The Greville Memoirs - A Journal of the Reigns of King George IV and King William - IV, Volume 1 (of 3)
by Charles C. F. Greville
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Transcriber's note:

In this work, all spellings and punctuation were reproduced from the original work except in the very few cases where an obvious typo occurred. These typos are corrected without comment.

In the original work, monetary pounds were expressed as an italicized "l." after the number. For the text version, I am using the more conventional L100 form for clarity.

In the original volumes in this set, each even-numbered page had a header consisting of the page number, the volume title, and the chapter number. The odd-numbered page header consisted of the year of the diary entry, a subject phrase, and the page number. In this set of e-books, the year is included as part of the date (which in the original volume were in the form reproduced here, minus the year). The subject phrase has been converted to sidenotes, usually positioned where it seemed most logical but occasionally simply between two paragraphs of the even-odd pair.

In the original book set, consisting of three volumes, the master index was in Volume 3. In this set of e-books, the index has been duplicated into each of the other volumes. To make the index easier to use in this work, the page number has been added to each Diary date.

* * * * *

The Greville Memoirs


By the Late CHARLES C. F. GREVILLE, Esq. Clerk of the Council to Those Sovereigns

Edited by HENRY REEVE Registrar of the Privy Council


Second Edition



The Author of these Journals requested me, in January 1865, a few days before his death, to take charge of them with a view to publication at some future time. He left that time to my discretion, merely remarking that Memoirs of this kind ought not, in his opinion, to be locked up until they had lost their principal interest by the death of all those who had taken any part in the events they describe. He placed several of the earlier volumes at once in my hands, and he intimated to his surviving brother and executor, Mr. Henry Greville, his desire that the remainder should be given me for this purpose. The injunction was at once complied with after Mr. Charles Greville's death, and this interesting deposit has now remained for nearly ten years in my possession. In my opinion this period of time is long enough to remove every reasonable objection to the publication of a contemporary record of events already separated from us by a much longer interval, for the transactions related in these volumes commence in 1818 and end in 1837. I therefore commit to the press that portion of these Memoirs which embraces the Reigns of King George IV. and King William IV., ending with the Accession of her present Majesty.

In accepting the trust and deposit which Mr. Greville thought fit to place in my hands, I felt, and still feel, that I undertook a task and a duty of considerable responsibility; but from the time and the manner in which it was offered me I could not decline it. I had lived for more than five-and-twenty years in the daily intercourse of official life and private friendship with Mr. Greville. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, to whom he had previously intended to leave these Journals, died before him. After that event, deeply to be regretted on so many accounts, Mr. Greville did me the honour to select me for the performance of this duty, which was unexpected by myself; and my strong attachment and gratitude to him for numberless acts of kindness and marks of confidence bound me by every consideration to obey and execute the wishes of my late friend.

In the discharge of this trust I have been guided by no other motive than the desire to present these Memorials to the world in a manner which their Author would not have disapproved, and in strict conformity with his own wishes and injunctions. He himself, it should be said, had frequently revised them with great care. He had studiously omitted and erased passages relating to private persons or affairs, which could only serve to gratify the love of idle gossip and scandal. The Journals contain absolutely nothing relating to his own family, and but little relating to his private life. In a passage (not now published) of his own writings, the Author remarks:—

'A journal to be good, true, and interesting, should be written without the slightest reference to publication, but without any fear of it: it should be the transcript of a mind that can bear transcribing. I always contemplate the possibility that hereafter my journal will be read, and I regard with alarm and dislike the notion of its containing matters about myself which nobody will care to know' (January 2nd, 1838).

These notes were designed chiefly to preserve a record of the less known causes and details of public events which came under the Author's observation, and they are interspersed with the conversations of many of the eminent men with whom he associated. But it must be borne in mind that they are essentially what they profess to be—a contemporary record of facts and opinions, not altered or made up to square with subsequent experience. Hence some facts may be inaccurately stated, because they are given in the shape they assumed at the time they were recorded, and some opinions and judgments on men and things are at variance (as he himself acknowledges and points out) with those at which the writer afterwards arrived on the same persons and subjects. Our impressions of what is passing around us vary so rapidly and so continually, that a contemporary record of opinion, honestly preserved, differs very widely from the final and mature judgment of history: yet the judgment of history must be based upon contemporary evidence. It was remarked by an acute observer to Mr. Greville himself, that the nuances in political society are so delicate and numerous, the details so nice and varying, that unless caught at the moment they escape, and it is impossible to collect them again. That is the charm and the merit of genuine contemporary records.

The two leading qualities in the mind of Mr. Greville were the love of truth and the love of justice. His natural curiosity, which led him to track out and analyse the causes of events with great eagerness, was stimulated by the desire to arrive at their real origin, and to award to everyone, with judicial impartiality, what appeared to him to be a just share of responsibility. Without the passions or the motives of a party politician, he ardently sympathised with the cause of Liberal progress and Conservative improvement, or, as he himself expresses it, with Conservative principles on a Liberal basis. He was equally opposed to the prejudices of the old Tory aristocracy, amongst whom he had been brought up, and to the impetuous desire of change which achieved in his time so many vast and various triumphs. His own position, partly from the nature of the permanent office he held in the Privy Council, and partly from his personal intimacies with men of very opposite opinions, was a neutral one; but he used that neutral position with consummate judgment and address to remove obstacles, to allay irritations, to compose differences, and to promote, as far as lay in his power, the public welfare. Contented with his own social position, he was alike free from ambition and from vanity. No man was more entirely disinterested in his judgments on public affairs, for he had long made up his mind that he had nothing to gain or to lose by them, and in the opinions he formed, and on occasion energetically maintained, he cared for nothing but their justice and their truth. I trust that I do not deceive myself in the belief that the impressions of such a man, faithfully rendered at the time, on the events happening around him, will be thought to possess a permanent value and interest. But I am aware that opinions governed by no party standard will appear to a certain extent to be fluctuating and even inconsistent. I have not thought it consistent with my duty as the Editor of these papers to suppress or modify any of the statements or opinions of their Author on public men or public events; nor do I hold myself in any way responsible for the tenor of them. Some of these judgments of the writer may be thought harsh and severe, and some of them were subsequently mitigated by himself. But those who enter public life submit their conduct and their lives to the judgment of their contemporaries and of posterity, and this is especially true of those who fill the most exalted stations in society. Every act, almost every thought, which is brought home to them leaves its mark, and those who come after them cannot complain that this mark is as indelible as their fame. The only omissions I have thought it right to make are a few passages and expressions relating to persons and occurrences in private life, in which I have sought to publish nothing which could give pain or annoyance to persons still alive.

It will be observed that these Journals begin in the year 1818, when Mr. Greville was barely twenty-four years of age, and indeed I possess some notes of an earlier period, which it was not thought desirable to include in this publication. At that age Mr. Greville had but a short experience of life, without the opportunities of information which he subsequently enjoyed; consequently the first two or three chapters of the first volume are of secondary interest, and the political value of the work begins with the retirement of Lord Liverpool. But it is by his own express desire that these chapters are retained to complete the series, and the particulars relating to the Duke of York and to the Queen's trial are not without interest. As the Author advanced in life his narrative increases in value both in substance and in style, and the most important portion of it is that which must at present be reserved for future publication.

Of the Author of these Journals it may suffice to say that Charles Cavendish Fulke Greville was the eldest of the three sons of Charles Greville (who was grandson of the fifth Lord Warwick), by Lady Charlotte Cavendish Bentinck, eldest daughter of William Henry, third Duke of Portland, K.G., who filled many great offices of State. He was born on the 2nd of April, 1794. Much of his childhood was spent at his grandfather's house at Bulstrode. He was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford; but he left the University early, having been appointed private secretary to Earl Bathurst before he was twenty.

The influence of the Duke of Portland obtained for him early in life the sinecure appointment of the Secretaryship of Jamaica, the duties of that office being performed by deputy, and likewise the reversion of the Clerkship of the Council. He entered in 1821 upon the duties of Clerk of the Council in Ordinary, which he discharged for nearly forty years. During the last twenty years of his life Mr. Greville occupied a suite of rooms in the house of Earl Granville in Bruton Street, and there, on the 18th of January, 1865, he expired. I was with him on the previous evening until he retired to rest; from that sleep he never woke.

No additions whatever have been made to the text of these Journals. The passages occasionally interposed in a parenthesis, at a later date, to correct or comment upon a previous statement, are all by the hand of the Author. So likewise are the notes distinguished by no mark. For the notes included in brackets [] the Editor is responsible.

