LORD ELLENBOROUGH'S DIARY
A POLITICAL DIARY 1828-1830 BY EDWARD LAW LORD ELLENBOROUGH
EDITED BY LORD COLCHESTER
IN TWO VOLUMES VOL. II.
LONDON RICHARD BENTLEY & SON, NEW BURLINGTON STREET Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen 1881
April 1, 1829.
The Duke of Wellington wrote to the King to ask if he had any objection to raising the galleries. He had none. So we sent for Sir T. Tyrwhit, and had him at the Cabinet dinner to ask him whether he could fix the galleries by four to-morrow. He said No. So we must do as we can.
Forty foreigners applied for seats to-day after four o'clock.
In the House I made the second reading of the Bills an order of the day at the desire of Lord Malmesbury and Lord Grey. It is more formal so, but the second reading might have been equally well moved without it.
Lord Grey said a few words on presenting a petition expressing a hope to be convinced on the subject of the Franchise Bill, but laying ground for voting against it. Lord Malmesbury likewise expressed himself against it. We shall be hard pushed on this Bill. The Duke says we have 122 sure votes and no more upon it.
The Bishop of Chester read prayers, his wife having died about ten days ago. Really some one of the other Bishops might have relieved him.
Lord Shaftesbury, in the absence of the Chancellor, sat as Speaker. I moved the bills pro forma for him.
At the Cabinet dinner at Peel's, Peel said the Bishop of Oxford was ready to speak at any time, and wished to follow a violent bishop. He may easily find one.
We had much talk about our approaching debates. Peel, after the Duke was gone, regretted his having taken the line of expressing his anxiety to relieve himself from the obloquy cast upon him, and his having put that desire forward as his reason for pressing the second reading of the Bill on Thursday. The Duke having said so, we could not back him out. We might avoid taking the same ground, but we could not alter it.
Aberdeen mentioned the case of the Candian blockade. I am sorry to see he does not communicate beforehand now with the Duke. He never looks forward to the ultimate consequences of his measures. Now he talks of convoying English ships to Candia, and telling them they may go there safely, and if stopped shall be indemnified. But if the English ship finds a Russian off Candia, and is warned off, yet persists, under the expectation of indemnity, we should be obliged to pay the indemnity. The Russians, having given warning, would be justified in taking the vessel.
So if we give convoy, and the convoy ship persists, we should come to blows. All these things should be foreseen. Aberdeen thinks Lieven is ignorant of Heyden's having had any orders. He excuses him as having acted in the spirit of the treaty, to avoid the effusion of blood!
One thing is clear; we cannot permit Russia, as a belligerent, to defeat the objects of the Treaty of London, and yet act with her under that treaty.
Second reading Catholic Relief Bill. The Duke made a very bad speech. The Archbishop of Canterbury drivelled. The Primate of Ireland made a strong speech, his manner admirable. Both these against. The Bishop of Oxford had placed himself at our disposal to be used when wanted. We put him into the debate here, wanting him very much. The first part of his speech was very indifferent, the latter excellent. Lord Lansdowne spoke better than he has done for some time, indeed for two years. The Bishop of London against us; but he made a speech more useful than ten votes, in admirable taste, looking to the measure as one to be certainly accomplished, &c. The Duke of Richmond spoke very shortly, but better than he has ever done, in reply. We adjourned at 1.
229 members in the House. Room for thirty more; the House not oppressively hot; numbers of women. The tone of the debate temperate.
A speech from the Bishop of Durham, full of fallacies and extravagant, but having its effect.
The Chancellor spoke admirably, endeavouring to bring up Eldon, but the old man would not move. He wanted more time to consider his answer, by which he will not improve it.
A speech from Goderich, very animated in his way, and very heavy. The House did not cheer him once. He pressed himself upon it with bad taste. He spoke upon all the collateral and unimportant points. He swung his arm about like a boy throwing a stone from a sling.
Lord Mansfield spoke, sleepily and ill-naturedly. I was exhausted, and could not have answered him, had he said anything worth answering.
We adjourned at two till one to-morrow.
House at 1. A long absurd speech from Lord Guildford, which must have given much pain to Lady Ch. Lindsay, who sat under the throne, and who must have been much annoyed at seeing to what her family had fallen. We had then Lord Lilford, who rested too much on his notes, but who has a good manner. He drew his points well, and spoke like a man, not like a boy.
Lord Tenterden was not powerful. Lord Grey spoke better than he has done since 1827. He made a speech too long, and indeed the last half-hour was of no use. He beat the brains out of the Coronation Oath, as an obstacle to Catholic Concession, and read a curious letter of Lord Yestor to Lord Tweddale, dated April, 1689, before William III. took the Coronation Oath, in which Lord Tester mentions that it was understood that the king had in council declared his understanding of the sense of the Coronation Oath— that it bound him in his executive capacity, not in his legislative. Lord Westmoreland made an odd, entertaining from its manner, and really very good speech. He supported the Bill.
Lord Eldon, who, after an ineffectual attempt on the part of Lord Redesdale to speak, followed Lord Grey, made a very weak, inefficient, powerless speech. He seemed beaten, and in some respects his memory had failed him.
Lord Plunket drew, with great power, a picture of the state of society in Ireland as affected by the laws. The whole of his speech was powerful.
His speech and Lord Grey's were excellent.
After a few sentences from Lord Farnham we divided.
Present for 149 Against 79 —— Majority 68 Proxies for 70 Against 33 —— Total Content 217 Not Content 112 —— Majority 105
This will quiet Windsor. The King was to have received a number of petitions to be presented by peers to-day. The Primate of Ireland was to have gone, and the Irish Bishops. The latter went. If they had not gone, the King would have made some excuse for not receiving them.
The majority must put an end to all agitation in England, and tranquillise Ireland. Indeed as regards this question Ireland is tranquil. The conduct of the Catholics has been as excellent as that of the Protestants. Hitherto the announcement of the measure has produced effects beyond what was anticipated from its adoption.
The Duke of Rutland, who was not expected, and indeed every doubtful vote was with us.
The Protestants are subdued.
Lord Grey's speech, but still more Lord Plunket's, will have a greater effect upon the public mind, than any which have yet been delivered.
Really it seems like a dream! That I should, if I lived, live to see this I did expect; but that I should see it so soon, and that I should happen to be a member of the Government that carried it, I did not expect. I must say with what delight I view the prospect of having Catholics in Parliament. I am sure it will do more for the happiness of Ireland, and for the strength of the Empire, than any measure that could have been adopted.
Dined with Lady Sandwich and met the Arbuthnots, with whom I had a long talk. She told me the Duke wanted to bring in Lord Chandos, by way of conciliating the Tories. She thought Lord Rosslyn ought to have the Privy Seal, and that, considering their late conduct, the Whigs should be preferred to the Tories, whom we should have at any rate. That it was enough not to punish them by depriving them of their offices.
In all this I agree. I think if the Duke should go to the Tories and turn his back upon the Whigs after what has taken place, he will make Opposition very acrimonious, and our debates very disagreeable.
I told her if the Privy Seal was to be a Tory, I thought the Duke of Richmond the best. He is the most popular man in the House of Lords, and a good debater. The Duke and Lord Bathurst say he is cunning; but as far as I can judge he acts fairly.
House. Second reading Franchise Bill. Opposed by the Duke of Richmond, Lord Malmesbury, Winchelsea, and Clanricarde. Lord Holland spoke in favour of the Bill as connected with the Relief Bill. The Whigs voted with us. Dudley spoke in favour, just to separate himself from the Canningites, for whom Haddington spoke, more reluctant than the Whigs.
Lord Winchelsea was very mad, wished to expel the bishops, to prevent translations, equalise their sees, &c. We had 139 to 19. The minority were—Dukes: Cumberland, Gloucester, Brandon, Richmond, Newcastle; Marquises—Salisbury, Clanrickarde; Earls—Winchelsea Malmesbury, O'Neil; Lords—Falmouth, Penrhyn, Boston, Grantley, Glenlyon; Earl Digby, Earl Romney.
The Duke goes to Windsor on Saturday to get the King to consent to give the Royal assent on Thursday, the day before Good Friday. The Duke of Cumberland has been mischievous at Windsor. The King fancies he is in the situation of Louis XVI. That he shall run down by Liberalism. The Duke of Cumberland swears he will turn us out, let who will be Ministers.
Lord Eldon and others opened afresh the question as to the principle of the Bill on the first clause. We divided with more than 2 to 1.
The Bishops and Lord Eldon got into a theological discussion.
The Chancellor made a strong attack upon Lord Eldon, who really spoke very childishly.
We had as many women as ever, but a new set, and some of the prettiest girls in London—Miss Bagot, Miss Sheridan, and others.
