LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Creevey Papers
Ch. IV: 1825-26

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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Domestic politics were in an uneventful stage in the fifth year of George IV. Ten years of peace had told their tale upon the resources of the United Kingdom; the mineral and textile industries were fully employed, and were developing apace; even farmers had ceased to have cause for complaint, if the Annual Register may be taken as well informed, for “agricultural distress had disappeared,” according to that authority, which is scarcely to be reconciled with Lord Sefton’s account of affairs in Lancashire. Mr. Creevey’s letters are chiefly filled with descriptions of the various country houses which he visited, and of their inmates. January finds him north of the Tweed, paying a visit to his friend Mr. Ferguson of Raith.

Mr. Creevey to Miss Ord.
“Raith, 18th January, 1825.

“. . . On Sunday I went to Kirk to hear the great luminary of this county, Dr. Chalmers,* Professor of Humā-nity at Glasgow, and an author upon many subjects. He dined here on Saturday, and was treated as a regular Jeroboam. His appearance on that day was that of a very quiet, good kind of man, with very dirty hands and nails; but on Sunday I never beheld a fitter subject for Bedlam than he was. . . . The stuff the fellow preached could only be surpassed by his

* In 1823 he was Professor of Moral Philosophy in St. Andrews, but in 1824 he was transferred to the chair of Theology in Edinburgh.

manner of roaring it out. I expected he would have carried the poor Kirkcaldy pulpit clean away. Then his Scotch too! His sermon was to prove that the manner of doing a kindness was more valuable than the matter, in support of which I remember two notable illustrations.—‘If,’ said he, ‘you suppose a fā-mily to be suddenly veesited with the cā-lā-mity of po-verty, the tear of a menial—the fallen countenance of a domestick—in such cases will afford greater relief to the fā-mily than a speceefick sum of money without a corresponding sympathy.’ A pretty good start, was it not—for Scotland, too, of all places in the world! but it was followed by a still higher flight.—‘Why,’ said he, or rather shouted he, ‘Why is it that an epple presented by an infant to its parent produces greater pleesure than an epple found by the raud-side? Why, because it is the moral influence of the geft, and not the speceefick quality of the epple that in this case constitutes the pleesure of the parent.’ Now what think you of the tip-top showman of all Scotland? . . .

“Having heard that the London artist Irving had formerly to do with Kirkcaldy, I asked Fergus and he replied—‘Oh yes: he kept an acā-demy for youth at Kirkcaldy and was the greatest tyrant of a dominie that ever I hard of. He had three different indictments found against him for beating his pupils.’—‘Oh!’ said I, ‘you joke.’—‘No,’ replied Fergus, ‘I never made a joke in my life. I have seen, with my own eyes, his pupils carried home, from his having bruised them so unmercifully; and the truth is, I canno bear to hear his name mentioned.’ The said Fergus is a man of 70 years of age at least, and Provost of Kirkcaldy. Is it not a capital account of the London charmer to whom the fine ladies, Jemmy McKintosh, and Canning, and anybody else of any fame, fly in all directions?”

Lord Thanet’s death at this time seriously affected Mr. Creevey’s position in Parliament as member for Appleby, which seat was in the deceased lord’s gift. By the custom of the unreformed Parliament he felt bound to resign the seat if called on to do so by his lordship’s successor.

Mr. Creevey to Miss Ord.
“Raith, Feby. 6th, 1825.

“. . . Soyez tranquille as to Parliament—as to my having a seat in it, I mean. You have already my mind on this subject . . . particularly as to the value to one’s feelings of not being turned out on a notice or by the intrigues of Ly. Holland, Ly. Blessington, &c., &c. . . . The death of poor Thanet makes a great difference in my feelings as to parliamentary attendance. It was due to him to be at my post; I feel no such obligation to the present earl or my dear constituents. . . .”

“Raby Castle [Earl of Darlington’s], Feb. 16th, 1825.

