Greville

The Greville Memoirs

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The Reign of Queen Victoria Vol. I

1837

CHAPTER I.

The New Reign--Character of William IV--Political Effects of the King's Death--Candidates for Office--Lord Durham--The King's Funeral--The Elections--The Whigs and O'Connell--First Impression of a Railroad--Lord Stanley at Knowsley--The King of Hanover--Return to London--Result of the Elections--Liberality of the Queen--Princess Lieven's Audiences--Conservative Reaction in the Counties--The Queen and Lord Munster--State of Parties in the New Parliament--The Corn Laws--The Poor Laws-- Tory-Radicals--Promise of the Queen's Character--Her Self- Possession--Queen Victoria and Queen Adelaide--The Queen and Lord Melbourne--Mango wins the St. Leger--Racing Reflexions-- Death of Lord Egremont--The Court of Victoria--Conservatism of the Whigs--Radical Discontent--Irish Policy of the Government-- Mr. Disraeli's First Speech--Lord Brougham's Isolation--Radical Politics--Lord Melbourne and Lord Brougham--The Canada Debates--The Use of a Diary--Duke of Wellington on Canada--On his own Despatches--On the Battle of Salamanca--King Ernest in Hanover--English Manor Houses--Festivities at Belvoir Castle-- Life at Belvoir--Reflexions--Beaudesert--Death of Lord Eldon.

[1] June 25th, 1837

I remember when George IV. died, seven years ago, having been struck by the small apparent sensation that his death created. There was, however, at that time a great deal of bustle and considerable excitement, which were caused by the activity of the new Court, and the [2] eccentricities of the King; but in the present instance the Crown has been transferred to the head of the new Queen with a tranquillity which is curious and edifying. The first interest and curiosity to see the young Queen and observe her behaviour having passed off, there appears nothing more to do or to think about; there are no changes, and there is no talk of change. Her Majesty has continued quietly at Kensington, where she transacts business with her Ministers, and everything goes on as if she had been on the throne six years instead of six days. Animated panegyrics were pronounced upon the late King in both Houses of Parliament by those who had served him; and Peel repeated in the House of Commons, in more set phrases, the expressions of his admiration of the conduct of the Queen on her first public appearance, which he uttered to me when I saw him after the Council on Tuesday. Melbourne's funeral oration over William IV. was very effective because it was natural and hearty, and as warm as it could be without being exaggerated. He made the most of the virtues the King undoubtedly possessed, and passed lightly over his defects.

King William IV., if he had been born in a private station, would have passed unobserved through life like millions of other men, looked upon as possessing a good-natured and affectionate disposition, but without either elevation of mind or brightness of intellect. During many years of his life the Duke of Clarence was an obscure individual, without consideration, moving in a limited circle, and altogether forgotten by the great world. He resided at Bushey with Mrs. Jordan, and brought up his numerous children with very tender affection: with them, and for them, he seemed entirely to live. The cause of his separation from Mrs. Jordan has not been explained, but it probably arose from his desire to better his condition by a good marriage, and he wanted to marry Miss Wykeham, a half-crazy woman of large fortune, on whom he afterwards conferred a Peerage. George IV., I believe, put a spoke in that wheel, fortunately for the Duke as well as for the country. The death of the Princess Charlotte opened to [3] him a new prospect, and the lack of royal progeny made his marriage as desirable an event to the public as it was convenient to himself. The subsequent death of the Duke of York, which made him heir to the throne, at once exalted him into a personage of political importance, and when the great Tory schism took place, upon the death of Lord Liverpool, Mr. Canning thought the Duke of Clarence's appointment to the office of Lord High Admiral would strengthen his Government, and at the same time relieve him from some of the difficulties which beset him; and he accordingly prevailed upon the King to revive the office in his person. Soon after the Duke of Wellington's elevation he found it necessary to remove the Duke of Clarence, and it is an excellent trait in the character of the latter that, notwithstanding his vexation at the time, which was very great, he harboured no resentment against the Duke of Wellington, and never seems to have hesitated about retaining him as his Minister when he came to the throne. His exaltation (for the moment) completely turned his head, but as his situation got familiar to him he became more composed and rational, if not more dignified in his behaviour. The moral and intellectual qualities of the King, however insignificant in themselves, now became, from their unavoidable influence, an object of great interest and importance, and in the early part of his reign he acquired no small share of popularity. People liked a King whose habits presented such a striking contrast to those of his predecessor. His attention to business, his frank and good-humoured familiarity, and his general hospitality, were advantageously compared with the luxurious and selfish indolence and habits of seclusion in the society of dull and grasping favourites which characterised the former reign.

The King seemed to be more occupied with the pleasing novelty of his situation, providing for his children, and actively discharging the duties of his high function, than in giving effect to any political opinions; and he took a correct view of his constitutional obligations, for although he continued his confidence to the Duke of Wellington unabated [4] to the last, he transferred it as entirely to Lord Grey when the Whigs came in. He went on with his second Ministry as cordially as he had done with his first, nor does it appear that he took fright at their extensive plans of reform when they were first promulgated. He was probably bit by the popularity which the Reform Bill procured him, and it was not until he had gone too far to recede with safety that he was roused from his state of measureless content and unthinking security. The roar of the mighty conflict which the Reform Bill brought on filled him with dismay, and very soon with detestation of the principles of which he had unwittingly permitted himself to be the professor and the promoter; and as these feelings and apprehensions were continually stimulated by almost all the members of his family, legitimate and illegitimate, they led him into those unavailing struggles which embroiled him with his Ministers, rendered him obnoxious to the Liberal party, compromised the dignity of the Crown and the tranquillity of the country, and grievously embittered the latter years of his life. But although King William was sometimes weak, sometimes obstinate, and miserably deficient in penetration and judgement, he was manly, sincere, honest, and straightforward. The most painful moment of his life, and the greatest humiliation to which a king ever submitted, must have been when he again received the Whig Ministers in 1835; but it is to the credit of Lord Melbourne, as well as of the King, that their subsequent personal intercourse was not disagreeable to either, and greatly to the King's honour that he has never been accused or suspected of any underhand or indirect proceeding for the purpose of emancipating himself from a thraldom so galling. Of political dexterity and artifice he was altogether incapable, and although, if he had been false, able, and artful, he might have caused more perplexity to his Whig Government and have played a better party game, it is perhaps fortunate for the country, and certainly happy for his own reputation, that his virtues thus predominated over his talents. The most remarkable foible of the late King was his passion for speechifying, and I [5] have recorded some of his curious exhibitions in this way. He had considerable facility in expressing himself, but what he said was generally useless or improper. He never received the homage of a Bishop without giving him a lecture; and the custom he introduced of giving toasts and making speeches at all his dinners was more suitable to a tavern than to a palace. He was totally deficient in dignity or refinement, and neither his elevation to the throne nor his association with people of the most distinguished manners could give him any tincture of the one or the other. Though a good-natured and amiable man, he was passionate and hasty, and thus he was led into those bickerings and quarrels with the Duchess of Kent and with his own children, which were a perpetual source of discomfort or disgrace to him, and all of which might have been avoided by a more consistent course of firmness and temper on his part. His sons generally behaved to him with great insolence and ingratitude, except Adolphus. Of the daughters I know nothing.

The various political hopes, fears, and expectations which his death has raised may be very shortly summed up. Nobody can deny that it has given the Whig Government a great advantage over the Tories. Hitherto the Government have been working against the stream, inasmuch as they had the influence of the Crown running dead against them; the tide has now turned in their favour, and to a certain degree they will be able to convert the Tory principle to their own advantage. The object of the Whigs is to remain in office, to put down the Radicals and Radicalism, and go on gradually and safely reforming; above all to proceed as fast as the innumerable difficulties which impede their course will let them, in bringing Ireland into a state of quiet and contentment, and to pave the way for some definite settlement of the great questions which distract that country. This I believe to be the object of Lord Melbourne and Lord John Russell, but at the same time they have colleagues and supporters who have more extensive and less moderate views, and who would like to see the Government more cordially allied to the Radicals than it is, and who are so [6] animated against the Tories that they would do anything to prevent their return to power. [1]

The great body of the Tories, on the other hand, are thirsting for office: they are, or pretend to be, greatly alarmed at the Radical tendencies of the Government, but they are well aware that in the actual state of the House of Commons they have the power of keeping the Government in check and of defeating every Radical scheme while in opposition, but that it would be dangerous to attempt to turn them out and take their places. So far from being satisfied with this position of exceeding strength and utility, they are chafing and fuming that they can't get in, and would encounter all the hazards of defeat for the slightest chance of victory. It is only the prudent reserve of Peel (in which Stanley and Graham probably join) that restrains the impatience of the party within moderate bounds. The Radicals are few in number, and their influence is very low; they are angry with the Government for not making greater concessions to them, but as they still think there is a better chance of their views being promoted by the Whigs remaining in, they continue to vote with them in cases of need, though there are some of them who would prefer the dissolution of the Ministry and war with a Tory Government rather than the present imperfect alliance which subsists between themselves and the Whigs. The Whigs then expect to gain by the new elections and to obtain an accession of strength to their Government. They think the popularity of a new reign, and the partial neutrality of the Tory principle, will be of material advantage to their cause. The Tories, though they maintain that they shall not lose at the elections, evidently feel that they take the field under a great disadvantage, and do not deny that the King's death has been a heavy blow to them as a party.

June 29th, 1837

All the accounts continue to report well of

[1] A list of Lord Melbourne's second Administration will be found in the first part of this work, vol. iii. p. 256. It had undergone no change since 1835, except that the Great Seal, which had been put in commission, was now held by Lord Cottenham.

[7] the young Queen, of her quickness, sense and discretion, and the remarkable facility with which she has slid into her high station and discharges its duties. The Duchess of Kent never appears at Kensington, where the Queen occupies a separate range of apartments, and her influence is very silently exercised, if at all. The town is rife with reports of changes and appointments, some very natural and others very absurd; all agree that the power vested in Melbourne's hands is unbounded, and that (as far as Court appointments are concerned) he uses it with propriety. The great topic of interest is the question of Lord Hill's removal, [1] which the Radicals and violent Whigs have been long driving at, but to which it is believed Melbourne is himself adverse. So Lord Stanley told me the other day as his belief; and when I said that though this might be so, it was doubtful how far he would be induced to fight the battle in his own Cabinet if it was mooted there, he said that from what he heard, he thought Melbourne was lord and master in his own Cabinet.