At Windsor, last Sunday, the Duke of Cumberland spoke very warmly indeed to Aberdeen about the Duke of Wellington. He said he had sat by us as our friend, till the King's Ministers joined in the hoot against him. (This was particularly Lord Bathurst, who shook his head at him and cheered offensively.) He seems in speaking of the Duke of Wellington to have used terms hardly to be expected.
He told the Chancellor to-day that he should, before the Bill passed, declare he never could again feel confidence in His Majesty's Ministers; that the country was ruined; and that he should leave it and never return.
The Chancellor told him he advised him not to make the last promise. I hope he will make it and keep it.
I observed him afterwards address the Chancellor very warmly, after he had attacked Eldon.
A man of the name of Halcomb has advertised for a meeting on Friday, on the road to Windsor, to carry petitions to the King.
Committee on Relief Bill. No division. Several amendments. Those of Lord Tenterden very silly.
I said a very few words twice.
The third reading is fixed for Friday. When the Duke of Cumberland heard the third reading fixed he left the House like a disappointed fiend. He did not take his hat off till he had got half-way down.
Lord Eldon seems quite beaten.
Lord Eldon went to Windsor to-day with petitions. Yesterday Lord Howe and three others went. I believe these peers have been: Duke of Newcastle, Kenyon, Rolle, Howe, O'Neil, Bexley, Winchelsea, Farnham, and six bishops.
Cabinet at 2. A meeting is advertised for to-morrow, to take place at Apsley House. Then to proceed to Slough or Salt Hill, or to Eton, to deliver there a petition to the Duke of Cumberland, who is then to present it to the King, and the people are to wait for an answer.
The Duke has written to the King, acquainting him with the plan, and advising His Majesty to refuse to receive the petition except through the hands of Mr. Peel.
Peel is going down to Windsor himself. The Duke writes to-night to tell the King he is going, and to repeat his advice of this morning as coming from the Cabinet.
If the King will not take Peel's advice we go out.
The Duke thinks the King will yield, and that the meeting will be a failure. So have I thought from the first. There is no agitation in London. No feeling, no excitement. The King will know Peel is coming in time to be able to inform the Duke of Cumberland, and prevent his setting out.
In the House about nine the Duke received a letter from Sir W. Knighton, informing him that he had no doubt the King would take his advice respecting the petitions. Eldon was there, and probably saw the letter.
House. Got through the report of the Franchise Bill. Third reading fixed for to-morrow. I had to say a few words.
April 11, 1829.
House. A long speech from Lord Eldon, containing no argument, and both flat and bad.
Then a speech from Lord Harrowby, long and sensible; but heavily delivered and not wanted. A long speech from Lord Lansdowne, still less wanted, and very dull.
The Duke was obliged to say something civil to the Whigs, but he did it sparingly, and contre coeur.
We had a majority of 104. The Franchise Bill was likewise read a third time.
The mutual congratulations were cordial. The House is in good humour again. All are glad to get rid of the question. The Duke of Cumberland, Falmouth, and Winchelsea, perhaps Kenyon, are lost to the Government, but no others.
Lord Middleton voted with us, having been against on the second reading. The Duke of Rutland against, having been with us before.
The Duke of Clarence was absent, being ill. He had fourteen leeches on his temples.
The House was full of ladies. Mrs. Fox, Lady Jersey, Lady Pitt and her daughters, Lady A. Brudenell, Lady Harrowby, Lady G. Wortley, Lord Eldon's daughters, Lady Glengall, Mrs. and Miss Sheridan, the old Duchess of Richmond, Lady Manners, Lady Rolle, Lady Haddington, and many others.
The intended row failed altogether. Only four carriages went down to Windsor. Halcomb and his two friends saw an equerry. They were told their petition must be presented through the Secretary of State, and went away quietly.
The Duke of Cumberland said he must withdraw his support from the Government; but he was temperate. In fact he was beaten.
The Duke of Norfolk was in the House, as happy as man could be.
Dr. Clarke and H. Fane both spoke of the Chancellor's speech in attack upon Eldon, as in bad taste and offensive. I shall endeavour to ascertain whether this is the general opinion. Not having heard Eldon, they cannot know how very mischievous and disingenuous he was.
Met the Lievens, Lyndhursts, Sir J. Murray, and others at dinner, at the Esterhazy's. The King has not yet sent back the commission to pass the Catholic Bill.
The Lievens are more shy of me than ever.
Lord Bathurst seemed to be much pleased with my idea of carrying on the Government of India in the King's name. He said it should be under a Secretary of State for India.
The Chancellor approved highly of my notion of suggesting Herries for the Government of Bombay, if the directors will not have Courtney. He is useless to us, and a discredit. Besides, we want his place.
Had some talk with Vernon at Lady Jersey's. He has the Canning venom about him still, and said we should still regret having lost Huskisson, &c.
I said NEVER. He was an able man, but he would never do as a member of a Cabinet in which he was not chief. The Government would not have lived if he had continued in. I told him I had become satisfied from my short experience that a coalition Government could not conduct the affairs of the country with advantage—especially where the difference was [blank].
The Duke of Cumberland is gone to Windsor. If the commission should not arrive to-night I dare say the Duke of Wellington will go to Windsor early to-morrow.
Lady Jersey was very loud in her dispraise of the Duke of Richmond. Every one who knows him says he is very cunning. There is a mixture of good and bad taste about him. He is popular, and he would make a good man of business.
April 13, 1829, Monday.
Chairs at 11. Informed them of Sir Sidney Beckwith's appointment to the command at Bombay.
Told them my general idea was that it was necessary to fix a Lieutenant- Governor at Agra. I showed them it could be done without expense. Sir Charles Metcalfe should be the person appointed, with precise instructions obliging him to a system of non-interference in the internal concerns of the Malwa and Rajpoot States. Sir J. Malcolm would have interposed.
The treaties with the Rajpoot States generally secure their internal independence. Those with the States of Malwa give us the right, and impose upon us the duty of supervision. It requires, therefore, a most delicate hand to bring the whole into one system animated by one spirit.
I said incidentally to-day, 'I will not sit here to sacrifice India to England,' a sentiment which escaped me, but which I feel to be correct, not only socially but politically.
Ashley came and bored me about a petition of some Hindoos and Mahometans in Calcutta, who wish to be grand jurors. I told him I could not proceed hastily in any matter of legislation, and that this was one of much delicacy. I should speak to Fergusson.
A Cabinet had been fixed for 3. I concluded it was on account of a delay on the King's part in giving the Royal assent to the Relief Bill. The Cabinet was counter-ordered, the Commission having arrived at two.
The Chancellor had sent a note to the King with the Bills, calling his attention to them. The King, on sending them back with the Commission signed, thanked the Chancellor for having called his attention to the Bills, and said he gave his assent reluctantly.
The Chancellor had sent a note last night to Watson, the Equerry, desiring him to remind the King of the Commission.
So at a few minutes before four to-day the Chancellor, Lord Bathurst, and I sat as Commissioners to give the Royal assent to the Relief Bill, and about thirty-nine others. So many had been kept back to force an early decision. The Indemnity Bill was one of the Bills, and the Militia Lists Bill another. There were thirteen peers in the House, and seven or eight more about. Lord Savoy, his son, young Lambton, Lady Petres, and her daughters, Mrs. Fox, and some other ladies were there—Lady Stanhope. The old Duchess of Richmond came too late.
I observed that in passing each other very close the Duke of Wellington and the Duke of Cumberland took no notice of each other.
Lord Durham said to me, 'Now the King will turn you all out in revenge as soon as he can,' to which I assented. He certainly will when he dares.
The Duke of Norfolk and Mr. Petres were in the House, giving and receiving congratulations. All parties congratulate the Duke. Falmouth alone still looks sad and sombre. The Duke of Wellington has a bad cold. He was very hoarse, and wrapped himself in his cloak as soon as he had done speaking.
Saw Mr. Fergusson respecting a petition from Hindoos and Mahometans at Calcutta, praying to be allowed to sit on grand juries. He thinks they should—as they are allowed to sit on petty juries. If the matter had been well considered, the privilege they now ask should have been granted before that they have obtained.
Mr. Fergusson is, however, rather afraid of allowing them to sit on the trial of Christians.
By the newspapers I see that there has been a quarrel at Teheran, between some of the Russian Ambassador's suite and the populace, which led to an attack upon the Russian palace, and to the death of the Ambassador and all his people except two. This is an unfortunate event, as it will give the Russians a new claim to indemnity, which they will exercise inexorably. Probably they will insist on the junction of Persia in the attack on Turkey, as the only satisfaction they can accept.
It is just possible that the example once given, and the people despairing of pardon, a rising against the Russians may take place, and something of a national feeling arise in Persia. But I fear this will not be the case. I suppose our Minister was at Tabriz.