“. . . This house is itself by far the most magnificent and unique in several ways that I have ever seen. Then what are we to say of its being presided over by a poplolly!! a magnificent woman, dressed to perfection, without a vestige of her former habits—in short, in manners as produceable a countess as the best blood could give you. . . . As long as I have heard of anything, I have heard of being driven into the hall of this house in one’s carriage, and being set down by the fire. You can have no idea of the magnificent perfection with which this is accomplished. Then the and of musick which plays in this same hall during dinner! then the gold plate!! and then—the poplolly at the head of all!!!”*

“Raby, 20th Feby.

“. . . My lady [Darlington] drove me about and shewed me many lions I had not seen before. I am compelled to admit that, in the familiarity of a duet and outing, the cloven foot appeared. I don’t mean more than that tendency to slang, which I conceive it impossible for any person who has been long in the ranks entirely to get over.† To be sure when I

* The 3rd Earl of Darlington was created Duke of Cleveland in 1833. By his second wife, alluded to above, who died in 1861, he had no children.

† It requires an effort to realise how very recent is the toleration of slang in ladies of position. Men, as is amply manifest in Mr. Creevey’s correspondence, permitted themselves to use language of the utmost

look at these three young women,* and at this brazen-faced Pop who is placed over them, and shews that she is so, the whole transaction—I mean the marriage, appears to me the wickedest thing I ever heard of; tor altho’ these young ladies appear to be gifted with no great talents, and altho’ they have all more or less of the quality squall, yet their manners are particularly correct and modest. . . .”

“London, March 7th.

“. . . I wish you could hear Atty Hill’s† imitation of old Dowr Richmond upon the marriage that is about to take place between Mrs. Tighe’s eldest son and a young Lady [Louisa] Lennox. The Dowr. had fixed her mind upon having Lord Hervey, which was more than he did, so Tighe and the young one settled their affairs. . . .”

At this time may be noted the earliest appearance in Parliament of the great railway movement. Mr. Creevey was appointed a member of the Committee to deal with the Bill of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company, to which, it would appear, he applied himself in no judicial frame of mind. He acted openly in the interests of his friends Lords Derby and Sefton, who, like most territorial magnates at that time, viewed the designs of railway engineers with the utmost apprehension and abhorrence.

Mr. Creevey to Miss Ord.
“London, March 16, 1825.

“. . . Sefton and I have come to the conclusion that our Ferguson is insane. He quite foamed at the mouth with rage in our Railway Committee in support of this infernal nuisance—the loco-motive Monster,

licence; but, if swearing was reckoned a grace in male conversation, slang was pronounced a disgrace among ladies.

* Lord Darlington’s daughters.

Lord Arthur Hill, second son of 2nd Marquess of Downshire, succeeded his mother as Baron Sandys.

carrying eighty tons of goods, and navigated by a tail of smoke and sulphur, coming thro’ every man’s grounds between Manchester and Liverpool. He was supported by Scotchmen only, except a son of
Sir Robert Peel’s, and against every landed gentleman of the county—his own particular friends, who were all present, such as Ld. Stanley, Ld. Sefton, Ld. Geo. Cavendish, &c.”

“25th March.

“. . . I get daily more interested about this railroad—on its own grounds, to begin with, and the infernal, impudent, lying jobbing by its promoters. . . .”

“31st May.

“. . . This railway is the devil’s own—from 12 till 4 daily is really too much. We very near did the business to-day; we were 36 to 37 on the Bill itself. I led for the Opposition in a speech of half an hour. . . .”

“June 1.

“. . . Well—this devil of a railway is strangled at last. I was sure that yesterday’s division had put him on his last legs, and to-day we had a clear majority in the Committee in our favour, and the promoters of the Bill withdrew it, and took their leave of us. . . . We had to fight this long battle against an almost universal prejudice to start with—interested shareholders and perfidious Whigs, several of whom affected to oppose us upon conscientious scruples. Sefton’s ecstacies are beyond, and he is pleased to say it has been all my doing; so it’s all mighty well.”


