The Greville Memoirs

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The Greville Memoirs


The Catholic Relief Bill — Inconsistency of the Tories — The Catholic Association — Dinner at Charles Grant's — The Terceira Expedition — Tory Discontent — Peel resigns his Seat for Oxford University — A Blunder in Chancery — The Oxford Election — Influence of the Duke of Wellington — Debate of Royal Dukes — Peel beaten — Sir Edward Codrington — Violence of the King — Intrigues to defeat the Catholic Bill — The Duke of Cumberland — Furious State of Parties — Matuscewitz — Peel's Speech on Catholic Emancipation — Exclusion of O'Connell from his Seat for Clare — Pitt's View of Catholic Emancipation — 'Musae Cateatonenses' — 'Thorough' — Mr. Lowther not turned out — Duke of Newcastle's Audience of George IV. — The King's Personal Habits — The Debate — Mr. Sadler — Hardness of the Duke of Wellington — His Duel with Lord Winchelsea — The Bishops and the Bill — Sir Charles Wetherell — The King on the Duel — Lord Winchelsea's Pocket-handkerchief — Debate on the Catholic Bill — The Duke of Richmond — Effects of Dawson's Speech on the King — The Bill in Jeopardy — Lady Jersey and Lord Anglesey — Lord Falmouth and Lord Grey — O'Connell at Dinner — The Duke breaks with Lord Eldon — Hibner the Murderess — Theatrical Fund — The Levee — The Duke's Carriage stopped — The King's Health — Lady Conyngham — O'Connell's Seat — Child's Ball at Court — Princess Victoria — Legal Appointments — Lord Palmerston on Foreign Affairs — The King and Lord Sefton — The King's Speech on the Prorogation — Madame du Cayla — George IV.'s Inaccuracy — Conversation of the Duke of Wellington on the King and the Duke of Cumberland.

[166] February 6th, 1829

Parliament met yesterday; a very full attendance and intense interest and curiosity. The King's Speech, which was long and better written than usual, was not quite satisfactory to the Catholics. I met Lord Harrowby coming from the House of Lords, and he said they did not like it at all; the previous suppression of the Association was what they disliked. However, all discontent was removed by Peel's speech, which was deemed (as to the intentions of Ministers) perfectly satisfactory even by those [167] who were most prejudiced before against Government. I was in the House of Commons. Peel was very feeble, and his case for himself poor and ineffective; all he said was true enough, but it was only what had been said to him over and over again for years past, and he did not urge a single argument for acquiescing now which was not equally applicable to his situation two years ago. However, everybody was so glad to have the measure carried that they did not care to attack Peel or his speech, though if there had been a Brunswicker of any talent in the House he might have cut it up finely; two or three of them spoke, but wretchedly ill, and Lord Chandos was not at all violent, which I expected he would have been. Lord Eldon was violent but impotent, in the House of Lords, and Lord Bathurst made a sort of explanation which was very poor.

On leaving the House of Commons I fell in with Burdett, Lord Sefton, and G. Bentinck, and they all owned that the business is very handsomely done; and Morpeth and many others whom I saw afterwards at the Club are quite satisfied. They would have preferred that the Catholic Relief Bill and the suppression of the Association should have gone together, but do not make any difficulties on this head, and acknowledge (which is the truth) that the Duke was probably obliged to do something to cajole the Tories, and give some colour to their conduct. I sat next to Fitzgerald in the House, who is not yet re-elected, and he told me that this was absolutely necessary. He was of course delighted and said, 'How right Lord Francis was to trust to the Duke,' which, however, is all nonsense. He had no reason to trust to him at all, and I really believe would not have continued in office as Irish Secretary unless he had adopted this measure. He owned as Peel was speaking that he was not doing it well; he was feeble and diffuse in the beginning, and too full of civilities and appeals to Bankes and his old associates. However, thank God, the event is accomplished, no matter how; probably it could not have been done without the concurrence of these Tories, who have, I think, certainly lost their character by their conduct; and [168] there is this evil in the history of the measure, that a blow will have been given to the reputation of public men in general which will, I strongly suspect, have an important though not immediate effect upon the aristocratic influence in this country, and tend remotely to increase the democratic spirit which exists. In all these proceedings there has been so little of reason, principle, or consistency; so much of prejudice, subserviency, passion, and interest, that it is impossible not to feel a disgust to parties in general. The conduct of those idiots the Brunswickers is respectable in comparison with such men as the High Churchmen; and the Whigs and Catholic supporters, however they may have suffered before, in this matter stand clear and have only grounds for exultation. They accept the measure with great moderation, and are not disposed to mar the success of it by the introduction of any topics likely to create ill blood, nor to damp the ardour of new converts by throwing their former follies in their faces.

Now, then, the Duke is all-powerful, and of course he will get all the honour of the day. Not that he does not deserve a great deal for having made up his mind to the thing; he has managed it with firmness, prudence, and dexterity; but to O'Connell and the Association, and those who have fought the battle on both sides of the water, the success of the measure is due. Indeed, Peel said as much, for it was the Clare election which convinced both him and the Duke that it must be done, and from that time the only question was whether he should be a party to it or not. If the Irish Catholics had not brought matters to this pass by agitation and association, things might have remained as they were for ever, and all these Tories would have voted on till the day of their death against them.

Mahony, who is here, has written over to O'Connell, as have all the other Catholics, to implore him to use his whole influence to procure the dissolution of the Association, and it is said that O'Connell had an idea of resigning his seat for Clare to Vesey, on the ground that, having turned him out because he had joined a Government hostile [169] to their claims, he owed him this reparation on finding it not to be the case. But I doubt whether this scheme is practicable; still, I think if O'Connell could do it it would be a good thing, and serve to reconcile the people here to him, and give a great lift to his character. I expect to hear that the Association has dissolved itself on receiving intelligence of the proceedings in the House of Commons. Lord Anglesey spoke very well, but nobody will care for his case now; besides, I doubt his making out a good one. The fact is that they laid a trap for him, and that he fell into it; that the Duke's letters became more insulting, and that a prudent man would have avoided the snare into which his high spirit and passion precipitated him.

February 8th, 1829

Peel spoke on Friday night better than he did on Thursday. Huskisson made a spiteful speech, and George Dawson one which I heard Huskisson say he thought one of the neatest speeches he had ever heard. I dined yesterday with all the Huskissonians at Grant's. There were there Lords Granville, Palmerston, and Melbourne, Huskisson, Warrender, and one or two more. Huskisson is in good humour and spirits but rather bitter; he said that if Peel had asked the advice of a friend what he should do, the advice would have been for his own honour to resign. I said I did not think Peel would have got credit by resigning. He said, 'But don't you think he has quite lost it by staying in?' He owned, however, that the Duke could not have carried it without Peel, that his influence with the Church party is so great that his continuance was indispensable to the Duke.

This affair of the Portuguese at Terceira [1] (which certainly, [170] unless it can be explained, seems a gross outrage) they all fell upon very severely, and Lord Harrowby told me afterwards he could not understand it, and thought for the honour of the country it should be explained forthwith.

[1] In December 1828 an expedition, consisting of 652 Portuguese refugees of the party of the Queen, sailed from England for Terceira in four vessels, under the command of Count Saldanha. Terceira held for the Queen, and arms and ammunition had previously been sent them from England. The British Government ordered Captain Walpole, of the 'Ranger' to stop this expedition off Terceira, which he did by firing a gun into Saldanha's ship. The ground taken by the Duke of Wellington in defence of this measure was his resolution to maintain the neutrality of England between the two parties then contending for the Crown of Portugal. But the proceeding was vehemently attacked in Parliament and elsewhere.

We are now beginning to discover different people's feelings about this Catholic business, and it is clear that many of the great Tories are deeply offended that the Duke was not more communicative to them, principally, it seems, because they have continued to talk in an opposite sense and in their old strain up to the last moment, thereby committing themselves, and thus becoming ridiculous by the sudden turn they are obliged to make. This they cannot forgive, and many of them are extremely out of humour, although not disposed to oppose the Duke. The Duke of Rutland means to go to Belvoir, and not vote at all. The Duke of Beaufort does not like it, but will support the measure. Lowther has been to the King, and it is supposed he has resigned. They complain that the Duke has thrown them over, still nobody doubts that he will have great majorities in both Houses. It was asserted most positively at Brookes' yesterday that Peel's offer of resigning his seat at Oxford had been accepted. In Dublin the moderate people are furious with O'Connell for his abuse of everybody. There is no getting over the fact that he it is who has brought matters to this conclusion, and that but for him the Catholic question would never have been carried; but his violence, bad taste, and scurrility have made him 'lose the lustre of his former praise.'

February 9th, 1829

I called at Devonshire House in the morning, and there found Princess Lieven very eloquent and very angry about the Terceira business, which certainly requires explanation. She is very hostile to the Duke, which is natural, as he is anti-Russian, and they have never got over their old quarrel. Saldanha got up a coup de theatre on board his ship. When Walpole fired on him a man was killed, and when the English officer came on board he had the corpse stretched out and covered by a cloak, which was [171] suddenly withdrawn, and Saldanha said, 'Voila un fidele sujet de la Reine, qui a toujours ete loyal, assassine,' &c.

Went from thence to Mrs. Arbuthnot, who declaimed against O'Connell and wants to have a provision in the Bill to prevent his sitting for Clare, which I trust is only her folly, and that there is no chance of such a thing. The Duke came in while I was there. He said he had no doubt he should do very well in the House of Lords, but up to that time he could only (that he knew of for certain) reduce the majority of last year to twenty. He did not count bishops, of whom he said he knew nothing, but the three Irish bishops would vote with him. There were many others he did not doubt would, but he could only count upon that number. He held some proxies, which he said he would not make use of, such as Lord Strangford's, as he could not hear from him in time, and would not use anybody's proxy for this question who had voted against it before. I told him how peevish the Duke of Rutland, and Beaufort, and others of the High Tories were, but he only laughed. In the evening Fitzgerald told me that the Convocation at Oxford had accepted Peel's resignation of his seat for the University, but left the time to him. It seems to me that this affair was mismanaged. In the first instance Peel wrote to the Dean of Christ Church, but he and Lloyd [2] agreed that he ought to write to the Vice-Chancellor, which he did. The Vice-Chancellor did not read his letter till after they had voted the address to Parliament by three to one, after which it was difficult for them to express anything but disapprobation of Peel's conduct; whereas if the Vice-Chancellor had read it first, probably the petition would not have been carried, or at any rate not by so large a majority. He had better have carried his Bill through and then resigned; when I have no doubt he would have been re-elected; very likely he may be as it is.

[2] The Bishop of Oxford, one of Sir Robert Peel's most intimate friends.

Tom Duncombe is going to make another appearance [172] on the boards of St. Stephen's, on the Terceira business, and he is to give notice to-night. He has been with Palmella and Frederick Lamb, who are both to assist in getting up his case, and he expects to be supported by some of the Whigs and by the Huskissonians, which latter are evidently anxious to do anything they can to embarrass the Government. I know nothing of the case, which, prima facie, appears much against Government; but the moment is so ill-chosen, in the midst of this great pending affair, that I think they will make nothing of it. Palmella is a great fool for his pains, for in clamouring against the Duke he is only kicking against the pricks. As to Duncombe, he is egged on by Lambton and instructed by Henry de Ros, who cares nothing about the matter, and only does it for the fun of the thing. I have no idea but that Duncombe must cut a sorry figure when he steps out of the line of personal abuse and impertinence.

