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The Creevey Papers
Ch. VI: 1810

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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Although the Government had sustained a stunning blow in the loss of its two most prominent members, Castlereagh and Canning, the Opposition found themselves in a still more disorganised plight, so as to be quite unready to gain any advantage from the confusion of their enemies. The rising spirit of the country withdrew all attention from everything except the war; the denunciations of ministerial measures and blunders fell upon deaf ears, and the Opposition, as is commonly to be seen under similar circumstances, took to quarrelling among themselves, mistrusting each other, unable to decide upon the choice of a leader. Not from want of candidates, to be sure; it is amusing to read of the bewildering variety which was offered to them.

Samuel Whitbread, M.P., to Mr. Creevey.
“Southill, Jan. 7, 1810.

“. . . Lord Grey passed a night here on his way to town. He was determined to be, and was, very kind, but we should not have held it long. It seems not decided that Ponsonby is not still to be continued Leader. I said ‘not mine.’ I had been disowned in such a manner on a topick of the greatest importance I could no longer fight under his banner. Lord Grey said if he chose to retain his situation he felt himself
bound to support him. I could not help smiling, but I said only that I questioned much whether there would be any followers. He said he believed I was much mistaken. . . . Now write to me once more and tell me what you think of my state of mind from what I have written. I always take advice and criticism in good part from a friend—I know I do—so cut away boldly. I have no object but the publick good: I want nothing: I seek nothing. If I do wrong, ’tis because I am not wise eno’ to do right. . . . All about Lord Grey is quite private.”

Lord Milton, M.P.* to Mr. Creevey.
“Milton, Jan. 8, 1810.
“Dear Creevey,

“I fully agree with you upon the trial that is about to be given to the H. of C. and lamentable indeed will it be if the issue is favourable to the Gentleman at the end of the Mall,† as Michael Angelo‡ calls him. It must completely damn Parliament if it takes no notice of the authors of the expedition to Walcheren, and all the disgraces and losses consequent upon their mismanagement in all quarters. . . . I am rather uneasy at hearing that the old trader§ is to be the manufacturer of the amendment, but, short of a sacrifice of principle, I think a great deal ought to be done to embrace as many persons as possible; for, after all, nothing but a majority in Parlt. can lead to the practical benefit of getting rid of the present administration. . . . I trust the Marquis‖ will meet with the fate you predict for him. He is a great calamity inflicted upon England, and I heard to-day that, upon this last business with America, he has sent a proposition to her, the alternative of which is to be war. Here is the advantage of having the Conqueror of the East for our foreign secretary.”

* Afterwards 5th Earl Fitzwilliam.

George III.

Michael Angelo Taylor, M.P., whose house in Whitehall was a constant and favourite rendezvous of the Whig party.

§ Mr. Whitbread.

Marquess Wellesley.

Henry Brougham, M.P., to Mr. Creevey.

“. . . The Hon. Company are (as well as all other companies and most individuals) singularly obliged to Providence for restoring our gracious Sovereign. His death or idiocy would have been in the nature of a quo warranto. He is nearly recovered, and I hope to God will be able to prorogue. If a regency had been got up for a short time, with the present men as its ministers, I am confident Eldon, Perceval, &c. (who, when driven to desperation never think of violent measures, but only become more base, cunning, mean, &c.) would have licked the dust before the P. to good purpose. I wish the old ruffian,* however, may not have renewed his term. . . . Melville (as I learn from Scotland) wrote to Ld. Grenville urging him to have me put out of Parliament, on the ground that I was suspected of writing an article in the Edinr. Review highly disrespectful to Pitt! . . . My authority is exceedingly good—one of the law officers of Govt, in Scotland. . . . I conclude the article alluded to is Ld. Erskine’s speeches; and, without saying I wrote it, I can only say I am ready to avow all it contains, in any place, and before any number of Grenvilles, Pitts or Dundasses. . . .”

“1810, Temple.

