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The Creevey Papers
Thomas Creevey to Elizabeth Ord, 29 January 1821

Vol. I. Contents
Ch. I: 1793-1804
Ch. II: 1805
Ch. III: 1805
Ch. IV: 1806-08
Ch. V: 1809
Ch. VI: 1810
Ch. VII: 1811
Ch. VIII: 1812
Ch. IX: 1813-14
Ch X: 1814-15
Ch XI: 1815-16
Ch XII: 1817-18
Ch XIII: 1819-20
Vol. II. Contents
Ch I: 1821
Ch. II: 1822
Ch. III: 1823-24
Ch. IV: 1825-26
Ch. V: 1827
Ch. VI: 1827-28
Ch. VII: 1828
Ch. VIII: 1829
Ch. IX: 1830-31
Ch. X: 1832-33
Ch. XI: 1833
Ch. XII: 1834
Ch XIII: 1835-36
Ch XIV: 1837-38
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“29th Jan.

“. . . Saturday I dined at the Fox Club—about 100 of us, Grandees and Tiers-etat united. We are getting very much into the Reform line, I assure you. The Duke of Devonshire has declared for Reform: Slice† of Gloucester at Holkham ten days ago with royal solemnity declared himself a Radical. Yesterday I dined at the Duke of Sussex’s, having contrived through Stevenson to change my day from next Sunday. Lord Thanet took me, and our party were the Dukes of Gloucester and Leinster, Lord Fitzwilliam, Thanet, Grey, Erskine, Cowper, Albemarle, Bob Adair and myself. We had an agreeable day enough. Slice kept us waiting three-quarters of an hour, but this time was not thrown away. Sussex told us in confidence, that the obstacle to the Queen’s name being restored to the Prayer Book did not come from the King, but that he could not tell us

* The Duke, being taken to task in the House of Lords for having, as Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, refused to convene a county meeting to protest against the proceedings in the matter of the royal divorce, replied with characteristic, but injudicious, bluntness that, having already presented a petition in favour of the Queen signed by 9000 persons in that county, he did not see what good purpose could be served by “going through the farce of a county meeting.” It was an unlucky expression, and was brought up against him on numerous occasions for many years.

H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester.

more; and even for this valuable communication he desired not to be quoted. I was surprised to hear Lord Grey say that he knew this to be true.

“Then Sussex entertained us with stories of his cousin Olivia of Cumberland, with whom, for fun’s sake, as he says, he has had various interviews, during which she has always pressed upon him, in support of her claims, her remarkable likeness to the Royal Family. Upon one occasion, being rather off her guard from temper or liquor, she smacked off her wig all at once, and said—‘Why, did you ever in your life see such a likeness to yourself?’ It seems that she lived in the capacity of Pop Lolly to Lord Warwick for many of the latter years of her life, and it is from some papers of his, and with the assistance of others, that she has at length started into the royal line.*

Grey and Lambton and Lady Louisa had been all at Brandenburg House yesterday morning; and my lord’s name was scarcely written by him, before the news flew like wildfire to the Queen, and he was told she begged to see him. So in he and Lambton went, and she seemed to be very much pleased, and so was he. So it’s all very well—better late than never. . . .

“I have two more Royalties to give you, and then I have done with the family. At the Levée on Friday, the King turned his back upon Prince Leopold in the most pointed manner; upon which the said Leopold, without any alteration on a muscle of his face, walked up to the Duke of York, and in hearing of every one near him said—‘The King has thought proper at last to take his line, and I shall take mine’—and so, with becoming German dignity, marched out of the house.

“You will be affected to hear that the dear Duchess of Gloucester is not happy, and that, tho’ Slice is in politicks a Radical, in domestic life he is a tyrant. Some lady called on the Duchess (indeed it has happened to two different ladies), and, being admitted, was marched up quite to the top of the house; where, being arrived out of breath, the Duchess apologised with great feeling for the trouble

* See vol. i. p. 339, note.

she caused her in bringing her up so far, but that in truth it was owing to the cruel manner in which she was treated by the Duke—that he had taken it into his head that the suite of rooms on the drawing-room floor were not kept in sufficiently nice order, and on that account he had them locked up, and kept the keys himself. . . . It is no wonder that the King treated Slice the last time he was at Court with the same sauce he did
Leopold. The Radical has declared he will never go again.

