Henry Reeve.

Memoirs of the life and correspondence of Henry Reeve (Volume 1) online

. (page 36 of 43)
Online LibraryHenry ReeveMemoirs of the life and correspondence of Henry Reeve (Volume 1) → online text (page 36 of 43)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Reeve was ignorant, and he continued :

We shall remain here till August, and then probably go
to Appleby Castle, in Westmorland, taking Manchester in
our way. Then, in October, we talk of making a little
expedition to Dresden. What has become of your Con-
tinental projects ? I hope, at any rate, you do not intend to
deprive us of your society, and of all your party, for another
whole season ; and I hope the young ladies will not allow
you to persuade them that Haddingtonshire and the Lothians
are as civilised as Middlesex. We really very much regret
their and your absence.

June 27th. We are going in August and September as
far north as Westmorland and Lanarkshire, and I do not
feel confident that we shall not be tempted to strike onward
to the Highlands ; but I do not clearly see that I can bring
out an ' Edinburgh Review ' without coming up to town. I
am greatly obliged to you for your intended notes on * Men,
Deer, and Sheep,' which I am sure will be of great value,
since you are the most dispassionate Highland proprietor I
have ever known.

July Ilth. My best thanks are due to you, and are most
heartily offered, for the admirable paper you have sent me on
the subject of Highland estates. It will be of the greatest
use to us. I should be very much influenced by an opinion
as judicious and well founded as yours, even though I had
"been previously disposed to differ from it. But such is not
the case. In the course of my tour in Sutherland last


autumn, I was forcibly struck by the policy and propriety of
increasing the number of holdings, and especially of 40-
acre and 200-acre farms, wherever tillage is practicable.
And I have no doubt I should have been even more con-
vinced of this if I had visited the parish of Farr. Is not
your estimate of 20,OOOZ. a year rental of deer forests below
the mark ? The value of the lands devoted to this purpose
by their own proprietors as the Duke of Athole, Lord Fife r
Lord Lovat, and others must, of course, be added to the
sum paid by strangers ; but I should have thought even this
latter sum exceeded 20,OOOZ. a year.

I begin to think there is rather more chance of our
reaching the Highlands this year than I had supposed. We
have resolved to start for Dresden on August 8th, instead of
going there in October. Hence the latter month will be
more at our disposal for Scotland, though I cannot yet say
whether we shall reach your northern latitudes ; but nothing
in life is more tempting to me than that region. A propos of
the North, pray tell the young ladies I recommend them to
get Lord Dufferin's ' Letters from High Latitudes,' a book
which some people laugh at, but which I think vastly

An interesting visit to Johannisberg in the autumn is.
described in the Journal :

August Sth. We started, with Miss Alpe, Hopie's
governess, for Hamburg. Thence we made a tour through
Liibeck, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Carlsbad, and Frankfort,,
and arrived on September 9th my forty-fourth birthday
at Riidesheim, on the Rhine. There I learned that Prince
Metternich was staying at his Castle of Johannisberg hard
by, as he is wont to do in the autumn ; and as he had
received me with great kindness at Vienna, in 1853, on my
return from Constantinople, I thought it proper to pay my
respects to him.

On driving up to the castle, by rather a rough and narrow
road through the vineyards, a servant in livery told me the
prince was just gone to walk in the ' weingarten,' and was
but a few yards ahead. I had chosen the hour after his
dinner, when I thought him most likely to be disengaged ;


and so it proved. The servant ran after the walking party
with my card. I followed, and soon eame up with them
the prince, with a lady on his arm, whom I found to be
Marion Ellice, the same who lived so long with Princess.
Lieven, one of Metternich's daughters in a garden chair, and 1
I think one of his younger sons. They were throwing an
india-rubber ball for a spaniel to run after,, and down it went,
bounding along the steep conical side of the vineyard, which
sheds drops of gold. The prince said : ' First you must
admire my vines and the exquisite skill with which they are-
dressed.' Nothing could be more perfect. Every stock
looked like a greenhouse plant not a weed was to be seen
or a tendril out of place, and each individual vine was as.
symmetrical as a soldier under arms. At my delight the
prince smiled and said, ' If I were as flourishing as my vines,.,
it would be well.' ' Nay,' said I, ' you have both a splendid
autumn, and your vines are drawn up like files of soldiers."
'Would, indeed, they were soldiers,' rejoined he, 'that I
might send them to your assistance in India ! '

The conversation then took a more serious turn, and he-
expressed his unbounded interest in the great and melancholy
events which had just overshadowed the horizon of the
British Empire, which he called an ' incident effroyable dans-
1'histoire des nations.'

