(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Advanced Microdevices Manuals | Linear Circuits Manuals | Supertex Manuals | Sundry Manuals | Echelon Manuals | RCA Manuals | National Semiconductor Manuals | Hewlett Packard Manuals | Signetics Manuals | Fluke Manuals | Datel Manuals | Intersil Manuals | Zilog Manuals | Maxim Manuals | Dallas Semiconductor Manuals | Temperature Manuals | SGS Manuals | Quantum Electronics Manuals | STDBus Manuals | Texas Instruments Manuals | IBM Microsoft Manuals | Grammar Analysis | Harris Manuals | Arrow Manuals | Monolithic Memories Manuals | Intel Manuals | Fault Tolerance Manuals | Johns Hopkins University Commencement | PHOIBLE Online | International Rectifier Manuals | Rectifiers scrs Triacs Manuals | Standard Microsystems Manuals | Additional Collections | Control PID Fuzzy Logic Manuals | Densitron Manuals | Philips Manuals | The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly Debates | Linear Technologies Manuals | Cermetek Manuals | Miscellaneous Manuals | Hitachi Manuals | The Video Box | Communication Manuals | Scenix Manuals | Motorola Manuals | Agilent Manuals
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The 'Runnymede Letters'."

Google 



This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 



B36 



THE 



^(Funngmm BttttxB* 



s*^l' 



LONDOH : PRJXTKb BY 

SP0TTI8W0ODB AKD CO., NEW-BTBXItT SQCAQB 

AJSD PABLIAHBNT STBHKT 



i 



'(Runngmebe B,ttttv8' 



WITH AN IJVTSODl'CTTON A.\D NOTES 



FRANCIS HITCHMAN 



UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 



DDDDD S&, 



1 



I CAUTION Please handle this volume with care, 
The paper is very brittle. 

I CHARD BENTLEY & SOS, SEW BlIRLIKGTON STREET 




'(Rttnttgmebe B,tiitt6' 



VVs-ov 



WITM AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES 



FRANCIS HITCHMAN 




LONDON 

BICHARD BBNTLEY & SON, NEW BUBLINGTON STREET 

$DbU«^tH in 0ibinNt]t to |S(t pitjtstji t\t Qnitn 



INTEODUCTION. 



J[The ' Runnjmede Letters,' of which the followiutr pages 

■are a reprint, were evoked by the events of 1835 ami 

The authorship has never been acknowledged, 

Itut it is a matter concerning which there can be no 

E'donbt. ' Buniijmede,' and the author of ' The Crisis 

ftSxamined,' must have been one and the same person. 

KLord Beaconsfield himsetf never disavowed the Letters, 

ihough he never claimed them, and it was universally 

pndei'atood, when he explained that he ' was a gentle- 

naji of the press and bore no other escutcheon,' and 

(aid in a letter to Lady Blessington, that he ' had never 

made a shilling by all his journalising,' that he referred 

to bis association with the ' Times ' in the matter of 

these Letters. 

The course of events during 1834-5-6 was very 

ingular. In January 1834, Earl Grey was still at the 

kead of the Government, and Brougham was Lord 

Ehancellor ; Lord Althorp was Chancellor of the Ex- 

^equer ; Lord Melbourne was at the Home Office, and 

"ilmerston was Foreign Secretary. The Cabinet had 

1 going to pieces for some time. Lord Durham was 

e first to desert the sinking ship, and one after another, 

Ministers went tUeir way. The King was only too 

glad to be rid of them. He disliked the Whigs gene- ■ 

i^lly, and he hated Brougham with a holy hatred. He 

lever wanted to see his ugly face again.' Brougham, 

t his side, in spite of the ardent protestations of 

loyalty and affection for the King, which he vented in 

sickening I'ashion on every possible occasion during 



^^5 



5 



liis 'progress' through Scotland, as Campbell calls his 
tour, had an equal dislike for the person of his Majeaty, 
and when the King laughed his Whig counsellora out 
of office, Brougham committed an unpardonable breach 
of etiquette by sending the Great Seal back to the King 
in a bag by the hands of General Sir Herbert Taylor. 
By so acting, Brougham effectually barred all chances 
which ha might have had of returning to office. He 
tiied every expedient, even to offeriug to undertake the 
duties of Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer under 
Lyndhurst, but after 1834 he was rigorously excluded 
from place and power. 

Lord Grey's Ministry went out of office on the 9th 
of July. A week later a Whig Cabinet was recon- 
structed, with Lord Melbourne at its head. Lord Grey 
took no part in it. The Privy Seal was offered to him, 
but he was disgusted with the unfaithfulness and in- 
triguing of his quoudam colleagues, refused the offer, 
and withdrew to Howick, The death of Lord Spencer, 
on the 10th of November, gave the King the excuse he 
had been eagerly seeking, and Peel was ' sent for.' 
Unfortunately he was in Rome, and a King's messenger 
had to be despatched in pursuit, the Dukeof Wellington 
undertaking to administer the Government until he 
could be brought back. In December, Peel was at the 
head of affairs, with Lyndhurst as Chancellor and the 
Duke of Wellington as Poreign Secretary, Then came 
the Lichfield House compact, in the spring of 1835, 
when O'Connell patched up a truce with the ' base, 
bloody, and brutal Whigs,' and bound himself to support 
their measures and their policy generally in considera- 
tion of their friendly aid to his proposals. The first 
effect of the coalition was an attack on the Irish Church, 
in which the sei-vieea of the Irish brigade were freely 
given to the Whigs, The Church was to be despoiled, 
and the effort-8 of the Government to save her revenues 
for religious uses were frustrated by the coalition of 
\Vhigs, Eadicals, and Repealers. Au amendment to 
the Address was carried on February 20, by which 



^nlxobuction 



Vll 



Ministers were left in a minority of seven. Three ad- 
verse divisions followed in quick succession on the Irish 
Church. First came a resolution proposed by Lord 
John Eussell, * that the House do resolve itself into a 
Committee of the whole House to consider the tempo- 
ralities of the Church of Ireland/ which was carried by 
309 to 302. On April 6, another division was taken on 
the same subject, and Ministers found themselves in a 
minority of 25. On the following day the minority was 
increased to 27, and on the 8th the Duke of Wellington 
in the Lords, and Sir Eobert Peel in the Commons, 
announced the resignation of the Ministry. 

Ten days later the second Melbourne administration 
was complete. It may be convenient to give a list of 
the Ministry in this place : — 



First Lord of the Treasury 

President of the Council 

Privy Seal 

Chancellor of the Exchequer 

Home Secretary 

Foreign Secretary . 

Colonial Secretaiy . 

Admiralty 
Board of Control . 
Secretary at War • 
Board of Trade 



Chancellor of the Duchy of 
Lancaster .... 



Viscount Melbourne. 

Marquis of Lansdowne. 

Lord Duncannon. 

Mr. Spring Rice. 

Lord John Russell. 

Lord Palmerston. 

Mr. Charles Grant ; afterwards 
(May 1835) Lord Glenelg. 

Lord Auckland. 

Sir John Cam Hobhouse. 

Lord Howick. 

Mr. Poulett Thomson; after- 
wards (1840) Lord Syden- 
ham. 

Lord Holland. 



The Great Seal was in Commission until January 1 9, 
1836, v^hen Pepys became Chancellor with the title of 
Lord Cottenham, the reasons for which unusual step 
were in the first place the King's dislike to Brougham, 
and in the second, Brougham's own impracticable tem- 
per and determination to domineer over his friends and 
colleagues, which made him, to use Lord Melbourne's 
phrase, ^ impossible.' 



It will be observed that the Lettera breathe thi'ough- 
out a spirit of profound detestation of the piinciplea of 
Wbiggiam, the explanation of which is to be found in the 
little tract ' The Spirit of Whiggism,' appended to the 
' Letters of fiannymede.' They are equally distin- 
pniahed by the fervour of their author's attachment to 
Sir Bobert Peel. ' There can be no doubt of the sin- 
cerity of the writer'a feelings at that time. In 1836 
Peel had not executed that famous volte face ■which, taji 
years later, turned his warmestfriend and supporter into 
the bitterest and most uurelentLng of his opponents. 

In the present condition of public affairs, when the 
nation is -witness to the spectacle of a Minister clinging 
to office by the help of the votes of disaffected Irishmen, 
won from them by treaties aa disgraceful as the Lich- 
6eld House compact itself; when attacks are daily 
made on the House of Lords ; when the Church is 
threatened iu unmistakable terms by members of the 
Government itself; and when concessions are constantly 
made to lawlessness, rebellion, and outrage, at the 
expense of the landed interest, it has been thought de- 
sirable to reproduce in a convenient form the comments 
of the great lost leader of the Tory party on the events 
of fifty years ago. There is so great a liJieness betveeen 
the two periods that those comments must surely be 
good for the present distress. 

Some notes have been appended which it is hoped 
will be found useful in explaining what might be 
otherwise obscure, and in recalling to the minds of the 
students of polities, the personages who filled the 
political stage in 1836. There are some few repetitions 
in the notes, but it has been thought wiser to risk a 
reproach on that score than to give the reader the 
trouble of turning back in search of an explanation 
which may be given in half a line.] 



CONTENTS. 



LETTERS OF RUlfNYMEDE. 

PAOB 

DEDICATION TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR ROBERT 

PEEIiy BART.y M>P> • • • • • • 1 

LKITKB 

I. TO VISCOUNT MELBOURNE 11 

II. TO SIR JOHN CAMPBELL . . . . . . 23 

III. TO MR. THOMAS ATTWOOD, M.P 35 

IV. TO LORD BROUGHAM 63 

V. TO SIR ROBERT PEEL 67 

VI. TO THE CHANCELLOR OP THE EXCHEQUER . . . 79 

VII. TO LORD JOHN RUSSELL 93 

VIII. TO THE PEOPLE 107 

IX. TO LORD STANLEY 119 

X. TO LORD WILLIAM BENTINCK 129 

XI. TO VISCOUNT PALMERSTON 145 

XII. TO SIR JOHN HOBHOUSE 159 



^onfcnfd 



LBTTER PAGB 

XIII. TO LORD GLENELG 169 

XIV. TO THE BIGHT HON. EDWARD ELLICE . . . . 179 

XV. TO VISCOUNT MELBOURNE 191 

XVI. TO THE HOUSE OF LORDS 199 

XVII. TO THE HOUSE OF LORDS 211 

XVIII. TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR 221 

XIX. TO VISCOUNT MELBOURNE 233 

THE SPIRIT OF WHIGGISM 243 



THE LETTEES 



OF 



EUNN YMEDE 



'Neither for shame nor fear this mask he wore, 
That, like a vizor in the battle-field, 
But shrouds a manly and a daring brow' 



LONDON 

MDCCCXXXVT 



^cbication 



TO 

THE RIGHT HONOURABLE 

SIR EOBEET PEEL, BAET., M.P. 



July 27, 1836 



B 



I 



DEDICATION. 



IIGHT HON. SIR ROBERT PEEL, BART., M.P. 



Sir, — I have the honour to dedicate to you 

i volume illustrative of Whigs and Weiggism. 

5t has been my object to delineate ivithin its 

pages not only the present characters and recent 

exploits of the most active of the partisans, 

but also the essential and permanent spirit of 

the party. It appeared to me that it might be 

advantageous to connect the criticism on the 

character of the hour with some researches into 

the factious idiosyncrasy of centuries. Political 

j^jarties are not so inconsistent as the superficial 

^biagine ; and, in my opinion, the Whig of a 

^Rntury back does not differ so materially as 

some would represent from the Whig of the 

present day. I hope, therefore, that this volume 

may conduce, not only to the amusement, but to 

e instruction of my countrymen. 

It is now, Sir, some six months past since I 
^zed the occasion of addressing you another 
b2 



letter, written under very different auspices. The 
session of Parliament was then about to com- 
mence ; it is now about to close. These six 
months have not been uneventful in results. If 
they have not witnessed any legislative enact- 
ment eminently tending to our social welfare, they 
Uave developed much political conduct for wliich 
our posterity may be grateful: for this session, 
Sir, has at least been memorable for one great 
event — an event not inferior, in my estimation, 
in its beneficial influence on the fortunes of the 
country, to Magna Charta itself — I mean the 
rally of the English Constitution; I might use 
a stronger phrase, I might say its triumph.' 

' Eeferring' to the reviving spirit of the LoiiJs, who in the ' 
courae of the session had rejected in succession the Bill to ■ 
Reform the Irish Municipai Corporations, the Irish Tithe Bill, 
the Bill for governing Charitable TruBts by popular election, 
and the Bill for the Disfranchisement of Stafford. The reason 
for this succession of disasters is to be found partly in the care- 
leas incompetency of Lord Melbourne, but principally in Uie 
fact that Lord Lyndhnrat led the opposition in the Upper 
House. In his Autobiography Lord Campbell says ; ' In the 
House of Lords we were at the mercy of our opponents. . . . 
Lyndhm-st avowed their object to be to turn against Lord 
Melbourne a sentiment of William III. which Lord Melbourne 
himself had once quoted with approbation, that " while there 
were debates about the best form of government, some preferring 
monarchy, some aristocracy, some democracy, he would not pre- 
tend to decide between them, but he was sure that the worst 
government was that which could not carry its own mBaaures." 
. . ■ Oor party was deplorably ill-off for some peer to take 



l>e6ic«fion 



And it has triumphed because it has become 
Understood. The more its principles have been 
ixamined, the more tlie intention of its Tarious 
a-ts has been investigated, and its general scope 
lomprehended, the more beneficent and profound 
Las appeared the polity of our fathers, The 
(ublic mind of late has been cleared of a vast 
nount of error in cons titutional learning. 
Icarcely a hired writer would have the front at 
his day to pretend that a difference of opinion 
letween the two Houses of Parliament is a colli- 
ion between the Peers and the People. That 
»hrase ' the People ' is a little better compre- 
hended now than it used to be ; it will not serve 
for the stalking horse of faction as it did. We 
know very well that the House of Commons is 
Dot the House of ' the People ; ' we know very 
Well that ' the People ' is a body not intelligible 
1 a political sense ; we know very well that the 
lOrds and the Commons are both sections of the 
lation, and both alike and equally represen- 
fttive of that great community. And we know 
fery well that if the contrary propositions to all 
hese were maintained, the Government of this 
^lish Empire might, at this moment, be the 

rge of such BiUs. Lord Melbourne would give himself no 
ouble&boul them. They were left to Duncannon {Lord Privy 
al), who, though a man of excellent good aense, waa wholly 
icompetent to enter the liiits with L^ndhorst.' 



pastime and plunder of some score of Irish 
adventurers. 

Wlien, Sir, you quitted Drayton in Febru- 
ary,' the vagabond delegate of a foreign priest- 
hood ^ was stirring up rebellion against the Peers 
of England, witli the implied, if not the definite, 
sanction of His Majesty's Ministers, Where is 
that hired disturber now ? Like base coin de- 
tected by the very consequences of its currency, 
and finally nailed against the counter it had 
deceived, so this bad politician, like a bad shilling, 
has worn off his edge by his very restlessness. 
Parliament met, and the King's Ministers ex- 
hibited with a flourish their emblazoned cata- 
logue of oligarchical coupa-d'etat, by which they 
were to entrench themselves in power under the 
plea of ameliorating our society.^ Not one of 
these measures has been carried. Yet we were 
told that their success was certain, and by a sim- 
ple process^by the close and incontestable union 

' William IV. opened Parliament in person for thelast time 
Fehruftry i, 1836. 

' Daniel O'Uonnell. 

* The Bills promised in the Kicg'R Speech included measufcs 
for the Reform of £<?clesiaBtical Establishments, for Tithe Com- 
inutation, for the B«drees of the Grievancefi of Disseutere, for 
the Keform of the Court of Chancery, for the Settlement of the 
Irish Tithe Dispute, for the Reform of Irish Municipal Corpo- 
i-ations, and for the Assimilation of the Irish Poor Law to tliHt 
of England. 






S»c6icttlion 



►etween all true reformers. The union between 
U true reformers has terminated in the mutiny 
f Downing Street.^ 

I believe that I have commemorated in this 
olume tliat celebrated harangue, which the 
Jhancellor of the Exchequer, at the commence- 
aent of the session, addressed at a dinner to his 
wnatituents.- You may perhaps remember, Sir, 
glowing promises of tiiat Bight Honourable 
lentleman: they seemed almost to announce 
he advent of a political millennium. 'First 
nd foremost,' announced the E-ight Honourable 
Chancellor, ' we shall proceed in our great woi'k 
)f the reform of the Court of Equity ; ' the opits 
9tagnu7n of the gifted Cottenham. It seems 
he course of nature was reversed here, and the 
mtterfly turned into grub. * Our earnest atten- 
ion will then be directed,' quotli Mr. Rice,^ ' to 
he entire and complete relief of our Dissenting 
irethren andfeUow-subjeets.' How liberal, how 
iondescending, and how sincere ! The Dissenters 

i absolutely our fellow-subjects. None but a 
Thig, a statesman almost eructating with the 
»lenary inspiration of the spirit of the age, could 

' When Lord Jotn Russell quarrelleii with his coJleagnes 
the Iriah Church question. See the Greville Memoirs, 
I, iii. pp, 295 et seq. 

* Letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, post, p. 83. 

* Mr. Spring Rice, aftorwarda Tjord Monteagle, 



have been capable of making so philosophical 
an admission. In the meantime six months 
have passed, and nothing has been done for our 
unhappy ' f eUow-subjects,' while the Dissenting 
organs denounce even the projected alleviations 
as a miserable insult. To justice to Ireland Mr. 
Rice of course ivas pledged, and most determined 
to obtain it ; but his Bills have been dishonoured 
nevertheless. And tbe settlement of the Irish 
Tithe, and the Bcform of the Irish Corporations, 
are about as much advanced by this great Wbig 
Government as the relief of the Dissenters and 
the reform of the Court of Chancery. What 
have they done then ? What pledge have they 
redeemed ? The Ecclesiastical Courts remain 
unpurged. Even the Stamp Act, through the 
medium of which the Whigs, as usual, have 
levelled a blow at the liberty of the press, lias 
not passed yet, and in its present inq^uisitorial 
fonn can never become a law. What then, I 
repeat, have they done ? They promised indeed 
to break open the prisons like Jack Cade ; but 
as yet the gates are ban-ed ; the pensions are 
still paid, and the soldiers still flogged. Oh 1 ye 
Scribes of the Treasury and Pharisees of Down- 
ing Street 1 

Supported in the House of Lords by a 
body inferior in number to the Peers created 
by the Wliigs during the last five years, upheld 



^cbicaiion » 



in the House of Commons by a majority of 
twenty-six, Lord Melbourne still clings to his 
mulish and ungenerative position of place without 
power ; and with a degree of modest frankness 
and constitutional propriety equally admirable, 
pledges himself before his country, that, as long 
as he is supported by a majority of the House of 
Commons, he will remain Minister. I apprehend 
the ratification of a Ministry is as necessary by 
one House of Parliament as by the other ; but I 
stop not to discuss this. The choice of Ministers 
was once entrusted to a different authority than 
that of either Lords or Commons. But this 
is an old almanack; and I leave Lord Viscount 
Melbourne to shake its dust off at his next inter- 
view with his projected Doge of Windsor. 

RUNNYMEDE. 
July 27, 1836. 



LETTER I. 



TO 



VISCOUNT MELBOUBNE 



January 18, 1836 



LETTER I. 



[It was a. curioiia irony of fate that made William 
Lamb, Yiscoimt Melbourne, into a Prime Minister. 
When in 1834 the succesa of the intrigue against Earl 
Grey and his colleagues of the Reform Ministry brought 
him to the front, Greville wrote ; — ' Nobody thinks the 
Government will last long, and everybody "wonders " 

I how Melbourne will do it. He is certainly a queer 

[ fellow to be Prime Minister, and he and Brougham are 

I two wild chaps to have the destinies of this country in 
their hands. I should not be surprised if Melbourne 
was to rouse his dormant energies, and be excited by 
the greatness of his position to display the vigour and 

I decision in which he is not deficient. Unfortunately, 
his reputation is not particularly good ; he is considered 
lax in morals, indifferent in religion, and very loose 
and pliant in pohtica. He is supposed to have con- 
sented to measures of which he disapproved, because it 

' suited his ease and convenience to do so, and because 
) was actuated by no strong political principles or 

J opinions.' It would be difficult to put the case against 
Lord Melbourne more accurately. Hia immoralitiea 
were notorious, and his relations with his wife had been 
for years the talk of the town. In a few months be 
was to figure as the defendant in an action for crim. 
eon., in which, thongb Campbell succeeded in winning a 
verdict for him, posterity has very generally a^eed that 
I came out with a sadly amirched reputation. His 
religious views were peculiar, to say the least. Habitu- 

L ally a curiously profane taltei', he delighted in the study 



of patristic theology — which laDded him in a conviction 
of nnbelief — which he alternated with studies of a very 
different kind, as hinted more than once by ' Runny- 
mede,' and he was a victim to idleness and lounging to 
an almost incredible extent. Part of his weaknesses 
may, of course, have been affectation. The story, for 
example, of his dandling a sofa cushion whilst re- 
ceiving a deputation on the subject of the Corn Duties, 
and that of his blowing a feather about the room whilst 
some grave city men were arguing about the Currency, 
may be exaggerations, but the fact that they were re- 
lated and commonly believed, affords very clear evidence 
of the opinion popularly entertained of him. Hia 
political views seem to have been summed up in the 
saying that the Whigs were the best of all possible 
political parties ; that the policy of leaving things alone 
was the wisest and most statesmanlike ; and that to 
keep in office was the first duty of a Whig Minister.] 

To Viscoujit Melbourne. 

My Lord, — The Marquis of Halifas ^ was 
wont to say of his Royal Master, that, ' after all, 
his favourite Sultana Queen was sauntering.' 
It is, perhaps, hopeless that your Lordship should 
rouse yourself from the embraces of that Siren 
Desidia to whose fatal influence you are not less 
a slave than our second Charles, and that you 
should cease to saunter over the destinies of a 
nation, and lounge away the glory of an empire. 
Yet the swift shadows of coming events are 

' Saville, MarquiB of Halifax ; not to be confouniled witli 
Montagu, Earl of Halifax. 




When I recall to my bewildered memory the 
perplexing circumstance that William Iiamb is 
> Prime Minister of England, it seems to me that 
bl recollect with labour the crowning incideut of 
jBome grotesque dream, or that in some pastime 
of the season you have drawn for the amusement 
of a nation a temporary character, ludicrously 
appropriate only from the total want of connec- 
Btion and fitness between the festive part and 
ithe individual by whom it is sustained. Pre- 
vious to the passing of the famous Act of 1832, 
for the amendment of popular representation, 
your reputation, I believe, principally depended 
■upon your talent for prologue writing. No one 
■was held to iatroduce with more grace and spirit 
the performances of an amateur society. With 
the exception of an annual oration against par- 
liamentary reform, your career in the House of 
b Commons was never remarkably distinguished. 
I Your Cabinet, indeed, appears to have been con- 
I Btructed from the materials of your old dramatic 
[company. The domestic policy of the country 
\ is entrusted to the celebrated author of Don 

' The fattest hog in Epicurua' stj.' — Mason, Heroic 



Carlos ; ^ the Fletcher of this Beaumont, the 
author of the Siege of Constantinople ~ (an idea 
apparently borrowed from your Russian allies) 
is the guardian of the lives and properties of the 
Irish clergy, under the charitahlo supervision 
of that • first tragedy man,' the Lord of Mul- 
grave ; ' * Lord Glenelg * admirably personifies a 
sleepy audience ; wliile your Chancellor of the 
Exchequer ° beats Mr. Power ^ ; and your Secre- 



' Lord John HiiBaell, Home Secretaty. 

' Vificount Morpeth {Hon. G. W. I". Howari], afterwardfi 
BBventh Earl of Cftrlisle), author of The Last of the Greek*, or 
the Fall of Comlanlinoph, a, tragedy in. five acts and in verse, 
Chief Secretary for Ireland. 

3 Earl of Mulgrave, Lord -Lieutenant of Ireland. 

' Lord Glenelg (Right Hon. Charlea Grant, first and last 
Baron Glenelg, of Glenelg in Invemessahire) whs the last of the 
Canningitta, He turned Whig- at the period of the Reform Bill, 
and was from 1834 to 1839 Secretary of the Colonies. Lord 
Glenelg passed out of sight in consequence of hia approval of 
the notorious ' Ordinance ' of Lord Durham, in which the 
Canadian rebels of 1838 who had submitted to the Queen's 
pleasure, were to he sent to Bermuda under constraint, and 
punished with death if they returned. The Ordinance was dis- 
allowed ; Lord Durham resigned and Lord Glenelg retired. 
He was made a Commissioner of the Land Tax and ' accepted a 
pension of 2,000?. per annum.' Ho died on April 23, 1666, aged 
eighty-seven, having enjoyed his pension twenty-seven yeare. 

* Mr. Spring Riee, afterwards Lord Monteogle. 
6 Tyrone Power, the actor, then (163G) in the height of his 
popularity. Ho was drowned in the steamship President, which 
left New York in April, IS41, and was never heard of after- 
wards. 



\ 



^iscounf Melbourne ir 

tary for Foreign Affairs/ in his mimetic sym- 
pathy with French manners and intimate ac- 
quaintance with French character, is scarcely 
inferior to the late ingenious Charles Mathews. 
That general adapter from the Spanish, Lord 
Holland, gives you aU the advantage, in the 
affairs of the Peninsula, of his early studies of 
Lope de Vega, and, indeed, with his skilful assis- 
tance you appear, by all accounts, to have woven 
a plot absurd and complicated enough even for 
the grave humour of Madrid or the gay fancy 
of Seville. For vourself is still reserved a 
monopoly of your peculiar talent, and doubtless 
on February 4 you will open your House with 
an introductory composition worthy of your pre- 
vious reputation. 

I remember some years ago listening to one 
of these elegant productions from the practised 
pen of the present Prime Minister of Great 
Britain, if not of Ireland. I think it was on 
that occasion that you annunciated to your 
audience the great moral discovery that the 
characteristic of the public mind of the present 

day was 

A taste for evil. 

Our taste for evil does not seem to be on the 
wane, since it has permitted this great empire to 

* Lord Palmerston. 

c 



funngme&e 



be governed l)y the Wliigs, and has induced even 
those Whigs to be governed by an Irish rebel.^ 
Your prologue, ray Lord, was quite prophetic. 

If your Royal Master's speech at the opening 
of his Parliament may share its inspirations, it 
will tell to the people of England some terrible 
truths. 

It will announce, in the first place, that the 
policy of your theatrical Cabinet has at length 
succeeded in dividing the people of England 
into two hostile camps, in which numbers are 
arrayed against propei-ty, ignorance against 
knowledge, and sects against institutions. 

It will announce to us, that your theatrical 
Cabinet has also been not less fortunate in matur- 
ing the passive resistance of the enemy in Ireland 
into active hostility, and that yon have obtained 
the civil war from which the Duke of "Welling- 
ton shrank, without acquiring the political 
security which might have been its consequence 

It wUl announce to ns, that in foreign affairs 
you and your company have finally succeeded in 
destroying all our old alhauces without substitut- 
ing any new ones ; and that, after having sacri- 
ficed every principle of British policy to secure 
an intimate alliance with France," the Cabinet of 

' O'Connell — an allusion to the Lichfield House compact of 
1835. 

* Always a ' note ' of "Whig policy tram 1 789 to 1 884. 



the Tuileries has even had the airy audacity to 
refuse its co-operation in that very treaty in 
which its promises alone involved you ; and 
that, while the British Minister can with ex- 
treme difficulty obtain an audience at St. Peters- 
burg, the Ambassador of Prance passes with a 
polite smile of gay recognition the luckless 
representative of William IV., who is lounging 
in an ante-chamber in the enjoyment of an in- 
dolence which even your Lordship might envy. 

It will announce to. us, that in our colonial 
empire the most important results may speedily 
be anticipated from the discreet selection of 
Lord Auckland as a successor to our Olives and 
our Hastings ; ^ that the progressive improve- 
ment of the Prench in the manufacture of 
beet-root may compensate for the approaching 
destruction of our West Indian plantations ; 
and that, although Canada is not yet indepen- 
dent, the final triumph of liberal principles, 
tinder the immediate patronage of the Govern- 
ment, may eventually console us for the loss 

^ George Eden, second Earl of Auckland, born 1784, suc- 
ceeded to the title May, 1811 ; President of the Board of Trade 
and Master of the Mint, with a seat in the Cabinet of Earl 
Grey, 1830. First liord of the Admiralty in 1834 and made 
Governor- General of India in 1835. His administration of 
India was chiefly memorable for the disastrous Afghan war of 
1838. Lord Auckland's services were rewarded with an Earl- 
dom in 1839. 

c2 



of the glory of Cliatliam and the conquests of 
Wolfe. 

At home or abroad, indeed, an agreeable 
prospect on every side surrounds you. Your 
Lordship may exclaim with Hannibal, ' Behind 
us are the Alps, before us is Eridanus ! ' And 
who are your assistants to stem the profound 
and impetuous current of this awful futurity? 
At an unconstitutional expenditure of four 
coronets, which may some day figure as 
article in an impeachment, the Whigs have at 
length obtained a Lord Chancellor,^ as a lawyer 

' Christopher Charles PepyB, Earl of Cotfeuham, who was 
made Lord Chancellor in order to get rid of tbc icconveni 
of keeping the Great Seal in CommLisioii. According to 
Campbell, ' Lord Melbourne annonnced that Broiighftm could 
not be reappointed, Baying with deep emphaaia, " It is 
possible to act with, him ; " and stated the pbin proposed to be 
that Pepya should be Chancelloi and that Bickerateth (after- 
wards Lord liangdale) should succeed him as Master of 1 
Kolla, with a peei'age. It was well foreseen that Bronghai 
eKclusion from office would drive him into furious oppositiotii? 
and Pepys being known to be very feeble in debatoj the obji 
was to select an assistant champion for the defence of tha^ 
Government. A most unfortunate choice was made, and it 
very speedily repented of.' It is hurdlj- a secret that on. this 
occasion Brougham's reason gave way. Campbell refers to the 
fact twice {Lives of the C/tancellors, vol. viii. pp. 1 1 and 476-7), 
and hia hint has been more than confirmed by contemporary- 
evidence. The other coronets referred to in the test ■ 
those of Lord Omumore and of Lady Stratheden, the latter of 
which was bestowed to console her huabaiid, Sir John (after- 
wards Lord) Campbell for bis eAclusion from the Chancelloitsbip 



■^tscounf ^Telbournc 



91 



not illustrious, as a statesman a nonentity. The 
seals of the principal office of the State are en- 
trusted to an iudiyidual, who, on the principle 
that good Tinegar is the corruption of bad wine, 
has been metamorphosed from an incapable 
author into an eminent politician.^ His brother 
Secretaries remind me of two battered female 
sinners ; one frivolous, the otiier exhausted ; 
one taking refuge from conscious scorn in rouge 
and the affected giggle of fluttering folly, and 
the other in strong waters and devotiou.^ Then 
Mr. Spring Rice waves a switch, which he 
would fain persuade you is a shillelagh ; while 
tJxe Bienzi of Westminster smiles witli marvel- 
ling complacency at the strange chapter of acci- 
dents which has converted a man whose friends 
pelted George Lamb with a cahbage-stalk, into 
a main prop of William Lanah's Cabinet. 

Some yet remain ; the acute intelligence of 
LansdoTvne, the polished mind of Thomson,^ 

lOwick's* calm maturity, and the youthful 

lergy of Holland." 

' Lord John Russell, author of Don Carlos, a Tragedy, 
' Lords Palmerstoa and Gleneig. The allusion ia of course 
fc to Foote'e farce, The- Minor. 

' Ponlett TbomsoQ, the President of the Board of Trade. 
' Visconnt Howick (the present Earl Grey), Secretary at 
War ; ' the bitterest of all that party,' says Greville. 

^ Fox, Lord Holland, Chancelior of the Dachy of Lancaster 
martyr to gout and almost in hia dotage in 1836. 



ua 



22 ^l>c JLcttcrs of ^nntt'Qmcbe 

And this is the Cabinet that controls the 
destinies of a far vaster population than owned 
the sway of Rome in the palmiest hour of its 
imperial fame ! Scarron or Butler should cele- 
brate its political freaks, and the shifting expe- 
dients of its ignoble statecraft. But while I 
watch you in your ludicrous councils, an awful 
shade rises from behind the chair of my Lord 
President. Slaves ! it is your master ; it is 
Eblis with Captain Rock's bloody cap shadow- 
ing his atrocious countenance. In one hand he 
waves a torch, and in the other clutches a skull. 
He gazes on his victims with a leer of fiendish 
triumph. Contemptible as you are, it is this 
dark connection^ that involves your fate with 
even an epic dignity, and makes the impending 
story of your retributive fortunes assume almost 
a Dantesque sublimity. 

January 18, 1836. 

* The Lichfield House compact. 



LETTEE II. 



TO 

SIR JOHN CAMPBELL 

Januaru 19, 1836 



LETTER II. 

[^ Plain Jolin Campbell * is perhaps the pleasantest 
figure in the crowd of mediocrities who came to the 
front after the passage of the Reform Bill of 1832. 
He was a Scotchman of the best type — shrewd, con- 
scientious, and of unflagging industry. So much did 
this last quality impress his contemporaries that it is 
told of two of the most distinguished of them that 
meeting in Court on the day of his euthanasia — for 
surely no man ever had a happier ending to his life — 
one said to the other, * So poor Campbell's gone ! 
WeU, we shall meet him at the Day of Judgment.' 
* Yes,' replied the other, ' and you may take your affi- 
davit that he will be offering to assist the business of 
the Court by taking the short causes.' In the cata- 
clysm of 1835 he gave great offence by accepting the 
post of Attorney- General, which he probably did be- 
cause, with the proverbial shrewdness of his nation, he 
foresaw the speedy downfall of Lord Melbourne's 
second administration, and did not care to relinquish 
a very lucrative practice at the bar for the barren 
honour of a chancellorship which might be brought to 
an end at any moment and leave him stranded in the 
Upper House with a pension, it is true, but without any 
chance of that work which we may fairly believe was 
dearer to him than its pecuniary rewards. He had held 
the post of Attorney-General in the first Melbourne ad- 
ministration, with a somewhat inexplicable understand- 
ing that he was not to expect to succeed as a matter of 
right to any vacancy in the Courts {^Greville,' vol. iii. 



^JTcffcrs of "iluttnBmeoe 



p. 141), When Melbourne returned to power after the 
short-lived administration of the Duke of Wellington 
and Sir Robert Peel, Canipjiell's aid aa Attorney-General 
was found to be indispeuBable, and be was consoled for 
any seeming alight by the elevation of Lady Campbell 
to the rank of a peeresa in her own right with the 
title of Stratheden, on which account the present Lord 
Campbell bears a double title. The matter was an 
arrauf;emeiit to suit the convenience of the Ministry, 
and Campbell's acquiescence in it was very generally 
condemned. ' Pollock and one or two others,' he say8 
in his Autobiography, ' blamed me for not resigning, 
and said I had lowered the office of Attorney- General, 
but Aberci'omby, FoUett, and those whose opinions I 
most regarded, approved, and I have never since re- 
pented of any part of my conduct on this occasion.'] 



To Sir John Campbell. 

Sir, — I have always been of opinion — an 
opinion I imbibed early in life from great autho- 
rities — that the Attorney- and Solicitor-General 
were not more the guardians of the honour and 
the interests of the Crown than of the honour 
and the interests of the Bar. It appears to me 
that you have failed in your duty as representa- 
tive of this once illustrious body, and therefore. 
it is that I address to you this letter. 

Although your political opponent, I trust I am 
not incapable of acknowledging and appreciating 
your abilities and acquirements. They are sound, 
but they are not splendid. You have mastered 
considerable legal reading, you are gifted with 



giir ^o§tt ^itittpbell 



I no ordinary shrewdness, you liave enjoyed great 
I practice, and yoit have gained great experience ; 
I you possess undaunted perseverance and in- 
L vincible industry. But you can advance no 
I claim to the refined sui^tlety of an Eldon, and 
I Etill less to the luminous precision, the quick 
^ perception, the varied knowledge, and accom- 
plished eloquence of a Lyndhurst. In profound 
learning you cannot cope for a moment with Sir 
Edward Siigden ;^ as an advocate you can endure 
I no competition with your eminent father-in-law,^ 
[or with Sir William Pollett, or — for I am not 
iTTTiting as a partisan — with Mr. Serjeant "Wilde. 
I As a pleader I believe you were distinguished, 
I though there are many who, even in this humble 
I province, have deemed that you might yield 
■ the palm to Mr. Baron Parke and Mr. Justice 
|Littledale. 

But, whatever be your merits or defects, you 
I are still the King's Attorney- General, and as the 
1 King's Attorney-General you have a prescriptive, 
lif not a positive, right to claim any seat upon 
Ithe judgment bench ^ which becomes vacaut dur- 



' Aflervrardn Lord St. Leonards. 

* Sir James Scarlett, afterwardB Lord Abinger, to whose 
Kdaughter Oumpbell was married iu September 1821. 

■ Gre^Ule says that he did urge his claims on Leach's 
Bdeath, but he allows it to be understood that they were over- 
■ruled bj- Lord Melbourne. 



jfutmgmeoe 



ing your official tenure. This prescriptive right 
has never been doubted in the profession. It baa 
been understood and acted upon by members 
of the bar, of all parties, and at all times. In 
recent days, Sir Robert Gifford,^ though a com- 
mon law lawyer, succeeded to the equity tribunal 
of Sir Thomas Plomer. It is true that Sir Robert 
Gift'ord, for a very short time previous to his 
accession, had practised in the Court of Chancery, 
but the right of the Attorney-General to succeed, 
under any circumstances, was again recognised 
by Lord Eldon, when Sir John Copley,^ who had 
never been in an Equity Court in his life, became 
Master of the Rolls. On this occasion it is well 
known that Leach,^ the Vice-Chancellor, was 
anxious to succeed Lord GifEord, but his request 
was not for a moment listened to in preference 
to the claim of the Attorney-General. 

In allowing a judge,* who a very short time 
back was your inferior officer, to become Lord 

' Ix>rd Giffbrd, Master of the Eolla 1824:. 

* Lord Ljndhurst. 

' When Lord Grey formed his Ministry in 1830, it waa 
expected that Sir John Leach would have been his Lord 
Chancellor. Lord Grey himaeif would have preferred Loi'd 
Lyndhurat, but Lord Althorp having declared that he could 
not undertake the leadership in the Commona if Brougham re- 
mained there in an official capacity to domineer over him, the 
well-known aiTaogement was made. 

* Lord Oottenham (Pepys, Sulicitor- General in Lord Me)-- 
boume's former Administration), 



^tr ^o^n ©ampbelt 



Chancellor of England, and in permitting a 

barrister, "who had not even iilled the office of 

Solicitor-General, to he elevated over your head 

into the seat of the Master of the Bolls ; either 

you must have esteemed yourself absolutely 

incompetent to the discharge of those great 

[ offices, or you must have been painfully con- 

I soious of your marked inferiority to both the 

individuals "vrho were promoted in your teeth ; 

or last, and bitterest alternative, you must have 

claimed your right, and been denied its enjoy- 

[ment.' In the first instance, you virtually 

f declared that you were equally unfit for the 

ofBce you at present liold, and what should have 

been your consequent conduct is obvious; in the 

second, you betrayed the interests of the bar; 

and in the third, you betrayed not only tlie 

I interests of the bar, but its honour also. 

