BURDETT, Sir Francis, 5th bt. (1770-1844), of Foremark, nr. Repton, Derbys.; Ramsbury, Wilts. and 25 St. James’s Place, Mdx.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Education
b. 25 Jan. 1770, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Francis Burdett of Castle Hill, Mdx. and Eleanor, da. and coh. of William Jones of Ramsbury. educ. Westminster 1778-86; Christ Church, Oxf. 1785. m. 5 Aug. 1793, Sophia, da. and coh. of Thomas Coutts, banker, of London, 1s. 5da. suc. fa. 1794; grandfa. Sir Robert Burdett†, 4th bt., of Foremark as 5th bt. 13 Feb. 1797; aunt Lady Jones to Ramsbury and took name of Jones by royal lic. 5 Apr. 1800 (but only briefly affected it). d. 23 Jan. 1844.
Burdett, an important figure in the development of early nineteenth century radicalism, had had a turbulent career as the advocate of and martyr for parliamentary reform during the war years. Thereafter his brand of patrician radicalism, with its strong element of Tory romanticism, held little appeal for working class radicals of the provincial manufacturing districts, who turned to other leaders. Nor were his relations with the metropolitan radicals entirely cordial: in particular, Francis Place, the indefatigable campaigner and fixer, who had engineered Burdett’s triumphant return for Westminster in 1807, had never fully trusted him after his evasion of the procession arranged to mark his release from his imprisonment in the Tower in 1810. Burdett’s response to the Peterloo massacre in August 1819, when he wrote a public letter to his constituents denouncing the authorities as murderers, did much to re-establish his credibility with all shades of London radicalism and enabled him to resume his frosty intercourse with Place. His subsequent speeches in and outside the House against the Liverpool ministry’s repressive legislation, and his indictment by ex-officio information on a charge of seditious libel, cemented his position in Westminster. At the same time, he sought by espousing a moderate line on reform to convince the more advanced wing of the Whig opposition that the issue must be taken up with enthusiasm as an essential prerequisite of social and economic improvement.1 In Parliament Burdett, though somewhat isolated, remained one of the Members whose oratorical talents, expressed in a ‘clear and shrill’ voice, could bring men of all political views into the chamber to hear him. A tall, slender figure, with a ‘sharp angular’ face dominated by an unusually large ‘aquiline’ nose, he habitually wore ‘a blue coat, a light-coloured waistcoat, and light-coloured knee breeches’, together with ‘top-boots’.2 A very wealthy man, with a substantial income from land in two counties supplemented by the marriage portion brought to him by his difficult, frigid and often ailing wife, he could appear cold and aloof in society and his dealings with his inferiors; but, as Lord Holland wrote in 1833, he had a ‘generous’ spirit, and ‘his conduct, especially towards individuals’, was ‘always honourable and benevolent’, even if ‘his political creed’ was ‘a strange medley of monarchical and republican notions, of Tory and democratical prejudices and maxims’. (‘Burdett ... calls himself a reforming Tory’, wrote the Whig leader Lord Grey in 1822.)3 In this period Burdett’s addiction to hunting, repeated attacks of gout and his basic inclination to suit himself and not be dictated to made his attendance of the Commons somewhat spasmodic.
In late 1819 some friends of William Cobbett†, who had just returned from America, asked Burdett to bury the hatchet with him, but he was ‘inexorable’ and would not forgive Cobbett (who owed him money) for the ‘many falsehoods’ which he had published about him down the years.4 On 10 Jan. 1820 he wrote from Bath to his friend John Cam Hobhouse*, whose unsuccessful candidature for Westminster he had backed in the contentious by-election of March 1819 and who was now in Newgate prison for breach of parliamentary privilege:
I am truly sorry to hear so bad an account of you which gives me an additional motive for wishing the speedy destruction of the infernal Pandemonium ... The weather ... spoils hunting, but I have twenty furnaces ... in my bosom which every day’s villainy more and more inflames, so that I can wallow in ... snow without so much as thinking even of summer’s heat.5
At the general election of 1820 Burdett stood for Westminster with Hobhouse (who had been released on the dissolution) in far more advantageous circumstances than those which had faced the reformers in 1819. They were opposed by the Whig George Lamb*, who had defeated Hobhouse on that occasion, but this time Hobhouse finished almost 450 votes ahead of him, with Burdett clear by about the same margin at the head of the poll.6 At the nomination, when he was cheered to the echo, he condemned ‘those scandalous innovations on the constitution which had been effected by that infamous and corrupt House of Commons’, which held the crown in thrall and deprived the people of their ancient rights.7 While the election was still in progress he was arraigned at Leicester assizes, 23 Mar., when he conducted his own defence in a speech of four hours, but was found guilty of seditious libel on the direction of Justice Best†; he had remarked to Hobhouse six weeks earlier that ‘a packed Leicestershire jury would if directed by a judge and attorney-general find Abel guilty of the murder of Cain’.8 The king and ministers were ‘much gratified’ at this outcome.9 On the Westminster hustings, 25 Mar., giving thanks for his return, he congratulated the electors on having ‘returned two representatives on the principle of reform’ and, while declining to dwell on his prosecution, expressed confidence that he would have the verdict overturned. Lord Granville thought he was deluding himself, while George Agar Ellis* reported that he was ‘dreadfully frightened about his condemnation’ and ‘thinks he shall die in gaol from not being able to take strong exercise, which he considers necessary to his very existence’.10 Burdett had supported the candidature of the independent Whig John Benett* for Wiltshire, and he now conspicuously endorsed that of the Whigs George Byng* and Samuel Charles Whitbread* in their struggle against a ‘Court candidate’ in Middlesex.11 At the dinner which followed the delayed Westminster chairing ceremony and procession, 6 Apr., when he was ‘in full dress’ and ‘looked remarkably well’, he again stressed the importance of reform, advocating ‘a mixed and tempered form of government’ which would release the crown from the clutches of a corrupt oligarchy, played down the importance of his own trial in comparison with that of Henry Hunt* and refuted Cobettt’s slur that he had supported the 1815 corn law.12 Grey, who thought that poor work by his lawyers had led to Burdett’s conviction, wanted nothing to do with him, but his brother-in-law Edward Ellice*, the party whip, argued that the Whigs needed the radicals’ numerical strength in the Commons and that Burdett’s last pronouncement on reform had indicated that between extremes for and against it there was plenty of ‘neutral ground’ on which its advocates ‘might meet’.13 His visit to the Buckinghamshire home of the Whig Lord Nugent* caused a stir among the latter’s senior Grenville relatives.14 In king’s bench, 20 Apr., Burdett’s counsel Thomas Denman* argued for the overturn of the Leicestershire verdict. There were further proceedings in May, June and November 1820, until on the 27th the judges decided by three to one against Burdett.15
On the address, 27 Apr. 1820, he closed the debate by declaring that he ‘would not disturb unanimity’ on this ‘empty charade’, but expressed his ‘dissent from every sentiment’ in it. On 1 May he ‘walked about a long time’ with Hobhouse, ‘talking over the fate and conduct’ on the scaffold of the Cato Street conspirators.16 He divided against government on the civil list, 3, 8 May. In the debate on the role of the government agent George Edwards in the Cato Street affair, 9 May, he condemned the spy system and called for inquiry, but lost his temper and indulged in what the Tory Henry Bankes* described as ‘coarse and harsh words’ in response to Canning’s denigration of Hobhouse as his ‘man’.17 He supported the prayer of an Oldham petition for inquiry into Peterloo, 12 May, and on the 15th, when he was in the opposition minority against the appointment of an additional baron of exchequer in Scotland, gave notice of a motion on this subject; but he abandoned it for the session on 29 June.18 He was at Court, where the king spoke to him, on 17 May, but next day an ‘alarming report’ of the serious illness of his daughter Clara took him to Ramsbury, where his wife was distraught. He went to London for the Westminster purity of election anniversary dinner, 23 May, when he declared that ‘all that ... the reformers were contending for was that every man ... should have that fractional share of influence in the government which consisted in choosing those who were to have the disposal of the hard earnings of his industry, their lives and liberties’. He admitted that Hunt was no friend of his, but called for remission of his harsh gaol sentence. On his return to Wiltshire he found Clara ‘a great deal better’.19 On 31 May he divided, with a number of Whigs, for the ministerial amendment which confined the inquiry into agricultural distress to the corn averages. He spoke for reform at the Middlesex election jamboree, 3 June.20 He was at Ramsbury in mid-June, but on the 22nd he seconded Hamilton’s amendment to Wilberforce’s compromise resolution on the Queen Caroline affair, producing a long and loudly cheered speech in which he said that the queen’s prosecutors aimed to ‘send her to the continent covered with the filthy contents of the green bag’ and made what Bankes described as some ‘extremely bitter and sarcastic’ remarks on Canning’s relationship with her. Bankes thought the first part of the speech was ‘distinguished ... for its force, dexterity and eloquence’, but that Burdett ‘continued to dwell too long’ on the green bag and the Milan commission. Greville echoed this view, while the Canningite John William Ward* judged the speech to have been ‘as able in its execution as it was pernicious in its tendency’.21 The Whig Sir James Mackintosh* wrote that it
was one of his best. Indeed, there was more thought in it than any other which I have heard from him ... But his great merit is that of a debater, the power of personal attack and of turning common ideas in an animated and unexpected way. Besides which, he is a great actor of a speech.22
On 4 July, when he voted for Hume’s motion for economies in revenue collection, Burdett spoke in support of the queen at the Westminster meeting called to vote an address to her, which he and Hobhouse presented on the 6th.23 In the House, 11 July, he spoke for Brougham’s motion to authorize her counsel to attend the trial in the Lords. Next day he left London for his Leicestershire hunting lodge at Kirby, whence he wrote to Hobhouse, who remained at his post in London, on the 16th:
You might as well have been enjoying with me the green fields, the woods and hedges covered with honeysuckle and wild roses, and the delicious seclusion of this place ... I am persuaded the learned are quite mistaken as to the locality of Paradise, which they fix ... somewhere in Mesopotamia, which they never would have had they ever been by any chance in Ashby Pasture.
He asked Hobhouse to make his excuses to the reformers of Southwark, who had invited him to dine with them, but he attended the Middlesex pro-queen meeting, 8 Aug. 1820.24
He was laid up at Bognor with a combination of ‘gout’ and ‘pox’ (he lamented being ‘deprived thus of one’s manhood’ and finding ‘one’s hose a world too wide for one’s shrunk shank’) during September, when he followed events in London through the newspapers. Prompted by Jeremy Bentham, he encouraged Hobhouse to promote a dinner in support of the Spanish liberals, but he was ‘quite vexed’ by its failure, as he told Hobhouse, 7 Oct.:
What are the gentry of England made of? ... The ministers must certainly fight for their lives [on the queen’s affair]. They ought to be impeached, but then one thinks of [George] Tierney*, Mackintosh, etc., and everything appears ludicrous.
By then he was back in the saddle, having to be ‘lifted on, but when seated I am on my throne and feel as secure as any of the Bourbons or George IV’.25 Soon afterwards he moved to Burbridge, near Godalming, where he cast aside his crutches and was able to ‘walk like a crab downstairs’. To Hobhouse he condemned the supine conduct of Tierney and the Whig Commons leaders, but praised the efforts of Lords Grey, Lansdowne, Holland and Carnarvon on behalf of the queen:
To be sure, no ministry need yield to such an opposition. At the same time the body of the opposition is so good and the spirit of hatred in the country so strong that I think they must go, and possibly be called to account for all their unutterable villainy ... No one can think the queen guilty ... I had no idea of her being able to set forth such a defence. I did expect much levity and misconduct would have been proved; to me it is an agreeable surprise ... The radicals are looking up.