Henry Reeve. October 1st, 1874

Contents of the First Volume


Queen Charlotte—Duchesses of Cumberland and Cambridge— Westminster Election—Contest between Sir Francis Burdett and Sir Murray Maxwell—London Election—Oatlands—The Duke of York—Duchess of York—Ampthill—Tixall—Mr. Luttrell—Lady Granville—Teddesley—Macao—Burleigh—Middleton—Lady Jersey— The New Parliament—Tierney and Pitt—Princess Lieven—Madame de Stael on the French Revolution—Westminster Election— Hobhouse Defeated—Scarlett's Maiden Speech—Influence of Party—Play—The Persian Ambassador at Court—Prince Leopold— Woburn—Anecdote of the Allies—Death of George III.—Illness of George IV.—Queen Caroline—Fleury de Chabaulon—The Cato Street Conspiracy—George IV. at Ascot—Marchioness of Conyngham—Queen Caroline in London—Message to Parliament— Debates—Insubordination in the Guards—Wilberforce's Motion— Proceedings against the Queen—'Les Liaisons dangereuses'—The Queen's Trial—The Duke of Wellington on the Battle of Waterloo and the Occupation of Paris. Page 1


Popularity of George IV.—The Duke of York's Racing Establishment—Clerk of the Council—Lord Liverpool and Mr. Sumner—Lady Conyngham—Death of Lady Worcester—Her Character—Ball at Devonshire House—The Duke of York's Aversion to the Duke of Wellington—The Pavilion at Brighton— Lord Francis Conyngham—The King and the Duke of Wellington— Death of the Marquis of Londonderry—His Policy—Sir B. Bloomfield sent to Stockholm—Mr. Canning's Foreign Secretary— Queen Caroline and Brougham—Canning and George IV.—Lord William Bentinck aspires to go to India—His Disappointment— The Duke of York's Duel with Colonel Lennox—George III.'s Will—George IV. appropriates the late King's Personal Property—The Duke of Wellington on the Congress of Verona and on the Politics of Europe—Intervention in Spain—Ferdinand VII.—M. de Villele—The Duke's Opinion of Napoleon—Sir William Knighton—The Duke of York's Anecdotes of George IV.— Death of the Marquis of Titchfield—His Character Page 43


The Panic of 1825—Death of the Emperor Alexander—The Duke of Wellington's Embassy to St. Petersburg—Robinson Chancellor of the Exchequer—Small Notes Bill—Death of Arthur de Ros—George III. and Lord Bute—Illness and Death of the Duke of York—His Funeral—Lord Liverpool struck with Paralysis—Rundell's Fortune and Will—Copley and Phillpotts—The Cottage—Formation of Mr. Canning's Administration—Secession of the Tories—The Whigs join him—Dinner at the Royal Lodge—Difficulties of Canning's Government—Duke of Wellington visits the King— Canning's Death—Anecdotes of Mr. Canning—Recognition of South American States—His Industry—The Duke of Wellington on Canning—Lord Goderich's Administration formed—The Difficulty about Herries—Position of the Whigs—The King's Letter to Herries—Peel and George IV.—Interview of Lord Lansdowne with the King—Weakness of the Government—First Resignation of Lord Goderich—Lord Harrowby declines the Premiership—Lord Goderich returns—Brougham and Rogers—Conversation and Character of Brougham—Lord Goderich's Ministry dissolved—Cause of its Dissolution—Hostility of Herries—Position of Huskisson and his Friends—Herries and Huskisson both join the New Cabinet Page 77


The Duke of Wellington's Administration—Huskisson's Speech— Irritation of Mr. Canning's Friends—Tom Duncombe's Maiden Speech—Mr. Huskisson resigns and the Canningites quit the Government—Princess Lieven hostile to the Duke—The Catholic Question—Jockey Club Dinner at St. James's—Lord Lyndhurst— Sir Robert Adair—Fox and Burke—Fox and Pitt—The Lord High Admiral dismissed by the King—Dawson's Speech on Catholic Emancipation—The King's Health—His Pages—State of Ireland— Marquis of Anglesey—O'Connell—His Influence in Ireland—Lord Belmore Governor of Jamaica—The Duke's Letter to Dr. Curtis— Recall of Lord Anglesey from Ireland—Causes of this Event— Excitement of the King on the Catholic Question—His Aversion to Sir William Knighton—Character of George IV.—Denman's Silk Gown—Pension to Lady Westmeath—Duke of Wellington on Russia— The Reis-Effendi—Duke of Northumberland goes to Ireland—Privy Council Register—State Paper Office—The Gunpowder Plot— Catholic Emancipation—Navarino Page 124


The Catholic Relief Bill—Inconsistency of the Tories—The Catholic Association—Dinner at Charles Grant's—The Terceira Expedition—Tory Discontent—Peel resigns his Seat for Oxford University—A Blunder in Chancery—The Oxford Election— Influence of the Duke of Wellington—Debate of Royal Dukes— Peel beaten—Sir Edward Codrington—Violence of the King— Intrigues to defeat the Catholic Bill—The Duke of Cumberland— Furious State of Parties—Matuscewitz—Peel's Speech on Catholic Emancipation—Exclusion of O'Connell from his Seat for Clare—Pitt's View of Catholic Emancipation—'Musae Cateatonenses'—'Thorough'—Mr. Lowther not turned out—Duke of Newcastle's Audience of George IV.—The King's Personal Habits—The Debate—Mr. Sadler—Hardness of the Duke of Wellington—His Duel with Lord Winchelsea—The Bishops and the Bill—Sir Charles Wetherell—The King on the Duel—Lord Winchelsea's Pocket-handkerchief—Debate on the Catholic Bill— The Duke of Richmond—Effects of Dawson's Speech on the King— The Bill in Jeopardy—Lady Jersey and Lord Anglesey—Lord Falmouth and Lord Grey—O'Connell at Dinner—The Duke breaks with Lord Eldon—Hibner the Murderess—Theatrical Fund—The Levee—The Duke's Carriage stopped—The King's Health—Lady Conyngham—O'Connell's Seat—Child's Ball at Court—Princess Victoria—Legal Appointments—Lord Palmerston on Foreign Affairs—The King and Lord Sefton—The King's Speech on the Prorogation—Madame Du Cayla—George IV.'s Inaccuracy— Conversation of the Duke of Wellington on the King and the Duke of Cumberland Page 166


The Recorder's Report—Manners of George IV—Intrigues of the Duke of Cumberland—Insults Lady Lyndhurst—Deacon Hume at the Board of Trade—Quarrel between the Duke of Cumberland and the Lord Chancellor—A Bad Season—Prostration of Turkey—France under Polignac—State of Ireland—Mr. Windham's Diary—George IV.'s Eyesight—Junius—A Man without Money—Court-martial on Captain Dickenson—The Duke and the 'Morning Journal'—Physical Courage of the King—A Charade at Chatsworth—Huskisson and the Duke—Irish Trials—Tom Moore—Scott—Byron—Fanny Kemble—Sir James Mackintosh—His Conversation—Black Irishmen—Moore's Irish Story—Moore's Singing—George IV. and Mr. Denman— Strawberry Hill—Moore at Trinity College—Indian Vengeance at Niagara—Count Woronzow—Lord Glengall's Play—The Recorder's Report Page 221


Chapter of the Bath—The Duc de Dino arrested—A Ball to the Divan—English Policy in Greece—Sir Thomas Lawrence— Gallatin—Court of King's Bench—Accident to the Grand Duke Constantine—Osterley—Young Sidney Herbert—Duke of Wellington in Office—Stapleton's 'Life of Canning'—Death of Sir Thomas Lawrence—Leopold and the Throne of Greece—Canning's Answers to Lord Grey—Distressed State of the Country—Canning's Greatness and his Failings—Death of Tierney—Sir Martin Shee President—The Duke of Wellington's Views and Conduct—The coming Session—Moore's 'Life of Byron'—Character of Byron— Opening of Parliament—The Fire King—The Duke of Wellington's Speaking—The English Opera House burnt down—Lord Thurlow on Kenyon and Buller—Old Rothschild—Lansdowne House—Earl Stanhope—John Murray—Departure for Italy Page 254


Calais—Beau Brummell—Paris—The Polignac Ministry—Polignac and Charles X.—The Duke of Orleans—State of Parties—Talleyrand— Lyons—First Impressions of Mountain Scenery—Mont Cenis— Turin—Marengo—Genoa—Road to Florence—Pisa—Florence—Lord and Lady Burghersh—Thorwaldsen—Lord Cochrane—Rome—St. Peter's—Frascati—Grotto Ferrata—Queen Hortense and Louis Napoleon—Coliseum—Death of Lady Northampton—The Moses— Gardens—Palm Sunday—Sistine Chapel—The Cardinals—Popes— Cardinal Albani—The Farnese Palace—A Dead Cardinal—Pasquin— Statue of Pompey—Galleries and Catacombs—Bunsen—The Papal Benediction—Ceremonies of the Holy Week—The Grand Penitentiary—A Confession—Protestant Cemetery—Illumination of St. Peter's—Torlonia—Bunsen on the Forum Page 282


Lake of Albano—Velletri—Naples—Rapid Travelling in 1830—A Trial at Naples—Deciphering Manuscripts—Ball at the Duchesse d'Eboli's—Matteis's Plot and Trial—Pompeii—Taking the Veil— Pausilippo—Baiae—La Cava—Salerno—Paestum—Lazaroni—Museum of Naples—Grotto del Cane—The Camaldoli—Herculaneum— Vesuvius—Sorrento—Miracle of St. Januarius—Astroni—Farewell to Naples Page 331


Moladi Gaeta—Capua—Lines on leaving Naples—Return to Rome—The Aqueducts—'Domine, quo vadis?'—St. Peter's—The Scala Santa— Reasons in Favour of San Gennaro—Ascent of St. Peter's— Library of the Vatican—A racing ex voto—Illness of George IV.—Approaching Coup d'Etat in France—The Villa Mills—The Malaria—Duc and Duchesse de Dalberg—The Emperor Nicholas on his Accession—Cardinal Albani—A Columbarium—Maii—Sir William Gell—Tivoli—Hadrian's Villa—The Adventures of Miss Kelly and Mr. Swift—Audience of the Pope—Gibson's Studio—End of Miss Kelly's Marriage—A Great Function—The Jesuits— Saint-making—San Lorenzo in Lucina—The Flagellants—Statues by Torchlight—Bunsen on the State of Rome—Frascati—Relations of Protestant States with Rome—The French Ministry—M. de Villele—The Coliseum—Excommunication of a Thief—The Passionists—The Corpus Domini—A Rash Marriage—Farewell to Rome—Falls of Terni—Statue at Pratolino—Bologna— Mezzofanti—Ferrara—Venice—Padua—Vicenza—Brescia—Verona— Milan—Lago Maggiore—The Simplon—Geneva—Paris Page 350


Mr. Greville's Connexion with the Turf.