February 11th, 1829

Nothing is thought of or talked of but the Catholic question; what Peers and bishops will vote for it? who voted before against it? There is hardly any other feeling than that of satisfaction, except on the part of the ultra-Tories, who do not attempt to conceal their rage and vexation; the moderate Tories, who are mortified at not having been told of what was going on; and Huskisson's party, who would have been glad to have a share in the business, and who now see themselves in all probability excluded for ever. O'Connell arrived yesterday; it is supposed he will not take his seat, but he does not seem inclined to co-operate with Government in keeping things quiet. However, his real disposition is not yet known, and probably he has not made up his mind what to do, but waits for events. Notwithstanding the declaration of the bishops, I do not believe they will vote against Government. Peel spoke very well last night, and severely trimmed old Bankes, which gives me great pleasure, so much do I hate that old worn-out set. How this change of measures changes one's whole way of thinking; though I have nothing to do with politics, I cannot help being influenced to an extraordinary degree by [173] what has passed, and can understand from my own feelings how those who are deeply engaged may be biassed by the prejudices and attachments of party without any imputation against their sincerity or judgment. When we see men pursuing a course of which we greatly disapprove, all their actions and motives are suspected by us, and vice versa. We lend a willing ear to imputations of vanity, interest, and other unworthy motives, and when we cannot explain or comprehend the particulars of men's conduct, we judge them unfavourably while we are opposed to their measures; but when they do what we wish, we see the same things very differently, and begin to hesitate about the justice of our censures and the suspicions which we previously entertained. It is pretty clear that the Duke will have a good majority in the House of Lords, and that many Peers and bishops will find excuses between this and then for voting with him or remaining neutral.

A ridiculous thing happened the other day in the Vice-Chancellor's Court. Sugden had taken a brief on each side of a case without knowing it. Home, who opened on one side and was followed by another lawyer, was to be answered by Sugden; but he, having got hold of the wrong brief, spoke the same way as Home. The Vice-Chancellor said coolly, 'Mr. Sugden is with you?' 'Sir,' said Home, 'his argument is with us, but he is engaged on the other side.' Finding himself in a scrape, he said 'it was true he held a brief for the other party, but for no client would he ever argue against what he knew to be a clear rule of law.' However, the Court decided against them all.

February 13th, 1829

Still the Catholic question and the probable numbers in the House of Lords; nobody talks of anything else. Lord Winchelsea makes an ass of himself, and would like to be sent to the Tower, but nobody will mind anything such a blockhead says. Lord Holland talks of a majority of sixty in the Lords. I walked with Ebrington to O'Connell's door the other day; he went in. The next day I asked him what had passed. He said that he had pressed him strongly to dissolve the Association; O'Connell said he [174] could not press it himself, but would write to Ireland that it was the unanimous opinion of all the friends of the cause here that it should be done. The fact is, he does not dare to acquiesce in all the measures of Government, though there is little doubt but that he desires to see an end to associations and agitations. Lady Jersey affects to be entirely in the Duke's confidence. She said to Lord Granville at Madame de Lieven's the other night that 'she made it a rule never to talk to the Duke about affairs in public,' and she said to me last night that she had known what was to be done about the Catholics all along. Certainly she contrives to make the Duke see a great deal of her, for he calls on her, and writes to her perpetually, but I doubt whether he tells her much of anything. Some of the household have made a struggle to be exempted from the general obligation on all members of Government to vote for the Bill, but the Duke will not stand it, and they must all vote or go out. The Privy Seal was offered to Lord Westmoreland, but he refused, and his answer was good — that if he had been in the Cabinet, he might possibly have seen the same grounds for changing his mind on the Catholic question that the other Ministers did; but not having had those opportunities, he retained his former opinions, and therefore could not accept office.

February 22nd, 1829

Went to Newmarket last Sunday and came back on Thursday. Still the Catholic question and nothing else. Everybody believed that the Duke of Cumberland would support Government till he made this last speech. He went to the King, who desired him to call on the Duke, and when he got to town he went uninvited to dine with him. There has been nothing of consequence in either House, except the dressing which Lord Plunket gave Lord Eldon, though that hard-bitten old dog shows capital fight. Peel has got a most active and intelligent committee at Oxford, and they consider his election safe. Inglis's committee, on the contrary, is composed of men not much better than old women, except Fynes Clinton, the chairman. Every day the majority promises to be greater in the House of Lords, but it is very ridiculous to see the faces many of these Tory [175] Lords make at swallowing the bitter pill. Too great a noise is made about Peel and his sacrifices, but he must be supported and praised at this juncture. It is not for those who have been labouring in this cause, and want his assistance, to reject him or treat him uncivilly now that he tenders it. But as to the body of the High Tories, it is impossible not to regard their conduct with disgust and contempt, for now they feel only for themselves, and it is not apprehension of those dangers they have been constantly crying out about that affects them, but the necessity they are under of making such a sudden turn, and bitter mortification at having been kept in total ignorance, and, consequently, having been led to hold the same violent language up to the last moment. If Canning had lived, God knows what would have happened, for they never would have turned round for him as they are now about to do for the Duke. The circumstances of the case are just the same; since 1825 the same game has been going on in Ireland, and in the same manner, and the Clare election was only what had happened at Waterford before. All this has given a blow to the aristocracy, which men only laugh at now, but of which the effects will be felt some day or other. Who will have any dependence hereafter on the steadiness and consistency of public men, and what credit will be given to professions and declarations? I am glad to see them dragged through the mire, as far as the individuals are concerned, but I am sorry for the effect that such conduct is likely to produce. There was a capital paper of Cobbett's yesterday, in his best style. Many Liberals are uneasy about what are called the securities, and when the Duke tells Lord Colchester that if he will wait he will be satisfied with the Bill, it is enough to make them so; but my hopes predominate over my fears. Yesterday Vesey Fitzgerald said that 'we had not yet seen what some people might consider the objectionable parts of the measure, but that, though certain things might be necessary, the Government are impressed with the paramount necessity of not leaving the Catholic question behind them, and that the Duke was a man of too firm a mind not to go through [176] with it;' and I think he said distinctly that Catholics and Protestants must be placed on an equal footing, or something to that effect. He went off into a panegyric on the Duke, and said that seeing him as he did for several hours every day, he had opportunities of finding out what an extraordinary man he was, and that it was remarkable what complete ascendency he had acquired over all who were about him. The English of this is (what everybody knew) that he dictates to his Cabinet. The fact is, he is a man of great energy, decision, and authority, and his character has been formed by the events of his life, and by the extraordinary circumstances which have raised him to a situation higher than any subject has attained in modern times. That his great influence is indispensable to carry this question, and therefore most useful at this time, cannot be doubted, for he can address the King in a style which no other Minister could adopt. He treats with him as with an equal, and the King stands completely in awe of him. It will be long before a correct and impartial estimate is formed of the Duke's character and abilities; his talents, however, must be of a very superior, though not of the most shining description. Whatever he may be, he is at this moment one of the most powerful Ministers this country has ever seen. The greatest Ministers have been obliged to bend to the King, or the aristocracy, or the Commons, but he commands them all. M — — told me that he had not seen the King, but that he heard he was as sulky as a bear, and that he was sure he would be very glad if anything happened to defeat this measure, though he is too much afraid of the Duke to do anything himself tending to thwart it.

The Emperor of Russia is extremely disgusted at the language of the newspapers here, and desired his Minister to complain of it, and the Duke wrote the answer himself, in which he entered at great length into the character and utility of the press in this country, a dissertation affording a proof certainly of his quickness and industry, overwhelmed as he is with business. The Duke of Richmond offered to give up his Garter, but the Duke would not take it back.

[177] February 26th, 1829

The debate on Monday night in the House of Lords was very amusing. It was understood the Duke of Clarence was to speak, and there was a good deal of curiosity to hear him. Lord Bathurst was in a great fright lest he should be violent and foolish. He made a very tolerable speech, of course with a good deal of stuff in it, but such as it was it has exceedingly disconcerted the other party. The three royal Dukes Clarence, Cumberland, and Sussex got up one after another, and attacked each other (that is, Clarence and Sussex attacked Cumberland, and he them) very vehemently, and they used towards each other language that nobody else could have ventured to employ; so it was a very droll scene. The Duke of Clarence said the attacks on the Duke [of Wellington] had been infamous; the Duke of Cumberland took this to himself, but when he began to answer it could not recollect the expression, which the Duke of Clarence directly supplied. 'I said "infamous."' The Duke of Sussex said that the Duke of Clarence had not intended to apply the word to the Duke of Cumberland, but if he chose to take it to himself he might. Then the Duke of Clarence said that the Duke of Cumberland had lived so long abroad that he had forgotten there was such a thing as freedom of debate.

February 27th, 1829

They say Plunket made one of the best speeches he ever delivered last night, and Lord Anglesey spoke very well. There was hardly anybody in the House. Peel's election [Oxford University] is going on ill. The Convocation presents a most disgraceful scene of riot and uproar. I went to the Committee Room last night at twelve, and found nobody there but Dr. Russell, the head-master of the Charterhouse, who was waiting for Hobhouse and amusing himself by correcting his boys' exercises. He knew me, though he had not seen me for nearly twenty years, when I was at school. I shall be sorry if Peel does not come in, not that I care much for him, but because I cannot bear that his opponents should have a triumph.

Lady Georgiana Bathurst told me she had had a great scene with the Duke of Cumberland. She told him not to [178] be factious and to go back to Germany; he was very angry, and after much argument and many reproaches they made it up, embraced, and he shed a flood of tears.

I met with these lines in 'The Duke of Milan' (Massinger), which are very applicable to the Duke in his dealings with his Cabinet and his old friends the Tories: —

You never heard the motives that induced him
To this strange course? No; these are cabinet councils,
And not to be communicated but
To such as are his own and sure. Alas!
We fill up empty places, and in public
Are taught to give our suffrages to that
Which was before determined.

March 1st, 1829

As the time draws near for the development of the plans of Government a good deal of uneasiness and doubt prevails, though the general disposition is to rely on the Duke of Wellington's firmness and decision and to hope for the best. Peel's defeat at Oxford, [3] though not likely to have any effect on the general measure, is unlucky, because it serves to animate the anti-Catholics; and had he succeeded, his success would have gone far to silence, as it must have greatly discouraged, them. Then the King gives the Ministers uneasiness, for the Duke of Cumberland has been tampering with him, and through the agency of Lord Farnborough great attempts have been made to induce him to throw obstacles in the way of the measures. He is very well inclined, and there is nothing false or base he would not do if he dared, but he is such a coward, and stands in such awe of the Duke, that I don't think anything serious is to be apprehended from him. There never was anything so mismanaged as the whole affair of Oxford. First the letter Peel wrote was very injudicious; it was a tender of resignation, which being received just after the vote of Convocation, [179] they were obliged to accept it. Then he should never have stood unless he had been sure of success, and it appears now that his canvass never promised well from the beginning. He should have taken the Chiltern Hundreds, and immediately informed them that he had done so. Probably no opposition would have been made, but after having accepted his resignation they could not avoid putting up another man. It appears that an immense number of parsons came to vote of whose intentions both parties were ignorant, and they almost all voted for Inglis.

[3] Upon the 4th of February Mr. Peel resigned his seat for the University of Oxford, in consequence of the change of his opinions on the Catholic question. A contest ensued, Sir Robert Harry Inglis being the candidate opposed to Peel. Inglis was returned by a majority of 146. Mr. Peel sat for the borough of Westbury during the ensuing debates.

Codrington was at Brookes' yesterday, telling everybody who would listen to him what had passed at an interview, that I have mentioned before, with the Duke of Wellington, and how ill the Duke had treated him. He said the Duke assured him that neither he nor any of his colleagues, nor the Government collectively, had any sort of hostility to him, but, on the contrary, regarded him as a very meritorious officer, &c. He then said, 'May I, then, ask why I was recalled?' The Duke said, 'Because you did not understand your instructions in the sense in which they were intended by us.' He replied that he had understood them in their plain obvious sense, and that everybody else who had seen them understood them in the same way — Adam, Ponsonby, Guilleminot, &c. — and then he asked the Duke to point out the passages in which they differed, to which he said, 'You must excuse me.' All this he was telling, and it may be very true, and that he is very ill-used; but if he means to bring his case before Parliament, he is unwise to chatter about it at Brookes', particularly to Lord Lynedoch, to whom he was addressing himself, who is not likely to take part with him against the Duke.

