LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Autobiography of William Jerdan
Ch. 9: Mr. Canning

Vol. I. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Introductory
Ch. 2: Childhood
Ch. 3: Boyhood
Ch. 4: London
Ch. 5: Companions
Ch. 6: The Cypher
Ch. 7: Edinburgh
Ch. 8: Edinburgh
Ch. 9: Excursion
Ch. 10: Naval Services
Ch. 11: Periodical Press
Ch. 12: Periodical Press
Ch. 13: Past Times
Ch. 14: Past Times
Ch. 15: Literary
Ch. 16: War & Jubilees
Ch. 17: The Criminal
Ch. 18: Mr. Perceval
Ch. 19: Poets
Ch. 20: The Sun
Ch. 21: Sun Anecdotes
Ch. 22: Paris in 1814
Ch. 23: Paris in 1814
Ch. 24: Byron
Vol. I. Appendices
Scott Anecdote
Burns Anecdote
Life of Thomson
John Stuart Jerdan
Scottish Lawyers
Sleepless Woman
Canning Anecdote
Southey in The Sun
Hood’s Lamia
Murder of Perceval
Vol. II. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary
Ch. 2: Mr. Canning
Ch. 3: The Sun
Ch. 4: Amusements
Ch. 5: Misfortune
Ch. 6: Shreds & Patches
Ch. 7: A Character
Ch. 8: Varieties
Ch. 9: Ingratitude
Ch. 10: Robert Burns
Ch. 11: Canning
Ch. 12: Litigation
Ch. 13: The Sun
Ch. 14: Literary Gazette
Ch. 15: Literary Gazette
Ch. 16: John Trotter
Ch. 17: Contributors
Ch. 18: Poets
Ch 19: Peter Pindar
Ch 20: Lord Munster
Ch 21: My Writings
Vol. II. Appendices
The Satirist.
Authors and Artists.
The Treasury
Morning Chronicle
Chevalier Taylor
Foreign Journals
Vol. III. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary Pursuits
Ch. 2: Literary Labour
Ch. 3: Poetry
Ch. 4: Coleridge
Ch 5: Criticisms
Ch. 6: Wm Gifford
Ch. 7: W. H. Pyne
Ch. 8: Bernard Barton
Ch. 9: Insanity
Ch. 10: The R.S.L.
Ch. 11: The R.S.L.
Ch. 12: L.E.L.
Ch. 13: L.E.L.
Ch. 14: The Past
Ch. 15: Literati
Ch. 16: A. Conway
Ch. 17: Wellesleys
Ch. 18: Literary Gazette
Ch. 19: James Perry
Ch. 20: Personal Affairs
Vol. III. Appendices
Literary Poverty
Ismael Fitzadam
Mr. Tompkisson
Mrs. Hemans
A New Review
Debrett’s Peerage
Procter’s Poems
Poems by Others
Poems by Jerdan
Vol. IV. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Critical Glances
Ch. 2: Personal Notes
Ch. 3: Fresh Start
Ch. 4: Thomas Hunt
Ch. 5: On Life
Ch. 6: Periodical Press
Ch. 7: Quarterly Review
Ch. 8: My Own Life
‣ Ch. 9: Mr. Canning
Ch. 10: Anecdotes
Ch. 11: Bulwer-Lytton
Ch. 12: G. P. R. James
Ch. 13: Finance
Ch. 14: Private Life
Ch. 15: Learned Societies
Ch. 16: British Association
Ch. 17: Literary Characters
Ch. 18: Literary List
Ch. 19: Club Law
Ch. 20: Conclusion
Vol. IV. Appendix
Gerald Griffin
W. H. Ainsworth
James Weddell
The Last Bottle
N. T. Carrington
The Literary Fund
Letter from L.E.L.
Geographical Society
Baby, a Memoir
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He was friend faithful and dear to me.—Shakspere.
The Patriot’s meed is fame that never dies;
He needs no bard to strike the quivering string,
To sound his praises to the answering skies;
His glory, rising on Time’s ceaseless wing,
Soars far above oblivion’s stream, that lies
Where the dull weeds of life are withering—.
Yes! he who seeks his country’s good, will shine
A sun that sets not, dimless and divine.—Bird.