“. . . Another charming day we had [at Ascot]. Prinney came as before, bowling along the course in his carriage and four. In passing the young Duchess of Richmond’s open landau he played off his nods and winks and kissing his hand, just as he did to all of you 20 years ago on the Brighton racecourse. . . . Lords Cowper and Jersey joined our sandwich party. . . . As Cowper was an inmate of the Court, I inquired as to their goings on, and how the King lived.—‘Why,’ said he, ‘yesterday I think we sat down about 24 or 25 to dinner at ½ past 7, and the King ate very heartily of
turtle, accompanying it with punch, sherry and champaign. The dinner always lasts a very long time, and yesterday we sat very late after it. The King was in deep conversation with
Lauderdale, and I think must have drunk a couple of bottles of claret before we rose from table.’ . . . He had prepared for the week by having 12 oz. of blood taken from him by cupping on the Monday. Nevertheless, we all think he will beat brother York still. It was not amiss to hear bold York congratulating Sefton and the Countess upon their victory over the railway. . . .

“Our dinner at Bruffam’s yesterday was damnable in cookery, comfort, and everything else, tho’ the dear Countess of Darlington was there, better dressed and looking better than any countess in London. Mrs. Brougham sat like an overgrown doll at the top of the table in a bandeau of roses, her face in a perpetual simper without utterance. Bruffam, at the other end, was jawing about nothing from beginning to end, without attending to any one, and only caring about hearing himself talk. The company were the Darlingtons and Ly. Arabella, the Taylors, Dr. and Mrs. Lushington, Lord Nugent, Anacreon Moore, a son of Rosslyn’s, a brother of Brougham’s, and myself.”

“June 25th.

“. . . There has been a blow-up again between Prinney and Ly. Conyngham, but matters are all settled again thro’ the kind and skilful negociation of Lauderdale. She has become of late very restless and impatient under what she calls her terrible restraint and confinement, and about 10 days ago announced her fixed determination to go abroad. . . . Lauderdale, however, has satisfied her for the present that, however blameable it was in her at first to get into her present situation, now it is her bounden duty to submit and go thro’ with it.”

Busy intrigues were afoot at this time about seats in Parliament. Brougham was negociating secretly with various noble lords in order to get his friends in; and although his correspondence with Creevey was as cordial in appearance as heretofore, yet
Creevey was duly informed by kind friends what was going on. He deeply resented what he considered Brougham’s treachery in trying to oust him from his seat, and wrote with great bitterness and frequency about the villainy of “Wicked Shifts.”
Lord Darlington had five seats to dispose of.

M. A. Taylor, M.P., to Sir Robert Wilson.
“Cantley, 11th Sept.

“. . . All my accustomed correspondents are absent from town; I therefore have nothing from the great emporium of news. While Canning is viewing the scenery of the Lakes, and the King is fishing in a punt upon Virginia Water, I am bound to suppose there is no tempest upon the political ocean. I wish that Ferdinand [King of Spain] was hanged—Rothschild, Baring and all the gambling crew in the Gazette—the Sultan driven forth from Constantinople—his wives and concubines let loose—that balloons were actual and safe conveyances, and that I had a villa in the Thracian Bosphorus. . . .”

Mr. Creevey to Miss Ord.
“Cantley, 21 Sept. 1825.

“. . . Mrs. Taylor has had an interview with the Countess [of Darlington] upon my case. She said she now spoke with Lord Darlington’s authority—that what she said must be considered as coming from himself. It was, therefore, matter of deep regret to him that Mrs. Taylor had not mentioned Mr. Creevey’s case till his Parliamentary arrangements were all made, which unfortunately they now were, and that all that remained for him now to say was that the first vacancy which happened in any seat of his, Mr. Creevey should have it, and that he never should be without one. Now; altho’ reversionary prospects for a gentleman in his 58th year are no very brilliant matters, yet I think it is all mighty well . . . and as she has once taken me and my concerns into her holy keeping, when we come to cement the connection with a few gambols at
Raby, she may perhaps open the Earl’s eyes to an interest in some borough which he never thought of before. . . . We were 23 at dinner to-day, to say nothing of a buck from
Ld. Tankerville, another from Lambton, a third from Ld. Darlington, half a one from Lord Fitzwilliam, another half from Ld. Tavistock; not to mention a turtle—also a present, and pines without end.”