March 2nd, 1829

Saw M —— yesterday; he has been at Windsor for several days, and confirmed all that I had heard before about the King. The Duke of Cumberland has worked him into a state of frenzy, and he talks of nothing but the Catholic question in the most violent strain. M —— told me that his Majesty desired him to tell his household that he wished them to vote against the Bill, which M —— of [180] course refused to do. I asked him if he had told the Duke of Wellington this; he said he had not, but that the day the Ministers came to Windsor for the Council (Thursday last, I think) he did speak to Peel, and told him the King's violence was quite alarming. Peel said he was afraid the King was greatly excited, or something to this effect, but seemed embarrassed and not very willing to talk about it. The result, however, was that the Duke went to him on Friday, and was with him six hours, and spoke to his Majesty so seriously and so firmly that he will now be quiet. Why the Duke does not insist upon his not seeing the Duke of Cumberland I cannot imagine. There never was such a man, or behaviour so atrocious as his — a mixture of narrow-mindedness, selfishness, truckling, blustering, and duplicity, with no object but self, his own ease, and the gratification of his own fancies and prejudices, without regard to the advice and opinion of the wisest and best informed men or to the interests and tranquillity of the country.

March 3rd, 1829

Called on H. de Ros yesterday morning, who told me that the Duke of Cumberland and his party are still active and very sanguine. Madame de Lieven is in all his confidence, who, out of hatred to the Duke, would do anything to contribute to his overthrow. The Duke of Cumberland tells her everything, and makes her a medium of communication with the Huskisson party, who, being animated by similar sentiments towards the Duke, the Tories think would gladly join them in making a party when the way is clear for them. The Chancellor went to Windsor on Sunday, and on to Strathfieldsaye at night, where he arrived at three in the morning. Yesterday the Duke came to town, but called at Windsor on his way. Dawson, however, told me that he believed the Duke in his interview on Friday had settled everything with the King, and had received most positive assurances from him that no further difficulties should be made; but it is quite impossible to trust him.

March 4th, 1829

Nothing could exceed the consternation which prevailed yesterday about this Catholic business. The advocates of the Bill and friends of Government [181] were in indescribable alarm, and not without good cause. All yesterday it was thought quite uncertain whether the Duke's resignation would not take place, and the Chancellor himself said that nothing was more likely than that they should all go out. On Sunday the King sent for the Chancellor; he went, and had an audience in which the King pretended that he had not been made aware of all the provisions of the Bill, that the securities did not satisfy him, and that he could not consent to it. The Chancellor could do nothing with him; so instead of returning to town he went on to Strathfieldsaye, where the Duke was gone to receive the Judges. There he arrived at three in the morning, had a conference of two hours with the Duke, and returned to town quite exhausted, to be in the House of Lords at ten in the morning. The Duke called at Windsor on his way to town on Monday, and had a conversation with the King, in which he told him it was now impossible for him to recede, and that if his Majesty made any more difficulties he must instantly resign. The King said he thought he would not desert him under any circumstances, and tried in vain to move him, which not being able to do, he said that he must take a day to consider his final determination, and would communicate it. This he did yesterday afternoon, and he consented to let the Bill go on. There was a Cabinet in the morning, and another in the evening, the latter about the details of the Bill, for Francis Leveson and Doherty were both present.

I met Lord Grey at dinner, and in the evening at Brookes' had a great deal of conversation with Scarlett, Duncannon, and Spring Rice. They are all much alarmed, and think the case full of difficulties, not only from the violence and wavering of the King, but from the great objections which so many people have to the alteration of the elective franchise. Duncannon says nothing shall induce him to support it, and he would rather defeat the whole measure than consent to it; Spring Rice, on the contrary, is ready to swallow anything to get Emancipation. The object of the anti-Catholics is to take advantage of this disunion [182] and of the various circumstances which throw difficulties in the way of Government, and they think, by availing themselves of them dexterously, they will be able to defeat the measure. They all seem to think that the Oxford election has been attended with most prejudicial effects to the cause. It has served for an argument to the Cumberland faction with the King, and has influenced his Majesty very much.

Huskisson made a speech last night which must put an end to any hopes of assistance to the Opposition from him and his party, which it is probable they looked to before, and I dare say the Duke of Cumberland has held out such hopes to the King. The correspondence between the Duke of Wellington and the Duke of Cumberland was pretty violent, I believe, but the Duke of Cumberland misrepresents what passed both in it and at their interview. He declared to the Duke that he would not interfere in any manner, but refused to leave the country; to Madame de Lieven he said that the Duke had tried everything — entreaties, threats, and bribes — but that he had told him he would not go away, and would do all he could to defeat his measures, and that if he were to offer him £100,000 to go to Calais he would not take it. The degree of agitation, alternate hopes and fears, and excitement of every kind cannot be conceived unless seen and mixed in as I see and mix in it. Spring Rice said last night he thought those next four days to come would be the most important in the history of the country of any for ages past, and so they are. I was told last night that Knighton has been co-operating with the Duke of Cumberland, and done a great deal of mischief, and that he has reason to think that K. is intriguing deeply, with the design of expelling the Conyngham family from Windsor. This I do not believe, and it seems quite inconsistent with what I am also told — that the King's dislike of Knighton, and his desire of getting rid of him, is just the same, and that no day passes that he does not offer Mount Charles Knighton's place, and, what is more, that Knighton presses him to take it.

March 5th, 1829

Great alarm again yesterday because the [183] Duke, the Chancellor, and Peel went down to Windsor again. Dined at Prince Lieven's. In the evening we learned that everything was settled — that as soon as the King found the Duke would really leave him unless he gave way, he yielded directly, and that if the Duke had told him so at first he would not have made all this bother. The Duke of Cumberland was there (at Lieven's), but did not stay long. I sat next to Matuscewitz (the Russian who is come over on a special mission to assist Lieven), and asked him if he did not think we were a most extraordinary people, and seeing all that goes on, as he must do, without any prejudices about persons or things, if it was not marvellous to behold the violence which prevailed in the Catholic discussion. He owned that it was inconceivable, and, notwithstanding all he had heard and read of our history for some years past, he had no idea that so much rage and animosity could have been manifested and that the anti-Popery spirit was still so vigorous. The day, however, is at last arrived, and to-night the measure will be introduced. But the Duke of Cumberland and his faction by no means abandon all hopes of being able to throw over the Bill in its progress, and they will leave no stone unturned to effect their purpose and to work on the King's mind while it is going on.

March 6th, 1829

Peel brought on the Catholic question last night in a speech of four hours, and said to be far the best he ever made. It is full of his never-failing fault, egotism, but certainly very able, plain, clear, and statesmanlike, and the peroration very eloquent. The University of Oxford should have been there in a body to hear the member they have rejected and him whom they have chosen in his place. The House was crammed to suffocation, and the lobby likewise. The cheering was loud and frequent, and often burst upon the impatient listener without. I went to Brookes' and found them all just come from the House, full of satisfaction at Peel's speech and the liberality of the measure, and in great admiration of Murray's. The general disposition seemed to be to support both the Bills, and they argued justly who said that those who would have supported the [184] whole measure if it had been in one Bill ought not to take advantage of there being two to oppose the one they dislike. The part that is the most objectionable is making the measure so far prospective ('hereafter to be elected') as to exclude O'Connell from Clare, more particularly after the decision of the Committee in his favour. Six weeks ago Mrs. Arbuthnot told me that it was intended to exclude him, but I did not believe her. It seemed to me too improbable, and I never thought more about it. If they persist in this it is nothing short of madness, and I agree with Spring Rice, who said last night that instead of excluding him you should pay him to come into Parliament, and rather buy a seat for him than let him remain out. If they keep him out it can only be from wretched motives of personal spite, and to revenge themselves on him for having compelled them to take the course they have adopted. The imprudence of this exception is obvious, for when pacification is your object, and to heal old wounds your great desire, why begin by opening new ones and by exasperating the man who has the greatest power of doing mischief and creating disturbance and discontent in Ireland? It is desirable to reconcile the Irish to the measures of disfranchisement, and to allow as much time as possible to elapse before the new system comes into practical operation. By preventing O'Connell from taking his seat his wrongs are identified with those of the disfranchised freeholders. He will have every motive for exasperating the public mind and exciting universal dissatisfaction, and there will be another Clare election, and a theatre for the display of every angry passion which interest or revenge can possibly put in action. It is remarkable that attacks, I will not say upon the Church, but upon Churchmen, are now made in both Houses with much approbation. The Oxford parsons behaved so abominably at the election that they have laid themselves open to the severest strictures, and last night Lord Wharncliffe in one House and Murray in the other commented on the general conduct of Churchmen at this crisis with a severity which [185] was by no means displeasing except to the bishops. I am convinced that very few years will elapse before the Church will really be in danger. People will grow tired of paying so dearly for so bad an article.

March 8th, 1829

Yesterday the list came out of those who had voted on the Catholic question, by which it appeared that several people had voted against the Government (particularly all the Lowthers) who were expected to vote with them, and of course this will be a test by which the Duke's strength and absoluteness may be tried, so much so that it is very generally thought that if he permits them to vote with impunity he will lose the question. It was said in the evening that Lowther and Birkett had resigned, but Lord Aberdeen, whom I met at dinner, said they had not at five o'clock yesterday evening. It is, I think, impossible for the Duke to excuse anybody who votes against him or stays away. Dined at Agar Ellis's and met Harrowbys, Stanleys, Aberdeen, &c. Lord Harrowby thought Peel's speech extremely able and judicious. He said that Lord Eldon had asserted that Mr. Pitt's opinions had been changed on this question, which was entirely false, for he had been much more intimate with Mr. Pitt than Lord Eldon ever was, and had repeatedly discussed the question with him, and had never found the slightest alteration in his sentiments. He had deprecated bringing it on because at that moment he was convinced that it would have driven the King mad and raised a prodigious ferment in England. He talked a great deal of Fox and Pitt, and said that the natural disposition of the former was to arbitrary power and that of the latter to be a reformer, so that circumstances drove each into the course the other was intended for by nature. Lord North's letter to Fox when he dismissed him in 1776 was, 'The King has ordered a new commission of the Treasury to be made out, in which I do not see your name.' How dear this cost him and what an influence that note may have had on the affairs of the country and on Fox's subsequent life! They afterwards talked of the 'Cateatonenses' written by Canning, [186] Frere, and G. Ellis. Lady Morley has a copy, which I am to see. [4]

[4] The 'Musae Cateatonenses,' a burlesque narrative of a supposed expedition of Mr. George Legge to Cateaton Street in search of a Swiss chapel. Nothing can be more droll. The only copy I have seen is still at Saltram. This jeu d'esprit (which fills a volume) was composed by Canning and his friends one Easter recess they spent at Ashbourne.

March 9th, 1829

It was reported last night that there had been a compromise with Lowther, who is to retain his seat and to vote for the Bill in all its other stages. But he dined at Crockford's, and told somebody there that he had tendered his resignation and had received no answer. I do not understand this indecision; they must deprive those who will not support them thoroughly. 'Thorough,' as Laud and Strafford used to say, must be their word.

Evening. — I asked Lord Bathurst to-day if Lowther, &c., were out, and he said nothing had been done about it, that there was plenty of time. Afterwards met Mrs. Arbuthnot in the Park, and turned back with her. She was all against their being turned out, from which I saw that they are to stay in. We met Gosh [ Mr Arbuthnot], and I walked with them to the House of Commons. We renewed the subject, and he said that he had been just as much as I could be for the adoption of strong measures, but that the great object was to carry the Bill, and if the Duke did not act with the greatest prudence and caution it would still be lost. He hinted that the difficulties with the King are still great, and that he is in a state of excitement which alarms them lest he should go mad. It is pretty clear that the Duke cannot venture to turn them out. In the meantime the Duke of Cumberland continues at work. Lord Bathurst told me that he went to Windsor on Saturday, that he had assured the King that great alarm prevailed in London, that the people were very violent, and that the Duke had been hissed by the mob in going to the House of Lords, all of which of course he believes. The Duke is very unwell. I think matters do not look at all well, and I am alarmed.

