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Collections and Recollections by George William Erskine Russell

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George William Erskine Russell




DIED MARCH 25, 1898

* * * * *

Is he gone to a land of no laughter--
This man that made mirth for us all?
Proves Death but a silence hereafter,
Where the echoes of earth cannot fall?
Once closed, have the lips no more duty?
No more pleasure the exquisite ears?
Has the heart done o'erflowing with beauty,
As the eyes have with tears?

Nay, if aught be sure, what can be surer
Than that earth's good decays not with earth?
And of all the heart's springs none are purer
Than the springs of the fountains of mirth?
He that sounds them has pierced the heart's hollows,
The places where tears are and sleep;
For the foam-flakes that dance in life's shallows
Are wrung from life's deep.



It has been suggested by Mr. Reginald Smith, to whose friendliness and
skill the fortunes of this book have been so greatly indebted, that a
rather fuller preface might be suitably prefixed to this Edition.

When the book first appeared, it was stated on the title-page to be
written "by One who has kept a Diary." My claim to that modest title
will scarcely be challenged by even the most carping critic who is
conversant with the facts. On August 13, 1865, being then twelve years
old, I began my Diary. Several attempts at diary-keeping I had already
made and abandoned. This more serious endeavour was due to the fact that
a young lady gave me a manuscript-book attractively bound in scarlet
leather; and such a gift inspired a resolution to live up to it. Shall I
be deemed to lift the veil of private life too roughly if I transcribe
some early entries? "23rd: Dear Kate came; very nice." "25th: Kate is
very delightful." "26th: Kate is a darling girl. _She kissed me_."

Before long, Love's young dream was dispersed by the realities of
Harrow; but the scarlet book continued to receive my daily confidences.
Soon--alas for puerile fickleness!--the name of "Kate" disappears, and
is replaced by rougher appellations, such as "Bob" and "Charlie;"
"Carrots" this, and "Chaw" that. To Harrow succeeds Oxford, and now
more recognizable names begin to appear--"Liddon" and "Holland," "Gore"
and "Milner", and "Lymington."

But through all these personal permutations the continuous Life of the
Diary remained unbroken, and so remains even to the present date. Not a
day is missing. When I have been laid low by any of the rather numerous
ills to which, if to little else, my flesh has been heir, I have always
been able to jot down such pregnant entries as "Temperature 102 deg.;"
"Salicine;" "Boiled Chicken;" "Bath Chair." It is many a year since the
scarlet book was laid aside; but it has had a long line of successors;
and together they contain the record of what I have been, done, seen,
and heard during thirty-eight years of chequered existence. Entertaining
a strong and well-founded suspicion that Posterity would burn these
precious volumes unread, I was moved, some few years ago, to compress
into small compass the little that seemed worth remembering. At that
time my friend Mr. James Payn was already confined to the house by the
beginnings of what proved to be his last illness. His host of friends
did what they could to relieve the tedium of his suffering days; and the
only contribution which I could make was to tell him at my weekly visits
anything interesting or amusing which I collected from the reperusal of
my diary. Greatly to my surprise, he urged me to make these
"Collections" into a book, and to add to them whatever "Recollections"
they might suggest. Acting on this advice, I published during the year
1897 a series of weekly papers in the _Manchester Guardian_. They were
received more kindly than I had any right to expect; and early in 1898 I
reproduced them in the present volume--just too late to offer it, except
in memory, to dear James Payn.

The fortunes of the book, from that time till now, would not interest
the public, but are extremely interesting to me. The book brought me
many friends. One story, at any rate, elicited the gracious laughter of
Queen Victoria. A pauper who had known better days wrote to thank me
for enlivening the monotony of a workhouse infirmary. Literary clerks
plied me with questions about the sources of my quotations. A Scotch
doctor demurred to the prayer--"Water that spark"--on the ground that
the water would put the spark out. Elderly clergymen in country
parsonages revived the rollicking memories of their undergraduate days,
and sent me academic quips of the forties and fifties. From the most
various quarters I received suggestions, corrections, and enrichments
which have made each edition an improvement on the last. The public
notices were, on the whole, extremely kind, and some were
unintentionally amusing. Thus one editor, putting two and two together,
calculated that the writer could not be less than eighty years old;
while another, like Mrs. Prig, "didn't believe there was no sich a
person," and acutely divined that the book was a journalistic squib
directed against my amiable garrulity. The most pleasing notice was that
of Jean La Frette, some extracts from which I venture to append. It is
true that competent judges have questioned the accuracy of M. La
Frette's idiom, but his sentiments are unimpeachable. The necessary
corrective was not wanting, for a weekly journal of high culture
described my poor handiwork as "Snobbery and Snippets." There was a
boisterousness--almost a brutality--about the phrase which deterred me
from reading the review; but I am fain to admit that there was a certain
rude justice in the implied criticism.


_Christmas, 1903_.
















XIV. CONVERSATION (_continued_)

XV. CONVERSATION (_continued_)

XVI. CONVERSATION (_continued_)


XVIII. CLERGYMEN (_continued_)




















Of the celebrated Mrs. Disraeli her husband is reported to have said,
"She is an excellent creature, but she never can remember which came
first, the Greeks or the Romans." In my walk through life I have
constantly found myself among excellent creatures of this sort. The
world is full of vague people, and in the average man, and still more in
the average woman, the chronological sense seems to be entirely wanting.
Thus, when I have occasionally stated in a mixed company that my first
distinct recollection was the burning of Covent Garden Theatre, I have
seen a general expression of surprised interest, and have been told, in
a tone meant to be kind and complimentary, that my hearers would hardly
have thought that my memory went back so far. The explanation has been
that these excellent creatures had some vague notions of _Rejected
Addresses_ floating in their minds, and confounded the burning of Covent
Garden Theatre in 1856 with that of Drury Lane Theatre in 1809. It was
pleasant to feel that one bore one's years so well as to make the error

But events, however striking, are only landmarks in memory. They are
isolated and detached, and begin and end in themselves. The real
interest of one's early life is in its Links with the Past, through the
old people whom one has known. Though I place my first distinct
recollection in 1856, I have memories more or less hazy of an earlier

There was an old Lady Robert Seymour, who lived in Portland Place, and
died there in 1855, in her ninety-first year. Probably she is my most
direct link with the past, for she carried down to the time of the
Crimean War the habits and phraseology of Queen Charlotte's early Court.
"Goold" of course she said for gold, and "yaller" for yellow, and
"laylock" for lilac. She laid the stress on the second syllable of
"balcony." She called her maid her "'ooman;" instead of sleeping at a
place, she "lay" there, and when she consulted the doctor she spoke of
having "used the 'potticary."

There still lives, in full possession of all her faculties, a venerable
lady who can say that her husband was born at Boston when America was a
British dependency. This is the widow of Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst, who
was born in 1772, and helped to defeat Mr. Gladstone's Paper Bill in the
House of Lords on his eighty-eighth birthday. He died in 1862.[1]

A conspicuous figure in my early recollections is Sir Henry Holland,
M.D., father of the present Lord Knutsford. He was born in 1788, and
died in 1873. The stories of his superhuman vigour and activity would
fill a volume. In 1863 Bishop Wilberforce wrote to a friend abroad: "Sir
Henry Holland, who got back safe from all his American rambles, has been
taken by Palmerston through the river at Broadlands, and lies very
ill." However, he completely threw off the effects of this mischance,
and survived his aquaceous host for some eight years. I well remember
his telling me in 1868 that his first famous patient was the mysterious
"Pamela," who became the wife of the Irish patriot, Lord Edward

Every one who went about in London in the 'seventies will remember the
dyed locks and crimson velvet waistcoat of William, fifth Earl Bathurst,
who was born in 1791 and died in 1878. He told me that he was at a
private school at Sunbury-on-Thames with William and John Russell, the
latter of whom became the author of the Reform Bill and Prime Minister.
At this delightful seminary, the peers' sons, including my informant,
who was then the Hon. William Bathurst, had a bench to themselves.
William and John Russell were not peers' sons, as their father had not
then succeeded to the Dukedom of Bedford. In 1802 he succeeded, on the
sudden death of his elder brother, and became sixth Duke of Bedford; and
his sons, becoming _Lord_ William and _Lord_ John, were duly promoted to
the privileged bench. Nothing in _Pelham_ or _Vivian Grey_ quite equals

When I went to Harrow, in 1868, there was an old woman, by name Polly
Arnold, still keeping a stationer's shop in the town, who had sold cribs
to Byron when he was a Harrow boy; and Byron's fag, a funny old
gentleman in a brown wig--called Baron Heath--was a standing dish on our
school Speech-Day.

Once at a London dinner I happened to say in the hearing of Mrs. Procter
(widow of "Barry Cornwall," and mother of the poetess) that I was going
next day to the Harrow Speeches. "Ah," said Mrs. Procter, "that used to
be a pleasant outing. The last time I went I drove down with Lord Byron
and Dr. Parr, who had been breakfasting with my father." Mrs. Procter
died in 1888.

Among the remarkable women of our time, if merely in respect of
longevity, must be reckoned Lady Louisa Stuart, sister and heir of the
last Earl of Traquair. She was a friend and correspondent of Sir Walter
Scott, who in describing "Tully Veolan" drew Traquair House with literal
exactness, even down to the rampant bears which still guard the locked
entrance-gates against all comers until the Royal Stuarts shall return
to claim their own. Lady Louisa Stuart lived to be ninety-nine, and died
in 1876.

Perhaps the most remarkable old lady whom I knew intimately was Caroline
Lowther, Duchess of Cleveland, who was born in 1792 and died in 1883.
She had been presented to Queen Charlotte when there were only forty
people at the Drawing-room, had danced with the Prince of Orange, and
had attended the "breakfasts" given by Albinia Countess of
Buckinghamshire (who died in 1816), at her villa just outside London.
The site of that villa is now Hobart Place, having taken its name from
that of the Buckinghamshire family. The trees of its orchard are still
discoverable in the back-gardens of Hobart Place and Wilton Street, and
I am looking out upon them as I write this page.

Stories of highwaymen are excellent Links with the Past, and here is
one. The fifth Earl of Berkeley, who died in 1810, had always declared
that any one might without disgrace be overcome by superior numbers, but
that he would never surrender to a single highwayman. As he was crossing
Hounslow Heath one night, on his way from Berkeley Castle to London, his
travelling carriage was stopped by a man on horseback, who put his head
in at the window and said, "I believe you are Lord Berkeley?" "I am." "I
believe you have always boasted that you would never surrender to a
single highwayman?" "I have." "Well," presenting a pistol, "I am a
single highwayman, and I say, 'Your money or your life.'" "You cowardly
dog," said Lord Berkeley, "do you think I can't see your confederate
skulking behind you?" The highwayman, who was really alone, looked
hurriedly round, and Lord Berkeley shot him through the head. I asked
Lady Caroline Maxse (1803-1886), who was born a Berkeley, if this story
was true. I can never forget my thrill when she replied, "Yes; and I am
proud to say that I am that man's daughter."

Sir Moses Montefiore was born in 1784, and died in 1885. It is a
disheartening fact for the teetotallers that he had drunk a bottle of
port wine every day since he grew up. He had dined with Lord Nelson on
board his ship, and vividly remembered the transcendent beauty of Lady
Hamilton. The last time Sir Moses appeared in public was, if I mistake
not, at a garden-party at Marlborough House. The party was given on a
Saturday. Sir Moses was restrained by religious scruples from using his
horses, and was of course too feeble to walk, so he was conveyed to the
party in a magnificent sedan-chair. That was the only occasion on which
I have seen such an article in use.