“. . . I hope I need not assure you that my opinion as to Pitt is much too deeply rooted, and formed upon too long an examination of that Arch-juggler’s proceedings, to be at any time even in the least degree modified by any reason of party expediency or party concert. I need scarcely add that no other motive (such as fear of giving offence) could ever reach me. Indeed, any notion of such sentiments giving offence in any quarter of our friends, could only have the effect of making one speak more loudly if possible. At the same time, I fancy that personal feelings are all that influence the Grenvilles on this point—I should rather say Ld. G. himself, for the rest don’t seem to have liked Pitt. . . . I agree with you entirely as to

* George III.

the probable fate of Pitt’s reputation. He was indeed a poor hand at a measure, whatever he may have been at a speech. This all men may easily perceive; but a little inquiry into the facts of such questions as the Regency—Slave Trade—Restriction and E. I. Coy. makes one almost disbelieve the evidence of recollection, and doubt whether he actually did succeed in hoodwinking the country for twenty years . . . As to this rebellion agt. legitimate authority,
Ld. H[olland] won’t touch the subject, no more will young C.* nor Eden, nor Macdonald, &c; and Lord Derby being applied to by Thanet, declined interfering, as did the D. of Devonshire and Lord G[rey], each on his own ground—Lord D. on that of general, vague and groundless panic, quite worthy of his panic when Gladstone and Co. went to Knowsley and made him give over supporting us at L’pool.”

Lord Folkestone to Mr. Creevey.
“Jany. 9, 1810.
“Dear Creevey,

“Are you dead or sick? or have you got a place? that I do not hear from you. Do not be so infernally lazy, but write. . . . I send you the last news from Felix. The upshot of the whole will be that, at the nomination, the Tory Candidate will have a great majority: no Whig Candidate will start but Burgoyne, who will make himself and the cause ridiculous. I am expecting a county meeting in Berks on the state of the nation. I send you an address I have prepared for the occasion. I wish you would look at it, and revise and criticise it with a severe, not a friendly, eye, and let me have your opinion. . . .

“Ever yours,

While Mr. Creevey was attending assiduously to his duties in Parliament, Mrs. Creevey sometimes remained at Brighton, and at such times Creevey’s

* Hon. James Abercromby, M.P., afterwards Speaker, who went by the nickname of Young Cole, as Tierney did by that of Old Cole.

letters assumed the character of an almost continuous journal.

Saturday, 20th Jan.—. . . Left Brighton with Grattan: dined at the Piazza: went at night to Brooks’s: found Whitbread there in consequence of my letter: various others, all civil to the greatest degree. Morpeth, Lord R. Spencer, Fitzpatrick, Sefton, all greeted me most cordially, and then I had a long prose with Whitbread.

Lord Grey continues his insolence, but the others are all courting him prodigiously—Holland, the Duke of Bedford and Grenville, and with the latter he has unreserved conversations upon all subjects. The amendment is Grenville’s drawing and Whitbread quite approves it. It is no great things, but it will do. . . .

“21st.—. . . Before I got to town, notes were out for a meeting at Ponsonby’s to-morrow night. There was a note at my house for Ord, but none for me. Ossulston told me this morning that Lord Grey had asked him whether ‘he thought Creevey would go to Ponsonby’s if he was asked.’ On Ossulston saying ‘Yes,’ the other shook his head with an air of distrust. Ossulston wished me to go, but I said certainly not, upon such a case as that. From his house I went to Lord Grey’s, and found him alone. He was civil, in good spirits, and looked remarkably well—talked generally of our running the Ministers hard: but not a word in detail of Ponsonby’s meeting, or anything else, and so we parted.

“I then went to Whitbread’s, who, I found, would not go to Ponsonby’s, considering himself to have been personally insulted by him; but very wisely deciding that his case should not be made a reason for any one else absenting himself. . . . He told me that Tierney had said to Ponsonby, in going over the persons to be asked and arriving at my name, that ‘Ponsonby must himself decide, for he knew as much as he [Tierney] did.’

“On coming home to dress, I found a note from Abercromby, stating that he asked a minute’s conversation with me at Brooks’s at night; which was
that he had been requested to learn from me, with every friendly wish to consult my own feelings, whether, if I was written to by
Ponsonby, I wd. come to his house, and that it was thought right to tell me this communication was not made at the suggestion of Mr. Tierney. I said if I had received a letter from Ponsonby I had no doubt I should have gone, and so it ended. Gentlemen got into corners to whisper ‘that they had no doubt but Creevey would go to Ponsonby’s,’ and the Marquis of Lansdowne and I paraded for a quarter of an hour together, and he was much more affable than he has been for ages. . . . Lord Grey began to be very gracious, and begged me finally to write to Maxwell and Sir Charles Pole to bring them from Brighton. On my telling him Pole was not likely to be well enough to come, he said:—‘Damn him! I don’t believe he would vote with me if he came. The Doctor (Sidmouth) can’t make up his mind.’