“Before dinner, we had some conversation upon the old story whether Francis was Junius, Grey and Erskine both expressing their most perfect conviction that he was. Erskine mentioned a curious thing, which was confirmed by Lord Thanet. It seems they were both dining with Lady Francis, since Sir Philip’s death, when Erskine asked her if Francis ever told her, or whether she ever collected from his conversation, that he was the author of Junius. To which she answered that he had never mentioned the subject, and that the only allusion to it was in a book. So she went out of the room, and brought back the little book ‘Junius Identified,’ and in the title page was written ‘Francis,’ and, signed with his name—‘I leave this book as a legacy to my dear wife.’ This I think, considering he never would touch the subject or the book of ‘Junius Identified,’ affords an additional strong presumption it was he.

Erskine was to the last degree ridiculous at dinner. Upon Warren’s name being mentioned, he said he certainly could not be called a ‘free Warren,’ and then added—‘indeed rabbits were hole-and-corner men, and who could say they were not?’

“Upon some objections being taken to Erskine’s wig at dinner, he said it had been made for Coutts, and that Mrs. Coutts had been kind enough to give it to him; and then he pulled it off, when, to all our great surprise, tho’ bald, he looked so beautiful and young he might have been 35 or 40 years of age at most.* He was so impressed with our compliments that he has promised to abandon wigs altogether when warm weather comes.

* Erskine was then seventy-one.


Slice, who I had never met before, and who, you know, is a proverbial bore, behaved very well and modestly, which of course was owing to his being only second fiddle; but I assure you the two cousins made a very good exhibition of Royalty, both in propriety and agreeableness.

Thanet brought me back—first to Lady Jersey’s, but she was not ready to receive her company, so we came to Brooks’s. Then Cowper took me to Lady Holland’s, where her ladyship looked as forlorn and discontented as ever she could look. She was in state, with Henry* at her feet—few men—no ladies, and the whole concern to the greatest degree sombre. Her great aversion at present is Lady Jersey, as taking her company from her, which I don’t wonder at, as Cowper and I soon went there, and found a very merry party, cracking their jokes about a round table. Lady Jersey herself is a host, and then there were Brougham, Grey, Lambton, Lord Jersey, Duncannon, Lord and Lady Ossulston, Lady Sefton, Lord A. Hamilton, Cowper and myself: so it was all very well. My lady was all ‘mug’ to me about my farce on Friday,† and at parting desired me to lose no time in firing into them again.

“It has given me great pleasure to see Sir Lowry Cole’s name stand next to mine in the list of the division. To some one who talked to him whilst we were dividing, he said he never had but one opinion as to the impropriety of striking the Queen’s name out of the Liturgy, and he was glad the time was come when he could express his opinion by his vote. Upon my word, the gentlemanly conduct of these soldiers—Lord Howard and Sir Lowry Cole—both dependent to a great degree upon the Crown, is quite touching. They leave your independent squires a hundred miles behind them. . . . Of publick affairs

* Lord Holland.

† A speech on going into Committee of Supply, of which Creevey says in another letter—“This little sortie was, I assure you, rather well done, and eminently useful in a very crowded House. ‘Mouldy’ [Mr. Vansittart, Chancellor of the Exchequer, afterwards Lord Bexley] made an attempt to punish me, but was instantly smothered in universal derision.”

there is nothing new. If the people keep up their feelings, and the expression of them as strongly as ever, on the subject of the Queen’s exclusion from the Liturgy, the Government and their followers are no better off, and in truth much worse than before they waded so triumphantly thro’ the dirt on Friday. I keep to my creed that this blackguard, foolish war with the Queen will eventually ruin the Ministers and produce some great change in the House of Commons.”