Part 4 out of 5
people looking out of the windows, and the pillage of arms and shot
began. I met the Admiral, still out of uniform. I was ashamed to look at
him; I put my hands before my face and passed him without speaking.
'I went on board the ship and from her deck witnessed the attack of the
National Guards and mob on General Asarta's headquarters. Their easy
victory over the Admiral stimulated them to act against the General; a
fire of musketry and cannon was opened from both sides and was
maintained for nearly an hour, when the city party retreated leaving the
guns in the hands of the General and twenty-one men dead--how many women
was never known.
'The General lost two killed and three women. Among the killed was a
colonel of one of his own regiments. The city was now fairly up, the
tocsin was rung, everybody took up arms, barricades were thrown up
everywhere, and troops bivouacked in the streets. Sentinels, both male
and female, stood at the barricades, and priests in their proper
garments shouldered the musket. This evening a barbarous murder of a
Colonel of Carbineers was committed by the armed populace; he after the
attack on the arsenal put on a plain coat, and walked out to see his
wife who was alone at his home in the town. He was recognised by the
people, they led him to a church where twenty-one bodies of the slain
were laid out, they ordered him to count the bodies audibly. He did so.
They then said, "We want twenty-two and you shall be the twenty-second."
With that he was pierced with bayonets and shot at. From this mode of
treatment he was an hour and a half before death released his
sufferings. His wife was hunted from house to house till she found
shelter on board the _Vengeance_.
'There have been, of course, a number of similar and even more revolting
crimes committed, but I shall not speak of this more. General La Marmora
has shot all his men that have taken the lead in plunder or rapine, and
imprisoned the remainder, and I hope and believe that nothing of this
sort now goes on.
'In this state of affairs I next morning went to visit General Asarta,
having previously called at the ducal palace to see his wife and
children. I got access to them, but found her carefully guarded, and, in
fact, a hostage in the hands of the mob for the conduct of her husband.
It was a painful interview, the manner of her guards towards her was in
my presence respectful, but cold and severe; she and her children have
escaped all personal injury but have been plundered of all they possess.
'I was met at the gate of the arsenal by Captain Cortener, an artillery
man that I knew, in tears; from him I learnt the disgraceful surrender
of the troops, and that the General with 5000 men was to evacuate the
town in 24 hours. I found the General had lost his head, he hardly knew
me, and so I rendered him the last service in Genoa, that of sending a
carriage to take him the first stage to Turin, leaving his wife and
three daughters in the hands of General Avezzana, the head of the
'Every preparation was now made by the Municipality and National Guards
for the defence of the place against the King's Forces, approaching
under the command of a young and energetic General. I amused myself with
visiting all their posts, and observed that in the affairs of war, there
were very few among them who knew anything about it.
'Great importance was given to barricades--the word seemed to be ominous
of security--they reconstructed them now, building them of the fine
paving stones of the Place, with sand filled between the stones. They
had embrasures in them in which they mounted one or two heavy pieces of
ordnance; but all this time they were neglecting the forts and walls of
the town--their real defence; and I saw what would happen, and it did
happen, viz. that the town wall was carried easily by escalade.
'The man now holding the military command was one General Avezzana, a
Piedmontese, of low origin I should think; he was an adventurer, had
been concerned in former revolutionary affairs in Italy, and had about
twenty years ago gone to America, where he married a Miss Plowden, an
Irish emigrant in New York. He seems, between the two avocations of a
military and a commercial life, to have made some money. Last year when
Italy and France began this revolutionary concord, he, loving troubled
waters, came over to Genoa and by some means got the King of Sardinia to
give him the appointment of General of the _Guardia Civica_ of
Genoa, a force of nearly 10,000 men of all arms, having cavalry and
artillery included in the force. This force included the noble, the
shop-keeper, and the small trader, and even people having no stake in
the town beyond the occupation of a lodging. It was under the orders,
constitutionally, of the Crown in the first place, and then of the
Mayor, or Syndic, and his council.
'Genoa now stood alone with its own Government and its own army, at war
with its legitimate Monarch the King of Sardinia. They hoisted the
Sardinian flag nevertheless, but without the Royal Arms in the centre.
'In addition to this force there were in the town persons who had been
by degrees arriving for a long time past, people who form the _Guardia
Mobile_ of Italy, and have gone from town to town exciting
discontent, about 2000 in number of all nations, under officers French
and Poles. In addition, about 30,000 muskets with ammunition in
abundance had fallen into the hands of the Genoese on the taking of the
arsenal, so that women and boys were armed. This was the state of things
early on the morning of the 3rd of April; during the 2nd, a Provisional
Government had been formed for the Duchy of Genoa and the Genoese flag
paraded through the streets. This Government consisted of Albertini, a
scoundrel and a blackguard, Reta, and Avezzana.
'I contemplated the state of things with deep interest. On the afternoon
of the 3rd, as I was walking slowly from post to post towards the Porta
della Lanterna I heard the crack of a musket, followed by eight or nine
in rapid succession; there was great stir in the streets immediately and
the _generale_ was beat, and the tocsin began to sound. I passed on
rapidly towards the Porta della Lanterna from which point the firing had
now become rapid, and meeting a man who had received a musket ball flesh
wound, I asked him the news; he said that La Marmora's
_bersaglieri_ or light troops, had got over the wall.
'I now turned back towards the town and was much questioned at the first
barricade by the people; when I told them that General La Marmora had
got into the suburb, there was a universal flight from the barricade,
which made me laugh exceedingly, and did not give me a very high opinion
of the valour of the Genoese insurrectionary troops, but it was only the
first panic, and they recovered from it.
'At this moment a gun was fired from the head of the old Mole, and as
its direction was towards the _Vengeance_, I went on board.
'Now to give you an idea of the powers I had as a spectator of the
coming conflict, I must tell you that the Mole of Genoa is semicircular,
all the land rises in hills and terraces from the water, and the ship
lay in that part of the semicircle next the Porta della Lanterna, and
not above 300 to 400 yards from the whole field of battle. You will see
what a good view I had of all the affair, and that all the shot from the
opposing batteries passed over, or round the ship.
'On arriving on board, I saw that the light troops of General La Marmora
were carefully and slowly descending from the heights, and driving in
the outposts of the citizens; it was very pretty to see the way in which
these men conducted the proceedings. First of all, they are very
picturesque troops, having on their heads a hat which has a long flowing
feather (which is a gamecock's tail dyed green); figure to yourself the
rifle men in the _Freischutz_, and you have the men before you.
Singly and silently did these men advance, peeping over every wall,
making every bank a cover, and killing or wounding at almost every shot;
while the citizens were crouching in confused groups, and as a man of
the group fell from the unseen shot, the rest ran away, fired on from
ten to twelve points, and thus dispersed. On all this I looked as upon a
map. The consequence of all this was, that in about three hours 120
light troops, the general, La Marmora in person, which was all of his
army that had arrived, took possession of the suburb of Genoa up to the
first barricade of the town; but behind, and cut off, was the fortress
of the gate, the key of Genoa, which the National Guards still held.
'About this time as the troops of La Marmora were seen on the heights,
the town battery on the Mole had opened its fire, but no reply could be
made to it; as yet La Marmora had no guns over the wall.
'About 1 o'clock P.M. three cheers and a shot from a gun showed that he
had mounted his first piece of ordnance on the height above the gate.
During the night the fire was kept up between this one gun and the guns
on the town mole head.
'I must now pause to let you know that many refugees were on board, and
as the fight thickened, I had no doubt that the morrow would fill the
ship with folks of all nations and both sexes.
'During the night a portion of La Marmora's advanced guard had arrived,
and a battalion of light troops as well as one of infantry had got over
the wall. He now made his attack on the gate, which was soon taken; some
few escaped to the seaside and hid themselves in the rocks, but the
greater part were killed. He also pressed forward along the road towards
the city's first strong position, but his men got on but slowly, for the
houses and points that afforded cover were well contested, and he lost
'However, now he had got possession of the batteries of the Lanterna,
mounting 19 guns, 68- and 32-pounders, with which he began to thunder
away about 1 o'clock on the town. Before dark La Marmora had possession
of all between the Lanterna and the Doria Palace, but here his
difficulties increased; the fighting was severe during the whole of this
day, and for the last five hours General La Marmora did not advance a
foot. At about two o'clock in the afternoon General La Marmora sent an
aide-de-camp to me, to beg to see me.
'I was on shore at the time looking at how the rebels got on at their
advanced post, but as soon as I was informed I went to him. He was out
on horseback at his attacking point, so asking for a horse, I mounted
and rode towards his post of attack. I met him returning. We were very
well fired on with round shot on our return, but as he and I rode
together two shots struck on each side of us, which led me to remark to
him that they fired well; he told me that that battery was commanded by
a deserter from their artillery.
'In this ride back with him I got at all his intentions with regard to
'He told me he had 25,000 men coming up, that there was no mode of
warfare that he would not visit on the city, shot, shell, night attack,
and I added, "What say you to pillage," he replied, "I cannot guarantee
'After dismounting at his headquarters, a room in the gateway, he begged
me to look out for the Sardinian fleet expected, and to deliver to the
Admiral two letters.
'I then, after visiting his batteries, went on board. Whilst standing in
the battery of the Lanterna his men, after begging me to bob under the
parapet and then trying to pull me down, were surprised to hear that on
board ship, bobbing was tabooed to me, and therefore we were not
accustomed to do so, but, as I told them, I had not the least objection
to their doing so. Both sides fired very well and with great rapidity,
and at this time La Marmora had thirty guns and mortars bearing on the
town, to which the town was replying with about forty, so there was a
very respectable cannonade carried on.
'At about 6 P.M. he took the Doria Palace, the fire from his artillery
forcing the city people to leave it. He now established his advanced
posts for the night in the Doria Palace. This day had put more than 120
refugees on board the ship, but she was not so comfortable as we
expected. I was full; and for three nights never pulled off my clothes,
indeed I could not find a square foot to rest on, in either cabin.
'I really, my dear, must leave out all the interesting details of my
arrangements and difficulties with your sex, the state of things such as
this beggars description! I was anxious to give shelter to all, and in
the afternoon, before I saw the General, it began to grow rather warm in
Genoa. I called at the house of my Genoese lady friends, and such as had
not already fled I induced to take shelter on board. At one lady's house
the fair owner was in such a state of indecision I could bring her to no
resolution, as a shell passed or fell near her house she would wring her
hands and cry out, "What shall I do? My beautiful furniture! My
beautiful house!" but she never said one word about her husband who was
in a fort above the town, which fort I knew must soon be attacked, or
her infant child who was with her. At last on my telling her I must go,
as I had much to do, she came and was taken on board; but I must leave
this part of the play to be told _viva voce_.
