HUME, Joseph (1777-1855), of 38 York Place, Portman Square and 6 Bryanston Square, Mdx. and Burnley Hall, Norf.
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Family and Education
b. 22 Jan. 1777, yr. s. of James Hume, shipmaster, of Montrose, Forfar and w. Mary Allan.1 educ. Montrose acad.; Edinburgh Univ. 1793-5;2 Aberdeen Univ., MD 1799. m. 17 Aug. 1815, Maria, da. and h. of Hardin Burnley, merchant, of Brunswick Square, Mdx., 3s. 4da.3 d. 20 Feb. 1855.
Asst. surgeon, E.I. Co. naval service 1797, full asst. surgeon 1799; on Bengal medical establishment 1799-1808.
Rect. Aberdeen Univ. 1824-6, 1828-9.
By the start of this period Hume, a burly man with a massive head and virtually no neck, had established himself as an irritating and almost permanent fixture in the Commons, where he habitually occupied the same seat, against a post to the left of the Speaker’s chair.4 From there, between 1820 and 1832, he made over 4,000 speeches, interventions in debate, motions for papers and presentations of petitions. Most of his utterances were mercifully brief, consisting of comments, questions and interjections on a limited range of issues. His occasional long set-piece orations, during which he fortified himself with pears, could empty the chamber in minutes.5 His capacity for inducing boredom in his listeners was enhanced during his first years in the House by an appalling, stuttering monotonous style of speaking; but with practice he improved considerably, and in 1837 one commentator wrote that ‘without any pretensions to being a first-rate speaker’, he had become an able performer.6 He was no intellectual giant; indeed, he was rather dim in many respects, prone to making ‘almost incredible blunders’ in language (for example, using the word ‘liable’ as if it meant ‘telling a lie’),7 and often inept in judgement and wilfully perverse. He was industrious, earnest, stubborn and immensely thick-skinned, which made him largely impervious to the ridicule and abuse which he attracted from his political adversaries. A wealthy man, thanks to his early years as a surgeon in India and a lucrative marriage, he had repented of the independent Toryism which he had espoused during his first brief spell in the House in 1812, and reappeared in 1818 as a doctrinaire radical and political economist, with a political creed based on the theories of Bentham, David Ricardo* and his old Montrose school friend James Mill. He had been taken up by Francis Place, the Charing Cross radical tailor, who after initial doubts recognized his virtues and potential as a parliamentary spokesman for the causes in which they believed. His driving obsession was profusion and waste in public expenditure, against which he waged unremitting war. He regarded them as the cement of the corrupt spoils system and the cause of the unnecessarily high taxation which oppressed working people and hampered economic growth. He considered that the only effective antidote was radical parliamentary reform, which would make the Commons more responsive to popular opinion and destroy the baneful influence of the crown and ministers; but he took no personal initiatives on this issue, concentrating instead on his anti-patronage economy crusade.8
At the general election of 1820 the Liverpool ministry tried to prevent Hume’s re-election for Aberdeen Burghs, where he had been surprisingly returned in 1818, partly as a result of the privy council’s inadvertent liberalization of the sett of Montrose the previous year. Their candidate John Mitchell*, a London merchant, seemed at first to be on the verge of success, with Aberdeen and Inverbervie definitely secured and Brechin reportedly all but committed to him. Hume, who refuted Mitchell’s allegation that he was hostile to the linen bounties, a significant local issue, explaining that he was willing in the current state of the industry to waive temporarily his free trader’s aversion to such imposts, was well received by the burgesses and populace of Aberdeen (where he never obtained the support of the council), to whom he made a promise that he ‘would always be found at his post, watching with a jealous eye every encroachment upon the rights and privileges of his countrymen’. Brechin council, possibly in response to intimidation by a pro-Hume mob, gave him their backing, which, with that of the other Angus burghs of Arbroath and Montrose, was decisive. Mitchell’s petition against the return was rejected.9 Anticipating Hume’s success (‘the worst of our news today’), Charles Long*, a member of the government, predicted that ‘he will be one of the most troublesome Members in the House’.10 So he was.
Hume’s name appears in almost every extant opposition division list in the 1820 Parliament. (He was absent from only a dozen of the 310 on which he might have been expected to vote against government.) He was frequently a teller. He condemned the civil list estimates as ‘most extravagant’, 2 May, and next day got 60 votes for his motion for inquiry into civil list expenditure since 1815. He was named to the select committee on the Scottish royal burghs, 4 May (and again, 16 Feb. 1821). He wanted an investigation of the involvement of the spy George Edwards in the Cato Street conspiracy, 9 May, arguing that there was a strong suspicion of ministerial incitement. As ever, he said that the increased protection for agriculture demanded in rural petitions would bring no relief and would worsen distress in the manufacturing districts, 12 May. He supported Lord Archibald Hamilton’s motion for a return of the rolls of freeholders of the Scottish counties, 25 May. He disliked Littleton’s proposed bill to abolish truck payments and maintained that repeal of the Combination Acts would be of more benefit to workers, 1, 23 June. He criticized the size and mystification of the ordnance, army, navy and miscellaneous estimates, 2, 6, 9, 16, 19 June. On the linen bounties, 30 June, he agreed with the ministerial view that while they should be continued for the time being, they should not become permanent. On 4 July 1820 he secured a very respectable vote of 99 (against 124) for his motion for the implementation of economies in revenue collection.
Hume took up the cause of Queen Caroline as a weapon against ministers, condemning their conduct towards ‘this injured and oppressed’ woman as ‘one of the foulest and most disgraceful conspiracies which was ever formed’, 18 Sept. 1820, but opposing Hobhouse’s amendment for a prorogation. Hobhouse thought he made ‘a bad speech’, asserting that ‘the attorney-general had charged the queen with adultery during six years and proved it only for three’. On 17 Oct. he moved for Sir Robert Baker, chief magistrate of Bow Street, to be called to the bar of the House to explain his role in the escape from custody of William Franklin, who had been charged with circulating a seditious handbill, in which he discerned more governmental ‘conspiracy’; but Lord Castlereagh, the leader of the House, got the better of him, and he withdrew. Hobhouse, who seconded him, was again critical of his performance, thinking that he ‘began too high’ and ‘did not prove the connection with government and ... made an assertion or two which ministers were able to contradict’.11 Hume, who in late December 1820 confided to Place his view that the Whigs were ‘in general despicable and quite unworthy of support from the people’, presented and endorsed petitions in favour of restoration of Caroline’s name to the liturgy, 24 Jan. 1821, but a few days later he apparently observed to Charles Arbuthnot*, the patronage secretary, that the queen’s message refusing the offered £50,000 a year was ‘great nonsense and all [Henry] Brougham’s* doing, for ... people could not be expected to be upon stilts all their lives’.12 On 31 Jan. he was called to order by the Speaker for accusing Castlereagh of lying on a matter affecting the queen; and on 14 Feb., opposing the additonal malt duties bill, he was forced to apologize for referring to the ministerial majority on the queen’s affair as ‘factious’. From early February Hume and his associates of the ‘Mountain’, notably Thomas Creevey, Thomas Davies, Henry Grey Bennet and John Maberly, began a concerted and deliberately obstructive parliamentary anti-patronage campaign against the estimates, which seized the initiative from the mainstream Whigs, who joined in it spasmodically. A Tory country gentleman complained later in the session that ‘the choice knot of patriots ... with ... Hume as their finance minister, contrive to obstruct and puzzle the examination of the annual estimates to an extent and with a degree of perseverance which is without example’.13 As Hume explained on 9 Feb., ‘the only way to procure some attention to the objects of economy was to deny ministers the means of lavish expenditure’. On 16 Feb. he moved for the printing of the ordnance estimates in full detail in what Grey Bennet thought ‘a most excellent speech, with great details and sundry curious proofs of the waste and extravagance of the establishment’; a thin House divided 58-44 against him.14 He divided silently for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. (and again, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825). After voting in the minority of 38 for Creevey’s motion to reduce the number of placemen and pensioners in the House, 9 Mar. 1821, he opposed going into committee on the army estimates by moving a series of resolutions encapsulating his argument that they could and should be reduced to the level of 1792, as recommended by the 1817 finance committee. The debate was adjourned to the 12th, when he resubmitted the resolutions, which were rejected by 98-74. He and his associates then divided an often disorderly House over a dozen times against details of the estimates, until four in the morning.15 At about this time Castlereagh, reporting Tierney’s resignation from the leadership of the Whig opposition in the Commons, told Lord Harrowby that ‘we are to have a Pindari [marauding] warfare for the remainder of the session, conducted by a committee of which Hume, Creevey, Bennet and Davies are the chiefs!’; while Joseph Planta*, foreign office under-secretary, informed Stratford Canning*, envoy to the United States, that ‘the guerillas’ could create only ‘useless trouble’ which would ‘recoil on their own heads’.16 Hume’s own motions for reduction of the army by 10,000 men (15 Mar.) and a revision of all official salaries to 1797 levels (30 Mar.) were defeated by 116-46 and 50-29 respectively. On 22 Mar. he proposed the abolition of the ten receiver-generalships and 95 distributorships of stamps, but settled for the select committee to investigate its feasibility which the government offered. His motion to disqualify civil officers of the ordnance from voting in parliamentary elections, which focused on abuses at Queenborough, was rejected by 118-60, 12 Apr., when the Tory independent Member Henry Bankes described him privately as ‘the most indefatigable, meddling and vexatious universalist whom we have ever known in the House’.17 When the Commons resumed after Easter, 30 Apr., Hume and Grey Bennet and their coadjutors, not a whit ‘disheartened’ by an evident ‘diminution of zeal’ for retrenchment in the House as whole, persevered with their sniping warfare, but they were more often than not in minorities of fewer than 30.18 On 14 May they mustered 78 votes for Hume’s motion to cut the ordnance estimates by £15,818, but Hume was lashed by the minister Robert Plumer Ward, who gleefully pointed out his errors of fact and arithmetic and mocked his ‘dullness of intellect and gullibility’.19 Three days later the cabinet minister William Wellesley Pole* wrote to Sir Charles Bagot:
The system pursued by those wretched fellows ... is discountenanced by the high Whigs, and you will have perceived by the little dirty warfare on the estimates, and by the numbers in the numberless divisions upon them, that the great body of the opposition have taken little or no part in the proceedings. The whole House and the whole public are now tired out with Mr. Hume and company.20
The last observation was not accurate. Hume attacked the proposed grant for the duke of Clarence as too high by £2,500, 8 June, but withdrew his amendment to that effect to allow Harbord’s against the inclusion of arrears since 1819 to be put to a vote. His own amendment to reduce the grant to £3,500 was defeated by 167-30, 18 June. He had a final defiant fling against the arrears on 29 June, when his amendment was defeated by 54-24. Grey Bennet noted that his ‘vigorous reply’ to Lord Londonderry (Castlereagh), in which he ‘threw in his ... face all the acts of government relative to Her Majesty’, notably her exclusion from the coronation, was ‘much cheered, and I never knew him so pointed and forcible’. (Hume had been one of the Members who had dined with the queen at the Guildhall on 22 June.)21 On 27 June he unsuccessfully moved, in what Grey Bennet deemed a ‘clear good statement’, a resolution condemning the ‘Scotch job’ of the building of the new Edinburgh stamp office, aiming particularly at Sir John Marjoribanks*. He then spoke for over three hours in support of resolutions calling for economy and retrenchment, specifying reduction of the army and deploying detailed statistics collected by Ricardo. Grey Bennet thought his speech was ‘clear, forcible and well received’, though ‘perhaps the means of retrenchment were somewhat overcharged’. The Whig Lord Tavistock seconded the motion, but adopted a ‘desponding’ tone and criticized Hume for entering into such detail, which was the business of ministers. They, anticipating widespread backbench support for the resolutions, the contents of which Hume, ‘in the openness of his heart and in his love of what he thinks to be gentility’, as Grey Bennet put it, had communicated to them, set up the influential Bankes to move as an amendment an anodyne resolution affirming the government’s commitment to retrenchment. Hume made a brief but spirited reply, denying Londonderry’s jibe that he was ‘a visionary in his plans of reduction’, and his resolutions were rejected by 174-94.22 On other issues, Hume supported the Grampound disfranchisement bill ‘as a boon, small as it was’, 5 Mar., having on the 2nd voted to give Leeds a ratepayer franchise if it received Grampound’s seats. He was shut out of the snap division on Lambton’s parliamentary reform motion, 18 Apr., but voted for Lord John Russell’s proposal, 9 May, and Hamilton’s for reform of the Scottish county representation, 10 May. He complained that the burghs select committee’s report would be a nullity, for ‘a majority ... had set themselves against every attempt at amelioration’, 14 June. On 7 June he moved for a commission to be sent to the Ionian Islands to investigate the conduct of the governor, Sir Thomas Maitland†, whom he blamed ‘for all the blood that had been shed, and all the property confiscated’ after the disturbances provoked by ‘his own ill government’. Grey Bennet reckoned that the three-hour speech ‘made out a very good case, but more against the constitution and the government than against Sir Thomas’; the motion was defeated by 97-27.23 Hume denounced Robert Owen’s New Lanark socialist experiment, which would destroy human ‘independence and spirit’ and ‘make us a race of beings very little removed from brutes, only ranging the four corners of a parallelogram, instead of the mazes of a forest’, 26 June. On 10 July 1821 he presented and endorsed a petition alleging misconduct against Charles Hope†, lord president of the court of session. The junior minister Lord Binning rebuked him for bringing it up at the end of the session (it had been in his hands for three weeks); and Grey Bennet, who, with many Whigs, felt that Hume’s timing was ‘most unhappily selected’, believed that if a more accomplished ministerial speaker had been present, he would have received ‘the surest dressing (and well merited too) he has ever found in the House’. The following day he proposed an address to the king for the inclusion of Caroline in the coronation, but he was interrupted and silenced by the arrival of Black Rod to prorogue Parliament. Grey Bennet thought it ‘but a foolish piece of business leading to no practical good’.24
The independent Whig Sir Robert Heron* reflected that the economical campaign of Hume and his associates was ‘enthusiastically supported by the nation’, and Hume was praised in the national press that summer. At the Holkham sheep-shearing in July, when he rubbed shoulders with Whig grandees, he responded to a toast to his health with the observation (after a long lecture on economy and reform) that he deserved no thanks for his efforts, because ‘his taste naturally leaned towards the prosecution of this exposure, from which he derived as much pleasure’ as his host Thomas Coke I* did from agricultural improvements.25 Hume was voted thanks and given the freedom of the City of London by common council, 26 Oct.26 Grey Bennet wrote in July that ‘the perseverance of a few, with Mr. Hume at their head’, had ‘roused the spirit of the country’ and ‘frightened the boldest of the ministers’ into giving ground on retrenchment. (They made a reduction of 12,000 in the army and, continuing their steady progress in economical reform, got rid of over 160 sinecures, as well as committing themselves to make further cuts.) Hume’s popularity had risen ‘every day’, and ‘the country has been taught to look into the details of its own affairs’.27 John Whishaw commented to his fellow Whig Lord Holland, 16 July 1821, that the party remained ‘much divided’ and the ‘Mountain’ ‘set no bounds to their triumph in Hume’s success and the comparative inaction and obscurity of the leaders’.28 Hume was involved with the radical Whigs Sir Robert Wilson* and Hobhouse in attempts to force the queen’s funeral procession through the City, attended the inquest on the victims of the ensuing violence and urged Hobhouse to join him in encouraging the Whigs to take the outrage up ‘with vigour’; and on Wilson’s dismissal from the army commented that it was an example of ‘what we are to expect and we must now live as slaves or meet the whole power of government’.29 On 7 Dec. he was entertained at Hereford and presented with an engraved tankard and a hogshead of cider. In response, he spoke at inordinate length of the ‘grievous malady’ of ‘excessive taxation’ resulting from ‘a long continuance of profuse and wasteful expenditure pervading every department of the state’, and declared that the ‘great polar star to lead us in our course was reform in Parliament’, which would ‘give an effectual control to the people over the expenditure’. A report of the proceedings, with a statistical appendix explaining and illustrating Hume’s arguments, was published as a pamphlet in January 1822, when Hume was voted thanks at a public meeting of the householders of Reading.30 On 21 Dec. 1821 he joined Russell, Brougham and three other Whigs at a Freemasons’ Tavern meeting to organize a public gathering to express support for the Greeks in their struggle against Turkish oppression. To Hobhouse he mentioned rumours that ‘the king and the Tories do not draw pleasantly at present’, and speculated that if Lord Wellesley, the new Irish viceroy, had really been sent there ‘to bring about Catholic emancipation, we shall have all the Tories up, and I hope, out of office ’ere six months are over’.31
On the eve of the 1822 session Planta reported a belief that ‘Squire Hume will let alone the servants of the public and occupy himself entirely with an attack n the emoluments of the church’, which turned out to be wide of the mark.32 The duke of Bedford thought that the Whigs ‘must enter with spirit into the guerrilla war, and support that efficient chief Joseph Hume in all his motions for retrenchment, diminution of taxes, etc.’.33 Hume and the ‘Mountain’ began the session with some optimism. He gave notice of an amendment to the address, but was thought to have given it up on 4 Feb.34 Next day, however, after Burdett’s amendment for a postponement had been rejected, he did, in a speech larded indigestibly with figures, move an amendment to pledge the House to implement stringent economy and retrenchment. He also threw in an attack on the Grenvillites, who had recently joined the ministry and been handsomely rewarded for doing so. The Tory Member John Gladstone described him as ‘very very noisy, very violent ... and on many points unintelligible, but quite satisfied with himself’.35 He was called to order by the Speaker for saying that some Members entered the Commons ‘to benefit themselves’. His amendment, which he modified at Newport’s suggestion, was defeated by 171-89; Ricardo refused to vote for it and left the chamber. Lord Grey, the Whig leader, thought that Hume’s speech, ‘however dull it might be to the hearers’, was ‘calculated to produce great effect in the country’ and strengthen the case for tax cuts.36 After opposing the government’s coercive measures for Ireland, 7, 8 Feb., supporting Wilson’s demand for inquiry into his dismissal, 13 Feb., and voting for the Whig motions for further tax reductions, 11, 21 Feb., he resumed the tactics of the previous year, 22 Feb., by moving for a detailed account of the way in which the money required for seamen’s wages was to be spent. After its rejection by 144-54, he became involved in a dispute with Croker, the secretary to the admiralty, who mockingly exposed what appeared to be egregious errors in his figures. Tierney was said to have left the House to avoid voting with him.37 The wrangle with Croker was resumed on 27 Feb., when Hume secured 78 votes for his motion for the submission of detailed army estimates before money was granted. Creevey thought Hume had ‘completely defeated’ Croker and been ‘raised again to the highest pinnacle of fame for his accuracy and arithmetic’; but the Whig Sir James Mackintosh* thought it boiled down to a mere difference ‘in the mode of stating the account’ and that ‘even in that respect no serious impression was made on Joseph’. When he was detected in and owned up to another blunder, 22 Mar., Hobhouse noted privately that ‘there is a general feeling of uneasiness on all sides respecting these details of Hume, and he daily produces less effect’. Mrs. Arbuthnot was gratified to write the following day that Hume’s ‘own party [the Whigs] are now beginning to turn against him as they are jealous of his popularity’.38 Lord Palmerston*, the war secretary, told his brother:
I have not had half the trouble with estimates this year that I had last ... We had made such large reductions that little was left for Hume to object to, and the body of the opposition did not support him much in his objections even to that little. He is going downhill very fast: indeed, so dull and blunderheaded a fellow, notwithstanding all his perseverance and application, cannot long hold his ground in the ... Commons. It requires some degree of talent, and he does not come up to the mark.
