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The Creevey Papers
Thomas Creevey to Elizabeth Ord, 17 August 1820

Vol. I. Contents
Ch. I: 1793-1804
Ch. II: 1805
Ch. III: 1805
Ch. IV: 1806-08
Ch. V: 1809
Ch. VI: 1810
Ch. VII: 1811
Ch. VIII: 1812
Ch. IX: 1813-14
Ch X: 1814-15
Ch XI: 1815-16
Ch XII: 1817-18
Ch XIII: 1819-20
Vol. II. Contents
Ch I: 1821
Ch. II: 1822
Ch. III: 1823-24
Ch. IV: 1825-26
Ch. V: 1827
Ch. VI: 1827-28
Ch. VII: 1828
Ch. VIII: 1829
Ch. IX: 1830-31
Ch. X: 1832-33
Ch. XI: 1833
Ch. XII: 1834
Ch XIII: 1835-36
Ch XIV: 1837-38
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“17th August.

“. . . Near the House of Lords there is a fence of railing put across the street from the Exchequer coffee-house to the enclosed garden ground joining to St. Margaret’s churchyard, through which members of both Houses were alone permitted to pass. A minute after I passed, I heard an uproar, with hissing

* In the present House of Lords admission to the steps of the throne is restricted to Privy Councillors and sons of Peers; accommodation being provided elsewhere for the Commons.

and shouting. On turning round I saw it was
Wellington on horseback. His horse made a little start, and he looked round with some surprise. He caught my eye as he passed, and nodded, but was evidently annoyed.

“I got easily into the Lords and to a place within two yards of the chair placed for the Queen, on the right hand of the throne, close to its steps. They proceeded to call over the House and to receive excuses from absent peers. As the operation was going on, people came in who said the Queen was on her way and as far as Charing Cross. Two minutes after, the shouts of the populace announced her near approach, and some minutes after, two folding doors within a few feet of me were suddenly thrown open, and in entered her Majesty. To describe to you her appearance and manner is far beyond my powers. I had been taught to believe she was as much improved in looks as in dignity of manners; it is therefore with much pain I am obliged to observe that the nearest resemblance I can recollect to this much-injured Princess is a toy which you used to call Fanny Royds.* There is another toy of a rabbit or a cat, whose tail you squeeze under its body, and then out it jumps in half a minute off the ground into the air. The first of these toys you must suppose to represent the person of the Queen; the latter the manner by which she popped all at once into the House, made a duck at the throne, another to the Peers, and a concluding jump into the chair which was placed for her. Her dress was black figured gauze, with a good deal of trimming, lace, &c.: her sleeves white, and perfectly episcopal; a handsome white veil, so thick as to make it very difficult to me, who was as near to her as any one, to see her face; such a back for variety and inequality of ground as you never beheld; with a few straggling ringlets on her neck, which I flatter myself from their appearance were not her Majesty’s own property.

“She squatted into her chair with such a grace that the gown is at this moment hanging over every part

* A Dutch toy with a round bottom, weighted with lead, so that it always jumps erect in whatever position it is laid.

of it—both back and elbows. . . . When the
Queen entered, the Lords (Bishops and all) rose, and then they fell to calling over the House again and receiving excuses. When the Duke of Sussex’s name was called, the Chancellor read his letter, begging to be excused on the ground of consanguinity; upon which the Duke of York rose, and in a very marked and angry tone said:—‘I have much stronger ground for asking leave of absence than the Duke of Sussex, and yet I should be ashamed not to be present to do my duty!’ This indiscreet observation (to say no worse of it) was by no means well received or well thought of, and when the question was put ‘that the Duke of Sussex be excused upon his letter,’ the House granted it with scarce a dissentient voice. Pretty well, this, for the Duke of York’s observation!

“Well—this finished, and the order read ‘that the House do proceed with the Bill,’ the Duke of Leinster rose and said in a purely Irish tone that, without making any elaborate speech, and for the purpose of bringing this business to a conclusion, he should move that this order be now rescinded. Without a word from any one on this subject the House divided, we members of the Commons House remaining. There were 41 for Leinster and 206 (including 17 Bishops) against him; but, what was more remarkable, there were 20 at least of our Peers who voted against the Duke of Leinster—as Grey, Lansdowne, Derby, Fitzwilliam, Spencer, Erskine, Grafton, de Clifford, Darlington, Yarborough, &c. Lord Kenyon and Lord Stanhope were the only persons who struck me in the Opposition as new. The Duke of Gloucester would not vote, notwithstanding cousin York’s observations. Holland, the Duke of Bedford, old Fortescue, Thanet, &c., were of course in the minority. . . . This division being over, Carnarvon objected in a capital speech to any further proceeding, and was more cheered than is usual with the Lords; but no doubt it was from our 40 friends. Then came Grey and I think he made as weak a speech as ever I heard: so thought Brougham and Denman who were by me. He wanted the opinion of the Judges upon the statute of Edward III. as to a Queen’s treason, and after speeches from Eldon, Liverpool and Lansdowne,
Grey’s motion is acceded to, and the Judges are now out preparing their opinion, and all is at a stand.

“I forgot to say Lady Ann Hamilton* waits behind the Queen, and that, for effect and delicacy’s sake, she leans on brother Archy’s† arm, tho’ she is full six feet high, and bears a striking resemblance to one of Lord Derby’s great red deer. Keppel Craven and Sir William Gell likewise stand behind the Queen in full dress. . . . Lord John Russell† is writing on my right hand, and Sir Hussey Vivian§ on my left. I have just read over my account of the Queen to the latter, and he deposes to its perfect truth.

“I have just given this lad, Lord John, such a fire for his buttering of Wilberforce‖ that he had more blood in his little white face than I ever saw before; but all the Russells are excellent, and in my opinion there is nothing in the aristocracy to be compared with this family.”

“Four o’clock.

“Well, the Judges returned, as one knew they would, saying there was no statute-law or law of the land touching the Queen’s case. Then counsel were called in; upon which the Duke of Hamilton, in a most excellent manner, ask’d Mr. Attorney General for whom he appeared, or by whose instructions. A more gravelling question could not well be put, as appeared by Mr. Attorney’s manner. He shifted and snuffled about, and Liverpool helped, and Lord Belhaven ended the conversation by declaring his utter ignorance of the prosecution—whether it was by the Crown, the Ministers, or the House of Lords. . . . There are great crowds of people about the House, and all the way up Parliament Street. The Guards, both horse and foot, are there too in great numbers, but I saw nothing except good humour on all sides.

* Second daughter of the 9th Duke of Hamilton.

Lord Archibald Hamilton, M.P., second son of the 9th Duke of Hamilton.

‡ Afterwards Prime Minister; created Earl Russell in 1861.

§ Commanded the Light Cavalry Brigade at Waterloo; created a baronet in 1828, and Lord Vivian in 1841.

Lord John had written to Wilberforce upon the Queen’s trial, complimenting him incidentally upon his talents.

The Civil Power has regained the Pass of Killiecranky * again, but it is fought for every time a carriage passes. . . .”

“Brooks’s, 5 o’clock.

Brougham in his speech has fired a body blow into the Duke of York on Mrs. Clark’s affair, which has given great offence.”