“Cantley, Sept. 29.

“. . . What a devil of a good hand Mrs. Taylor is for living in a storm . . . She was evidently much pleased with her grandee of a niece* taking the amiable and dutiful line to her aunt as she did. . . . There are usually only three balls, but, as Lady Londonderry justly observed to Mrs. Taylor, that it must be very dull for people to stay at home in their lodgings on the Tuesday and Thursday evenings, she got up publick balls for these nights also, and at all five balls she [Lady Londonderry] was there the first and went away the last . . . and the result was every one was charmed with her. . . .”

Despite the evil impression Creevey had received upon his first visit to Lambton, he returned there for the races in the following year. His report thereon to Miss Ord contains, as usual, some curious particulars of the menage.

“Lambton, 24th Oct, 1825.

“. . . Altho’ our King Jog did receive me so graciously yesterday . . . the sunshine was of very limited duration. You must know by a new ordinance livery servants are proscribed the dining-room; so our Michael and Frances [Taylor] were none the better for their two Cantley footmen, and this was the case too with Mrs. General Grey, whom I handed out to dinner. . . . Soup was handed round—from where, God knows; but before Lambton stood a dish with one small haddock and three small whitings in it, which he instantly ordered off the table, to avoid the

* The Marchioness of Londonderry, a very great lady indeed, who was staying at Cantley with her aunt, Mrs. Taylor, for Doncaster races.

trouble of helping. Mrs. Grey and myself were at least ten minutes without any prospect of getting any servant to attend to us, altho I made repeated application to Lambton, who was all this time eating his own fish as comfortably as could be. So my blood beginning to boil, I said:—‘Lambton, I wish you would tell me what quarter I am to apply to for some fish.’ To which he replied in the most impertinent manner:—‘The servant, I suppose.’ I turned to Mills and said pretty loud:—‘Now, if it was not for the fuss and jaw of the thing, I would leave the room and the house this instant’; and I dwelt on the damned outrage. Mills said:—‘He hears every word you say’; to which I said: ‘I hope he does.’ . . . It was a regular scene. . . .”

“Nov. 3, Newton House [Earl of Darlington’s].

“. . . In taking leave of Lambton, let me observe once for all that nothing could be better than Lady Louisa,* in her quiet way, to everybody. In every respect and upon all occasions she is a very sensible, discreet person. . . . Nothing on earth can be more natural and comfortable than we all are here. The size of the house, as well as of the party, makes it more of a domestic concern than it is at Raby, and both he and she shine excessively in this point of view. As for her [Lady Darlington] I consider her a miracle. To see a ‘bould face’ turn into a countess, living in this beautiful house of her own, and never to shew the slightest sign of being set up, is so unlike all others of the kind I have seen, that she must be a very sensible woman. Then she is so clean, and she is looking so beautiful at present. . . .”

“Thorp Perrow [Mr. Milbank’s], Nov. 8.

“Well—now for Milbank and Ly. Augusta†—or Gusty, as he calls her. Their house is in every way worthy of them—a great, big, fat house three stories high. . . . All the living rooms are on the ground

* Mr. Lambton’s second wife. She was Lady Louisa Grey, daughter of the 2nd Earl Grey.

