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The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Charles and Henry Romilly, 16 July 1833

Chapter I: 1813
Chapter II: 1814
Chapter III: 1815
Chapter IV: 1816
Chapter V: 1817
Chapter VI: 1818
Chapter VII: 1819
Chapter VIII: 1820
Chapter IX: 1821
Chapter X: 1822
Chapter XI: 1824-33
Chapter XII: 1833-35
Chapter XIII: 1806-40
Chapter XIV: Appendix
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Produced by CATH
Tuesday, July 16, 1833.

At this critical period it will be interesting to you to know that the aspect of public affairs has changed in some degree ever since you left London. The Tories, it is understood, have taken fright. They have ascertained that the Irish Church Bill is deemed of greater importance by the public (at least as a beginning of ecclesiastical reform) than they supposed, that the House of Commons would stand by the present Ministers, and that a dissolution of Parliament, if it would diminish the Whig Members, would increase the Radicals in a much greater proportion. Such is the opinion of a certain number of the Conservative Lords, who are afraid of going to extremities, and it seems to be settled that they will suffer the Bill to be read a second time. Strong words will be used in the Committee, and attempts will be made, with some success, to mangle and mutilate the principal provisions, but the probability is at present that, in some shape or other, the Bill will finally pass. So far all is well, but now comes the unfortunate part of the story. The Ministers, who had encouraged Sir John Wrottesley to move for a call of the House, desert him when he makes his motion, giving way to the suggestion of Peel that the Peers ought not to be menaced; and by this act of political cowardice, amounting almost to treachery, they disgust many
Church Temporalities Bill
of their friends and the great body of Liberals, who had determined, somewhat reluctantly, to give them their support. It was a true sequel to their giving up the 147th clause. The consequence was that several of their most respectable adherents,
Abercromby, Lord Ebrington, Lord Duncannon (a Minister), and others, thought themselves bound as men of honour to support Wrottesley in his motion, and voted with the minority. In this was Kennedy1 whom I saw at Abercromby’s after the vote.

I have had no opportunity of seeing people this morning, but have no doubt that the general impression is very unfavourable to Ministers.

Of those members whom I saw last night, Abercromby was the most indignant, and with good reason, for he had taken great pains to conciliate the Liberals, and to induce them to join in a resolution favourable to the present Government in the event of the Irish Church Bill being thrown out.2 In that case he (Abercromby) had undertaken to make the motion, which was to have been seconded

1 Right Hon. T. Kennedy, of Dalquhharran.

2 The Bill was the “Church Temporalities (Ireland) Bill,” which Earl Grey moved the second reading of on July 17, 1833. It was read a second time on July 19th and carried by 157 votes to 98 votes.

Sir John Wrottesley on July 15th brought forward a motion for a call of the House of Commons on July 18th. It was defeated by 125 votes to 160, Abercromby, Lords Duncannon and Ebrington, Kennedy, Lieut.-Col. Grey and Sir G. Grey, and C. Tennyson voting in the minority.

The 147th clause in the “Church Temporalities (Ireland) Bill,” which placed the surplus fund at the disposal of Parliament, was struck out by 280 votes to 149 (June 21, 1833).

Church Temporalities Bill
Grote. But under the present circumstance he seems to have determined against giving them any support, and has signified as much to Lord Althorp. Knowing what we do of the opinion entertained of the former backslidings of the Ministers by Abercromby, and the Radicals, one cannot be surprised at the sacrifice of opinion, which they were prepared to make (and, as I think, very properly) to defeat a Tory Administration. But in proportion to the intended sacrifice must be their present resentment.

On the whole, however, it seems as if the Ministers may not improbably maintain a frail and tottering existence; but if they survive till the next session, they will meet a formidable and probably fatal Opposition.