Douglas William Claridge Northfield.

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life." The feeling thus expressed is sound and
manly. Still one reads with some surprise Lord
Campbell's statement that, when the debate was over,
"the desperate audacity of the noble and learned
Lord [Lyndhurst] was converted into a good-humoured
smile, and, going over to Lord Melbourne, they
laughed and joked together, both pleased with them-
selves, thinking that in their rencontre each had tilted
to the admiration of the bystanders." Incredulity as
to Lord Campbell's knowledge of their thoughts is
inevitably extended to the fact he professes to record.
Self-respect would keep the kindliest of men from
acting as he says these oratorical gladiators acted.
But the statement is moreover all the more impro-
bable, seeing that, immediately after the debate ended,
a fresh and very hot debate on the Municipal Elections
Bill was opened by Lord Lyndhurst, in which Lord
Melbourne took part and was defeated, by which
another paragraph was added to the Ministerial
chapter of accidents.

In the January of this year Lord Lyndhurst lost
his mother, at the great age of 91. To die end of her
days she retained her memory and intellect unimpaired,
and even her personal beauty. The mutual love of
parent and son burned steadily to the last — ^she proud

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of his triumphs, and grateful for his unfailing devotion ;
he turning to her with the tenderness and reverence
which she had inspired in him from childhood upwards.

Besides the severe political fatigues of the session,
Lord Lyndhurst had taken a large share of the work of
appeals in the House of Lords as well as of the business
of the Privy Council. He had thus well earned a
holiday, and he sought it in Paris, where he was always
happy. He went there in September 1836, and re-
mained till the middle of January. Mr. C. Greville,
who met him there, mentions that Lyndhurst told him
he had never passed such an agreeable time. *' Not a
moment of ennui; he had become acquainted with a
host of remarkable people of all sorts, and the littira'
teurSj such as Victor Hugo, Balzac, &c., the latter of
whom he says is a very agreeable man. He [Bakac]
told me * Le P^re Goriot * is a true story, and that
since its publication he had become acquainted with
some more circumstances which would have made it
still more striking" (vol. iii. p. 378). Lyndhurst also
told Mr. Greville, that he should not " go on " in the
House of Lords this year (1837) as he had done in
the last — that he had been induced by circumstances
and some little excitement to take a more prominent
part than usual, but that he did not see what he got
by it but abuse. " I thought I should not hear any
of the abuse that was poured upon me when I came
here, and got out of the reach of the English news-
papers ; but, on the contrary, I find it all concentrated
in Galignanir

While in Paris he received the following letter
from the Duke of Wellington —

Walmer Castle, October 15, 183d.
My dear Lord Lyndhurst, — ^As I understand that Brad-
shawe is going to Paris, I avail myself of this opportunity

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of sending you a glass such as that in my possession, which
you liked. The two together, in the form of a circle, make a
glass of the strength that you use in general. Separately, each
is of half that strength, and will be found useful in looking at
pictures, or some countenances across the House of Lords.

I have nothing new to tell you. It is quite obvious that
Parliament will not meet till the usual time in February. I
believe that we in the House of Lords must follow the same
course as last year: that is to say, confine ourselves to
legislation ; to originate nothing on our side of the House, but
to allow nothing to pass which shall be thought inconsistent
with principle, or with the interests of the country.

I should think that Lord Melbourne would be disposed to
keep the House of Lords in a state of inaction as long as
possible. But if Brougham should appear among us, it is not
probable that he will relish or will permit this state of tran-
quillity. There are some measures which may be brought
forward immediately — the Insolvent Debtors' Bill, the Church
Regulation Bills, and the Charity Regulation Bill.

You will have seen Brougham's correspondence with the
corporation of Edinburgh upon an invitation to dine with
them, and you will judge for yourself of the probability of his
being present during the next session. I see that it is
announced in this day's paper that he is on his way to
London from Brougham Hall.