† A daughter of Lord Darlington.

floor, one a very handsome one about 50 feet long, with a great bow furnished with rose-colored satin, and the whole furniture of which cost £4000. Everything is of a piece—excellent and plentiful dinners, a fat service of plate, a fat butler, a table with a barrel of oysters and a hot pheasant, &c., wheeled into the drawing room every night at ½ past ten . . . but our events for record are few. . . . In answer to your question about Brancepeth Castle, it belonged to
Mrs. Taylor’s uncle, Mr. Tempest. . . . Having left it to his nephew, Sir Harry Vane, the latter sold it to Russell, who has rebuilt the whole ancient castle. . . . Few people could devote £80,000 per ann. to accomplish the job as Russell did. Lord Londonderry told Ly. Ramsden he wished he had never taken Frances [Lady Londonderry] there, for she had raved of nothing else ever since, and was quite out of heart with all they are doing at Wynyard; and Frances is quite right.”

At this time Mr. Creevey was much taken up in preparing for publication a series of letters on Reform addressed to Lord John Russell. He submitted the proofs to Brougham for approval, and his letters to Miss Ord are full of references to the forthcoming work. “You know,” he writes, “one is always occupied at the last in twisting and twining about sentences in one’s head to try if one can make them look better.” The letters were published by Ridgway early in 1826 in the form of a pamphlet.

Earl of Sefton to Mr. Creevey.
“Croxteth, Oct. 2, 1825.

“. . . I cannot help congratulating you upon your conversion to reform. I have been long convinced that nothing else will bring down taxation and tythes, and therefore would not give a farthing for any other remedy. . . . I hear our friend the Bear Ellice must be a bankrupt; he is trying to defer the evil day, but fall
he must. Did you read
Cobbett’s life of Canning in the Statesman? What the devil does he mean by all at once being so completely mollified, and complimenting his talents and beauty? . . . Nothing can exceed the distress here among the farmers: 40 per cent. reduction of rents is the lowest they talk of, and even then I don’t believe they will be able to pay the remainder. Little Derby is very sore. Old Blackburne* begins to think everything is not quite right; he even goes so far as to say he does not see how it will all end.”

The year 1826 opened upon a very different scene to the preceding one. Activity in all branches of industry had brought about the usual results in headlong speculation and over production. A period of depression and inactivity followed in due sequence upon the wave of prosperity, so that the autumn witnessed the failure of many country banks and the collapse of many commercial houses. The Roman Catholic agitation in Ireland was becoming formidable; amendments were moved to the Address in both Houses calling upon the Government to repeal or revise the Corn Laws, and thereby alleviate the general distress, and the commercial panic had to be dealt with by legislation on the currency. “The political sky looks very cloudy,” wrote Mr. Croker to Lord Hertford; “the three C’s—Corn, Currency and Catholics—will perplex if not dissolve the Government.” As regards the currency, a measure was passed prohibiting the circulation of bank notes for less than £5 face value. Scotland successfully resisted this restriction, and enjoys her £1 notes to this day, but these disappeared entirely from England.

The Corn Laws were more thorny matter to

* John Blackburne of Orford Hall [1754-1833], M.P. for Lancashire for 46 years.

1825-26.]LADY GREY’S VIEWS.95
handle; nevertheless, in May an Act was passed permitting the importation of 500,000 quarters of foreign wheat, irrespective of the current price in English markets at the time. Thus was the gauntlet thrown down between the rival interests of agriculture and manufacture—the land and the towns; presenting a difficult and disagreeable dilemma for the great Whig landowners, and driving a wedge deep into the Tory phalanx, which had so long withstood external assault.

Countess Grey to Mrs. Taylor.
“Tuesday [February, 1826].

“. . . Things are worse and worse in the City. I have just had a note from thence, and this day all the things in the Stocks have fallen worse than ever. Every soul to whom a shilling is due comes to ask for it. In short, it is a fearful time. As to the opinions on the £1 and £2 notes business, people are so divided that it is impossible to come at the truth. Sir Robert Wilson, Brougham, Lord Lansdowne are with Ministers, and even Lord Dacre; then others—the strongest of the Tories—are against them. Lord Auckland thinks it ruin to us all, and even those who vote for it say that it will make things worse for the present. Ld. Dacre says that he makes up his mind to get no rents for 2 or 3 years, but that he thinks it will eventually do good. I understand nothing about it, but dislike it if it will prevent us receiving rents, which seems allowed on all hands.