The eternal question in everybody's mouth is what is Lord Durham to have, or if it is indispensable that he should have anything. When Durham left England, he was the elected chief of the Radicals, and he was paving the way to future Court favour through a strict alliance with the Duchess of Kent and Sir John Conroy. At St. Petersburg his language was always moderate; now that he is returned, the Radicals, still regarding him as their chief, look anxiously to his introduction into the Cabinet. Charles Buller, whom I met the other day, said, in reply to my asking him if Government would gain at the elections, 'I think they will gain anyhow, but if they are wise they will gain largely.' I said, 'I wonder what you call being wise?' He said, 'Take in Lord Durham.' But they want Durham to be taken in as a pledge of the disposition of the Government to adopt their principles,[2] whereas Melbourne will receive him upon no such

[1] Lord Hill held the office of Commander-in-Chief from 1828 till 1842, when he resigned it.

[2] After this was written, a letter of Durham's appeared couched in vague but conservative language, and without any allusion to the Ballot or the Radical desiderata.

[8] terms; and if Durham takes office, he must subscribe to the moderate principles upon which both Melbourne and John Russell seem disposed to act. After all, it appears to me that a mighty fuss is made about Durham without any sufficient reason, that his political influence is small, his power less, and that it is a matter of great indifference whether he is in office or out.

July 9th, 1837

Yesterday I went to the late King's funeral, who was buried with just the same ceremonial as his predecessor this time seven years. It is a wretched mockery after all, and if I were king, the first thing I would do should be to provide for being committed to the earth with more decency and less pomp. A host of persons of all ranks and stations were congregated, who 'loitered through the lofty halls,' chattering and laughing, and with nothing of woe about them but the garb. I saw two men in an animated conversation, and one laughing heartily at the very foot of the coffin as it was lying in state. The chamber of death in which the body lay, all hung with black and adorned with scutcheons and every sort of funereal finery, was like a scene in a play, and as we passed through it and looked at the scaffolding and rough work behind, it was just like going behind the scenes of a theatre. A soldier's funeral, which I met in the morning -- the plain coffin slowly borne along by his comrades, with the cap and helmet and sword of the dead placed upon it -- was more impressive, more decent, more affecting than all this pomp with pasteboard crowns, and heralds scampering about, while idleness and indifference were gazing or gossiping round about the royal remains. I would rather be quietly consigned to the grave by a few who cared for me (if any such there might be) than be the object of all this parade and extravagance. The procession moving slowly through close ranks of Horse and Foot Guards holding tapers and torches in their hands, whilst at intervals the bands played a dead march, had, however, a very imposing effect. The service was intolerably long and tedious, and [9] miserably read by the Dean of Windsor. The Queen Dowager, with the King's daughters and her ladies, were in the Royal Closet, and the FitzClarences in the one adjoining. At twelve o'clock she was to depart for Bushey, and a bitter moment it must have been when she quitted for ever the Castle where she had spent seven years of prosperous and happy splendour.

We continue to hear of the young Queen's admirable behaviour, but all other subjects are swallowed up in the interest of the approaching elections. There will be more contests than ever were known, and it is amusing to see both parties endeavouring to avail themselves of the Queen's name, the Tories affecting to consider her as a prisoner in the hands of the Whigs, and the Whigs boasting of the cordiality and warmth of her sentiments in their favour. The Whigs have the best of this, as they have some evidence to show in support of their assertions, and the probability really is that she is well enough contented with them, as they naturally take care she should be. Of the probable changes, one of the most important is the defeat of Sir James Graham in Cumberland, an event which the Whigs hail with extreme satisfaction, for they hate him rancorously. I am under personal obligations to Graham, and therefore regret that this feeling exists; but it is not unnatural, and his political conduct is certainly neither creditable nor consistent. He is now little better than a Tory, a very high Churchman, and one of the least liberal of the Conservative leaders. In Lord Grey's Government he was one of the most violent, and for going to greater lengths than the majority of his colleagues. When the Reform Bill was concocted by a committee consisting of John Russell, Duncannon, Durham, and Graham, Graham earnestly advocated the Ballot, and Lord Durham says he has in his possession many letters of Graham's, in which he presses for a larger measure of reform than they actually brought forward. In his address he says he has not changed, and talks of 'having belonged to the Whig Government before they had made the compact by which they are now bound to O'Connell.' [10]

Tavistock [1] said to me yesterday that this was too bad, because he knew very well that the only understanding the Government had with O'Connell was one of mutual support in the Irish elections, the same which existed when he was in office; and, moreover, that at that time the majority of the Cabinet (Graham included) wanted to confer office upon O'Connell, and that they were only induced to forego that design by the remonstrances of Lord Lansdowne and the Duke of Richmond, who insisted upon a further probation before they did so. O'Connell got nothing, and soon after took to agitating and making violent speeches. This exasperated Lord Grey, who, in his turn, denounced him in the King's Speech, and hence that feud between O'Connell and the Whigs, which was only terminated by the attempt of the Tories to retake office in 1835. This led to the imperfect alliance between them, half denied by the Whigs, which exposed the Government to as much obloquy as if they had concluded an open and avowed alliance with him, and perhaps to greater inconvenience. It was a great blunder not securing O'Connell in the first instance, and certainly a curious thing that such men as Lord Lansdowne, and still more the Duke of Richmond, should have influenced so important a matter and have overborne the opinions of the whole Cabinet. After all this, it is not extraordinary that his old associates should be disgusted at seeing Graham become a Tory champion, and at hearing him more bitter against them than any man on the Opposition benches. The Tories, on the other hand, rejoice in him, and his bigotry about all Church matters cancels in their minds all his former Liberalism in that and every other respect.

Knowsley, July 18th, 1837

Tired of doing nothing in London,

[1] Francis, Marquis of Tavistock, afterwards seventh Duke of Bedford; born 12th May 1788, died 14th May 1861. He was one of Mr. Greville's most intimate friends. They agreed in the main in politics, and had a common amusement -- the turf. Lord Tavistock preferred a life of retirement, and he refused office, but he kept up an enormous correspondence with the leading statesmen of the day. He was consulted by them on all occasions, and not infrequently by the Queen, and he exercised a considerable, though inostensible, influence on public affairs.

[11] and of hearing about the Queen, and the elections, I resolved to vary the scene and run down here to see the Birmingham railroad, Liverpool, and Liverpool races. So I started at five o'clock on Sunday evening, got to Birmingham at half-past five on Monday morning, and got upon the railroad at half-past seven. Nothing can be more comfortable than the vehicle in which I was put, a sort of chariot with two places, and there is nothing disagreeable about it but the occasional whiffs of stinking air which it is impossible to exclude altogether. The first sensation is a slight degree of nervousness and a feeling of being run away with, but a sense of security soon supervenes, and the velocity is delightful. Town after town, one park and château after another are left behind with the rapid variety of a moving panorama, and the continual bustle and animation of the changes and stoppages make the journey very entertaining. The train was very long, and heads were continually popping out of the several carriages, attracted by well-known voices, and then came the greetings and exclamations of surprise, the 'Where are you going?' and 'How on earth came you here?' Considering the novelty of its establishment, there is very little embarrassment, and it certainly renders all other travelling irksome and tedious by comparison. It was peculiarly gay at this time, because there was so much going on. There were all sorts of people going to Liverpool races, barristers to the assizes, and candidates to their several elections. The day was so wet that I could not see the town of Liverpool.

This is a very large place, the house immense, with no good room in it but the dining room. The country is generally flat, but there are fine trees and thriving plantations, so that it is altogether sufficiently enjoyable. It is a strange thing to see Stanley here; he is certainly the most natural character I ever saw; he seems never to think of throwing a veil over any part of himself; it is this straightforward energy which makes him so considerable a person as he is. In London he is one of the great political leaders, and the second orator in the House of Commons, and here he is a lively rattling sportsman, apparently devoted to racing and [12] rabbit-shooting, gay, boisterous, almost rustic in his manners, without refinement, and if one did not know what his powers are and what his position is, it would be next to impossible to believe that the Stanley of Knowsley could be the Stanley of the House of Commons.

Just before I left London, the Proclamation of the King of Hanover appeared, by which he threw over the new Constitution. Lyndhurst told me of it, before I had seen it, with many expressions of disappointment, and complaining of his folly and of the bad effect it would produce here. The Government papers have taken it up, though rather clumsily, for the purpose of connecting this violent measure with the Tory party; but it is a great folly in the Opposition, and in the journals belonging to them, not to reject at once and peremptorily all connexion with the King of Hanover, and all participation in, or approbation of, his measures. Lyndhurst told me that the King had all along protested against this Constitution, and refused to sign or be a party to it; that he contended it was illegal, inasmuch as the States by which it had been enacted had been illegally convoked; that he was able to do what he has done by his independence in point of finance, having a great revenue from Crown lands. The late King was very anxious to give this up, and to have a Civil List instead; but when this was proposed, the Duke of Cumberland exerted his influence successfully to defeat the project, and it was accordingly thrown out in the Senate (I think the Senate) by a small majority. Though we have nothing to do with Hanover, this violence will, no doubt, render him still more odious here than he was before, and it would be an awful thing if the Crown were, by any accident, to devolve upon him. The late King's desire to effect this change affords an indisputable proof of the sincerity of his constitutional principles, and it is no small praise that he was satisfied with a constitutional sovereignty, and did not hanker after despotic power.

July 25th

I remained at Knowsley till Saturday morning, when I went to Liverpool, got into the train at half-past eleven, and at five minutes after four arrived at [13] Birmingham with an exact punctuality which is rendered easy by the great reserved power of acceleration, the pace at which we travelled being moderate and not above one half the speed at which they do occasionally go; one engineer went at the rate of forty-five miles an hour, but the Company turned him off for doing so. I went to Kenilworth, and saw the ruins of Leicester's Castle, and thence to Warwick to see the Castle there, with both of which I was very much delighted, and got to town on Sunday to find myself in the midst of all the interest of the elections, and the sanguine and confident assertions and expectations of both parties. The first great trial of strength was in the City yesterday; and though Grote beat Palmer at last, and after a severe struggle, by a very small majority, it is so far consolatory to the Conservative interest that it shows a prodigious change since the last general election, when the Conservative candidate was 2,000 behind his opponents.

