Edward Law Ellenborough.

A Political Diary 1828-1830, Volume II online

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LORD ELLENBOROUGH'S DIARY

1828-1830

VOL. II.


A POLITICAL DIARY
1828-1830
BY EDWARD LAW
LORD ELLENBOROUGH

EDITED BY LORD COLCHESTER

[Illustration: fide et fiducia]

IN TWO VOLUMES
VOL. II.

LONDON
RICHARD BENTLEY & SON, NEW BURLINGTON STREET
Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen
1881




DIARY


_April 1, 1829._

The Duke of Wellington wrote to the King to ask if he had any objection to
raising the galleries. He had none. So we sent for Sir T. Tyrwhit, and had
him at the Cabinet dinner to ask him whether he could fix the galleries by
four to-morrow. He said _No_. So we must do as we can.

Forty foreigners applied for seats to-day after four o'clock.

In the House I made the second reading of the Bills an order of the day at
the desire of Lord Malmesbury and Lord Grey. It is more formal so, but the
second reading might have been equally well moved without it.

Lord Grey said a few words on presenting a petition expressing a hope to be
convinced on the subject of the Franchise Bill, but laying ground for
voting against it. Lord Malmesbury likewise expressed himself against it.
We shall be hard pushed on this Bill. The Duke says we have 122 sure votes
and no more upon it.

The Bishop of Chester read prayers, his wife having died about ten days
ago. Really some one of the other Bishops might have relieved him.

Lord Shaftesbury, in the absence of the Chancellor, sat as Speaker. I moved
the bills _pro formâ_ for him.

At the Cabinet dinner at Peel's, Peel said the Bishop of Oxford was ready
to speak at any time, and wished to follow a violent bishop. He may easily
find one.

We had much talk about our approaching debates. Peel, after the Duke was
gone, regretted his having taken the line of expressing his anxiety to
relieve himself from the obloquy cast upon him, and his having put that
desire forward as his reason for pressing the second reading of the Bill on
Thursday. The Duke having said so, we could not back him out. We might
avoid taking the same ground, but we could not alter it.

Aberdeen mentioned the case of the Candian blockade. I am sorry to see he
does not communicate beforehand now with the Duke. He never looks forward
to the ultimate consequences of his measures. Now he talks of convoying
English ships to Candia, and telling them they may go there safely, and if
stopped shall be indemnified. But if the English ship finds a Russian off
Candia, and is warned off, yet persists, under the expectation of
indemnity, we should be obliged to pay the indemnity. The Russians, having
given warning, would be justified in taking the vessel.

So if we give convoy, and the convoy ship persists, we should come to
blows. All these things should be foreseen. Aberdeen thinks Lièven is
ignorant of Heyden's having had any orders. He excuses him as having acted
in the spirit of the treaty, to _avoid the effusion_ of blood!

One thing is clear; we cannot permit Russia, as a belligerent, to defeat
the objects of the Treaty of London, and yet act with her under that
treaty.


_April 2._

Second reading Catholic Relief Bill. The Duke made a very bad speech. The
Archbishop of Canterbury drivelled. The Primate of Ireland made a strong
speech, his manner admirable. Both these against. The Bishop of Oxford had
placed himself at our disposal to be used when wanted. We put him into the
debate here, wanting him very much. The first part of his speech was very
indifferent, the latter excellent. Lord Lansdowne spoke better than he has
done for some time, indeed for two years. The Bishop of London against us;
but he made a speech more useful than ten votes, in admirable taste,
looking to the measure as one to be certainly accomplished, &c. The Duke of
Richmond spoke very shortly, but better than he has ever done, in reply. We
adjourned at 1.

229 members in the House. Room for thirty more; the House not oppressively
hot; numbers of women. The tone of the debate temperate.


_April 3._

A speech from the Bishop of Durham, full of fallacies and extravagant, but
having its effect.

The Chancellor spoke admirably, endeavouring to bring up Eldon, but the old
man would not move. He wanted more time to consider his answer, by which he
will not improve it.

A speech from Goderich, very animated in his way, and very heavy. The House
did not cheer him once. He pressed himself upon it with bad taste. He spoke
upon all the collateral and unimportant points. He swung his arm about like
a boy throwing a stone from a sling.

Lord Mansfield spoke, sleepily and ill-naturedly. I was exhausted, and
could not have answered him, had he said anything worth answering.

We adjourned at two till one to-morrow.