He did not think much of Hobhouse’s notion of calling another Westminster meeting on the subject, preferring to be ‘left at liberty’ to act as he saw fit. He lectured Hobhouse, 22 Oct.:
Our kingdom is certainly coming, but we must wait upon the Lord. Laissez faire is as wise in politics as in trade ... The very apathy and want of spirit in the opposition as well as the bold setting of all decency at defiance by ministers equally prove beneficial to the public. Nor could anything have been more providential to the queen than Hunt’s being shut up out of the way! ... I think it is good that I also have been away, necessity justifying, so that the public feeling and sentiment should appear, as well as be, unequivocal and beyond the possibility of cavil ... I think the Lords cannot pass the bill [of pains and penalties], but no matter what they do, I say laissez faire.26
He caught up with Hobhouse at Battle Abbey, where he ‘looked very well’ but ‘did not speak much’ in the company, which included the duke of Sussex, in early November.27 On the abandonment of the prosecution Burdett, who attended ‘a large dinner at Leicester’, where he ‘witnessed a most ardent display of public feeling’ for the queen, decided to go up for the Westminster meeting in her support, 6 Dec.28 Soon afterwards he hurt himself ‘a-hunting’ and was ‘chained to my bed or sofa’ for several days. He moved on 21 Dec. 1820 to Bath, where he resumed hunting and wrote to Hobhouse on the 27th:
Canning’s going out and his friends staying in is a proper fudge, merely to relieve him from an irksome situation. As to ministers, who should turn them out? The Whigs not joining the reformers? ... I have just been reading ... the account of the Edinburgh town and county meetings. When the North begins to stir there’s matter in it ... It appears that reform is the real active principle, to which Messieurs the Whigs must come if they come in at all. However, I wish them in anyhow. To get rid of these fellows would be something; it would be punishment at least to them.29
He attended the Berkshire meeting in support of the queen, where ‘everything went off as could be desired’, 9 Jan. 1821. Before going he urged Hobhouse to consider a campaign on behalf of the Neapolitan liberals, by whose success ‘legitimacy would receive its death wound and the banner of liberty wave over the civilized world’.30 He made a point of attending (with Hobhouse) the Wiltshire meeting, 17 Jan., when he spoke at the close of proceedings but, as Lansdowne, who was pleased with his conduct, told Holland, ‘did not say more or so much (in quantity at least) about reform as you or the duke of Bedford did at Bedford’.31 Like Matthew Wood*, he declined to accept nomination to a body of ‘Guardians of Constitutional Reform’ as proposed by Middlesex radicals, 16 Jan.32 He voted for the opposition motions on the omission of the queen’s name from the liturgy, 23, 26 Jan. On the 24th he complained that she had been ‘treated as one neither convicted nor acquitted, but on whom it was wished to affix a stigma’. He and Hobhouse were invited to dine with the Speaker on 4 Feb: he thought it ‘very handsome his asking him whilst under conviction’.33 Supporting the opposition censure motion, 6 Feb., he welcomed the alliance between Whigs and radicals deplored by Wellesley Pole and was called to order by the Speaker for his attack on the attorney-general, Gifford. Bankes thought he spoke ‘with great temper, moderation and ingenuity’, while the radical Whig Member Henry Grey Bennet reckoned that parts of his speech were ‘executed with a brilliancy that is impossible to surpass’.34 Lord Kensington*, however, reported that he ‘spoke very ill’.35 On 8 Feb. Burdett was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment in the Marshalsea and fined £2,000. This was generally considered ‘lenient’, and Burdett himself described it as ‘very easy’ to deal with. He was cheered by the populace on his way to his genteel and undemanding incarceration.36 A public Crown and Anchor meeting chaired by Hobhouse, 12 Feb., voted resolutions approving his 1819 address and condemning his imprisonment, and opened a subscription to pay his fine. (This raised only £600, which was distributed to victims of Peterloo.) He received the resolutions from a deputation on the steps of the prison, 21 Feb., and spoke for reform, which he said was ‘making rapid strides’.37 A week later he told his steward:
I never was better. Temperate living makes exercise less necessary, and my walk up and down the prison wall is quite sufficient with temperance for health. Then my mind easily conforms to circumstances and a consciousness of acting right is more than a recompense for much greater privations than mine.38
He informed Holland, 15 Mar., that he was ‘in great spirits about Naples, and though last and least, in expectation about England’.39 A month later he concocted over dinner with Hobhouse the latter’s Commons attack on Canning as a political adventurer, 17 Apr. His dinner guests in prison on 25 Apr. included Chantrey the sculptor.40 He was released on 8 May, when he went to vote for repeal of the Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Act. He divided silently for Lord John Russell’s parliamentary reform motion next day. On 10 May he spoke ‘at considerable length’ but in a ‘low tone’ against proceeding against John Bull for breach of privilege.41 As he had promised some supporters from Manchester, on 16 May he moved for inquiry into Peterloo, implicating ministers as well as the magistrates and yeomanry in ‘that scandalous, and wanton, and profligate expenditure of blood’. The Speaker deemed ‘irregular’ his observation in his reply that he viewed the Commons ‘as a body most mischievous and pernicious to the country, and one which the people ... were naturally anxious to see reformed’. Grey Bennet recorded that
he made a powerful and strong speech, never getting beyond the proper feelings upon the question, and parts were performed in his very best manner. His whole speech produced a great effect in the House and is calculated to do the same out of doors.42
But Bankes thought the speech was ‘violent and inflammatory’, and the motion was defeated by 235-111.43 Burdett spoke and voted for Creevey’s motion alleging ‘misapplication’ of the Barbados defence fund, 21 May. He was in the minorities for a reduction of the number of placemen in the Commons, 31 May, against the lottery, 1 June, for inquiry into the government of Tobago, 6 June, against the tobacco duties bill (as a teller), 18 June, and for Hume’s call for economy and retrenchment, 27 June. He spoke in his usual terms at the Westminster anniversary dinner, 23 May.44 In June 1821 his acrimonious correspondence with Canning of the previous April, arising out of Burdett’s denunciation of him as the purveyor of ‘hocus pocus’ tricks, was published - not much to the credit of either man, it was generally reckoned.45
Burdett judged the queen’s death in August 1821 to have given her ‘an honourable exit’: ‘She could not have remained with dignity, nor have departed in better time or manner’.46 The involvement of troops in the disturbances at her funeral prompted him to write to Hobhouse from Kirby, 24 Aug.:
Perhaps as an investigation is going on before the coroner it may be right, certainly excusable, to wait till it is finished ... Now will the ... great Whig families stir? Or was their whole stock of virtue so exhausted by the Revolution that it is become effete? To be sure meetings ought to be held everywhere. So they ought after the Manchester massacre, but that is saying nothing. What means have we of effecting that which [we] ought? There’s the rub. I have something of the feeling of Hannibal when Carthage was about to be sacked, who, when he saw his fellow citizens crying and lamenting in the public market, fell a laughing, telling them they ought to have cried when he did, when they delivered their arms to the Romans, and not at the natural and inevitable consequence. Twenty years ago I used to be laughed at by both sides ... for dreaming, as it was then held, of such things as now make fools wonder, honest men look sad, wise men smile, and coxcombs, like The Times, blame ministers for the unnecessary and improper application of the standing army. To break the chain that has been fastened link by link from the year 1688 up to the present time, by the hands of corrupt parliaments and judges, on England’s liberty, is no easy task - a task I fear the people alone are unequal to, and one for which the gentlemen seem to have no appetite. In short, I know not what to advise, say or do ... I cannot express to you how I enjoy the complete solitude of this place. I literally have no companion but a magpie, which, could I believe in transmigration, I should take for some departed friend. He flies after me, follows me all about, and is now sitting at the window. He also defends the garden against all smaller depredators far better than Priapus with his long, pale and filthy expedient.47
In October he approved Sir Robert Wilson’s* letter to the duke of York protesting against his ‘unmerited injury’ of dismissal from the army for his part in the funeral incidents; but old Tom Grenville† worried that the affair, unless firmly handled by ministers, might ‘teach the officers and privates of the army to look up to ... [Burdett and Wilson] instead of ... to the military authorities’.48 At Ramsbury later that month his guest Lord Erskine commented that ‘Burdett was quite right in his politics. He was for having a real king and a real Parliament; not a puppet moved by a faction, and a corrupt House of Commons’; and four weeks later Burdett, who had again hurt himself in the field, told Place of his belief that ‘the general working of events ... is rapidly, though silently, advancing our cause’. ‘Chained to a sofa’ in Bath by gout in late January 1822, he approved the widespread meetings linking relief from agricultural distress with the need for reform and refused to believe that ‘any English minister dare be so base as to suffer’ France to invade Spain, as he told Hobhouse:
Nor can I help indulging more sanguine hopes than you express upon the subject of reform, nor can I help thinking the meetings which have taken place very important. The ability and patriotism ... [the] country gentlemen have displayed is very encouraging. As to the particular resolutions adopted, I care little about them. The feelings evinced, and sentiments expressed by the persons present are chiefly worthy of regard; and if we can once unite, under any one banner, an effect must be produced, and what can we put forward better than Yorkshire, the wealthiest and largest county in England, Lord Milton* at its head?49
On the address, 5 Feb., he followed the seconder by moving an amendment to postpone consideration for two days, arguing that ministers’ talk of ‘economy’ was an ‘idle delusion’, considering that they had increased the civil list and official salaries at a time of great distress. He now condemned the 1819 currency change as ‘full of iniquity and injustice’, said that the ‘industrious’ and ‘generous’ Irish had been ‘driven to despair’ by ‘a mere parchment Union’ and a succession of broken promises, and contended that Scotland, too, with its ‘detestable’ royal burghs system of closed oligarchies, was in dire straits:
He knew not if he were as wild and visionary in his notions of reform as some had represented him to be; but of all reformers, the most wild and visionary, in is view, were those who hoped to effect ... an economical reform ... which in the present constitution of the House could never be attained ... for until that House had been effectually reformed, there could be no permanent and efficient relief for the sufferings of the people.
He praised Hume’s perseverance in campaigning for economies, but said he was wasting his time. Hobhouse seconded the amendment, which was rejected by 186-58. John Gladstone* reported to the absent Canning, 6 Feb., that Burdett ‘was all for reform, but consistent’.50 He spoke in the same terms at the Westminster reform meeting, 13 Feb., and presented and endorsed the petition, 15 Feb., but dissented from its ascription of distress wholly to the operation of the 1819 Bank Act.51 He spoke and voted against the Irish habeas corpus suspension and insurrection bills, 7, 8 Feb., arguing that the only way forward was through ‘the temporary application of a strong military force’ coupled with a sincere willingness to consider and implement conciliatory measures. He endorsed Alderman Wood’s criticism of the treatment of Hunt in Ilchester gaol, which was ‘a paying off of old scores’, 8 Feb. He voted silently for more extensive tax remissions to relieve distress, 11, 21 Feb. He supported Wilson’s motion for information on his dismissal, an ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘abominable transaction’: ‘the greatest despots on the continent had not their armies in this debased and degraded situation’. On 12 Mar. he voted for economies in revenue collection and made what the backbencher Hudson Gurney considered ‘the only good speech’ of the night in support of Hume’s condemnation of a standing army.52 Next day he voted for abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, as he did again, 2 May. On 14 Mar. he delivered what one observer deemed ‘a brilliant speech’ at the Middlesex reform meeting, before voting for inquiry into the board of control.53 He was in the minority on the Barbados fund, 27 Mar. His private appeal to Peel, the home secretary, to secure the remission of Hunt’s gaol sentence was unsuccessful;54 and he raised the issue in the House, 24 Apr., when, ‘very nervous’, according to Hobhouse, who thought he ‘made a strong case, but ... not a very powerful speech’, he proposed an address to the king; he was defeated by 223-84.55 He supported Wood’s motion for a copy of the gaol’s journal, 10 May, said that the visiting magistrates were guilty at least of connivance in Hunt’s ill-treatment, 17 May, and on 4 June condemned the use of ‘secret confinement’ in prisons. When he moved for a copy of the journal of the Ilchester visiting magistrates, 5 June, Peel’s assurance that the gaoler was to be prosecuted prompted him to withdraw.56 He divided for Russell’s reform motion, 25 Apr., and reception of the Greenhoe reform petition, 2 June, and supported the Kent reform petition, 14 June. On the agricultural distress committee’s report, 7 May, he ascribed the problem to the currency change and excessive taxation, urged the Tory gentry to ‘force upon ministers the means of their own salvation’ and, to ‘loud cheers’, concluded with a declaration that ‘nothing wise or beneficial could be expected from the government unless we had a different set of ministers’. He voted for inquiries into the government of the Ionian Islands, 14 May, and diplomatic expenditure, 15, 16 May. At this time the progressive Whig Lord Tavistock*, the duke of Bedford’s heir, surprised Hobhouse by telling him that he and several other Whigs were of opinion
that Burdett was the only man fit to be the leader [of the party in the Commons] and ... [asked] whether Burdett would be active and ... would take a great place in case the ministers were driven out. He told me that he had reason to believe Lord Grey was not averse to the arrangement and that he knew Lord Holland was not.
Hobhouse had ‘heard praises’ of Burdett’s recent conduct from John George Lambton* and other advanced Whigs, who were keen to attend the forthcoming Westminster anniversary dinner. (His attempt to have the date changed to accommodate these Whigs landed him in hot water with Place.) When he sounded Burdett
he said he would undertake anything that would forward the great cause of reform for which he had been contending all his life; that if the party thought he could serve them he would be at their disposal to lead, to take office or to do anything ... understanding always that reform was to be the basis of their whole plan. He said that he would act without reserve, considering himself in the hands of gentlemen.
Tavistock tried to secure sufficient influential support, but this fanciful project had ended in smoke by mid-June.57
Burdett’s speech at the Westminster anniversary dinner, 23 May 1822, was wide-ranging, but the need for effective reform was its essential message.58 He voted with Hume on the sinking fund, 3 June, and for repeal of the salt tax the same day. He divided with Mackintosh for criminal law reform, 4 June. He was in the minorities against the aliens bill, 5, 19 June. On 12 June he supported Western’s motion for inquiry into the effects of the resumption of cash payments, rebuking Ricardo for dismissing it as pointless, but conceding defeat to him in subsequent exchanges on technical matters and admitting that he did not want a return to paper currency. He insisted that the gentry were wrong to seek enhanced protection for domestic corn growers, which only crippled general trade. He made ‘an elaborate speech’ in support of Western’s renewed currency motion, 10 July. He voted in a minority of 20 for an amendment to the Scottish burghs accounts bill, 19 June. He was against proceeding against Hope and Menzies for breach of privilege, 17 July, and deplored the unreasonable opposition to the government’s ‘liberal’ Canada bill, which had forced its abandonment, 23 July 1822.59 His father-in-law Thomas Coutts had died in February 1822, leaving all his vast fortune to his second wife Harriot Mellon, who in 1827 married the 9th duke of St. Albans. She gave Lady Burdett about £10,000 a year between 1822 and 1837, for which Burdett was duly grateful; but when she reduced this in 1831 he turned on her and in pique transferred his account to Drummond’s, only to apologize within weeks. (The duchess left all her money to Burdett’s daughter Angela.)60 In July 1822 Cobbett boasted that ‘Old Burdett makes a very sorry figure’ and had been reduced to a ‘state of nothingness’; but soon afterwards the leading Whig Lord Althorp* enlisted his aid in persuading Walter Fawkes† to omit insistence on annual parliaments and universal suffrage from his planned requisition for a Yorkshire reform meeting.61
