The Greville Memoirs

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The Greville Memoirs


Popularity of George IV. — The Duke of York's Racing Establishment — Clerk of the Council — Lord Liverpool and Mr. Sumner — Lady Conyngham — Death of Lady Worcester — Her Character — Ball at Devonshire House — The Duke of York's Aversion to the Duke of Wellington — The Pavilion at Brighton — Lord Francis Conyngham — The King and the Duke of Wellington — Death of the Marquis of Londonderry — His Policy — Sir B. Bloomfield sent to Stockholm — Mr. Canning's Foreign Secretary — Queen Caroline and Brougham — Canning and George IV. — Lord William Bentinck aspires to go to India — His Disappointment — The Duke of York's Duel with Colonel Lennox — George III.'s Will — George IV. appropriates the late King's Personal Property — The Duke of Wellington on the Congress of Verona and on the Politics of Europe — Intervention in Spain — Ferdinand VII. — M. de Villele — The Duke's opinion of Napoleon — Sir William Knighton — The Duke of York's Anecdotes of George IV. — Death of the Marquis of Titchfield — His character.

[43] 1821.

London, February 7th, 1821

The King went to the play last night (Drury Lane) for the first time, the Dukes of York and Clarence and a great suite with him. He was received with immense acclamations, the whole pit standing up, hurrahing and waving their hats. The boxes were very empty at first, for the mob occupied the avenues to the theatre, and those who had engaged boxes could not get to them. The crowd on the outside was very great. Lord Hertford dropped one of the candles as he was lighting the King in, and made a great confusion in the box. The King sat in Lady Bessborough's box, which was fitted up for him. He goes to Covent Garden to-night. A few people called 'The Queen,' but very few. A man in the gallery called out, 'Where's your wife, Georgy?'

[44] February 11th, 1821

I came to town from Euston the end of last month. The debates were expected to be very stormy and the minorities very large, not that anybody expected Ministers to go out. It has all ended as such anticipations usually do, in everything going off very quietly and the Government obtaining large majorities. Their Parliamentary successes and the King's reception have greatly elated them, and they think (and with reason probably) that they are likely to enjoy their places for the term of their natural lives, not that they care about the King's popularity except in as much as it may add strength to their Administration. They do not conceal their contempt or dislike of him, and it is one of the phenomena of the present times that the King should have Ministers whom he abuses and hates, and who entertain corresponding sentiments of aversion to him; yet they defend all his errors and follies, and he affords them constant countenance and protection. However, the King was delighted by his reception at the theatres, and told Lady Bessborough, as he came downstairs, he never was more gratified.

February 23rd, 1821

Yesterday the Duke of York proposed to me to take the management of his horses, which I accepted. Nothing could be more kind than the manner in which he proposed it. [1]

[1] Mr. Greville continued to manage the racing establishment of the Duke of York from this time till the death of his Royal Highness.

March 5th, 1821

I have experienced a great proof of the vanity of human wishes. In the course of three weeks I have attained the three things which I have most desired in the world for years past, and upon the whole I do not feel that my happiness is at all increased; perhaps if it were not for one cause it might be, but until that ceases to exist it is in vain that I acquire every other advantage or possess the means of amusement. [2]

[2] One of these things was Mr. Greville's appointment as Clerk of the Council; the second was his connection with the Duke of York in his racing establishment; I am ignorant of the third.

March 22nd, 1821

I was sworn in the day before yesterday, [45] and kissed hands at a Council at Carlton House yesterday morning as Clerk of the Council.

March 25th, 1821

Lord Fife has been dismissed from his place of Lord of the Bedchamber for voting against the Malt Tax, and Lord Lovaine has been appointed instead.

April 19th, 1821

The night before last Hobhouse made his furious attack upon Canning. Last night everybody expected that Canning would speak, and was extremely anxious to hear what notice he would take of Hobhouse. The army estimates came on first in the evening, and almost all the members went away, intending to return to the Reform debate, but when Reform came on there were only 100 members in the House. 'Le combat finit faute de combattans,' and when everybody came crowding down at nine o'clock the House had been up half an hour, having divided 53 to 41. [3]

[3] On the 17th of April Mr. Lambton (afterwards Earl of Durham) moved for a Committee of the whole House to consider the state of the representation of the people in Parliament. It was owing to the misapprehension described in the text that the division was so small.

May 2nd, 1821

When the Canonry of Windsor became vacant Lady Conyngham asked the King to give it to Mr. Sumner, [4] who had been Mount Charles's tutor. The King agreed: the man was sent for, and kissed hands at Brighton. A letter was written to Lord Liverpool to announce the [46] appointment. In the meantime Lord Liverpool had sent a list of persons, one of whom he should recommend to succeed to the vacancy, and the letters crossed. As soon as Lord Liverpool received the letter from Brighton he got into his carriage and went down to the King, to state that unless he was allowed to have the distribution of this patronage without any interference, he could not carry on the Government, and would resign his office if Sumner was appointed. The man was only a curate, and had never held a living at all. The King 'chanta palinodie,' and a sort of compromise was made, by which Lady Conyngham's friend was withdrawn, and the King begged it might be given to Dr. Clarke, to which appointment Lord Liverpool consented, although he did not approve of him; he did not, however, wish to appear too difficult.

[4] Afterwards Bishop of Winchester. This was the beginning of the fortune of that amiable prelate, of whom it must be said that if he owed his early advancement to a questionable influence, no man has filled the episcopal office with more unaffected piety, dignity, and goodness. The difference between George IV. and Lord Liverpool on this occasion was a very serious one. The Duke of Wellington referred to it in a confidential letter to Lord Liverpool, written on the 26th of October, 1821, in the following terms: — 'As I told you at Windsor, the King has never forgiven your opposition to his wishes in the case of Mr. Sumner. This feeling has influenced every action of his life in relation to his Government from that moment; and I believe to more than one of us he avowed that his objection to Mr. Canning was that his accession to the Government was peculiarly desirable to you. Nothing can be more unjust or more unfair than this feeling; and as there is not one of your colleagues who did not highly approve of what you did respecting Mr. Sumner, so there is not one of them who would not suffer with you all the consequences of that act.' ('Correspondence of the Duke of Wellington,' Second Series, vol. i. p. 195; published in 1867.)

Lady Conyngham lives in one of the houses in Marlborough Row. All the members of her family are continually there, and are supplied with horses, carriages, &c., from the King's stables. She rides out with her daughter, but never with the King, who always rides with one of his gentlemen. They never appear in public together. She dines there every day. Before the King comes into the room she and Lady Elizabeth join him in another room, and he always walks in with one on each arm. She comports herself entirely as mistress of the house, but never suffers her daughter to leave her. She has received magnificent presents, and Lady Elizabeth the same; particularly the mother has strings of pearls of enormous value. Madame de Lieven said she had seen the pearls of the Grand Duchesses and the Prussian Princesses, but had never seen any nearly so fine as Lady Conyngham's. The other night Lady Bath was coming to the Pavilion. After dinner Lady Conyngham called to Sir William Keppel and said, 'Sir William, do desire them to light up the saloon' (this saloon is lit by hundreds of candles). When the King came in she said to him, 'Sir, I told them to light up the saloon, as Lady Bath is coming this evening.' The King seized her arm and said with the greatest tenderness, 'Thank you, thank you, [47] my dear; you always do what is right; you cannot please me so much as by doing everything you please, everything to show that you are mistress here.'