_April 4._

House at 1. A long absurd speech from Lord Guildford, which must have given
much pain to Lady Ch. Lindsay, who sat under the throne, and who must have
been much annoyed at seeing to what her family had fallen. We had then Lord
Lilford, who rested too much on his notes, but who has a good manner. He
drew his points well, and spoke like a man, not like a boy.

Lord Tenterden was not powerful. Lord Grey spoke better than he has done
since 1827. He made a speech too long, and indeed the last half-hour was of
no use. He beat the brains out of the Coronation Oath, as an obstacle to
Catholic Concession, and read a curious letter of Lord Yestor to Lord
Tweddale, dated April, 1689, before William III. took the Coronation Oath,
in which Lord Tester mentions that it was understood that the king had in
council declared his understanding of the sense of the Coronation Oath -
that it bound him in his executive capacity, not in his legislative. Lord
Westmoreland made an odd, entertaining from its manner, and really very
good speech. He supported the Bill.

Lord Eldon, who, after an ineffectual attempt on the part of Lord Redesdale
to speak, followed Lord Grey, made a very weak, inefficient, powerless
speech. He seemed beaten, and in some respects his memory had failed him.

Lord Plunket drew, with great power, a picture of the state of society in
Ireland as affected by the laws. The whole of his speech was powerful.

His speech and Lord Grey's were excellent.

After a few sentences from Lord Farnham we divided.

Present for 149
Against 79
- -
Majority 68
Proxies for 70
Against 33
- -
Total Content 217
Not Content 112
- -
Majority 105

This will quiet Windsor. The King was to have received a number of
petitions to be presented by peers to-day. The Primate of Ireland was to
have gone, and the Irish Bishops. The latter went. If they had not gone,
the King would have made some excuse for not receiving them.

The majority must put an end to all agitation in England, and tranquillise
Ireland. Indeed as regards this question Ireland is tranquil. The conduct
of the Catholics has been as excellent as that of the Protestants. Hitherto
the announcement of the measure has produced effects beyond what was
anticipated from its adoption.

The Duke of Rutland, who was not expected, and indeed every doubtful vote
was with us.

The Protestants are subdued.

Lord Grey's speech, but still more Lord Plunket's, will have a greater
effect upon the public mind, than any which have yet been delivered.

Really it seems like a dream! That I should, if I lived, live to see this I
did expect; but that I should see it so soon, and that I should happen to
be a member of the Government that carried it, I did not expect. I must say
with what delight I view the prospect of having Catholics in Parliament. I
am sure it will do more for the happiness of Ireland, and for the strength
of the Empire, than any measure that could have been adopted.


_April 5. _

Dined with Lady Sandwich and met the Arbuthnots, with whom I had a long
talk. She told me the Duke wanted to bring in Lord Chandos, by way of
conciliating the Tories. She thought Lord Rosslyn ought to have the Privy
Seal, and that, considering their late conduct, the Whigs should be
preferred to the Tories, whom we should have at any rate. That it was
enough not to punish them by depriving them of their offices.

In all this I agree. I think if the Duke should go to the Tories and turn
his back upon the Whigs after what has taken place, he will make Opposition
very acrimonious, and our debates very disagreeable.

I told her if the Privy Seal was to be a Tory, I thought the Duke of
Richmond the best. He is the most popular man in the House of Lords, and a
good debater. The Duke and Lord Bathurst say he is cunning; but as far as I
can judge he acts fairly.


_April 6._

House. Second reading Franchise Bill. Opposed by the Duke of Richmond, Lord
Malmesbury, Winchelsea, and Clanricarde. Lord Holland spoke in favour of
the Bill as connected with the Relief Bill. The Whigs voted with us. Dudley
spoke in favour, just to separate himself from the Canningites, for whom
Haddington spoke, more reluctant than the Whigs.

Lord Winchelsea was very mad, wished to expel the bishops, to prevent
translations, equalise their sees, &c. We had 139 to 19. The minority
were - Dukes: Cumberland, Gloucester, Brandon, Richmond, Newcastle;
Marquises - Salisbury, Clanrickarde; Earls - Winchelsea Malmesbury, O'Neil;
Lords - Falmouth, Penrhyn, Boston, Grantley, Glenlyon; Earl Digby, Earl
Romney.