Without imputing to Sir John Campbell any 
' marvellous degree of arrogance, I cannot bring 
myself to believe that he holds himself absolutely 
, Unfit for the discharge of the offices in question. 
I I will not even credit that he has yielded to his 
I unfeigned sense of his marked inferiority to the 
t supernatural wisdom and miraculous acquire- 
linents of my Lord Cottenham, or that his down- 
Jcast vision has been dazzled by the wide extended 

Which Inst alternative is now known to have been the 



celebrity tliat suirounds with a halo tho name of 
Bickei'steth ! '■ No, sir, we will not trench upon 
the manorial right of modesty which is the 
monopoly of your colleague, Sir Mousey Rolfe,^ 
that public man on the Incus a non Incendo prin- 
ciple, that shadowy entity which all have heard 
of, few seen. An individual, it would appear, of 
a rare humility and admirable patience, and born, 
as it were, to exemplify the beauty of resignation. 
I believe, therefore, that you claimed the 
ofBee— that you claimed your right, and that you 
were refused it. That must have been a bitter 
moment. Sir John Campbell — a moment which 
might have made you recollect, perhaps even 
repeat, the Johnsonian deftnition of a Whig.'' 
You have not hitherto been held a man deficient 
in spirit, or altogether uninfluenced by that 
nobler ambition which spurs us on to great 
careers, and renders the esteem of our fellow- 
countrymen not the least valuable reward of our 
exertions. When therefore you were thus 

' Afterwards Lord Langdale, 

* Afterwards Lord Ci'anwoi'th. 

' Whig. The name of a faction. Johnaon^s I)ictioiiari/,\st 
edition, 

Boswell. I drank chocolat*, sir, this morning with Mr. Eld, 
and to my no BmnU Biirpriae found him to be a Staffordshire 
Whij, ft being which I did not believe had existed. 

Johnson. Sir, there are rascals in all countries. 

Croker's Boswell, edition 18i8, p. 606. 



§iv ^ofin @amp6cU 



■insulted, why did you not resent the insult ? 

■"When your fair ambition was thus scuryily 

"balked, wliy not have gratified it by proying to 

a sympathising nation that you were at least 

n'orthy of the high post to wliich you aspired ? 

L He who aims to be the guardian of the lionour 

lof the Crown, should at least prove that he is 

i competent to protect his own. You ought not 

I to have quitted the Minister's ante-chamber the 

I King's Attorney-General. 

Why did you tlieu ? Because, as you inform 

us, your lady is to be ennobled. Is it the 

' carnival, that such jests pass current ? Is it 

part of the code of etiquette in this saturnalia 

I of "Hliig manners, that the honom- of a man is 

' to he vindicated by a compHment to a woman ? 

I One cannot refrain from admiiing, too, the cou- 

L sistent propriety of the whole arrangement. A 

gentleman, whom his friends announce as a 

Bresolved republican, and to whom, but for this 

sHght circumstance, they assert would have been 

entrusted the custody of the Great Seal, is to be 

hoisted up into the House of Lords in the 

masquerade of a Baron ; while yourself, whose 

delicate and gracious panegyric of the Peers of 

England is still echoing from the movement 

benches of the House of Commons to the reeking 

cellars of the Cowgate, find the only consolation 

, for your wounded honour in your son inscribing 



^unn^meoe 



his name in the libra d'oro of our hereditary 
legislators. Why, if Mr. O'Connell were but 
simultaneously called up by the title of Baron 
Eathcormac/ in honour of his yictory, the batch 
would be quite complete. 

Wliat compensation is it for the injured in- 
terests, and what consolation to the outraged 
honour, of tho bar, that your amiable lady is to 
become a peeress ? On the contrary, you have 
inflicted a fresh stigma on the body of which 
you are the chief. You have shown to the world 
that the loading advocate of the day, the King's 
Attorney- General, will accept a bribe 1 Nay 1 
staiii not. For the honour of human nature, for 
the honour of your high profession, of which I 
am the friend, I will believe that in the moment 
of overwhelming mortification you did not thus 
estimate that glittering solace, hut such, believe 
me, the English nation will ever esteem the 
coronet of Strath-Eden. 

"Was the grisly spectre of Sir William Home * 

' A. BtnaU market town and polliog place in tlie county of 

^ Attorney-General in Earl Grey's Ministry, 1832. Under 
drtte Febru.iry 26, 1835, Glreville write,s : 'Home, the late 
Attorney- General, seems likely to fall between two stools. 
When Bi-ougham proposed to lum to tuke a, puisne judgeship 
he said he Lad been an equity lawyer all hiu life, and had no 
mind to enter on a course of cominon law for which he was not 
qualified, and proposed that ho should not go the circuits and 



the blooming Ere that tempted you to pluck this 
fatal fruit ? Was it the conviction that a rehel- 
lious Attorney-General might be shelved that 
daunted the hereditary courage of the Campbell? 

I What, could you condescend to be treated by 
Ihe Minister Hke a frowai'd cliild — the parental 
discount shaking iu one hand a rod, and in the 
bther waving a toy ? 
[ I have long been o£ opinion, that, among 
bther perfected and projected mischief, there 
lias been on the part of the Whigs a systematic 
attempt to corrupt the English bar. I shall 
avail myself of another and early opportunity 
to discuss this important subject. At present I 
\vill only observe, that whether they do or do not 
obtain their result, your conduct has anticipated 
consequence of their machinations ; the 
may corrupt the bar of England, but 
I'ou, sir, hare degraded it. 

Jarmary 19, 1S36. 

be Deputy Speaker of the House of Lorda. Eroughain told 
him thfre would be no difGculty, and then told Lord Grev he 
■with Home, but did not tell him what Home 
{jqnired. The general movement was made, and when Home 
e Lord Grey he told him that his terms eouid not 
mplied witli, so he became a. victim to the trickery and 
shuffling of the Chancellor who wanted to get him out and did 
not care how.' 





LETTEE III. 



TO 

MR. THOMAS ATTWOOD, M.P. 

Janv4vry 21, 1836 



d2 



LETTER III. 

[Thomas Attwood— the 'King Tom' of Cobbett's 

f Political Eegiater '— was one of the most violent 

gitatora of the pre-Reform era and the i-eal inventor 

f the Caucus. His father, Matthias Attwood, was an 

■onraaster of Hales Owen, who realised a considerable 

brtane by obtaining a monopoly of Swedish iron. 

with tliis capital he associated himself with Mr. 

Eichard Spooner the elder, and founded the once 

B banking house of Spooner, Attwood & Co., with 

iiead-quartors in Birmingham and a branch in Grace- 

fehnrcb Street, London. Thomas Attwood presided 

Bver the Birmingham business, and distinguished him- 

leif from a very early period by the vehemence of his 

Jiewa on financial and political subjects. When the 

bmons Orders in Council during the hostilities with 

Lmerica in 1812 were promulgated, Attwood made hini- 

ielf conspicuous by the violence with which he de- 

U)unced them, and when in 1817 specie payments were 

resumed he was equally loud in Ma condemnation of 
that step. In fact, throughout the whole of his life 
he posed as a currency reformer as well as a Radical 
politician, and at one period appeared before the world 
as the author of a couple of forgotten pamphlets on the 
advantages of a paper currency. His theories found 
Btnall acceptance, and, stung by the indifference with 
which they were received, he threw himself with ardour 
into Radical agitation. During the period between 
1820 and the passage of the Whig Reform Bill of 
•JB32 htj was exceedingly active, and when in 1829 an 



anwilling Government liad passed the Roman Cathoiiu 
Relief Bill (Oatholic Emancipation) he founded at once 
the notorioua ' Political Union ' of Birmingham, His 
power in Birmingham at this time was something 
enormons. Mr. McCuIlagh Torrens, in his ' Life of 
Lord Melbourne,' quotes a letter in which the then ex- 
Minister speaks of him as ' the most iniinential man in 
England,' and Mr. R. K. Dent, in the extraordinarily 
samptuoua three volumes ivhich commemorate the 
glories of ' Old and New Birmingham,' states that in the 
month of July, 1812, his fellow-townsmen presented 
Mr. Attwood with a silver cup weighing 128 ounces, 
the cost of which was subscribed in sixpences. From 
1812 his popularity had gone on increasing. He had 
opposed the monopoly of the East India Company, and, 
if the accounts of his admirers ar^ to be credited, he 
was the main instrument in breaking it down, and he 
was for many years an advocate of all those proposals 
which are associated with the name of Liberalism. 
Throughout the whole of the Reform agitation he was 
one of its most conspicuous figures, and shared with 
* Orator Hunt ' the very questionable glory of inciting 
the working classes to rebellion. 

The ' Political Union for the Protection of Public 
Rights ' was the outcome of a meeting held in the 
Royal Hotel at Birmingham at which Attwood pre- 
sided, supported by Messrs. Scholefield, Muntz, and 
Shorthouse — the last the father of the author of ' John 
Inglesant '—and the spirit in which it was devised may 
be guessed from a few phrases printed in capital letters 
in the requisition to the High Bailiff for a towns- 
meeting. The requisitionists speak of the 'gross mis- 
management of public affairs,' the ' general distress 
which now afflicts the country,' which is only to be 
remedied by 'an effectual reform in the Commons 
House of Parliament.' They talk of the further 're- 
dress of public wrongs and grievances,' and speak of 
a ' political union between the lower and middle classes 



» 



the people ' as the only means by which that end 

.ay be attained. The French Revolution of 1830, 

bieh had a much greater share in bringing about the 

?Tug Revolution of 1832 than is commonly believed,' 

'as earnestly watched in Birmingham, and at a dinner 

celebrate that event at which between 3,000 and 

4,000 persons sat down, Attwood made what appears 

to have been the first amongst many rather foolish 

speeches on the subject of reform. One sentence will 

show its character. After the ' Union Hymn' had been 

sung Attwood asked hia excited audience, ' Where is 

the one among you who would not follow me to tlie 

death in a righteous cause?' The answer was given 

,by the whole assembly, 'who rose as one man and 

l^houted, "AH!"' At a meeting in 1831 Attwood 

'made another bombastic speech, allusion to which will 

"be found in ' Runnymede's' letter, in which he said, 

' If the king required it, they could produce hira in this 

district at his order within a month two armies each of 

them aa numerous and brave as that which conquered 

at Waterloo.' Whpn the Lords threw out the Reform 

Bill, the ' Political Union 'issued a proclamation calling 

for Political Unions like itself all over the country, and 

thi-eatening in no uncertain manner the alternative of 

civil war. There is, indeed, an affectation of peaceful- 

ness and moderation, but when after speaking of the 

horrors of war as 'the last dread alternative of an 

oppressed nation,' the manifesto goes on to say that the 

reformers will 'humble the oligarchy to the duat,' 

there cannot be much doubt of what is meant. That 

.per bore the signature of Thomas Attwood as chair- 

lan of the Union. 

At this time also Attwood distinguished himself 

other ways, Having already in 18ii0 proposed in 

'.ting the formation of an association the members 



' See Eoobuok's IlUtory of thu Whig Minielry of 1830, 
r,voI. iL p. 3 eC leq. 



of -whicli should pledge themselves to pay no taxes if 
the Government of the day should dare to interfere in 
the conflict hetween Belgium and Holland, he next 
suggested a similar association for the coercion of the 
Government in the matter of the Reform Bill, and pre- 
sided at a meeting which was held to vote thanks to 
lords AJthorp and John Russell, and to pass a reso- 
lution to ' stop the supplies.' The Reform Bill once 
passed, Liberals on all sides recognised the share which 
Attwood had had in its success, and the City of Loudon, 
on that ground, presented him with its freedom. In 
the course of his reply he made a somewhat curious 
admission : ' I may have given offence,' said he, ' to 
abler men because I had recourse to measures which 
trenched on the verge of the law ; hut I did not resort 
to such measures until I saw that the extremity of the 
country required extreme remedies.' After these 'ex- 
treme remedies ' — which, by the way, have always been 
very much to the taste of Birmingham — nothing coidd 
be more natural than that Attwood should be one of 
the first two members for the newly enfranchised 
borough. He sat in Parliament until 1839, speaking 
very frequently there and almost as frequently in public 
meetings outside. It cannot be said that he was 
altogether successful in his capacity of member. The 
House of Commons — at all events until within a very 
recent period — was one of the most keenly critical assem- 
blies in the world, and one in which the most preten- 
tious of demagogues speedily found his level. The 
Rochdale manufacturer who went in as ' the successor 
to Richard Cobden * was made chairman of the com- 
mittee for the selection of cigars, and has never 
held any more distinguished place in the House. In 
like manner Attwood, who demanded the abolition of 
the House of Lords and posed almost even aa a Re- 
jinblican, never succeeded in winning the ear of the 
House. When,asinAugust 1835, he boasted having just 
returned from a meeting of ' 10,000 individuals' (men. 



(romen, and childreQ of course) at which it had been 

jrved that 'under the present march of edacatioa 

Bind difiusion of knowledge, the time would soon 

Approach when the country would neither need a House 

5Df Lords nor a King,' memhers simply smiled and no one 

Attempted to answer. And when, as in Febmaiy IS'JS, 

! presented a petition from 20,000 ' individuals ' of 

trmingbam for the Eeform of the House of Lords, 

jid made a somewhat absurd speech on the occasion, 

1 petition was ordered to lie upon the table, after a 

igoroua protest from 2,000 inhabitant householders 

t the proceedings of this self-constituted body ' 

i been read by Mr, Dugdale, M.P. for North War- 

irickshire. 

Attwood'a parliamentary career was not prolonged, 
&,a the writer of an obituary notice which was published 
' 1 the ' Annual Register ' for 1856 put the matter, ' when 
" : Attwood had sat for some years in Parliament he 
I to perceive that the reformed House of Com- 
mons was not more disposed to accept his currency 
^heories than the unreformed, and he thought also that 
t had shown a decided inability to grapple with great 
I questions.' He therefore applied for the Chiltern 
Hundreds in January, 1840, and subsided into private 
life. He died on March 6, 1856, at Great Malvern, and 
in 1859 his fellow-townsmen erected a colossal statue 
to his memory. When in 1865 the bank of Attwood, 
Spooner, Marshall, and Co, suspended payment with a 
deficiency of 340,000i., bringing down in its fall the 
Penny Bank, in which were invested nearly 10,000?., 
the property of the poorest class of artisans and of their 
children, Attwood's statue narrowly escaped destruction, 
but was spared, apparently because he had been ' the 
Father of Political Unions.'] 



^c (letters of glutmsmcoe 



To Mr. Thomas Atlwood, M.I'. 

Sir, — You may be surprised at this letter 
being addressed to you ; you may be more sur- 
prised when I inform you that this address is not 
occasioned by any conviction of your political 
importance. I deem you a harmless, and I do 
not believe you to be an ill-meaning, individual. 
You are a provincial banker labouring under a 
financial monomania. But amid the seditions 
fanfaronnade which your unhappy distemper oc- 
casions you periodically to vomit forth, there are 
fragments of good old feelings which show you 
are noj utterly denationalised in spite of being 
'the friend of all mankind,' ^ and contrast with 
the philanthropic verbiage of your revolutionary 
rhetoric like the odds and ends of ancient art 
which occasionally jut forth from the modem 
rubbish of an edifice in a classic land — symp- 
toms of better days, and evidences of happier 
intellect. 

The reason that I have inscribed this letter 
to your consideration is, that you are a fair re- 
presentative of a considerable class of your 
countrymen — the class who talk political non- 

' A phrase used by Attwood to describe Mr. Munte : 
' My friend and your friend ; the friend of humanity and 
benevolenco, the liiend of all luunkiud,' 



■gSTr. ^^omas |lffn)oo6, ISt.^. « 



sense ; and it is these with whom, through your 
medium, I would now communicate. 

I met recently with an ohservation which 
rather amused me. It was a distinction drawn 
in some journal between high nonsense and low 
nonsense. I thought that distinction was rather 
happily illustrated at the recent meeting of your 
Union, which, hy-the-hye, differs from its old 
state as the drivellings of idiotism from the 
frenzy of insamty. "When your chairman, who, 
like yourself, is 'the friend of all mankind,' 
called Sir Robert Peel ' an ass,' ^ I thought that 
Spartan description miglit fairly range under the 
head of low nonsense ; hut when you yourself, as 
if in contemptuous and triumphant rivalry with 

' At the meeting of the Birmingham Political Unioa on 
Monday, January 18, 1836, to address the King and petition 
the House of Commons for a change in the constitution of the 
Honae of Lords, which called forth this letter, Attwood said : 
* Sir Robert Peel in his Tamworth letter boasted that he was 
able to carry on the Government, hut in a House of Commons 
of hia own choosing he waa beaten on the election of Speaker, 
(i.e. when Sir Charles Sutton was displaced by Mr. Aber- 
crombie), and then he quarrelled with everybody and every- 
thing, because that old humbug had been dismissed. What did 
he do then t Why, he lost everything, and courted, and flattered,, 
and greased over as he bad been till one could hardly see him, 
le went again to Tamworth and acknowledged, like an ass 
B was, that he had been completely deceived.' Mr. Muntz, 
the ohaiiman of the meeting, had about half an hour before 
distinguished himself by applying the same epithet to Sir 
Eobert Peel. 



his plebeian folly, announced to us that at the 
sound of your blatant voice 100,000 armed men 
■would instantly rise in Birmingham, it occurred 
to me that Nat Lee himself could scarcely com- 
pete with you in your claim to the more patrician 
privilege of uttering high nonsense. If indeed 
you produce such marvels, the name of Attwood 
will be handed down to posterity in heroic emu- 
lation with that of Caflmus ; he produced armed 
men by a process almost as simple, but the teeth 
of the Theban king must yield to the jaw of the 
Birmingham delegate, though I doubt not the 
same destiny would await both batches of 
warriors.' 

But these 100,000 armed men are only the 

' According to Aria's Birminffhain Gazette, the meeting at 
which this speech was rajide waa held in the Town Hall, and 
'at this time (noon) the building wasabotithalf filled, but about 
one o'clock the number begaa to increase, and for an hour after- 
wards the hall was two-thirda full,' It was upon this occaaion 
that Attwood asserted that ' within one single week the .Union 
could produce 100,000 fighting mm upon Newhall BUI,' and 
further, that ' if the Tories had their way — if they again re- 
covered their ascendency — a deluge of blood must and would be 
abed in England.' Later on in the same speech Attwood called 
for 5,000^. to send delegates ail over England to carry on a 
campaign for the reform of the Honee of Lords, adding, that 
' he doubted not the influence which the men of Birmingham 
possessed over their countrymen would command the success of 
20,000,000 of people and 20,000,000 of hearts. When tiie 
men of Birmingham oSfered to guide them, these 20,000,000 of 
brave men would I'espond to their call.' 



I 



01 

r Gn 

Kfitn 
■ra; 



advanced guard, the imperial guard of Brumma- 
gem, the heralds of a mightier host. Nay, com- 
pared with the impending legions, can only 
count as pioneers, or humble sappers at the best. 
Twenty millions of men are to annihilate the 
.Tories. By the last census, I believe the adult 
[male population of Great Britain was computed 
at less than 4,000,000. Whence the subsidiary 
levies are to be obtained, we may perhaps be 
informed the nest time some brainless Cleon, at 
the pitch of his voice, bawls forth his rampant 
'oily at the top of Newhall Hill. 

Superficial critics have sometimes viewed, in 

spirit of naiTOW-minded scepticism, those 

itionary accounts of armed hosts which 

startle ns in the credulous or the glowing page 

of rude or ancient annals. But what "was the 

Great King on the heights of Salamis or in the 

itraits of Issus, what was Gengis Khan, what 

,merlane, compared with Mr. Thomas Attwood 

of Birmingham ! The leader of such an army 

may well be 'the friend of aU mankind,' if only 

to recruit Ills forces from his extensive connec- 

,tions. 

The truth is, Xerxes and Darius, and the 

[Taliant Icadei-s of the Tartars and the Mongols, 

'ere ignorant of the mystical yet expeditious 

cans by which 20,000,000 of men are brought 

iinto the field by a modera demagogue, to change 



a constitution or to subvert an empire. Wlien 
they hoisted their standard, their chieftains 
rallied round it, bringing to the array all that 
population of the country who were not required 
to remain at home to maintain its order or civili- 
sation. The peasant quitted his plough and the 
pastor his flock, and the artisan without employ 
hurried from the pauperism of Babylon or the 
idleness of Samarcand. But these great leaders 
with their diminutive forces which astounded the 
Lilliputian experience of our ancestors, had no 
conception, with their limited imaginations, of 
the inexhaustible source whence the ranks of a 
popular leader may be swollen ; they had no idea 
of ' The People.' It is ' the people ' that is to 
supply their great successor with his millions. 

As in private life, we are accustomed to 
associate the circle of our acquaiutance with the 
phrase ' The World,' so in public I have in- 
variably observed that ' The People ' of the 
pohtician is the circle of his interests. The 
' people ' of the Whigs are the ten-pounders 
who vote in their favour. At present the 
municipal constituencies ^ are almost considered 

' An allusion to the Municipal Reform Act {5 ifc 6 WilL 
IV. cap. 76) which abolished the ancient franchises, and placed 
local self-government in the hands of t!ie ratepayers. It waa 
the first work of Lord Melbourne's second administration, which 
came into office April 18, 1S35, after the short-lived Gfovern- 



£tr. ^Jomtto Jlffn)oo&, '^.^. 4?! 



by Lords Melbourne and John Russell as, in 
some instances, to have afforded legitimate 
claims of being deemed part and parcel of the 
nation ; but I very mucli fear that the course of I 
events will degrade those bodies from any length- 
ened participation in this ennobling quality. It 
is quite clear that the electors of Northampton- 
shire have forfeited all rig-ht to be held portion 
of 'the people,' since their return of Mr. ■ 
Maunsell ; ^ the people of Birmingham are doubt- I 
less those of the inhabitants who huzza the 
grandiloquence ol" Mr. Attwood ; and the people 
of England, perchance, those discerning indivi- 
duals, who, if he were to make a provincial tour ■ 
of oratory, might club together in the different 1 
towns to give him a dinner. I hardly tliink I 

ment of Sir Kobert Peel — a Government which lasted only from ' 
Itecembei' 10, 1834, to April 8, 1835, and which went out ( 
the question of the Irish Church. ThecaUietrophe was notable 
inaamnch as it was the first fruits of that alliance between the 
Irish party and the ' base, bloody, and brutal Whigs ' whom 
O'Connell had abused so heartily and for bo many yeare. The 
alliaaca wax brought about at Lichfield House, in St. James's 
Square, early in the year 1S35, and is eonse<iiieutly genenilly 
known as the ' Lichfield House compact.' 

' Thomas Philip Maunsell, of Thorpe Malsor, sat for Korth I 
Northamptonshire from lf35 to 1857, A ConservativB | 
country gentleman, not distinguished as an orator, but faith- 
ful to his party. He was succeeded in the lepreaentation of 
North Northamptonshire by Mi-. Oeorge Ward Hunt, who wa8 
Chancellor of the Exchequer from Febi-uary to December 1658, 1 



that, all together, these quite amount to 
20,000,000. 

Yourself and the school to which you belong 
are apt to describe the present struggle as one 
between the Conservatives and the people — these 
Conservatives consisting merely of 300 or 400 
peers, and their retainers. You tell us in the 
same breath, with admirable consistency, that 
you possess the name, but not the heart of the 
Iving ; that the Court is secretly, and the Peerage 
openly, opposed to you ; the Church you an- 
nounce as even beholding you with pious terror. 
The Universities, and all chartered bodies, come 
under your ban. The Bar is so hostile, that you 
have been obliged to put the Great Seal in com- 
mission for a year,^ and have finally, and from 

' William IV., after Brougham's progreas through Scotland 
in 1834, and after the famous letter in the Times which de- 
clared that the fall of the Whigs in that year was the exclusive 
work of the Queen, absolutely refused to allow him to resume 
the Ohancelloi-ship. There waa a peraonal as well as a political 
reason for this slight. According to Campbell, Brougham waa 
allowed to retain the Great Seal for some time ai'ter his col- 
leagues had been deprived of the insignia of their offices, in 
order that he might deliver judgment in the cases which had 
been argued before him, At the proper moment he was botmd 
by the eatablished etiquette to return the Great Seal into the 
hands of the Sovereign. Instead of doing so he sent the elams 
regni to the King in a ha? by the hands of a mef^aenger, ' as a 
fishmonger,' says Campbell, ' mig-ht have sent a salmon for the 
King's dinner.' When Lord Melbourne fonned hia Eecond 



Rbec 



15Ir. ^:^omas 3U(tooo6, ^T."^. 49 

ler necessity, entrasted it to the custody of 
individual ^ whom by that very tripartite 
.steesliip you had previously declared unfit for 
sole guardianship. The gentlemen of England 
against you to a man because of their com 
lOnopoly ; the yeomanry from sheer bigotry ; 
(he cultivators of the soil because they are the 
slaves of the owners, and the peasantry because 
they are the slaves of the cultivators. The frec- 
len of the totvas are against you because they 
corrupt ; the inhabitants of rural towns 
icause they are compelled ; and the press is 
against you because it is not free. It must be 
confessed that you and your party can give ex- 
cellent reasons for any chance opposition which 
you may happen to experience. You are equally 
felicitous iu accounting for the suspicious 
glance which the fundholder shoots at you ; nor 
can I sufficiently admire the admirable candour 
ith wliich the prime organ of your faction 
recently confessed that every man who 
isses 500^. per annum is necessarily your 
inent. After this, it is superfluous to remark 
it the merchants, bankers, and ship-owners of 

BiiniBtratioii in 1835, the Great Seal was consequently put 
I commission, the Commisai oners being the Master of the 
!, the Vice-Chancellor, and Mr. Joetice Bosanquat. 
' PepvB, Loid Cottenham. 

D 



this great commercial and financial country are 
not to be found in your ranks, and the sneers at 
our national glory and imperial sway which ever 
play on the patriotic lips of "Whigs, both high 
and low, only retaliate the undisguised scorn with 
which their anti-national machinations are viewed 
by the heroes of Waterloo and the conquerors of 
Trafalgar. Deduct these elements of a nation, 
deduct all thia power, all this authority, all this 
skill, and all this courage, all this learning, all 
this wealth, and all these numbers, and all the 
proud and noble and national fceUngs which are 
tlieir consequence, and what becomes of your 
' people ? ' It subsides into an empty phrase, a 
juggle as pernicious and as ridiculous as your 
paper currency ! 

But if you and your friends, ' the friends of 
all mankind,' have, as indeed I believe you have 
not, the brute force and the numerical superiority 
of the population of this realm marshalled under 
your banners, do not delude yourselves into 
believing for a moment that you are in any 
degree more entitled from that circumstance to 
count yourselves the leaders of the English 
people. A nation is not a mere mass of bipeds 
with no strength but their animal vigour, and 
no collective grandeur but that of their numbers. 
There is required to constitute that great crea- 
tion, a people, some higher endowments and 



some rarer qualities, — honour, and faith, and 
justice; a national spirit fostered by national 
.exploits; a solemn creed expounded by a pure 
and learned priesthood ; a jurisprudence which 
is the aggregate wisdom of ages ; the spirit of 
chivalry, the inspiration of religion, the supre- 
macy of law ; free order, and that natural grada- 
tion of rants wliich are but a type and image of 
the economy of the universe ; a love of home 
and country, fostered by traditionary manners 
and consecrated by customs that embalm ances 
tral deeds ; learned establishments, the institu- 
tions of charity, a skill in refined and useful arts, 
the discipline of fleets and armies ; and above all. 
a national character, serious and yet free, a charac- 
ter neither selfish nor conceited, but which is con- 
scious that as it owes much to its ancestors, so also 
it will not stand acquitted if it neglect its posterity: 

lese are some of the incidents and qualiti 
of a great nation like the people of England, 
Whether these are to be found in ' the people 
■who assemble at the meetings of your Union, or 
whether they may be more successfully sought 
for among their 20,000,000 of brethren at hand, 
I leave you, sir, to decide. I shall only observe, 
that if I be correct in my estimate of the con- 
itituent elements of the English people, I am 
persuaded that in spite of all the arts of 
£ 2 



^ ^h^ Setters of ^ufifipme5c 

plundering factions and mercenary demagogues, 
they will recognise, with a grateful loyalty, the 
Tenerable cause of their welfare in the august 
fabric of their ancient constitution. / 

January 21. 1836. 



liETTEE rv. 



TO 

LOED BROUGHAM 

J(mv4iry 23, 1836 



a . » 




a 



[Brougham was at this period at the height of his 
' nnpopularitj. A few years before the case had been 
very different. In 1828 he had been a guest at Pans- 
hanger, and Greville speaks of the extreme pleasure he 
derived from his society. ' Brougham,' he saya, ' is 
\ certainly one of the most remarkable men I ever met ; 
I to say nothing of what he is in the world, his almost 
F childish gaiety and animal spirits, his humour mixed 
with sarcasm, but not ill-natured; his wonderful in- 
formation and the facility with which he handles every 
Bubject, from the most grave and severe to the most 

I trifling, displaying a mind full of varied and extenaivt! 
information, and a memory which has suffered nothing 
to escape it; ' and bo forth. Rogers, too, shared in the 
Tery general belief in Brougham's extraordinary capa- 
city. Everybody knows the famous quotation : ' This 
morning Solon, Lycurgus, Demosthenes, Archimedes, 
Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Chesterfield, and a great many 
more, went away in one poat-chaiae.' By 1830 a change 
Lad come over the spirit and temper of the Whig 
leaders with regard to Brougham. He was no longer 
regarded with complacency, and his ambition was 
found to be exceedingly inconvenient, Wlieu Lord 
Grey formed his administration in November 1830, the 
difficulty which first made itself felt was, aa Lord 
Campbell puts it, 'What was to be done with 
Brougham P' Lord Grey was afraid of him in the 
Cabinet, knowing his restless eagerness to distinguish 
himself^ and he dreaded the alternative of leaving him 




ont of the new administration, knowiucj also how 
dangerous an enemy he might be, A Radical opposi- 
tion headed by Brougham would ruin any Government 
of moderate Whigs. Lord Grey Buggested that he 
should be made Attorney-General ; Lord Althorp shook 
his head but did not oppose the experiment, and 
Brougham was accordingly sent for. He called on 
Lord Grey in due course ; the offer was made, but re- 
jected with every mark of indignation. In conversation 
with Lord Grey he uttered the portentous threat, that 
he would support the administration only ' in aa far aa 
he conscientiously could;' and in the Honse of Com- 
mons the same night ho let off the angry temper 
which had been accumulating for some days paat. ' It 
80 happened,' says Campbell, 'that this was the very 
day for which his notice stood on the great question of 
Parliamentary Reform, and he entered the House evi- 
dently in a very perturbed sta,te, having resolved to 
bring it on whatever confusion might arise from such 
a discussion in the existing distracted state of the 
Government.' At the request of Lord Althorp he post- 
poned his motion, saying, after a brief explanation of 
his repugnance to doing so, ' As no change that may 
take place in the administration can by any possibility 
affect me, I beg it to be understood that in putting off 
the motion I will put it off until the 25th of this 
month, and no longer. I wiU then, and at no more 
distant period, bring forward the question of Parlia- 
mentary Reform, whatever may be the then state 
of affiiirs, and whosoever may then be His Majesty's 
Ministers.' 

He intended, in short, to be Chancellor, and he suc- 
ceeded in forcing Lord Grey to give him the post in 
spite of the £ict that he was probably the most unfit 
person who could have been chosen for it, and that he 
was of all men the least likely to distinguish himself or 
to add lustre to the administration in the House of 
Lords. His talents were those of a Kisi Prius advocate. 



Sotb ^roug^am 



Versatile as he was, he knew but little of law and 
nothing of equity ; and Lord Grey was naturally nn- 
willing that his administration should be weighted with 
n Chancellor whoae conduct might seriously discredit 
it. Campbell, indeed, telle an absurd story of Lord 
Grey being ' platonically under the fascination of the 
beaatifol Lady Lyndhurst,' and of his being in conse- 
quence anxious to retain her husband as his Chancellor. 
The political circumstances of the time are, however, 
quite anfficient to explain the hesitation about Broug- 
ham without any such blundering scandal. In the end 
Brougham's obstinacy prevailed, and by November 20 
it was announced authoritatively that he was to take 
the Great Seal. It was not expected that ho, would have 
accepted this piece of promotion. ' I was persuaded,' 
aays Greville, ' that he had made to himself a political 
existence the like of which no man had ever before pos- 
sessed, and that to have refused the Great Seal would 
have appeared more glorious than to take it ; intoxi- 
cated with his Yorkshire hononrs, swollen with his own 
importance, and holding in his hands questions which 
he could employ to thwart, embarrass, and ruin any 
Ministry, I thought he meant to domineer in the 
House of Commons, and to gather popularity through- 
out the country.' Such seems to have been the general 
opinion outside official circles ; but moderate men re- 
joiced in his election, fancying that when he had taken 
his seat upon the woolsack his terrible vivacity might 
be fairly checked. 

Aa Chancellor Brougham was eminently unsuccesB- 
fuL He tried bis hand at legislation, but failed most con- 
spicnonsly. He attempted by getting Lyndhurst made 
Lord Chief Baron to muzzle that doughty foe of the 
Whigs, and succeeded only in putting a new weapon 
into his hands. He assumed ridiculous airs, and by his 
egregious vanity contrived to offend the King most 

I seriously. On one occasion when on his way to the 
jDrawing Eoom he was stopped by the guard with the 



information that the King had given orders ' that no 
carriage save that of the Speaker should pass through 
the Horae Guards, but he defiantly called to the coach- 
man to drive on, and broke through the ranks — an esca- 
pade which grievously afi'ronted WHJiam IV., and 
brought down upon Brougham a solemn reproof in the 
House of Lords. When in the midst of the Reform 
struggle ParHament was suddenly dissolved, he actu- 
ally, according to Eoebnck, usTorped the functions of 
royalty by giving orders not merely for the regalia and 
royal robes to be prepared, but even for the movements 
of the troops. If Roebuck's story be true — and there 
is reason to believe that it is in spite of Campbell's 
denial of it — no one can be surprised at the King 
accusing his Chancellor of high treason. In the House 
of Lords he was not popular. His manner was need- 
lessly offensive at times, as is occasionally the case 
with successful lawyers ; his loquacity was intoler- 
able ; and he sometimes fell into errors of taste, which 
excused if they did not justify Campbell's more than 
once repeated insinuation of intemperance. Again, 
when Lord Melbourne formed his first adminis- 
tration Brougham assumed the air of a diete,tor, and 
though he formally spoke of the Premier as ' my noble 
friend at the head of the Government,' he habitually 
addressed him, to Melbourne's intense annoyance and 
disgust, as ' Lamb ' or ' William ' ; white in the royal 
presence he is said to have spoken in a haughty and 
dictatorial manner which added to the offence given by 
his previous escapades. Greville says in his diary, 
under date August 29, 1835, ' The House of Lords haa 
become a bear-garden since Brougham has been in it.' 
In short, he had by the middle of 1834 done quite 
enough to justify the ' Times ' in saying as it did, that 
' For some mon(5ia past Lord Brougham haa been under 

' It ia understood that the order was reftlly given by the 
Duke of Cumberland bs ' Gold Stick.' 



S-orb '^roug^am 



a morbid excitement, seldom evinced by those of liis'9 
Majesty's subjects who are suffered to remain mastera of J 
their own actions.' 

Hia crowning folly was, however, hia tour iu Scot- 
land in the antumii of that year, where the Whigs and I 
the Radicals united to give him a startling receptio 
and whence he wrote perpetually to the King by post^ 
enraging the sovereign and proving to all reasonable 
people, by his egregious vanity and self-complacenej', 
that his reason was endangered. He gave further 
offence by carrying the Great Seal out of England, the 
King being decidedly of opinion that no judge could 
legally leave the country without his permission, and 
that the Great Seal was absolutely sacred. His return 
was followed by the dismissal of the Whig Ministry by I 
the King — the last occasion on which the sovereign of ' 
these realms has taken so decided and so independent 
a. step. It was certainly done in a very peremptory 
fashion. William IT. was at Brighton when Lord 
Spencer died, and Lord Althorp was consequently trans- 
lated to the Upper House. Lord Melbourne went 
down to make arrangements, and saw the King on 
the afternoon of Thursday, November 14. On the 
following day he had a second audience, when he re- 
ceived his dismissal and was informed that the Duke 
of Wellington had been 'sent for.' Melbourne re- , 
turned to London and received a visit from Brougham, , 
who was on his way to Holland House. As a matter | 
of coarse the Chancellor heard the news, but ^ 
compelled to promise silence. To the disgust of the ] 
other members of the Ministry the Times of the next J 
morning contained a full and particular account of the | 
whole proceeding, with the addition that ' the Qut 
had done it all.' 

That letter sealed Brougham's fate. The King was J 
furious. He had never liked the Whigs and he hated I 
Brougham, whose ' mountebank exhibitions,' as Gre- ' 
ville calls his performances in Scotland, had thoroughly 



disgusted him. When Peel's short-lived administration 
went out of office in May 1835, and Lord Melbourne 
retomed to power, Brougham fully expected to be 
restored to hia old place of Chancellor. He was dia- 
appointed. The Kjng ' wanted never to see his ugly 
face again,' and the other members of the new Ministiy 
dreaded liia intolerable loquacity and his capacity for 
compromising both himself and his colleagnea. He 
was accordingly passed over. The Great Seal was pnt 
in commission, as already mentioned, and Brougham 
retired to his seat in Westmoreland, where he fretted 
himself into an attack of mania which, if not absolutely 
acute, was at least sufficiently so to cause his physicians 
to keep him under gentle restraint. Unpopulari^ 
speedily followed disgrace, and it is not too much 
to say that at the accession of her present Majesty to 
the throne, there was no one whose general conduct 
commanded less respect than that of the ex-Chancellor. 
His services to that extremely unpleasant personage, 
'England's injured Queen,' were forgotten; his ex- 
ertions in the great and sacred cause of Reform were 
unheeded ; even his contributions to the ' Penny Maga- 
zine' and to the publications of the Society for the 
Confusion of Useless Knowledge were put on one side. 
All that people remembered was that a Scotch lawyer, 
not of the first rank — ' a bully and a buffoon,' as Sheil 
called Mm — had thrust himself into the office of Lord 
Chancellor of England and had played sundry fantastic 
tricks therein, with the effect of aUenating from him- 
self even those whom he might most reasonably have 
expected to be his staunchest allies. The following 
passage from Lord Campbell's Autobiography will 
explain many things. Writing of 1835, he says : * In 
an interview I had with Lord Melbourne he said to 
me : " Brougham is such a man that I cannot act with 
him." . . . The removal from the Cabinet of Lord 
Grey, of whom he stood in some awe, probably aggra- 
vated his rashness, capriciousness, and faithleasnese. 