May 12th, 1821

I have suffered the severest pain I ever had in my life by the death of Lady Worcester. [5] I loved her like a sister, and I have lost one of the few persons in the world who cared for me, and whose affection and friendship serve to make life valuable to me. She has been cut off in the prime of her life and in the bloom of her beauty, and so suddenly too. Seven days ago she was at a ball at Court, and she is now no more. She died like a heroine, full of cheerfulness and courage to the last. She has been snatched from life at a time when she was becoming every day more fit to live, for her mind, her temper, and her understanding were gradually and rapidly improving; she had faults, but her mind was not vicious, and her defects may be ascribed to her education and to the actual state of the society in which she lived. Her virtues were inherent in her character; every day developed them more and more, and they were such as to make the happiness of all who lived with her and to captivate the affection of all who really knew her. I have never lost anyone I loved before, and though I know the grief I now feel will soon subside (for so the laws of nature have ordained), long, long will it be before I forget her, or before my mind loses the lively impression of her virtues and of our mutual friendship.

[5] Georgiana Frederica, Marchioness of Worcester, daughter of the Hon. Charles Fitzroy, married to Henry, afterwards seventh Duke of Beaufort, in 1814, died 11th of May, 1821. This lamented lady left two daughters, afterwards Lady Augusta Neumann and Lady Georgiana Codrington.

This is one of those melancholy events in life to which the mind cannot for a long time reconcile or accustom itself. I saw her so short a time ago 'glittering like the morning star, full of life and splendour and joy;' the accents of her voice still so vibrate in my ear that I cannot believe I shall never see her again. What a subject for contemplation and for moralising! What reflections crowd into the mind!

Dr. Hume told me once he had witnessed many [48] death-beds, but he had never seen anything like the fortitude and resignation displayed by her. She died in his arms, and without pain. As life ebbed away her countenance changed, and when at length she ceased to breathe, a beautiful and tranquil smile settled upon her face.

Call round her tomb each, object of desire,
Each, purer frame informed by purer fire;
Let her be all that cheers or softens life,
The tender sister, daughter, friend, and wife:
Bid her be all that makes mankind adore,
Then view this marble, and be vain no more.

June 24th, 1821

The King dined at Devonshire House last Thursday se'nnight. Lady Conyngham had on her head a sapphire which belonged to the Stuarts, and was given by Cardinal York to the King. He gave it to the Princess Charlotte, and when she died he desired to have it back, Leopold being informed it was a crown jewel. This crown jewel sparkled in the headdress of the Marchioness at the ball. I ascertained the Duke of York's sentiments upon this subject the other day. He was not particularly anxious to discuss it, but he said enough to show that he has no good opinion of her. The other day, as we were going to the races from Oatlands, he gave me the history of the Duke of Wellington's life. His prejudice against him is excessively strong, and I think if ever he becomes King the other will not be Commander-in-Chief. He does not deny his military talents, but he thinks that he is false and ungrateful, that he never gave sufficient credit to his officers, and that he was unwilling to put forward men of talent who might be in a situation to claim some share of credit, the whole of which he was desirous of engrossing himself. He says that at Waterloo he got into a scrape and avowed himself to be surprised, and he attributes in great measure the success of that day to Lord Anglesea, who, he says, was hardly mentioned, and that in the coldest terms, in the Duke's despatch. [6]

[6] The unjust and unfavourable opinion expressed of the Duke of Wellington by the Duke of York dated from the appointment of Sir Arthur Wellesley to a high command, and afterwards to the chief command of the army in Portugal. The Duke of York had at one moment entertained hopes of commanding that army, but when he was made to understand that this was impossible he erroneously attributed this disappointment to the intrigues of those who were preferred before him. This matter is explained with further particulars sub 24th of December, 1822.

[49] December 18th, 1821

I have not written anything for months. 'Quante cose mi sono accadute!' My progress was as follows, not very interesting: — To Newmarket, Whersted, Riddlesworth, Sprotborough, Euston, Elveden, Welbeck, Caversham, Nun Appleton, Welbeck, Burghley, and London. Nothing worth mentioning occurred at any of these places. Sprotborough was agreeable enough. The Grevilles, Montagu, Wilmot, and the Wortleys were there. I came to town, went to Brighton yesterday se'nnight for a Council. I was lodged in the Pavilion and dined with the King. The gaudy splendour of the place amused me for a little and then bored me. The dinner was cold and the evening dull beyond all dulness. They say the King is anxious that form and ceremony should be banished, and if so it only proves how impossible it is that form and ceremony should not always inhabit a palace. The rooms are not furnished for society, and, in fact, society cannot flourish without ease; and who can feel at ease who is under the eternal constraint which etiquette and respect impose? The King was in good looks and good spirits, and after dinner cut his jokes with all the coarse merriment which is his characteristic. Lord Wellesley did not seem to like it, but of course he bowed and smiled like the rest. I saw nothing very particular in the King's manner to Lady Conyngham. He sat by her on the couch almost the whole evening, playing at patience, and he took her in to dinner; but Madame de Lieven and Lady Cowper were there, and he seemed equally civil to all of them. I was curious to see the Pavilion and the life they lead there, and I now only hope I may never go there again, for the novelty is past, and I should be exposed to the whole weight of the bore of it without the stimulus of curiosity.

December 19th, 1821

I dined with Lord Gwydir yesterday, and sat next to Prince Lieven. He told me that Bloomfield [50] is no longer in favour, that he has been supplanted by Lord Francis Conyngham, [7] who now performs almost all the functions which formerly appertained to Bloomfield. He is quite aware of his decline, and submits himself to it in a manly way. He is no longer so necessary to the King as he was, for a short time ago he could not bear that Bloomfield should be absent, and now his absence is unfelt. Francis goes to the King every morning, usually breakfasts with him, and receives all his orders. He was invited to go to Panshanger for two days, and was very anxious to go, but he could not obtain leave from the King to absent himself. Bloomfield does not put himself forward; 'meme il se retire,' he said, and it is understood that he has made up his mind to resign his situation and leave the Court. The King is still perfectly civil and good-humoured to him, but has withdrawn his confidence from him, and Bloomfield is no longer his first servant.

[7] Lord Francis Conyngham, second son of the first Marquis of Conyngham (who was raised to the British peerage in June 1821), afterwards himself Marquis of Conyngham.

I asked Lieven whether Francis Conyngham, in performing the other duties which had been hitherto allotted to Bloomfield, also exercised the functions of Private Secretary, because this involved a much more serious question. He said that he did not know; all he knew was that whilst he was at Brighton Bloomfield was absent for five days, and that during that time the other had ostensibly occupied the place which Bloomfield used to hold about the King's person. The commencement of this revolution in the King's sentiments is to be dated from the journey to Hanover. Now Bloomfield sits amongst the guests at dinner at the Pavilion; the honours are done by the father on one side and the son on the other.


July 16th, 1822

Since I wrote last I have been continually in town. I have won on the Derby, my sister is married, [8] and [51] I have done nothing worth recording. How habit and practice change our feelings, our opinions; and what an influence they have upon our thoughts and actions! Objects which I used to contemplate at an immeasurable distance, and to attain which I thought would be the summit of felicity, I have found worth very little in comparison to the value my imagination used to set upon them.... London is nearly over, has been tolerably agreeable; but I have been very often bored to death by the necessity of paying some attention to keep up an interest.