“22nd.—A note in George Ponsonby’s own writing, and sent by his servant, to request me to come to his house to-night; and so I shall go. . . . Went to Ponsonby’s: Milton, Lord A. Hamilton, Ossulston, Romilly, Ferguson, Coke of Norfolk, &c., there . . . so I am glad I went. Much pampered—pointed by Lord George Cavendish.

“23rd.—Parliament met. The King’s speech very long, and capable of being worked to the devil. . . . Lord Barnard moved the address, Peel seconded it, and made a capital figure for a first speech.* I think it was a prepared speech, but it was a most produceable Pittish performance, both in matter and manner. I perceive we shall by no means cut the figure to-night that Tierney has held out. . . . Castlereagh started from under the gallery, two rows behind Canning, and everything that related personally to himself he did with a conscious sense of being right, and a degree of lively animation I never saw in him before. Base as the House is, it recognised by its cheers the claims of Castlereagh to its approbation, and they gave it.

* The Speaker, Charles Abbot [afterwards Lord Colchester], pronounced it to be “the best first speech since that of Mr. Pitt.” Peel was only two and twenty.

When he came to his expedition, he fell a hundred fathoms lower than the bogs of Walcheren.

Canning was sufficiently master of himself to let off one of his regular compositions, with all the rhetorical flourishes that used to set his audience in a roar; but he spoke from a different atmosphere. He was at least two feet separated from the Treasury bench, and in the whole course of his speech he could not extort a single cheer. . . . Whitbread was stout and strong—upon Wellington particularly. . . . Notwithstanding Tierney’s calculations and prophecy that we should be in a majority, we were beat by 96. . . . Their strength was composed of five parties—the Government—Castlereagh’s—Canning’s—the Doctor’s and the Saints. In looking at the majority going out, Castlereagh said with the gayest face possible:—‘Well, Creevey, how do we look?’ . . .

“We had a grand fuss in telling the House. The Princess of Wales, who had been present the whole time, would stay it out to know the numbers, and so remained in her place in the gallery. The Speaker very significantly called several times for strangers to withdraw; which she defied, and sat on. At last the little fellow became irritated—started from his chair, and, looking up plump in the faces of her and her female friend, halloaed out most fiercely:—‘If there are any strangers in the House they must withdraw.’ They being the only two, they struck and withdrew. . . . In the Lords, Grey made an admirable speech, disputed the military, moral and intellectual fame of Lord Wellington most capitally, and called loudly upon the Marquis [Wellesley], as the Atlas of the falling state, to come forward and justify the victory of Talavera.

“24th.—Dined at a coffee-house: went to Brooks’s at night. Lord Grey came in drunk from the Duke of York’s where he had been dining. He came and sat by me on the same sofa, talked as well as he could over the division of the night before, and damned with all his might and main Marquis Wellesley, of whose profligate establishment I told him some anecdotes, which he swallowed as greedily as he had done the Duke’s wine. He and Whitbread and I sat together and were as merry as if we had been the best friends
in the world. . . . Then the
Right Hon. George Ponsonby came and sat by me, and we talked over the last session a little; but I found him very sore and very bad.

“25th.—Perceval has given notice of thanks to Wellington on Monday. . . .

“26th.—. . . On Lord Porchester’s motion for an enquiry into the expedition to Walcheren, we beat the Ministers by a majority of nine. I did not expect it; tho’ I saw that, if we could move together, our first division (of 167) on the Address must be fatal to them. It is the most perfect triumph possible for the enquiry is to be public, like that on the Duke of York, not in a Select Committee. There were circumstances in the division above all price. Canning was in the minority with PercevalCastlereagh in the majority with us. He sat aloof with 4 friends; and these 5, instead of going out, decided the question in our favor. Had they gone out we should have been beat by one! I counted the villains going out, and in coming up the House I pronounced with confidence that they were beat. Castlereagh bent his head from his elevated bench down almost to the floor to catch my eye, and I gave him a sign that all was well. He could scarce contain himself: he hid his face; but when the division was over, he was quite extravagant in the expression of his happiness. . . .