He predicted that Hume would soon ‘shrink into his proper dimensions’.39 When Maberly had urged him in the House, 15 Mar., to ‘abandon the useless task of disputing the estimates, item by item, since all his exertions were rendered unavailing by the overwhelming majorities of ministers’, he expressed his ‘determination to persevere’. He and his associates pressed on with their increasingly hopeless campaign, which secured sometimes embarrassingly small minorities, until Easter. On 20 Feb. he supported Hamilton’s motion to refer the report of the burghs select committee to a committee of the whole House, protesting that while all the allegations of abuse and corruption had been substantiated, the lord advocate Sir William Rae and Binning had drawn up in Hamilton’s absence a whitewash report which merely recommended cosmetic reforms; he duly denounced Rae’s burghs accounts bill because it did not touch ‘the root of all the evil ... the power of self-election’, 17 June. His remark that army officers were ‘the slaves of the crown’, 12 Mar., provoked Frederick Trench to attack him in offensively personal terms, but the quarrel was brought to a peaceful conclusion by the Speaker. Hume presented and endorsed a petition from Monmouth for parliamentary reform, of which he predicted ‘the ultimate triumph’, 28 Mar. 1822. During the recess he was entertained by the Fishmongers’ Company of London and introduced at Ricardo’s to Maria Edgeworth, who did not ‘like him much’, as he ‘attacks all things and all persons, never listens [and] has no judgement’.40 He was appointed to the select committee on public accounts, 18 Apr. He voted for Russell’s reform motion, 25 Apr., and reception of the Greenhoe reform petition, 3 June. He steadily attacked the ‘delusion’ of the naval and military deadweight pensions scheme, securing 56 votes for his proposal that the money should be taken from the sinking fund, 3 May. Renewed bids to effect this were defeated by 115-35 and 81-54, 24 May, 3 June. He divided with Ricardo for a 20s. duty on wheat imports, 9 May, but on the 13th approved the government’s revision of the corn laws as a modest improvement. Next day he got 57 votes for another motion for inquiry into the Ionian Isles regime, but Wilberforce for one slept ‘through great part’ of his speech.41 At the end of May he was caricatured as an ass in conversation with John Bull.42 On 19 June he delivered a seemingly endless speech in support of his motion for the House next session to consider the state of the Irish established church and tithes collection, denying that he favoured ‘spoliation and robbery’, as his opponents alleged. He waived his own motion for Newport’s amendment for a commutation of tithes. On the budget, 1 July, he declared that government had increased both the permanent and funded debt. He spoke and was a minority teller for Hobhouse’s motion for repeal of the window tax next day, but Hobhouse thought he showed ‘the frailty of man’ by being lukewarm about his comments on the sinking fund, which Hume regarded as his special preserve.43 He supported inquiry into the allegations in the Calcutta bankers’ petition and was named to the select committee, 4 July. According to Mrs. Arbuthnot, her husband in the course of his work with Hume on the select committee on printing and stationery for the House (13 May) discovered that he had been ‘exciting his clerks to tempt the treasury messengers to sell the paper to them at a cheap rate, which paper he has used for his own purposes’; Hume was ‘in a fury’ and had vowed vengeance against future estimates.44 He dismissed the notion of introducing poor laws to Ireland, 24 July. A junior minister reported that the session was a long time dying, with ‘everybody but Hume and Bennet ... sick of it, and literally very other opposition man gone out of town’.45 As a finale, 25 July 1822, Hume proposed 38 resolutions on the national finances, the thrust of which was that the only true sinking fund consisted of the application of a genuine surplus of revenue to cancellation of the national debt and reduction of the interest on it. They were of course negatived. Heron thought that Hume had failed to build on his success of 1821:
His eternal interference on every question, and the many tedious hours he occupied in attempting trifling savings, only disgusted many from attending, and prevented more important questions from being brought forward. The climax of his vulgar assurance was the bringing forward of the Irish tithe question.46
Unchastened, but furious with the Whigs, Hume went in September 1822 to his constituency, where he was feted at Aberdeen and Montrose and spoke forcefully for parliamentary reform as the essential solution to the country’s difficulties. He claimed to have succeeded in ‘awakening the public to discern one great cause of their distress’, namely the enormous national debt created by ‘the Pitt system’. He urged the Whigs to ‘disclose what they would do for the people if they were in power’ and to ‘pledge themselves to what extent they would go in promoting reform’. At a Perth dinner, he ‘complained of the Whigs not having supported him as they ought to have done ... in burgh and parliamentary reform’, but exempted Hamilton from his criticism. He was admitted as a freeman of Berwick on his way south.47 Holland observed to Lord Duncannon*, 5 Oct., that Hume’s ‘censures on opposition do not disturb me’, for ‘if he is a violent reformer it is both natural and right that he should blame others for not being so. I only hope that his blame or his praise may not have the effect of making those who are to behave as if they were’.48 Tierney wrote dismissively that Hume ‘appears to set up for himself with the 40 gentlemen who have had the good fortune to meet with his approbation’.49 Brougham, however was ‘vexed’, as he told Creevey
at Hume’s making such a stupid ass of himself ... by his stupid vanity ... His kind patronage of Archy [Hamilton] is only laughable, but to see him splitting on that rock (of egotism and vanity) is rather provoking. What right has he to talk of the Whigs never coming to his support on ... reform? I cannot reckon a man’s conduct at all pure who shows up others at public meetings behind their backs, whom he never whispers a word against in their faces. There is extreme meanness in this sneaking way of ingratiating himself at their expense, and the utter falsehood of the charge is glaring. Parliamentary reform has never once been touched by him (luckily for the question). The motions on it last session were Lord John’s and my own. His burgh reform professedly steered clear of the question. I trust he has been misrepresented, but I heard in Scotland that people were everywhere laughing at him for his arrogance and vanity.50
The Whig James Abercromby* wanted the party to make Ireland ‘a leading topic’ in the next session, and told Duncannon, 14 Oct. 1822, that it would ‘never do to let it get into the hands of Hume. That of the Irish church is a question that requires to be very skilfully and delicately handled’.51 The Edinburgh Whig lawyer Henry Cockburn observed in December 1822 that on Scottish questions, especially that of legal reform, Hume, whom he called ‘Hum Drum’, was ‘ignorant’.52
With Hobhouse and Sir Francis Burdett*, Hume was invited to the Speaker’s pre-session diner, 9 Feb. 1823, when, in ‘uppish’ mood, he ‘amused’ many ‘by talking his politics, particularly against the church, out loud’.53 In the House, 12 Feb., he applauded the promises of economy and tax reductions in the king’s speech, but urged Members to look beyond the ‘sweet and honied words’ of ministers to reality, specifying the recent appointment of Lord Beresford, whose family had plundered vast sums from the public coffers, as lieutenant-general of the ordnance, and moving a resolution that the appointment contradicted ministerial professions. Brougham and Burdett persuaded him to withdraw it, but on the 19th he brought it on again. Brougham, Tierney, Russell and other leading Whigs would not support him, Macdonald moved an unsuccessful amendment for inquiry and he was defeated by 200-73. Brougham, who had not forgiven Hume for his attack on the Whigs the previous autumn, told Duncannon that it was time for the party to dissociate itself from such ‘absurd and untenable propositions’ and that if Hume would not restrain himself after a private word they must oppose him ‘openly, giving the reasons’, when they judged that he had gone too far. He later reported that Lord Darlington ‘expresses great annoyance at the way Hume, etc., are going on, and at our friends seeming resolved to do on every occasion ... whatever anybody bawls out for, without at all considering the character of the party’. Bedford, on the other hand, thought ‘the great guns of the opposition behaved very ill’ towards Hume, who seemed to have ‘made good his case for the abolition of a useless office’; but he reflected that ‘poor Joey is vulgar, and not so refined as some of our leaders, so he was abandoned, for the purpose of paying an unnecessary compliment to the duke of Wellington!’54 Hume had on 10 Feb. denounced the ‘perfect farce’ of the sinking fund, ‘a paying with one hand and borrowing with the other, without liquidating any portion of the amount of debt’. He moved an amendment that it was inexpedient to maintain a fund of £3,000,000 and that £2,000,000 could be remitted in taxation, 3 Mar., but was defeated by 110-39. His repeated attacks on the fund and the national debt reduction bill that month were all heavily crushed. In April he turned his fire against the related naval and military and naval pensions bill, which embodied a ‘hole and corner’ bargain with the Bank of England, but to no avail. Throughout the session he maintained his customary sniping against the estimates, though less intensively than in the previous two sessions. Peel, the home secretary, wrote facetiously to Croker of Babbage’s ‘scientific automaton’, that ‘if it can calculate what ... Babbage says it can, may be employed to the destruction of Hume’.55 On the budget statement, 2 July, he declared himself ‘somewhat satisfied’ with the government’s improved performance, admitting that the ‘reduction which had taken place was certainly more than he had thought possible 18 months since’, before the ministry had been reconstructed; he encouraged Robinson, the chancellor of the exchequer, to cut even more taxes. He supported and forced to a division, in which he was a teller for the minority of 25, Whitmore’s motion for revision of the corn laws, 26 Feb. He favoured taxing malt rather than beer, 12, 28 May, 17 June; said that protectionist petitioners against the government’s silk bill were deluded, 21 May; voted for equalization of the East and West Indian sugar duties, 22 May, and welcomed the government’s trade reciprocity bill, 4 July. He did not divide the House on his proposition for savings in the collection and management of land tax revenues, 8 July. He voted for inquiry into the parliamentary franchise, 20 Feb., Russell’s reform motion, 24 Apr., and reform of the Scottish representative system, 2 June. On 26 Mar. he supported Hamilton’s motion for a copy of the royal warrant which had restored to power the old ruling oligarchy of Inverness and castigated the corrupt conduct of the magistrates of Aberdeen. He endorsed the prayer for reform of an Edinburgh householders’ petition, 5 May. He presented and supported a petition from Mary Anne Carlile complaining of her fine and imprisonment for blasphemous libel, attacked the Society for the Suppression of Vice and the Constitutional Association and ‘opened the whole question of religious persecution’, which he raised regularly throughout this period, at the expense of being branded an atheist.56 He was one of the supporters of Catholic relief who ostentatiously left the chamber before Plunket, the detested Irish attorney-general, proposed consideration of the question, 17 Apr.57 He was among the 20 mainly ministerialist Members trapped in the chamber and counted as a minority (for which he acted as a teller) in the farcical division on the Franco-Spanish war, 30 Apr. 1823; he had, Brougham reported, stayed to ‘take a note (which he loves to do) of a division’.58
Hume had outlined his scheme for Irish tithes and church reforms on the opening day of the session; and on 4 Mar. 1823 he proposed inquiry into the Irish church establishment, arguing that its property was public and as such liable to redistribution, that the income of its clergymen and their numbers, especially the non-residents, could be advantageously reduced and that Ireland would benefit from a commutation of tithes. The Whig Member George Agar Ellis thought he ‘spoke forcibly in his rambling sort of way’.59 The Speaker called him to order in his reply to the debate for accusing his opponents of ‘grossly misrepresenting him’. The motion was defeated by 167-62. Creevey evidently told the absent Brougham that ‘there never was anything more triumphant than Joseph, that the church had got a body blow’; but Brougham, though he thought that the ‘attack on the church was safer in his hands than in any others’, expected Hume to ‘throw away a great case’ and told Duncannon that he, like most of the party, would support ‘no general attack on the establishment’.60 Bedford again sympathized with ‘poor’ Hume, who ‘gets abused for everything he does because he is not genteel and his language and manner so refined as those of our opposition leaders’, though he conceded that he was not the ideal person to take up ‘the abuses of the Irish church’, which would best be handled by ‘an Englishman of some calibre’.61 Proposing a reduction in the grant for Irish Protestant charter schools, for which he got 15 votes, 11 Apr., Hume declared that if the Irish people were to be made ‘happy, we must give them education, revise the existing tithe system’ and discourage absenteeism among landlords. On 23 Apr. he said that the government would soon be obliged to adopt his scheme for a general fund to pay Catholic as well as Protestant Irish clergy and caused a stir by asserting that the majority Catholic population should refuse to subsidize an alien church establishment through tithes and, if denied legal redress, should resort to ‘physical force’. In the inquiry into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 26 May, he insisted on his right to question a witness about Orange initiation ceremonies, as ‘there could be no hope of peace in Ireland until Orangemen, as a body, should be destroyed’. On 16 June he spoke and voted in the minority of 36 against the government’s Irish tithes composition bill, which he had decided contained ‘nothing useful’. He proposed but did not divide the House on abolition of the Irish lord lieutenancy, 25 June. When the Methodist Joseph Butterworth damned Jesuits, 30 June, Hume replied that Methodists were ‘the Jesuits from whom the Church of England had most to apprehend’; the ensuing angry exchanges obliged the chairman to intervene. His motions for inquiry into the excessive cost of the coronation (which the cabinet minister Charles Williams Wynn* privately admitted had been ‘terrible’)62 were rejected by 119-65 (9 June) and 127-77 (19 June). In September 1823 he reported to Hobhouse that for all their efforts to raise money to support the Spanish liberals (he had just audited the accounts ‘for about £17,000 expended by the Spanish committee’), he feared that ‘things in Spain go on as badly as possible’. He was shocked and saddened by the premature death of his ‘valuable’ friend and tutor Ricardo.63 On 20 Dec. 1823 Tierney observed to Lady Holland that Hume’s ‘economical exertions have been crowned with signal success’, for they had ‘induced his father-in-law [who had died on 27 Nov.] to leave him all his own savings to the amount of £80,000’; certainly Hume profited from Burnley’s will, but Tierney may have exaggerated the sum involved.64