Heavy snow prevented Burdett from going from Bath to Reading for a reform dinner on 17 Jan. 1823, and illness kept him also from the Berkshire county meeting on the 27th. He was delighted with the ‘glorious’ Yorkshire meeting.62 He was in the House for the address, 4 Feb., when he praised Brougham for advocating intervention on behalf of the Spanish liberals. He, Hobhouse and Hume were guests at the Speaker’s opposition dinner, 9 Feb.63 He succeeded, where Canning and Brougham had failed, in persuading Hume to drop his motion to get rid of the salary of the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, ‘on the ground that government should not have supply stopped when all sides called on them to support Spain’, 12 Feb.64 He absconded to Kirby soon afterwards and encouraged Hobhouse to join him, as ‘there appears to be no more chance of good in the Den than heretofore’. He supposed that ‘I am abused for my idleness and neglect of the public cause’. He could not ‘see the least use in being up, except for the Spanish cause’.65 He was present to vote against government on the national debt and the sinking fund, 6, 13 Mar., and for repeal of the assessed taxes, 18 Mar., when he deplored ‘the atrocious and unmanly system of flogging’ in the army and expressed his ‘unqualified contempt’ for ministerial policy on Spain, which amounted to ‘advancing the views of the Holy Alliance’. He spoke and voted, in a minority of 26, for information on diplomatic costs, 25 Mar., and next day, when he supported the blasphemer Mary Ann Carlile’s petition for her release from prison (to his ‘immortal honour’, as Hobhouse saw it), he was in a minority of 31 for information on the saga of Inverness council elections.66 According to Hobhouse, Burdett during the Easter recess ‘did nothing but declaim against hunting ... and vow, as he had done a thousand times before, that he would give up his stud’.67 He voted against the naval and military pensions bill, 11, 14 Apr. On the 17th, he attacked Canning for raising false hopes of Catholic relief being carried, when ‘all considerations were minor to that of preserving an equilibrium in the cabinet’, and William Plunket for having taken office as Irish attorney-general ‘under and with anti-Catholics’. When Plunket was called by the Speaker to make his relief motion, Burdett, Hobhouse, Hume, Creevey and a few others walked ostentatiously out of the House.68 Burdett voted for repeal of the assessed taxes, 16 Apr. On the 22nd he proposed and, to Creevey’s astonishment, carried by 219-185 inquiry by committee of the whole House into Plunket’s prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters.69 He divided silently for Russell’s reform motion, 24 Apr. He made what Gurney thought ‘a fine speech’ on Macdonald’s motion on Spain, 29 Apr., arguing that ministers should have intervened from the start and that their supine policy ‘ran in the direct teeth of the doctrines which, during the last war, they had never ceased to utter’.70 On 2 May he told the House that he would leave the Dublin inquiry in the hands of Irish Members, ‘who were necessarily more acquainted with the subject ... than he could possibly be’. A prolonged attack of gout prevented him from attending a meeting in support of the Spaniards and the Westminster annual celebration, 23 May; and on 11 June he had John Williams announce in the Commons that his indisposition obliged him to put off till next session his intended motion to consider the evidence gathered by the Dublin inquiry.71 On 23 July 1823 Burdett wrote to Hobhouse from Ramsbury:
I feel a sort of inward elasticity that nothing, whilst there is a struggle for liberty in the world, seems capable of depressing. I am much taken up with reading attentively the works, which I never read before, of Thomas Paine ... The style of writing appears to me to be nearly perfect ... It has been the fashion to compare and to class Cobbett with him ... In truth no more comparison exists between them than between a coarse, brutal blackguard and a well bred, well educated gentleman ... My idea [on Spain] is that success is certain from fortitude ... Every month of Spanish endurance is an earnest of final victory.72
He remained enthusiastic and optimistic about the Spanish cause, speculating that ‘their success might possibly rouse us from our state of torpid baseness and enable us to drive from the helm an administration that has disgraced and betrayed the country, and when they go by a national movement I trust their system will go with them’.73 In late September 1823 he removed to Foremark, whence he went with some reluctance to take up the freedom of Nottingham at the request of the Whig sitting Member Denman. He subsequently went on ‘a little tour of the Peak’.74
Burdett welcomed the appointment of a select committee on the state of Ireland, 10 Feb., and presented and endorsed a petition against the infliction of treadmill punishment on remand prisoners, 12 Feb. 1824. He divided in the minority of 30 for Nugent’s motion on Spain, 17 Feb., but went almost immediately to Kirby for hunting, though he did go up to vote for Hobhouse’s motion for repeal of the window tax, 2 Mar.75 Hobhouse evidently reproached him for staying away, but he was unrepentant: ‘Sinners as they proceed in their perverse course grow more and more hardened, and I must confess when I see the nothing going on in Parliament I feel no compunction at being here’; and, ‘I cannot help thinking fox hunting, which keeps alive more agreeable feelings, is a preferable pursuit to sitting up in the Den irritated and eating one’s heart. What signifies unavailing divisions against the alien or other bills?’76 At the end of April, when he was back at Bath, taking warm immersions for ‘lumbago’, he responded to Place’s request for support for the planned London Mechanics’ Institute with an offer to ‘afford every assistance in my power ... either in purse or person’. Place put him down for £100 in the first instance, which Bentham considered to be ‘nothing for such a purpose and from such a purse’. In January 1825, however, he subscribed £1,000 and made an offer of books from his library.77 By 1 May 1824 he was ready to show his face in the House, partly to ‘try another motion about military flogging’, though he realized that ‘the frequent mooting the question without success renders it more inveterate’. (He did not in fact broach the issue that session.) He again talked of selling some of his horses and of curbing his hunting exploits.78 He supported, to ‘loud cheers’, Hume’s motion for inquiry into the Irish church establishment, 6 May, proclaiming that ‘unless Catholic emancipation be carried ... we shall have neither tranquility nor justice in Ireland’. He spoke and voted for Althorp’s motion for inquiry into the condition of that country, which was ‘a foul disgrace’, 11 May. On 17 May he reiterated his view that ‘the country gentlemen took a very wrong view of their own interest in supporting the system of the corn laws’ and called for a permanent settlement of the question. He presented Westminster petitions for the oil gas bill, 18 May, and one from an individual complaining of the ‘malignant vengeance’ of Armagh Orangemen and another from Brentford inhabitants against the beer bill, 21 May.79 At the Westminster annual jamboree, 24 May, when his recent long absence from the House was noticed, he ‘expatiated on the inutility of attending’, which was ‘productive of no public benefit’ and might even be ‘aiding to keep up a farce in the eyes of the country and to divert the attention of the people from ... reform’. He commended Lambton’s reform scheme of 1821 as a ‘quite moderate’ one which ought to satisfy all reformers, who should be willing, like himself, to sacrifice their more extreme desires for the sake of unanimity. He damned ministerial foreign policy and produced ‘a moving and eloquent’ tribute to Hobhouse’s friend Lord Byron, news of whose death had reached London ten days earlier.80 He endorsed a Leicester pawnbrokers’ petition against the Equitable Loan Society bill, 25 May, looking ‘with extreme suspicion at those companies where there was a pretence of benevolence mixed up with them’, and later that day deplored ‘the wanton act of tyranny’ committed against James Silk Buckingham† by the Indian authorities. His amendment to allow the occupiers of £16 houses to vote under the Islington select vestry bill was defeated by 47-37.81 He ‘censured’ the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge for publishing anti-Catholic propaganda, 27 May.82 He divided against naval impressment, 10 June, and next day was in the minority for Brougham’s motion condemning the prosecution of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, though he had privately doubted its ‘propriety’.83 On 15 June he accused Canning of obfuscation on the issue of recognizing the independence of the new South American states. On the 17th he presented and endorsed the Catholic Association’s petition complaining of misrepresentation of its activities by the Morning Chronicle and called for conciliation in Ireland. Next day he voted in the minority of 14 against the third reading of the insurrection bill. On 24 June 1824 he argued in favour of removing the management of gaols from local magistrates. Burdett approved of Hobhouse’s final decision not to go to Greece as manager of the loan, and was privately critical of Hume’s egotistical part in the affair, which ‘so vexed’ him that it gave him ‘the gout in my finger’.84 He had ‘foiled’ this by 21 Oct. 1824, when he was about to depart from Ramsbury to ‘the land where men live in their stirrups’, reflecting that ‘in these costermonger days’ he was beginning to ‘think foxhunting a nobler pursuit than politics’ and at any rate a welcome diversion from contemplating ‘the baseness, stupidity and wickedness of our country’.85 Soon afterwards the Catholic Association asked him to present the relief petition of the Catholics of Ireland next session, and Burdett (to his great credit, as Holland thought) agreed to do so.86
He stayed in Leicestershire, kept from the field by ice and snow, until the second week of February 1825.87 When he rose to oppose the bill to suppress the Association, 15 Feb., there was a ‘rush’ of Members into the chamber. He defended Daniel O’Connell* and dismissed the ‘aspersions’ made against the Association, compared the state of affairs created by leaving the Catholic question ‘open’ in government with Milton’s depiction of Chaos and now paid tribute to Plunket as ‘the natural successor of the immortal Grattan’. He was loudly cheered, and Hobhouse recalled that he had ‘carried the House completely with him’. Sir John Nicholl* was impressed by the ‘splendid style’ of the speech, Agar Ellis thought he spoke ‘admirably’, Thomas Creevey* heard that ‘all agree that Burdett’s speech was one of the finest ever delivered’ and Bankes noted its ‘energy and force’; but Gurney felt that he intruded ‘too much Milton and Latin grammar’.88 On 18 Feb. O’Connell, just arrived in London as one of the Association’s deputation, had ‘a long conference’ with Burdett, of whom his first impression was that ‘he is an elegant gentleman, but there is an English coldness about him’. Their subsequent dealings prompted him to tell his wife that ‘Burdett improves much on acquaintance’.89 On 18 Feb. Burdett seconded Brougham’s unsuccessful motion for the Association’s counsel to be heard at the bar of the House, and on the 21st he presented Birmingham and Kilmore petitions against its suppression; he divided against this, 25 Feb.90 Burdett, Brougham, O’Connell and their coadjutors decided that on 1 Mar. Burdett should present the Catholics’ petition and propose the consideration of relief, in the same terms as those used by Plunket in 1821 (when Burdett had been in prison).91 Bedford believed that Burdett was ‘acting an inconsistent part, after his former conduct’, but that this was ‘of little importance’, as his ‘political life has been one mass of inconsistencies’.92 Hobhouse considered that Burdett’s speech, in which he put the case for relief on ‘the ground ... of justice ... good faith and sound policy ... and the pledge given by solemn treaty’, ‘was not of the highest order, but it was well fitted for the purpose’. Nicholl deemed it ‘very judiciously temperate and conciliatory’, and it was ‘much applauded by all who followed, even by Peel’.93 The motion was carried by 247-234. Burdett worked with Plunket and O’Connell to prepare an emancipation bill, but difficulties arose over the proposed ‘wings’ of disfranchisement of the Irish 40s. freeholders and payment of the Catholic clergy, which O’Connell was confident he could persuade Catholic leaders to accept. Many Whigs were resolutely opposed to the former measure, and after discussions with Mackintosh and others in mid-March it was decided that Burdett (who told Hobhouse at this time that ‘he considered Lord Holland as his great shield against the petulance of Lord Grey’) should bring in the relief bill singly, leaving others to produce the security measures.94 He duly introduced the relief bill, 23 Mar. Three days later Agar Ellis, after a talk with Burdett, noted that ‘he has behaved admirably, and in the most manly manner about it all’, but ‘agrees with me in thinking that the dissensions of the Whigs will lose the question’.95 Holland wrote that ‘throughout the business Burdett has behaved with admirable temper and disinterestedness, risking his darling popularity for the attainment of what he thinks really useful to the country’.96 On 28 Mar. he indicated that he was willing to support the franchise and stipend measures ‘if the necessity of the case required it’, but said that ‘he was not implicated in the fate of these propositions’, with emancipation being ‘the sole measure for which he was pledged’. Before he moved the second reading of the relief bill, 19 Apr., he was ‘a good while tete a tete’ with O’Connell, who expected him to make ‘a great exhibition’, as he was ‘much better prepared this time than the last’.97 The division was 268-241 in favour of the measure, 21 Apr. On 26 Apr. he delivered what Hobhouse described as ‘a most powerful declamatory appeal to all the friends of Catholic emancipation’ to support the franchise bill, as ‘a proceeding indispensably necessary to reconcile the Protestant interests of Ireland’ to emancipation and had nothing to do with reform, which remained his great object in life. He ‘derided the scruples of Brougham’ (who vowed vengeance) ‘and said it was impossible to act with such impracticable men’.98 An attack of gout put him out of action for a while and delayed the committee stage. The third reading was carried by 248-227, 10 May, when the ‘disappointing’ majority was attributed to the ‘defection’ of Lambton, Sefton and others over the franchise bill.99 He did not show much enthusiasm for O’Connell’s idea of a direct personal appeal to Lord Liverpool to support the bill in the Lords, but O’Connell still found him ‘the same manly, delightful, honest man on this as on every other occasion’.100 He left Sir John Newport to take the bill to the Lords, preferring to go ‘riding in the park’.101 On 12 May he reiterated his support for the Irish franchise bill, observing that it might usefully be applied to ‘particular parts of the elective franchise’ in England. The defeat of the relief bill by 48 votes in the Lords, 17 May 1825, put an end to the matter for the time. Hobhouse heard that Burdett had ‘made enemies in Westminster by his conduct on the Catholics’, but there was no trouble at the anniversary dinner, 23 May 1825, when O’Connell, an uninvited guest, was pleased by ‘the force and manliness’ of Burdett’s ‘very powerful’ speech, which dwelt mainly on the Catholic question and contained ‘much good sense ...[and] great zeal’. In conclusion, Burdett proposed a toast to Peel for his efforts to legislate to reform jury selection.102
On other issues, Burdett voted for repeal of the assessed taxes, 3 Mar, spoke at the Westminster meeting called to petition for repeal of the house and window taxes, 24 Mar., when he condemned Hunt’s ‘most unhandsome’ conduct in carrying a amendment against sending up such a petition unless it contained a resolution deploring the Irish franchise bill,103 and supported Hobhouse’s motion for repeal of the ‘obnoxious’ window tax, 17 May. He welcomed Martin’s bill to outlaw sports which inflicted cruelty on animals, 11 Mar., and condemned the Peruvian Mining Company bill as a ‘bubble’ project, 16 Mar. On the 21st he expressed his ‘gratification’ at ‘the new and liberal view ... taken by ... ministers’ on commercial policy, but called for free trade in corn with Europe as well as with Canada. He opposed the proposed increase in judges’ salaries, 16 May, paired on the 20th for Brougham’s related motion to make puisne judges immoveable, and voted for Hobhouse’s motion to reduce their salaries, 17 June. He welcomed Hobhouse’s bill to restrict the hours of factory labour of children, ‘wretched little beings’ whose ‘inhuman’ treatment was a ‘crying evil’, 16, 31 May, when he protested that an amendment to reduce the hours from 12 to 11-and-a-half would jeopardize the measure. Supporting inquiry into religious animosities in Ireland, 26 May, he said ‘they could not exterminate six millions of people, and there was no choice between exterminating and satisfying them’. He could not see why Prince George was in need of £6,000 a year for his education, 30 May, and was a teller for the minority against the grant to his father, the duke of Cumberland, which he again divided against, 2, 6 June. He presented petitions from Westminster artisans against the re-enactment of the Combination Act, 30 May. Prompted by Place, he and Hobhouse ‘made a stout fight’ against this measure and managed to secure ‘some material amendments’ to its harsher provisions, and he was in three small minorities to this end, 27 June.104 He supported the prayer of Richard Carlile’s petition for remission of his gaol sentence and called for an end to ‘all persecutions for religious opinions’, 2 June. Prompted by Bentham, on 7 June he moved for the evidence taken by the chancery commissioners to be laid immediately before the House, but was defeated by 154-73.105 That day he voted in Hume’s minority of 26 on the case of the clerk of stationery in Bengal. He seconded Hume’s motion for the abolition of flogging in the navy, which was lost by 45-23, 9 June. He voted in small minorities against details of the Irish estimates, 13 June, and spoke and divided in the minority of 37 for Hume’s motion for inquiry into the Irish church, 14 June. He spoke and voted for the spring guns bill to end ‘this cruel system’, 21 June 1825.
Burdett bought £200 of shares in Brougham’s London University scheme in August 1825. He was a member of the Greek committee and was largely responsible for persuading Lord Cochrane† to take command of the Greek fleet, but subsequently became disillusioned with delays and indecision and the ‘lies and perfidy’ of the Greeks, which was ‘enough to make one turn Turk’.106 Gout drove him to Leamington in mid-November, but he found the waters ‘perfectly inefficacious’ and returned smartly to Kirby, where he was ‘nearly well’ by the end of the month. A ‘violent sprain of my wrist to which rheumatism has been added’ kept him from the hunting field in December 1825, when he joined his sickly wife and daughter Susan at Bath for Christmas. Like most leading proponents of Catholic relief, he thought the issue should not be pressed in the next session.107 At Bath in mid-January 1826 he was ‘hard at work with Homer, which I want much to finish that I may attend to the currency question’. He was there, under doctor’s orders, on 12 Feb., when he observed to Hobhouse that Cobbett had ‘proclaimed himself an ass’ with his ‘totally ignorant’ pronouncements on the commercial and banking crisis.108 He was in the House to vote with Hume in small minorities against details of the promissory notes bill, 27 Feb. Next day he said that the government’s handling of the crash was ‘calculated to inspire anything but confidence’, though he conceded that they had been placed in ‘an awkward position’. He stressed the need to reduce ‘enormous and overgrown establishments’. He divided in condemnation of the Jamaican slave trials, 2 Mar. On the 3rd he dissociated himself from the attack by Hume and others on the yeomanry, which he defended as a ‘constitutional’ force, though he was averse to its being put on ‘permanent duty’. He voted for reductions in the military establishment, 3, 6 Mar., and to abolish flogging, 10 Mar. He said there was no pressing need to return to a gold currency, 6 Mar., when he called again for free trade in corn, as he did when supporting Whitmore’s motion, 18 Apr., in what Bankes considered ‘the most remarkable speech of that evening’.109 He voted against the president of the board of trade’s official salary, 10 Apr. On the 13th he spoke and divided for reform of Edinburgh’s representation, but, describing the ministry as ‘two monsters in one body’, praised the general policies of its liberal element and urged Canning to take up this modest reform. He voted silently for Russell’s reform motion, 27 Apr., Hume’s for inquiry into the state of the nation, 4 May, and for investigation of the allegations in Silk Buckingham’s petition, 9 May 1826.