The Duke was at Windsor to-day to ask the King's permission to restore the resigners. The King said he thought the Duke could not do better. He just mentioned Wetherell's name as if he thought he was to be excepted from the restoration, but desired to be certior-factus.
The King was cold. The Duke had to wait twenty minutes, the Duke of Cumberland being with the King. However, I believe this delay may only have originated in a necessary change of dress on His Majesty's part, as he was sitting for his picture in a Highland dress. The Duke saw a large plaid bonnet in the room, and he believes the King had still on plaid stockings. The business of the restoration was finished in ten minutes, when the conversation flagged, and the Duke was rising to go away.
However, something more was then said, and the interview in all lasted twenty minutes. The King said he was delighted with Lord Winchelsea. He was so gentlemanlike, and spoke in so low a tone of voice! He likewise thought Lord Farnham very gentlemanlike, and Lord Rolle more violent than any.
The Duke had to wait twenty minutes before he could see Lady Conyngham. They seemed to wish him not to see her. However, he did. She said all would have been quiet if the Duke of Cumberland had not come over, and all would be quiet when he went away. The King seemed relieved since the Bill was passed.
On his return the Duke sent for George Bankes and offered him his place again. Bankes asked two or three days to consider. The Duke gave him till to-morrow.
It seems he has now a notion that he owed his place not to the Duke but to some other influence. I think this has been insinuated to him since his resignation. The fact is otherwise. The King had mentioned Bankes for other situations, but not for the one he holds. On my return home I found Bankes had called upon me.
After dinner we considered whether the prosecution of Lawless for his conduct at Ballybeg should be persevered in.
Goulbourn, Peel, Lord Bathurst, Sir G. Murray, and I were for dropping it. I think the Chancellor inclined the same way. The Duke and the rest, Aberdeen being absent, were for going on.
I thought no benefit would be derived from success. Even success would revive feelings and recollections which are dying away, and which we wish to be forgotten. If we decline proceeding we can say we did so from the fear of exciting dormant passions. If we proceed, we shall have no excuse should we revive the memory of bad times.
Reference is to be made to Ireland to ascertain the feeling about it there.
Bankes came at twelve o'clock. He told me he had been with the Duke, and had received from him the offer of his old office. He had asked permission to consult one person, whose name he did not mention to the Duke,—it was the Duke of Cumberland. He had called at the Palace and found the Duke of Cumberland was at Windsor. He wanted to write to him to ask if he had any objection to his taking the office again.
Bankes said he had attended none of the meetings at Lord Chandos's. He had avoided as much as he could all communication with the Duke of Cumberland. He had fully determined not to take a part with any new Government which might be formed, unless it should clearly appear the King had been unfairly dealt by, or unless there should be an attempt to make peers to carry the Bill. The Duke of Cumberland had always said that he made him his first object, and he had reason to think that he had mentioned him to the King, and had been instrumental in his appointment. The Duke of Cumberland had desired him to come to him (during the Bill), and had apparently intended to name some particular office for him, but seeing his coldness had only sounded him, and had received the answer I have mentioned above.
The Duke of Cumberland had told him it was an understood thing that all were to be restored, and that he saw no reason why he should not take his office again.
This was ten days ago.
I told him I advised, if he thought it necessary to write to the Duke of Cumberland at all, that he should merely state his intention to take his office back again, refer to his conversation with the Duke himself upon the point, and add distinctly that, taking office, he could no longer have any communication on political matters with a person who had declared his hostility to the Government.
I advised him to send off his own servant on a post-horse at six o'clock to-morrow morning, with a letter to the effect I have stated to the Duke of Cumberland, and whether he received an answer or not, to go to the Duke of Wellington and accept at 12.
I advised him to tell the Duke the whole state of the case, and all he had done.
The Duke of Wellington did not seem by any means well to-day. He was blooded yesterday.
Cabinet at 3. It seems Bankes called on the Duke this morning, but he was engaged. I told him all that passed between Bankes and me last night. If Bankes should go out the Duke means to offer his place to Sir J. Graham.
We met upon foreign affairs. Aberdeen read his instructions to Gordon, who goes to Constantinople. They are unobjectionable.
We then considered what was to be done in consequence of this second violation of their word on the part of the Russians in blockading Candia.
Count Heyden has written two letters to Sir Pulteney Malcolm. In the first he justifies the blockade of Candia on the ground of its being necessary to protect the Morea from the Pacha of Egypt; in the second he rests it on the necessity of blockading the two extremities of Candia for the purpose of watching Constantinople.
We cannot permit the Russians to make fools of us in this way—to promise one thing as parties to the Treaty of London, and to do another as belligerents.
After the Cabinet I asked the Duke whether he still wished me to press Courtney upon the Directors. He said, Yes, he very much wanted his place. I said it had occurred to me that Herries might take the Governorship of Bombay. It did not seem to have occurred to him. He said he thought Herries would not go; but he evidently thought it would be a very good thing if he would.
The Duke said he wanted to have the places of Courtney and Sir G. Hill, and to bring in Lord Chandos and M. Fitzgerald. We mentioned Ashley. I suggested Ashley's going to the Treasury, and Sir J. Graham taking his place. This would, I dare say, be done, if we could get the place at the Treasury.
I have not as yet heard a surmise as to the new Lord Privy Seal.
Lord O'Neil has signed the Duke of Richmond's protest against the Franchise Bill. It is very hostile to the Government, and Lord O'Neil will probably be put out.
The Duke of Richmond has been very imprudent. Had he taken a moderate line he probably might have been Privy Seal. His time is now gone by.
Went by appointment to see Lady Jersey. Found there Duncannon and Lord Sefton. Duncannon talked big about O'Connell's power, and in the same sense in which he talked to Fitzgerald, wishing to induce the Government to let him take his seat. I said we could not. It depended not on us, but upon the law.
Lady Sefton came in afterwards for a few minutes, and Lord Rosslyn. Lady Jersey talked a great deal about the restoration, and feared the Whigs would imagine they were never to come in, and would form a violent opposition. She mentioned Mr. Stanley as being much annoyed, he having made a laudatory speech in favour of Peel.
I told her it would have been very harsh to have eliminated those who had taken office under the idea that the Government was rather against than for the Catholics, certainly neutral, and that it was a little unreasonable to expect others to be turned out to make way for new friends.
The Duke thinks he could not offer the Privy Seal to Lord Grey, but he would be conciliated by having a friend—that is, Rosslyn—in. If we could get Lord Beresford out, Lord Rosslyn would go to the Ordnance.
The Duke says the King would make it a point of honour to resist the introduction of Lord Grey, though in reality he was in communication with Lord Grey in 1820-21, after the Queen's trial, and then intended to bring him in and to turn out the then Ministers for the Milan Commission, he having been himself at the bottom of that Commission. The Duke, the only member of the Cabinet who was not mixed up with the Milan Commission, induced the King to give up his idea of making a change.
Bankes received a letter from the Duke of Cumberland, very long, and against his acceptance of office; but he begged Bankes to go down to see him and talk it over. He did so. Bankes told him he would not accept if he on consideration objected, but he was determined not to join any other Government. The Duke of Cumberland spoke of himself as having been ill-used by the Duke of Wellington. This was explained. The conference ended by the Duke of Cumberland's acquiescing entirely in Bankes's acceptance of office. Bankes saw the Duke of Wellington and detailed the whole to him.
Called on Sir H. Hardinge at Richmond. He told me the Duke had at first great reluctance to have anything to do with the Whigs. By his account he must have principally contributed to lead the Duke to adopt that view which he has now of admitting Rosslyn, &c.
The Duke of Norfolk called, and, not finding me, left a note begging me to ascertain privately from the Duke of Wellington whether the King would be pleased if the English Catholics presented an address to him thanking him for the Relief Bill.
Received a letter from the Duke of Wellington expressing a decided opinion against any address from the Roman Catholics. He says, 'Everything has been done that is possible to efface all distinctions between the King's subjects on the score of religion, and this with a view to the general benefit, and not to that of a particular body. I confess I shall think that this measure has failed in attaining its object if there should be any general act of a particular body.
'In respect to the King himself I am certain that the most agreeable thing to him would be that all should remain quiet.
'We must have no distinct body of Roman Catholics except in the churches and in affairs of religion. The less we act inconsistently with the principle the better.'
I so entirely agree in opinion with the Duke of Wellington that, having for my own amusement written an address for the Roman Catholics in the event of their making any to the King, the first sentence I imagined was this: 'The Roman Catholics of England approach your Majesty for the last time as a body distinct from the rest of your Majesty's subjects.'
I had a good deal of conversation as to the next Director. There are three city men candidates, but none are good—Lyall, Ellice, and Douglas.