March 11th, 1829

The Duke was much better yesterday, went [187] to the House, and made a very good and stirring speech in answer to Lord Winchelsea, who disgusted all his own party by announcing himself an advocate for reform in Parliament. It is now clear that Lowther, &c., are not to quit their places unless something fresh occurs. The reason supposed is that the King supports them, and that the Duke does not venture to insist on their dismissal. The real reason is that he has got an idea that the Whigs want to make him quarrel with his old friends in order to render him more dependent upon them, and he is therefore anxious (as he thinks he can) to carry through the measure without quarrelling with anybody, so that he will retain the support of the Tories and show the Whigs that he can do without them, a notion which is unfounded, besides being both unwise and illiberal. He has already given some persons to understand that they must support him on this question, and now he is going to grant a dispensation to others, nor is there any necessity for quarrelling with anybody. Lowther himself evidently felt that he could not hold his office and oppose the measure, and consequently resigned. The Duke might accept his resignation with a very friendly explanation on the subject; eventually he would be certain to join Government again, for to what other party could he betake himself? These great Tory borough-mongering Lords have no taste for opposition. Arbuthnot told my father that this was his feeling, and when I told Mrs. Arbuthnot what a bad moral effect the Duke's lenity had, she said, 'Oh, you hear that from the Opposition.' Last night in his speech, when he said he had the cordial support of his Majesty, he turned round with energy to the Duke of Cumberland. Several Peers upon one pretext or another have withdrawn the support they had intended to give to the Duke's Bill. Fourteen Irish bishops are coming over in a body to petition the King against this Bill, and most foolish they. The English bishops may by possibility be sincere and disinterested in their opposition (not that I believe they are), but nobody will ever believe that the Irish think of anything but their scandalous revenues. The thing must go; the only question is when and [188] how. The Kent petition to the King is to be presented, I believe, by Lords Winchelsea and Bexley; they would not entrust it to Peel. Lord W. wanted to march down to Windsor at the head of 25,000 men.

March 14th, 1829

Arbuthnot told the Duke what was said about not turning out the refractory members, and he replied, 'I have undertaken this business, and I am determined to go through with it. Nobody knows the difficulties I have in dealing with my royal master, and nobody knows him so well as I do. I will succeed, but I am as in a field of battle, and I must fight it out my own way.' This would be very well if there were not other motives mixed up with this — jealousy of the Whigs and a desire to keep clear of them, and quarrel with them again when this is over. Herries told Hyde Villiers that their policy was conservative, that of the Whigs subversive, and that they never could act together. All false, for nobody's policy is subversive who has much to lose, and the Whigs comprise the great mass of property and a great body of the aristocracy of the country. Nobody seems to doubt that the Bill will pass. The day before yesterday the Duke of Newcastle went to Windsor and had an audience. Lord Bathurst told me that they had reason to believe his Grace had told the King his own sentiments on the Catholic question, but that the King had made no answer. But as nobody was present they could not depend on the truth of this (which they had from his Majesty himself, of course), and he begged me to find out what account the Duke gave of it.

March 15th, 1829

The Duke of Newcastle was with the King an hour and a half or two hours. After he had presented his petitions he pulled out a paper, which he read to the King. His Majesty made him no answer, and desired him if he had any other communications to make to him to send them through the Duke of Wellington. I dare say this is true, not because he says so, but because there has been no notice taken of the Duke's visit in any of the newspapers. They now talk of thirteen bishops, and probably more, [189] voting with Government. I suppose the majority will be very large.

March 16th to 17th, 1829

I received a message from the King, to tell me that he was sorry I had not dined with him the last time I was at Windsor, that he had intended to ask me, but finding that all the Ministers dined there except Ellenborough, he had let me go, that Ellenborough might not be the only man not invited, and 'he would be damned if Ellenborough ever should dine in his house.' I asked Lord Bathurst afterwards, to whom I told this, why he hated Ellenborough, and he said that something he had said during the Queen's trial had given the King mortal offence, and he never forgave it. The King complains that he is tired to death of all the people about him. He is less violent about the Catholic question, tired of that too, and does not wish to hear any more about it. He leads a most extraordinary life — never gets up till six in the afternoon. They come to him and open the window curtains at six or seven o'clock in the morning; he breakfasts in bed, does whatever business he can be brought to transact in bed too, he reads every newspaper quite through, dozes three or four hours, gets up in time for dinner, and goes to bed between ten and eleven. He sleeps very ill, and rings his bell forty times in the night; if he wants to know the hour, though a watch hangs close to him, he will have his valet de chambre down rather than turn his head to look at it. The same thing if he wants a glass of water; he won't stretch out his hand to get it. His valets are nearly destroyed, and at last Lady Conyngham prevailed on him to agree to an arrangement by which they wait on him on alternate days. The service is still most severe, as on the days they are in waiting their labours are incessant, and they cannot take off their clothes at night, and hardly lie down. He is in good health, but irritable, and has been horribly annoyed by other matters besides the Catholic affair.

March 18th, 1829

I was at Windsor for the Council and the Recorder's report. We waited above two hours; of course his [190] Majesty did not get up till we were all there. A small attendance in Council — the Duke, Bathurst, Aberdeen, Melville, and I think no other Cabinet Minister. I sent for Batchelor, the King's valet de chambre, and had a pretty long conversation with him; he talked as if the walls had ears, but was anxious to tell me everything. He confirmed all I had before heard of the King's life, and said he was nearly dead of it, that he was in high favour, and the King had given him apartments in the Lodge and some presents. His Majesty has been worried to death, and has not yet made up his mind to the Catholic Bill (this man knows, I'll be bound). But what he most dwelt on was Sir William Knighton. I said to him that the King was afraid of the Duke. He replied he thought not; he thought he was afraid of nobody but of Knighton, that he hated him, but that his influence and authority were without any limit, that he could do anything, and without him nothing could be done; that after him Lady Conyngham was all-powerful, but in entire subserviency to him; that she did not dare have anybody to dine there without previously ascertaining that Knighton would not disapprove of it; that he knew everything, and nobody dared say or do a thing of any sort without his permission. There was a sort of mysterious awe with which he spoke of Knighton, mixed with dislike, which was curious. He is to call on me when he comes to London, and will, I dare say, tell me more. Returned to town at night, and heard of Sadler's speech [5] and read it. It is certainly very clever, but better as reported than as it was delivered. He sent the report to the Morning Journal himself, and added some things and omitted others, and thereby improved it. He is sixty-seven years old, and it is his maiden speech; certainly very remarkable and indicative of much talent. Lord Harrowby told me he heard it, and was greatly struck by it.

[5] Mr. Sadler, who had never sat in Parliament before, was returned by the Duke of Newcastle at this time for the express purpose of opposing the Catholic Relief Bill, which he did with considerable ability.

March 19th, 1829

Last night the debate ended, with a very [191] excellent speech from Robert Grant, [6] and a speech from Lord Palmerston which astonished everybody. The Attorney-General was violent and brutal, and Peel's reply very good; he was bursting with passion, but restrained himself. I met Tierney, and told him that there was great disappointment that he had not answered Sadler. He said he could not speak for coughing, that Sadler's speech was clever, but over-rated, nothing like so good as they talked of. Robert Grant's was very good indeed, the best for matter; Palmerston's the most brilliant, 'an imitation of Canning, and not a bad one.' Though the Opposition gained eight in this division, they are disappointed and disheartened, and will make but little fight on the other stages (as it is thought). Nine bishops are to vote. The meeting at Lambeth took place the day before yesterday, but it came to nothing. They separated agreeing to meet again, and in the meantime that each should take his own line. Tierney talked of the Duke's management of this business with great admiration, as did Lord Durham last night in the same strain; but after all what was it but the resolution of secresy (which I think was a most wise and judicious one)? for he did nothing but keep the secret. However, the thing has been well imagined and well executed. Tierney thinks Peel will resign when it is all over, and at his father's death will be made a Peer. I should not wonder; he must be worn to death with the torrents of abuse and invective with which his old friends assail him on every occasion. I presume that if he could have anticipated their conduct he would not have been so civil to them in the beginning, and would have taken another turn altogether; it would have been better for him. Lady Worcester told me to-day what adds to many other proofs that the Duke is a very hard man; he takes no notice of any of his family; he never sees his mother, has only visited her two or three times in the last few years; and has not now been to see Lady Anne, though she has been in such affliction for the death of her only son, and he passes her door every [192] time he goes to Strathfieldsaye. He is well with Lady Maryborough, though they quarrelled after Lord M. was driven from the Cabinet; Lord Wellesley is seriously affronted with him at the little consideration the Duke shows for him, and for having shown him no confidence in all this business, especially as the Catholic question was the only political difference that existed between them. He is a very extraordinary man certainly, and with many contradictions in his character; in him, however, they are so much more apparent than in any other man, for he is always before the world — all his actions, his motives, and even his thoughts.

[6] Robert Grant, Esq., M.P., brother of Mr. Charles Grant. He was afterwards appointed Governor of Bombay.

March 21st, 1829, at night

This morning the Duke fought a duel with Lord Winchelsea. Nothing could equal the astonishment caused by this event. Everybody of course sees the matter in a different light; all blame Lord W., but they are divided as to whether the Duke ought to have fought or not. Lord W.'s letter appeared last Monday, and certainly from that time to this it never entered into anybody's head that the Duke ought to or would take it up, though the expressions in it were very impertinent. But Lord Winchelsea is such a maniac, and has so lost his head (besides the ludicrous incident of the handkerchief [7]), that everybody imagined the Duke would treat what he said with silent contempt. He thought otherwise, however, and without saying a word to any of his colleagues or to anybody but Hardinge, his second, he wrote and demanded an apology. After many letters and messages between the parties (Lord Falmouth being Lord Winchelsea's second) Lord Winchelsea declined making any apology, and they met. The letters on the Duke's part are very creditable, so free from arrogance or an assuming tone; those on Lord Winchelsea's not so, for one of them is a senseless repetition of the offence, in which he says that if the Duke will deny that his allegations are true he will apologise. They met at Wimbledon at eight o'clock. There were many people about, who saw what passed. They stood at a distance of fifteen paces. Before they began [193] Hardinge went up to Lords Winchelsea and Falmouth, and said he must protest against the proceeding, and declare that their conduct in refusing an apology when Lord Winchelsea was so much in the wrong filled him with disgust. The Duke fired and missed, and then Winchelsea fired in the air. He immediately pulled out of his pocket the paper which has since appeared, but in which the word 'apology' was omitted. The Duke read it and said it would not do. Lord Falmouth said he was not come there to quibble about words, and that he was ready to make the apology in whatever terms would be satisfactory, and the word 'apology' was inserted on the ground. The Duke then touched his hat, said 'Good morning, my Lords,' mounted his horse, and rode off. Hume was there, without knowing on whose behalf till he got to the ground. Hardinge asked him to attend, and told him where he would find a chaise, into which he got. He found there pistols, which told him the errand he was on, but he had still no notion the Duke was concerned; when he saw him he was ready to drop. The Duke went to Mrs. Arbuthnot's as soon as he got back, and at eleven o'clock she wrote a note to Lord Bathurst, telling him of it, which he received at the Council board and put into my hands. So little idea had he of Lord Winchelsea's letter leading to anything serious that when on Wednesday, at the Council at Windsor, I asked him if he had read it, he said, laughing, 'Yes, and it is a very clever letter, much the wisest thing he ever did; he has got back his money. I wish I could find some such pretext to get back mine.' At twelve o'clock the Duke went to Windsor to tell the King what had happened. Winchelsea is abused for not having made an apology when it was first required; but I think, having committed the folly of writing so outrageous a letter, he did the only thing a man of honour could do in going out and receiving a shot and then making an apology, which he was all this time prepared to do, for he had it ready written in his pocket. I think the Duke ought not to have challenged him; it was very juvenile, and he stands in far too high a position, and his life is so much publica cura that he should have treated him and his [194] letter with the contempt they merited; it was a great error in judgment, but certainly a venial one, for it is impossible not to admire the high spirit which disdained to shelter itself behind the immunities of his great character and station, and the simplicity, and almost humility, which made him at once descend to the level of Lord Winchelsea, when he might, without subjecting himself to any imputation derogatory to his honour, have assumed a tone of lofty superiority and treated him as unworthy of his notice. Still it was beneath his dignity; it lowered him, and was more or less ridiculous. Lord Jersey met him coming from Windsor, and spoke to him. He said, 'I could not do otherwise, could I?'