[8] Miss Greville married Lord Francis Leveson Gower, afterwards Earl of Ellesmere, in 1822.

July 30th, 1822

Madame de Lieven is ill with the King, and is miserable in consequence. Lady Cowper is her confidante, and the Duke of Wellington; but this latter pretends to know nothing of it, and asked me the other day what it was, I am sure in order to discover what people say. When the Duke was at Brighton in the winter, he and the King had a dispute about the army. It began (it was at dinner) by the King's saying that the Russians or the Prussians (I forget which) were the best infantry in the world. The Duke said, 'Except your Majesty's.' The King then said the English cavalry were the best, which the Duke denied; then that an inferior number of French regiments would always beat a superior number of English, and, in short, that they were not half so effective. The King was very angry; the dispute waxed warm, and ended by his Majesty rising from table and saying, 'Well, it is not for me to dispute on such a subject with your Grace.' The King does not like the Duke, nor does the Duke of York. This I know from himself.

August 13th, 1822

I went to Cirencester on Friday and came back yesterday. At Hounslow I heard of the death of Lord Londonderry. [9] When I got to town I met several people who had all assumed an air of melancholy, a visage de circonstance, which provoked me inexpressibly, because it was certain that they did not care; indeed, if they felt at [52] all, it was probably rather satisfaction at an event happening than sorrow for the death of the person. It seems Lord Londonderry had been unwell for some time, but not seriously, and a few days before this catastrophe he became much worse, and was very much dejected. He told Lord Granville some time ago that he was worn out with fatigue, and he told Count Munster the other day that he was very ill indeed. The Duke of Wellington saw him on Friday, and was so struck by the appearance of illness about him that he sent Bankhead to him. He was cupped on Saturday in London, got better, and went to Foot's Cray. On Sunday he was worse, and the state of dejection in which he appeared induced his attendants to take certain precautions, which unfortunately, however, proved fruitless. They removed his pistols and his razors, but he got hold of a penknife which was in the room next his, and on Sunday night or early on Monday morning he cut his throat with it. There is not a Minister in town but Lord Liverpool, Vansittart, and the Chancellor. Lord Bathurst is at Cirencester, the Duke of Wellington in Holland, Lord Sidmouth in Yorkshire, Peel and Lord Melville in Scotland with the King. No event ever gave rise to more speculation with the few people there are left to speculate, and the general opinion seems to be that Canning will not go to India, [10] but will be appointed in his room. It certainly opens a door to his ambition as well as to that of Peel, who, unless Canning comes into office, must of necessity lead the House of Commons. Another speculation is that Lord Liverpool will take this opportunity of resigning, and that the King will form a Whig Ministry. I do not believe Lord Liverpool wishes to resign, and my opinion is that Canning will come into office.

[9] Lord Castlereagh, far better known by that name, succeeded as second Marquis of Londonderry on the 11th of April, 1821 — only sixteen months before his death.
[10] Mr. Canning had just accepted the office of Governor-General of India, and was about to go out to that country.

I had hardly any acquaintance with Lord Londonderry, and therefore am not in the slightest degree affected by his death. As a Minister he is a great loss to his party, and still greater to his friends and dependents, to whom he was the best of patrons; to the country I think he is none. [53] Nobody can deny that his talents were great, and perhaps he owed his influence and authority as much to his character as to his abilities. His appearance was dignified and imposing; he was affable in his manners and agreeable in society. The great feature of his character was a cool and determined courage, which gave an appearance of resolution and confidence to all his actions, and inspired his friends with admiration and excessive devotion to him, and caused him to be respected by his most violent opponents. As a speaker he was prolix, monotonous, and never eloquent, except, perhaps, for a few minutes when provoked into a passion by something which had fallen out in debate. But, notwithstanding these defects, and still more the ridicule which his extraordinary phraseology had drawn upon him, he was always heard with attention. He never spoke ill; his speeches were continually replete with good sense and strong argument, and though they seldom offered much to admire, they generally contained a great deal to be answered. I believe he was considered one of the best managers of the House of Commons who ever sat in it, and he was eminently possessed of the good taste, good humour, and agreeable manners which are more requisite to make a good leader than eloquence, however brilliant. With these qualities, it may be asked why he was not a better Minister, and who can answer that question? or who can aver that he did not pursue the policy which he conscientiously believed to be most advantageous to his country? Nay, more, who can say but from surmise and upon speculation that it was not the best? I believe that he was seduced by his vanity, that his head was turned by emperors, kings, and congresses, and that he was resolved that the country which he represented should play as conspicuous a part as any other in the political dramas which were acted on the Continent. The result of his policy is this, that we are mixed up in the affairs of the Continent in a manner we have never been before, which entails upon us endless negotiations and enormous expenses. We have associated ourselves with the members of the Holy Alliance, and countenanced the acts of [54] ambition and despotism in such a manner as to have drawn upon us the detestation of the nations of the Continent; and our conduct towards them at the close of the war has brought a stain upon our character for bad faith and desertion which no time will wipe away, and the recollection of which will never be effaced from their minds.

August 19th, 1822

I went to Brighton on Saturday to see the Duke [of York]; returned to-day. The Pavilion is finished. The King has had a subterranean passage made from the house to the stables, which is said to have cost £3,000 or £5,000; I forget which. There is also a bath in his apartment, with pipes to conduct water from the sea; these pipes cost £600. The King has not taken a sea bath for sixteen years.

The Marquis of Londonderry is to be buried to-morrow in Westminster Abbey. It is thought injudicious to have anything like an ostentatious funeral, considering the circumstances under which he died, but it is the particular wish of his widow. She seems to consider the respect which is paid to his remains as a sort of testimony to his character, and nothing will pacify her feelings or satisfy her affection but seeing him interred with all imaginable honours. It seems that he gave several indications of a perturbed mind a short time previous to his death. For some time past he had been dejected, and his mind was haunted with various apprehensions, particularly with a notion that he was in great personal danger. On the day (the 3rd of August) he gave a great dinner at Cray to his political friends, some of them finding the wine very good, wished to compliment him upon it, and Arbuthnot called out, 'Lord Londonderry!' He instantly jumped up with great vivacity, and stood as if in expectation of something serious that was to follow. When he was told that it was about the wine they wished to speak to him, he sat down; but his manner was so extraordinary that Huskisson remarked it to Wilmot as they came home. In the last interview which the Duke of Wellington had with him he said he never heard him converse upon affairs with more clearness and strength of mind [55] than that day. In the middle of the conversation, however, he said, 'To prove to you what danger I am in, my own servants think so, and that I ought to go off directly, that I have no time to lose, and they keep my horses saddled that I may get away quickly; they think that I should not have time to go away in a carriage.' Then ringing the bell violently, he said to the servant, 'Tell me, sir, instantly who ordered my horses here; who sent them up to town?' The man answered that the horses were at Cray, and had never been in town. The Duke desired the man to go, and in consequence of this strange behaviour wrote the letter to Bankhead which has been since published.