My narrative has brought me to the third of the irremediable afflictions which befel me at this period, so closely together, and were so poignantly mourned. The death of Mr. Canning was a grievous blow to the country, and the superaddition of private and personal suffering to public and universal sorrow, rendered it, indeed, hard to bear. My attachment to him had grown with the passage of some twenty years, till it had become a devotedness not to be surpassed, and an affection of the deepest nature. He saw and knew this, and this it was which recommended so humble an individual to his confidence and friendship: of
which it is now my duty to relate some remarkable proofs, not so peculiar to myself as interesting to the nation, and illustrative of his noble character.

In a preceding page, I have introduced my prized and estimable companion, Mr. Thomas Frederick Hunt,* to the acquaintance of my readers, and mentioned his position in the Board of Works, which led to his constant employment when alterations or repairs were requisite in the royal palaces, particularly in Saint James’s, where his Majesty George IV. held levees, gave audiences, and transacted other public business. By one of those extraordinary coincidences, of which I have recorded several instances, it so happened that he was engaged in the King’s usual suite of rooms in projecting some improvements, on the day on which Mr. Canning was raised to the momentous responsibility and dignity of Prime Minister of the British empire. By a strange casualty, when he left off his inspection of the innermost apartment, and was on his way out, he discovered to his dismay, that his Majesty had retired from his meeting with Mr. Canning, and come, with the Marchioness of Conyngham, into the room immediately adjoining that in which he was. Those who know the peril and disgrace incurred by any person guilty, or suspected of eves-dropping in a royal residence, or intrusion upon royal privacy, may imagine the absolute horror of my friend when he found himself in this dilemma. Retreat was impossible. He might attract notice by making a rapping carpenter-like noise, but this was too late, and would only render his exposure certain. Bathed in perspiration, as he described himself

* Author of “Hints on Domestic Architecture,” 4to.; “Designs for Parsonage Houses,” 4to.; “Architettura Campestre,” royal 4to.; and “Examples of Tudor Architecture,” royal 4to., all published by Messrs. Longman, and producing a great influence on the style of building throughout the country.

to me, he felt that he could only risk detection, and, in the event of being discovered, trust to the simple truth of the accident that had beset him for credence and pardon. He was thus compelled, perforce, to overhear the conversation between the King and his confidante on this important occasion; and thence the particulars of his Majesty’s interview with the Minister, the expression of his confidence in his genius and loyalty, and his firm persuasion that he would conduct the affairs of the kingdom to the heights of prosperity and glory—in all which sentiments the accomplished Marchioness cordially agreed, and warmly applauded the act by which numerous political ravels seemed to be so happily disentangled. To Hunt’s infinite relief, the colloquy ended, and the suite of rooms was cleared for his joyous escape.

It will readily be supposed that, aware of the anxious feeling with which I had been watching the previous negotiations for the formation of a Cabinet, Mr. Hunt lost little time in communicating his intelligence to me; and it reached me just as I had finished a letter to Mr. Canning on some of the points at issue on this memorable occasion. It immediately changed my intention, and I resolved to seek an interview with the Premier, early on the following morning, and state the circumstances to him, as they could not but have a strong effect in confirming him in the entire sincerity of his royal master, and consequent stability and power of his new position. I shall never forget the least incident of this I may almost call it supernatural event; for that such information should be acquired in such a manner by one so devoted to the man and the cause as I was, and so unlikely to learn a syllable of what took place at Court, was, apparently, little short of a miracle.