^ot6 35roitBl)am 



* 






He wonld lay important Bills on the table of the House 
of Lords for " measureB " of which he had never 
dropped a hint in the Cabinet ; he wonld promise 
places five or six deep which were not in his gift ; he 
would communicate irregularly with the King upon 
subjects out of hia department ; and he was strongly 
suspected of writing anonymously against some of his 
colleagues in the newspapers.'] 

To Lord Brougham. 
My Lord, — In your elaborate mimicry of 
Ix)rd Bacon,* your most implacable enemies 
must confess that, at least in one respect, you 
have rivalled your great original — you have con- 
trived to get disgraced. In your Treatise on 
Hydrostatics you may not have completely 
equalled the fine and profoiind researches of ' the 
Lord Chancellor of Nature ; ' your most ardent 
admirers may hesitate in preferring the Penny 
Magazine to the Novwm. Organon ; even the 
musings of Jenkins and the meditations of 
Tomkins * may not be deemed to eome quite as 
much home 'to men's business and bosoms' as 
the immortal Essays; but no one can deny. 

This alloaion to Lord Bacon ia not a mere gratuitoua 
of spite. ' He tliought Loi'd Bacon's fate was most to be 
A. ... As a. judge he boldly and openly said he should 
esxA him ... he had treatises part begun and part conceived 
in hia own mind which would excel the X'ovum Orga/mtm.' 
— Cwnpl>ell, Lines of the ChaTuxllors, vol. viii, p. 382, 

* See Brougham's Dialogue ' On the Objocta, Advantages, 
and Pieasnrefi of Science.' 



neither friend nor foe, that you are as much 
simnned as their author— almost as much de- 
spised. 

Whether the fame of his philosophical dis- 
coveries and the celebrity of his literary exploits 
may console the late Lord Chancellor of William 
IV. in the solitude of his political annihilation, 
as they brought halm to the bruised spirit of the 
late Lord Chancellor of James I. in the loneliness 
of his sublime degraiJation, he best can decide 
who may witness the ^vrithings of your tortured 
memory and the res,tless expedients of your 
irritable imagination. At present, I am informed 
that your Lordship is occupied in a translation of 
your Treatise of Natural Theology into German, 
on the Hamiltonian system. The translation of 
a work on a subject of which you know little, 
into a tongue of which you know nothing, seems 
the climax of those fantastic freaks of ambitious 
superficiality which our lively neighbours de- 
scribe by a finer term than quackery. But if 
the perturbed spirit can only be prevented from 
preying on itself by literary occupation, let me 
suggest to you, in preference, the propriety of 
dedicating the days of your salutary retirement 
to a production of more general interest, and, 
if properly treated, of more general utility. A 
memoir of the late years of your career might 
afford your fellow-countrymen that of which at 



SLoxb ■JSroug^mn 



I 



present they are much in want — a great moral 
lesson. In its instructive pages we might per- 
haps learn how a great empire has nearly been 
Bacrificed to the aggrandizement of a rapacious 
faction ; how, under the specious garb of patriot- 
ism, a band of intriguing politicians, connected 
by no community of purpose or of feehng but 
the gratification of their own base interests, for- 
feited all the pledges of their previous careers, or 
Tiolated all the principles of their practised sys- 
tems, how, at length, in some degree palled with 
plundering the nation, according to tlie usual 
course, they began plundering themselves ; how 
the weakest, and probably the least impure,^ were 
sacrificed to those who were more bold and bad ; 
and, finally, bow your Lordship especially, would 
have shrouded yourself in the mantle, whQe you 
kicted away the prophet. 

If your Lordship wouldhave but the courageous 
candour to proceed in this great production, you 
might, perhaps, favour us with a grapliic narra- 
tive of that memorable interview between your- 
self and the present Premier, when, with that 
easy elocution and unembarrassed manner which 
characterise the former favourite of Castlereagh, 



' This phrase is apparently intended as in some sort of way 
f k baJm to Brougham. Hia coUeag-ues had jobhed, but he had, 
■ in his own phrase, ' kept his hands clean.' The evidence in the 
Edmunds case will show how far the boast was warranted. 



the present First Lord of tlie Treaaiuy,^ robbing 
you of the fruit after you had plundered the 
orchard,^ broke to your startled vision and incre- 
duloua ear the unforeseen circumstance that your 
Lordship was destined to be the scapegoat of 
Whiggism, and to be hurried into the wilderness 
with all the curses of the nation and aU the sins 
of your companions. This animated sketch 
would form an admirable accompaniment to the 
still richer picture when you offered your con- 
gratulatory condolence to Earl Grey on his long 
meditated retirement from the onerous service of 
a country aa grateful as his colleagues. 

Tour Lordship, who is well informed of what 
passes ia the Cabinet, must have been scarcely 
less astonished than the public at the late legal 
arrangements.^ Every post, tiU of late, must 
have brought you from the metropolis intelli- 
gence which must have filled you with anxiety 
almost maturing into hope. But the lion was 
suddenly reported to be sick, and the jackals as 
suddenly grew bold. The Prime Minister con- 
suited Sir Benjamin ; * the Serjeant Surgeon 

' Lord Melbourne. 

* An ftllufiion to the intrigue by which Lord Grey waa 
driven from office. 

^ i.e. when the Chancellorsliip was put in commiBsion. 
The patronage of the Lord ChanceDor at this period was, it is 
worthy of note, enormous and proportionatelj valuable. 

* Brodie, Serjeant Surgeon to the King. 



^or& ^rou0f)am 



shook his hea<l, and they passed in trembUng 
precipitation the paltry Kubicon of their spite. 
MTien we remember that one roice alone decided 
vour fate, and that that voice issued from the 
son of Loi'd Grey, we seem to be recalled to the 
days of the Greek drama. Your Lordship, 
although an universalist, I believe, has not yet 
tried your hand at a trag'edy ; let me recom- 
mend this fresh illustration of the subUme 
destiny of the ancients. You have deserved a 
better fate, but not a degrading one; though 
Achilles caused the destruction of Troy, we 
deplore his ignoble end from the unequal pro- 
geny of Priam. 

And is it possible, — are you indeed the man 
■fhose scathing voice, but a small lustre gone, 
issed like the lightning in that great Assembly 
■hei'e Canning grew pale before your terrible 
Ipnunciation, and where even Peel still remem- 
ters yoTix awful reply r Is this indeed the lord 
t sarcasm, the mighty master of invective ? Is 
bis, indeed, the identical man who took the offer 
the Attorney-Generalship, and held it up to 
he scorn of the assembled Commons of England, 
md tore it, and trampled upon it, and spat upon 
" 1 their sympathising sight, and lived to offer 
lie cold-blooded aristocrat, who had dared to 
bsult genius, the consoling compensation of the 
privy Seal ? 



66 ^]^c J^cffcrs of ^unnpntcftc 



For your Lordship has a genius ; good or bad, 
it marks you out from the slaves who crouch to 
an O'Connell and insult a Brougham. Napoleon 
marched from Elba. You, too, may have your 
hundred days. What though they think you 
are dying — ^what though your health is quaffed 
in ironical bumpers in the craven secresy of 
their political orgies — what if, after all, throw- 
ing Brodie on one side and your Teutonic 
studies on the other, your spectre appear in the 
House of Lords on February 4 ! Conceive the 
confusion! I can see the unaccustomed robes 
tremble on the dignified form of the lordlj'' 
Cottenham, and his spick and span coronet fall 
from the obstetric brow of the baronial Bicker- 
steth,^ Lansdowne taking refuge in philosophical 
silence, and Melbourne gulping courage in the 
goblets of Sion ! ^ 

January 23, 1836. 

^ Bickersteth (Henry, Lord Langdale) was the son of a 
* general practitioner.' 

^ Sion House ; the seat of the Duke of Noi-thumberland. 



LETTEE V. 



«V/>*x. >^\ 



TO 

SIR ROBERT PEEL 

January 26, 1836 



F2 



LETTER V. 

[The letter to Peel was written at the time of hi 
retirement in 1835. The immediate cause of th 
downfall of the Adminiatration was that disgi'aceful 
compact with the disaffected Iriahry under the leader- 
8hip of O'Connell, to which Lord Melbourne com- 
mitted himeelf in the middle of March 1835. Mr. 
McCuUagh Torrena writes, that on the first Sunday 
in that month, the Duke of Sussex, uncle to the Queen, 
entertained all the members of the Whig Cabinet, with 
the exception of Brougham, who aeema to have been 
somewhat pointedly left out. At that entertainment it 
was, it appears from another account, remarked that 
* patties in this conontry were pretty equally balanced, 
^at power was really the possession of some thirty 
\(pbera. The result was the Lichfield House 
fortnight after the Duke's dinner, where it 
fed to merge past differences for the sake of 
^ an administration founded on the general 
;plG3 in which aU could consistently agree.' In 
/words, the Whigs, whom the King bad turned out 
4>ffice and who had contrived during the three years 
/'fiicb had elapsed since the passage of the Reform 
/Bill to achieve an amount of unpopularity without prece- 
dent in the annala of any political party, magnanimously 
consented to forget the ruffianly abuse which O'ConneU 
bad heaped upon them tor more than twenty years, in 
consideration of his giving the support of himself ant' 



lOBi 



t 



^lettetrs o 



unn^tnede 



his ' tail ' to their measures. Melbourne of course 
denied officially having done anything of the sort in 
the most formal terms, and indeed it is not to be sup- 
posed that a Prime Minister would commit himself in 
any such absurd way. Eiit that the compact was 
entered into is beyond all question, and the effect was 
seen in the vote on Lord John Russell's motion to ap- 
propriate the surplus funds of the Irish Church to the 
piirposes of g-eneral education in Ireland, a proposal 
which would never have been brought forward but for 
the determination of the Whigs to conciliate the Irish 
at any cost. On that occasion Peel was left in a 
minority first of twenty-five and then of twenty-seven, 
and found that, the fight being over, there was nothing 
left for him but to surrender, Melbourne returned to 
oifice, by no means to the satisfaction of either the King 
or the nation, and Peel remained in opposition, though 
at that time lie was, as Lord Beaconsfield has put it 
elsewhere, the ' only hope ' of a suffering people.] 



To Sir Robert Feel. 

Sir, — Before you receive this letter jou will, 
in all probability, have quitted the halls and 
bowers of Drayton ; those gardens and that 
library where you have realised the romance of 
Verulam and where you enjoy 'the lettered 
leisure ' that Temple loved. Your present pro- 
gress to the metropolis may not be as pictur- 
esque as that which you experienced twelve 
months hack, when the confidence of your 
sovereign and the hopes of your country 
summoned you from the galleries of the Vali- 



§ir ^obcrf "^ccl 



ItMUi and the city of the Cseaara.* It may not 

ibe as picturesque, but it is not less proud — it 

I will he more triumphant. Tou are summoned 

I now, like the Knight of E-hodes in Schiller's 

tlieroic ballad, as the only hope of a suffering 

sland. The mighty dragon^ is again abroad, 

jjepopulating our fields, wasting our pleasant 

places, poisoning our fountains, menacing our 

I civilisation. To-day he gorges on Liverpool, 

^o-morrow he riots at Birmingham : as he ad- 

Tances nearer the metropolis, terror and disgust 

proportionately increase. Already we hear his 

Ijellow, more awful thaa hyaenas ; already our 

I atmosphere is tainted with the venomous aspira- 

I tions of his malignant lungs ; yet a little while 

I and liis incendiaiy crest wUl flame on our 

Ihorizon, and we shall mark the horrors of his 

'^ insatiable jaws and the scaly volume of his 

atrocious tail 1 

In your chivalry alone is our hope. Clad in 
the panoply of your splendid talents and your 
spotless character, we feel assured that you will 
subdue this unnatural and unnational monster ; 



' When William IV. dismiesed Lord Melbonrne'a firiit 
liniatration in July, li^34, Sir Robert Peel was in Italy, and 
a epecial messenger had to he sent out to bring Lim borne, the 
e of Wellington consenting to cairy on the Government 
miil his rotiim. 
' O'Conweil. 



and that we Biay yet see sedition, and treason, 
and rapine, rampant as they may have of late 
figured, quail hefore your power and prowess. 

You are about to renew thecombat under the 
most favourable auspices. When, a year ago, 
with that devotion to your country which is your 
great characteristic, scorning all those refined 
delights of fortune which are your inheritance, 
and which no one is.more capable of appreciating, 
and resigning all those pure charms of social and 
domestic life to which no one is naturally more 
attached, you threw youi-self in the breach of the 
battered and beleaguered citadel of the constitu- 
tion, you undertook the heroic enterprise with 
every disadvantage. The national party were ^ 
little prepared for the summons of their eminent 
leader by their sovereign as you yourself could 
have been when gazing on the frescoes of 
Michael Angelo. They had little organisation, 
less system ; their hopes weak, their chieftains 
scattered ; no communication, no correspondence. 
Yet they made a gallant rally ; and if their 
numerical force in the House of Conmions were 
not equal. Sir, to your moral energy, the return 
of Lord Melbourne, at the best, was but a 
Pyrrhic triumph ; nor perhaps were your powers 
ever sufficiently appreciated by your countrymen 
until you were defeated. Your abandonment of 
office was worthy of the motives which induced 



§ir ^obcvi "^eel 



you originally to accept power. It was not 
petty pique ; it was not a miserable sentiment 
of personal mortification, that led you to decide 
upon that step. You retained your post until 
you found you were eniiaDg;ering the Bang's 
prerogative, to support Trhich you had alone 
accepted his Majesty's confidence. What a con- 
trast does your administration as Prime Minister 
afford to that of one of your recent predecessors ! 
No selfish views, no family aggrandisement, no 
family jobs, no nepotism. It cannot be said that 
during your administration the public service 
was surfeited with the incapable offspring of the 
Premier ; ' nor, after haying nearly brought 
about a revolution for power which he has de- 
graded, and lucre which degraded him, can it be 
said that you slunk into an undignified retire- 
ment with a whimpering Jeremiad over ' the 
pressure from without.' Contrast the serene 
retirement of Drayton and the repentant solitude 
of Howick ; contrast the statesman, cheered 
after his factious defeat by the sympathy of a 
nation, with the coroneted Necker, the worn-out 
Machiavel, wringing his helpless hands over his 

' The complaint was made somewhat loudly in the Thirtiea 
that the whole of the most lucrative and most comfortable 
postB in the pulilic service were monopolised— aa Sir William 
Harcourt would siiy — by ' sciona ' of the three houses of Grey, 
Kassell, and Elliott. Another family has since been added to 
tiie Ufit — that of the Barings. 



|e ^ethts of^uitn^mehe 



hearth in remorseful despair and looking up with 
a sigh at Ma scowling ancestors I 

But affairs are in a very different position 
now from what they were in November 1835. 
Tou have an addition to the scutcheon of your 
fame in the emblazoned memory of your brief 
but masterly premiership : they cannot taunt 
you now with your vague promises of ameliora- 
tion : you can appeal to the deeds of your Cabinet, 
and the plans which the applause of a nation 
sanctioned, and the execution of which the in- 
trigues of a faction alone postponed. Never, too, 
since the peace of Paris, has the great national 
])arty of this realm been so united as at the pre- 
sent moment. It is no exaggeration to say, that 
among its leaders not the slightest difference of 
opinion exists upon any portion of their intended 
policy. Pitt himself, in the plenitude of his 
power, never enjoyed more cordial confidence 
than that which is now extended to you by every 
alleged section of the Conservative ranks ; all 
private opinions, all particular theories, have 
merged in the resolute determination to maintain 
the English constitution in spite of Irish rebels, 
and to support, without cavU and criticism, its 
eminent champion in that great course of con- 
duct which you have expounded to them. 

That this admirable concord, a just subject 
of congratulation to the suffering people of this 



§tr Robert '^eet 



realm, has been in some degree tlie result of 
salutary conferences and frank explanations, I 
pretend not to deny; nor do I wish to conceal 
a circumstance in which I rejoice, that at no 
period hare you displayed talents more calculated 
for the successful conduct of a great party than 
at the present; but, above all, this admirable 
concord is to be attributed to the reason, that, 
howerer individuals of the Conservative party 
may have occasionally differed as to the means, 
they have at all times invariably agreed as to 
the end of theii* system, and that end is the 
glory of the empire and the prosperity of the 
people. 

But it is not only among the leaders in 
the two Houses of Parliament that this spirit 
of union flourishes ; it pervades the country. 
England has at length "been completely organ- 
ised ; the battle which you told us must be 
fought in the registry courts has been fought, 
and in spite of the fanfaronnade of the enemy, 
we know it has been won. Eveiy parliamentary 
election that has of late occurred, in country or 
in town, has proved the disciplined power of the 
national party. It is not that they have merely 
exceeded their opponents on the poll, and often 
by Tast majorities ; but they have hastened to 
that poU with an enthusiasm which shows that 
they are animated with a very different spirit 



76 %Iie (belters of ^wnnpme&e 



to that which impels their shamefaced rivals. 
Contrast these important triumphs with the 
guerilla warfare of the Govemmeat party on 
town-clerks and aldermen, and ho convinced 
how important have been our efforts in the 
registry courts, by their feeble yet feverish 
attempts at what they style Reform Associa- 
tions. 

If we contrast also this faithful picture of 
the state and spirit of the party of which you 
are the leader with the situation of your oppo- 
nents, the difference will he striking. Between 
the Opposition and the Government party there 
is this difference ; that, however certain sections 
of the Opposition may occasionally have differed 
as to measures, their end has always been the 
same ; whereas the several sections of the Minis- 
terial party, while for obvious reasons they agree 
as to measures, avowedly adopt them because 
they tend to different ends. The ohgarchical 
"Whigs, the English Radicals, the Irish Repealers 
— the patrons of rich livings, the enemies of 
Church and State, hereditary magistrates, pro- 
fessors of county reform — the sons of the nobles, 
the enemies of the peerage — the landed pro- 
prietors, the advocates of free com, can only he 
united in a perverted sense. Their union then is 
this : to a certam point they all wish to destroy ; 
but the Whigs only wish to destroy the Tories, 



§ix Robert "^ccl 



I the Radicals the constitution, and tho Eepealers 
the empire. The seeds of constant jealousy and 

! inevitable separation are here then prodigally 
sown. 

What are to he the tactics of this hetero- 
geneous band time will soon develop. Dark 
rumours are about wliich intimate conduct too 
infamous, some would fain think, even for the 
Whigs. But as for myself, history and personal 
observation have long convinced me that there is 
no public crime of which the Whigs are not 
pable, and no pubUc shame which for a 
sufficient consideration their oligarchical nerves 
would not endure. But whether they ai'e going 
to betray their anti-national adherents, or only 
to bribe them, do you, Sir, proceed in your great 
course, free and undaunted. At the head of the 
most powerful and the most united Opposition 
that ever mustered on the benches opposite a 
trembhng Minister, conscious that by returning 

j you to your constituents he can only increase 
and consolidate your strength, what have you 
to apprehend ? We look to you, therefore, with 
hope and with confidence. You have a noble 
duty to fulfil — let it be nobly done. You have 
a great task to execute — achieve it with a great 

[ spirit. Rescue your sovereign from an un- 
constitutional thraldom, rescue an august Senate 
which has ah-eady fought the battle of the 



78 ^]^c S^ettexs of ^unnvimcbe 

people, rescue our National Church, which our 
opponents hate, our venerable constitution at 
which they scoff ; but above all rescue that 
mighty body of which all these great classes and 
institutions are but some of the constituent and 
essential parts — rescue the nation. 

January 26, 1836. 



LETTER VI. 



TO 

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER 

J(mua/i*y 28, 1836 



/ 



I . 



LETTER VI. 



[Mr. Spring Bice (afterwards Lord Monteagle) was 
9)9Jicc11or of the Exchequer io 1836, and was, perhaps, 
e of the most utterly incompetent persons who ever 
1 that responsible office. His abilities were of the 
lid known as ' respectable ' — that is to say, he took an 
"rdinary degree at Cambridge and afterwards went td 
the Bar, where, however, he never practised. He wrote 
'F.R.S.' and 'F.G.S.' after his name, but hie attain- 
ments in geography and science were somewhat limited. 
He obtained office under the Whigs and held on to its 
emoluments with prehensile tenacity until the day of 
hie death. Having entered Parliament in 1820, he sat 
for his native city of Limerick until 1832, when he 
obtained a seat for the borough of Cambridge, which he 
retained until his elevation to the peerage. He began 
s Under Secretary at the Home Office in 1827, in the 
dministration of Mr. Canning ; he held afterwards the 
oat of Secretary of the Treasury irom 1830 to 1834, in 
■hich latter year he was for a short time Colonial 
ecretary. "When Lord Melbourne scrambled back into 
Bfice in 1835, Mr. Spring Rice was promoted to the Ex- 
iquer and held the Chancellorship until 1839. In 
lat year he recognised the fact of his incompetency, 
hich had been patent to the rest of the world ever 
[see his appointment, and having succeeded in getting 
\ie finances of the country into an all but inextricable 
iDofasion, he obtained from his party leaders the post 
r Controller of the Exchequer — a patent office value 
fiOOl. per annum — and a seat in the House of Lords 
B Baroo Monteagle. 

G 



During his public life there was probably no man 
who excited more derision and contempt than Mr. 
Spring Eice. He was a dismally bad speaker, but that 
fact did not save the House from constant inflictions of 
his oratory. He was accused of perpetrating one or 
two flagrant joba in the exercise of his office, and though 
the charge was indignantly denied it was never qnite 
satisfactorily disproved. The charge of meddlesome- 
neas was frequently brought against him, and he was 
recognised as one of those ' uncrowned kings ' whom 
Ireland produces with so much prodigality. As Mr. 
Hayward pnts the matter, Mr. Spring Rice was not 
merely member for Limerick — he was ' member for 
all Ireland.' In that capacity he was naturally the 
friend and associate of O'Connell, and to that fact may 
undoubtedly be attributed much of the unpopularity of 
which Mr. Spring Eice was the victim about the time 
of the publication of this letter. His personal appear- 
ance was assuredly not in his favour. In the obituary 
notice which appeared iu the ' Times ' in 1856, it is 
remarked that ' He was undersized of stature ... a 
most flagrant offence in the eyes of all Cabinets, and 
"H.B." (Doyle, the father of 'Punch's' Richard 
Doyle) made much of it. Dr. Chalmers had just then 
come to London to deliver addresses, and in one of 
his addresses he announced with all the emphasis whicli 
characterised hia oratoiy, that the then age was an age 
of little men, or as he was supposed to pronounce it, 
" leetle " men. " H.B." seized upon the idea, and at 
once exhibited a specimen of the " leetle " men who 
governed the nation, Mr. Spring Rice being prominent 
amongst them. Sometimes, however, he got praise for 
hia smallness, as when in combat with O'Connell, when 
O'Connell had turned against the Whigs, he fought 
and beat off the great Irish giant — on which occasion 
his merits were displayed to the eyes of the world in a 
picture of little David conquering Goliath.' Both cari- 
catures, the first especially, would probably find favour 



%})e ^^oncetlor of if)e ^xcffcquer 83 

I the eyes of King William IV., when in the latter 
jnoDths of his life he made those solitary pilgrimages 
Dp St. James's Street to stare in the ahop-windowe, 
trhich 80 greatly alarmed his household. 

When Mr. Spring Rice hecame Lord Monteagle he 
retired into private life, for which he was certainly 
better fitted than for the cares of a great office of the 
^tate. He made one effort to emerge from obscurity 
fcy attacking Mr. Gladstone's Budget of 1860. The 
■Ittempt was a failure, though, as Mr. Hayward re- 
oarbs, 'Mr. Gladstone and his friends naturally spoke 
rith contempt of an attack npon the Budget led hy 
i Whig financier who had been laughed out of the 
Bxcheqner ; but this did not necessarily invalidate the 
xitieism of Lord Monteagle.' With that effort Spring 
iice passed out of the public mind, and during the last 
|ew years of his life his name was scarcely heard.] 



To the Chancellor of the Exchequer. 

Sir, — I really think that your celebrated 
ompatriot, Daniel O'Rourke,^ when, soaring on 
■he back of an eagle, he entered into a conversa- 
tion with the man in the moon, could scarcely 
pe more amazed than Mr. Spring Rice must be 
(Then, he finds himself, as Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, holding a conference with the First 
Lord of the Treasury. Tour colleagues, who, to 
do them justice, are perpetually apologising for 

3r rapid promotion, account for your rocket- 

' See the ludicrous story in Crofton Croker'e Fairy Legends 
', TradiCiong of the South of Ireland, edition 1859, pp. 134- 



• like rise by the rmanswerable reason of your 
being ' a man of business I ' I doubt not this is 
a capital recommendation to those who are not 
men of busineas ; and indeed, shrewd without 
being sagacious, bustling ■without method, loqua- 
cious ■without eloquence, erer prompt though 
always superficial, and ever active though al'ways 
blundering, you are exactly the sort of fussy 
busy-body who would impose upon and render 
himself indispensable to indolent and ill-informed 
men of strong ambition and "weak minds. Cum- 
berland,^ who, in spite of the courtly compliments 
of his polished Memoirs, could be racy and 
significant enough in his conversation, once 
characterised in my presence a countryman of 
yours as 'a talking potato.' The race of talking 
potatoes is not extinct. 

Your recent harangue at Cambridge was 
quite worthy of your reputation, and of those 
to whom it was addressed.^ EuU of popular 
common-places and ministerial propriety, alike - 

' Kicliard Cumberland, author of the West Indian, and 
the Sir Fretful Plagiary of Sheridan's Critic. 

' The occaaion of this letter was a speech made by Mr. 
Spring Eice at Cambridge, at a dinner to celebrate the return of 
Mr. Thomas Hovell, the first Mayor of Cambridge under the 
Municipal Reform Act, the chief effect of which, as far as 
Cambtiifge itaelf was concerned, was, in Mr. Spring Rice's own 
words, ' to establish a Liberal domination in the place of a Tory 
domination.' 



%^e g^anccllor of ii)e ©-ecl^cqucr 65 



JO 

L wi 
■go 

" BO 



the devoted delegate of 'the people' and the 
trusty servant of the Crown, glorying in your 
pledges, but reminding your audience that they 
were Toluntary, chuckling in your ' political 
triumph,' ' hut impressing on your friends that 
their ' new power ' must not he used for party 
purposes, I can see you with Irish humour 
winking your eye on one side of your face as 
jou hazard a sneer at ' the Lords,' and eulogising 
with solemn hypocrisy with the other half of 
■our countenance our 'blessed constitution.' 
.aw choice was the style in which you pro- 
pounded the future measures of the Cabinet ! 
What heartfelt ejaculations of * Good God, sir ! ' 
mingled with rare jargon about 'hoping and 
trusting I ' You even ventured upon a tawdry 
simile, borrowed for the occasion from Mr. Shell/ 
who, compared with his bolder and more lawless 
colleague, always reminds me of the fustian 
iientenant. Jack Bunce, in Sir Walter's tale of 
the Tiraie, contrasted with his master, the bloody 
buccaneer, Captain Cleveland. 

You commenced your address with a due 
xecoUection of the advice of the great Athenian 



' The * triumph ' r^erred to, cm which Mr. Spring Rice l(ud 
groat slrees, was the passage of the Municipal Corporations Act. 

* Kichard Lalor Sheil, a prominent advocate of Catholic 
emancipation, and a Whig placeman from 1839 to his death at 
FJounce, where be beJd the office of Britieh Minister, in 18&1. 



orator, for your action "was quite striking. You 
clasped the horny hand of the astonished Mayor, 
and, full of your punch-bowl orgies, aptly alluded 
to your ' elevated feelings.'^ As for the exquisite 
raillery in which your graceful fancy indulged 
about Tory port and Wliig sherry, you might 
perhaps hare recollected that if ' old Tory port 
affects to be a new mixture, is ashamed of its 
colours, and calls itself Conservative,' that the 
Whig sherry has disappeared altogether, and 
that its place has been deleteriously supplied by 
Irish whisky from an illicit still, and EngUsh 
Blue Ruin. Tour profoimd metaphysics, how- 
ever, may amply compensate for tliis infelicitous 
flash of jocularity, A Senator, and a Minister, 
and a Cabinet Minister, who gravely informs us 
that * the political history of our times has shown 
U8 that there is something in human motive that 
pervades and extends itself to human action,' 
must have an eye, I suspect, to the representation 
of the University. This is, indeed, 'a learned 
Thehan.' That human motives have some slight 
connection with human conduct, is a principle 

' See tlie speech ; ' I grasp that hand with more and more 
elevated feelings wbea I view in an old and valuod friend the 
first fruits of the Municipal Eeform Bill.' Mr. Hovell, the 
first Mayor of Cambridge nnder the Municipal Reform Act,had 
proposed Mr. Spring Bice at the first general election after tha 
Beform Bill. 



%^c ^^ancctlor of t^e @a:c^cq«cr st 



I lati( 



will, no doubt, figure as an era in meta- 
lysieal discovery. The continental imputations 
our shallowness in psychological investigation 
.ust certainly now be removed for ever. Neither 
.ant nor Helvetius can enter the arena with 
our rare Chancellor of the Exchequer. The fall 
of an apple was sufficient to reveal the secret of 
celestial mechanics to the musing eye of Newton, 
but Mr. Spring E,ice for his more abstruse reve- 
lations requires a revolution or a E-eform Bill. 
rit is ' the political history of our times ' that 
proved the connection between motives 
and actions. The Chancellor of the Exchequer 
must have an-ived at this discovery by the re- 
collection of the very dignified and honourable 
conduct to which the motives of power and place 
have recently impelled himself and his friends. 
I cannot help fancying that this display of yours 
at Cambridge may hereafter be adduced aa irre- 
futable evidence that there is at least one portion 
of the Irish Protestant population which has not 
received 'adequate instruction.'' 

It seems that you and your Katerfelto crew 
are going to introduce some very wonderful 
measures to the notice of the impending Parlia- 
ment. And, first of all, you are about to ' remedy 



' The word 'adequate' was used with some euperfluitj i 
it. Spring Sice's speech. 



the still existing grievaBces to which the great 
dissenting bodies are subject.' ' Good God ! sir,' 
as you would say, are you driven to this ? The 
still existiDg grieTances of the Dissenters ! Do 
you and your beggarly Cabinet yet live upon 
these sores ? Dissenting grievances are like 
Stilton cheeses and Damascus sabres, never found 
in the places thcntselves, though there is always 
some bustling huckster or other who will insure 
you a supply. ' The still existing grievances of 
the Dissenters,' if they exist at all, exist only 
because, after four years of incapacity, you and 
your clumsy coadjutors could not contrive to 
remove and remedy what Sir Bobert Peel could 
have achieved, but for your faction, in four 
days. 

Then we are to proceed in ' our great work of 
the reform of the Courts of Equity.' I 'hope 
and trust ' not. "What ! after creating the Court 
of Review, the laughing-stock of the profession ; 
after having at length succeeded in obtaining a 
second-rate Lord Chancellor '■ at the expense of 
four coronets, whose services might have been 
secured without the waste of one ; after having 
caused more delay, more expense, more mortifi- 
cation and ruin in eight months of reform than 
the annals of the Court can offer in a similar 



' Laid Cottenham. 



period in the worst days of its management- 
still must you amend ! Spare us, good sir ; be 
content "with your last achievements of law 
reform ; ho content with having, by your corpo- 
ration magistrates, made for the first time in 
England since the days of Charles II,, the ad- 
ministration of justice a matter of party. Will 
not even this satisfy the "WTiig lechery for mis- 
chief ? 

Then, ' Ireland must be tranquiUised.' So I 
think. JFeed the poor, hang the agitators. That 
■ffill do it. But that's not your way. It is the 
destruction of the English and Protestant interest 
that is the Whig specific for Irish tranquillity. 
And do you really flatter yourself, because an 
eccentric course of circumstances has metamor- 
phosed an Irish adventurer ' into the Chancellor 
of the EnglisJi Exchequer, that the spirited 
people of this island will allow you to proceed 
with impunity in your projected machinations ? 
Eyest assured, sir, your career draws rapidly to 
a close. Providence, that for our sins and the 
arrogance of our flush prosperity has visited this 
once great and glorious empire with five years of 
Whig government, is not implacable. Our God 
is a God of mercy as well as justice. We niay 
have erred, but we have been chastened. And 

' Spring Eice himself. 



Athens, when ruled by a Disdar Aga, Avho was 
the deputy of the chief of the eunuchs at Con- 
stantinople, was not so contemptible as England 
governed by a limerick lawyer — the deputy of 
an Irish rebel ! 

Prepare, then, for your speedy and merited 
disniissal. It is amusing to fancy what may be 
the resources of your Cabinet in their permanent 
retirement. The First Lord of the Treasury, in 
aU probability, will betake himself to Brocket, 
and compose an epilogue for the drama just 
closed. Your Lord Chancellor may retire to bis 
native village, like a returned cheese. Lord 
John, perhaps, will take down his dusty lyre, 
and console us for having starved Coleridge by 
pouring forth a monody to bis memory. As for 
the poHshed Palmerston and the pious Grant, 
and the other trading statesmen of easy virtue — 
for them it would be advisable, I think, at once 
to erect a political Magdalen Hospital. Solitude 
and spare diet, and some salutary treatises of the 
English constitution, noay, after a considerable 
interval, capacitate them for re-entering public 
life, and even filUng with an approximation to 
obscure reapectability some of the lower of&ces 
of the State. But, sir, for yourself, with your 
' business-like talents,' which must not be hid 
under a bushel, it appears to me that it would 
be both the wisest and the kindest course to 



1 



^l^c ^^ancciioT of l^c (^xc^cqncr '-^ 

entrust to your charge and instruction a class of 
beings who, in their accomplishments and inde- 
fatigableness, alike in their physical and moral 
qualities, not a little resemble you — the Indus- 
trious Fleas. 

January 28, 1836. 



LETTEK VII. 



^\y \/ \/ \-/^xv/x^\>v^x/N^>^ 



TO 

LORD JOHN RUSSELL 

Janvary 30, 1836 




[The line of action adopted by Lord John BuBsell 
throaghout the intrigue which ended in the retirement 
of Lord Grey from the Reform Ministry waa very gene- 
rally condemned. He occupied in the administration 
of Earl Grey the position of Paymaster of the Forces, 
notorionsly rather because of his staunchness to the 
principles of Liberalism than on account of any af- 
fection entertained for him by his chief. The latter 
did not, indeed, conceal his aentimenta in society. 
Bassell retaliated in characteristic fashion by asserting 
a species of independence which no Minister in the 
position of Lord Grey could tolerate without a serious 
loss of dignity and self-respect. Dissensions conse- 
quently broke out in the Ministiy, and when the Irish 
Church Establiabment was attacked in 1834, Lord John 
KuBsell made a speech on the Appropriation Bill whicli 
drew from Sheil the remark that ' Johnny had upset the 
coach.' This was on May 6 ; and then came the memor- 
able split when the Duke of Richmond, Postmaster- 
General, Lord Ripori, Privy Seal, Mr. Stanley, Cabinet 
Secretary, and Sir James Graham, First Lord of the 
Admiralty, seceded. They were followed in their re- 
apeetive offices by the Marquis of Conyngham, the 
Earl of Carlisle, Lord Auckland, and Mr. Spring Rice. 
The secret of the whole business was as usual an Irish 
intrigue. The Catholics spared no effort to secure a 
provision for their clergy out of the funds of the Irish 
Church. Sheil was put up to ask the question which 
■Irew Lord John so effectively, and afterwards tool; 



^ 



ic fetters of glunnsmcoc 



great credit to himself for having, as he said, ' sown 
the seeds of salutary discord.' The strife was ended by 
the resignation of Lord Althorp, which in its turn was 
succeeded by that of Lord Grey. Lord Melbourne's 
feeble first administration, which came to an end 
through the direct action of the Eing in the following 
November, succeeded. He returned to office in April 
1835, with Lord John Bussell aa Home Secretary, 
' Runnymede's ' letter is a personal attack, based in the 
mainupon the iutriguesof July 1834. Lord Beaconsfield's 
aversion for Lord John Eussell was in the early part of 
his life somewhat pronounced; nor is the fact a matter 
for surprise, seeing that he regarded him as the type 
and essence of Whiggism, for the principles of which he 
always entertained the greatest antagonism. His feeling 
towards the noble Lord may be beat appreciated from 
a sentence or two from a speech delivered in 1840, on 
Sir John Yarde Buller'a motion of want of confidence 
in the Melbourne Government. ' The time would come,' 
he said on that occasion, ' when the Chartists would 
discover that in a country so aristocratic as England, 
even treason to be successful must be patrician. They 
would discover that great truth, and when they found 
some desperate noble to lead them, they might, perhaps, 
achieve greater results. When Wat Tyler failed, 
Henry Bolingbrobe changed a dynasty ; and although 
Jack Straw was hanged, a Lord John Straw might 
become a Secretary of State.' Time modified the severity 
of these judgments. Earl Busaell died during the ad- 
ministration of Lord Beaconstield (May 28, 1878). 
Lord Beaconsfield did not ' miss his train,' as happened 
to another great statesman on a somewhat similar oc- 
casion, but promptly offered a public funeral in West- 
minster Abbey, and on the first available opportunity 
paid due tribute to the ' eminent career ' of the noble 
Earl in the only fitting place — the House of Lords.] 



To Lord John Mussell. 

My Lord, — Your name "will descend to pos- 
terity — you have burnt your Ephesian temple. 
But great deeds are not always achieved by great 
men. Your character is a curious one; events 
have proved that it has been imperfectly compre- 
hended, even by your own party. Long and, for 
a period, intimate opportunities of observing you 
will enable me, if I mistake not, to enter iuto its 
just analysis. 

You were bom with a strong ambition and a 
feeble intellect. It is an union not uncommon, 
and in the majority of cases only tends to convert 
an aspiring youth into a querulous and discon- 
tented manhood. But under some circumstances 
— when combined, for instance, with great station, 
and consequent opportunities of action — it is an 
union which often leads to the development of a 
■culiar talent — the talent of political mischief. 
When you returned from Spain, the solitary 
ife of travel and the inspiration of a romantic 
Koountry acting upon your ambition, had per- 
feuaded you that you were a great poet; your 
frintellect, in consequence, produced the feeblest 
Itragedy in our language. The reception of 
* Don Carlos ' only convinced yoiir ambition thai 
our imaginative powers had been improperly 
H 



99 %f^e Jtefietk of ^unnpmcbc 



directed. Your ambition sought from prose-fic- 
tion the fame which had been denied to your lyre ; 
and your intellect in consequence produced the 
feeblest romance in our literature.' Not deterred 
by the unliappy catastrophe of the fair maid of 
Arrouca, your ambitions ought consolation in the 
notoriety of political literature, and your intellect 
in due time produced the feeblest political essay 
on record.^ Your defence of close boroughs, 
howerer, made this volume somewliat popular 
with the Whigs, and flushed with the compli- 
ments of Holland House, where hithei-to you had 
been treated with more affection than respect, 
your ambition resolved on rivalling the fame 
of Hume and Gibbon. Youp Memoirs of the 
Affairs of lHarope, published with pompous 
parade in successive quarto volumes, retailed in 
frigid sentences a feeble compilation from the 
gossip of those pocket tomes of small talk which 
abound in French literature. Busied with the 
tattle of valets and ■waiting maids, you accident- 
ally omitted in your Memoirs of the Affairs of 
Europe all notice of its most vast and most rising 
empire. This luckless production closed your 
literary career ; you flung down your futile pen 

' The Nun of Arrouea. A Tale by Lord John Eusaell. 
London, 1822, 12mo. 