[7] The incident of the handkerchief is related below, March 29th, 1829.

I met the Bishop of Oxford in the Park this morning; he said nine bishops, and probably ten, would vote for the Bill. He said he was not at the meeting at Lambeth, but the Archbishop sent for him, and despatched him to the Duke with an account of their proceedings. The Archbishop summoned the bishops to consult upon the course they should pursue, and see if there was any chance of their acting with unanimity. Finding this was not possible, they resolved that each should take his own line; and a proposal to address the King, which was urged by one or two of the most violent (he did not name them), was overruled. The anti-Catholic papers and men lavish the most extravagant encomiums on Wetherell's speech, and call it 'the finest oration ever delivered in the House of Commons,' 'the best since the second Philippic.' He was drunk, they say. The Speaker said 'the only lucid interval he had was that between his waistcoat and his breeches.' When he speaks he unbuttons his braces, and in his vehement action his breeches fall down and his waistcoat runs up, so that there is a great interregnum. He is half mad, eccentric, ingenious, with great and varied information and a coarse, vulgar mind, delighting in ribaldry and abuse, besides being an enthusiast. The first time he distinguished himself was in Watson's trial, when he and Copley were his counsel, and both made very able speeches. He was then a trading lawyer and politician, till the Queen came over, when he made a very powerful speech in the House of [195] Commons, full of research, in favour of inserting her name in the Liturgy. He was then engaged by Chancellor Eldon for the Court, soon after made Solicitor-General, much abused for ratting, became Attorney-General, and resigned when Canning became Minister. He was restored when the Duke was made Prime Minister, and now he will have to retire again.

March 26th, 1829

Everything is getting on very quietly in the House of Commons, and the Opposition are beginning to squabble among themselves, some wishing to create delay, and others not choosing to join in these tricks, when they know it is useless. The Duke came here the night before last, but I was not at home. He talked over the whole matter with his usual simplicity. The King, it seems, was highly pleased with the Winchelsea affair, and he said, 'I did not see the letter (which is probably a lie); if I had, I certainly should have thought it my duty to call your attention to it.' Somebody added that 'he would be wanting to fight a duel himself.' Sefton said, 'he will be sure to think he has fought one.' Hume gave the two Lords a lecture on the ground after the duel, and said he did not think there was a man in England who would have lifted his hand against the Duke. Very uncalled for, but the Duke's friends have less humility than he has, for Lord Winchelsea did not lift his hand against him. It is curious that the man who threw the bottle at Lord Wellesley in Dublin (and who is a Protestant fanatic) has been lurking constantly about the House of Lords, so much so that it was thought right to apprise Peel of it, and the police have been desired in consequence to keep a strict watch over him, and to take care that he does no mischief. The Duke after the duel sent Lord Melville to the Duke of Montrose with a message that his son-in-law had behaved very much like a gentleman. The women, particularly of course Lady Jersey, have been very ridiculous, affecting nervousness and fine feeling, though they never heard of the business till some hours after it was over. Mrs. Arbuthnot was not so foolish but made very light of it all, which was in better sense and better taste.

[196] M — — told me two days ago that, although he is more quiet, the King is not at all reconciled to the Catholic question. His Majesty was very much annoyed at his speech the other day, having always hoped that he was at heart too indifferent about it to take a decided line or express publicly a strong opinion. It is supposed that either Sugden or Alderson will be Solicitor-General. O'Connell has done himself great credit by his moderation in the Committee. Grattan wanted to move an amendment omitting the words by which O'Connell is excluded from taking his seat for Clare, when Rice and Duncannon begged him to withdraw it, and said they were charged with the expression of O'Connell's wish that his individual case should not be thought of, as he would not have it be any impediment to the success of the measure. This, of course, greatly annoys those who have inveighed against him, and who have always contended that he only wished for confusion, and would be very sorry to see the question settled.

The other day Jack Lawless [8] called on Arbuthnot to ask him some question about the Deccan prize money, in which a brother of his has an interest. He entered upon politics, was very obsequious in his manner, extravagant in praise of the Duke, quite shocked that he should have fought a duel, and said, 'Sir, we are twelve of us here, and not one but what would fight for him any day in the week.' He said that some years ago, when he heard the Duke speak, he was distressed at his hesitation, but that now he spoke better than anyone; that in the Lords he heard Eldon, and Plunket, and Grey, and then up got the Duke and answered everybody, and spoke better than they all. Arbuthnot says he was bowing and scraping, and all humility and politeness, with none of the undergrowl of the Association.

[8] A prominent member of the Catholic Association in Dublin.

March 26th, 1829, at night

Just met M — — , who had returned that moment from Windsor, where he had left the King in such an ill humour that he would not stay and dine there. The Duke of Cumberland never goes there without unsettling his mind, and yesterday evening Lord Mansfield [197] had been to the Castle and had an audience. Lord Eldon prevails on all these Peers to exercise their right and demand audiences. Lord Mansfield had no petition to present, and only went to remonstrate about the Catholic question and tell the King that all the Protestants looked to him to save them from the impending danger. The King declares he only listens to what they say, and replies that he must leave everything to his Ministers; but it is impossible for him to listen (and not talk himself) for an hour and a quarter together. He is very angry at the Bishop of Winchester's speech, and at the declaration in favour of the Bill by both of the brothers. [9] He accused M — — of having influenced the Bishop, which he denied, and told him that he would not have been biassed by anybody. The King still is in hopes that the Bill will not pass, and said that the Ministers had only a majority of five, and with that they would not carry it through. M — — replied that they had above fifty, and after such a majority as there had been in the Commons it must pass. All this he received as sulkily as possible, and it is clear that if he dared, and if he could, he would still defeat the measure. His dislike to it is the opposition of a spoiled child, founded on considerations purely personal and selfish and without any reason whatever.

[9] The two Sumners. Dr. John Bird Sumner (afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury) had been raised to the see of Chester in 1828. They owed their advancement to the especial favour of George IV. The bishop adverted to in the next sentence was the Bishop of Winchester.

March 29th, 1829, at night

Dined at Lady Sandwich's, and met Madame de Lieven, who is grown very gracious, craving for news, and probably very malignant. Lieven told me (which she did not) that Lord Eldon was with the King yesterday for four hours. She confirmed it after dinner, and said that Halford had told her, but added that he had done no harm. [10] Lieven also told me that Stratford Canning is coming home, and Robert Gordon going to Constantinople. He is a dull, [198] heavy man, and not able, I should think, to cope with the Turkish Ministers, if they are (as the Duke says) the ablest diplomatists in Europe. I don't know why Stratford Canning is coming home, whether nolens or volens.

[10] This was the celebrated interview related in Lord Eldon's 'Memoirs' vol. iii., when, however, the King gave Lord E. a very erroneous account of the transaction, subsequently corrected by Sir Robert Peel in his 'Memoirs.'

I have, I see, alluded to Lord Winchelsea's handkerchief story, [11] but have not mentioned the circumstances, which I may as well do. Lord Holland came home one night from the House of Lords, and as soon as he had occasion to blow his nose pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket; upon which my Lady exclaimed (she hates perfumes), 'Good God, Lord H., where did you get that handkerchief? Send it away directly.' He said he did not know, when it was inspected, and the letter W found on it. Lord H. said, 'I was sitting near Lord Winchelsea, and it must be his, which I took up by mistake and have brought home.' Accordingly the next day he sent it to Lord Winchelsea with his compliments. Lord Winchelsea receiving the handkerchief and the message, and finding it marked W, fancied it was the Duke's, and that it was sent to him by way of affronting him; on which he went to the Duke of Newcastle and imparted to him the circumstances, and desired him to wait on Lord Holland for an explanation. This his Grace did, when the matter was cleared up and the handkerchief was found to be the property of Lord Wellesley. The next day Lord Winchelsea came up laughing to Lord Holland in the House of Lords, and said he had many apologies to make for what had passed, but that he really was in such a state of excitement he did not know what he said and did. [12]

[11] Supra, March 21st, 1829
[12] Lord Winchelsea was in the habit of flourishing a white pocket handkerchief while he was speaking in the House of Lords. This peculiarity; associated with his sonorous tones, his excited action, and his extravagant opinions, gave point to the incident.

April 4th, 1829

On the third reading of the Catholic Bill in the House of Commons Sadler failed, and Palmerston made a speech like one of Canning's. The Bill has been two nights in the House of Lords. They go on with it this morning, and will divide this evening. The Chancellor made [199] a very fine speech last night, and the Bishop of Oxford spoke very well the night before, but the debate has been dull on the whole; the subject is exhausted. The House of Lords was very full, particularly of women; every fool in London thinks it necessary to be there. It is only since last year that the steps of the throne have been crowded with ladies; formerly one or two got in, who skulked behind the throne, or were hid in Tyrwhitt's box, but now they fill the whole space, and put themselves in front with their large bonnets, without either fear or shame.

April 5th, 1829

The question was put at a little before twelve last night, and carried by 105 — 217 to 112 (a greater majority than the most sanguine expected) — after a splendid speech from Lord Grey and a very good one from Lord Plunket. Old Eldon was completely beat, and could make no fight at all; his speech was wretched, they say, for I did not hear it. This tremendous defeat will probably put an end to anything like serious opposition; they will hardly rally again.

I dined at Chesterfield House, but nobody came to dinner. Chesterfield and his party were all at the House of Lords. I found myself almost alone with Vesey Fitzgerald, with whom I had much talk after dinner. He said that it would be a long time before all the circumstances and all the difficulties relating to their proceedings were known, but when they were it would be seen how great had been the latter, how curious the former; that the day the Chancellor, the Duke, and Peel were with the King they actually were out (all of which I knew), and that he believes if the other party could have made a Government with a chance of standing, out they would have gone; but that it was put to them (this I did not know), and they acknowledged they could not. They held consultations on the subject, and the man they principally relied on was the Duke of Richmond; they meant he should be either First Lord of the Treasury or Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. Lord Winchelsea said to Ellenborough, 'Why, he speaks better than the Duke of Wellington any day.' He happens to have his wits, such as they are, about him, and has been quick and neat in one or two little speeches, [200] though he spoke too often, and particularly in his attack on the Bishop of Oxford the other night. Last year, on the Wool question, he did very well, but all the details were got up for him by George Bentinck, [13] who took the trouble. Besides, his fortune consists in great measure of wool, he lives in the country, is well versed in rural affairs and the business of the quarter sessions, has a certain calibre of understanding, is prejudiced, narrow-minded, illiterate, and ignorant, good-looking, good-humoured, and unaffected, tedious, prolix, unassuming, and a duke. There would not have been so much to say about him if they had not excited an idea in the minds of some people of making him Prime Minister and successor to the Duke of Wellington.

[13] It deserves remark that Lord George Bentinck was thus early employing his singular talents in mastering details, although he took no conspicuous part in politics until the proposal for the repeal of the Corn Law in 1845.