July 28th

The borough elections in England, as far as they have gone, and they are nearly over, have disappointed the Government, who expected to gain in them.[1] The contests have been numerous, often very close, and in some instances very costly. Norwich, won with the greatest difficulty by Lord Douro and Scarlett, is said to have cost £50,000. A compromise was offered at Yarmouth and at Norwich, but the parties could not come to terms, and the result has been the same as if it had taken place — two Tories in one place and two Whigs in the other. There have been a vast number of changes, and, as always happens, results very different from what were expected in particular places. The balance is slightly in favour of the Tories, but the best sign of the times is the defeat of the Radicals in various places. Grote nearly beaten in the City, and probably will be turned out on a scrutiny; [2] Roebuck and Palmer were defeated at

[1] It was found that the Liberals replaced by Tories amounted to 66, and the Tories replaced by Liberals to 53. The Government therefore lost 13 seats in the boroughs.

[2] Mr. Grote was returned by a majority of only six, but he was not turned out.

[14] Bath, Ewart at Liverpool, Wigney at Brighton, Thompson at Hull. It was clear enough before from the Conservative language which was put into the Queen's mouth by her Ministers, and by that which they held themselves, that it was the only tone which would be palatable to the country, and the event of the elections confirms this impression. This is, after all, the essential point, to which the gains of either party are entirely subordinate. If the Government keeps together without internal dissensions, and nothing particular occurs to produce a change, these Ministers cannot well be turned out, because, though their majority is small, they have the undoubted support of the House of Commons, and in my opinion they will be all the stronger from the Radicals being so reduced in numbers, as those who remain must support them, and cannot expect any concessions in return. It is quite impossible to doubt that there is in the country a strong Conservative reaction, and it is the more valuable from not being more strongly pronounced. It is great enough to prove that our institutions are safe, but not great enough to bring the Tories back into power and to turn their heads, ready as they always are to be puffed up with every returning gale of success. The Tories have made one good exchange in the article of whippers-in, for they have got Planta and Holmes instead of Bonham and Ross.

Everything that could be said in praise of the Queen, of her manners, conduct, conversation, and character, having been exhausted, we now hear no more of her. It is an interesting speculation to conjecture how soon she will begin to think and to act for herself upon higher matters, as she has at once done on all minor points connected with her domestic arrangements. It is generally believed that she is perfectly independent of any influence in these things, and while in all political concerns she has put herself implicitly in Melbourne's hands, in all others she is her own mistress. From the beginning she resolved to have nothing to do with Sir John Conroy, but to reward him liberally for his services to her mother. She began by making him a baronet, and she has given him a pension of £3,000 a year; but he has [15] never once been invited to the Palace, or distinguished by the slightest mark of personal favour, so that nothing can be more striking than the contrast between the magnitude of the pecuniary bounty and the complete personal disregard of which he is the object. The Queen has been extremely kind and civil to the Queen Dowager, but she has taken no notice of the King's children, good, bad, or indifferent. Lord Munster asked for an audience to deliver up the keys of the Castle which he had, and was very graciously received by her, but she did not give him back the keys. Adolphus FitzClarence has lost his Lordship of the Bedchamber, but then they only retained Peers, and he keeps the command of the Royal yacht. He has had no intimation whether his pension and his Rangership of Windsor Park are to be continued to him. [In the end, however, they retained everything, and the Queen behaved with equal liberality and kindness towards them all.]

July 29th

The loss of Leeds, news which arrived last night, is a great blow to the Tories, and the only important Radical triumph that has occurred. George Byng [1] told me yesterday that all the applications from the country for candidates sent to the Reform Club desired that Whigs and not Radicals might be supplied to them, which affords an additional proof of the decline of Radical opinions. He owned that they are disappointed at the result of the borough contests, having lost many places when they had no idea there was any danger.

July 30th

Madame de Lieven told me yesterday that she had an audience of the Queen, who was very civil and gracious, but timid and embarrassed, and talked of nothing but commonplaces. Her Majesty had probably been told that the Princess was an intrigante, and was afraid of committing herself. She had afterwards an interview with the Duchess of Kent, who (she told me) it was plain to see is overwhelmed with vexation and disappointment. Her daughter behaves to her with kindness and attention but

[1] The Hon. George Byng, born 8th June 1806; succeeded his father the Earl of Stafford, 3rd June 1860.

[16] has rendered herself quite independent of the Duchess, who painfully feels her own insignificance. The almost contemptuous way in which Conroy has been dismissed must be a bitter mortification to her. The Duchess said to Madame de Lieven, 'qu'il n'y avait plus d'avenir pour elle, qu'elle n'etait plus rien;' that for eighteen years this child had been the sole object of her life, of all her thoughts and hopes, and now she was taken from her, and there was an end of all for which she had lived heretofore. Madame de Lieven said that she ought to be the happiest of human beings, to see the elevation of this child, her prodigious success, and the praise and admiration of which she was universally the object; that it was a triumph and a glory which ought to be sufficient for her — to which she only shook her head with a melancholy smile, and gave her to understand that all this would not do, and that the accomplishment of her wishes had only made her to the last degree unhappy. King William is revenged, he little anticipated how or by what instrumentality, and if his ghost is an ill-natured and vindictive shade, it may rejoice in the sight of this bitter disappointment of his enemy. In the midst of all her propriety of manner and conduct, the young Queen begins to exhibit slight signs of a peremptory disposition, and it is impossible not to suspect that, as she gains confidence, and as her character begins to develope, she will evince a strong will of her own. In all trifling matters connected with her Court and her palace, she already enacts the part of Queen and mistress as if it had long been familiar to her.

August 8th

At Goodwood since this day week till Saturday, when I went to Petworth; — to town yesterday. The county elections have produced an endless succession of triumphs to the Conservatives, of which the greatest was that over Hume in Middlesex. The Whigs are equally astonished and dismayed at this result, for they had not a notion of being bowled down as they have been one after another. If the others had known their own strength, they might have done a great deal more; Bingham Baring [1] could

[1] William Bingham Baring, afterwards second Baron Ashburton, born June 1799, died March 1864. He sat for North Staffordshire in this Parliament.

[17] have brought in another man with him for Staffordshire; Henry Windham could have won Sussex had he chosen it, and was very near being brought in without his own consent, and against the wishes of Lord Egremont, who, having renounced politics, could not endure the idea of his son being member for the county. Had Lord Egremont lifted up his finger, Windham would have come in. The most extraordinary of all these elections is that of Bingham Baring. He could not stand again with any chance of success for Winchester, and he went with £5,000 in his pocket to Stafford, from time immemorial a corrupt borough; there he was beat, and he was about to return after spending about one half of his cash, when Lord Sandon pressed him to allow himself to be proposed for Staffordshire, asserting that nothing was requisite but a candidate, so much stronger was the Conservative feeling in the county than people were aware of. Without much hope of success, his family having never resided in the county, though his father has some property in it, and being personally unknown to the electors, he consented to stand, and, though he had no committee, and nothing was previously organised or arranged, he was carried by a prodigious majority to the head of the poll. The elections in which the Conservatives have failed have, nevertheless, exhibited a vast change in the public mind, for they have generally been very severe contests, and in Yorkshire, with nearly twice the constituency that there was at the last election, John Wortley was within a few hundreds of his opponents, when on the former occasion he was in a miserable minority.

Lord Munster has got back his keys of the Round Tower. Melbourne found out that the place was held for life, and he sent for Munster, and told him he had been hasty in disposing of it, that it was his own doing and not the Queen's, who had acted entirely by his advice, and that in his situation it was impossible for him to do otherwise than bestow any vacant appointment upon a person connected with his [18] own party, but that he was extremely glad in the present instance to find that he was not at liberty to deprive Munster of the office. Munster afterwards saw the Queen, who was exceedingly gracious, and told him she was very glad to restore the keys to him. The Queen and Melbourne appear to have both evinced kindness and good feeling on this occasion.

August 25th

Nothing of any moment has occurred for some time past, and all the world has been occupied with the elections as long as they lasted. After much disputing between the two parties as to the actual result, it appears by an impartial examination of the returns that the Ministers will have a majority of 30, and possibly a little more. As the Government members always attend better than their opponents, the working majority will probably be usually greater than this. The Conservatives are exceedingly triumphant at the result, and not without reason. The English counties have made a very important demonstration in their favour; they have not lost in the towns, and the Radicals have been almost everywhere defeated. This latter circumstance is exceedingly satisfactory, but the Radicals themselves do not admit that this election affords any proof that their principles are on the decline throughout the country. There cannot, however, be a doubt that questions of organic change are not at present in any degree of public favour. Charles Villiers, one of the Radicals with whom I sometimes converse, insists upon it that the Ballot has made great progress, but he also declares that, if carried, it would prove a Conservative measure, and that better men would be chosen. He predicts, however, with greater appearance of reason, that the question of the Corn Laws will, before long, become of paramount interest and importance, and I am induced to think that the next great struggle that takes place will be for their repeal.

The Tories behaved exceedingly ill in one respect during the late contest, and that was in availing themselves as much as possible of the cry that has been raised against the Poor Law. No measure of the Whig Government deserved greater credit than this, or obtained so much unqualified [19] praise and general support. Inasmuch as the Tories are the largest landed proprietors, they are the greatest gainers by the new system, and if a Tory Government should be in power at the period of the expiration of the Act, they will not hesitate to renew it. Nevertheless when they found that some odium was excited in various parts of the country against the new Poor Law and its administration, many of them did not scruple to foment the popular discontent, and all watched its progress with satisfaction when they saw that it was exclusively directed against their political antagonists. It has been remarked with truth, that Peel has observed an almost invariable silence upon this head. During the discussion of the Bill he seldom took any part; never opposed it; but, if appealed to, expressed his acquiescence by silent nods. Of late, when a great clamour has been raised against the Act, and language bordering on sedition has been used, he has never said a word in favour of the system, which it would have been more generous, manly, and honourable to do than to cover himself with a cautious and mysterious reserve on so important a subject. The Duke of Wellington took part in the original measure very frankly; but at the end of last year, when Lord Stanhope got up a discussion in the House of Lords on the subject, though appealed to by Lord Tavistock, the Duke would not say a word. This was not like him, for with reference to mere party tactics, it is to his praise that he is generally 'too fond of the right to pursue the expedient.' It is this behaviour of the Tories which has shown me that there may be such a thing as a 'Tory-Radical;' for though I had heard the appellation, I thought they were contradictory terms which did not admit of a conjunction. A Tory-Radical is, however, a politician who for Tory party purposes endeavours to influence the minds of the people against the laws and their administration, not because he thinks those laws either ill- contrived or ill-executed, but because he thinks that the consequences of such popular discontent will fall upon his opponents, and that he can render the angry feeling instrumental to his own selfish or ambitious designs.