Full of my errand, I hastened about ten o’clock to
Downing Street, and was ushered into the room of
Mr. Stapleton, the private secretary, and afterwards author of the authentic and well-written “Life of Mr. Canning” (see note, p. 164). As I anticipated, he at once assured me that to see Mr. Canning was utterly impossible, for that he was so momentously engaged in the selection of his colleagues and communicating with them, that he had been, only a few minutes before, obliged to excuse himself from seeing (I think) the Duke of Devonshire. I, however, persevered, and begged of Mr. Stapleton to take my card into Mr. Canning, and lay it on the table before him; to which, knowing something of our antecedent relations, he courteously assented. Upon this I wrote: “Dear Sir—pray see me—if it were not of sufficient consequence, I would not ask at such a time.” Very briefly Mr. Stapleton returned, literally pale with astonishment, and bid me go into a room, where Mr. Canning would immediately join me. I am thus particular, for I consider the anecdote to possess historical interest enough to be told with all its accessories. The room into which I was shown was on the first floor, on the left hand, at the top of Downing Street, with the windows looking into that small square. I had become exceedingly agitated, and worked up to so distressing a state of nervous tremor, that I could hardly support myself, or recall my scattered thoughts to what I had to tell. In this condition I rather sunk than sat down upon a chair, and was lost in a sort of reverie, when a part of the library opposite to me began to move, and I felt as if I was losing my senses with giddiness and overwhelming emotion. Mr. Canning entered. The door was the painting of a book-case, to conform with the shelves of the library, and I recovered much of my self-possession as my exalted friend approached me, and gave me his whole hand!


With some difficulty and hesitation I was enabled to tell my story, to which he listened attentively, and then condescended to thank me for this proof of my attachment. He then placed two chairs in a certain position, with their backs to the windows, and seating himself in one, an arm-chair, motioned me to sit down on the other, which was close beside it. He observed that it must be gratifying to him to have this double assurance of the high opinion the King entertained of him, and the entire confidence reposed in his ability to carry on the government of the country with success and honour; but his Majesty’s language and manner to him, on the preceding afternoon, had been such as could not leave a doubt or a fear even upon a suspicious mind; and he had accepted office with the most perfect confidence in his Majesty’s gracious promise to maintain him firmly in the arduous station to which he had raised him. In describing this, and indeed in repeating all that had passed, Mr. Canning not only related the conversation, which embraced the most important prospective points, connected with the Home and Foreign policy to be pursued by the Government and country, but, extending his own arm over the arm of the chair on which he sat, acted the manner in which his Majesty, at a certain period of the audience, gave him his hand (the back of it!) to kiss, as the pledge and confirmation of his great appointment. I believe it may be truly affirmed, that when in discussing prospective arrangements the King inquired what course Mr. Canning was prepared to adopt in the event of the Protestant section of the Cabinet proving adverse to him; and that in answer he, under the seal of secresy, informed his Majesty that a leading member of the Whig party (Mr. Tierney) had already in
the contemplation of such a contingency, assured him of the support of the opposition. This secret unfortunately oozed out from the King to
Lord Westmoreland, who lost no time in disclosing Mr. Canning’s intentions to his colleagues, who instanter decided on resigning in succession (as they did), instead of accepting the Premier’s overture to retain their respective appointments. It was thus that on the first day of his Premiership he found himself alone, without a Cabinet!

It may be faintly conceived with what emotion I listened to this (considering my humble station in life) very remarkable statement, and how my heart swelled with pride at the extraordinary confidence reposed in me; but my feelings were still more wrought upon by observing the hectic flushes and pallor which succeeded each other on the countenance of Mr. Canning. They too truly betokened that condition of mind which so rapidly conduced to the termination of his invaluable existence; and showed on how fragile a thread of human endurance the fate of a nation and the welfare or misery of millions may depend. I could compare the phenomena—or shall I say symptoms?—to nothing but the alternate blushing and paleness of a sensitive girl when tried by one of the most interesting occasions that can befall her in life. I had an inward conviction that the splendour of this glorious luminary would not long enlighten the world; and from that hour, with various sensations, as circumstances occurred to harass or soothe his susceptible nature, I continued to hope against hope and entertain ever anxious fear, till the fatal consummation of the worst that could be dreaded.