* Tlie Causes of the French Re'Oolution. Bj T^ord John 
Riioasll. London, 1833, 8vo. 



S-ovb ^oftn Russell 



K incapable despair ; and your feeble intelleet 
ving failed in literature, your strong ambition 
Mjok refuge iu politics. 

Tou had entered the House of Commons 
with every adventitious advantage — an illustrious 
birth, and the support of an ancient and haughty 
party. I was one of the audience who assisted at 
your first appearance, and I remember the cheer- 
ing attention that was extended to you. Cold, 
inanimate, with a weak voice and a mincing 
manner, the failure of your intellect was com- 
plete ; but your ambition vrrestled for a time 
with the indifference of your opponents and the 
ill-concealed contempt of your friends. 

Having, then, failed alike in both these 
careers which in tliis still free country are open 
to genius, you subsided for some years into a state 
of listless moroseness which was even pitiable. 
Hitherto your political opinions had been mild 
and moderate, and, if partial, at least constitu- 
tional ; but, as is ever the case with persons of 
your temperament, despairing of yourself, you 
■ began to despair of your country. This was the 
Jperiod when among your intimates you talked of 
letiring from that public life in wliich you had 
pt 8uccee.ded in making yourself public, when 
lou paeec^, like a feeble Catiline, the avenues of 
lolland /House; and when the most brilliant 
u 2 



poet^ of the day, flattered hy your friendship, 
addressed you a remonstrance in which your 
pique figured as patriotism and your ambition 
was elevated into genius. 

Your friends, — I speak of the circle in which 
you lived ^ — superficial judges of human character 
as well as of everything else, always treated you 
with a species of contempt, which doubtless ori- 
ginated in their remembrance of your failure 
and their conviction of your feebleness. Lord 
Grey, only five years ago, would not even con- 
descend to offer you a seat in the Cabinet, and 
affected to state that, in according you a respect- 
able of&ce, he had been as mucli influenced by 
the state of your finances as of your capacity. 
Virtual Prime Minister of Engliand at this 
moment, you have repaid Lord, Grey for his 
flattering estimate and his friendly services, and 
have afforded him, in your present career, some 
curious meditations for his uneasy , solitude, 
where he wanders, like the dethroned ' Caliph in 
the halls of Eblis, with his quivering hand 
pressed upon his aching heart. 1 

A finer observer of human natunk than that 
forlorn statesman might have recogr'iised at this 
crisis in a noble with an historic nakne and no 
fortune, a vast ambition and a balk*^ career, 

' Moore, Poetical Works, Ed. 1650, p. i^ 
^ i.e. the Holland House coterie. 



L and soured, not to say malignant, from dis- 

[ appointment, some prime materials for the 

I leader of a revolutionary faction. Those mate- 

1 rials have worked well. You have already 

f banished your great leader ; you have struck 

' down the solemn idol which you yourself assisted 

in setting up for the worship of a deluded 

people ; you have exiled from the Cabinet, by 

your dark and dishonourable intrigues, every 

I man of talent who could have held you in check ; 

' and, placing in the seat of nominal leadership an 

indolent epicurean,^ you rule this country by a 

coalition with an Irish rebel,'^ and with a council 

of colleagues in which you have united the most 

inefficient members of your own party with the 

Palmerstons and Grants, the Swiss statesmen, the 

I condoUieri of the political world, the * British 

I legion ' of public life. 

' A miniature Mokanna,^ you are now exhaling 
upon the constitution of your country which you 
once eulogised, and its great fortunes of which 
vou once were proud, all that long-hoarded 

' Melbourne. Mr. 'Ra.jwaxXs^ss&jhDiha Quarterly Review 

kof Jftnviary 1878 proves liow fully tliis character was deserved. 
* O'Connell. 
• Sm Moore's Veihd, Prophet of Khora»aan. The name 
was given by Hakim ben Kaschem from a diver gaoze veil worn 
hj him to ' dim the luetre of hie _face,' or rather to hide ib- 
tigliness. The story is told by D'Herbelot in the Bibliolhique 
OneiUale. 



venom and all those distempered humours that . 
have for yeavs accumulated in your petty heart - 
and tainted the ciirrent of your mortified life — 
your aim is to reduce everythiog to your own. 
mean level — to degrade everytliing to your 
malignant standard. Partially you have suc- 
ceeded. You have revenged yourself upon the 
House of Lords, the only obstacle to your 
degenerating schemes, by denouncing with a 
frigid conceit worthy of ' Don Carlos,' its 
solemn suffrage as ' the whisper of a faction,' 
and hallooing on, in a flimsy treble, your Scotch 
and Irish desperadoes to assail its august in- 
dependence. You have revenged yourself upon 
the sovereign who recoiled from your touch, by 
kissing, in spite of his royal soul, his outraged 
hand. Notwithstanding your base powers and 
your father's fagot votes, the gentlemen of Eng- 
land inflicted upon you an indelible brand, and 
expelled you from your own county ; ^ and you 
have revenged yourself upon their indignant pa- 
triotism by depriving them of their noblest and 
most useful privileges, and making, for the first 
time since the reign of Charles II., the admini- 
stration of justice the business of faction. In 
all your conduct it is not difficult to detect the 

' Lord John Russell sat for South Devon in the first re- 
formed Parliament, but being defeated there at the next election 
vas compelled to take refuge at Stroud. 



I 



workings of a mean and long-mortified spirit- 
suddenly invested with power — the struggles of 
a strong ambition attempting, by a wanton exer- 
cise of authority, to revenge the disgrace of a 
feeble intellect. 

But, my Lord, rest assured that yours is a 
mind which, if it succeeded in originating, is 
not destined to direct, a revolution. Whatever 
maybe the issue of the gi'eat struggle now carry- 
ing on in tMs country, whether we may he per- 
mitted to be again great, glorious, and free, or 
whether we be doomed to sink beneath the 
ignoble tyranny which your machinations are 
preparing for us, your part in the mighty drama 
must soon close. To suppose that, with all your 
efforts and all your desperation, to suppose that, 
with all the struggles of your ambition to supply 
the deficiency of youi' intellect, your lordship, 
in those heroic hours when empires are destroyed 
or saved, is fated to he anything else than an in- 
strument, is to suppose tliat which contradicts 
all the records of history and all our experience 
of human nature. 

I think it is Macrobius who tells a story of a 
young Greek, who, having heard much of the 
wealth and wisdom of Egypt, determined on 
visiting that celebrated land. When he beheld 
the pyramids of Memphis and the gates of 
Thebes, he exclaimed, ' O wonderful men I what 



101 ^^c ^elfers of ^untTB'"«&<^ 

must be your gods ! ' Full of the memory of 
the glorious divinities of lus own poetic land, , 
the blooming Apollo and the bright Diana, the 
awful beauty of the Olympian Jove and the 
sublime grace of the blue-eyed Athena, ha 
entered the temples of the Pharaohs. But what ' 
was his mingled astonishment and disgust when • 
be found a nation prostrate before the most 
contemptible and the most odious of created 
beings ! The gods of Egypt are the ministers 
of England. . * 

I can picture to' myself an intelligent 
foreigner, attracted by the fame of our country, 
and visiting it for the first time. I can picture to 
myself his admiration when he beholds our great 
public works ; our roads, our docks, our canals ; 
our unrivalled manufactories, our matchless 
agriculture. That admiration would not be 
diminished when he learnt that we were free ; 
when he became acquainted with our social 
comfort and onr still equal laws. ' O ! wonder- 
ful men,' he would exclaim, ' what must be your 
governors!' But conceive him now, entered 
into our political temple ; conceive his appalled 
astonishment as he gazes on the ox-ltke form of 
the Lansdowne Apis. On one side he beholds 
an altar raised to an ape, on the other incense is 
burned before a cat-like colleague. Here placed 
in the shapes of Palmerston and Grant, the 



Jioxb §o]^tt Russell los 

worship of two sleek and long-tailed rats ; and 
then learns, with amazement, that the Lord Chan- 
cellor of this great land is an onion or a cheese. 
Towering above all, and resting on a lurid shrine 
bedewed with blood and encircled with flame, 

, with distended jaws and colossal tail, is the grim 
figure of the O'Coimell crocodile. But, my Lord, 

. how thunderstruck must be our visitor when he 
is* told to recognise a Secretary of State in an in- 
finitely small scarabseus ; — yes, my Lord, when 
he learns that yoir are the leader of the English 
House of ComifLons, otu* traveller may begin 
to comprehend how the Egyptians worshipped- 
An Insect. 

January/ 30, 1836. 



LETTEE VIII 



y»/\*\/./» 



TO 

THE PEOPLE 

Ftbniary 2 1836 



LETTER VIII. 

To The People. 

This is the first direct address that has ever 
been made to the real people of England. Eor 
the last few years, a gang of scribblers, in the 
pay of a desperate faction, have cloaked every 
incendiary appeal that they have vomited forth 
to any section of your numbers, however slight, 
or however opposed to the honour and happiness 
of the nation, by elevating the object of their 
solicitude into that imposing aggregate, the 
people. Thus have they played, for their 
ulterior purposes, dissenting sects against the 
National Church, manufacturing towns against 
agricultural districts, the House of Commons 
against the House of Lords, new burgesses 
against ancient freemen, and finally, the Papists 
against the Protestants. With scarcely an 
exception, you may invariably observe, that in 
advocating the cause of * the people ' these 
writers have ever stimulated the anti-national 
passions of the minority. But, in addressing 



no %§€ e^eiters of ^unnpmc&c 



you now, I address myself in very truth to the 
English people — to all orders and conditions of 
men that form that vast society, from the 
merchant to the mechanic, and from the peer 
to the peasant. 

You are still a great people. You are still 
in the possession and enjoyment of the great 
results of civilisation, in spite of those who 
would destroy your internal prosperity. Your 
flag still floats triumphant in every division of 
the glohe, in spite of the menaces of dismember- 
ment that threaten your empire from every 
quarter. Neither domestic nor foreign agitation 
has yet succeeded in uprooting your supremacy. 
But how long this imperial integrity may sub- 
sist, when it is the object of a faction in your 
own land to array great classes of your poj>ula- 
tion in hostile collision, and when from the 
Castle of Dublin to the Castle of Quebec, your 
honour is tampered with by the deputies of 
your sovereign, is a question which well de- 
serves your quick and earnest consideration. 

In the mesh of unparalleled difficulties in 
which your affairs are now entangled, who are 
your guides ? Are they men in whose wisdom 
and experience, in whose virtue and talents, 
principle and resolution, in whose acknow- 
ledged authority and unblemished honour, and 
deserved celebrity, you are justified in reposing 



^l^C people 111 

your hopes and entrusting your confidence ? 
Lucian once amused the ancients with an 
auction of their gods. Let us see what Mr. 
George Eobins might think of an auction of 
your Ministers. The catalogue may soon be 
run over. 

A Prime Minister in an easy-chair, reading 
a Prench novel. What think you of that lot ? 
Three Secretaries of State, one odious, another 
contemptible, the third both.^ They have their 
price, yet I would not be their purchaser. A 
new Lord Chancellor,^ like a new cheese, crude 
and flavourless : second-rate as a lawver, as a 
statesman a nonentity, bought in by his own 
party from sheer necessity. A President of the 
India Board,^ recovering from the silence of 
years imposed upon him by Canning, by the 
inspiration of that eloquent man's chair which 
he now fills. As we are still a naval nation, 
our Pirst Lord of the Admiralty should be 
worth something ; but, unfortunately, nobody 
knows his name.* The President of the Council ^ 
has always indicated a tendency to join any 

' Palmerston, Foreign Secretary; Glenelg, Colonial Secre- 
tary ; and Russell, Home Secretary. 

* Pepys, Lord Cottenham. 
3 Sir John Cam Hobhouse. 

* Lord Minto. 

'* Marquis of Lansdowne. 



l)e (^effcrs of '^uttnBmc^e 



GoverBment, and therefore should he a market- 
able article enough. In Egypt, where their 
fayourite food are pumpkins that have run ta 
seed, such a solid and mature intelligence 
might be wortli exporting to the Divan. The 
Chancellor of the Exchequer,' being ' a man of- 
business,' would doubtless fetch ' a long figure 
refer for character to the mercantile deputations 
who leave the Treasury after an interview, 
bursting with laughter from sheer admiration 
of his knowledge and capacity. Lord Howick,* 
who is a Minister on the same principle that 
the son of an old partner is retained in the firm 
to keep together the connection, might com- 
mand a price on this score, were it not notorious 
that his parent has withdrawn with his person* 
his capital, and confidence. The remainder may 
he thrown into one lot, and the auction con- 
cluded with the item on the Dutch system. 

Were the destinies of a great people ever yet 
entrusted to such a grotesque and Hudibrastio 
crew ? Why, we want no candid confessions or 
triumphant revelations from Mr. Shell ; we wan1 
no audacious apostacy of a whole party to teach 
us how such a truckling rout governs England. 
They govern England as the mock dynasties 
governed Europe in the time of the Kevolution, 

' Spring Eice. 

' The present Earl Crej succeeded his father in July 1845 



Iby a process as sure and as smiple, as desperate 
pnd as degrading, by being the delegates of an 
nti-national power. And what is this power 
•eneath whose sirocco breath the fame of Eng- 
land ia fast withering r' Were it the dominion of 
Another conqueror, another bold bastard with his 

'belted sword, we might gnaw the fetter which 
we could not hurst ; were it the genius of Napo- 

' leon with which we were again struggling, we 
might trust the issue to the God of battles with a 
sainted confidence in our good cause and our 
national energies ; but we are sinking beneath 
a power, before which the proudest conquerors 
have grown pale, and by which the nations most 
Bbvoted to freedom have become enslaved, the 
ower of a foreign priesthood. 

The Pope may be an old man, or an old 
woman, once the case, but the Papacy is inde- 
pendent of the Pope. The insignificance of the 
Pope is adduced by your enemies as evidence of 
the insignificance of the Papacy. 'Tis the fatal 
fallacy by which they mean to ride roughshod 
over England Is the Pope less regarded now 
than when Bourbon sacked Rome ? Yet that 
exploit preceded the massacre of St, Bartholomew 
and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The 
Constable of Bourbon lived before Sir Phelim 
O'Neale. The Papacy is as rampant now in 
Ireland as it was in Europe in the time of 

I 



icem 



Gregory ; and all its energies are directed 
your humiliation. 

Wlio is this man whose name is ever on yoi 
lips? Who is this O'Connell? He is the 
advocate of the Irish priesthood ; he is the hired 
instrument of the Papacy. That is his precise 
position. Your enemies, that wretched anti- 
national faction who wish to retain power, or 
creep into place, by clinging to the skirts of this 
foreign rebel, taunt those who would expose his 
destmctivc arts and unmask the purpose of his. 
desperate principals with the wretched scofEi 
that we make him of importance by our noticej 
He cannot be of more importance than he 
Demoralised in character, desperate in fortunes,' 
infinitely over-estimated in talents, he is the. 
most powerful individual in the world because 
he is entrusted with the delegated influence of 
the greatest power in existence. But because' 
an individual exercises a great power, it does 
not follow that he is a great man. O'Connell is 
not as yet as great as Robespierre, although he 
resembles that terrific agitator in everything ex-k 
cept his disinterestedness. Robespierre presided 
over puhhc safety as O'Connell over Reform. 
A precious foster-dam ! Would it have been any 
answer to those who would have struggled against 
the great insurer of public security, that his in- 
tended victims made him of importance by theiij 






itice ? Would it have been endured that these 

iprecators of resistance should have urged, ' Ke 

not a Csesar, he is not an Alexander, he has no 

plitude of mind, he ia not a great genius ; let 

lim go on murdering, you mate him of import- 

[Ce by noticing his career of blood and havoc ! ' 

This man, O'Connell, is the hired instrument 

if the Papacy ; as such, his mission is to destroy 

'OUT Protestant society, and, aa such, he is a 

lore terrible enemy to England than Napoleon, 

th all his inspiration. Your empire and youi- 

iberties are in more danger at tliis moment than 

'hen the army of invasion was encamped at 

tulogne. 

Now we have a precise idea of the political 
laracter of O'Connell. And I have often mar- 
velled when I have listened to those who have 
denounced his hypocrisy or admired his skill, 
when they have read of the triumpliant dema- 
gogue humbling liimself in the mud before a 
simple priest. There was no hypocrisy in this, 
craft. The agent recognised his principal, tlje 
Lve bowed before his lord ; and when he pressed 
his Hps those sacred robes, i-eeking with wJiisky 
and redolent of incense, I doubt not that his soul 
was filled at the same time with unaffected awe 
and devout gratitude. 

If we have correctly fixed his political cha- 
racter, let U8 see whether we can as accurately 
I 2 



^unn^meoe 



estimate his intellectual capacity and his moi 
qualities. The hired writers would persuac 
you that he is a great man. He has not a singl 
quality of a great man. In proportion as he; 
was so gifted, he would be less fitted for the 
part which he has to perform. There is a sub-l 
lime sentiment in genius, even when uncontroUet 
by principle, that would make it recoil wilj 
nausea from what this man has to undergo. H) 
is shrewd, vigorous, versatile ; with great know 
hxige of character, little of human nature ; wit! 
that reckless dexterity which confounds weaJD 
minds, and that superficial readiness that masten.: 
vulgar passions ; energetic from the certainty ofi 
his own desperate means, and from the strong 
stimulus of his provisional remuneration ; inex- 
haustible in unprincipled expedients, and auda 
oious in irresponsible power ; a nisi prius lawya 
with the soul of a demagogue. That is the man 
He is as little a great orator as a great man. 
He has not a single quality of a great orator 
except a good voice. I defy his creatures to 
produce a single passage from any speech hff 
ever delivered illumined by a single flash i^ 
genius, or tinctured with the slightest evidence' 
of taste, or thought, or study. Learning he balk 
none ; Little reading. His style in speaking, a^ 
in writing, is ragged, bald, halting, disjoiutedJ 
He has no wit, though he may claim his fail 



f §c "people 



— tinsi 



'portion of that Milesian humour which every 
one inherits who bears a hod. His pathos is the 
stage sentiment of a barn ; his invective is slang. 
When he aspires to the higher style of rhetoritr, 
he is even ludicrous. He snatches up a bit of 
-tinsel, a tawdry riband, or an artificial flower, 
ind mixes it with his sinewy commonplace and 
habitual soot, like a chimney-sweeper on 
" May-day. 

Of his moral character it might be enough to 
say, that he is a systematic liar and a beggarly 
cheat, a swindler and a poltroon. But of O'Con- 
nell you can even say more. His public and his 
private life are equally profligate ; he has com- 
mitted every crime that does not require courage : 
the man who plunders the peasant can also 
^btarve his child.' He has denounced your national 
^■haracter and insulted your national honour. 
^Ete has said that all your men are cowards and 
all your women wantons. He has reviled your 
illustrious princes — he has sneered at your pure 
seligion — he has assailed your National Church. 
%e has endeavoured to stir up rebellion against 
Our august Senate, and has described your 
^ouse of Commons, even when reformed, as an 
Kemhly of ' six hundred scoundrels.' Every- 

' There waa much meaning in this deniinciatioD. Hee 
W, Campbell- Foster's Lelteri on the CoTtdilion qf the Peopk of 
rtiand, 1846. 



IT? '^f)c S^Hcvs of ^uttnpmedc 

thing which is established comes under his ban, 
because everything which is established is an 
obstacle to the purpose for which he is paid — 
the destruction of everytliing which is English. '' 

February/ 2, 1836. 



LETTEE IX 

TO 

LORD STANLEY 

February 6, 1836 



LETTER IX. 

[Lord Stanley (afterwards Lord Derby), having 
retired from the Ministry of Earl Grey when that 
Government went to pieces on the question of redistri- 
buting the property of the Irish Church, speedily took 
up an attitude of direct hostility to his former colleagues 
and allied himself with Peel, sitting with him on the 
front Opposition bench during the second Melbourne 
administration. He, however, refused office under Sir 
Eobert Peel.] 

To Lord Stanley. 

My Lord, — The classical historian of our 
country ^ said of your great ancestor that * the 
Countess of Derby had the glory of being the 
last person in the three kingdoms, and in all 
their dependent dominions, who submitted to the 
victorious rebels.' Charlotte de la Tr^mouille*^ 
was a woman who might have shamed the dege- 
nerate men of the present day ; but your Lord- 
ship may claim, with a slight though significant 
alteration, the eulogium of that illustrious 

^ Hume. 

' Countess of Derby, who stood the sieges of Lathom House 
bjFairfisix in 1644-5, 



ilunnBmeoc 



princess. The rebels are again victorious, 
to your Lordship's lasting honour, you havi 
been the first to resist their treasonable au- 
thority. 

Never has a statesman yet been placed in 
position so difficult and so tryinf? as the present' 
heir of the house of Derby ; never has a states- , 
man imder similar circumstances yet conductedi 
himself with more discretion and more courage 
When the acerbities of faction have passed ais'ay 
posterity will do justice to your disinterestednes 
and devotion, and the future historian of Eog 
land will record with sympathising admiratioi 
the greatness of your sacrifice. 

If the gratification of your ambition hac 
been your only object, your course was clear 
Less than three years ago the Whigs, and loudes' 
among them my Lord Melbourne, announced, 
you as the future Prime Minister of England.- 
Young, of high lineage, of illustrious station, and 
of immaculate character, and unquestionably, 
their ablest orator — among your own party yoi 
had no rival. They looked upon you as the onlj 
man who could at the same time maintain thei 
power and effectually resist the machinations oi 
those who would equally destroy the constitution 
and dismember the empire. With what enthu- 
siastic cheers did they not greet the winged words' 
with which vou assailed the anti-national enem" 



(florft ^fattlcg 



■when you rose in the House like a young eagle, 
and dashed hack liis treason in the baffled | 
countenance of the priestly delegate 1 

Who could believe that the same men who I 
cheered you in the House, and chuckled over 
your triumphs in their coteries, should now be 
the truckling slaves of the sacerdotal power from 
■whose dark influence they then shrank with ■ 
disgust and teri-or? Who could believe that the 
projected treason of these very men should have 
driven you and your high-minded colleagues 
from the contagion of their councils ? Who | 
could believe that the famous ' Reform Ministry,' 
that packed a Parliament by bellowing ' gratitude 
to Lord Grey' throughout the empire, should 
finally have expelled that same Lord Grey from 
his seat, under circumstances of revolting insult ; 
that the very Lord Melbourne who had always I 
indicated yourself as Lord Grey's successor, 
should himself have slid into that now sullied 
seat, where he maintains himself in indolent 
dependence by a foul alliance with the very man 
whom he had previously denounced as a traitor ? i 
Can the records of public life, can the secret i 
archives of private profligacy, afford a parallel 
instance of conduct so base, so completely 
degrading, so thoroughly demoralised P 

You, my Lord, prefeiTcd your honour to your j 
interest, the prosperity of yoxu* native land to the J 



gratification of your ambition. You sacrificed, 
without a pang the proudest station in yoi 
country, to prove to your countrymen thai 
public principle was not yet a jest. You did 
well. The pulse of our national character was 
heating low. We required some great example. 
to rehrace the energies of our honour. From thi 
moment that you denounced this disgustini 
thi-aldom and the base expedients of your 
chicaning colleagues, a better feeling pervaded 
England and animated Englislimen. In this 
sliarp exigency you did not forget your duty td 
yourself as well as to your country. Yours 
no Coriolarius part ; neither the taunts of th< 
recent supporters who had betrayed you, nor th< 
ready compliments of your former adversaries 
tempted you to swerve for a moment from the| 
onward path of a severe and peremptory prin* 
ciple. When Sir Eobert Peel was summoned t^ 
the helm, in the autumn of 1834, your positioE 
was indeed most painful. Your honour and you] 
duty seemed at conflict. You recouciled them 
You supported the poUey while you declined thi 
power. 

These, my Lord, are great deeds. They wi 
live. The defence of Lathoni was not moi 
heroic. They will live in the admiration and fid 
gratitude of an ancient and honourable nation, 
ever ready to sympathise with the pure am 



noble, and prompt to recogniae a natural leader 
in blood that is mingled with all the traditionary 
glories of their race. 

You had now placed jour character above 
suspicion. The most Tirulent of the hired 
writers of the faction did not dare to impugn the 
purity of your motives. You had satisfied the 
most morbid claims of an honour which the 
worldly only might deem too chivalrous. When, 
therefore, I find you at length avowedly united 
with that eminent man, on whom the hopes ct' 
his country rest with a deserving and discerning 
confidence, and who, in his parliamentary talents, 
ills proud station, and his unsullied fame, is 
worthy of your alliance, I was rejoiced, but not 
surprised. It is a fit season to 'stand together 
in your chivalry.' The time is ripe for union 
and fair for concord. When, some days back, in 
my letter to Sir Robert Peel — a letter, let me 
observe in passing, written by one whose name, 
in spite of the audacious licence of frantic con- 
jecture, has never yet been even intimated, can 
never be discovered, and will never be revealed — 
I announced the fact that the great Conservative 
party was at length completely united, it was a 
■■declaration equivalent to England being saved. 
The debates upon the address have proved the 
accuracy of my information. The hired writers 
ind the place-hunting dependents of the priestly 



junta triumph over the division in the Commons; 
they might have read their knell in the voice of 
the tellera. They assure lis, with solemn or with 
sparkling countenance, that they did not reckon 
upon a moiety of such a majority. And do they 
indeed think that the people of England care one 
jot whether there he ten or twenty traitors more 
or less in the House of Commons ? It is not a 
miserable majority in that assembly, either way, 
that ivill destroy or preserve the empire. That 
very debate, my Lord, over the result of which 
tiiese short-sighted desperadoes affect to triumph, 
sealed the doom of the faction and announced 
the salvation of the country. It will fill every 
loyal and discerning heart throughout England 
with more than hope. "Whatever the hirefl 
writers and the expectant runners may bawl 
or scribble, that division numbered the days of 
tlie present Cabinet. And they know it. The 
sacerdotal delegates know full well that the 
moment the Conservatives are united, the 
l)riestly plot is baffled. 

When the First Lord of the Treasury was rein- 
stalled iu the office which he won by so patriotic 
jt process, and which be fills with such dihgent 
ability, shrinking from the cont^unination of 
O'Oonnell, the vei-y mention of whose name iu his 
private cirtde makes him even now tremble with 



I 



compunctious rage, he declared that affairs might 
be carried on without ' the rictorious rebels,' from 
the mere disunion of tlie Conservative camp. No 
one was more completely aware than his Lordship 
that the moment that disunion ceased, his autho- 
rity must tremble. To perpetuate distrust, and 
to excite division among the different sections of 
the Conservative party, all the energies of the 
anti-Enghsh cabal have of late been directed. 
The Municipal Bill filled them with a fluttering 
hope; a severance between the Duke of Wel- 
lington and Su" Robert Peel was announced as 
inevitable. To-day a great commoner and a 
learned lord no longer meet ; to-morrow the ap- 
propriation clause is to be got rid of by some 
new juggle, and your Lordsliip and your fellow- 
leaders are to return to the tainted benches of 
the Treasury. Now the conferences at Drayton 
hang fire ; their midnight visits from illustrious 
Princes bode splits and schisms. We have 
scarcely recovered from the effect of a suspicious 
dinner, when our attention is promptly directed 
to a mysterious call. The debates on the address 
have laid for ever these restless spectres of the 
disordered imagination of a daunted yet desperate 
faction. In a Peel, a Stanley, a WeUington, 
and a Lyndhurst, the people of England recog- 
nise their fitting leaders. Let the priestly party 



i2s l$1)e Jiettets of ^unngmciJc 



oppose to these the acrid feebleness of a Russel 
and the puerile common-place of a Howick. 
Melbourne's experienced energy.and Lansdowne'i 
lucid perception ! 

ftfrnwry 6, 1836. 



LETTEE X. 



TO 

LORD WILLIAM BENTINGK 

February 11, 1836 




[Lord William Bentinck had a somewhat sinfriiki- 
He was next brother to the Diike of Portland, 
tut preferred an active life to one of inglorious i 
and was consequently kept in pretty constant employ- 
iiient by successive Governments. He waa only seven- 
teen when he obtained a commission in the Coldstream 
Gnajds, and at five-and-twenty he was entrusted with 
special duties at the headquarters of Suwarow'a army in 
Italy. In 1803, he heiug then of the mature age of 
twenty-eifitht, was selected to assume the Lieutenant- 
Goveruorship of Madras — a post which he held for five 
years. On his return he joined the army in Spain, but 
was speedily sent on a diplomatic mission to the Junta 
in Portugal. Superseded after some mimths by Mr. 
Frere, who went out as Minister Plenipotentiary, he 
again went on active service and commanded a brigade 
under Sir John Moore at Coruna. Raised to the rank 
of general of division, he served next under Sir Arthur 
Wellesley, but was speedily detached from active service 
rto assume the functions of diplomacy. His title was 
kUinister Plenipotentiary ' of England at the Court of 
les, but to the functions implied in those words 
! added the duties of commander-in-chief of the 
Heapolitan forces. In that capacity he did not succeed 
1 making himself especially popular. Queen Caroline 
larrelled with him and hurried off to Vienna, where 
) actually entered into negotiations with Napoleon 
jrith the object of inducing that avowed enemy of her 
bosbaud and herself to send an expedition to espel the 
k2 



EngliBh from Sicily, Napoleon's hands were full, how- 
ever, and the English remained until the peace. Lord 
William succeeded in inducing Ferdinand to grant a 
constitution to his subjects on the purest principlea of 
Liberalism; and when after an erratic military expe- 
dition to Catalonia which ended in the disaster of Villa 
Franca he returned to Naples, he found that the work 
in which he had been engaged had to be done over 
again. In 1814 he went to Leghorn to stir up the 
people of Tuscany to shake off the French yoke, and 
secured from Ferdinand a solemn promise to resjieet the 
constitution to which he had sworn. How Ferdinand 
kept his oath, the 100,000 Neapolitans who perished by 
violence in the following thirty years bear witness. 

True to the traditions of his party. Lord William 
Eentinck had tried to turn Sicily inbo a protected State 
after the fashion adopted with regard to the Ionian 
Islands in 1815. In the same way he endeavoured to 
reconstitute the ancient republic of Genoa. In both 
cases hia action was disavowed hy the home authorities, 
hut in spite of all he was sent as British Resident to 
Itome, He sat for a short time in Parliament for 
Eing's Lynn, where he foiled to make any conapicuona 
figure, and in 1827 he was chosen by Mr. Canning as 
Govern or- General of India. His administration was 
rendered memorable by one great achievement. In 
1829 he succeeded in inducing his Council to declare 
the illegality of the practice of ' Suttee ' (according to 
which Hindoo widows were burned to death when their 
husbands died}. He returned to England four years 
later, ostensibly on the ground of ill-health, but reaJly 
because the Government at home wished to promote 
one of their own men, which was done by giving the 
Governor-Generalship to Lord Auckland. He left a 
magnificent reputation in India, and a column was 
erected to his memory in Calcutta, for which Macaulay 
wrote the inscription. It states amongst other things 
that, ' during seven years he ruled India with eminent 



Ktrudence, integrity, and benevolence,' that he ' never 
laid aside the simplicity and moderation of a private 
Sfcitizen,' that he ' gave liberty to the expression of public 
fcpinioD,' and ' effaced humiliating distinctious.' He 
v'Was not, however, quite so popular at home, Greville 
Isaya of him — and the same thing may be found else- 
where — that ' his success in life was greater than his 
balents warranted, for he was not right-headed, and 
Icommitted some great blunder or other in every public 
[situation in which he was pla^ied.' The Glasgow 
Bjiddreas was almost universally condemned. Greville, 
llimself a Whig, and a relative of Lord William, 
jplainly speaks of it as ' silly,' and the world at large was 
, little startled to find a man of high rank and great 
fealth openly advocating revolutionary change. It 
fcnawered its purpose, however, and Lord William 
Dentinck was member for Glasgow until a few days 
'lefore his death, on June 17, 1839.] 



To Lord William Bentinck. 

My Lord, — I have just read your LordBhip's 
Iddress to the Electors of the City of Glasgow ; 
^□d, when I remember that the author of this 
jprodiictiou has heen entrusted for no inconsidei'- 
able period with the government of 100,000,000 
of human beings, I tremble. I say not this 
Jvith reference to the measures of which you 
3 there announced yourself the advocate, but 
I the manner in which that announcement is 
jsed. It implies, in ray opinion, at the 
ame time, a want of honesty and a want of 
ense. • 



154 1$%e S'<^iiev5 of ^ttnttsme&c 



Thia Address to the Electors of the City of 
Glasgow is made by an individual who has been 
employed for more than a quarter of a century 
hj his sovereign ia foreign service of the utmost 
importance, ascending, at last, even to the 
Viceregal throne of India ; he ia a member of a 
fanuly of the highest rank and consideration ; 
and some very persevering paragraphs in the 
Government journals have of late sedulously 
indicated him as a fit and future member of 
Lord Melbourne's Cabinet. Your Lordship, there- 
fore, is a very considerable personage ; the 
public are familiar ■with your name, if not with 
your career ; they are instructed to believe you 
an individual of great mark and likelihood, of 
great promise as well as of great performance ; 
as one who is not unwilling to devote to their 
interests at home all those talents which have 
been so long exercised, and all that experience 
which has been so laboriously obtained, in their 
service in other and distant lands. 'Tis distance 
lends enchantment to the view, sings a bard ^ of 
that city which your Lordship is to represent : 
*tis distance which has invested your Lordship 
with the haze of celebrity ; but I doubt whether 
the shadowy illusion will be long proof against 
that nearer inspection and more familiar esperi- 

' Campbell. 



I 

I 



I 



rence of your judgment and capacity, which your 
Ijordship has favoured us with in your Address 
to the Electors of the City of Glasgow.' 

' "nie following is the eiddresa alluiied to : — 

To the Elentora qf tlie City of Glasgow. 

Gentlemon, — It is onlyin consequence of the very ruiinerouB 
requiBition which I have had the honoar to receive, that I could 
hiive ventured to aepire to the high distinction of repreaentang 
you in Parliament. Enoouraged by this invitation, I shall at 
proceed to stata, frankly and explicitly, my opinion upon 
-the various topics and measures that are likely to be brought 
before Parliament in the ensuing session, with a confident hope 
that in this exposition nothing will be found at variance with 
thoBe principles which for many years of my life I have pro- 
fessed and practised; and upon which alone, and to no particu- 
lar competency of my own, I can found a claim to your 
suffrages. 

Permit me then, in the outset, to give my adherence to the 
now happily established conviction among ail reformers, that by 
firm union, by the abandonment of all separate and minor 
views, and by a steady support of Lord Melbourne's Ministry, 
the present and future cause of reform can alone be supported. 

With respect to expected measures, I should decidedly snp- 
|iart the ministerial plan of Irish Church Reform, imperfect and 
insufficient as I must consider the measure to be. 

I, of course, am a decided iriend to a complete reform of the 
Irish Municipal Corporations. 

I am favourable to the shortening of the duration of Parlia- 
ments : but without having had occasion seriously to consider 
this subject, I should prefer, as a present measure, the quin. 
lennial to the triennial term. 

With respect to tbeextentaonof thesufirage, into the details 

which I have never entered, I can only generally state my 

belief that the broader the admission of all the intelligent 



136 ^^e ^effers of '^nnn^mebe 

There are some, indeed, who affirm — and 
those, too, persons of no mean authority — ^that 

clasaes to the government of the country, the greater will be 
the security of our exiting institutions. 

I am opposed to the vote by ballot ; I contdder it it complete 
illusion. It will not destroy the exercise of undue influence, 
but it will give riae to another influence atill more pernicious — 
that of money and corruption, against which there is no security 
but in publicity. At the Hume time, as the vote by ballot 
afiecte no existing right, I would willingly acquiesce in the 
general wishes of my constituents to vote for it as an experi- 
mental and temporary measure. 

I am profoundly penetrated with the indispensable necessity 
that the two branches of the Legislature should he brought into 
harmony with each other ; and I am of opinion that the result 
may be advantageously accomplished through the constitutional 
exercise of the prerogative of the Gi-own vrithout any organic 
change. 

I need not promise my support to all measures regarding 
freedom of trade, and economy and retrenchment in every 
department of the State, consistently, of course, with efficiency 
and safety. The Com Laws are a difficult question. 1 am for 
their abolition. If railways, as I believe, may become necessary 
in the race of eompetitiwi that we have to run with other 
countries, the prices ol subdstence must in a still greater degree 
contribute to success. I should hope that an equitable com- 
promise between the agricultural and manufacturing interests 
might not be found impracticable. 

I shall advert, in the last place, to the application for a grant 
of 10,000/. towards the endowment of additional chapels and 
places of worship for the Eatahliahed Chnrch of Scotland. I 
am entirely averse to this grant. The event, of all others, that 
in my humble judgment would best establish peace and good 
will and concord among all classes of men, would be a peifact 
etjuality of civil and religious rights. 



I 



this addi-ess may even be considered a manifesto 
of the least constitutional portion of the Cabinet 
to whom your Lordship and my Xiord Durham 
are speedily to afford all the weight of your in- 
fluence and all the advantage of your wisdom. 
How this may be, events will prove ; the effusion 
;is certainly sufficiently marked by the great cha- 
racteristic of the Whig- Radical school; a reckless 
readiness to adopt measures, of the details and 
consequences of which they are obviously, and 
often avowedly ignorant. 

But as this cannot at present be, at least let us be careful 
not to aggravate an obnoxious distinction. IiSt the Eetablished 

■ Churches retain whi»t they possess, but let nothing more be 

■ taken from the public funds. The same religious zeal which 
BcoEclusively maintains all the places of worship and the 
* ministers of Dissenters, cannot fail to supply those additional 

aids of which t!ie Established Churches of England and Scot- 
land may stand in need. 

now conclude with the expression of my very deep 
ret that the effects of the very long and severe illness which 
e me from India, will not allow me, without positive risk, 
at the election. But if I am so fortunate as to obtain 
■the honour to which I aspire, I shall take the earliest oppor- 
Itunity, after the session, of visiting Glasgow ; and should it 
rtben be the opinion of the majority of my constituents that the 
r generous confidence which they have been pleased to place in 
me bas been in any degree disappointed, I shall be most ready 
to resign the trust confided in uie. 

I have the honour to be, Gentlemen, 

Your most obedient servant, 

W. Bektinck. 
London : Fbbruaij 4, 183U. 



BgrncSe 

The address itself consists of fourteen para- 
graphs. In the first your Lordship informs us 
that you come forward in consequence of ' a very 
numerous requisition.' "Wliat ' a very numerous 
requisition,' by-the-bye, may be, I pretend not 
to decipher. It may be Hindostanee ; it may 
be Sanscrit ; it is not English. "With a modesty 
natural to an Oriental Viceroy, the late Master 
of the Great Mogul, you then make your salaam 
to the electors, assuring them that hut for this 
very numerous requisition you ' could not have 
ventured to aspire to the high distinction of 
representing Glasgow in Parliament ' — of repre- 
senting Glasgow after having ruled Calcutta 1 

Your Lordship then proceeds to state, 
'frankly and explicitly,' your political creed, 
' with a confident hope,' which seems, however, 
but a somewhat hesitating and trembling trust, 
that ' nothing will he found at variance with 
those principles which for many years of your 
life you have professed and practised.' How 
many years, my Lord William ? 