At the Westminster annual dinner, 23 May 1826, he observed that while gout compelled him to speak ‘standing on but one leg’, he was ‘at least in somewhat better plight than the constitution of England, which was crippled in a much more serious respect’. During the preliminaries to the general election he, like Hobhouse, took exception to the inclusion in the electors’ formal invitation a reference (Place’s handiwork) to ‘the two political factions’ which had once corruptly dominated Westminster, and vowed that he would not be ‘lugged into’ attacking the Whigs. Place mollified them, but noted privately that they were now ‘little if any better than mere drawling Whigs’. Burdett, who postponed at the last minute his plan to join his sickly wife in Paris, and Hobhouse were returned unopposed after nothing had come of a bid to nominate Canning and of a threatened challenge to Hobhouse from Cobbett. On the hustings Burdett, who was criticized for not having voted for Russell’s resolution condemning electoral bribery, 26 May 1826, declared that the people must at once ‘drop all considerations of minor importance’ and ‘proceed peaceably, yet firmly, to demand that complete and thorough reform, without which this country could never hope to enjoy long a state of prosperity’.110 Almost immediately afterwards he went to Paris, where Lord Carlisle, who wrote that ‘one seldom sees so unaffected a person’, found him ‘pleasing and pleased’, while Lambton described him in mid-August 1826 as ‘a capital figure in his grey coat with a large French straw hat and a ribbon round his neck, which is not of the shortest genus’.111
Burdett was in the minority of 21 for Hume’s amendment to the address, 21 Nov. 1826. He dismissed as nonsense Place’s letter to Hobhouse, 6 Dec., accusing him of wanting ‘habits of business’, and approved his colleague’s spirited reply (which was not sent). He also observed that the ‘retrenchment and economy’ line pursued by Hume, whom Place held up as a shining example, was ‘very inferior to the old constitutional career in Parliament’. In mid-December Hobhouse found him very critical of Canning’s recent speech on foreign affairs and blaming him ‘for making part of that ministry which had allowed all the infractions on liberty and independence throughout Europe’. He ‘compared the honour of England to the honour of Helen, who had been ravished half a dozen times before she was run away with by Paris’.112 Burdett was ‘absolutely nailed to my chair’ by gout at the turn of the year, but planned to bring on the Catholic question (by resolution rather than bill, following Canning’s advice) in the 1827 session, even though he was, as he told Hobhouse, ‘no adviser of and have no communication with the Catholics’. However, the Irish Catholics again entrusted him with their relief petition and, though far from fit and aware that he had ‘nothing on earth to say’, he went to London ‘limping’ to present and endorse the petition on 8 Feb.113 A meeting of the leading supporters of emancipation that day was ‘unanimously of opinion’ that he should bring on the issue as soon as possible. In Canning’s absence through illness, on 9 Feb. he discussed the matter with Huskisson, president of the board of trade, who warned him that there was little chance of Canning’s being able to attend on the 22nd, the date on which Burdett had fixed. He was ‘very reasonable’ and conceded that he could not press for precedence over the government’s new corn bill, but remained keen to bring on the question before the law circuits began in early March. Accordingly, he gave notice later that day of a resolution for Catholic relief and a call of the House for the 22nd, on the understanding that if Canning’s indisposition persisted he would postpone the business. On 12 Feb. Huskisson informed him that 1 Mar. was now the earliest day on which the question might be brought on with Canning present, and Burdett gave notice in the House to that effect.114 Some Whigs, notably Bedford and Tavistock, were unhappy that Burdett was to handle the issue, feeling that he was thereby conniving in the ‘dirty work’ and ‘juggle’ of Canning and Plunket.115 On 20 Feb. Hobhouse saw Burdett, who was ‘also convinced of the unfitness of bringing on the motion’ and asked him to ‘go down to the House and put it off for him sine die’. However, Althorp and James Abercromby* begged Hobhouse to wait until the opinion of Lord Lansdowne was known. Lansdowne was against delay, wishing the question to be brought on before the circuit and before a new ministry could be formed following Liverpool’s paralyzing stroke on 17 Feb. After some complex negotiations with Canning, Huskisson and Peel, it was settled that Burdett would move for relief on 5 Mar.116 He could not guess ‘how the administration will be patched up or a new one formed’, but he had ‘great hopes’ of ‘it proving a favourable event for the Catholic question’, though he admitted that ‘perhaps my wish is father to the thought’. He felt that some of the ‘more intractable and untamable’ Whigs had gone too far in their opposition to the grant to the duke of Clarence, the heir to the throne.117 In the House, 1 Mar., he said that Canning’s proposed revision of the corn laws, though ‘liberal’, did not go far enough towards free trade and urged future consideration of the state of the currency, ‘the root of all the evils under which the country laboured’. On 5 Mar. he moved to consider Catholic emancipation (which he privately considered to be part of a general measure for ‘putting an end to all religious distinctions for this time forth and forever more’) in a long speech.118 Hobhouse deemed it ‘perhaps not in his best style’, but thought ‘it was still ... very good’, while Agar Ellis felt that he ‘spoke well, but not so well as usual’.119 Abercromby judged that he performed ‘feebly’, and Grey’s son Lord Howick* was ‘disappointed very much’ by it.120 The motion was defeated on 6 Mar. by 276-272, to the delight of the anti-Catholic Tories and the disgust of Tavistock, who asked Hobhouse to tell Burdett that ‘I must follow my own course another time’ and hoped that he would ‘never meddle with the question again’ until there was a cabinet ‘united on the subject’.121 Burdett resumed his attack on the corn laws and currency ‘disorder’, 9 Mar., but was not in Whitmore’s minority of 50. He supported inquiry into the electoral activities of Leicester corporation, 15 Mar., when Howick thought he ‘spoke very well, much better than I ever heard him’.122 As he had promised Place, he exposed the dreadful conditions of ‘our noble and oppressed seamen’ when he presented and endorsed a Newcastle petition against impressment, 2 Apr.123 He said that the proposed revenue inquiry, acting on ‘secret testimonies and secret information’, would be ‘contrary to the spirit of Magna Carta’, 10 Apr. 1827, and next day he presented a Birmingham mechanics’ petition for relief from distress.124
On 15 Apr. 1827 Agar Ellis noted that Burdett ‘seems disposed to Canning, but not very decidedly’.125 In fact, he was one of the leading supporters of the Lansdowne Whigs’ coalition in government with Canning, and he spoke to that effect at a meeting called by Brougham to ratify it at Brooks’s, where he ‘startled his audience by an elaborate argument against political consistency’.126 On 21 Apr. he wrote to Lansdowne to beg him not to allow the negotiations to founder on the issue of ‘the appointment of a moderate Protestant’ as lord lieutenant of Ireland:
By such an arrangement everything seems to me, if not instantly gained, eventually secured ... it appears to me not only the most fortunate and unlooked for event, but the only chance in our time of effecting any great practical good; for however I may be attached to theoretic principles, no one is more alive than I am to the wisdom and necessity of seizing on every opportunity that presents itself for obtaining practical benefits. I cannot think it wise to reject a great deal that is most desirable, because all that is to be desired cannot be, and at once, obtained ... A greedy, bigoted, narrow-minded faction has ... oppressed the country ever since ...  and so exhausted it ... that it had lost the power, and almost the will, to shake it off. This their strength, however, probably produced their overthrow ... [and] they unseated themselves ... Having done so, are we to endeavour to set them up again?127
Holland, a supporter of the coalition, told Lansdowne that he suspected that Burdett would find a peerage ‘acceptable’ and that ‘the offer could not but please, and his pleasure conciliates large classes of persons’; but nothing came of this for the moment.128 On 26 Apr. Burdett had an interview with Canning and reported to Lansdowne that he had spoken with ‘the greatest and most unreserved candour’ and ‘made on my mind the most favourable impression and quite satisfied me of his having done everything ... in his power for the accomplishment of that union with you, upon which ... every hope of public good being effected solely rests’.129 On 30 Apr. he told Hobhouse that he intended to support the new ministry and even sit behind the treasury bench. When Hobhouse said that he could not join him in sitting behind ‘the arch-enemy of the reformers’ Burdett replied that ‘he took Canning as a choice of evils’ and argued that ‘if the Whigs did not now support Canning, the bigots would come in’. On 1 May he wrote to Hobhouse to say that, ‘seeing his going behind the treasury bench gave me so much pain’ he would ‘keep up his old seat but make a declaration in favour of ministers’. Yet when Hobhouse went to the House later that day he found Burdett’s name pasted to the place immediately behind Canning’s, and, intercepting him on his way to the chamber, was told that that was indeed his intention.130 In the debate, Burdett paid a courtesy to Peel, but declared his support for the new administration ‘because it affords the best opportunity that I have yet met with of promoting ... the cause of civil and religious freedom’. Canning did not think much of his effort, and his acolyte John Evelyn Denison* considered that he had ‘made the most ill judged, unfair statement of his reasons for supporting the new government that could be uttered by man’.131 When Peel delivered a violent attack on the unlikely supporters of the ministry, 3 May, Burdett responded with a diatribe of his own:
It is no small good to have removed from the king’s councils that narrow-minded, bigoted part of the administration ... [who] for a long time ... have weighed heavily on the best interests of the people, while they clogged the superior intellect of their colleagues, and prevented their advance, in conformity with the advance of public opinion. Thank God, the incubus is removed - the administration is purged of that dross.
Hobhouse thought Burdett’s speech was ‘admirable’, as did Agar Ellis and Lady Cowper; but Canning found it ‘highly amusing and edifying to observe this transformation of character’ from radical hero to purveyor of ‘Tory sentiments’.132 Burdett reported to his wife, who was convalescing at Pau, that he had no regrets at his new role:
If these bats and owls and unclean birds, which have so unexpectedly quitted their perch on fortune’s top and taken flight, with an evident purpose to return, can be prevented from ever returning, an evident public good will be obtained, and ... no effort ought ... and none shall on my part be spared to effect it.133
At the Westminster anniversary dinner, 23 May, Burdett was denounced as ‘a traitor to the cause of the people’ by a drunken Cobbett, who accused him of angling for a peerage. Burdett defended himself, claiming that he had ‘done a great benefit to the public interests’ which ‘would finally advance the great object of reform’, even though he acknowledged that Canning was hostile to it, and declared that his own ‘long-established principles he never would forgo, whether he should slip into a peerage or not’. The meeting came close to a riot, and Burdett, while insisting in private that Cobbett had not won the day, advised Hobbhouse to keep quiet about the episode.134 Soon afterwards Burdett had another interview with Canning, and was ‘most pleased with him’, even to the extent of obeying his request to try to persuade the duke of Devonshire to ‘accept some high office in the ... household’, in which he succeeded.135 In the House, 25 May, he argued that under the 1817 monopoly of the water companies, the product supplied to the metropolitan area was contaminated with sewage and waste. On 11 June, seconded by Hobhouse, he secured the appointment of a commission of inquiry.136 He was in the minority for the disfranchisement of Penryn, 28 May. He supported Gordon’s motion for inquiry into the treatment of pauper lunatics in Middlesex, 13 June 1827, and next day, endorsing Davenport’s call for inquiry into commercial and industrial distress, again blamed the hasty return to cash payments, but expressed doubts about subsidized emigration, which exported skills. Greville recorded that following the government’s defeat in the Lords on the corn bill that month, Burdett, like a number of their ‘zealous’ supporters, had become ‘very much disgusted’ at their ‘feebleness’.137
In his wife’s absence Burdett had become indiscreetly entangled with a young woman, described by Hobhouse as his ‘doxy’, with whom he appeared brazenly in public in the summer of 1827. He ‘confided ... the whole story of his most strange passion’ to Hobhouse, lamenting in late July that ‘I have indulged myself fatally in a delicious stream these five months and [on] waking find myself undone’. In September he tried to explain his foolishness:
The strange circumstances in which I ... have long been placed respecting my own family ... have produced at last their consequence, but for this I am alone answerable ... Life goes heavily where she is not ... Mine is a passion, not an appetite, and it is irresistible. The cold ceremonial rules of society, and those who dwell in decencies for ever and judge accordingly may censure ... [but] even they have no right as yet to find fault.138
He apparently extricated himself from the affair before the year was out. In late August 1827 he gave Hobhouse permission to propose to his daughter Sophia, but, after lengthy consideration, she turned him down.139
On about 11 July 1827 Lambton, at Canning’s behest, sounded Burdett as to his willingness to accept a peerage if offered. A few days later he gave Hobhouse, whose first thought had been that ‘it would do great mischief, though he might do so honestly’ an account of
his real feelings ... He said he never had but one passion, that of serving the public in his own station. That this passion was now stronger with him than ever, that he quite agreed with me that to become a peer would render him powerless in comparison with his present means of utility, and would besides be so little intelligible generally as to do mischief to the public cause. That he should never hesitate for a moment to reject the offer, but he owned that he should like to have the offer made to him in order that he might give the people a proof of his constancy. All these just sentiments I endeavoured to strengthen him in ... I told him that if the administration were a reform administration he might choose his post in the Lords as well as the Commons, but to take a peerage from and under George Canning! Impossible! If I had ever doubted my friend’s integrity and disinterestedness, which I never had for an instant, his conversation would have removed every suspicion.140
Burdett ‘felt no grief’, only ‘regret’ at Canning’s death a month later.141 When Lord Goderich, of whom he had ‘no opinion in any way’, was appointed premier, he sought an interview with Lansdowne, and on being rebuffed wrote to him pleading with him to undertake ‘a consultation ... of your old [Whig] friends’ in ‘an attempt’, as Ellice later described it, to unite all the former friends of the opposition’. Lansdowne decided to say in office, and his reply was thought to have convinced Burdett of his weakness. But Ellice remarked justly that Burdett himself was as much to blame as Lansdowne for ‘the destruction of the opposition party’ in the first place.142 Burdett was on the verge of going to join his wife at Nice in September when the arrival of a letter from her stopped him in his tracks, and he stayed in England.143 In late November Holland reported to Lansdowne that he was ‘quite right’ in his approval of the destruction of the Turkish fleet at Navarino, but ‘not quite so benignant ... as he was last year’, perhaps under the influence of ‘his fellow traveller’ John Calcraft*, a disappointed suitor for office.144 Burdett now thought that ‘little more can be done for the Spaniards’, but he was willing to send ‘a small contribution’ and to speak on their behalf in the House if a suitable opportunity offered. He denounced Dom Miguel as ‘a monster’, of whom the world would be well rid.145 At the close of the year he confessed to Hobhouse’s brother that he ‘did not know where to sit’ in Parliament when it reconvened, and when Hobhouse rebuked him for disclosing this he replied:
In my particular circumstances doubts are a purpose I put forward ... to serve as pioneers, and prepare the way ... I have no doubt in my own mind ... that this pitiful cabinet (the king’s own handiwork) could not and ought not to stand. At the same time, having got myself into ... a false position, some address is required in withdrawing from it, or rather in preparing the mind of others for the movement ... My doubts known having apprised everyone of this, no surprise will be the consequence of whatever I may think it right to do. I have moreover written to Huskisson [leader of the Commons] to acquaint him with my sentiments and to say I would call on him, if he wished it, for fuller explanation. So that I have prepared my way for whatever line of conduct it may be advisable to adopt, always, however, keeping in view kindness, as far as it is possible, towards those I can no longer support.
