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he was ‘sick all the way,’ he reached Holyhead safely, slept at Capel Curig, and drove aid Birmingham to Wobum. Hence, after spending a few days’ shooting and going to the Bedford races, the boys left for London, where, probably because of Mr. Fox’s death, they stayed at Reddish’s Hotel, going, as a matter of course, ‘to see Kemble in “The Octavian 3’” and on the 21st arrived at Woodnesboro’. On October 8—
Tavistock and Mr. Smith went to town to attend the funeral of Mr. Fox, which will be on Friday. He died on September 13, and deprived England of more mental energy than will perhaps be united again in one man for many many years.
Perhaps the following extracts are also worth inserting :—
Sunday, Odober 12,—Bruce read and preached here—very bad. I read Jones’s-‘Letters from a Tutor to his Pupil on Education.’ It is a. very well written and useful book. On Wednesday I read ‘Personal Nobility,’ a letter to a young nobleman on the conduct of his studies and the dignity of the peerage. It is chiefly recommending books; but one part about religion is very good, and it is altogether very interesting.
Saturday, Nat/ember I.—I shot. I finished to-day ‘Conversations on Chemistry,’ 3 book given me by Dr. Yeates. It is. extremely plain and simple, and made me acquainted with several things I did not know before.
Mandny, Nor/ember 3.—I finished Lope de Vega, :1 book given me by the author, Lord Holland. . . . It is not a very interesting subject, but there are one or two things very pretty, and the work shows much talent.
Wednesday, [Vat/ember 5.—Eliza's [Miss Smith’s] birthday. No business, I'went out shooting, but only killed some little birds. I used to shoot much better than I do at present. Always miss now; have not killed a partridge yet.1
In the following month the diary is full of references to the varied fortimes of the general election, and thus affords conclusive evidence of the keen interest which the boy was
1 Early in the following year Lord John commenced a sporting book, noting in it all his shots, and distinguishing his killing and missing shots. He abandoned it after filling up three pages. making the entry, 'I had some more shooting in 1807, but as I never killed anything above a bare, I left off keeping a game book.’
taking in domestic politics. Towadis the end of the month; the rapid progress of Napoleon after his victory at Jena filled Lord John with alarm.
How long Bonaparte will domineer over the world, and how long we can make head against him, God only knows, but the rapidity of his conquests is unexampled.
Saturday, Nor/ember 29.—We set 06‘ from \Voodnesboro’ in the evening to dine with General Ludlow on our way to town. We slept there. General Ludlow is general of the district.
Sunday, November 3o.—We got to London at 4. 1 5 in 8} hours. Reddish’s Hotel.
The next day Lord John went to see Kemble in ‘Coriolanus,’ ‘not a good part for Mrs. Siddons ;’ and on the two following evenings he was again at the theatre, on the last occasion ‘to see “The Cabinet ”—all singing, which I hate— and “Tekeli,” a new melodrama, some parts very interesting; scenery very good.’
On the Saturday he was again at the playhouse to see ‘John Bull,’ ‘not acted near so well as at Woburn ;’ and in the intermediate days he met Lord Howick at General Fitzpatrick’s, and Charles Fox, Lord Holland’s son, Lord H. Petty, Tierney, Lewis (presumably Matthew or ‘Monk’ Lewis), Sidney [sir] Smith, and some others at Holland House. ‘Sidney Smith very amusing. Charles Fox a very clever boy about ten years old.’ ,
Eight days were thus spent by this boy of fourteen in the company of Ministers and wits, or criticising some of the first actors of the day. On Monday, December 8, his brothers and he left town for Woburn, and on the following Sunday—
VVe left Woburn about eight o’clock on Sunday morning, and got to Wolverhampton that night, to Oswestry on Monday, to Capel Curig on Tuesday, and Holyhead on Wednesday, where we got a packet to ourselves, and set sail at five. We landed at a miserable town called Balbriggan at four the next day, the wind having blown so hard in the night that the packet could not reach Dublin till Friday. My father (as we had sent an express to him) ordered a barouche to be brought for us, which
took us to Phoenix Park in 2% hours on Friday, December 19. All well at the Phoenix.
Wednesday, December 31,—Conc1uded the year I 806. I passed the year very happily, and had it not been for the length of the journeys, I should have liked going to Ireland very' much, but it is not so pleasant as Woburn. Tavistock went no more to Woodnesboro’, and set of? for Cambridge a few days before I went to Woodnesboro’.