After eulogising ' union among all Reformers,' 
but of course in favour of Lord Melbourne's 
Government, and the abandonment of ' all 
separate and minor views,' you immediately 
declare, with admirable consistency, that the 
Ministerial plan of Irish Church Reform does 
not go far enough, but is ' imperfect and in- 



suf&cient.' This is certainly a very felicitous 
method of maintaining union among all Refor- 
mers. There is no doubt with what section of 
that rebellioua camp your Lordship will herd, 
you who are, 'of course, a decided friend to a 
complete reform in the Irish municipal corpora- 
tions.' 

Your Lordship, it appears, is also ' favourable 
to the shortening of the duration of Parliaments,' ' 
although you ingenuously allow that you ' have 
had no occasion seriously to consider the subject; ' 
and that you are partial to the 'extension of 
the suffrage,' into the details of which, however, 
* you candidly admit you have never entered ! ' 
Admirable specimen of the cautious profundity 
of Whig Radicalism ! Inimitable statesman, who 
busied with concocting constitutions for Sicily, 
and destroying empires in India, can naturally 
spare but few hours to the consideration of the 
unimportant topics of domestic policy. 

Your decisive judgment, however, on the 
subject of the ballot wiU clear your Lordship in 
a moment from any silly suspicion of superfici- 
ality. This paragraph is so rich and rare, that 
it merits the dangerous honour of a quotation : — 

I am opposed to the vote by ballot ; I consider it 

' It Bbould not be forgotten th&t the Septennial Act, passed 
Q the second year of George I., was a, purely Whig measure. 



Ujc fetters of glttnnpmcoe 

a complete illusion. It will not destroy thp. exercise o 
andue influence, but it will give rise to another i 
fluence atill more pernicious, that of money and corrirpl 
tioo, against which there is no security but in publieitg^ 
At the same time, as the vote by ballot affects no esM 
isting right, I would willingly a,cquiesce in the generw 
wishes of my constituents, to vote for it as an experij 
mental and temporary measure. J 

Without stopping to admire your refiueJ 
distinction between an influence whicli is undue, 
and ' another influence ' which is pernicious, one 
cannot too ardently applaud the breathless 
rapidity with which your Lordship hurries to, 
assure your future constituents that you Trilj 
wOlingly support an illusion and a peat. I 

The ninth paragraph of this memorable produoE 
tion informs us that your Lordship is ' profoundly 
penetrated ' with an idea. Pardon my scepticism, 
my Lord ; whatever other claims you may have 
to the epithet, I doubt whether yom- Lordship'a 
ideas are radical. I am indeed mistaken if theiB 
roots have ever ' profoundly penetrated ' yoiaF 
cultured intellect. Was it this ' profound pene- 
tration ' that prompted the brother of the Buke 
of Portland to declare his conviction of ' the 
indispensable necessity of bringins; the two 
branches of the legislature into harmony with 
each other by the constitutional exercise of the 
prerogative of the Crown ? ' Your Lordship 
may settle this point with liis Grace. 



The tenth paragraph is only remarkable for 
the felicity of its diction. The honourable 
member for Middlesex has at length found in 
the future member for Glasgow a rival in the 
elegance of his language and the precision of his 



But now for your masterpiece ! ' The Corn 

I Laws are a difficult question ; I am for their 

abolition.' How exquisitely does this sentence 

I paint your weak and puzzled mind and your 

base and grovelling spirit ! Confessing at the 

, same time your inability to form an opinion, yet 

gulping down the measure to gain the seat. 

, iSpace alone prevents me from following the 

I noble candidate for Glasgow through the remain- 

[ der of his address, admirably characteristic as it 

. is of the same mixture of a perplexed intellect 

I and a profligate ambition. 

My Lord, I have not the honour of your 
acquaintance ; I bear you no personal ill- will. 
I stop not here to inquire into the proceedings 
of your former life — of your Sicilian freaks or of 
your Spanish exploits, or of your onee impending 
catastrophe in India. I form my opinion of 
your character from your last public act, and 
believing as I do, that there is a conspiracy on 
foot to palm you off on the nation as a great 
nuin, in order that your less hackneyed name may 
prolong the degrading rule of a desperate faction. 



SeKcfsofgCunttBmcoc 



I was resolved to chalk your character on your 
back before you entered the House where you are 
doomed to be silent or absurd. There are some 
of your acquaintances who would represent you 
as by no means an ill-natured man ; they speak 
of you as a sort of dull Quixote. For myself, I 
believe you to be without any political principle, 
but that you are unprincipled from the weakness 
of yoiu" head, not from the badness of your heart. 
Tour great connections have thrust you into 
great places. You have been haunted with a 
restless conviction that you ought not to be a 
nonentity, and like bustling men without talents 
you have always committed great blunders. To 
avoid the Scylla of passive impotence, you have 
sailed into the Charybdis of active incapacity. 

But you are, or you will be, member for 
Grlasgow. Tlie author of such an address meets, 
of course, with ' no opposition.' Discriminating 
electors of Glasgow ! Send up your noble 
member to the House, whei-e the Government 
newspapers assure us he will soon be a Minister. 
His difference with the present Cabinet is trifling. 
He only deems the Irish Church reform ' im- 
perfect and insufficient.' He is, ' of course,' for 
a complete reform of the Irish corporations. He 
is for short parliaments, he is for the ballot,' he 

' A slip of the pen. See Address : ' I am opposed to tlio 
vote by ballot; 1 cunsider it a, complete illuaion," As a matter 



Whaf 
im 

"no 
tl 
tl 

i 



Sorb "^iUiam "^enftncfe 

^s for extension of the suffrage, lie is for the 
abolition of the corn laws, the virtual annihila- 
tion of the House of Lords, and the gradual de- 
struction of all alliance between the Church and 
the State. What more can you require P His 
Sicilian constitution ? 

It would, however, be disingenuous to conceal 

,t there is at the conclusion of your Lordship's 

address a sentence which almost leads one to 

impute its production to other causes than the 

impulse of a party or the original weakness 

if your character. It appears that ' a long and 
ivere illness drove you from India,' and even 
now incapacitates you from personally soliciting 
the suffrages of your choice constituents. Have, 
then, the republican electors of Glasgow, eager 
Kto be represented by a Lord, selected for their 

ihampion in the Senate one of those mere lees 
of debilitated humanity and exhausted nature 
which the winds of India and the waves of tho 
Atlantic periodically waft to the hopeless breezes 
their native cliffs ? The address is ominous ; 

F fact, the Whiga were alwaya Btreououaly opposed to tlie 
lUot, and Sydney Smith's powerfd pamphlet wae used as a 
arguments against it, though when the more advanced 
sction of the Idbeml party pressed the matter on, the Wliigs 
Hrere found as yielding as Lord William Bentinck himself, and 
Jfrere quite as willing as he to ' vote for it aa an experimentiil 
Mid temporary measure.' 



144 ^^e S^cttcx^ of ^nnnyitncbc 

and perhaps, ere the excitement of a session may 
have passed, congenial Cheltenham will receive, 
from now glorious Glasgow, the antiquated 
Governor and the drivelling Nabob ! 

February 11, 1836. 



LETTEB XI. 



TO 

VISCOUNT PALMEESTON 

I'ebruary 22, 1836 



\ 

\ 



■^.•*4 



LETTER XI. 



[The following letter is an expression of the bitter 
P feeling with which the King, and tbe Tories generally, 
I regarded Lord Palmerston at the period at which it 
I was written. Starting in life as a Tory, he was at the 
early age of two-and-twenty appointed a Junior Lord of 
I the Admiralty in the Dnke of Portland's administration. 
I In 1809 he became Secretary at War under Spencer 
\ Perceval, and when through the death of the latter 
' at the hands of BeUingham Lord Liverpool succeeded 
to power, Palmerston remained in office. When Lord 
Liverpool's ill-health forced him to retire, and Mr. Can- 
ning was entrusted with the formation of a Ministry, 
he still retained his place, as also during the Ministiy 
of Lord Goderich. Having turned Canningite,' he 
was not, of course, included in the administration of 
the Duke of Wellington ; but his exclusion from office 
lasted only from May 26, 1828, to Kovember 22, 1830, 

a letter to his brother, written in January 1828, 
I Palmerston thus explained his somewhat anomalous political 
I position. Speaking of the Whigs he says : ' I very sincexely 
[T^ret their loss, ae I hke them much better than the Tories 
|:and agree with them much more ; but atill we, the Canningites, 
I if 80 we may be termed, did not join their Government, but 
I they came and joined ours ; and whatever regard we may feel 
l.for them, we have not enlieted with them so as to be bound to 
rfollow their fate and fortunes, or to make their retention a 
f condition of our remaining.' 

l2 



when he became Foreign Secretary, with a seat in the 
Cabinet, holding that office until the collapse of the 
Keform Ministry at the end of 1834. He was not in- 
cluded in the first Melbourne administration, but he 
returned to the Foreign Office when Melbourne went 
back in April 1835, chiefly, it was understood, through 
the influence of Lord Grey. He was anything but 
popular. 'He had offended Talleyrand and other 
members of the diplomatic body past all hope of for- 
giveness,' says Mr. Torreus in his ' Life of Lord Mel- 
bourne.' His manner towards the representatirea of 
other States was often grievously offensive, and he had 
been guilty more than once of the gross disconrteay of 
keeping the members of the Conference on the Belgian 
question waiting long after the hour appointed for their 
assembling. In the council chamber itself his manners 
were said to be rude and un conciliatory, and he took 
an infinity of pains to prove to his colleagues that he 
cared nothing for their suggestions or their arguments. 
They resented this mode of treatment, and, according 
to Mr. Torreus, complained to Holland and Lansdowne. 
When Melbourne was forming hia second Cabinet 
he was urged by come of his most trusted advisers to 
find some other field for the energies of Palmerston 
than the Foreign Office ; but all such propoaala were 
scouted with indignation. Palmerston knew that in 
the existing condition of foreign affairs he was in- 
dispensable to the new Government, and he flatly re- 
fused to give way on this point. Lord Durham waa 
especially anxious to go to the Foreign Office, and ia 
known to have put considerable pressure on Lord Grey 
to induce him to use hia influence with Palmerston, and 
to persuade Melbourne to make him the moat flattering 
offers. He might have had the Viceroyalty of Ireland 
with an English peerage, or he might have gone to 
India as Governor-General. He refused both propoaala. 
The former he scouted as a tinsel appointment, while 
as regarded the latter he would only say that hia health 



"^tecottni ^ahncrsfon 



ras not sufficiently robust. Melbourne supported hioi 
in spite of Lord Grey's pressure. To satisfy the latter, 
however, the new Government were prodigal of good 
things to the Earl's family. His son. Lord Howick, 
was Secretary at War, with a seat in the Cabinet ; his 
nephew. Sir George Grey, Under Secretary for the 
Coloniea ; one son-in-law was made Secretary to the 
Admiralty and another Ambassador to St. Petersburg. 
The ntain point was, however, that Palmeraton obtained 
the Foreign Office. His first act there was hardly one 
of consummate wisdom. Lord Durham asted for and 
obtainedthe Embassy to St. Petersburg, and Palmers ton 
inquired privately whether he would be acceptable to 
the Czar before submitting his formal appointment to 
the King. Being told soon afterwards that preliminary 
inquiries had been made at St. Petersburg, the King 
was furious, and complained sharply to Melbourne that 
lie had been slighted by the Foreign Secretary. ' Here,' 
wrote Melbourne to Lansdowne, in a letter quoted by 
Mr. Torrens, 'here is the devil to, pay about this ap- 
pointment of Durham. The King baa taken great 
offence at the Emperor of Russia's conseut having been 
obtained before Durham was named to him. 1 send you 
the correspondence which has passed. There is another 
long explanatory letter of Palmerston's which went also 
to him this inorniag. His censure of Palmerston is so 
violent that I know not how I can acquiesce under it.' 
These facta appear to have crept out, and to have given 
ise to some of the allusions which will be found in the 
rtttsr of ' Runnymede.' It is pleasant to remember that 
jord Beaconsfield changed his opinion of Palmerston 
aiderahly before he died.] 



To Viscount Palmerston. 

My Lord, — The Minister who maintains him- 
f in power in spite of the contempt of a whole 



^c J^effcrs of ^unttpmcfee 



nation must be gifted with no ordinary capacity. 
Your Lordship's talents have never had justice 
done to them. Permit me to approach you in 
the spirit of eulogy ; if novelty have charms, 
this encomium must gratify you. Our language 
commands no expression of scorn which has 
not been exhausted in the celebration of your 
character ; there is no conceivable idea of de- 
gradation which has not been, at some period 
or another, associated with your career. Tet 
the seven Prime Ministers, all of whom you 
have served with equal fidelity, might suffice, 
one would think, with their united certificates, 
to vamp up the first ; and as for your conduct, 
so distinguished an orator as your Lordship has 
recently turned out, can never want a medium 
for its triumphant vindication, even if it were 
denied the columns of that favoured journal 
where we occasionally trace the finished flip- 
pancy of your Lordship's airy pen. 

The bigoted Tories under whose auspices 
your Lordship entered public life had always, 
if I mistake not, some narrow-minded misgiving 
of your honesty as well as your talents, and with 
characteristic illiberality doomed you to official 
insignificance. It was generally understood that 
under no circumstances was your Lordsliip ever 
to be permitted to enter the Cabinet. Had you 



^tscouni ^aimeviion 



been an anticipated Aislabie,' you could not 
have been more rigidly excluded from tbat 
select society ; you were rapidly advanced to a 
position which, though eminent, was also im- 
and having attained this acme of 
■rate statesmanship, you remained fixed 
on your pedestal for years, the Great Apollo of 
aspiring understrappers. 

When the ambition of Mr. Canning deprived 
him of the ablest of his colleagues, your Lord- 
ship, with that dexterity which has never de- 
serted you, and which seems a happy compound 
of the smartness of an attorney's clerk and the 
intrigue of a Greet of the Lower Empire, wriggled 
yourself into the vacant Cabinet. The Minister 
who was forced to solicit the co-operation of a 
Lansdowne might be pardoned for accepting the 
proffer of a Palmerston ; hut even in his ex- 
treme distress, Mr. Canning was careful not to 
promote you from your subordinate office ; nor 
can I conceive a countenance of more blank 
dismay, if that brilliant rlietorician, whUe 
wandering in the Elysian fields, were to learn 

' Aislabie was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1721, 
and retired in consequence of hie connection with the South 
Sea Bobble, to make room for Walpole, who continued to bold 
office both as Chancellor of the Exchequer and First Lord of 
the Treasury until 1742, when he waa created Earl of Orfbrd. 
Aislabie died in the same year. 



la 



%f}e S^eiiers of^xtxmismebe 



that his favourite portfolio was now in your 
lordship's protocolic custody.' 

A member of Mr. Canning's Cabinet by 
necessity, you became a member of tbe Duke 
of Wellington's by sufferance. You were ex- 
pelled from your office for playing a third-rate 
part in a third-rate intrigue.^ Your Lordship 
was piqued, and revenged yourself on your 
country by becoming a AVhig, I remember 
when, in old days, you addressed tbe Speaker 
on our side of the House, your oratorical dis- 
plays were accompanied not only by the blushes, 
but even the hesitation of youth. These might 
have been esteemed the not impleasing charac- 
teristics of an ingenuous modesty, had they not 
been associated with a callous confidence of 
tone and an offensive flippancy of language, 
which proved that tliey were rather the conse- 
quence of a want of breeding than of a deficiency 
of seK-esteem. The leader of the Whig Oppo- 
sition was wont to say, in return perhaps for 
some of those pasquinades with which you were 

' See the correppondence in vol. i. of Lord Dalling's Li/'e 
of Pahnereton. 

^ The ' intrigue ' in qiaestioa (though, perhaps, it hardly 
deserves so severe a name) consisted in attempte to force the 
policy of Mr. Canning and Lord Goderich on the Duke of Wel- 
lington. The four ' intrigiiera ' were Huskisson, Grant, Dudley, 
and Paluierston, all of whom joined the Government in January 
and left it in May. 



ptscoum 



utttcrstott 



then in the habit of squibbing your present 
friends, that your Lordship reminded him of a 
favourite footman on easy terms with his mis- 
tress. But no sooner had you changed your 
party than all Brooks's announced you as an 
orator. You made a speech about windmills 
and Don Quixote, and your initiation into 
liberalism was hailed complete. Your Lordsiiip, 
indeed, was quite steeped in the spirit of the 
age. You were a new-born babe of that politi- 
cal millennium which gave England at the same 
time a Reform Bill and your Lordship for a 
Secretary of State. I can fancy Mr. Charles 
Grant assisting at your adult baptism, and 
witnessing your regeneration in pious ecstasy. 

The intellectual poverty of that ancient fac- 
tion who headed a rerolution with which they 
did not sympathise in order to possess them- 
selves of a power which they cannot wield, was 
never more singularly manifested than when 
they delivered the seals of the most important 
office in the State to a Tory underling. Yo\i 
owe the Whigs great gratitude, my Lord, and 
therefore I think you will betray them. Their 
imbecility in offering you those seals was only 
equalled by your audacity in accepting them. 
Yet that acceptance was rather impudent than 
rash. You were justly conscious that the 
Cabinet of which you formed so ludicrous a 



15* ^f)c Jleffcrs of ^vtnn^mebe 



member, was about to serve out measures of 
such absorbing interest in our domestic policy, 
that Httle time could be spared by the nation to 
a criticism of your Lordship's labours. During 
the agitation of Parliamentary Reform your 
career resembled the last American war in the 
midst of the revolutions of Europe : it was 
very disgraceful, but never heard of. Occasion- 
ally, indeed, rumours reached the ear of the 
nation of the Russians being at Constantinople, 
or the Prench in Italy and Flanders. Some- 
times we were favoured with a report of the 
effective blockade of our ancient aUies, the 
Dutch ; occasionally of the civil wars you had 
successfully excited in the Peninsula, which we 
once deUvered from a foreign enemy,^ But 
when life and property were both at stake, when 
the Trades' Unions were marching through the 
streets of the metropolis in battle-array, and 
Bristol was burning, your countrymen might be 
excused for generally believing that your Lord- 
ship's career was as insignificant as your intel- 
lect.^ 

' An allnsioti to the practical eDcouragement ofiered to the 
various ' iLegionB ' raiBed for service in Spain and Portugal. 

'' Palmerston took no part in general politics in the early 
part of his life, confining himself to the business of bis office 
and speaking but very seldom in tbe House. As a writer in the 
Times put the matter : ' Those who knew him only in his lat«r 
days as tbe jaunty and evergreen Premier, always foremost in 



^tscounf ^ttimcrsfon 



I 

I 



But your saturnalia of undetected scrapes 
and unpunished blunders is now over. The 
affairs of the Continent obtrude themselves upon 
our consideration like an importunate creditor 
who will no longer be denied. There is no 
pai'ty-cry at home to screen your foreign ex- 
ploits from critical attention. The author of 
the New TWTiig Guide ^ may scribble sUly articles 
in newspapers about justice to Ireland, but he 
will not succeed in diverting public notice from 
the painful consequences of his injustice in 
Europe. To-night, as we ai'e informed, some 
results of your Lordsliip's system of non-inter- 
ference in the affairs of Spain are to be brought 
under the consideration of the House of 
Commons. I am not in the confidence of the 
Hon. Gentleman who will introduce that subject 
to the notice of the assembly of which, in spite 
of the electors of Hampshire, your Lordship 
has somehow or other contrived to become a 
member. But I speak of circumstances with 

parrying a. thrust from the Opposition, in makiiig the beat of a 
bod caBe, and in covering the retreat of a suboidiiuite, seldom 
bethought themaelyea of hia twenty years' apprenticeship at 
the War Office, where he plodded laboriously at the routine of 
businesa, writing whole libraries of minutes in a fine, bold, 
legible hand, and hardly ever opening his mouth on any subject 
beyond bia own special province.' 

' Edited by ' E.' ; written by H. J. Temple, Lord Palmers- 
ton, and others ; published 1319. 



i«e l$ife Jcfiers of ^unn^mebc 



which I am well acquainted, and for the accu- 
racy of which I stake my credit as a puhlic 
writer, when I deidare that of the 10,000 or 
12,000 of your fellow-countrymcD. ' whom your 
crimping Lordsliip inveigled into a participation 
in the civil wars of Spain for no other purpose 
than to extricate yourself from the consequences 
of your blundering policy, not 3,000 effective 
men are now in the field ; such have been the 
fatal results of the climate and the cat-o'-nine- 
tails, of ignoble slaughter and of fruitless hard- 
ship. Tour Lordship may affect to smile, and 
settle your cravat as if you were arranging your 
conscience ; you may even prompt the most 
ill-informed man in his Majesty's dominions — I 
mean, of course, the First Lord of his Majesty's 
Treasury — to announce in the Upper House that 
the career of the British Legion has been a pro- 
gress of triumph, and that its present situation 
is a state of comparative comfort ; but I repeat 
my statement, and I declare most solenmly, 
before God and my country, that I am prepared 
to substantiate it. When the moat impudent 
and the vilest of your Lordship's supporters next 
amuses the Uouse with his clap-trap appeals to 
the tears of the widow and the sighs of the 
orphan, your Lordsliip may perhaps remem- 

' Sir De Lacy Evana' force, raised for the support of Queen 
_ Isabella against Hon Carlos. 




ber the responsibility you have yourself incurred, 
and, sick as the nation may he of this inglorious 
destruction, there is one silly head, I believe, 
that it would grieve no one to see added to the 
hea]>. It would atone for the havoc, it would 
extenuate the slaughter, and the member for 
Westminster,' who is a patriot in two countries, 
would be hailed on his return as the means of 
having rid both England and Spain of an intoler- 
able,iilusance. 

/^or the last five years a mysterious dimness 
seems to have been stealing over the gems of 
oiii- imperial diadem. The standard of England 
droops fitfully upon its staff. He must indeed 
be an inexperienced mariner who does not mark 

• the ground swell of the coming tempest. If 
there be a war in Europe tx)-morrow, it will be 

I a war against English supremacy, and we have 
no allies. None but your Lordship can suppose 
that the Cabinet of the Tuileries is not acting in 
concert with the Court of the Kremlin. Austria, 
our natural friend on the Continent of Europe, 
shrinks from the contamination of our political 
propagandism. If there be an European war, it 
will be one of those contests wherein a great 
State requires for its guidance all the resources 
of a master mind; it would be a crisis which 



' Evans, who was elected for Weatminater in 1^33. 



158 ^I)c Setters of ^unnsmedc 

would justify the presence of a Richelieu, a 
Pombal, or a Pitt. O my country ! fortunate, 
thrice fortunate England 1 with your destinies 
at such a moment entrusted to the Lord Fanny 
of diplomacy ! Methinks I can see your Lord- 
ship, the Sporus^ of politics, cajoling France 
with an airy compliment, and menacing Russia 
with a perfumed cane ! / 

1 What that thing of silk 1 

Sporus that mere white curd of asses' milk 1 
Satire or sense, alas, can Sporus feel ? 
Who breaks a butterfly upon the wheel f 

Pope, on Lord Francis Hervey. 

February 22, 1836. 



LETTEE XII. 



TO 

SIB JOHN HOBHbUSE 

IfBbruary 27, 1836 




I 



[There was probablyno name which was more fami- 
liar to Engliahmen in the earlier years of this century 
than that of John Cam Hobhouse, the friend of Byron, 
the protege of Sir Francis Burdett, and the ' martyr of 
liberty ' ; no one had been more completely forgotten than 
Hobhouse — then metamorphosed into Lord Broughton — 
at the time of his death in 1869. The tone adopted 
by * Runnymede ' in this letter is undeniably severe, but 
Hobhouse was never popular with his opponents, and 
always had the credit among them of being a somo- 
wliat dull man who made up for the deiiciency of bia 
intellect by the violence of his opinions. A. ' scion of 
the house of Whitbread,' he was by birth and training 
a Whig, but his "WHggism speedily developed into 
Radicalism of the most advanced school, much to the 
horror of his worthy and more moderate father, who 
had been Pitt's Chairman of Committees for many 
years. His lirst appearance before the world was in the 
character of friend and associate of Byron, to whose 
' Childe Harold ' he wrote elaborate notes. His next 
was by the publication of a book entitled ' The Sub- 
stance of some Letters, vmtten by an English Gentle- 
man resident at Paris during the Last Reign of the 
Emperor Napoleon.' The object of this work was 
to throw discredit on the restored Bourbons, and to 
exalt the character and government of that idol of 
the English Radicals — the Emperor Napoleon. In due 
course it was translated into French, and gave so much 
offence to the ruling powers that the tranahitor was 



|c ^SeFfcrs of ^utttt^ttMoc 



Bentenced to pay a fine of l,OO0f., atid to twelve months' 
imprisonment; the printer and the publisher escaping 
with half the imprisonment, bnt a similar fine in each 
caae. Hobhouse's next exploit was to publish a pam- 
jjhlet in which he used expressions which most people 
not unnaturally regarded as, if not actually treasonahle, 
at least calculated to promote ciTil disorder. He was 
not made the victim of a State trial, however, but his 
words having been read at the table of the House 
of Commons, he was committed to Newgate on the 
Speaker's warrant. This was on December 13, 1819, 
and Hobhouse remained in Newgate until the death of 
George III, (January 29, 1820). In those days there 
was no surer passport to popular favour than- a collision 
with the constituted authorities, a fact which Hobhouse 
speedily realised. He had before solicited the eaflrages 
of the electors of Westminster, hut without success, 
the whole influence of the Whig leadei-a heing given 
to George Lamb, Lord Melbourne's brother. At the' 
election which followed the accession of George IV., Sir 
Francis Burdett threw all his influence — which in 1820 
was enormous — into the scale in favour of Hobhouse. 
He subscribed l,OO0i., and spoke most ardently in praise 
of the latter's ' warm heart,' which he described as a 
' strong pledge of political integrity.' During twelve 
years Hobhouse supported by voice and vote every 
measure brought in by the Whigs, and obtained his 
reward at laat by heing appointed Secretary at War in 
Lord Grey's administration of 1832. In 1833 he became 
Chief Secretary for Ireland, but was defeated in West- 
minster by Sir De Lacy Evans. In Lord Melbourne's 
first administration he held the office of Chief Com- 
missioner of Woods and Forests, and in his second, 
that of President of the Board of Control. He sat in 
ParUament for Nottingham until 1847, when he had 
the mortification of finding that his constituents had 
bettered his instructions, and rejected him for Feargus 
O'Connor. A seat was, however, found for him at 



rHarwich, wMch place he represented until 1851, when 
he was, raised to the peerage as Lord Broughton, of 
Broughton GiEFard in the county of Wilts, and laded 
from the pubHc view.] 



To Sir John Sobhouse. 



I Sir, — Your metamorphosis into a "Whig and 
R Cabinet Minister has always appeared to me 
, even less maryellous than your transformation 
into a wit and a leader, after having passed the 
most impetuous years of life in what might have 
appeared to the inexperienced the less ambitious 
capacity of a dull dependent. In literature and 
in politics, imtil within a very short period, you 
have always shone with the doubtful lustre of 
reflected light. You have gained notoriety by 
associating yourself with another's fame. The 
commentator of Byron, you naturally became in 
^ due season ' Sir Francis Burdett's man,' as Mr. 
^■.Canning styled you, to your confusion, in the 
^VHouse of Commons ; and to which sneer, after 
^^ having taken a week to arrange youi- impromptu, 
you replied in an elaborate imitation of Chatham, 
r admitted by your friends to be the greatest 
^^lailure in parliamentary memory. At ooUege 
^■your dignified respect for the peerage scarcely 
prepared us for your subsequent sneers at the 
order. Your readiness to bear the burden of the 
scrapes of those you honoured by your intimacy, 
M 3 



Siuim^mcoc 



announced the amiability of your temper. Yetj 
whether you were sacrificing yourself on the 
altar of friendship, or concocting; notes upon the 
pasquinades which others scribbled, there was 
always * something too ponderous about yoiir 
genius for a joke ; ' ^ aud when these words fell 
from your lips on Friday night, to me they 
seemed to flow with all the practised grace of a 
tu quoque, and to be not so much the inspiration 
of the moment as the reminiscence of some of 
those quips and cranks of Mathews ^ and Scrope 
Davies ^ of which you were the constant, and often 
the unconscious, victim. 

It may be the prejudice of party, perhaps 
the force of old associations, but to me your new 
character seems but thinly to yeU your ancient 
reputation. There is a massy poise even in 
your airiest flights, that reminds one i-ather of 
the vulture than the eagle; and your Ughtest 
movements are pervaded with a sort of elephan- 

' Thia letter was written by way of answei' to a speech of 
Sir John Cam Hobhouse on the afikirs of Spain, in the House 
of Commons, on the night of Friday, February 26, 1836. The 
expressdon in inverted commas occurs in the first page, and is 
applied to an argument of Sir Robert Feel against the British 
Legion. He had said that the remnant of that anomalous 
force would be ' dangerous ' ; Hobhouse endeavoured to turn 
the faying int« ridicule, but with very indiSerent success. 

^ Charlci) Mathews the elder, 

' 'A. little doctor who attends Lady Burdett.' — Thomnt 
Ifoon. 



§tr go^n ^objousc 



b 



tine grace which forces us to admire rather the 
painful tutorage of art than nature's happier 
impulse. Bustling at the university, hlustering 
on the hustings, dangling the seals of office — a 
humhle friend, a demagogue, or a placeman — 
your idiosyncrasy still prevails, and in your 
case, ' piddling Theobalds ' haSj at the best, but 
turned into ' slashing Bentley.' 

Allow me to congratulate you on your plain- 
tive confession, amid the roars of the House, 
that ' circumstances have brought you and your 
noble friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign 
Affairs, together on the same bench.' The honour 
of sharing the same seat with an individual 
might, in another's estimation, have sufficed, 
without the additional disgrace of calling atten- 

' ' His noble frioDd (Falmerstoii) ba^i succeeded in keeping 
alive and spreading tbe great flame of freedom vhicb bad 
marked tbe character and the intellect of the British people 
ever since w© had been a nation, through oircumstancefl of 
unparalleled difficulty — he bad compromised nothing of the 
nation's dignity, and stood clearer in the face of bis country 
and of Hurrounding nations, than any Foreign Secretary who 
had sat upon that bench. Bid tbe noble lord opposite who 
laughed at what be had just said suppose that be (Hobbouae) 
flaid this from any feeling of private regwd for his noble 
friend. He spoke upon very different grounds. Circum- 
Btances bad brought bis uoble friend and himself to ait upon 
the same bench.' These sentences excited much laughter, there 
being notoriously no particular affection between HobbouBe 
Lfud hia ' noble Mend.' 



166 %*^e iteffers of ^unnome&e 



tion to the stigma. There is something so con- 
taminating iu a connection with that man, that 
when you voluntarily avowed it, we might be 
excused for admiring your valour rather than 
your discretion. It is, in truth, a rare conjunc- 
tion ; and Circumstance, ' that imspu-itual god,' 
as your illustrious companion. Lord Byron, has 
happily styled that common-pLace divinity, has 
seldom had to answer for a more degrading 
combination. Tou have met, indeed, like the 
puritan and the prostitute on the banks of Lethe 
in Garrick's farce, with an equally convenient 
oblivion of the characteristic incidents of your 
previous careers ; you giving up your annual 
parliaments and universal suffrage, he casting to 
the winds his close corporations and borough 
nominees ; you whispering Conservatism on the 
hustings once braying with your revolutionary 
uproar, he spouting reform in the still recesses 
of the dust of Downing Street ; the one reeking 
from a Newgate cell, the other redolent of the 
boudoirs of Mayfair ; yet both of them, alike 
the Tory underling and the Badieal demagogue, 
closing tiie ludicrous contrast with one grand 
diapason of harmonious inconsistency — both 
merging in the Whig Minister. 

That a politician may at different periods of 
life, and under very different aspects of 



lii> 



Jiublto affairs, cooscientiously entertain varying 



I 



opinions upon the same measure, is a principle 
which no memher of the present House of 
Commons is entitled to question. I would not 
deny you, sir, the benefit of the charity of 
society ; but when every change of opinion in a 
man's career is invariably attended by a corre- 
sponding and advantageous change in his position, 
his motives are not merely open to suspicion — his 
conduct is liable to conviction. Yet there is one 
revolution in your sentiments on which I may be 
permitted particularly to congratulate you, and 
that country ■which you assist in misgoverning. 
Your sympathy on Friday night with the success 
of the British arms came with a consoliug grace 
and a compensatory retribution from the man 
who has recorded in a solemn quarto his bitter 
regret that his countrymen were victorious at 
Waterloo.^ I always admired the Whig felicity 
of your appointment as Secretary at War. 

Pardon, sir, the freedom with which I venture 
to address you- My candour may at least be 
as salutary as the cabbage-etalks of your late 
constituents.* There are some indeed, who, as 
I am informed, have murmured at this method 
of communicating to them my opinion of their 
characters and careers. Yet I can conceive 

' The Letter* of an English GenUffmart refen'ed to in the 
prefatory note- 

* %,&. at Weetiomster. 



168 ^]^c Shelters of ^unnprncdc 

an individual so circumstanced that he would 
scarcely he entitled to indulge in such querulous 
sensitiveness. He should he one who had him- 
self puhlished letters without the ratification of 
his name, and then suppressed them ; he should 
he one who had sat in trembling silence in the 
House when he was dared to repeat the state- 
ment which he had circulated by the press ; he 
should be one to whom it had been asserted in 
his teeth, that he was ' a liar and a scoundrel, and 
only wanted courage to be an assassin.' It does 
not appear to me that such an individual could 
complain with any justice of the frankness of 
' B/Unnymede.' 

February 27, 1836. 



LETTEE XIII. 



TO 

LOBD GLENELG 

I 

March 12, 1836 




I 



[Charles Grant, first and laat Baron Glenelg, was 
born in India in 1780 — a fact which seemed sufficient 
in the eyes of Lord Grey to justify his appointment in 
the Reform administration as President of the Board 
of Control, He must, however, have quitted ladia veiy 
yonng, for he was no more than one-and-twentj when 
lie left Cambridge as fourth Wrangler and Chancellor's 
medaUist — a position which implies a good deal more 
than an Indian training can supply. He entered Parlia- 
ment in 1807 asaTory, and his official life began in 1819, 
when he became Chief Secretary for Ireland. His city 
uonnections procured for him the appointment, first as 
Vice-President and then as President of the Board of 
Trade. When Reform became inevitable he turned 
Whig, and was rewarded for his change of opinion with 
the office of President of the Board of Control— or, as 
would be said in these later days, with the India Office. 
He was not remarkably successful there. No one im- 
peached his honesty or his candour, but he was very 
generally regarded as one of the true type of Whig 
officials — gentlemen who cling to office as tenaciously 
as a limpet to the rock, and who are dixtinguished not 
by any special abilities, but by a kind of patient plod- 
ding industry, which is very useful to the State, but 
which notoriously does not betoken the possession of 
any exceptionally brilliant abilities. 

In office Lord Glenelg was not distinguished. A 
lethargic temperament, combined with the acceptance 
of certain political principles which never developed 



}fe cSteffcrs of ^«nnpmc6e 



themaelvea so perfectly aa under the ' Can't you let it 
alone ? ' rule of Lord Melbourne, created grave dangers 
to the empire, and especially excited against him the 
wrath of the sovereign. Charles Greville tells a 
curious story of him when in 1835 the government 
of Canada was entrusted to three Comraissioners. 
One of them, Sir Charles Grey, was compelled to listen 
to what Greville describes as ' a most curious burst of 
eloquence from his Majesty' (William IV.)- In the 
course of it he reminded Sir Charles that Canada had 
been won ' by the sword,' aud charged him by his oath 
'strenuously to assert those prerogatives of which 
persons who ought to have tnown better have dared 
even in my presence to deny the existence.' The 
allusion was very obviously to Lord Glenelg, and, as 
appears from a subsequent passage in the Diary, the 
King was perfectly light and Lord Glenelg in the 
wrong. An ordinary man would hare retired at once — 
Lord Glenelg did nothing of the sort. It was, in fact, 
at this time a part of the Whig policy for Ministers 
to represent themselves not as the Kinsr's Ministers, 
but aa the representatives of the people — a line of 
action against which Lord Beacon afield protested 
most earnestly on a hundred occasions. Lord Glenelg 
continued to cling to office, therefore, but he came 
to grief in 1839, The Canadian insurrection had to 
be put down with a strong hand, but Lord Durham 
carried things a little too far. The Papineau rebel- 
lion, which had arisen out of the hostility between the 
English and French races, evoked from the Governor 
the famous ' Ordinance,' which very nearly lost that 
colony to England, Under its provisions those of the 
rebels who had acknowledged their guilt and submitted 
to the Grown were to be sent aa prisoners to Bermuda, 
and punished with death if they presumed to return. 
The authorities at home, wiser than Lord Durham, dis- 
allowed the Ordinance and recalled its author. Lord 
Glenelg, who had approved it, felt himself compelled to 



retire, ami with that step his official career came to an 
end. A grateful country, however, gave him the office 
of Commissioner of Land Tax and a pension of 2,000/. 
a year, which he enjoyed until his death in 1866 — 
twenty-seven years — at the age of eighty-seven.] 



To Zo}'d Glenelg} 

My Lord, — Let me not disturb your slumbers 
' too rudely : I will address you in a wliisper, and 
on tiptoe. At lengtli I have succeeded in pene- 
trating the recesses of your enchanted abode. 
The knight who roused the Sleeping Beauty 
could not have witnessed stranger marvels in his 
progress than he who has at last contrived to 
obtain an iaterview with the sleeping Secretary. 

The moment that I had passed the Eoreign 
Office an air of profound repose seemed to 
pervade Downing Street, and as I approached 
the portal of youi- department, it was with 
difficulty I could resist the narcotic influence 
of the atmosphere. Your porter is no Argus. 
* His calm, broad, thoughtless aspect breathed 
repose,' and when he ' slow from the bencli 
arose, and swollen with sleep,' I almost imagined 
that, like his celebrated predecessor in tlie 
Castle of Indolence, be was about to furnish me 
with a nightcap, slippers, and a robe de chambre. 



' Colonial Secretary i 
I tntion, 



Lord Melbourne's second adminia- 



ilunnpttteoe 



I found your clerks yawning, and your under- 
secretaries just waking from a dream. A dosy, 
drowsy, drony hum, the faint rustling of some 
papers like the leaves of autumn, and a few 
noiseless apparitions gliding like ghosts, just 
assured me that the Imsiness of the nation was 
not neglected. Every personage and every inci- 
dent gradually prepared me for the quiescent 
presence of the master mind, until, adroitly 
stepping over yoiu- private secretary, nodding 
and recumbent at your threshold, I found myself 
before your Lordship, the guardian of our colo- 
nial empire, stretched on an easy couch in luxu- 
rious listlessness, with all the prim voluptuous- 
ness of a puritanical Sardanapalus. 