“27th.—Walked in the streets; they were all alive and merry. Tierney says ‘the business of last night will end in smoak,’ which confirms me in my conviction of its infinite importance. . . . I do not think any minister that ever was could stand a public enquiry into our ordinary expeditions; much less such a minister as this into such an expedition. . . . Walked with Bainbridge. He told me that, after our conversation two months ago, in which we agreed entirely about the fatal influence of Tierney over Grey, and the necessity of these leaders having their eyes opened as to their conduct to the Insurgents,* and the utter ruin such a system would bring upon them, he was so impressed with the matter that he went down to Lord

* The extreme wing of the Opposition, who afterwards assumed the ominous title of “the Mountain.”

Thanet to have it out with him; who agreed with him in everything, and he (Lord Thanet) was induced to write an elaborate letter to Grey, expostulating with him upon all their various proceedings.

“28th, Sunday.—Dined at Western’s. I have got so much master of the Talavera campaign, that I meant to have had a round upon it; but I find Whitbread is so well primed upon the subject, and so many others in the same way, that I shall desist. Supped with Lord Thanet at Brooks’s, from mere curiosity, having heard so much of his talents. He is certainly a quick, clever man, but his earldom has done great things for his fame in the intellectual line. . . .

Lord John Townshend attacked George Ponsonby with the most honest indignation on notes having been sent out to say there wd. be no division to-morrow on the thanks to Wellington, after notes had previously gone round to say there would be. . . . The Right Hon. George could only say, over and over again—‘I don’t agree with you, my lord’—‘My lord, I by no means agree with you.’

“29th.—All confusion to-day, owing to this change about dividing on the thanks to Wellington. Rank mutiny has broken out, and it is now said we are certainly to divide. Milton, Folkestone, Lord J. Townshend, George Ponsonby, junr.—in short, all the Insurgents. This is all because our leaders, having once been in a majority, cannot bear ever to be in a minority again. A damned, canting fellow in the House, Mr. Manning, complained of members’ names being printed* as a breach of privilege, and so it wd. have passed off, if I had not shewed them that, so far from its being a breach of privilege, it was a vote in King William’s time ‘that members’ names should be printed, that the country might know who did, and who did not, their duty.’ . . . Wellington’s thanks are put off till Thursday. . . . Lord Huntly ordered to attend at the Bar of the House as a witness on the enquiry into the Scheldt expedition. So now the Ministers are nail’d.

“30th.—Went at Milton’s desire to help him to

* I.e. in the division lists published in the newspapers.

draw up an amendment to
Wellington’s thanks. I shall like to hand Sir Arthur and his battle down to posterity in the Journals in its proper colours. I have quite pleased Milton with my amendment; but was sorry when I left him to find that he meant to take it to Ponsonby for his approbation.”

Creevey here quotes his draft amendment, which is very long.

“Surely this hits him hard enough, and yet it is mild as milk; but the great merit of it is that it is quoting his own dispatches in his own words.

“Met Grey and Tierney in the streets. They both stopt, and I begun about the thanks to Wellington. Grey immediately said he never could see the sense of there being no division in the House of Commons on that subject; that he himself would have divided the Lords if he could have found anybody to divide with him, and, as it was, he had protested against it. Tierney blamed the folly of the note which said there was to be no division, and let out that Lord Temple was to divide for Wellesley if there was a division; and here is the whole mystery about keeping off a division. But we are to divide: and the leaders with us.

“31st.—. . . Perceval fought three pitched battles on naming the Finance Committee, and was beat in them all. In that between Leycester and Wm. Cavendish, about which I was most anxious, I saw the tellers count wrong by 3. I called to have the House told again, and again I saw them make the same mistake. I shewed it to General Tarleton, who became furious; and the Speaker called him and me to order in the most boisterous manner. It ended in the House being counted a third time, and the tellers were sent out into the galleries to be more certain. In going they picked up young Peel, the seconder of the Address, in concealment, who, being brought in, voted for Cavendish. They then counted the House again, and they counted right, making 3 more than before, and with Peel making the majority of 4. Otherwise we had been equal, and the Speaker
would have decided the thing undoubtedly against us. We then stuffed
Sir John Newport and Sir George Warrender down their throats, without their daring to oppose us. There never was a more compleat victory, and the majority of the Committee is now so good, anything may be done with it. So much so, that Freemantle said after all was over to Mr. Cavendish, that ‘if Lords Grenville and Grey come in, this Committee will be a terrible thing for them!