Vesey told me that Dawson's speech at Derry very nearly overturned the whole design. The King heard of it the day of a Council at Windsor (which I well remember). The Chancellor was with him for a long time, but it was almost impossible to persuade the King that Dawson knew nothing of the intention of the Government, and that his speech was not made in concert with Peel and the Duke. This it was which caused them such excessive annoyance, because it raised difficulties which well-nigh prevented the accomplishment of the design. It must be owned that the King might well believe this, and although it is very certain that Dawson knew nothing, and that his making such a speech ought to have been a proof that he was in ignorance, it will always be believed that he was aware of the intended measure, and that his speech was made with the Duke's concurrence. It is curious enough that his opinion had been long changed, and that he had intended to pronounce his recantation when Brownlow did, but as Brownlow got the start of him he would not. For two years after this he persevered in the old course, and when Canning came in, and the Catholic question was the great field on which he was to be fought, [201] Dawson reverted vigorously to his old opinions, and spoke vehemently against emancipation. Such is party!

The circumstances that Vesey talked of are in fact pretty well known or guessed at, nor has there ever been any secret as to the main fact of the King's opposition and dislike to the measure. He told me that after Eldon's visit of four hours the Duke remonstrated, and told the King what great umbrage it gave his Ministers to see and hear of these long and numerous interviews with their opponents. The King declared that he said nothing and that nothing passed calculated to annoy them, which they none of them believed, but of course could make no reply to.

April 8th, 1829

I have mentioned above (March 4th [14]), the Chancellor, the Duke, and Peel going to the King, and the alarm that prevailed here. That day the Catholic question was in great jeopardy. They went to tell the King that unless he would give them his real, efficient support, and not throw his indirect influence into the opposite scale, they would resign. He refused to give them that support; they placed their resignations in his hands and came away. The King then sent to Eldon, and asked him if he would undertake to form a Government. He deliberated (then it was that it was question of the Duke of Richmond being First Lord or Lord-Lieutenant), but eventually said he could [202] not undertake it. On his refusal the King yielded, and the Bill went on; but if Eldon had accepted, the Duke and his colleagues would have been out, and God knows what would have happened. It was, of course, of all these matters that the King talked to Eldon in the long interview they had the other day. He is very sulky at the great majority in the House of Lords, as I knew he would be.

[14] It was on the 3rd of March that this interview took place, as related by Sir R. Peel himself in his 'Memoir' (vol. i. p. 343). The King asked his Ministers to explain the details of the measure they proposed to bring in. They informed his Majesty that it would be necessary to modify in the case of the Roman Catholics that part of the oath of supremacy which relates to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction and supremacy of the Pope. To this the King said he could not possibly consent. Upon this Mr. Peel and his colleagues informed his Majesty that they must resign. His Majesty accepted the resignations, and the Ministers returned to London (after an audience of five hours) under the full persuasion that the Government was dissolved. In the interval some attempt was made to form a Protestant Cabinet; but on the evening of the following day, the 4th of March, the King wrote a letter to the Duke of Wellington, informing him that his Majesty anticipated so much difficulty in the attempt to form another Administration that he could not dispense with his Ministers' services, and that they were at liberty to proceed with the measures of which notice had been given in Parliament.

Lady Jersey is in a fury with Lord Anglesey, and goes about saying he insulted her in the House of Lords the other night. She was sitting on one of the steps of the throne, and the Duchess of Richmond on the step above. After Lord Anglesey had spoken he came to talk to the Duchess, who said, 'How well you did speak;' on which he said, 'Hush! you must take care what you say, for here is Lady Jersey, and she reports for the newspapers;' on which Lady Jersey said very angrily, 'Lady Jersey is here for her own amusement; what do you mean by reporting for newspapers?' to which he replied with a profound bow, 'I beg your Ladyship's pardon; I did not mean to offend you, and if I did I beg to make the most ample apology.' This is his version; hers, of course, is different. He says that he meant the whole thing as a joke. It was a very bad joke if it was one, and as he knows how she abuses him, one may suspect that there was something more than joking in it.

The other night Lord Grey had called Lord Falmouth to order, and after the debate Falmouth came up to him with a menacing air and said, 'My Lord Grey, I wish to inform you that if upon any future occasion you transgress in the slightest degree the orders of the House, I shall most certainly call you to order.' Lord Grey, who expected from his air something more hostile, merely said, 'My Lord, your Lordship will do perfectly right, and whenever I am out of order I hope you will.' Last night old Eldon got a dressing again from the Chancellor.

April 9th, 1829

Met O'Connell at dinner yesterday at William Ponsonby's. The only Irish (agitators) were he and O'Gorman Mahon; — — , he said, was too great a blackguard, and he would not invite him. O'Connell arrived from Ireland that day; [203] there is nothing remarkable in his manner, appearance, or conversation, but he seems lively, well bred, and at his ease. I asked him after dinner 'whether Catholics had not taken the oath of supremacy till it was coupled with the declaration;' he said, 'in many instances in the reigns of Elizabeth, James, and Charles, because at that time it was considered to apply to the civil supremacy of the Pope only, and that the Government admitted of that interpretation of it, but that no Catholic could take it now, because that construction is never given to the oath.' Duncannon told me that O'Connell has no wish to be in Parliament, that he makes so much money by his profession that it is a great loss to him to attend Parliament at all. What they want is a compromise with Vesey Fitzgerald, by which he may be admitted to take his seat in this Parliament on an understanding that he will not oppose Vesey in the next; not that I see how that is to be done, except by an Act of Parliament (which would never pass) in his favour. Besides, the Duke detests him, and Vesey likewise. They cannot forgive him for all he has done and all he has made them do. O'Gorman, the secretary of the Catholic Association, appears a heavy, civil, vulgar man. I sat next to Stanley, who told me a story which amused me. Macintosh, in the course of the recent debates, went one day to the House of Commons at eleven in the morning to take a place. They were all taken on the benches below the gangway, and on asking the doorkeeper how they happened to be all taken so early, he said, 'Oh, sir, there is no chance of getting a place, for Colonel Sibthorpe sleeps at a tavern close by, and comes here every morning by eight o'clock and takes places for all the saints.'

April 13th, 1829

On Friday last the Catholic Bill was read a third time, after a very dull debate. Lord Eldon attempted to rally, and made a long and wretched speech which lasted two hours. Nobody spoke well. The Duke in his reply dropped all the terms of courtesy and friendship he had hitherto used in speaking of old Eldon, and broke off with him entirely. He is disgusted at his opposition out of doors, and at his having been the constant adviser of the Duke of [204] Cumberland and all the foolish Lords who have been pestering the King at Windsor; and he is acquainted with all his tricks and underhand proceedings, probably with more of them than we know of. He thanked the Opposition for their support — thanks which they well merit from him — but of course nobody is satisfied. He was before accused of ingratitude in never taking notice of their conduct, and even it is said that he gave them to understand he had no more need of their services, and wished to make them his bow. I don't believe he meant any such thing; he intended to thank them simply, though it is probably true that he does not wish to continue in alliance with them, and is anxious to see the Tories put themselves under his orders again. On Saturday he sent the commission down to Windsor for the King's signature, with other papers as a matter of course; he would not go himself, that there might be no fresh discussion between them.

I went on Friday morning to the Old Bailey to hear the trials, particularly that of the women for the murder of the apprentices; the mother was found guilty, and will be hanged to-day — has been by this time. [15] The case exhibited a shocking scene of wretchedness and poverty, such as ought not to exist in any community, especially in one which pretends to be so flourishing and happy as this is. It is, I suppose, one case of many which may be found in this town, graduating through various stages of misery and vice. These wretched beings were described to be in the lowest state of moral and physical degradation, with scarcely rags to cover them, food barely sufficient to keep them alive, and working eighteen or nineteen hours a day, without being permitted any relaxation, or even the privilege of going to church on Sunday. I never heard more disgusting details than this [205] trial elicited, or a case which calls more loudly for an investigation into the law and the system under which such proceedings are possible. Poverty, and vice, and misery must always be found in a community like ours, but such frightful contrasts between the excess of luxury and splendour and these scenes of starvation and brutality ought not to be possible; but I am afraid there is more vice, more misery and penury in this country than in any other, and at the same time greater wealth. The contrasts are too striking, and such an unnatural, artificial, and unjust state of things neither can nor ought to be permanent. I am convinced that before many years elapse these things will produce some great convulsion.

[15] Two wretched women named Hibner were tried, and one of them convicted for the murder of a parish apprentice named Francis Colepitts by savage ill-treatment. The elder prisoner was found guilty and executed on the 13th of April. No such concourse of people had assembled to witness an execution since that of Fauntleroy. The details of the crime were horrible, and had excited great sympathy for the victim amongst all classes. — Ann. Regist. for 1829, Chronicle, p. 71.

After the Old Bailey I went and dined at the Covent Garden Theatrical Fund dinner. The Duke of Clarence could not come, so they put Lord Blessington in the chair, who made an ass of himself. Among other toasts he was to give 'The memory of the Duke of York,' who was the founder of the institution. He prefaced this with a speech, but gave 'The health,' &c., on which Fawcett, who sat opposite, called out in an agony, 'The memory, my Lord!' He corrected himself, but in a minute after said again 'The health.' 'The memory, my Lord!' again roared Fawcett. It was supremely ridiculous. Francis Leveson sat on his right, Codrington on his left, and Lawless the agitator just opposite; he is a pale, thin, common-looking little man, and has not at all the air of a patriot orator and agitator.

May 14th, 1829

I have been at Newmarket for three weeks, and have had no time to write, nor has anything particular occurred. The King came to town, and had a levee and drawing-room, the former of which was very numerously, the other shabbily attended. At the levee he was remarkably civil to all the Peers, particularly the Duke of Richmond, who had distinguished themselves in opposition to Government in the late debates, and he turned his back on the bishops who had voted for the Bill. O'Connell and Sheil were both at the levee; the former had been presented in Ireland, so had not to be presented again, but the King took no notice of him, [206] and when he went by said to somebody near him, 'Damn the fellow! what does he come here for?' — dignified.

There was an odd circumstance the day of the drawing-room. The Duke of Cumberland, as Gold Stick, gave orders at the Horse Guards that no carriages should be admitted into the Park, and Peel and the Duke of Wellington, when they presented themselves on their way to Court, were refused admission. The officer on guard came to the Duke's carriage and said that such were his orders, but that he was sure they were not meant to extend to his Grace, and if he would authorise him he would order the gates to be opened. The Duke said 'By no means,' and then desired his carriage to go round the other way. Many people thought that this was a piece of impertinence of the Duke of Cumberland's, but the Duke says that the whole thing was a mistake. Be this as it may, the Duke of Cumberland and the Duke of Wellington do not speak, and whenever they meet, which often happens in society, the former moves off.

Yesterday morning Batchelor called on me, and sat with me for an hour, telling me all sorts of details concerning the interior of Windsor and St. James's. The King is well in health, except that since last September he has been afflicted with a complaint in his bladder, which both annoys and alarms him very much. There is no appearance of stone or gravel, but violent irritation, which is only subdued by laudanum, and always returns when the effect of the opiate is gone off. The laudanum, too, disagrees much with his general health. He is attended by Sir Henry Holland, Brodie, and O'Reilly. Sir A. Cooper, who did attend him, is not now consulted, in consequence (Batchelor thinks) of some petty intrigue in some quarter. This O'Reilly, who has gradually insinuated himself into the King's confidence, and by constantly attending him at Windsor, and bringing him all the gossip and tittle-tattle of the neighbourhood (being on the alert to pick up and retail all he can for the King's amusement), has made himself necessary, and is not now to be shaken off, to the great annoyance of Knighton, who cannot bear him, as well as of all the other people about the King, [207] who hate him for his meddling, mischievous character, The King's valets de chambre sit up alternately, and as he sleeps very ill he rings his bell every half-hour. He talks of everybody and everything before his valets with great freedom, except of politics, on which he never utters a word in their presence, and he always sends them away when he sees anybody or speaks on business of any kind. Batchelor thinks that this new disorder is a symptom of approaching decay, and that the King thinks so himself.

