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fashion. On my suggesting that the financial difficulties of England were rather embarrassing in a moral than a material (French sense) point of view, and that spunging half the national debt, if it were excused by an over-ruling necessity, would not be fatal to her prosperity, he dissents, and lets me into his system (for he is un homme à système). This is to increase the circulating medium. I tell him that the only difference between his plan and mine is that I candidly confiscate half the capital, and he secretly destroys its value to the same amount, by paying the interest in a nominal instead of a real value. He answers that if there is plenty of money there will be plenty of work, and the operatives will have something more innocent to occupy them than schemes, as Gil Blas' heroes express it, of living at the expense of their neighbors without their consent,—whereas to destroy the capital in any way would augment the distress. He has written about it, and had conversations and correspondence with Mr. Attwood of Birmingham, and so there is no hope of him.
Finding him talkative, I do all I can to bring him out fully, and succeed. After taking a very long drive, I ask him if he wishes to be set down any where particularly. Tells me no, and asks me if I am engaged. Answer no, and add that I should be glad he would go in with me to my house,—which he does, and remains until 10 o'clock. I had, thus, a conversation of three hours with him, which was very interesting to me, for it consisted of a collection of curious little reminiscences and anecdotes,-the tittle-tattle of high English circles, which I have never had so good an opportunity of hearing.
He tells me Lord Grey is troubled ever and anon with a fearful vision,-like Macbeth's dagger and Banquo's ghost. He sees the decollated head of Brissot, (horresco referens,) with gouts of blood dropping from it, as if warm from the knife of the guillotine. The first time this horrible phantom presented itself to him, it seems, was when he was making a speech on the Reform Bill. He was heard by some near him to say, there it is! then burst into tears, and sat down. The fear of encountering this phantom has made him change his position in the house of lords, cover his eyes with his hands, etc., etc. I tell him, it is downright monomania, and wonder I had never heard of 'it before. Was it never put into the papers, where every thing goes in these times? He says it was; but why was it not circulated ?
Lord Grey, he thinks, (and says both Wellington and Talleyrand say so, too,) is a good speaker, but not an able statesman; and that he heard a grave man, and a man of substance, who had backed him in the reform, say, recently, that his Premiership would soon be the most unpopular man in England, and that he would end at the lamp-post !
Lord Carnaervon (lately deceased) told Lord Grey, in a speech full of power, that he would be the Neckar of the Revolution, unless he became its Robespierre.
By way of illustrating the panic that prevails in England at present, tells me that Lord Hertford, one of the richest men in the kingdom, whom I met at Court here, six months ago, on his way to Naples, foreseeing the storm, had invested £500,000 in American stocks, and bought a Palazzo at Naples, and, it is said, never means to return to England. Lord S. himself assures me, he does not think a revolution six months off, and that they will attempt to set up a republic. The present set, he says, are losing all their popularity, and must be succeeded by radicals ; for Wellington positively refuses to come in. I ask him what the Duke thinks of the situation of the country. As ill as possible, says he; and, to another question of mine, he replies that Wellington's opinion is founded not on the character of the administration, but of the crisis.
Lord Grey, he tells me, in spite, or, perhaps, in consequence, of the above-mentioned vision of the gory locks", (raw head and bloody bones,) is making himself very ridiculous with the women, to whom he indites sonnets and billets-doux, at the age of three-score and thirteen or so! One of the latter he addressed to Lady Lyndhurst, who threatens to publish!