February 1st.—All our indignation against Wellington ended in smoak. Opposition to his thanks was so unpopular, that some of the stoutest of our crew slunk away; or rather, they were dispersed by the indefatigable intrigues of the Wellesleys and the tricks of Tierney. . . . In short he and our more ostensible leaders cut the ground from under our feet in deference to Lord Grenville. My consolation is that they will be dragged thro’ plenty of dirt by this same great man and his friends the Wellesleys. It is already given out by the Grenvilles that the present Finance Committee, composed as it is, would overturn any Government. It certainly will produce most unpleasant matter for placemen and pensioners.”

On 2nd February began the inquiry in Committee of the whole House into the Walcheren expedition. Witnesses gave evidence at the Bar of the House. On the motion of Mr. Yorke, the galleries of the House were cleared of strangers, in order to prevent incorrect reports of the proceedings being published in anticipation of the publication of the official minutes. During the course of the inquiry a long and detailed description was forwarded daily to Mrs. Creevey by her husband; but as the character of this famous inquiry is fully on record, it does not seem desirable to quote more than a few sentences here and there.

“8th.—. . . A message from the King to the House of Commons for £2000 per ann. for Lord
Wellington. This is too bad! The question is to come up to-morrow week. . . .

“9th.—. . . Went with Lord Archibald Hamilton to the Westminster meeting in Palace Yard. There were 5000 or 6000 persons present, apparently of the lowest extraction. Cochrane and Burdett spoke with great applause, and Burdett has since presented to the House the petition of the meeting for a reform of Parliament—the same petition that was presented by Lord Grey in 1798, and beginning—‘Whereas by a petition presented in 1798 by Charles Grey Esq., now Earl Grey.’ This is comical enough, and we shall see how he takes it.

Feb. 17th.—Call’d on Whitbread, Lord Derby, Mrs. Grey and Lord Downshire. Walked with Abercromby, who had had a letter from his brother, who is with Wellington’s army. It is dated the 31st January, and they had just heard that a corps of 45,000 French were at Salamanca. If this be true, Wellington has very little time to effect his escape from these two armies that are approaching him in different directions. His career approaches very rapidly to a conclusion; but what is one to think, at such a period, of the King’s message yesterday to Parliament to propose our taking 30,000 Portuguese into our pay?* . . .

“Dined at George Ponsonby’s with Lord Temple, Lord Porchester, Charles Wynne, Bowes [?], Daly, Byng, Calcraft, Abercromby, Petty, Brougham, Maxwell and some others. Went to the opera with Mr. and Mrs. Ord who had dined at Lord Ponsonby’s, where a political conversation had taken place. . . . Lord Ponsonby expressed himself quite delighted with the present conduct of every part of the Opposition—that Whitbread was everything that was conciliatory, and that he (Lord Ponsonby) would vote for reform in Parliament (tho’ he did not approve of it), or anything else, to keep the party together. . . . He seems

* With this result, that, in July, 1813, Wellington was able to write to Lord Liverpool: “The Portuguese are now the fighting cocks of the army. I believe we owe their merits more to the care we have taken of their pockets and their bellies, than to the instruction we have given them” [Despatches, x. 569].

wanting to get back to his old place and not knowing how.

“19th.—. . . Went into the House of Lords, and up comes my Lord Grey with a tender squeeze of my hand, to tell me with the utmost animation an excellent story of Wellesley. He has written to Lord Grenville to tell him he is sick, and begging him not to agitate the question of taking the 30,000 Portuguese troops into our pay to-day in his absence. In addition to this (conceiving himself unworthy of credit, I suppose) he encloses an opinion or certificate of his physician—four sides of paper upon the nature of his constitution! The physician’s name is Dr. Knighton, accoucheur (as Grey says) to Poll Raffle, Wellesley’s Cyprian.

“My Lord Grey came to me again to tell me of ‘a damned job’ by Bishop Mansel’s brother. . . . When I saw him cast his canvassing eyes about him to bow to every member of the Commons he barely knew, and then thought of what I had seen of his pride and tyranny at Howick a few months ago, I knew not whether one ought to laugh or cry at such folly in a person who might be so powerful if he was right.”