[20] August 30th

All that I hear of the young Queen leads to the conclusion that she will some day play a conspicuous part, and that she has a great deal of character. It is clear enough that she had long been silently preparing herself, and had been prepared by those about her (and very properly) for the situation to which she was destined. The impressions she has made continue to be favourable, and particularly upon Melbourne, who has a thousand times greater opportunities of knowing what her disposition and her capacity are than any other person, and who is not a man to be easily captivated or dazzled by any superficial accomplishments or mere graces of manner, or even by personal favour. Melbourne thinks highly of her sense, discretion, and good feeling; but what seem to distinguish her above everything are caution and prudence, the former to a degree which is almost unnatural in one so young, and unpleasing, because it suppresses the youthful impulses which are so graceful and attractive.

On the morning of the King's death, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Conyngham arrived at Kensington at five o'clock, and immediately desired to see 'the Queen.' They were ushered into an apartment, and in a few minutes the door opened and she came in wrapped in a dressing-gown and with slippers on her naked feet. Conyngham in a few words told her their errand, and as soon as he uttered the words 'Your Majesty,' she instantly put out her hand to him, intimating that he was to kiss hands before he proceeded. He dropped on one knee, kissed her hand, and then went on to tell her of the late King's death. She presented her hand to the Archbishop, who likewise kissed it, and when he had done so, addressed to her a sort of pastoral charge, which she received graciously and then retired. She lost no time in giving notice to Conroy of her intentions with regard to him; she saw him, and desired him to name the reward he expected for his services to her parents. He asked for the Red Riband, an Irish peerage, and a pension of £3,000 a year. She replied that the two first rested with her Ministers, and she could not engage for them, but that the [21] pension he should have. It is not easy to ascertain the exact cause of her antipathy to him, but it has probably grown with her growth, and results from divers causes. The person in the world she loves best is the Baroness Lehzen, and Lehzen and Conroy were enemies. There was formerly a Baroness Spaeth at Kensington, lady-in-waiting to the Duchess, and Lehzen and Spaeth were intimate friends. Conroy quarrelled with the latter and got her dismissed, and this Lehzen never forgave. She may have instilled into the Princess a dislike and bad opinion of Conroy, and the evidence of these sentiments, which probably escaped neither the Duchess nor him, may have influenced their conduct towards her, for strange as it is, there is good reason to believe that she thinks she has been ill-used by both of them for some years past. [1] Her manner to the Duchess is, however, irreproachable, and they appear to be on cordial and affectionate terms. Madame de Lehzen is the only person who is constantly with her. When any of the Ministers come to see her, the Baroness retires at one door as they enter at the other, and the audience over she returns to the Queen. It has been remarked that when applications are made to Her Majesty, she seldom or never gives an immediate answer, but says she will consider of it, and it is supposed that she does this because she consults Melbourne about everything, and waits to have her answer suggested by him. He says, however, that such is her habit even with him, and that when he talks to her upon any subject upon which an opinion is expected from her, she tells him she will think it over, and let him know her sentiments the next day.

The day she went down to visit the Queen Dowager at Windsor, to Melbourne's great surprise she said to him that as the flag on the Round Tower was half-mast high, and they might perhaps think it necessary to elevate it upon her arrival, it would be better to send orders beforehand not to do so. He had never thought of the flag, or knew

[1] The Queen, in a letter to her uncle, King Leopold, published with Her Majesty's sanction, speaks significantly of what she terms 'my sad childhood.'

[22] anything about it, but it showed her knowledge of forms and her attention to trifles. Her manner to the Queen was extremely kind and affectionate, and they were both greatly affected at meeting. The Queen Dowager said to her that the only favour she had to ask of her was to provide for the retirement, with their pensions, of the personal attendants of the late King, Whiting and Bachelor, who had likewise been the attendants of George IV.; to which she replied that it should be attended to, but she could not give any promise on the subject.

She is upon terms of the greatest cordiality with Lord Melbourne, and very naturally. Everything is new and delightful to her. She is surrounded with the most exciting and interesting enjoyments; her occupations, her pleasures, her business, her Court, all present an unceasing round of gratifications. With all her prudence and discretion she has great animal spirits, and enters into the magnificent novelties of her position with the zest and curiosity of a child.

No man is more formed to ingratiate himself with her than Melbourne. He treats her with unbounded consideration and respect, he consults her tastes and her wishes, and he puts her at her ease by his frank and natural manners, while he amuses her by the quaint, queer, epigrammatic turn of his mind, and his varied knowledge upon all subjects. It is not therefore surprising that she should be well content with her present Government, and that during the progress of the elections she should have testified great interest in the success of the Whig candidates. Her reliance upon Melbourne's advice extends at present to subjects quite beside his constitutional functions, for the other day somebody asked her permission to dedicate some novel to her, when she said she did not like to grant the permission without knowing the contents of the work, and she desired Melbourne to read the book and let her know if it was fit that she should accept the dedication. Melbourne read the first volume, but found it so dull that he would not read any more, and sent her word that she had better refuse, which she accordingly did. She [23] seems to be liberal, but at the same time prudent with regard to money, for when the Queen Dowager proposed to her to take her band into her service, she declined to incur so great an expense without further consideration, but one of the first things she spoke to Melbourne about was the payment of her father's debts, which she is resolved to discharge.

October 23rd

Since August 30th, nearly two months, I have written not a line, for I have had nothing to record of public or general interest, and have felt an invincible repugnance to write about myself or my own proceedings. Having nothing else to talk of, however, I shall write my own history of the last seven weeks, which is very interesting to me inasmuch as it has been very profitable. Having asked George Bentinck to try my horse 'Mango' before Doncaster, we went down together one night to Winchester race-course and saw him tried. He won the trial and we resolved to back him. This we accomplished more successfully than we expected, and ten days after he won the St. Leger, and I won about £9,000 upon it, the first great piece of good fortune that ever happened to me. Since Doncaster, I have continued (up to this time) to win at Newmarket, so that my affairs are in a flourishing condition, but, notwithstanding these successes, I am dissatisfied and disquieted in my mind, and my life is spent in the alternations of excitement from the amusement and speculation of the turf and of remorse and shame at the pursuit itself. One day I resolve to extricate myself entirely from the whole concern, to sell all my horses, and pursue other occupations and objects of interest, and then these resolutions wax faint, and I again find myself buying fresh animals, entering into fresh speculations, and just as deeply engaged as ever. It is the force of habit, a still unconquered propensity to the sport, and a nervous apprehension that if I do give it up, I may find no subject of equal interest.

November 14th

Yesterday morning I heard of the death of Lord Egremont, who died after a week's illness of his old complaint, an inflammation in the trachea, being within a [24] month of eighty-six years old. [1] He was a remarkable man, and his death will be more felt within the sphere of his influence (and that extended over the whole county of Sussex) than any individual's ever was. He was immensely rich and his munificence was equal to his wealth. No man probably ever gave away so much money in promoting charitable institutions or useful undertakings, and in pensioning, assisting, and supporting his numerous relations and dependants. His understanding was excellent, his mind highly cultivated, and he retained all his faculties, even his memory, unimpaired to the last. He was remarkably acute, shrewd, and observant, and in his manner blunt without rudeness, and caustic without bitterness. Though he had for some years withdrawn himself from the world, he took an eager interest and curiosity in all that was passing in it, and though not mixed up in politics, and sedulously keeping aloof from all party conflicts, he did not fail to think deeply and express himself strongly upon the important questions and events of the times. In his political principles and opinions he was anti-Liberal, and latterly an alarmist as well as a Conservative. He had always opposed Catholic Emancipation, which it is difficult to account for in a man so sagacious and benevolent, except from the force of prejudices early instilled into a mind of tenacious grasp which was not exposed to the changeful influence of worldly commerce and communication. It is probable that Lord Egremont might have acted a conspicuous part in politics if he had chosen to embark on that stormy sea, and upon the rare occasions when he spoke in the House of Lords, he delivered himself with great energy and effect; but his temper, disposition, and tastes were altogether incompatible with the trammels of office or the restraints of party connexions, and he preferred to revel unshackled in all the enjoyments of private life, both physical and intellectual, which an enormous fortune, a vigorous constitution, and literary habits placed in abundant variety before him. But in the system of

[1] See for descent of Lord Egremont, p. 337, vol. ii. of the First Part of Mr. Greville's Journals.

[25] happiness which he marked out for himself, the happiness of others formed a large and essential ingredient; nor did old age, as it stole upon him with gradual and insensible steps, dull the brightness of his intellect or chill the warmth of his heart. His mind was always intent upon providing for the pleasure or the benefit of those around him, and there was nothing in which he so keenly delighted as the rural festivals with which he celebrated his own birthday, when thousands of the surrounding villagers were assembled in his park to eat, drink and be merry. He was passionately fond of children, and animals of every description found favour in his sight. Lord Egremont was a distinguished patron of artists, and it was rarely that Petworth was unvisited by some painter or sculptor, many of whom he kept in almost continual employment, and by whom his loss will be severely felt. He was extremely hospitable, and Petworth was open to all his friends, and to all their friends if they chose to bring them, provided they did not interfere with his habits or require any personal attention at his hands: from any such obligation he considered that his age and infirmities released him. He received his guests with the utmost urbanity and courtesy, did the honours of his table, and in every other respect left them free to abide as long as they pleased, but to amuse themselves as they could. Petworth was consequently like a great inn. Everybody came when they thought fit, and departed without notice or leave-taking. He liked to have people there who he was certain would not put him out of his way, especially those who, entering into his eccentric habits, were ready for the snatches of talk which his perpetual locomotion alone admitted of, and from whom he could gather information about passing events; but it was necessary to conform to his peculiarities, and these were utterly incompatible with conversation or any prolonged discussion. He never remained for five minutes in the same place, and was continually oscillating between the library and his bedroom, or wandering about the enormous house in all directions; sometimes he broke off in the middle of a conversation on some subject [26] which appeared to interest him and disappeared, and an hour after, on a casual meeting, would resume it just where he had left off. But this habitual restlessness, which was so fatal to conversation, served perhaps to exhibit the vivacity of his mind and its shrewd and epigrammatic turn in a more remarkable manner: few persons visited Petworth without being struck with astonishment at the unimpaired vigour of his intellectual powers. To have lived to a great age in the practice of beneficence and the dispensation of happiness, and to die without bodily suffering or mental decay, in the enjoyment of existence up to the instant of its close, affords an example of human prosperity, both in life and in death, which has fallen to the lot of few, but which may well excite the envy and admiration of all. [1]

November 3rd

At Court yesterday when the Queen received the Address of the Commons. She conducts herself with surprising dignity: the dignity which proceeds from self-possession and deliberation. The smallness of her stature is quite forgotten in the majesty and gracefulness of her demeanour.