Before I left him, Mr. Canning requested me to attend under the gallery of the House of Commons every night, and commit very briefly to paper the impression made upon me
by the debates, and send my notes to him in the mornings. This duty I zealously performed, and had immediate admission to the Premier whenever I thought it necessary to ask it. I may also mention here a subject, not connected with my immediate mission, but which led me frequently into his guarded sanctum, and to farther confidential inter-communication.

Through my much esteemed and intimate friend Captain Blaquiere* I was informed of secret particulars of the famous Greek Loan, which rather compromised some public reputations, and were of a description not to be revealed by me, either then or now. But as I stood in relation to Mr. Canning, I was bound to make him acquainted with the circumstances, and indeed it was for that object that they were confided to me by Blaquiere, one of the warmest of the friends to Greece and the Greek cause who took part in their affairs at this critical time. I consequently laid open some of the proceedings in effecting this loan, and placed before the Minister a view of accounts by which it was demonstrated how large sums of money had been gained by individuals, well known both to him and to me. I am still tied up from saying more; and shall only notice the impatience, indignation, and exclamations of astonishment with which he started up from the table, and paced the room as item after item of this discreditable transaction was unfolded by the documentary evidence in his hands. His emotions, on perusing these proofs of backsliding, were more in sorrow than in anger, though his glowing affection for the service they so cruelly crippled, amounted to a passion (see p. 221).

* Author of “Letters from the Mediterranean,” “Greece in 1827,” “The Greek Revolution,” “Narrative of a Second Visit to Greece,” and other sterling publications replete with valuable intelligence. This gallant and worthy officer sailed again to pursue inquiries, but, alas, neither he nor the vessel were ever heard of more. His widow, a strong minded woman, mourned his mysterious fate till about four or five years ago.


To return to the formation of the Ministry, the progress of the negotiations and incidents attendant upon which I heard from Mr. Canning’s own lips: I, therefore, relate what follows as authoritatively faithful and historically authentic. From the beginning the Duke of Wellington and Lord Eldon set their faces against the union with Mr. Canning as Prime Minister. Lord Melville met him in Downing-street, and agreed to take office; but within three or four hours, having in the meanwhile been invited to a conference at Hyde Park-corner, with the illustrious Duke and learned Earl I have just named, he returned home, and sent in his resignation. Mr. Peel declined to join on his own separate grounds, and Mr. Canning declared his opinion that his reasons for not uniting with him, and principally the ardent line of his politics against the Roman Catholic concessions, were the only valid grounds of principle which were sufficient to prevent his former colleagues from undertaking, on this occasion, together with him, the services required by their Sovereign. How little could even his prescient soul penetrate the future, and see this defection of Mr. Peel not only explained, or, in another word, excused upon different data, but converted into opposition; and that, within a few short years, he should concede to Rome every particle of the religious element which had divided his course from that of his patriot contemporary. Mr. Peel had Oxford, as an anti-Papist, when Mr. Canning, entertaining more liberal sentiments in regard to the political interests of the empire in this respect, had to decline the enviable seat; and Mr. Peel’s official career as Secretary for Ireland still farther justified his refusal to become Secretary of State under Mr. Canning. So, at least, it seemed to that impartial statesman, to whom the dream of the hereafter—of what wonderful
changes we have witnessed since—was as dark a blank as the next quarter of a century is to the dullest among living men!

The conduct adopted by the Duke of Wellington and Lord Eldon in this instance, broke up the powerful Pitt, or Tory party, nearly as much as Mr. Peel’s Free Trade resolutions in 1846 broke up the Conservative phalanx; and threw the Minister upon other personal friends and the moderate Whigs for the assistance they denied him. From these two sources he recruited an efficient Ministry, though, I think, he felt himself ill-supported by his colleagues in the minor departments, especially of Scotland, which were rather the means of weakness than of strength. Still, with such weight as was given by the adhesion of the Duke of Portland, Marquis of Lansdowne, Earl of Harrowby, Lord Dudley, Lord Palmerston, Mr. Huskisson, Mr. Tierney, Lord Lyndhurst, the Duke of Clarence, Marquis of Anglesea, Dukes of Devonshire and Leeds, Lord Bexley, and the Honourable William Lamb; and in the law, Leach, Hart, Scarlett, and Tindal, an administration was created equal to any emergency, and superior to any hostility.