However, whatever may be the course adopted by him, I
venture to give you my opinion that you ought to be in
England at an early period. You have established yourself
not only as the first speaker in the House of Lords, but as the
first in your profession, — ^whether in a court of law or of equity,
or in the House of Lords. It is a great satisfaction to your
friends and to the public at large, to feel that, as long as you
can attend to public business, no great and manifest injury
can be done to any man by decisions partial, unjust, or
contrary to law. I hope that you will not lose sight of this
position, so honourable to your character and so important to
the country in the circumstances in which it is placed ; that
you will keep up your customary relations with the Bar ; and
that, above all, you will not be absent from Parliament at the
commencement of the sessions. If there should be no other

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business there will be that of appeals. Indeed, there is one
upon which your presence will be necessary when the
judgement will be given.

I have taken the liberty of adverting to these points, as it
appeared when you were here that you were thinking of remain-
ing abroad. Lady Burghersh and Georgina de Ros are still here.

Lady Salisbury went away a fortnight ago. We have
had here for the last week Lord St Vincent and Miss Jervis.
Believe me, ever yours most sincerely,


This letter furnishes the best of all answers to the
charge against the Duke and his friend of having
been actuated by factious motives in their line of
policy during the previous session, confirming as it
does what Lord Ljoidhurst in his review of the
session had defined that policy to be. It is moreover
specially interesting as showing what the Duke con-
ceived to be the unique position, both as judge and as
statesman, which Lord Lyndhurst had made for himself
in general estimation.

Amid the manifold distractions of Paris Lord
Lyndhurst took care to keep wellj posted up in all
that was going on in England. His friend Mr. Francis
Barlow fed him with such of the political news of the
day as the newspapers did not supply. In answer to
one of Mr. Barlow's bulletins he wrote the following
letter, without date as usual, but, as the reference to
the Duke of Wellington's letter shows, later in the
year 1836.

My dear Barlow, — ^Many thanks for your nouvdles d
la main. They put me au fait as to the state of things
admirably. Pray continue them. Any fragments will be
acceptable. As I have no country houses and as I hate
a watering-place, and cannot bear the winter smoke of
London, I don't see why I am not as well at Paris as else-
where. . I am as near to London as Whamclifife and as many

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other of our Conservative leaders, and will come, if seriously
wanted, at a moment's warning. What can I say more?
But I find I am proscribed by the Irish Association, and this
is adopted with great glee by the Chronicle. N'importe I
If the cause triumphs, I am totally indifferent about myself.
But things at this distance appear to be getting serious. It
is impossible that a Government can go on for any time
independently with such a rival Parliament as this Associa-
tion. It must either adopt and try to use it, or be destroyed
by it I suppose, notwidistanding what Ebrington has said,
there will be a dissolution. I wish you would sift this well. I
have no objection to bring in the Bill you mention, or do any
other useful act in my power. You may proceed upon this,
getting together all the necessary information. The Duke
thinks (private) that we should do as the last session —
confine ourselves to legislation. Here they hope we shall
attack Palmerston — all parties. Ever yours,

(Signed) Lyndhurst.

A letter from Lord Brougham from Worthing,
(20th December) gave warning note that, having
recovered from the illness which had for many months
confined him to Westmoreland, he might be expected,
as the Duke of Wellington had predicted, to throw
the House of Lords into a state of ferment in the
coming session.

My dear L, — I am extremely obliged to you for your
friendly inquiries and congratulations. In fact, I am as well
as ever I was in my life, if not better. But I don't quite
relish the prospect of being shut up in the mornings hearing
appeals, which I suppose will be our fate when Parliament
meets, to say nothing of the trouble I shall have with you
Conservative gentry in the evenings.

The Prisoners Counsel Bill is differently talked of by
different persons. Denman considers that it has not length-
ened the sessions above two days, which would only be
twenty-four in the year. However, were it more, that is no
reason against the measure, for, if necessaiy for justice, the
country is bound to find time, that is^ judges, and if not

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necessary, it is wrong on that score. But there is a general
belief and, I think from all I can learn, a well-grounded one,
that it has led to acquittals in no small number against the
truth of the case. This is the fault, however, not of the Bill,
but of there being no counsel for the prosecution. The judge
cannot (if he chose) do the business of the prosecutor, and he
ought not to choose to place himself in so odious a position.
Though the Bill had never passed, I should have said a pro-
secution without counsel ought not to be, but the Bill makes it
quite clear something must be done to remedy this glaring

In my opinion they should have began with the Central
Court, and might have done so without a general measure in
the first instance. I need hardly add, after what I have said
that there has been no instance of wrong conviction owing to
the Bill. It has been all the other way, which is the lesser
evil by much.

