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in those inhabitants of the borough who occupied a house rated at ,6 5 and upwards. The debates on the Bill which was accordingly introduced revealed the difference which existed between the views of Lord John and those of the Ministers of the Crown. Both were inclined to accept the principle that a corrupt borough should be disfranchised. But, while Lord John desired to transfer the representation to Leeds or to some other great town, Ministers wished to follow the precedents which had been set in the cases of Shoreham, Cricklade, and Aylesbury, and to merge it in the adjacent hundreds.
Lord Castlereagh, who, as L0rd John said in his old age, ‘was very kind to him,’ endeavoured privately to persuade him to adopt the proffered compromise. Lord John, however, declined to give way; and, after securing the second reading of the Bill on May 19, moved the House into committee upon it on June 5. Mr. Davies Gilbert, a gentleman of some eminence in the realms of science, and the representative of Bodmin, thereupon moved an instruction to the committee to extend the right of voting in Grampound to the freeholders of the adjacent hundreds of Powder and Pyder. The issue was thus distinctly stated; the lists were prepared ; the combatants were marshalled for the affray; when both armies suddenly dispersed at some momentous news—Queen Caroline had landed at Dover.
The landing of the Queen, her triumphant entry into London, and the miserable proceedings which the Liverpool Administration were unhappily persuaded by' the King to institute against his wife, need not be detailed at length in these pages. From the moment of her arrival the business of Parliament was virtually suspended, and no further opportunity arose for discussing the rival claims of the town of Leeds and the hundreds of Powder and Pyder. But, if Lord John was unable to press forward his chief object, he took a remarkable part in the discussion on the Queen’s affairs. He had already shown his independence of Court favour by supporting Mr. Hume, both with voice and vote, in a motion for
securing further consideration of the amount fixed for the new civil list; and by urging the restoration of the Queen’s name to the Liturgy, drawing in doing so a striking parallel between Catherine, the injured queen of Henry VIII., and Caroline, the injured queen of George IV.1 When the Lords were assembled to consider the Bill of Pains and Penalties which the Administration introduced, he drew up a petition to the King, which he enclosed in a letter to Mr. Wilberforce, praying him to close the proceedings by proroguing the Parliament. Letter and petition were subsequently published, with a preface, in which Lord John explained his reasons for addressing the letter to Mr. Wilberforce, by pleading that ‘he was, on, the question of the Queen, the organ of the sentiments of a majority of the House of Commons.’ 2 ,
The paper had no effect. The King was bent on degrading his wife, and his Ministers were reluctant to oppose their sovereign’s wishes. To the great Scandal of all decent people the autumn was occupied with examining the details of the Queen’s conduct, and in debating whether her Majesty had been merely indiscreet, or indiscreet and guilty. So soon as the proceedings came to an end, Lord John left London for Paris, and perhaps a few extracts from Mr. Moore’s diary will best continue the story :—
Navember 24.—Soon after breakfast, to my great surprise, Lord John Russell was announced to me. Arrived last night; truly happy to see him. Talked much of the political proceedings in England; thinks that the Queen’s business had done a great deal of good in renewing the old and natural alliance between the Whigs and the people, and weakening the influence of the Radicals with the latter. Told me, to my great pride and delight,
1 Lord John further showed his independence of Court favour by subscribing in the following year £25 towards the fund raised to compensate Sir R. Wilson on his removal from the army after his conduct on the Queen’s funeral; and again in 1824, by calling for detailed estimates and plans of the alterations which George the Fourth was making at Windsor.
9 Mr. Moore, in his diary, writes ‘A clever paper from England to-day written by my friend Lord John, in the form of a petition to the King on the subject of the Queen; full of good sense, moderation, and talent.'—Memoir:
that he (Lord John) had just dedicated the second edition of his essays to me ;1 spoke of my poem on him,2 which appeared to give him great pleasure.
Noveméer 25.——- . . . Found a copy of Lord John’s book, just arrived by the ambassador’s courier from the Longmans, He calls himself in the dedication my ‘attached friend.’ This tribute from a Russell gives me real pleasure.
' November 29.——Wrote a note to Lord John, to express what I felt on reading him; said it was a rare thing to be at once so sensible and so lively, and to be furnished, like a pyramid, both with point and base.