August 20th, 1822

Knighton went with the King to Scotland, and slept in one of his Majesty's own cabins, that next to him. He is supposed to have been appointed Privy Purse. Bloomfield has got the mission to Stockholm. When Bloomfield was dismissed a disposition was shown to treat him in a very unceremonious manner; but he would not stand this, and displayed a spirit which he was probably enabled to assume in consequence of what he knows. When they found he was not to be bullied they treated with him, and gave him every honour and emolument he could desire.

September 22nd, 1822

I saw Lady Bathurst on the 13th. Canning had not then sent his answer, and greatly surprised were the Ministers at the delay. Lord Liverpool's proposal to him was simple and unclogged with conditions — the Foreign Office and the lead in the House of Commons. The King's repugnance to his coming into office was extreme, and it required all the efforts of his Ministers to surmount it. The Duke of Wellington and Peel have all the credit of having persuaded the King to consent, but Lord Bathurst's arguments influenced him as much as those of any person, and he told Lady Conyngham that he was more satisfied by what Lord Bathurst had said to him on the subject than by any of the Ministers. I know that amongst the Canning party Lord Bathurst is supposed to have joined with the Chancellor in opposing his appointment. The danger in which the Duke of Wellington was sensibly affected the King, because [56] at this moment the Duke is in high favour with him; and when he heard he was so ill he sent Knighton to him to comfort him with a promise that he would reconsider the proposal of receiving Canning, and the next day he signified his consent. I saw a note from Lady Conyngham to Lady Bathurst, in which she gave an account of the uneasiness and agitation in which the King had been in consequence of the Duke's illness, saying how much she had suffered in consequence, and how great had been their relief, when Knighton brought word that he was better. The 'dear King,' she said, was more composed. She added that she (Lady B.) would hear that evening what would give her pleasure, and this was that the King had agreed to take Canning. In a conversation also Lady C. said that she did hope, now the King had yielded his own inclination to the wishes and advice of his Ministers, that they would behave to him better than they had done. Canning was sworn in on Monday. His friends say that he was very well received. The King told Madame de Lieven that having consented to receive him, he had behaved to him, as he always did, in the most gentlemanlike manner he could, and that on delivering to him the seals, he said to him that he had been advised by his Ministers that his abilities and eloquence rendered him the only fit man to succeed to the vacancy which Lord Londonderry's death had made, and that, in appointing him to the situation, he had only to desire that he would follow the steps of his predecessor. This Madame de Lieven told to Lady Jersey, and she to me. It seems that the King was so struck with Lord Londonderry's manner (for he said to the King nearly what he said to the Duke of Wellington), and so persuaded that some fatal catastrophe would take place, that when Peel came to inform him of what had happened, he said to him before he spoke, 'I know you are come to tell me that Londonderry is dead.' Peel had just left him, and upon receiving the despatches immediately returned; and when Lady Conyngham was told by Lord Mount Charles that there was a report that he was dead, she said, 'Good God! then he has [57] destroyed himself.' She knew what had passed with the King, and was the only person to whom he had told it.

September 23rd, 1822

George Bentinck, who thinks there never existed such a man as Canning, and who probably has heard from him some circumstances connected with his resignation at the time of the Queen's trial, told —— that it was in consequence of a dispute between the King and his Ministers concerning the payment of the expenses of the Milan Commission. The Ministers wished the King to pay the expenses himself, and he wished them to be defrayed by Government. Lord Londonderry promised the King (without the concurrence of the other Ministers) that the expenses should be paid by Government, but with money ostensibly appropriated to other purposes. This Canning could not endure, and resigned. Such is his story, which probably is partly true and partly false.

November 5th, 1822

I have been to Newmarket, Euston, Riddlesworth, Rendlesham, Whersted, besides going to town several times and to Brighton. Since I left London for the Doncaster races I have travelled near 1,200 miles. At Riddlesworth the Duke of York told me a great deal about the Queen and Brougham, but he was so unintelligible that part I could not make out and part I do not remember. What I can recollect amounts to this, that the Emperor of Austria was the first person who informed the King of the Queen's conduct in Italy, that after the enquiry was set on foot a negotiation was entered into with the Queen, the basis of which was that she should abdicate the title of Queen, and that to this she had consented. He said that Brougham had acted a double part, for that he had acquiesced in the propriety of her acceding to those terms, and had promised that he would go over to her and confirm her in her resolution to agree to them; that he had not only not gone, but that whilst he was making these promises to Government he had written to the Queen desiring her to come over. The Duke told me that a man (whose name he did not mention) came to him and said, 'So the Queen comes over?' He said, 'No, she does not.' The man said, 'I know she does, for [58] Brougham has written to her to come; I saw the letter.' If Lord Liverpool and Lord Londonderry had thought proper to publish what had been done on the part of Brougham, he would have been covered with infamy; but they would not do it, and he thinks they were wrong. The rest I cannot remember. [11]

[11] This is an erroneous and imperfect account of this important transaction, the particulars of which are related by Lord Brougham in his 'Memoirs,' cap. xvi. vol. ii. p. 352, and still more fully by Mr. Yonge in his 'Life of Lord Liverpool,' vol. iii. p. 52. Mr. Brougham had sent his brother James to the Queen at Geneva to dissuade her from setting out for England, but, as he himself observes, 'I was quite convinced that if she once set out she never would stop short.' He met her himself at St. Omer, being the bearer of a memorandum dated the 15th of April, 1820, which contained the terms proposed by the King's Government. He went to St. Omer in company with Lord Hutchinson, but Mr. Brougham, and not Lord Hutchinson, was the bearer of these propositions. Lord Hutchinson had no copy of the document. The extraordinary part of Mr. Brougham's conduct was that he never at all submitted or made known to the Queen the memorandum of the 15th of April; and she knew nothing of it till she had reached London, when all negotiation was broken off. This fact Lord Brougham does not explain in his 'Memoirs;' but Lord Hutchinson declared in his report to Lord Liverpool that in truth Brougham 'did not appear to possess the smallest degree of power, weight, or authority over the mind of the Queen' when at St. Omer.

Welbeck, November 16th, 1822

I have had a great deal of conversation with Titchfield, [12] particularly about Canning, and he told me this curious fact about his coming into office: — When the King had consented to receive him he wrote a letter nearly in these words to Lord Liverpool: 'The King thinks that the brightest jewel in the crown is to extend his forgiveness [I am not sure that this was the word [13]] to a subject who has offended him, and he therefore informs Lord L. that he consents to Mr. Canning forming a part of the Cabinet.' This letter was communicated by Lord Liverpool to Canning, and upon reading it he was indignant, as were his wife and his daughter. The [59] consequence was that he wrote a most violent and indignant reply, addressed to the same person to whom the other letter had been addressed, and which was intended in like manner to be shown to the King, as the King's letter was to him. Upon hearing what had passed, however, down came Lord Granville and Mr. Ellis in a great hurry, and used every argument to dissuade him from sending the letter, urging that he had entirely misunderstood the purport of the letter which had offended him; that it was intended as an invitation to reconciliation, and contained nothing which could have been meant as offensive; that the country would be so dissatisfied (which ardently desired and expected that he should come into office) if he rejected this overture that he would not be justified in refusing his services to the public, who so anxiously wished for them. These arguments, vehemently urged and put in every possible shape, prevailed, and the angry reply was put in the fire, and another written full of gratitude, duty, and acquiescence.

