Horace Twiss.

The public and private life of Lord Chancellor Eldon, with selections from his correspondence (Volume 2) online

. (page 12 of 65)
Online LibraryHorace TwissThe public and private life of Lord Chancellor Eldon, with selections from his correspondence (Volume 2) → online text (page 12 of 65)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ing, as I have much to say to you.

" Always, my dear friend, very affectionately yours,


Next day Lord Eldon writes thus to his daughter:

"Sunday evening.
" My dearest Fan,

" The patent could not be sealed till to-morrow morning, when I am to take my
seat under this new title.f

* In accordance with the before-mentioned arrangement the patent creating him
Viscount Encombe and Earl of Eldon, which is dated the 7th of July, 1821, contains
the following words:

"Know ye, that we, in consideration of the profound knowledge of the laws of our
realm possessed by our right trusty and well-beloved councillor, John, Baron Eldon,
our high chancellor of that part of our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
called Great Britain, and in consideration of the distinguished ability and integrity
which he has invariably evinced in administering those laws in his said office of
chancellor during the period of nineteen years, of our especial grace, certain know-
ledge, and mere motion, have advanced, preferred and created the said John, Baron
Eldon, to the state, degree, dignity and honour of Viscount Encombe of Encombe in.
our county of Dorset," &c. "To have and to hold the said name, state, degree, style,
dignity, title and honour of Viscount Encombe of Encombe aforesaid to him the said
John, Baron Eldon and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten and to be begotten,"
&c. "And moreover know ye that we, of our further especial grace, certain know-
ledge, and mere motion, have advanced, preferred and created the said John, Baron.
Eldon to a more ample state, degree, dignity and honour of Earl of Eldon in our county
palatine of Durham, and him the said John, Baron Eldon, Earl of Eldon aforesaid, do
by these presents create, advance, and prefer, and we have appointed, given and
granted, and by these presents for us, our heirs and successors, do appoint, give and
grant, unto him the said John, Baron Eldon, the name, state, degree, style, dignity, title
and honour, of Earl of Eldon aforesaid, and him the said John, Baron Eldon we do by
these presents really dignify and ennoble with the honour and dignity of Earl of El-
don aforesaid," "to have and to hold the said name, state, degree, style, dignity, title*
and honour of Earl of Eldon aforesaid, unto him the said John, Baron Eldon and the
heirs male of his body lawfully begotten and to be begotten," &c.

t NOTE BT THK PRESKNT EARL. The patent of the earldom of Eldon is dated the
7th of July, 1821 : it was sealed on the 9th.


"I was gazetted last night ; the king having determined that I should take place of
all who are to be created earls, and that, for distinction, I should be gazetted alone.

"If my family feel inconvenience from too much rank, the evil is not owing to
folly, vanity or ambition of mine. I have most earnestly endeavoured to protect
them, though ineffectually, against that evil. I kissed his majesty's hand yesterday
in bed attack of gout bad symptom for coronation."

Lord Eldon took his seat as earl on the 9th of July. The ceremo-
nial varied a little from the usual course, by reason of his holding the
great seal. The journals describe the proceeding thus:

" The Earl of Liverpool signified to the House, ' That his majesty had been pleased
to create John, Lord Eldon, lord high chancellor of that part of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland called Great Britain a viscount and earl of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, by the style and title of Viscount Encombe,
and Earl of Eldon.' Whereupon his lordship, taking in his hand the purse with the
great seal, retired to the lower end of the House, and having there put on his robes,
was introduced between the Earl of Shaftesbury and the Earl of Liverpool (also in
their robes); the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, Clarencieux King of Arms (in
the absence of Garter King of Arms) carrying his lordship's patent, (which he deli-
vered to him at the steps of the throne,) and the Deputy Lord Great Chamberlain of
England preceding.

"His lordship (after three obeisances) laid down his letters patent upon the chair
of state, kneeling, and from thence took and delivered them to the clerk, who read
the same at the table.

" The said letters patent bear date the 7th day of July, in the second year of the
reign of his present majesty. His lordship's writ of summons was also read."
(Here follows the writ verbatim.) " Then his lordship, at the table, took the oaths
and made and subscribed the declaration, and also took and subscribed the oath of
abjuration, pursuant to the statutes, and was afterwards placed on the lower end of
the earl's bench, and from thence went to the upper end of the same bench, and sat
there as lord chancellor, and then his lordship returned to the woolsack."*

(Lord Eldon to Lady F. J. Bankes.) (Extract.)

