Mabell Airlie.

Lady Palmerston and her times (Volume 2) online

. (page 1 of 13)
Online LibraryMabell AirlieLady Palmerston and her times (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


THE LIBRARY

OF

SANTA BARBARA

COLLEGE OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA



PRESENTED BY

DR. AND MRS.H.O.KOEFOD




a^xyY a*





LADY PALMERSTON
AND HER TIMES




EMILY, COUNTESS OF SHAFTESBURY

By kind pel mission of the Earl of Shafteshui y



LADY PALMERSTON
AND HER TIMES



BY

MABELL, COUNTESS OF AIRLIE

AUTHOR OF 'IN WHIG SOCIETY"



IN TWO VOLUMES
VOL. II



HODDER AND STOUGHTON LTD
LONDON NEW YORK TORONTO

1922



Printed in Great Britain by T. and A. Constable Ltd.
at the Edinburgh University Press.






'• CA1 [FORNIA
SANTA BARBARA COLLEGE LIBRARY



CONTEXTS



CHAPTER XIII



I A' E



QUEEN VICTORIA AND LORD MELBOURXF. . . 1

CHAPTER XIV

LADY COWPER'S SECOND MARRIAGE ... 30

CHAPTER XV

LORD BEAUVALE'S ROMANCE .... 46

CHAPTER XVI

UNDER THE PEEL MINISTRY .... 73

CHAPTER XVII

LORD PALMERSTON AND HIS WIFE . . .111

CHAPTER XVIII

LORD PALMERSTON'S DISMISSAL .... 132

v



vi CONTENTS

CHAPTER XIX

LORD PALMERSTON'S TRIUMPH . . . 157



PAGE



AFTERMATH



INDEX



182



185



CHAPTER XIII

QUEEN VICTORIA AND LORD MELBOURNE

A change took place in Lady Cowper's life late
in the year 1839. She had very gradually resumed
her place in the world after Lord Cowper's death,
but it was a changed world for her. Pier home
was gone, and in her diaries she says, " how
difficult it is to know where to go, and how best
to live." She recorded a visit to Panshanger
where she had been happier than she expected,
but there was a note of relief in her account
cf the journey back to London on February 5,
and an amusing sidelight on the new railways.
She posted back. " Great complaints," she wrote,
44 at the Green Man of the rail-road taking all
the travellers. I fear it will be ruin to posting.
The tax must clearly be taken off post horses
as a little help." Next day she gave an account
of the opening of Parliament by the Queen
in person :

' Minny and Fanny went to the House of
Lords to hear the Queen read her speech. They
came home charmed with their expedition.
Most people were in feathers, but they had
only diamonds for their full dress. They said

VOL. II, a



2 QUEEN VICTORIA AND

the Queen's delivery very clear & distinct and
a beautiful toned voice."

But her thoughts wandered back to past days
— and the references to them are numerous.
A dinner at home of her family and one old
friend made her write :

" All kind & good-humoured and melancholy.
The Spirits were forced & all one's thoughts
were far away on the one kind heart who used
to cheer all these meetings by good humour,
and enlivened by his conversation."

On April 6 she wrote :



tt



Anniversary of my dear mother's death.
Tho' 21 years have passed since then, I can
yet feel as if it were but yesterday that Lord C.
and I stood over her beautiful pale face, & he
felt almost the same misery as I did ; now I
remain to grieve over both."

Her brothers felt her loneliness and desceuvre-
ment keenly. They were anxious for her happi-
ness, and yet they must have hesitated in doubt
as to the best way of remaking her life. She
was nearly fifty-two, but remained handsome
and stately. When Queen Victoria said to
Lord Melbourne that she thought Lady Cowper
was still better looking than younger women,
he answered proudly that he agreed, and that
" she was always like a pale rose," adding with
glee that he had thought " her gown the night
before rather dashing." These things, however,



LORD MELBOURNE 8

are not sufficient for happiness even at fifty-two,
and this her brothers felt.

The Ministry were weak and in difficulties.
Much discontent existed, and the want of pros-
perity at home was supposed to be due to the
import duty on foreign corn. Lord Brougham
drew attention to this in the House of Lords
on February 18, 1839. He did not anticipate
much fall in the price here even though the
duties were rescinded. He pointed out that
though, as was hoped, the removal of the import
duty would make it worth while for the Continent
to be turned into a vast granary for the support
of England, this plan must be approached with
caution as it would take years to clear the land
of the thick and impenetrable forests which
covered it and bring it into a state of cultiva-
tion. The Ministry were against an inquiry
into the subject, which was negatived without
a division at the time, but the question crops
up often in Sir Frederick's letters.