The Session has opened merrily with an angry squabble between Lord John Russell and the Radicals, at which the Tories greatly rejoice. Upon the Address, Wakley and others thought fit to introduce the topic of the Ballot and other reforms, upon which John Russell spoke out and declared he would never be a party to the Ballot, and would not reform the Reform Bill. They were indignant, and attacked him in no measured terms. The next night Charles Buller returned to the charge with equal violence, when Lord John made (by the agreement of all parties) an incomparable speech vindicating his own consistency, explaining his motives for making the declaration which he did the first night, and repelling with great dignity the charges with which he was assailed.[2] Of course opinions vary as to the

[1] The substance of this character of the Earl of Egremont was inserted in the Times newspaper of Saturday, 18th November 1837.

[2] It was to this debate that Mr. Disraeli referred in his maiden speech, delivered a few days later, when he spoke of the 'passion and recrimination of the noble Tityrus of the Treasury Bench and the learned Daphne of Liskeard,' and added that 'these amantium irae had resulted in an amoris redintegratio.' The orator was laughed down before he concluded the sentence.

[27] expediency and propriety of his conduct on this occasion, but I do not see that he could have acted otherwise, and it is much more manly, straightforward, and honourable to declare at once what his sentiments and intentions are than to endeavour to evade the subject for a time, and to raise hopes and expectations which he has no design of realising, and which, whenever he does declare himself, as eventually he must, would only excite the bitterer disappointment and resentment. However, whether he acted wisely or not, the immediate effect has been to enrage the Radical section of his party exceedingly, and those who want the Government to be turned out fondly hope that this split among them will bring about the consummation. This is not probable, for angry as they may be, they will still prefer Melbourne to Peel, and O'Connell (who is all moderation) will throw Ireland into the scale and entreat them for Ireland's sake to lay aside their resentment. Such questions as the Ballot can only be carried by the desire for them gaining ground largely throughout the country, and this many assert to be the case. At this moment it is pretty clear that the people care very little about speculative questions, and want only peace and tranquillity. It is also said that there is a growing anti-Catholic and anti-Irish spirit which the Conservatives do their best to excite and extend. It would be a curious speculation, supposing both these influences to operate widely, to anticipate the result of their action upon the great antagonist parties in the country, and see which would gain most by a coalition of Radical and sectarian principles. A state of things might by possibility arise when they would act as mutual checks.

* * * * *

[The Editor of these Journals may here be permitted to say, that it was at this time that his acquaintance with Mr. Greville began, as he was appointed to an office in the Privy [28] Council on November 17, 1837. This acquaintance speedily ripened into confidential friendship, which was uninterrupted for a single day in the course of the next eight-and-twenty years. Indeed Mr. Greville's kind offices to his young acquaintance began immediately; for the appointment of Mr. Reeve having been attacked with great bitterness by Lord Brougham, who was then extremely hostile to every department of the Government, Mr. Greville exerted himself with his usual energy to defend it.

It may not be out of place, though it is out of date, to insert here, as a memorial of this long friendship, a note written to the Editor of these Journals by Mr. Greville, on May 6, 1859, when he had just resigned the office of Clerk of the Council. It is in the following terms:--

My dear R., — I will not delay to thank you warmly for your kind note. Your accession to the Privy Council Office gave me a friendship which I need not say how much I have valued through so many years of happy intercourse, which I rejoice at thinking has never been clouded or interrupted and which, I hope, will last the same as long as I last myself. It is always painful to do anything for the last time, and I cannot without emotion take leave of an office where I have experienced for so many years so much kindness, consideration, and goodwill; but I hope still to be considered as amicus curiae and to be applied to on every occasion when I can be of use to the Office. Between you and me there has been, I think, as much as possible between any two people the 'idem velle, idem nolle, et idem sentire de republica,' and, in consequence, the 'firma amicitia.' God bless you, and believe me always Yours most sincerely and faithfully, C.C.G.]

* * * * *

November 26th

It is still a matter of general discussion and speculation whether Lord John Russell's bold declaration will have the effect of breaking up the Government by disgusting the Radicals to such a degree as to make them in spite withdraw their aid on some important occasion. Those gentry are still very irate and sulky, but I do not expect they will connive at the overthrow of the Government; they know better than to open the doors of office to the Tories. Lord Brougham has taken the field with a violent [29] Radical speech, and he seized an occasion to set his tongue wagging against the Chancellor; in short he seems bent on mischief. He has written word to Lord Granville that he would not be gagged this Session; he will be glad to lead anybody who will be led by him; and as the post of general of the Radicals appears to be vacant, he may aspire to that. His actual position as contrasted with his vast abilities is indeed calculated to 'point a moral.'

December 8th

The notion of a break-up of the Government has gradually faded away, and though the Radicals have not forgiven John Russell for his speech, they appear to have no intention of altering their conduct towards the Government, and some concessions have already been made partly for the purpose of mollifying them. Government have given up the Pension List, and it is believed that the Ballot is to be made an open question. This will be considered more than an equivalent for the discouraging effect of John Russell's speech. Peel and the Tories oppose the Committee on the Pensions, [1] but it is remarkable that on the Civil List Committee the other day, when Rice proposed that £75,000 should be granted for pensions, and Grote moved to suspend the grant till after the Pensions Committee had reported, Peel and his people (Goulburn, Harding, Fremantle, &c.) supported Grote, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was in a minority of one. This too was an accident, for Francis Baring was absent from the division on account of the following circumstance. In a speech in the House of Lords the night before on the Post Office, Lord Lichfield [2] had attacked Mr. Wallace with great severity, and immediately after Wallace sent him a message which was tantamount to a challenge. Alvanley was employed to settle the quarrel, which he did, but it became necessary to instruct Baring to say something on the subject in the House of

[1] The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved for a Select Committee to inquire how far pensions granted under the Acts of the last reign, and charged on the Civil List or the Consolidated Fund, ought to be continued. The motion was carried by 293 to 233 votes.

[2] The Earl of Lichfield was Postmaster General.

[30] Commons, where Wallace was going to allude to it. Alvanley detained Baring so long that he was too late for the division in the Committee; had he been there and made the numbers even, Rice, as chairman, must have given the casting vote for or against his own proposition, either of which would have been very awkward, but it is not very clear why Peel voted as he did.

Lord Roden brought on the Irish question in the House of Lords, when Mulgrave [1] made a very triumphant vindication of himself and utterly discomfited the Orangemen. The Duke of Wellington made a very clever speech, and availed himself of the contradictory returns of crimes and convictions skilfully enough, but he had the candour to give Mulgrave ample credit for the vigour with which he had caused the law to be enforced, and, as for months past the Orangemen had been clamouring against the Irish Government for neglecting to enforce the law and for depriving Protestants of its protection, it was a very magnanimous admission on the Duke's part, and such a one as few of his political opponents would have made. It is the peculiar merit of the Duke that he is never disposed to sacrifice truth for a party purpose, and it is this manliness and straightforwardness, this superiority to selfish considerations and temporary ends, which render him the object of universal respect and admiration, and will hereafter surround his political character with unfading honour. Not content with the defeat which they sustained in the House of Lords, the Orangemen had the folly to provoke another contest in the House of Commons, and Colonel Verner brought forward 'the Battle of the Diamond,' giving Morpeth an opportunity of another triumph as signal as Mulgrave's in the House of Lords. The Irish Orangemen were left to their fate on this occasion, for none of their English associates came to their relief.

Mr. Disraeli made his first exhibition the other night,

[1] Constantine Henry, second Earl of Mulgrave, created in the following year Marquis of Normanby. He was at this time Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. Lord Morpeth was Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant.

[31] beginning with florid assurance, speedily degenerating into ludicrous absurdity, and being at last put down with inextinguishable shouts of laughter. [1]

The new House of Commons does not promise to be a more business-like or more decorous assembly than its immediate predecessor. Already two whole nights have been consumed in the discussion of two topics so unprofitable as 'the Battle of the Diamond' and 'the Spottiswoode Gang,' and it is said that such a scene of disorder and such a beargarden never was beheld. The noise and confusion are so great that the proceedings can hardly be heard or understood, and it was from something growing out of this confusion and uproar that the Speaker thought it necessary to address the House last night and complain that he no longer enjoyed its confidence, and if he saw any future indication that such was the case he should resign the Chair. His declaration was taken very quietly, for nobody said a word.

Brougham made a great speech on education the other night, but it was so long, tedious, and digressive that he drove everybody away. He is in a very bitter state of mind, scarcely speaking to any of his former friends and colleagues, and having acquired no new friends of any party. He courts the Radicals, and writes letters and makes speeches directly at variance with all his former professions and opinions; but the Radicals, though they do not object to make use of him, will by no means trust him.

I asked Charles Buller if they would have Lord Brougham for their leader, and he said 'certainly not,' and added that

[1] [Mr. Disraeli's first speech was made on the motion with reference to what was called 'the Spottiswoode Gang.' An association had been formed in London for the purpose of collecting money to test the validity of the Irish elections wholesale. Mr. Spottiswoode, one of the Queen's printers, was the president of this association, which was denounced by the Radicals and the Irish Members as 'the Spottiswoode Gang,' and attacked in Parliament by Mr. Blewitt, who moved five resolutions condemning the institution of the Spottiswoode fund. Lord John Russell, however, discouraged the attack, on the ground that the number of election petitions in the present year was not such as to warrant any extraordinary measures in regard to them. Mr. Blewitt withdrew four of his resolutions and left the House without moving the fifth. Solvuntur risu tabulae.]