Remarks that the conduct of the King, in regard to the Reform bill, was as weak and insincere as that of the King of France in relation to the Constitution; and his practices with the Tory party of a piece, in all respects, with the flight to Varennes. Says he is a very impracticable, foolish man; not at all sensible of the state of things in England until lately, but now frightened ; but refuses to hear officious advice, because he feels bound to be bound by official. Tells me that, some time ago, one of the royal bastards (Lord Frederick, I think) laid a wager there would be a republic in three years. He (Lord S.). had told another, whom he frequently sees at Club, that his royal papa had done a foolish thing to alienate from himself the affections of the people of Hanover, for now he would have no refuge when he should have to fly-as fly he must, or run["and they that run, and they that fly, must end where they began”, L.)--- from republican England. The king lately had the mortification to see two professed republicans elected under his very nose at Brighton, and, that his "disgrace might want no brightening and burnishing", elected over two naval candidates, whom "reform Bill” wanted to get in, as he always sticks to the button. Another thing shocked the nerves of his majesty : a head, not unreal, like Lord Grey's Brissot, but a hard, bonâ fide English cranium, unceremoniously thrust into the window of the royal carriage, with the ominous interrogatory issuing
from its mouth, "What are you doing here? got about your business, and give way to the Duke of Sussex." The Duke of Glo'ster is an acknowledged fool : they call him Silly Billy. When the king was going down to dissolve the Parliament, he was in such a hurry to do it, that he said if they did not get a state-carriage ready in time, he would go in a hack. However, he was not reduced to this unseemly necessity ; but as he was going off, Glo'ster, who was looking out of a window in the palace, cries out, "Who is Silly Billy now?"
After we got to my house, (which my guest admired, comme de raison,) I thought it time to be not semper auditor; but still contrived what I said so as to get all I could out of his lordship. I ought to add, that he has been a great deal in all parts of Gerinany, which he likes very much, and which he represents as being all instinct with the elements of convulsion. Says he kuows Metternich wrote a letter to somebody (perhaps the ambassador) in England, full of the gloomiest forebodings; and à propos of forebodings and ambassadors, H. M. Reform Bill, speaking, one day, with the Russian minister, of the state of affairs in Turkey, remarked, with great pomp, “Yes, it must be owned, the Sultan is in a rost critical situation." "I wish," rejoined the diplomate, "he were the only sovereign in Europe that was.” At the which the other made rather a wry face.
To some remark of mine on the disposition of revolutions (Saturnia regna, with a vengeance) to eat up their own children, [Ney, Vergniaud,] as Danton, on his way to the guillotine, expressed it; he said it was strikingly illustrated by the Catostreet conspiracy. “Who do you suppose were to be the second class of victims?” Hunt, Cobbet
, Cartwright & Co.; the very men who hoped to profit most by a revolution, and, therefore, were marked out as stumbling-blocks to be removed by their understrappers. This, his lordship said, he knew from a secret but perfectly unquestionable source, and thinking it might cool Cobbet's ardor to inform him of it, he had done so through a third person ; but the reformer only answered, he knew the peril and was willing to encounter it. Occidat dum regnet.
I begin to think seriously of the times; the wax lights burn blue, as from a ghost story,--and it comes to that. For prophecies are repeated, and, among the rest, those of old Nixon, (not Nick,) who lived under Harry Sth, or thereabouts,—which are very strange. These said dark sayings were committed to a book, now in the possession of a great house, which treats them as the disinterred relic of Numa was treated at Rome,—they are deposited in a chest and walled up; but they were formerly better known, and some fragments of their Delphic import are still remembered.
It is 10 o'clock at night. Lord Stanhope, perceiving a thief
in one of the lights, gets up and takes it out. He then takes his leave, shaking me by the hand, and expressing his happiness at having this opportunity to converse with me.
When he is gone, I say to myself, you must be the brother (of the whole blood) of the eccentric Lady Esther Stanhope; and are, doubtless, a little "cracked”, north-north-west or so. Yet it may be as the German author has it, mad but wise, for he is decidedly clever.