Queen Charlotte—Duchesses of Cumberland and Cambridge— Westminster Election—Contest between Sir Francis Burdett and Sir Murray Maxwell—London Election—Oatlands—The Duke of York—Duchess of York—Ampthill—Tixall—Mr. Luttrell—Lady Granville—Teddesley—Macao—Burleigh—Middleton—Lady Jersey— The New Parliament—Tierney and Pitt—Princess Lieven—Madame de Stael on the French Revolution—Westminster Election— Hobhouse Defeated—Scarlett's Maiden Speech—Influence of Party—Play—The Persian Ambassador at Court—Prince Leopold— Woburn—Anecdote of the Allies—Death of George III.—Illness of George IV.—Queen Caroline—Fleury de Chabaulon—The Cato Street Conspiracy—George IV. at Ascot—Marchioness of Conyngham—Queen Caroline in London—Message to Parliament— Debates—Insubordination in the Guards—Wilberforce's Motion— Proceedings against the Queen—'Les Liaisons dangereuses'—The Queen's Trial—The Duke of Wellington on the Battle of Waterloo and the Occupation of Paris.


I began to keep a Journal some time ago, and, after continuing it irregularly, dropped it entirely. I have since felt tempted to resume it, because, having frequent opportunities of mixing in the society of celebrated men, some particulars about them might be interesting hereafter.


June 7th, 1818 {p.001}

The dissolution of Parliament is deferred on account of the mistakes which have been made in passing the Alien Bill. On Friday night the exultation of the Opposition was very great at what they deemed a victory over the Ministers. It is said that there will be 100 contests, and that Government will lose twenty or thirty members. The Queen was so ill on Friday evening that they expected she would die. She had a severe spasm.[1]

[1] [Queen Charlotte, consort of George III., died on the 17th of November of this year, 1818.]

The Duchess of Cambridge[2] has been received in a most flattering manner here, and it is said that the Duchess of Cumberland is severely mortified at the contrast between her reception and that of her sister-in-law. On the Sunday after her arrival the Duke took her to walk in the Park, when she was so terrified by the pressure of the mob about her that she nearly fainted away.

[2] [Prince Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge, seventh son of George III., married on the 7th of May, 1818, Augusta Wilhelmina Louisa, Princess of Hesse, youngest daughter of the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel. Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, the King's fourth son, married on the 29th of August, 1815, at Strelitz, the Princess Frederica, third daughter of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. This lady had been twice married before, first to Prince Frederic Louis Charles of Prussia, and secondly to the Prince of Salms-Braunfels. As the Duchess of Cumberland had been divorced from her last husband, the Queen received her with great coldness; and the position in which she was placed contrasted strongly with that of the Duchess of Cambridge on her marriage.]

The Regent drives in the Park every day in a tilbury, with his groom sitting by his side; grave men are shocked at this undignified practice.

June 21st, 1818 {p.002}

I dined at Holland House last Thursday. The party consisted of Lord Lansdowne, Mr. Frere, and Mrs. Tierney and her son. After dinner Mr. Frere repeated to us a great deal of that part of 'Whistlecraft' which is not yet published.[3] I laughed whenever I could, but as I have never read the first part, and did not understand the second, I was not so much amused as the rest of the company.

[3] [The whole poem of 'Whistlecraft' has since been republished in the collected works of the Right Hon. Hookham Frere.]

On Friday I went to the Stud-house, where a great party was assembled to see the stock and buy them. After visiting the paddocks, Bloomfield[4] gave a magnificent dinner to the company in a tent near the house; it was the finest feast I ever saw, but the badness of the weather spoilt the entertainment.

[4] [Sir Benjamin Bloomfield filled the offices of Marshal and Chief Equerry to the Regent, and in 1817 he became Receiver-General of the Duchy of Cornwall and Keeper of the Privy Purse to the Prince. The Stud-house of Hampton Court had been given him as a residence. He was raised to the peerage in 1825.]

The Queen's illness was occasioned by information which she received of the Duchesses of Cumberland and Cambridge having met and embraced. This meeting took place as if by accident, but really by appointment, in Kew Gardens; and the Duke of Cambridge himself informed the Queen of it. She was in such a rage that the spasm was brought on, and she was very near dying.


June 24th, 1818 {p.003}

The elections are carried on with great violence, and every day we hear of fresh contests being in agitation. The disgraceful scenes which have taken place in Westminster excite universal shame and indignation. The mob seem to have shaken off the feelings and the usual character of Englishmen, and in the brutal attacks which they have made on Captain Maxwell have displayed the savage ferocity which marked the mobs of Paris in the worst times. He has been so much hurt that his life is now in danger. Sir F. Burdett told me this morning that as soon as he was at the head of the poll he thought he should appear upon the hustings and thank the people for having raised him thus high. It is supposed that Burdett has laid out L10,000. on this election, though his friends do not acknowledge that he has spent anything. It is clear that the open houses, cockades, and bands of music we have seen these three days were not procured for nothing.

Lord Castlereagh went to the hustings, and voted for Sir Murray Maxwell; he was hooted, pelted, and got off with some difficulty. His Lordship's judgment was not very conspicuous on this occasion; both Sir Murray's friends and enemies are of opinion that Lord Castlereagh's vote did him a great deal of harm and turned many men against him. The severest contests will be in Wiltshire, Herefordshire, Devonshire, and Lincolnshire. The elections are going against Government generally; in London particularly, as the Ministers lose one seat in the Borough and two in the City. This last election is the most unexpected of all. Curtis has been member for twenty-eight years, and has been used to come in very high on the poll. On this occasion the contest between him and Alderman Thorpe was severe, but Curtis would have carried it had not Wood and Waithman coalesced with Thorpe the last day, and thrown their spare votes over to him; this determined the election in his favour.[5]

[5] [Sir William Curtis was the Ministerial candidate in the City of London; he was thrown out, and Messrs. Wood, Waithman, Wilson, and Thorpe were returned.]

June 30th, 1818 {p.004}

There was an affray yesterday afternoon in Covent Garden. Sir Murray Maxwell's people paraded about a large boat drawn by six horses. Burdett's mob attacked and demolished the boat, and this action having raised their spirits, the contest continued. The consequence was that a large party of Horse Guards were marched into Covent Garden, and paraded there during the rest of the night. The people expressed their discontent by cries of 'This is what they call freedom of election!' 'Burdett for ever!' &c.[6]

[6] [The Westminster election terminated as follows:—Sir Samuel Romilly, 5,339; Sir Francis Burdett, 5,238; Sir Murray Maxwell, 4,808; Henry Hunt, 84.]

August 4th, 1818 {p.004}

I went to Oatlands[7] on Saturday. There was a very large party— Mr. and Mrs. Burrell, Lord Alvanley, Berkeley Craven, Cooke, Arthur Upton, Armstrong, Foley, Lord Lauderdale, Lake, Page, Lord Yarmouth. We played at whist till four in the morning. On Sunday we amused ourselves with eating fruit in the garden, and shooting at a mark with pistols, and playing with the monkeys. I bathed in the cold bath in the grotto, which is as clear as crystal and as cold as ice. Oatlands is the worst managed establishment in England; there are a great many servants, and nobody waits on you; a vast number of horses, and none to ride or drive.

[7] [Oatlands Park, Weybridge, at that time the residence of the Duke of York.]


August 15th, 1818 {p.004}

The parties at Oatlands take place every Saturday, and the guests go away on Monday morning. These parties begin as soon as the Duchess leaves London, and last till the October meetings. During the Egham races there is a large party which remains there from the Saturday before the races till the Monday se'nnight following; this is called the Duchess's party, and she invites the guests. The Duke is only there himself from Saturday to Monday. There are almost always the same people, sometimes more, sometimes less. We dine at eight, and sit at table till eleven. In about a quarter of an hour after we leave the dining-room the Duke sits down to play at whist, and never stirs from the table as long as anybody will play with him. When anybody gives any hint of being tired he will leave off, but if he sees no signs of weariness in others he will never stop himself. He is equally well amused whether the play is high or low, but the stake he prefers is fives and ponies.[8] The Duchess generally plays also at half-crown whist. The Duke always gets up very early, whatever time he may go to bed. On Sunday morning he goes to church, returns to a breakfast of tea and cold meat, and afterwards rides or walks till the evening. On Monday morning he always sets off to London at nine o'clock. He sleeps equally well in a bed or in a carriage. The Duchess seldom goes to bed, or, if she does, only for an hour or two; she sleeps dressed upon a couch, sometimes in one room, sometimes in another. She frequently walks out very late at night, or rather early in the morning, and she always sleeps with open windows. She dresses and breakfasts at three o'clock, afterwards walks out with all her dogs, and seldom appears before dinner-time. At night, when she cannot sleep, she has women to read to her. The Duchess of York[9] is clever and well-informed; she likes society and dislikes all form and ceremony, but in the midst of the most familiar intercourse she always preserves a certain dignity of manner. Those who are in the habit of going to Oatlands are perfectly at their ease with her, and talk with as much freedom as they would to any other woman, but always with great respect. Her mind is not perhaps the most delicate; she shows no dislike to coarseness of sentiment or language, and I have seen her very much amused with jokes, stories, and allusions which would shock a very nice person. But her own conversation is never polluted with anything the least indelicate or unbecoming. She is very sensible to little attentions, and is annoyed if anybody appears to keep aloof from her or to shun conversing with her. Her dogs are her greatest interest and amusement, and she has at least forty of various kinds. She is delighted when anybody gives her a dog, or a monkey, or a parrot, of all of which she has a vast number; it is impossible to offend her or annoy her more than by ill-using any of her dogs, and if she were to see anybody beat or kick any one of them she would never forgive it. She has always lived on good terms with the Royal Family, but is intimate with none of them, and goes as little as possible to Court. The Regent dislikes her, and she him. With the Princess Charlotte she was latterly very intimate, spent a great deal of time at Claremont, and felt her death very severely. The Duchess has no taste for splendour or magnificence, and likes to live the life of a private individual as much as possible.