Lord John stayed in Dublin till the end of January, he and his elder brother being evidently von the most intimate terms with Lord Harrington’s 1 family, one of whose daughters (Lady Anna Maria Stanhope) was to become Lady Tavistock. On the 6th the Harringtons gave a great fancy Twelfth-Night ball at the Royal Hospital, when the future Prime Minister appeared in the character of ‘an old woman,’ and on the 19th they followed up the ball with some private theatricals, in which ‘I spoke the Prologue, my own.’
The, gaieties of a gay Dublin winter were not over. In the following week Lord John was at three balls, and on the Saturday he left Ireland.
We got on board the packet at six in the evening, but did not leave Dublin Bay till four on Sunday morning. We got to Holyhead in ten hours, and to Gwinder [P Gwydr] at night, Corwen the next, and Weston [Lord Bradford’s] the next, where we stayed till Thursday, when we came to Woburn in a day with George Bridgeman.2 . . . Bridgeman and I came up to town with Mr. Adam on Sunday, February 8, and I went to Lord Bath’s,8 where I stayed till Sunday, I 5th, when I arrived at Woodnesboro’ by mail and found Lord Hartington there.
1 Lord Harrington commanded the forces in Ireland in 1807.
2 Lord Bradford's eldest son. He was three years older than Lord J. Russell.
9 Lord John's uncle by marriage. Lady Bath was the Lady Weymouth to whom Lord John's mother wrote in 1796. See anle, p. 3.
C H A P T E R II.
IN relating the story of Lord John Russell’s life from 1792 to 1807, it has been possible to lean almost exclusively on his own diaries and on his own memoranda. They give a picture of a delicate and sensitive boy entering with zest and courage into pursuits for which his strength is hardly equal ; backward in his studies but precocious in his knowledge ; thrown, by his birth and connections, into occasional intercourse with the first men of the day ,' interested in politics, fascinated by the stage ; and, in all that he did and all that he wrote, displaying honesty and truth.
His return to Woodnesboro’ in 1807 may perhaps be conveniently taken as the commencement of a new era in his career. At this time he ceased to make the minute daily records of his life which have hitherto made it possible to follow the story, substituting for them a narrative written at intervals. At this time, moreover, the measures were in progress which led in the following month to the fall of the Talents Administration, the consequent retirement of the Duke pf Bedford from the Irish Viceroyalty, and the formation of the Tory Ministry which, under the Duke of Portland, Mr. Perceval, and Lord Liverpool, was destined to govern England for twenty years.
These events would, in any circumstances, have given Lord John an increased interest in politics. Boys in their teens take keen interest in their fathers’ political fortunes. But the causes which drove the Talents Administration from office must have increased this feeling. For the fall of the Ministry
was due to a despatch of the Duke of Bedford which embodied the hereditary policy of the Russells—the admission of Roman Catholics into the army, and the employment of Roman Catholic gentlemen as sheriff's.1
It is difiicult now to believe that a moderate and reasonable proposal of this character should have split up the Cabinet, alarmed the Crown, and frightened the people. Yet these results immediately followed its introduction. The Tory Ministry, succeeding to office, was almost compelled to dissolve Parliament, and the general election, fought in such circumstances, naturally provoked the strong Protestant feeling which is perhaps even still a dominant though latent influence in English politics.
How great an interest Lord John was taking in these matters will be seen from the following extract from his journal :—
In most of the elections the Opposition was heat. A senseless and unfounded cry of ‘No Popery’ had prevailed on many ;ealous electors to reject staunch and tried men for hirelings whom Government had sent down. Lord William Russell [his uncle] lost his election for Surrey, being surprised by the opposition of Mr. Sumner, as many of the \Vhigs did not exert themselves till the poll was almost over. However, Pym and General Fitzpatrick beat Mr. Osborne from Bedford county.2 Lord Howick gave up Northumberland. At Cambridge University
1 The measure was a consequence of the Union. In Ireland, by an Act of 1793. Roman Catholics were allowed to hold—in England they were not allowed to hold—commissions in the army and militia. The Whigs contended that a Roman Catholic who held a commission in an Irish militia regiment was liable to a penalty if his regiment was transferred to England. The Tories declared that the Mutiny Act, by compelling him to perform the duty, virtually protected him in its performance.
2 In the midst of this election Dr. Cartwright wrote to Lord John—J Had you been this last week in Bedfordshire, you might have been of great use in firing off election squibs and crackers. The writers on both sides were very dull, and on Osborne's very scurrilous. Had I thought of it before, I would have prevailed upon you to have sent us a few epigrams at least. It will now be too late. for before they can arrive the election will be over. It is now a ,matter of great uncertainty which will be the successful candidate, the General or Osborne, who by last night's poll was only nineteen behind; and I know he will to-day poll no fewer than seventeen divines, staunch supporters of Church and King.‘