The Duke goes to Windsor on Saturday to get the King to consent to give the
Royal assent on Thursday, the day before Good Friday. The Duke of
Cumberland has been mischievous at Windsor. The King fancies he is in the
situation of Louis XVI. That he shall run down by Liberalism. The Duke of
Cumberland swears he will turn us out, let who will be Ministers.


_April 7._

Lord Eldon and others opened afresh the question as to the principle of the
Bill on the first clause. We divided with more than 2 to 1.

The Bishops and Lord Eldon got into a theological discussion.

The Chancellor made a strong attack upon Lord Eldon, who really spoke very
childishly.

We had as many women as ever, but a new set, and some of the prettiest
girls in London - Miss Bagot, Miss Sheridan, and others.

At Windsor, last Sunday, the Duke of Cumberland spoke very warmly indeed to
Aberdeen about the Duke of Wellington. He said he had sat by us as our
friend, till the King's Ministers joined in the _hoot_ against him. (This
was particularly Lord Bathurst, who shook his head at him and cheered
offensively.) He seems in speaking of the Duke of Wellington to have used
terms hardly to be expected.

He told the Chancellor to-day that he should, before the Bill passed,
declare he never could again feel confidence in His Majesty's Ministers;
that the country was ruined; and that he should leave it and never return.

The Chancellor told him he advised him not to make the last promise. I hope
he will make it and keep it.

I observed him afterwards address the Chancellor very warmly, after he had
attacked Eldon.

A man of the name of Halcomb has advertised for a meeting on Friday, on the
road to Windsor, to carry petitions to the King.

April 8.

Committee on Relief Bill. No division. Several amendments. Those of Lord
Tenterden very silly.

I said a very few words twice.

The third reading is fixed for Friday. When the Duke of Cumberland heard
the third reading fixed he left the House like a disappointed fiend. He did
not take his hat off till he had got half-way down.

Lord Eldon seems quite beaten.


_April 9._

Lord Eldon went to Windsor to-day with petitions. Yesterday Lord Howe and
three others went. I believe these peers have been: Duke of Newcastle,
Kenyon, Rolle, Howe, O'Neil, Bexley, Winchelsea, Farnham, and six bishops.

Cabinet at 2. A meeting is advertised for to-morrow, to take place at
Apsley House. Then to proceed to Slough or Salt Hill, or to Eton, to
deliver there a petition to the Duke of Cumberland, who is then to present
it to the King, and the people are to wait for an answer.

The Duke has written to the King, acquainting him with the plan, and
advising His Majesty to refuse to receive the petition except through the
hands of Mr. Peel.

Peel is going down to Windsor himself. The Duke writes to-night to tell the
King he is going, and to repeat his advice of this morning as coming from
the Cabinet.

If the King will not take Peel's advice we go out.

The Duke thinks the King will yield, and that the meeting will be a
failure. So have I thought from the first. There is no agitation in London.
No feeling, no excitement. The King will know Peel is coming in time to be
able to inform the Duke of Cumberland, and prevent his setting out.

In the House about nine the Duke received a letter from Sir W. Knighton,
informing him that he had _no doubt_ the King would take his advice
respecting the petitions. Eldon was there, and probably saw the letter.

House. Got through the report of the Franchise Bill. Third reading fixed
for to-morrow. I had to say a few words.


_April 11, 1829._

House. A long speech from Lord Eldon, containing no argument, and both flat
and bad.

Then a speech from Lord Harrowby, long and sensible; but heavily delivered
and not wanted. A long speech from Lord Lansdowne, still less wanted, and
very dull.

The Duke was obliged to say something civil to the Whigs, but he did it
sparingly, and _contre coeur_.

We had a majority of 104. The Franchise Bill was likewise read a third
time.

The mutual congratulations were cordial. The House is in good humour again.
All are glad to get rid of the question. The Duke of Cumberland, Falmouth,
and Winchelsea, perhaps Kenyon, are lost to the Government, but no others.

Lord Middleton voted with us, having been against on the second reading.
The Duke of Rutland against, having been with us before.

The Duke of Clarence was absent, being ill. He had fourteen leeches on his
temples.

The House was full of ladies. Mrs. Fox, Lady Jersey, Lady Pitt and her
daughters, Lady A. Brudenell, Lady Harrowby, Lady G. Wortley, Lord Eldon's
daughters, Lady Glengall, Mrs. and Miss Sheridan, the old Duchess of
Richmond, Lady Manners, Lady Rolle, Lady Haddington, and many others.