"July 10th, 1821.

"I took my seat yesterday as Earl of Eldon. The ceremonial which is differeat
from other peers, when the new peer is lord chancellor, was curious. I see they have
got a statement of it in this day's 'Morning Post.' I cannot but say that I was ner-
vous and somewhat agitated by the extreme kindness of all the peers who, in the
course of the day, came into the House. This gave me a headache, which, about an
hour ago, I have got rid of. The question, whether John, who is come from Win-
chester, is to have title of courtesy, is undetermined, and now before the heralds.

"The privy council, very numerously attended has determined unanimously that
the queen is not entitled of right to be crowned at any time. She is, I hear from pretty

The great seal, whose impression it bears, is the one of King George III. which
was used during the latter part of his reign, and which was employed under his suc-
cessor until the completion of a new one with the effigy of King George IV.; on
which occasion the former seal being cancelled, became the property of Lord Chan-
cellor Eldon, who had it gilt and mounted, the obverse and reverse together, in a
laree silver salver.

For several years after the union with Ireland, a copper great seal had been used
which was eventually replaced, in 1815, by the silver seal, here mentioned as sealing
the earldom of Eldon. That copper seal having been thus dispensed with during
Lord Eldon's chancellorship, had thereupon become his property; and he had had it
gilt and mounted, the obverse and reverse separately, in two silver salvers.

Lord Eldon told me that the mode of officially cancelling the great seals was, that
the sovereign in council struck them though but gently, with an hammer, which was
considered to deface them. He added, "Slight as this injury was, yet upon my put-
ting them into my silversmith's hands, the latter proposed to repair the damage; but
I declined it, telling Mr. Makepeace that nothing should be done to diminish the in-
terest or authenticity of them."

* Journals of the House of Lords, vol. )iv. p. 572.


good authority, determined to be present at the coronation, another source of mis-
chief, but I hear she is quite positive upon it."

On the llth of July, the lord chancellor delivered the king's speech,
concluding the session.

His majesty took the occasion of the now approaching ceremony to
bestow yet further honour on the family of Scott, by raising Sir Wil-
liam to the peerage. Lord Eldon writes thus to him on the selection
of his title :

(Not dated ; written about the end of June, or beginning of July, 1821.)
" Dear Brother,

" Lord Sherborne has been with government, expressing uneasiness at having heard
that you intend to take the title of Stawel or Stowe), I know not which. Lady Sher-
borne is candidate for one of those, for herself and heirs male, as I understand the
matter not the same as that you propose, but idem sonans the difference only be-
tween an A and O. It is stated that the late king was always anxious to prevent this
clashing of titles; and, in general, it has been avoided, though instances occur of it.
I understand that Lady Sherborne is the heir to the title she wants, if it had been
limited to heirs male,* and, for reasons I don't know, suppose she had pretensions to
the continuance of it in her male descendants, that should, and perhaps may, be
attended to. Lord Sherborne came to Lord Liverpool in the House to-day, to express
his uneasiness at this matter, and Lord Liverpool desired me to communicate this to
you, which I could not refuse doing, for your own consideration.

" Yours always affectionately,


Lord Eldon's inclination, as he afterwards told the present earl,
was, that Sir William should take his title from Usworth, his paternal
property in Durham ; but Sir William adhered to his own intention,
and became Baron Stowell, of Stowell Park, in the county of Glouce-
ster. His patent of peerage, which was granted with limitation to
the heirs male of his body, bears date 17th of July, 1821 ; and on the
5th of the following February he took his seat in the House of Lords,
introduced by the Lords Redesdale and Arden.

On the 19th of July, 1821, was celebrated the gorgeous ceremonial
of the coronation of King George IV.

(Lord Eldon to Lady F. J. fiances.) (Extract.)

"July 20th, 1821.