I envy you Paris, and did so still more than I now do,
while we were sitting at the Privy Council on Indian and
Consistorial cases, some of which lasted three days. We had
three weeks of it, often from ten to near six, and scarcely one
less than seven hours. Nothing can be more satisfactory than
the hearing by four, and giving in rotation written judgments
on all the points, whether we affirm or reverse ; but it is
hardish work, especially compared with the former course of
the court, which I have known to be terminer^ rather than
cyer, especially of late times. . . .

Yours ever sincerely,


Next session found Brougham at his post, vexing
the soul of his old Whig friends, but ready as ever to
break a lance with Lord Lyndhurst in honourable
encounter when their views happened to clash, as they
very often did.

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( 373 )


Irish Municipal Corporations Bill — Opposed by Lord Lyndhurst — ^Attack
by Mr. Sheil — Lord Lyndhurst's answer — Death of William IV.—
Accession of Queen Victoria — Lord Lyndhurst and Mr. Disraeli —
Marries Miss Goldsmith — Speech on Juvenile Offenders Bill — ^Visit
of his sister to England — Second Review of the Session — Fall of
Melbourne Ministry — Lyndhurst again becomes Chancellor.

Throughout the session of 1837, Lord Lyndhurst's
work was chiefly judicial. There was little in the Bills
brought up from the Commons to engage his atten-
tion. The Cabinet, as usual, was not lucky with its
measures. Whether through mismanagement, or the
growing difficulty of expediting business in the House
of Commons, retarded as it was by the useless talk
which even then threatened to bring that assembly
into discredit, most of them were either dropped, or
sent up so late to the House of Lords that their
Lordships refused to let them proceed. Several Bills,
however, for the reform of the criminal law were
brought up, the main objects of which were warmly
approved by Lord Lyndhurst. But as sent up
from the Commons, they were full of flaws both of
omission and inconsistency, which he exposed in the
debate on the second reading with convincing clear-
ness. In Committee he spared no pains to remedy
these defects, which, but for his close scrutiny and legal
knowledge, might have escaped notice, and to bring
the Bills into a shape in which they could be passed
with credit It could scarcely have been pleasant, how-
ever, to the Attorney-General to have the crudity of his

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374 LORD BROUGHAM chap.xv.

proposed legislation pointed out — ^an office which it
was Lord Lyndhurst's frequent duty at other times to
perform — and as that official was Sir John Campbell,
hence probably the peculiar bitterness with which he
speaks of Lord Lyndhurst's action at this period.

Lord Brougham, who by this time knew that he had
been thrown over by his Whig friends, now became,
according to Lord Campbell, Lord Ljmdhurst's tool,
urged on by him to do what would be annoying to
the Government, while he himself remained silent,
befooling Brougham with the idea that he exercised a
paramount influence over Lyndhurst's own mind, and
that Lyndhurst was prepared to play a secondary part
to him in the House of Lords ! The statement is made
without a shadow of warrant. That Lyndhurst acquired
great ascendency over Brougham's mind is certain;
but it was the ascendency which one man of genius
insensibly acquires over another by sheer force of
intellect and of character. No effi^rt on Lyndhurst's
part was needed to establish or maintain it, and none
was exerted. On the other hand, Lyndhurst liked
Brougham as a friend, he admired his versatility, his
enormous energy, the rhetorical fire of his speeches,
and would not silently hear him disparaged; but
he was too fully alive to his want of prudence, of
dignity and self-control, to place himself in any matter
under his guidance. Brougham on his part had
formed too high an estimate of Lyndhurst s powers
to dream of becoming his leader, and Lyndhurst
was incapable of the meanness attributed to him by
Campbell, of fostering such a delusion. On several
occasions this session they were found in conflict, and
their only agreement was in reference to certain I^

Brougham, no doubt, became a thorn in the side

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of the men who he conceived had treated him un-
fairly, but he needed no instigation beyond his own
sense of wrong ; neither was Lyndhurst the man to
court such an auxiliary in the task of showing up the
inefficiency of the Government, — a task to which he
knew himself to be fully equal single handed. But
Lord Campbell, eager to disparage both men whenever
he can, gratuitously accuses them of entering into an
alliance, which existed only in his own imagination.