On the address, 3 Feb. 1824, he voiced his dismay that ‘the same ruinous policy which had so long distracted and divided Ireland was still to be persisted in’ and that there had been no distinct statement of intended tax remissions. He said the navy estimates were ‘extravagant’, but was temporarily appeased by Canning’s explanation, 16 Feb. On 20 Feb. he secured ten votes for his amendment against the proposed 4,000 increase in the army, observing that Lord Holland approved it because he was ‘interested as a West Indian and he could not follow him now or at any time’.65 On 23 Feb. he was left in a minority of eight on the same issue. Earlier that day, however, he had expressed his ‘satisfaction at a great part’ of Robinson’s financial statement, especially that relating to the removal of restrictions on trade, but he felt that the chancellor had ‘stopped at the half-way house’ and could apply the £7,000,000 sinking fund to essential tax reductions. He spoke to the same effect, 7 May, specifying the taxes on timber and wool. He criticized the terms of the Austrian loan repayment, 24, 26 Feb. He was slightly disappointed with the ordnance estimates, 27 Feb., when he moved two amendments for economies, which were heavily defeated. He suggested that St. James’s Palace should be demolished and rebuilt rather than have money wasted on it in ‘tasteless repairs’, 1 Mar. He spoke and voted for Hobhouse’s motions for a repeal of assessed taxes, 2 Mar., 10 May, and endorsed the prayer of the Westminster petition for large tax remissions, 12 Mar., when he divided the House against details of the colonial estimates. He urged Robinson to reduce the wine duties, 19 Feb., and repeal those on seaborne coals, 29 Mar., and moved to postpone consideration of the grant for Windsor Castle repairs and refurbishment, 5 Apr., when he was defeated by 123-54. His wrecking amendment to the superannuation fund bill was negatived, 17 June. He again supported the government’s silk trade proposals, 5, 9, 18 Mar., but wanted small shopkeepers to be given a bounty on surplus stocks of uncut material; his amendment for this was defeated by 76-30, 22 Mar. He spoke and voted for Grattan’s motion for information on Irish Catholic office-holders, 19 Feb.; again opposed the grants for Protestant charter schools, 15 Mar.; called for a reform of Irish education, 29 Mar., 9 Apr.; denounced Irish magistrates who countenanced Orange processions, 30 Mar.; spoke and voted in the minority of ten for the reduction of the Irish militia, 5 May; got 79 votes for his renewed motion for inquiry into the Irish church establishment, 6 May, and supported Newport’s motion to reform Irish first fruits revenues, 25 May. He voted for reform of Edinburgh’s representation, 26 Feb. His attempts to end army flogging, 5, 15 Mar., were rejected by 50-24 and 127-47. His motion for inquiry next session into naval impressments was defeated by 108-38, 10 June. Hume’s brother owned an estate in Trinidad, and he was conspicuously lukewarm on slavery abolition.66 He called for reduction of the West Indian sugar duties, 8 Mar., but did not press it to a division. Presenting an abolitionist petition from Marylebone, 23 Mar., he promised on a future day to propose that emancipation of the slaves, who were ‘undoubted property’, must be accompanied by compensation to the owners. He was absent from the division on Brougham’s motion condemning the prosecution of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June. He reacted strongly to the renewal of the Aliens Act, moving an unsuccessful wrecking amendment against its first reading, 23 Mar., when he alleged that the cabinet was split on the issue, and steadily opposing its progress thereafter. He was equally infuriated by the bill to promote the erection of new churches, which he denounced on 12 Apr. as a scheme to ‘increase the church patronage and church influence, already too extensive’. He left the Westminster purity of election anniversary dinner, 24 May, before his health was given, telling Hobhouse, who was surprised at this ‘unusual prudence’, that if he had stayed he would have been obliged to ‘controvert’ the observations of Burdett and Lambton on ‘the inutility of attending’ Parliament.67 On 27 May he moved for a return of commitments by magistrates, but Peel objected and he was defeated by 71-34. He then proposed a standing order to the effect that no Member with a vested interest in a private bill should be allowed to vote on it in committee upstairs, but was persuaded by Canning to withdraw this in return for the appointment of a select committee, to which he was named. In July and August 1824 he was centrally involved, as one of the three commissioners charged with managing and distributing the loan fund subscribed to support the Greek insurgents, in the internal squabble which threatened to scupper the plan to send Hobhouse to Greece to oversee distribution of the money. Hobhouse suspected that Hume wanted to send ‘an agent of his own who would obey his orders and disperse his speeches in Greece’, but in the end Hume backed down and assured Hobhouse that he had intended no personal slight.68
In 1822 Hume had told Place that he wished to propose and was confident of obtaining widespread support for repeal of the Combination Acts, which he believed impeded the labour market and were biased in favour of the masters. Place had him stay his hand for the moment and supplied him with detailed information on the subject. Early in the 1824 session Huskisson, president of the board of trade, persuaded Hume to drop his planned motion for a select committee on the laws in favour of one on artisans’ emigration and the export of machinery. Place disliked this compromise and persuaded Hume to stick to his original plan; and after consultation with Huskisson he moved, in one of his most accomplished speeches, for the appointment of a select committee on all three issues, 29 Feb. Hume chaired the committee and drove it hard. Witnesses from the working class were coached beforehand by Place, who briefed Hume and gave evidence in favour of repeal, as did Malthus and McCulloch. Hume persuaded the committee to submit a series of short resolutions rather than a cumbersome report, and he revealed them to the House on 21 May: they recommended repeal of the Combination Acts, consolidation of the laws governing industrial disputes and removal of the restrictions on the emigration of skilled workers. He introduced two enabling bills, 25, 27 May, and saw them speedily through the Commons. He and Place lobbied successfully for support in the Lords, and the measures became law on 21 June 1824 (5 Geo. IV, cc. 95, 97).69 Hume had naively expected repeal of the combination laws to obviate the need for unions, but of course they did not, and the later months of 1824 were marked by a series of violent disputes and strikes in manufacturing areas. Huskisson, afraid that repeal seemed to have put unions beyond the reach of common law, proposed the appointment of a select committee to reconsider the problem, 29 Mar. 1825, when Hume tried to attribute these difficulties to full employment rather than repeal, but admitted that both workers and employers ‘carried their measures far beyond the point to which they should restrict themselves’. He was duly named to the committee, which decided that the unions were out of control, though it conceded that they had a legitimate role to play in wage negotiations. Hume’s argument that a straight reversal of repeal would make matters worse had some effect, and the consequent bill confirmed that trade unionism and strikes were not illegal, while it outlawed intimidation and coercion. Hume felt obliged to oppose it, presenting hostile workers’ petitions, 29 Apr., 3 May, defending the measure of 1824, 4 May, complaining that ministers had ‘given the workman anything rather than fair play’, 27 June, when his two amendments were beaten by 90-18 and 60-15, and securing only two votes for his amendment to deprive magistrates of the power of punishing men for ‘molestation’, 29 June. Hudson Gurney described his opposition on this occasion (when Place and a Glasgow delegate were spectators) as ‘most violent and pertinacious’: ‘I never saw Hume lose temper so much before. He had been ill used at the beginning of the business, but there is nothing in the bill to justify ... [his] expressions about it’.70 Hume registered his protest against the third reading, 1 July. The bill became law on 6 July 1825 (6 Geo. IV, c. 129).71
On the address, 4 Feb. 1825, Hume deplored the planned suppression of the Catholic Association and accused ministers of being ‘anxious to bring on a crisis’ in Ireland, where they planned ‘to use the bayonet’ in the hands of the unjustifiably augmented army. In committee on the bill to outlaw the Association, 22 Feb., he proposed a resolution to the effect that any man now holding or in future receiving an Irish office should be obliged to swear on oath that he did not and would not belong to an illegal organization; it was negatived. He spoke and voted, as previously, for repeal of the usury laws, 8, 17 Feb. He complained that the navy estimates still included ‘useless expenditure’, 21 Feb. On Robinson’s financial statement, 28 Feb., he found fault with the ‘immense military establishment’, recommended reduction of the duties on tobacco and brandy and damned the sinking fund ‘delusion’, but gave the chancellor ‘full credit’ for his continued application of liberal commercial principles. His amendment questioning the need for so large an army, 7 Mar., when he attacked Lord Charles Somerset’s† troubled regime in the Cape, was rejected by 102-8. He unsuccessfully proposed his ban on Members voting on private bills in which they had ‘a direct pecuniary interest’, 10 Mar; but on the Leith docks bill, ‘one of the most shameful ... jobs that had ever been brought before the House’, 20 May, he had Marjoribanks’s vote for it discounted after pointing out his vested interest in the scheme. He welcomed Peel’s juries regulation bill, but failed to persuade him to reform the chaos of the common law, 9 Mar., and he approved the government’s Scottish juries bill, based on the efforts of the Whig Thomas Kennedy, 18 Apr. While he gave qualified support to the bill for the sale of waste lands in Canada, 15 Mar., he argued that the ‘disgrace’ of the colonial system (for which he would impeach the secretary Lord Bathurst in a reformed Parliament) needed urgent reform. He questioned Huskisson on some colonial matters, 21 Mar., when he said that diplomatic expenditure ‘far exceeded what the country required’. His motion for inquiry into the state of the Indian army, which was aimed at the governorship of Lord Amherst, was defeated by 58-15, 24 Mar.72 He pressed for a reduction of the duties on Baltic timber and ‘a careful and proper revision’ of the corn laws, 25 Mar. He was in the minority of 47 for the latter, 28 Apr., and on 2 May protested, in the name of the manufacturing interest, against the assumption that the entire country was satisfied with the existing arrangements. He supported the West India Company bill, 29 Mar., 16 May. He asserted that the Glasgow merchants and bankers’ petition for Catholic relief accurately reflected the views of ‘the well-informed classes’ of Scotland, 21 Apr. Next day and on 26 Apr. and 9 May he opposed the bill to disfranchise Irish 40s. freeholders, ‘the most important measure’ of his Commons experience, as an ‘enormous invasion of the rights and privileges’ of the electors.73 His alternative proposal for inquiry into fraudulent Irish voting, 9 May, was negatived. He also opposed the other ‘wing’ of the Catholic relief bill, the payment of the Catholic priesthood because it was unjust to English and Irish Dissenters, 29 Apr., when his motion to inquire into paying all of them annual stipends was rejected by 205-162. He reckoned that the proposed increase in judges’ salaries was ‘ill-timed and uncalled-for’, 16 May, spoke and voted for Brougham’s motion to make puisne judges immoveable, 20 May, and contended that the lord chancellor should be paid by salary rather than fees, 27 May. That day he divided the House against the grant of £6,000 to the duke of Cumberland for the education of Prince George, and again, 30 May. His motion for leave to introduce a bill to end flogging in the navy was defeated by 45-23, 9 June, and that for early consideration next session of the Irish church and tithes by 126-37, 14 June. He urged ministers to regulate the paper currency by making it convertible into specie by ‘a summary process’, if necessary, 27 June 1825. Hume corresponded amicably with Huskisson in September about consular fees and the repeal of the duty on agricultural horses, which he thought had ‘already done good’.74 The following month he declined to accept pieces of plate and silver subscribed for him by Glasgow mechanics and artisans and colliers of the Glasgow area because, as he publicly explained to them, after the reversal of combination law repeal (for which he took his share of blame, though he complained that Huskisson and others had ‘deserted him’), he did not think it appropriate to accept any token from operatives who thereby claimed him ‘exclusively’ as ‘their advocate’ while their employers regarded him as ‘an enemy’. He enjoined the workmen to avoid intimidation or illegal action, for in that case he would be neither able nor willing to prevent reimposition of the old restrictions. He visited the Forfarshire burghs and ‘found all right’ in respect of the approaching general election. He had decided to avoid all public dinners for the moment, but was obliged by an earlier promise to attend one in Edinburgh in November 1825, when he boasted of his delight in ‘hard labour’ and spoke on his usual subjects.75
On the address, 2 Feb. 1826, Hume welcomed the government’s proposal to facilitate the establishment of joint-stock banks, but complained that the army was still too large and taxation too heavy, and argued that the restriction of the circulation of small bank notes would do no good and that only the eradication of ‘wasteful expenditure ... profligate sinecures and overgrown establishments’ would serve. He attacked Amherst’s Indian regime and denounced all monopolies, including the corn laws. Lord Fitzwilliam noted that ‘Hume is at work again and taking everything under his consideration’, but that ‘it is supposed that his time is short’, as a dissolution loomed.76 Lord Althorp* heard that he liked the ministerial promissory notes bill, but he spoke and voted against it, 13 Feb.77 Next day he praised ministers’ free trade measures and made due allowance for their difficulties on the currency and bank questions, but denigrated the notion of an issue of exchequer bills. On 20 Feb. he attacked the promissory notes bill and proposed inquiry into the best means of placing the banking system on ‘a better footing’, but his motion was negatived. He secured the adjournment of the debate on the bill by threatening to divided continually against it, 24 Feb., and on the 27th moved an instruction to require banks to place in the exchequer deposits equal in amount to notes issued, which was defeated by 111-9. His amendment to empower magistrates to distrain on the property of any banker refusing to convert small notes into bullion was rejected by 163-19. He was in a minority of nine against the third reading, 7 Mar., when his attempt to oblige country bankers to make monthly returns of their notes in circulation was rejected by 143-24. Peel and Goulburn, the Irish secretary, thought he would ‘give as much trouble as he can on the estimates’, but Henry Hobhouse, the home office under-secretary, recalled that at the start of the session he ‘evinced an intention of disputing every item in the estimates with the same pertinacity which he so successfully practised three or four years ago’, only to be ‘foiled by the want of support’, as Members became preoccupied with the impending dissolution.78 Hume attacked the navy estimates, 17, 21 Feb., when he got only 15 votes for his amendment for their reconsideration. His proposal to return to the army establishment of 1792 was defeated by 144-45, 3 Mar., and he was in minorities of 22 for cuts in the grants for the Royal Military College and garrisons, 6 Mar. He ranted against the army extraordinaries and colonial expenditure, 10 Mar., when his renewed attempt to end army flogging was thwarted by 99-42. On 17 and 21 Mar. he condemned the excesses of diplomatic expenditure, singling out the ‘shameful’ amount spent on repairs to the residence of the British ambassador to France; but Tierney, who would not have voted with him if he had divided the House, told Holland, 24 Mar., that ‘I attended to all Joseph said and was convinced that he did not understand what he was talking about. He never means to act unfairly, but from haste or want of information he sometimes (and certainly he did so on this occasion) comes out with statements which I often wonder are not more exposed’.79 He divided the Commons twice against grants for Irish charities, 23 Mar., but was in minorities of six and four. He declared against the precipitate abolition of slavery, 1 Mar., and did not vote for the motion condemning the slave trials in Jamaica next day. He called for repeal of the corn laws, 6, 9 Mar., and voted for their revision, 18 Apr. He supported ministerial motions for the appointment of select committees on emigration, 14 Mar., and Scottish gaols, 21 Mar., and was named to both. On 7 Apr. he secured 45 votes for his amendment that the £5,000 salary proposed for the president of the board of trade could be financed by abolition of the treasurership of the navy; and on 10 Apr. he welcomed the government’s decision to settle for £2,000. He condemned the administration of chancery, ‘by which justice was in effect denied to millions and the severest mental torture inflicted’, 21 Apr. On 4 May he delivered a four-hour speech (during which Goulburn shirked the ‘painful duty of listening to him’ to write at length to his wife)80 in support of his motion for an address requesting the king to order an inquiry into the causes of and remedies for distress, which he accompanied with 47 statistical resolutions embodying his views on taxation, the sinking fund and national accounting. He ‘gave credit’ to ministers for ‘the liberal course of policy which had lately distinguished their administration’, but urged them to go further and deplored continued high levels of expenditure; he was defeated by 152-51. He was appointed to the select committees on the allegations of James Silk Buckingham† concerning restrictions on freedom of the press in India and the Mauritius slave trade, 9 May. On 11 May he moved for leave for a bill to repeal the ban on the export of tools, but was persuaded by ministers to drop it. He attributed distress in the shipping industry to high taxation rather than ministerial legislation, 13 May. He spoke, 9 Mar., and voted, 13 Apr., for reform of Edinburgh’s representation. He divided silently for Russell’s reform motion, 27 Apr., and spoke and voted for his resolution condemning electoral bribery, 26 May 1826, claiming to have received that day a letter asserting that an unnamed borough could be had for £2,500 in bribes and £500 legitimate expenses.