[8] [Five-pound points and twenty-five pounds on the rubber.]

[9] [The Duchess of York was born Princess Royal of Prussia; she married the Duke of York in 1791, and died on the 6th of August, 1820.]


The Duke of York is not clever, but he has a justness of understanding, which enables him to avoid the errors into which most of his brothers have fallen, and which have made them so contemptible and unpopular. Although his talents are not rated high, and in public life he has never been honourably distinguished, the Duke of York is loved and respected. He is the only one of the Princes who has the feelings of an English gentleman; his amiable disposition and excellent temper have conciliated for him the esteem and regard of men of all parties, and he has endeared himself to his friends by the warmth and steadiness of his attachments, and from the implicit confidence they all have in his truth, straightforwardness, and sincerity. He delights in the society of men of the world and in a life of gaiety and pleasure. He is very easily amused, and particularly with jokes full of coarseness and indelicacy; the men with whom he lives most are tres-polissons, and la polissonnerie is the ton of his society. But his aides-de-camp and friends, while they do not scruple to say everything before and to him, always treat him with attention and respect. The Duke and the Duchess live upon the best terms; their manner to one another is cordial, and while full of mutual respect and attention, they follow separately their own occupations and amusements without interfering with one another. Their friends are common to both, and those who are most attached to the Duke are equally so to the Duchess. One of her few foibles is an extreme tenaciousness of her authority at Oatlands; one way in which this is shown is in the stable, where, although there are always eight or ten carriage-horses which seldom do any work, it is impossible ever to procure a horse to ride or drive, because the Duchess appropriates them all to herself. The other day one of the aides-de-camp (Cooke) wanted to drive Burrell (who was there) to Hampton Court; he spoke of this at breakfast, and the Duke hearing it, desired he would take the curricle and two Spanish horses which had been given to him. The Duchess, however, chose to call these horses hers and to consider them as her own. The curricle came to the door, and just as they were going to mount it a servant came from the Duchess (who had heard of it) and told the coachman that her Royal Highness knew nothing of it, had not ordered it, and that the curricle must go home, which it accordingly did.

September 3rd, 1818 {p.007}

I went to Oatlands for the Egham races. The party lasted more than a week; there was a great number of people, and it was very agreeable. Erskine was extremely mad; he read me some of his verses, and we had a dispute upon religious subjects one morning, which he finished by declaring his entire disbelief in the Mosaic history. We played at whist every night that the Duke was there, and I always won. The Duchess was unwell most of the time. We showed her a galanterie which pleased her very much. She produced a picture of herself one evening, which she said she was going to send to the Duchess of Orleans; we all cried out, said it was bad, and asked her why she did not let Lawrence paint her picture, and send a miniature copied from that. She declared she could not afford it; we then said, if she would sit, we would pay for the picture, which she consented to do, when all the men present signed a paper, desiring that a picture should be painted and a print taken from it of her Royal Highness. Lawrence is to be invited to Oatlands at Christmas to paint the picture. The men who subscribe are Culling Smith, Alvanley, B. Craven, Worcester, Armstrong, A. Upton, Rogers, Luttrell, and myself, who were present. The Duchess desired that Greenwood and Taylor might be added. From Oatlands I went to Cirencester, where I stayed a week and then returned to Oatlands, expecting to find the Queen dead and the house empty, but I found the party still there.

Ampthill,[10] September 9th, 1818 {p.008}

I rode down here to-day, Alvanley and Montrond came in a chaise and four, and were only three hours and three-quarters coming from town. Luttrell and Rogers are here. The dinner very bad, because the cook is out of humour. The evening passed off heavily.

[10] [Ampthill Park, at that time the seat of Lord and Lady Holland, who had inherited it from the Earl of Upper Ossory. On the death of Lady Holland Ampthill was purchased by the Duke of Bedford, and has since been inhabited by Lord and Lady Wensleydale.]

Ampthill, September 11th, 1818 {p.008}

The Duke and Duchess of San Carlos came yesterday with their two daughters, one of whom is fourteen and the other twelve or thirteen years old. The eldest is betrothed to the Count Altimira, a boy of seventeen years old, son of one of the richest Spanish grandees. He has L70,000 a year. The Duke of Medina-Coeli before the French invasion had L215,000 a year.

Lord Holland was talking to Mr. Fox the day after the debate on the war (after the Peace of Amiens) about public speakers, and mentioned Sheridan's speech on the Begums. Fox said, 'You may rest assured that that speech was the finest that ever was made in Parliament.' Lord Holland said, 'It is very well of you to say so, but I think your speech last night was a pretty good one.' Fox said, 'And that was a devilish fine speech too.'


Teddesley, November 30th, 1818 {p.009}

I went to Tixall[11] on Tuesday, the 10th of November. There were Luttrell, Nugent, Montagu, Granville Somerset (who went away the next day), and afterwards Granville Vernon, Wilmot, and Mr. Donald. I never remember so agreeable a party—'le bon gout, les ris, l'aimable liberte.' Everybody was pleased because each did what he pleased, and the tone of the society was gay, simple, and clever.

[11] [Tixall, the seat of Sir Clifford Constable in Staffordshire, was let at this time to Lord and Lady Granville.]

It is hardly possible to live with a more agreeable man than Luttrell. He is difficult to please, but when pleased and in good spirits, full of vivacity. He has a lively imagination, a great deal of instruction, and a very retentive memory, a memory particularly happy for social purposes, for he recollects a thousand anecdotes, fine allusions, odd expressions, or happy remarks, applicable to the generality of topics which fall under discussion. He is extremely sensitive, easily disconcerted, and resents want of tact in others, because he is so liable to suffer from any breach of it. A sceptic in religion, and by no means austere in morals, he views with indulgence all faults except those which are committed against society, but he looks upon a bore with unconcealed aversion. He is attached to a few persons whose talents he respects and whose society he covets, but towards the world in general he is rather misanthropical, and prides himself upon being free from the prejudices which he ridicules and despises more or less in everybody else. Detesting the importance and the superiority which are assumed by those who have only riches or rank to boast of, he delights in London, where such men find their proper level, and where genius and ability always maintain an ascendancy over pomp, vanity, and the adventitious circumstances of birth or position. Born in mystery,[12] he has always shrouded himself in a secresy which none of his acquaintance have ever endeavoured to penetrate. He has connections, but they are unknown or only guessed at. He has occupations, amusements, and interests unconnected with the society in which he publicly moves. Of these he never speaks, and no one ever ventures to ask him any questions. Ostensibly he has no friend. Standing thus alone in the world, he derives but little of his happiness from others; and he seems to delight in the independence of his feelings as well as of his situation. He is very witty and says excellent things, brilliant in general society and pleasant in tete-a-tete. Many men infinitely less clever converse more agreeably than he does, because he is too epigrammatic, and has accustomed himself so much to make brilliant observations that he cannot easily descend to quiet, unlaboured talk. This only applies to him when in general society; when alone with another person he talks as agreeably as possible.

[12] [Mr. Luttrell was believed to be a natural son of Lord Carhampton. He had sat in the last Irish Parliament before the Union, and died about 1855 at a very advanced age.]

Nugent is clever, and in many respects a more amiable companion than Luttrell, though very inferior to him in ability. He is well-informed, gentlemanlike, sensible, with good manners, good taste, and has a talent for music; he is always in good humour, and discriminating without being difficult.

Lady Granville[13] has a great deal of genial humour, strong feelings, enthusiasm, delicacy, refinement, good taste, naivete which just misses being affectation, and a bonhomie which extends to all around her.

[13] [Henrietta Elizabeth, daughter of William, fifth Duke of Devonshire, married in 1809 to Lord Granville Leveson Gower, created Viscount Granville in 1815, and Earl Granville in 1833, during his embassy at the Court of France.]

Nothing could exceed the agreeableness of the life we led at Tixall. We breakfasted about twelve or later, dined at seven, played at whist and macao the whole evening, and went to bed at different hours between two and four. 'Nous faisions la bonne chere, ce qui ajoute beaucoup a l'agrement de la societe. Je ne dis pas ceci par rapport a mes propres gouts; mais parce que je l'ai observe, et que les philosophes n'y sont pas plus indifferents que les bons vivants.'