On Hobhouse’s suggestion that he might make a ‘reform speech’, he said that he was ‘principally deterred by the fear of playing the game of the old faction more effectually, for I cannot conceal from myself that it is playing it, in some degree, to knock up the present administration’:
A display of strong reform views would, I fear, aid them greatly, perhaps reconsolidate them, and reconcile them with the king. I rather think reform must come, if at all, like the lord of hosts, like a thief in the night, and that the country must be led blindfold to the point when the steps must be taken, and from which there will be no power of retreating. A great splash would run the risk of drowning it ... My present impression is ... to be vigilant, but quiet ... I stand in great awe of energetic folly. One ought to be very clear before taking a very decided step, and we are far too little informed, at present, to be able to determine anything very satisfactorily.146
He told Hobhouse that ‘when Huskisson heard his reasons for not continuing his support to the administration he allowed that he had nothing to oppose to them’. He urged Hobhouse to ‘take a line the first day of the session and said he would support me’.147 When news of the final collapse of the Goderich ministry broke in the second week of January 1828, he was at Oakley with Tavistock, who reported to Holland that ‘no one seems to rejoice more than Burdett’. Holland accused him of inconsistency, but Hobhouse defended him, while Tavistock was inclined to agree with Holland, observing that Burdett’s ‘present joy arises, mainly, from finding himself unexpectedly released from an embarrassment which he had foolishly got into, and from which he hardly knew how to extricate himself without some degree of discredit’. He added that Burdett ‘wants what the late ministers wanted, viz., decision of character’.148 He did not think ‘an Ultra or old Tory [ministry], as it is absurdly called’ could be formed or stand, but he was wrong in predicting that Huskisson and his associates would not join the duke of Wellington’s new ministry.149
On the address, 31 Jan. 1828, he applauded Navarino as ‘one of the most fortunate circumstances that could have happened, highly creditable to the character of the country’, approved the Treaty of London but expressed regret that the ministry which had concluded it had expired ‘of its own diffidence’ and lamented that Ireland was ‘in the most unsatisfactory state possible’. On 14 Feb. he seconded Hobhouse’s motion for a vote of thanks to Admiral Codrington and his sailors, but advised Hobhouse to withdraw, as he had made his point and carried the House with him.150 A few days later he buttonholed Creevey to ‘deplore the times’ and observe that for all Brougham’s talents, ‘the world would be benefited by his being out of it’.151 He presented a petition from the ratepayers of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, complaining that the standing orders had not been complied with in the local vestry bill, 25 Feb. He presented the petition of 5,000 Marylebone residents for a vestry bill and condemned the ‘disgusting’ closed system, 31 Mar.; he supported the resultant measure, 6 June. He presented and endorsed petitions for repeal of the Test Acts, 25 Feb., and voted in that sense next day. He called for action instead of endless inquiries on prison reform, 28 Feb. He now advocated emigration as a means of relieving distress, 4 Mar. On 18 Mar. he pressed Peel, the home secretary, to authorize the metropolitan water supply commissioners to seek and recommend a remedy for the current problems. He urged government to pay for an engineers’ survey, 19 May. He divided against sluicing East Retford with freeholders from the hundred of Bassetlaw, 21 Mar. He again advocated free trade in corn and an adjustment of the currency, 31 Mar., prompting Ellice to tell Grey, 2 Apr., that Burdett, ‘who usually indulges in great nonsense on this subject, for once hit the nail on the head’.152 He presented and endorsed a Stockport petition against friendly societies, 17 Apr., but was obliged to withdraw one from Ludlow alleging the misapplication of public funds by the corporation, 21 Apr. He brought up the Irish Catholics’ relief petition, 6 Mar., and on 8 May moved for emancipation ‘in a speech of two hours and three quarters’, which Hobhouse and others thought ‘very good’ but ‘too long’ on an exhausted subject.153 The motion was carried by 272-266 on 12 May, but once more the Upper House had the decisive last word. On 12 June, however, Burdett asserted that there were ‘now more rational grounds to hope for success’ and urged Catholics to continue peaceful agitation and ministers to take up the issue as a cabinet one next session. The proposal to confer pensions on Canning’s widow and family placed him, as Hobhouse recorded, ‘in no small embarrassment’, but they decided to vote silently against it. Canning’s former secretary John Backhouse considered this a ‘cowardly’ act, prompted by the nearness of the Westminster annual dinner: ‘He could not I suppose indulge his good feelings at the risk of incurring the displeasure of a Westminster mob’.154 The dinner, 26 May, was a thinly attended affair, and Burdett, who dwelt on repeal of the Test Acts, the urgency of conceding Catholic relief and the need for reform, especially the enfranchisement of large manufacturing towns, was ‘very well received’.155 On 5 June he spoke and voted for Graham’s amendment to the ministerial proposals to restrict the circulation of small bank notes in Scotland, arguing that Peel’s Act of 1819 had been ‘productive of more positive suffering and unmixed misery than any that was ever yet devised’. He seconded Otway Cave’s motion for leave to introduce a bill to prevent the application of corporate funds to electoral purposes, 10 June. He voted against the archbishop of Canterbury’s bill, 16 June, the salary of the governor of Dartmouth Castle, 20 June, and the grant for Buckingham House refurbishment, 23 June. He said that petitioners for enhanced protection for the glove trade were deluded, 26 June. He spoke and voted against the additional churches bill, 30 June. Recurring to the problem of the metropolitan water supply, 1 July, he reported that the commissioners had found the complaints to be well founded and advocated the appointment of a select committee to examine ways of obtaining a supply of pure water without interfering with vested interests, specifying the construction of a reservoir at Wimbledon for water drawn from the Thames at Teddington. He modified the terms of his motion in accordance with suggestions made by Sir Joseph Yorke, and obtained his committee. He presented its report, 19 July 1828. A fortnight earlier he had written to his wife at Baden, where he planned to join her in the recess, ‘I never was so occupied as this session. How refreshing will be rest and seeing you’.156
He was in Paris at the turn of the year, and in January 1829 wrote to Place (whom he authorized to subscribe £50 to the fund for William Hone):
I have no opinion of the duke except at the head of an army. As to the Irish, they always mar their own concerns, their talent and wrong-headedness combined adapt admirably for that end; but our whole administration seems such an unaccountable mass of inconsistent acts and absurd or contradictory principles or no principles that I confess I am unable to form even a conjecture.157
Macdonald, who was also in Paris, advised Lansdowne to get Holland or some other staunch Whig to write to Burdett, whose ‘only, but constant political correspondent’ was Calcraft, now a member of the ministry.158 News that they had decided to concede Catholic emancipation brought him quickly to London, where he dined with Holland, Lord Durham (Lambton) and other leading Whigs to discuss O’Connell’s case regarding his right to take his seat as Member for Clare.159 On the address, 5 Feb., he concurred in Brougham’s advice to the Catholic Association to dissolve itself (though he told Hobhouse that he was willing to ‘gulp the measure’ to suppress it ‘for the sake of carrying the great question’)160 and praised Wellington and Peel for proposing what was ‘the harbinger of peace’ to Britain and Ireland. He ‘owned’ to Greville that ‘the business is very handsomely done’, and wrote to Bentham, ‘Should not our Grand Duke be styled Felix?’161 He presented a number of pro-Catholic petitions, 4 Mar. On the 6th a meeting of Whigs at his house decided to protest against but not oppose the bill to disfranchise the Irish 40s. freeholders, despite the attempt of O’Connell and his allies to persuade them to resist it.162 He spoke and voted for emancipation and said the opposition to it was a ‘foolish and hollow delusion’, 6 Mar. For the last time, he presented and endorsed the Irish Catholics’ relief petition, 13 Mar. According to Creevey, Grey refused to act on Burdett’s personal request that he should speak to Wellington on the problem of O’Connell’s seat.163 On 20 Mar. he opposed Lord Duncannon’s amendment to the Irish franchise bill in ‘a short speech’ which Howick thought the only good one of the debate.164 He voted silently for the third reading of the relief bill, 30 Mar. Soon afterwards gout struck again, and on 14 Apr. he told Lord Sligo that he had suffered ‘five sleepless nights and eight bad days, with constant pain’; but a week later he was ‘a giant refreshed’, having ‘thrown away my crutches’.165 In the House, 7 May, he argued that a maximum of £4,000 would pay for the metropolitan water survey, but he found Peel reluctant to involve government and unwilling to meet the fee demanded by Telford, who had been recommended by the select committee. That day he again prescribed emigration as a long-term solution to distress and contended that Irish landlords should bear the cost of poor relief. He assisted O’Connell in his bid to establish his right to take his seat unimpeded, and on 15 May secured an adjournment to search for precedents; but ‘a swingeing fit of gout, brought back by some late follies’, laid him up and kept him from the House on the 18th, when the question was divided on, and from the Westminster dinner on the 25th, when he was attacked by Hunt and Cobbett for neglecting the cause of reform.166 On 2 June 1829 he presented and endorsed a petition for inquiry into the effects of the 1819 Bank Act.
A few days later a family financial crisis took him to Paris, but he was at Calais on his way back on 30 June, when he wrote to Hobhouse:
As to the duke, certainly the elements of a powerful opposition seem to be gathering thick around him, and as he has declared himself against reform, against considering the currency, and against any very large retrenchment, and as his foreign politics are very odious, and nothing defensible about him except the carrying the Catholic question, as he cannot satisfy new friends or appease old ones, as the king will not have Whigs, and he cannot retain Tories, there is every prospect of a blessed confusion, out of which chaos may arise reform. This I expect as religiously as the Jews the Messiah.167
His mother-in-law the duchess of St. Albans helped him out of the ‘crisis’, and he and his wife took a house near Twickenham from July until October, when Hobhouse dined with him and met the future King William IV.168 In December 1829, rather later than planned, they moved to Brighton, which Burdett found so cold that he seriously contemplated ‘removing further west to Torquay’. However, he stayed put, stuffing himself with ‘liver and bacon, Irish stew, rump steaks’ at the duchess’s table, but unable to hunt on account of more gout, which kept him away from London until the new session opened.169
He voted for Knatchbull’s amendment to the address, 4 Feb. 1830. Next day he unsuccessfully appealed to Lord Blandford to withdraw his parliamentary reform amendment, criticized Wellington for his speech in the Lords, which had shown him to be ‘totally insensible’ to the extent and degree of distress, called for the currency to be settled once and for all and declared that he could no longer abstain from attacking the ministry on account of its carrying of Catholic emancipation: ‘unless this House ... of representatives of peers, who have acquired an influence inconsistent with the spirit of the constitution ... [and] unless this gross system of corruption be put an end to by ourselves, it will be terminated by the people’. Hobhouse, who suspected that he had ‘dined well’ before he made his ‘philippic’, was embarrassed by the speech, for he was prepared to support the government when conscience allowed. O’Connell and the radical Colonel Leslie Grove Jones were said to be trying to ‘get Burdett’ for their projected ‘Wednesday dining club to reform the nation’.170 He voted for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb. 5, 15 Mar.: on the two last occasions he supported O’Connell’s proposal to incorporate in the bill the secret ballot, ‘a palliative which might be applied with great advantage and perfect safety to a system pregnant with defects’. On the 5th he denied George Lamb’s allegation that he wished to ‘counteract the intimidation of the aristocracy’ and Russell’s that he wanted to ‘put an end to the spirit of English elections’. He supported, with what Howick thought ‘rather a desultory ... but a most splendid speech’, Blandford’s reform scheme, 18 Feb., arguing that the Irish franchise might be beneficially applied to England and Scotland and declaring that ‘the people of England are beginning to bestir themselves, and to place sufficient confidence in their own powers and exertions’.171 He voted for Russell’s motion for the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., and spoke and voted for investigation of the Newark petitioners’ complaints of electoral malpractice by the Duke of Newcastle, whose ‘crime’ had been ‘that of a man who robs by violence’, 1 Mar. Newcastle had written to The Times (26 Feb.) to contradict Burdett’s earlier assertion that he had bought his seat for Boroughbridge from him in 1796, when he had in fact been only 11 years old. Howick deemed Burdett’s speech in half-hearted support of Hume’s motion for £8,000,000 of tax reductions, 15 Feb., when he harped again on the currency, to be ‘long and dull’ and ‘totally irrelevant’.172 Next day he praised O’Connell for what he had achieved in Ireland and deplored the abuse which was habitually heaped on him. He divided for army reductions, 19, 22 Feb.; but Hobhouse could not ‘understand how my friend Burdett and others strive so to turn out an administration which stands so ill at Court’.173 Burdett described the Ultra Tory Wetherell’s motion for information on the ex-officio newspaper prosecutions instigated by the renegade Whig James Scarlett* as attorney-general, 2 Mar., as ‘a grain of wheat in a bushel of chaff’ and a prime piece of hypocrisy, and he clashed with Hume over his palliation of Scarlett’s conduct. Hobhouse noted that his speech ‘pleased few or none of his cronies as it closed with a compliment to ... Wellington and his government’ which seemed ‘inconsistent’ with his ‘previous attack on the duke’.174 According to Sir James Graham*, he ‘promised to attend’ the meeting at Althorp’s rooms at which the first step was taken towards creating a formal opposition group to campaign for economies, 3 Mar., but ‘went out riding at the appointed hour’. He was at the second meeting on the 6th.175 He presented petitions for free trade in beer, revision of the licensing system, currency and parliamentary reform, and repeal of the malt and beer duties, 3, 11, 16 Mar. He demanded repeal of the assessed taxes, 5 Mar. On 9 Mar. he dissented - ‘most absurdly’, as Howick thought - from the opposition attempt to ensure that military officers should not receive their full pay when holding civil office.176 He was, however, in the minority to reduce the volunteers grant. He again commended subsidized emigration, but advocated the exclusion of indigent Irish as a more immediate solution to distress. Howick and Agar Ellis liked his ‘moderate but amusing speech’ in support of Lord Palmerston’s motion on relations with Portugal, 10 Mar., when Agar Ellis’s wife thought ‘the accent of contempt with which he repeatedly pronounced "This Dom Miguel" was the most amusing thing possible’.177 He voted against the proposal to give the treasurer of the navy a distinct ministerial salary, 12 Mar. Unlike some oppositionists, he supported Davenport’s motion for inquiry into the state of the nation, 23 Mar., when he said its rejection would prove that the Commons had become ‘an assembly formed ... to register the edicts of the ministry’ and ‘throw the people into utter despair’. He accused Peel of developing a ‘settled policy to depress the landed interest’. Hobhouse recorded that he was ‘the paper hero of the night’ and was ‘much cheered’ by the Ultra Tories, but thought he ‘talked sad nonsense about prices’.178 On 25 Mar. he spoke and voted for Poulett Thomson’s motion for a revision of taxation, giving ministers some credit for their recent cuts, but damning their views as ‘totally mistaken’, in that they could not see that the currency change was at the root of distress. Next day he presented a petition for an end to truck payments and voted in the majority to abolish the Bathurst and Dundas pensions. On the 29th, when he divided to get rid of the office of lieutenant-general of the ordnance, he was obliged to admit that he had completely misrepresented Lord Eldon’s views on the currency. He paired for inquiry into the management of crown lands revenues, 30 Mar. He had been named to Hobhouse’s committee on select vestries, 10 Feb., and on 2 Apr. backed his delaying amendment to the St.Giles vestry bill in the hope that ‘an amicable adjustment’ of differences could be attained. He divided for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr. On 28 Apr. he ‘spoke better than usual’, as Joseph Phillimore* judged, in support of inquiry into the ‘disgraceful’ Terceira incident.179 He was in the minority against the public buildings grant, 3 May. He was absent from Parliament until 13 July, when he spoke and voted in the minority of 27 for Brougham’s motion for the abolition of colonial slavery, advocating a ‘gradual’ approach to ensure that the slaves were ready for freedom.180 On 20 July 1830 he presented and endorsed a London and Westminster inhabitants’ petition for ending the East India Company’s trade monopoly.