[12] The Marquis of Titchfield, eldest son of the fourth Duke of Portland, Mr. Greville's first cousin, died in the twenty-eighth year of his age.
[13] The exact words in the King's letter to Lord Liverpool are 'extend his grace and favour to a subject who may have incurred his displeasure.' This letter, Lord Liverpool's letter transmitting it to Mr. Canning, and Mr. Canning's answer to Lord Liverpool are now all published in Mr. Yonge's 'Life and Administration of Lord Liverpool,' vol. iii. p. 200.

London, November 24th, 1822

The morning I left Welbeck I had a long conversation with Titchfield upon various matters connected with politics and his family, particularly relating to Lord William's correspondence with Lord Liverpool about the Government of India. He showed me this correspondence, in which, as I anticipated, Lord William had the worst of it. Lord Liverpool's answer was unanswerable. He showed me also a very long letter which he had received from Lord William, together with the copies of the correspondence, which was written the evening before he went abroad. In this letter (which I only read once, and which was so long that I cannot recollect it) he gave a detailed account of his sentiments upon the Indian matter, with the reasons for his having acted as he did, also his feelings with regard to the manner in which Canning had behaved upon the occasion and a conversation which he had with Mrs. Canning. [14] This latter I think exceedingly curious, because [60] it serves to show what the object and the pretensions of Canning are in taking office, and exhibit that ambition the whole extent of which he dares not show. It seems that the Directors were anxious that Lord William should be appointed Governor-General, and this he knew through friends of his in the Court. Government, however, having signified their dissent to his nomination, Lord Amherst was nominated by the Court and accepted. Lord William's displeasure with Canning arises from an idea that Canning was backward in supporting his interests in this matter, and that he kept aloof from Lord William, and acquiesced in his rejection without ever communicating with him on the subject. Had Canning stated to him the difficulties under which he laboured, from his anxiety to serve him on the one hand and his obligation of coinciding with his colleagues on the other, Lord William would not have hesitated to desire him to abandon his interests rather than involve himself in any embarrassment on his account. He wrote to Lord Liverpool to complain that the Court of Directors being inclined to nominate him, Lord L. had interposed his influence to prevent that nomination; that he did not ask Lord L. to consent to his appointment, but he did ask him not to interpose his influence to prevent his nomination, because that nomination was essential to his character, as proving that the Court of Directors were satisfied of the injustice with which he had been treated in the affair of the Vellore mutiny. Lord Liverpool's answer was short and civil, assuring him that he had neither directly nor indirectly exerted any influence at all, maintaining his right to give his opinion to the Directors in case it had been asked, and stating that Lord Amherst had been proposed by the Court and accepted by Government. [15] [61] Whilst this matter was still pending, and before Lord Amherst's appointment had been made known, Lord William went to Gloucester Lodge. He saw Mrs. Canning, and being anxious to acquire information concerning the Indian appointment, he told her that she had an opportunity of obliging him by telling him anything she knew concerning it. She answered very quickly and in a very bad humour, 'Oh, it is all settled; Lord Amherst is appointed.' She then put into his hand a letter which Canning had received that morning from the Duke of Portland, declining his offer of the Private Secretaryship for John and George, alleging as a reason the hostile politics of Lord William and Titchfield. Mrs. Canning said that she had no idea that they would not have supported Canning, that she was aware they differed on some matters of minor importance, but that she had imagined their general opinions to be similar; that she had conceived Lord William's opposition to have been directed against Lord Londonderry, and that it would have ceased with his death; that 'the present must be considered as a new Administration, and that Canning must be virtually Minister of the country.' Lord William replied that he could not view it in that light, that he thought it likely the introduction of Canning into the Cabinet might effect a beneficial influence on the measures of Government, and more particularly that a system of foreign policy might be adopted more congenial to his sentiments upon that subject; that it would give him the greatest pleasure to see such a change of measures as would enable him to give his support to a Government of which Canning was so conspicuous a member, but that he could not think that to be a new Administration which was composed (with the sole exception of [62] Canning) of precisely the same persons of which it consisted before he joined them.

[14] Mrs. Canning was the younger sister of Henrietta, wife of the fourth Duke of Portland, both of them being the daughters and coheiresses of Major-General John Scott of Balcomie. Lord William Bentinck, the Duke's brother, was therefore a near connection, and Lord George Bentinck and Lord John Bentinck, the Duke's sons, were by their mother's side Mrs. Canning's nephews. Lady Charlotte Greville, Mr. Charles Greville's mother, was of course connected with Mrs. Canning in the same degree as her brother Lord William Bentinck.
[15] Lord Liverpool's letter to the King on this appointment has been published by Mr. Yonge in his Life of that statesman. He stated strongly to George IV. his opinion that although Lord William Bentinck was supported by a powerful party in the Court of Directors, he thought it would be 'humiliating to the Government and productive of the very worst effects to appoint to such a station a man who had taken so strong a part in Parliamentary Opposition.' George IV. replied that he thought it 'highly unadvisable that Lord William Bentinck should be the successor of the Marquis of Hastings.' (Yonge's 'Life of Lord Liverpool,' vol. iii. p. 204.) Lord William Bentinck had previously been Governor of Madras at the time of the mutiny at Vellore.

George, [16] after having refused the Private Secretaryship, was talked over by Canning and accepted it. He tried to gain over John, but he refused to share it.

[16] Lord George Bentinck, third son of the fourth Duke of Portland; born 1802, died 1848; afterwards distinguished as the leader of the Protectionist party.

Canning wished that Manners Sutton should be appointed Governor-General, in order that Wynn might be made Speaker, and room made for Huskisson in the Cabinet; but Wynn would not have given up his situation, and it is very much suspected that if he had, the strength of Government would have been insufficient to procure his election as Speaker, so unpopular is he in the House.

December 24th, 1822

The other day I went to Bushy with the Duke [of York], and as we passed over Wimbledon Common he showed me the spot where he fought his duel with the Duke of Richmond. He then told me the whole story and all the circumstances which led to it, most of which are in print. That which I had never heard before was that at a masquerade three masks insulted the Prince of Wales, when the Duke interfered, desired the one who was most prominent to address himself to him, and added that he suspected him to be an officer in his regiment (meaning Colonel Lennox), and if he was he was a coward and a disgrace to his profession; if he was not the person he took him for, he desired him to unmask, and he would beg his pardon. The three masks were supposed to be Colonel Lennox, the Duke of Gordon, and Lady Charlotte. This did not lead to any immediate consequences, but perhaps indirectly contributed to what followed. The Duke never found out whether the masks were the people he suspected.