' Cependant mon experience me dit que souvent les choses-
que Ton redoute le plus finissent par etre un vrai sou -
lagement lorsqu'elles sont passees. Le gouvernement de-
1'Inde est pour vous une immense charge. Le commerce
que vous y faites pourrait egalement se maintenir par
quelques stations restreintes, et je ne sais si 1'administration
entiere du pays pourra valbir ce qu'elle va vous couter. Je
fais des romans, sans doute ; et je tiens le gouvernement
anglais pour un gouvernement sage, sachant bien ce qu'il
fait ; toutes fois je doute qu'il sache beaucoup mieux que vous
et moi, ici sur ce coteau de Johannisberg, jusqu'ou cette
catastrophe pourra aller. J'aimerais mieux laisser ces Indiens
se tirer d'affaires eux-memes. Ce n'est pas que je craigne
fort le jacobinisme indien le socialisme indien c'est leur
affaire ; mais je redoute une perturbation qui pourra amener
de nouvelles difficultes dans la situation financiere du con-


tinent et qui affaiblisee 1'Angleterre. D'ailleurs vous ne
pouvez pas gouverner 1'lnde par la force seulement. Je ne
vois pas que vous ayez la matiere hurnaine pour cela, et que
sans la conscription vous puissiez maintenir dans 1'Inde des
armees anglaises de 100,000 hommes.'

He then proceeded to speak of the prevailing financial
insecurity of the Continent that France had set the example
which Germany was always ready to follow, and that the
most pestilent delusions were propagated on the subject of
credit ; that it was iike a farmer who undertook to sell his
milk to the public through a company, such as he had heard
of in Glasgow and elsewhere, and that the company kept the
cream for itself and sold the residue for pure milk.

Nothing could be more friendly or amiable than his
manner, and as he more than once put his hand on my knee
in conversation, the remembrance of his celebrated conversa-
tions with Napoleon and all the great men of this age crossed
my mind. We walked some time on the terrace, watching
that magnificent view which extends from Biberich to Bingen,
along the richest part of the Kheingau. On the opposite
bank, at Ingelheim, once stood the old palace of Charlemagne,
and down the broad valley the great border stream rolled its
waters at our feet. In one of the pavilions a crowd of
tourists were come to see the view ; but when they beheld
the old prince pacing up and down in front of his castle, their
eyes turned from the Rhine, and were riveted on him as if
Charlemagne himself had stood before them.

September 18ih. Home by Holland.

In the course of the following weeks Reeve wrote a
remarkable article on the ' Prospects of our Indian Empire,'
which appeared in the ' Review ' of January 1858. It was
ehown in proof-slips to Lord Clarendon, who wrote :

The Grove, December 6th. I have read your article with
the greatest interest, and think it quite excellent. You have
collected and brought together an immense mass of valuable
information, and you have stated the truths upon which
men's minds must be fixed with great vigour and energy.
The catalogue you have given of the appalling difficulties
Against which we shall have to contend in restoring and


maintaining our supremacy will, I think, be very useful in
checking the hasty legislation of Parliament, as well as the
muck which people are disposed to run against the Com-
pany. Whether the Company is to be retained, modified,
or abolished, you have said nothing about it which can
embarrass the Government, or that you can wish not to
have said. In that I congratulate you upon having done
the right thing in the right way at the right moment.

From Lord Brougham

Cannes, December 26th. I ana very much obliged to you
for your letter, even when I cannot avoid differing with you.
But it gives me great gratification, because it proves your
feelings towards me to be entirely right, as, indeed, I ought
to have assumed even without your assurances. In truth, I
had much experience of the Edinburgh clique or, rather,
cliques, for both the little exclusive sets of the Parliament
House are exactly the same, the Tories as well as the Whigs ;
indeed, they used to be much the worse, and the Whigs being
now in power may possibty have succeeded to the bad
eminence ; and this experience had made me erroneously
suppose that you had got into their hands. I know they
never will forgive me any more than O'Connell did, and for
the same reason. I set my face against their jobs, and I
assure you that at one time Cockburn was exposed to risk
from the same clique feeling. He had come over from the
Tories, and the Whigs grudged him, and anyone else who
came over, any share of the spoil. I joined with Jeffrey and
Murray in making head for Cockburn.