'At about half-past eight this evening, having served the poor
frightened refugees with the best fare I could give them, finding that
La Marmora's fire was very serious against the city, and that to-morrow
it would be twice as severe, seeing the wretched state of the poor
Genoese women on board, and the more dreadful state in prospect for them
in the town, I took the resolution of, at all hazards to myself and
without consulting anyone, to try and stop this state of things; I
ordered my gig to be manned.
'I must here, my love, break off my narrative till next post; the
steamer will wait no longer and my dispatches must go on board.
'Adieu, my love.
'I am, ever your devoted
* * * * *
GENOA: April 20, 1849.
'MY BELOVED S.,
'I have no sooner dispatched my letter to you this afternoon than I
again take up my pen to carry on the narrative of the recent events
'I left off at the point where I determined to interfere and start for
the shore in my boat. It was fortunately a fine night, a few low light
clouds floated in the atmosphere, the roar of artillery, so close that
the ship shook at every discharge, the roaring hiss of the shot, the
beautiful bright fuse of the bomb-shell, as it formed its parabola in
the air, sometimes obscured as it passed through a cloud and again
emerged, gave an active and anxious feeling to my mind. I could not but
feel that I had a great and a good work in hand, I was soon on shore,
the only gate in the city that was guaranteed to be open I pulled for;
it was directly under the fire of the Boys' Home, two round shots struck
the ground as I landed passing close over our heads. Desiring my
coxswain to pull the boat back among the shipping and out of the line of
fire, I walked to the gate and beat against it with the butt end of my
sword; it was opened by one of the few officers of the Civic Guard who
now wore his uniform. Saying a few civil words to him I passed on up the
street to the ducal palace. This city was at this moment worth
'Usually crowded with both sexes in rapid motion and gay laughing
conversation, it now was like the city of the dead, its silence only
disturbed by the explosion of the shells or a wall struck by shot, and
the occasional reports of musketry in quick succession.
'I had to pass three barricades before reaching the Palace, the two
first were deserted, on passing the third a bayonet was presented to my
breast. On looking up I found the other end was in the hands of a pretty
delicate woman. I pushed the weapon aside and giving her a military
salute, passed on. I got easy access to the Municipal Body.
'It is not easy to give in writing a perfect idea of this night's
scenes. You must carry in your head the state of Genoa; the people who
formed the municipality were persons who had only read of war, they had
never seen its terrors before; they were fathers and husbands, men of
property, all within the city walls; they were the heads of the revolts
in the first instance, about soon to become the followers or slaves of
the armed rebel, or die.
'The present state of things favoured my plan. I was received by four of
the good people who sat quietly waiting for others, and about twenty
people, among whom was the Bishop of Genoa, were soon in the room. I
opened my mission to them and drew as strong a picture as I was able,
obliged to speak French, of the position, and then asked them if they
agreed to my view of that part of this case. They concurred in all I
'It was to the effect that the military power was outside and inside.
That the one inside was most to be feared, and that no question existed
at this moment to warrant a resistance which would destroy the city,
give the wives and children to rapine, and their homes to pillage,
without a chance of success on their side.
'I next put before them their duty, which was at once to set a good
example; to rally the respectable people, and people of property in the
town, and separate themselves from foreigners and niggards; next, to
surrender the city to the King's general, and not to sit to see it
destroyed without a struggle to save themselves from ruin and disgrace.
To all this they gave a ready assent; but how to act was the question.
'I said, "If you have confidence in me let us act together," and moving
to the table I took up a pen and began to write on a sheet of paper,
when lo! a visitor made his appearance that aided me much in my
intentions. A shell knocked off the top of the chimney and perforated
the wall, exploding in the chimney of the ante-room to the one we were
in. The effect was great, but I coolly said, "Oh pooh, only a shell--let
us go on," and the fear and excitement which had for a moment prevailed
subsided, my words and manner restoring confidence and stopping
observations. La Marmora's messenger did me good service, for on
finishing my draft of a treaty it was generally approved of; but they
added an additional clause giving an amnesty to all for recent offences.
This clause I objected to, but being in haste to see what General La
Marmora would say to me, I deferred all discussion till my return.
'I got quickly down to my boat and pulled across the mole to the Porta
della Lanterna, and found no interruption from the sea to the works
above, till I came to the gate; here of course I had to wait till all
the forms were gone through which state of war required. I found the
General had gone to St. Pierre de la Regina, two miles off for the
night; no wonder, for nineteen 68- and 32-pounders were firing from the
lantern battery, and a fire of ten or twelve guns returning the salute
from the town on this point alone.
'Away I trudged, and, after some lost time, found the General in his
bed. He had been up like me three nights, this was my third, and was ill
with fatigue and anxiety. I prefaced all I had to offer by an apology
for putting myself forward in such a case. I made my proposals for the
surrender of the city. He was most frank and manly in his answer. He
said he thought all I said and offered was most fair, and if I would add
a clause for the disarming of the population he would sign. This was a
great step; I saw the man liked me and that I could deal with him. I saw
too that he was a gentleman, a soldier and a humane man. I now
determined in my own mind that the city should surrender, and I hoped on
my own terms. So I went to work with a good will. I was soon back again
with the municipality, and sat in their room till four in the morning
fighting in debate clause by clause of my articles.
'By this time the lawyers had come, Avezzana the general had arrived,
and it was hard work. I got all the clauses passed even to the disarming
of the people, but the great tug was a general amnesty which they
demanded. On this point I was determined.
'Imagine my debating this with the proscribed whose case was life and
banishment, or death!
'First fury and anger and threats were used against me; then
supplication and tears. I was firm. I said I could never ask of any one
that which I myself would not grant; that I thought the city of Genoa
highly criminal; that some punishment must be and ought to be inflicted
on it; but that I would be fair and merciful in what I did, and that I
would find out from the General La Marmora what his most lenient views
were in regard to the leaders of the revolt. At five I was at the
landing place of the Porta della Lanterna, when as soon as I landed, the
Piedmontese sentry fired right at me at about three yards' distance, and
ran as fast as he could, the ball passed quite close to my right. I came
up with him, and took his musket from him, shaking it I found it had
just been discharged. I taxed him with firing at me, he owned it saying
his regiment had arrived in the night and he was just put on as sentry.
He heard he was surrounded with enemies so he fired at the first man he
saw. I frightened him by pretending to drag him before the General, but
laughing let him go. The fact was, as he stated, he was in a devil of a
funk, and so thinking to make short work did not challenge before
firing. I was surprised at finding a sentry on this spot, he had been
put there since I was last there.
'I found La Marmora at the Lanterna; he now drew up a paper in
accordance with mine, giving life and property to all, with a promise to
intercede with the King to-morrow; the punishment of the leaders to as
few as possible; with this I again returned to the ducal palace.
'Before leaving him he proposed to cease his fire on the city till my
return. I told him in reply I did not ask him to do so, however as soon
as I left him his fire ceased. This was most humane on his part, for it
was full an hour and a half before I got the town batteries to cease
their fire. La Marmora, however, began a fierce attack with musketry,
&c., on the advance post of the town.
'This my last visit to the Municipality was the most painful of all, for
I had to sit apart and allow them to fight among themselves. I stated
that what I had laid before them was the ultimatum, that I could and
would ask no more, and that if they did not agree to this I should take
my leave; that the fire would be resumed with increased vigour and that
the destruction of the city and blood of its inhabitants must lie at
'They then proposed to me, finding I was inexorable, to go in a body to
the General if I would go with them. I consented and took them over in
the barge. On my way I informed them that I would not help them in their
appeal to General La Marmora with regard to entire amnesty, but that I
would join them in gaining time; on which it was agreed to press for 48
hours of cessation of arms, and that a deputation from the city might go
to the King at Turin.
'On going into the presence of the General I drew aside and sat on a
bed, whilst the deputation urged their claims, and as in Italy everybody
is eager and full of gesticulation, the noise and confusion was
tremendous. I had not seen this for we were treating under fire and all
were silent, those who had the best nerves were the speakers. If you
want to make peace treat under fire; for me it will become a maxim.
However after about two hours' wrangle, the General came up to me and
said, "Are you not 'accord' with me? that you do not speak," so much had
I gained of his mind that he would not act without me. In short I may
now say, the 48 hours were granted. The deputation went to Turin, they
got 48 hours more, and the city was surrendered on my treaty, the King
granting an amnesty to all but twelve persons named, and they had been
allowed to escape.
'During all this time a severe engagement had been carried on at the
advanced posts. The Doria Palace had been taken by the King's troops the
evening before. Batteries had been erected against it by the rebels and
the contest was most fierce, all the morning batteries were firing on
both sides with high guns. An attack by escalade was preparing against
Fort Bogota, a sally had been made from it to destroy La Marmora's
works, more troops were coming up, and occupying ground on the east side
of the town. My business now was to exert myself to make the fire to
cease on all sides.
'My love, I must leave my narrative for another letter, I find it takes
more time even to relate it shortly than I thought. I must write my
despatch to the Admiral and write to you a short note.
'Excuse faults, I've no time to read it over.'
* * * * *
GENOA: April 27, 1849.
'MY DEAREST S.,
'I have so long neglected to pursue the narrative of events at this
place, that I fear you will think I had forgotten both you and it, but
in truth since the troubles have ceased, I have been so well employed in
writing and disciplining this ship, this each day takes me till 1 P.M.,
that I have not found the days too long. But now I am out of the port,
for I weighed this morning with _Prince Regent_ for a little
exercise, I shall finish this short narrative of past events.
'I think I had acquainted you of the completion of the armistice and
terms, signed by all parties, for surrendering and accepting the
surrender of the town. Having therefore seen the deputation of the town
off for Turin, my next most anxious endeavour was to cause the battle to
cease, which had been carried on at the advanced posts with great
smartness. I therefore once more took to my boat to begin the arduous
duty of separating the combatants. General La Marmora sent aide-de-
camps, but it took time before they could reach all points from which
cannon were firing, not on the town but all the points of attack. The
first stop I put on the firing was by landing on the mole and taking a
32 lb. gun that was being worked against the Doria Palace. I landed with
my six gigs, and they drove them with their swords from the gun, which I
ordered to be drawn and all the ammunition to be thrown into the sea.
But my coxswain thought the powder too good, and when I again got into
the boat I found it all stowed away in her. Of course a body of muskets
mustered against us to drive us away, in turn, with fixed bayonets. I
walked quietly up to them, and after being informed how the case stood,
with a little grumbling they went quietly away.