The last time I was with him he told me a variety of particulars about the Duke of Wellington's conduct at the siege of Seringapatam, of Lord Harris's reluctance to entrust the command of a storming party to him, of his not arriving at the place of rendezvous the first night, of Lord Harris's [63] anger and the difficulty with which he was brought to consent to his being employed the second night, when he distinguished himself so signally. Amongst various other matters, of which it was impossible to bring away a perfect recollection, from his confused manner of narrating, and particularly his inaccuracy as to dates, he told me (with many recommendations to secrecy) that which immediately explained to me the dislike which he certainly bears to the Duke and (which I did not know before) to Lord Londonderry. He said that after the retreat of our army under Sir J. Moore from Spain (he was not quite certain himself as to the exact period, though a reference to the history of that period will probably elucidate the matter) Lord L. sent for him, and communicated to him that it was the intention of Government to send out an expedition to Portugal, and to confer the command of it upon him. He replied that if called upon he should consider it his duty to serve, but he should never solicit any command. Nothing more passed at that time, but the newspapers by some means immediately got hold of this project and violently attacked the Government for thinking of sending him out. He does not appear to have known what intermediate deliberation led to a change in the determination of the Ministers in regard to himself. He says that Lord Chatham, who was much attached to him, and was then a Cabinet Minister, came to him one day, and told him he was betrayed, and that he was sacrificed to make way for Sir A. Wellesley; that soon after this Lord L. sent for him, and said that he was extremely sorry that public opinion was so strongly against his appointment to the command of the army that it was impossible for Government to confer it upon him. Soon after this the expedition was formed, and Sir A. Wellesley was appointed to the command. This was the Duke's own version of the transaction.

[64] 1823.

Some particulars concerning the late King's will were told me by the Duke of York as we were going to Oatlands to shoot on Wednesday, the 8th of January, 1823. The King was empowered by Act of Parliament to make a will about the year 1766. In 1770 he made a will, by which he left all he had to the Queen for her life, Buckingham House to the Duke of Clarence, some property to the Duke of Kent, and to the Duke of York his second best George and some other trifling remembrance. He considered the Duke of York provided for by the Bishopric of Osnaburgh. Of this will three copies were made; one was deposited in the German chancellerie in England, one in Hanover, and the other it was believed the King kept himself. He afterwards resolved to cancel this will, and two of the copies of it were destroyed, the third still existing (I could not make out by what means — if he told me I have forgotten — or which copy it was that survived). In 1810 the King made another will, but for various reasons he always put off signing it, once or twice because he wished to make alterations in it; at length he appointed a day to sign it, but when the Chancellor brought it one of the witnesses was absent, and the signature was again postponed. Other days were afterwards fixed for this purpose, but before the signature was affixed the King was taken ill, and consequently the will never was signed. After the death of the King the only good will, therefore, was his original will of 1770, which was produced and read in the presence of the King, the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Lord Liverpool, the Duke of York, Adair, the King's solicitor (Spyer his name), and one or two others whom he mentioned. Buckingham House, which had been left to the Duke of Clarence, had been twice sold; the Queen and the Duke of Kent were dead; the only legatee, therefore, was the Duke of York. Now arose a difficulty — whether the property of the late King demised to the King or to the Crown. The Chancellor said that the only person [65] who had anything to say to the will was the Duke of York; but the Duke and the King differed with regard to the right of inheritance, and the Duke, wishing to avoid any dispute or discussion on the subject, begged to wash his hands of the whole matter. The King conceives that the whole of the late King's property devolves upon him personally, and not upon the Crown, and he has consequently appropriated to himself the whole of the money and jewels. The money did not amount to more than £120,000. So touchy is he about pecuniary matters that his Ministers have never dared to remonstrate with him, nor to tell him that he has no right so to act. The consequence is that he has spent the money, and has taken to himself the jewels as his own private property. The Duke thinks that he has no right thus to appropriate their father's property, but that it belongs to the Crown. The King has acted in a like manner with regard to the Queen's [Charlotte's] jewels. She possessed a great quantity, some of which had been given her by the late King on her marriage, and the rest she had received in presents at different times. Those which the late King had given her she conceived to belong to the Crown, and left them back to the present King; the rest she left to her daughters. The King has also appropriated the Queen's [Caroline's] jewels to himself, and conceives that they are his undoubted private property. The Duke thinks that the Ministers ought to have taken the opportunity of the coronation, when a new crown was to be provided, to state to him the truth with regard to the jewels, and to suggest that they should be converted to that purpose. This, however, they dared not do, and so the matter remains. The King had even a design of selling the library collected by the late King, but this he was obliged to abandon, for the Ministers and the Royal Family must have interfered to oppose so scandalous a transaction. It was therefore presented to the British Museum.

January 25th, 1823

I came from Gorhambury with the Duke of Wellington last Wednesday, and he was very communicative. He gave me a detailed history of the late Congress, [66] and told me many other things which I should be glad to recollect.

After the two treaties of Paris and Vienna the Allied Powers agreed to meet in Congress from time to time to arrange together any matters of general interest which might arise, and to settle and discuss any differences which might occur between any two Powers, a rule being laid down that the affairs of no Power should be discussed without that Power being invited to the deliberation. The affairs of Naples were the first that attracted their attention. Austria complained that the ramifications of the secret political societies which had sprung up at Naples tended to disturb and revolutionise the Italian possessions, and demanded the consent of the Allied Powers that she should abate the nuisance. The cause was deemed sufficient to justify her interference, and the events followed which are known. The Congress at Verona was assembled for the purpose of taking into consideration the affairs of Italy, and for discussing the propriety of relieving Naples from the burden of that military force which had been maintained there for the purpose of extinguishing the revolutionary spirit. At this Congress France came forward and complained that the revolution which had taken place in Spain menaced her internal tranquillity, and demanded the advice of Congress as to the measures she should adopt. In this it will be observed that the rule of every Power being called upon to attend a deliberation in which its affairs were to be discussed was dispensed with. Austria, Russia, and Prussia immediately replied that if she considered the Spanish revolution to be dangerous to her repose, she would be justified in stifling that revolution by force of arms, and offered to co-operate with her in the attempt. England refused to give any answer to the demands of France, and demanded in return what was her case against Spain. To this no answer was given. The part then taken by the Duke was to deprecate hostilities, both publicly as Plenipotentiary of England and privately in the various conversations which he had with the Emperor of Russia, who seems to have been the strongest [67] advocate for making war with Spain. The imprudence of the Spaniards has afforded some colour to the right assumed by their enemies of interfering with their affairs, for they have upon several occasions attempted to foment the troubles which either existed or threatened to appear both in Naples and Piedmont; and the Emperor of Russia told the Duke that he had detected the Spanish Minister at St. Petersburg in an attempt to corrupt his soldiers at the time of the mutiny of the Guards, and that he had consequently sent him out of the country. The Duke replied that if the Emperor of Russia had reasonable grounds of complaint against Spain, he would be fully justified in declaring war against her, and that he would advise him to do so if he could march 150,000 men into Spain; but in suffering three years to elapse without making any complaint he had virtually renounced his right to complain, and that it was unfair to rake up a forgotten grievance against Spain at a time when she was menaced by another Power upon other grounds. The Duke said that the Emperor of Russia once talked to him of the practicability of marching an army into Spain, and seemed to think he might do so. The Duke said that the French Government would never allow it, when he said he could send them by sea. The Duke told him it would take 2,000 ships. One of the arguments of the Emperor of Russia was this: that constituted as their Governments were (military Governments) it was impossible for them to tolerate consistently with their own security any revolution which originated in military insubordination.