In early May 1830, without consulting Hobhouse or the leading Westminster committee men, he agreed to chair a constituency meeting promoted by Silk Buckingham to air his grievances against the East India Company. When Hobhouse pointed out his folly, he repented and ‘offered to give up going’, but instead acted on Hobhouse’s advice to have the meeting legitimized. On the appointed day (8 May), however, he developed a convenient ‘swollen face’, which obliged the long-suffering Hobhouse to take his place.181 At the Westminster anniversary dinner, 24 May, where he appeared ‘with his arm in a sling’, he retrospectively welcomed Catholic emancipation and passionately advocated the same treatment for Jews. He praised Hume’s doggedness, but criticized the shortsightedness of his relentless campaign for economies, approved the formation of the Birmingham Political Union and reiterated his conviction that parliamentary reform was the indispensable key to improvement. He declared his continued support for universal suffrage, but indicated his willingness to accept something more moderate if that proved to be ‘too sweeping’ for other reformers. While O’Connell was speaking, Burdett fainted and had to be carried out.182 He approved Hobhouse’s suggestion that Hume should be supported by the reformers in Middlesex at the approaching general election, and on 22 June hosted Hobhouse, Russell, Davenport and Thomas Attwood† of the Birmingham Political Union for a ‘conversation’ about reform.183 His verdict on the dead George IV was that ‘history would have but a sad tale to tell’ of him.184 On 14 July he seemed to Hobhouse to be ‘half inclined to declare himself a decided supporter of government’ at the outset of the new reign.185 As guest of honour at the first anniversary meeting of the Birmingham Political Union, 26 July, he admitted that ‘all his labours in the cause of reform had hitherto produced little effect upon the legislature’, and argued that ‘little would be effected unless by a general union and co-operation of the people’. He ‘deprecated all extremes which disconnected the reformers from each other’ and stressed the need for unity.186 Five days later, he and Hobhouse were returned unopposed for Westminster. He had caused his colleague more aggravation by including in the first draft of his formal acceptance of the electors’ invitation a eulogy of William IV as ‘a patriot king’, which was intended, as he explained to Hobhouse, who thought ‘his tongue is too big for his mouth’ and that he had ‘more words than wit’, as ‘a sort of manifesto against the foolish conduct of Brougham and Lord Grey’ in coquetting with the government. He was persuaded to scrap his address and let Hobhouse write one for him.187 On the hustings, he asserted that ‘the universal cry throughout the country was for reform’ and that even Wellington ‘had admitted that to a certain extent it was necessary’.188 He was excited by news of the revolution in France, and in his address of thanks to the electors, 4 Aug., he ‘expatiated on French politics at length’, to the alarm of some in the City and to the further irritation of Hobhouse, who had deleted his own initial reference to France on the strength of Burdett’s agreement to stay silent on it. Burdett would not back down, and Hobhouse was forced to amend his address. Burdett agreed to a request from Silk Buckingham that he should take the chair at a dinner to celebrate the revolution on 18 Aug. Hobhouse criticized him for not consulting the Westminster reformers, and noted that it was ‘a difficult thing to act with Burdett now; he is certainly losing his head, at least his memory’, though he was ‘the best of men’. Burdett was unrepentant, and argued that ‘the thing desirable is a strong expression of public spirit ... without the sanction of great names’. In the event Hobhouse felt that the dinner, at which Burdett gave the toast to ‘Louis Philippe and the French nation’, ‘went off very well’, though it was misrepresented in the press.189 In mid-September 1830, having become ‘afraid that the democratic principle will predominate too much in the new arrangement’, he decided against his initial plan to go to Paris. He hoped for relative calm in France and an avoidance of ‘if not vaulting ambition, vaulting folly’, pinning his hopes on ‘the general desire for quiet and the mildness and moderation of Lafayette. He wrote to Hobhouse a lament for ‘old England, now half destroyed by railroads, inclosures, steam engines, canals, etc.’, which led him to comment on ‘the sad catastrophe’ of Huskisson, ‘a very puzzle headed confused person’ and ‘an excellent clerk’.190
A hunting accident to his ankle put him out of action in mid-October, and by the first week of November 1830, when he was at Brighton, he was additionally ‘taken aback’ and ‘ill’ with ‘pains all over me’ and ‘a sickness at stomach’, and was ‘unable to guess when I shall be fit for anything’:
What figures ministers make. It can’t go on ... The duke has added to his other wise declarations that on reform; he must go, it is not to be borne - ignorance and presumption personified ... It would be a pity to have any division before the reform question ... Grey seems to have made a good speech, notwithstanding his sophistry about abstract right. He declares for efficient reform ...The [king’s] speech has disappointed and disgusted the country generally, if I can rely on my information from different quarters, and the king’s tide of popularity is already on the ebb.191
He saw Brougham in Brighton on 6 Nov. and next day assured Hobhouse that he would do his best to get to London ‘as soon as possible’ in order to support his planned motion on non-interference in the Belgian crisis, which he saw as the likeliest means of turning out the ministry.192 In the event he did not arrive until 16 Nov. 1830, when he presented some anti-slavery petitions, and so missed the previous day’s division on the civil list on which the government fell. On the 17th he had an interview with Grey, the new premier, and, as he told Hobhouse, was ‘much pleased with his frankness, promising reform, and all good things as the basis of is administration’. He drafted a letter of support to Grey, in which he expressed his wish that flogging and impressments might be abolished. Hobhouse doubted the wisdom of sending it, but Burdett ‘said that he had the greatest confidence in Lord Grey’s honour, and besides the letter would be a security for himself as in conversation his words may have been taken for more than they meant’. Hobhouse suspected that his ‘open, disinterested friend may have been a little imprudent in his language’, but concluded that on balance the letter had ‘better be sent’. A week later Burdett made clear to Hobhouse that he favoured ‘strong measures’ to suppress the ‘Swing’ disturbances.193 Place criticized him to Hume for refusing to sign a requisition for a Middlesex county reform meeting ‘because he thinks the new ministry should be tried’, forgetting that ‘this trick was played by the Whigs in 1806’.194 On the appointment of a select committee on the reduction of public salaries, 9 Dec., speaking from ‘the second bench behind the treasury’, he stated his ‘confidence’ in the new ministry ‘if they act up to the principles they profess’, but called for all civil servant clerks to be generously paid and doubted that there could be much effective retrenchment of the emoluments of senior officials of the crown. (Hobhouse ‘did not much like this’.)195 Burdett added that while economy in the wider sense was attainable, reform was the key issue, and ‘the party of impatience’ was the only one the government need fear. On 14 Dec. he again rode his currency hobby horse and supported Littleton’s motion for leave to introduce a bill to abolish truck payments. He supported the O’Gorman Mahon’s motion for a return of bankrupt Irish magistrates, 15 Dec., and advocated the opening of select vestries, 16 Dec. He turned up late to the Middlesex reform meeting, 15 Dec. 1830, denounced the extremists’ attack on ‘primogeniture and tithes’ and expressed ‘confidence in ministers and anticipated the overthrow of the boroughmongers’. He was ‘very ill received’, according to Hobhouse.196
Burdett pleaded for a more conciliatory policy towards Ireland, 8 Feb. 1831, but asserted that the government’s ‘most awkward predicament’ was worsened by the intemperate and factious antics of some Irish Members, who professed to be their friends but were seeking to undermine the Union. In particular, he deplored Mahon’s rant against English Whigs. He now claimed never to have portrayed Catholic emancipation as a ‘complete remedy’ for the problems of Ireland and alleged that ‘the lower orders’ there ‘cry out for repeal’ [of the Union] only because O’Connell had ‘told them that it will provide them food and clothing’. Greville thought this was a ‘good’ effort, but O’Connell, replying to a correspondent who had named Burdett as an ally, asked, ‘of what importance if the opinion of poor Sir Francis Burdett to any rational being?’197 He supported the beleaguered chancellor of the exchequer Althorp on the sugar duties, 11 Mar., and the timber duties, 15 Mar. In January 1831 Croker heard that in the course of concocting their reform scheme ministers had ‘been sounding the pulse’ of Burdett and Hobhouse.198 No convincing corroborative evidence has been found, but years later Brougham claimed that in response to a message from his ‘Burdettite’ brother James, who had been given an inkling of the plan, to the effect that Burdett was impressed with it, the cabinet ‘resolved ... to make Burdett our confidant under seal of secrecy’. When ‘the outline of the plan was communicated to him’ he ‘was overjoyed, but greatly doubted if we did not go too far. He made one or two suggestions ... of which we took advantage’.199 He signed the requisition for the Wiltshire reform meeting in February.200 On the 26th he presented reform petitions, some of which advocated the ballot, from Calne and Ramsbury. According to Hobhouse, when he and Burdett had digested the reform scheme, 1 Mar., they initially saw ‘very little chance’ of its being carried and feared that ‘a revolution would be the consequence’. They expected their ‘Westminster friends’ to denounce the £10 borough qualification, but next day were surprised to find Place, who vouched for most other reformers, ‘delighted’ with the plan.201 There was some trouble, however, at a Westminster reform meeting organized by Place and chaired by Burdett, 4 Mar., when extremists proposed more radical measures, but without success. Burdett proclaimed that ‘no person in an epileptic fit ever threw himself into more ludicrous contortions than the expiring boroughmongers in their last agony’.202 He had agreed to chair a dinner for the Polish emissary Count Wielpoloski, 9 Mar., but shuffled out of it at the last minute and cajoled Hobhouse into taking his place. This cost Hobhouse, again ‘suffering for Burdett’s indiscretion’, the chance of being offered the vacant office of secretary at war.203 Burdett endorsed the prayer of Westminster parish petitions in favour of the reform bills, 11 Mar. drawing attention to the signature of Bentham attached to that from St. Margaret’s, and said that the English bill was ‘ably conceived’ and had been ‘wisely received by the good sense of the country as a measure of full and efficient reform’. He chaired a St. James’s parish reform meeting, 18 Mar.204 In the House, 21 Mar., he declared that he would support the bill ‘because I think it will fix the crown more firmly on the king’s head’, and he voted for the second reading next day. He was on the committee of the Parliamentary Candidate Society and chaired the meeting which established the Loyal and Patriotic Fund.205 He voted against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment to the reform bill, 19 Apr. In the furious exchanges which marked the snap dissolution, 22 Apr. 1831, he tried to shut up the Ultra Sir Richard Vyvyan, but was himself silenced by the Speaker. At the Westminster meeting convened to address the king thanking him for the dissolution, 26 Apr., Burdett praised the ‘magnanimous’ William IV, who had taken a decisive step towards ‘the final annihilation of that ignominious borough domination under which the country had so long groaned’, and called for an ‘end to all distinctions between parties and principles’ and a strong display of ‘unanimity’ in support of the reform plan, regardless of its details. He also attacked Hunt for his criticism of the scheme and accused him of leaguing with the Tories. The countess of Bute remarked that this tirade, which Hobhouse described as ‘peppery’, was ‘past what I have heard him say ages ago’.206 Burdett, who failed to interest his son Robert, from whom he was estranged, in trying for a seat in Parliament, was returned unopposed for Westminster with Hobhouse on 2 May, when he predicted the certain triumph of reform, thanks largely to the efforts of the electors of Westminster since 1806.207 He assisted reform candidates in Berkshire and Leicestershire and was delighted with the outcome of the elections, observing that ‘the country never showed itself to more advantage’.208 He made much of this ‘triumph’ at the Westminster anniversary dinner, 23 May 1831, when he closed proceedings by giving the health of the veteran reformer Thomas Hardy.209
When the Commons took the address to the king, 24 June 1831, Burdett, who had never participated before, wore ‘full court dress’.210 On 28 June he supported the prayer of petitions for repeal of the remaining Six Acts, but criticized Hume for his ‘long monologue’ on the subject, which he felt must be postponed until the ‘all absorbing question of reform’ had been settled. He voted for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, after answering Peel ‘as well as he could be answered’, as Hobhouse thought, ‘treating him civilly, but stripping him of some of his details, and putting the question fairly before the House’. He completed this ‘very effective speech’, which was delivered ‘for the first time from the floor’, at four in the morning.211 He divided fairly steadily for the details of the bill until 5 Aug., though he was by no means a thick and thin attender. He was in the minority for the total disfranchisement of Saltash, 26 July, when government did not press the matter. On 4 Aug. he opposed Milton’s amendment to give the schedule D boroughs two Members each and defended the practice of electors mandating their representatives to support the details of the bill and calling them to account when they failed to do so. He went to the House intending to support Hume’s motion to give the orders of the day precedence in order to expedite the progress of the bill, 27 Aug., but was convinced by Althorp’s argument against this. He briefly denounced the corn laws, 18 July, and presented a petition for the release of the Deist Robert Taylor from gaol, 22 July. He was in O’Connell’s minority for swearing the original Dublin election committee, 29 July, subscribed £200 towards fighting the ministerial case and divided with government on the issue, 23 Aug.212 On 3 Aug. he opposed Hunt’s attempt to halve the grant for the duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria as ‘penny-wise conduct’ which would ‘prove very unpalatable to the country’. He called for investigation of the Deacles’ allegations against William Bingham Baring*, 22 Aug., but on 27 Sept. decided that the affair had been competently dealt with by the courts. He favoured British intervention on behalf of Poland, but deprecated discussion of the problem while reform was in progress, 7 Sept., when he objected to the habit of Irish Members of exciting ‘incidental discussions ... which can lead to no practical result’, in this case abolition of the yeomanry, which he favoured in principle. He also complained of ‘tyrannical abuses’ in select vestries, and he deplored the ministerial alteration to Hobhouse’s bill which tried to impose a two-thirds majority requirement, 30 Sept. He supported Hume and O’Connell in urging government to lift all restrictions on press freedom, 15 Sept., and said that O’Connell and his associates had shown that the system of appointing Irish magistrates needed ‘entire revision’, 5 Oct. 1831.
In the first week of September 1831 Grey offered Burdett a coronation peerage, but he declined it, replying that as ‘the affairs of this country have by a long course of corrupt government been brought to such a state, that all its present interests as well as institutions demand investigation ... it is in the Commons under these circumstances [that] I have the greatest chance of being serviceable to you’. Bedford thought him ‘quite right’.213 He voted for the passage of the reform bill, 21 Sept., having been one of the many Members shut out of the division on the third reading two days earlier. Sir Ronald Craufurd Ferguson* engineered, against the wishes of its Whig organizers, his chairmanship of the reform dinner in honour of Althorp and Russell, 26 Sept. Next day, at the Middlesex meeting called to petition the Lords in support of reform, he said that ‘reforms of every description’ would flow from it and that peers who opposed it should be confined to the madhouse.214 Behind the scenes, he accompanied George Traill* on his unsuccessful personal appeal to Althorp for Orkney and Shetland to be given a Member each.215 On 10 Oct. he presented a petition from St. Clement Dane’s in support of the government and reform before voting silently for Ebrington’s confidence motion.216 He praised the Irish Members who had supported the English reform bill, but criticized Hunt for speaking against it while voting for it, 17 Oct. Hunt in reply accused him of hypocrisy, recalling his ‘unnatural alliance’ with Canning’s Tory government. Burdett responded with the observation that
the parties of Whigs and Tories are now pretty well broken up, and I think it is tolerably clear that no such parties will exist after the reform bill has passed into a law. I supported the administration of ... Canning, because it was the breaking up of that Tory phalanx which had so long been in domination ... There is but one feeling in the country ... a steady and firm determination to have the bill, or a measure as efficient in every respect.