Of Ellice no one knows anything. He is brother to the Ellice who married Lord Grey's sister. Lyall is, or was, Chairman of the Committee of Shipowners. Douglas is brother to Lord Queensbury. They say his is not a very good house.
Read the correspondence between the Duke and Lord Anglesey. Then read a memorandum of the Duke's in reply to one of Hardinge's on the subject of the discipline of the British army. Hardinge wished to introduce the Prussian [Footnote: Which did not include capital punishment. See Wellington Correspondence, vol. v. p. 932.] discipline into ours. The Duke shows that with our discipline we have more men fit for duty in proportion to our numbers than the Prussians in the proportion of two to one. That in Prussia the army is everything. There is no other profession. All are soldiers—the officer lives much with his men—they are always in masses, always in fertile countries.
In our service the worst men in the community enter the army. The officers are gentlemen. They cannot mix with the men. Without discipline our army would be inferior to others. It is not even now the favourite profession. There is much jealousy of it. It is not popular with the common people. It is difficult to find recruits even in times of distress.
I was in an army, the Duke concludes, which cannot be governed on the Prussian principle. You cannot treat the English soldier as a man of honour.
The Duke had been with the King, who was in very good humour. He had not, however, got to close quarters with him as to the changes.
Cabinet at 12. A letter has been received from Lord Heytesbury, from which it is clear that Russia will very soon resume altogether the exercise of her belligerent rights in the Mediterranean.
Nesselrode communicated to him the blockade of Candia. Lord Heytesbury only observed that 'it was a resumption of belligerent rights.' This Count Nesselrode did not deny, and he said they could not long remain in the false position in which they now were in the Mediterranean.
Count Heyden at the end of January blockaded Candia on pretexts arising out of the state of Greece. In three weeks from that time he rested his interception of the Egyptian vessels near Candia on the necessary exercise of his rights as a belligerent. Lieven, when first spoken to, disavowed Heyden. He now changes his tone, and it is evident that Russia now for the second time breaks her word. The French do not behave much better. They have 6,000 men in the Morea, and mean to keep them there notwithstanding their engagement to withdraw their troops as soon as the Egyptians were embarked. To be sure, they say if we insist upon it they will withdraw them.
I have always been for getting out of the treaty. We have been dragged along very unwillingly—we have been subjected to much humiliation. We seem to me to have gained nothing by all our compliances. We have been led on from the violation of one principle to that of another. Our position has discouraged Turkey. We have been made the tools of Russia, and have been duped with our eyes open. I think the sooner we get out of this false position the better, and there is no time so favourable for us to hold strong language as this, when by the settlement of the Catholic question we are really strengthened, and when all foreign Powers believe we are yet more strengthened than we are. The Duke is certainly for getting out. He has long wished it.
A paper of Peel's was read suggesting the difficulties in which we should still be placed by our moral obligation towards the Greeks, and by our reasonable fear that on the principles of the Greek Treaty, to which we have unfortunately given our adhesion, Russia and France may combine and make a partition treaty. My expectation is that Russia and France would soon quarrel, and I think I could before now have made them jealous of each other, but we have done nothing.
After much conversation, V. Fitzgerald agreeing with me and the others saying nothing, it was determined to insist upon the freedom of communication with Candia under the protocol, to insist upon the Greeks withdrawing from their advanced position near Prevesa under the protocol, and to insist likewise upon the withdrawing of the French troops from the Morea, according to the engagement.
I am not satisfied with this. Every part of our diplomacy has been unfortunate. We have succeeded in nothing. I predicted if we became engaged in the war, it would be ultimately on a little point and not upon a great one. Our diplomacy cannot be defended. It is our weak point.
House. All the Catholics there. Every good old name in England.
The Duke of Norfolk is much pleased with the Duke of Wellington's answer to his enquiry as to the propriety of addressing the King. I am going to send him the Duke's original letter as a record.
The King certainly received the Protestant peers, and particularly those who had been at Windsor, with great favour, and so the Bishop of Durham. The Duke of Cumberland stood at the King's left hand, and quizzed the people as they passed. He seemed rayonnant.
After dinner I had some conversation with Loch, the Chairman, as to governing India in the King's name. He does not positively object. I think I shall be able to carry that point. I consider it to be of the most essential importance.
Cabinet at 12. Determined to fund eight millions of Exchequer Bills. No taxes to be taken off or imposed. We had some conversation as to the East Retford question. V. Fitzgerald communicated a proposal from Littleton to propose the adjournment of all discussion upon the subject till next year, as it is evident nothing can be done this year. Littleton proposed this because he wished to disappoint the mischievous designs of some people. (Palmerston particularly.)
It was determined to adhere to the line taken by the Government last year— namely, to that of throwing East Retford into the hundred. The Duke was decidedly of opinion that whatever we did we should do from ourselves, and certainly not act in concert with an enemy. The Tories look to our conduct upon this question as the touchstone.
Drawing-room. The King, as yesterday, very civil to the Brunswickers and taking no notice of our friends. He took particular notice of the Brazilians. Madame de Lieven is endeavouring to form a Government with the Duke of Cumberland, the Ultra-Tories, the Canningites, and some Whigs.
The King is very Russian. I believe all this will end in nothing. The Chancellor thinks they may try to make a change when Parliament is up, and so have six months before them. They may think of it; but the only object of such a Government would be revenge. They cannot repeal the Relief Bill, nor do they wish to pursue a different line of policy either at home or abroad.
The foreigners think that having settled the Catholic question we are ready to draw the sword, and find a field of battle wherever we can. This the Russians are afraid of, and hence arises in some degree their wish to overthrow the Duke's Government; but the real foundation of all the Russian intrigues is Madame de Lieven's hatred for the Duke, and her rage at feeling she has overreached herself.
Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt was with the King for two hours to-day, the Duke of Cumberland being in the room and the King in bed. The King is very much out of humour, and abused everything and everybody. He is very angry at ladies being admitted to the House of Lords, and particularly at their going in such numbers the day the Duke of Norfolk took his seat. The Duke of Cumberland has sworn he will not leave England till he has turned out the present Ministers. He is the only colonel of the Horse Guards who ever does duty—Lord Cathcart being absent and Lord Harrington incapable. When he last got the gold stick from Lord Harrington he swore he would never let it out of his hands. As gold stick he ordered the gates of the Horse Guards to be closed the day of the Drawing-room, and thus obliged all the Ministers who dressed in Downing Street to go all round.
He told Clanwilliam to-day with great satisfaction that the King never could again be on good terms with his Ministers.
No arrangement is yet made with the Master of the Rolls. Everything waits for the legal promotions. The King will be delighted with Scarlett [Footnote: Sir James Scarlett, afterwards Lord Abinger.] as Attorney- General, and the Chancellor tells me Bickersteth is to be Solicitor. I recollect hearing of him at Cambridge. He is a very clever man and a good speaker. Tindal is of course to be Master of the Rolls. I am most anxious to give up the Privy Seal to Rosslyn.
Cabinet at 2. Decided the Government was to take the same line exactly this year as to East Retford (that is, as to giving the two members to the Hundred) that it took last year. However, as it is impossible to get any Bill through the Lords this year, Peel will be very willing to accede to any proposition for postponing the whole question till next session.
On the question of Irish Education and on that of the grant to Maynooth, the vote will be as before—it being said that the state of the session and the circumstances of the present period make it advisable that the question of any change should be deferred. Indeed, Ministers have not had time to consider it.
Many of Lord Anglesey's letters to Peel and of Peel's answers were read. We have a very strong case against him on his letter to Dr. Curtis, which by a letter from Dr. Curtis to the Duke we know Lord Anglesey directed Dr. Murray to publish if it could be done with Curtis's consent, and which Dr. Murray did publish without obtaining such consent.
Curtis's letter is dated January 2.
Lord Anglesey wrote to Curtis for the Duke's letter and his answer, and had them two days before December 23, the date of his letter to Curtis.
Peel thinks the East Indian Committee should not be refused. It is better for the East Indian Company that it should be granted than refused. I entirely coincide with him.
Coal Committee at 12. Met Lord Bathhurst, with whom I had some conversation as to the Duke's reading letters in answer to Lord Anglesey. He begged me to go to the Duke, and try to induce him not to do so. I found the Duke agreeing with me entirely as to the danger of the president, and disposed to read only what might be absolutely necessary.
Lord Anglesey brought forward his motion for 'the letter of recall.'
The Duke answered him, and so well that even Lord Holland could not say one word. So the thing ended.
The Duke had been assured by the King, and within the last fortnight the King had given the same assurance to Aberdeen, that Lord Anglesey had not permission to read confidential letters.
Lord Anglesey stated that he had the King's permission.
The Duke certainly seemed to contradict him.
Lord Londonderry threw a note over to me suggesting that the contradiction was so direct there might be an awkward explanation out of doors unless the thing were softened down.