After the Congress the Duke returned to Paris, and found that not only Monsieur de Villele was averse to war, but that the King, Monsieur, and the Duke and Duchess of Angouleme were equally disinclined to commence hostilities. His endeavours have been incessantly directed to confirm their pacific dispositions, and to induce the Spanish Government to display moderation in their language and conduct. I asked him if such were the sentiments of the ruling powers in France upon what the question now turned, and why all idea of war was not abandoned, since both parties [68] were pacifically inclined. He said [17] that France had been led into a dilemma by a series of erroneous measures, that hers was a false position, that having made the demands she had done to the Allied Powers, having held such lofty language, and having made such a show of military preparation, her difficulty was how to retract and retrace her steps with honour and credit to herself; that she was a nation whose character depended in great measure upon her military renown, and that it would reflect disgrace upon her to have made such mighty preparations and assumed so peremptory a tone without performing any action commensurate with the expectations she had raised. He said that appearances certainly became more warlike, but that he still hoped peace would be maintained; that if war ensued it would be entered into contrary to the interests and inclinations of all the parties concerned, and that it would have been brought about by a succession of circumstances over which they had no control; that it was impossible for two armies to remain for a length of time so near each other without mutual incursions being made, insults and injuries exchanged, which must inevitably end in a state of warfare and hostility; that the recall of the French Minister from Madrid would contribute to this result, for both in the [69] Cortes and the Andalusian Junta expressions would be uttered offensive to the French Government, and misrepresentations would be made which would have the effect of exasperating the parties and of widening the breach; and that there being no agent of France at Madrid to furnish explanations and destroy the effect of the misrepresentations, there would be a constant correspondence between Madrid and Paris, in which vent would be given to all the angry feelings that ever existed. [18] The Duke advised that no answer should be given to the notes of the three Powers, nor to that of the French Minister. Had the Spanish Government declined to take notice of the notes, they would have imposed upon them the difficulty of taking the next steps. However, he admitted that the answer to the French note was very moderate. There is no statesman in Spain. There are some eloquent men in the Cortes, particularly Torreno and Arguelles. Torreno is the ablest man, but he has injured his character by peculation. The state of Spain is such that the most violent and turbulent possess the greatest share of influence. Portugal is in a state of greater intellectual improvement, and amongst the Portuguese there are some men of ability — Palmella, and another whose name I have forgotten. But Spain is not only deficient in men of education and talent to direct her councils, but she has no army, and not one officer of capacity. Not one was formed by the late war, for such were their vanity and ignorance that they would learn nothing from the English.

[17] All this reasoning appears to me exceedingly false, and I do not understand a Government being compelled to adopt measures adverse to her inclinations and injurious to her interests by circumstances which she could not control. A wise and vigorous statesman would break through such a web as that in which the French politics are entangled, and I cannot comprehend how the honour of a nation is to be supported by an obstinate adherence to measures which she had been led incautiously to adopt, and which were afterwards found to militate with her true interests. If the councils of France were directed by a Minister of a vigorous and independent character — if such a Minister were to come forward and state frankly to Spain, and announce to all Europe, that he would not invade the liberty and the rights of Spain, and instantly put a stop to all hostile preparations, finding arguments for an act of magnanimity, moderation, and justice, which are never wanting when some deed of lawless ambition and violent aggression is to be perpetrated, would not such a man acquire a more solid reputation than he who sacrifices to some punctilio the interests of his own country and the happiness and repose of millions, how great soever might be the success with which his efforts should be crowned? — [C.C.G.]
[18] These notes were addressed by the respective Courts to their own Ministers at Madrid. The Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs need not have taken any notice of them whatever according to the forms of diplomatic communication. — [C.C.G.]

Upon one occasion only the Spaniards gained a victory, the day on which St. Sebastian was stormed. Soult attacked a Spanish corps commanded by General Freyre. When the Duke was informed of the attack he hastened to the scene of action and placed two British divisions in reserve, to support the Spaniards, but did not allow them to come into action. He found the Spaniards running away as fast as they could. [70] He asked them where they were going. They said they were taking off the wounded. He immediately sent and ordered the gates of Irun, to which they were flying, to be shut against them, and sent to Freyre to desire he would rally his men. This was done, and they sustained the attack of the French; but General Freyre sent to the Duke to beg he would let his divisions support him, as he could not maintain himself much longer. The Duke said to Freyre's aide-de-camp, 'If I let a single man fire, the English will swear they gained the victory, and he had much better do it all himself; besides, look through my glass, and you will see the French are retreating.' This was the case, for a violent storm of rain had occurred, and the French, who had crossed a river, finding that it began to swell, and that their bridges were in danger of being carried away, had begun to retreat. The Spaniards maintained their position, but the Duke said he believed they owed it to the storm more than to their own resolution.

The Duke wrote to Alava some time ago (three years, I think) and desired him to advise the King from him, now that he had accepted the Constitution, to throw himself upon his Ministers. He has not written to Alava, nor Alava to him, for three years, because he knows that all letters are opened and read. He says the King of Spain is not clever, but cunning; his manners are good. He is in correspondence with the Allied Sovereigns, and is playing false. He has the means of corresponding, because, although his household is composed of men friendly to the revolution, there is no restraint upon his person, and he sees whomsoever he pleases. In case of war the French would obtain complete success. He conceives their object would be to obtain possession of the person of the King, to overthrow the Constitution, establish the King upon the throne with a Constitution perhaps similar to the French Charte, and to establish an army of occupation to maintain such an order of things till he should be able to form an army of his own.

The Duke saw the King of France twice while he was in Paris. He was much broken, but talked of living twelve or [71] fourteen years. The second time he was in better health and spirits than the first time. Madame du Cayla sent to the Duke to ask him to call upon her; he went twice and she was not at home. At his levee the King said, 'Il y a une personne qui regrette beaucoup de n'avoir pas eu le plaisir de vous voir.' The courtiers told him the King meant Madame du C. He went the same evening and saw her. She is a fine woman, about forty, and agreeable. She sees the King every Wednesday; he writes notes and verses to her, and he has given her a great deal of money. He has built a house for her, and given her a terre near St. Denis which is valued at 1,500,000 francs. The King likes M. de Villele [19] exceedingly. He has occasionally talked to the Duke of Bonaparte. One day, when they were standing together at the window which looks upon the garden of the Tuileries, he said, 'One day Bonaparte was standing here with — — , and he said, pointing to the Chamber of Deputies, "Vous voyez ce batiment la: si je les demuselais, je serais detrone." I said, "The King has given them freedom of debate, and I think I go on very well with it."'

[19] Villele was a lieutenant in the navy, and afterwards went to the Isle of France, where he was a member of the council (or whatever the legislation was called). At the revolution he returned to France and lived with his family near Toulouse, became a member of the departmental body, and subsequently Mayor of Toulouse; he was afterwards elected a Member of the Chamber, when he distinguished himself by his talents for debate, and became one of the chiefs of the Ultra party. He was a member of the Duc de Richelieu's Government, which he soon quitted, and was one of the principal instruments in overturning it. He anticipates a long administration. — [C.C.G.]

The Duke said he had been struck down by a musket shot whilst reconnoitring the enemy as they were retreating in the Pyrenees. The people round him thought he was killed, but he got up directly. Alava was wounded a few minutes before him, and Major Brooke nearly at the same time. He is of opinion that Massena was the best French general to whom he was ever opposed.