“Last night Harriet had her écarté party, and it was very good and very agreeable, except that I lost my £10, which made me rather blue.

“There is a strong report of the Chancellor [Eldon] going out. Gifford, it is supposed, cannot be Chancellor, as all the Bar declare him incompetent, and he himself feels it. Copley is trying, but they say it is impossible, as he is not a Chancery man.* Some say

* Nevertheless, he became Chancellor [Lord Lyndhurst] in the following year.

that our
Leach must get it, as he is the only one who can do the business. I think it more likely that the Seals will be put in commission. If Leach gets it, Mr. Vane is sure to get the best thing going. He told me so long since. To be sure, we won’t get all the best things for all our friends, and if he don’t obey we will neither dine with him nor allow him to play at écarté. Lady Elizabeth [Conyngham’s] marriage still drags on. She now says she cannot think of fixing a time for it, as she cannot make up her mind to quit her mother; that is—Lady C[onyngham] puts this into her mouth, and then says:—‘It is so, is it not, Tissy?’—‘Yes, mama,’ answers she. . . . I hear from those who have been there that the Cottage* is more dull than ever: that Lady C. throws herself back on the sofa and never speaks; and the opinion is (which I don’t believe) that she hates Kingy. We have just got over Shoenfeld, the man who fought with Cradock about Mme. de G[enlis] and Mme. de Firmacon. The Dauphine at Lady Granville’s ball said to him:—‘Monsieur, quand partezvous?’ which was reckoned a congé, and he was in consequence sent here as attaché to Esterhazy. He is all whiskers and white teeth, and evidently means to be a ladykiller, and, if I am not mistaken, will succeed. I find that he was with Esterhazy at the very time we were living so much with the Princesse, and that he used to dine every day with us all, at the bottom of the table. So little effect did he make, that we never saw the animal; but he has now gotten a new applique in the shape of a top knot, and passes off for a youth à bonnes fortunes, which is very amusing. . . . I am happy to tell you that a serious phalanx is arranging for the Age newspaper. About 6 or 7 people are going to prosecute—Mr. Fox Lane for his wife, who they chose to say ‘had exposed herself in her box at the Opera with Poodle Byng’ She had not seen him even by accident for 8 months, and then only in the streets; and on the very night mentioned she was sitting over her own fire with her father and brother!

Lord Kirkwall,† it is said, marries Lord Boston’s

* George IV.’s cottage at Virginia Water, where Lady Conyngham resided.

† Afterwards 5th Earl of Orkney.

daughter. The Belfasts have bought Lord Boston’s house in my street. . . . Houses are dearer than ever. Their’s will stand them furnished in £400 a year. . . . If I dared, I would entreat of you to take no more blue pill. I think that you are ruining yourself, but I know that you have no faith in my knowledge of medicine; but what can be so bad as to take medicine to that excess as to bring on such misery as to affect the mouth.* . . .”

Earl of Sefton to Mr. Creevey.
“13th Feby.

“. . . I dined yesterday with old Sussex. After dinner he proposed Stephenson’s and Lady Mary Keppel’s healths† and thus announced that most interesting and opulent alliance. Albemarle was there, and seemed contented. I hear old Coke is furious about it.† . . . We shall have a division on Robinson’s plan.§ Most of the Oppn. will vote for him. I certainly shall. We are gone too far to recede.”

“Alnwick, Feby. 25, 1826.

“. . . I send you an interesting scrap I received last night from the tip-top reformer of all—Lord John Russell. I had desired Ridgway to send him a copy of ‘the Work,’ and at the same time I wrote him [Lord J. R] a few lines myself. It was always one of my hobbies on this subject to make little Johnny’s speech for him, knowing that my materials were much better than any he had ever produced, or had the means of producing. So I was quite sure, if I succeeded, he would be gravelled, and it is quite clear he is so, and I am glad of it, for he is a conceited little puppy. If he is so complimentary as to think the work ‘calculated to do good when money ceases to be uppermost,’ I

* By salivation.