Yanumy z, 182L—Gallois came and sat for some time, Lamented that Lord John showed to so little advantage in society, from his extreme tacitumity, and still more from his apparent coldness and indifference to what is said by others; said that several here to whom he was introduced had been much disappointed in consequence of this manner. I can easily imagine that to Frenchmen such reserve and silence must appear something quite out of the course of nature»
Lord John remained at Paris from November 2 3, 1820, to January 1, 1821. He wrote to Mr. Moore from Calais on his way home :—
Solitude is a fine thing to think about; but in M. Dessin’s house at Calais to practise it is wretched enough. The night before last I was at Montreuil, and determined to set off at one in the morning to sail yesterday. I am glad I did not. The English messenger stopped at Boulogne, and the French mail did not sail, being engaged to a large family and going no faster than an Irish express. It snowed nearly all day yesterday, and I was glad enough to get on here. There is a large vessel bound to London that proposes to take me to Dover; but the Captain would not go to-day as the French pilot said the sea. was ‘trop dure.’ I suppose it is not worth his while, or he would take his chance and carry Caesar and his fortunes over the water. I hope a packet will come over to-day and deliver rne, otherwise I may be kept a week. England seems to be still occupied in addressing and petitioning. Fine work when we come—not to be hanged, I hope, but to hang.
Three days afterwards he added from London :—
I arrived here yesterday, after being kept a day at Calais. The passage was good, only four hours, but we were near having , an accident coming in. . . . The country is in an excellent state. Much depends, however, on to-day and Wednesday. To-day there is a Derbyshire loyal meeting, and on Wednesday a Shropshire loyal meeting. The Duke of Devonshire and Lord George are gone to oppose the first, and Bennet the second. They will have the hearts of the people with them. These little loyal meetings have done more for us by creating a spirit than all we could do besides. Campbell’s magazine is come out; it does not make much noise. Mackintosh is keeping back the Edinburgh Review for a paper on Reform. He has been very unwell. . . . We have a Bedfordshire meeting on Friday.
During the visit to Paris, which was thus concluded, Lord John was constantly in Mr. Moore’s society, but he found time to compose the little novelette, ‘The Nun of Arrouca,’ which has been referred to in the preceding chapter, while he brought the year to a conclusion with a poem which was appropriate enough to the period. According to Mr. Moore, Lord John
sent off to Perry1 by to-day’s post the parody he wrote on William Spencer’s poem the other day. Spencer’s is entitled ‘ The Year 1806,’ and begins ‘ It is gone with its thorns and its roses.’ Lord John’s parody begins very happily, ‘It is gone where the late Mr. Rose is.’2
1 The editor of the [Morning Chronicle, the leading \Vhig journal. ‘-’ The Right Hon. Geo. Rose, the friend and colleague of Pitt, died in 1818. VOL. I. I
It is gone with Lord Liverpool’s character,
And there was, no doubt, a good deal which Englishmen in general, and Lord John in particular, could grieve over in their retrospect of the year. Lord John’s own favourite pro_ posal had been lost amidst the excitement of the Queen’s trial. Yet, while other people were poring over miserable evidence, Lord John was strengthening his own mind by much more wholesome literature. It was in 1820 that he composed the ‘ Essay on the English Government and the 'Constitution,’ which he published early in 1821. The chapter on Parliamentary Reform in the first edition, which in later editions became the chapter on the Constitution of the House of Commons, is a long and powerful argument to prove that ‘the House of Commons does not adequately represent the people, and that the small boroughs prevent that vigilant stewardship of the public revenue which is the bounden duty and peculiar function of that assembly.’ This argument perhaps led logically to a much stronger remedy than a Bill for the disfranchisement of Grampound. For the present, however, Lord John was contented with reintroducing the Grampound Bill. In order to remove opposition, he consented that the franchise in the new borough should be fixed at ,6 IO instead of ,6 5, and he successfully resisted two amendments, for merging the representation in the adjacent hundreds, and for conferring it on the freeholders of Yorkshire. But he was not equally successful in resisting a proposal of Mr. Stuart Wortley to limit the franchise to £20 householders, and he abandoned the further conduct of the Bill. Though, however, he thought it
1 Louise Demont, Queen Carolina's Swiss maid, and one of the principal witnesses against her.