'From hence I went to the naval arsenal; here I was warned at the
entrance, by sentry, to take care, for the houses that commanded the
basin and storehouses were full of armed men, placed there in readiness
to attack the arsenal with a view to release the galley slaves. I went
in, however, and saw the Commander of the Bagnio, and looked at the
means of defence that might be offered if attacked; he told me he was
quite deserted, but if matters came to the worst he would make an
attempt to defend the prison. From the Arsenal I went directly to the
headquarters of the rebel General. Here elbowing my way amid a host of
armed brigands and people of the lower and lowest class of Genoese I
found the general, Avezzana, seated at a table in a moderate sized room.
As soon as I was offered a seat at his table, a crowd of armed folk
filled the room and pressed hard upon us. He was haughty and distant in
his manner; I said that I had just seen the deputation off for Turin and
that as an armistice was agreed on for forty-eight hours I begged he
would at once do all in his power to cease the firing on his side; he
was out of humour and said: "When General La Marmora does!" He then
charged me with being a partisan. I said I feared I was, and belonged to
a party in the world that loved order and government. "Oh ah!" said he,
"but you have taken on you and thrown the ammunition of the people into
the sea"--on which there was a shout as he raised his voice in finishing
his sentence. I saw my ground was critical and that much depended on
myself, so I quietly but audibly said, "Yes, I did so, and shall do the
same whenever I find the like; I have not toiled for two nights and days
to save the property of the poor, the widow from affliction, and the
orphan from wretchedness (I might have said more) and now for the sake
of a few cartridges to allow more blood to be shed, when you have signed
a peace." This was a blow he did not expect, for he had not told the
people he had signed, but on the contrary went out and harangued at the
barricades talking stuff about liberty, death, patriotism and all other
fine things. He quietly listened though, and began to question me as to
many things he said I had done against the people. On this I rose, took
up my hat and in a haughty tone said, "I don't come here to be
questioned, but to make peace, so I wish you good morning."
'There was a murmur, and then a civil speech from those about me to pray
I would be seated, when suddenly the tone of questioning was taken up by
a young man in a blue and red uniform, standing close to the General in
a most intemperate manner. To him I civilly said I would not be
questioned, and rose, took my hat and departed. They made a lane for me;
the young man followed me and grasping my hand said, "I beg your pardon,
I know I was very hot, but I have had two horses killed under me this
morning." I said I thought that ought to make him cool, on which he
laughed and said, "I am not a Genoese, I am a Frenchman." He then told
me he was sent by the Republicans in France to aid the cause of liberty
'I said, "Well, if you wish to see me, come on board to-morrow at 9." I
never saw him again.
'I remained on shore visiting several points where the fire had been
most active, and about 3 P.M. all was silent, the battle was over, and I
came on board to my crowd of women and children. You may suppose I was
well tired. I had not had my clothes off for 3 nights, and only a plank
and an hour or two the nights previous to the last. I, however, took the
head of my table at 6 o'clock; it was a beautiful evening, and with the
Genoese ladies and Captain Tarlton to take care of me I sat out in the
stern gallery till 10 P.M., when Tarlton told me he had a bed made for
me in a spare cabin below. In this I got a good night's rest in spite of
the diabolical witlow; the witlow is so unromantic a wound that I shall
leave it out of the narrative for the future. The next morning I was
with General La Marmora at daylight and from him I went to the
municipality. I found them in a sad plight, full of terror. The Syndic,
or Mayor had been threatened in the night. Albertini, a leader of the
revolt, one of the worst of ruffians I am told, entered his bedchamber
at midnight with money orders and proclamations ready drawn out, and
with a pistol to his head forced him to sign them. I had a long
conversation with them on the state of affairs, I found that the Red
Republicans had shown themselves in reality.
'I advised them to send out confidential emissaries to all the National
Guards of a respectable character that could be found, to come to the
ducal palace; to get the mob on pretences of various kinds out of it,
and at once begin to endeavour to rally the better spirits within the
town. They promised me they would do so. They then showed me an
excellent paper they had drawn up, containing the truth in regard to the
armistice and present position of affairs. They were afraid to publish
it, for Avezzana had told another story. I suggested that such a paper,
published with the signatures of all the European Consuls, would have an
excellent effect. They thought it the best, but again were afraid of
being thought the authors; so I then offered that it should be mine and
I could at once try and get the consuls to sign it. You can hardly
conceive the relief even this small act, and truth having a chance of
being told, seemed to give them. I went straight to the French Consul
and found him at home, showed him the paper which he seemed to approve,
said I might leave it to him and he would summon the Consuls and do the
needful. He did nothing. Leon Le Favre, brother to Jules Le Favre,
editor of the _Nationale_, Red Republican; but more of him by and
'I now went on board to breakfast, having the day previous had a letter
from Sir William Abercromby, our Minister at Turin, begging me to do all
I could for the King of Sardinia in his distress; and the letter
containing a positive request that I would prevent all the Sardinian
vessels from entering Genoa, as they are bringing more Reds and Lombards
to assist the revolt; and having had one of my cutters fired on with
grape in relieving guard the evening before, I determined to move the
_Vengeance_ into the inner mole, where I could work the ship
effectually, if I chose, to prevent the entrance of anything into the
harbour for disembarkation. While in the act of moving the ship I
received the serious news from the Municipality, that it was the
intention of the Reds, with Albertini and Campanelli at their head, to
at once open the Bagnio and let loose the galley slaves; begging at the
same time that I would take it on myself to prevent this, as it could
only be in contemplation for purposes easily conceived, though dreadful
'I now placed the ship in a position to command with her guns the
dockyard and houses opposite to it. She had opposed to her a 20-gun
battery in the dock-yard and Bagnio, and a 20-gun battery on the
opposite side to the dockyard, one of 15 guns on the bow, and various
small masked batteries on various heights about the ship; not naming the
great forts on the heights. But be it remembered that these works were
ill-manned, and none provided with trained artillery men. Having secured
the ship and got her ready for action, not loading guns, I never loaded
a gun while at Genoa, I went on shore and found that the Governor of the
prison had received his summons to open the doors, and had refused. He
was glad to see me, we now settled his plan of defence as far as he was
able, and to my astonishment he struck chains off fifty _forçats_
and put a musket into their hands. He made excellent arrangements for
defence, and assured me he could rely on these men. I had them drawn up
and found they all understood the weapon. I told them if they behaved
well, &c. &c. &c. I now informed him that at the first report of a
musket fired from a point agreed on, I should land with 150 marines, and
my gun boats would enter the mole and would sweep with grape the houses
and wharfs, while the ship could do as she pleased. I am praised in a
public letter from Sir William Parker for this, the only act that was
not neutral and that would, had the Reds acted, have brought the
_Vengeance_ into the whole affair. To end the affair at once these
acts of mine stopped the whole thing, and broke up the Red gang in
'It also had another effect; it cleared my ship of every soul. As soon
as we anchored and prepared for battle, every soul fled the ship and got
away through Marmora's army to St. Pierre de la Regina, where they were
'Just after the sun had set this evening and it was growing dark enough
not to know green from blue, a steamer at full speed was seen entering
the port, and to my horror La Marmora's nineteen gun battery at the
lighthouse, while she was passing close under _Vengeance's_ bows,
opened fire upon her, putting two 30 lb. shots through her hull. In an
instant all the batteries opened on him, I thought all my efforts in a
moment destroyed. In a fit I jumped into the first boat, and shoved on
board the Frenchman, sending an officer to La Marmora's batteries to beg
them to leave off firing. To end this story, the officer at La Marmora's
battery had mistaken the French for the Sardinian flag, and fired on it.
The mistake cleared up, to my joy the volcano ceased vomiting, but here
was more fat in the fire. I sat down to my dinner at six once more in
peace and _tête-à-tête_ with Tarlton talking over our affairs with
the gusto given by a superior appetite to a shocking bad dinner, when in
burst the two French captains, one of the _Tonnerre_ a frigate in
the port, and the other the captain of the packet.
'I won't try to paint with my poor pen the scene, but I was highly
amused and in such imperturbable good humour, that even the captain of
the _Tonnerre_, calling me a party man and attacking me as if I had
fired at his nasty flag, did not make me call him what I might with
truth have done, a Red. He would not eat, or drink, or do anything but
fume. At last I coolly said "_Eh bien, Monsieur, c'est votre
faute_." "Why, how, what you mean, Monsieur?" "That you have set the
example of _Tricolor_, and desire all the world to adopt it, and
are now angry because blue and green are so much alike, that after the
sun has set one colour cannot be known from the other"; on which the
Captain of the packet said _Bon!_ and laughed heartily; he was a
good little man and made light of the whole affair. The French have
insisted on the extreme of satisfaction in this case.
'The next morning I was with the municipal body at 5 A.M. I found them
in the lowest possible state of despondency and terror, although there
was a change for the better in the appearance of the National Guard.
They with anxious looks led me to their chair, shut the doors and then
revealed to me in low tones that the state of affairs was worse. Of this
I felt sure that it would either end in a pillage and a massacre, or
cease from that moment.
'They placed before me a letter of Avezzana's addressed to the municipal
body, threatening them with energetic measures if they did not advance
the revolt by more activity. I found he and Albertini had instituted a
tribunal, Albertini as president, with power of life and death with
instant execution. Guillotines were built; these poor devils were
waiting their doom. I sent for him, by a civil message, of course, I
taxed him roundly with his intentions and bad faith. He, cowed, answered
in a subdued tone. In short, the game was up, he that day tried to put
an insult on me through the flag, failed again, got aboard an American
ship and fled that night.
'I can't go on with this story any longer, I have written it to its
positive finish to amuse you, my dearest wife. I have told it very ill,
it may form, when we meet, a subject for an evening's conversation, when
I can fill up gaps, explain incongruities, but not read my own
'If you show it to anyone, take care it is only to a mutual friend or
sister; it is not fit to meet the eye of a critic or indeed of anyone,
but it is a note of the time from which a statement might with some
further details be made.
'I have not said a word of loss of life. The King of Sardinia has about
100 killed, 15 officers and 300 wounded. What the loss on the side of
the revolt is, no one can tell. My surgeons attended the wounded, sent
by me; all the time the hospitals were full, but they said more were
carried home than went there. They must have buried their slain in the
night, for I have seen many women who have never seen their sons or
husbands since the day the firing began.
'The Doria Palace and houses round it show the chief destruction. The
town has suffered little, it did not last long enough to make impression
on stone and marble houses. Five shell fell into the Ducal Palace, and
six into the great hospital, the rest are scattered about, so that the
damage only meets the eye here and there.