Henry Frederick Stephenson, private secretary to H.R.H. the Duke of Sussex, married Lady Mary Keppel, 3rd daughter of the 4th Earl of Albemarle.

Mr. Coke of Holkham had married Lady Anne Keppel, an elder daughter of Lord Albemarle’s.

§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Currency Bill.

wonder when he thinks his speeches upon Reform will come into play as doing good!”

Mr. Creevey to Miss Ord.
“Brancepeth Castle, March 13, 1826.

“. . . Tho’ I say it who should not say it, I don’t think I ever followed faster hounds than my friend Russell’s, nor did I ever see a more beautiful run, nor a fox more gallantly run into and killed. I was in at the death, I assure you. . . . Oh what a house this is for beautiful apartments and comforts without end! O’Callaghan, who knows Lowther well, says it is not to be mentioned in the same year with it—such perfect good taste in everything, and the man who did it all just lived in it seven months. . . .”

“London, March 20th.

“. . . I have just been at Ridgway’s for the first time, and altho’ I am only in a 2nd edition,* I know I am in port. Hobhouse,† who, you know, is a brother author, told me yesterday unasked that it was unique and quite unanswerable, and so he intended to say on Lord John Russell’s motion next month. . . . This I shall immediately follow up by putting my name to it.”

“London, March 21.

“Never did I see anything like the town for dulness. . . . The only thing going on is at Ly. Tankerville’s and a few other houses, where ladies of easy virtue meet every night, and as many dandies as the town can supply. Écarté is the universal go with them—the men winning and losing hundreds a night; and as the ladies play guineas, their settlement each night cannot be a small one. I met Vesuvius‡ yesterday, who came up to me open-mouthed about my work. He said a review of it would appear very shortly in the Westminster Review. . . . I saw little white-faced Lord John [Russell] too, but not a word of compliment from him. . . .”

* Of his pamphlet on Reform.

John Cam Hobhouse, M.P. [1776-1854], created Lord Broughton in 1851: a copious writer.

Hon. Douglas Kinnaird.

“April 14th.

“. . . I was in time to hear Hobhouse tell Canning that it was with real heartfelt pain that he still heard from him his deliberate opinion against all parliamentary reform, because he [Hobhouse] was one of a great portion of this country who looked to him with gratitude and affection for his conduct since he came into office, which would amount to VENERATION if he would but give way upon this vital question!!! And this from a man who took such pains to insult Canning by a picture of him three or four years ago in the House! To do some part of the House justice, this affectionate address was received with a very marked titter . . . from the Old Tories at the expense of both Hobhouse and Canning. Lord Rosslyn satisfied me afterwards by facts that nothing can equal the rage of the Old Tory Highflyers at the liberal jaw of Canning and Huskisson. . . . I saw Brougham, who told me that by some accident the letters to Lord John Russell” would not be reviewed in the next number of the Edinboro’ Review, which had been in the press for a fortnight. 1 beg you will suppress your indignation, as I do, at this monstrous piece of perfidy and villainy, considering all that has passed between him and me on the subject. . . . I dined at Sefton’s yesterday. Bold York dined with them the last time as usual, and I trust will do so again, but his life is considered in great jeopardy. To think of these two men—him and is brother, the King—both turned 60, and terrible bad lives, having new palaces building for them! The Duke of York’s is 150 feet by 130 outside, with 40 compleat sleeping apartments, and all this for a single man. . . . Billy Clarence,† too, is rigging up in a small way in the stable-yard, but that is doing by the Government.”

“April 26th, Newmarket [at Lord Sefton’s].

“. . . My racing campaign is over for the present, and I have had four very agreeable days—very good sport each day, and one’s time one way and another

* I.e. Creevey’s pamphlet on Reform.