I mentioned this to Lord Bathurst. He thought not.
However, when he replied, Lord Anglesey treated the contradiction as absolute, and Lord Bathurst told the Duke he must give some explanation, which the Duke did, saying he did not mean to accuse Lord Anglesey of declaring he had the King's permission when he had not, but only that he had reason to think he had not. In fact, the King, as we always thought, told the Duke one thing and Lord Anglesey another; and the only result of the debate is that the King is proved to have told a lie.
Lord Wharncliffe, who overtook me as I was riding home, considered Lord Anglesey to be blown out of water.
At Lady Brownlow's ball I talked with Lord Farnborough, Longford, and Beresford. All thought the reading of the letters should have been stopped, and that the Duke did wrong to read anything. We could not stop the reading of the letters when the King's permission to read them was stated distinctly by Lord Anglesey. The misery is that we have a lying master.
I called at the Treasury and saw the Duke. On the subject of what took place yesterday he said, that having received the King's commands to declare Lord Anglesey had not his permission to read the letters, he could not do otherwise than make the observations he did. The gravamen of the charge against Lord Anglesey as arising out of those letters is that in the last he declares his intention of using them as public documents; and this being the ground upon which the King had acquiesced in his being relieved, for the King to have afterwards permitted the reading of those letters would have been a withdrawal of confidence from his Ministers.
I met Lord Ravensworth and talked to him upon the subject. He seemed to be in a sort of alarm as to what took place yesterday. This is superfluous. The Duke's explanation that he did not mean to say Lord Anglesey had reason to think he was permitted to read those letters was quite sufficient. The Duke added that he had understood the contrary.
Lord Ravensworth seemed to think his Royal master came the worst off—which is true.
He told me the Duke of Cumberland had been abusing every one at Lady Brownlow's last night, and had declared, as he has before, that he would not go away till he had us out.
Lord Anglesey is reported to be very ill to-day.
Cabinet dinner at Sir G. Murray's. The Duke saw the King to-day. He was in good humour, and said the Duke was quite right in declaring Lord Anglesey had not his permission to read the letters. It seems the King said the same thing in the Duke of Cumberland's presence on Monday at dinner, and this made the Duke so very angry that evening.
We had a very good division last night on the Retford question. Almost all the Brunswickers voted with us—none against us.
In fact the Government is very strong.
There are disturbances at Manchester, which look rather serious.
Nothing in the House.
The meeting respecting the statue to the Duke of Wellington seems to have finished in detestable taste. Hunt proposing a vote of thanks to Lord Anglesey and O'Connell, and Lord Darnley! speaking for it. Both these said the Catholic Bill arose out of Lord Anglesey's Government. Lord Darnley repeated the same thing to me to-day in the House. I told him the contrary was the fact. That Lord Anglesey had placed the carrying of the question in peril—that without his recall it could hardly have been carried.
There have been serious disturbances at Manchester. The bakers' shops have been broken open and robbed, and money extorted by fear. This arises out of real distress; but it seems, as might be expected, that notorious thieves lead on the mobs.
The disturbances at Manchester have more the character of robbery than of riot. Baker's shops have been broken open and pillaged, and money has been extorted.
At Rochdale an attack was made on the military. They behaved with extreme forbearance; but at last fired, and killed and wounded many.
Dined at the Trinity House. Hardinge, whom I met there, told me Wood had been asked by Lord Mansfield to go to the Pitt dinner on the 28th. Wood said he did not know whether the Ministers would go or not. Lord Mansfield said, 'Why, you must know, it is understood that as soon as Parliament is up the Government will be changed. At this dinner we shall make such a display of Protestant force as will enable the King to take us as his Ministers.'
It is surprising to me that any able man as Lord Mansfield is should be so deluded by the lies of the Duke of Cumberland. The country is not agitated, it is not dissatisfied. It would repudiate, as an act of the basest treachery, such conduct towards a Government which had been permitted to carry a great measure, and which was displaced solely on grounds of personal pique.
Manchester and its neighbourhood more quiet.
Had some conversation with Peel about the next member for the direction. He inclines to Marryatt. Hardinge reported a communication from E. Ellice, who canvasses for his brother, Russell Ellice. E. Ellice offers some votes in the House of Commons if we will support his brother.
I believe E. Ellice would be a good man, but the brother is a nonentity. I said we must strike at the mass and not at individuals. We must gain the city by assisting a fit man on public grounds. Peel agreed in this sentiment. I am sure it is the only wise course for any Government to pursue.
Monday, May 11.
The King has got the habit of taking large doses of laudanum. He sent for the Chancellor yesterday, as usual, at two o'clock. When he got to the palace the King had taken a large dose of laudanum and was asleep. The Chancellor was told he would not wake for two or three hours, and would then be in a state of excessive irritation, so that he might just as well not see him.
The East Retford question was last night deferred till next session, so we may, I think, finish all our business by about June 10; that is really allowing full time.
O'Connell published yesterday an argument on his right to sit in the House of Commons in the shape of a letter to the members. At first Lord Grey thought it unanswerable (as founded on the provisions of the Relief Bill); but at night he told me he had looked into the Bill and found it certainly excluded him. A large portion of the letter is quite absurd, that in which he assumes a right to have his claim decided in a court of law. Parliament alone is by common law the court in which the privileges of its own members can be decided.
House. Lord Lansdowne put a pompously worded question as to our intentions with respect to the course of proceeding on Indian affairs.
I answered simply that we were as sensible as he was of the extreme importance of the question. That for my own part my mind was never absent from it, and that I had not been many days in office before I took measures for procuring the most extensive information, which would be laid before the House at the proper time. That the Government was desirous of forming its own opinion on the fullest information and with the greatest consideration; and that we wished the House to have the same opportunities. That I was not then prepared to inform him in what precise form we should propose that the enquiry should be made.
The Chancellor introduced the Bill for appointing a new Equity Judge, and separating the Equity Jurisdiction from the Court of Exchequer. The latter object, by-the-bye, is not to be accomplished immediately, but it is part of the plan opened. He soothed Lord Eldon by high compliments to his judicial administration and to the correctness of his judgments. The wonder of the day is that Lord Eldon should have lived to hear a Chancellor so expose the errors of the Court of Chancery as they were exposed by Lord Lyndhurst to-day.
Recorder's report. The King not well. He has a slight stricture, of which he makes a great deal, and a bad cold. He seemed somnolent; but I have seen him worse.
Before the Council there was a chapter of the Garter. The Duke of Richmond was elected. The knights wore their ordinary dress under the robe, which was short, and had no hats. The procession was formed by Garter. The Chancellor and Prelate of the Order and the Dean were present. It looked rather like a splendid funeral. The Duke of Cumberland took a great deal upon him.
Cabinet dinner at Vesey Fitzgerald's at Somerset House.
Much talk about Indian matters. Both Peel and Fitzgerald seem to be for Free Trade, and unreasonable towards the Company.
In the House of Commons yesterday the motion for a Committee on East Indian affairs was negatived without a division, but promised for early next session, and papers promised immediately.
Chairs at 11. We spoke of the Charter. They rather dislike the notion of using the King's name, and I fear Mr. Elphinstone and all the Indians will give their evidence against the change. I may be outvoted, but I shall not be convinced. [Footnote: This change was effected in 1858.]
Nothing political, except a grand dinner at the Duke of Norfolk's, given to the Duke of Wellington, which was very fine and very dull.
The Duke told me he had read the Persian papers. The Russians had brought it on themselves.
In the House of Commons last night O'Connell was heard at the bar. The debate seems to have been temperate. It was decided on a discussion, 190 to 116, that he must take the Oath of Supremacy.
At the office had some conversation with Mr. Leach as to the plan of governing India in the King's name—the Directors being made ex officio Commissioners for the affairs of India. He seems to have some prejudices against the plan, but he adduced no real objections. I have begged him to put on paper all the objections which occurred to him.
Wrote a long letter to Lord W. Bentinck on all subjects connected with the renewal of the Charter, and the general government of India.
Dined at the Freemasons' Hall with the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. There were present 200 persons. I thought they would be very hostile to a Minister. However, when my name was mentioned by the Bishop of Durham, as a steward, there was much cheering. The Bishop of London, who was in the chair, begged me to return thanks for the stewards, which I did. I spoke of course of the wish entertained by the Ministers that a Society might prosper the interests of which were so much connected with those of the Established Church—of their determination in their several departments to further its objects. It was the duty of us all as Christians, but more peculiarly that of the Ministers, to advance objects intimately connected with the individual happiness of the people and with the stability of the State. I said something too of the intrinsic strength of the Protestant Church—of its rising in proportion to the difficulties which might surround it, to the dangers—if dangers there were (the Primate had spoken of them)—of its security in the zeal and ability of its ministers, and in the purity of its doctrines.