That hostility was soon and bitterly displayed. Earl Grey denounced Mr. Canning in one of the most personal invectives that ever was delivered in the Parliament of England, and the falling off of those who ought to have been his friends, exposed him to this violent assault, which his nervous excitement rendered him so much less able to endure, and which at earlier times he would have torn to tatters and trampled under his feet.*

The explanations in the House of Commons also soon let

* It was pithily observed at the time, Mr. Peel withdrew because he could not serve under a minister whose opinions were favourable to the

out the secret, that
Mr. Peel’s withdrawal was not a simple passive resolution, but a prelude to a declared opposition. On the evening, when Mr. Dawson first opened this battery, I wrote my usual bulletin and delivered it next morning in Downing-street; Mr. Peel made his statement a few nights after, and on the following morning I waited upon Mr. Canning personally, to ascertain how this speech, so little in unison with his previous idea of Mr. Peel’s motives and the neutral course he was likely to adopt, affected him. I happened to make the remark, that “he would now see that I was right,” and in answer to his question, “on what point,” referred him to my note above-mentioned. He had no recollection of it; but, pulling out his drawer, tossed over a number of unopened letters, and among them the neglected missive. He excused himself for this apparent slight, being completely overwhelmed with correspondence, and obliged to postpone a portion of it for more leisurely consideration, and broke the seal to read: “What Mr. Dawson has done to-night, I feel assured Mr. Peel will do within a week or a fortnight.” My prediction had been

Roman Catholics, and because he believed such sentiments in the Premier would interfere with the Home Secretary’s administration of the affairs of Ireland. The Duke of Wellington withdrew on the former of these points alone. The Lord Chancellor withdrew, because he was fortunate in the opportunity for gratifying a long cherished desire to leave office; and here he had one admirably adapted to his purpose. Lord Westmoreland withdrew because others did; and Lord Melville withdrew because he was persuaded to make common cause with the rest; while Lord Bathurst seemed very much at a loss to assign any reason at all. But however produced, the result was, that all these members of the Cabinet, with the honourable exception of Lord Bexley, within the range of a few hours, threw up their appointments, and left their Sovereign with a very heavy and painful responsibility upon his head. Upon the point of Mr. Canning having risen from the ranks, the same might be said of the seceders. Lord Eldon rose from the ranks; and the Duke of Wellington, comparatively with his transcendental elevation, rose from the ranks; and others were men of only one descent—no great cause to shrink from union with a Parvenu!

fulfilled, and Mr. Canning, in a playful manner, complimented me as an inheritor of the second sight of my native country, and worthy to be esteemed as an astute political prophet; adding, that if he had perused the note at the period of its date, he could not have believed in it. I remember, that on anterior occasions, he used to speak of Mr. Peel as the person destined to be his successor in official life; the duration of which, in its highest sphere, he estimated at ten years, so that the difference of ten years in age would be the measure of succession.

I hope I do not deceive myself in thinking that such anecdotes of so illustrious a character must be of very general and lasting interest; and, therefore, that anything in them which savours of personal exaltation will be pardoned on account of the matter. It is not often that the interior recesses of a prime minister can be visited under such circumstances, and a true report made, without infringing the trust of public or private confidence.