That the ' Edinburgh Review,' under your predecessors,
was very much affected by the same influences is undeniable.
That clique never forgave a minister who was out of office.
Accordingly, as soon as Lord Grey was out, the 'E. K.'
discovered how much better Lord Melbourne was ; and
actually charged upon Grey, and, by implication, on myself
also, the Irish coercive measures, of which it said Melbourne
was incapable, though they came from his own department,
as Home that is Irish Secretary. Empson never dis-
covered any fault in Grey while he remained in power, any
more than he did in Denman, whom he almost worshipped

VOL. i. cc


both as leader of his circuit and as chief justice, until he
retired ; and then Campbell was set up in a manner so
offensive to Denman that he never could speak with patience
of Empson, though before his (Empson's) death, he, in a
fashion, forgave him the gross and even personal offence.
Perhaps I might add the silence of the ' Review ' on my
publications. . . . Altogether I laboured under the impres-
sion, which, as far as you are concerned, is entirely groundless,
that the ' E. B.' lent itself to the little exclusive party I have
alluded to.

As to poor Cockburn, I cannot at all agree with you in
holding the attacks upon him to go beyond an undervaluing,
perhaps an unjust undervaluing, of his judgement. That he
has shown this defect in both his books is undeniable ; but I
only think, and think with great pain, of his ' Life of Jeffrey.'
I assure you Murray and myself and others of Jeffrey's
friends have been beyond measure distressed by his most in-
judicious publication of letters, and we have been doing our
best to counteract this, and I hope we may still succeed. I
must mention, in passing, that you suppose Cockburn to have
been much more connected with the ' Review ' and with our
set I mean Jeffrey, Murray, Smith, Horner, and Allen
than he really was. He became intimate with them many
years after the ' Review ' began, and I don't believe he ever
wrote a line in it for the first fifteen years, and very little at
any time. I greatly blame his family for the publication of
some things. Certainly I have personally not the least right
to complain, for the anecdotes, which are not only untrue,
but impossible respecting me, are all, from Cockburn's great
personal kindness, intended to do me honour. But the pain
which has been given to others (also without any intention
on C.'s part) has been very great. I mean to the families of
Horner, Murray, &c. &c. When I have the pleasure of seeing
you I will explain this and other matters.

As to Normanby, if he really has attacked the fallen
Royal Family, nothing can be more blamable. Respecting
Guizot, no one can more than myself value his great and
good qualities. But I regard him as the Necker of 1848 ;
and besides, though no man's hands can be more clean than
his, he had what Necker had not an entourage as corrupt

yEi. 45 POODLE BYXG 387

as possible. He and I were at issue on one of them his
minister of justice, Hebert ; but he had worse men and
much more near him. However, I dare say he will defend
himself, and I believe you do a right and a kind thing in
letting Normanby's book alone.

The Journal for 1858 notes :

We began the year at Farnborough Hill.

January 23rd. Breakfasted with Lord Macaulay at his
own house, Holly Lodge, Campden Hill. Nobody there but
the Trevelyans and Frederic, commonly called Poodle,
Byng. As the marriage of the Princess Eoyal was to take
place two days later, it naturally became the subject of con-
versation. I related that I had had a call from the Sub-
Dean of the Chapel Royal, to settle the form of the Royal
declaration of consent, which is inserted in the register of
the Chapel Royal. This register, which was produced at the
Council Office, is a most curious volume, containing the
entries of all the Royal marriages from 1757 to this day,
with the signatures of the personages married and the per-
sons present. The sub-dean, who used till lately to be called
the ' deputy-confessor,' has the custody of this precious
volume. At the marriage of the Queen it chanced to be
mislaid for a quarter of an hour an event of so terrible a
nature, that the sub-dean of that day died of the shock a
few days afterwards.