On his way to his constituency for the general election in late June 1826 Hume was summoned from Edinburgh to backtrack to Berwick in order to vote for the ‘radical’ Sir Francis Blake*. He came in unopposed for his burghs, where he claimed to have redeemed all his pledges of 1820 and expressed some hope of a relaxation of the corn laws.81 That autumn it emerged that his inordinate love of money had led him to act a less than creditable part in the matter of the Greek loan: he had subscribed £10,000 in 1824, but when the bonds had depreciated the following year had persuaded the Greek agents to buy him out and so limit his loss to £1,300. When, however, the bonds subsequently rose in value, he insisted on being repaid that amount, plus interest. He made matters worse by sending unconvincing exculpatory letters to the national press, and the matter was unresolved when the new Parliament met in late November.82 In consultation with Place and Mill he concocted a wide-ranging amendment to the address, which he proposed to ‘a very unwilling audience’, 21 Nov. 1826 Canning reported to the king that it was ‘twice as long as the speech’ from the throne, and Brougham, who, with Hobhouse and Burdett, had tried to persuade him not to oppose the address or at least to omit advocacy of reform and corn law repeal from his amendment, was infuriated by his ‘absurd and wrongheaded’ conduct and voted against him in the majority of 170 to 24. Several leading members of opposition had walked out of the chamber when he began to speak. Grey thought Brougham might have done more to restrain Hume, who ‘more especially since this Greek business is no favourite of mine’, but he chided his son Lord Howick, a new Member, for joining the minority.83 The press revived the Greek loan scandal, but Hume, whom Place found at a low ebb and encouraged to persevere in his parliamentary efforts, refused to give way and repay the £1,300.84 In the House, 27 Nov., when he pressed again for immediate revision of the corn laws, he referred to ‘the malice and inveterate rancour pursued towards him’ by some journalists. He secured returns concerning the sale of army commissions, 30 Nov. He presented and endorsed a petition for repeal of the ‘absurd’ ban on the export of machinery, 6 Dec., and urged ministers to legislate on emigration, 7 Dec., when he was persuaded to withdraw his motion for information on Somerset’s rule at the Cape and the inquiry into it. According to Hobhouse, ‘there was a general groan when Joe Hume got up’ on 12 Dec. 1826 and ‘proposed to have the House called over that day week’, on the grounds that in the present distressed state of the country it was outrageous for the government to involve it in the Portuguese civil war; his proposal was negatived.85
Hume presented and endorsed the petition of ‘starving weavers’ of Blackburn for repeal of the corn laws and reform, including the ballot, 9 Feb. 1827. He badgered Robinson on the navy estimates but did not divide the House, 12 Feb. On 14 Feb. he clashed with Palmerston on the case of Colonel Bradley, who had been deprived of his Honduras command without a court martial, and was obliged to apologize for one of his intemperate remarks. He thought the government’s plans for emigration would be ‘a wasteful employment of the public capital’, but that the proposed select committee might elicit some useful information, 15 Feb. Next day he denounced the granting of £9,000 to the duke of Clarence, the heir apparent, when Blackburn weavers were dying of starvation, and secured 65 votes against it. His subsequent amendment that it was inexpedient to vote supplies until ministers produced comprehensive accounts was negatived. He opposed the Clarence grant, ‘a mean and scandalous waste of the public money’, to the bitter end, 19, 26 Feb., 2, 16 Mar. His amendment to reduce the garrisons subsidy was defeated by 45-15, 20 Feb., and his usual motion against army flogging by 57-16, 26 Feb. He divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. He voted for a 50s. import price for corn, 9 May, and on the ministerial plan, 27 Mar., proposed a fixed duty of 15s., to be reduced by 1s. annually until it became a permanent 10s. tax; he got 16 votes. His motion for information on the Barrackpoor mutiny and its brutal suppression was rejected by 176-44, 22 Mar. He divided with opposition against voting supplies until the ministerial crisis which followed Lord Liverpool’s incapacitation was resolved, 30 Mar. He moved for inquiry into the state of debtors’ prisons and the operation of the laws of imprisonment for debt, but left the former issue in Peel’s hands after a discussion. On 10 Apr. he got leave to introduce a bill to abolish arrest for debt on mesne process. He brought it in on 17 May, but it was thrown out on its second reading, 1 June. On the 21st he welcomed Peel’s small debts recovery bill, which reached the statute book. He spoke and voted for referring the Irish miscellaneous estimates to a select committee and divided for information on chancery delays, 5 Apr. On the formation of Canning’s ministry, when Peel and the seceding Tories crossed the floor, Hume stuck to his customary seat.86 He encouraged Canning to propose Catholic emancipation in due course, 2 May, seconded the vote of thanks to the Indian army, 8 May, and declared that from the new ministry the country ‘expected ... a change of principle in financial matters’, 11 May. He advised Canning to curb the recent increase in peerage creations, 14 May. He divided to separate bankruptcy from chancery administration, 22 May, and for the disfranchisement of Penryn and Althorp’s election expenses bill, 28 May. His motion of 31 May for repeal of the Newspaper Stamp Duty Act of 1819, which was intended, as Canning saw it, ‘to distress the new Whig allies of ... government’, was crushed by 120-10; he had at first promised to drop it after a ministerial assurance that they planned to deal with it next session, but changed his mind and went ahead.87 On Canning’s budget statement, 1 June, he said that ‘the finances presented the double spectacle of a diminished income and an increased expenditure’, together with the ‘delusive humbug’ of the sinking fund. He consulted Place on a notion of moving an address to the king ‘on the present state of the nation as to the state of trade’, but Place talked him out of it.88 He condemned continued British involvement in Portugal, 8 June, and gave Hobhouse to understand that he intended to oppose the vote of credit for that purpose, 11 June, but he did not speak.89 He was a teller for the minority of 11 against the grant for Canadian water defences, 12 June. His motion for an address to the king for naval promotions to be restricted was negatived, 21 June 1827.
When presenting Irish petitions for Catholic relief, 4 Feb. 1828, Hume observed that it was ‘a true Turkish domination which is exercised by this country over Ireland’. He duly voted for relief, 12 May, as he did for repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., having declared on the 19th that ‘no government can go on now that is not liberal’, for ‘the time of exclusion is at an end’. He secured a detailed account of the way in which the 1827 vote for seamen’s wages had been spent, 11 Feb., and later that day attacked the navy estimates and said he was on the whole ‘dissatisfied’ with the start made by the new Wellington ministry, though he would judge them by their measures. He urged Members to
look with most scrupulous exactness at every possible reduction. The country is overspread with crime and pauperism; and the people are taxed to their utmost bearing to support useless places and pensions and to maintain a most extravagant appropriation of the public revenue.
In a wrangle with ministers over the victualling grant he was accused of a mathematical blunder, but he retorted that if they believed that they ‘can put me down by calling me a fool ... they will find themselves very much mistaken’. His bid to reduce the grant for 30,000 seamen was defeated by 48-15. He went over the same ground the following day, and was in a minority of eight.90 Ministers had decided to sanction the appointment of Hume and Maberly to the finance committee, believing that they would ‘in some material points counteract each other’; but when the formal proposal was made, 15 Feb., Hume cast doubt on the efficacy of a single committee and recommended the appointment of a dozen with different remits. After his examination before the committee, 22 Feb., Croker privately denounced Hume and Maberly as ‘two blockheads’.91 In the House that day Hume complained that it was ‘now understood that the finance committee cannot decide upon the amount of any naval and military establishments’ and that nothing had changed in the treasury attitude, and urged Wellington to take ‘the golden opportunity now before him’ to cut £10,000,000 of taxes, though he applauded ministers for renouncing the sinking fund. His amendment to reduce the army by 10,000 men was defeated by 106-16. He supported Graham’s motion for information on public salaries, arguing that the existence of the committee should not preclude the House from scrutinizing such matters, 27 Feb. When Peel moved for the appointment of a select committee on the increase in crime and the state of the metropolitan police, 28 Feb., Hume observed that he had omitted, in his ‘great pomp of diction and much fluency of expression’, to allude to the ‘undeniable source’ of the problem, namely ‘excessive taxation’ and low wages. He welcomed the government’s Irish juries bill and called for equalization of the sugar duties, 5 Mar. He secured detailed returns concerning savings banks, which he wished to be brought under a uniform system of management, 12 Mar., when he also persuaded Palmerston to furnish information on army promotions. He objected to Peel’s amendment limiting the duration of agreements under the tithes commutation bill, 17 Mar., and opposed the passenger regulation bill as a restriction on free emigration, 18, 24 Mar. He presented and endorsed a petition from Irish Catholics against the Vestry Acts, one of the many grievances which kept Ireland in turmoil, 20 Mar. In early February he had asked Place to draft a clause to authorize the voters of Birmingham to vote by secret ballot if that borough received East Retford’s seats. Place sent him materials, but in the event he did not get the opportunity to raise the issue; he voted against throwing East Retford into the hundred of Bassetlaw, 21 Mar., 27 June.92 He gave notice of a motion on the ballot, but reluctantly agreed to postpone it for that session, 12 June. He criticized the plan to appropriate £2,164,000 from the trustees of the naval and military pensions fund to maintain the sinking fund, 24 Mar., accused the board of control of neglecting India and its 100,000,000 inhabitants, 25 Mar., and denied that the finance committee intended to recommend the abolition of annuities, 25 Mar. He presented a Montrose petition for repeal of the stamp duty on small receipts and approved the government’s proposal to remove the tax on cards and dice as an acknowledgement of the truth that ‘the revenue is injured by taxation’, 2 Apr. 1828.