When I began to go out in London, a conspicuous figure in dinner-society
and on Protestant platforms was Captain Francis Maude, R.N. He was born
in 1798 and died in 1886. He used to say, "My grandfather was nine years
old when Charles II. died." And so, if pedigrees may be trusted, he was.
Charles II. died in 1685. Sir Robert Maude was born in 1676. His son,
the first Lord Hawarden, was born in 1727, and Captain Francis Maude was
this Lord Hawarden's youngest son. The year of his death (1880) saw also
that of a truly venerable woman, Mrs. Hodgson, mother of Kirkman and
Stewart Hodgson, the well-known partners in Barings' house. Her age was
not precisely known, but when a schoolgirl in Paris she had seen
Robespierre executed, and distinctly recollected the appearance of his
bandaged face. Her granddaughters, Mr. Stewart Hodgson's children, are
quite young women, and if they live to the age which, with such
ancestry, they are entitled to anticipate, they will carry down into the
middle of the twentieth century the account, derived from an
eye-witness, of the central event of the French Revolution.

One year later, in 1887, there died, at her house in St. James's Square,
Mrs. Anne Penelope Hoare, mother of the late Sir Henry Hoare, M.P. She
recollected being at a children's party when the lady of the house came
in and stopped the dancing because news had come that the King of France
had been put to death. Her range of conscious knowledge extended from
the execution of Louis XVI. to the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. So short a
thing is history.

Sir Walter Stirling, who was born in 1802 and died in 1888, was a little
old gentleman of ubiquitous activity, running about London with a yellow
wig, short trousers, and a cotton umbrella. I well remember his saying
to me, when Mr. Bradlaugh was committed to the Clock Tower, "I don't like
this. I am afraid it will mean mischief. I am old enough to remember
seeing Sir Francis Burdett taken to the Tower by the Sergeant-at-Arms
with a military force. I saw the riot then, and I am afraid I shall see
a riot again."

In the same year (1888) died Mrs. Thomson Hankey, wife of a former M.P.
for Peterborough. Her father, a Mr. Alexander, was born in 1729, and she
had inherited from him traditions of London as it appeared to a young
Scotsman in the year of the decapitation of the rebels after the rising
of 1745.

One of the most venerable and interesting figures in London, down to his
death in 1891, was George Thomas, sixth Earl of Albemarle. He was born
in 1799. He had played bat-trap-and-ball at St. Anne's Hill with Mr.
Fox, and, excepting his old comrade General Whichcote, who outlived him
by a few months, was the last survivor of Waterloo. A man whom I knew
longer and more intimately than any of those whom I have described was
the late Lord Charles James Fox Russell. He was born in 1807, and died
in 1894. His father's groom had led the uproar of London servants which
in the eighteenth century damned the play _High Life Below Stairs_. He
remembered a Highlander who had followed the army of Prince Charles
Edward in 1745, and had learned from another Highlander the Jacobite
soldiers' song--

"I would I were at Manchester,
A-sitting on the grass,
And by my side a bottle of wine,
And on my lap a lass."

He had officiated as a page at the coronation of George IV.; had
conversed with Sir Walter Scott about _The Bride of Lammermoor_ before
its authorship was disclosed; had served in the Blues under Ernest Duke
of Cumberland; and had lost his way in trying to find the newly
developed quarter of London called Belgrave Square.

Among living[2] links, I hope it is not ungallant to enumerate Lady
Georgiana Grey, only surviving child of

"That Earl, who forced his compeers to be just,
And wrought in brave old age what youth had planned;"

Lady Louisa Tighe, who as Lady Louisa Lennox buckled the Duke of
Wellington's sword when he set out from her mother's ball at Brussels
for the field of Waterloo; and Miss Eliza Smith of Brighton, the
vivacious and evergreen daughter of Horace Smith, who wrote the
_Rejected Addresses_. But these admirable and accomplished ladies hate
garrulity, and the mere mention of their names is a signal to bring
these disjointed reminiscences to a close.


[1] Lady Lyndhurst died in 1901.

[2] "Living" alas! no longer. The last survivor of these ladies died
this year, 1903.



These chapters are founded on Links with the Past. Let me now describe
in rather fuller detail three or four remarkable people with whom I had
more than a cursory acquaintance, and who allowed me for many years the
privilege of drawing without restriction on the rich stores of their
political and social recollections.

First among these in point of date, if of nothing else, I must place
John Earl Russell, the only person I have ever known who knew Napoleon
the Great. Lord Russell--or, to give him the name by which he was most
familiar to his countrymen, Lord John Russell--was born in 1792, and
when I first knew him he was already old; but it might have been said of
him with perfect truth that

"Votiva patuit veluti descripta tabella
Vita senis."

After he resigned the leadership of the Liberal party, at Christmas
1867, Lord Russell spent the greater part of his time at Pembroke Lodge,
a house in Richmond Park which takes its name from Elizabeth Countess of
Pembroke, long remembered as the object of King George the Third's
hopeless and pathetic love. As a token of his affection the King allowed
Lady Pembroke to build herself a "lodge" in the "vast wilderness" of
Richmond Park, amid surroundings which went far to realize Cowper's
idea of a "boundless contiguity of shade."

On her death, in 1831, Pembroke Lodge was assigned by William IV. to his
son-in-law, Lord Erroll, and in 1847 it was offered by the Queen to her
Prime Minister, Lord John Russell, who then had no home except his house
in Chesham Place. It was gratefully accepted, for indeed it had already
been coveted as an ideal residence for a busy politician who wanted
fresh air, and could not safely be far from the House of Commons. As
years went on Lord John spent more and more of his time in this
delicious retreat, and in his declining years it was practically his
only home.

A quarter of a century ago it was a curious and interesting privilege
for a young man to sit in the trellised dining-room of Pembroke Lodge,
or to pace its terrace-walk looking down upon the Thames, in intimate
converse with a statesman who had enjoyed the genial society of Charles
Fox, and had been the travelling companion of Lord Holland; had
corresponded with Tom Moore, debated with Francis Jeffrey, and dined
with Dr. Parr; had visited Melrose Abbey in the company of Sir Walter
Scott, and criticized the acting of Mrs. Siddons; conversed with
Napoleon in his seclusion at Elba, and ridden with the Duke of
Wellington along the lines of Torres Vedras.

The genius of John Leech, constantly exercised on the subject for twenty
years, has made all students of _Punch_ familiar with Lord John
Russell's outward aspect. We know from his boyish diary that on his
eleventh birthday he was "4 feet 2 inches high, and 3 stone 12 lb.
weight;" and though, as time went on, these extremely modest dimensions
were slightly exceeded, he was an unusually short man. His massive head
and broad shoulders gave him when he sate the appearance of greater
size, and when he rose to his feet the diminutive stature caused a
feeling of surprise. Sydney Smith declared that when Lord John first
contested Devonshire the burly electors were disappointed by the
exiguity of their candidate, but were satisfied when it was explained to
them that he had once been much larger, but was worn away by the
anxieties and struggles of the Reform Bill of 1832. Never was so robust
a spirit enshrined in so fragile a form. He inherited the miserable
legacy of congenital weakness. Even in those untender days he was
considered too delicate to remain at a Public School. It was thought
impossible for him to live through his first session of Parliament. When
he was fighting the Reform Bill through the House of Commons he had to
be fed with arrowroot by a benevolent lady who was moved to compassion
by his pitiful appearance. For years afterwards he was liable to
fainting-fits, had a wretched digestion, and was easily upset by hot
rooms, late hours, and bad air. These circumstances, combined with his
love of domestic life and his fondness for the country, led him to spend
every evening that he could spare in his seclusion at Pembroke Lodge,
and consequently cut him off, very much to his political disadvantage,
from constant and intimate associations with official colleagues and
parliamentary supporters.

There were other characteristics which enhanced this unfortunate
impression of aloofness. His voice had what used to be described in
satirical writings of the first half of the century as "an aristocratic
drawl," and his pronunciation was archaic. Like other high-bred people
of his time, he talked of "cowcumbers" and "laylocks," called a woman an
"'ooman," and was "much obleeged" where a degenerate age is content to
be obliged. The frigidity of his address and the seeming stiffness of
his manner, due really to an innate and incurable shyness, produced even
among people who ought to have known him well a totally erroneous notion
of his character and temperament. To Bulwer Lytton he seemed--

"How formed to lead, if not to proud to please!
His fame would fire you, but his manners freeze.
Like or dislike, he does not care a jot;
He wants your vote, but your affections not;
Vet human hearts need sun as well as oats--
So cold a climate plays the deuce with votes."

It must be admitted that in some of the small social arts which are so
valuable an equipment for a political leader Lord John was funnily
deficient. He had no memory for faces, and was painfully apt to ignore
his political followers when he met them beyond the walls of Parliament.
Once, staying in a Scotch country-house, he found himself thrown with
young Lord D----, now Earl of S----. He liked the young man's
conversation, and was pleased to find that he was a Whig. When the party
broke up, Lord John conquered his shyness sufficiently to say to his new
friend, "Well, Lord D----, I am very glad to have made your
acquaintance, and now you must come into the House of Commons and
support me there." "I have been doing that for the last ten years, Lord
John," was the reply of the gratified follower.

This inability to remember faces was allied in Lord John with a curious
artlessness of disposition which made it impossible for him to feign a
cordiality he did not feel. Once, at a concert at Buckingham Palace, he
was seen to get up suddenly, turn his back on the Duchess of Sutherland,
by whom he had been sitting, walk to the remotest part of the room, and
sit down by the Duchess of Inverness. When questioned afterwards as to
the cause of his unceremonious move, which had the look of a quarrel, he
said, "I could not have sate any longer by that great fire; I should
have fainted."

"Oh, that was a very good reason for moving; but I hope you told the
Duchess of Sutherland why you left her."

"Well--no; I don't think I did that. But I told the Duchess of Inverness
why I came and sate by her!"

Thus were opportunities of paying harmless compliments recklessly
thrown away.

It was once remarked by a competent critic that "there have been
Ministers who knew the springs of that public opinion which is delivered
ready digested to the nation every morning, and who have not scrupled to
work them for their own diurnal glorification, even although the recoil
might injure their colleagues. But Lord Russell has never bowed the knee
to the potentates of the Press; he has offered no sacrifice of
invitations to social editors; and social editors have accordingly
failed to discover the merits of a statesman who so little appreciated
them, until they have almost made the nation forget the services that
Lord Russell has so faithfully and courageously rendered."

Be this as it may, there is no doubt that the old Whig statesman lacked
those gifts or arts which make a man widely popular in a large society
of superficial acquaintances. On his deathbed he said with touching
pathos, "I have seemed cold to my friends, but it was not in my heart."
The friends needed no such assurance. He was the idol of those who were
most closely associated with him by the ties of blood or duty. Even to
people outside the innermost circle of intimacy there was something
peculiarly attractive in his singular mixture of gentleness and dignity.
He excelled as a host, doing the honours of his table with the
old-fashioned grace which he had learned at Woburn Abbey and at Holland
House when the century was young; and in the charm of his conversation
he was not easily equalled--never, in my experience, surpassed. He had
the happy knack of expressing a judgment which might be antagonistic to
the sentiments of those with whom he was dealing in language which,
while perfectly void of offence, was calmly decisive. His reply to Sir
Francis Burdett was pronounced by Mr. Gladstone to be the best repartee
ever made in Parliament. Sir Francis, an ex-Radical, attacking his
former associates with all the bitterness of a renegade, had said, "The
most offensive thing in the world is the cant of Patriotism." Lord John
replied, "I quite agree that the cant of Patriotism is a very offensive
thing; but the _recant_ of Patriotism is more offensive still." His
letter to the Dean of Hereford about the election of Bishop Hampden is a
classical instance of courteous controversy. Once a most Illustrious
Personage asked him if it was true that he taught that under certain
circumstances it was lawful for a subject to disobey the Sovereign.
"Well, speaking to a Sovereign of the House of Hanover, I can only
answer in the affirmative."