On the 19th he defended the political unions and said that Wellington now saw that he had placed himself in ‘a false position’ by his resistance to reform and that ‘nothing can throw the country into confusion but the rejection of this measure’. He asserted that the opponents of reform included ‘a parcel of intriguing gentlemen at the west end of the town’, abetted by their ladies, who ought not to leave ‘the domestic circle’. He regretted that at the last election ministers had not advised the king to authorize the withholding of writs from all ‘decayed boroughs’, deplored the Tory peers’ defiance of the wishes of ‘the whole people of England’ and told ministers that they must ‘stand or fall’ by the bill, for with ‘public support’ eventual success was assured. On 20 Oct. 1831 he encouraged ministers to dismiss from office peers who had voted against reform and urged Irish Members to attend on the first day of the next session to support the new bill. When Place complained to him that Grey had refused the request of his deputation of metropolitan reformers for a brief prorogation and swift renewal of the reform bill, Burdett argued that
our only chance of success immediately and peaceably is to give firm and undiminished support to king and minister. Strange it is that the boroughmongers should be strong enough to contend with us all united ... Grey has honestly and boldly grappled with them, and though not so energetically as you or I think we should do in his situation, yet let us not forget that we are not such good judges of that as if we were in his situation. He alone can know all the difficulties and means of surmounting them ... whilst we believe him honest, we cannot do better than support him, in the way he thinks most advantageous. Any show of suspicion can lead to no good, nor produce any other effect than weakness to our cause and champion, and of course give strength to our enemies ... We must trust him, and above all we must not weaken him by any appearance of wavering in our line ... Let us remain firm and confident, and he must succeed, unless he prove treacherous, which, I believe, neither of us suspect possible.217
Burdett privately asked Grey to be as conciliatory as possible towards O’Connell, but the premier replied that while ministers were bending over backwards for him, all ‘must depend upon his conduct’. On the subject of a creation of peers to carry the bill through the Lords, which Burdett was investigating on his own initiative, Grey said that a ‘creation so numerous as to overbalance the majority’ there was ‘out of the question’. He was, however, ‘gratified to the highest degree’ by Burdett’s ‘kind expression of ... confidence and good opinion’, and had a meeting with him and Ellice at the end of October.218 Burdett agreed to become chairman of the National Political Union promoted by Place, but only on condition that it should exist solely to support the government in carrying the reform scheme. Place envisaged a far wider remit, with the aim of attracting working class support and monitoring Members’ conduct. A series of chaotic meetings ensued, during which Burdett was sorely tried, but in the end he reluctantly agreed to act as chairman in order to keep the organization out of the hands of the working class extremists of the Rotunda. Even so, a resolution was carried requiring at least half the council to be working men. Hobhouse claimed to have told him that if he had refused to have anything to do with the business ‘it would fall to the ground’, and privately noted that Burdett was ‘so pure himself that he cannot suspect anyone of artifice or malice’ and ‘always says Yes to the last speaker, except in Parliament, where he always say No’.219 According to Edward Littleton*, he apologized to the home secretary, Lord Melbourne, for involving himself in the Union, saying that he ‘would have done anything to meet the wish of the government’ that he should steer clear, but that it was too late to pull out.220 His relations with the Union were always strained, and he felt that he had been duped into involvement with it and the short-lived Westminster Reform Association: he told Hobhouse, 13 Nov., ‘The more I see, the more I am convinced that there is no having to do with any but gentlemen; that is, with men of education’; and he made it clear to the secretary of the Union that he would ‘never concur in establishing permanent political clubs to watch and as it were to govern the government’. In December he said that the Union was ‘going fast to pieces; and so much the better’. He withdrew from it in February 1832.221 He had more meetings in November and December 1831 with Grey, whom he found to be not ‘a haughty, unbending man’, as was commonly supposed, but ‘too pliant, too easily swayed and not ... sensible that he is the sole responsible minister, and if reform fails, to him will the failure be imputed’. He gave the Agar Ellises a ‘very good account of the state of public feeling in London’.222 He could not persuade Grey to ask for a large creation of peers, and on 6 Dec. 1831 he told Hobhouse that ‘our reform prospects’ in the Lords, where there had been ‘no converts’, were ‘not favourable’.223
In the House, 7 Dec. 1831, he agreed with Hume that the threat of persecution under the Newspaper Stamp Act deterred potential pro-reform pamphleteers. On the address, he defended the ministry on reform and foreign policy, attacked Hunt, took issue with Robert Cutlar Fergusson for saying that political unions were ‘contrary to law’ and said that all other issues, such as Irish tithes, should be subordinate to reform. He voted silently for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831. Ministers evidently persuaded him not to bring on a motion for repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act which was intended to vindicate Lord Dundonald (Cochrane) and have him restored to the navy list. He broached the matter privately with Grey, and Dundonald was reinstated later in the year.224 From Brighton during the Christmas recess he argued to Holland that by ‘selecting from the Scotch and Irish peerage and calling up eldest sons and making a few old Whig supporters who may wish it and deserve it, the bill may be secured without any great addition to the peerage, and without the least detriment to the House of Lords’.225 He voted to go into committee on the reform bill, 20 Jan. 1832, when as a ‘tall patrician figure with the gentle bearing, the mild eye, the serene bare brow’, he was noticed to be ‘in high force’.226 But his only other recorded votes in that session were for the £10 clause of the bill, 3 Feb., and its third reading, 22 Mar. On 31 Jan. he presented a Nottingham petition for clemency for the local rioters who had been condemned to death and exhorted Althorp to ‘evince sufficient determination and perseverance to press forward with all possible dispatch’ with the reform bill. He argued for reception of a petition from members of the council of the National Political Union for the payment of rates to be made an element of future voting qualification. He supported and spoke at Hobhouse’s re-election for Westminster after his appointment as war secretary, 8 Feb.227 Three days later, ‘shocked’ by Hobhouse’s report that Grey was threatening to resign rather than ask the king to make a large creation of peers, he advised his colleague to ‘save’ himself by going out immediately, but nothing came of this. Plagued again with gout, he suggested to Grey a meeting of Members of the Commons to discuss what would ‘enable the government to press the bill forward with greater expedition’, but the premier could see no point in it.228 Soon afterwards Burdett asked Grey whether, to avoid ‘embarrassment’ to themselves and him and Hobhouse, who were bound to oppose the continued ‘atrocity’ of flogging in the army, ministers might insert in the impending mutiny bill such a modification as would, ‘without at once taking away the power’ to flog, ‘so narrow the sphere of its possible exercise as might justify withholding opposition’. Grey replied that he hoped to be able to meet Burdett’s wishes at least in part and that he would abstain from any opposition on the issue (which he did).229 ‘A very bad cold and cough’ contracted on the Westminster hustings, plus his gout, prevented Burdett from going to the House to defend against Hunt’s slurs his scheme for supplying the metropolis with ‘wholesome water’ and raising the problem of the ‘evil’ of the West End theatre monopoly, on which Place was pressing him in early March.230 On the 27th he supported the prayer of the petition of political prisoners in Lancaster gaol for better treatment. Gout again rendered him hors de combat in mid-April 1832, when he observed to Place that ‘I must find some means of mastering it or I shall be good for nothing when wanted in aid of good to come’.231
He roused himself to an extent during the crisis which followed the defeat of the reform bill in the Lords and the government’s resignation. He paired for Ebrington’s motion for an address asking the king to appoint only ministers who would carry reform unimpaired, 10 May, but on the 11th he chaired the Westminster meeting in support of the Grey administration. He expressed confidence that the cause would triumph and said ‘there was little left for them to do, but to declare their reliance on their representatives, and their unabated confidence in that honest ministry which His Majesty, unfortunately for himself and the country, had discarded from his councils’.232 In the House later that day he denied that ‘the feeling in favour of reform is slight, or that it has diminished in the smallest degree’ and praised Grey for his ‘inimitable conduct’. He wrote a letter of encouragement and support to Grey, offering also to attend the levee if Grey thought it would do any good with the king; but Grey, though grateful for his compliments, advised against it.233 In the angry debate of 14 May he said that the late ministers had had no choice but to resign and condemned Lord Lyndhurst and the ‘short-sighted, blind and factious’ Tory peers who were ‘willing to risk all consequences’. His language earned him a warning from the Speaker, but he pressed on and appealed to Wellington to use his influence to persuade the diehards to stop their ‘irrational opposition’. He continued to correspond about the political unions with Grey, who in early June exhorted him to exercise his influence to get them to ‘dissolve themselves’ rather than persevere with their ‘utterly indefensible’ threat to withhold taxes.234 On Fowell Buxton’s motion for the abolition of slavery, 24 May, he said it was only a matter of time, as the slaves were ‘approaching to an enlightened state’. At the nomination for the Berkshire by-election, 28 May, he proposed the unsuccessful radical candidate Hallett.235 He presented a Westminster petition against theatre censorship and legal restrictions, 31 May. He applauded the government’s scheme for interdenominational education in Ireland, 5 June, and praised them for making a concession concerning registration under the Irish reform bill, 2 July. Prompted by Littleton, in the debate on the attack on the king at Ascot, 20 June, he ‘denounced the conduct of the Westminster rabble towards the queen on many recent occasions, in terms that took’; and Holland recorded that the king was ‘not a little pleased’ at the speech, while the queen was ‘surprised at the propriety of his feelings and expressions, being taught to believe by the narrow-minded gossips who surrounded her that every reformer or at least every radical is destitute of gallantry, honour or humanity’.236 On 27 June Burdett chaired the 25th annual Westminster purity of election dinner. He said that his prime concern had been not to embarrass ministers on their reform scheme, which, while it might contain a few ‘locally inconvenient’ provisions, was ‘by far the noblest and greatest attempt ever made by an enlightened government to satisfy the just expectations of an enlightened people’. He declared that the enactment of reform had made it unnecessary to hold any more such gatherings.237 On 29 June he chaired a Westminster meeting called to devise the most appropriate way of celebrating the achievement of reform.238 On 3 July he supported Hume’s motion for inquiry into the case of Private Somerville, who had allegedly been flogged for expounding radical views, which caused considerable embarrassment to Hobhouse. Burdett wrote to Grey on the matter and received an assurance that a full investigation was in train, and so let it drop.239 He welcomed the decision to authorize Telford to make a survey for improvement of the metropolitan water supply and said he was willing to pay for it himself if necessary. On 31 July he proposed that Telford should be empowered to report on metropolitan sewers, but withdrew the motion when ministers promised to take up the matter. He dissented from the prayer of a petition for the Bank of England select committee to consider the standard of value, 9 July. He did not attend the City reform celebration, 11 July.240 Next day he paired with government on the Russian-Dutch loan, as he did again, 12, 16 July. He supported Harvey’s motion for inquiry into admissions to the Inns of Court, 17 July, and defended Brougham in the squabble over his temporary appointment of one of his brothers to a chancery sinecure, 25, 26 July. On 7 Aug. he supported De Lacy Evans’s motion on behalf of the Poles, defended the Russian-Dutch loan and said that in their foreign policy the government had ‘succeeded to a state of affairs full of difficulties ... in consequence of the system which this country had been acting on in unison with those great and oppressive powers who are now endeavouring to destroy every germ of liberty throughout the world’.241 He had shown little interest in Place’s agitation for a remedy for the threat of large-scale disfranchisements in the metropolitan districts on account of potential electors’ failure to pay their rates on time.242 On 7 Aug. he unsuccessfully urged Evans to drop his motion for a remedial bill, as ministers had promised to introduce one (which they abandoned), but he admitted that there was a problem and argued that the right to vote ought not to have been made dependent on the actual payment of rates. He presented a petition in favour of the factories regulation bill, 8 Aug., and brought up and endorsed one for the holders of Greek bonds to be safeguarded against loss by the convention bill, 10 Aug. On 11 Aug 1832, when Hobhouse presented a Westminster petition for a solution for the rates problem, he said that it was ‘a case of great difficulty’, but confessed that he did ‘not know the best remedy that could be applied’.
Burdett, like Hobhouse, refused the request of a Westminster electors’ deputation to pledge himself to support the ballot, shorter parliaments, and repeal of the house and window taxes and the newspaper stamp duty, ahead of the 1832 general election. De Lacy Evans was put up by the radicals, but Burdett topped the poll.243 Within three months of the election he had shown himself to be a man of straw, as Place had always suspected, for Croker, whom he had recently befriended, was astonished to hear him uttering ‘sentiments’ which ‘appeared to concur with, even if they did not exceed mine in Toryism’, as he told Wellington. The duke replied that he had been aware for some time of Burdett’s new ‘opinions’:
He is one of the largest and most prosperous landed proprietors in England. He receives above forty thousand a year from his land. He does not owe a shilling, and has money in the funds. He has discovered that they have gone too far, and thinks it not unlikely that the destruction of one description of property, will draw after it the destruction of all. I happen to know that his opinion upon the state of affairs does not much differ from my own.244
He continued for a while to ‘make a profession of Liberal principles’, but ‘the substance or reality’ was ‘wanting’.245 In 1837, when Holland described him as ‘a relapsed and childish Tory’, he cut his links with Westminster and was returned for Wiltshire North.246 He died in harness, ‘a victim to the cold water practice’ which his apothecary had warned him against, in January 1844, 11 days after his wife. They were buried together at Ramsbury.247 Burdett was succeeded in the baronetcy and estates by his son Robert (1796-1880).
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: David R. Fisher
See M.W. Patterson, Sir Francis Burdett and his Times, 2 vols. (1931); J.S. Jackson, The Public Career of Sir Francis Burdett (Philadelphia, 1932); and J.R. Dinwiddy, ‘Sir Francis Burdett and Burdettite Radicalism’, History, lxv (1980), 17-31.
- 1. Patterson, ii. 490-5; Dinwiddy, 23-24, 26-27; D. Miles, Francis Place, 68, 77-79; Add. 36459, f. 239.
- 2. [J. Grant], Random Recollections of Commons (1837), 253-5.
- 3. Holland House Diaries, 210; Fitzwilliam mss, Grey to Fitzwilliam, 13 Jan. 1822.
- 4. The Times, 20, 25 Dec. 1820.
- 5. Add. 36458, f. 23.
- 6. G. Wallas, Francis Place (1908), 148-50; Broughton, Recollections, ii. 121; The Times, 3, 10, 11-18, 20-23, 25, 27 Mar. 1820.
- 7. The Times, 10 Mar. 1820.
- 8. Patterson, ii. 498-9; The Times, 21, 23-25 Mar. 1820; Add. 36458, f. 111.
- 9. Hobhouse Diary, 18-19; Lonsdale mss, Long to Lonsdale, 24 Mar. 1820.
- 10. The Times, 27 Mar.; BL, Morley mss, Granville to Morley, 25 Mar. 1820; Keele Univ. Lib. Sneyd mss SC8/44.
- 11. Wilts. RO, Benett mss 413/485, Craven to Benett, 22 Feb.; The Times, 27 Mar. 1820; Sneyd mss SC8/44.
- 12. The Times, 7 Apr. 1820.
- 13. Fitzwilliam mss 101/1; Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 7 Apr. 1820.
- 14. Add. 36458, f. 226; Buckingham, Mems. Geo IV, i. 21.
- 15. Patterson, 499-500; The Times, 25-27 Apr., 9, 11, 15, 24 May, 10, 12, 19, 21, 22 June, 8, 17, 22, 28 Nov. 1820.
- 16. Broughton, ii. 126-7; Dorset RO, Bankes mss D/BKL, Bankes jnl. 116 (27 Apr. 1820).
- 17. NLW, Coedymaen mss 935; Bankes jnl. 117.
- 18. The Times, 30 June 1820.
- 19. Broughton, ii. 128; Add. 36458, ff. 295, 299, 303; The Times, 24 May 1820.
- 20. Add. 52444, f. 122; The Times, 5 June 1820.
- 21. Add. 36458, f. 336; Bankes jnl. 119; Greville Mems. i. 98; Ward, Llandaff Letters, 255-6.
- 22. Add. 52444, f. 169
- 23. The Times, 5, 7 July 1820; Add. 56541, f. 48.
- 24. Add. 36458, ff. 379, 391; The Times, 9 Aug. 1820.
- 25. Add. 47222, ff. 29-40; Bentham Corresp. x. 113.
- 26. Add. 47222, ff. 42-47; Patterson, ii. 518-19; The Times, 28 Oct. 1820.
- 27. Patterson, ii. 519; Broughton, ii. 137; Bentham Corresp. x. 142.
- 28. Add. 47222, ff. 48-52; Patterson, 516, 520; Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 8 Dec.; The Times, 7 Dec. 1820.
- 29. Add. 37949, f. 91; 47222, ff. 56, 60.
- 30. Add. 47222, ff. 63-66.
- 31. Ibid. f. 71; Add. 51688, Lansdowne to Holland, 7, 11, 18 Jan.; 51831, R. Gordon to same, 18 Jan.; Devizes Gazette, 18, 25 Jan. 1821.
- 32. Bentham Corresp. x. 260, 287.
- 33. Broughton, ii. 140.
- 34. Bankes jnl. 123; HLRO, Hist. Coll. 379, Grey Bennet diary, 14-15.
- 35. Countess Granville Letters, i. 207.
- 36. Patterson, ii. 500-2; Buckingham, i. 121; Grey Bennet diary, 17; Chatsworth mss, Abercromby to Devonshire [Feb.]; Wilts. RO, Burdett mss 1883, Burdett to Crabtree, 8 Feb. 1821.
- 37. Patterson, ii. 523; The Times, 13, 22 Feb. 1821.
- 38. Burdett mss, Burdett to Crabtree, 29 Feb. 1821.
- 39. Add. 51569.
- 40. Broughton, ii. 145-7, 151.
- 41. The Times, 11 May 1821.