I forget who was the wild theorist who enun- 
ciated the absurd doctrine that ' ships, colonies, 
and commerce ' were the surest foundation of 
the empire. What an intinitely ridiculous idea ! 
But the march of intellect and the spirit of the 
age have cleansed our brains of this perilous 
stuff. Had it not been for the invention of ships, 
the great malady of sea-sickness, so distressing 
to an indolent Minister, would be unknown ; 
colonies, like country-houses, we have long 
recognised to be sources only of continual ex- 
pense, and to be kept up merely from a puerile 
love of show ; as for commerce, it is a vulgarism, 
and fit only for low people. What have such 



dainty nobles as yourself and Lord Palmerston 
to do with cottons and indigocs ? Such coarse 
details you fitly leave to Mr. Poulett Thomson,' 
whose practical acquaintance with tallow is the 
only blot on the scutcheon of your refined and 
aristocratic Cabinet.y 

Although a grateful nation has seized every 
opportunity of expressing their confidence in 
your Lordship and your colleagues, and although 
myself, among more distinguished writers, have 
omitted no occasion of celebrating your in- 
exhaustible panegyric, it appears to me, I con- 
fess, that scant justice has hitherto been done to 
the grant! system of our present administration, 
and which they are putting in practice with 
felicitous rapidity and their habitual success. 
This grand system, it would seem, consists of a 
plan to govern the country without having any- 
thing to do. 

The meritorious and unceasing labours of the 
noble Secretary for Foreign Affairs for the de- 
struction of English influence on the Continent, 
■will soon permit bis Lordship to receive his 
salary without any necessary attendance at his 
Lord Morpeth " has nearly got rid of 
^Ireland. The selection of your Lordship to 

' Then Presidtmt of the Board of Trade, afteiwwds diBtiii- 
r guished in Canada. 

' Chief Secretary for Ii'ekud. 



teiievs^fWunrivmche 



regulate the destinies of our colonies insures the 
speediest and the most favourable results in 
effecting their emancipation from what one of 
your principal supporters styles, 'the unjust 
domination of the mother country ; ' and we are 
already promised a Lord Chancellor who is 
not to preside over the Chancery. The recent 
government of Lord William Bentinck will, I 
fear, rob Sir John Hohhouse of haK the glory of 
losing India, and the municipal corporations, if 
they work as well as you anticipate, may in due 
season permit Lord John Russell to resume his 
reUnqirished lyre. Freed of our colonies, Ireland, 
and India, the affairs of the Continent consigntd 
to their own insignificancCj Westminster Hall 
deUvered over to the cheap lawyers, and our 
domestic polity regulated by vestries and town- 
councils, there ia a fair probability that the 
First Lord of the Treasury, who envies you your 
congenial repose, may be relieved from any very 
onerous burden of public duty, and that the 
Treasury may establish the aptness of its title 
on the non lucendo character of its once shining 
coffers. 

Vive la bagatelle 1 His Majesty's Ministers 
may then hold Cabinet Councils to arrange a 
whitebait dinner at Blackwall, or prick for an 
excursion to Richmond or Beulah Spa. Such 
may be the gay consequences of a Reform 



tS.ovb <i)Ienel3 



'Ministry and a Eeform Parliament ! No true 
patriot will grudge them these slight recreations, 
or hazard even a murmur at theii* sinecure 
salaries. For to say the truth, my Lord, if you 
must remain in office, I for one would willingly 
consent to an inactivity on your part almost as 
complete as could be devised by the united 
genius for sauntering of yourself and that ener- 
getic and laborious nobleman who summoned 
you to a worthy participation in his councils. 

Affairs, therefore, my dear Lord Glenelg, are 
far from disheartening, especially in that depart- 
ment under your own circumspect supervision. 
What if the Mauritius be restive ; ^ let the inhabi- 
tants cut each others' throats, that will ultimately 
produce peace. "What if Jamaica ^ be in flames, 

Lwe have still East India sugar ; and by the time 
we have lost that, the manufacture of beet-root 
ffill be perfect. What if Colonel Torrens/ 

' There had been considerable diatorbance in Ihe Mauritriua 
loneequent upon the alwlition of negro slavery, and in Febniary 
. Roebuck moved for a Committee of Inquiry into the 
Jrievancea of the disaffected ii-Jandera. The Committee was 
pefused, but an impression very generally prevailed that the 
relations of the Colonial Office with the Mauritius were very 
unsatisfactory. 

* Jamaica had become so disturbed since emancipation that 
e Governor (the Marquis of Sligo) was recalled in September 
.36. 

' The section of economists led by Colonel Toirena advo- 
ted systematic emigration as a. remedy for popular destitution 



178 ^]^c fetters of ^unnpmcbc 

perched on the Pisgah height of a joint-stock 
company, be transporting our fellow-countrymen 
to the milk and honey of Australia, without 
even the preparatory ceremony of a trial by 
jury— let the exiles settle this great constitu- 
tional question with the kangaroos. What if 
Canada be in rebellion — let not the menacing 
spectre of Papineau ^ or the suppliant shade of 
the liberal Gosford*^ scare your Lordship's 
dreams. Slumber on without a pang, most 
vigilant of Secretaries. I will stuff you a fresh 
pillow with your unanswered letters, and insure 
you a certain lullaby by reading to you one of 
your own despatches. 

March 12, 1836. 

and for the discontent created bj the working of the New Poor 
Law. 

^ The leader of the democratic or French pai-tj in the 
troubles of 1835-7. 

^ Lord Gosford ; appointed Governor of Canada on the 
accession of the second Melbourne administration. 



LETTEE XIV. 



TO 

THE RIGHT HON. EDWARD ELLICE 

Mofreh 20, 1836 



k2 




[The opening paragraphs of this letter would seem 
I have been written in an absolutely ironical mood : 
when Mr. Ellice died in September 1863, perhaps no 
one would have been more ready than Lord Beaeous- 
field to acknowledge that much of what he had said 
ironically was more than justified in fact. Mr. Ellice 
was a Whig, and an of&eial Whig to boot, but he was 
a man of transparent honesty, and one who was more- 
over capable of making great sacrifieee for the princi- 
ples in which he placed his faith. His official career 
meant the loss of much money, and of the opportunities 
of acquiring more, while his political life implied for 
many years a princely expenditure. Nor did he seek 
for rewards. Allied though he was by hia two marri- 
ages to two of the greatest and most infiueutial Whig 
families — those of Lord Grey and Lord Leicester (Mr. 
Coke of Holkham), and able, had he so chosen, to com- 
mand a peerage at any moment, he lived and died a 
commoner, and an Englishman of whom hLs countrymen 
might Tety reasonably be proud. 

The son of a London merchant, Mr. Ellice always 
retained his connection with the city. He was 
educated at Winchester and St. Andrews ; studied the 
classics, and attended lectures on Logic, Rhetoric, 
and Moral Philosophy ; but he deserted these higher 
subjects to take a stool in his father's office. When 
he was barely eight-and-twenty be obtained a seat in 
Parliament as member for Coventry, and except during 
'he four years 1826-30, he continued to represent 



182 ^i^c (Setters of '^nnn^mebe 



that city untit his death in 1863. The fact affords a. 
somewhat striking proof of his wealth. Coventry was, 
under the old aystem, one of the moat costly boroaghs 
in England. The franchise was in the hands of the. 
freemen and of the corporation. A great number of 
the former were non-resident, and it was the custom 
of candidates to bring down these electors from London 
and other places in chaises-and-four, and to keep them 
for three or four days at an hotel, in order that they 
might record their rotea. This Mr, Ellice most religi- 
ously did, and as a consequence, his election expenses 
were such as could be borne only by a capitalist such aS 
he, with possessions in Hudson's Bay, in Canada, and 
in the West Indies. Yet even he once suffered defeat. 
A gentleman named Heathcote, with a st.ill lougei 
purse, sent Mr. Ellice into obactirity for four yearst 
He returned to Parliament in 1831, and from that time 
forward never lost hia popularity with the people 
of Coventry. He found it unnecessary to canvass 
them. All that he cared to do was to make speeches 
to his constituents in their ordinary places of resort 
and to contribute munificently to local charities. 

Unfortunately, Mr, Ellice waa without doubt a sharer 
in the two intrigues which respectively brought about 
the ruin of Lord Grey's Government in 1834, and of that 
of Sir Kobert Peel in 1835. Writing under date July 
10, 1834, Charles Greville says: — 'I met Duncannon, 
EUice, and John Bussell this evening riding, and they, 
seemed in very good spirits. I have no doubt Ellica 
and Duncannon had a main hand in all this businesd 
(i.e. the overthrow of Earl Grey), and that they urgetl 
on Littleton (the Irish Secretary, who was generally 
credited with being the prime mover in the intrigue)^ 
to do what he did.' Later on Mr. Ellice was indubi- 
tably the vehicle of communication between Lord Mel' 
bourne's administration and O'Connell. We have it 
on the authority of Mr. McCuUagh Toirens, that whe 
Lord Melbourne's second administration was formed, i 



^f)e itig^f (^on. ^bmatb @Uicc les 



^^ was Mr. EUice who was deputed to inform O'Connell that 
hia name conld not be included in the list of members. 
O'Connell himself was bitterly disappointed. He had 
reckoned on office with so much confidence that he bad 
actuaUy commissioned his son to look out for a bouse 
suitable for that hospitality which be proposed to dis- 
pense when he shonld have become Lord Chancellor of 
Ireland. Even the joy of being Lord Mayor of Dnblin, 
and of making State progresses to all the ends of the 
seven kingdoms of Ireland, hardly consoled him. He 
had expected to be made head of the judicial system of 
his country, and he was passed over. All the gold 
chains in the world, and all that ' me Larding ' of which 
Mr. Thackeray makes such bitter fun, could hardly 
atone for such a disappointment. 

In the Lichfield House compact Mr. Ellice unques- 
tionably acted as go-between. When Lord Melbourne 
returned to office in virtue of that most flagitious 
arrangement, Lord Alvanley — one of the ' bucks ' of 
the Regency, a wit and a man of fashion — rose in his 
place to read a letter lately published by O'Connell, in 
which he asserted his unshrinking faith in the Repeal 
of the Union, coupled with the ' reform of the House of 
Lords,' as the only possible remedy for the woes and 
sufferings and vrrongs of his beloved country. Lord 
Alvanley went on to say that he wished to know from 
Lord Melbourne ' how far he coincided with Mr. O'Con- 
nell's opinion as regarded the constitution of that House 
(of Lords) and the Repeal of the Union.' 'I ask him,' 
he went on, ' on what terms he has negotiated vrith 
Mr. O'Connell, and how far he stands committed to that 
honourable and learned gentleman who most solemnly 
declares he will never rest until he has effected the 
Repeal of the Union.' Lord Melbourne's answer was 
courageous, to say the least. After a scene in which 
Brougham distinguished himself— not altogether credi- 
tably — by entreating Lord Melbourne not to answer 
_ the question, the latter distinctly disavowed O'Connell. 




184 '^^e (i^cflcrs of ^unn-Qmcbc 



' My noble friend asked me how far I coinnicled wil 
the opinions of Mr. O'Connell with respect to th 
House. I answer not at all. . . . The noble LoreE 
asked me whether I have taken any means to eecnre the 
assistance of Mr. O'Connell, and if so, upon what terms^ 
I answer that I know not whether I shall have the aid at 
Mr. O'Connell. I have cei-tainlj takenno means to securS] 
it, and moat particularly I have made no terms with Mf^ 
O'Connell. . . There is no foundation, directly or indL- 
reetly, for such a statement.' There is such a thing aS 
economy of truth, LordMelbourne, personally, ha^ with- 
out doubt made no terms with Daniel O'Connell, but 
somebody had unquestionably done so, and public opinion 
pointed to Mr. Elliee as the ambassador. Hence the 
acrimony of ' Eaauymede'a ' letter.] 



To the Right Hon. Edioard Elliee. 

Sir, — In this age of faction, it is delightful 
turn to one public character whom writers of 
parties must unite in addressing in terms of 
qualified panegyric. Erom a ' man discreditaW 
known in the city,' you have become a statesman 
creditably known at Court. Such is the triumpt 
of perseverance in a good cause, undaunted Iq 
calumny and imdeterred by the narrow-minded 
scruples of petty intellects. That influenot 
which, in spite of prejudice, you have gained bj 
the uniform straightforwardness of your con* 
duct, you liave confirmed by that agreeable and 
captivating demeanour which secures you the 
hearts of men as weU as their confidence. Uoi 



r 

I 



%t)c itiaf)! ^on. ®6n)ttr!> gllicc 18= 



I 



influenced by personal motives, always ready to 
sacrifice self, and reeoiluig from intrigue with 
the antipathy of a noble mind, you stand out in 
bold and favourable relief to the leaders of that 
party whose destinies, from a purely patriotic 
motive, you occasionally condescend to regulate. 
I ought, perhaps, before this to have con- 
gratulated you on your retiu-n to that country 
whose interests are never absent from youi' 
thoughts ; but I was unwilling to disturb, even 
with my compliments, a gentleman who, I am 
aware, has been laboming of late so zealously 
for the commonweal as the Right Hon. Mr. 
EUice. Your devotion in your recent volunteer 
visit to Constantinople has not been lost on the 
minds of your countrymen. They readily re- 
cognise your pre-eminent fitness to wrestle with 
the Russian bear; and they who have witnessed 
in a northern forest a duel between those polished 
animals, must feel convinced that you are the 
only English statesman duly qualified to mingle 
in U combat which is at the same time so dexte- 
iious and so desperate. Happy England, whose 
'fortunes are supervised by such an unsalaried 
iteward as the member for Coveutiy ! Thrice 
fortunate Telemachus of Lambton Castle, guided 
!by such a Mentor I 

After the turmoil of party politics, you must 
have found travel delightful ! I can fancy you 



186 %i^e (^elfcrs of ^ttnttBinefte 



gazing upon the blue Symplegades, or roamingj 
amid the tumuli of Troy. The first glance ati 
the ^gean muat have filled you with classio'i 
rapture. Your cultured and accomplished mini; 
must have revelled in the recollections of the] 
heroic past. How different from the associationa^ 
of those jobbing politicians, who, when they sailj 
upon Salamis, are only reminded of Greek bond8,3 
and whose thoughts, when they mingle amid the! 
imaginary tumult of the Pnyx at Athens, onlja 
recur to the broils of a settUng day at the StocM 
Exchange of London I J 

In your political career you have emulaton 
the fame, and rivalled, if not surpassed, the ex- 
ploits of the great Earl of Warwick. He was 
only a King-maker, but Mr. Ellice is a maker of 
Ministers. How deeply was Lord Grey indebted 
to your disinterested services ! Amid the 
musings of the Liternum of Howick,^ while 
moralising on the gratitude of a party, hoif" 
fondly must he congratulate himself on his for-' 
tune in such a relative.^ It is said that his 
successor is not so prompt to indicate Iiis sense 

' Litemnm was the town to which Sdpio A&icanus retired 
in disgust at the injustice of his countrymen, and in which he 
was buried. Hia tomb there bears the inscription, Inorata 
Patria ne Ossa QUiDEU MEA Kabes. Howick was the seat to. 
which Lord Grey retired after the break-up of the 
Ministry. 

' Mr, Ellice had married the youngest sister of Ea 



^5c '^iQiil ^on. ^bxvarb ^llice is? 



of your services as would be but just. But the 
ingratitude of men, and especially of Ministers, 
is prorerbial. Lord Melbourne, howeTer, may 
yet live to be sensible of your amiable exercise 
of the prerogative of the Crown. In the mean- 
time the unbounded confidence of Lord Palmers- 
ton in your good intentions may in some degree 
console you for the suspicions of the Prime 
JVIinister, to say nothing of the illimitable trust 
of the noble Secretary for the Colonies, who 
sleeps on in unbroken security as long as you 
are the guardian angel of his slumbers. ^ 

X Distinguished as you are by the inflexible / 
integrity of youj conduct, both in public and 
private life, by your bland manners and your 
polite carriage, your total absence of all low 
ambition and your contempt for all intrigue and 
subterranean practices, you are, if possible, still 
more eminent for your philosophical exemption 
from antiquated prejudice. The people of 
England can never forget that it was your 
emancipated mind that first soared superior to 
the mischievous institution of a National Church, 
and that, with the characteristic liberality of 
your nature, yours was the intellect that first 
devised the ingenious plan of appeasing Ireland 
by the sacrifice of England. Had you been in- 
fluenced in your conduct by the factious object 
of establishing your friends in the enjoyment of 



188 %lje Jtcflctrs of "gtuttitBrncbc 



a power to exercise which they had previousl; 
proved themselves incapable, it might in som( 
degree have deteriorated from the singleness ol 
your purpose ; but no- one can suppose, for ai 
instant, that in forming a close alliance one yi 
with a man whom twelve months before the; 
had denounced as a rebel, or in decreeing th( 
destruction of an institution which they had just'' 
recently pledged themselves to uphold, your 
pupils of the present administration were actu- 
ated by any other motives but the most just, the 
most disinterested, and the most honourable. 

You have recently been gratified by witnes* 
ing the proud and predominant influence of youi 
country in the distant and distracted regions of 
the East. The compliments which were lavished 
on yourself and your companion by the Cz« 
must have been as flattering to the envoy ai 
they were to the confiding sovereign with whosi 
dignity you were entrusted. It must be som< 
time before the salutes of Odessa cease ringing 
in your ear, and it caanot be supposed that you3 
excited imagination can speedily disembarrasi 
itself of your splendid progress in a steamer ova 
the triumphant waters of the Euxine. Yet. 
when you have in some degree recovered froi 
the intoxication of success and the inebriating 
influence of Royal and Imperial condescension 
let us hope that you may deign to extend you3 



practised attention to our domestic situation. 
The country is Tery prosperous ; the Stock 
Exchange lias not been so active since 1825. 
They certainly have niissed you a little in 
Spanish, but the railways, I understand, have 
been looking up since your return, especially the 
shares of those companies which have no hope 
or intention of prosecuting their designs. la the 
meantime, perhaps for you may be destined the 
glory of inducing Lord Melbourne to tolerate the 
presence of Mr. O'Conuell at an official banquet. 
That would be an achievement worthy of your 
great mind. The new Liberal Club, too, which, 
like Eldorado, is to supply 

Shirts for the ahirtless, suppers for the starved, 
may merit your organising patronage. For the 
rest, the unbounded confidence which subsists 
between our gracious Sovereign and his IVIinis- 
ters, the complete harmony at length established 
between the two Houses of Parliament, the 
perfect tranquillity of Ireland, vouched by the 
de facto member for Dubhn, and guaranteed by 
Lord Plunket, and the agreeable circumstance 
that the people of England are arrayed in two 
hostile and determined parties, all combine to 
assure us of a long, a tranquil, and a prosperous 
administration of our affairs by the last Cabinet 
which was constructed under your auspices. 

MarcJi 20,1836. 



I 

I 



LETTBE XV. 



TO 

VISCOUNT MELBOURNE 

Mareh 30, 1836 






It 



i 



i: 



I 



LETTER XV. 

To Viscount Melbourne. 

My Lord, — I always experience peculiar 
gratification in addressing your Lordship — your 
Lordship is such a general favourite. I have 
read somewhere of * the best-natured man with 
the worst-natured muse.' ^ I have always deemed 
your Lordship the best-natured Minister with the 
worst-natured party. And really, if you have 
sometimes so lost your temper — if for those 
Epicurean shrugs of the shoulder, and nil ad' 
mirari smiles, which were once your winning 
characteristics, you have occasionally of late 
substituted a little of the Cambyses' vein, and 
demeaned yourself as if you were practising 
* Pistol ' for the next private theatricals at Pans- 
hanger — very extenuating circumstances may, I 
think, be found in the heterogeneous and Hudi- 
brastic elements of that party which Eate, in a 
freak of fun, has called upon your Lordship to 

* * The best good man with the worst-natured muse ' 
(Sackville, Lord Buckhurst). — Rochester, 

o 



.-•'y 



regulate. "WTiat a crew ! I can compare them 
to nothing but the Schwalbach swine in the 
Brunnen Bubbles, guzzling and grunting in a 
bed of mire, fouling themselves, and bedaubing 
every luckless passenger with their contaminating 
filth.i 

"We are all now going into the country,* and 
you and your colleagues are about to escape for a 
season from what your Lordship delicately terms 
the ' badgering ' of Parliament. I trust you wiU 
find the relaxation renovating. How you wiU 
recreate yourselves, we shall be anxious to learn. 
I think the Cabinet might take to cricket ; they 
are a choice eleven. With their peculiarly 
patriotic temperaments and highly national 
feelings, they might venture, I tliink, to play 
against ' all England.' Lord Palmerston and 
Lord Glenelg, with their talent for keeping in, 
would assuredly secure a good score. Lord John, 
indeed, with all Ma flourishing, will probably end 
in knocking down his own wicket; and as for 
Sir Cam,^ the chances certainly are that he will 
be ' caught out,' experiencing the same fate in 
play as in politics. If you could only engage 
Lord Durham to fling sticks at the seals of the 

' See the chapter, ' the Schwein- General,' in Sir FranciB 
Head's Bubbles from the Brunnens 0/ Nassau. 
^ Writtea on the eve of the Easter recesa. 
^ Sir John Cam HohUouse. 



Jporeign Office, and the agile Mr. EUice to climlj 
. greasy pole for the Colonial portfolio, I think 
will have provided a very entertaining pro- 
jramme of Easter sports. 

My Lord, they say, you know, when things 
ire at the worst, they generally mend. On this 
^principle our affairs may really be considered 
I highly promising. The state of Spain demon- 
strates the sagacity of our Foreign Secretary.' 
The country is divided into two great parties ; 
we have contrived to interfere without supporting 
either, but have lavished our treasure and our 
blood in upholding a Camarilla. Tliis is so bad, 
that really the happiest results may speedily be 
anticipated. Canada is in a state of rebellion, 
and therefore after Easter we may perhaps find 
Royalty and peace predominant, especially when 
(Te recall to our recollection the profound intel- 
set"' your Lordship has selected for the settle- 
bient of that distracted colony. The "Whigs, my 
ord, seem indeed to have a happy knack in 
the choice of Governors, and almost to rival in 
their appointments the Duke in Don Quixote. 
To them we are indebted alike for the prescient 
^irmness of a Gosford'' and the substantial judg- 

' Palmerston, whose action in the matter of Sir De Lacy 
na' Foreign Legion was a veiy soie su>iject at tJiis time. 
' Lonl Glenelg. 
' Lord Gosfovd, Governor of Canada. 

o2 



ment of a Sligo.^ The spring-like promise of the 
experienced Elphinstone ■will explain the genial 
seed so deftly sown by the noble member for 
Glasgow,^ and complete the trio. Three wise 
and learned rulers ! To -whomsoever of my leash 
my Lord Glenelg may award the golden palm, I 
doubt not it iviU prove an apple of sufficient 
discord. 

Bat all oui' praises why should Lords engross ? 
particularly when the appointments of Lord 
Auckland^ and Lord Nugent^ are duly men- 
tioned. 

Rise, honfiat inase, and sing Sir iVancis Head I * 

The convenient candour of that celebrated func- 
tionary will at least aiford one solacing reminis- 
cence for your Easter holidays. 

But what is Spanish anarchy or Canadian 
rebellion, the broils of Jamaica or the impending 
catastrophe of Hindostan, ivhen Ireland is tran- 
quil ? And who can doubt the tranq^uillity of 

' Lately displaced from the GoverameDt of Jamaica. 

« Loni William Bentinek. 

3 Govemor-Generftl of India, under whose administration 
the disastrous Afghan war occurred. 

* High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands under Lord 
Groy, but i-ecalled by Sir Robert Poel, 

^ Sir F. B. Head ; appointed Lieutenant-Governor of 
Upper Canada in 1835. Undei- hia a<l ministration the ra. 
belljon of 1837 broke out. 



■^iscounf "gRcIbouritc 



_ st 

I 

I 
I 



Ireland ? Has not your Lordsliip the bond of 
the tnistworthy Mr. O'Connell, whose private 
praises you celebrate with such curious felicity, 
and the choice collateral security of the veracious 
Lord Plunket. With such a muniment in the 
strong box of your Cabinet securities, what cai-e 
ou for the charges of Baron Smith and the 
'calendar of Tipperary P And yet, my Lord, 
though Ireland is tranquil, and though the 
Papists, in their attempts on the lives of their 
rivals, seem of late charitably to have substituted 
perjury for massacre, I fancy I mark a cloud 
fiipon your triumphant brow at vaj incidental 
mention of that fortunate land. Be of good 
cheer, my Lord ; and if you cannot be bold, at 
least be reckless. In spite of the elaborate mis- 
representations of party, the state of Irish affairs 
very simple. The point lies in a nutshell, and 
may be expressed in a single sentence. Your 
Lordship's accommodation bills with Mr. O'Cou- 
neU are becoming due, and unless you can con- 
trive to get them renewed, the chances are your 
Xiordship's firm will become bankrupt. 

It seems, my Lord, that the hon. member 
for Finsbury ^ is about to move a petition to our 
gracious sovereign to intercede with the King 
of the French in favour of the State-victims of 



' Tiioinay Diinconilje. 



]08 ^]^c ^cttct^ of ^uttttBmc6c 

the three glorious days, persecuted like other 
great men for anticipating their age, and at- 
tempting to do that in 1830 the consummation 
of which was reserved for 1836. My Lord, 
buffoonery after a while wearies ; put an end, I 
beseech you, to the farce of your Government, 
and, to save time, consent at once that you and 
your colleagues should be substituted in their 
stead. Nay, I wish not to be harsh ; my nature 
is not vindictive. I would condemn you to no 
severer solitude than the gardens of Hampton 
Court, where you might saunter away the re- 
maining years of your now ludicrous existence, 
sipping the last novel of JPaul de Kock^ while 
lounging over a sun-dial. 

Marcfh 30, 1836. 



LETTER XVI. 



TO 



THE HOUSE OF LORDS 



Apnl 18, 1836 



^ 



\ 



LETTER XVI. 



[The immediate occasion of the following letter was 
the debate in the House of Lords on the second reading 
of the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Bill, the ohject 
of which, whether avowed or not, was to break down 
the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland. In the course of 
that debate Lord Ljndhurat made a powerful speech, urg- 
ing that the effect of the Bill would be to throw the con- 
trol of public affairs entirely into the hands of the Roman 
Catholic clei'gy, who at that time, and in fact ever since 
the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act, exercised 
a tyi-anny which can only be described as ferocious. 
At parliamentary elections Catholic priests uniformly 
denounced those who did not vote for the candidates of 
their choice aa enemies of their country and their God. 
The Municipal Corporations Bill proposed to extend 
the popular vote in such a way as to bring not merely 
parliamentary candidates but candidates for the offices 
of town councillor or alderman under the same in- 
finencea. It was against this principle, and against the 
tyranny of O'Connell, whose ' rent ' was extorted from 
the starving peasantry at the doors of the chapels and 
under the pressure of the Irish priesthood, all over Ire- 
laud, that the invective of ' Eunnymede ' was directed.] 



To the Mouse of Lords. 

My Lords, — L£ there be one legislative quality 
more valuable than another, it ia the power of 



205 %i)e Sciiet5 of ^xtnn^mebe 



discriminating between the Cause and the 
Pretest. Por two sessions of Parliament an 
attempt has been made to force upon your Lord- 
ships' adoption a peculiar scheme of policy under 
the pretext of doing 'justice to Ireland.' A 
majority of the members of the House of Com- 
mons, no matter how obtained, have not felt 
competent, or inclined, to penetrate beneath the 
surface of this plausible plea. They have 
accepted the pretext as a sound and genuine 
principle of conduct, and have called for your 
Lordships' co-operation in measures which you 
have declined to sanction, because you believe 
you have distinguished the concealed from the 
ostensible motive of their proposition. Your 
Lordships believe, that under the pretext of 
doing ' justice to Ireland,' you are called upon 
to do 'injustice to England,' and to assist the 
cause of Irish independence and papal supre- 
macy. 

My Lords, the English nation agrees with 
you. The experience of the last few years has 
not been lost upon your reflective countrymen. 
Tinder the pretext of emancipating the Irish 
people, they have witnessed the establishment of 
the dominion of a foreign priesthood — under the 
pretext of Parliamentary Reform, they have wit- 
nessed the delusive substitution of the Whig 
Government— under the pretext of Municipal 



Reform in England, tliey have seen a sectarian 
oligarchy invested with a monopoly of power, 
tainting the very fountains of justice, and intro- 
ducing into the privacy of domestic life all the 
acerbities of public faction — and under the pre- 
test of 'justice to Ireland,' they have already 
beheld the destruction of Protestant ascendancy, 
and the Papacy, if not supreme, at least rampant. 
The English nation are reaping the bitter fruits 
of not sufficiently discriminating between the 
ostensible and concealed purposes of legislation. 
Had they been aware some years back, as they 
now keenly feel, that they were only extending 
jiower and privileges to a priesthood when they 
thought they were emancipating a people, the 
miserable dilemmas of modem politics would 
never have occurred. They would not have 
witnessed the gentlemen of Ireland driven from 
its parliamentary representation, and deprived of 
their local influence ; they would not have wit- 
nessed a fierce and bloody war waged against the 
property of the Protestant Church and the lives 
of its ministers ; they would not have witnessed 
the Imperial Parliament occupied in a solemn 
debate on the propriety of maintaining the 
legislative union. Political revolutions are al- 
ways effected by virtue of abstract pleas. ' Jus- 
tice to Ireland ' is about as definite as ' the Rights 
of Man.' If the Irish have an equal right with 



%eUex^ of glunnBtncoe 



ourselves to popiilar corporations, have they less 
a right to a domestic Legislature or a native 
Sovereign ? My Lords, are you prepared to go 
this length ? Are you prepared to dismiss cir- 
cumstances from your consideration, and legis- 
late solely upon principles ? Is the British 
Senate an assembly of dreaming schoolmen, that 
they are resolved to deal with words in preference 
to facts ? Is a great empire to he dissolved hy 
an idle logomachy ? If Dublin have an equal 
right with Westminster to the presence of a 
Parliament, is the right of York less valid ? Be 
consistent, my Lords, in the development of the 
new system of politics. Repeal the Union, and 
revive the Heptarchy. 

When the Irish papists were admitted to the 
Imperial Parliament, we were told that they 
would consist of a few gentlemen of ancient 
family and fortune. That class is already 
banished from our councils. Wlien the Pro- 
testant Establishment in Ireland was reformed 
hy the Whigs, we were told that the Church in 
Ireland would then be as safe as the Church 
in Yorkshire. That Establishment is now an 
eleemosynary one. When the repeal of the union 
was discussed in the English Parliament, we 
were told that it was only supported by a feeble 
section. That section now decides the fate of 
the British Government and the poHcy of the 



I 



British empire. Because mucli has been con- 
ceded, wo are told that all must he given up ; 
because the Irish papists have shown themselves 
unworthy of a political franchise, we are told 
that it necessarily follows that they should be 
entrusted with a municipal one ; because 

This new system of inductive reasoning may 
pass current with some bankrupt noble, panting 
to nestle in the bowers of Downing Street ; this 
topsy-turvy logic may flash conviction on the 
mind of some penniless expectant of the broken 
victuals of the oiScial banquet ; but the people 
of England recoil with disgust from the dan- 
gerous balderdash, and look up to your Lord- 
ships as their hereditary leaders, to stand between 
the ark of the constitution and tlie unhallowed 
liands that are thrust forward to soil its aplendoiu? 
and violate its sanctity. The people of England 
are not so far divorced from their ancient valour, 
that after having withstood Napoleon and the 
whole world in ai-ms, they are to sink before a 
horde of their manumitted serfs and the nisi 
prius demagogue whom a foreign priesthood 
have hired to talk treason on their blasphemous 
behalf.^ After having routed the lion, we will 
not be preyed upon by the wolf. If wc are to 
fall, if this great empire, raised by the heroic 

' Daniel O'Connell. 



energies of the English nation — that nation of 
which your fathers formed a part — is indeed to 
be dissolved, let us hope that the last moments 
of our career may prove at least an euthanasia : 
let Ho pestilent blight, after our meridian glory, 
sully the splendour of our setting ; and whether 
we fall before the foreign foe we have so often 
baffled, or whether by some mysterious combi- 
nation of irresistible circumstances, our empire 
sinks like the Queen of the Adriatic beneath the 
waves that we still rule, let not the records of 
our future annalist preserve a fact which, after 
aU our greatness, might well break the spii'it of 
the coming generations of our species. Let it 
not be said that we truckled to one, the un- 
paralleled and unconstitutional scope of whose 
power is only equalled by the sordid meanness of 
his rapacious soul. Let it not be said that the 
English constitution sank before a rebel without 
dignity and a demagogue without courage. 
This grand pensionary of bigotry and sedition 
presumes to stir up the people of England 
against your high estate. Will the Peers of 
England quail to this brawling mercenary — this 
man who has even degraded crime, who has 
deprived treason of its grandeur and sedition of 
its sentiment ; who is paid for his patriotism, 
and whose philanthropy is hired by the job — 
audacious, yet a poltroon — agitating a people, 



I 

I 



yet picking their pockets ; in mind a Catiline, 
in action a Cleon ? ^ 

This disturber is in himself nothing. He 
has neither learning, wit, eloquence, nor refined 
taste, nor elevated feeling, nor a passionate and 
creative soul. What ragged ribaldry are his 
public addresses, whether they emanate from 
his brazen mouth or from his leaden pen 1 
His pathos might shame the maudlin Eomeo of 
a ham ; his invective is the reckless abandon- 
ment of the fish-market. Were he a man of 
genius, he would be unsuited to the career for 

' The allnaion here is to Lyndhurst's famouB attack upon 
O'Cotmell (April 26, 1836). It ia impossible to do justice to it 
in a line. After painting the ' Liberator ' in colours which no 
one could misinterpret, Lyndhurst went on to say :— ' Thia per- 
son has so scathed himself, has so exhibited himself in a variety 
of poaturea — not always the most seemly and decent— amid the 
lihouta and applause of a multitude, that all description on my 
part is wholly unnecessary. But these exhibitions have not 
been bootless to him ; he has received lavish contributions, I 
jnay say ducal contributions, from the connections of the pre- 
sent Government, while at the same time ho has wi'ung, by the 
aid of the priests, the miserable pittance from the hands of the 
starving and famishing peasant. This person has in every 
shape and form insulted your Lordships, your Lordships' House, 
and many of yon individually ; he has denounced you, doomed you 
to destruction, and availing himself of your courtesy, he comes 
io your Lordships' bar, he listens to your proceedings, he marks 
you and measures yon as his victims. "Etiam in senatum 
venit ; notat designati]Tie oculis ad ctedem unumquemque 
nostrum."' 



wliich he is engaged ; for, after all, he is hut a 
slave. But it is the awful character of his 
master that invests this creature with his ter- 
rible consideration. However wc may detest 
or despise the nisi priiis lawyer hired to insult 
and injure the realm of England, we know that 
he is the delegate of the most ancient and power- 
ful priesthood in Europe. It is as the great 
papal Qominee that this O'Connell, with all his 
vilpness, becomes a power to control which re- 
quires no cnminon interference. 

My Lords, the English nation believes that 
that interference cuu be efficiently exercised by 
your august assembly. In you are reposed their 
hopes ; you will not disappoint them. In a few 
hours, in obedience to the mandate of the 
papal priesthood, that shallow voluptuary who 
is still Prime Minister of England, will call upon 
your Lordships with cuckoo note, to do ' justice 
to Ireland.' Do it. Justice to Ireland will best 
be secured by doing justice to England. The 
people of England created the empire. At the 
time when we were engaged in that great strife 
which will rank in the estimation of posterity 
with the Punic wars and the struggles of the 
Greeks against Asia, the very men who are now 
menacing your niustrious order and stirring up 
war against our national institutions, were in, 
communication with our most inveterate foe. 



aad soliciting invasion. My Lorda, you will 
not forget this; you will not forget to dis- 
tinguish their pretext from their cause. These 
men cannot be conciliated. They are your 
foes because they are the foes of England. 
They hate our free and fertile isle. They 
hate our order, our civilisation, our enterprising 
industry, our sustained courage, our decorous 
liberty, our pure religion. This wild, reckless, 
indolent, imcertain, and superstitious race have 
no sympathy with the English character. Their 
fair ideal of human felicity is an alternation of 
clannish broils and coarse idolatry. Their his- 
tory describes an unbroken circle of bigotry and 
blood. And now, forsooth, the cry is raised that 
they have been misgoverned ! How many who 
sound this party shibboleth have studied the 
history of Ireland ? A savage population, under 
the influence of the Papacy, has, nevertheless, 
been so regulated, that they have contributed to 
the creation of a highly-civilised and Protestant 
empire. Why, is not that the paragon of politi- 
cal science ? Could Machiavel teach more ? My 
Lords, shall the delegates of these tribes, under 
the direction of the Roman priesthood, ride 
roughshod over our country — over England — 
haughty, and still imperial England ? Eorbid it 
all the memory of your ancestors ! Rest assured 
that if you perform your high and august ofiD.ce 

r 



210 l^lfc goffers of ^nnnyimebc 

as becomes you, rest assured that in this agony 
of the Protestant cause and the British empire, 
the English nation will not desert you. All par- 
ties and all sects of Englishmen, in this fierce 
and yet degrading struggle, must ultimately 
rally round your House. My Lords, be bold, be 
reso]»jte, be still * the pillars of the State.* 

April 18, 1836. 



LETTEE XVII. 



TO 

THE HOUSE OF LORDS 

Aj>ra 23, I83e 



p2 




[The former letter of ' Runnymede ' produced its due 
^effect. The House of Lords read the Municipal Cor- 
porations (Ireland) Bill a second time, but deait with 
it in Committee with such effect that, as Lord John 
Bnssell piteously complained on June 9, they com- 
pletely changed the character of the measure. 'Wp 
sent up to the other House of Parliament,' said he, ' a 
Bill for the Regulation of Municipal Corporations of 
Borough Towns in Ireland. That Bill has been re- 
turned to us with the title altered, with the preamble 
changed, and, of a Bill consiBting of 140 clauses, 106 
have been in substance omitted, eighteen other clauses 
have been introduced, and of the whole purport and in- 
tention of the original Bill little is to be found in the 
Bill which has now come down to us.' The result was 
a conflict between the two Houses of Parliament, a 
conference, and, in the end, the rejection of the Bill. 
The Irish brigade were, of course, furious, and on 
July 5 Mr. Smith O'Brien rose to move certain resolu- 
tions expressive of their indignation. Mr. Rigby Waaon 
begged him not to press his motion. O'Connell pro- 
tested that he was sensible of ' the indignity offered to 
the people of Ireland,' but thought that the course 
pursued by O'Brien was injudicious. In the end the 
matter dropped, and nothing more was heard of Irish 
Corporations in the last ^rliament of the reign of 
LWiUiam IV.] 



2u %^e jEcfiers of^nnn^mebe 



To the House of Lords. 