His copiousness of anecdote was inexhaustible. His stories always fitted
the point, and the droll gravity of his way of telling them added
greatly to their zest. Of his conversation with Napoleon at Elba I
recollect one curious question and answer. The Emperor took the little
Englishman by the ear and asked him what was thought in England of his
chances of returning to the throne of France. "I said, 'Sire, they think
you have no chance at all.'" The Emperor said that the English
Government had made a great mistake in sending the Duke of Wellington to
Paris--"On n'aime pas voir un homme par qui on a ete battu;" and on War
he made this characteristic comment: "Eh bien, c'est un grand jeu--belle

This interview took place when Lord John was making a tour with Lord and
Lady Holland, and much of his earlier life had been spent at Holland
House, in the heart of that brilliant society which Macaulay so
picturesquely described, and in which Luttrell and Samuel Rogers were
conspicuous figures. Their conversation supplied Lord John with an
anecdote which he used to bring out, with a twinkling eye and a
chuckling laugh, whenever he heard that any public reform was regarded
with misgiving by sensible men. Luttrell and Rogers were passing in a
wherry under old London Bridge when its destruction Was contemplated,
and Rogers said, "Some very sensible men think that, if these works are
carried into effect, the tide will flow so rapidly under the bridge that
dangerous consequences will follow." "My dear Rogers," answered
Luttrell, "if some very sensible men had been attended to, we should
still be eating acorns."

Of William and John Scott, afterwards Lord Stowell and Lord Eldon, Lord
Russell used to tell with infinite zest a story which he declared to be
highly characteristic of the methods by which they made their fortunes
and position. When they were young men at the Bar, having had a stroke
of professional luck, they determined to celebrate the occasion by
having a dinner at a tavern and going to the play. When it was time to
call for the reckoning, William Scott dropped a guinea. He and his
brother searched for it in vain, and came to the conclusion that it had
fallen between the boards of the uncarpeted floor.

"This is a bad job," said William; "we must give up the play."

"Stop a bit," said John; "I know a trick worth two of that," and called
the waitress.

"Betty," said he, "we've dropped two guineas. See if you can find them."
Betty went down on her hands and knees, and found the one guinea, which
had rolled under the fender.

"That's a very good girl, Betty," said John Scott, pocketing the coin;
"and when you find the other you can keep it for your trouble." And the
prudent brothers went with a light heart to the play, and so eventually
to the Bench and the Woolsack.

In spite of profound differences of political opinion, Lord Russell had
a high regard for the memory of the Duke of Wellington, and had been
much in his society in early life. Travelling in the Peninsula in 1812,
he visited Lord Wellington at his headquarters near Burgos. On the
morning after his arrival he rode out with his host and an aide-de-camp,
and surveyed the position of the French army. Lord Wellington, peering
through his glass, suddenly exclaimed, "By G----! they've changed their
position!" and said no more.

When they returned from their ride, the aide-de-camp said to Lord John,
"You had better get away as quick as you can. I am confident that Lord
Wellington means to make a move." Lord John took the hint, made his
excuses, and went on his way. That evening the British army was in full
retreat, and Lord Russell used to tell the story as illustrating the old
Duke's extreme reticence when there was a chance of a military secret
leaking out.

Lord Russell's father, the sixth Duke of Bedford, belonged to that
section of the Whigs who thought that, while a Whig ministry was
impossible, it was wiser to support the Duke of Wellington, whom they
believed to be a thoroughly honest man, than Canning, whom they regarded
as an unscrupulous adventurer. Accordingly the Duke of Wellington was a
frequent visitor at Woburn Abbey, and showed consistent friendliness to
Lord Russell and his many brothers, all of whom were full of anecdotes
illustrative of his grim humour and robust common sense. Let a few of
them be recorded.

The Government was contemplating the dispatch of an expedition to Burma,
with a view of taking Rangoon, and a question arose as to who would be
the fittest general to be sent in command of the expedition. The Cabinet
sent for the Duke of Wellington, and asked his advice. He instantly
replied, "Send Lord Combermere."

"But we have always understood that your Grace thought Lord Combermere a

"So he is a fool, and a d----d fool; but he can take Rangoon."

At the time of Queen Caroline's trial the mob of London sided with the
Queen, and the Duke's strong adhesion to the King made him extremely
unpopular. Riding up Grosvenor Place one day towards Apsley House, he
was beset by a gang of workmen who were mending the road. They formed a
cordon, shouldered their pickaxes, and swore they would not let the Duke
pass till he said "God save the Queen." "Well, gentlemen, since you will
have it so--'God save the Queen,' and may all your wives be like her!"

Mrs. Arbuthnot (wife of the Duke's private secretary, familiarly called
"Gosh") was fond of parading her intimacy with the Duke before
miscellaneous company. One day, in a large party, she said to him,--

"Duke, I know you won't mind my asking you, but is it true that you were
surprised at Waterloo?"

"By G----! not half as much surprised as I am now, mum."

When the Queen came to the throne her first public act was to go in
state to St. James's Palace to be proclaimed. She naturally wished to be
accompanied in her State coach only by the Duchess of Kent and one of
the Ladies of the Household; but Lord Albemarle, who was Master of the
Horse, insisted that he had a right to travel with her Majesty in the
coach, as he had done with William IV. The point was submitted to the
Duke of Wellington, as a kind of universal referee in matters of
precedence and usage. His judgment was delightfully unflattering to the
outraged magnate--"The Queen can make you go inside the coach or outside
the coach, or run behind like a tinker's dog."

And surely the whole literary profession, of which the present writer is
a feeble unit, must cherish a sentiment of grateful respect for the
memory of a man who, in refusing the dedication of a song, informed Mrs.
Norton that he had been obliged to make a rule of refusing dedications,
"because, in his situation as Chancellor of the University of Oxford, he
had been _much exposed to authors_."



If the Christian Socialists ever frame a Kalendar of Worthies (after the
manner of Auguste Comte), it is to be hoped that they will mark among
the most sacred of their anniversaries the day--April 28, 1801--which
gave birth to Anthony Ashley, seventh Earl of Shaftesbury. His life of
eighty-four years was consecrated, from boyhood till death, to the
social service of humanity; and, for my own part, I must always regard
the privilege of his friendship as among the highest honours of my life.
Let me try to recall some of the outward and inward characteristics of
this truly illustrious man.

Lord Shaftesbury was tall and spare--almost gaunt--in figure, but
powerfully framed, and capable of great exertion. His features were
handsome and strongly marked--an aquiline nose and very prominent chin.
His complexion was as pale as marble, and contrasted effectively with a
thick crop of jet-black hair which extreme old age scarcely tinged with

When he first entered Parliament a contemporary observer wrote: "It
would be difficult to imagine a more complete beau-ideal of aristocracy.
His whole countenance has the coldness as well as the grace of a
chiselled one, and expresses precision, prudence, and determination in
no common degree." The stateliness of bearing, the unbroken figure, the
high glance of stern though melancholy resolve, he retained to the end.
But the incessant labour and anxiety of sixty years made their mark, and
Sir John Millais's noble portrait, painted in 1877, shows a countenance
on which a lifelong contact with human suffering had written its tale in
legible characters.

Temperament is, I suppose, hereditary. Lord Shaftesbury's father, who
was for nearly forty years Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords,
was distinguished by a strong intellect, an imperious temper, and a
character singularly deficient in amiability. His mother (whose childish
beauty is familiar to all lovers of Sir Joshua's art as the little girl
frightened by the mask in the great "Marlborough Group") was the
daughter of the third Duke of Marlborough by that Duchess whom Queen
Charlotte pronounced to be the proudest woman in England. It is
reasonable to suppose that from such a parentage and such an ancestry
Lord Shaftesbury derived some of the most conspicuous features of his
character. From his father he inherited his keenness of intellect, his
habits of laborious industry, and his iron tenacity of purpose. From his
mother he may have acquired that strong sense of personal dignity--that
intuitive and perhaps unconscious feeling of what was due to his station
as well as to his individuality--which made his presence and address so
impressive and sometimes alarming.

Dignity was indeed the quality which immediately struck one on one's
first encounter with Lord Shaftesbury; and with dignity were associated
a marked imperiousness and an eager rapidity of thought, utterance, and
action. As one got to know him better, one began to realize his intense
tenderness towards all weakness and suffering; his overflowing affection
for those who stood nearest to him; his almost morbid sensitiveness; his
passionate indignation against cruelty or oppression. Now and then his
conversation was brightened by brief and sudden gleams of genuine
humour, but these gleams were rare. He had seen too much of human misery
to be habitually jocose, and his whole nature was underlain by a
groundwork of melancholy.

The marble of manhood retained the impression stamped upon the wax of
childhood. His early years had been profoundly unhappy. His parents were
stern disciplinarians of the antique type. His private school was a hell
on earth; and yet he used to say that he feared the master and the
bullies less than he feared his parents. One element of joy, and one
only, he recognized in looking back to those dark days, and that was the
devotion of an old nurse, who comforted him in his childish sorrows, and
taught him the rudiments of Christian faith. In all the struggles and
distresses of boyhood and manhood, he used the words of prayer which he
had learned from this good woman before he was seven years old; and of a
keepsake which she left him--the gold watch which he wore to the last
day of his life--he used to say, "That was given to me by the best
friend I ever had in the world."

At twelve years old Anthony Ashley went to Harrow, where he boarded with
the Head Master, Dr. Butler, father of the present Master of Trinity. I
have heard him say that the master in whose form he was, being a bad
sleeper, held "first school" at four o'clock on a winter's morning; and
that the boy for whom he fagged, being anxious to shine as a reciter,
and finding it difficult to secure an audience, compelled him and his
fellow-fag to listen night after night to his recitations, perched on a
high stool where a nap was impossible.

But in spite of these austerities, Anthony Ashley was happy at Harrow;
and the place should be sacred in the eyes of all philanthropists,
because it was there that, when he was fourteen years old, he
consciously and definitely gave his life to the service of his
fellow-men. He chanced to see a scene of drunken indecency and neglect
at the funeral of one of the villagers, and exclaimed in horror, "Good
heavens! Can this be permitted simply because the man was poor and
friendless?" What resulted is told by a tablet on the wall of the Old
School, which bears the following inscription:--

_Love. Serve_.










_Blessed is he that considereth the poor_.

After leaving Harrow Lord Ashley (as he now was) spent two years at a
private tutor's, and in 1819 he went up to Christ Church. In 1822 he
took a First Class in Classics. The next four years were spent in study
and travel, and in 1826 he was returned to Parliament, by the influence
of his uncle the Duke of Marlborough, for the Borough of Woodstock. On
November 16 he recorded in his diary: "Took the oaths of Parliament with
great good will; a slight prayer for assistance in my thoughts and
deeds." Never was a politician's prayer more abundantly granted.