Sir Frederick was also much preoccupied
about affairs in India. Lord Auckland had
succeeded Lord Bentinck as Viceroy in 1836.
The secret policy of Russia since the days of
Peter the Great had ever aimed at the conquest
of India, and our Foreign Office knew well that
Russia was making efforts to incite the Shah
of Persia against Afghanistan, and also to open
negotiations with the Amir Dost Mahommed
at Cabul. The Viceroy, disregarding the advice



4 QUEEN VICTORIA AND

of the military and diplomatic authorities,
decided to displace the Amir in favour of Shah
Shuja, who had lost the throne in 1810 and
had never been able to recover it. In the
winter of 1838-39 a British force under Keane
advanced by way of Sind and was joined by
the pretender at Kandahar. Dost Mahommed,
whose troops would not fight, fled to the Hindu
Kush. In August 1839 Keane entered Cabul
and placed Shah Shuja on the throne.

To the Countess Cowper from Sir Frederick Lamb.

5th Feby. 1839.

Thanks for yr news about Corn and Belgium.
Tell me more about them when more there is.
The difficulty about Corn lies in the fixed charges
on Estates, and in the public charges borne
exclusively by the Land. A time of clamour
is ill suited for dealing with such questions,
but in our constitution it is only at such a time
they can be dealt with at all. I do not believe
it safe to let the price of Corn down much below
the averages of late years, unless such a measure
were to form part of a general revision of our
system, and I doubt the practicability of such
a revision, even in Peel's hands, who is the
only man capable of undertaking it. I am
glad Indian Affairs look better, but shall not
think them well until I hear that the advance
of our army into central Asia is unnecessary
and therefore abandoned.

Early in 1839, as a reward for his diplomatic



LORD MELBOURNE

services, Sir Frederick was created a peer. He
chose the name of Beau vale for himself, his
family apparently having other views for him.
Lady Cowper was still pressing marriage on
him, and confiding to him her anxiety about
the matrimonial prospects of her youngest
daughter Fanny. His letter gave the first hint
of that which might make his sister still more
anxious to see Fanny settled in life. He nearly
always wrote of his sister in the third person
as Henriette when he wished to discuss some-
thing private.

To the Countess Cowper from Lord Beauvale.

2 March [1839].

Not think Beauvale a pretty name, my Dear,
why, I chose it for its beauty. This is what
I said to the Stanhope and what She was too
discreet to say to you.

Haddon — but Wm is over Haddon, and Haddon
is the Duke of Rutland's. Ld Overhaddon
won't do.

Boothby — but that is an old family title I know
not of whom, but of somebody, and Wm
is Boothby Graffoc.

Beauvale — Nobody but Wm is Abbot of Beau-
vale and the name is beautiful. Are you
not convinced ?

I could hit on no other. As for W. I don't think
you a very good judge of Girls, nor myself
either. Was there ever a worse Girl than E. C.
except O. whom you particularly regretted '.'
They seem to me all a set of little Devils except



6 QUEEN VICTORIA AND

Minny and I 'm sure nobody can tell anything
about them beforehand — at least not of their
good qualities. Their bad ones are often plain
enough, but I don't think you show a very nice
discrimination of the bad ones of the Girl in
question, and I believe myself to know them
far better than you do.

To the Countess Cowper from Lord Beauvale.

Uh March [1839].

The name Caroline proposes is a relic of poor
George's heraldry. If He had lived, He wld
have been the man to choose a name. I object
to taking the name of another family and
turning it into a title. It is unusual and there
may be other Claimants. Leventhorpe sounds
very pretty, but God only knows how we are
connected with it, and we surely have no right
to it. Titles should be either nominal or terri-
torial. Our name is ridiculous and we have
no right to any other. Beauvale is territorial.
We have a clear right to it and nobody else
has. Voila mes raisons. I agree in yr character
of Glenelg *- and it eminently fits him to be in
the Cabinet without a Department. If any-
thing can be done to soothe his hurt vanity
I hope he may yet take the Privy Seal. Durham
has finished himself, 2 but I shall hardly be
satisfied with the Govt if they do not mark
their sense of his conduct. Cowardice and

1 Lord Glenelg, Secretary for War and the Colonies, had resigned
in February 1839. He was detested in the colonies, and had few
friends at home.

2 By his tactless conduct as High Commissioner in Canada, May-
November 1838.



LORD MELBOURNE 7

trimming never answer, and such insubordina-
tion which wld be punished in an inferior should
not be passed over for their own character.

To the Countess Cowper from Lord Beauvale.