He said that Bonaparte had not the patience requisite for defensive operations. His last campaign (before the capture of Paris) was very brilliant, probably the ablest of [72] all his performances. The Duke is of opinion that if he had possessed greater patience he would have succeeded in compelling the Allies to retreat; but they had adopted so judicious a system of defence that he was foiled in the impetuous attacks he made upon them, and after a partial failure which he met with, when he attacked Blucher at Laon and Craon, he got tired of pursuing a course which afforded no great results, and leaving a strong body under Marmont to watch Blucher, he threw himself into the rear of the Grand Army. The march upon Paris entirely disconcerted him and finished the war. The Allies could not have maintained themselves much longer, and had he continued to keep his force concentrated, and to carry it as occasion required against one or other of the two armies, the Duke thinks he must eventually have forced them to retreat, and that their retreat would have been a difficult operation. The British army could not have reached the scene of operations for two months. The Allies did not dare attack Napoleon; if he had himself come up he should certainly have attacked him, for his army was the best that ever existed.

The Duke added that he traced back the present politics of France to their chagrin at the dissolution of the Family Compact. At the general pacification the Duke, on the part of the English Government, insisted upon that treaty not being renewed, and made a journey to Madrid for the purpose of determining the Spanish Government. Talleyrand and the King of France made great efforts to induce the Duke to desist from his opposition to the renewal of the treaty, and both were exceedingly mortified at being unable to shake the determination of our Government on this point.

The Duke of Wellington told me that Knighton [20] managed the King's affairs very well, that he was getting him out of debt very quickly, and that the Ministers were [73] well satisfied with him. When he was appointed to the situation he now holds, he called at Apsley House to announce it to the Duke, and expressed his hopes that the appointment would not displease him. The Duke said that he could have no objection, but he would give him a piece of advice he trusted he would take in good part: this was, that he would confine himself to the discharge of the functions belonging to his own situation, and that he would not in any way interfere with the Government; that as long as he should so conduct himself he would go on very well, but that if ever he should meddle with the concerns of the Ministers he would give them such offence that they would not suffer him to remain in a situation which he should thus abuse. Knighton thanked him very much for his advice, and promised to conform himself to it. It seems that he told this to the King, for the next time the Duke saw him the King said he had heard the advice which he had given to 'a person,' and that he might depend upon that person's following it entirely.

[20] Sir William Knighton, who was originally the King's physician, had been appointed Keeper of the King's Privy Seal and Receiver of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall; but in fact he acted as the King's Private Secretary, and it was to the duties of that delicate office that the Duke's advice applied.

November 29th, 1823

In the various conversations which I have with the Duke of York he continually tells me a variety of facts more or less curious, sometimes relating to politics, but more frequently concerning the affairs of the Royal Family, that I have neglected to note down at the time, and I generally forget them afterwards. I must acknowledge, however, that they do not interest me so much as they would many other people. I have not much taste for Court gossip. Another reason, too, is the difficulty of making a clear narrative out of his confused communications. The principal anecdotes he has told me have been, as well as I recollect, relative to the Duchess of Gloucester's marriage, to the Duke of Cumberland's marriage and all the dissensions to which that event gave rise in the Royal Family, the differences between the King and Prince Leopold, and other trifling matters which I have forgotten. In all of these histories the King acted a part, in which his bad temper, bad judgment, falseness, and duplicity were equally conspicuous. I think it is not possible for any man to have [74] a worse opinion of another than the Duke has of the King. From various instances of eccentricities I am persuaded that the King is subject to occasional impressions which produce effects like insanity; that if they continue to increase he will end by being decidedly mad. The last thing which I have heard was at Euston the other day. I went into the Duke's room, and found him writing; he got up and told me that he was thrown into a great dilemma by the conduct of the King, who had behaved extremely ill to him. The matter which I could collect was this: — Upon the disturbances breaking out in the West Indies it became necessary to send off some troops as quickly as possible. In order to make the necessary arrangements without delay, the Duke made various dispositions, a part of which consisted in the removal of the regiment on guard at Windsor and the substitution of another in its place. Orders were expedited to carry this arrangement into effect, and at the same time he communicated to the King what he had done and desired his sanction to the arrangement. The Duke's orders were already in operation, when he received a letter from the King to say that he liked the regiment which was at Windsor, and that it should not move; and in consequence of this fancy the whole business was at a standstill. Thus he thought proper to trifle with the interests of the country to gratify his own childish caprice. He gave, too, great offence to the Duke, in hindering his dispositions from being carried into effect, at the same time.

The Duke told me another thing which he thought was indirectly connected with the first. It seems one of the people about the Court had ordered some furniture to be removed from Cumberland Lodge to Windsor (something for the Chapel). Stephenson, as head of the Board of Works, on being informed this was done, wrote to the man to know by what orders he had done it. The man showed the letter to the King, who was exceedingly incensed, and wrote to Lord Liverpool to say that Stephenson's letter was insulting to him, and desired he might be turned out. After some correspondence on the subject Lord Liverpool persuaded the King to reinstate [75] him; but he was obliged to make all sorts of apologies and excuses for having done what it was his duty to do. Stephenson is a friend and servant of the Duke's, and in his ill-humour he tried to revenge himself upon the Duke as well as on Stephenson, and he thwarted the Duke in his military arrangements. What made his conduct the less excusable was that it was important that these things should be done quickly, and as the Duke was out of town a correspondence became necessary, by which great delay would be caused.


March 6th, 1824

Poor Titchfield [21] died last night at eight o'clock, having lingered for some days in a state which gave to his family alternate hopes and fears. He was better till yesterday afternoon, when he was removed into another room; soon after this he grew weaker, and at eight o'clock he expired. He is a great loss to his family, of which he was by much the cleverest member, and he was well calculated to fill the situation in which fortune had placed him. His talents were certainly of a superior description, but their efficacy was counteracted by the eccentricity of his habits, the indolence of his mind, and his vacillating and uncertain disposition. He was, however, occasionally capable of intense application, and competent to make himself master of any subject he thought fit to grapple with; his mind was reflecting, combining, and argumentative, but he had no imagination, and to passion, 'the sanguine credulity of youth, and the fervent glow of enthusiasm' he was an entire stranger. He never had any taste for society, and attached himself early to politics. He started in life with an enthusiastic admiration for Mr. Canning, but after two or three years, being thrown into the society of many of his political opponents, he began to entertain opinions very different from those of Mr. Canning. He never, however, enlisted under any political banner, and [76] his great object seemed to be to prove to the world that he belonged to no party. After Mr. Canning came into office he took the earliest opportunity of informing his constituents that he was unfettered by any political connection with him. Titchfield was never at a public school, but was educated at home. Such an education — the most injudicious which can be given to a young man destined to fill a great situation — was not without its effect upon his mind. The superior indulgences and the early habits of authority and power in which he was brought up, without receiving correction from any of those levelling circumstances which are incidental to public schools, threw a shade of selfishness and reserve over his character, which time, the commerce of the world, and a naturally kind disposition had latterly done much to correct. The subject to which he had principally devoted his attention was political economy, and in the discussions in the House of Commons upon currency he had particularly distinguished himself. Whatever he attempted he had done so well that great expectations were entertained of his future success, and the indications he had given of talent will ensure to his memory a lasting reputation. He has died at a moment the most fortunate, perhaps, for his fame as a public man; but his loss to his family is very great, and by them will be long felt and deeply lamented.

[21] William Henry, Marquis of Titchfield, eldest son of the fourth Duke of Portland.

An interval of two years occurs in the Journal, during which Mr. Greville wrote nothing.

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