In 1830 Lord Ashley married a daughter of Lord Cowper, and this
marriage, independently of the radiant happiness which it brought, had
an important bearing on his political career; for Lady Ashley's uncle
was Lord Melbourne, and her mother became, by a second marriage, the
wife of Lord Palmerston. Of Lord Melbourne and his strong common sense
Lord Shaftesbury, in 1882, told me the following characteristic story.
When the Queen became engaged to Prince Albert, she wished him to be
made King Consort by Act of Parliament, and urged her wish upon the
Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. At first that sagacious man simply
evaded the point, but when her Majesty insisted on a categorical answer,
"I thought it my duty to be very plain with her. I said, 'For G----'s
sake, let's hear no more of it, ma'am; for if you once get the English
people into the way of making kings, you will get them into the way of
unmaking them.'"

By this time Lord Ashley was deeply immersed in those philanthropic
enterprises which he had deliberately chosen as the occupation of his
lifetime. Reform of the Lunacy Law and a humaner treatment of lunatics
were the earliest objects to which he devoted himself. To attain them
the more effectually he got himself made a member, and subsequently
chairman, of the Lunacy Commission, and threw himself into the work with
characteristic thoroughness. He used to pay "surprise visits" both by
day and night to public and private asylums, and discovered by those
means a system of regulated and sanctioned cruelty which, as he narrated
it in his old age, seemed almost too horrible for credence.

The abolition of slavery all over the world was a cause which very early
enlisted his sympathy, and he used to tell, with grim humour, how, when,
after he had become Lord Shaftesbury, he signed an Open Letter to
America in favour of emancipation, a Southern newspaper sarcastically
inquired, "Where was this Lord Shaftesbury when the noble-hearted Lord
Ashley was doing his single-handed work on behalf of the English slaves
in the factories of Lancashire and Yorkshire?"

Sanitary reform and the promotion of the public health were objects at
which, in the middle part of his life, he worked hard, both as a
landowner and as the unpaid Chairman of the Board of Health. The crusade
against vivisection warmed his heart and woke his indignant eloquence
in his declining years. His Memorial Service in Westminster Abbey was
attended by representatives of nearly two hundred religious and
philanthropic institutions with which he had been connected, and which,
in one way or another, he had served. But, of course, it is with the
reform of the Factory Laws that his name is most inseparably associated.

In 1833 Lord Ashley took up the Ten Hours Bill, previously in the charge
of Mr. Sadler, who had now lost his seat. He carried his Bill through
the Second Reading, but it was opposed by Lord Althorp, who threw it
out, and carried a modified proposal in 1833. In 1844 the introduction
of a new Bill for the regulation of labour in factories brought Lord
Ashley back to his old battlefield. A desperate struggle was made to
amend the Bill into a Ten Hours Bill, but this failed, owing to Sir
Robert Peel's threat of resignation. In 1845 Lord Ashley refused the
Chief Secretaryship for Ireland in order to be able to devote himself
wholly to the Ten Hours Bill; and, as soon as Parliament rose, he went
on a tour through the manufacturing districts, speaking in public,
mediating between masters and men, and organizing the Ten Hours

In 1847 the Bill passed into law. On June 1 in that year Lord Ashley
wrote in his diary: "News that the Factory Bill has just passed the
Third Reading. I am humbled that my heart is not bursting with
thankfulness to Almighty God--that I can find breath and sense to
express my joy. What reward shall we give unto the Lord for all the
benefits He hath conferred upon us?--God in His mercy prosper the work,
and grant that these operatives may receive the cup of salvation and
call upon the name of the Lord!"

The perfervid vein of philanthropic zeal which is apparent in this
extract animated every part of Lord Shaftesbury's nature and every
action of his life. He had, if ever man had, "the Enthusiasm of
Humanity." His religion, on its interior side, was rapt, emotional, and
sometimes mystic; but at the same time it was, in its outward
manifestations, definite, tangible, and, beyond most men's, practical.
At the age of twenty-seven he wrote in his diary: "On my soul, I believe
that I desire the welfare of mankind." At eighty-four he exclaimed, in
view of his approaching end, "I cannot bear to leave the world with all
the misery in it." And this was no mere effusive declamation, but the
genuine utterance of a zeal which condescended to the most minute and
laborious forms of practical expression. "Poor dear children!" he
exclaimed to the superintendent of a ragged school, after hearing from
some of the children their tale of cold and hunger. "What can we do for

"My God shall supply all their need," replied the superintendent with
easy faith.

"Yes," said Lord Shaftesbury, "He will, but they must have some food
directly." He drove home, and instantly sent two churns of soup, enough
to feed four hundred. That winter ten thousand basins of soup, made in
Grosvenor Square, were distributed among the "dear little hearts" of

And as in small things, so in great. One principle consecrated his whole
life. His love of God constrained him to the service of men, and no
earthly object or consideration--however natural, innocent, or even
laudable--was allowed for a moment to interpose itself between him and
the supreme purpose for which he lived. He was by nature a man of keen
ambition, and yet he twice refused office in the Household, once the
Chief Secretaryship, and three times a seat in the Cabinet, because
acceptance would have hindered him in his social legislation and
philanthropic business. When we consider his singular qualifications for
public life--his physical gifts, his power of speech, his habits of
business, his intimate connections with the official caste--when we
remember that he did not succeed to his paternal property till he was
fifty years old, and then found it grossly neglected and burdened with
debt; and that his purse had been constantly drained by his
philanthropic enterprises--we are justified in saying that very few men
have ever sacrificed so much for a cause which brought neither honours,
nor riches, nor power, nor any visible reward, except the diminished
suffering and increased happiness of multitudes who were the least able
to help themselves.

Lord Shaftesbury's devotion to the cause of Labour led him to make the
Factory Acts a touchstone of character. To the end of his days his view
of public men was largely governed by the part which they had played in
that great controversy. "Gladstone voted against me," was a stern
sentence not seldom on his lips. "Bright was the most malignant opponent
the Factory Bill ever had." "Cobden, though bitterly hostile, was better
than Bright." Even men whom on general grounds he disliked and
despised--such as Lord Beaconsfield and Bishop Wilberforce--found a
saving clause in his judgment if he could truthfully say, "He helped me
with the chimney-sweeps," or, "He felt for the wretched operatives."

But even apart from questions of humane sentiment and the supreme
interests of social legislation, I always felt in my intercourse with
Lord Shaftesbury that it would have been impossible for him to act for
long together in subordination to, or even in concert with, any
political leader. Resolute, self-reliant, inflexible; hating compromise;
never turning aside by a hair's-breadth from the path of duty; incapable
of flattering high or low; dreading leaps in the dark, but dreading more
than anything else the sacrifice of principle to party--he was
essentially the type of politician who is the despair of the official

Oddly enough, Lord Palmerston was the statesman with whom, despite all
ethical dissimilarity, he had the most sympathy, and this arose partly
from their near relationship and partly from Lord Palmerston's
easy-going habit of placing his ecclesiastical patronage in Lord
Shaftesbury's hands. It was this unseen but not unfelt power as a
confidential yet irresponsible adviser that Lord Shaftesbury really
enjoyed and, indeed, his political opinions were too individual to have
allowed of binding association with either political party. He was, in
the truest and best sense of the word, a Conservative. To call him a
Tory would be quite misleading. He was not averse from Roman Catholic
emancipation. He took no prominent part against the first Reform Bill.
His resistance to the admission of the Jews to Parliament was directed
rather against the method than the principle. Though not friendly to
Women's Suffrage, he said: "I shall feel myself bound to conform to the
national will, but I am not prepared to stimulate it."

But while no blind and unreasoning opponent of all change, he had a deep
and lively veneration for the past. Institutions, doctrines, ceremonies,
dignities, even social customs, which had descended from old time, had
for him a fascination and an awe. In his high sense of the privileges
and the duties of kingship, of aristocracy, of territorial possession,
of established religions, he recalled the doctrine of Burke; and he
resembled that illustrious man in his passionate love of principle, in
his proud hatred of shifts and compromises, in his contempt for the
whole race of mechanical politicians and their ignoble strife for place
and power.

When Lord Derby formed his Government in 1866, on the defeat of Lord
Russell's second Reform Bill, he endeavoured to obtain the sanction of
Lord Shaftesbury's name and authority by offering him a seat in his
Cabinet. This offer was promptly declined; had it been accepted, it
might have had an important bearing on the following event, which was
narrated to me by Lord Shaftesbury in 1882. One winter evening in 1867
he was sitting in his library in Grosvenor Square, when the servant told
him that there was a poor man waiting to see him. The man was shown in,
and proved to be a labourer from Clerkenwell, and one of the innumerable
recipients of the old Earl's charity. He said, "My Lord, you have been
very good to me, and I have come to tell you what I have heard." It
appeared that at the public-house which he frequented he had overheard
some Irishmen of desperate character plotting to blow up Clerkenwell
prison. He gave Lord Shaftesbury the information to be used as he
thought best, but made it a condition that his name should not be
divulged. If it were, his life would not be worth an hour's purchase.
Lord Shaftesbury pledged himself to secrecy, ordered his carriage, and
drove instantly to Whitehall. The authorities there refused, on grounds
of official practice, to entertain the information without the name and
address of the informant. These, of course, could not be given. The
warning was rejected, and the jail blown up. Had Lord Shaftesbury been a
Cabinet Minister, this triumph of officialism would probably not have

What I have said of this favourite hero of mine in his public aspects
will have prepared the sympathetic reader for the presentment of the man
as he appeared in private life. For what he was abroad that he was at
home. He was not a man who showed two natures or lived two lives. He was
profoundly religious, eagerly benevolent, utterly impatient of whatever
stood between him and the laudable object of the moment, warmly attached
to those who shared his sympathies and helped his enterprises--_Fort
comme le diamant; plus tendre qu'une mere_. The imperiousness which I
described at the outset remained a leading characteristic to the last.
His opinions were strong, his judgment was emphatic, his language
unmeasured. He had been, all through his public life, surrounded by a
cohort of admiring and obedient coadjutors, and he was unused to, and
intolerant of, disagreement or opposition. It was a disconcerting
experience to speak on a platform where he was chairman, and, just as
one was warming to an impressive passage, to feel a vigorous pull at
one's coat-tail, and to hear a quick, imperative voice say, in no
muffled tone, "My dear fellow, are you never going to stop? We shall be
here all night."

But when due allowance was made for this natural habit of command, Lord
Shaftesbury was delightful company. Given to hospitality, he did the
honours with stately grace; and, on the rare occasions when he could be
induced to dine out, his presence was sure to make the party a success.
In early life he had been pestered by a delicate digestion, and had
accustomed himself to a regimen of rigid simplicity; but, though the
most abstemious of men, he knew and liked a good glass of wine, and in a
small party would bring out of the treasures of his memory things new
and old with a copiousness and a vivacity which fairly fascinated his
hearers. His conversation had a certain flavour of literature. His
classical scholarship was easy and graceful. He had the Latin poets at
his fingers' ends, spoke French fluently, knew Milton by heart, and was
a great admirer of Crabbe. His own style, both in speech and writing,
was copious, vigorous, and often really eloquent. It had the same
ornamental precision as his exquisite handwriting. When he was among
friends whom he thoroughly enjoyed, the sombre dignity of his
conversation was constantly enlivened by flashes of a genuine humour,
which relieved, by the force of vivid contrast, the habitual austerity
of his demeanour.

