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wards married to Mr. Drummond, the Secretary to the Irish Government. Mr. Sharp was intimately acquainted with Lord John, and Lord John paid him a visit. Lady Ribblesdale was also passing the winter at Torquay, and the hotel at which she was staying was below the terrace in which Mr. Sharp was residing. In company with the future Mrs. Drummond, Lord John used to walk down a steep zigzag path which led from Mr. Sharp's house to the hotel and call on Lady Ribblesdale. One brilliant cloudless day—so the story runs—Lord John, with his usual companion, paid Lady Ribblesdale their morning visit, and persuaded her to follow them home to luncheon. As he was returning up the steep ascent Lord John, who was very silent, suddenly stopped and said, ‘I have left my umbrella at the hotel.’ Miss Kinnaird with a woman's wit replied, ‘Oh, then I advise you to go back immediately, for it may rain.' Lord John said, “Certainly, and at once returned. Some time afterwards, when the marriage was arranged, Lady Ribblesdale asked Miss Kinnaird to be one of her bridesmaids; and Lord John wrote to her, “Her sister will of course be principal bridesmaid and hold her gloves, another bridesmaid will carry her bouquet, but you must carry an umbrella.' Fifty years afterwards, in 1885, umbrellas became important articles in a statesman's panoply ; in 1835 they fulfilled apparently a more human purpose, and discharged their allotted task with equal efficacy. Rumours of the attachment had reached Lady William Russell in January, and the Duke in February." No member of Lord John's family, however, was acquainted with Lady Ribblesdale; none of them seem to have paid any attention to the report till the marriage was formally announced in the | Lord Tavistock, writing to congratulate his brother on March 20, said, ‘Squire John [the Duke] told me six weeks ago that he had heard of it, but we treated the report lightly, never having heard you speak of her.” Lady William, writing to ‘My dear Johnnikins’ from Stuttgart on April 2, said, “My mother [Mrs. Rawdon], who knows everything, announced to me your marriage three months ago from Berlin. Perhaps you did not think of it yourself at that time, but she positively did, and named the lady; and yet she is not a Scotchwoman, and has not the gift of second-sight. So I am saved the trouble and emotion of surprise.” In the same letter Lady William said, ‘My boys are very much astonished, and
the two little ones will not believe in the four children. That is a joke, they are sure.’
last half of March. With a caution, which was perhaps natural in a father, but which seems rather out of place in a Duke of Bedford, the Duke in the first instance raised questions about settlements. But his doubts were removed
in forty-eight hours. Woburn Abbey: March 22, 1835.
My dear John, I have nothing to add to my last letter, except to give my entire approbation of your marriage. The sooner it can take place the better, as I wish to get to Endsleigh before Easter
week.-Ever your affectionate father, B.
And again :Woburn Abbey: Tuesday [? March 31]. My dear John, You are perfectly welcome to bring your bride to the old abbey. I hope the time I suggested to you will suit. The Duchess says you are quite wrong in saying the Ministry are shaken to the foundation. They never had a foundation to shake. . . .
—Your affectionate father, B.
The Duke had his way. Lord John's marriage was first announced on March 20. Ten days later the great debate on the Irish Church commenced ; nine days later still, Sir R. Peel resigned ; on the following morning Lord John was married at St. George's, Hanover Square, and at two o'clock, after breakfast at Kent House, he and his bride drove down to Woburn.
In the meanwhile active negotiations were in progress for the formation of a new Government. After an ineffectual attempt to persuade Lord Grey to form an Administration either alone or in concert with others, the King on April II, the day of Lord John's marriage, sent for Lord Melbourne. Lord Melbourne at once called the leading members of his former Government together, and, with their aid, drew up the following memorandum, which was sent to Lord Grey:
Lansdowne House: April 11, 1835.
Having well considered the state of parties and the circumstances of the country, we are decidedly of opinion that no Administration which will command any public confidence, or give any promise of stability, can be formed without uniting every element of strength which the present state of parties and opinions admits of combining; and most of all we think it desirable that you should be induced to give your active support and assistance in office. We submit to you this as our deliberate judgment, and earnestly entreat you to give it your most serious consideration. It would naturally be our wish that you should place yourself at the head of the Treasury; but, if you should for any reason be desirous of declining that situation, we trust that you will not refuse to fill the post of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, which will secure to the public the benefit of your abilities and experience, and to your colleagues the protection and encouragement of your countenance and authority. Lord John Russell has not been informed of our intention to make this communication, but we feel no doubt whatever of his entire concurrence in it. We have not thought it expedient to incur any delay by inviting the agreement of others, but we are confident that it would be cordially and universally given.
(Signed) MELBOURNE, LANSDOwn E, VASSALL Holla ND,
A copy of this paper was forwarded by Lord Melbourne to the King, who desired ‘the Viscount to make known to Lord Grey his Majesty's anxious wish to see the Earl at the head of the Government.” But neither the wishes of the King nor the desire of his old colleagues prevailed with Lord Grey, and on the 12th Lord Melbourne found himself compelled to proceed with his task without his former chief's assistance.