" It is all over, quite safe and well. The queen's attempt to make mischief failed. She
sent a message to say that she would be at the Abbey by 8 o'clock. To take the per-
sons there by surprise, she came between 6 and 7. After trying every door at the Abbey
in vain, she came to the Hall; there she was also denied entrance. A few of the mob
called, ' Queen for ever !' I am informed that, on the other hand, there was great hiss-
ing, cries of 'Shame, shame, go to Bergami!' and a gentleman in the Hall told us
that, when her majesty got into the carriage again, she wept. Yesterday must have
informed her how fleeting is popular favour. Her friends broke Londonderry's win-
dows, Montrose's and various other people's windows, who were preparing illumi-
nations. We had a very handsome illumination: John Bull spared us ; indeed, his
family were very civil to me, in the course of my transit from the Hall to the Abbey.
The business is certainly over in a way nobody could have hoped. Everybody went
in the morning under very uncomfortable feelings and dread. I think the fatigue of
it would have killed dear mamma. William Henry was a capital figure in the dress
of an ancient baron of the Cinque Ports. He looked amazingly well, and performed
his duty well. John's delight, I think, was the Champion, and the Duke of Wellington
and Marquis of Anglesea going on horseback for, and returning on horseback with,
the king's dinner."

* Sic in orig.


The present earl thus describes the share of his uncle, W. H. J.
Scott, in the pageant :

"My uncle, representing Hastings, was appointed one of the
barons of the Cinque Ports, to bear the canopy over the sovereign
in the procession. This canopy was splendidly decorated, being
covered outside with gold tissue, lined with tissue of silver, and
supported by eight staves, at the top of each of which was a silver-
gilt bell surmounted by the royal emblems. After the ceremonial, one
of these bells fell to his share, which I now have, as also portions of
each of the tissues. I remember to have heard that the bells were
prudently silenced by the temporary removal of the clappers."

After the coronation, the chancellor had so severe an attack of gout
in the knee, that he was obliged to send his excuses to the king both
for the levee of the 25th, and for the drawing-room of the 26th. On
the afternoon of the latter day the king honoured him with this very
kind answer:

(King George IV. to Lord Eldm.}

"Thursday evening, 6 o'clock, July 26th, 1821.
" My dear Chancellor,

" I delay not a moment thanking you for your affectionate note. I have known
you, and, with truth I do add, that I have loved and esteemed you as a friend, much
too long for a moment to entertain a thought that you would not have presented your-
self both at the levee yesterday, as well as the drawing-room this day, if it had been
morally possible for you to have done so. If there be any blame, it rests with me,
for not having sent to inquire after you, but which I desire you will not impute to
forgetfulness on my side, but to the constant worry and hurly-burly I have been per-
petually kept in for the last fortnight. I remain, my dear lord,

"Always your most affectionate friend,

" G. R.

" P. S. I shall rejoice, if you are able to come to me, to see you on Sunday as

(Lord Eldon to Lord Stowell.)

(No date; end of July, 1821.)
" Dear Brother,

"I have got out of bed this morning. My knee remains immovable, or nearly so;
the gout in the foot slight, but not gone, and my mind must be reconciled to confine-
ment for some time to come. This is dreadful to the suitors, and harasses me.
Among the letters which modern events bring me, I have received several anony-
mous, which I destroy, not very pleasant either for me or you to read ; the very essence
of malignity with puns or jokes upon our titles, very spiteful.

"Of the reports about the queen and the changes in administration, I, of course, in
bed, have heard nothing save that somebody brought to my ladies a report that all
the ministers were going out but Lord Sidmouth and the chancellor. That any
changes have been determined upon, I take to be quite unfounded: that many must
take place soon, if the king and Liverpool continue in the temper in which they
respectively are, I have no doubt, though the thing may wear on as it is till his ex-
cursions are over. The bulk of the ministers are, I think, convinced that the K.
means, and that my neighbour* will induce him, to change them ; and I should not
wonder if, in a too great confidence that he has this meaning, they were to retire before
he knew how to execute it It is impossible but that the thing must fall to pieces.
This is so strongly the conviction of the greatest part of the administration, that I
think that conviction will, of itself, almost produce the change. If such a change
takes place, it's ridiculous and hard upon Sidmouth's character, to suppose that
because he has consented to remain at present, to keep things quiet, and I have
consented at present to remain because he does, that either of us should remain,

* The Marchioness Conyngham.


if there's a change, colleagues of reformers, Catholics and democrats. As to me,
indeed, I can remain with neither them, nor the present, nor any other set of
men. I think, as Johnson (in his Rasselas, I believe), has it, ' that a man before
threescore and ten may have satisfied his country's demand upon him, and that he
has a right to retirement, to review his past life, and purify his heart before he goes
hence.' I may be cut off suddenly; but, if it pleases God to deliver me from sud-
den death, I will so endeavour to employ some portion of what remains of life, as
that I may not die notus nimis omnibus, ignotus mihi: which must be the case if the
present system of living is not given up. My office, therefore, I hold only till the
storm that blows abates and it is too violent to last.