A kind of proud humility was constantly present in his speech and
bearing. Ostentation, display, lavish expenditure would have been
abhorrent alike to his taste and his principles. The stately figure
which bore itself so majestically in Courts and Parliaments naturally
unbent among the costermongers of Whitechapel and the labourers of
Dorsetshire. His personal appointments were simple to a degree; his own
expenditure was restricted within the narrowest limits. But he loved,
and was honestly proud of, his beautiful home--St. Giles's House, near
Cranbourne; and when he received his guests, gentle or simple, at "The
Saint," as he affectionately called it, the mixture of stateliness and
geniality in his bearing and address was an object-lesson in high
breeding. Once Lord Beaconsfield, who was staying with Lord Alington at
Crichel, was driven over to call on Lord Shaftesbury at St. Giles's.
When he rose to take his leave, he said, with characteristic
magniloquence, but not without an element of truth, "Good-bye, my dear
Lord. You have given me the privilege of seeing one of the most
impressive of all spectacles--a great English nobleman living in
patriarchal state in his own hereditary halls."



I have described a great philanthropist and a great statesman. My
present subject is a man who combined in singular harmony the qualities
of philanthropy and of statesmanship--Henry Edward, Cardinal Manning,
and titular Archbishop of Westminster.

My acquaintance with Cardinal Manning began in 1833. Early in the
Parliamentary session of that year he intimated, through a common
friend, a desire to make my acquaintance. He wished to get an
independent Member of Parliament, and especially, if possible, a Liberal
and a Churchman, to take up in the House of Commons the cause of
Denominational Education. His scheme was much the same as that now[3]
adopted by the Government--the concurrent endowment of all
denominational schools; which, as he remarked, would practically come to
mean those of the Anglicans, the Romans, and the Wesleyans. In
compliance with his request, I presented myself at that barrack-like
building off the Vauxhall Bridge Road, which was formerly the Guards'
Institute, and is now the Archbishop's House. Of course, I had long been
familiar with the Cardinal's shrunken form and finely-cut features, and
that extraordinary dignity of bearing which gave him, though in reality
below the middle height, the air and aspect of a tall man. But I only
knew him as a conspicuous and impressive figure in society, on public
platforms, and (where he specially loved to be) in the precincts of the
House of Commons. I had never exchanged a word with him, and it was with
a feeling of very special interest that I entered his presence.

We had little in common. I was still a young man, and the Cardinal was
already old. I was a staunch Anglican; he, the most devoted of
Papalists. I was strongly opposed both to his Ultramontane policy and to
those dexterous methods by which he was commonly supposed to promote it;
and, as far as the circumstances of my life had given me any insight
into the interior of Romanism, I sympathized with the great Oratorian of
Birmingham rather than with his brother-cardinal of Westminster. But
though I hope that my principles stood firm, all my prejudices melted
away in that fascinating presence. Though there was something like half
a century's difference in our ages, I felt at once and completely at
home with him.

What made our perfect ease of intercourse more remarkable was that, as
far as the Cardinal's immediate object was concerned, my visit was a
total failure. I had no sympathy with his scheme for the endowment of
denominational teaching, and, with all the will in the world to please
him, I could not even meet him half way. But this untoward circumstance
did not import the least difficulty or restraint into our conversation.
He gently glided from business into general topics; knew all about my
career, congratulated me on some recent success, remembered some of my
belongings, inquired about my school and college, was interested to find
that, like himself, I had been at Harrow and Oxford, and, after an
hour's pleasant chat, said, "Now you must stay and have some luncheon."
From that day to the end of his life I was a frequent visitor at his
house, and every year that I knew him I learned to regard and respect
him increasingly.

Looking back over these fourteen years, and reviewing my impressions of
his personality, I must put first the physical aspect of the man. He
seemed older than he was, and even more ascetic, for he looked as if,
like the cardinal in _Lothair_, he lived on biscuits and soda-water;
whereas he had a hearty appetite for his midday meal, and, in his own
words, "enjoyed his tea." Still, he carried the irreducible minimum of
flesh on his bones, and his hollow cheeks and shrunken jaws threw his
massive forehead into striking prominence. His line of features was
absolutely faultless in its statuesque regularity, but his face was
saved from the insipidity of too great perfection by the
imperious--rather ruthless--lines of his mouth and the penetrating
lustre of his deep-set eyes. His dress--a black cassock edged and
buttoned with crimson, with a crimson skullcap and biretta, and a
pectoral cross of gold--enhanced the picturesqueness of his aspect, and
as he entered the anteroom where one awaited his approach, the most
Protestant knee instinctively bent.

His dignity was astonishing. The position of a cardinal with a princely
rank recognized abroad but officially ignored in England was difficult
to carry off, but his exquisite tact enabled him to sustain it to
perfection. He never put himself forward; never asserted his rank; never
exposed himself to rebuffs; still, he always contrived to be the most
conspicuous figure in any company which he entered; and whether one
greeted him with the homage due to a prince of the Church or merely with
the respect which no one refuses to a courtly old gentleman, his manner
was equally easy, natural, and unembarrassed. The fact that the
Cardinal's name, after due consideration, was inserted in the Royal
Commission on the Housing of the Poor immediately after that of the
Prince of Wales and before Lord Salisbury's was the formal recognition
of a social precedence which adroitness and judgment had already made
his own.

To imagine that Cardinal Manning regarded station, or dignity, or even
power, as treasures to be valued in themselves would be ridiculously to
misconceive the man. He had two supreme and absorbing objects in
life--if, indeed, they may not be more properly spoken of as one--the
glory of God and the salvation of men. These were, in his intellect and
conscience, identified with the victory of the Roman Church. To these
all else was subordinated; by its relation to these all else was weighed
and calculated. His ecclesiastical dignity, and the secular recognition
of it, were valuable as means to high ends. They attracted public notice
to his person and mission; they secured him a wider hearing; they gave
him access to circles which, perhaps, would otherwise have been closed.
Hence, and for no other reason, they were valuable.

It has always to be borne in mind that Manning was essentially a man of
the world, though he was much more than that. Be it far from me to
disparage the ordinary type of Roman ecclesiastic, who is bred in a
seminary, and perhaps spends his lifetime in a religious community. That
peculiar training produces, often enough, a character of saintliness and
unworldly grace on which one can only "look," to use a phrase of Mr.
Gladstone's, "as men look up at the stars." But it was a very different
process that had made Cardinal Manning what he was. He had touched life
at many points. A wealthy home, four years at Harrow, Balliol in its
palmiest days, a good degree, a College Fellowship, political and
secular ambitions of no common kind, apprenticeship to the practical
work of a Government office, a marriage brightly but all too briefly
happy, the charge of a country parish, and an early initiation into the
duties of ecclesiastical rulership--all these experiences had made
Henry Manning, by the time of his momentous change, an accomplished man
of the world.

His subsequent career, though, of course, it superadded certain
characteristics of its own, never obliterated or even concealed the
marks left by those earlier phases, and the octogenarian Cardinal was a
beautifully-mannered, well-informed, sagacious old gentleman who, but
for his dress, might have passed for a Cabinet Minister, an eminent
judge, or a great county magnate.

His mental alertness was remarkable. He seemed to read everything that
came out, and to know all that was going on. He probed character with a
glance, and was particularly sharp on pretentiousness and
self-importance. A well-known publicist, who perhaps thinks of himself
rather more highly than he ought to think, once ventured to tell the
Cardinal that he knew nothing about the subject of a painful agitation
which pervaded London in the summer of 1885. "I have been hearing
confessions in London for thirty years, and I fancy more people have
confided their secrets to me than to you, Mr. ----," was the Cardinal's

Once, when his burning sympathy with suffering and his profound contempt
for Political Economy had led him, in his own words, to "poke fun at the
Dismal Science," the _Times_ lectured him in its most superior manner,
and said that the venerable prelate seemed to mistake cause and effect.
"That," said the Cardinal to me, "is the sort of criticism that an
undergraduate makes, and thinks himself very clever. But I am told that
in the present day the _Times_ is chiefly written by undergraduates."

I once asked him what he thought of a high dignitary of the English
Church, who had gone a certain way in a public movement, and then had
been frightened back by clamour. His reply was the single word
"_infirmus_," accompanied by that peculiar sniff which every one who
ever conversed with him must remember as adding so much to the piquancy
of his terse judgments. When he was asked his opinion of a famous
biography in which a son had disclosed, with too absolute frankness, his
father's innermost thoughts and feelings, the Cardinal replied, "I think
that ---- has committed the sin of Ham."

His sense of humour was peculiarly keen, and though it was habitually
kept under control, it was sometimes used to point a moral with
admirable effect.

"What are you going to do in life?" he asked a rather flippant
undergraduate at Oxford.

"Oh, I'm going to take Holy Orders," was the airy reply.

"Take care you get them, my son."

Though he was intolerant of bumptiousness, the Cardinal liked young men.
He often had some about him, and in speaking to them the friendliness of
his manner was touched with fatherliness in a truly attractive fashion.
And as with young men, so with children. Surely nothing could be
prettier than this answer to a little girl in New York who had addressed
some of her domestic experiences to "Cardinal Manning, England."

"My Dear Child,--You ask me whether I am glad to receive letters from
little children. I am always glad, for they write kindly and give me no
trouble. I wish all my letters were like theirs. Give my blessing to
your father, and tell him that our good Master will reward him a
hundredfold for all he has lost for the sake of his faith. Tell him that
when he comes over to England he must come to see me. And mind you bring
your violin, for I love music, but seldom have any time to hear it. The
next three or four years of your life are very precious. They are like
the ploughing-time and the sowing-time in the year. You are learning to
know God, the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation, the presence and voice of
the Holy Ghost in the Church of Jesus Christ. Learn all these things
solidly, and you will love the Blessed Sacrament and our Blessed Mother
with all your heart. And now you will pray for me that I may make a good
end of a long life, which cannot be far off. And may God guide you and
guard you in innocence and in fidelity through this evil, evil world!
And may His blessing be on your home and all belonging to you! Believe
me always a true friend, Henry Edward, Card. Abp. of Westminster."

The Cardinal had, I should say, rather a contempt for women. He
exercised a great influence over them, but I question if he rated their
intellectual and moral qualities as highly as he ought, and their
"rights" he held in utter detestation. General society, though in his
later days he saw little of it except at the Athenaeum, he thoroughly
enjoyed. Like most old people, he was fond of talking about old days,
and as he had known hosts of important and interesting men, had a
tenacious memory, and spoke the most finished English, it was a pleasure
to listen to his reminiscences. He wrote as well as he talked. His
pointed and lucid style gave to his printed performances a semblance of
cogency which they did not really possess; and his letters--even his
shortest notes--were as exquisite in wording as in penmanship. As he
grew older, he became increasingly sensible of the charms of "Auld Lang
Syne," and he delighted to renew his acquaintance with the scenes and
associations of his youth.

On July 15, 1888, being the first day of the Eton and Harrow Match at
Lord's, a few old Harrovians of different generations met at a Harrow
dinner. The Cardinal, who had just turned eighty, was invited. He
declined to dine, on the ground that he never dined out, but he would on
no account forego the opportunity of meeting the members of his old
school, and he recalled with pride that he had played for two years in
the Harrow Eleven. He appeared as soon as dinner was over, gallantly
faced the cloud of cigar-smoke, was in his very best vein of anecdote
and reminiscence, and stayed till the party broke up.