My Lords, — You have unfurled the national 
standard. Its patriotic and hearty motto is, 
' Justice for England.' The English nation will 
support you in your high endeavours. Pear not 
that they will be backward. They recognise 
your Lordships as their natural leaders, who 
have advanced, according to your hereditary 
duty, to assist them in the extremity of their 
degraded fortunes. The time is come for hold 
and vigorous conduct ; the time is come to rid 
ourselves of that base tyianny, offensive to the 
pride of every Englishman, no matter what his 
religious sect or class of political oiiinious. The 
English nation will not be ruled by the Irislx 
priesthood, Five years of Whig government 
have not yet so completely broken our once 
pTOud spirit, that we can submit without a 
mui-mur or a struggle to such a yoke. If 
Athens, even in her lower fortunes, could free 
herself of her thirty tyrants, let us hope that 
England, in spite of all the jobs of our corrupt 
and corrupting Government, may yet chase away 
those gentlemen who, fresh from the unction 
of M'Hale ^ and the mild injunctions of the 

' Archbishop of Tuam — ' the Ooa'of St. Jarlath'a,' 



apostolic Kehoe, have undertaken to guard over 
the rights and liberties, the property and the 
religion, of Protestant England. We have not 
reformed the third estate of the realm in order 
that England should be governed by the nomi- 
nees of the Papacy. There is not a man in 
Britain, Tory or Radical, Episcopalian or Pres- 
byterian, who can stand this long ; there is not a 
man in Britain who at the bottom of his heart 
is not proud of our empire, and who does not 
despise the inferior race who dare to menace its 
integrity. However faction may corrupt and 
machinate, the people of England will never 
long submit to a Milesian master; and when 
they reflect upon their present degradation, and 
are conscious that they have experienced it only 
to secure in power the dull and desperate 
remains of a once haughty oligarchy, long 
baf&ed in their anti-national attempts upon the 
free realm of England, the nation will rise In its 
wrath, and execute vengeance upon the cabal 
which has thus trifled with this great country's 
immemorial honour. 

The English nation requires justice ; and it 
is not content to receive that justice by instal- 
ments — a process that may suit their lately 
manumitted serfs, but which will not accord with 
their stern and determined spirits, habituated to 
the ennobling exercise and the proud enjoyment 



of an ancient libei'ty. They require justice, and 
they will have that justice full and free. It 
must be meted out speedily and not scantily. 
They require this justice, with the Peers of 
England at their head, and the result will prove 
whether the Milesian peasantry, led on hy the 
papist priesthood, can cope with this proud and 
powerful society. It is not just to England that 
the Sovereign should be deprived of his un- 
doubted prerogative ; it is not just to England 
that M'Hale and Kehoe should dictate to our 
King the servants whom our Royal master should 
employ ; it is not just to England that the King 
of England should by any such an anti-national 
process be surrounded by the Ministers, not of 
his choice, but of his necessity; it is not just to 
England that a knot of papist legislators should 
deal with the polity and property of our Protes- 
tant Church ; it is not just to England that 
no English blood in Ireland should be secure 
from plunder or assassination ; it is not just 
to England that a hired disturber, paid by the 
Boman priesthood, should ramble over our 
counti-y to stir up rebellion against your Lord- 
ships' august estate ; that his ribald tongue 
should soil and outrage all that we have been 
taught to love, honour, and obey — our women, 
our princes, and our laws ; and lastly, it is not 
just to England that its constitution should ba 



attached, its empire menaced, and its religion ^ 
scoffed at. 

My Lords, the same party that demands ' 
justice for Ireland is not less clamorous in its 
requisition of justice for Canada. Will you 
grant it ? ' Justice for Botany Bay, too, is, I 
have heard, in the market, and the cry is said 
to be worth some good 2,000?. per annum. 
The noble member for Glasgow, the vigorous 
writer of that lucid address which I had the 
honour of ti-ansferring from its original Sanscrit 
and first introducing to the notice of the British 
public,^ has, I believe, already done justice to 
India. My Lords 1 when and whore is this 
dangerous nonsense to terminate ? How com- 
patible is the prevalence of such vrindy words 
with the subsistence of an empire ? It may be 
as well for your Lordships to ponder on the 
consequences. The English nation formed the 
empire, ours is the imperial isle, England is the 
Metropohtan country ; and we might as well 
tear out the living heart from the human form, 
and bid the heaving corpse still survive, as 
suppose that a great empire can endure without 
some concentration of power and vitality. 

My Lords, the season is ripe for action. In ] 

' DiBafTection in CEinada was at this moment aBsmtmig a 

wrioua character. The Papineau rebellion broke out in 1337. 

* V, ante, Letter to Lord William Bentinck, p. 133. 



spite of all the machinations of the anti-English 
faction, never was your great assemhly more 
elevated in the esteem and affection of your 
countrymen than at this perilous hour. The 
English are a reflecting and observant people ; 
they ponder even amid tumult ; they can draw 
a shrewd moral even from the play of their own 
passions ; and they cannot but feel, that after 
all the revolutionary rhetoric which has been 
dinned into their ears of late in panegyric of a 
Eeform Ministry and a Reformed Parliament, 
and in simultaneous depreciation of your Lord- 
ships' power and usefulness, that not only in 
eloquence and knowledge, in elevation of thought 
and feeling, and even in practical conduct, your 
Lordships need fear no comparison with that 
assembly which, from a confusion of ideas, is 
in general supposed to be more popular in its 
elements and character, but that on all occasions 
when the dignity of the empire and the rights 
of the subject have been threatened and assailed, 
the national cause has invariably found in your 
Lordships' House that support and sympathy 
which have been denied to it by the other 
Chamber. 

Tour Lordships, therefore, commence the 
conflict with the anti- English party under great 
advantages. Not only is your cause a just 
one, and your resolution to maintain its justice 



unshakable, but there happens in your instance 
that which unfortunately cannot always be de- 
pended on in those great conjunctures which 
decide the fate of crowns and nations. The 
sympathy of the nation is arrayed under your '. 
banner. And inasmuch as the popularity which 
you now enjoy is to be distinguished from that 
volatile effusion which is the hurry-skurry off- 
spring of ignorance and pride, but is founded 
on the surer basis of returning reason and 
mellowed passions and sharp experiences, you 
may rest assured that the support of your 
countrymen will not be withdrawn from you in 
the hour of trial. 

But, my Lords, do not undervalue the enemy 
which, at the head of the English nation, you 
are about to combat. If you imagine that you 
are going to engage only an ignorant and savage 
population, led on by a loose-tongued poltroon, 
you will indeed deceive yourselves, and the 
truth will not be in you. My Lords, you are 
about to struggle with a foe worthy even of the 
Peers of England, for he is a foe that has placed 
his foot upon the neck of Emperors. My Lords, 
you arc about to struggle with the Papacy, and 
in its favourite and devoted land. Whether 
the conspiracy of the Irish priests be more 
successful than the fleets of Spain, and more 
fatal to the freedom and the faith of England, 



220 ^^c ^cffcrs of ^unnBmc5c 

time can alone prove, and Providence can alone 
decide. But let us not forget that Heaven aids 
those who aid themselves, and, firm in the faith 
that nerved the arms of our triumphant fathers, 
let us meet without fear that dark and awful 
power, that strikes at once at the purity of our 
domestic hearths and the splendour of our 
imperial sway. 

April 23, 1836. 



LETTEE XVIII. 



TO 

THE LORD CHANCELLOR 

AprU SO, 1836 



LETTER XVIII. 



^ bu 
K-wa 
Hue' 



[It cannot be said that the promotion of Sir Charles 
Christopher Pepya to the Chancellorship was a stroke 
of genius on the part of Lord Melbourne. Greville, who, 
when his temper is not exacerbated, is one of the best 
judges of men and things of his generation, says of it : 
' Pepys's is perhaps one of the moat cnrious instances 
of elevation that ever occnrred. A good sound lawyer, 
in leading practice at the Bar, never heard of in politics, 
no orator, a plain, nndistinguished man to whom ex- 
pectation never pointed, and upon whom the Solicitor- 
Generalship fell, as it were by accident, finds himself 
Master of the Rolls a few months after his appoint- 
ment by the sudden death of Leach, and in little more 
than one year from that time a Peer and Chancellor.' 
Greville'a amazement is not anrprising. Pepys was 
nothing and nobody. He came ont from Cambridge 
with an ordinary degree in the year 1803 — the year in 
which Parke and Coltman distinguished themselves as 
Wranglers. He was the pupil of Tidd and of Eomilly ; 
but he was at the Bar for twenty-two years before he 
-was in a position to take silk, and he would probably 
joever have been heard of but for the fact of his having 
attracted the notice of Earl Fitzwilliam, who sent him 
into Parliament for Higham Ferrars and for Malton 
successively. When Sir John Leach, the Master of 
the Rolls, was compelled to retire through ill-health in 
September 1834, Pepys, to the astonishment of every- 
body, was preferred to his vacant place, and when the 
Great Seal was put in commission after Brougham's 



eiit from office, he was naturally made one of the Com- 
missionera. When at last it was discovered that the 
judicial business of the country was suffering somewhat 
severely from the necessity for employing three judges 
to do the work of one, Pepys was made Lord Chancellor 
— not perhaps entirely to the gratification of suitors in 
that Court, and ceVtainly not to that of the Bar or of 
bis party in Parliament. According to Campbell, lie 
' could hardly put two sentencea together,' and in the 
House of Lords was an utter failure. He died in 1851, 
and the ' Times ' did not even mention the fact.] 

To the Lord Chancellor. 

My Lord, — The gay liver, who, terrified by 
the consequences of his excesses, takes to water 
and a temperance society, is in about the same 
condition as the "Whig Ministers in their ap- 
pointment of a Lord Chancellor, when, still 
smarting under the eccentric Tagaries of a 
Brougham, they sought refuge in the calm 
reaction of your sober Lordship. Thia change 
from Master Shallow to Master Silence was for 
a moment amusing ; but your Lordship has at 
length found the faculty of speech, and your 
astonished countrymen begin to suspect that 
they may not be altogether the gainers in the 
great transition from humbug to humdrum. 
We have escaped from the eagle to be preyed 
upon by the owl. Por your Loi-dship is also a 
Reformer, a true Reformer ; you are to proceed 
in the grand course of social amelioration and 



ft 



I 



party jobbing,^ and the only substantial differ- 
ence, it seems, that a harassed nation is to 
recognise, is that which consists between tlie 
devastation of the locust and the destruction of 
the slug. 

Your Lordship has figured during the last 
week in the double capacity of a statesman and 
a legislator. With what transcendent success, 
let the blank dismay that stamped the counten- 
ance of the Prime Minister bear flattering wit- 
he hung with an air of awkward 
astonishment on the accents of your flowing 
iloquence, and listened with breathless surprise, 
if not admiration, to the development of those 
sage devices which, by a curious felicity of for- 
tune, have succeeded in arraying against them 
the superficial prejudices of all parties. Yet 
one advantage, it cannot be denied, has resulted 
from your Lordship's last triumphant exhibition. 
The public at length become acquainted with the 
object of Lord Langdale's ' surprising elevation, 
and the agreeable office which it appears the 
noble Master of the Eolls is to fulfil in the 
Senate of Great Britain. We have heard before 

A reference to tlie very curious arraDgement by which 
Campbell became for a whUe Lord Chancellor of Irelaad. 

(Bickerelelh). Lord Cottenham had brought is a Bill for 
the B«foi'iu of the Court of Chancery, which was read a first 
time in the Lords on Aptil 33, in spite of a somewhat utreDuous 
protest from Lord Langdale. 



of a Lord Chancellor's devil; but my Lord Cot 
tenham is the first guardian of the Great Seal 
whom liis considerate colleagues have supplied 
not only with a coronet, hut a critic. 

That your Lordship should be an advocate 
for * justice to Ireland,' might reasonably have 
been expected from your eminent situation. 
Your party may share with you the odium or 
the glory of your political projects, but the 
laurels which you have recently acqxiired by your 
luminous eloquence and your profound legal 
knowledge are all your Lordship's own, and I 
doubt whether any of your friends or your oppo- 
nents will be aspiring enough to envy you tteir 
rich fruition. 

And here, as it is the fashion to do ' justice 
to Whiggism,' I cannot but pause to notice the 
contrast, so flattering to the judgment and high 
principle of your Lordship's party, which their 
legal appointments afford when compared with 
those of the annihilated Tories, and especially 
of the late Government. The administration of 
justice is still a matter of some importance, and 
we naturally shrink from the party who have 
entrusted its conduct to men so notoriously 
incompetent as a Sugden ^ or a Scarlett," or 
placed upon the judgment seat such mere politi- 

' Lord St. Leonards. 
^ ijovd Abinger. 



I 
I 



il adventurers as an Alderaon and a Parke, 
Patteson and a Coleridge, a Taunton and 
a Tindal ! How refreshing is it, after such a 
prostitution of patronage and power, to turn to 
a Lord Chief Justice like a Denman, raised to 
liis lofty post by the sheer influence of his un- 
equalled learning and his unrivalled practice, or 
to recognise the homage which has been paid fo 
professional devotion in the profound person of 
Mr. Baron "Williams 1 

I say nothing of your Lord Chancellors ; one 
you have discarded, and the other you are about 
to deprive of his functions. And, indeed, it 
cannot be denied, that the appointment of your 
Lordship to the custody of the Great Seal, as a 
preliminary step to the abolition of the office of 
Lord Chancellor itself,' displayed a depth of 
statecraft in your party for which the nation 
has hitherto given them scarcely sufficient credit. 
Had it been entrusted to a Hardwicke, an Eldon, 
or a Lyndhurst, to some great functionary to 
whom the public had been accustomed to look 
up with confidence, and the profession with 
respect, some murmurs might naturally have 
arisen at the menaced disturbance of an ancient 

' There was at this time a great controversy about the 
E division of thejatlicial from the legislative functiona of the Lord 
I Chancellor, and Lord Cottenbam's projiosala of April 38, 183G 
—which came to nothing — were in thia direction. 

Q 2 



oilier which had long contributed to that pure 
and learned administration of justice which was 
OQce the boast of Britons. But if the V^Tiigs, as 
their organs daily assure us, are indeed to be our 
perpetual masters, we may be excused for viewing 
with indifference, if not with complacency, that 
pronaised arrangement by which the most impor- 
tant duties of the State are no longer assigned at 
the caprice of a party, which, with a singularly 
sound judgment, has periodically selected for 
their performance an Erskine, a Brougham, and 
finally, your learned Lordship. The still haughty 
Venetians sometimes console themselves with 
the belief that their State would not liave fallen 
if the last of their Doges had not unfortunately 
been a plebeian ; the Bar of England, that illus- 
trious body which has contributed to our fame 
and our felicity not less than the most celebrated 
of our political institutions, may perhaps, in a 
sympathetic strain of feeling, some day be of 
opinion that they would not have been expelled 
from their high and just position in our society, 
if the last of the LoimI Chancellors had been 
worthy of being their chief ; and posterity may 
perhaps class together, in the same scale of un- 
suitable elevation, the ignoble Manini and the 
feeble Cottenham. 

My Lord, the same spirit that would expel 
the heads of cm- Church from the Senate, would 




I 



banish the head of our law from the King's 
Council. Under pretext of reform and popular 
goTemment, your party, as usual, are assailing 
all the democratic elements of our con- 
stitution. The slang distinction of the day 
between the political and legal duties of a Lord 
Chancellor tends, like all the other measures of 
the party which has elevated your Lordship to 
the peerage, and is now about to lower you to a 
clerkship, to the substitution of an oligarchical 
government. "We may yet live to regret that 
abrogated custom which, by giving the head of 
the law a precedence over the haughtiest peers, 
and securing his constant presence in the Cabinet 
of the sovereign, paid a glorious homage to 
the majesty of jurisprudence, announced to the 
world that our political constitution was emi- 
nently legal, guaranteed that tliere should be at 
least one individual in the realm who was not 
made a Minister because he ivas a noble, insured 
the satisfactoiy administration of domestic justice, 
and infused into our transactions with foreign 
Courts and Cabinets that high and severe spirit 
of public rectitude which obtained our own rights 
by acknowledging those of others. 

Will the hybrid thing which, under Lord 
Cottenham's scheme of legal reform, is to be 
baptized in mockery a Lord Chancellor, afford 
these great advantages in the Cabinet or the 



830 ^^c JIcHcrs of ^unngme&e 



Senate ? He is to be a lawyer without a court, 
and a lawyer without a court will soon be a 
lawyer without law. The Lord High Chancellor 
of England will speedily subside into a political 
nonentity like the President of the Council ; that 
office which is the fittinj^ appanage of pompous 
imbecility. Lord Cottenham may be excused 
for believing that to make a Lord Chancellor it 
ia enough to plant a man upon a woolsack, and 
thrust a wig upon his head and a gold- 
embroidered robe upon his hack ; but the people 
of England have been accustomed to recognise 
in a Lord Chancellor, a man who has won his 
way to a great position by the exercise of great 
qualities — a man of singular acuteness, and pro- 
found leaming, and vast experience, and patient 
study, and unwearied industry — a man who has 
obtained the confidence of his profession before 
he challenges the confidence of his country, and 
who has secured eminence in the House of 
Commons before he has aspired to superiority in 
the House of Lords — a man who has expanded 
from a great lawyer into a great statesman, and 
who brings to the woolsack the commanding 
reputation which has been gained in the long 
and laborious years of an admired career. 

My Lord, this is not your portrait. You 
are the child of reform, the chance offspring of 
political agitation and factious intrigue. The 



^l^c Jlor^ ^f)anceUov 231 

• 

Whigs have stirred up and made muddy even 
the fountain of justice; for a moment an airy 
bubble, glittering in the simshine, floated on the 
excited surface; but that brilliant bubble soon 
burst and vanished, and a scum, thick and 
obscure, now crests the once piu^e and tranquil 
waters. 

April 30, 1836. 



LETTER XIX. 



TO 

VISCOUNT MELBOURNE 

May 15, 1886 



LETTER XIX. 

[This letter, the last of the ' Runnymede ' seriea, is 
a final protest againafc the attempt of the Whigs to 
govern England by the help of the Irish vote.] 



To Viscount Melhoume. 

My Lord, — I had the honour of addressing 
you on the eve of your last hohdays ; the delight- 
ful hour of relaxation again approaches : I Tvish 
you again to retire to the bowers of Brocket 
with my congratulations. The campaign ahout 
to close has been brief, hut certainly not un- 
eventful ; I wiU not say disastrous, because I 
wish to soothe, rather than irritate, your tortured 
feelings. The incidents have been crowded, as 
in the last act of one of those dramas to which 
it was formerly your ambition to supply an 
epilogue. Why did that ambition ever become 
so unnaturally elevated ? Why was your Lord- 
ship not content to remain agreeable ? Why did 
you aspire to be great ? A more philosophical 
moderation would have saved you much annoy- 



ance and your country mucli evil ; yourself 
Bome disgraceful situations, perhaps some ludi- 
crous ones. "When I last addressed you, your 
position was only mischievous ; it is now ridi- 
culous. Your dark master, the Milesian. Eblis, 
has at length been vanq^uished by that justice 
for which he is so clamorous, and wliich he has 
so long outraged. The poisoned chalice of 
revolutionary venom which your creatures pre- 
pared for our august Senate, august althoug 
you are a member of it, has been ref! 
their own lips. The House of Lords, decried 
for its ignorance and inefficiency by adventurers 
without talents and without education, has 
vindicated its claims to the respect of the country 
for its ability and its knowledge. Held up to 
public scorn by your hirelings as the irrespon- 
sible tyrants of the land, a grateful nation recog- 
nises in the Peers of England the hereditary 
trustees of their rights and liberties, the guardians 
of their greatness, and the eloquent and un- 
daunted champions of the integrity of their 
empire. The greater portion of the nation has 
penetrated the superficial characteristics of Whig 
Machiavelism. Your hollow pretences all evapo- 
rated, your disgraceful manceuvrcs all detected, 
your reckless expedients all exhausted, we recog- 
nise only a desperate and long-baffied oligarchy, 
ready to sacrifice, for the possession of a power 



Bsee 
Rue 



which they are incompetent, the laws, the 

pire, and the religion of England. 

My Lord, it requires no prophet to announce 
that the commencement of the end is at length 
at hand. The reign of delusion is about to 
close. The man who ohtains property by false 
pretences is sent to Botany Bay. Is the party 
that obtains power by the same means to be 
saved harmless ? You have established a new 
colony in Australia ; it wants settlers. Let the 
Cabinet emigrate. My Lord Glenelg, with all 
his Canadian experience, will make an excellent 
colonial governor. And there your Lordship may 
hide your public discomfiture and your private 
mortification. And, indeed, a country where nature 
regulates herself on an exactly contrary system 
to the scheme she adopts in the older and more 
favoured world, has some pretensions, it would 
jseem, to the beneficial presence of your faction. 
iQ land where t)ie rivers are salt, where the 
[uadrupeds have fins and the fish feet, where 
everything is confused, discordant, and irregular, 
is indicated by Providence as the fitting scene of 
Whig government. 

The "Whigs came into oflSce under auspices so 
favourable, that they never could have been dis- 
lodged from their long-coveted posts except by 
their own incompetence and dishonesty. From 
cii-cumstances which it would not be difficult to 



explain, they were at once sanctioned by the 
King and supported by the people. In the 
course of five years they have at once deceived 
the sovereign and deluded the nation. After 
having reconstructed the third estate for their 
own purposes, in the course of five years a 
majority of the EngHsh representatives is arrayed 
against them ; wafted into power on the wings 
of the public press, dusty from the march of 
intellect, and hoarse with clamouring about the 
spirit of the age, in the course of fire years they 
are obliged to declare war against the journals, the 
faithful mirrors of the public mind. "With peace, 
reform, and retrenchment for their motto, in the 
course of five years they have involved ua in a 
series of ignoble wars, deluged the country with 
jobs and placemen, and have even contrived to 
increase the amount of the public debt. 

"What rashness and what cowardice, what 
petty prudence and what vast recklessness, 
what arrogance and what truckling, are com- 
prised in the brief annals of this last assault of 
your faction upon the constitutional monarchy 
of England ! Now hinting at organic changes, 
now whimpering about the pressure from witliout ; 
dragged through the mud on the questions of 
military discipline and the pension list, yet ready 
at the next moment to plunder the Church or 
taint the very fountain of justice ; threatening 



■^iscounf ^Tclbounte 



the Peers of England on. one day, and croucliing 
■oil the next hefore the Irish priests ! A few 
.onths back you astounded the public by 
announcing that you had purchased a Lord 
Chancellor at the price of three coronets.^ The 
cost has been considered not only exorbitant 
but unconstitutional : but the nation, wearied by 
your vexations delay of justice, was content to 
be silent, and awaited the anticipated presence 
of a Minos. You produced Cottenham. Moses 
and his green Kpect^acles was not in a more 
ludicrous position than your Lordship with your 
precious purchase. Yet this impotent conclusion 
was announced in January as a coup-d'eiat, and 
the people of England were daily congratulated 
on an arrangement now universally acknow- 
ledged as the most ridiculous act even of your 
administration. Moralists have contrasted the 

respective careers of the knave and the fool, and 

lave consoled humanity by the conviction that 
scoundrel in the long run is not more fortu- 
'nate than the simpleton. I leave this contro- 

'erted question to the fabler and the essayist ; 
man of the world, however, will not be 
Isurprised at the fate of a political party, the 

normity of whose career is only equalled by the 
of theu" conduct. 



' Tboae of Lady Stratbeden (wife of John, Lord Campbell) ; 
Bickerateth (Lord Langdale), and Pepys (Lord CottenLam). 



My Lord, the Whigs a century back or so 
were at least no fools. "When the Dukes of 
Somerset and Argyll attended a Privy CounciL 
without being summoned,^ and forced a dying 
Queen to appoint the Duke of Shrewsbur; 
Prime Minister, they did not perpetrate a greater 
outrage than the Whig leader, who, by virtue of 
a papist conspiracy, returned to the post from 
which he had been properly expelled, and 
became the Minister, not of the King's choice 
but of the King's necessity. These same Wlii| 
leaders, when thus unconstitutionally establishei 
in power, introduced the Peerage Bill, wliicli 
if passed into a law, would have deprived thi 
Sovereign of his prerogative of creating furthei 
Peers, and they remodelled the House of 
Commons by the Septennial Act. 

The Whigs in 1718 sought to govern tin 
country by ' swamping ' the Ilouse of Commons 
in 1836 it is the House of Lords that is to bi 



' See HuTiie, clmp. xi. par, 43. Queen Anne's life waa de) 
spaired of (July 30, 17H). 'Tiie Committee of the Cotmd! 
aaaembled at the Cockpit adjourned to Kensington. The Duke 
of Somerset and Argyll, informed of the desperate situation i 
which Khe lay, repaired to the palace, and without being si 
moned, entered the Council Chamber. The members were : 
prised at their appearance, but the Duke of Shrewabuiy th^ 
them for their readiness to give their assistaiioe at s""^ oriti J 
cal juncture, and desired they would take their places, 
Anne died in the morning of August 1. 



■gltscouni "gStelbourne 



Lpedl' In 1718 the coup-d'tftai was to 
prevent any further iacrease of the Lords ; in 
1836 the Lords are to be outnumbered : different 
tactics to obtain the same purpose — the estab- 
lishment of an oligarchical government by 
vii-tue of a Republican cry. "Where Argyll and 
Walpole failed, is it probable that Lord Mel- 
bourne and Lord John E,ussell will succeed ? 
The Whigs, a century back, were men of great 
station, great talents, great eloquence, supported 
by two-thirds of the nobles of the land ; by the 
Dissenters, because they attacked the Church, 
inasmuch as the Establishment, like every other 
national institution, is an obstacle to oligarchical 
power ; and by the commei-cial and ' moneyed 
nterest ' of the country, now, like every other 
terest of property, arrayed against them. And 
hat are you? Is it your eloquence, your 
owJedge, your high descent, and vast property, 
<r tlie following of your order, that introduce 
'ou into the King's Cabinet ? No, you are the 
lave of a slave, the delegate of a deputy, the 
!0ud-liand nominee of a power the most odious 
.nd anti-national in existence, foreign to all 
he principles and alien to all the feelings of 
iritona. My Lords, the popular and boisterous 
;ale that criginally drove your party into power 
las long s'nce died away, aud though some 
iccasional and fitful gusts may have deceiyed 



j'ou into believing that your sails were to be ever 
set and your streamers ever flying;, the more 
experienced navigators have long detected the 
rising of the calm yet steady breeze fatal to 
your course. It is a wind which may be de- 
pended on — a great monsoon of national spirit, 
which will clear the seas of those political pirates 
who have too long plundered us under false 
colours. 

And yet, my Lord, let us not part in anger. 
Yours is still a gratifying, even a great position. 
Notwithstanding all your public degradation and 
all , your private annoyances,' that man is surely 
to be envied who has it in hia power to confer 
an obligation on every true-hearted Englishman. 
And this your Lordship still can do ; you can 
yet perform an act which will command the 
gratitude of every lover of his country ; you can 
— Resign. 



Thej, 



Ma!/\5, 1836. 

' T!ie famoua case, Norton u. Lord Melbourne, 
much noise at this time, and was tried on June 2 
gave their verdict for Melbourae, and the Whiga i 
theii' assei-tion that Lord Grantleyhad pushed the matter 
political purposes. The vagaries of Lady Caroline Lamb 
heen a source of deep and bitter trouble, but they of course 
ceased ^^'ith her death in 1828. 




THE 



SPIEIT OF WHIGGISM 



s2 



[In the following pages Lord Beaconsfield expounds 
that theory of the English Constitution which he had 
previously set forth in his pamphlet * A Vindication of 
the English Constitution in a Letter to a Noble and 
Learned Lord/ The same theory is expounded in an- 
other way in the three great novels, ' Coningsby/ ' Sybil/ 
and * Tancred/ His contemporaries never seem to have 
understood it, while his assailants of a later date appear 
to have written and spoken concerning him in absolute 
ignorance of his real political creed. The concluding 
paragraph of the tract ought, in the minds of all candid 
men, to disperse at once and for ever the innumerable 
calumnies levelled at Lord Beaconsfield during and since 
the Reform struggle of 1859-1867.] 



r 




England has become great "by her institutions. 
ffier hereditary Crown has in a great degree 
nsured us from the distracting evils of a con- 
lested succession ; her Peerage, interested, from 
bhe vast property and the national honours of its 
nemhers, in the good government of the country, 
las offered a compact bulwark against the 
»mporary violence of popular passion ; her 
House of Commons, representing the conflicting 
sentiments of an estate of the realm not less 
privileged than that of the Peers, though far 
more numerous, has enlisted the great mass of 
the lisser proprietors of the country in favour of 
political system which offers them a consti- 
tutional means of defence and a legitimate 
method of redress ; her Ecclesiastical Establish- 
ment, preserved by its munificent endowment 
Erom the fatal necessity of pandering to the 
Brratic fancies of its communicants, has main- 
tained the sacred cause of learning and religion, 
md preserved orthodoxy while it has secured 
oleration ; her law of primogeniture has sup- 



M 



246 '^tfs Spirit of p^iggisttt 



plied the country with a band of natural and 
independent leaders, trustees of those legal 
institutions wliich pervade the land, and whicli 
are the origin of our political constitution. That 
great body corporate, styled a nation — a vast 
assemblage of human beings knit together by 
laws and arts and customs, by the necessities of 
the present and the memory of the past^-offers 
in this country, through these its vigornus and 
enduring members, a more substantial and 
healthy framework than falls to tlie lot of other 
nations, Our stout- built constitution throws off 
with more facihty and safety those crude and 
dangerous humoui's which must at times arise in 
all human communities. The march of revolu- 
tion must here at least be orderly. We are 
preserved from those reckless and tempestuous 
sallies that in other countries, like a whirlwind 
topple down in an instant an ancient crown, or 
sweep away an illustrious aristocracy. This 
constitution, which has secured order, has con- 
sequently promoted civilisation ; and the almost 
unbroken tide of progressive amelioration has 
made us the freest, the wealthiest, and the most 
refined society of modern ages. Our commerce 
is unrivalled, our manufacturers supply the 
world, our agriculture is the most skilftd in 
Christendom. So national are our institutions, 
so completely have they arisen from the tempei 



^e ^ptnl 



tggtsm 



and adapted themselves to the character of the 
people, that when for a season they were appar- 
ently annihilated, the people of England volun- 
tarily returned to them, and established them 
with renewed strength and renovated vigoury 

The constitution of England is again 
threatened, and at a moment when the nation 
is more prosperous, more free, and more famous 
than at any period of its momentous and memo- 
rable career. Why is this ? "What has occasioned 
these distempered times, which make the loyal 
tremble and the traitor smile? Why has this 
dark cloud suddenly gathered in a sky so serene 
and so splendid ? Is there any analogy between 
this age and that of the first Charles ? Are the 
same causes at work, or is the apparent similarity 
produced only by designing men, who make use 
of the perverted past as a passport to present 
mischief ? These are great questions, which it 
may be profitable to discuss and wise to study. 

Rapin, a foreigner who wrote our history,in the 
course of his frigid yet accurate pages, indulged 
in one pliilosophica! observation. Struck at the 
same time by our greatness and by the fury 
of our factions, the Huguenot exclaimed, ' It 
appears to me that this great society can only 
be dissolved by the violence of its political 
parties.' What are these parties? WTiy are 
they violent? Why should they exist? In 



^c gpirtJ of ^^iggtsm 



^ 



resolving these questions, we may obtain an 
accurate idea of our present political position, 
and by pondering over tlie past we may make 
that past not a prophecy as the disaffected intend, 
but a salutary lesson by which the loyal may 
profit. 

The two great parties into which England has 
during the last century and a half been tUyided, 
originated in the ancient struggle between the 
Crown and the aristocracy. As long as the 
Crown possessed or aspired to despotic power, 
the feeling of the nation supported the aristocracy 
in their struggles to establish a free government. 
The aristocracy of England formed the constitu- 
tion of the Plantagenets ; the wars of the Roses 
destroyed that aristocracy, and the despotism of 
tJie Tudors succeeded. Renovated by more than a 
century of peace and the spoils of the Papacy, the 
aristocracy of England attacked the first Stuarts, 
who succeeded to a despotism which they did not 
create. When Charles the First, after a series 
of great concessions which ultimately obtained 
for him the support of the most illustrious of his 
early opponents, raised the royal standard, the 
constitution of the Plantagenets, and more than 
the constitution of the Plantagenets, had been 
restored and secured. But a portion of the able 
party which had succeeded in effecting such a 
vast and beneficial revolution was not content 



If^e §pivit of ^^iggtsm 249 



to part witli the extraordinary powers which 
they had ohtained in this memorable struggle. 
This section of the aristocracy were the origin 
of the English Whigs, though that title was not 
invented until the next reign. The primitive 
"Whigs—' Parliament- men,' as they liked to call 
themselves, ' Roundheads,' as they were in time 
dubbed — aspired to an oligarchy. For a moment 
they obtained one ; but unable to maintain 
themselves in power against the returning sense 
and rising spirit of a generous and indignant 
people, they called to their aid that domestic 
revolutionary party which exists in all countries, 
and an anti-national enemy in addition. These 
were the English Radicals, or Root- and- Branch 
nen, and the Scotch Covenanters. To conciliate 
the firet they sacrificed the Crown ; to secure the 
jecond they abolished the Church. The con- 
btitution of England in Church and State was 
destroyed, and the Whig oligarchy, in spite of 
their machinations, were soon merged in the 
icommon i-uin. 

The ignoble tyranny to which this great 
nation was consequently subject produced that 
reaction which is in the nature of human affairs. 
The ancient constitution was in time restored, 
uid the Church and the Crown were invested 
ffith greater powers than they had enjoyed pre- 
iously to their overthrow. So hateful had been 



250 ^^e ^i^irit of ■^tiiggism 

the consequences of Whig rule, that the people 
were inclined rather to trust the talons of arbit- 
rary power than to take refuge under the wing of 
these pretended advocates of popular rights. A 
wortliless monarch and a corrupted court availed 
themselves of the offered opportunity ; and when 
James the Second ascended the throne, the nation 
was again prepared to second the ai-istocracy in 
a struggle for their liberties. But the Whigs 
had profited by their previous experiment : they 
resolved upon a revolution, hut they determined 
that that revolution should be brought about by 
as slight an appeal to popular sympathies as 
possible. They studiously confined that appeal 
to the religious feelings of the nation. They 
hired a foreign prince and enlisted a foreign 
army in their service. They dethroned James, 
they established themselves in power without 
the aid of the mass ; and had WiUiam the Thiri 
been a man of ordinary capacity, the constitu- 
tion of Venice would have been established ii 
England in 1688. William the Third told th< 
Whigs that he would never consent to be a Doge 
Resembling Louis Phihppe in his character 
well as in his position, that extraordinary princt 
baffled the Whigs by his skilful balance of parties; 
and had Providence accorded him an heir, it if 
probable that the oligarcbical faction would nevei 
have revived in England. The Wliigs have ever 



^^c gptril of iS^tggtsm sm 



¥ 



been opposed to the national institutions because 
they axe adverse to the establishment of an oli- 
garchy. Local institutions, supported by a landed 
.gentry, check them ; hence their love of central- 
.isation and their hatred of unpaid magistrates. 
An independent hierarchy checks them ; hence 
their affected advocacy of toleration and their 
patronage of the Dissenters. The power of the 
Crown checks them ; therefore they always 
labour to reduce the sovereign to a nonentity, 
and by the establishment of the Cabinet they 
have virtually banished the King from his own 
councils. But, above all, the Parliament of 
England checks them, and therefore it may be 
observed that the Whigs at all times are quarrel- 
ling with some portion of those august estates. 
They despair of destroying the Parliament ; by 
it, and by it alone, can they succeed in theii" 
objects. Corruption for one part, force for the 
other, then, is their motto. In 1640 they 
attempted to govern the country by the House 
of Commons, because the aristocracy was then 
more powerful in the House of Commons than 
in the House of Lords, wliere a Peerage, ex- 
hausted by civil wars, had been too libei-ally 
recruited from the courtiers of the Tudors and 
the Stuarts- At the next revolution which the 
Wliigs occasioned, they attempted to govern the 
country by the House of Lords, in which they 



^ite Spirit of ^^tflgism 



were predominant ; and, in order to guarantee 
their power for ever, they introduced a Bill to 
deprive the King of his prerogative of makina 
further Peers. The revolution of 1640 led to the 
abolition of the House of Lords because the 
Lords opposed the oligarchy. Having a majority 
in the House of Loi-ds, the Whigs introduced the 
Peerage Bill, by which the House of Lords would 
have been rendered independent of the sovr 
reign; unpopular with the country, the Whigs 
attacked the influence of popular election, and 
the moment that, by the aid of the most infamous 
corruption, they had obtained a temporary ma- 
jority in the Lower House, they passed the 
Septennial Act. The Whigs of the eighteenth 
century ' swamped ' the House of Commons ; 
the ^Vliigs of the nineteenth would ' swamp ' the 
House of Lords. The Whigs of the eighteenth 
century would have rendered the House of Lords 
unchangeable ; the Whigs of the nineteenth re. 
model the House of Commons. 

I conclude here the first chapter of the 'Spirit 
of Whiggism ' — a little book which I hope may 
be easily read and easily remembered. Tha 
Whig party have always adopted popular cries. 
In one age it is Liberty, in another Reform ; 
one period they sound the tocsin against popery, 
in another they ally themselves with papists. 
They have many cries, and various modes o£ 



^]^c Spirit of ^i^iggism 253 

conduct; but they have only one object — the 
establishment of an oligarchy in this free and 
equal land. I do not wish this country to be 
governed by a small knot of great families, and 
therefore I oppose the Whigs. / 



■^tje spirit of ^^iggism 



CHAPTER II. 

"When the "Whigs and their public organs favo 
us with their mysterious hints that the constitu 
tioii has provided the sovereign with a means it. 
re-estahliah at all times a legislative sympathy 
between the two Houses of Parliament, it may 
be as well to remind them that we are not in- 
debted for this salutary prerogative to the for- 
bearance of their party. Suppose their Peerage 
Bill had passed into an Act, how would they have 
carried the Reform Bill of 1832 ? The Whigs 
may reply, that if the Peerage Bill had become 
a law, the Reform Bill would never have beej 
introduced ; and I believe them. In that case 
the British House of Lords would have beei 
transformed into a Venetian Senate, and the old 
walla of St. James's might have witnessed scenes 
of as degrading mortification as the famous ducal 
palace of the Adriatic. 

George III. routed the Whigs, consolidated 
by half a century of power; but an ordinary 
monarch would have sunk beneath the Coalition 
and the India Bill. Tliis scheme was the last 



^^e ^pxxxi of ^^iggtsm 



desperate effort of the oligarcliical faction previous 

to 1830. Not that they were inactive during the 

reat interval that elapsed between the advent 

\ Mr. Pitt and the resurrection of Lord Grey : 

but, ever on the watch for a cry to carry them 

hto power, they mistook the yell of Jacobinism 

for the chorua of an emancipated people, and 

ncied, in order to take the throne by storm, 

tat nothing was wanting but to hoist the 

ricolour and to cover their haughty brows with 

I red cap. This fatal blunder clipped the wings 

' "Whiggism ; nor is it possible to conceive a 

barty that had effected so many revolutions and 

overned a great country for so long a period, 

nore broken, sunk, and shattered, more desolate 

nd disheartened, than these same Whigs at the 

teace of Paris. From that period till 1830, 

he tactics of the Whigs coasisted in gently and 

fradually extricating themselves from their false 

position as the disciples of Jacobinism, and 

jsuming their ancient post as the hereditary 

Tiardians of an hereditary monarchy. To make 

transition less dif&cult than it threatened, 

Jiey invented Liberalism, a bridge by which they 

Irere to regain the lost mainland, and daintily 

fecross on tiptoe the chasm over which they had 

iriginally sprung with so much precipitation. A 

lozen years of ' liberal principles ' broke up the 

lational party of England, cemented by half a 



266 ^I)e gpirii of ^fjtgfiiem 



century of prosperity and glory, compared wit! 
which all the aonalB of the realm are dim^ and 
lacklustre. Yet so weak intrinsically was th* 
ohgarchical faction, that their chief, despairing 
to obtain a monopoly of power for his party; 
elaborately announced himself aa the champior 
of his patrician order, and attempted to coalesce 
with the liberalised leader of the Tories. Ha^ 
that negotiation led to the result which 
originally intended by those interested, the Bioti 
of Paris would not have occasioned the Reforni 
of London. 