25th [March 1839].

I thought the name had been Beauvale — bel
vallis, beau vallon — not Bovale as you write
it — beef valley. I hope it is not so — this addition
to the already animal character of our house
would not fail to draw jokes. Let us hope
it is Beauvale. I suppose it 's too late to do
anything. I am much gratified by P[almerston]'s
mention of me in the House and shall tell him
so when I have an opportunity. I am busy
here with a thing which promises well and will,
I hope, be of service to him ; take no notice
in the meantime. I wrote to Wm about my
affair and had done so before about something
else, I never do unless there is something positive
to say. Normanby 1 instead of Glenelg in his
supine state may be a relief, but these changes
are never carried through without many dis-
appointed pretensions and much heart burning
and vexation ; these, I fear, will not have
failed Wm this time. I am very glad to learn
the Govt are without alarm about India. I
conclude from thence that the expedition into
Cabool will not take place, but however it may
be if things go right I am satisfied.

I see enough of Durham's report 2 to be sure

1 Lord Normanby succeeded Lord Glenelg as Secretary for War
and the Colonies in February 1839.

2 Lord Durham's celebrated Report on the Administration of Canada,
printed in February 1839.



8 QUEEN VICTORIA AND

it ought never to have been published, nor
should part of it even have been written except
in a most confidential shape to his Govt. It
fills up the number of his indiscretions. I believe
it to be totally unfitted to found a practical
measure upon, and if the Govt attempts it they
will repent it, this is my expectation, sauf
erreur.

When the Queen chooses to marry I shld be
disposed for Prussia — not a Son of the King's
but a collateral, well spoken of— what think
you?

As to yr house I shld certainly sell it. How
hard it is that nobody can live in England
without being short of money.

Lord Beauvale's gibes in the following letter,
at the " little imprudence " so tenderly alluded
to by Lady Cowper, were directed at the view
she was likely to take of any action by Lord
Auckland, then Viceroy of India. In her match-
making way she had always decided that Lord
Auckland's sister Emily Eden would be an
excellent wife for Lord Melbourne. Miss Eden's
description of Lady Cowper and the methods
bv which she wished to attain this end are con-

at

tained in a letter to her friend Mrs. Lister in
1832:

" I have been passing a fortnight at Pan-
shanger, went with George for three days and
then Lady Cowper made me stay on. It is a
most difficult house to get away from, partly
because it is so pleasant, and then her dawdling



LORD MELBOURNE 9

way of saying, 4 Oh no, you can't go, I always
understood you were to stay until we go to
Brighton,' is more unanswerable than all the
cordiality of the kind friends who beg and
pray. ... I was alone with the family, which
is so pleasant. I do like Lady Cowper's society
so particularly ; in short, I like her. She may
have a great many faults but I do not see them
and it is no business of mine." *

Lady Cowper's plans had not, in spite of this,
succeeded, but the Edens remained dear to her.



To the Countess Coivper from Lord Beauvale.

Treviso, 5th April [1839].

What made you deny the truth of all the
reports about Ldy. Flora 2 which now turn out
to be correct ? Yr letter to Bologna avows
them, but everybody else had written them to
Rome and Naples. Had they been concealed
from you, and, more than that, had you been
misled about them ?

What a thing for us the Belgians signing ! 3
— but Auckland's little imprudence, as you
tenderly call it, is the Devil. I still hope he
will not march upon Cabool. If he confines
his operations to Sinde all may be well except
his having announced the larger one, but if

1 Miss Eden's Letters, chap, ix, p. 215.

2 Lady Flora Hastings. Her case became the subject of excited
controversy in February 1839.

3 The Treaty ending the long dispute between the Dutch king and
the Belgians, who had revolted in 1830, was accepted by the Belgian
Chamber, and was signed by the Belgian minister in London on
April 19, 1839.

VOL. II. B



10 QUEEN VICTORIA AND

He undertakes it the only doubt I can have is
as to the extent of the mischief to ensue. Tell
me however how it happens that I at Naples
knowing nothing should judge this little im-
prudence 3 months sooner than the Ministry
at home knowing everything ? Did they conceal
their real opinion from you, or were they misled ?
If the latter they are not served nor informed
as they ought to be. You know it for an old
opinion of mine that they have not the assistance
they should have.

When I say these things, they are very apt
to be mistaken for ill will, on the contrary they
proceed from good will and the wish to see both
them and the Country well served.