'I have a satisfaction in feeling that I shortened the punishment of the
'Its frescoes and its pictures, given to the bomb and the sack, would
have been forgotten in Europe, and its ancient splendour might only have
been talked of as existing before the bombardment of 1849.
'I say this to you only, and now shall hold my peace for the future.
'PS.--Packet sails at 6; hour 5 P.M. April 30.'
* * * * *
These graphic letters, which were never intended to see the light,
clearly show the important part taken by Lord Hardwicke as mediator
between the insurgents and the King's army. They show him cool under
fire and intrepid in action. Humane he certainly was, and it was the
feeling for the city and its inhabitants which prompted him to take
action outside the strict limits of his duty. Nothing succeeds like
success, and all this was accomplished without a gun being loaded on
board the _Vengeance_. If Lord Hardwicke had had to 'sweep with
grape the houses and the wharfs' as he threatened to do, the fat would
have been in the fire and the question of interfering in the affairs of
a foreign nation might have been raised. The knowledge, however, of his
determined character, and that he would not hesitate to shoot should the
necessity arise, was sufficient to deter the rebels from carrying out
their threat to open the prison doors and let loose the convicts on the
A striking proof of the part the _Vengeance_ took in foiling the
schemes of the rebels is afforded in the pages of a little book written
at the time by one who was in sympathy with the Revolution. It is
entitled 'Della Rivoluzione di Genova nell April del 1849. Memorie e
Documenti di un Testimonio Oculare. Italia 1850.' 'The capitulation
which shortly took place,' says the author, 'was his [Lord Hardwicke's]
work (_opera sua_) and that of the English Consul in concert with
the municipality.' He had accomplished a great work to the satisfaction
of all parties with the exception of a few agitators.
The fact that a few days after these events Lord Hardwicke was able to
gather at his board in convivial entertainment not only the Generals and
Staff of Victor Emmanuel's army, but also the Syndic and Municipal Body
of Genoa, is a proof of the complete success of his undertaking.
'I gave a grand dinner to 73 persons, consisting of the English
residents, General de la Marmora and 6 of his generals, all his colonels
of regiments and his staff. The two Admirals, all the Captains of the
Sardinian Navy, the Syndic and Municipal Body of Genoa, 4 Judges, all
the following Consuls and some of my officers.
'It was admirably done, an excellent dinner very well served indeed. The
room was decorated with the Queen's arms and naval trophies, together
with two Bands of music. When the Queen's health was drunk at 9 o'clock,
the ship was brilliantly illuminated, the yards manned and she fired a
royal salute. The whole gave great satisfaction here, the heads of the
revolt, the Conqueror and Mediator dined together, and La Marmora gave
as his toast, "Success to the City of Genoa."'
So it was a day of shaking hands and conviviality under the shade of the
It was not until August 6, 1849, that a treaty of peace between Piedmont
and Austria was finally settled; by its terms the Piedmontese had to pay
a war indemnity of 75,000,000 francs. The National Parliament, however,
hesitated to ratify the treaty, and the King was obliged to dissolve
Parliament and make a personal appeal to the country. The result was
satisfactory and the treaty received the necessary ratification.
Piedmont was not in a condition to renew hostilities with so powerful a
foe as Austria, and for the moment had to play a waiting game. In the
meantime the King, in spite of the reactionary spirit which was abroad,
honourably maintained the liberties of the country, and in the
courageous appeal to his people he gave a pledge of his intentions.
'The liberties of the country run no risk of being imperilled through
the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies, for they are protected by
the venerated memory of my father, King Charles Albert; they are
entrusted to the honour of the House of Savoy; they are guarded by the
solemnity of my own oath: who would dare to have any fear for them?'
The liberty which was now firmly rooted in Piedmont gave umbrage to the
other states of Italy, especially in Naples, where Ferdinand II
established a tyranny. It was at this time that Mr. Gladstone, after
having visited Naples, published his famous letters to Lord Aberdeen
summing up the position as 'The negation of God created into a system of
government.' Under the influence of Cavour, Piedmont became the centre
of the movement for Italian unity and Garibaldi took for his watchword,
'Italy and Victor Emmanuel.'
Every endeavour was made by the leaders of the Italian movement to
interest Europe in their cause. Much had been done in this direction at
the Paris Congress of 1856. Piedmont had taken part in the Crimean War
by contributing 15,000 men to the allied army. Napoleon was known to be
sympathetic to the Italian cause, and in 1859, on Austria calling on
Piedmont to disarm, war was declared.
The successes of Magenta and Solferino, as far as Northern Italy was
concerned, gave Lombardy to Piedmont, but left Austria in the possession
of Venice. Napoleon, who was by no means a whole-hearted supporter of
Italian Unity, had designs of his own, and therefore did not press the
campaign to its ultimate conclusion which, as Cavour had hoped, should
have been the total exclusion of Austria from Italian territory. A great
step, however, had been gained, and Victor Emmanuel showed his
accustomed wisdom in accepting the position for what it was worth and
waiting on events. This course was soon to be justified. Cavour did not
live to see the success of his policy. He died in 1861, five years
before the war between Germany and Austria, in which Italy took a part
against her ancient foe, gave the opportunity of freeing the Peninsula
from Austrian rule. On the outbreak of the war attempts were made
through the mediation of Napoleon to sever Italy from her alliance with
Germany, Austria offering to voluntarily cede Venice. Victor Emmanuel,
however, wisely stood firm to his alliance, and the war ended in the
complete discomfiture of Austria, and Sadowa must rank with Magenta and
Solferino as one of the decisive battles in the Liberation of Italy. By
the Peace of Prague Venetia was ceded through Napoleon to Italy, and on
November 7, 1866, Victor Emmanuel made his entry into the city as King.
Rome was still a difficulty; there the Pope, supported by French
bayonets, held out for his temporal powers against free Italy which
wanted Rome for its capital, and Garibaldi's expedition of 1867 was a
failure. 'In the name of the French Government, we declare that Italy
shall never take possession of Rome,' were the brave words of the
President of the French Ministry on the eve of the Franco-Prussian War.
In 1870, after his first defeat, Napoleon failed to secure the help of
Italy, and Rome being denuded of foreign troops fell an easy prey to the
army of the King. Thus it was through the agency of Prussia that Italy
secured Liberty. The statecraft of Cavour and the patience and self-
control of Victor Emmanuel gained what the impetuous bravery of
Garibaldi and the revolutionary efforts of Mazzini could never have
realised. Each, however, had done his part. The spirit of a people to
accomplish great things must be aroused to create the energy which the
master-hand must hold in check.
The force must be there, ready to propel the State when times are ripe.
The discontent which showed itself at Genoa after the battle of Novara,
the ideals which animated the thousand who sailed with Garibaldi to free
Sicily, were both of them valuable assets to the nation.
That there were men who for their own ends took advantage of the
situation cannot be doubted, and the revolutionaries in Genoa were of
this kind. The ruin they might have brought on the city of Genoa and the
difficulties they would have put in the way of Victor Emmanuel had they
been successful are easily imagined.
APPENDIX TO CHAPTER VIII
In view of the reflections made upon Lord Hardwicke's conduct at Genoa
which I have considered in the preceding chapter, I have thought it well
to print, without further comment, copies of certain documents which
were found among his papers. These, I think, leave no doubt as to the
light in which that conduct appeared to those best able to judge of it.
A letter from General La Marmora: dated 'La Lanterna,' 9 April, '49.
STATO MAGGIORE, QUARTIER GENERALE,
della 6° Divisione, addi 1849.
'J'aurai des dépêches très importantes à vous communiquer. Si ce n'est
pas une indiscretion je vous priérai de passer un moment ici d'autant
plus que j'espère le Sindic de la ville voudra y venir aussi ainsi que
je l'ai invité.
'Votre très humble serviteur,
'ALPHONSE LA MARMORA.'
* * * * *
Letter from the Syndic of Genoa to Lord Hardwicke.
'Le Syndic de la Ville de Gênes s'empresse à votre demande de vous
envoyer les copies des projets de capitulation entre les représentants
de la Ville sousdite et le Général La Marmora contr[e]-signées par vous
à l'original, et cela d'une manière toute confidentielle et sans aucun
caractère d'autenticité, le Municipe ne pouvant pas, (dès que tout est
rentré dans l'ordre,) se mêler d'aucune chose qui directement ou
indirectement puisse avoir trait à la politique.
'Agréez, Milord, les sentimens de haute estime et de reconnaissance que
nous et la Ville entière vous devons par la part généreuse que vous avez
pris pour la conciliation de nos différences.
'De V Sè Milord,
'Très-humble et très obéissant serviteur
GÊNES: 12 Avril, 1849.
A MILORD HARDWICK,
Commandant le Vaisseau
de S. M. Britannique,
* * * * *
Letter from General de Launay, Minister for Foreign Affairs to Victor
Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia, conferring the Cross of the Order of St.
Maurice and St. Lazarus upon Lord Hardwicke.
SECRÉTAIRERIE D'ETAT POUR LES AFFAIRES ÉTRANGÈRES.
TURIN: le 22 Avril, 1849.
'J'ai eu l'honneur de faire connaître au Roi, mon auguste Souverain, les
importans services que vous avez rendus à Son Gouvernement pendant les
graves évènemens qui ont affligé la ville de Gênes et l'empressement
efficace avec lequel vous avez puissamment secondé Mr le Général de La
Marmora pour y ramener l'ordre. Sa Majesté, prenant en bienveillante
considération l'activité que vous avez déployée pour empêcher toutes
nouvelles bandes de factieux de pénétrer dans la place et de se joindre
aux rebelles, ainsi que les mesures promptes et énergiques que vous avez
adoptées pour prévenir la mise en liberté des forçats, détenus dans le
bagne, que les révoltés voulaient armer, a pris la détermination de vous
donner, Milord, un témoignage éclatant de Sa satisfaction Royale, en
vous conférant la croix de Commandeur de Son Ordre religieux et
militaire des Saints Maurice et Lazare.
'Persuadé que vous trouverez, Milord, dans cette marque flatteuse de la
bienveillance du Roi, une preuve du prix que Sa Majesté attache au
service important que, suivant les intentions toujours si amicales de
l'Angleterre, Son ancienne et fidèle alliée, vous avez rendu à Son
Gouvernement dans les circonstances pénibles ou il s'est trouvé, je
m'empresse de vous envoyer ci-joint la décoration qui vous est destinée.
'En me réservant de vous transmettre votre diplôme aussitôt que la
Grande Maîtrise de l'Ordre de St Maurice me l'aura fait parvenir, je
vous prie d'agréer, Milord, les assurances de ma considération très
'G. DE LAUNAY.'
A LORD HARDWICKE,
Commandant le Vaisseau
Anglais '_Vengeance_,' &c. &c.