When the party at Tixall was over we all removed to Teddesley. Littleton[14] is good-natured, liberal, hospitable, and anxious to oblige, but he wants tact, and his table is more copious than refined. The house is ugly and in an ugly situation; the rooms are small, but not ill furnished. The dinners were not good, and Luttrell and Nugent were both very angry at the badness of the fare. We had a brilliant chasse. Luttrell left Teddesley on Monday, the Granvilles on Sunday, and Nugent and I on Tuesday; we travelled together to Oxford. He is very agreeable, full of information, and has a great facility in expressing himself. We parted at Oxford. I went to Redrice, and came to town on Sunday.

[14] [Edward Littleton, Esq., at that time M.P. for the county of Stafford; raised to the Privy Council in 1833, when he became Chief Secretary for Ireland, and to the peerage under the title of Baron Hatherton in 1835.]

Tixall was the most agreeable party I ever was at. We were all pleased and satisfied; we played at whist, and afterwards at macao. Littleton was the greatest winner and Lord Granville the loser. I wrote a description of the macao in verse:—


The solemn chime from out the ancient tower[15] Invites to Macao at th' accustomed hour. The welcome summons heard, around the board Each takes his seat and counts his iv'ry hoard. 'Tis strange to see how in the early rounds The cautious punters risk their single pounds, Till, fired with generous rage, they double stake And offer more than prudent dealers take. My Lady[16] through her glass with keen delight Observes the brisk beginnings of the fight; To some propitious, but to me unkind, With candour owns the bias of her mind, And asks of Fortune the severe decree T' enrich the happy Skew,[17] to ruin me. The fickle Goddess heard one-half the prayer, The rest was melted into empty air; For while she smiled complacent on the Skew,[18] On me she shed some trifling favours too. Sure Granville's luck exceeds all other men's Led through a sad variety of tens;[19] The rest have sometimes eights and nines, but he Is always followed by 'the jolly three;'[20] But the great Skew some guardian sylph protects, His judgment governs, and his hand directs When to refrain, when boldly to put in And catch with happy nine the wayward pin.[21]

The next morning Luttrell came down with, a whole paper full of epigrams (I had been winning at macao, and had turned up five nines in my deal):—

Why should we wonder if in Greville's verses Each thought so brilliant and each line so terse is? For surely he in poetry must shine Who is, we know, so favoured by the nine.[22]


Quoth Greville, 'The commandments are divine; But as they're ten, I lay them on the shelf: O could they change their number and be nine, I'd keep them all, and keep them to myself!'

Thus we trifled life away.

[15] A clock tower. [16] Lady Granville. [17] E. Montagu. [18] We gave him this nickname. [19] Tens, ruinous at macao. [20] Tens. [21] The middle pin, a large gain. [22] Nines are the grand desiderata at macao.


[Page Head: LADY JERSEY.]

January 17th, 1819 {p.012}

I went to Burleigh on the 23rd of December; there was no one there but Irby. The house disappointed me very much, but it is a very fine showplace. I went away on the 27th to Middleton; there were the Culling Smiths, Worcesters, Sir James Mackintosh, Ossulstons, Nugent, &c.; it was very agreeable, and the house extremely comfortable. Lady Jersey[23] is an extraordinary woman, and has many good qualities; surrounded as she is by flatterers and admirers, she is neither proud nor conceited. She is full of vivacity, spirit, and good nature, but the wide range of her sympathies and affections proves that she has more general benevolence than particular sensibility in her character. She performs all the ordinary duties of life with great correctness, because her heart is naturally good; and she is, perhaps, from her temperament exposed to fewer temptations than the generality of her sex. She is deficient in passion and in softness (which constitute the greatest charm in women), so that she excites more of admiration than of interest; in conversation she is lively and pleasant, without being very remarkable, for she has neither wit, nor imagination, nor humour; her understanding is active rather than strong, and her judgment is too often warped by prejudice to be sound. She has a retentive memory and a restless mind, together with a sort of intellectual arrangement, with which she appears rather to have been gifted by nature than to have derived it from the cultivation of her reasoning faculties.

[23] [Sarah Sophia, eldest daughter of John, tenth Earl of Westmoreland, and heiress of Robert Child, Esq., of Osterley Park, her maternal grandfather.]

I went from Middleton to Oatlands. The Duke was not there. We had the Smiths, Worcesters, Alvanley, Stanhope, Rogers, Luttrell, George Dawson, Lord Lauderdale, &c. Lord Erskine was ill, and Lord Lauderdale was taking care of him. The house was very uncomfortable, and the room I was in small, noisy, and inconvenient.

I came to London on Friday last. Parliament having met on the Thursday, it is very full, and is filling more and more every day. The Opposition expect to divide 180 on the Bank question; they talk of re-establishing the dinners which they used to have in Fox's time.

Rogers is in a nervous state about his poem, and trembles at the reviewers.[24]

[24] [Rogers' poem entitled 'Human Life' was on the eve of publication. The reviewers treated it more tenderly than it deserved, as appears below.]

January 28th, 1819 {p.013}

I went to Gorhambury on the 24th to shoot. The Duke of York was there. We should have had a brilliant chasse, but it rained. We went out at three and killed 105 pheasants.

There has been some skirmishing in the House of Commons, particularly the night before last, on Dr. Halloran's petition, when the Opposition (Bennet duce) got completely beaten. Many of the new members have spoken, but Mr. Lawson, a soi-disant wit, and Sir R. Wilson have failed lamentably. It is odd enough that Wilson made a reply to an attack which Cobbett had inserted in one of his papers upon him. Cobbett said that he would make a silly speech in Parliament and destroy himself, and it is just what he did. The Opposition were very angry with Sir J. Coffin, who, with the candour of a novice, had made himself informed of the facts of the petition, and finding they were against his friends, said so in the House.

Arbuthnot told me some particulars about Tierney. He began by being a friend of Mr. Pitt, and in one of his speeches on the Southwark or Colchester election he praised him in opposition to Mr. Fox. This latter never liked him, and the Regent assured Arbuthnot he had letters of Tierney in his possession thanking him for having endeavoured to remove Mr. Fox's antipathy to him. When Addington came in, Pitt advised him to get Tierney, as nobody would be so useful to him. He did accordingly, and so Tierney became a member of the Administration.[25] When Pitt came again into office a negotiation was opened with him through the medium of Charles Long. He was offered the Chief Secretaryship in Ireland, which he wished to have, but he made it a condition that he should not be in Parliament. To this Mr. Pitt would not agree, as he said that he must commit himself with them entirely or not join them at all; he refused, not choosing to commit himself, and the negotiations broke off.

[25] [Right Hon. George Tierney, Treasurer of the Navy and P.C. in 1803. President of the Board of Control in October, 1806, Member of the Mint in 1827.]

January 31st, 1819 {p.014}

I dined with Lady Bathurst yesterday. We talked of the approaching contests in Parliament, and she said that she felt more apprehensive now than ever she had done for the safety of the Government, that it was impossible for Ministers to stay in if they were defeated, as they had occasionally been in the last Parliament, and that if they were defeated she should attribute it all to Vansittart, who is a millstone about their necks. I asked why they did not get rid of him, and she said that it was from good-nature; they had scruples about telling him he was inefficient and must resign. She said that Canning's conduct had been so good towards them, they were very anxious to put him in some more considerable office.


February 3rd, 1819 {p.015}

I went with Bouverie to Newmarket on Monday to look at the horses. On Wednesday I came to town and went on to Oatlands. Madame de Lieven was there. This woman is excessively clever, and when she chooses brilliantly agreeable. She is beyond all people fastidious. She is equally conscious of her own superiority and the inferiority of other people, and the contempt she has for the understandings of the generality of her acquaintance has made her indifferent to please and incapable of taking any delight in general society. Her manners are very dignified and graceful, and she is extremely accomplished. She sometimes endeavours to assume popular and gracious manners, but she does this languidly and awkwardly, because it is done with an effort. She carries ennui to such a pitch that even in the society of her most intimate friends she frequently owns that she is bored to death. She writes memoirs, or rather a journal, of all that falls under her observation. She is so clever, has so much imagination and penetration, that they must be very entertaining. She writes as well as talks with extraordinary ease and gracefulness, and both her letters and her conversation are full of point; yet she is not liked, and has made hardly any friends. Her manners are stately and reserved, and so little bonhomie penetrates through her dignity that few feel sufficiently attracted to induce them to try and thaw the ice in which she always seems bound.[26]

[26] [A very imperfect character of Princess Lieven, with whom Mr. Greville was at this time but slightly acquainted. But in after years he became one of her most intimate and confidential friends, and she frequently reappears in the course of these memoirs.]

February 5th, 1819 {p.016}

I have finished Madame de Stael's 'Considerations sur la Revolution Francaise.' It is the best of her works, extremely eloquent, containing the soundest political opinions conveyed in a bold and eloquent style. It is perhaps too philosophical and not sufficiently relieved by anecdotes and historical illustrations. Her defence of her father is written with much enthusiasm and great plausibility, but the judgment of the world concerning Necker is formed, and it is too late to alter it. The effect of her eloquence is rather weakened by the recollection of her conduct to him, for she lived with him as little as possible, because she could not bear the ennui of Coppet.[27]

[27] [In the latter years of Madame de Stael's life Coppet became one of the most brilliant social resorts in Europe, for she attracted there the Schlegels, B. Constant, Bonstetten, Sismondi, Byron, and a host of other celebrities. Towards her father Madame de Stael expressed the most passionate regard.]