It is a great delusion to believe that revolu- 
tions are ever effected by a nation. It is a fae- 
tion, and generally a small one, that overthrow! 
a dynasty or remodels a constitution. A small 
party, stung by a long exile from power, and 
desperate of success except by desperate means, 
invariably has recourse to a coup-d'etat. Aji 
oligarchical party is necessarily not numerous. 
Its members in general attempt, by noble 
lineage or vast possessions, to compensate tot 
their poverty of numbers. The Whigs, in ISSOj 
found themselves by accident in place, but undei 
very peculiar circumstances. They were in place 
hut not in power. In each estate of the realm i 
majority was arrayed against them. An appeaJ 
to the Commons of England, that constituency 
which, in its elements, had undergone no altera* 



ge ^ptnt of 



^tflStsn 



M 



thei 

Heari 



in since the time of Elizabeth, either by the in- 
uence of the legislature or the action of time 
that constituency which had elected Pym, and 
lelden, and Hampden, as well as Somers, Wal- 
pole, and Pulteney— an appeal to this constitu- 
ency, it was generally acknowledged, would be 
fatal to the "Whigs, and therefore they deter- 
mined to reconstruct it. This is the origui of 
the recent parliamentary reform : the Whigs, in 
ilace without being in power, resolved as usual 
;pon a coup-d'Mat, and looked about for a stalk- 
ing-horse. In general the difficult task had 
devolved upon them of having to accomplish 
their concealed purpose while apparently 
bieving some public object. Thus they had 
■ried the Septennial Act on the plea of pre- 
serving England from popery, though their real 
object was to prolong the existence of the first 
House of Commons In which they could com- 
mand a majority. 

But in the present instance they became 
sincerely parliamentary reformers, for by par- 
liamentary reform they could alone subsist ; and 
all their art was dedicated so to contrive, that in 
this reformation their own interest should secure 
an irresistible predomtiiance. 

ow was an oUgarchical party to pre- 
iminate in popular elections ? Here was the 



5c5ptru of ■§3^tggt5m 



difficulty. The "Whigs had no resources froit 
their own limited ranks to feed the muster of th) 
popular levies. They were obliged to look aboqi 
for allies wherewith to form their new populaa 
estate. Any estate of the Commons modeUee 
on any equitable principle, either of property en 
population, must have been fatal to the Whiga \ 
they, therefore, very dexterously adopted a smaS 
minority of the nation, consisting of the seoi 
tarians, and inaugurating them as the people 
witli a vast and bewUdering train of hoeus-pocuS 
ceremonies, invested the Dissenters with politicai 
power. By this coup-d'etat they managed th 
House of Commons, and having at leng' 
obtained a position, they have from that momi 
laid siege to the House of Lords, with tl 
intention of reducing that great institution ai 
making it surrender at discretion. This is thfl 
exact state of English politics during the la^ 
five years. The Whigs have been at war wil 
the Enghsh constitution. Pirst of all the 
captured the King; then they vanquished th 
House of Commons; now they have laid sieg 
to the House of Lords. But here the fallacy 
their grand scheme of political mystificatioi 
begins to develop itself. Had, indeed, thei 
new constituency, as they have long impudentl 
pretended, indeed been 'the people,' a strugj 



between such a body and the House of Lore 
would liave been brief but final. The absurdity 
of supposing that a chamber of two or three! 
hundred individuals could set up their absolutel 
will and pleasure against the decrees of a legis- ' 
lative assembly chosen by the whole nation, iaj 
so glaring that the Whigs and their scribe»l 
might reasonably suspect that in making suchl 
allegations they were assuredly proving tool 
much. But as ' the people ' of the Whigs is in I 
fact a number of Englislimen not exceeding in.| 
amount the population of a third-rate city, the I 
English nation is not of opinion that this arrogant I 
and vaunting moiety of a class privileged for the 1 
common good, swollen though it may be by some I 
jobbing Scots and rebel Irish, shall pass off theirl 
petty and selfish schemes of personal aggrandise- ; 
ment as the will of a gi-eat people, as mindful of ] 
its duty to its posterity, as it is grateful for ' 
the labours of its ancestors. The English nation, 
therefore, rallies for rescue from the degrading 
plots of a profligate oligarchy, a barbarisingj 
sectarianism, and a boroughmongeriug PapacyS 
round their hereditary leaders — the Peers. Thai 
House of Lords, therefore, at this momenfi 
represents everything in the realm except thtff 
Whig oligarchs, their tools — the Dissentei-s, and 
their masters — the L:ish priests. In the mean- 
s2 



m ^i)c Spirit of iSl^iggism 

time the Whigs bawl aloud that there is a 
' collision ' ! It is true there is a collision ; 
but it is not a collision between the Lords and 
the people, but between the Ministers and the 
Constitution. 



l^ftc ^^^itii of iSl^iQQism sei 



CHAPTER III. 

It may be as well to remind the English nation 
that a revolutionary party is not necessarily a 
liberal one, and that a republic is not indis- 
pensably a democracy. Such is the disposition 
of property in England, that were a republic to 
be established here to-morrow, it would partake 
rather of the oligarchical than of the aristo- 
cratic character. We should be surprised to find 
in how few families the power of the State was 
concentrated. And although theframers of the 
new commonwealth would be too crafty to base 
it on any avowed and ostensible principle of 
exclusion; but on the contrary would in all 
probability ostentatiously inaugurate the novel 
constitution by virtue of some abstract plea 
about as definite and as prodigal of practical 
effects as the rights of man or the sovereignty 
of the people, nevertheless I should be astonished 
were we not to find that the great mass of the 
nation, as far as any share in the conduct of 
public affairs was concerned, were as completely 
shut out from the fruition and exercise of power 



262 %tt€ §pivit of ^^tggtstn 



as under that Venetian polity which has ever 
been the secret object of Whig envy and Whig 
admiration. The Church, under such circum- 
stances, would probably have again been 
plundered, and therefore the discharge of eccle- 
siastical duties might be spared to the nation ; 
but the people would assuredly be practically 
excluded from its services, which would swarm 
with the relations and connections of the sena^ 
torial class ; for, whether this country be governed 
only by the House of Commons, or only by the 
House of Lords, the elements of the single 
chamber will not materially differ ; and although 
in the event of the triumph of the Commons, the 
ceremony of periodical election may be retained 
(and wo should not forget that the Long ParUa- 
ment soon spared us that unnecessary form), the 
selected members will form a Senate as irre- 
sponsible as any House of Parliament whose 
anomalous constitution may now be the object 
of Whig sneers or Radical anathemas. 

The rights and liberties of a nation can only 
be preserved by institutions, j It is not the spread 
of knowledge or the march of intellect that will 
be found sufficient sureties for the public welfare 
in the crisis of a country's freedom. Our in- 
terest taints our intcUigence, our passions para- 
lyse our reason. Knowledge and capacity are 
too often the willing tools of a powerful fac- 



bsn 



!on or a dexterous adventurer. Life is short, 
,n is imaginative ; our means are limited, our 
lassions high. 

In seasons of great popular excitement, gold 
and glory offer strong temptations to needy 
abDity. The demagogues throughout a country, 
the orators of town-councils and vestries, and tlic 
lectm-ers of mechanics' institutes, present, doubt- 
less in most cases unconsciously, tlie ready and 
fit machinery for the party or the individual that 
aspires to establish a tyranny. Duly graduating 
in corruption, the leaders of the mob become 
the oppressors of the people. Cultivation of 
inteUoct and diffusion of knowledge may make 
the English nation more sensible of the benefits 
of their social system, and better qualified to 
discharge the duties with which their institutions 
have invested them, but they will never render 
them competent to preserve their liberties witli- 
out the aid of these institutions. Let us for a 
moment endeavoui" to fancy Whiggism in a state 
of rampant predominance ; let us try to contem- 
plate England enjoying all those advantages 
which our present rulers have not yet granted us, 
ind some of which they have as yet only ventured 
promise by innuendo. Let us suppose our 
ancient monarchy abolished, our independent 
hierarchy reducea to a stipendiary sect, the gen- 
tlemen of England deprived of their magisterial 



functions, and metropolitan prefects and sub-pre- 
fects established in the counties and principal 
towns, commanding a vigorous and vigilant police, 
ajid backed by an army under the immediate 
orders of a single House of ParUament. Why, 
these are threatened changes-^ay, and not one of 
them that may not be brought about to-morrow, 
under the plea of the ' spiiit of the age ' or 
' county reform ' or ' cheap government.' But 
where then will be the liberties of EnEcland ? 
Who lyill dare disobey London ?) the enlightened 
and reformed metropoHs ! And can we think, if 
any bold Squire, in -whom some of the old blood 
might still chance to linger, were to dare to 
murmur against this grinding tyranny, or appeal 
to the spirit of those neighbours whose predt 
cessors his ancestors had protected, can we flatter 
oui-selves that there would not be judges 
Westminster Hall prepared and prompt to inflict 
on him all the pains and penalties, the dungeon 
the fine, the sequestration, which such a trouble' 
some Anti-Eeformer would clearly deserve ? 
Can we flatter ourselves that a Parliamentary 
Star Chamber and a Parliamentary High Com- 
mission Court would not be in the background 
to supply all the deficiencies of the laws of Eng- 
land ? When these merry times anive — the 
times of extraordinary tribunals and cxtmordi- 
nary taxes — and, if we proceed in our present 



^^e gipirtl of "^B^iggism ses 

course, they are much nearer than we imagine — 
the phrase ' Anti-Reformer ' will serve as well as 
that of ' Malignant,' and beasvaUd a plea as the 
former title for harassing and plundering all 
those who venture to wince under the crowning 
mercies of centraKsation. 

Behold the Republic of the Whigs 1 Behold 
the only Republic that can he established in 
England except by force ! And who can doubt 
the swift and stem termination of institutions 
introduced by so unnatural and irrational a 
process. I would address myself to the English 
Radicals. I do not mean those fine gentlemen 
or those vulgar adventurers, who, in this age of 
quackery, may sail into Parliament by hoisting 
for the nonce the false colours of the movement ; 
but I mean that honest and considerable party, 
too considerable, I fear, for their happiness and 
the safety of the State — who have a definite 
object which they distinctly avow— I mean those 
thoughtful and enthusiastic men who study their 
unstamped press, and ponder over a millennium of 
operative amelioration. Not merely that which 
is just, but that which is also practicable, should 
be the aim of a sagacious politician. Let the 
Radicals well consider whether, in attempting to 
achieve their avowed object, they are not, in 
fact, only assisting the secret views of a party 
whose scheme is infinitely more adverse to their 



2m ^]^c ^pixH of ^^iQQi^m 

own than the existing system, whose genius I 
believe they entirely misapprehend. The mon- 
archy of the Tories is more democratic than the 
Republic of the Whigs. It appeals with a 
keener sympathy to the passions of the millions ; 
it studies their interest with a more compre- 
hensive solicitude. Admitting for a moment 
that I have mistaken the genius of the English 
constitution, what chance, if our institutions be 
overthrown, is there of substituting in their stead 
a more popular polity ? This hazard, both for 
their own happiness and the honour of their 
country, the English Radicals are bound to 
calculate nicely. If they do not, they will find 
themselves, too late, the tools of a selfish faction 
or the slaves of a stem usurper. 



^]^c §pxxit of ^i)iQQi^xn 267 



CHAPTEH IV. 

A CHAPTER on the EngKsh constitution is a 
natural episode on the spirit of Whiggism. There 
is this connection between the subjects — that 
the spirit of Whiggism is hostile to the English 
constitution.) No political institutions ever yet 
flourished which have been more the topic of 
discussion among writers of all countries and all 
parties than our famous establishment of * King, 
Lords, and Commons ; ' and no institutions ever 
yet flourished, of which the character has been 
more misrepresented and more misconceived. One 
fact alone will illustrate the profound ignorance 
and the perplexed ideas. The present Whig 
leader of the House of Commons, a member of 
a family who pique' themselves on their consti- 
tutional reputation, an author who has even 
written an elaborate treatise on our polity, in 
one of his speeches, delivered only so late as the 
last session of Parliament, declared his desire 
and determination to uphold the present settle- 
ment of the * three estates of the realm, viz. — 



^c giptrtt o| 



iQQtsm 



King, Lords, and Commons.' Now, his Gracious 
Majesty is no more an estate of the realm than 
Lord John Kussell himself. The three estates 
of the realm are the estate of the Lords Spiritual, 
the estate of the Lords Temporal, and the estate 
of the Commons. An estate is a popular class 
established into a political order. It is a section 
of the nation invested for the public and com- ■ 
mon good with certain powers and privileges. 
Lord John Eussell first writes upou the English 
constitution, and then reforms it, and yet, even 
at this moment, is absolutely ignorant of what 
it consists. A political estate is a complete and 
independent body. Now, all power that is, 
independent is necessarily irresponsible. The 
Bovereign is responsible because he is not an 
estate; he is responsible through his Ministers;' 
he is responsible to the estates and to them." 
alone. 

"When the "U'higs obtained power in 1830, 
they found the three estates of the realm opposed] 
to them, and the Government, therefore, couldi 
not proceed. They resolved, therefore, to re-, 
model them. They declared that the House of. 
Commons was the House of the people, and- 
that the people were not properly represented^ 
They consequently enlarged the estate of the: 
Commons; they increased the number of that 
privileged order who appear by their representa- 



I 



iaves in the Lower House of Parliament. Tliey 
-Tendered the estate of the Commons more power- 
ful l)y this proceeding, because they rendered 
them more numerous ; but they did not render 
their representatives one jot more the represen- 
tatives of the people. Throwing the Commons 
of Ireland out of the question, for we cannot 
speculate upon a political order so unsettled tliat 
it has been thrice remodelled during the present 
century, some 300,000 individuals sent up, at 
the last general election, their representatives to 
"Westminster. "Well, are these 300,000 persons 
the people of England ? Grant that they are ; 
grant that these members are divided into two 
equal portions. Well, then, the people of England 
consist of 150,000 persons. I know that there 
are well-disposed persons that tremble at this 
reasoning, because, although they admit its 
justice, they allege it leads to universal suffrage. 
We must not show, they assert., that the House 
of the people is not elected by the people. I 
admit it ; we must not show that the House of 
the people is not elected by tiie people, but we 
must show that the House of Commons is 
not the House of the people, that it never was 
intended to be the House of the people, and 
that, if it be admitted to be bo by courtesy, or 
become so in fact, it is aU over with the English 
constitution. 



270 ^]^c Spirit of iS^iggism 

It is quite impossible that a whole people can 
be a branch of a legislature. If a whole people 
have the power of making laws, it is folly to 
suppose that they will allow an assembly of 300 
or 400 individuals, or a solitary being on a throne, 
to thwart their sovereign will and pleasure. But 
I deny that a people can govern itseK. Self- 
government is a contradiction in terms. What- 
ever form a government may assume, power must 
be exercised by a minority of numbers. I shall, 
perhaps, be reminded of the ancient republics. 
I answer, that the ancient republics were as 
aristocratic communities as any that flourished 
in the middle ages. The Demos of Athens was 
an oligarchy living upon slaves. There is a 
great slave population even in the United States, 
if a society of yesterday is to illustrate an argu- 
ment on our ancient civilisation. 

But it is useless to argue the question ab- 
stractedly. The phrase ' the people ' is sheer 
nonsense. It is not a political term. It is a 
phrase of natural history. A people is a species ; 
a civilised community is a nation. Now, a nation 
is a work of art and a work of time. A nation 
is gradually created by a variety of influences 
— the influence of original organisation, of 
climate, soil, religion, laws, customs, manners, 
extraordinary accidents and incidents in their 
history, and the individual character of their 



%^e §pixH of ^l^iQQism an 

r 

illustrious citizens. These influences create the 
nation — these form the national mind^ and pro- 
duce in the course of centuries a high degree of 
civilisation. If you destroy the political insti- 
tutions which these influences have called into 
force, and which are the machinery by which 
they constantly act, you destroy the nation. The 
nation, in a state of anarchy and dissolution, 
then becomes a people ; and after experiencing 
all the consequent misery, Kke a company of bees 
spoiled of their queen and rifled of their hive, 
they set to again and establish themselves into 
a society. 

Although all society is artificial, the most 
artificial society in the world is unquestionably 
the English nation. Our insular situation and 
our foreign empire, our immense accumulated 
wealth and our industrious character, our pecu- 
liar religious state, which secures alike orthodoxy 
and toleration, our church and our sects, our 
agriculture and our manufactures, our military 
services, our statute law, and supplementary 
equity, our adventurous commerce, landed tenure, 
and unprecedented system of credit, form, among 
many others, such a variety of interests, and 
apparently so conflicting, that I do not think 
even the Abb6 Siey^s himself could devise a 
scheme by which this nation could be absolutely 
and definitely represented. 



^c spirit of ^^iggism ^ 



Thft framers of the English constitution wen 
fortunately not of the school of Abb6 Siey^s 
Their first object was to make us free; thei? 
next to keep us so. While, therefore, they 
selected equality as the basis of their social order, 
they took care to blend every man's ambition 
with the perpetuity of the State. Unlike the 
leyelling cquahty of modern days, the ancienl 
equality of England elevates and creates. Learned 
in human nature, the EngUsh constitution holda 
out privilege to every subject as the inducement 
to do his duty. As it has secured freedom, jus-^ 
tice, and even property to the humblest of the 
commonwealth, so, pursuing the same system 
of privileges, it has confided the legislature i 
the realm to two orders of the subjects — ordersj 
however, in which every English citizen may 
be constitutionally enrolled — the Lords and tha 
Commons. The two estates of the Peers are 
personally summoned to meet in their chamber : 
the more extensive and single estate of the 
Commons . meets by its representatives. Both 
are political orders, complete in their character, 
independent in their authority, legally irrespon- 
sible for the exercise of their power. But they 
are the trustees of the nation, not its masters; 
and there is a High Court of Chancery in the 
public opinion of the nation at large, which 
exercises a vigilant control over these privileged 



%^e §pirii of^^tggtsm srs 



r classes of the community, and to which they are 
equitahly and morally amenable. Estimating, 
therefore, the moral responsibility of our political 
estates, it may fairly be maintained that, instead 
of being irresponsible, the responsibility of the 
Lords exceeds that of the Commons. The House 

tof Commons itself not being an estate of the 
realm, but only the representatives of an estatSj 
owes to the nation a responsibility neither 
legal nor moral. The House of Commons is 
responsible only to that privileged order who 
are its constituents. Between the Lords and 
the Commons themselves there is this prime 

» difference — that the Lords are known, and seen, 
and marked ; the Commons are unknown, in- 
Visible, and unobserved. The Lords meet in a 
particular spot ; the Commons are scattered over 
the kingdom. The eye of the nation rests upon 
the Lords, few in number, and notable in posi- 
tion ; the eye of the nation wanders in vain for 
the Commons, far more numerous, but far less 
remarkable. As a substitute the nation appeals 
to the House of Commons, but sometimes appeals 
in vain ; for if the majority of the Commons 
choose to support their representatives in a course 
of conduct adverse to the opinion of the nation, 
the House of Commons will set the nation at 
defiance. They have done bo once ; may they 
never repeat that destructive career I Such are 
~ T 



^^ "^^c g^^irif of ^l^iggism 

our two Houses of Parliament — ^the most illus- 
trious assemblies since the Koman Senate and 
Grecian Areopagus; neither of them is the 
* House of the People/ but both alike represent 
the * Nation.* 



\)XQQX5m. 



CHAPTER V. 

Theeb are two propositions, which, however at 
the first glance they may appear to contradict 
the popular opinions of the day, are neverthe- 
less, as I believe, just and true. And they are' 
these : — 

Pirst. That there is no prohahility of ever 
establishing a more democratic form of govern- ^ 
ment than the present English constitution. 

Second. That the recent political changes of 
the Whigs are, in fact, a departure from the 
democratic spirit of that constitution. 

Whatever form a government may assume, 
its spirit must be determined by the laws which 
regulate the property of the country. You 
may have a Senate and Consuls, you may have 
no hereditary titles, and you may dub each 
householder or inhabitant a citizen ; but if the 
spirit of your laws preserves masaes of property 
in a particular class, the government of the 
country will follow the disposition of the pro- 
perty. So also you may have an apparent 
despotism without any formal popular control, 
t2 



and with no aristocracy, either natural or arti- 
ficial, and the spirit of the government may 
nevertheless be republican. Thus the ancient 
polity of Eome, in its best days, was an ai'isto- 
cracy, and the government of Constantinople is 
the nearest approach to a democracy on a great 
scale, and maintained during a great period) that 
history offei-s. The constitution of France 
during the last half century has been fast 
approaching that of the Turks. The barbarous 
Jacobins blended modem equality with the 
reliued civilisation of ancient France; the bar- 
barous Ottomans blended their equality with 
the refined civilisation of ancient Rome. Paris 
secured to the Jacobins those luxuries that their 
system never could have produced : Byzantium 
served the same purpose to the Turks. Both 
the French and their turbaned prototypes com- 
menced their system with popular enthusiasm, 
and terminated it with general subjection. 
Napoleon and Louia Philippe are playing the 
same part as the Soleimans and the Mahmouds. 
Tlie Chambers are but a second-rate Divan ; the 
Prefects but inferior Pachae : a sohtary being 
rules alike in the Seraglio and the Tuileries, and 
the whole nation bows to his despotism on con- 
dition that they have no other master save 
himself. 

The disposition of property in England throws 



I 

I 



the government of the country into the hantls 
of its natural aristocracy. I do not believe that 
any scheme of the suifrage, or any method of 
election, could divert that power into other 
quarters. It is the necessary consequence of our 
present social state. I helieve, the wider tlie 
popular suffrage, the more powerful would be 
the natural aristocracy. This seems to me an 
inevitable consequence ; but I admit this pro- 
position on the clear understanding that such an 
extension should be estabhshcd on a fair, and 
not a factions, basis. Hore, then, arises the 
question of the ballot, into the merits of which 
I shall take another opportunity of entering, 
recording only now my opinion, that in the 
present arrangement of the constituencies, even 
the ballot would favour the power of the natural 
aristocracy, and that, if the ballot were simul- 
taneously introduced with a fair and not a fac- 
tious extension of the suffrage, it would produce 
no difference whatever in the ultimate result. 

Quitting, then, these considerations, let us 
arrive at tho important point. Is there any 
probability of a different disposition of properly 
in England — a disposition of property which, by 
pi-oducing a very general similarity of condition, 
would throw the government of the country 
into the hands of any individuals whom popular 
esteem or fancy might select ? 



spirit of ^^iggistf 



It appears to me that this question can only be 
decided by ascertaining the genius of the English 
nation. What is the prime characteristic of the 
English mind ? I apprehend I may safely decide 
upon its being industry. Taking a general but 
not a superficial siu^ey of the English character 
since the Reformation, a thousand circumstances 
convince me that the salient point in our national 
psychology is the passion for accumulating wealth, 
of which industry is the chief insttTzment. We 
value our freedom principally because it leaves us 
unrestricted in our pursuits; and that reverence 
for law and all that is established, which also 
eminently distinguishes the English nation, is 
occasioned by the conviction that, nest to hberty, 
order is the most efficacious assistant of in- 
dustsy. 

And thus we see that those great revolutions 
which must occur in the history of all nations, 
when they happen here produce no permanent 
effects upon our social state. Our revolutions 
are brought about by the passions of creative 
minds talcing advantage, for their own aggrandise- 
ment, of peculiar circumstances in our national 
progress. They are never called for by the great 
body of the nation. Churches are plundered, 
long rebellions maintained, dynasties changed, 
parliaments abolished ; but when the storm is 
the features of the social landscape 



remain unimpaired ; there are no traces of the 
hurricane, the earthquake, or the volcano ; it has 
teen but a tumult of the atmosphere, that has 
■neither toppled down our old spires and palaces 
nor swallowed up our cities and seats of learning, 
nor blasted our ancient woods, nor swept away 
our ports and harbours. The English nation 
ever recurs to its ancient institutions — the insti- 
tutions that have alike secured freedom and 
order ; and after all their ebullitions, we find 
them, when the sky is clear, again at work, and 
toiling on at their eternal task of accumulation. 

There is this difference between the revolutions 
of England and the revolutions of the Continent 
— the European revolution is a struggle against 
privilege ; an English revolution is a struggle for 
it. If a new class rises in the State, it becomes 
uneasy to take its place in the natural aristocracy 
of the land : a desperate faction or a wily leader 
takes advantage of this desire, and a revolution is 
the consequence. Tlius the "Whigs in the present 
day have risen to power on the shoulders of the 
manufacturing interest. To secure themselves 
in their posts, the Whigs have given the new 
interest an undue preponderance; hut the new 
interest, having obtained its object, is content. 
The manufacturer, like every other Englishman, 
is as aristocratic as the landlord. The manu- 
facturer begins to lack in moyement. Under 



280 %6« Spirit of ^^iggtsm 

Walpole the Whigs played tJie same game with 
the commercial interest ; a century has passed, 
and the commercial interest are all as devoted to 
the constitution as the manufacturers soon will 
be. Having no genuine party, the Wltigs seek 
for succour from the Irish papists; Lord John 
Russell, however, is only imitating Pym under the 
same circumstances. In 1640, when the English 
movement wag satisfied, and the constitutional 
party, headed by such men as Falkland and 
Hyde, were about to attain power, Pym and his 
friends, in despair at their declining influence and 
the close divisions in their once unanimous Parlia- 
ment, fled to the Scotch Covenanters, and entered 
into a ' close compact ' for the destruction of 
the Church of England as the price of their 
assistance. So events repeat themselves ; but if 
the study of history is really to profit us, the 
nation at the present day will take care that the 
same results do not always occur from the same 
events. 

When passions have a little subsided, the in- 
di^trious ten-pounder, who has struggled into 
the privileged order of the Commons, proud of 
having obtained the first step of aristocracy, will 
be the last man to assist in destroying the other 
gradations of the scale which he or his posterity 
may yet ascend ; the new member of a manu- 
facturing district has his eye already upon a 



neighbouring park, avails Iiiinself of his political 
position to become a county magistrate, meditates 
upon a baronetcy, and dreams of a coroneted 
descendant. 

The nation that esteems wealth as the great 
object of existence will submit to no laws that 
do not secure the enjoyment of wealth. Now, 
we deprive wealth of its greatest source of enjoy- 
ment, as well as of its best security, if we deprive 
it of power. The English nation, therefore, in- 
sists that property shall be the quahficatSon for 
power, and the whole scope of its laws and customs 
ia to promote and favour the accumulation of 
wealth and the perpetuation of property. We 
cannot alter, therefore, the disposition of property 
in this country without we change the national 
cliai'acter. Far from the present age being hostile 
to the supremacy of property, there has been no 
period of our history where property has been 
more esteemed, because there has been no period 
when the nation has been so industrious. 

Believing, therefore, that no change will 
occur in the disposition of property in this 
country, I cannot comprehend how our govern- 
ment can become more democratic. The conse- 
quence of our wealth is an aristocratic constitu- 
tion ; the consequence of our love of liberty is 
an aristocratic constitution founded on an equal- 
ity of civil rights. And who can deny tliat an 



282 ^I>c ^pirif of ^f)ig^g^i5m 

aristocratic constitution resting on such a basis, 
where the legislative, and even the executive 
ofl5.ce may be obtained by every subject of the 
realm, is, in fact, a noble democracy ? The English 
constitution, faithful to the national character, 
secures to all the enjoyment of property and the 
delights of freedom. Its honours are a per- 
petual reward of industry ; every Englishman is 
toiling to obtain them; and this is the consti- 
tution to which every Englishman will always be 
devoted, except he is a Whig. /' 

In the next Chapter I shall discuss the second 
proposition. 



CHAPTER VI. 

s Tories assert that the whole property of the 
country is on their side ; and the Whigs, wring- 
ing their hands over lost elections and bellowing 
about ' intimidation,' seem to confess the soft im- 
peachment. Their prime organ also assures us 
that every man with 600^. per annum is opposed 
to them. Yet the Whig-Radical writers have 
recently published, by way of consolation to 
their penniless proselytes, a list of some twenty 
Dukes and Marquises, who, they assure us, are 
devoted to ' Liberal ' principles, and whose 
revenues, in a paroxysm of economical rhodo- 
montade, they assert, could buy up the whole 
income of the rest of the hereditary Peerage. 
The Whig-Radical writers seem puzzled to re- 
concile this anomalous circumstance with the 
indisputably forlorn finances of their faction in 
general. Now, this little tract on the ' Spirit of 
Whiggism ' may perhaps throw some light upon 
I this perplexing state of affairs. Por myself, I 
Duly a fresh illustration of the prin- 
ciples which I have demonstrated, from the 



whole current of our history, to form the basis of 
Whig poUcy. This union of oligarchical "wealth 
and moh poverty is the very essence of the ' Spirit 
uf Whiggism.' 

The English constitution, which, from the 
tithing-man to the Peer of Parliament, has thrown 
- the whole government of the country into the 
hands of those who are qualified by property to 
perform the duties of their respective offices, has 
secured that diffused and general freedom, with- 
out which the national industry would neither 
have its fair play nor its just reward, by a variety 
of institutions, which, while they prevent those 
who have no property from invading the social 
commonwealth, in whose classes every indus- 
trious citizen has a right to register himself, 
offer also an equally powerful check to the 
ambitious fancies of those great families, over 
whose liberal principles and huge incomes the 
Whig-Radical writers gloat with the aelf-eom- 
plaeency of lackeys at the equipages of their 
masters. There is ever an union in a perverted 
sense between those who are beneath power and 
those who wish to be above it ; and oligarchies 
and despotisms are usually estabhshed by the 
agency of a deluded multitude. The Crown, 
with its constitutional influence over the military 
services ; a Parliament of two houses, watclung. 
each other's proceedings with constitutional 



$Sc gpirtf of ■gB^iggtsm »» 



I 



I 



an independent hierarchy, and, not 
least, an independent magistracy, are serious 
obstacles in the progressive establishment of that 
scheme of government which a small knot ot" 
great families, these dukes and marquises, whose 
revenues according to the Government organ, 
could buy up the income of the whole peerage, 
naturally wish to introduce. We find, therefore, 
throughout the whole period of our more modem 
history, a powerful section of the great nobles 
ever at war with the national institutions ; check- 
ing the Crown; attacking the independence of 
that House of Parliament in which they happen 
to be in a minority, no matter which ; patronising 
sects to reduce the influence of the Church; and 
playing town against country to overcome the 
authority of the gentry. 

It is evident that these aspiring oligarchs, as 
a party, can have little essential strength ; they 
can count upon nothing but their retainers. To 
secure the triumph of their cause, therefore, they 
are forced to manoeuvre with a pretext, and while 
they aim at oligarchical rule, they apparently 
^vocate popular rights. They hold out, conse- 
quently, an inducement to all the uneasy portion 
of the nation to enlist under their standard ; they 
play their discontented minority against the pros- 
perous majority, and, dubbing their partisans 
• the people,' they flatter themselves that thoir 



projects are irresistible. The attacTi is unex- 
pected, brisk, and dashing, well matured, dexter- 
ously mystified. Before the nation is roused to 
its danger, the oligarchical object is often 
obtained ; and then the oligarchy, entrenched in. 
power, count upon the nation to defend them, 
from their original and revolutionary allies. If 
they succeed, a dynasty is changed, or a Parlia- 
ment reformed, and the movement is stopped ; if 
the Tories or the Conservatives cannot arrest the 
fatal career -which the Whigs have originally 
impelled, then away go the national institutions ; 
the crown falls from the King's brow ; the 
crosier is snapped in twain ; one House of Par- 
liament is sure to disappear, and the gentlemen 
of England, dexterously dubbed Malignants, or 
Anti-E^formers, or any other phrase in fashion, 
the dregs of the nation sequester their estates 
and install themselves in their halls ; and ' liberal 
principles' having thus gloriously triumphed, 
after a due course of plunder, bloodshed, im- 
prisonment, and ignoble tyranny, the people of 
England, sighing once more to be the English 
nation, secure order by submitting to a despot, 
and in time, when they have got rid of their 
despot, combine their ancient freedom with their 
newly-regained security by re-establishing thq 
English constitution. 

The Whigs of the present day have made 



fJieir JttBSB^i ie^sa ithe "moHjoiw wjih ^Aicir i^ouJl 
spinL IIkt lonne lAivA^ ssftcioMdoi XII «^ai)^^ 
ling tke l i in qri ga JDod m renDoddSins: llie Scud^ 
of finwmMwwL TSter kaTe moxiooi i3i^ H<»a9e of 
Lcxds, TiolendNr Mwaiwi tiie CIhikIi, soil mMiK 
stmcted Ae CkxpantasKBs. I skill tabe ibe itwd 
moBf; c umiip A e nHve meisiiPK wbidi tker kax^ 
soooeeded m euTTiiig, and wliidL w>»& u tik^ 
time rpftamlT tcit popular, and q^psKaitly ^ :ii 
Yeij democratic diaracter, — dieir R&nn <$f tribe 
House of Commons and their leoonstnokClMn <^ 
the nnmiripat c ur p ora ti on s- Let us see whedier 
these great measures haTe, m faci^ incnased l)i<e 
democratic dbaracter of our constitutioacNr noi: — 
whether ibej real an digarchical project^ cnt are^ 
in fact, popular concessions inevitablT ofl5ered bv 
the Whigs in iheir oligarchical career. 

The result of the Whig remodelling of the 
order of the Commons has been this — that it has 
placed the nomination of the GoTemment in tlio 
hands of the perish priesthood. Is that a gieat 
advance of public intelligence and popular 
liberty? Are the parliamentary nominees of 
M'Hale and Elehoe more germane to the feelings 
of the English nation, more adapted to represent 
their interests, than the parliamentary nominees 
of a Howard or a Percy ? This papist majority, 
again, is the superstmcture of a basis formed by 
some Scotch Presbyterians and some English 



Hvxt of l^l^iflgism 



DissenterB, in general returned by the small 
constituencies of small towns — classes whose 
niunber and influence, intelligence and wealth, 
have been grossly exaggerated for factious pur- 
poses, but classes avowedly opposed to the main- 
tenance of the English constitution. I do not 
see that the cause of popular power has much 
risen, even with the addition of this learen. If 
the suffrages of the Commons of England were 
polled together, the hustings-books of the last 
general election will prove that a very consider- 
able majority of their numbers is opposed to the 
present Government, and that therefore, lander 
this new democratic scheme, this great body of 
the nation are, by some hocus-pocus tactics or 
other, obliged to submit to the minority. The' 
truth is, that the new constituency has been so 
arranged that an unnatural preponderance has 
been given to a small class, and one hostile t» 
the interests of the great body. Is this more 
democratic ? The apparent majority in the: 
House of Commons is produced by a minority of 
the Commons themselves ; so that a small and 
favoured class command a majority in the House 
of Commons, and the sway of the administration, 
as far as that House is concerned, is regulated 
by a smaller number of individuals than thosa 
who governed it previous to its reform. 

But this is not the whole evil : this new classj 



^^c Spirif of i^i^iggism 2s?» 



with its mmatural preponderance, is a class 
hostile to the institutions of the country, hostile 
to the union of Church and State, hostile to the 
House of Lords, to the constitutional power of 
the Crown, to the existing system of provincial 
judicature. It is, therefore, a class fit and 
willing to support the Whigs in their feivourite 
scheme of centralisation, without which the 
Whi^ can never long maintain themselves in 
power. Now, centralisation is the death-blow of 
public freedom ; it is the citadel of the oligarchs, 
from which, if once erected, it will be impossible 
to dislodge them. 

But can that party be aiming at centralised 
government which has reformed the municipal 
corporations ? We will see. The reform of the 
municipal corporations of England is a covert 
•attack on the authority of the English gentry, — 
that great body which perhaps forms the most 
substantial existing obstacle to the perpetuation 
of Whiggism in power. By this democratic Act 
the county magistrate is driven from the towns 
where he before exercised a just influence, while 
an elective magistrate from the towns jostles him 
on the bench at quarter sessions, and presents in 
his peculiar position an anomaly in the constitu- 
tion of the bench, flattering to the passions, how- 
ever fatal to the interests, of the giddy million. 
Here is a lever to raise the question of county 

U 



reform whenever an obstinate shire may venture 
to elect a representative in Parliament hostile 
to the liheral ohgarchs. Let us admit, for the 
moment, that the Whigs ultimately succeed iu 
subverting the ancient and hereditary power of 
the English gentry. Will the municipal cor- 
porations substitute themselves as an equivalent 
check on a centrahsing Government ? Whence 
springs their influence ? From property ? Not 
half a dozen have estates. Their influence 
springs from the factitious power with which the 
reforming Government has invested them, and of 
which the same Government will deprive them 
in a session, the moment they cease to he corre- 
sponding committees of the reforming majority 
in the House of Commons. They will either he 
swept away altogether, or their functions will be 
limited to raising the local taxes which will dis- 
charge their expenses of the detachment of the 
metropolitan police, or the local judge or governor, 
whom Downing Street may send down to preside 
over their constituents. With one or two ex- 
ceptions, the English corporations do not possess 
more substantial and durable elements of power 
than the municipaUties of Prance. What check 
are they on Paris P These corporations have 
neither prescription in their favour, nor property. 
Their influence is maintained neither by tradition 
nor substance. They have no indii-ect authority 



^^c SpitU of i^^iggism :>^^i 



over the minds of their townsmen; they have 
only their modish charters to appeal to, and the 
newly engrossed letter of the law. They have 
no great endowments of whose public benefits 
they are the official distributors; they do not 
stand on the vantage-ground on which we recog- 
nise the trustees of the public interests ; they 
neither administer to the soul nor the body ; 
they neither feed the poor nor educate the 
young ; they have no hold on the national mind ; 
they have not sprung from the national cha- 
racter; they were bom by faction, and they 
will live by faction. Such bodies must speedily 
become corrupt ; they will ultimately be found 
dangerous instruments in the hands of a faction. 
The members of the country corporations will 
play the game of a London party, to secure 
their factitious local importance and obtain the. 
consequent results of their opportune services. 

I think I have now established the two 
propositions with which I commenced my last 
chapter : and I will close this concluding one of 
the ' Spirit of Whiggism ' with their recapitula- 
tion, and the inferences which I draw from them. 
If there be a slight probability of ever establish- 
ing in this country a more democratic govern- 
ment than the English constitution, it will be 
as well, I conceive, for those who love their 
rights, to maintain that constitution ; and if the