Hume opposed the ministerial bill to assist voluntary emigration through the poor rates as coercive, 17 Apr. 1828. On the 29th he argued for free trade in corn and reproduced his proposal for a 15s. fixed duty falling to 10s., which was defeated by 139-27. He supported Mackintosh’s motion for information on the civil government of Canada, 2 May. He spoke and was a teller for the minority of 54 against the provision for Canning’s family, 13 May; he moved an unsuccessful wrecking amendment, 22 May. On the 16th he objected to the navy estimates and defended the finance committee, claiming that it was overwhelmed with work. While he was expostulating, Croker observed to Peel, who was not best pleased with the remark, that ‘we now see the folly, as we before saw the cowardice, of putting Hume and Maberly on this committee’, for they were ‘more troublesome than ever, because being placed on the committee has redeemed their characters and increased their information’. (Billy Holmes*, the government whip, privately commented the next day that he suspected that ministers had put Hume and the dithering chairman Parnell on the committee ‘to retard all the proceedings’.)93 Hume made a stubborn nuisance of himself in the Commons for the rest of the session. He moved for a return of civil list pensions, which he reckoned consumed almost a third of the revenue, 20 May, but was defeated by 131-52. His motion for inquiry into these payments, 10 June, went down by 85-13. He warned that extension of the restriction on the circulation of small notes to Scotland would do ‘serious injury’, 22 May, and voted for inquiry, 5 June. Moving in vain for a reduction in the allowances of distributors of stamps, 22 May, he remarked that there was ‘no disposition on the part of ... ministers to commit the smallest crime of economy, unless they are forced to it’. On 30 May he deplored the appointment of the soldier Sir George Murray* as colonial secretary in the room of Huskisson, who had initiated ‘a system of kindness and conciliation, calculated to produce union and peace in our colonies’. He criticized many details of the miscellaneous estimates, especially the lavish spending on Windsor Castle refurbishment, 6 June, and was a teller for the minority of 28 for his amendment against the grant for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospels in the colonies. He seconded Davies’s motion for a reduction in all establishments, 13 June. Writing on 16 June ‘amidst the discussion of the finance committee’, Huskisson told John Gladstone, ‘I am afraid what I have written must appear to you very like the blather with which J. Hume has been annoying us’.94 That day he divided the House three times: twice against the archbishop of Canterbury’s bill (83-49, 74-50), and against the small notes bill, ‘the most stupid act of felo de se we can commit’ (115-24). He was a teller for the minority of 13 against the third reading of the latter, 27 June. He presented and endorsed a petition from West India proprietors resident in Aberdeen for due consideration of their property rights in the event of emancipation, 20 June, when he spoke and voted against details of the army estimates, complaining that ‘not a single man or a single farthing has been reduced’. He admitted that British ship owners were entitled to some relief, but deplored any significant abandonment of reciprocity, 23 June. He divided for inquiry into the Irish church next day. On 26 June he dismissed silk workers’ demands for wage regulation, proposed but withdrew a motion for leave for a bill to compel banks to make quarterly returns of notes and spoke and was a teller for the minority of ten against the cider excise bill, which imposed a new tax. He moved a wrecking amendment to the second reading of the additional churches bill, objecting to ‘the power it gives of taxing parishes without their consent’, which was defeated by 66-28. His subsequent motions to adjourn the debate and to refer the measure to a select committee were also rejected. On 1 July he urged Tierney to attend the finance committee the following day when the important question of ‘the appropriation of the surplus to redeem funded or discharge unfunded debt’ was to be considered.95 After voting for abolition of the post of lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 4 July, he moved to report progress, pointing out that as a member of the finance committee he had been in the House for 12 hours; he got only four votes. On 7 July he attacked the size of the ordnance estimates, but wondered if it was ‘worth while opposing any of theses resolutions, being surrounded by empty benches’. He supported Maberly’s bid to halve the grant for the Irish ordnance survey and spoke and voted against that for Canadian water defences. On 8 July he seconded the chancellor of the exchequer Goulburn’s motion for leave for a bill to amend the statutes governing public pensions, salaries and allowances, admitting that Goulburn had fairly stated the conclusions of the finance committee but urging him also to deal with army and navy promotions and diplomatic pensions. His condemnation of the expenditure on military works in Canada as ‘a wanton and gratuitous waste of the capital of an impoverished country’ was negatived. He welcomed the government’s bill to repeal the Naval and Military Pensions Act, but noted that its author, Robinson, had since been rewarded with a peerage (Goderich) and a pension. On Goulburn’s budget statement, 11 July, he declared that the chancellor had ‘admitted that the established system of borrowing money to support the sinking fund is erroneous, and the finance committee has censured it as too bad to be continued any longer’, though he would for a few years use the surplus of revenue to effect a reduction in customs duties rather than apply the whole to reduction of the debt, as the committee had recommended. He doubted the accuracy of revenue accounts. He objected to Goulburn’s requesting ‘the fullest confidence in ministers’ on the national debt while he refused to disclose how the surplus was to be applied, 15 July, when he said that government seemed intimidated by the East India Company on trade matters. He spoke and voted for reduction of the duty on imported silk, 16 July. He applauded much of Huskisson’s speech on the American tariff, but rebuked him for holding out the threat of retaliation and pointed out that the corn laws were a cause of aggravation to the United States. On 25 July he drew Peel’s attention to the subject of imprisonment for debt and obtained detailed information. He had written to Peel on this subject three days earlier, hoping that further investigation would convince him of ‘the incalculable evils that arise from such proceedings’. In late December 1828 he asked Peel to consider authorizing the early release from prison of Robert Taylor, having always considered ‘the interpretation given to the laws of England on the subject of religious opinions to be as disgraceful as the sanction of the Inquisition would be’; but Peel would not be lenient on a man who had ‘given public lectures recommending infidelity and turning into open ridicule the ceremonies and doctrines of the Christian religion’.96
Hume welcomed the government’s concession of Catholic emancipation, 12 Feb. 1829, though he wished it had been done with ‘a better grace’ and without suppressing the Catholic Association. He presented and endorsed favourable petitions, 2, 10, 25 Mar., insisting that they reflected majority opinion in Scotland. He voted for emancipation, 6 Mar., but divided against the second reading of the bill to disfranchise Irish 40s. freeholders, 19 Mar. On the 26th he withdrew his opposition to this ‘most objectionable and unjust’ measure - claiming to be ‘a decided radical reformer’ - in order to secure emancipation. Next day he criticized the relief bill’s outlawing of Jesuits as an ‘extreme measure of harshness’, but he duly voted for the third reading, 30 Mar. He voted to allow Daniel O’Connell to take his seat unhindered, 18 May. He was disappointed to learn from Goulburn, who evaded his question about ministerial intentions for the sinking fund, 13 Feb., that the finance committee was not to be reappointed, repeated his ludicrous notion of appointing many subcommittees and urged Goulburn to expedite the simplification of public accounts. On 20 Feb. he complained that last session ministers had ‘tided over’ some issues of economy by referring to the impending reports of the finance committee and accused them of now adopting the same stratagem to avoid grappling with high expenditure and oppressive taxation. He said that Sierra Leone should have been abandoned years ago and that half the present military force would suffice, and held out ‘no hope’ of a change for the better, 23 Feb. He ranted against the navy estimates and the dead weight pensions burden, 27 Feb., and the inflated ordnance estimates, 3 Mar. His motion to limit the number of lashes which could be prescribed by courts martial was negatived, 10 Mar. On the report of the committee of supply, 2 Apr., he called again for inquiry by select committee into feasible tax reductions, admitted that the change in the currency had damaged industry and commerce but damned the ‘odious monopoly’ of the agricultural interest, enjoyed by ‘those landlords and gentlemen who formerly kept down the voice of the people at the point of the bayonet’. He objected to pensions for officials of the Irish linen board and the ‘madness’ of continuing to pour money into Canadian defences, 6 Apr. He supported the ministerial silk bill against the protectionists, 14 Apr., 1 May, and on 2 June deplored ‘lawless combinations’ among the Spitalfields workers and brought in a bill to extend the provisions of the 1823 Masters and apprentices Act to the silk trade, which became law on 19 June (10 Geo. IV, c. 52). He questioned the need for a militia force, 4 May, reckoning that £4,016,000 had been thus expended since 1815; but in committee on them he praised Sir Henry Hardinge, the new war secretary, for producing intelligible estimates and acquiesced in the grant. He also complimented Goulburn on his clear budget statement, 8 May, but could not share his optimism: he thought treasury officials were ignorant of ‘the deplorable condition of some of the manufacturing districts’ and demanded tax cuts. Goulburn accused him of distorting the facts. Later that day he condemned the arrangement for an issue of exchequer bills as a ‘ruinous and improvident bargain’, defied attempts by rowdy Members to shout him down and declaimed that the House would ‘stultify itself if it agreed to any such stupid proposal’. Supporting inquiry into the East Indian trade, 14 May, he said:
I am accused of advocating strange opinions, and perhaps I sometimes do, but I like to see how many concur in these notions ... I have lived long enough to see measures which were rejected ... carried by the very ministers who previously had successfully opposed them. I like this well enough, but ... I like still better to carry things against ministers; because, when I do that, I am sure the people are with me. I do not say this in opposition to the government ... I am ready to make great allowances for the gentlemen belonging to it, whose difficulties are considerable. They do not know who are their friends or foes ... at present.
On 18 May he brought up a resolution signifying his protest against the exchequer bills scheme, but agreed to drop it. On the motion to pass the bill, 22 May, he moved a declaration to the effect that the conversion of £3,000,000 unfunded debt was unnecessary, which was negatived. Later that day, however, he applauded the sinking fund bill, which he hoped would mark the end of the delusion. He denounced the expenditure on Buckingham House as ‘discreditable’ and divided against the grant for the marble arch sculpture, 25 May, and on 28 May said that apart from carrying Catholic emancipation, ministers and Parliament had that session ‘done nothing for the public interest’. He voted to reduce the hemp duties, 1 June. He presented petitions for repeal of the corn laws, 28 Apr., 1, 7, 8, 14, 18, 19 May, when he spoke at great length in favour of their relaxation. He divided the House, ‘if ... only to ascertain how few there are of my opinion’: the answer was 12 (to 154).97 On 2 June he explained that he was not an advocate of a fixed duty per se, but as a means of transition to ‘an entirely free trade’. He supported legislation to amend the debtors laws in Ireland, 17 Feb., 14 May, and Scotland, 3 Mar., 27 May. On Peel’s bill to regulate justices of the peace he objected to its £300 qualification and wanted clergymen to be excluded, 25 Mar. He could not persuade Peel to drop the property qualification, 27 May, but did get him to agree to see if there would be a difficulty in finding suitably qualified men in some areas. He supported a Whig attempt to amend the power of Irish bishops and ecclesiastical corporations to make leases, 2 Apr., as it was ‘monstrous that the clergy in Ireland should revel ... in unbounded luxury, in the enjoyment of princely incomes and laying by enormous fortunes for their families, while the mass of the people are living in poverty and degradation’. He secured from a dubious Goulburn agreement to furnish a return of the number of freemen, distinguishing non-residents, in Irish corporate boroughs, 7 Apr. He presented and endorsed petitions for repeal of the Vestries Act, which empowered Protestants to tax Catholics for their own purposes, 3 June. His opposition to the third reading of the archbishop of Canterbury’s estate bill was unavailing, 10 Apr. He gave his approval to Peel’s new metropolitan police force, 15 Apr. He supported Hobhouse’s motion for a select committee on vestries, advocating the election by ratepayers of responsible financial managers; he was appointed to the committee. At the behest of his constituents, he presented petitions against the Scottish gaols bill, 5, 7, 8, 14 May. He supported Warburton’s ‘absolutely necessary’ anatomy regulation bill, 15 May. On 21 May he opposed the increase in Scottish judicial salaries and the ecclesiastical courts bill, which perpetuated the proctors’ monopoly; his wrecking amendment was defeated by 33-3. His proposal for a table of fees to be permanently displayed was rejected by 46-7, 5 June. On 2 June he spoke and voted for the Ultra Lord Blandford’s reform resolutions, the truth of which he held to be ‘self-evident’, and divided for the issue of a new writ for East Retford. In September 1829 he tried without success to persuade James and John Stuart Mill to give active support to Dr. Bowring’s Westminster Review as an antidote to the Edinburgh, the organ of the Whigs and ‘the supporter of all kinds of bad principles and measures’.98
On the address, 4 Feb. 1830, when the Ultra Knatchbull moved an amendment which seemed to place the government in jeopardy, Hume ‘and a large party of reformers’ voted with them to give them a majority. Lord Castlereagh* asked Edward Littleton*, 8 Feb., ‘who would have believed, ten years ago, that a government headed by the duke of Wellington would be saved by the support of Joey Hume and Co?’.99 Hume was active and aggressive throughout the session, when he voted with opposition in almost every division for which lists have been found. He declared that the president of the board of control Lord Ellenborough’s letter concerning the Bombay judicature (which he was suspected of having leaked to The Times) called into question his fitness for office.100 He encouraged Peel to persevere in the tricky task of legislating to end imprisonment for debt, 9 Feb., when he was named to the select committee on renewal of the East India Company’s charter. He welcomed the government’s chancery reform bills, but jibbed at praise of Lord Eldon, 11 Feb., when he voted for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham. On 15 Feb. he spoke for three and a half hours in condemnation of excessive expenditure and taxation, said he had no confidence in ministers’ promise to reduce them and moved an amendment, which was seconded by Howick, calling for action; it was rejected by 184-69. Althorp had decided the previous day to support the motion, and Lord Sefton* thought that Hume’s speech was ‘the best by far ... that he had ever made’. Howick’s view was that if Hume ‘could have arranged and compressed his speech into two hours and corrected his grammar it would have been very good’.101 He stated his determination to support government in maintaining the gold standard, 17 Feb., and welcomed Peel’s law reform bills, 18 Feb., when he seconded and was a minority teller for Blandford’s renewed reform motion. He was dissatisfied with Goulburn’s proposed economies and tax cuts, 19 Feb., but his motion to reduce the army by 10,000 men was defeated by 167-57. He provoked uproar on 22 Feb., when, claiming that many Tory backbenchers agreed with him that retrenchment was essential but feared to oppose ministers, so proving that ‘gentlemen come here to serve themselves and not the country’, he declared that as it was ‘now almost hopeless to press for further reductions’ in the existing House of Commons, the ‘only remedy’ for the people was a resort to ‘force’. When Peel censured this ‘appeal to physical force’, Hume replied, ‘Who are the real agitators? I, who wish to save the people, or the members of the government who press upon a distressed country with an iron hand?’ His four amendments for reductions in items of the army estimates were all easily beaten. He voted for the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., reception of the Newark petition alleging electoral malpractice by the duke of Newcastle, 1 Mar., and the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5, 15 Mar., when he was a teller for the minority of 21 for O’Connell’s amendment to incorporate the ballot in the disfranchisement bill. On 8 Mar. he became one of the council of 36 of the short-lived Metropolitan Union for radical reform.102 Having concluded that it was ‘hopeless’ to try to secure reductions in the estimates he suggested that great savings were possible in revenue collection, 26 Feb., when he supported and was a teller for the minority of 26 for Harvey’s bid to stop Members sitting on committees on bills in which they had a personal interest and got 17 votes for his own attempt to halve the grant for the Royal Military College. He made further vain bids to reduce estimates, 1, 9, 22 Mar., but on 5 and 8 Mar. merely registered his protest at the size of the army and the ‘useless expense’ of foreign garrisons. He said Newport’s motion for inquiry into the Irish church was ‘milk-and-water’ and advocated wholesale reform and disestablishment, 4 Mar. He spoke and was a teller for the minority of 15 to condemn government interference with the Bombay judicature, 8 Mar. Next day he protested at the attorney-general Sir James Scarlett’s ‘sneer’ at Bentham and urged him and Peel to apply Bentham’s ideas to the promotion of a ‘uniform code of law’. He denounced the appointment of a treasurer of the navy as further proof of ministers’ ‘vile disregard in the expenditure of the public money’, 12 Mar. On Goulburn’s budget statement, 15 Mar., he approved the proposed reduction of the beer and leather duties and removal of more trade restrictions, but wanted the surplus of £2,000,000 to be applied to remission of the oppressive taxes on coals and candles. He asserted that repeal of the corn laws would aid many of those who were ‘in a worse state than common beggars’, 16, 30 Mar. He stated his inflexible hostility to Littleton’s new bill to abolish truck payments (on which Place had instructed him), 17 Mar., and he relentlessly opposed its progress thereafter.103 He dissented from some Glasgow weavers’ condemnation of the use of machinery, which had ‘on the whole been greatly beneficial, though it may have produced much of personal inconvenience’, 18 Mar. He spoke at length for Harvey’s motion on crown lands revenues, advocating their sale and application of the proceeds to relief measures, 30 Mar. On 1 Apr. he tried to lower the voting qualification for ratepayers under the St. Giles’s vestry bill, but was defeated by 57-27. He attacked the proposed increase in Scottish judicial salaries and said that the appointment of Abercromby as chief baron of the exchequer was ‘a very considerable drawback to the professions of ministers with respect to retrenchment’. Next day, on the ordnance estimates, he said it was ‘perfectly obvious that no reduction in this department is to be expected’ and that he was ‘now fighting in a cause altogether desperate’; but he detailed the excesses of the establishment and divided the House (80-40) against the grant for foreign stations. Hobhouse described his ‘pertinacity’ in questioning witnesses on the Ellenborough divorce bill, 31 Mar., 1 Apr., as ‘inimitable’: ‘he wanted to know everything’.104 Hume voted for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., 17 May. On 6 Apr. 1830 he spoke against the third reading of Ellenborough’s divorce bill and was a teller for the minority of 16. Refuting allegations that he was conspiring against Ellenborough, he said, ‘of sense ... I have little enough, but my conduct has always been decorous’. The minister Sir George Cockburn* commented that Hume’s curious arguments against the bill arose ‘from the extraordinary formation of his mind’.