In the meantime the influence of Knighton and that of Lady Conyngham continue as great as ever; nothing can be done but by their permission, and they understand one another and play into each other's hands. Knighton opposes every kind of expense, except that which is lavished on her. The wealth she has accumulated by savings and presents must be enormous. The King continues to heap all kinds of presents upon her, and she lives at his expense; they do not possess a servant; even Lord Conyngham's valet de chambre is not properly their servant. They all have situations in the King's household, from which they receive their pay, while they continue in the service of the Conynghams. They dine every day while in London at St. James's, and when they give a dinner it is cooked at St. James's and brought up to Hamilton Place in hackney coaches and in machines made expressly for the purpose; there is merely a fire lit in their kitchen for such things as must be heated on the spot. At Windsor the King sees very little of her except of an evening; he lies in bed half the day or more, sometimes goes out, and sometimes goes to her room for an hour or so in the afternoon, and that is all he sees of her. A more despicable scene cannot be exhibited than that which the interior of our Court presents — every base, low, and unmanly propensity, with selfishness, avarice, and a life of petty intrigue and mystery.

May 16th, 1829

O'Connell attempted to take his seat last night, but the business was put off till Monday. His case is exceedingly well got up, but too long. There are many opinions as to his right; many people think he has established [208] it (though he had failed to do so), that a Bill ought to be brought in to enable him to take the new oaths. It was supposed Government would take no part, but Peel's speech and the language of some of the Ministers are rather unfavourable to him. Lord Grey, when he read the case, thought his argument on the tenth clause of the Bill conclusive, but when he examined the Bill he thought differently, and that the context gives a different signification to the words on which O'Connell relies. Tierney thinks otherwise, and this they debated Bill in hand in Lady Jersey's room yesterday morning. O'Connell was in a great fright when he went up to the table. He got, through the necessary forms in the Steward's office by means of the Commissioners whom Duncannon provided, and who were, I believe, Burdett and Ebrington. He ought to be allowed to take his seat, but probably he will not; it is a very hard case. [16] The Duke of Orleans is come, and his son, the Duke of Chartres; the latter was at the opera to-night in Prince Leopold's box.

[16] O'Connell was excluded from taking his seat as member for Clare, for which he had been elected before the passing of the Relief Act, because it was held that he was bound to take the oath which was required by law at the time of his election, and not the oath imposed on Roman Catholics by the recent statutes. He presented himself to be sworn at the table of the House of Commons on the 15th of May, and there refused to take the former oath, which was tendered to him by the Clerk. The House divided 100 to 116 against his admission without taking the oath of supremacy on the 18th; Mr. O'Connell having previously been heard at the bar in person in support of his claim.

May 29th, 1829

O'Connell is said to have made a very good speech at the bar of the House, and produced rather a favourable impression. He has done himself this good, that whereas it was pretty generally thought that he was likely to fail in the House of Commons as a speaker, he has now altered that impression. There is but one opinion as to the wretched feeling of excluding him, but the saddle is put upon the right horse, and though the Government are now obliged to enforce the provisions of their own Bill, everybody knows that the exclusion was the work of the King. O'Connell goes back to Clare (as he says) sure of his election; there will be a great uproar, but at present nobody expects any opposition, and all deprecate a contest.

[209] Yesterday the King gave a dinner to the Dukes of Orleans and Chartres, and in the evening there was a child's ball. It was pretty enough, and I saw for the first time the Queen of Portugal [17] and our little Victoria. The Queen was finely dressed, with a ribband and order over her shoulder, and she sat by the King. She is good-looking and has a sensible Austrian countenance. In dancing she fell down and hurt her face, was frightened and bruised, and went away. The King was very kind to her. Our little Princess is a short, plain-looking child, and not near so good-looking as the Portuguese. However, if nature has not done so much, fortune is likely to do a great deal more for her. The King looked very well, and stayed at the ball till two. There were very few people, and neither Arbuthnot nor Mrs. A. were asked. I suspect this is owing to what passed in the House about opening the Birdcage Walk. It puts the King in a fury to have any such thing mentioned, not having the slightest wish to accommodate the public, though very desirous of getting money out of their pockets.

[17] Donna Maria II. da Gloria, Queen of Portugal, on the abdication of her father, Don Pedro, succeeded to the throne on the 2nd of May, 1826. She was born on the 4th of April, 1819, and was consequently but a few weeks older than the Princess Victoria.

The day before yesterday there was a review for the Duke of Orleans, and the Marquis of Anglesey, who was there at the head of his regiment, contrived to get a tumble, but was not hurt. Last night at the ball the King said to Lord Anglesey, 'Why, Paget, what's this I hear? they say you rolled off your horse at the review yesterday.' The Duke as he left the ground was immensely cheered, and the people thronged about his horse and would shake hands with him. When Lord Hill went to the King the day before to give him an account of the intended review and the dispositions that had been made, he said, 'Hill, if I can throw my leg over your Shropshire horse, don't be surprised if you see me amongst you.'

The new law appointments have just been announced, and have created some surprise. [18]

[18] The Attorney-General, Sir Charles Wetherell, had resigned in consequence of his violent opposition to the Catholic Relief Bill, and was succeeded by Sir James Scarlett (afterwards Lord Abinger). The Solicitor-General, Sir Nicholas Conyngham Tindal, was raised on the 9th of June to the Chief Justiceship of the Common Pleas; and was succeeded in the Solicitorship by Sir Edward Burtenshaw Sugden (afterwards Lord St. Leonards). The vacancy in the Common Pleas was caused by the resignation of Sir William Draper Best, who was created Lord Wynford for the purpose of assisting the Chancellor with the judicial business of the House of Lords.

[210] June 11th, 1829

I have been at Epsom for a week; the Duke of Grafton, Lords Wilton, Jersey, and Worcester, Russell, Anson, Irby, and myself took Down Hall for the races and lived very well. Nothing particular has occurred. Lord and Lady Ellenborough are separated, and he is supposed to have behaved very handsomely to her. They say he does not now know the whole story of her intrigue with Felix Schwarzenberg; that hero is gone to the Russian army. All the new appointments were declared when I was out of town, and they excited some surprise and more disapprobation. They have made Best a Peer, who is poor and has a family, by which another poor peerage will be added to the list; and he is totally unfit for the situation he is to fill — that of Deputy-Speaker of the House of Lords, and to assist the Chancellor in deciding Scotch causes, of which he knows nothing whatever; and as the Chancellor knows nothing either, the Scotch law is likely to be strangely administered in that great court of appeal. They would have done better to have made Alexander [19] a Peer, who is very old, understands Equity Law, and has no children; but he knows very little of Common Law (which Best is well versed in), and so they keep him on the bench and put Best on the Woolsack. Lord Rosslyn is Privy Seal, [20] and Scarlett Attorney-General, which looks like a leaning towards the Whigs; but then Trench and Lord Edward Somerset are put into the Ordnance; George Bankes goes back to the India Board, and Government supports him in his contest at Cambridge against William Cavendish. This conduct is considered very [211] unhandsome, and Tierney, who was well disposed towards the Government, told me yesterday that if the Duke did not take care he thought he would get swamped with such doings, that the way he went on was neither fish nor flesh, and he would offend more people than he would conciliate. At present there is no party, and if Government have no opponents they have no great body of supporters on whom they can depend; everything is in confusion — party, politics, and all.

[19] Sir William Alexander, then Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. The Court of Exchequer still retained its Equity jurisdiction.
[20] Lord Rosslyn was considered to be a Whig, and Sir James Scarlett was better known for the Liberal opinions he once professed than for the Tory opinions he afterwards assumed.

The event of last week was Palmerston's speech on the Portuguese question, which was delivered at a late hour and in an empty House, but which they say was exceedingly able and eloquent. This is the second he has made this year of great merit. It was very violent against Government. He has been twenty years in office and never distinguished himself before, a proof how many accidental circumstances are requisite to bring out the talents which a man may possess. The office he held was one of dull and dry detail, and he never travelled out of it. He probably stood in awe of Canning and others, and was never in the Cabinet; but having lately held higher situations and having acquired more confidence, and the great men having been removed from the House of Commons by death or promotion, he has launched forth, and with astonishing success. Lord Granville told me he had always thought Palmerston was capable of more than he did, and had told Canning so, who did not believe it.

Yesterday the King had his racing dinner, which was more numerously attended and just as magnificent as that he gave last year, but not half so gay and joyous. I believe he had some gouty feeling and was in pain, for, contrary to his usual custom, he hardly spoke, and the Duke of Richmond, who sat next to him, told me that the little he did say was more about politics than the turf, and he fancied that something had annoyed him. He looked well enough, and was very cheerful before dinner. When his health was drunk 'as Patron of the Jockey Club, and many thanks to him for condescending to accept that title,' he made a speech, in [212] which he said that 'he was much gratified by our kindness, and he could assure us that in withdrawing himself as he had done from the Jockey Club he was not influenced by any unkindness to any member of it, or any indifference to the interests of the turf.'

June 24th, 1829

Went to Stoke for the Ascot races. There was such a crowd to see the cup run for as never was seen before. The King was very anxious and disappointed. I bought the winner for Chesterfield [21] two hours before the race, he having previously asked the King's leave, which he gave with many gracious expressions. I have set about making a reconciliation between the King and Lord Sefton. Both are anxious to make it up, but each is afraid to make the first advances. However, Sefton must make them, and he will. The cause of their quarrel is very old, and signifies little enough now.... They have been at daggers drawn ever since, and Sefton has revenged himself by a thousand jokes at the King's expense, of which his Majesty is well aware. Their common pursuit, and a desire on the one side to partake of the good things of the Palace, and on the other side to be free from future pleasantries, has generated a mutual disposition to make it up, which is certainly sensible. The King has bought seven horses successively, for which he has given 11,300 guineas, principally to win the cup at Ascot, which he has never accomplished. He might have had Zinganee, but would not, because he fancied the Colonel would beat him; but when that appeared doubtful he was very sorry not to have bought him, and complained that the horse was not offered to him. He is now extravagantly fond of Chesterfield, who is pretty well bit by it. There is always a parcel of eldest sons and Lords in possession invited to the Cottage for the sake of Lady Maria Conyngham. The King likes to be treated with great deference but without fear, and that people should be easy with him, and gay, and listen well. [213] There was a grand consultation at the Cottage between the King, Lieven, Esterhazy, and the Duke of Cumberland as to the way in which the ladies should be placed at dinner, the object being that Lady Conyngham should sit next to his Majesty, though according to etiquette the two Ambassadresses should sit one on each side of him. It was contrived by the Duke of Cumberland taking out one of them and sitting opposite, by which means the lovely Thais sat beside him and he was happy.

[21] George Augustus, sixth Earl of Chesterfield, born in 1805, died in 1866. He married in 1830 Anne, daughter of Lord Forester. In 1829 he was one of the most brilliant of the young men of fashion of that day, having succeeded to a large rental and large accumulations in his minority.

June 26th, 1829

I met Tierney and Lord Grey at dinner yesterday; the former wanted to know what passed about the King's Speech at the Council at Windsor the other day. I had heard nothing, not having been at the Council, but it is believed that the Ministers had put in the Speech a sentence expressive of satisfaction and sanguine hopes about Ireland, and that at the last moment the King would not agree to this; for after the Duke's audience, which lasted a good while, there was a Cabinet, and it is supposed they knocked under, for the paragraph about Ireland is cold enough. The Duke of Cumberland is thought to have had a hand in all this, and to have persuaded the King to be obstinate. We talked a great deal about the situation of the Government and the state of the House of Commons, and Tierney thinks that unless the Duke strengthens himself he will not be able to go on; that Rosslyn and Scarlett are of little use to him, and what he wants is the support of those who will bring followers in their train, such as Althorp, who has extensive connections, enjoys consideration, and would be of real use to him. There is a strong report that Althorp is to be Chancellor of the Exchequer, Goulburn Speaker, and Sutton [22] a Peer. At present the Government is anything but strong, but then there exists no party, nor is there any man of ability and authority enough to make one. The Duke must strengthen himself, and have recourse for the purpose either[214] to the Whigs or to Huskisson and his friends. These latter he detests, and he knows they hate him and are his bitterest enemies. The Whigs he would not dislike so much, but the King is averse to have them, and the Duke is beset by his old suspicion that they want to break up the Tory party and make him dependent on themselves.