The intended row failed altogether. Only four carriages went down to
Windsor. Halcomb and his two friends saw an equerry. They were told their
petition must be presented through the Secretary of State, and went away
quietly.

The Duke of Cumberland said he must withdraw his support from the
Government; but he was temperate. In fact he was beaten.

The Duke of Norfolk was in the House, as happy as man could be.


_April 11._

Dr. Clarke and H. Fane both spoke of the Chancellor's speech in attack upon
Eldon, as in bad taste and offensive. I shall endeavour to ascertain
whether this is the general opinion. Not having heard Eldon, they cannot
know how very mischievous and disingenuous he was.


_April 12._

Met the Lievens, Lyndhursts, Sir J. Murray, and others at dinner, at the
Esterhazy's. The King has not yet sent back the commission to pass the
Catholic Bill.

The Lievens are more shy of me than ever.

Lord Bathurst seemed to be much pleased with my idea of carrying on the
Government of India in the King's name. He said it should be under a
Secretary of State for India.

The Chancellor approved highly of my notion of suggesting Herries for the
Government of Bombay, if the directors will not have Courtney. He is
useless to us, and a discredit. Besides, we want his place.

Had some talk with Vernon at Lady Jersey's. He has the Canning venom about
him still, and said we should still regret having lost Huskisson, &c.

I said NEVER. He was an able man, but he would never do as a member of a
Cabinet in which he was not chief. The Government would not have lived if
he had continued in. I told him I had become satisfied from my short
experience that a coalition Government could not conduct the affairs of the
country with advantage - especially where the difference was [blank].

The Duke of Cumberland is gone to Windsor. If the commission should not
arrive to-night I dare say the Duke of Wellington will go to Windsor early
to-morrow.

Lady Jersey was very loud in her dispraise of the Duke of Richmond. Every
one who knows him says he is very cunning. There is a mixture of good and
bad taste about him. He is popular, and he would make a good man of
business.


_April 13, 1829, Monday._

Chairs at 11. Informed them of Sir Sidney Beckwith's appointment to the
command at Bombay.

Told them my general idea was that it was necessary to fix a Lieutenant-
Governor at Agra. I showed them it could be done without expense. Sir
Charles Metcalfe should be the person appointed, with precise instructions
obliging him to a system of non-interference in the internal concerns of
the Malwa and Rajpoot States. Sir J. Malcolm would have interposed.

The treaties with the Rajpoot States generally secure their internal
independence. Those with the States of Malwa give us the right, and impose
upon us the duty of supervision. It requires, therefore, a most delicate
hand to bring the whole into one system animated by one spirit.

I said incidentally to-day, 'I will not sit here to sacrifice India to
England,' a sentiment which escaped me, but which I feel to be correct, not
only socially but politically.

Ashley came and bored me about a petition of some Hindoos and Mahometans in
Calcutta, who wish to be grand jurors. I told him I could not proceed
hastily in any matter of legislation, and that this was one of much
delicacy. I should speak to Fergusson.

A Cabinet had been fixed for 3. I concluded it was on account of a delay on
the King's part in giving the Royal assent to the Relief Bill. The Cabinet
was counter-ordered, the Commission having arrived at two.

The Chancellor had sent a note to the King with the Bills, calling his
attention to them. The King, on sending them back with the Commission
signed, thanked the Chancellor for having called his attention to the
Bills, and said he gave his assent reluctantly.

The Chancellor had sent a note last night to Watson, the Equerry, desiring
him to remind the King of the Commission.

So at a few minutes before four to-day the Chancellor, Lord Bathurst, and I
sat as Commissioners to give the Royal assent to the Relief Bill, and about
thirty-nine others. So many had been kept back to force an early decision.
The Indemnity Bill was one of the Bills, and the Militia Lists Bill
another. There were thirteen peers in the House, and seven or eight more
about. Lord Savoy, his son, young Lambton, Lady Petres, and her daughters,
Mrs. Fox, and some other ladies were there - Lady Stanhope. The old Duchess
of Richmond came too late.

I observed that in passing each other very close the Duke of Wellington and
the Duke of Cumberland took no notice of each other.

Lord Durham said to me, 'Now the King will turn you all out in revenge as
soon as he can,' to which I assented. He certainly will when he dares.

The Duke of Norfolk and Mr. Petres were in the House, giving and receiving
congratulations. All parties congratulate the Duke. Falmouth alone still
looks sad and sombre. The Duke of Wellington has a bad cold. He was very
hoarse, and wrapped himself in his cloak as soon as he had done speaking.