When Lord Lyndhurst wished to strike a blow at
the Ministry he trusted not to others, but to himself.
He showed this notably in a speech (23rd of June) on
the state of public business, where he renewed his
charge of last session against the Ministry, for delay-
ing most of their measures till a period of the session
when it was impossible to get them passed, and for
dropping others that ought to have been pressed.
Instead of joining in this censure, however. Lord
Brougham took up wholly different ground, blaming
the House of Commons as the cause of all obstruction
— a House without organisation, without clear aims,
and compounded on the Liberal side of discordant
elements, which made decisive action on the part of
the Ministry impossible.

Still more notably was it shown in Lord Lynd-
hurst's speech on the Irish Municipal Corporations Bill
(9th of June), when it came up from the Commons in
substantially the same form as the Bill of the previous
year. His defeat of that measure had naturally roused
a feeling of the bitterest rancour in the breasts of
O'Connell and his party. They exhausted all the
epithets in their copious vocabulary of abuse, whenever
his name was introduced, and his allusion to the
alien element in the Irish population furnished a
theme on which they were never weary of descanting.

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37^ MR. SHEWS ATTACK. chap.xy.

When the Bill of this session was under discussion
in the House of Commons (23rd of February) Lord
Lyndhurst, although well aware that he would be
savagely attacked by Mr. Lalor Shell, took a place
below the bar to listen to his assailant. His presence
lent additional fire to the speaker's rhetorical fervour,
and Mr. Shell made what has always been considered
the greatest of his speeches. The incident is thus
very graphically described by one who was present.

" Lord Lyndhurst was pretty sure he would be honoured
with full notice by the speaker ; but it was not his habit to
shrink from any attack or to be disconcerted by any abuse.
In a short time it was evident that he was to be singled out
for attack. Mr. Sheil worked himself up to his full fury,
gesticulating, foaming, screeching in his loudest and shrillest
tones ; he denounced the man, pointing full at him, seated
below the bar, as he did so, who had dared to describe the
Irish as aliens in blood, in language, and in religion. The scene
that followed was most extraordinary. A universal howl of
execration rose from the Ministerial benches as all eyes turned
in the direction of Shell's finger. The more excitable members
started to their feet, and for an instant it seemed as if they
would precipitate themselves upon the object of their fury.
He, in the meantime, sat through the storm unmoved ; with
steady eye and unaltered mien he gazed on the howling crowd
in front of him. And the tumult was only momentary. In a
short time the remembrance of who they were, and where
they were, did its work ; and, though the remainder of Mr.
Shell's speech was continued in the same tone, and the cheers
of his partizans were vehement as well as incessant, there
was no further outburst of feeling or any occasion to call for
the interposition of the Speaker." {Morning Herald^ 13th of
October, 1863.)

Lord Lyndhurst's answer to this philippic was a
speech against the Bill, when it came up to the House
of Lords, in which he showed he had not forgotten

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the way in which the Ministerial benches had cheered
their Irish ally.

'*What, my Lords," he said, "is the situation in which His
Majesty's Ministers stand ? In no former period of our history
has the Government of this country been placed in such a
position. To whom do they look for support? To the
enemies of the Protestant Establishment In Ireland their
supporters are composed of the declared enemies of the
Protestant Establishment. In England the political dissenters
are their mainstay and support. Deprive them of the aid of
the one or of the other, and what becomes of the Govern-
ment ? . . . My Lords, where is this to stop ? Concession,
we know, leads to still further concession, according to the
natural course of events. Give these men a part of the spoils
of the Church — yield to them what they ask for now, and
you encourage them to make further demands. When will
the noble Viscount pause in his downward career ? This is
no speculation. These reasonings are generally speculative ;
but, unfortunately, this is matter of fact. What are we told
by those persons ? They say they will receive all you offer,
but that they will take it only as an instalment, and that they
will never cease agitating — that they will never cease con-
vulsing the Empire, until they strip the National Church of
its property. . . . What are the supporters of the Government
asking for now ? The prostration of the Church of Ireland.
This Bill conceded to them, they gain that object. What is
their next demand ? They tell you that you must repeal the
Union." » (Hansard, vol. xxxviii. 1315.)