* * * * *
Despatch from Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker, commanding the
Mediterranean Fleet, to Lord Hardwicke.
'CALEDONIA' AT MALTA:
26 April, 1849.
'I have this morning received your Lordship's letters Nos. 11 and 12, of
the 18th and 20th insts. detailing your proceedings with reference to
the late events of Genoa, reported in your despatches of the 2nd, 7th
and 10th April.
'I am satisfied that your Lordship's energies and personal exertions
have been anxiously exercised for the preservation of order, and the
humane object of preventing destruction, pillage and other atrocities in
the City, and I fully appreciate the advantages which the Community has
derived by their deliverance from a state of anarchy and the lawless
acts of an unprincipled rabble.
'I therefore freely approve the arrangements made by your Lordship at
the request of the Municipality, to protect the town as well as Her
Majesty's subjects from brigandage. And also your commendable
intercession with the Sardinian General on behalf of the individuals
compromised for political acts, trusting that there has not been any
actual infraction of the neutral position of Her Majesty's ship, or
undue interference in the political contention of the opponents.
'I am, My Lord,
'Your very humble servant,
'W. PARKER, _Vice-Admiral_.'
* * * * *
Letters from Viscount Palmerston, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the
Lords of the Admiralty, enclosing copy despatch from the Marquis of
Normanby, Her Majesty's Ambassador in Paris.
FOREIGN OFFICE: April 24, 1849.
'I am directed by Viscount Palmerston to transmit to you for the
information of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty a copy of a
despatch from H.M. Ambassador at Paris, stating that the French Minister
for Foreign Affairs has expressed his conviction that during the late
insurrection at Genoa, that City was in a great measure saved from
pillage and destruction by the energetic attitude assumed by H.M.S.
'I am, Sir, &c.
'(Signed) H. A. ADDINGTON.'
H. G. WARD, ESQ.
* * * * *
FOREIGN OFFICE: April 30, 1849.
'I am directed by Viscount Palmerston to request that you will acquaint
the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that his Lordship has received
from H.M. Minister at Turin, a copy of a despatch addressed by the Earl
of Hardwicke to Vice-Admiral Sir William Parker, dated the 18th inst.,
giving an account of the measures which he took to promote the surrender
of Genoa to the Forces of the King of Sardinia, and I am to state to you
at the same time for the information of their lordships, that Lord
Hardwicke's conduct on this occasion seems to Lord Palmerston to have
been highly praiseworthy, and Lord Palmerston is of opinion that the
Earl of Hardwicke, by his promptitude, energy and decision saved the
City of Genoa from the calamities of further bombardment, and prevented
a great effusion of blood and much destruction of property and life.
'I am, &c.,
'(Signed) H. A. ADDINGTON.'
H. G. WARD, ESQ.
* * * * *
PARIS: April 19, 1849.
'Monsieur Drouyn De Lhuys has more than once expressed to me his
conviction that during the late troubles at Genoa that City was in great
part saved from pillage and destruction by the energetic attitude
assumed by the British Naval Force in that port. The Minister read to me
extracts both from Monsieur Bois le Conte and from Monsieur Léon Favre
the French Consul at Genoa, stating that there were moments when the
lives and properties of the peaceable inhabitants would have been in
great danger but for the dread inspired by the position taken up by
H.M.S. _Vengeance_ and the efficient support given by Lord
Hardwicke to the Consular Authorities. Monsieur Drouyn De Lhuys said
there had been no distinction whatever between the two Commanders of the
two nations except inasmuch as the British Naval Force at that time in
the Port of Genoa was of so much more commanding a character.
'I am, &c.,
* * * * *
Extracts from 'An Episode of Italian Unification' by General Alfonso la
'Lord Hardwicke conducted himself to me like the honourable man that he
is, expert in dealing with men and circumstances. He did not propose
unacceptable conditions to me; indeed, he charged himself with the task
of persuading the Municipality to submit to the conditions which I might
impose, for the welfare of Genoa itself, and the permanent re-
establishment of order.
'On the 9th another complication developed. I have said that the English
Captain placed his ship opposite the docks to prevent the liberation of
the convicts. Avezzana allowed two days to pass without protesting
against this menace: then he addressed to the aforesaid commander a
letter of truly radical insolence, ordering him to vacate the harbour
before 6 P.M. and declaring that _if by that hour he were not gone he
should be sunk by the batteries of the people, and so teach the Queen of
Great Britain that it did not suffice to entrust her men-of-war to men
of high lineage unless they were also men of judgment._
'Lord Hardwicke, like a man of sense and good feeling, contented himself
with acknowledging the receipt of the insulting letter, being determined
not to stir a finger to leave his drawn position.
'He submitted copies of the correspondence to me and to all the
representatives of the friendly powers.'
POLITICS AND LAST YEARS. 1850-1873
Having resumed the profession to which he had always been devoted, it
was the ambition of Lord Hardwicke's life to continue his naval career,
and to complete a period of active service afloat which would have
entitled him to promotion to flag rank. He was encouraged in this desire
by all his friends, even by those who, like John Wilson Croker, had
opposed his return to active service. In a letter written by that
gentleman to Lady Hardwicke in 1849, he said: 'I never was very
favourable to his going to sea, but I am now decidedly against his not
going through with it, and I cannot but believe that his services are
appreciated, if not at their full value at least with respect, on the
part of the Whigs. But however that may be, and however glad I shall be
to see you all again at Wimpole, I earnestly advise him to play his hand
Unhappily, Lord Hardwicke was prevented from carrying out his intention
by the very serious illness of Lady Hardwicke, which caused him the
gravest anxiety, shortly after the termination of his arduous
responsibilities at Genoa. Lady Hardwicke was brought to death's door by
an attack of fever at Naples, and he immediately resigned his command of
the _Vengeance_, and hurried to her bedside. She happily recovered,
and after her convalescence the whole family returned to England.
Apart, however, from this urgent private trouble, it is doubtful whether
Lord Hardwicke would have continued his service in the Mediterranean. He
felt, indeed, that the approval of his conduct at Genoa by the Whig
Government was less hearty than Mr. Croker believed was the case,
confined as it was to the barest official acknowledgment of services
which to everyone else appeared not only creditable to Lord Hardwicke as
a captain of a British ship of war, but of the highest value to Italy,
to the cause of good order, and, by the havoc and bloodshed his tact and
firmness had certainly prevented, to humanity itself. As the documents
set out in the appendix to the last chapter fully show, all this was
highly appreciated abroad. King Victor hastened to confer on Lord
Hardwicke the order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus for what were
described by General de Launay, his foreign secretary, as 'les importans
services que vous avez rendus à Son Gouvernement pendant les graves
évènemens qui ont affligé la ville de Gênes et l'empressement efficace
avec lequel vous avez puissamment secondé M. le Général de La Marmora
pour y ramener l'ordre'; Lord Normanby, the British Ambassador at Paris,
reported to his government that the French Minister at Turin had more
than once expressed his conviction 'that during the late troubles at
Genoa that city was in great part saved from pillage and destruction by
the energetic attitude assumed by the British naval force in that port,
and that the French consuls had stated to him that there were moments
when the lives and properties of the peaceable inhabitants would have
been in great danger, but for the dread inspired by the position taken
up by H.M.S. _Vengeance_, and the effective support given by Lord
Hardwicke to the consular authorities.' There was less value perhaps in
the thanks given by 'the Count and Colonel, Director of the Bagni
Maritim,' whose gratitude was mingled with a sense of favours to come,
in the possible exertion of Lord Hardwicke's good offices with King
Victor Emmanuel for clemency for the convicts under the Count's charge,
whose conduct had added so much to the dangers of the situation. But of
the foreign testimony to Lord Hardwicke's service at Genoa perhaps the
most eloquent was that of Mazzini, who admitted to Lord Malmesbury that
his career in Italy had been spoiled 'by one English sailor at Genoa
This universal approbation of the part played by Lord Hardwicke was of
course perfectly well known to the Government; it was also more or less
known to the public from the letters written by the _Times_
correspondent at Genoa. 'But for the decision and judgment Lord
Hardwicke manifested,' he wrote, 'Genoa would, in all probability, have
been at this moment a ruined and pillaged city. The very worst vagabonds
were hired to mount guard and man the walls, since the National Guards
had retired for the most part to their own dwellings. It was indeed a
reign of terror, and it was most fortunate for Genoa that the
_Vengeance_ was in the port to prevent its being a reign of blood.'
Under these circumstances Lord John Russell's government could scarcely
withhold official recognition of Lord Hardwicke's success in having
virtually saved a great and historic city from destruction. His conduct,
moreover, was such as would certainly appeal to Lord Palmerston, the
Foreign Secretary, who took the occasion to inform the Admiralty 'that
Lord Hardwicke's conduct seemed to him highly praiseworthy, and that he
was of opinion that the Earl of Hardwicke by his promptitude, energy and
decision saved the city of Genoa from the calamities of further
bombardment, and prevented a great effusion of blood and much
destruction of property and life.'
This official approval, as we have seen, was conveyed to Lord Hardwicke
by his admiral, Sir William Parker, who had already indicated his own
rather tepid approval accompanied, however, by the hope that there had
been 'no actual infraction of the neutral position of Her Majesty's
ship, or undue interference in the political contention of the
But it seems clear that both political and professional influences were
already at work against Lord Hardwicke. On the happy conclusion of the
trouble at Genoa by what he truly described in a letter to Lady
Hardwicke as 'the only English interference that has been successful in
Europe since the affair began,' he had already detected a certain
faintness in the praise he received from Admiral Parker: 'The good
admiral gives me negative praise,' he writes, 'but I leave it all to him
to judge my acts. I have no fear of results; I have a good reason for
all I did.' But from a memorandum written by Lady Hardwicke after his
death, it appears that he felt very acutely the grudging spirit in which
his services had been received by a section, at least, of the Cabinet.
Upon reporting himself at the Admiralty on his arrival in London he was
greeted by Sir Francis Baring, the First Lord, with these words: 'Well,
Lord Hardwicke, you certainly did do well at Genoa, and it was lucky
that you succeeded, for if you had failed you certainly would have been
broke.' He made no complaint, however, but returned to Wimpole, resumed
his life of a country gentleman, and renewed all his interest in the
affairs of his estate and his county.
