremely able. Lord Bathurst told me he had lately read the minutes of a conversation between the Reis-Effendi and the Allied Ministers after the battle of Navarino, when they were ignorant whether the Turk had received intelligence of the event, and that his superiority over them was exceedingly striking. This was the conference in which when they asked him 'supposing such an event had happened, what he should say to it,' he replied 'that in his country they never named a child till its sex was ascertained.'

Everybody thinks the appointment of the Duke of Northumberland a very good one, and that the Duke is in great luck to get him. It is surprising that he should have [160] consented to go, but he probably likes to do something and display his magnificence. He is a very good sort of man, with a very narrow understanding, an eternal talker, and prodigious bore. The Duchess is a more sensible woman, and amiable and good-humoured. He is supposed to be ruled in all things by her advice; he has no political opinions, and though he has hitherto voted against the Catholics, he is one of the people who pin their faith on the Duke, and who are made to vote in any way and upon anything as he may please to desire them.

This pension of Lady Westmeath's makes a great noise, and it is generally believed that when Lord Anglesey refused to grant it the Duke got the King's sign manual for it, and the job was done. The truth is that Lord Anglesey had at first refused, or rather expressed his disapprobation, and asked the Duke if the King had commanded it, to which the Duke sent an angry answer that he might have been sure he should not have recommended it but by the King's commands. M — — told me the pension (£400) was granted four months ago, for he signed the warrant himself.

Polignac is gone to Paris, but the Duke thinks not to be Minister. Polignac told him that he wished to return here, as he thought he could do more good here than there.

Yesterday I went with Amyot to the State Paper Office to look after my Council books. I found one book belonging to my office and nearly thirty volumes of the 'Register of the Council of State,' [28] which I mean to ask for, but which I suppose they will refuse. Amyot suggests that as all the acts of the Council of State were illegal and of no authority they cannot be considered as belonging to the Council Office, and are merely historical records without an official character. I shall try, however, to get them. Mr. Lemon showed us a great many curious papers. When he first had the care of the State papers they were in the greatest confusion, and he has been diligently employed in reducing them to order. [161] Every day has brought to light documents of importance and interest which as they are successively found are classed and arranged and rendered disposable for literary and historical purposes.

[28] Of the time of the Commonwealth. The 'Privy Council Register' extends from the last years of Henry VIII. to the present time, not including the Commonwealth.

Lemon has found papers relating to the Powder Plot alone sufficient to make two quarto volumes, exceedingly curious; all Garnett's original papers, and I hope hereafter they will be published. [29] We saw the famous letter to Lord Mounteagle, of which Lemon said he had, he thought, discovered the author. It has been attributed to Mrs. Abington, Lord Mounteagle's sister, but he thinks it was written by Mrs. Vaux, who was a friend of hers, and mistress, probably, of Garnett; it is to her that many of Garnett's letters are addressed. It seems that Mrs. Vaux and Mrs. Abington were both present at the great meeting of the conspirators at Hendlip, and he thinks that the latter, desirous of saving her brother's life, prevailed on Mrs. Vaux to write the letter, for the handwriting exactly corresponds with some other writing of hers which he has seen. There is a remarkable paper written by King James with directions what questions should be put to Guy Faux, and ending with a recommendation that he should be tortured first gently, and then more severely as might be necessary. Then the depositions of Faux in the Tower, which had been taken down (contrary to his desire) in writing, and which he was compelled to sign upon the rack; his signature was written in faint and trembling characters, and his strength had evidently failed [162] in the middle, for he had only written 'Guido.' There is a distinct admission in the Plot papers in Garnett's own hand that he came to a knowledge of the Plot otherwise than by the Sacrament of Confession, which oversets Lingard; a paragraph by which it is clear that the Pope knew of it; and a curious paper in which, having sworn that he had never written certain letters, which letters were produced when he was taxed with the false oath, Garnett boldly justifies himself, and says that they ought not to have questioned him on the subject, having the letters in their hands, and that he had a right to deny what he believed they could not prove — a very remarkable exposition of the tenets of his order and the doctrines of equivocation.

[29] The substance of these papers has since been published by the late David Jardine, Esq., in his excellent 'Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot.' (Murray, London, 1857.) Some of the particulars here referred to by Mr. Greville are not strictly accurate, or at least have not been confirmed by subsequent investigation. It is not probable that the letter to Lord Mounteagle was written by Mrs. Abington or by Mrs. Vaux, nor is it at all certain that either of these ladies had any knowledge of the Plot. Mr. Jardine ascribes the letter to Tresham ('Narrative,' &c., p. 83). Garnett's admissions are printed in Jardine's Appendix. His knowledge of the Plot was derived from Greenway, a priest to whom Catesby had revealed it in confession. The Pope was probably not privy to the Plot. The celebrated 'Treatise on Equivocation' was found in Tresham's desk. The identical copy with Garnett's notes is still in the Bodleian; it was reprinted in 1851.