In the midst of the party and faction strife which ensued on Mr. Canning’s taking office, and distracted his attention, he still held in view the importance of literature, and acknowledged the bounden duties of his position, to cherish its development and support its national claim to distinction and reward.’ In furtherance of this principle he did me the honour to give me a carte blanche commission, when and wheresoever I observed any opportunity in which his patronage could be of advantage to literary institutions or designs, to be at perfect liberty to employ his name and purse without even the trouble of consulting with him! Upon this I acted in several instances, and my doings were cordially confirmed with approbation and thanks. I speak not of the agent, but of the fact, which I deem to set a most salutary example to every man who may succeed in
raising himself to be a leading member of the government of an enlightened people in all time coming. The memory of
Mæcenas is as immortal, and yet more glorious than that of Augustus; and the encouragement of learning and genius diffuses greater blessings, and sheds brighter lustre upon the age and country, than the management of affairs, however dexterous, and the achievement of victories, however triumphant.

In regard to the press, Mr. Canning was keenly alive to its influence, and the consequent expediency of keeping it well-informed. The love of truth, and almost too refined a delicacy in eschewing what might look like interference or dictation, guided him in all concerns connected with this potent organ, of which I had cognizance, and extended over the period of my gratifying intimacy. So early as 1814, he wrote—

“Nov. 1, 1814.

“I received your letter of yesterday, and thank you for it.

“I beg that you will now let the subject of me and my embassy drop, as the facts once stated, it is not pleasant to be made the subject of continued controversy.

“I do not believe one word of the rumours which you mention.

“I am, yours, &c.,
“G. C.

“I will mention to my gardener that you may occasionally look in at Gloucester Lodge.

“Should you see anything amiss, or requiring interference, my man of business, with full power to act for me in my absence, is John Heaton, Esq., No. 6, Old Burlington-street, to him pray report anything of that sort.”


His bringing me acquainted with Mr. Gifford a few years after, was founded on the same basis; and I can solemnly bear my honest testimony, that in all my own transactions with Lord Farnborough, Mr. Rose, Mr. Huskisson, Mr. Canning, and others of the Pitt school, or in acting as the medium of their communications to third parties, I never knew of the truth being coloured, far less violated, or of the facts not being left to the judgment and conscientiousness of the individuals informed. There was in Mr. Canning himself the strong dislike to be exposed to the misrepresentations or animadversions of the press; and I will venture, at this distance of time, to quote a characteristic letter from him, which bears on this subject. I had solicited the appointment of my son to a clerkship in the Foreign Office, to which application I received the following answer:—

“Brighton, June 26, 1826.
Dear Sir,

“Your letter of the 19th followed me hither: where unluckily so many other things have followed me, during the week, that I have never till this morning, had leisure to turn to my private box of unanswered letters.

“I will be very open with you. The clerkships in the Foreign Office are in such request that I have not only more engagements upon my hands at present than I see any prospect of fulfilling; but I have also claims upon me which I have refused, but which are of such a nature that if I had unexpectedly the means, I ought properly to retract my refusal.

“Among the latter, are applications of the Duke of Cambridge, and Duke of Gloucester.

“I will further aver that I should feel, and I really think you would, upon reflection, that your connection
with the publick press, however honourable, would make the introduction of a son of yours into the Foreign Office liable to some objection.

“Having said this, I have great pleasure in adding that I am likely to have the disposal, at no very distant time, of a clerkship in the Navy Pay Office, under Mr. Huskisson. Tell me if that would meet your wishes. If it would, it shall be yours, for your son.

“I am, dear Sir,
“Your sincere and faithful, &c.,
W. Jerdan, Esq.

The writer, then Secretary for Foreign Affairs, had afterwards the condescension to speak with me about the appointment, and the next letter shows at once the kindness of his feeling and the soundness of his objection.

“F. O., June 30, 1826.
Dear Sir,

“You entirely misapprehend what I said about your connection with the Press.

“The reason why I would not (if it were otherwise in my power) place in this office a young man, whose father was so connected, [is] because I am quite certain that, however unjustly, he would bear the blame of every indiscretion, or breach of the confidence of office, by which matters intended to be kept secret found their way to the publick.

“It may be some short time before the Clerkship in the Navy Pay Office, which is to be at my disposal becomes vacant; because it will only become so by my appointment of the young man, now holding out to a clerkship here, in fulfilment of a promise given by me two years ago, to a
friend of
Mr. Huskisson’s and mine. I destine for him my first vacancy, but I know not when it will occur.