On the whole I did well. I was loudly cheered—indeed, so much interrupted as to be enabled to think what I should say next.
Indian business in the morning—Coal Committee.
Dined at the London Tavern with the Directors, at what is called a family dinner, to meet Mr. Elphinstone, the late Governor of Bombay. He has been thirty-three years absent from England, having left it at fifteen. He is one of the most distinguished servants the Company has ever had. He seems to be a quiet, mild, temperate man. I had some conversation with him, and have fixed that he should come to the Indian Board on Tuesday. I wish to have his opinion as to the expediency of governing India in the King's name.
The Duke told Lord Bathurst and me the King had been very angry with him for going to the Duke of Norfolk's dinner, and now openly expressed his wish to get rid of his Ministers. The Duke wrote to the King and told him it really was not a subject he thought it necessary to speak to him about, that he dined with everybody and asked everybody to dinner, that had he known beforehand who were to dine with the Duke of Norfolk, which he did not, he could not have objected to any one of them. That the King himself had dined with the Duke of Norfolk. That most of the persons invited were either in his Majesty's service, or had been.
It seems the king desired it might be intimated to the Duke that he was much displeased at the dinner, and that he and Cumberland damned us all.
I told the Duke and Lord Bathurst what occurred at the dinner yesterday, with which they were much gratified.
Went to the Cabinet room at 2. Read papers, by which it seems that the Russian army is very little stronger than at the commencement of the last campaign, and that its materials are not so good. It has as yet no medical staff. The resources of the principalities are exhausted; the cattle of the peasants have been put in requisition; the ordinary cultivation of the land has been neglected. The river is worse than last year. There are reports of the successes of the Turks near Varna, and of that place being in danger.
The recruiting of the Turkish army goes on well.
House of Lords. The Chancellor's Bill, which creates a new Chancery judge. Opposition from Lord Eldon, Lord Redesdale, and Lord Holland, all saying they wished to see the whole plan before they agree to a part. Lord Tenterden approved of the making of the new judge, but wished his functions had been better defined.
The Duke of Cumberland said the Non-contents had it; but he said it too late, and his people did not wish to divide.
Lord Londonderry would have voted against us. I fear he is half mad. The House seems to treat him so.
The Chancellor told me the King did many things personally uncivil to the Duke. He did not ask him to dinner to meet the Duke of Orleans. He wishes to force the Duke to offer his resignation. This he is much too prudent to do upon a mere personal pique.
The King, our master, is the weakest man in England. He hates the Duke of Cumberland. He wishes his death. He is relieved when he is away; but he is afraid of him, and crouches to him.
In reality the King never was better satisfied than with his present Ministers. He knows they will not flinch—that he is safe in their hands.
In the House Lord Melville presented the petition of the City of London praying, if the House persisted in ordering the production of their accounts of property other than of a public nature, to be heard at the bar by counsel. He moved that this petition should be considered on Tuesday. It being expected that on Monday these very accounts would be produced in the committee, and thus the order of the House rendered unnecessary. In this we were beaten too. Indeed, our management under Lord Melville as Admiral does not answer.
We shall certainly lose the London Bridge Approaches Bill.
Dined at Lord Hill's. A party chiefly military.
Cabinet at Peel's at 11 P.M.
The arrangements determined upon. Lord E. Somerset to have Sir W. Clinton's office, and Trench Mr. Singleton's. Lord Rosslyn the Privy Seal. Lord Chandos was proposed, I should rather say suggested, but rejected immediately, as not of sufficient calibre for the Cabinet. Besides, his elevation for the purpose of holding the Privy Seal would offend the peerage, and be an insult to his father. It would not gain us the Brunswickers, and we should have the Whigs hostile. It would be saying to them, 'You shall never come in.'
Rosslyn's appointment will be most useful. He will be of value in the Cabinet and invaluable in the House. His accession will break the Whigs, he is so popular with everybody.
This is to be proposed to the King to-morrow. It is thought he will take no step without asking the Duke of Cumberland. He may refuse altogether. Then we go out. The legal arrangements cannot proceed, because Best [Footnote: Afterwards Lord Wynford.] communicated with the Duke of Cumberland and refused a peerage as the condition of resignation. Alexander would go if he could have his peerage and a pension. Leach will not go unless he is to have a peerage and a pension of 7,000L a year, a thing impossible.
Cabinet at 3. Waited a long time for the Duke. He came smiling and victorious. The King said he would manage Best. To Rosslyn he made some objection, and suggested Lord Dudley or Melbourne. This was referred to and rejected by such of the Cabinet as could be on a sudden collected at the Foreign Office. I was not there. I should certainly have rejected both, although very willing to have Dudley. The other would never have done. With Lord E. Somerset and Trench the King was well pleased. As the Duke left the room the King said, 'Come, you must acknowledge I have behaved well to you.' This he said frankly and good-humouredly. The Duke said, 'I assure your Majesty I am very sensible of it, and I feel very grateful to you.'
Having thus established ourselves as a Government we were going to break our necks by attempting to pass the Chancellor's Bill, which the House of Commons does not like. However, after a talk, it was resolved to give it up.
It seems the Tories have deserted us again. We are much in want of winter quarters.
In the House we had the City of London petition. I took a more active part than usual in the conversation.
Lord Rosslyn, having just lost his son, is gone to Tunbridge Wells, and the offer of the Privy Seal will be postponed till after to-morrow, when the King is to see Best at two, and it is hoped the Duke may be able to tell Rosslyn that Scarlett is to be Attorney-General.
The King sent Knighton for Chief Justice Best, and desired him not to tell the Duke of Cumberland; Best was sent for. So Best went, and accepted the terms offered. Thus we shall get Scarlett, and the King and the Duke be separated a little.
Yesterday the Duke of Wellington did his business with the King while the Duke of Cumberland was hearing a clause in the House of Lords. The Chancellor, knowing how the Duke of Wellington was occupied, kept the Duke of Cumberland as long as he could.
Committee on London Bridge. Lord Londonderry, who came from the review in his uniform just covered by a frock coat, spoke against time on a collateral point for an hour and a half, and disgusted the Committee.
London Bridge Committee. Lord Londonderry a little better than before, but not much. He is running down his character altogether. He has now formed an alliance with the Duke of Cumberland, and through him made his peace with the King. The Duke of Cumberland wishes to be reconciled to the Duke of Wellington. In the House of Commons there is a small Ultra-Tory party, not fifty. In our House I doubt whether there are twenty.
Chairs. Lord W. Bentinck seems to be so ill as to make it doubtful whether he can remain in India should he recover. The letter is dated January 27. He was then in danger. The vessel did not leave Calcutta till the 30th. The news then was that he was better, and had sat up for six hours. It was a coup de soleil.
London Bridge Committee.
The Duke showed me a letter from Lord Rosslyn, accepting most cordially the Privy Seal.
I suppose we shall have a Council on Monday, or on some early day next week, for me to give it up.
To the Cabinet room.
There is a report that Varna [Footnote: Varna was in the hands of the Russians, having been taken in the previous campaign.] is cernee by 40,000 men, Bazardjik taken, the Russians running from Karasan, and from 6,000 to 8,000 Russians, who had been thrown over the Danube at Hirsova, driven into it at Czernavoda by the garrison of Silistria. [Footnote: These reports seem to have been unfounded. Soon after this date the decisive battle of Kouleftcha opened to the Russians the road to Adrianople.] Clanwilliam wrote me he thought the Duke attached some credit to this last rumour.
News from Calcutta of February 1 states that Lord William Bentinck was then out of danger. Lady William, who was going to set off to join him, had determined to expect him at Calcutta.
Lord Rosslyn's appointment is in the newspapers to-day. The 'Times' highly delighted.
London Bridge Approaches Committee. Lord Londonderry very anxious to have an adjournment over the Derby; however, he must attend to 'the last concern.'
House. Anatomy Bill put off till Friday. The Bishops, Lord Malmesbury, and many others very hostile to it.
It seems certain that the Russians have recrossed the Danube. I am inclined to think they have been beaten.
The Bishop of Oxford is dead; a great Grecian is to succeed him.
The King is in excellent humour. The Duke of Cumberland rather going down.
We had some talk about the Anatomy Bill. The Duke is afraid of passing it. Indeed, it is not a Government measure. Probably it will be withdrawn for the year. The Bishops are very hostile to it.
London Bridge Committee from eleven till four. We made great progress in our evidence, and, indeed, nearly proved our case. From four to five we had a very painful discussion in consequence of some words which passed between Lord Durham and Lord Beresford. We succeeded at last in settling the difference.
Lord Beresford, having no good word at his disposal, said he did not second the evil deeds or improprieties of noble lords. He really meant irregularities, and irregularities only as a member of the Committee. Lord Grey was present and much distressed. The Duke of Wellington's authority induced both to become amenable to the wish of the Committee.