Lord Melbourne at once sent the following letter to Lord John :—
South Street: April 12, 1835.
My dear John, Lord Grey entirely declines taking any part, and the King considers me as employed in making arrangements. I am sorry for it, but you must see the necessity of your immediately coming to London. Here is much that must be decided without further delay. The questions of Brougham and Palmerston are of the utmost importance, full as much as any questions of principle
can be. Pray do not delay.—Yours faithfully, MELBOURNE.”
* The King's letter to Lord Melbourne is published by Mr. Torrens in Lord Melbourne's Lisé, ii. Io9. The memorandum addressed to Lord Grey has not, I believe, been previously published.
* Lord Palmerston, it must be recollected, was at this time out of Parliament. He was the most Conservative of Lord Melbourne's old colleagues, and it was apparently intended to exclude him from office, Lord John himself taking the
And so, within forty-eight hours of its commencement, Lord John's honeymoon was abruptly terminated, and he was suddenly involved in all the difficulties of Cabinetmaking. The task proved easier than was anticipated. Lord Brougham, much to his annoyance, was left out ; Lord Palmerston became Foreign Secretary; and Lord John took the Home Office. His brother, Lord William, wrote to him from Stuttgart— -- -
You are more useful to Ireland where you are, otherwise I should have been glad to have seen you at the Foreign Office. . . . On the Continent the Conservatives look upon you as a most dangerous and detestable democrat. But they would have preferred you to Palmerston, who gives them all the stomach-ache.
There was, however, another question of far more serious importance than the exclusion of Lord Brougham or the inclusion of Lord Palmerston in the Administration. No one could doubt that the victory of the Whigs had only been secured by the assistance of Mr. O'Connell, and that the defection of the Irish would convert, at any moment, their majority into a minority. In his communications with Mr. O'Connell Lord John had made no promises and no compact. But he was too loyal in the hour of his victory to overlook the claims which Mr. O'Connell had established by his conduct. Mr. Ball, in a curious paper in “Macmillan's Magazine,’ has shown that office was actually offered to Mr. O'Connell, who announced the offer to a friend in Mr. Ball's presence, and a few hours afterwards begged his confidant to regard the communication as private, as circumstances had occurred
Foreign Secretary's seals (Greville, iii. 253). Lord Brougham naturally resented his own exclusion, and was inclined to blame Lord John and his other former colleagues for not standing up for him. But Lord John had, in fact, two months before suggested that he should be Secretary of State in any future Whig Government. Lord Melbourne, however, writing on Feb. 7, 1835, replied : “The more I think of it the more I am convinced that whatever may happen with respect to Brougham, it can never be safe to place him, as you suggest, in an important executive office. Recollect, as Chancellor he could do nothing. He could talk, God knows, . . . but he could do no act. If he were Secretary of State you would find things done without your privity which you could neither amend nor recall, nor blame him for doing.” Cf. A'ecollections and Suggestions, 135 sq.
which had made it impossible for him to accept office." The offer, which was made at Lord John's suggestion, was ultimately abandoned in deference to the objections of the King. But so strongly did Lord John feel in the matter that he sent a message to Mr. O'Connell to say that—
I was quite willing to renounce office for myself if he thought his exclusion was an injustice which he would be disposed to resent. O'Connell in the handsomest manner declined to put forward any pretensions on his own part, and expressed his wish that I should take a leading part in the Administration. I communicated this result to Lord Grey, Lord Melbourne, and Lord Holland, who were assembled at Lord Grey's house to consider of the formation of a new Ministry. Lord Grey said to me, ‘I did not know you were so far engaged to O'Connell.’ I replied, ‘I have no engagement with him whatever, but I thought it due to him, considering the part he has acted, to do what I have done.’”
On April 18 the new Cabinet was practically complete, and writs were moved for the seats vacated by the Ministers on acceptance of office. On Monday the 20th there was a Cabinet Council; and on the 24th Lord John and his bride were arriving in Devonshire for the election. "The occasion was sufficiently anxious. Mr. Buller, of Stoke Raleigh, his chief supporter in the county, wrote, on April 19, that he had very little doubt of success; and, if distant sympathy could help a popular candidate, addresses of grateful thanks to Lord John flowed in from York and other places. The citizens of Bedford did not confine their sympathy to words, but sent IOO/ to Lord John's London committee as a small proof of the deep interest which they took in the clection. But neither Mr. Buller's confidence nor distant sympathy could have deceived Lord John. He knew how defeat had been avoided three months before by dividing the representation with the Tories, and he faced the contest with much hesitation. His fears were fully justified. The Tory candidate, Mr. Parker, won by 627 votes.”
Macmil/an's Magazine for 1873, p. 222. Mr. Ball relates the anecdote of 1837; but I think it plain the incident must have occurred in 1835.
* From a memorandum dictated by Lord Russell to Lady Russell.
* The final numbers were : Mr. Parker, 3,755; Lord John, 3,128 votes.