The next few days supply commentary chiefly upon the course of the inquiry into the conduct of Lord Chatham and Sir Richard Strachan in the ill-fated Walcheren expedition. Mr. Creevey says that universal indignation was concentrated upon Lord Chatham, who tried to throw the blame upon Sir Richard and the Admiralty.

“21st.—Called on Waithman* with some anxiety that he was going to fail on Friday on the question in the Common Council about Wellington’s pension, but he seems confident they shall not. He at once embraced my idea of what ought to be done, and of

* Robert Waithman [1764-1833], an active reformer, whose career is commemorated in the name of a street near Blackfriars Bridge, and by one of the two obelisks in Ludgate Circus.

his own accord requested me to draw a petition for them to the House of Commons, of which I think I can make a very good case for them, and a damned pinching one for Wellington. . . . Dined at
Sam Heywood’s, with Lords Grey, Lauderdale and Derby, Romilly, &c. . . . Lord Derby told us that Sir Henry Halford had told him yesterday that he had been detained the Lord knows how long with Lord Chatham, making him up by draughts and nervous medicines for his examination last night, and after all he sent word he was ill, and could not come. . . .

“22nd.—Took the petition I had drawn to Waithman, but he has drawn a good one himself, so I don’t know that he will use mine. . . . The Opposition in the House of Lords cut a great figure last night, independent of their powerful number. . . . I heard Wellesley open his plan of taking the 30,000 Portuguese into our pay, and the most sanguine expectations I have ever formed respecting him were more than realised. His speech (tho’ he had shammed ill for the purpose of preparing it) was an absolute and unqualified failure. . . . Lord Grenville’s answer to him was one of the most powerful speeches I have ever heard: he shook his former friend to atoms. . . . Lord Lansdowne, I hear, made an admirable speech, not the less valuable for containing a very severe censure on the low and dirty Sidmouth who took part against them. . . .

“23rd.—Went to Lauderdale’s at his request to look at some motions he is going to make about India, and spent a most agreeable hour with him. There is the devil to pay with the India Company, and the Government have given up for the present bringing forward the renewal of their charter. I went to Lord Hutchinson afterwards. He thinks Wellington ought to be hanged. He says that in his last dispatch but one he writes word that he has 25,000 British troops—that he is expecting 5000 more—that he has 25,000 Portuguese troops almost as good as British—that the French are in the greatest difficulties in the Sierra Morena, and that Portugal is in perfect safety. In his last dispatch he has written under the greatest possible fright, and has pressed the Government for positive instructions whether he
is to come away or stay. Lord Hutchinson thinks orders are gone for him to evacuate Portugal.”

How slender were the grounds for Lord Hutchinson’s version of Wellington’s despatches may be seen by perusing those here referred to, viz. Wellington’s letters to Lord Liverpool of 31st January and 9th February, 1810.* The possibility, even the probability, of evacuation is calmly discussed, with an assurance that, should he be forced to it, he could bring the army away in safety. But how little Wellington had lost faith in his power to hold his ground is shown by the fact that, at this very time, the lines of Torres Vedras were being secretly, but swiftly, fortified.

Mr. Whitbread’s motion [for papers relating to the Walcheren expedition] was carried by 178 against 171. I never expected to be in a majority upon such a question, nor did the House of Commons know what they were doing when they voted as they did. The vote is the severest possible censure upon the whole transaction—upon Lord Chatham, upon the King and upon Ministers. It is making all these different parties do justice to an unsupported individual (Sir Richard Strachan) whether the King will or no. It is a direct vote against royal favoritism, and in favor of justice and fair play. There has been nothing like it in the present reign. The truth is that people did not consider the blow it gave to the King, but they voted as against the rascality of Chatham and in favor of Strachan. . . .

Waithman carried his motion in the Common Council for a petition to the House of Commons against the Wellington Pension Bill. This was one of the best hits I ever made—to get this history of Wellington thus handed down to posterity on the Journals of Parliament, at the suit of the first and

* Wellington’s Despatches, vol. v. pp. 464, 480.

greatest Corporation of the capital itself of England. Whether it is my petition, or Waithman’s, or a mixture, I am indifferent: either will do the business. The obligation of the Wellesley family to me is this—that, but for me, my Lord Wellington would only have been the object of a resolution of the Common Council; whereas they have now kindly introduced him with their strictures upon his character to parliamentary notice and history. . . .