Anatomy Bill. Some talk; but a general agreement suggested by the Archbishop of Canterbury, that the Bill should be read a second time, and not proceeded with this session. The Duke of Wellington expressed his general approbation of the principle, but thought postponement desirable. He pledged himself to cooperate in bringing in a Bill on the same principle, and having the same objects, next year; but did not pledge himself to bring it in himself.
Cabinet at half-past three. First question: whether we should extend the time for putting an end altogether to the Brazilian slave trade from March 13 to September 13, 1830, for the equivalent of obtaining for ever the right to seize ships fitted up for the slave trade, whether they had slaves on board or not. The Brazilians have been encouraged by their Government to interpret the treaty as permitting the return of any vessels quitting the Brazils on slave expeditions before March 13.
Dr. Lushington, who was consulted by Aberdeen, seemed to think it was worth while to obtain the concession, but still seemed to think that by extending the time, we should permit the transportation of a very large number of slaves, of whom many might be destroyed by ill-treatment, and that it was hardly justifiable with a view to a distant advantage, to sacrifice immediately and certainly a great number of persons.
This prevailed—the real fact being that Peel does not like awkward questions in the House of Commons.
So the treaty remains as it is, and both parties will interpret it as they please. There will be many disputes, for the interpretation is very different.
Received a private letter from Colonel Macdonald at Tabriz, with copies of letters received by him from a gentleman he had sent to Teheran on hearing of the massacre of the Russian mission; and from another gentleman, travelling unofficially, who first heard the report between Tabriz and Kamsin.
These accounts only confirm what we had already heard of the arrogance and violence of the Russians. They deserved their fate.
Colonel Macdonald says that General Paskewitz cannot dispose of more than 25,000, or, at most, 30,000 men, although he has a nominal force of 110,000 men under his command.
Colonel Macdonald says there has been no serious resistance on the part of the Turks, except at Akhalsik.
He has done what he can to dissuade them from war with the Russians; but I think the universal feeling of the people will propel them.
The insurrection at Teheran appears to have been instigated by the Mollahs and the women, but it was evidently national, or it must have failed.
Council. Lord Winford kissed hands. He walked in with great difficulty on two crutches, which he placed behind him and so leant back upon. The King had a chair brought for him, and had him wheeled out. The man who pushed his chair very nearly shipwrecked him at the door.
The Attorney-General (Scarlett), [Footnote: Afterwards Lord Abinger.] the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas (Tindal), and the Solicitor-General (Sugden), [Footnote: Afterwards Lord St. Leonards. Lord Chancellor 1862. ] all kissed hands. The Chief Justice of the Common Pleas was sworn in as Privy Councillor. Lord Rosslyn was sworn in as Privy Councillor and Privy Seal. The King did not address a word to me, who gave up the seal, or to Rosslyn, who received it.
House. Nothing of moment.
Dinner at Lord Bathurst's. Lord Rosslyn dined here.
Aberdeen read a paper lately received from the Russians, in which they concede all we ask about blockades, &c., except as to the Gulf of Enos. The Duke says he shall bring Lieven to the point about this, and generally about their views. He feels the Government is stronger now than it was— that the country is stronger, and we may insist more. He says the question is, 'Shall we permit the ruin of the Turkish Empire?' I have long felt that to be the case, and to that I answer 'No.'
We had some conversation as to the charter. The Duke seems rather inclined to continue the name of the Company. I am for the name of the King.
The world has had imposed upon it a story of the Chancellor's selling his Church preferment. The 'Age' is to bring forward its charges on Sunday next. This is an arrow from the Cumberland quiver.
I mentioned Lord Clare's wish to look forward to the Government of Bombay or Madras to the Duke last night, and he did not by any means receive the proposition unfavourably. I told Clare so to-day.
Gaisford has refused the Bishopric of Oxford—wisely, for he was only a Grecian and had good preferment. He is a rough man too. I am glad he has refused it. I do not think mere Grecians good bishops.
Lord Clare told me Glengall was to be the new Irish peer.
Committee as usual. Lord Londonderry more insane than ever. The Duke said he had never seen anything more painful.
We made hardly any progress. The victory will belong to the survivors, and I do not think Lord Durham will be one of them.
House. Lord Londonderry made a foolish speech, and the Duke an excellent one, very severe upon him, and defending the City. If we do not get the City by this Committee the City is impregnable.
Hardinge told me Lord Grey seemed out of humour. I do not think he is in good humour.
At last some hope of a compromise respecting London Bridge.
The eternal Committee is, I trust, at an end. The agents have come to a compromise, and if the Common Council should confirm the terms, as I conclude they will, the thing will be at an end. We shall then have Parliament up by Monday or Tuesday next.
Cabinet dinner at Lord Melville's. The Duke was astonished at Lord W. Bentinck's strong and sudden step of transferring the Supreme Government pro tempore to Meerut. He said he always expected some wild measure from Lord W. Meerut was in too exposed a situation.
Twenty thousand Afghan horse might ride in upon the seat of government if placed in the north-west provinces. It is astonishing how much the Duke is prejudiced by his old Indian feelings. Whatever is he thinks best. Meerut is ill and absurdly chosen, but Calcutta is certainly the worst chosen seat of government.
We are to have a Cabinet on Saturday for the King's speech. On Monday or Tuesday Parliament will be up. On Wednesday we dine at the India House, and on the Monday following, the 29th, will be the fish dinner.
Called to compliment the Duke on the anniversary of Waterloo. Left with him Lord W. Bentinck's minute and despatch on transferring the Supreme Government Departments and all pro tempore to Meerut, and a proposed letter, censuring the Governor for having done this without previous sanction, and directing the members of Council and the Departments to return.
The Duke objects to any removal of the seat of government to the upper provinces. It would there be exposed to the sudden inroads of cavalry. In India a cloud of cavalry rises like a squall in the Mediterranean. At Calcutta the Government, protected by the rivers, is safe, and always accessible from England.
Rode to town. Met Rosslyn. He told me Lord Clanrickarde [Footnote: Lord Clanrickarde was son-in-law of Mr. Canning.] intended to make some observations on foreign policy this evening.
Had some conversation with the Duke. He doubted whether the Supreme Government could leave Calcutta and preserve its powers. I told him of the newspaper report of to-day that leases for sixty years were to be given to indigo planters, and this without any authority from home. He seems to have suspected from the first that Lord W. would do some monstrous thing, and certainly he does seem to be emancipating himself.
House. Lord Clanrickarde made his little speech. Aberdeen his. Then Lord Holland, and then the Duke. Afterwards Goderich. Lord Holland talked as usual very vaguely. No notice had been given, and few people knew there was anything to be done. So ends the House for this year.
June 20, 1829.
Cabinet. King's speech. Some time occupied in wording it, but no material alterations. Aberdeen's the worst part. The King is made to auspicate and to pray, but not to trust that the Franchise Bill and the Relief Bill will be productive of good.
The Chancellor has prosecuted the 'Morning Journal' for a libel accusing him of having taken money for Sugden's appointment as Solicitor-General. I heard him tell Lord Bathurst, with reference to another calumny against him, that he had fortunately preserved through his secretary the grounds on which he had given every living he had disposed of.
Had a visit from Loch. He wishes the despatch to Lord William to be worded more gently, as he thinks Lord William meant well. This shall be done.
Wrote draft paragraphs to the effect above stated to Lord W. Bentinck, and added a paragraph giving the Duke's reasoning against the removal of the Government from Calcutta to the north-west provinces.
I had some conversation in the House with Lord Lauderdale on China trade, &c. He seems friendly to the Company and to the Government.
Went to the House at 4. Found a good many peers there. By mere mistake a Bill, slightly and necessarily amended by the Lords, was not sent down to the Commons, although directions to that effect were given, and it by accident was placed amongst the Bills ready for the Royal assent. So it received the Royal assent. It became necessary to pass a Bill to make this Bill valid in law. Lord Shaftesbury thought our House ought to inform the Commons we had discovered the error; but the Speaker, [Footnote: C. Manners Sutton, afterwards Lord Canterbury.] to make a flourish, insisted on announcing it first to the House of Commons. All the steps to be taken were settled between the Speaker, Lord Shaftesbury, and Courtenay. When I went down I found it had not been settled that anything should be done first by us. I suggested that Lord Shaftesbury should acquaint the House with the circumstance, and that we should appoint a Committee to inquire before the message from the Commons came up. This was done.
We ordered a message to be sent, but before our messengers left the House we heard the Commons would not receive a message, so I moved that the order we had just made should be rescinded, and we had a second conference. The Commons were well satisfied with our reply. The last sentence had been, 'The Lords hope the Commons will be satisfied with this explanation.' As we in the first paragraph expressed our desire to preserve a good understanding between the two Houses, and in the second one regret that this mistake had taken place, I thought it was going too far to express a hope only that our explanation would be satisfactory.