The Cardinal's friendships were not, I believe, numerous, but his
affection for Mr. Gladstone is well known. It dated from Oxford. Through
Manning and Hope-Scott the influence of the Catholic revival reached the
young member for Newark, and they were the godfathers of his eldest son.
After their secession to Rome in 1851 this profound friendship fell into
abeyance. As far as Manning was concerned, it was renewed when, in 1868,
Mr. Gladstone took in hand to disestablish the Irish Church. It was
broken again by the controversy about _Vaticanism_, in 1875, and some
fifteen years later was happily revived by the good offices of a common
friend. "Gladstone is a very fine fellow," said the Cardinal to me in
1890. "He is not vindictive. You may fight him as hard as you like, and
when the fight is over you will find that it has left no rancour behind

This affection for Mr. Gladstone was a personal matter, quite
independent of politics; but in political matters also they had much in
common. "You know," wrote the Cardinal to Mrs. Gladstone on her Golden
Wedding, "how nearly I have agreed in William's political career,
especially in his Irish policy of the last twenty years." He accepted
the principle of Home Rule, though he thought badly of the Bill of 1886,
and predicted its failure from the day when it was brought in. The
exclusion of the Irish members was in his eyes a fatal blot, as tending
rather to separation than to that Imperial federation which was his
political ideal. But the Cardinal always held his politics in
subordination to his religion, and at the General Election of 1885 his
vigorous intervention on behalf of denominational education which he
considered to be imperilled by the Radical policy, considerably
embarrassed the Liberal cause in those districts of London where there
is a Roman Catholic vote.

It is necessary to say a word about Cardinal Manning's method of
religious propagandism. He excelled in the art of driving a nail where
it would go. He never worried his acquaintance with controversy, never
introduced religious topics unseasonably, never cast his pearls before
unappreciative animals. But when he saw a chance, an opening, a
sympathetic tendency, or a weak spot, he fastened on it with unerring
instinct. His line was rather admonitory than persuasive. When he
thought that the person whom he was addressing had an inkling of the
truth, but was held back from avowing it by cowardice or indecision, he
would utter the most startling warnings about the danger of dallying
with grace.

"I promise you to become a Catholic when I am twenty-one," said a young
lady whom he was trying to convert.

"But can you promise to live so long?" was the searching rejoinder.

In Manning's belief, the Roman Church was the one oracle of truth and
the one ark of salvation; and his was the faith which would compass sea
and land, sacrifice all that it possessed, and give its body to be
burned, if it might by any means bring one more soul to safety. If he
could win a single human being to see the truth and act on it, he was
supremely happy. To make the Church of Rome attractive, to enlarge her
borders, to win recruits for her, was therefore his constant effort. He
had an ulterior eye to it in all his public works--his zealous
teetotalism, his advocacy of the claims of labour, his sympathy with the
demand for Home Rule; and the same principle which animated him in these
large schemes of philanthropy and public policy made itself felt in the
minutest details of daily life and personal dealing. Where he saw the
possibility of making a convert, or even of dissipating prejudice and
inclining a single Protestant more favourably towards Rome, he left no
stone unturned to secure this all-important end. Hence it came that he
was constantly, and not wholly without reason, depicted as a man whom in
religious matters it was impossible to trust; with whom the end
justified the means; and whose every act and word, where the interests
of his Church were involved, must be watched with the most jealous

All this was grossly overstated. Whatever else Cardinal Manning was, he
was an English gentleman of the old school, with a nice sense of honour
and propriety. But still, under a mass of calumny and exaggeration,
there lay this substratum of truth--that he who wills the end wills the
means; and that where the interests of a sacred cause are at stake, an
enthusiastic adherent will sometimes use methods to which, in
enterprises of less pith and moment, recourse could not properly be had.

Manning had what has been called "the ambition of distinctiveness." He
felt that he had a special mission which no other man could so
adequately fulfil, and this was to establish and popularize in England
his own robust faith in the cause of the Papacy as identical with the
cause of God. There never lived a stronger Papalist. He was more
Ultramontane than the Ultramontanes. Everything Roman was to him divine.
Italian architecture, Italian vestments, the Italian mode of pronouncing
ecclesiastical Latin were dear to him, because they visibly and audibly
implied the all-pervading presence and power of Rome. Rightly or
wrongly, he conceived that English Romanism, as it was when he joined
the Roman Church, was practically Gallicanism; that it minimized the
Papal supremacy, was disloyal to the Temporal Power, and was prone to
accommodate itself to its Protestant and secular environment. Against
this time-serving spirit he set his face like a flint. He believed that
he had been divinely appointed to Papalize England. The cause of the
Pope was the cause of God; Manning was the person who could best serve
the Pope's cause, and therefore all forces which opposed him were in
effect opposing the Divine Will. This seems to have been his simple and
sufficient creed, and certainly it had the merit of supplying a clear
rule of action. It made itself felt in his hostility to the Religious
Orders, and especially the Society of Jesus. Religious Orders are
extra-episcopal. The Jesuits are scarcely subject to the Pope himself.
Certainly neither the Orders nor the Society would, or could, be subject
to Manning. A power independent of, or hostile to, his authority was
inimical to religion, and must, as a religious duty, be checked, and, if
possible, destroyed. Exactly the same principle animated his dealings
with Cardinal Newman. Rightly or wrongly, Manning thought Newman a
half-hearted Papalist. He dreaded alike his way of putting things and
his practical policy. Newman's favourite scheme of establishing a Roman
Catholic college at Oxford, Manning regarded as fraught with peril to
the faith of the rising generation. The scheme must therefore be crushed
and its author snubbed.

I must in candour add that these differences of opinion between the two
Cardinals were mixed with and embittered by a sense of personal dislike.
When Newman died there appeared in a monthly magazine a series of very
unflattering sketches by one who had lived under his roof. I ventured to
ask Cardinal Manning if he had seen these sketches. He replied that he
had, and thought them very shocking; the writer must have a very
unenviable mind, &c., and then, having thus sacrificed to propriety,
after a moment's pause he added, "But if you ask me if they are like
poor Newman, I am bound to say--_a photograph_."

It was, I suppose, matter of common knowledge that Manning's early and
conspicuous ascendency in the counsels of the Papacy rested mainly on
the intimacy of his personal relations with Pius IX. But it was news to
most of us that (if his biographer is right) he wished to succeed
Antonelli as Secretary of State in 1876, and to transfer the scene of
his activities from Westminster to Rome, and that he attributed the
Pope's disregard of his wishes to mental decrepitude. The point, if
true, is an important one, for his accession to the Secretaryship of
State, and permanent residence in Rome, could not have failed to affect
the development of events when, two years later, the Papal throne became
vacant by the death of Pius IX. But _Deo aliter visum_. It was ordained
that he should pass the evening of his days in England, and that he
should outlive his intimacy at the Vatican and his influence on the
general policy of the Church of Rome. With the accession of Leo XIII. a
new order began, and Newman's elevation to the sacred purple seemed to
affix the sanction of Infallibility to views and methods against which
Manning had waged a Thirty Years' War. Henceforward he felt himself a
stranger at the Vatican, and powerless beyond the limits of his own

Perhaps this restriction of exterior activities in the ecclesiastical
sphere drove the venerable Cardinal to find a vent for his untiring
energies in those various efforts of social reform in which, during the
last ten years of his life, he played so conspicuous a part. If this be
so, though Rome may have lost, England was unquestionably a gainer. It
was during those ten years that I was honoured by his friendship. The
storms, the struggles, the ambitions, the intrigues which had filled so
large a part of his middle life lay far behind. He was revered, useful,
and, I think, contented in his present life, and looked forward with
serene confidence to the final, and not distant, issue. Thrice happy is
the man who, in spite of increasing infirmity and the loss of much that
once made life enjoyable, thus

"Finds comfort in himself and in his cause,
And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws
His breath in confidence of Heaven's applause."


[3] 1903



It is narrated of an ancient Fellow of All Souls' that, lamenting the
changes which had transformed his College from the nest of aristocratic
idlers into a society of accomplished scholars, he exclaimed: "Hang it
all, sir, we were _sui generis_." What the unreformed Fellows of All
Souls' were among the common run of Oxford dons, that, it may truly (and
with better syntax) be said, the late Lord Houghton was among his
fellow-citizens. Of all the men I have ever known he was, I think, the
most completely _sui generis_. His temperament and turn of mind were, as
far as I know, quite unlike anything that obtained among his
predecessors and contemporaries; nor do I see them reproduced among the
men who have come after him. His peculiarities were not external. His
appearance accorded with his position. He looked very much what one
would have expected in a country gentleman of large means and prosperous
circumstances. His early portraits show that he was very like all the
other young gentlemen of fashion whom D'Orsay drew, with their long
hair, high collars, and stupendous neckcloths. The admirably faithful
work of Mr. Lehmann will enable all posterity to know exactly how he
looked in his later years with his loose-fitting clothes, comfortable
figure, and air of genial gravity. Externally all was normal. His
peculiarities were those of mental habit, temperament, and taste. As far
as I know, he had not a drop of foreign blood in his veins, yet his
nature was essentially un-English.

A country gentleman who frankly preferred living in London, and a
Yorkshireman who detested sport, made a sufficiently strange phenomenon;
but in Lord Houghton the astonished world beheld as well a politician
who wrote poetry, a railway-director who lived in literature, a
_libre-penseur_ who championed the Tractarians, a sentimentalist who
talked like a cynic, and a philosopher who had elevated conviviality to
the dignity of an exact science. Here, indeed, was a "living
oxymoron"--a combination of inconsistent and incongruous qualities which
to the typical John Bull--Lord Palmerston's "Fat man with a white hat in
the twopenny omnibus"--was a sealed and hopeless mystery.

Something of this unlikeness to his fellow-Englishmen was due, no doubt,
to the fact that Lord Houghton, the only son of a gifted, eccentric, and
indulgent father, was brought up at home. The glorification of the
Public School has been ridiculously overdone. But it argues no blind
faith in that strange system of unnatural restraints and scarcely more
reasonable indulgences to share Gibbon's opinion that the training of a
Public School is the best adapted to the common run of Englishmen. "It
made us what we were, sir," said Major Bagstock to Mr. Dombey; "we were
iron, sir, and it forged us." The average English boy being what he is
by nature--"a soaring human boy," as Mr. Chadband called him--a Public
School simply makes him more so. It confirms alike his characteristic
faults and his peculiar virtues, and turns him out after five or six
years that altogether lovely and gracious product--the Average
Englishman. This may be readily conceded; but, after all, the
pleasantness of the world as a place of residence, and the growing good
of the human race, do not depend exclusively on the Average Englishman;
and something may be said for the system of training which has
produced, not only all famous foreigners (for they, of course, are a
negligible quantity), but such exceptional Englishmen as William Pitt
and Thomas Macaulay, and John Keble and Samuel Wilberforce, and Richard
Monckton Milnes.

From an opulent and cultivated home young Milnes passed to the most
famous college in the world, and found himself under the tuition of
Whewell and Thirlwall, and in the companionship of Alfred Tennyson and
Julius Hare, Charles Buller and John Sterling--a high-hearted
brotherhood who made their deep mark on the spiritual and intellectual
life of their own generation and of that which succeeded it.