" My good-natured correspondents, the anonymous, have not failed to tell me that
my promotion in the peerage should operate with me as a proof that I should retire
as superannuated. I agree so far with them that, if I do not retire, I shall give some
proof that I am about to be superannuated."




Death of the queen : letters from Lord Londonderry and the Duke of Monirose to
Lord Eldon, and from Lord Eldon to Lord Stowell. Second title of Encombe : let-
ters from Lord Eldon to Mrs. Farrer and his grandson. State of Ireland: letters
from Lord Redesdale. Letter from George IV. to Lord Eldon. Coalition with the
Grenvilles: accession of Sir R. Peel. Speech of Duke of Devonshire. Letters
from Lord Eldon to Lord Stowell and Lady F. J. Bankes. Tithes. Letter from
Lord Eldon on confirmation of his grandson. Catholic question. Marriage Act
Amendment Bill. Motion of Mr. M. A. Taylor on the Court of Chancery. Letters
from Lord Eldon to Lady F. J. Bankes. Death and parliamentary character of
Lord Londonderry: Letter from George IV. to Lord Eldon: letters from Lord Eldon
to Lady F. J. Bankes. Ministerial arrangements: accession of Mr. Canning.

THE queen, who, by her indiscreet appearance at the gate of West-
minster Abbey on the day of the coronation, had incurred the morti-
fication of a public exclusion, without any compensation of public
sympathy, was now in a feverish, irritable and dangerous state of
health. In the beginning of August, she was attacked with an inter-
nal inflammation ; and so rapid was the disease, that on the night of
the 7th she breathed her last. The king, who had set out on his
long-meditated visit to Ireland, was already at Holyhead when the
tidings of his consort's death were received by him ; and, from that
port, Lord Londonderry wrote the following note to the chancellor :

( The Marquis of Londonderry to Lord Eldon.)

"August, 1821.
" My dear Lord,

"I add this private note to the letter which the king has directed me to write, to
say that his majesty is quite well, and has evinced, since the intelligence of the queen's
death was received, every disposition to conform to such arrangements and observ-
ances, as might be deemed most becoming upon an occasion which cannot be re-
garded in any other light than as the greatest of all possible deliverances, both to his
majesty and to the country. The king feels assured that the events to which my
letters refer, once in your hands, will be sifted to the bottom, and wisely decided; and,
to the advice he may receive, there will be every disposition on his majesty's part to
conform ; but, where papers connected with his daughter, as well as other branches
of his family, are in question, your lordship will estimate the deep interest the king
takes in your giving the whole your best consideration.

" The king proposes to pass over to Dublin to-day. The wind is so unfair that his
majesty intends to avail himself of the conveyance of a steam packet, by which, the
sea being very tranquil, he hopes to reach Howth in seven or eight hours, and to
pass quietly to the Phoenix Park, where his majesty will remain in privacy till the
queen's remains have been embarked for the continent.

" Ever, my dear lord,

" Yours most sincerely,



(The Duke of Mmtrose to Lord Eldon.}

"Dublin Castle, Aug. 30ih, 1821.
" My dear Lord,

" All has passed in this country with the most complete success, and it is generally
expected that not only this country, but the whole empire, may reap lasting advan-
tages from his majesty's visit, whilst the striking, gracious and graceful manner in
which the king has conducted all his public displays is remarkable. It is not a little
remarkable, also, the command over themselves which the whole nation have had,
from the highest to the lowest; and men assure me, they hardly know the people
under the restraint and manner which they have imposed on themselves since the
residence of his majesty amongst them. It is an extraordinary circumstance, deserv-
ing of attention, and which, had I not seen it, I could not have believed. At the
theatre, though full of enthusiasm, they had a quietness, and a desire to conduct
themselves with propriety I never saw before. I have seen no drunkenness, no unre-
gulated marks of affection and loyalty in the city; elsewhere, indeed, they have
pressed upon the king to see and to touch him, a little inconveniently, and mixed,
perhaps, with some superstition, as if some good would happen to them in some way
or other, from having touched the king or his clothes.