We inserted 'the Lords doubt not,' instead of 'the Lords hope.'
At night received a letter from the Duke of Wellington, saying he thought we might get Courtenay to resign at once and get in Lord Chandos. I am to see him at ten to-morrow on the subject.
June 23, 1829.
Wrote early to the Chairs and begged them to come to me immediately. Sent Loch the Duke's note and told him why Lord Chandos's being brought in was of so much importance. Saw the Duke at 10. The King was very much out of humour yesterday. He wanted to make Nash a baronet. The Duke refused. The King then went upon his Speech, which he did not like and had altered. He left out the specific mention of the Relief and Franchise Bill, and there he was right, and he converted the prayer that the measure might tranquillise Ireland, &c., into a hope that it would—thus making it a little stronger, but that he did not know.
The Duke of Cumberland, on hearing of Castlereagh's appointment, said, 'Whoever ratted he would not,' alluding to Lord Londonderry, who has been nibbling at the Cumberland faction. However, Lord Londonderry is much annoyed at Castlereagh's taking office. He neither likes the expense of an election for Downshire, nor losing a vote he thought he could dispose of.
Hardinge will not sit again for Durham. Without Hardinge Lord Londonderry will have trouble enough there.
The King was much out of humour during the Chapter of the Garter, and said everything was done wrong.
Saw the Chairs. They had just got a letter from Sir John Malcolm, resigning from December 1, 1830. This would have been in any case a long time for Courtenay to wait out of office; but they said the idea of his being proposed had got wind, and several of the Directors were very adverse. Neither of the Chairs likes him, and if they supported him they would do it very reluctantly. As Loch goes out of office in April, and we cannot tell who will be deputy, and six new Directors come in, there really are not the means of saying to Courtenay, 'You are sure of your election,' and without this he could not be asked to resign.
I took the Chairs to the Duke. He received them very cordially, told them I had stated the circumstances to him, and he gave up the point.
We then talked of the legality of the removal of the Supreme Government from Calcutta. On looking into the acts it seems very doubtful whether any act done by the Governor-General in Council away from Calcutta would be valid unless it were one of the acts the Governor-General might do of his own authority. For instance, 'a regulation' issued by the Governor-General in Council at Meerut would not be valid, because the Governor-General alone could not issue one.
The Duke said Lord William did everything with the best intentions; but he was a wrong-headed man, and if he went wrong he would continue in the wrong line. Other men might go wrong and find it out, and go back; but if he went wrong he would either not find it out, or, if he did, he would not go back.
Sat as Commissioner to prorogue Parliament. The King's alteration in the Speech certainly made it better and stronger. He now expresses his sincere hope the measures of the session will produce tranquillity, &c. People thought the Speech rather short and jejune.
Dined at the 'Albion' with the Directors. The dinner was given to Lord Dalhousie. There were there the Duke, the Chancellor, Peel, Sir J. Murray, Lord Rosslyn and Goulburn, the Speaker, the Attorney General, Courtenay, Ashley, and Bankes; Duke of Buccleuch, Lord Camden, Lord Montagu, Lord Hill, Sir Herbert Taylor, Sir Byam Martin, Sir A. Dickson, Colonel Houston, Lord Dalhousie, and Sir Sidney Beckwith, and their aides-de-camp; a great many Directors, and in all rather more than 100 people.
The Duke, in returning thanks, spoke of the cordiality and good understanding existing between the Directors and the Government, which was never more necessary to the Company than now.
I said the good understanding would always exist while such men as Loch were in the chair, and while I was at the Board of Control. I paid a high compliment to Loch, and then congratulated them on the appointments of the two Generals. Their mildness of manner, their benevolence of character, and the goodness of their natures would obtain for them the affectionate devotion of a grateful soldiery, and, educated in a school of continued victories, they were the fittest leaders of an army which had never met an enemy it had not subdued. I ended by saying I was sure they would devote themselves to the maintenance under all circumstances, not only of the efficiency, but of an object which they would pursue with equal interest— of the happiness and well-being of the native army of India. I spoke rather well, was attentively heard, and well received. I sat by the Duke of Buccleuch. We had a good deal of conversation. He seems a fine young man. Lord Rosslyn complained he could never see a draft till it was a month old, and that there had been no new despatches placed in the boxes since he came into office. I told him no one complained more of the same thing than Aberdeen did when Dudley was in office, and I believe all Foreign Secretaries had a shyness about showing their drafts till they were sent off and unalterable.
At the office found a letter with enclosures from Colonel Macdonald, dated Tabriz April 20. What he has been doing in Persia I do not know.
I have written to him to call upon me on Saturday.
Called on the Duke to tell him the substance—which is, that the Turks have already 30,000 men and sixty pieces of cannon at Erzeroum. That a dispossessed Pacha is in arms at Akiska. That the Russians have reinforced the garrisons of Natshiran and Abbasabad, and have withdrawn all their troops to the left bank of the Araxes, with the exception of those who garrison Bayazid. The plague seems rife at Erivan. The Russians about Count Paskewitz abuse the English very much.
The Chairs told me Lord W. Bentinck had extended to all persons the benefit of the regulation as to coffee planters, omitting, however, all the restrictive clauses. They think very seriously of this, and very justly. The Calcutta newspapers consider the principle of colonisation to be conceded.
We must abrogate this 'Regulation' without loss of time. I went to the Duke to tell him of it. He said Lord W. Bentinck was not to be trusted, and we should be obliged to recall him. He is gone down in a steamboat to Penang.
No news of much importance at the Cabinet room, except that Lord Heytesbury's despatches confirm the account of the sickness of the Russian army.
The Turks seem to have given the Russians a great smash at Eski Arnaut.
A battle near Schumla between the Russians and Turks. The Turks were besieging Pravadi. Diebitsch marched from Silistria and moved upon their communications with Schumla. The Turks seem to have been surprised. They fought gallantly, however, and seem to have caused the Russians great loss.
Saw Arbuthnot. He came to the India Board to speak about his friend, Russell Ellice, whom he wishes to make a Director. We afterwards talked of the House and the Government. I think all will turn out well. We have six months before us, but certainly at present we are weak in the House of Commons, though I believe gathering strength in the country, and already very strong there. If we play the great game, striking at the mass, we must succeed. It would never do to go picking up individuals. We must do our best for the country, and we shall have it with us. The worst of it is, the King is the most faithless of men, and Cumberland is at work.
The Duke asked Hardinge the other day what he thought of the Government. He said he thought that by losing Canningites and Brunswickers it was fifty weaker than Lord Liverpool's, and these fifty go the other way, making a difference of one hundred on a division. Lord Camden thought if the Brunswickers would not come in we must get a few Whigs—Abercromby, Sir James Graham, the Althorpe people. Stanley would come for anything good, and Brougham too.
Arbuthnot asked me if I thought Lord Rosslyn would be cordial with us. I said Yes. His letter of acceptance was most cordial, and with the Lords he was on excellent terms. The only danger would be if Peel and the Commoners were shy.
Lord Grey, I said, I did not think in very good humour, but he would differ on foreign politics rather than on questions of a domestic nature. The Duke will not be coquetting with him, because he says very honestly he should be exciting expectations in Lord Grey which, while the King lives, he does not think he can gratify.
Saw Mr. Elphinstone by appointment. I wished to have his opinion with regard to the new settlement of Indian Government, which may take place on the expiration of the present Charter. He seemed to think that the Administration of the Government in the King's name would be agreeable to the Civil and Military Services, and to people in England. He doubted whether, as regarded the princes of India, it would signify much, as they now pretty well understood us. He doubted whether the orders of Government here would be better obeyed. He thought there might be an advantage in keeping the King's authority in reserve, to be used only on grand occasions. He confessed, however, that 'having been educated, and having lived under the existing system, he was not best qualified to propose to another. He had his prejudices.' He thought the best mode of arriving at the truth would be by taking the opinions of practical Indians as to reforms and alterations suggested by theoretical men.
I asked him to consider the expediency of dividing the territory as now into three unequal Presidencies, of giving to the Governor-General the labour of superintending the Administration in detail of the Bengal Presidency—of having Members of Council. I told him there were many minor points of detail discoverable only by those employed at home, which required and must receive amendment. Such, for instance, is the interpretation given to the Act of Parliament, by which a regulation must be sanctioned or rejected in extenso, there being no power to alter a word, or to reject part and take the rest.
Mr. Elphinstone seems to dread a long peace in India. We hold everything together by the Native Army, and we cannot retain that unless we retain the affections of the European officers. In the present state of our finances this is difficult.