After Cambridge came foreign travel, on a scale and plan quite outside
the beaten track of the conventional "grand tour" as our fathers knew
it. From the Continent Richard Milnes brought back a gaiety of spirit, a
frankness of bearing, a lightness of touch which were quite un-English,
and "a taste for French novels, French cookery, and French wines" with
which Miss Crawley would have sympathized. In 1837 he entered Parliament
as a "Liberal Conservative" for the Borough of Pontefract, over which
his father exercised considerable influence, and he immediately became a
conspicuous figure in the social life of London. A few years later his
position and character were drawn by the hand of a master in a passage
which will well bear yet one more reproduction:--

"Mr. Vavasour was a social favourite; a poet, and a real poet, and a
troubadour, as well as a Member of Parliament; travelled,
sweet-tempered, and good-hearted; amusing and clever. With catholic
sympathies and an eclectic turn of mind, Mr. Vavasour saw something good
in everybody and everything; which is certainly amiable, and perhaps
just, but disqualifies a man in some degree for the business of life,
which requires for its conduct a certain degree of prejudice. Mr.
Vavasour's breakfasts were renowned. Whatever your creed, class, or
country--one might almost add your character--you were a welcome guest
at his matutinal meal, provided you were celebrated. That qualification,
however, was rigidly enforced. A real philosopher, alike from his genial
disposition and from the influence of his rich and various information,
Vavasour moved amid the strife, sympathizing with every one; and
perhaps, after all, the philanthropy which was his boast was not
untinged by a dash of humour, of which rare and charming quality he
possessed no inconsiderable portion. Vavasour liked to know everybody
who was known, and to see everything which ought to be seen. His life
was a gyration of energetic curiosity; an insatiable whirl of social
celebrity. There was not a congregation of sages and philosophers in any
part of Europe which he did not attend as a brother. He was present at
the camp of Kalisch in his yeomanry uniform, and assisted at the
festivals of Barcelona in an Andalusian jacket. He was everywhere and at
everything: he had gone down in a diving-bell and gone up in a balloon.
As for his acquaintances, he was welcomed in every land; his universal
sympathies seemed omnipotent. Emperor and King, Jacobin and Carbonaro,
alike cherished him. He was the steward of Polish balls, and the
vindicator of Russian humanity; he dined with Louis Philippe, and gave
dinners to Louis Blanc."

Lord Beaconsfield's penetration in reading character and skill in
delineating it were never, I think, displayed to better advantage than
in the foregoing passage. Divested of its intentional and humorous
exaggerations, it is not a caricature, but a portrait. It exhibits with
singular fidelity the qualities which made Lord Houghton, to the end of
his long life, at once unique and lovable. We recognize the overflowing
sympathy, the keen interest in life, the vivid faculty of enjoyment, the
absolute freedom from national prejudice, the love of seeing and of
being seen.

During the Chartist riots of 1848 Matthew Arnold wrote to his mother:
"Tell Miss Martineau it is said here that Monckton Milnes refused to be
sworn in a special constable, that he might be free to assume the post
of President of the Republic at a moment's notice." And those who knew
Lord Houghton best suspect that he himself originated the joke at his
own expense. The assured ease of young Milnes's social manner, even
among complete strangers, so unlike the morbid self-repression and proud
humility of the typical Englishman, won for him the nickname of "The
Cool of the Evening." His wholly un-English tolerance and constant
effort to put himself in the place of others whom the world condemned,
procured for him from Carlyle (who genuinely loved him) the title of
"President of the Heaven-and-Hell-Amalgamation Company." Bishop
Wilberforce wrote, describing a dinner-party in 1847: "Carlyle was very
great. Monckton Milnes drew him out. Milnes began the young man's cant
of the present day--the barbarity and wickedness of capital punishment;
that, after all, we could not be sure others were wicked, etc. Carlyle
broke out on him with, 'None of your Heaven-and-Hell-Amalgamation
Companies for me. We _do_ know what is wickedness, _I_ know wicked men,
men whom I _would not live with_--men whom under some conceivable
circumstances I would kill or they should kill me. No, Milnes, there's
no truth or greatness in all that. It's just poor, miserable

Lord Houghton's faculty of enjoyment was peculiarly keen. He warmed not
only both hands but indeed all his nature before the fire of life. "All
impulses of soul and sense" affected him with agreeable emotions; no
pleasure of body or spirit came amiss to him. And in nothing was he more
characteristically un-English than in the frank manifestation of his
enjoyment, bubbling over with an infectious jollity, and never, even
when touched by years and illness, taking his pleasures after that
melancholy manner of our nation to which it is a point of literary
honour not more directly to allude. Equally un-English was his frank
openness of speech and bearing. His address was pre-eminently what
old-fashioned people called "forthcoming." It was strikingly--even
amusingly--free from that frigid dignity and arrogant reserve for which
as a nation we are so justly famed. I never saw him kiss a guest on both
cheeks, but if I had I should not have felt the least surprised.

What would have surprised me would have been if the guest (whatever his
difference of age or station) had not felt immediately and completely at
home, or if Lord Houghton had not seemed and spoken as if they had known
one another from the days of short frocks and skipping-ropes. There
never lived so perfect a host. His sympathy was genius, and his
hospitality a fine art. He was peculiarly sensitive to the claims of
"Auld Lang Syne," and when a young man came up from Oxford or Cambridge
to begin life in London, he was certain to find that Lord Houghton had
travelled on the Continent with his father, or had danced with his
mother, or had made love to his aunt, and was eagerly on the look-out
for an opportunity of showing gracious and valuable kindness to the son
of his ancient friends.

When I first lived in London Lord Houghton was occupying a house in
Arlington Street made famous by the fact that Hogarth drew its interior
and decorations in his pictures of "Marriage a la Mode." And nowhere did
the social neophyte receive a warmer welcome, or find himself amid a
more eclectic and representative society. Queens of fashion,
professional beauties, authors and authoresses, ambassadors,
philosophers, discoverers, actors--every one who was famous or even
notorious; who had been anywhere or had done anything, from a
successful speech in Parliament to a hazardous leap at the
Aquarium--jostled one another on the wide staircase and in the gravely
ornate drawing-rooms. And amid the motley crowd the genial host was
omnipresent, with a warm greeting and a twinkling smile for each
successive guest--a good story, a happy quotation, the last morsel of
piquant gossip, the newest theory of ethics or of politics.

Lord Houghton's humour had a quality which was quite its own. Nothing
was sacred to it--neither age, nor sex, nor subject was spared; but it
was essentially good-natured. It was the property of a famous spear to
heal the wounds which itself had made; the shafts of Lord Houghton's fun
needed no healing virtue, for they made no wound. When that saintly
friend of temperance and all good causes, Mr. Cowper-Temple, was raised
to the peerage as Lord Mount Temple, Lord Houghton went about saying,
"You know that the precedent for Billy Cowper's title is in _Don

'And Lord Mount Coffee-house, the Irish peer,
Who killed himself for love, with drink, last year.'"

When a very impecunious youth, who could barely afford to pay for his
cab fares, lost a pound to him at whist, Lord Houghton said, as he
pocketed the coin, "Ah, my dear boy, the _great_ Lord Hertford, whom
foolish people called the _wicked_ Lord Hertford--Thackeray's Steyne and
Dizzy's Monmouth--used to say, 'There is no pleasure in winning money
from a man who does not feel it.' How true that was!--" And when he saw
a young friend at a club supping on _pate de foie gras_ and champagne,
he said encouragingly, "That's quite right. All the pleasant things in
life are unwholesome, or expensive, or wrong." And amid these rather
grim morsels of experimental philosophy he would interject certain
_obiter dicta_ which came straight from the unspoiled goodness of a
really kind heart. "All men are improved by prosperity," he used to
say. Envy, hatred, and malice had no place in his nature. It was a
positive enjoyment to him to see other people happy, and a friend's
success was as gratifying as his own. His life, though in most respects
singularly happy, had not been without its disappointments. At one time
he had nursed political ambitions, and his peculiar knowledge of foreign
affairs had seemed to indicate a special line of activity and success.
But things went differently. He always professed to regard his peerage
as "a Second Class in the School of Life," and himself as a political
failure. Yet no tinge of sourness, or jealousy, or cynical disbelief in
his more successful contemporaries ever marred the geniality of his
political conversation.

As years advanced he became not (as the manner of most men is) less
Liberal, but more so; keener in sympathy with all popular causes;
livelier in his indignation against monopoly and injustice. Thirty years
ago, in the struggle for the Reform Bill of 1866, his character and
position were happily hit off by Sir George Trevelyan in a description
of a walk down Piccadilly:--

"There on warm midsummer Sundays Fryston's Bard is wont to wend,
Whom the Ridings trust and honour, Freedom's staunch and jovial friend:
Loved where shrewd hard-handed craftsmen cluster round the northern
He whom men style Baron Houghton, but the Gods call Dicky Milnes."

And eighteen years later there was a whimsical pathos in the phrase in
which he announced his fatal illness to a friend: "Yes, I am going to
join the Majority--and you know I have always preferred Minorities."

It would be foreign to my purpose to criticize Lord Houghton as a poet.
My object in these chapters is merely to record the characteristic
traits of eminent men who have honoured me with their friendship, and
among those there is none for whose memory I cherish a warmer sentiment
of affectionate gratitude than for him whose likeness I have now tried
to sketch. His was the most precious of combinations--a genius and a
heart. An estimate of his literary gifts and performances lies
altogether outside my scope, but the political circumstances of the
present hour[4] impel me to conclude this paper with a quotation which,
even if it stood alone, would, I think, justify Lord Beaconsfield's
judgment quoted above--that "he was a poet, and a true poet." Here is
the lyrical cry which, writing in 1843, he puts into the mouth of

"And if to his old Asian seat,
From this usurped, unnatural throne,
The Turk is driven, 'tis surely meet
That we again should hold our own;
Be but Byzantium's native sign
Of Cross on Crescent[5] once unfurled,
And Greece shall guard by right divine
The portals of the Easter world."


[4] March 1897.

[5] The Turks adopted the sign of the Crescent from Byzantium after the
Conquest: the Cross above the Crescent is found on many ruins of the
Grecian city--among others, on the Genoese castle on the Bosphorus.



In these chapters I have been trying to recall some notable people
through whom I have been brought into contact with the social life of
the past. I now propose to give the impressions which they conveyed to
me of the moral, material, and political condition of England just at
the moment when the old order was yielding place to new, and modern
Society was emerging from the birth-throes of the French Revolution. All
testimony seems to me to point to the fact that towards the close of the
eighteenth century Religion was almost extinct in the highest and lowest
classes of English society. The poor were sunk in ignorance and
barbarism, and the aristocracy was honeycombed by profligacy. Morality,
discarded alike by high and low, took refuge in the great Middle Class,
then, as now, deeply influenced by Evangelical Dissent. A dissolute
Heir-Apparent presided over a social system in which not merely religion
but decency was habitually disregarded. At his wedding he was so drunk
that his attendant dukes "could scarcely support him from falling."[6]
The Princes of the Blood were notorious for a freedom of life and
manners which would be ludicrous if it were not shocking. Here I may
cite an unpublished diary[7] of Lord Robert Seymour (son of the first
Marquis of Hertford), who was born in 1748 and died in 1831. He was a
man of fashion and a Member of Parliament; and these are some of the
incidents which he notes in 1788:--

"The Prince of Wales declares there is not an honest Woman in London,
excepting Ly. Parker and Ly. Westmoreland, and those are so stupid he
can make nothing of them; they are scarcely fit to blow their own

"At Mrs. Vaneck's assembly last week, the Prince of Wales, very much to
the honour of his polite and elegant Behaviour, measured the breadth of
Mrs. V. behind with his Handkerchief, and shew'd the measurement to most
of the Company."

"Another Trait of the P. of Wales's Respectful Conduct is that at an
assembly he beckoned to the poor old Dutchess of Bedford across a large
Room, and, when she had taken the trouble of crossing the Room, he very
abruptly told her he had nothing to say to her."