He was called at length from this retirement by the return of his own
party to power. In March of 1851 Lord John Russell had announced the
resignation of the Government owing to their defeat on the franchise
question; Lord Stanley was sent for by Queen Victoria, but found himself
unable to form a ministry, and upon the advice of the Duke of Wellington
the Queen had requested her ministers to resume office. But this
arrangement lasted less than a year. On the 27th of February following
Lord Stanley, by that time Earl of Derby, became prime minister in the
new Government with Mr. Disraeli, Mr. Spencer Walpole, Lord Malmesbury
and Sir John Packington, among his colleagues, and in this cabinet Lord
Hardwicke sat as Postmaster-General. It was a short term of office,
which lasted less than a year, during which time, however, Lord
Hardwicke's energy and powers of organisation were much appreciated in
his department, where he came to be known as 'Lord Hardwork'; but his
official life came to an end with that of the Government upon the return
to power, in December 1852, of the Aberdeen administration, which
included Lord John Russell as Foreign Secretary and Sir James Graham as
First Lord of the Admiralty.
A characteristic souvenir of the immortal Duke of Wellington occurs to
me in connection with this first administration of Lord Derby, well
known as the 'Derby D'Israeli Ministry,' which may find a place here. A
great many new men necessarily composed it, and when they were all
mustered before being 'sworn in' the Duke began chaffing them 'as
somewhat _raw recruits_,' and then taking his stick he put them
into line and said, 'You will require a little drilling' and he
flourished his stick about, imitating a sergeant, and amused them all
very much. Such was the great man's way of putting a _home truth_.
The fall of Lord Derby's government was the occasion for a letter to my
father from Mr. Croker, in which that gentleman appears to admiration in
the characteristic role of candid friend. I print this, not only as a
typical effort of that critical spirit, but because it contains a very
just appreciation of my mother's great qualities, to which her husband
and her children owe so much.
* * * * *
Dec. 31, 1852.
'... As for the party, I cannot but feel with you, that a party without
a spokesman in the House of Commons is as nothing, but with such a
spokesman as Disraeli, it is worse than nothing. In Opposition, his
talents of debate would be most valuable, if there was any security for
his principles or his judgment. I have no faith in either.
'But after all, nobody is so much to blame as Derby; why did he not take
higher and surer ground. Why are you all turned out on--neither you nor
anyone else can say what? You had not even hoisted a flag to rally
round. You have been like some poor people I have read of in the late
storm, buried under the ruins of your own edifice, but whether you were
stifled or crushed, killed by a rafter or a brick, nobody can tell. You
have died a death so ignoble that it has no name, and the Coroner's
verdict is "Found Dead."
'Why did you not die in the Protestant cause; on something that some
party could take an interest in? Why did you spare Cardinal Wiseman? Why
butter Louis Buonaparte thicker than his own French cooks? Why did you
lay the ground of the confiscation of landed property by a differential
income tax and by hinting at taxing property by inheritance? "You have
left undone the things you ought to have done, and you have done those
things which you ought not to have done, and there is no help for you."
'My own grief is this, that Disraeli's vanity, or as he would say, his
character, was committed by his electioneering speeches and addresses,
and that you all, half generosity and half prudence, resolved to stand
by him rather than break up the Government, which his resignation would
have done. That's my solution of the greatest political riddle I ever
'I know not what to say about your going to sea, I fear observations on
your resigning the ship abroad and taking one at home for the mere
purpose of making up a little time. Pray think well of it. I daresay you
would receive a civil answer, perhaps get a ship, but _cui bono_.
What is your flag to you? [Footnote: He was promoted to the rank of
Vice-Admiral in November 1858.] I wish you were on the Admiral's list
for the sake of the country if we are to have a war, but I see no
advantage in it if there is no prospect of distinguished service.
'Give my best love to all the dear people round you and, above all, to
the dearest of all, whose solid good sense and natural sagacity, quite
equal to her more charming qualities, will be your best guide in the
topic last treated. Indeed, if I knew her opinion on any of those
topics, it would have a prime chance of becoming my own.
'Ever most affectionately hers and yours,
'J. W. CROKER'
* * * * *
The Aberdeen Government will always be remembered as that of the period
of the Crimean War, and it was in connection with that great struggle
and his wish to serve his country afloat that Lord Hardwicke found just
reason to complain of more than the mere belittling of his services at
Genoa which had been his sole reward upon his return to England in 1849.
Lord Hardwicke's desire to obtain active employment at sea so soon as
hostilities with Russia appeared probable was well known at the
Admiralty, but political rancour as well as professional jealousy were
both employed in a secret but active agitation to prevent his obtaining
that employment. The entirely honourable distinction he had received
from the King of Sardinia by the bestowal of the order of St. Maurice
and St. Lazarus was made the opportunity of a series of slanderous
suggestions which caused him the greatest pain. It was perfectly well
known that a regulation in force at the English Court forbade the
acceptance of foreign distinctions of that kind without the express
permission of the Crown. Yet it was stated that 'The English Government
had desired that the order should be returned on the ground that Lord
Hardwicke had acted at Genoa without orders.' Further than this, as Lady
Hardwicke records, 'Much jealousy was created by his successful
diplomacy at Genoa, and his enemies disseminated a report that he had
disobeyed Admiral Sir William Parker's orders, and "made the
Mediterranean sea too hot to hold him."'
These injurious statements, however, did not reach Lord Hardwicke's ears
until some time after they were first made--'he was of course ignorant
of what was going on to defame his professional character and stop his
career in a service to which he was devoted and in which he had spent
the best years of his life.' They at length, however, came to his notice
under more responsible authority than that of mere rumour at service
clubs, and at a moment when their acceptance by a member of the
Government was allowed to stand in the way of Lord Hardwicke's selection
for an important command.
By a recent regulation of the Admiralty, Lord Hardwicke with many other
senior captains who had failed by a short period to complete the active
service afloat necessary to entitle them to the rank of rear-admiral,
was placed upon the retired list. In his case, the regulation took
effect upon January 28, 1854. Meanwhile, however, the probability in
1853 of a declaration of war between this country and Russia had led to
great naval activity, and Lord Hardwicke had applied for active
employment. 'Sir Charles Napier,' writes Lady Hardwicke, 'who fully
appreciated his courage and ability, applied for him as his flag-
captain.' His offer, however, as well as Admiral Napier's wish for his
assistance, were both disregarded by the Admiralty, and his appointment
as flag-captain refused.
There was, perhaps, no legitimate grievance in this refusal, but at this
moment information reached Lord Hardwicke through Lord Clarendon, that
the refusal had been accompanied by a revival at the Admiralty of the
injurious suggestions, already mentioned, of his having exceeded his
instructions from Sir William Parker at Genoa.
'I believe it to have been at this juncture,' writes Lady Hardwicke,
'that his friend Lord Clarendon, feeling acutely his position, informed
him of the slanders which had been spread abroad. ... This statement was
made use of by Sir James Graham, First Lord of the Admiralty and
successor to Sir F. Baring, and carried by him to the ears of his best
friends, the Queen and the Prince Consort.'
It will be readily understood that the adoption of these injurious
reports by a cabinet minister, and their repetition by him in his
official capacity to the Queen and Prince Albert, placed the whole
matter upon a different footing. Queen Victoria, almost from the
beginning of her reign, had honoured my father with her regard and
confidence, and so recently as his return from Genoa he had received a
letter which shows very plainly the terms upon which he stood with his
* * * * *
BUCKINGHAM PALACE: March 4, 1850.
'MY DEAR LORD HARDWICKE,
'The Prince is anxious that you should resume your seat at the Council
of the Duchy of Lancaster which you resigned when you went abroad. I
hope that you will be willing to do so as it is important for the
Queen's interest that the persons upon that Council should be well
acquainted with the peculiar details of the Duchy business, as well as
generally accustomed to the management of property, and it would be a
considerable time before any person could acquire the knowledge of the
subject which you have gained. The change in the Chancellor of the Duchy
will not, I hope, make the working of the Council less easy.
'C. B. PHIPPS'
* * * * *
In such circumstances, and apart altogether from any question of the
refusal of employment by the Admiralty, it is obvious that the matter
could not be allowed to rest where it was, and a letter received by Lord
Hardwicke in September 1853 from Lord Clarendon makes it clear that he
lost no time in seeking an explanation from Sir James Graham.
* * * * *
September 30, 1853.
'MY DEAR HARDWICKE,
'I hope you will excuse me for not having answered your letter by return
of post as I ought to have done, but I assure you that the last two
days, I have been unable to do anything but fight against an
extraordinary pressure of public work. My firm belief is that the
_personal errors_ into which Graham had fallen are now quite
removed. "Hardwicke is a good sailor, and an officer of real ability and
merit"--is an extract from a letter of Graham's in answer to mine about
you; but I see that the bar to your being employed, is your own position
in the Service and your having one year and eleven months to serve
afloat before you can render yourself eligible for the Flag. There are
only three captains above you and if when your turn arrived you were in
command of a ship, and your full period of requisite service was not
accomplished, I suppose that a question, which has not yet arisen, would
then arise, respecting your right to promotion to the Active Flag. This
I take to be the real difficulty, and your professional knowledge will
enable you to judge of its value. I sent a copy of your note to Graham,
and as far as I am concerned I hope you will now take any course you may
think most expedient, only bearing in mind that Graham has no unfriendly
feeling towards you. I have said to you upon that point, nothing more
than what he told me, but I should be sorry that he thought I had said
less. I fear that all endeavours to keep the peace are exhausted or
nearly so, and I don't anticipate much active hostility at this time of
year, if hostilities we are to have. The Emperor of Russia is quite
without excuse, he persists in asking what the Turks cannot concede, and
he wants a power in Turkey which would be useless to him, except for
overturning the Ottoman Empire, the independence of which he declares
must be maintained.
'Ever yours truly,
* * * * *
From this letter it is clear that Lord Clarendon as a friend of both
parties did all he could to explain the conduct of Sir James, but his
mention of 'personal errors' into which the First Lord had fallen seems
an ample confirmation of that gentleman's indiscretion in giving an
official countenance to the rumours of which Lord Hardwicke complained.
In any case, Lord Clarendon's letter was obviously an explanation
thoroughly unsatisfactory to Lord Hardwicke, who, as Lady Hardwicke
writes, 'immediately wrote to Sir William Parker and obtained from him
the following memorable credential.'
* * * * *
SHENSTONE LODGE, LICHFIELD: 14 Nov., 1853.