On 27 Apr. 1830 Hume advocated reform of the Irish church and the redistribution of all ecclesiastical property, before acting as a minority teller for O’Connell’s bill to open Irish vestries. Complaining that the recommendation of the finance committee had been ignored, he divided the House (131-59) against the grant for the Royal Military College. He welcomed the ministerial bill to open the beer trade, 3 May, and supported it steadily, though he divided for Maberly’s amendment to restrict on-sales, 1 July. On 3 May he sought leave to introduce a bill to end the obligation on army and navy officers to pay fees for the renewal of commissions on a demise of the crown, and persisted despite Goulburn’s plea for him to drop it out of ‘delicacy’. He carried a division by 11-9, but the House was counted out. He renewed the attempt, 10 May, when Goulburn persuaded him to make it simply a bill against the payment of fees, but, as Howick noted, he ‘stupidly lost a stage by not moving at once for leave to bring it in’.105 He introduced it next day, but it foundered when the Lords’ amendments were rejected, 2 July. He produced a revised measure, which became law on 16 July (11 Geo. IV and 1 Gul. IV, c. 43). In late February Tavistock, hearing that Hume planned to proposes abolition of the Irish lord lieutenancy, had asked Hobhouse to let him know that his father Bedford, who had held that post, 1806-7, thought it ‘useless ... for all purposes of good, and ... mischievous and powerful for objects of corruption’, though he did not want Hume to cite this.106 On 11 May Hume moved for abolition and got 115 votes. He then seconded Robinson’s motion for inquiry into the state of the ‘neglected and ... miserable colony’ of Newfoundland and voted in the minority of 29. He seconded and was a teller for the minority of 12 for O’Connell’s call for information on the Cork conspiracy trials, 12 May. Next day he advocated mitigation of the punishment for forgery to ‘soften the sanguinary nature of laws which are a disgrace to the country’; he voted thus, 7 June. Before speaking and voting for Graham’s motion for a return of privy councillors’ emoluments (of which he had at one point been considered as the proposer by Littleton and Huskisson), 14 May, he moaned that it was ‘utterly impossible that the country could go on with its present enormous establishments’. On 18 May he moved an amendment to the administration of justice bill to reduce Welsh judges’ salaries to £4,000, but was prevailed on to withdraw it. When he tried again on 7 July, he was beaten by 37-11. His motion for information on the four-and-a-half per cent sugar duties was defeated by 78-42, 21 May, but he obtained it on the 24th. He spoke and voted for Stewart’s motion for inquiry into the state of Ceylon, 27 May, describing ministerial resistance as typical of ‘the way in which it is attempted to slur over ... every instance of abuse in our colonies’. He was a teller for the minority of 13 for O’Connell’s radical reform scheme, 28 May, when he also divided for Russell’s more moderate plan. He spoke and voted for reduction of the grants for South American missions, 7 June, O’Connell’s renewed attempt to reform Irish vestries, 10 June, and Graham’s motion against the consular services grant, 11 June, when he denied that his success in persuading ministers to change these arrangements had led to increased costs. When Goulburn spoke of the humanizing effects of religion, 8 June, Hume’s smile prompted Goulburn to call him an atheist. Russell spoke up for him and Hume himself retorted that ‘cant and hypocrisy are the vices of the day’. On 14 June he got 59 and 78 votes for his attempts to reduce the grants for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island; but Howick felt that the mess he had made of his own attack on the grant for the Society for Propagation of the Gospels was compounded by Hume’s poor speech in his support.107 Next day Hume secured the appointment of a select committee on Sierra Leone. He supported the amended bill to reform the court of session, but again condemned Abercromby’s appointment, 18 June. He accused ministers of ‘a complete violation’ of a pledge on the sugar duties, 21 June. On 2 July Smith Stanley and other prominent Whigs attended the House intending to oppose going into committee of supply, but Hume, who had earlier privately sounded ministers as to whether they planned to oppose his candidature for Middlesex, would not back them. He acquiesced in the government’s proposal to take a sum on account for the civil list, but reserved his right to oppose individual items.108 He protested against the Irish arms bill, 3 July: ‘it is time we should get rid of the principle of treating Ireland as a conquered country’. At a meeting at Brooks’s to discuss the regency question, 4 July, Hume, ‘who was there for the first time’, according to Hobhouse (though he had joined the club on 22 Feb. 1822), ‘said the only sensible thing ... namely that unless ... Grey and ... Holland and other party men would declare for cutting down places and for more decisive reform than they had ever yet done, the people would not sympathise with any parliamentary efforts of theirs’.109 He spoke and voted against enhanced securities for newspaper publishers under the libel law amendment bill, 6 July, and said that Scarlett (who mistakenly alleged that Hume owned a paper) sought to ‘impose additional shackles on the press’. Next day, on the consolidated fund bill, he urged the electors of England to use the opportunity presented by the approaching general election to try to return ‘a majority independent of ... the borough-holders and all the government patronage’. He blamed the self-interest of an aristocratic oligarchy for frustrating Wellington and Peel’s good intentions on economy and urged voters to call defaulting Members to account. Hobhouse rebuked him for uttering ‘this foolish and stale fallacy’, and he later admitted that he had ‘gone too far’.110 He was in Brougham’s minority of 27 for the speedy abolition of colonial slavery, 17 July 1830.
In October 1829 Hume had received an open challenge to his seat for Aberdeen Burghs from Sir James Carnegie*, a young baronet with a Forfarshire estate. He recognized the potential threat, but was not unduly perturbed and, after consulting Place, made it clear to the councils of the Forfarshire burghs that he intended to stand his ground.111 By May 1830, as the king’s life ebbed away, there was talk of his being invited to stand for Westminster, where Hobhouse, in Place’s view, might be vulnerable to a ‘sturdy parliamentary reformer’. According to Place, Hobhouse appreciated this, and suggested to Place that Hume should stand for Middlesex, where the ailing advanced Whig Samuel Charles Whitbread announced his intended retirement on 16 June. Place concurred in the idea, as did Burdett. The tight-fisted Hume initially shied at the expense of a contest, but at length agreed to be put up. Althorp privately endorsed his candidature and persuaded Grey to follow suit, though Bedford, the duke of Devonshire and other Whig grandees were hostile. Hume became ‘undecided’, but after much ‘shabby’ prevarication and vacillation, which annoyed Hobhouse and Place, agreed to stand.112 Some of his supporters in the burghs, where Carnegie had been joined in the field by the Whig Horatio Ross*, were inclined to keep a door open for him until his fate in Middlesex was known, but it soon became clear that he and the sitting Member George Byng would walk over. Returning thanks, Hume portrayed himself as ‘the representative of the people of England’, applauded the revolution in France, boasted of his almost single-handed labours in the Commons and preached his usual sermon for economy, retrenchment and reform, including shorter parliaments and the ballot.113 He subsequently intervened by letter in his former constituency on behalf of Ross, who was defeated by Carnegie through the defection of Brechin from the ‘Angus union’ created by Hume.114
He was fêted on a visit to Scotland in late August and September 1830. The celebrations included a jamboree appearance in Arbroath with Ross in tow, when Hume agreed to a request that he should take charge of petitions which his constituents did not wish to entrust to the Tory Carnegie.115 He now had a more prestigious platform from which to air his views, and on his way south at Harrogate, 8 Oct. 1830, he asked Place to consider with Mill what subjects should be broached in the new Parliament ‘in these times of sweeping reform’, indicating that he intended to agitate for Scottish electoral and burgh reform in an attempt to ‘break down the mockery of representation that exists there’. He was in touch also with Leslie Grove Jones, who planned a private dinner for him with O’Connell, Warburton and other parliamentary radicals. Hume, who was infuriated by Coke and Lord Braybrooke’s continued profiteering from lighthouse dues, told Place at the end of October 1830 that report had it that ‘concession of any kind is to be refused by the duke [of Wellington], as the Tories are not prepared for a moment to appear to meet the wishes and wants of the people’. He had also learned ‘for the first time of the scandal of the patent of the king’s printer’, Andrew Spottiswoode*, which he planned to expose.116 Howick thought that Hume (and others) ‘spoke very ill’ on the address, 2 Nov. 1830, when he said that the king’s speech ‘breathes nothing but war and expensive establishments and mentions not a syllable respecting the distress which pervades all parts of the empire’.117 Next day he was disappointed to hear that Peel did not plan to legislate to end imprisonment for small debts. On 4 Nov. he urged ministers to give an early explanation of their foreign policy and moved for printed copies of treaties with Belgium, Holland and Portugal. Peel jibbed at the cost, but Hume insisted, prompting Peel to remark that he had ‘become one of the most extravagant Members I have met with’. That day the lawyer John Campbell II* told his brother that Hume was ‘inexpressibly disgusting, and nothing so strongly shows the fallen state of the House ... as his ascendancy. He is a low, vulgar, illiterate fellow, whom nothing can abash’.118 On 5 Nov. he raised the issue of Spottiswoode’s patent, moving for information and alleging that the holder was enabled to profit handsomely from the public purse while supporting ministers in the House; he obtained some of the material he wanted. He also denounced Wellington as ‘incapable of government’, confessed that he had been duped into believing Peel’s promises of tax cuts at the end of the last session and seemed to suggest that Wellington might have authorized provocation of some of the ‘Swing’ outrages. When Alexander Baring accused him of using ‘inflammatory language’, Howick defended him.119 He threatened to force an adjournment if he continued to be interrupted and baited by ‘a set of men who are entirely unworthy of a place in the House’. According to Hobhouse, an alarmed Sir James Graham* asked him next day
whether I thought Joe Hume meant mischief. I said, ‘No’. ‘What then did he mean by advising the people not to use premature force?’ said Graham. ‘He meant nothing’, said I; ‘he did not know the meaning of the word’.120
Hume objected to the government’s proposal to regulate trade between the West Indies and America, which was ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’, 8 Nov. He was a teller for the minority of 39 on this issue, 12 Nov. On 9 Nov. he criticized Peel’s under-secretary George Dawson for describing O’Connell as ‘the agitator of Ireland’ and denouncing a petition for repeal of the Union (to which Hume was opposed) as the work ‘of a mob’. He was a teller for the minority of 24 for repeal of the Irish Subletting Act, 12 Nov. He presented reform petitions from Marylebone, 10 Nov., Lanark, 11 Nov., and Perth, Arbroath and Brechin, 15 Nov., when he pointed out that in the last burgh, which had a population of over 7,000, only the 13 self-elected councillors had a say in parliamentary elections. Arguing that ministers’ refusal to reform or retrench had driven men to violence, he said that the ‘most effectual act of Parliament will be to remove the government’. He was in the majority for inquiry into the civil list, which achieved exactly that, 15 Nov., and was named to the select committee, as he was to that on the reduction of public salaries, 9 Dec. As he was declaiming on 16 Nov. 1830 that army and navy officers as well as placemen and pensioners should be excluded from the Commons, the Whig reformer General Sir Ronald Crauford Ferguson was walking through the chamber: ‘He stopped and looked up at Hume and the whole House roared with laughter’.121
When the members of the Grey ministry and their supporters crossed the House to the right-hand benches, Hume, O’Connell and the other radicals remained in their old places. Princess Lieven urged her brother not to confuse ‘the men now in power with the radicals of the Lower House’, for Grey ‘hates O’Connell and Mr. Hume more than the duke of Wellington does’; and Campbell, reflecting that it would be impossible for the new administration to ‘satisfy the expectations they have raised’, anticipated that ‘in a short time Hume will be firing into them’.122 Hume expressed his approval of the new metropolitan police force, 18 Nov. 1830, but, as he did repeatedly in the next two years, complained that it placed too heavy a financial burden on some parishes. Next day he pressed ministers to put the entire tithes system ‘on a satisfactory footing’. Place wanted him to test the sincerity of the Whigs in office by asking them if they would include the ballot in their reform scheme, but he disregarded this.123 On 22 Nov. he announced the postponement of his intended motion for a reduction of official salaries to 1796 levels, having been led to believe that it would have implied a want of confidence in the new government, whose accession to power had given him ‘great satisfaction, because I think it offers the country hopes of a radical change in public measures’. Offering to give them a fair trial, he exhorted them to fulfil their pledges on reform, retrenchment, economy and free trade; otherwise he would be ‘their steady opponent’. He was pleased to learn next day that no lieutenant-general of the ordnance was to be appointed and told Thomas Wyse that his notions of legislation for the employment of the Irish poor were nonsense. He presented petitions for the gradual abolition of slavery, 25 Nov. He took the government’s decision not to fill the vacant office of Irish postmaster-general as ‘an earnest of their disposition to economy’ and welcomed their assurances that salary reductions were in the offing, 2 Dec., but he wanted more information about their intentions on tax cuts and the corn laws. He told Thomas Gladstone* that if no one else came forward he was willing to raise ‘the present state of the Liverpool franchise’, but Gladstone decided that it would be ‘unwise’ to place the relevant petitions in his hands ‘from his want of popularity in the House’.124 On 13 Dec. he lectured ministers on the need to abolish ‘sinecures and highly paid useless offices’, but he accepted the assurance of Althorp, leader of the House, that the matter was in hand. He pressed for a delay in naval and army promotions until it became clear how far the deadweight pensions could be reduced and called for the estimates to be presented in advance. Gladstone thought he ‘really spoke well, but was ... very properly beaten’ (by 167-27) when he opposed Littleton’s reintroduced bill to abolish truck payments with an amendment for inquiry, 14 Dec.125 His subsequent hostility to the measure was unwavering. He was ‘well received’ at the Middlesex reform meeting, 15 Dec., when he promised to vote for the ballot and dissented from Burdett’s view that Members should withhold expression of their sentiments on reform, retrenchment and foreign policy until ministers had declared theirs: ‘although many had changed sides with a change of ministry, he had never abandoned his favourite post, convinced that by maintaining this station he was the best friend to the ministry, as he kept them to their pledges’. Hobhouse thought he ‘presses’ ministers ‘too much’.126 On the 16th he urged ministers to open select vestries and presented and endorsed a parliamentary reform petition from the mayor and inhabitants of Southampton, who had declined to entrust it to their own Members. When one of these, James Barlow Hoy, denounced him as the self-appointed ‘receiver-general of petitions and redresser-general of wrongs’, Hume replied that he was ‘attentive to minute matters, because I want reform in everything’, and bragged of his consistency. This prompted Goulburn to point out that he had deviated from his support of the sale of beer bill in July 1830 in order to vote for an amendment which appealed to his prospective Middlesex constituents. Later that day Hume welcomed Campbell’s plan to establish a general register of deeds. He presented and supported several more petitions, including some from Aberdeen Burghs, for tax cuts and reform, 17, 18 Dec., when he declared that he was ‘now convinced that no system of economy can be brought to bear without there previously existing a full, free and fair representation of the people in Parliament’. When he argued that the recorder of Dublin was not eligible to sit in the House, 20 Dec., he was attacked by Peel, to whom he retorted, ‘I am not one of those men who pretend to be acquainted with everything, nor do I pretend to say that I am not ... liable to mistakes’. He accused Peel of holding out the French and Belgian revolutions as warnings to the advocates and supporters of reform and economy: Peel had ‘read a lecture to the lower classes ... but why did he not read a similar lecture to the higher classes, who have brought the country to its present state?’ Hobhouse thought he had answered Peel ‘well’.127 When Matthias Attwood on 21 Dec. accused Grey of having held out ‘false and delusive hopes’ on reform, Hume defended the premier, but his attempt to read from Grey’s speech in the Lords landed him in trouble with the Speaker and forced him to adopt the expedient of quoting Grey as ‘one of the chiefs’ of ‘a certain island called Brobdignag’. He said it was foolish to blame distress on the currency change and, endorsing an Essex petition concerning a local abuse of tithes, observed that ‘when such cases of oppression and vexation occur ... it is no wonder that exasperation should be felt and violence take place’. On 23 Dec. 1830 he encouraged ministers to take their Irish retrenchments further, secured information bearing on the recorder of Dublin’s case, colonial pensions and the pension given to Harriet Arbuthnot in 1823 and gave notice for 10 Feb. 1831 of a motion for inquiry into the king’s printers scandal.