_April 14._

Saw Mr. Fergusson respecting a petition from Hindoos and Mahometans at
Calcutta, praying to be allowed to sit on grand juries. He thinks they
should - as they are allowed to sit on petty juries. If the matter had been
well considered, the privilege they now ask should have been granted before
that they have obtained.

Mr. Fergusson is, however, rather afraid of allowing them to sit on the
trial of Christians.

By the newspapers I see that there has been a quarrel at Teheran, between
some of the Russian Ambassador's suite and the populace, which led to an
attack upon the Russian palace, and to the death of the Ambassador and all
his people except two. This is an unfortunate event, as it will give the
Russians a new claim to indemnity, which they will exercise inexorably.
Probably they will insist on the junction of Persia in the attack on
Turkey, as the only satisfaction they can accept.

It is just possible that the example once given, and the people despairing
of pardon, a rising against the Russians may take place, and something of a
national feeling arise in Persia. But I fear this will not be the case. I
suppose our Minister was at Tabriz.


_April 15._

The Duke was at Windsor to-day to ask the King's permission to restore the
resigners. The King said he thought the Duke could not do better. He just
mentioned Wetherell's name as if he thought he was to be excepted from the
restoration, but desired to be _certior-factus_.

The King was cold. The Duke had to wait twenty minutes, the Duke of
Cumberland being with the King. However, I believe this delay may only have
originated in a necessary change of dress on His Majesty's part, as he was
sitting for his picture _in a Highland dress_. The Duke saw a large plaid
bonnet in the room, and he believes the King had still on plaid stockings.
The business of the restoration was finished in ten minutes, when the
conversation flagged, and the Duke was rising to go away.

However, something more was then said, and the interview in all lasted
twenty minutes. The King said he was delighted with Lord Winchelsea. He was
so gentlemanlike, and spoke _in so low a tone of voice!_ He likewise
thought Lord Farnham very gentlemanlike, and Lord Rolle more violent than
any.

The Duke had to wait twenty minutes before he could see Lady Conyngham.
They seemed to wish him not to see her. However, he did. She said all would
have been quiet if the Duke of Cumberland had not come over, and all would
be quiet when he went away. The King seemed relieved since the Bill was
passed.

On his return the Duke sent for George Bankes and offered him his place
again. Bankes asked two or three days to consider. The Duke gave him till
to-morrow.

It seems he has now a notion that he owed his place not to the Duke but to
some other influence. I think this has been insinuated to him since his
resignation. The fact is otherwise. The King had mentioned Bankes for other
situations, but not for the one he holds. On my return home I found Bankes
had called upon me.

After dinner we considered whether the prosecution of Lawless for his
conduct at Ballybeg should be persevered in.

Goulbourn, Peel, Lord Bathurst, Sir G. Murray, and I were for dropping it.
I think the Chancellor inclined the same way. The Duke and the rest,
Aberdeen being absent, were for going on.

I thought no benefit would be derived from success. Even success would
revive feelings and recollections which are dying away, and which we wish
to be forgotten. If we decline proceeding we can say we did so from the
fear of exciting dormant passions. If we proceed, we shall have no excuse
should we revive the memory of bad times.

Reference is to be made to Ireland to ascertain the feeling about it there.

Bankes came at twelve o'clock. He told me he had been with the Duke, and
had received from him the offer of his old office. He had asked permission
to consult one person, whose name he did not mention to the Duke, - it was
the Duke of Cumberland. He had called at the Palace and found the Duke of
Cumberland was at Windsor. He wanted to write to him to ask if he had any
objection to his taking the office again.

Bankes said he had attended none of the meetings at Lord Chandos's. He had
avoided as much as he could all communication with the Duke of Cumberland.
He had fully determined not to take a part with any new Government which
might be formed, unless it should clearly appear the King had been unfairly
dealt by, or unless there should be an attempt to make peers to carry the
Bill. The Duke of Cumberland had always said that he made him his first
object, and he had reason to think that he had mentioned him to the King,
and had been instrumental in his appointment. The Duke of Cumberland had
desired him to come to him (during the Bill), and had apparently intended
to name some particular office for him, but seeing his coldness had only
sounded him, and had received the answer I have mentioned above.



Online LibraryEdward Law EllenboroughA Political Diary 1828-1830, Volume II → online text (page 1 of 26)