“Believe me, dear Sir,
“Very truly yours,
W. Jerdan, Esq.

Within a short period Mr. Huskisson arranged a clerkship in the Board of Trade, as a first step for my son; but it was of small consequence, and subsequent considerations led to its relinquishment. Under other auspices he was, about five years later, appointed one of the stipendiary magistrates of Jamaica, and perished there, as stated in the annexed obituary.

“The following notice having appeared in several of the London Papers, in reference to the death of Mr. J. S. Jerdan, announced in last ‘Kelso Mail,’ we now give it a place in the belief that it will afford a melancholy satisfaction to many relations and friends of the deceased, in this district:—

Mr. John Stuart Jerdan, one of the stipendiary magistrates for Jamaica, and the eldest son of Mr. William Jerdan, of Brompton, fell a sacrifice to the severe and fatiguing duties of his office in that fatal climate, after a short illness, on Thursday, the 25th of December.—Of his loss in the district of Manchioneal, in the parish of St. Thomas-in-the-East, the ‘Jamaica Dispatch’ says:—‘To an active and enterprising character he added a zeal in the execution of his arduous duties, which rendered him respected and beloved both by master and servant; he tempered justice with mercy; and just as his labours were becoming almost a sinecure, from his judicious conduct, the island was deprived of his services at the early age of 26.
His remains were conveyed to the tomb with marked respect, and his death lamented by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.’ Previous to his departure for the West Indies, Mr. Jerdan, seconding the ardent wish of his father for its success, performed the functions of secretary for the Abbotsford subscription, and acquitted himself in so zealous and excellent a manner as to receive the grateful acknowledgments and warm approbation of the committee. He was much attached to the study of natural history, and made some fine collections in entomology.* His premature loss, at the moment when the sphere of his usefulness was so honourably filled, is a heavy affliction to his friends and family.”

Reverting for a moment to the Press, and to a proposition I had hazarded in relation to business then on the tapis, I received the following reply from Mr. Stapleton.

“(private and confidential.)
“Downing Street, May 7, 1827.

“I have laid before Mr. Canning, your letter of the 5th inst., to which he has given every attention. He has come, however, to the conclusion, that, considering that one of the great grounds of attack on the Government, is the influence possessed by it over the Press, it is absolutely necessary that he should have it in his power to deny in the House of Commons as distinctly as he now can do, and as Lord Goderich has denied in the House of Lords, that the influence of the Government has been employed to induce the Press to support it.

“You will easily perceive how impossible it would be for

* It was in pursuit of this science, and making captures for Lady Mulgrave, that he caught the fever which proved fatal to him.

Mr. C. to do this after consenting to adopt the project which you recommend.

“I am, Sir,
“Your very faithful and obedient Servant,
W. Jerdan, Esq.

Whether the periodical press is better liked, or more feared in the present day, I am unable to say, but certainly a considerable number of its contributors have been more fortunate in drawing the prizes of Government appointments than were to be found in the wheel in former times.

But now I must touch upon the fatal stroke, which terminated all my delights and prospects, wherein Mr. Canning occupied an engrossing influence. His health yielded to the heavy pressure of public affairs, and the harassing of vexatious personalities and malignant persecution. He was removed to Chiswick; and I never forgave myself for not offering my residence, Grove House, in Brompton, for his accommodation. It was nearer town, and enjoyed a more salubrious air; and, in spite of antagonist reasons and physicians’ forebodings, I could not divest myself of a belief that if he had been taken there, he might have lived. I cannot satisfactorily account for this impression even to my own mind; but it remains to this hour firm and fixed, and I never cease to reproach myself with the omission of which I was guilty. As it was, I hung on every rumour that floated abroad; and

* Four years later, when Mr. Stapleton’sLife of Mr. Canning” was on the eve of publication, he wrote to Mr. Rees—“Will you be so kind as send to Mr. Jerdan a perfect copy with my compliments, and tell him that the part now published is that which will interest him individually more than any other.”

looked with intolerable anxiety to the authorised reports which were feelingly communicated to me. This is the last:—

“The Foreign Office, ½ past 4 p.m.