The ex-minister John Herries* told Mrs. Arbuthnot, 3 Jan. 1831, that Althorp was ‘coaxing the ultra radicals’ by feeding Hume ‘and others of that stamp in small select parties’.128 A week later Hume annoyed Place by telling a mutual acquaintance that he did not think ministers could reduce the stamp duty on newspapers at present.129 Jones soon afterwards told O’Connell, who was facing arrest, that he and Hume were ‘anxious to possess the means of contradicting false statements made against you’.130 From 3 Feb. until the end of the month Hume presented and endorsed dozens of petitions (including several from his former constituency) calling for Scottish parliamentary and municipal reform, general reform, the ballot, the abolition of tithes, repeal of assessed taxes and vestry reform. He attended and addressed a Marylebone parish reform meeting, 16 Feb.131 He was named to the reappointed East India select committee, 4 Feb. (and again, 28 June 1831, 27 Jan. 1832). He cast a critical eye over the government’s civil list proposals and warned Althorp that he would oppose certain details, especially the pensions.132 On 7 Feb. he called on the landed interest to ‘act honestly and do justice’ by surrendering the corn laws. Next day he seconded Hunt’s motion for a pardon for convicted ‘Swing’ rioters, but subsequently urged him, unsuccessfully, to drop it; he was one of its two supporters in the division.133 Later that day he objected to the demonization of O’Connell and told Althorp that he ‘must not risk a civil war to maintain the Union, until he had recalled the lord lieutenant, abolished the tithe system ... and given to Ireland an establishment of her own’. Jones assured O’Connell that Hume’s ‘conduct was manly and straightforward. He only wants to have good assistants about him, someone who knows him well and can allow for his defects’.134 On 10 Feb. Hume secured the appointment of a select committee on the king’s printers, which he chaired. Place had again remonstrated with him for ‘the folly of his conduct of confiding in ministers’ on the newspaper stamp duties; but his note to Place, 15 Feb., satisfied the tailor that he had not ‘given in to the delusion’ that ministers had done all they could on taxation and the civil list.135 In the House that day he declared that Lord Goderich (a member of the cabinet) deserved impeachment for misleading the Commons over the costs of the Buckingham Palace project. He generally approved of Althorp’s budget, but on 16 Feb. pressed him not to tax imports of raw cotton and next day entreated him to drop the planned levy on steamboat passengers, which would hit hard in western Scotland. On the army estimates, 18 Feb., he said that ‘I have had my expectations excited to the highest pitch, and have to regret being obliged to use the language of complaint with respect to the course ministers have pursued’. He deplored the increase in the army and said he ‘knew of no purpose for which you can keep up these troops, except to awe the people of England, of whom you are afraid’, although he also suspected that they were to be deployed in European meddling. He was persuaded by Palmerston, the foreign secretary, to withdraw his motion for copies of protocols concerning Belgium. He sided with government on the sugar duties and pressed Lord Chandos to drop his proposal for immediate relief for West India planters, but again criticized the army estimates, 21 Feb. He was not inclined to divide the House, making due allowance for ministers’ difficulties and hoping that they would redeem themselves on reform; but when Hunt did so, he voted in the minority of six. He supported Hobhouse’s vestries reform bill. He registered his protest against the size of the navy estimates, 25 Feb., but on 28 Feb. 1831 he applauded as ‘a decided improvement’ Althorp’s decision to transfer the tax on printed calicoes to raw cotton as a temporary measure.
Hume was ‘delighted’ with the ministerial reform scheme, revealed on 1 Mar. 1831, and a few days later assured Russell of ‘his hearty support’.136 In the House, 2 Mar., he confirmed that ‘radical reformer as I am’, the ‘efficient’ and ‘manly’ plan had ‘far exceeded my expectations’. He endorsed the decision to exclude the ballot and shorter parliaments, which could wait for another day when the new system had been fairly tried. He thought the House could usefully be reduced to 500 Members, but urged all reformers to unite in support of the proposals. After welcoming them at a Marylebone meeting, 7 Mar., when he approved Althorp’s assertion in the Commons that ‘the time had gone by when the government could be carried on by patronage’, he put off his planned motion for tithes reform. At a Tower Hamlets reform meeting, 14 Mar., he encouraged mass petitioning to strengthen ministers’ position.137 He initially agreed to become chairman of the Parliamentary Candidates Society, promoted by Erskine Perry and Place, but subsequently asked to be named merely as a committee member and at length (23 Mar.) had his name withdrawn entirely, having been attacked in the House for his involvement. The episode caused him and Place considerable public embarrassment.138 In mid-March he predicted a majority of five for the second reading of the English reform bill, ‘but leaving about 50 doubtful, most of whom he expected to get’.139 He presented a backlog of over 60 petitions in support of the reform bills, 19 Mar., and voted silently for the second reading of the English measure, 22 Mar. On 11 Mar. he rebuked Poulett Thomson, vice-president of the board of trade, for seeming to talk of ‘perpetual protection’ and show ‘a disposition to revert’ to the discredited ‘prohibition’ system. He demanded a radical reform of Irish education, 14 Mar., when he again carped at the ‘extravagant’ army estimates, but sat down ‘hoping for better things, when questions of pounds, shillings and pence may be attended to’. He advocated a purge of the diplomatic service, a refuge for well-connected mediocrities, 15 Mar. He remained unhappy with the proposed increase in the timber duties, and on 18 Mar. tried unsuccessfully to reduce them; but next day he complained that ministers had been defeated on this issue ‘by the most factious vote I have ever known’. He asked Place at the end of March to tabulate the votes ‘on all important subjects’ during the last ten years of leading anti-reformers, so that the results could be circulated to the appropriate electors in time for the next general election, and promised to give him 1,000 copies of the division on the second reading of the reform bill marked ‘in red and black, to be placed in the several places likely to be of most use’.140 On 25 Mar. he said that ‘from one end to the other’ Scotland favoured reform and that its only opponents were ‘a knot of gentlemen connected with the counties’. He gave details of the navy estimates a mixed reception, and on the civil list, as Hobhouse saw it, ‘in the most laughable way seemed to assent and yet objected to the increase’, moving an amendment to reduce the list to £423,470, but withdrawing it under pressure.141 On the 28th he explained that he had decided to acquiesce in the grant, even though he hated its inclusion of pensions, in the hope that ministers would attend to this in due course; he acknowledged that it was only half the usual amount. When he objected to the grant of £3,600 to Babbage ‘for making a machine’, the treasury secretary Spring Rice replied that he should support it, as the device could perform many of his laborious calculations on the estimates. Hume defended the ministerial adjustments to the English reform bill, 12 Apr., when he also urged government to reform the jury system and extend it to Ireland. His attempts to lop sums off the civil list were negatived. He moaned that the reductions in the ordnance estimates did not add up to a row of beans, 13 Apr., and next day, while giving ministers credit for removing diplomatic expenses from the civil list and lowering their own salaries, proposed to strike out the £75,000 for pensions. Hunt seconded, but they were in a minority of 17. Hume presented a Glasgow merchants’ petition for due consideration of all property rights if slavery was abolished, 15 Apr. On the 18th he disputed Hunt’s assertion that a large portion of the Lancashire working classes were hostile to the reform bill because it did not go far enough. He voted in the ministerial minority against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment to the bill, 19 Apr. 1831, and on the 20th said he would vote for all the supplies that might be needed to facilitate a quick dissolution - ‘the first time I ever did so’. He had another row with Hunt later that day, arguing that ‘the people of this country want ... good government’ and that ‘the system of rotten boroughs has led to anything but’. At his unopposed return for Middlesex at the 1831 general election he declared for the reform scheme without reservation and claimed to know that ministers would not make concessions. When asked by Jones if he would resign his seat in the event of a significant difference of opinion with his constituents, he refused to be dictated to, though he was ready to account for his conduct annually. Urging the electors to prepare themselves for the first reformed elections, which he expected in six months, he declared, ‘The days of humbug were past, and reason now held sway’.142 He subsequently sent a public letter to the promoters of the Dunfermline Political Union expressing his approval of such bodies, which he wanted to see established nationwide.143
On the address, 21 June 1831, Hume defended the decision to dissolve against Peel’s attack, claimed that the government’s appeal to the electorate had been emphatically answered, accused Peel of factiously opposing the timber duties and said he would swallow any changes to the details of the reform scheme which did not impair its principle. Next day he dissociated himself from the statement in the king’s speech that ministers had maintained the stance on non-interference on Belgium, but conceded that the amended budget had been ‘completely successful’. He advocated a low fixed duty on corn, 24 June, and protested at the ‘immense’ navy and army estimates, especially the ‘monstrous charge’ of £170,000 for the yeomanry, 27 June. Next day he pressed ministers to repeal the remaining coercive Acts of 1819, which most of them had opposed when in opposition. He secured the reappointment of his select committee on the king’s printers, 28 June. On the 30th he said that Hunt was not justified in saying that ministers had not retrenched: ‘I ... would not give a pin for reform, if I did not hope that the result of it would be the means of obtaining ... a good, cheap and efficient government’. He was a teller for the minority of 13 for Alderman Wood’s motion to reduce public salaries to 1797 levels. His allegation that a contributor to the Republican had close links with the Tory opposition provoked angry exchanges, 29 June, 1 July. That day he called for repeal of the duty on tiles (and again, 21 July) and soap, but welcomed the remission of that on candles. He protested again at the ‘confused and unintelligible’ way in which the accounts were presented. On 4 July he appealed to the Speaker for a ruling on etiquette after finding his seat occupied at prayers by James Lindsay. He quizzed the Irish secretary Smith Stanley on the purpose of the advance of money for capital projects, 5 July 1831.
He voted for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill next day. On 8 July 1831 Hunt stated that Hume had written to northern working class leaders to rally support for the measure, but Hume explained that he had merely seen three delegates who wanted hostile petitions to be presented and begged them not to harm the cause. On 12 July he voted at least twice against the adjournment, having told the Tory Wetherell that in changed times ‘a popular ministry’ was ‘contending with an opposition consisting of a handful of factious men’. He voted steadily for the details of the bill, though he was in the minority on the case of Saltash, 26 July, and paired for divisions on 3, 5, 17 Aug. He had little to say on the measure as such. On 8 Aug. he objected to printing the petition, presented by Hunt, of the National Union of the Working Classes of the Metropolis in favour of the ballot and against compulsory emigration on account of its language, but said he would be ‘very glad to see the sinecurists and public-paid drones of this country transported to the Canadas’. Like other radicals, he was suspicious of the proposed division of many English counties and he pressed ministers to reconsider it; but Littleton claimed that he ‘frightened’ Hume and company ‘into support, by telling them that the county Members who wished a division ... would not compromise their principles about the due amount of the franchise, if they in return did not give way on this point’.144 He brought up but refused to present, because of their ‘unacceptable’ reference to the ‘improper motives’ of anti-reformers, several Scottish petitions deploring the slow progress of the bill, 15 Aug., but he presented an inoffensive one from Edinburgh. His motion the following day to give the colonies 19 Members, including one for the Channel Islands, provoked much mirth and was negatived, despite receiving some Tory support. (The Ultra duke of Richmond unsuccessfully pressed colonial representation on his cabinet colleagues later in the year.) On 24 Aug. Hume gave notice of a motion for the 27th that to expedite reform orders should take precedence over notices on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and the House convene for business at noon.145 O’Connell seconded the motion, but Althorp, who said Hume had accused him of being ‘slack’, opposed it. The debate generated some bad temper, but Hume was persuaded by Lord Ebrington to drop the motion and make his peace with Althorp, whom he praised. He accused Hunt of practising ‘delusion’ on the people by speaking against but voting for details of the reform bill, 30 Aug. On 5 Sept. he endorsed the appointment of boundary commissioners, but argued that the constituencies should pay for revising barristers; Althorp insisted that this was a case for the public purse. Replying to Sugden’s denigration of reform Members who were anxious that their votes should be made known to their constituents, 7 Sept., Hume said that ‘publicity is the only check on selfish views and improper proceedings; it is the dread of being hauled over the coals that keeps many men to their duty’. He voted for the third reading, 19 Sept., and passage of the bill, 21 Sept., when he attended a ‘meeting of 90 Members ... all independent of ministers’, who agreed that even if the bill was rejected by the Lords it would be ‘a desertion of the king and country in the present ministers to resign’. Another report had it that Hume joined Ebrington in calling for a ministerial promise to press for a creation of peers to be made the condition of a vote of confidence, but that this was set aside as ‘revolutionary’.146 Hume voted silently for the second reading of the Scottish reform bill, 23 Sept. 1831.