This subject being uppermost, Poodle Byng astonished
us by declaring that he had been present at the marriage l of
George IV. and Caroline in the capacity of page to the
prince, and that he perfectly remembered every detail of that
luckless ceremony. The prince kept the whole cortege wait-
ing for more than an hour, while he was conversing with a
party of men at Carlton House ; and when at last he made his
appearance, his high colour and talk showed that he was
extremely drunk ; though, as the fashion of those days was,
he carried his liquor like a gentleman. Out he came in a
coat shot with gold, and his splendid legs in irreproachable
silk stockings. The page Byng stood behind the prince at
the altar, marvelling at the grandeur of the royal calves,

1 April 8th, 1795,

c c 2


while the prince looked in all directions except at his bride.
I remarked that perhaps this demeanour was as much as
could he expected from a man in the act of committing
bigamy, and who had heard the marriage service read
between himself and Mrs. Fitzherbert.

Byng kissed hands as page of the prince in 1790 just
sixty-eight years ago, and heisnowas fresh and vigorous as any-
body. 1 His father said he ought to be presented to his royal
master. George received the boy in his dressing-room and
in his dressing gown, bare legs, and bare altogether under
this loose garment. He took the child up in his arms, kissed
him, and then said, ' Now, sir, you are to kiss my hand.'

Once launched on these times, Byng is inexhaustible.
He said he had twice met Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton
at dinner she, after dinner, singing songs to Lord Nelson
in praise of himself, and Nelson rapturously applauding her. 2 "
Macaulay said the first thing he could recollect was the
battle of Trafalgar, when he was six years old. 3 He sat on
the rug in his mother's room spelling out the ' Gazette,' with
a plan of the action, the ' Royal Sovereign ' leading a column
into action.

It is a curious thing what first hits a young memory and
sticks there. My own first impression was the death of the
Princess Charlotte in November 1817. I was just four. We
were staying with the Pontignys, in a gloomy house on Tower
Hill. It was a yellow November morning. Pale with
emotion, somebody, I think Mrs. John Martineau, announced
the fatal event of the preceding night. I never forgot her
look. But I also remember Mrs. Barbauld, who taught me
to read in the same year, when we stayed with her at New-
ington Green, and read me the story of Midas' ears.

Everything indicates a dangerous and stormy session.
The Government have irritated and defied public opinion
by appointing Clanricarde lord privy seal, and by giving
some small legal appointments to aristocratic hangers-on of

1 He died in June 1871.

- This is quite independent of Mrs. St. George's testimony to the same
effect, for Mrs. St. George's Journal was not printed till 1861, and then only

1 Macaulay's wonderful memory misled him. He was not five when the
battle was fought, and was just twelve days over five when the news reached


Lord Palmersfcon. But with a very inadequate force on the
treasury bench, and a formidable, though scattered, array
against them, they mean to propose and carry two organic
measures an India bill and a Reform bill. My own belief is
they will carry neither. The Liberal party are generally by
no means favourable to the transfer of the favour and
patronage of the Company to a secretary of state, and they
think that no case has been made out against the Company.
In fact, all the most questionable measures of Indian policy
have been adopted by the Board of Control against the will
of the Company. We dined yesterday at the Grotes', with
J. Parkes, F. Elliot, &c. ; and there, as everywhere else, the cur-
rent of opinion runs rather in favour of the Company than
against it. This has been considerably assisted by a very able
petition of the Company to Parliament, showing the danger of
a change at this moment. Possibly Lord Palmerston may
evade the danger by consenting to refer this bill to a committee
for inquiry, which is, of course, to postpone it for at least a year.
January %5tli. The Princess Royal was married. There
was a party at the Prussian Embassy for the princes, and a
drawing-room for the bride on the 30th.

From Lord Brougham

Paris, March 28th. Your letter was delivered safely to
M. Guizot yesterday, and I had a long conversation with
him to-day on the whole state of matters here. I assure
you it gives me very great comfort to find that there has
been so much exaggeration both as to the conduct of the
Government and as to the sufferings of our friends. He more
than confirmed all he had written to Aberdeen as to the per-
fect freedom of society. He won't allow that anyone feels
the least alarm as to the arrestations, of which I hear
opposite accounts from those connected with the Govern-
ment and from their adversaries, especially the Legitimist
party ; the former deny there have been more than three or
four hundred in all France, of which sixty or seventy at
Paris ; the latter affirm that at Paris there have been 1,300,
which I take to be a gross exaggeration. The numbers of
the grades are admitted by even the Legitimists not to exceed
four or five thousand, I believe they are little above three


thousand. But the violent enemies of the Government, not
only Legitimists, but Orleanists, are bawling that the number
of these not among the grades, but who, having been
expulsSs or otherwise subject to the new law, are two or
three hundred thousand, which is as gross exaggeration as-
possible ; and such people forget the maxim often in
Romilly's mouth : ' On diminue tout ce qu'on exagere.'