'My DEAR LORD HARDWICKE,
'I fully enter into your feeling of mortification and disappointment in
not obtaining professional appointment in the present threatening aspect
of affairs; I am much grieved that a fallacious impression should for a
moment have obtained that the slightest approach to a misunderstanding
between your Lordship and myself had ever occurred. I am indeed at a
loss to conceive on what pretence such an idle and mischievous rumour
could have originated. Sir Francis Baring intimated to me the
astonishment and annoyance you had expressed to him at such a
fabrication; I assure you my reply quite corresponded with your
sentiments. I can truly say that the _Vengeance_ was very
satisfactorily conducted under your command, while attached to my flag,
and all your proceedings manifested genuine zeal for the Service. I
cannot forget with what anxiety your Lordship withdrew your application
to be relieved in the command of that ship, when on the Squadron being
ordered to the vicinity of the Dardanelles, there appeared a temporary
prospect of more active service. I truly regret it that on our departure
from the East you again felt yourself compelled to resign your ship, in
consequence of the illness of Lady Hardwicke at a time when I believe
you were within a short period of completing the requisite servitude for
your active Flag.
'I remain faithfully and cordially yours,
'W. PARKER, _Admiral_.'
* * * * *
'Armed with this letter,' continues Lady Hardwicke, 'he sought an
audience of the Prince Consort, and stated his case, placing the
refutation of these calumnies in the Prince's hands. Upon reading this
generous and truthful statement, Prince Albert expressed his
satisfaction at having seen it, and his astonishment at the falsehoods
that had been circulated, and requested Lord Hardwicke that he might
place it in the hands of the Queen, which he accordingly did and
returned to express Her Majesty's gratification on its perusal.'
All this took place at the end of 1853: meanwhile Sir Charles Napier was
unwearying in his applications to the Admiralty to obtain Lord
Hardwicke's assistance in the expedition which was shortly to sail for
the Baltic. In January Lord Hardwicke was placed upon the retired list,
but Sir Charles was still anxious to secure him as one of his admirals,
as is very clear from a memorandum of a conversation by Lord Hardwicke
which he left among his papers.
* * * * *
March 6, 1854.
'I met Sir Charles Napier in the United Service Club. He took me aside
and told me that Sir James Graham had consulted him as to whom he would
select as 3rd Divisional Admiral for the Baltic Fleet. He answered Sir
James Graham by saying that he would have asked for Lord Hardwicke as
Captain of the Fleet as he preferred him, but he thought he would have
no chance of having him. But now he was again to select an Admiral, he
should ask for Lord Hardwicke as he should prefer him to anyone. Sir
James Graham said, "Very well, I will appoint him, but in this peculiar
case, I must apply to the Cabinet." The result was the refusal of the
Cabinet to appoint me, in consequence of their fearing to excite emotion
in the officers of the Active List; but that although at the beginning
there was this ground of refusal, yet by and by it might be done. Sir
Charles Napier added, "I shall want one more Admiral and I shall again
apply for you."
* * * * *
The controversy with Sir James Graham perhaps affords a sufficient
explanation of the failure of Sir Charles's repeated efforts in behalf
of Lord Hardwicke, though there is no doubt the Government had an answer
in the Admiralty regulation which had placed him upon the retired list.
'Lord Hardwicke's application for employment was brought before the
Cabinet,' writes Lady Hardwicke, 'but the Admiralty declaring that an
order in Council to make this exception would bring the whole retired
list upon their shoulders, his request was politely declined, with the
feeling that the late enactment had fallen cruelly upon his professional
'Few but myself,' concludes Lady Hardwicke, 'who have seen the anguish
of disappointment caused by such a termination of the cherished ambition
of a whole life, can at all appreciate the severity of this blow. This
statement of facts engraven on the tablet of my heart I have drawn up
with a view of placing in the hands of my dear children the means of
vindicating their beloved father's memory in case upon any future
occasion they should be called upon to do so. Let them remember that
"the Lord nourisheth with discipline" and accept the trials and
disappointments of life with the same spirit of resignation which their
beloved father always exhibited, to my great and endless consolation.'
To me, his daughter, it has seemed that the occasion of which my mother
speaks, for the vindication of my father's memory, has arrived with the
publication of this memoir of his life, and I have therefore set out the
facts as she wrote them down.
The long period of Whig rule, which had lasted with the single break of
a few months in 1852 since the year 1846, was at length terminated by
the return of Lord Derby's second administration to power in 1858, and
Lord Hardwicke took office as Lord Privy Seal with a seat in the
Cabinet. His energy and professional zeal, however, had been fully
employed since 1856 as the Chairman of a Royal Commission which had been
appointed to inquire into the question of the manning of the Navy. The
negative results of the expedition to the Baltic during the late war
with Russia had brought the question into public notice, and the great
changes which were taking place in the design and construction of ships
of war by the invention of the screw propeller and the evolution of the
ironclad battleship had given a more than ordinary urgency to the
question of national defence.
Lord Hardwicke entered upon his duties with the greatest energy. One of
the instructions to the Commission was to 'determine in case of need the
means necessary to man at short notice thirty or forty sail of the
line.' In a speech at Cambridge in 1858 he pointed out some facts
regarding the Navy of which the public were quite ignorant, and which
pointed to a serious decrease in the naval power of the country which
caused much uneasiness. Lord Hardwicke reminded his hearers that though
during the period of the American, Revolutionary, and Napoleonic wars we
had maintained an establishment of from 105,000 to 140,000 seamen and
marines, and had experienced little difficulty in manning a fleet of
ships of the line which averaged 120 sail, yet during the recent war
with Russia the Admiralty had with difficulty found crews for the
thirty-three vessels which took part in the operations in the Baltic.
'These ships,' he said, 'went to sea in such a condition as to inflict a
positive injustice on the brave officers in command of them, and if it
had not been for the efficiency of the latter and the way their crews
were disciplined, they might as well have stopped at home.'
Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort both took great interest in this
important question, and the Prince in the following letter showed his
practical knowledge of the subject by urging the importance of the
training-ship as a source of an efficient personnel for the Navy.
* * * * *
'My DEAR LORD HARDWICKE,
'In your position as chairman of the Manning Committee I wish to draw
your attention to a point, which I consider of the utmost importance.
'We have two brigs, the _Rollo_ and the _Nautilus_, at
Portsmouth and Plymouth for apprenticing boys for the Navy. You are
perfectly acquainted with their excellent system, and the fact that,
after having completed their time of instruction, these boys form the
best sailors in the Queen's service, having acquired a taste for the
Man-of-War service early in life, and are free from any connection with
the Merchandise. But these two ships give the Navy only about 200 seamen
a year. What are 200 annually to a fleet of 50,000? Why should not each
of the Coast Guard Ships have a brig attached to them on their
respective stations for receiving boys? The brigs are worth nothing to
the service, and I am told that the applications for the entry of boys
is always far beyond the present means of receiving, whilst men are
frequently not to be had. If 2000 boys so trained were added every year
to the Navy for ten years' service, it would be none too many. It would
only give us 20,000 men at the end of ten years; but these would be
permanently added to the stock of seamen of the country, which I am
sorry to say appears to be gradually falling below our wants.
OSBORNE: July 24, 1856
* * * * *
The labours of Lord Hardwicke and his colleagues were received with
general approbation on all sides, although his own declared opinion of
the advisability of reviving the Press-gang in certain circumstances was
not generally accepted.
I must here mention that although Lord Hardwicke was debarred by the
regulation in force from accepting the decoration from King Victor
Emmanuel of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus, his Majesty was still
determined to mark his sense of my father's services to Italy at Genoa.
Six years after the revolution of Genoa he caused a medal to be struck
bearing the national arms and inscribed with the words:
'Al Valore Militare. Lord Conte di Hardwicke, commandante il vascello
_Vengeance_. Distinti servizii pel Ristabilmento del Ordine.
Queen Victoria's permission to wear this medal was accorded to Lord
Hardwicke by the following letter from Lord Clarendon.
* * * * *
GROSVENOR CRESCENT: July 24, 1855.
'MY DEAR HARDWICKE,
'The Queen's permission has been duly received for you to wear the medal
conferred upon you by the King of Sardinia and I have communicated the
same officially to the Admiralty.
'Very truly yours,
* * * * *
The end of every life is the hardest to describe. The time of rest must
come, and with it retirement from public work. The parent begins life
again in his children, and in making place for them in the world. We
have followed the career of an active and energetic man, who thoroughly
lived his life, and enjoyed it. We have seen his first great
disappointment in the profession that he loved, when an opportunity
offered itself for service under Sir Charles Napier in the Baltic Fleet
during the Crimean War. To die in action, fighting for England, was his
ambition, and the failure of an opportunity for its fulfilment brought
with it much depression.
Meanwhile, however, he lost no time in vain regrets, or ceased from
active and useful work on his estate and in his county. We have read a
letter describing old 'Wimple' in 1781; I shall now try to carry on the
description in few words from 1855. It was a beloved home; we 'were
seven,' and in the adjoining rectory lived my uncle the Hon. and Rev.
Archdeacon Yorke, Canon of Ely, with six cousins, a merry party in
holiday time. The house was big and the furniture, books and pictures
fine, but my father's life would have satisfied the severest of
socialist critics by its simplicity. Our own dress was scrupulously
simple. Our boots I well remember, they were all made by a little hump-
back cobbler who lived at New Wimpole, and used to come by the avenue to
the 'Big House,' as it was always called, to measure us. These
substantial thick boots and leather gaiters from the village shop, with
short linsey skirts, formed our walking attire. And in the Christmas
holiday we all tore about the muddy fields in 'paper-chases.'
Later on I remember writing a paper for my friends on how to dress on
eighty pounds a year, which was my allowance at eighteen.
The cottages were beautifully clean and the furniture solid, all the men
wore smock-frocks and very thick boots with large nails that lasted a
year: no such thing as a blue suit and yellow boots would have been
tolerated then. The best dressed wife wore a red cloak and neat black
bonnet. The family Bible was found in every cottage, and my uncle gave
two cottage Bible-readings every week of his life. There was no attempt
at Cathedral services in country churches. The Communion service was
reverently given once a month, and on the great feast-days my uncle
preached in a black gown. And such a fuss was made when the black
waistcoat now commonly worn by the clergy was introduced: it was called
the _M. B. Waistcoat_ (mark of the beast).
My uncle ultimately adopted it, when promoted to a canonry at Ely. What
changes since those days, what luxury has crept in everywhere, and how
often one sighs over the simplicity of the past, which certainly
produced a stronger, if not a better race.
My father was very courteous, especially to ladies, cheery, full of life
and spirits; liberal in heart though a strong Conservative in politics.
If anything pleasant or amusing was on hand, such as a dance or our
'private theatricals,' he would wave his hands and say, 'Clear the
decks! Clear the decks!' We often used to 'clear the decks' for games of
_Post_ and Magical Music!... Evenings at Wimpole were never dull.