William IV.

quite occupied. . . . We have had
Jersey, Shelley, F. Russell, Ld. Wilton, Bob Grosvenor, Lord Titchfield and Lord George Bentinck, Lady Caroline and Pawlett, Mills, Irby, Wortley and his son, different days. Wortley is dying for me to pair off with him, but I must do my duty you know. . . . I start per coach at ½ past ten, and as the distance is only 60 miles, I hope to be in time for Michael [Taylor]’s dinner.”

“May 3rd.

“. . . I was one of the majority last night in support of his Majesty’s Ministers for cheaper corn than the landed grandees will now favor us with. . . . It certainly is the boldest thing that ever was attempted by a Government—after deprecating any discussion on the Corn Laws during the present session, to try at the end of it to carry a Corn Law of their own by a coup-de-main, and to hold out the landed grandees as the enemies of the manufacturing population if they oppose it. . . . If a good ultra-Tory Government could be made, Canning and Huskisson must inevitably be ruined by this daring step. You never heard such language as the old sticklers apply to them; and, unhappily for Toryism, that prig Peel seems as deeply bitten by ‘liberality,’ in every way but on the Catholic question, as any of his fellows. I was laughing with Lord Dudley under the gallery at this curious state of things, who said if the Duke of York wd. but come down to the House of Lords and declare that ‘so help him G——, corn should never be under 80s.,’ he would drive this Radical Government to the devil in an instant.”

“May 5.

“. . . Well—the villains jibbed after all. . . . In language the Ministers are everything we could wish, but in measures they dare not go their lengths for fear of being beat, as undoubtedly they would. Indeed it is very doubtful if even this temporising scheme of letting in 500,000 quarters of corn, in the event of scarcity, will go down in the Lords. . . . I never saw anything like the fury of both Whig and Tory landholders at Canning’s speech; but the Tories much
1825-26.]THE CORN LAWS.101
the most violent of the two. . . . It is considered, in short, as a breaking down of the Corn Laws.”


“. . . The land has rallied in the most boisterous manner. The new scheme is considered as a regular humbug, and a perfect insult to the agricultural intellect. In short, Canning and Huskisson are rising (or falling) hourly in the execration of all lovers of high prices, Whig and Tory, but particularly the latter. . . .”


“. . . On Monday we beat the land black and blue about letting in foreign corn; but the Lords, it is said, are not to be so easily beat as the booby squires. There is to be a grand fight—the Ministers and Bishops against the Rutlands, Beauforts, Hertfords, &c. Liverpool gives out that, if he is beat, he will give up the Government, which may be safely said, as there is no one else to take it.”


“. . . Well, you see the landholders, high and low, are the same mean devils, and alike incapable of fighting when once faced by a Government without any land at all. Was there ever such a rope of sand as the House of Lords last night? to be beat by 3 to 1 after all their blustering. . . .”


“. . . Sefton and I voted differently on the late measures in our House; but, to do him justice, no one is more amused at the contemptible figure and compleat defeat of both Squires and Lords. The charm of the power of the Landed Interest is gone; and in a new Parliament Canning and Huskisson may effect whatever revolution they like in the Corn Laws. . . .”


“. . . I dined with poor Kinnaird yesterday, and the sight of such persons as him and her in their present condition is as striking a moral lesson as the world can furnish. He is the only man of real
genuine vivacity I know left in the world; and, wreck as he is, he still preserves the lead in that department. He is doomed to death, and his sufferings are dreadful.
Sefton drove down Alava, Douglas Kinnaird and myself; we were shown into his bedroom, where he lies upon a couch, with a covering over every part of him but his head and arms; and then he was wheeled in to dinner. . . . Then to look at her—a perfect shadow, living, as it were, by stealth likewise; and to think of what she was when the whole play-house at Dublin used to rise and applaud whenever her sister, Lady Foley, and herself used to enter the house, in admiration of their beauty only, and not their rank, for they did so to no others of the Leinster family. . . . It is just 20 years since I saw old Fox with his white favor in his hat upon the marriage of his cousin Lady Olivia Fitzgerald with Kinnaird.’