"The Prince of Wales very much affronted the D. of Orleans and his
natural Brother, L'Abbe de la Fai, at Newmarket, L'Abbe declaring it
possible to charm a Fish out of the Water, which being disputed
occasioned a Bett; and the Abbe stooped down over the water to tickle
the Fish with a little switch. Fearing, however, the Prince said play
him some Trick, he declared he hoped the Prince would not use him
unfairly by throwing him into the water. The Prince answer'd him that he
would not upon his Honor. The Abbe had no sooner began the operation by
leaning over a little Bridge when the Prince took hold of his Heels and
threw him into the Water, which was rather deep. The Abbe, much enraged,
the moment he got himself out run at the Prince with great violence, a
Horse-whip in his Hand, saying he thought very meanly of a Prince who
cou'd not keep his word. The Prince flew from him, and getting to the
Inn locked himself in one of the Rooms."

"Prince of Wales, Mrs. Fitzherbert, the Duke and Dutchess of
Cumberland, and Miss Pigott, Mrs. F.'s companion, went a Party to
Windsor during the absence of _The Family_ fm. Windsor; and going to see
a cold Bath, Miss P. expressed a great wish to bathe this hot weather.
The D. of C. very imprudently pushed her in, and the Dut. of C. having
the presence of mind to throw out the Rope saved her when in such a
disagreeable State from fear and surprise as to be near sinking. Mrs. F.
went into convulsion Fits, and the Dut. fainted away, and the scene
proved ridiculous in the extreme, as Report says the Duke called out to
Miss P. that he was instantly coming to her in the water, and continued
undressing himself. Poor Miss P.'s clothes entirely laid upon the Water,
and made her appear an awkward figure. They afterwards pushed in one of
the Prince's attendants."

So much for High Life at the close of the eighteenth century. It is more
difficult to realize that we are separated only by some sixty years from
a time when a Cabinet Minister and a brother of the Sovereign conducted
a business-like correspondence on the question whether the Minister had
or had not turned the Prince out of the house for insulting his wife.
The journals, newspapers, and memoirs of the time throw (especially for
those who can read between the lines) a startling light on that
hereditary principle which plays so important a part in our political
system. All the ancillary vices flourished with a rank luxuriance. Hard
drinking was the indispensable accomplishment of a fine gentleman, and
great estates were constantly changing owners at the gaming-table.

The fifth Duke of Bedford (who had the temerity to attack Burke's
pension, and thereby drew down upon himself the most splendid repartee
in literature) was a bosom-friend of Fox, and lived in a like-minded
society. One night at Newmarket he lost a colossal sum at hazard, and,
jumping up in a passion, he swore that the dice were loaded, put them
in his pocket, and went to bed. Next morning he examined the dice in the
presence of his boon companions, found that they were not loaded, and
had to apologize and pay. Some years afterwards one of the party was
lying on his death-bed, and he sent for the duke. "I have sent for you
to tell you that you were right. The dice _were_ loaded. We waited till
you were asleep, went to your bedroom, took them out of your waistcoat
pocket, replaced them with unloaded ones, and retired."

"But suppose I had woke and caught you doing it."

"Well, we were desperate men--_and we had pistols_."

Anecdotes of the same type might be multiplied endlessly, and would
serve to confirm the strong impression which all contemporary evidence
leaves upon the mind--that the closing years of the eighteenth century
witnessed the _nadir_ of English virtue. The national conscience was in
truth asleep, and it had a rude awakening. "I have heard persons of
great weight and authority," writes Mr. Gladstone, "such as Mr.
Grenville, and also, I think, Archbishop Howley, ascribe the beginnings
of a reviving seriousness in the upper classes of lay society to a
reaction against the horrors and impieties of the first French
Revolution in its later stages." And this reviving seriousness was by no
means confined to Nonconformist circles. In the eighteenth century the
religious activities of the time proceeded largely (though not
exclusively) from persons who, from one cause or another, were separated
from the Established Church. Much theological learning and controversial
skill, with the old traditions of Anglican divinity, had been drawn
aside from the highway of the Establishment into the secluded byways of
the Nonjurors. Whitefield and the Wesleys, and that grim but grand old
Mother in Israel, Selina Countess of Huntingdon, found their
evangelistic energies fatally cramped by episcopal authority, and, quite
against their natural inclinations, were forced to act through
independent organizations of their own making. But at the beginning of
the nineteenth century things took a different turn.

The distinguishing mark of the religious revival which issued from the
French Revolution was that it lived and moved and had its being within
the precincts of the Church of England. Of that Church, as it existed at
the close of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth,
the characteristic feature had been a quiet worldliness. The typical
clergyman, as drawn, for instance, in Crabbe's poems and Miss Austen's
novels, is a well-bred, respectable, and kindly person, playing an
agreeable part in the social life of his neighbourhood, and doing a
secular work of solid value, but equally removed from the sacerdotal
pretensions of the Caroline divines and from the awakening fervour of
the Evangelical preachers. The professors of a more spiritual or a more
aggressive religion were at once disliked and despised. Sydney Smith was
never tired of poking fun at the "sanctified village of Clapham" and its
"serious" inhabitants, at missionary effort and revivalist enthusiasm.
When Lady Louisa Lennox was engaged to a prominent Evangelical and
Liberal--Mr. Tighe of Woodstock--her mother, the Duchess of Richmond,
said, "Poor Louisa is going to make a shocking marriage--a man called
_Tiggy_, my dear, a Saint and a Radical." When Lord Melbourne had
accidently found himself the unwilling hearer of a rousing Evangelical
sermon about sin and its consequences, he exclaimed in much disgust as
he left the church, "Things have come to a pretty pass when religion is
allowed to invade the sphere of private life!"

Arthur Young tells us that a daughter of the first Lord Carrington said
to a visitor, "My papa used to have prayers in his family, but none
since he has been a Peer." A venerable Canon of Windsor, who was a
younger son of a great family, told me that his old nurse, when she was
putting him and his little brothers to bed, used to say, "If you're
very good little boys, and go to bed without giving trouble, you needn't
say your prayers to-night." When the late Lord Mount Temple was a youth,
he wished to take Holy Orders; and the project so horrified his parents
that, after holding a family council, they plunged him into fashionable
society in the hope of distracting his mind from religion, and
accomplished their end by making him join the Blues.

The quiet worldliness which characterized the English Church as a whole
was unpleasantly varied here and there by instances of grave and
monstrous scandal. The system of Pluralities left isolated parishes in a
condition of practical heathenism. Even bare morality was not always
observed. In solitary places clerical drunkenness was common. On
Saturday afternoon the parson would return from the nearest town
"market-merry." He consorted freely with the farmers, shared their
habits, and spoke their language. I have known a lady to whom a country
clergyman said, pointing to the darkened windows where a corpse lay
awaiting burial, "There's a stiff 'un in that house." I have known a
country gentleman in Shropshire who had seen his own vicar drop the
chalice at the Holy Communion because he was too drunk to hold it. I
know a corner of Bedfordshire where, within the recollection of persons
living thirty[8] years ago, three clerical neighbours used to meet for
dinner at one another's parsonages in turn. One winter afternoon a
corpse was brought for burial to the village church. The vicar of the
place came from his dinner so drunk that he could not read the service,
although his sister supported him with one hand and held the lantern
with the other. He retired beaten, and both his guests made the same
attempt with no better success. So the corpse was left in the church,
and the vicar buried it next day when he had recovered from his debauch.

While the prevailing tone of quiet worldliness was thus broken, here
and there, by horrid scandals, in other places it was conspicuously
relieved by splendid instances of piety and self-devotion, such as
George Eliot drew in the character of Edgar Tryan of Milby. But the
innovating clergy of the Evangelical persuasion had to force their way
through "the teeth of clenched antagonisms." The bishops, as a rule,
were opposed to enthusiasm, and the bishops of that day were, in virtue
of their wealth, their secular importance, and their professional
cohesiveness, a formidable force in the life of the Church.

In the "good old days" of Erastian Churchmanship, before the Catholic
revival had begun to breathe new life into ancient forms, a bishop was
enthroned by proxy! Sydney Smith, rebuking Archbishop Howley for his
undue readiness to surrender cathedral property to the Ecclesiastical
Commission, pointed out that his conduct was inconsistent with having
sworn at his enthronement that he would not alienate the possessions of
the Church of Canterbury. "The oath," he goes on, "may be less present
to the Archbishop's memory from the fact of his not having taken the
oath in person, but by the medium of a gentleman sent down by the coach
to take it for him--a practice which, though I believe it to have been
long established in the Church, surprised me, I confess, not a little. A
proxy to vote, if you please--a proxy to consent to arrangements of
estates, if wanted; but a proxy sent down in the Canterbury Fly to take
the Creator to witness that the Archbishop, detained in town by business
or pleasure, will never violate that foundation of piety over which he
presides--all this seems to me an act of the most extraordinary
indolence ever recorded in history." In this judgment the least
ritualistic of laymen will heartily concur. But from Archbishop Howley
to Archbishop Temple is a far cry, and the latest enthronement in
Canterbury Cathedral must have made clear to the most casual eye the
enormous transformation which sixty years have wrought alike in the
inner temper and the outward aspect of the Church of England.

Once Dr. Liddon, walking with me down the hall of Christ Church, pointed
to the portrait of an extremely bloated and sensual-looking prelate on
the wall, and said, with that peculiar kind of mincing precision which
added so much to the point of his sarcasms, "How singular, dear friend,
to reflect that _that person_ was chosen, in the providential order, to
connect Mr. Keble with the Apostles!" And certainly this connecting link
bore little resemblance to either end of the chain. The considerations
which governed the selection of a bishop in those good old days were
indeed not a little singular. Perhaps he was chosen because he was a
sprig of good family, like Archbishop Cornwallis, whose junketings at
Lambeth drew down upon him the ire of Lady Huntingdon and the threats of
George III., and whose sole qualification for the clerical office was
that when an undergraduate he had suffered from a stroke of palsy which
partially crippled him, but "did not, however, prevent him from holding
a hand at cards." Perhaps he had been, like Bishop Sumner, "bear-leader"
to a great man's son, and had won the gratitude of a powerful patron by
extricating young hopeful from a matrimonial scrape. Perhaps, like Marsh
or Van Mildert, he was a controversial pamphleteer who had tossed a
Calvinist or gored an Evangelical. Or perhaps he was, like Blomfield and
Monk, a "Greek Play Bishop," who had annotated Aeschylus or composed a
Sapphic Ode on a Royal marriage. "Young Crumpet is sent to school; takes
to his books; spends the best years of his life in making Latin verses;
knows that the _Crum_ in Crumpet is long and the _pet_ short; goes to
the University; gets a prize for an Essay on the Dispersion of the Jews;
takes Orders; becomes a bishop's chaplain; has a young nobleman for his
pupil; publishes a useless classic and a Serious Call to the
Unconverted; and then goes through the Elysian transitions of
Prebendary, Dean, Prelate, and the long train of purple, profit, and

Few--and very few--are the adducible instances in which, in the reigns
of George III., George IV., and William IV., a bishop was appointed for
evangelistic zeal or pastoral efficiency.

But, on whatever principle chosen, the bishop, once duly consecrated and
enthroned, was a formidable person, and surrounded by a dignity scarcely
less than royal. "Nobody likes our bishop," says Parson Lingon in _Felix
Holt_. "He's all Greek and greediness, and too proud to dine with his
own father." People still living can remember the days when the

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