“24th.—. . . The vote of last night produces the greatest sensation in the town to-day; and I must confess we have used our victory with no great moderation. St. James Street and Pall Mall have been paraded by the Opposition for three or four hours in numerous divisions, all overflowing with jokes, as well at the expense of the Ministers as of the Gentleman at the end of the Mall, and of the satisfaction he will derive from the address when Perceval carries it to him at Windsor.

“Another event of great importance has taken place this morning. Perry, of the Morning Chronicle, has been tried in the King’s Bench for a libel contained in his paper some time past upon the King and his reign. Perry defended himself against a very vindictive speech of Gibbs’s, and the jury declared him Not Guilty in less than 2 minutes. So the Press is safe: at least as yet.”

Sir Francis Burdett having published in Cobbett’s Political Register a letter to his constituents declaring the imprisonment of a Radical orator by order of the House of Commons to be illegal, the Speaker’s warrant was issued for his arrest. He stood a siege of two days in his own house, being supported by the populace, whose idol he was for the moment. One life was lost in the mellay; finally, an entrance was effected, and Burdett was imprisoned in the Tower, obtaining his release on the prorogation of Parliament. The following invitation was issued from his prison:—

Sir Francis Burdett to Mr. Creevey.
“Tower, May 10, 1810.
“Dear Crevey,

“Pray look into this case—a job of the Church. When will [you] come again to dinner? You shall have two bottles of claret next time, and as good fish.

F. Burdett.

“I hope Mrs. Crevey is well.”

Capt. Graham Moore, R.N., to Mr. Creevey.
“Deal, March 9th, 1810.

“. . . I wish I had time or you had leisure to learn from me, if you do not know, what kind of fellow Strachan is. In two words, it is scarcely possible to have more zeal, ardour and spirit on service than he has. He slaved like a Dray Horse during the whole of the offensive operations on the Scheldt, but he never troubled his head about documents, being always more ready to blame himself than to prepare to meet accusation. He never approved of the plan, but determined to exert all his faculties for its success. We have not a more gallant fellow, nor a more active, complete seaman, in our service. He is continually getting into scrapes, owing to his vivacity and openness, and very apt to be influenced by designing people. . . . Lord C[hatham] has treated him in the most shabby way, and imposed on his good nature, of which he has a large share. . . .”

William Cobbett was at this time undergoing his sentence of £1000 fine and two years’ imprisonment for his article in the Weekly Register of 1st July, 1809, denouncing the flogging of some mutinous militiamen at Ely, who were sentenced to receive 500 lashes each. At the present day the punishment of the journalist seems as outrageous as that against which
he inveighed, but a century has wrought some curious changes in our sentiments.

Wm. Cobbett to Mr. Creevey.
“Newgate, 24th Sept., 1810.

“. . . You will easily guess that I have little time to spare; but the fact is, that I seldom do anything after two o’clock, when I dine. The best way, however, is to favour me with your company at dinner at two, and then the day may be of your appointing, I being always at home, you know, and every day being a day of equal favour. . . . I give beef stakes and porter. I may vary my food to mutton chops, but never vary the drink. I think it is a duty to God and Man to put the Nabobs upon the coals without delay. They have long been cooking and devouring the wretched people both of England and India.”

Henry Brougham, M.P., to Mr. Creevey.
“Brougham, Penrith, Sunday [1812].

“. . . As for Portugal, with all our good luck, we are now clearly paying millions for a few periods in the H. of C.—that Canning, &c., may twit one man and praise t’other, and tell us how ‘every Frenchman that falls is in itself a gain,’ &c., &c. It would be a dear bargain if Pitt were the speaker; but such driv’ling as we pay for is past all bearing.

“I don’t know Cobbet, or I would send him a good motto from Dr. Johnson about special juries and imprisonment. The lines are very pat in themselves as a quotation, but coming from Johnson they are still better; and they clearly contain his opinion, at least on special juries, for they occur in his ‘London,’ imitated from the 3rd Satire of Juvenal, and the original passage has nothing parallel.

“‘A single jail in Alfred’s golden reign
Could half the Nation’s criminals contain;
Fair Justice then, without constraint adored,
Held high the steady scale, but sheath’d the sword;
No spies were paid—no special juries known—
Blest Age! but ah, how diff’rent from our own!’”