Take an instance. The merits of Peel's
speeches on the Corn Laws (which were excellent)
depended greatly on the statistic information
upon which they rested, and which quite over-
threw the reasoning of his Antagonists. Do
you suppose Peel to have poked this out for
himself ? Not at all, but He has men who
furnish him with it. Why has Wm. not ? If
a private Individual can, how much easier a
Prime Minister ? The truth is there should
be such information conveyed to him upon
the important questions in every department.
If this could be organized for him it might help
him through the terrible Session He has before
him — but He must not be harrassed with it.
It is a matter which cannot be arranged in a
hurry, but I am sure that the system of doing
with only clerks and copyists, is inadequate
to the very difficult and dangerous questions
which He and others of the Heads of Depart-
ments have to deal with.



LORD MELBOURNE 11

In April 1839 the Melbourne administration
was tottering to its fall. The Radical Party
was at that time rather like the Irish Party in
later years ; it had to be conciliated to make
a fighting majority on either side. Grevillc
says that Lord John Russell was anxious to
make matters easy for Sir Robert Peel should
he be called on to form a Ministry. The
Jamaica Bill proposed to suspend the consti-
tution of Jamaica for five years on account
of the difficulties made by the Assembly over
the immediate emancipation of the slaves. Sir
Robert chose this measure as the ground for a
crisis. Lady Cowper wrote in her diary on
April 4th : " We are all anxious about the
division Monday (on Jamaica Bill) but if the
Radicals do not desert us our Majority will
be 25 or 30, although the Tories are making it
a party Question." Next day she went to a
great party given by Mme. Pozzo, the wife
of the Russian Ambassador, in honour of the
Hereditary Grand Duke of Russia, afterwards
Alexander n., but she could not enjoy herself :
" great anxiety about the division to-night.
The Tories very factious and the Radicals
spiteful. Division alas ! only 5 Majority. Ten
Radicals went over, and many stood away.
The Tories made great exertions to keep their
people."



ti



Next day," she wrote, " the Cabinet met at



12 QUEEN VICTORIA AND

2 and after a long discussion determined to resign
upon the ground that having so small a majority
they could not carry the bill through, and that
they believe it to be quite necessary for the
welfare of Jamaica. The Grand Duke happened
to go to the House of Lords just before William
made his speech, and was struck with his
manner."

None can fail to understand Lord Melbourne's
position. Though he knew himself unable to
carry on the Government, he also knew that
his opponents were not sufficiently strong to
do so without difficulty. His deep and fatherly
devotion to the Queen made him shrink from
the parting which he knew must ensue. On
May 7th he advised Her Majesty to send for
the Duke of Wellington, and on the 8th, Lady
Cowper noted in her diary :

" The Queen in tears, & miserable. Yesterday
she could not appear at dinner. She is trying
to be calm and has sent for the Duke of Welling-
ton. Ball at Madame Pozzo's for the Grand
Duke. Everybody anxious. Lady Cowley told
me the Duke was much struck with the Queen.
She said, ' My Lord Duke, I have sent for you
with great reluctance. I am grieved to be
obliged to part from my present Ministers,
and particularly Lord Melbourne whom I look
upon as a friend and almost a father, but I feel
the necessity of doing so and now I can assure
you that I shall act with truth and sincerity
towards you.' He declined forming a govern-



LORD MELBOURNE 13

ment, and said she must send for Peel, but
she made a point that he should take office in
the new Government."'

The history of this affair is too well known
to need describing in detail. Peel, knowing
the Queen's fondness for the late Government,
not unnaturally wished her to be not entirely
surrounded by Whig ladies. The Queen having
given up the Lords-in-waiting on party grounds,
could not see why she should be parted from all
her old women friends. Lady Cowper's account
continues :

" Peel saw the Queen to-day * three times
but they disagreed about the Ladies of the
Household. She felt herself ill-used, and wrote
off to Wm. to claim his advice and assistance.
Next night, May 10th, was the Queen's Ball.
The necessities of the moment, entertainments,
balls, must have added greatly to the troubles
of the young Queen. All was at sixes and sevens ;
the results of the last three days have unhinged
everybody."