We attempted to keep up old traditions, and intellect and vitality were
not wanting. There was always a sprinkling of rising men in all the
practical departments of life among the guests at Wimpole, statesmen,
agriculturists, shipbuilders and owners, besides intimates and
relations; dear old 'Schetky' with his guitar among the most popular,
and the delight of the children after dinner when he would sing his
favourite ballad 'When on his Baccy Box he viewed.' Amateur music was
greatly encouraged, not that it came up to the requisitions of the
present day, but it was very pleasant. My mother's ballad singing was
exceptional, and without accompaniment very interesting.
'Annie Laurie' and all Lady John Scott's ballads, besides 'Caller
Herrin''--the Scotch cry for fresh herring--were her favourites and
brought tears to one's eyes. Nothing was spared where education was
concerned, and music and languages were among the great advantages
afforded to myself and my sisters. To the latter I attribute one of the
greatest enjoyments of my life, especially when in later years I often
lived in Paris. Histrionic art also was cultivated in the holidays under
the able management of uncle Eliot Yorke, M.P. The 'Wimpole Theatre'
opened in 1796 with 'The Secret,' with Lady Anne, Lady Catherine and
Lady Elizabeth Yorke and Viscount Royston as the caste. It was reopened
in 1851 with the 'Court of Oberon: or The Three Wishes,' by the Dowager
Countess of Hardwicke, with Viscount Royston, the Hon. Eliot Yorke, Mr.
Sydney Yorke, Lady Elizabeth Yorke, the Hon. John Manners Yorke, Lady
Agneta Yorke, the Hon. Victor Yorke, and the Hon. Alexander Yorke in the
caste, and the Hon. Eliot Yorke, M.P., as stage manager. This company in
1853 repeated the 'Court of Oberon' with 'The Day after the Wedding.' In
1854 'The Day after the Wedding' was again given with a comic interlude
'Personation' by Charles Kemble and a popular farce 'Turning the
In 1855 'Personation' and 'Popping the Question' were given before their
Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Mary. A very
smart party was invited to meet their Royal Highnesses, and a great deal
of merriment was our reward.
The excellent training of 'Uncle Eliot' during the dull winter evenings
made the winter holidays a real joy; we rehearsed and acted in the
Gallery, originally built to hold the Harleian Manuscripts, and divided
by columns into three parts, making an admirable theatre and a handsome
proscenium. On one great occasion we had Frank Matthews as prompter, and
we none of us forget seeing him initiate Lady Agneta in the art of
making a stage kiss. Oh! how we laughed. He cried so much during the
performance that he prompted badly; but perhaps the dear man was touched
by the family talent! A letter from Tom Taylor recommending plays
suitable for our company will be read with interest.
* * * * *
'There is a play called "Hearts are Trumps" which I think would suit
your friends, from what you tell me of their troupe and requirements. We
played a piece at Canterbury called "Palace and Prison" adapted by
Simpson from "La Main gauche et la main droite" which, as far as I
remember, is unobjectionable. I think Palgrave Simpson had it printed,
though I do not think it has been acted in London. My little comedietta
"Nine Points of the Law" is free from all critical situations and
language, but perhaps Mr. Sterling's part may be too old for your
'There is a piece called the "Secret Agent" well suited to drawing-room
theatricals; you might look at it. "You can't marry your Grandmother" is
a good one-act piece, free from objectionable situation and dialogue.
See also "Time tries all," "A Match in the Dark," and "Kill or Cure."
'Ever yours truly,
* * * * *
In 1857 the Wimpole Theatre reopened with the same company and gave
'Sunshine through the Clouds' and 'Only a Halfpenny'; and in 1860 for
the last time with 'The Jacobite' by Planche; a scene from 'King John';
and 'Helping Hands' by Tom Taylor. The last was a beautiful play, but
too refined for the ordinary theatre, and consequently did not have the
run it deserved.
All these performances were strictly confined to the family, including
the painting of the scenery and the composition of Prologues, Epilogues,
&c. As we said in one of those compositions, 'We are no London stars;
we're all of Yorke.'
While we were play-acting, my father would continue persistently the
work of his estate and county. It was his habit to hire his own
labourers for the estate and home farm, and these, well and carefully
chosen, were secure in their posts from year to year, and loved him. He
also made a rule every Saturday of passing elaborate accounts at the
estate office with his steward. He dined at Cambridge once a year with
all his tenants; never was a landlord more beloved. The old-fashioned
harvest home was celebrated in the spacious coachhouse cleared for the
occasion; my mother and 'all of us' went down to welcome the labourers
and hear my father address them. He settled things in his own way,
sometimes differing considerably from ordinary routine, but he was
scrupulously just, liberal and kind, with a most attractive sense of
My father had seen and felt acutely the harm raw spirits had done in the
Navy. This made him very careful when at Wimpole. According to old
custom, beer was brewed twice a year, and he kept the key of the cellar
and punctually opened it every morning before breakfast to give out the
'measure' for daily consumption. I remember so well a new butler
arriving with a pompous manner and _very red nose_. Shortly after
arrival he was taken ill and retired to his bed for several days, the
family doctor from Royston attending him. On his recovery, going into
luncheon with us all, my father with his usual courtesy said, 'I hope
you are better.' Answer: 'Oh yes, thank you, my Lord, it was only _the
Change of Beer!'_
I remember the average doctor's bill for domestic servants at Wimpole
was £100 a year. May I be allowed for once to speak of self? Mine, with
a more or less teetotal home, comes on an average to £1; I give extra
wages and no strong drink, and this system works admirably, except for
the _poor Doctors_, whom I fear sometimes find their incomes sadly
diminished by the Temperance movement!
My father made great additions and improvements at Wimpole House. He
found it needing repair, and after releading the extensive roof, he
built offices on the left side, and later restored the large
conservatory on the right, besides entirely rebuilding the stables, and
placing the handsome iron gates at the Arrington entrance. A group of
sculpture by Foley in the pediment of the stone porch over the front
door greatly improved the centre of the house, which was very flat. In
round numbers he spent £100,000 in these improvements. There were twelve
reception rooms _en suite_, including the beautiful chapel painted
by Sir James Thornhill, and no sooner had No. 12 been done up than No. 1
began to call out! It was always beginning, never ending.
In 1867 came the first home bereavement, the first heart-breaking loss,
from which my father never recovered; he kept to his daily work, but
gaiety forsook him, and the trouble no doubt told upon his constitution,
which was threatened with a serious form of rheumatic gout, and with
gradual heart failure. His beloved third son, Victor Alexander, Queen
Victoria's godson, died suddenly whilst assisting at a penny reading at
Aston Clinton, the residence of Sir Anthony and Lady de Rothschild, to
whom he was devoted. Victor was a lad of great promise; he was in the
Horse Artillery, and a bad accident in Canada is supposed to have left
some injury to the back of the head and spine. He had been suffering
from pains in the head, but was in the highest of spirits the day before
he died. An accomplished fellow, fond of music and poetry, he was
reading 'The Grandmother' by Tennyson, and at verse three--
Willy my beauty, my eldest born, the flower of the flock,
Never a man could fling him, for Willy stood like a rock'--
he fell forward on his face and never spoke again.
The tenderness and sympathy shown by Sir Anthony and Lady de Rothschild
on this occasion made a deep impression on our bereaved hearts. It was
quite beyond words, and from it sprang that happy marriage between my
brother Eliot Yorke, Equerry to H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh, and Annie
de Rothschild, their daughter. It was founded on the truest love, and
admiration of great qualities which have stood the test of many years.
The marriage took place in Wimpole Church in February 1873.
It was about June in the same year that my father left Wimpole for the
last time in an invalid carriage. The fatigue of the journey brought on
a severe attack of heart failure, and as he reached his house in Portman
Square, we feared it was his last. But not so. A few weeks later he
reached his beloved Sydney Lodge, where his room was arranged on the
ground floor and a young doctor always in attendance. His patience and
fortitude were heroic. Unable to lie down, he sat for weeks in an
armchair, supported at night by his two attendants. Nothing could be
more sad than to witness his lingering end. Sometimes he rallied
sufficiently to be wheeled into the drawing-room and be refreshed by our
singing hymns to him in parts. He was a firm believer in Christ, and
constantly asked for St. Paul's Epistles to be read to him: 'Read me my
St. Paul,' he would say. The conclusions of the great Apostle to the
Gentiles as to the divinity of Christ supported him through all his
His last letter, dated September 7, 1873, was written to his friend Tom
* * * * *
'I send my Banker's Book and beg you will return it made up with a
balance. I am a dying man, and shall be glad when it pleases God to call
'Yours truly, my dear Cocks,
* * * * *
On September 17 he expired at Sydney Lodge, Hamble, conscious to the
last, and was laid to rest in the family vault at Wimpole. These lines,
'to his beloved memory,' were written by his widow and engraved on a
stone cross erected in the grounds of Sydney Lodge overlooking the
'To thee, the fondly loved one I deplore,
I dedicate this spot for evermore.
Here, 'neath the shade of spreading beech, we sought
Some brief distraction to overburdened thought,
Some balm for pain, immunity from care,
To lift thy soul and for its flight prepare.
Here forest glade and wat'ry flood combine,
To stamp on nature the impress divine;
The sluggish murmur of retiring tide
Whispers "Much longer thou can'st not abide";
The trembling light of sun's retreating ray
Suggests th' effulgence of more perfect day,
And soothing warblers of the feathered tribe
Hymning their orisons at eventide,
Point to the "Sun of righteousness which springs,"
Saviour of souls, "with healing in its wings."
Hallowed by sacred musings be this ground
Where last we sat, and consolation found.
Brief be the space which binds me here below,
Thy spirit fled, all life has lost its glow.'
Abercromby, Sir W.
Addington, Rt. Hon. Henry
Algiers, Dey of; expedition against;
Bombardment of; slaves released
Baring, Sir Francis
Bevan, Lady Agneta
Byron, Lord; 'Maid of Athens'
Cambridge, Duchess of, and
Capellan, Admiral von der
Clanricarde, Marchioness of
Clarendon, Earl of
Cocks, Margaret (Lady Hardwicke)
Corn Laws, repeal of
Croker, J. W.
De Launay, General
Derby, Earl of
Devonshire, Duke of
Exmouth, Admiral Viscount
Grafton, Duke of
Graham, Sir James
Greek Committee, the
Hardwicke, first Earl of
character as a judge
marriage and children
------second Earl of
------third Earl of
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland
------Charles Philip, fourth
birth, education, enters navy
letters from Mediterranean
joins _Queen Charlotte_, Lord Exmouth's flagship
commands gunboat at bombardment of Algiers
sails for Halifax
_Crazy Jane_ sloop
letters from Halifax
commands _Alacrity_ in Mediterranean,
mission to suppress Greek piracy