- 42. The Times, 26 Apr. 1821; Grey Bennet diary, 81-82.
- 43. Bankes jnl. 128.
- 44. The Times, 24 May 1821.
- 45. Croker Pprs. i. 192; Hobhouse Diary, 64; Fox Jnl. 73; The Times, 13, 14 June 1821; Patterson, 525-8.
- 46. Stirling, Coke of Norf. 431; Add. 36459, f. 90; 47222, f. 79.
- 47. Add. 47222, f. 81.
- 48. Add. 30109, f. 26; Buckingham, i. 224.
- 49. Broughton, ii. 170; Add. 37949, f. 101; 47222, ff. 85, 89, 91.
- 50. Harewood mss.
- 51. The Times, 14, 16 Feb. 1822.
- 52. Gurney diary, 12 Mar. 1822.
- 53. HLRO HC. Lib. Ms 89, Moulton Barrett diary; The Times, 15 Mar. 1822.
- 54. Add. 40345, ff. 297, 305, 307.
- 55. Broughton, ii. 182-3; Add. 36459, f. 243.
- 56. The Times, 18 May, 5 June 1822.
- 57. Add. 56545, ff. 4-9.
- 58. The Times, 24 May 1822.
- 59. Ibid. 24 July 1822.
- 60. Patterson, ii. 532-41.
- 61. Melville, Cobbett, ii. 200-1; Fitzwilliam mss, Althorp to Milton, 9 Aug. 1822.
- 62. Add. 36460, f. 3; Burdett mss, Burdett to Crabtree, 23, 26 Jan.; Reading Mercury, 4 Feb. 1823.
- 63. Broughton, iii. 11; Add. 52445, f. 112.
- 64. Broughton, iii. 12-13.
- 65. Add. 47222, ff. 93, 96.
- 66. Broughton, iii. 17-18.
- 67. Ibid. iii. 19.
- 68. Agar Ellis diary, 17 Apr. .
- 69. Creevey’s Life and Times, 178.
- 70. Gurney diary, 29 Apr. ; Add. 47222, f. 98.
- 71. Add. 51569, Burdett to Holland [May]; The Times, 24 May 1823.
- 72. Add. 47222, f. 102.
- 73. Ibid. f. 108.
- 74. Ibid. ff. 114, 116.
- 75. Ibid. ff. 123-31.
- 76. Ibid. ff. 133-6.
- 77. Add. 27823, ff. 333, 335, 340, 343; Bentham Corresp. xi. 437-8; The Times, 20 Jan. 1825.
- 78. Add. 47222, f. 144.
- 79. The Times, 19, 22 May 1824.
- 80. Ibid. 25 May 1824; Broughton, iii. 37, 44.
- 81. Ibid. 26 May 1824.
- 82. Ibid. 28 May 1824.
- 83. Add. 36460, f. 184.
- 84. Ibid. ff. 309, 311; Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 25 Aug. .
- 85. Add. 47222, f. 148; 51569, Burdett to Holland, 21 Oct. 1824.
- 86. Add. 40330, f. 171; Lord Ilchester, Chrons. of Holland House, 65-66; Broughton, iii. 85; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1161.
- 87. Add. 36461, ff. 7, 13.
- 88. Broughton, iii. 87; Merthyr Mawr mss F/2/8, Nicholl diary, 15 Feb.; Agar Ellis diary, 15 Feb.; Creevey mss, Creevey to Miss Ord, 19 Feb.; Bankes jnl. 152 (10 Feb.); Gurney diary, 15 Feb. .
- 89. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1169, 1172.
- 90. The Times, 22 Feb. 1825.
- 91. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1178; Broughton, iii. 91-92; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 21 Feb. 1825.
- 92. Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland [22 Feb. 1825].
- 93. Broughton, iii. 91; Nicholl diary, 1 Mar. 1825.
- 94. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1180, 1182, 1183; Broughton, iii. 93; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 385; Brougham mss, Mackintosh to Brougham, 16, 17 Mar.; Agar Ellis diary, 19 Mar.; Lonsdale mss, Long to Lonsdale, 23 Mar. ; Add. 70928, f. 119; Heron, Notes, 155; G.I.T. Machin, Catholic Question in English Politics, 52, 55.
- 95. Agar Ellis diary, 26 Mar. 1825.
- 96. Add. 51784, Holland to C.R. Fox, 30 Apr. 1825.
- 97. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1204.
- 98. Broughton, iii. 97-98; Buckingham, ii. 242-3; Agar Ellis diary, 26 Apr. 1825.
- 99. Buckingham, ii. 241-3, 247; Broughton, iii. 98, 100; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1215.
- 100. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1217.
- 101. TNA 30/29/9/2/30.
- 102. Add. 56549, ff. 122-4; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1236; Broughton, iii. 101; The Times, 24 May 1825.
- 103. The Times, 25 Mar. 1825.
- 104. Add. 36461, ff. 130, 141; The Times, 31 May 1825; Broughton, iii. 110-11.
- 105. Patterson, ii. 464-5.
- 106. Ibid. ii. 554-7; Add. 36461, ff. 166, 170, 311; 47222, ff. 157, 185; Broughton, iii. 157.
- 107. Add. 36461, ff. 296, 301, 313, 312; 47222, ff. 163, 164, 173; 51679, Lord J. Russell to Lady Holland, 28 Nov. 1825.
- 108. Add. 36461, f. 473; 47222, ff. 173, 175, 178.
- 109. Bankes jnl. 157.
- 110. Add. 27843, ff. 390-3, 396-7, 404, 408-13; 56550, ff. 84-94; The Times, 24 May, 2, 5, 7, 9, 10, 14 June 1826; Broughton, iii. 137.
- 111. Add. 36462, f. 266, 271, 318; 51580, Carlisle to Lady Holland, 21 July; Grey mss, Lambton to Grey, 17 Aug. 1826.
- 112. Add. 56550, f. 118; Broughton, iii. 160.
- 113. Broughton, iii. 161, 167; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1289; Add. 36463, f. 180; 47222, ff. 182-8; The Times, 6, 8 Feb. 1827.
- 114. Add. 38748, f. 245; 38749, f. 9; Huskisson Pprs. 216; The Times, 10 Feb. 1827.
- 115. Add. 36463, f. 247; Canning’s Ministry, 6.
- 116. Broughton, iii. 169-70; Huskisson Pprs. 218; Canning’s Ministry, 12, 13, 19, 21-25, 32; Add. 36463, f. 296; 38749, ff. 108, 110; 40311, f. 247; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1367.
- 117. Patterson, ii. 558; Add. 51569, Burdett to Holland [2 Mar. 1827].
- 118. Add. 51569, Burdett to Holland [4 Mar. 1827].
- 119. Broughton, iii. 173; Agar Ellis diary, 5 Mar. .
- 120. NLS acc. 10655, Abercromby’s pol. memo. bk.; Grey mss GRE/B24/2/91.
- 121. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 86; Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 7 Mar. ; Canning’s Ministry, 46.
- 122. Grey mss GRE/B24/2/100.
- 123. Add. 37949, f. 196; The Times, 3 Apr. 1827.
- 124. The Times, 12 Apr. 1827.
- 125. Agar Ellis diary.
- 126. Le Marchant, Althorp, 216; Canning’s Ministry, 202, 233.
- 127. Canning’s Ministry, 209.
- 128. Ibid. 247.
- 129. Ibid. 262.
- 130. Broughton, iii. 186-8; Add. 47222, f. 189; Heron, 168.
- 131. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1322; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 113; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Denison diary, 1 May .
- 132. Broughton, iii. 191; Agar Ellis diary, 3 May ; Canning’s Ministry, 296; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1323.
- 133. Patterson, ii. 559-60.
- 134. The Times, 24 May 1827; Broughton, iii. 195; Add. 47222, f. 191.
- 135. Broughton, iii. 197.
- 136. The Times, 12 June 1827.
- 137. Greville Mems. i. 176.
- 138. Add. 47222, ff. 192, 194, 209; 56552, ff. 8, 9, 11, 13, 14.
- 139. Add. 47222, ff. 197-205; 56552, ff. 29, 34; Broughton, iii. 217-18.
- 140. Broughton, iii. 208-10.
- 141. Ibid. iii. 218.
- 142. Lansdowne mss, Burdett to Lansdowne, 12 Aug., Holland to same, 22 Aug.; Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 13 Nov. 1827.
- 143. Add. 47222, ff. 207-13, 218, 220; Broughton, iii. 219.
- 144. Lansdowne mss, Holland to Lansdowne, 27 Nov.; Add. 51578, Carlisle to Holland, 29 Nov. 1827.
- 145. Add. 47222, f. 223; 51569, Burdett to Holland, 6 Dec. 1827.
- 146. Add. 47222, f. 227; 56552, f. 53.
- 147. Add. 52453, f. 172; 56552, ff. 57-58; Broughton, iii. 232, 234; Russell Letters, ii. 223; NLS mss 24748, f. 66; Castle Howard mss, Huskisson to Carlisle, 27 Jan. 1828.
- 148. Add. 36464, f. 182; 51675, Tavistock to Holland, 10, 13 Jan. 1828; 56552, f. 59.
- 149. Add. 36464, f. 443.
- 150. Broughton, iii. 242.
- 151. Creevey Pprs. ii. 153.
- 152. Grey mss.
- 153. Broughton, iii. 260; TNA 30/29/9/5/65.
- 154. Broughton, iii. 261; Harewood mss, Backhouse to Lady Cannning, 15 May 1828.
- 155. The Times, 27 May 1828; Broughton, iii. 271.
- 156. Patterson, ii. 571.
- 157. Add. 35148, ff. 31, 34.
- 158. Add. 51687, Lansdowne to Holland, 23 Jan. .
- 159. Grey mss, Durham to Grey, 4 Feb. 1829.
- 160. Broughton, iii. 303.
- 161. Greville Mems. i. 248; Add. 33446, f. 261.
- 162. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1532; Creevey Pprs. ii. 198; Grey mss, Howick jnl. 6 Mar. ; Broughton, iii. 309.
- 163. Creevey Pprs. ii. 199.
- 164. Howick jnl. 20 Mar. .
- 165. TCD, Sligo mss 6403/105; Add. 47222, f. 234.
- 166. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1566, 1578; Greville Mems. i. 292; Add. 36465, f. 146; 56554, f. 29; The Times, 26 May 1829.
- 167. Add. 36465, ff. 183; 47222, 241.
- 168. Add. 36465, ff. 243; 47222, f. 243; The Times, 4 Aug. 1829; Broughton, iv. 1.
- 169. Add. 36465, ff. 347, 352; 47222, ff. 246, 249, 250; Fox Jnl. 363.
- 170. Add. 56554, ff. 60, 63.
- 171. Howick jnl. 18 Feb. ; Broughton, iv. 9.
- 172. Howick jnl. 15 Feb. .
- 173. Broughton, iv. 10.
- 174. Add. 56554, f. 71.
- 175. Castle Howard mss, Graham to Morpeth [3 Mar. 1830]; Add. 56554, f. 71.
- 176. Howick jnl. 9 Mar. .
- 177. Ibid. 10 Mar.; Agar Ellis diary, 10 Mar. ; Howard Sisters, 125.
- 178. Add. 56554, ff. 78-79.
- 179. Christ Church, Oxf. Phillimore mss, J. to R. Phillimore, 29 Apr. 1830.
- 180. Broughton, iv. 24.
- 181. Add. 56554, ff. 95-98.
- 182. Ibid. f. 104. The Times, 25 May 1830.
- 183. Broughton, iv. 28.
- 184. Ibid. iv. 33.
- 185. Add. 56554, f. 133.
- 186. Add. 36466, f. 211; The Times, 29 July 1830.
- 187. Add. 56554, ff. 127-8.
- 188. Broughton, iv. 43; The Times, 2 Aug. 1830.
- 189. The Times, 5, 19 Aug. 1830; Patterson, ii. 577-81; Broughton, iv. 44, 46; Add. 47222, f. 253; 56555, ff. 5-6, 10-14.
- 190. Add. 47222, ff. 256-60; 56555, ff. 17, 19.
- 191. Add. 47222, f. 264.
- 192. Ibid. f. 266.
- 193. Broughton, iv. 70, 74; Add. 56555, ff. 57-58.
- 194. Add. 35148, f. 73.
- 195. Add. 56555, f. 71.
- 196. Ibid. ff. 74-75; The Times, 16 Dec. 1831.
- 197. Greville Mems. ii. 115; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1767.
- 198. Croker Pprs. ii. 96.
- 199. Brougham, iii. 102.
- 200. Devizes Gazette, 17 Feb 1831.
- 201. Broughton, iv. 88; Wallas, 257.
- 202. The Times, 5 Mar. 1831; London Radicalism ed. D.J. Rowe (London Rec. Soc. v), 13-14.
- 203. Add. 56555, ff. 106-8.
- 204. The Times, 19 Mar. 1831.
- 205. London Radicalism, 21; Three Diaries, 69; Add. 56555, f. 132.
- 206. The Times, 27 Apr.; Broughton, iv. 108; Harrowby mss, Lady Bute to Lord D.C. Stuart, 26 Apr. 1831.
- 207. The Times, 3 May 1831; Broughton, iv. 109-10.
- 208. Add. 36466, ff. 331, 356; Reading Mercury, 16 May 1831.
- 209. The Times, 24 May 1831; Broughton, iv. 113.
- 210. Macaulay Letters, ii. 51-52.
- 211. Broughton, iv. 120.
- 212. Chatsworth mss, Ellice to Devonshire, 22 Aug. 1831.
- 213. Patterson, ii. 592; Holland House Diaries, 49; Heron, 199; Add. 51670, Bedford to Lady Holland, 17 Sept. .
- 214. Macaulay Letters, ii. 101; Hatherton diary, 15 Sept. ; Le Marchant, 346-7; The Times, 27 Sept. 1831.
- 215. Orkney Archives, Balfour mss D2/8/13, Traill to W. Balfour, 1 Oct. .
- 216. Cornw. RO, Hawkins mss 10/2172.
- 217. Add. 35149, ff. 101, 103; Broughton, iv. 144, 148-9.
- 218. Patterson, ii. 596-7; Arundel Castle mss MD 2613.
- 219. Miles, 187-8, 192; London Radicalism, pp. xix, 48-49, 56-59, 63; Wallas, 280-3; Le Marchant, 366; Lieven-Palmerston Corresp. 28; Holland House Diaries 76; Broughton, 146; Patterson, ii. 595.
- 220. Three Diaries, 152-3.
- 221. Broughton, iv. 151, 153; Patterson, 596, 599-600; Add. 56555, ff. 21-25.
- 222. Broughton, iv. 150; Howard Sisters, 220; Agar Ellis diary, 7 Nov. .
- 223. Patterson, ii. 598; Broughton, iv. 150.
- 224. Holland House Diaries, 95; Patterson, ii. 602-3, 609-10.
- 225. Add. 51569, Burdett to Holland, 20 Dec. 1831.
- 226. Patterson, ii. 600; Hobhouse mss 145/2/b, Hobhouse to wife, 25 Jan. 1832.
- 227. Add. 36464, f. 137; Broughton, 172; The Times, 9 Feb. 1832.
- 228. Broughton, iv. 175; Patterson, ii. 603-4.
- 229. Patterson, ii. 605-6.
- 230. Add. 37950, ff. 124, 129.
- 231. Ibid. f. 135.
- 232. The Times, 12 May 1832.
- 233. Patterson, ii. 610.
- 234. Ibid. ii. 610-12.
- 235. Reading Mercury, 4 June 1832.
- 236. Hatherton diary, 20 June; The Times, 21 June 1832; Holland House Diary, 195.
- 237. The Times, 28 June 1832; Broughton, iv. 244; Add. 56557, f. 2.
- 238. The Times, 30 June 1832.
- 239. Patterson, ii. 606-7.