There were many versions of the interview
between the Queen and Sir Robert Peel, till it
became known that Peel had sent in his resigna-
tion when the Queen refused to make any changes
in her Household. The Whigs met on Sunday,
May 12, and agreed to support her but to
reconstitute the Ministry. Lady Cowper noted

1 Peel saw the Queen on May 9.



14 QUEEN VICTORIA AND

on May 13 that " Peel gave an explanation
in the Commons though none was given in the
Lords. People still very glum." It is impossible
to avoid being sorry for Lord Melbourne, ham-
pered by his past, worn out with conflict, his
natural indolence of character making office
of little account to him. But he had so respectful
an admiration and affection for the Queen and
such a knowledge of her character, that he felt
himself specially qualified to be her guide.
" The Queen said to Melbourne when he brought
her the news, 4 1 was sure you would not desert
me.' " * When he announced his return to
power in the House of Lords, it was, Lady
Cowper continues, "in a beautiful speech in ex-
planation of the Queen's conduct. The Queen
looked very gay and elated at the Duchess of
Gloucester's ball 2 and said to me : c Lord M.
has been dining with me to-day.' " The
Government were still anxious. They were
uncertain about the feeling in the country over
recent events, and about the size of their majority
in the Commons. A by-election took place at
Hertford at this critical moment, and Lady
Cowper's son William was returned as member.
On May 21 she wrote thankfully : " William's
majority 19 — Great excitement and anxiety as
being the first election since the Queen and Sir
Robert's disagreement."

1 Lady Cowper's Diary, 18-39.

2 May 14.



LORD MELBOURNE 15

To the Countess Cowper from Lord Beauvale.

22 April 1839.

I 've got yrs of 12th. The change in yr
calculations does not surprise me, for I had
reckoned upon it. Still I don't think the
Ministers out yet. The mischief is that these
attempts to oust them drive them to the Radicals.
It is the undermining process which I fear, not
the blowing up. Upon the whole I think I am
glad of my Peerage, and the fees they have
called for are something less than I expected.

Every thing you tell me about the Queen is
delicious, but I perceive a violent feeling against
her on the other side. I suppose it is but the
being out, and would change if they came in.
You have all yr own newspapers against you
because you are not Radical enough for them.
They want to drive you to measures which
would end by throwing the Govt into the hands
of the low Rads, themselves included, and the
Tories play their game. This is the whole
history of yr position. The remedy may be
what you indicate if the Whigs are turned out
by the Radicals, e'est a dire, support given by
Whigs to a Tory Govt., but I never see such
support either honest or lasting, witness that
given of late by Tories to a Whig Govt. Fra
due litiganti il terzo gode, and this third is the
Radical party. Such is our position and such
it will remain. Let individuals preserve their
own credit and character. These will always
be of value and may be of use. While the Girls
prefer dancing to marrying, let them dance ;
when their mind changes, let them marry if
they can. I know no other rule.



16 QUEEN VICTORIA AND



To the Countess Cowper from Lord Beauvale.

12 May [1839].

I feel the bitterness of the Tory Ladies to the
Queen, and I see in them a bitterness of feeling
which infects every thing. This is a pity and
of course reacts upon her — but there is no remedy.
The Hastings affair * is one of the vilest and most
disgraceful, in the party colour which has been
given to it and the purposes to which it has
been turned, that ever I knew. I quite agree
with Duke Wellington as to publishing no
statement. If the Holy Ghost were to publish
one, it would only serve as aliment for the vile
press, and as a field to run a new tournament
in. If any paper outstepping the bounds make
itself amenable to the law, then I am for
prosecuting — this is the only statement worth
making ; in that case it comes with an authority
which silences the press. Think of that
Brougham wanting more liberty of the press
at Malta. How admirable is Duke Wellington] 's
speech about it. The Commissioners He chose,
for it was He who chose them, have played the
Devil already, and He wants more, and now
I see a claim is setting up for the same in the
Ionian Islands. It is in these things I think
(speaking from the superficial knowledge one
has at a distance) the leaders of the Ministry
too soft towards their Radical supporters. I

1 An allusion to the scandal about Lady Flora Hastings, daughter
of the Marquess of Hastings and lady-in-waiting at Buckingham
Palace, which was used in a most disagreeable manner by the Tory
ladies. A statement on the subject was published. The young lady,
whose illness was misinterpreted, died in the summer of this year.




EMILY, COUNTESS COWPER, afterwards VISCOUNTESS

PALMERSTON.

After Lucas. By kind permission of the I rustees of the Xational Portrait Gallery



LORD MELBOURNE 17

would rather turn sharp upon them and lei
the Tories try their chance with what support
I could give them, than be the instrument of
such pernicious measures. Somehow or other
I have missed D[u]ke of Newcastle's corre-
spondence with Chancellor. Like you I regrel
it, nothing makes people so furious as these
dismissals. 1

Lady Cowper, like Lord Beauvale, was anxious
about Lord Melbourne's health, and an entry
in her diary says : " I think Ministers should
be paid at an extra rate like any other unhealthy
trade. Quicksilver mines and cotton mills are


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Online LibraryMabell AirlieLady Palmerston and her times (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 13)