" I cannot attribute all this to abstract affection, and though gratitude, no doubt, for
his majesty's visit, has had great influence on their conduct, expectation of further
advantages has, I make no doubt, great influence on their feelings and conduct.

" The manner his majesty has been received has had a great effect on his majesty's
feelings, and requires discretion not to hurry his majesty into expressions which dis-
cretion may lament, or into comparisons more open, perhaps, than politic; also, per-
haps, into grounds of expectation and hope which can hardly be realized: however,
I have not seen any thing which does not do honour to the feelings of the people or
of the king. I think Lord Sidmouth is on his guard, and most important it is for his
majesty (or any king), on such occasions, to have men of experience and high in the
state, near his person. I have been surprised with this city, its superior inhabitants,
and the taste and order with which their displays have been made; and I observe the
clergy stand more conspicuous and forward in high society in this place than any
where except at Rome. This must be a much greater country than it is, though it
certainly wants capital, and the residence of its nobility and gentry; the latter will
secure the increase of the former, and must, in my opinion, precede the former,
though time must be required, under the most favourable circumstances, and the Irish
flatter themselves that the king's visit will encourage and promote that desirable

"The country appears to be cultivated without capital, and no good farm-houses,
nor any farm-yards or stock-yards are to be seen in this part of Ireland. The land
appears to be let loo high, to be very little manured, ploughed, and when exhausted,
left to rest, but naturally productive and capable of improvement. I only speak of
the land near Dublin ; however, as I embark to cross to Scotland, I shall see a good
part of Ireland, and the part where I understand there is the most industry.

" Good sport to you. His majesty proposes embarking on Tuesday the 4th. He
has been well and in good spirits. Yours sincerely,


During the king's visit to Ireland, the administration continued in
an unsettled state ; as will be seen from the following letter :

(Lord Eldon to Lord StowdL) (Extract.) .

(Not daied ; 1521, probably about the end of August.)
" Dear Brother,

" I think there is a great alteration in the opinions of some where I did not look for
it" (the king) " about Canning, and even Sidmouth thinks the death of the queen has
removed, in a great degree, all objection to Canning. But suppose the king and
Liverpool cannot settle their differences, what is to be done 1 Who is to be at the
head? In the House of Commons, you'll say Londonderry, but that won't do. For
many of the peers, who have great parliamentary interest, will not support, as prime
minister, any person who stands pledged to remove Catholic disabilities, and I have
persuaded, myself that they, with the Duke of York at the head of them, will never
agree to that. If you go to the House of Lords, who can you have ? Sidmouth's last
Determination, as communicated to me, was, that, whether there were or were not
any other changes, he would not, in any office, meet the Parliament at its next meet-


ing. They talk of the Duke of Wellington, but I have reason to believe that, if there
were no objections, he would have nothing to do with it. Indeed, I think he is, the
most of all of us, convinced that the king is inclined to sweep the cabinet room of
the whole of us, and that he feels very strongly that we have all experienced, and are
likely to experience, treatment not very easy to bear. If Sidmouth goes, I shall go.
With a new secretary for the home department, a new chancellor, a change of prime
minisjer, who can suppose things to be in a settled state 1 In truth, I don't see how
we can go on without some explanation as to what all the occurrences in Ireland
mean, as to the Catholic question unexplained. With a determination in many in
the cabinet to resist claims to the utmost, we are continuing parts of a government
apparently daily in every way encouraging them.

"I understand the king was particular and lavish in his attentions to Plunkett; he
certainly means, if he can, to bring him into office another Papist."

In the course of July, Lord Eldon had submitted to the Heralds'
College, the following question :

" Whether the grandson and heir-apparent of the Earl of Eldon,
being the eldest son and heir of the late Honourable John Scott,
deceased, eldest son of his lordship, may, according to the rules of
courtesy, take and use the second title of his grandfather, such title
having been granted subsequently to the decease of his father, the

Online LibraryHorace TwissThe public and private life of Lord Chancellor Eldon, with selections from his correspondence (Volume 2) → online text (page 12 of 65)