At the same time, in taking in Lord Rosslyn and Scarlett, he has made some advances towards them, though Lord Grey is displeased at his not having shown him more deference and communicated to him his intentions about Rosslyn. Lord Rosslyn asked Lord Grey's advice as to accepting, and he advised him to take office, explaining at the same time that he should not pledge himself to support Government, though he was at present well disposed to do so, and should be still more disposed when Lord Rosslyn became a part of it. Tierney said it was very lamentable that there should be such a deficiency of talent in the rising generation, and remarkable how few clever young men there are now in the House of Commons. The King did not like Lord Rosslyn's appointment; he hates all the Whigs; indeed, he hates the best men of all parties, and likes none but such as will be subservient to himself. So little public spirit has he, and so much selfishness, that he would rather his Government was weak than strong, that they may be the more dependent upon him; though he only wishes to be powerful in order to exercise the most puerile caprices, gratify ridiculous resentments, indulge vulgar prejudices, and amass or squander money; not one great object connected with national glory or prosperity ever enters his brain. I am convinced he would turn out the Duke to-morrow if he could see any means of replacing him. I don't think I mentioned that when he talked of giving the child's ball Lady Maria Conyngham said, 'Oh, do, it will be so nice to see the two little Queens dancing together' (the little Queen of Portugal and the Princess Victoria), at which he was beyond measure provoked.

[22] Right Hon. Manners Sutton, Speaker of the House of Commons. He retained that office till 1835, when he was beaten on the great contest with Mr. Abercromby, and raised to the peerage as Lord Canterbury.

July 10th, 1829

I dined with the Duke of Wellington yesterday; a very large party for Mesdames the Duchesse d'Escars and Madame du Cayla; the first is the widow of the Duc [215] d'Escars, who was Premier Maitre d'Hotel of Louis XVIII., and who was said to have died of one of the King's good dinners, and the joke was, 'Hier sa Majeste a eu une indigestion, dont M. le Duc d'Escars est mort.' Madame du Cayla [23] is come over to prosecute some claim upon this Government, which the Duke has discovered to be unfounded, and he had the bluntness to tell her so as they were going to dinner. She must have been good-looking in her youth; her countenance is lively, her eyes are piercing, clear complexion, and very handsome hands and arms; but the best part about her seemed to be the magnificent pearls she wore, though these are not so fine as Lady Conyngham's. All [216] king's mistresses seem to have a rage for pearls; I remember Madame Narischkin's were splendid. Madame du Cayla is said to be very rich and clever.

[23] Madame du Cayla had been the soi-disant mistress of Louis XVIII., or rather the favourite of his declining years. 'Il fallait une Esther,' to use her own expression, 'a cet Assuerus.' She was the daughter of M. Talon, brought up by Madam Campan, and an early friend of Hortense Beauharnais. Her marriage to an officer in the Prince de Conde's army was an unhappy one; and she was left, deserted by her husband, in straitened circumstances. After the assassination of the Duc de Berry, M. de la Rochefoucauld, one of the leaders of the ultra-Royalist party, contrived to throw her in the way of Louis XVIII., in the hope of counteracting the more Liberal influence which M. de Cazes had acquired over the King. Madame du Cayla became the hope and the mainstay of the altar and the throne. The scheme succeeded. The King was touched by her grace and beauty, and she became indispensable to his happiness. His happiness was said to consist in inhaling a pinch of snuff from her shoulders, which were remarkably broad and fair. M. de Lamartine has related the romance of her life in the thirty-eighth book of his 'Histoire de la Restauration,' and Beranger satirised her in the bitterest of his songs — that which bears the name of 'Octavie': —

Sur les coussins ou la douleur l'enchaine
Quel mal, dis-tu, vous fait ce roi des rois?
Vois-le d'un masque enjoliver sa haine
Pour etouffer notre gloire et nos lois.

Vois ce coeur faux, que cherchent tes caresses,
De tous les siens n'aimer que ses aieux;
Charger de fer les muses vengeresses,
Et par ses moeurs nous reveler ses dieux.

Peins-nous ces feux, qu'en secret tu redoutes,
Quand sur ton sein il cuve son nectar,
Ces feux dont s'indignaient les voutes
Ou plane encor l'aigle du grand Cesar.

It is curious that in 1829 the last mistress of a King of France should have visited London under the reign of the last mistress of a King of England.

After dinner the Duke talked to me for a long time about the King and the Duke of Cumberland, and his quarrel with the latter. He began about the King's making Lord Aberdeen stay at the Cottage the other day when he had engaged all the foreign Ambassadors to dine with him in London. Aberdeen represented this to him, but his Majesty said 'it did not matter, he should stay, and the Ambassadors should for once see that he was King of England.' 'He has no idea,' said the Duke, 'of what a King of England ought to do, or he would have known that he ought to have made Aberdeen go and receive them, instead of keeping him there.' He said the King was very clever and amusing, but that with a surprising memory he was very inaccurate, and constantly told stories the details of which all his auditors must know to be false. One day he was talking of the late King, and asserted that George III. had said to himself, 'Of all the men I have ever known you are the one on whom I have the greatest dependence, and you are the most perfect gentleman.' Another day he said 'that he recollected the old Lord Chesterfield, who once said to him, "Sir, you are the fourth Prince of Wales I have known, and I must give your Royal Highness one piece of advice: stick to your father; as long as you adhere to your father you will be a great and a happy man, but if you separate yourself from him you will be nothing and an unhappy one;" and, by God (added the King), I never forgot that advice, and acted upon it all my life.' 'We all,' said the Duke, 'looked at one another with astonishment.' He is extremely clever and particularly ingenious in turning the conversation from any subject he does not like to discuss.

'I,' added the Duke of Wellington, 'remember calling upon him the day he received the news of the battle of Navarino. I was not a Minister, but Commander-in-Chief, and after having told me the news he asked me what I thought of it. I said that I knew nothing about it, was [217] ignorant of the instructions that had been given to the admiral, and could not give any opinion; but "one thing is clear to me, that your Majesty's ships have suffered very much, and that you ought to reinforce your fleet directly, for whenever you have a maritime force yours ought to be superior to all others." This advice he did not like; I saw this, and he said, "Oh, the Emperor of Russia is a man of honour," and then he began talking, and went on to Venice, Toulon, St. Petersburg, all over the Continent, and from one place and one subject to another, till he brought me to Windsor Castle. I make it a rule never to interrupt him, and when in this way he tries to get rid of a subject in the way of business which he does not like, I let him talk himself out, and then quietly put before him the matter in question, so that he cannot escape from it. I remember when the Duke of Newcastle was going to Windsor with a mob at his heels to present a petition (during the late discussions) I went down to him and showed him the petition, and told him that they ought to be prevented from coming. He went off and talked upon every subject but that which I had come about, for an hour and a half. I let him go on till he was tired, and then I said, "But the petition, sir; here it is, and an answer must be sent. I had better write to the Duke of Newcastle and tell him your Majesty will receive it through the Secretary of State; and, if you please, I will write the letter before I leave the house." This I did, finished my business in five minutes, and went away with the letter in my pocket. I know him so well that I can deal with him easily, but anybody who does not know him, and who is afraid of him, would have the greatest difficulty in getting on with him. One extraordinary peculiarity about him is, that the only thing he fears is ridicule. He is afraid of nothing which is hazardous, perilous, or uncertain; on the contrary, he is all for braving difficulties; but he dreads ridicule, and this is the reason why the Duke of Cumberland, whose sarcasms he dreads, has such power over him, and Lord Anglesey likewise; both of them he hates in proportion as he fears them.' I said I was very much [218] surprised to hear this, as neither of these men were wits, or likely to make him ridiculous; that if he had been afraid of Sefton or Alvanley it could have been understood. 'But,' rejoined the Duke, 'he never sees these men, and he does not mind anybody he does not see; but the Duke of Cumberland and Lord Anglesey he cannot avoid seeing, and the fear he has of what they may say to him, as well as of him, keeps him in awe of them. No man, however, knows the Duke of Cumberland better than he does; indeed, all I know of the Duke of Cumberland I know from him, and so I told him one day. I remember asking him why the Duke of Cumberland was so unpopular, and he said, "Because there never was a father well with his son, or husband with his wife, or lover with his mistress, or a friend with his friend, that he did not try to make mischief between them." And yet he suffers this man to have constant access to him, to say what he will to him, and often acts under his influence.' I said, 'You and the Duke of Cumberland speak now, don't you?' 'Yes, we speak. The King spoke to me about it, and wanted me to make him an apology. I told him it was quite impossible, "Why," said he, "you did not mean to offend the Duke of Cumberland, I am sure." "No, sir," said I; "I did not wish to offend him, but I did not say a word that I did not mean. When we meet the Royal Family in society, they are our superiors, and we owe them all respect, and I should readily apologise for anything I might have said offensive to the Duke; but in the House of Lords we are their peers, and for what I say there I am responsible to the House alone." "But," said the King, "he said you turned on him as if you meant to address yourself to him personally." "I did mean it, sir," said I, "and I did so because I knew that he had been here, that he had heard things from your Majesty which he had gone and misrepresented and misstated in other quarters, and knowing that, I meant to show him that I was aware of it. I am sorry that the Duke is offended, but I cannot help it, and I cannot make him an apology."'

The Duke went on, 'I was so afraid he would tell the [219] Duke that I was sorry for what I had said, that I repeated to him when I went away, "Now, sir, remember that I will not apologise to the Duke, and I hope your Majesty will therefore not convey any such idea to his mind." However, he spoke to him, I suppose, for the next time I met the Duke he bowed to me. I immediately called on him, but he did not return my visit. On a subsequent occasion [I forget what he said it was] I called on him again, and he returned my visit the same day.'

The Duke then talked of the letter which the Duke of Cumberland had just written (as Grand Master of the Orange Lodges) to Enniskillen, which he thought was published with the most mischievous intentions. However, he said, 'I know not what he is at, but while I am conscious of going on in a straightforward manner I am not afraid of him, or of anything he can do,' which I was surprised to hear, because it looked as if he was afraid of him. I asked him whether, with all the cleverness he thought belonged to the King, he evinced great acuteness in discussing matters of business, to which he replied, 'Oh, no, not at all, the worst judgment that can be.' This was not the first time I had heard the Duke's opinion of the King. I remember him saying something to the Duke of Portland about him during the Queen's trial indicative of his contempt for him.

In the meantime the Duke of Cumberland, instead of returning to Berlin, has sent for the Duchess and his son, and means to take up his abode in this country, in hopes of prevailing upon the King to dismiss his Ministers and make a Government under his own auspices; but however weak the Government may be, he will not succeed, for the King has an habitual reliance upon the Duke [of Wellington] which overcomes the mortification and dislike he feels at being dependent upon him; and, besides, the materials do not exist out of which a Government could be formed that would have the support of the House of Commons. The great want which this Administration experiences is that of men of sufficient information and capacity to direct the complicated machinery of our trade and finances and adjust our colonial differences. [220] Huskisson, Grant, and Palmerston were the ablest men, and the two first the best informed in the Government. Fitzgerald knows nothing of the business of his office, still less of the principles of trade; he is idle, but quick. Of Murray I know nothing; he is popular in his office, but he has neither the capacity nor the knowledge of Huskisson.

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