Rise as usual. Weather delicious. While I am writing my notes of yesterday's conversation, my servant announces Earl Stanhope. Shows him up to the salon, where I soon present myself in slippers, etc. Asks me if I have heard, by the courier to-day, what was the verdict of the inquest touching the killing of a police officer or two, in a late row at ColdBath-Fields, of which we had spoken the day before ; (I had laid immense stress on the result of the proceeding). I tell him no (; but, by the evening papers of to-day, find that the jury thought the homicide excusable, or, as they express it, justifiable). Talks again of the fearful state of England ; thinks the present race of Englishmen effeminate, may-be owing to vaccinationde-Jenner-ated. This he said in reference to Lord Valletort, whose deplorable ill-health I mentioned as especially so, considering the beauty of his young wife. He is a stupid fellow, says Lord S., and like the rest of them, as weak in body as in mind, blasé, etc. He was one of those whose family interest gave him a seat in Parliament, but whom the Reform Bill ferreted out and sent upon their travels. As to Reform, of which we had spoken very often, I don't exactly know what my guest now thinks. He voted for it, but when I told him it always struck me, and, indeed, all thinking men in America, as a complete revolution, and Lord Grey's threat of creating sixty peers to carry it, as a glaring abuse of the prerogative, and a death-blow to one of the nominal estates of the realm, he fully assented. But this all the English I have met with do: ---Sir Robert Adair, the whig par excellence included,--and Lord Stanhope told me he was of neither party. I shall refer this difficulty to Sir Robert, the first time I see him. This by-the-bye. I point to Sir J. C. Hobhouse's defeat as conclusive, and a most remarkable exemplification of the change, and tell them that this very month, perhaps day, last year, I had a conversation to the same effect with the brother of Sir John, whom I met with in Carolina. At that time I did not exactly foresee the speedy execution of the poetical justice, by which the rather demagogic member for Westminster was destined (like some other inventors of instruments to promote the commonweal) to be the very first victim of his own arts. Yes, says he, and that is so true, that to this day the ministry can get
no member of the Commons to accept the vacant Secretaryship of Ireland, for fear of not being re-elected by the constituency he has created !! And yet this total alteration of the whole frame of ministerial power and proceeding is only a reform!
Tells me he is struck with my (or rather Bacon's) remark, yesterday, about the rebellions of the belly being the worst. He has seen, before, tremendous excitements in England, but not being prompted by the malesuada fames, --so persuasive, indeed, that, where it has once established itself, the proverb tells us, the empty premises, thus occupied, have no ear for any thing else,--they passed away like the effects of a drinking bout. Look at the trial of the queen, for instance,—what an uproar, and yet, soon after, her backers were the jest and scorn of lampooners and caricaturists. I remark that the juncture, just after the glorious peace, when a momentary reaction against revolutions made kings really great men, etc., etc., was very different from this era of jacobinical scepticism, irreverence and audacity.
After a conversation of three quarters of an hour, (in which I talked a good deal, and especially about the importance of the verdict on the unfortunate affair of the Cold-Bath-Fields,) Lord Stanhope takes his leave. I ask him if I shall see him at Court to-day. Replies in the negative; as he leaves Brussels to-morrow, had not taken any means to inform the Court of his and Lady S's. arrival.
Not long after he is gone, comes in Lt. Col. Jeffreys, or Jeffers, a West-India proprietor, who had called on me repeatedly before, to attest powers of attorney, etc. Tells me he is come, this time, to take some renseignemens about the United States, to which he has made up his mind to emigrate. That he has no hope of Europe, and, as a West-Indian, very little feeling of amor patrie for England. We talk of the state of things in that kingdom. Confirms the gloomy representation of Lord Stanhope (, who told me it was the hardest thing in the world to let a farm in his part of England, and that he expected soon that the middling classes would refuse to pay taxes, and let their property be seized, in the confident expectation that nobody would buy it). Instances it in a friend of his,-a country gentleman, whose rent-roll, ten years ago, was £16,000 a year, foxhunter, etc.,—that he has lately written to him to beg him, if he go to America, to let him know, for he, too, is in great terror, and would fain save a tabula in naufragio. Col. Jeffers tells me, besides his West-India cidevant property, he can scrape together 23 or £24,000, of which a good deal is in American stocks now. I lend him a number of the Southern Review, containing an article on Flint's Valley of the Mississippi ; and advise him not to be in too great a hurry to lay out his capital and establish his