« EdellinenJatka »
presented her husband with a daughter. The child, which had been christened after its grandmother and mother Georgiana Adelaide, grew up in due time to marry the nephew of Sir Robert and son of General Peel, and thus to supply a close link between two families whose leading representatives were in her infancy engaged in such close rivalry. While Lord John was at Tonbridge, where he remained throughout the autumn, Mr. Moore paid him a visit, sleeping at the hotel, but living otherwise with his hosts. He found–
Lady John very agreeable, and a nicer little pair than the two in their several ways it would not be easy to find."
Mrs. Maurice Drummond has supplied a sketch of Lord John's life at home, which, perhaps, may help to illustrate Mr. Moore's meaning.
Many can describe Lord Russell as he appeared on the stage of the great world ; . . . only the children he brought up can know how his kindness of heart, his earnestness, his simplicity of nature and purpose, heightened and sweetened the lives of all within the narrow circle of home. . . . The experience of later life has made it clear to me that, to be what he was by his own fireside, he must have been singularly free from the moral twists which have hindered the usefulness of many great men. He was too simple-minded to be morbid, too unselfish to be self-conscious, too kind and too humble to be harsh in his judgment of those around him. He never spoke of money matters; never talked over other people's affairs, never anticipated difficulties, and never said an unkind word to children or servants. He was never impatient or even hurried, and as to being worried, I never heard him use that word, and do not think he knew what it meant. . . . It may be said that people are naturally reticent before children, and that the latter have little opportunity of detecting the faults of their elders, but . . . from the very first . . . we saw more of him than is often the case as regards the children of far less busy men. I am therefore sure that my childish impression of him is a true one, and that it will be confirmed by those still better able to judge. . . He was then, as always, fond of repeating verses suggested by the beautiful scenes we passed through, and of relating anecdotes about his own foreign travels and the remarkable people he had seen. He had a great power of impressing his own view of a subject upon the mind of another, and this view, happily for those under his in
* Moore's Memoirs, vii. 170.
fluence, always showed a perfectly healthy, natural, and what I may call whole-hearted appreciation of the matter in hand. His sketches of people and events were broad, sharply defined, and not easily forgotten.
As the children gradually grew older, Lord John
took more and more pains to make us understand and care for good and interesting things. . . . When we became old enough to spend the evenings with him, we had the most delightful readings aloud. . . Lord Russell read aloud most admirably. He entered thoroughly into the subject whether story or poem, and was sometimes deeply moved by what he read. The first poems I remember his reading to us were “Thalaba’ and “The Curse of Kehama.” Then followed Sir Walter Scott's novels. . . . I need hardly say that he often read Shakespeare to us; and later on ‘David Copperfield,’ ‘The Old Curiosity Shop,' and part of “Dombey and Son.” He did not altogether like Dickens in a sentimental mood, but he could not finish the account of little Paul Dombey's death, or the story of Lilian in the ‘Chimes,” so deeply was he moved by these passages. . . . When we were with him either at dinner or in the evening, or out walking, riding, or driving, no time was wasted on small talk or society gossip (we did not know there was such a thing), and his mind seemed naturally to revert, when at rest, to literature or to recollections of travel. He must have been able very completely to throw off all thought of his anxieties and responsibilities as a public man. Having no idea of what these were, it did not occur to us to wonder that he could be so interested not only in books, but in flowers and animals, and in games. . . . I do not mean that he never talked politics before us ; he told us a great deal about tendencies of parties in the State, but always calmly and judicially, not with the animus of one engaged in political warfare. Of cynicism and pessimism there were no traces in his conversation, and I should think none in his mind.
Mrs. Drummond's recollections of her childhood will help to illustrate Mr. Moore's short reference to his visit to Tonbridge. Perhaps they will explain a further passage from the same diary: —
Went to breakfast with Lord John. . . . Had in the children for me to see, and showed off all their little ways as nicely as any mother could do. It is indeed charming to see so much gentlemanly nature combined with a spirit so manly and determined as is certainly ‘Johnny’s.’
THE ACCESSION OF THE QUEEN.
If the peace of a happy home shed its rich blessings on the little circle at Tunbridge Wells, its chief member had cause for constant anxiety. Ireland was, then as ever, the difficulty of English Government; the remedies which Lord John had desired to provide were still unapplied ; and the Irish, discontented with their position, were again organised in associations. As Lord John wrote to Mr. Moore on the 6th of December—
The General Association of Ireland seems to be getting very strong. Lyndhurst's speech has come up, not in armed men, but in talking and agitating men, aye, and subscribing men too.