February 9th, 1819 {p.016}

The Opposition are in a state of the highest exultation on account of the division in the House of Commons last night on Brougham's being added to the Bank Committee. The numbers were 173 to 135. They triumph particularly in this strong minority because the attack upon Brougham in the 'Quarterly Review' was deemed so successful by the Ministerial party that they thought he would not be able to lift up his head again. The review is extremely well done, as all allow. It is supposed to be written by Dr. Ireland [it was by Dr. Monk[28]], and that Canning supplied the jokes, but Arbuthnot assured me he had no hand in it.

[28] [Dr. Monk, not Dr. Ireland, was the author of the article. Monk became Bishop of Gloucester in 1830. This passage relates to the celebrated article on the Report of Mr. Brougham's Committee on the Education of the People which appeared in the 'Quarterly Review' of December 1818. The article was a violent one, but it is amusing to see the effects attributed to it at the time. Some controversy has since taken place as to the share Canning had in it. I have myself seen the letters from Gifford (editor of the 'Review') to Dr. Monk, in which he speaks of the additions which have been made to the article; and there is the strongest internal evidence that these purpurei panni were added by Canning. The subject is discussed in the 'Edinburgh Review' for July 1858.]

February 10th, 1819 {p.016}

Wilberforce made a speech last night which reminded one of the better days of the House of Commons. He presented a petition from the Quakers against the Criminal Code, and introduced a compliment to Romilly. Castlereagh was in a minority in the Committee concerning the equerries of the Windsor establishment; he wished to keep two more than Tierney proposed; the latter had eight to six in the Committee.[29]

[29] [In consequence of the death of Queen Charlotte in the preceding month of November, the Government visited the Windsor establishment. The Duke of York was appointed custos personae of the King, and received in that capacity L10,000 a year, which had previously been allowed to the Queen. A debate took place on this subject on the 25th of February, which is referred to by Mr. Greville under that date.]

February 14th, 1819 {p.017}

George Lamb has been proposed in opposition to Hobhouse.[30] The latter drew this opposition upon himself by his speech, and still more by the reports of his Committee, in which they abused the Whigs in unmeasured terms. Lambton went to Hobhouse and asked him if he would disavow the abuse of Lord Grey, which his Committee had inserted in the document they printed; he refused, on which the opposition was determined upon and begun. McDonald proposed Lamb, but they would not hear him; Evans seconded him. G. Jones made a very good speech in proposing Cartwright. Burdett and Kinnaird both spoke with moderation in proposing Hobhouse. It is generally supposed that Lamb will win.

[30] [The death of Sir Samuel Romilly in November 1818 caused a vacancy in the representation of Westminster, and another election took place upon the meeting of Parliament. The numbers were: Hon. George Lamb, 4,465; John Cam Hobhouse, 3,861; Major Cartwright, 38.]

Rogers' poem is disliked; the cry is all against it; some of the lines are pretty, but it is not perspicuous enough, and is deficient in novelty and force.


February 18th, 1819 {p.017}

Yesterday Lamb was only seven behind Hobhouse on the poll; everybody thinks he is sure to win, even if Burdett should come forward with money. The day before there was great uproar and much abuse on the hustings. Burdett made a shameful speech full of blasphemy and Jacobinism, but he seems to have lost his popularity in a great measure even with the blackguards of Westminster. Hobhouse yesterday was long and dull; he did not speak like a clever man, and if the people would have heard Lamb, and he has any dexterity in reply, he must have crushed him—it was so answerable a speech.

I went to the Berrys[31] in the evening, where the blues and the wits were assembled; as Sidney Smith said, 'the conversation raged,' but there was nothing remarkably entertaining.

[31] [Miss Berry's well-known salon, No. 8 Curzon Street, which was for more than a half a century the resort of the best company in London.]

[Page Head: PARTY SPIRIT.]

February 25th, 1819 {p.018}

The debate on the L10,000 to the Duke of York on Monday produced four very good speeches—Peel and the Solicitor-General on one part, and Tierney and Scarlett[32] on the other. This latter spoke for the first time, and in reply to the two former. The Opposition came to Brookes' full of admiration of his speech, which is said to be the best first speech that ever was made in the House of Commons. I, who hear all parties and care for none, have been amused with the different accounts of the debate; one man says Peel's speech was the best of the night and the finest that has been made in the House for a length of time; another prefers the Solicitor-General's; then on the other side it is said that Tierney was excellent, Mr. Scarlett beyond all praise. The friends of Government allow great merit to the two latter speakers, but declare that Peel was unanswerable, besides having been beautifully eloquent, and that Scarlett's speech was a fallacy from beginning to end. Again I am told Peel was not good; his was a speech for effect, evidently prepared, showy, but not argumentative; Scarlett triumphantly refuted all his reasoning. Thus it is that a fair judgment is never formed upon any question; the spirit of party influences every man's opinions. It is not extraordinary that each individual of a party connected by general similarity of opinion should adhere to the great body, even in cases where he may not happen to agree with them, and excellent reasons may be adduced for his sacrificing his own view for the great object of unanimity; but it is very improbable that on a particular question, unconnected with any general system, where arguments are adduced from opposite sides, and submitted to the enlightened judgment of an assembly, the same arguments which are looked upon as satisfactory and unanswerable by one set of men should be deemed without exception utterly fallacious by another. If any proof were requisite of the mighty influence of party spirit, it would be found in a still stronger light in the State trials in the House of Lords. I have in my mind the trial of Lord Melville; when each Peer had to deliver his judicial opinion upon the evidence adduced in a matter so solemn, and in the discharge of a duty so sacred, it might be imagined that all party feelings would be laid aside, and that a mature judgment and an enlightened conscience would alone have regulated the conduct of every individual. Yet either by an extraordinary accident or by the influence of party spirit we beheld all the Peers on the Ministerial side of the House declaring Lord Melville innocent, and all those of the Opposition pronouncing him guilty.

[32] [Sir James Scarlett, afterwards Lord Abinger and Lord Chief Baron. It is remarkable that his first speech in the House of Commons was delivered on the Whig side of the House. He afterwards became a decided Tory.]

March 5th, 1819 {p.019}

George Lamb was to have been chaired on the day he was elected, but the mob was outrageous and would not suffer it. They broke into his committee room, and he and McDonald were forced to creep out of a two pair of stairs window into the churchyard. His partisans, who assembled on horseback, were attacked and pelted, and forced to retreat after receiving many hard knocks. In the evening the mob paraded the town, and broke the windows of Lord Castlereagh's and Lord Sefton's houses.

The other night Sir James Mackintosh[33] made a splendid speech on the Criminal Laws; it was temperate and eloquent, and excited universal admiration. The Ministerial party spoke as highly of it as the Opposition themselves. Last night Canning moved the thanks to Lord Hastings, and they say it was the finest speech he ever made, in the best taste, the clearest narrative, and the most beautiful language.

[33] [Sir James Mackintosh's motion for the appointment of a Committee on Capital Punishments was carried against the Government on the 2nd of March by 148 to 128.]

June 12th, 1819 {p.020}

I have been at Oatlands for the Ascot party. On the course I did nothing. Ever since the Derby ill fortune has pursued me, and I cannot win anywhere. Play is a detestable occupation; it absorbs all our thoughts and renders us unfit for everything else in life. It is hurtful to the mind and destroys the better feelings; it incapacitates us for study and application of every sort; it makes us thoughtful and nervous; and our cheerfulness depends upon the uncertain event of our nightly occupation. How anyone can play who is not in want of money I cannot comprehend; surely his mind must be strangely framed who requires the stimulus of gambling to heighten his pleasures. Some indeed may have become attached to gaming from habit, and may not wish to throw off the habit from the difficulty of finding fresh employment for the mind at an advanced period of life. Some may be unfitted by nature or taste for society, and for such gaming may have a powerful attraction. The mind is excited; at the gaming-table all men are equal; no superiority of birth, accomplishments, or ability avail here; great noblemen, merchants, orators, jockies, statesmen, and idlers are thrown together in levelling confusion; the only pre-eminence is that of success, the only superiority that of temper. But why does a man play who is blessed with fortune, endowed with understanding, and adorned with accomplishments which might ensure his success in any pursuit which taste or fancy might incite him to follow? It is contrary to reason, but we see such instances every day. The passion of play is not artificial; it must have existed in certain minds from the beginning; at least some must have been so constituted that they yield at once to the attraction, and enter with avidity into a pursuit in which other men can never take the least interest.

June 14th, 1819 {p.020}

The other night in the House of Commons on the Foreign Enlistment Bill Sir James Mackintosh made a brilliant speech; all parties agree in commending it. Canning answered him, but not successfully. The Duke of Wellington told me on Friday that there was a good debate in the House of Lords the night before on the Catholic question, but he thought his side had the worst of it; he acknowledged that Lord Grey's speech had done much to shake his opinion, and that he had not conceived that his propositions would have been framed in so unobjectionable a manner.[34]

[34] [On the 10th of June Earl Grey submitted to the House of Lords a Bill to relieve Roman Catholics from taking the declaratory oaths against Transubstantiation and the Invocation of Saints. On this occasion, for the first time, Lord Grenville supported the Catholic claims. But the Bill was thrown out by 141 to 92.]