The army is believed to be quite staunch to the Govern-
ment, and Guizot believes it is by no means desirous of war.
Certainly the country is not ; quite the contrary.

Cannes, April 7th. What I mentioned in my letter from
Paris has been confirmed by all I have seen, both there and in
the provinces. There is gross exaggeration, but some consider-
able foundation for the account of both the means taken and
their effect in creating apprehension. For instance, I found in
several places that the greatest relief had been offered to the
quiet and well-disposed, those who only desired tranquil
times and cared not for the state of parties, by the banish-
ment of the most troublous pests in the world those who,
ever since 1848, have been the plague of their neighbour-
hood, with their extravagant doctrines and their perpetual
plottings and agitations. But then, whoever had been
rashly talking, even though not of the Rouge party, are
alarmed because their towns may come under a police not
always very scrupulous, and never accurately informed. The
persons arrested have been, with few exceptions, utterly
insignificant, and only had influence over persons a little
more insignificant than themselves.

The feeblest of all governments among us seems likely to
be kept in place (power is out of the question) by the driving
of the Opposition. But on any stage of any bill, e.g. of the
India bill, they may be left in a minority.

Their removing Howden l at such a crisis in Spain, and
professedly because he belongs to the Opposition, is a marvel-
lous act of folly. Then sending Chelsea to Paris, where, if
Cowley is absent, he must be charge d'affaires, is inconceiv-
able, and all because he spent his money at an election.
Nobody could be more astounded by it than his near

1 Lord Howden had been minister at Madrid from 1850. He retired on
account of ill health so it was announced in March 1858.


kinsman, both by blood and marriage, Cowley himself. 1
Crampton's appointment makes the Russians stare ; I believe
Loftus' will be as astonishing to the other diplomats.

Cannes, April 22nd. I now know from Howden him-
self the ground of his recall, and it exceeds belief. It is
distinctly put upon his belonging to the Opposition party,
although five years ago, when the same men were in office,
he tendered his resignation on the ground of differing
entirely with them, and he was told that party and political
opinions had nothing to do with it, but his services were
wanted ; and now, when they are wanted a thousand times
more in the Spanish crisis, he is recalled because his politics
are not those of the Government ! The feeling of all parties
in Madrid, even of the Carlists, is that of astonishment,
though the latter are too glad of his removal. Howden
supposes it is a sacrifice to the Tuileries, whose Carlist
intrigues he has been successful in counteracting. I much
doubt this, because I know that the same reason was given
to Normanby namely, that the Government owed it to their
supporters, who could not stand retaining adversaries in

Chelsea's appointment to Paris exceeds all other jobs.
He was, twenty-four years ago, unpaid attache for twelve
months at Petersburg ; and that is his whole diplomatic
service ; but he spent money in a contested election, and this
is his compensation. At Paris he may any day be obliged to
act as charge d'affaires. His near kinsman, Cowley, I will
venture to say, is more annoyed at it than anybody.

The article on ' Canning's Literary Remains ' in the
Review of July 1858 roused the hypercritical spirit in Lord
Brougham, and in a succession of letters, none of which
are dated, he sent Reeve his comments. Of these, many are
of little or no value such as, ' Extravagant praise of T.
Moore,' ' Too much importance given to Gifford and P.
Pindar ; ' but this is interesting as the opinion though
fifty years after date of a not incompetent contemporary :
' Canning never could by any possibility be ranked as " an
orator of the first class long prior to 1808," in the days of
Pitt and Fox, Burke and Windham ; ' and the following

1 Chelsea's father, Lord Cadogan, was Lord Cowley' s first cousin, and Lord
Chelsea had also married Lord Cowley's niece.


seems really noteworthy, especially now when Darwin's
poetry Erasmus Darwin's is almost forgotten :

Nothing can be more absurd than the running down of
Darwin's poetry by the Cannings and Frere. There are
things of the very highest merit in it. ' Cambyses' March '
stands so high that I recollect T. Campbell going so far as

Online LibraryHenry ReeveMemoirs of the life and correspondence of Henry Reeve (Volume 1) → online text (page 36 of 43)