[32] 'Durham had done nothing as yet to forfeit their confidence.' He enlightened me at the same time about his own Radical opinions and views and the extent of them, together with those of the more moderate of his party, complaining that they were misrepresented and misunderstood; although for the Ballot and extension of the suffrage, he is opposed to reform of the House of Lords or any measure directly affecting the Constitution. He does not admit that the measures he advocates do affect the Constitution directly or indirectly.[1] I told him if he repudiated the violent maxims of Molesworth and others, he should not let these ultra-Radicals be the organs of the party, as the world did not and could not distinguish between them, especially as the Moderates took no steps to clear themselves and establish juster notions of the character and tendency of their principles. He did not deny this, but they dread an appearance of disunion; so, as always happens when this is the case, the most exalted and exaggerated of the party, who will not be silenced and are reckless of consequences, take the lead and keep it.

December 12th

On the debate about Pensions the other night Whittle Harvey outdid himself; by all accounts it was inimitable, dramatic to the greatest degree, and acted to perfection. Peel was heavy, Stanley very smart, the Ministers were beaten hollow in the argument, but got a respectable division, of which they make the most; but it proves nothing as to their real strength, which has not yet been tested. John Russell made a wretched speech, being obliged to vote in the teeth of his former opinions and conduct.

December 14th

There was a grand breeze in the House of Lords the night before last between Melbourne and Brougham. The latter is said to have been in a towering passion, and he vociferated and gesticulated with might and main. Jonathan Peel was in the Lobby, and being attracted by the noise, ran to the House, and found Brougham not only on his legs, but on tip-toes in the middle of his

[1] It cannot fail to strike the reader that all the measures which were regarded as the tests of Radicalism in 1837 have long since been carried, and have now the general assent of the nation.

[33] indignant rejoinder. Melbourne's attack upon him seemed hardly called for, but I heard he had declared he would not much longer endure the continual twittings and punchings that Brougham every day dealt out to some one or other of the Ministers. The Chancellor, Lord Lansdowne, and Glenelg, had all suffered in their turns, and so when Brougham taunted him with his courtly habits, he could not restrain himself, and retorted savagely though not very well. What he said was nothing but a tu quoque, and only remarkable for the bitter tone in which it was uttered and the sort of reproach it conveyed. Probably Melbourne thought it as well to put an end at once to the half hostile, half amicable state of their mutual relations, to their 'noble friendship,' and real enmity, and to bring matters to a crisis, otherwise he might have had some indulgence for his old friend and colleague, have made allowance for the workings of deep disappointment and mortification on his excitable temperament, and have treated him with forbearance out of reverence for his rare acquirements and capacity. But the fact is, that Brougham has ostentatiously proclaimed the dissolution of all his former ties, and has declared war against all his ancient connexions; he has abandoned his friends and his principles together, and has enrolled himself in a Radical fellowship which would have been the object of his scorn and detestation in his calmer moods and in more prosperous days.

Le Marchant, who was his secretary for four years, and knows him well, told me that no man was a greater aristocrat in his heart than Brougham, from conviction attached to aristocracy, from taste desirous of being one of its members. He said that Dugald Stewart, when talking of his pupils, had said though he envied most the understanding of Horner (whom he loved with peculiar affection), he considered Brougham the ablest man he had ever known, but that even then (forty years ago) he considered his to be a mind that was continually oscillating on the verge of insanity. Le Marchant said that Brougham's powers of application exceeded what he had believed possible [34] of any human being. He had known him work incessantly from nine in the morning till one at night, and at the end be as fresh apparently as when he began. He could turn from one subject to another with surprising facility and promptitude, in the same day travelling through the details of a Chancery cause, writing a philosophical or mathematical treatise, correcting articles for the 'Library of Useful Knowledge,' and preparing a great speech for the House of Lords. When one thinks of the greatness of his genius and the depth of his fall, from the loftiest summit of influence, power, and fame to the lowest abyss of political degradation, in spite of the faults and the follies of his character and conduct, one cannot help feeling regret and compassion at the sight of such a noble wreck and of so much glory obscured.

December 24th.

News of the insurrection in Canada arrived the day before yesterday, and produced a debate of some animation in the House of Commons, in which the Radicals principally figured, making speeches of such exceeding violence that it was only justifiable to pass them over, because those who uttered them are not worth notice. Gladstone spoke very well, and Lord John Russell closed the discussion with an excellent speech just such as a Minister ought to make, manly, temperate, and constitutional. He is a marvellous little man, always equal to the occasion, afraid of nobody, fixed in his principles, clear in his ideas, collected in his manner, and bold and straightforward in his disposition. He invariably speaks well when a good speech is required from him, and this is upon every important question, for he gets no assistance from any of his colleagues, except now and then from Howick. This is a fine occasion for attacking the Government and placing them between two fires, for the Radicals abuse them for their tyrannical and despotic treatment of the Canadians, and the Tories attribute the rebellion to their culpable leniency and futile attempts at conciliation by concessions which never ought to have been made, and only were made out of complaisance to the Radicals here. As generally happens when there are [35] charges of an opposite nature, and incompatible with one another, neither of them is true.

Since Brougham and Melbourne's set-to in the House of Lords, the former has been speaking every day and entering a protest about every other day. He is in a state of permanent activity, and means to lead such of the Radicals as will enlist under his ragged banner. He was quite furious about the Civil List, and evidently means to outbid everybody for popularity. He goes on belabouring and 'befriending' the Government Lords, but the effect he produces (if any) is out of doors, for he usually wastes his rhetoric on empty benches.

The Queen went to the House yesterday without producing any sensation. There was the usual crowd to look at the finery of carriages, horses, Guards, &c., but not a hat raised nor a voice heard: the people of England seem inclined to hurrah no more.

December 30th

Since the receipt of Colborne's despatches, [1] the alarm about Canada has subsided, and if Ministers had been aware that matters were no worse, probably Parliament would have had longer holidays. Nobody doubts that the insurrection will be easily put down, but the difficulty will be how to settle matters afterwards. It does not appear that this Government has been more to blame than any other, for the same system seems to have been pursued by all. They might indeed have adopted decisive measures at an earlier period, and as soon as they found that the Assembly was invincibly obstinate and deaf to the voice of reason, they ought to have put an end to the humiliating contest by an assertion of Imperial power. All that can be said is, that they tried the conciliatory power too long.

Burghley, January 2nd

Among other changes of

[1] Sir John Colborne was Lieutenant-Governor of Canada at the time the insurrection broke out, and the suppression of it was mainly due to the vigorous measures taken by him on the spot. For these services he was raised to the peerage by the title of Lord Seaton. He died in 1863 at the age of eighty-four.

habit, it has occurred to me why should not I begin the New Year by keeping a regular diary? What I do write are merely fragments of memoirs with passing events briefly alluded to, and the odds and ends collected from different sources recorded and commented on. It is not the first time I have had thoughts of keeping a more regular journal, in which not only my doings should be noted down and my goings, but which would also preserve some record of my thoughts and feelings, if ever indeed I really do think and feel. The reason I have never done anything of this sort is partly that I have been too idle, and the result partly of modesty and partly of vanity. A journal to be good, true, and interesting, should be written without the slightest reference to publication, but without any fear of it; it should be the transcript of a mind which can bear transcribing. I do not in sincerity believe that my mind, or thoughts, or actions, are of sufficient importance or interest to make it worth while (for the sake of others) to take this trouble. I always contemplate the possibility that hereafter my journal will be read by the public, always greedy of such things, and I regard with alarm and dislike the notion of its containing a heap of twaddle and trash concerning matters appertaining to myself which nobody else will care three straws about. If therefore I discard these scruples and do what I meditate (and very likely after all I shall not, or only for a very short time), the next thing is, Why? It seems exceedingly ridiculous to say that one strong stimulus proceeds from reading Scott's Diary-- which he began very late in life and in consequence of reading Byron's -- not because I fancy I can write a diary as amusing as Scott's or Byron's, but because I am struck by the excessive pleasure which Scott appeared to derive from writing his journal, and I am (and this is the principal cause) struck with the important use to which the habit may be turned. The habit of recording is first of all likely to generate a desire to have something of some interest to record; it will lead to habits of reflexion and to trains of thought, the pursuit of which may be pleasing and profitable; it will exercise the memory and sharpen the understanding [37] generally; and though the thoughts may not be very profound, nor the remarks very lively or ingenious, nor the narrative of exceeding interest, still the exercise is, I think, calculated to make the writer wiser, and perhaps better. If I do this I shall read over all I write long before anyone else will have an opportunity of doing so, and I am not likely to be over-indulgent if I find myself a bore.

Yesterday morning I left town, slept at Newmarket, saw the horses, rode out on the Warren Hill, and came here to dinner, where I find twenty-two people — the Duke of Wellington and Lord Aberdeen, the Salisburys, Wiltons, and a mob of fine people; very miserable representatives of old Lord Burleigh, the two insignificant-looking Marquesses, who are his lineal descendants, and who display no more of his brains than they do of his beard. The Duke of Wellington is in great force, talked last night of Canada, and said he thought the first operations had been a failure, and he judged so because the troops could neither take the rebel chief, nor hold their ground, nor return by any other road than that by which they came; that if Colborne could hold Montreal during the winter it would do very well, but he was not sure that he would be able to do so; that the Government ought to exhibit to the world their determination to put this revolt down, and that to do so they must seal the St. Lawrence [1] so as to prevent the ingress of foreigners, who would flock to Canada for employment against us; that the Queen could not blockade her own ports, so that they must apply to Parliament for power to effect this, and they ought to bring in a Bill forthwith for the purpose. This morning he got a letter (from a man he did not know) enclosing the latest news, which he thought very good, and promising better and more decisive results. After breakfast they went shooting.

I walked out and joined the Duke, who talked to me for I dare say an hour and a half about his Spanish campaigns, and most interesting it was. I told him that the other day

[1] The Duke expressed no such opinion in either of his speeches on Canada (February 4th).

[38] Allen [1] had asked me to find somebody, a military man, to review the Wellington Despatches in the 'Edinburgh Review,' and that he had suggested Sir George Murray as the fittest person if he would undertake it; that I had accordingly spoken to Fitzroy Somerset, who had agreed to apply to Murray; and, if Murray would not do it, I begged him to turn in his mind what officer could be found equal to such a task, and I then asked the Duke if he knew of anybody. He seemed amazingly pleased at the idea, said he knew nobody, but Murray was the fittest man. From this he began to talk, and told me a great deal of various matters, which I wish I could have taken down as it fell from his lips. I was amused at the simplicity with which he talked of the great interest of these Despatches, just as he might have done if they had been the work of any other man; said he had read them himself with considerable astonishment and great interest, and that everybody might see that there was not one word in them that was not strictly and literally true. He said of his generals, 'that in the beginning they none of them knew anything of the matter, that he was obliged to go from division to division and look to everything himself down to the minutest details.' I said, 'What on earth would have happened if anything had befallen you?' He laughed and said, 'I really do not know. There was a great deal of correspondence about my successor at the time Sir Thomas Graham went home.[2] I was against having any second in command, which was quite useless, as nobody could share the responsibility with me. However, afterwards Graham came back, and then there was Hope next to him.' He said, 'Hill had invariably done well, always exactly obeyed my orders, and executed

[1] Mr. Allen, an accomplished literary inmate of Holland House, the author of a work on the 'Royal Prerogative,' and himself an occasional contributor to the 'Edinburgh Review.'