The Tithe Bill and Municipal Bill were no longer the only Irish measures ripe for settlement. A commission, appointed by the Government to inquire into the expediency of extending the Poor Law to Ireland, had drawn up a report recommending the State to employ the destitute poor on reclaiming waste lands. Instead of adopting a recommendation, opposed to the principles on which they had acted in England and to sound economical doctrine, Ministers decided on sending Mr. Nicholls, one of the English Poor Law Commissioners, to Ireland, and on instructing him to devise some more suitable remedy. Mr. Nicholls reported at the end of 1836; the Ministry, therefore, was in a position to legislate on this important subject.
Thus three Irish measures were ready for consideration.
Lord Lyndhurst, in the debate on the Irish Municipal Bill, said of the Irish that they were ‘aliens in blood, in speech, and in religion.” He, indeed, endea. voured to deny the use of the phrase, but Lord John declared that he heard it with his own ears.
The Tithe Bill was still unpassed ; the municipalities of Ireland were still unreformed ; and there was pressing need for providing for the distressed Irish poor. But various opinions were held by different persons on the relative importance of these subjects. Some Liberals, wearied with a protracted contest, and conscious that the Irish and Mr. O'Connell had ceased to attach much importance to it, were in favour of abandoning the Appropriation Clause. Others, unprepared to surrender the principle on which the party had acceded to office, were anxious to make some modifications in the form of the measure; while the King, inclining as usual to a Tory policy, desired to postpone both Tithe and Municipal Bill till the question of the Irish Poor Laws had been definitively settled.
How greatly the views of the Irish members were changed may be inferred from the following extracts from a letter which Mr. O'Connell wrote to Mr. Warburton on the 29th of December, 1836:—
The Church Rate (England) Abolition Bill, and the Corporate Reform (Ireland) Bill afford ample and the best occupation until Easter. If both are satisfactory in their details, and yet are rejected by the Lords, it may be the best ground for a dissolution. The Church Rate Bill should, in my opinion, throw the entire burden of the building and repairing of churches on the Protestants of the Establishment. There should not be any reference to the Consolidated Fund or to general taxation. The Irish Corporation Bill should be, with few exceptions, that brought in by the Ministry last year—the exceptions to consist only in leaving out of a few of the smaller towns. . . . I intend to be at my post the first hour of combat, and I doubt not that the entire ‘Irish legion,’ invalids excepted, will be in the front of the battle. A good Church Rate Bill for the Dissenters, and a good Corporation Bill for the Irish, will make an excellent first plan of battle. Let us get so much before we are swamped in the difficult details of the ‘Irish Tithe Bill' with its troublesome “Appropriation Clause.'. I wish with all my heart that the Ministry were decently freed from that dilemma. If there were a proper deduction from the burden of the tithe, there would for the present be no surplus ; and it is really too bad to risk on such a point a Ministry who are for the first time in history conquering the anti-Saxon spirit of Ireland, and adding eight millions to the King's subjects.
VOL. I. T
From Darrynane to Brighton was a far journey. But there is some use in contrasting the opinions which were entertained at the Irish abbey with those which were expressed at the King's Pavilion. Writing on January 2, 1837, in a letter approved by the King, Sir H. Taylor, after alluding to the alarm and uneasiness with which William IV. regarded the character and proceedings of the General Association, went On —
His Majesty is sensible of the importance of municipal institutions and of the advantage which may be derived from the establishment of corporations in Ireland upon well-considered and safe principles. But, adverting to the general state of society in that country, to the religious differences which unhappily prevail, to the preponderance of a faith opposed to the Established Church of the realm, and to the influence actually exercised over the Catholic portion of the population, his Majesty conceives that a measure for which Ireland may not as yet be duly prepared ought to be approached with extreme caution ; and, above all, that it would be desirable if possible to come to some understanding with those who so strenuously opposed the Bill last year, before another is introduced resembling it in its general features, and tending to produce much angry and eventually useless discussion. His Majesty cannot help suggesting whether this difficulty and renewed embarrassment might not be obviated by postponing the establishment of municipal corporations in Ireland until the introduction of a Poor Law in Ireland, and its operation, should have prepared and fifted the mass of the population in some degree for the enjoyment of another of those institutions which England conceives beneficial for herself. The King has learned with sincere satisfaction that on the subject of tithes your Lordship considers that, after the experience of the last two years, it would be useless and vexatious to propose a measure containing provisions exactly similar to those which, in 1835 and 1836, were rejected, and that you are disposed to abandon the Appropriation Clause altogether, rather than again press on the two Houses a Bill which must ultimately fail.
Thus both at Darrynane and at Brighton there was a
* In a few instances the King's letters to his Ministers are holograph. In many more they are in Sir H. Taylor's handwriting, but in the King's name. Most of them are from Sir H. Taylor by the King's order, but on the more important of these William IV. used to mark his approval by writing “Approved. William R.’