June 25th, 1819 {p.021}

The Persian Ambassador has had a quarrel with the Court. He wanted to have precedence over all other Ambassadors, and because this was not allowed he was affronted and would not go to Court. This mark of disrespect was resented, and it was signified to him that his presence would be dispensed with at Carlton House, and that the Ministers could no longer receive him at their houses. On Sunday last the Regent went to Lady Salisbury's, where he met the Persian, who, finding he had given offence, had made a sort of apology, and said that illness had prevented him from going to Court. The Regent came up to him and said, 'Well, my good friend, how are you? I hope you are better?' He said, 'Oh, sir, I am very well, but I am very sorry I offended your Royal Highness by not going to Court. Now, sir, my Sovereign he tell me to go first, and your Congress, about which I know nothing, say I must go last; now this very bad for me (pointing to his head) when I go back to Persia.' The Regent said, 'Well, my good friend, never mind it now; it does not signify.' He answered, 'Oh yes, sir; but your Royal Highness still angry with me, and you have not asked me to your party to-morrow night.' The Regent laughed and said, 'I was only going to have a few children to dance, but if you like to come I shall be very happy to see you.' Accordingly he went to Carlton House, and they are very good friends again.

August 11th, 1819 {p.021}

The Vice-Chancellor was going to Italy, but his journey is stopped, as he says, because the Prince Regent has desired him to stay in England in consequence of the approaching return of the Princess of Wales.

August 30th, 1819 {p.022}

I am just returned from Oatlands; we had an immense party, the most numerous ever known there. The Duchess wished it to have been prolonged, but there were no funds. The distress they are in is inconceivable. When the Duchess came down there was no water in the house. She asked the reason, and was informed that the water came by pipes from St. George's Hill, which were stopped up with sand; and as the workmen were never paid, they would not clear them out. She ordered the pipes to be cleared and the bills brought to her, which was done. On Thursday there was a great distress, as the steward had no money to pay the tradespeople, and the Duke was prevailed on with great difficulty to produce a small sum for the purpose. The house is nearly in ruins.

December 24th, 1819 {p.022}

The Duke of Kent gave the name of Alexandrina to his daughter[35] in compliment to the Emperor of Russia. She was to have had the name of Georgiana, but the Duke insisted upon Alexandrina being her first name. The Regent sent for Lieven and made him a great many compliments (en le persiflant) on the Emperor's being godfather, but informed him that the name of Georgiana could be second to no other in this country, and therefore she could not bear it at all.

[35] [The Princess, afterwards Queen, Victoria, born 24th of May, 1819.]

The frost is intense. The town is empty. I returned from Whersted last Wednesday se'nnight, and went to Oatlands on Thursday; there was nearly the same party. Prince Leopold came and dined there on Saturday. He is very dull and heavy in his manner, and seems overcome with the weight of his dignity. This Prince will not succeed here; everybody is civil to him from the interest he excited at the time of the Princess's death—an interest which has not yet subsided. There seems to be no harm in him, but everybody contrasts his manners with those of the Duke of York, and the comparison is not to his advantage. The Duchess likes the society of men of wit and letters; more, I think, from the variety of having them around her than from any pleasure she takes in their conversation. Lord Alvanley is the man in whom she takes the greatest delight.


London, January 20th, 1820 {p.023}

I went last Sunday se'nnight to Woburn. The Duke of York, Duke of Wellington, Lievens, Jerseys, Worcesters, Tavistocks, Mr. Russell, Lady Sandwich, Alvanley, C. Smith, Huntleys, Frederick Ponsonby, Lauderdale, and others were there. The house, place, establishment, and manner of living are magnificent. The chasse was brilliant; in five days we killed 835 pheasants, 645 hares, 59 rabbits, 10 partridges, and 5 woodcocks. The Duchess was very civil and the party very gay. I won at whist, and liked it very much.

January 22nd, 1820 {p.023}

Just before the advance of the allied army on Paris a council of war was held, when it was unanimously resolved to retreat. The Emperor of Russia entered the room, and said he had reasons for advancing, and ordered the advance; the generals remonstrated, but the Emperor was determined. Woronzoff told Sydenham that that day a courier arrived at his outposts with a letter for the Emperor in the handwriting of Talleyrand. This was told me by Frederick Ponsonby.


February 4th, 1820 {p.023}

I returned to Woburn on Sunday. We shot the whole week and killed an immense quantity of game; the last two days we killed 245 and 296 pheasants, 822 and 431 head. On Sunday last arrived the news of the King's death.[36] The new King has been desperately ill. He had a bad cold at Brighton, for which he lost eighty ounces of blood; yet he afterwards had a severe oppression, amounting almost to suffocation, on his chest. Halford was gone to Windsor, and left orders with Knighton not to bleed him again till his return. Knighton was afraid to bleed him. Bloomfield sent for Tierney,[37] who took upon himself to take fifty ounces from him. This gave him relief; he continued, however, dangerously ill, and on Wednesday he lost twenty ounces more. Yesterday afternoon he was materially better for the first time. Tierney certainly saved his life, for he must have died if he had not been blooded. Brougham sent a courier to the Queen immediately after the late King's death, and gave notice at Carlton House that he had applied for a passport for a courier to her Majesty the Queen.

[36] [King George III. died on the 20th of January, 1820.]

[37] [Sir Matthew Tierney, one of His Majesty's physicians.]

The King has given to Lady Bloomfield the Rangership of Hampton Court Park. He wished to give it to both of them with the survivorship, but Lord Liverpool submitted to him that the House of Commons had pronounced so strongly their dislike to reversionary grants that it would be unadvisable, and it was accordingly given to Lady B. only.

February 14th, 1820 {p.024}

The Cabinet sat till past two o'clock this morning. The King refused several times to order the Queen to be prayed for in the alteration which was made in the Liturgy. The Ministers wished him to suffer it to be done, but he peremptorily refused, and said nothing should induce him to consent, whoever might ask him. Lord Harrowby told me this last night.


I think Fleury's book[38] almost the most interesting memoir I ever read; it is excessively well written, and his partiality to Bonaparte has not blinded him to the errors he committed. This book was wanted to bring under the same view the immediate causes of his return to France and the situation in which he found himself when seated on the throne. This was essentially different from that in which he had been before his abdication; so much so that I do not believe, if he had concluded a peace with the Allies, he could have remained upon the throne. Not only his civil power was reduced within very narrow limits, but his military authority was no longer the same; men seemed to have lost that reverential submissiveness which caused all his orders to be so blindly and implicitly obeyed. During the height of his power none of his generals would have dared to neglect or oppose his orders as Ney did at the battles of the 16th of June. It is impossible now to determine what might have been the political result in France of the success of Bonaparte's arms had he gained the battle of Waterloo. He would probably have made peace with the Allies. Had he returned to Paris triumphant, he might have dissolved the Chambers and re-established the old Imperial Government. In such a measure he must have depended upon his army for success. But a spirit of liberty had sprung up in France during his absence, which seemed to be the more vigorous from having been so long repressed. The nation, and even the army, appear to have imbibed the principles of freedom; and if upon this occasion Bonaparte was placed on the throne by the force of opinion, he could not have restored the ancient despotism without exciting universal dissatisfaction. Men seem formerly to have been awed by a conviction of his infallibility, and did not suffer themselves to reason upon the principles of action of a man who dazzled their imaginations by the magnificence of his exploits and the grandeur of his system.

[38] [M. Fleury de Chabaulon was a young auditeur at the Conseil d'Etat who had joined Napoleon at Elba, and afterwards returned with him to France, when he was attached to the Imperial Cabinet during the Hundred Days. His memoir of that period is here referred to.]

February 20th, 1820 {p.025}

The Ministers had resigned last week because the King would not hear reason on the subject of the Princess. It is said that he treated Lord Liverpool very coarsely, and ordered him out of the room. The King, they say, asked him 'if he knew to whom he was speaking.' He replied, 'Sir, I know that I am speaking to my Sovereign, and I believe I am addressing him as it becomes a loyal subject to do.' To the Chancellor he said, 'My Lord, I know your conscience always interferes except where your interest is concerned.' The King afterwards sent for Lord Liverpool, who refused at first to go; but afterwards, on the message being reiterated, he went, and the King said, 'We have both been too hasty.' This is probably all false, but it is very true that they offered to resign.


February 24th, 1820 {p.026}

The plot[39] which has been detected had for its object the destruction of the Cabinet Ministers, and the chief actor in the conspiracy was Arthur Thistlewood. I was at Lady Harrowby's last night, and about half-past one o'clock Lord Harrowby came in and told us the following particulars:—A plot has been in agitation for some time past, of the existence of which, the names and numbers of the men concerned, and of all particulars concerning their plans, Government has been perfectly well informed. The conspirators had intended to execute their design about last Christmas at a Cabinet dinner at Lord Westmoreland's, but for some reason they were unable to do so and deferred it. At length Government received information that they were to assemble to the number of from twenty to thirty at a house in Cato Street, Edgware Road, and that they had resolved to execute their purpose last night, when the Cabinet would be at dinner at Lord Harrowby's. Dinner was ordered as usual. Men had been observed watching the house, both in front and rear, during the whole afternoon. It was believed that nine o'clock was the hour fixed upon for the assault to be made. The Ministers who were expected at dinner remained at Fife House, and at eight o'clock Mr. Birnie with twelve constables was despatched to Cato Street to apprehend the conspirators. Thirty-five foot guards were ordered to support the police force. The constables arrived upon the spot a few moments before the soldiers, and suspecting that the conspirators had received intimation of the discovery of their plot, and were in consequence preparing to escape, they did not wait for the soldiers, but went immediately to the house. A man armed with a musket was standing sentry, whom they secured. They then ascended a narrow staircase which led to the room in which the gang were assembled, and burst the door open. The first man who entered was shot in the head, but was only wounded; he who followed was stabbed by Thistlewood and killed. The conspirators then with their swords put out the lights and attempted to escape. By this time the soldiers had arrived. Nine men were taken prisoners; Thistlewood and the rest escaped.