[2] The intention of the Government was that if any accident befell the Duke of Wellington, General Sir Thomas Graham, afterwards Lord Lynedoch, should take the command of the British forces in Spain. This appears from the Memoir of Lord Lynedoch, published in 1880, by Captain Alexander Delavoye.

[39] them successfully.' The fall of Badajoz was a great blow to him, but he did not know that it was by an act of treachery. The Spanish Government perhaps did not believe that he was approaching to relieve the place, but it was a most curious fact, that whereas it was agreed that the Spanish army should march out over the breach with the honours of war, they were obliged, after the capitulation, to make a breach for them to go over, none having been made by the besiegers. The General, with whom he finds much fault (in the ninth volume) for disobeying his orders and making false movements, was Victor Allen, but he said he treated him with great leniency, and so he did his officers on all occasions, and was as forbearing and indulgent with them as it was possible to be.

All the movements and operations before the battle of Salamanca were to the last degree interesting. The Duke was anxiously waiting for some advantageous occasion to attack Marmont, and at last it arrived; he saw it happen, and took his resolution on the spot. He was dining in a farm-yard with his officers, where (when he had done dinner) everybody else came and dined as they could. The whole French army was in sight, moving, and the enemy firing upon the farmyard in which he was dining. 'I got up,' he said, 'and was looking over a wall round the farm-yard, just such a wall as that' (pointing to a low stone wall bounding the covert), 'and I saw the movement of the French left through my glass. "By God," said I, "that will do, and I'll attack them directly." I had moved up the Sixth Division through Salamanca, which the French were not aware of, and I ordered them to attack, and the whole line to advance. I had got my army so completely in hand that I could do this with ease, and in forty minutes the battle was won — 'quarante mille hommes battus en quarante minutes.' I asked him if it was true that he and Marmont had subsequently talked over the event of the battle, and that Marmont had asserted that his orders had been disobeyed, or that this movement of which the Duke took advantage would not have been made. He said he believed there had been some conversation on the [40] subject, and that Marmont had said he was wounded before this movement took place; he said he did not know if this was true, but it might be, as there had been continual fighting for some time previous. I asked him why Bonaparte had not himself come to Spain to attack him; and if he had with a great force, whether he would have driven him out. He replied that he thought Napoleon had satisfied himself that it would be a work of great difficulty, and what was more, of great length, and he had no mind to embark in it; and that the French certainly would not have driven him out: he should have taken up some position, and have been enabled to baffle the Emperor himself just as he had done his marshals. He thinks that Napoleon's military system compelled him to employ his armies in war, when they invariably lived upon the resources of the countries they occupied, and that France could not have maintained them, as she must have done if he had made peace: peace, therefore, would have brought about (through the army itself) his downfall. He traces the whole military system of France from its first organisation during the Reign of Terror, in a letter in the tenth volume of the Despatches. I asked him how he reconciled what he had said of the extraordinary discipline of the French army with their unsparing and habitual plunder of the country, and he said that though they plundered in the most remorseless way, there was order and discipline in their plundering, and while they took from the inhabitants everything they could lay their hands upon, it was done in the way of requisition, and that they plundered for the army and not for themselves individually, but they were reduced to great shifts for food. At the battle of Fuentes d'Onor he saw the French soldiers carry off horses that were killed to be cooked and eaten in another part of the field. 'I saw particularly with my own eyes one horse put upon a cart drawn by two bullocks (they could not afford to kill the bullocks), and drawn off; and I desired a man to watch where the cart went, and it was taken to another French division for the horse to be eaten. Now we never were reduced to eat horseflesh.' I remarked that he alluded in [41] one of his letters to his having been once very nearly taken, and he said it was just before the battle of Talavera in consequence of some troops giving way. He was on a ruined tower from which he was obliged to leap down; and if he had not been young and active, as he was in those days, he should certainly have been taken.

He talked a great deal of the Spanish character, unchanged to this day; of the vast difficulties he had had to contend with from both Spanish and Portuguese Governments, the latter as bad as the former; of their punctilios and regard to form and ceremony. 'At the time of the battle of the Pyrenees [1] I had occasion to send O'Donnel to advance, and he was mightily affronted because he did not receive the order by an officer from head-quarters. I was living under hedges and ditches, and had not been to head-quarters for several days, and so I told him, but that he should have an order if he pleased in the proper form.' I asked him if it was not then that he found the troops in full retreat. He said they were beginning to retreat when he arrived, 'then they threw up their caps and made a most brilliant affair of it.'

It is impossible to convey an idea of the zest, eagerness, frankness, and abundance with which he talked, and told of his campaigns, or how interesting it was to hear him. He expressed himself very warmly about Hill, of all his generals, and said, 'When I gave him my memorandum about Canada the other day I said, 'Why it looks as if we were at our old trade again.' He added that he 'always gave his opinion when it was required on any subject.'

1838

Belvoir Castle, January 4th, 1838

Came here yesterday, all the party (almost) migrating, and many others coming from various parts to keep the Duke of Rutland's birthday. We are nearly forty at dinner, but it is no use enumerating the people. Last night the Duke of Wellington talked of

[1] This expression occurs more than once in these Journals. No battle is known in history as the 'battle of the Pyrenees,' but the expression doubtless relates to the actions which were fought in the Pyrenees, after Soult took the command of the French army in July 1814.

[42] Hanover, said he really did not know much of the matter; that neither William IV. nor George IV. had ever talked to him on the subject or he must have made himself acquainted with it; that the Duke of Cumberland had written him word that he had never had any notion of adopting the measures he has since done till he was going over in the packet with Billy Holmes. [1] The Duke wrote him word that he knew nothing of his case, and the only advice he could give him was to let the affair be settled as speedily as possible. When the late King had evidently only a few days to live, the Duke of Cumberland consulted the Duke as to what he should do. 'I told him the best thing he could do was to go away as fast as he could: Go instantly,' I said, 'and take care that you don't get pelted.' The Duke, Aberdeen, and FitzGerald all condemned his proceedings without reference to their justice or to his legal and constitutional right as regards Hanover, but on account of the impression (no matter right or wrong) which they are calculated to produce in this country, where it ought to be a paramount interest with him to preserve or acquire as good a character as he can. They all declared that Lyndhurst was equally ignorant with themselves of his views and intentions, with which in fact the Conservatives had no sort of concern. The Duke also advised him not to take the oaths as Privy Councillor, or those of a Peer in the House of Lords, because he thought it would do him an injury in the eyes of his new subjects, that he, a King, should swear fealty as her subject to the Queen as his Sovereign; but somebody else (he thought the Duke of Buckingham) overruled this advice, and he had himself a fancy to take the oaths.

To-day we [2] went to see the house Mr. Gregory is building, five miles from here. He is a gentleman of about £12,000 a year, who has a fancy to build a magnificent

[1] The first act of Ernest, King of Hanover, on his accession, was to suspend the Hanoverian Constitution, and to prosecute the liberal Professors of Goettingen.

[2] The Duke and Duchess of Sutherland, Lady Salisbury, Lord Exeter, Lord Wilton, Lady Adeliza Manners, Lords Aberdeen, FitzGerald, J. Manners, and myself.

[43] house in the Elizabethan style, and he is now in the middle of his work, all the shell being finished except one wing. Nothing can be more perfect than it is, both as to the architecture and the ornaments; but it stands on the slope of a hill upon a deep clay soil, with no park around it, very little wood, and scarcely any fine trees. Many years ago, when he first conceived this design, he began to amass money and lived for no other object. He travelled into all parts of Europe collecting objects of curiosity, useful or ornamental, for his projected palace, and he did not begin to build until he had accumulated money enough to complete his design. The grandeur of it is such, and such the tardiness of its progress, that it is about as much as he will do to live till its completion; and as he is not married, has no children, and dislikes the heir on whom his property is entailed, it is the means and not the end to which he looks for gratification. He says that it is his amusement, as hunting or shooting or feasting may be the objects of other people; and as the pursuit leads him into all parts of the world, and to mix with every variety of nation and character, besides engendering tastes pregnant with instruction and curious research, it is not irrational, although he should never inhabit his house, and may be toiling and saving for the benefit of persons he cares nothing about. The cottages round Harlaxton are worth seeing. It has been his fancy to build a whole village in all sorts of strange fantastic styles. There are Dutch and Swiss cottages, every variety of old English, and heaps of nondescript things, which appear only to have been built for variety's sake. The effect is extremely pretty. Close to the village is an old manor house, the most perfect specimen I ever saw of such a building, the habitation of an English country gentleman of former times, and there were a buff jerkin and a pair of jack boots hanging up in the hall, which the stout old Cavalier of the seventeenth century (and one feels sure that the owner of that house was a Cavalier) had very likely worn at Marston Moor or Naseby.

To-day (the cook told me) nearly four hundred people [44] will dine in the Castle.

 

 

We all went into the servants' hall, where one hundred and forty-five retainers had just done dinner and were drinking the Duke's health, singing and speechifying with vociferous applause, shouting, and clapping of hands. I never knew before that oratory had got down into the servants' hall, but learned that it is the custom for those to whom 'the gift of the gab' has been vouchsafed to harangue the others, the palm of eloquence being universally conceded to Mr. Tapps the head coachman, a man of great abdominal dignity, and whose Ciceronian brows are adorned with an ample flaxen wig, which is the peculiar distinction of the functionaries of the whip. I should like to bring the surly Radical here who scowls and snarls at 'the selfish aristocracy who have no sympathies with the people,' and when he has seen these hundreds feasting in the Castle, and heard their loud shouts of joy and congratulation, and then visited the villages around, and listened to the bells chiming all about the vale, say whether 'the greatest happiness of the greatest number' would be promoted by the destruction of all the feudality which belongs inseparably to this scene, and by the substitution of some abstract political rights for all the beef and ale and music and dancing with which they are made merry and glad even for so brief a space. The Duke of Rutland is as selfish a man as any of his class--that is, he never does what he does not like, and spends his whole life in a round of such pleasures as suit his taste, but he is neither a foolish nor a bad man, and partly from a sense of duty, partly from inclination, he devotes time and labour to the interest and welfare of the people who live and labour on his estate. He is a Guardian of a very large Union, and he not only attends regularly the meetings of Poor Law Guardians every week or fortnight, and takes an active part in their proceedings, but he visits those paupers who receive out-of-door relief, sits and converses with them, invites them to complain to him if they have anything to complain of, and tells them that he is not only their friend but their representative at the assembly of Guardians, and it is his duty to see that they are nourished and protected. To my mind there is more 'sympathy' in this than in railing at the rich and rendering the poor discontented, weaning them from their habitual attachments and respects, and teaching them that the political quacks and adventurers who flatter and cajole them are their only real friends.