Mr. Canning has taken nourishment freely till half-past two this day; the pain in the side continues, but the inflammation has abated. We dread the night.

“(The above comes from Mr. Backhouse to Lord Anglesey and Mr. Tierney.”)

I will not trust myself to narrative, but copy the five following notes as memoranda of this lamentable period:—

“Foreign Office, Aug. 9, 1827.
My dear Sir,

“Unfortunately, I shall not be at home this evening. Pray, therefore, do not think of altering your plan merely upon the suggestion which I threw out; as I have no time for writing anything myself, and might possibly not find leisure for furnishing you with assistance.

“The dear remains are to be removed to the house in Downing Street to-night, where some one of his nearest friends will, in their turn, pass the night until the day of the funeral. The first turn of this sad office will, I believe, fall to me. The precise time and nature of the funeral is not yet settled.

“I am, dear Sir, your very faithful servant,
W. Jerdan, Esq.

“P.S.—If, nevertheless, you should still desire to see me, this is the most likely place to find me to-morrow.”

My dear Jerdan,

“I send you a copy of ‘Architettura Campestre,’ but, from the loss of your illustrious friend, I fear you are not in a state of mind to attend to any thing beyond the imperious calls of the ‘L. G.’ I sincerely condole with you.

“Ever yours,
T. F. HUNT.”
My dear Friend,

“Just arrived from Greece. I have much to say; and, above all, feel anxious to condole with you on the loss we have all sustained! I need not tell you what I felt on hearing the melancholy event, or how cruelly it has dashed to the ground all my hopes of doing any good for the friends I have left behind me in Greece.

“Believe me, ever yours most truly,
“Hans Place, Thursday, Aug. 9.
My dear Sir,

“If you are preparing any short narrative or sketch for your Saturday’s publication which you would wish me to look over, I would try to find time to-night.

“Yours very sincerely,
“Foreign Office, August 14, 1827.
Dear Sir,

“In compliance with the wish which you have expressed to attend at the funeral of Mr. Canning on Thursday next, I beg to acquaint you that I have sent your name to Mr. Jarvis, No. 139, Long Acre; and that if you
will have the goodness to apply to him to-morrow, after one o’clock, the necessary ticket will be delivered to you.

“I am, dear Sir, yours very truly,
W. Jerdan, Esq.”

Thus closed the tomb upon the mortal remains of one of the noblest of God’s works; to whom this touching tribute of just appreciation was paid by John Wilson Croker, so expressive of my sentiments, that I cannot forbear its insertion:—

Farewell, bright spirit—brightest of the bright,
Concentrate blaze of intellectual light,
Who show’d alone, or in the first degree,
Union so rare, such rich variety.
Taste guiding mirth, and sport enlivening sense,
Wit, wisdom, poetry, and eloquence;
Profound and playful, amiable and great,
And first in social life as in the State;
Not wholly lost—thy letter’d fame shall tell
A part of what thou wast. Farewell—farewell!
Farewell, great statesman, whose elastic mind
Clung round thy country—yet embraced mankind.
Who in the most appalling storms, whose power
Shook the wide world, wast equal to the hour;
Champion of measured liberty whence springs
The mutual strength of people and of kings;
’Twas thine, like Chatham’s patriot task, to wield
The people’s force, yet be the monarch’s shield:
Not wholly lost, for both the worlds shall tell
Thy history in theirs. Farewell—farewell!
Farewell, dear friend, in all relations dear,
In all we love, or honour,or revere:
Son, husband, father, master, patron, friend,
What varied grief and gratitude we blend;
We who beheld when pain’s convulsive start
Disturbed thy frame, it could not change thy heart;
We whose deep pangs to soften or control
Was the last effort of the flying soul.
Not wholly lost—our faith and feelings tell
That we shall meet again. Farewell—farewell!