[39] [The Cato Street Conspiracy.]

March 1st, 1820 {p.027}

Thistlewood was taken the morning after the affair in Cato Street. It was the intention of these men to have fired a rocket from Lord Harrowby's house as soon as they had completed their work of destruction; this was to have been the signal for the rising of their friends. An oil shop was to have been set on fire to increase the confusion and collect a mob; then the Bank was to have been attacked and the gates of Newgate thrown open. The heads of the Ministers were to have been cut off and put in a sack which was prepared for that purpose. These are great projects, but it does not appear they were ever in force sufficient to put them in execution, and the mob (even if the mob had espoused their cause, which seems doubtful), though very dangerous in creating confusion and making havoc, are quite inefficient for a regular operation.

June 4th, 1820 {p.027}

I went to Oatlands on Tuesday. The Duchess continues very ill; she is not expected to recover. The King was at Ascot every day; he generally rode on the course, and the ladies came in carriages. One day they all rode. He was always cheered by the mob as he went away. One day only a man in the crowd called out, 'Where's the Queen?' The Duke of Dorset was at the Cottage, and says it was exceedingly agreeable. They kept very early hours. The King always breakfasted with them, and Lady Conyngham looked remarkably well in the morning, her complexion being so fine. On Friday she said she was bored with the races and should not go; he accordingly would not go either, and sent word to say he should not be there. They stay there till to-morrow. In the meantime the Queen is coming to England, and Brougham is gone to meet her. Nobody knows what advice he intends to give her, but everybody believes that it is his intention she should come. It was supposed that Lady Conyngham's family (her son and brother) had set their faces against her connection with the King; but Lord Mount Charles was at the Cottage, and Denison was at the levee and very well received.


June 7th, 1820 {p.028}

The Queen arrived in London yesterday at seven o'clock. I rode as far as Greenwich to meet her. The road was thronged with an immense multitude the whole way from Westminster Bridge to Greenwich. Carriages, carts, and horsemen followed, preceded, and surrounded her coach the whole way. She was everywhere received with the greatest enthusiasm. Women waved pocket handkerchiefs, and men shouted wherever she passed. She travelled in an open landau, Alderman Wood sitting by her side and Lady Ann Hamilton and another woman opposite. Everybody was disgusted at the vulgarity of Wood in sitting in the place of honour, while the Duke of Hamilton's sister was sitting backwards in the carriage. The Queen looked exactly as she did before she left England, and seemed neither dispirited nor dismayed. As she passed by White's she bowed and smiled to the men who were in the window. The crowd was not great in the streets through which she passed. Probably people had ceased to expect her, as it was so much later than the hour designated for her arrival. It is impossible to conceive the sensation created by this event. Nobody either blames or approves of her sudden return, but all ask, 'What will be done next? How is it to end?' In the House of Commons there was little said; but the few words which fell from Creevy, Bennett, or Denman seem to threaten most stormy debates whenever the subject is discussed. The King in the meantime is in excellent spirits, and the Ministers affect the greatest unconcern and talk of the time it will take to pass the Bills to 'settle her business.' 'Her business,' as they call it, will in all probability raise such a tempest as they will find it beyond their powers to appease; and for all his Majesty's unconcern the day of her arrival in England may be such an anniversary to him as he will have no cause to celebrate with much rejoicing.[40]

[40] [On the day that the Queen landed at Dover a royal message was sent down to Parliament, by which the King commended to the Lords an enquiry into the conduct of the Queen. In the House of Commons there was some vehement speaking; and on the following day, before Lord Castlereagh moved the address in answer to the message, Mr. Brougham read to the House a message from the Queen, declaring that her return to England was occasioned by the necessity her enemies had laid upon her of defending her character.]

June 9th, 1820 {p.029}

Brougham's speech on Wednesday is said by his friends to have been one of the best that was ever made, and I think all agree that it was good and effective. The House of Commons is evidently anxious to get rid of the question if possible, for the moment Wilberforce expressed a wish to adjourn the county members rose one after another and so strongly concurred in that wish that Castlereagh was obliged to consent. The mob have been breaking windows in all parts of the town and pelting those who would not take off their hats as they passed Wood's door. Last night Lord Exmouth's house was assaulted and his windows broken, when he rushed out armed with sword and pistol and drove away the mob. Frederick Ponsonby saw him. Great sums of money have been won and lost on the Queen's return, for there was much betting at the clubs. The alderman showed a specimen of his taste as he came into London; when the Queen's coach passed Carlton House he stood up and gave three cheers.

It is odd enough Lady Hertford's windows have been broken to pieces and the frames driven in, while no assault has been made on Lady Conyngham's. Somebody asked Lady Hertford 'if she had been aware of the King's admiration for Lady Conyngham,' and 'whether he had ever talked to her about Lady C.' She replied that 'intimately as she had known the King, and openly as he had always talked to her upon every subject, he had never ventured to speak to her upon that of his mistresses.'

June 16th, 1820 {p.029}

The speech which Canning made on the occasion of the King's message has been violently attacked by all parties, and is said to have given as great dissatisfaction to the Queen as to the King. It is not easy to discover what the Queen could have objected to in the speech, for it was highly favourable and flattering to her. It was generally supposed last Sunday that he would resign in the course of the week, and bets were laid that he would not be in office next Sunday. On Wednesday he had an audience of the King at the levee, which lasted fifty-two minutes by Yarmouth's watch; nobody knows what passed between them. Lord Fitzwilliam and Lord Sefton have refused to act as negotiators for the Queen.

There was some indiscipline manifested in a battalion of the 3rd Guards the day before yesterday; they were dissatisfied at the severity of their duty and at some allowances that had been taken from them, and on coming off guard they refused to give up their ball cartridges. They were ordered off to Plymouth, and marched at four yesterday morning. Many people went from the ball at Devonshire House to see them march away. Plymouth was afterwards changed for Portsmouth in consequence of their good behaviour on the route. Worcester[41] met many of them drunk at Brentford, crying out, 'God save Queen Caroline!' There was some disturbance last night in consequence of the mob assembling round the King's mews, where the rest of the battalion that had marched to Portsmouth still remained.

[41] [The Marquis of Worcester, afterwards seventh Duke of Beaufort]


June 23rd, 1820 {p.030}

I never remember to have seen the public curiosity so excited as on Wilberforce's motion last night.[42] Nearly 520 members voted in the House, and some went away; as many people as could gain admission attended to hear the debate. The speaking on the Opposition side was excellent, but as everybody differs in opinion with regard to the comparative merit of the speakers, it is impossible for one who was not present to form a correct judgment on the subject. The best speeches were Brougham's, Denman's, Burdett's, and Canning's. Denman's speech was admirable and, all agree, most judicious and effective for his client. Burdett's was extremely clever, particularly the first part of it. In the meantime it is doubtful whether anything is gained by the resolution carried last night. Public opinion seems very equally divided as to the probability of the Queen agreeing to the expressed or implied wish of the House of Commons, and even if she refuses to consent to the omission of her name in the Liturgy it seems doubtful whether the green bag will ever be opened, so strong is the repugnance of the House of Commons to enter upon such an investigation. It is this feeling in the House which emboldens the Queen to hold out with the firmness and constancy she has hitherto displayed. The House of Lords cuts a most ridiculous figure, having precipitately agreed to go into the Committee. They have since been obliged to put off the investigation by repeated adjournments, in order to see what steps the House of Commons will take. Lord Grey made an indignant speech, last night on this very subject; they say Lord Liverpool spoke remarkably well in reply.

[42] [Mr. Wilberforce moved an address to the Queen to stop the investigation, by entreating her Majesty, under the assurance of the protection of her honour by the Commons, to yield the point of the insertion of her name in the Liturgy. This proposal the Queen courteously declined.]

June 25th, 1820 {p.031}

The Queen's refusal to comply with the desire of the House of Commons keeps conjecture afloat and divides opinions as to the opening of the bag. The Opposition call her answer a very good one; those of the other party I have seen think it too long, and not neatly and clearly worded. Brougham declined advising her as to her answer; he told her she must be guided by her own feelings, and was herself the only person capable of judging what she had best do. The discussion of the Queen's business is now become an intolerable nuisance in society; no other subject is ever talked of. It is an incessant matter of argument and dispute what will be done and what ought to be done. All people express themselves tired of the subject, yet none talk or think of any other. It is a great evil when a single subject of interest takes possession of society; conversation, loses all its lightness and variety, and every drawing-room is converted into an arena of political disputation. People even go to talk about it from habit long after the interest it excited has ceased.

June 27th, 1820 {p.031}

The mob was very abusive to the member who carried up the resolution to the Queen, and called Wilberforce 'Dr. Cantwell.' The Queen demanded to be heard by counsel at the bar of the House of Lords. Contrary to order and contrary to expectation, the counsel were admitted, when Brougham made a very powerful speech. Denman began exceedingly well; Lord Holland said his first three or four sentences were the best thing he ever heard; si sic omnia, he would have made the finest speech possible; but on the whole he was inferior to Brougham. If the House had refused to hear her counsel, it is said that she would have gone down to-day to the House of Lords and have demanded to be heard in person. As usual Brougham's speech is said by many of his political adversaries to have been weak in argument. Many, however, do him the justice to acknowledge that it was a very powerful appeal for his client.

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