We had a great ball last night, opened by the Duke of Rutland and Duchess of Sutherland, who had to sail down at least a hundred couple of tenants, shopkeepers, valets, and abigails. The Duke of Newcastle gave the Duke's health at dinner instead of the Duke of Wellington, who generally discharges that office. He made a boggling business of it, but apologised in sufficiently handsome terms for being spokesman instead of the Duke of Wellington. The Duke of Rutland made a very respectable speech in reply, and it all went off swimmingly. To-day I went to see the hounds throw off; but though a hunter was offered to me would not ride him, because there is no use in risking the hurt or ridicule of a fall for one day. A man who goes out in this casual way and hurts himself looks as foolish as an amateur soldier who gets wounded in a battle in which he is tempted by curiosity to mingle. So I rode with the mob, saw a great deal of galloping about and the hounds conveniently running over hills and vales all in sight, and then came home. They said a thousand people were out, many attracted by the expectation of the Duke of Wellington's appearing, but he was rheumatic and could not come out. He is incessantly employed in writing military statements and memoranda, having been consulted by the Government, or probably by Lord Hill on behalf of the Government, both on this Canadian question, and on the general government of the army, and he will take as much pains to give useful advice to Melbourne's Government as if he and Peel were in office. There never was a man who so entirely sank all party considerations in national objects, and he has had the glory of living to hear this universally acknowledged. Brougham said of him, 'That man's first object is to serve his country, with a sword if necessary, or with a pick-axe.' He also said of the Duke's Despatches, 'They will be remembered when I and others (mentioning some of the most eminent men) will be forgotten.' Aberdeen told the Duke this, and he replied with the greatest simplicity, 'It is very true: when I read them I was myself astonished, and I can't think how the devil I could have written them.' This is very characteristic, very curious from a man who has not one grain of conceit in his disposition; but really great men are equally free from undue vanity or affected modesty, and know very well the value of what they do.

Last night I sat next to Lord FitzGerald at dinner, who said that if ever his memoirs appeared (he did not say that any existed) they would contain many curious things, and among them the proofs that the events which were supposed to have been the proximate cause of the Catholic question being carried were not the real cause, and that the resolution of the Duke of Wellington is traceable to other sources, which he could not reveal.

Melton, January 7th, 1838 (Lord Wilton's house) {p.046}

I came here to-day from Belvoir. Last night the Duke of Wellington narrated the battle of Toulouse and other Peninsular recollections. All the room collected round him, listening with eager curiosity, but I was playing at whist and lost it all. FitzGerald said to me that he had a great mind to write upon Ireland, and make a statement of the conduct of England towards Ireland for ages past; that he had mentioned his idea to Peel, who had replied, 'Well, and if you do, I am not the man to object to your doing so.' This he meant as a trait of his fairness and candour; but the fact is that it is Peel's interest that all Irish questions should be settled, and he would rejoice at anything which tended to accelerate a settlement, and I am no great believer in his fairness. I was struck with a great admiration for Peel during his hundred days' struggle, when he made a gallant fight; but this has very much cooled since that time.

FitzGerald said one thing in conversation with me of which I painfully felt the truth, that an addiction to worthless or useless pursuits did an irretrievable injury to the mental faculties. It is not only the actual time wasted which might have been turned to good account; the slender store of knowledge acquired on all subjects instead of the accumulation which there might have been; but, more than these, the relaxation of the mental powers till they become incapable of vigorous exertion or sustained effort:--

Quoniam medio de fonte leporum Surgit amari aliquid, quod in ipsis floribus angat: Aut quum conscius ipse animus se forte remordet Desidiose agere aetatem, lustrisque perire.

Or, as Dryden nobly translates it--

For in the fountain where these sweets are sought Some bitter bubbles up, and poisons all the draught. First guilty conscience does the mirror bring, Then sharp remorse shoots out the angry sting, And anxious thoughts, within themselves at strife, Upbraid the long misspent, luxurious life.

[Page Head: REFLEXIONS.]

I feel myself a miserable example of this species of injury, both as relates to the defects and omissions of my early education and the evil of my subsequent habits. From never having studied hard at any time, no solid foundation of knowledge has ever been laid, my subsequent reading has been desultory and very nearly useless. I have attacked various subjects as I have been prompted thereto by curiosity, or vanity, or shame, but I have never mastered any of them, and the information I have obtained has been like a house built without a foundation, which the first gust of wind would blow down and scatter abroad. Really to master a subject, we should begin at the beginning, storing the memory with consecutive facts, reasoning and reflecting upon them as we go along, till the whole subject is digested, comprehended, made manageable and producible at will; but then, for this process, the mind must be disciplined, and there must be a power of attention undiverted, and of continuous application; but if the eyes travel over the pages of a book, while the mind is far away upon Newmarket Heath, and nothing but broken fragments of attention are bestowed upon the subject before you, whatever it may be, the result can only be useless imperfect information, crude and superficial ideas, constant shame, and frequent disappointment and mortification. Nothing on earth can make up for the valuable time which I have lost, or enable me to obtain that sort of knowledge, or give me those habits which are only to be acquired early in life, when the memory is fresh and vigorous, and the faculties are both lively and pliant; but that is no reason why I should abandon the design of improvement in despair, for it is never too late to mend, and a great deal may yet be done.

Beaudesert,[25] January 12th, 1838 {p.048}

On Monday went to Sutton; nobody there but Mr. Hodgson, formerly my tutor at Eton, the friend of Byron, author of a translation of Juvenal--a clever, not an agreeable man. The house at Sutton is unfinished, but handsome enough. Came here on Wednesday; a magnificent place indeed, and very comfortable house. A good many people, nobody remarkable; very idle life. Read in the newspaper that Colburn gave Lady Charlotte Bury L1,000 for the wretched catchpenny trash called 'Memoirs of the Time of George IV.,' which might well set all the world what Scott calls 'gurnelising,' for nobody could by possibility compile or compose anything more vile or despicable. Since I came here, a world of fine thoughts came into my head which I intended to immortalise in these pages; but they have all evaporated like the baseless fabric of a vision.

[25] [The seat of the Marquess of Anglesey near Burton-on- Trent.]

Beaudesert, January 17th, 1838 {p.048}

To Sandon on Monday, and returned here yesterday; go away to- morrow. It has been a dreadfully idle life all day long, _facendo niente_, incessant gossip and dawdle, poor, unprofitable talk, and no rational employment. Brougham was here a little while ago for a week. He, Lord Wellesley, and Lord Anglesey form a discontented triumvirate, and are knit together by the common bond of a sense of ill-usage and of merit neglected. Wellesley and Anglesey are not Radicals, however, and blame Brougham's new tendency that way. Anglesey and Wellesley both hate and affect to despise the Duke of Wellington,[26] in which Brougham does not join. They are all suffering under mortified vanity and thwarted ambition, and after playing their several parts, not without success and applause, they have not the judgement to see and feel that they forfeit irretrievably the lustre of their former fame by such a poor and discreditable termination of their career. Douro is here, _une lune bien pale aupres de son pere_, but far from a dull man, and not deficient in information.

[26] Lord Wellesley became good friends with his brother before his death, and Anglesey has long been the Duke's enthusiastic admirer and most attached and devoted comrade.--1850.

Badminton, January 23rd, 1838 {p.049}

The debate in the Lords the other night was very interesting and creditable to the assembly.[27] Brougham delivered a tremendous philippic of three hours. The Duke of Wellington made a very noble speech, just such as it befitted him to make at such a moment, and of course it bitterly mortified and provoked the Tories, who would have had him make a party question of it, and thought of nothing but abusing, vilifying, and embarrassing the Government. This was what Peel showed every disposition to do in the House of Commons, where he made a poor, paltry half-attack, which was much more to the taste of his party than the Duke's temperate and candid declaration.

[27] [Parliament reassembled on the 16th January. This debate was on the Address to the Queen on the Canadian Rebellion. A Bill was at once brought in to give extended powers to Lord Durham, who was sent out as Governor General. Mr. Roebuck, as the Agent for Canada, was heard against the Bill at the bar of both Houses. The Bill passed, but Lord Durham soon exceeded his powers under it.]

[Page Head: DEATH OF LORD ELDON.]

Lord Eldon died last week full of years and wealth. He had for some time past quitted the political stage, but his name was still venerated by the dregs of that party to whom consistent bigotry and intolerance are dear. Like his more brilliant brother, Lord Stowell, he was the artificer of his own fortune, and few men ever ran a course of more unchequered prosperity. As a politician, he appears to have been consistent throughout, and to have offered a determined and uniform opposition to every measure of a Liberal description. He knew of no principles but those (if they merit the name of principles) of the narrowest Toryism and of High Church, and as soon as more enlarged and enlightened views began to obtain ascendency, he quitted (and for ever) public life. I suppose he was a very great lawyer, but he was certainly a contemptible statesman. He was a very cheerful, good-natured old man, loving to talk, and telling anecdotes with considerable humour and point. I remember very often during the many tedious hours the Prince Regent kept the Lords of the Council waiting at Carlton House, that the Chancellor used to beguile the time with amusing stories of his early professional life, and anecdotes of celebrated lawyers, which he told extremely well. He lived long enough to see the overthrow of the system of which he had been one of the most strenuous supporters, the triumph of all the principles which he dreaded and abhorred, and the elevation of all the men to whom, through life, he had been most adverse, both personally and politically. He little expected in 1820, when he was presiding at Queen Caroline's trial, that he should live to see her Attorney-General on the Woolsack, and her Solicitor-General Chief Justice of England.

 

 


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