In a condensed form, Lord Lyndhurst repeated
his argument against the Bill of the previous session,
and with the same result. The House by a majority of
eighty-six refused to allow it to go into Committee.

' Any one who is curious to see the licence Lord Campbell took in garbling
ostensible quotations from Hansard, may find this well illustrated by comparing
the whole of this passage in Hansard with the professed quotation given on p. 1 18
of his ' Life of Lyndhurst.' One addition he makes is of incredible audacity. He
makes Lyndhurst say : ''It seems, my Lords, that we Protestant Englishmen
are to be governed by those who are aliens in blood, and language, and religion.*'
Neither these words, nor anything like them, are to be found in Hansard.

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The Bill was again defeated in the two following
sessions, and only passed in 1840, after it had under-
gone material modifications in the direction indicated
by Lord Lyndhurst

The session came to a close earlier than usual, in
consequence of the death of King William the Fourth,
on the 20th of June. Lord Lyndhurst was among the
members of the Privy Council summoned to attend
the young Queen Victoria's first Council the same

" I accompanied him," Mr. Disraeli wrote in the general
preface to his works (1870), ''to Kensington Palace, when on
the accession of the Queen, the Peers and Privy Councillors,
and chief personages of the realm, pledged their fealty to their
new Sovereign. He was greatly affected by the unusual
scene : a youthful maiden, receiving the homage of her subjects,
most of them illustrious, in a palace, in a garden, and all with
a sweet and natural dignity. He gave me, as we drove home,
an animated picture of what had occurred in the Presence
Chamber, marked by all that penetrating observation and
happy terseness of description which distinguished him.
Eight years afterwards, with my memory still under the
influence of his effective narrative, I reproduced the scene in
' Siby V and I feel sure it may be referred to for its historical
accuracy." '

Lord Lyndhurst had been among the first to dis-
cern the promise of a brilliant future in the young
Disraeli, whose originality, independence and courage
had a special charm for him. It was to him that Mr.
Disraeli's first political essay, * A Vindication of the
English Constitution,' published in 1835, was ad-
dressed. The young novelist was always a welcome
visitor at his house, and when the celebrated * Runny-
mede Letters' appeared in the Times, in 1836, it was
commonly said that they were the joint production of

* The description referred to occurs in the 6th chapter of the first book.

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i837. MR. DISRAELI. 379

the ex-Chancellor and the author of 'Vivian Grey/
In this common report was true to its proverbial
character. Neither of the men was of the kind to
court assistance in such handicraft. Lord Lyndhurst
did his best to help Mr. Disraeli to get into Parlia-
ment, which after several disappointments was ac-
complished in 1837. In that year *Venetia' was
dedicated to him by his young friend as a " record of
his regard and affection/' with the hope that a time
might come when in its pages he might find " some
relaxation from the cares, and some distraction from
the sorrows of existence," — ^words which seem to have
reference to a recent grief for the death of Lord
Lyndhurst's ' second daughter Susan, who had died
of consumption, after a short illness, some months

The regard and affection of the younger for the
veteran statesman, of whom he speaks as one of the two
" best friends he ever had," grew as the years went on,
and after Lord Lyndhurst's death they found eloquent
expression in the preface already quoted. "The
world," he said, " has recognised the political courage,
the versatile ability, and the masculine eloquence of
Lord Lyndhurst; but his intimates only were ac-
quainted with the tenderness of his disposition, the
sweetness of his temper, and the playfulness of his

Online LibraryDouglas William Claridge NorthfieldSpecial surgery in wartime → online text (page 32 of 45)