When I came away from the State Paper Office I met George Dawson, and we had a long conversation about Irish affairs, from which I gathered what is to be done. The Catholic question is to be conceded, the elective franchise altered, and the Association suppressed. This latter is, I take it, to be a preliminary measure, and I suspect the Duke went to the King on Monday with the resolution of the Cabinet on the subject, and I think so the more because the Archbishop was sent for post-haste just before he went. Dawson talked to me a great deal about his speech at Derry, and said that so many of his friends were aware of the change in his opinions that he thought it more fair and manly to declare them at once in public than to use any dissimulation with his constituents and leave them to be guessed at, as if he dared not own them; that he had made a great sacrifice, for he had risked his seat, which was very secure before, and had quarrelled with Peel, with his family, and with all his old political friends and associates. We talked a great deal about Peel, and I see clearly that he has given way; probably they have compromised the business, and he agrees to the Emancipation part, in order to have the Association suppressed and the 40s. freeholders disfranchised. Lord Anglesey always said that his removal would facilitate the business, for the Duke wished to have all the credit of it to himself, and had no [163] mind to divide it with him, whereas if Lord Anglesey had remained the chief credit would have fallen to his share.

I met Sir Edward Codrington in the morning, and walked with him to Downing Street, where he was going to talk to the Duke about his Navarino business. He is mightily incensed, thinks he has been scandalously used both by Dudley and Aberdeen, is ready to tell his story and show his documents to anybody, and says he is resolved the whole matter shall come out, and in the House of Commons if he can produce it. God knows how his case will turn out, but I never saw a man so well satisfied with himself. He says that the action at Navarino was, as an achievement, nothing to the affair at Patras, when with one line-of-battle ship, one frigate, and a corvette he drove before him Ibrahim and four Turkish admirals and a numerous fleet.

February 4th, 1829

Went to Middleton last Friday; very few people. I returned by Oxford, and called on Dr. Bandinell, who took me to the Bodleian. I could not find any Council books, but I had not much time to devote to the search. Dr. Bandinell promised to inform me if he could find any books or manuscripts relating to my office. I was surprised to find in the Bodleian a vast number of books (manuscripts) which had belonged to Pepys. I came to town on Monday night, and found that the concession of Catholic Emancipation was generally known; the 'Times' had an article on Friday which clearly announced it. The rage and despair of the Orange papers is very amusing. I have not yet heard how the King took it all. Glad as I am that the measure is going to be carried, the conduct of all those who are to assist in it (the old anti-Catholics) seems to me despicable to the greatest degree; having opposed it against all reason and common sense for years past, now that the Duke of Wellington lifts up his finger they all obey, and without any excuse for their past or present conduct. The most agreeable event, if it turns out to be true, is the defection of Dr. Philpots, whose conduct and that of others of his profession will probably not be without its due effect in sapping the foundations of the Church. All the details [164] that I have yet learnt confirm my opinion that the spirit in which the Duke and his colleagues approach this great measure is not that of calm and deliberate political reasoning, but a fearful sense of necessity and danger, to which they submit with extreme repugnance and with the most miserable feelings of pique and mortification at being compelled to adopt it. The Duke and Peel wrote to Francis Leveson, complaining of my brother's having met Sheil at dinner, and they were so enraged with George Villiers [30] that they seriously meditated turning him out of his office. Wretched and contemptible to the greatest degree! They are now exceedingly annoyed because it is discovered that Woulffe was once a member of the Association, and would willingly have him turned out of the place of Assistant-Barrister, which has just been given to him; but Francis is resolved to maintain him in it. They say the Duke sent a copy of the King's Speech to Lord Eldon.

[30] Mr. George Villiers, then an Irish Commissioner of Customs (afterwards Earl of Clarendon), had cultivated the society of Sheil and invited him to dinner. Such an attention from an English official to an Irish Catholic was at that time an unheard-of innovation. Sheil told his host that he had never dined in a Protestant house before. The Duke of Wellington took great umbrage at what he considered an unwarrantable breach of official decorum.

February 5th, 1829

Went to Brookes' yesterday, and found all the Whigs very merry at the Catholic news. Most of them were just come to town and had heard nothing till they arrived. The old Tories dreadfully dejected, but obliged to own it was all true; intense curiosity to hear what Peel will say for himself. The general opinion seems to be that the Duke has managed the matter extremely well, which I am disposed to think too, but there is always a disposition to heap praise upon him whenever it is possible. Nobody yet knows who are converted and who are not; they talk of nine bishops; I think he will have them all, and I expect a very great majority in the House of Lords. Many people expect that Wilmot's plan will be adopted, restraining the Catholics from voting in matters concerning the Church, which I do not believe, for Wilmot is at a discount and his [165] plan is absurd and impracticable. Lord Harrowby, however, is all for it. I hear many of the Liberals are exceedingly provoked, and not unnaturally, at the Duke's effecting this measure, at which they have been so long labouring in vain, and give as many spiteful flings at him as they can about the insincerity of his letter to Curtis. It matters very little now whether he was sincere or not. It evidently was part of his plan to keep it all secret till it was matured, and as Curtis chose to ask him questions he was quite right to throw dust in his eyes.

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