On other issues, he pursued his usual dogged radical line. He spoke, 6, 18 July, 11 Aug. 1831, when he was a minority teller, for disarming the Irish yeomanry. He backed O’Connell’s call for a fairer distribution of money for Irish education, 14, 15 July, 5 Sept. He urged Althorp to reduce the emoluments of the bishop of Londonderry before filling the vacancy, 18 July, but was satisfied with his promise of a general measure of redistribution, 6 Sept. On 19 July he expressed contempt for the Glasgow petition against the Maynooth grant, and on 31 Aug. described British universities as ‘little better than hot-beds for everything that is illiberal’. He divided with O’ Connell for swearing the Dublin election committee, 31 July, and against issuing a new writ, 8 Aug., but with government in both divisions on the issue, 23 Aug. On 10 Aug. he endorsed O’Connell’s complaint that ‘whatever may have been promised, nothing has been performed’ by the ministry for Ireland, where the ‘age of misrule’ still prevailed. He questioned the need for a board of public works there, but was willing to acquiesce in the grant of £1,000,000 if placed ‘on a proper footing’. His wrecking amendment to the Irish union of parishes bill was carried by 38-11, 19 Aug. He hoped for the early cessation of the grants for the Dublin Foundling Hospital, which promoted ‘bad habits and immorality’, 22 Aug., and the employment of the Irish poor, 29 Aug. He moved to reduce that for publishing Irish proclamations, 31 Aug., but withdrew when ministers promised an imminent cut. He said that Ireland would never be ‘at peace’ until ecclesiastical property was redistributed, 12 Sept. On the 16th, opposing the Irish public works bill, which would perpetuate the ‘system of jobbing’, he criticized ministers for appointing to or retaining in office men who were hostile to their measures: for example, the lords lieutenant of some counties. He welcomed their reduction in the grant for the Royal Dublin Society, 28 Sept. On 8 July he spoke and was a teller for the minority of 15 against the grant for professorial salaries at Oxford and Cambridge, where ‘poor’ people could not gain admittance and many fellows ‘drive their carriage and four, and live in great state from the funds which are placed at their disposal’. He recommended sending the inmates of the ‘useless’ Millbank penitentiary to Botany Bay. He said that to repeal the Sale of Beer Act would be folly, 13 July, 24 Aug., but he wanted retailers to be treated the same as licensed publicans, 5 Sept. He accepted the grant for civil list salaries, reserving his right to object to the inclusion of pensions, 18 July, and opposed Robinson’s amendment for a cut of £60,000. He condemned the ‘enormous’ provision for consular services and the grant for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospels, which ‘cast a firebrand of jealousy and ill will’ into the colonies, 26 July. He pressed for relaxation of the quarantine duties, 8 Aug., and spoke thus and divided in the minority of 20, 6 Sept. He asserted that by such ‘extravagant application of the public money’ as in the duchess of Kent’s annuity bill, ministers were ‘doing that which will tend to make royalty odious’, 8 Aug. He objected to the proposed increase in the duties on Cape and Portuguese wines, 8 Aug., 7 Sept., but thanked Althorp for conceding on the former, 12 Sept. On 9 Aug. he damned the ‘useless, unnecessary and extravagant manner in which the government are throwing away the public money by continuing to call out the militia’. He voted in Hunt’s minority of six for reception of the Preston petition for repeal of the corn laws, 12 Aug., and supported, by request, the Coventry petition, 12 Sept.; but on 15 Sept. he opposed as untimely and disruptive to the reform bill Hunt’s motion to consider repeal, preferring to look to a reformed Parliament ‘not only for an alteration in our corn laws, but also for many other important and most desirable changes’. He spoke and was a teller for the minority of 12 against the compensation for Lesceyne and Escoffery, 22 Aug. On the 31st he said that the proposal to spend £50,000 on the coronation, which could be carried off for £5,000, was outrageous. On 1 Sept. he denounced the requirement for Members attending to wear court dress, but admitted defeat when the Speaker pointed out that this had been recommended by a committee of the House. Littleton recorded a pertinent ludicrous episode during the deliberations of the committee earlier that day:
While we were busy with our order of procession, in comes Mr. Economy Hume, to get some papers belonging to him out of the box. We paused. I began, ‘Well ... I am assured by Rundell and Bridge that that the addition of these diamonds to the queen’s crown will cost only £25,000. It would be miserable economy to boggle about such a trifle’ ... Hume was staring at us in astonishment ... [He] left the room, went into the committee room of the civil government expenses, and out of mere ill humour cut off two aides-de-camp from the lord lieutenant of Ireland and when Wynn presented his report in the House ... attacked and ridiculed it.147
On coronation day, 8 Sept., Hume turned up at the House ‘in a brand new suit, and was hailed with laughter and cheers’.148 He spoke and voted for inquiry into the effects on the West India interest of continuing the Sugar Refinery Act, 12 Sept., because he felt they deserved the chance to make out their case, but stressed that he remained committed to freedom of trade. On 28 Sept., however, he sided with ministers, who had courted his support on this ‘vital question’, against further inquiry. But he supported the appointment of a select committee on the state of the West Indies, to which he was named, 6 Oct.149 He moved unsuccessful wrecking amendments to the truck bill, 12 Sept., 5 Oct.; Littleton heard that news of its third reading had been celebrated in Gloucestershire by the firing of cannon and burning of Hume in effigy.150 On 28 Sept. he moved to postpone consideration of the grant of £163,670 for Windsor Castle and Buckingham House repairs until a proper explanation was given; he got 12 votes to 110. He thanked ministers for reducing the salary of the president of the board of trade, 29 Sept. Next day he waived his objections to the £120,000 for civil list pensions, because ministers had shown ‘every disposition’ to facilitate inquiry (he was a member of the select committee of 12 Aug.); but he criticized the ‘bad system’ of navy victualling. On 3 Oct. he cavilled at the ‘great amount’ of national expenditure as detailed by Althorp. He was unwilling to depart from the principles laid down by the finance committee on army half-pay, 7 Oct. He supported investigation of the Deacles’ allegations against the Hampshire magistrates, 21 July, 22 Aug., 14, 19, 27 Sept. He continued to speak on behalf of Taylor and others imprisoned for blasphemy, 15, 23 Aug., 5, 21 Sept., 5 Oct. He urged government to intervene on behalf of the Poles, who were ‘struggling against tyranny and oppression for liberty’, 16 Aug., but opposed interference in Belgium, 18 Aug. On the 17th he thanked ministers for ordering the emancipation of crown colonies slaves, but recommended a ‘cautious’ approach to abolition in general. He opposed the church building bill, 25 Aug. He wanted native Indians to be admitted to grand juries, 1 Sept. He spoke and voted in the minority for issuing the Liverpool writ, 5 Sept. Next day he seconded Hunt’s motion for an Act of grace for all imprisoned crown debtors to mark the coronation and pressed ministers to end arrest and imprisonment for debt. On 15 Sept. he expressed his ‘regret that a Whig administration should have been the first to imprison men’ under the 1819 Newspaper Stamp Duty Act. He thought the Lords’ amendments had ruined the lunatics bill, 26 Sept., when he revealed that he had been ‘shocked’ by what he had seen on a round of visits to asylums. His intervention that day in a spat between O’Connell and the Ultra Sir Richard Vyvyan, whom he seemed to accuse of ungentlemanly conduct, was ruled out of order by the Speaker and he had to apologize. On 30 Sept. he opposed a ministerial amendment to Hobouse’s vestries reform bill and spoke and was a teller for a minority of three against the Lords’ amendments to the game bill. He dismissed the Scottish exchequer court bill as a ‘half-and-half measure’ and denounced the £2,000 pension granted to Abercromby as ‘monstrous’. On Lord Brougham’s bankruptcy court bill, 7 Oct., he remarked, ‘I am a very unlearned man’ and ‘cannot understand ... why it is necessary that we should have a bankrupt court in addition to an insolvent court’. He condemned the bill’s provision for the superannuation of officials, 14 Oct. 1831.
At the Middlesex meeting called to petition the Lords to pass the reform bill, 27 Sept. 1831, Hume said he looked on it as ‘carried’, for the peers would take a lesson from France on the wisdom of ‘yielding gracefully’.151 O’Connell reported that at a meeting of reform Members, 8 Oct., following the reform bill’s defeat in the Lords
Hume ... [made] an energetic speech. He condemned the trivial policy of the Whigs, their unwise plan of supporting their enemies and promoting them and neglecting their friends. He insisted that they should now and at once start on a different line of policy. He was loudly cheered.152
At the mass Marylebone meeting called to address the king in support of ministers and reform, 10 Oct., he urged his listeners to avoid violence and tell ‘the petty, spiteful majority of the ... Lords’ that ‘an oligarchy which had usurped their rights should be compelled to relinquish their tyrannical power’:
Though ministers had not been so active in promoting the bill as they ought ... he hoped they would profit by experience and not coquet with the Tories, since it was in vain that the Tories could be induced to approve of measures favourable to the people ... There must be either reform or revolution ... It was because in case of a revolution the working and useful classes would be the greatest sufferers that he wished to effect a reform by constitutional means.
He toned down a resolution urging the king to kick the bishops out of Parliament.153 He spoke and voted for Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct., asserting that ‘a miserable minority have withheld from the majority their just rights’. At the reform Members’ meeting beforehand, according to John Hawkins*, he ‘made a very judicious and sensible speech’.154 On the 12th he and Byng, at the request of Lord Melbourne, the home secretary, persuaded the leaders of the trades’ procession to St. James’s to entrust their address to them as county Members.155 In the House later that day he said that the subsequent disturbances by a mob had been ‘trifling’ and in any case provoked by the ‘irritating language’ of Tories who opposed reform in the hope of regaining their ‘unhallowed power’. He came close to calling Trench a liar for saying that he had led and incited the rioters, but he retracted to the satisfaction of the Speaker. On 18 Oct. he endorsed the prayer of petitions for the exclusion of bishops from the Lords. In the absence of O’Connell, he presented on 19 Oct. a petition from the Birmingham Political Union for the Commons to address the king to create peers to carry reform. He defended the unions, which encouraged the people to ‘seek by reason ... that which might otherwise be sought by riot’ and blamed those in Derby and Nottingham on the absence of unions; but he saw no reason to force the king’s hand on the use of his prerogative. On 20 Oct. he exhorted ministers to remove every lord lieutenant who had opposed the reform bill and argued that there ‘must be no more attempts at conciliation’. In early November 1831 Hume enrolled as a member of the radical National Political Union. Later in the month he had published in The Times his letter to a churchwarden of Tunbridge Wells giving advice on the formation of a union and extolling their virtues as a means of preserving civil order and keeping the government up to the mark.156 Soon afterwards Hobhouse
saw Joe Hume and his good little wife. He is a singular fellow indeed, and persuades many people he understands all the subjects he talks about. He is to be made lord rector of Glasgow University this year, for the second time ... and a paragraph in the Herald tells how great a linguist Joe is, and how much Greek and Latin, all Oriental, and most modern tongues he knows ... If he knows Greek and Latin, it is without learning them.157
not a little amused at a letter Duncannon ... showed me from the patriot and economist Joseph Hume, abusing him for not having given a servant of his one of the park gate keeper’s lodges in Hyde Park. He had held out with Duncannon, and would not say whether he would accept the office or not during nine months, because he thought the salary should be raised, and now is in a fury and considers himself ‘insulted’ because it is given to another. I have often been assured by secretaries of the treasury during the last 15 years that no one has dabbled in little jobs of this sort more than this blustering declaimer against patronage.158
On 7 Dec. 1831 Hume clashed angrily in the House with Arthur Trevor over restrictions on press freedom, especially the stamp duties, and declared that those who hampered popular education were ‘morally responsible for the consequences that may flow from a want of proper knowledge’. He concurred in that part of the king’s speech which promised a speedy settlement of reform, but dissented from the notice of interference in Belgium and protested, as he did again on 9 Dec., at the continued excesses of expenditure and unwarranted increase in the army. He presented and endorsed a petition for the abolition of tithes, but passed no comment on the revised reform scheme. Holland, a member of the cabinet, noted that ‘the only untoward appearance was the general complaint of the Irish at the small additional number (five) granted to their representation and the sympathy expressed by Hume and ... felt by many of our friends’.159 He wanted some complex returns on Irish tithes, 14 Dec., but Spring Rice objected and he gave way with a bad grace. Place asked him to present a possibly objectionable petition from the council of the Northern Political Union concerning the reform bill’s provision for the payment of rates, but the death of Hume’s infant son Hardin on 15 Dec. kept him from the House that day and on 17 Dec. 1831, when the English reform bill was read a second time.160 On 19 Jan. 1832 he answered Hunt’s denunciation of the Scottish reform bill, and of the ministerial scheme in general said that while it had some defects, it was a major step forward. Next day he spoke and voted for going into committee on schedule A, and thereafter he gave generally steady support to the bill’s details. He opposed Mackworth Praed’s ‘invidious and dangerous’ proposal to exclude urban voters from the counties, 1 Feb. He defended the political unions, 6 Feb. On the registration clause, 10 Feb., he argued that claimants should be charged a fee to cover the costs, and next day reiterated his concern over the potentially ‘tremendous’ expense of this process. On 15 Feb. he supported and divided in the minority of four for Hunt’s motion to limit the cost of booths and hustings. He acknowledged that ministers had had to play ‘a difficult and wearisome game’ on reform, 2 Mar., when he supported the enfranchisement of Bradford. Hobhouse later recalled that that month a letter of Hume’s was opened by the French authorities and copied to William IV, Grey and Melbourne:
The imprudent man wrote of the reform bill as being a good measure as far as it went, and as certain of producing a better, by the destruction of our church establishment. This angered King William exceedingly, and did not add to his attachment to the Grey cabinet.161
Hume voted silently for the third reading of the bill, 22 Mar. 1832.
On other issues, he remained a thorn in ministers’ flesh, though his pragmatic concern to see reform secured kept his recalcitrance largely within reasonable bounds. He demanded and received an assurance that the £75,000 earmarked for Buckingham House would complete the project, 17 Jan., but condemned the associated ‘ridiculous and extravagant bargain’ for the sale of crown lands, 19 Jan. 1832. He obtained returns to bolster his campaign for one general account of imports and exports, 24 Jan. He spoke and voted for inquiry into distress in the glove trade, 31 Jan., but only to demonstrate the folly of protectionist doctrine, and voted for inquiry into smuggling in the trade, 3 Apr., though he did not accept the premise of the motion. ‘Anxious to dry up all the sources of corruption’, he called for total abolition of the payment of officials by fees, 2 Feb., and secured a return of facts and figures, 7 Feb., when in passing he deplored ‘the many improper appointments’ that had been made in the colonies. He welcomed the ministerial promise to produce full estimates early in the session in future, 13 Feb., but criticized the half-pay element of the navy estimates. He conceded that the grant for civil contingencies was the ‘least objectionable’ for years, but still found fault with details. However, he welcomed the navy civil departments bill as a sign that ‘ministers are determined that things shall not go on as they used to’, 14 Feb., and he spoke and voted for it, 6 Apr. He wanted repeal of the duties on hemp and other shipbuilding materials, 17 Feb. Later that day he grilled Hobhouse, newly installed as war secretary, on the army estimates and complained that there were 20,000 more troops than in 1824. He did not oppose the estimates, recognizing that Hobhouse had inherited them, but registered his undiminished hostility to the grants for garrisons and the Royal Military College. Hobhouse recollected that Hume, ‘when convicted of extravagant statements, said, as usual with him, "Well, I think so, and others think differently, that’s all"’. Hobhouse ‘soon found there was no arguing with this gentleman’, for he was ‘like the bookseller’s customer, who lost one of a set of books, and could never be convinced that he ought to find the volume, or buy the whole set’.162 He allowed the quarterly ordnance estimates through on an understanding that every item was to be detailed in the annual estimates, 22 Feb. He did not like the grant of £100,000 for hurricane damage relief in the West Indies, but acquiesced in it on humanitarian grounds, 29 Feb. He spoke and divided against government for the ‘very moderate’ reduction of the sugar duties proposed by Lord Chandos, 7 Mar., pressed ministers to come clean about their intentions on slavery, 15 Mar., and on the 23rd said that they must assure West Indian proprietors that they would receive due ‘consideration and compensation’ on emancipation. In mid-March Mrs. Arbuthnot heard from Herries that ‘Hume says they Whigs have done more jobs and follies in one year than the Tories did in thirty’.163 He again criticized the navy, 26 Mar., and army estimates, 28 Mar., but left it at that in the hope that ministers would economize when reform was safe. But he was a harsh critic of army pensions, 2, 4 Apr. On the miscellaneous estimates, 13 Apr. 1832, he recommended the demolition of all ‘useless’ royal residences, which were ‘little better than barracks for destitute persons’, and ranted against the cost of many other items.
Hume confirmed his support for the anatomy bill, 17, 24 Jan., 15 Feb., the general register bill, 19 Jan., and vestry reform, 23 Jan. 1832, when he voted in the minority for Hobhouse’s bill to expedite his Vestry Act and angrily denounced ministers for opposing it.164 On 26 Jan. he spoke and voted against government on the Russian-Dutch loan because, as he said, they had refused to reconsider their position on it;165 but he divided with them on relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. His frank admission on 31 Jan. that he had made notes of Spencer Perceval’s speech after the gallery had been cleared during the debate on his motion for a general fast, 26 Jan., and handed them to a journalist, whence they appeared as a report in The Times, astonished the Speaker, who said that every action of Hume’s constituted a breach of privilege. He was unabashed. He had reservations about Sadler’s bill to restrict the hours of child factory labour, 9, 10 Feb. That day he called for inquiry into the Peterloo massacre, and he seconded and was a minority teller for Hunt’s motion to that effect, 15 Mar., when he said that ‘time could never outrun crime’. On 13 Feb. he argued that the best way to combat cholera was not through quarantine but by giving decent food and clothing to the poor and promoting ‘cleanliness amongst them’. On 16 Feb. he reacted to a proposal to include a reference to ‘Almighty God’ in the preamble of the Scottish cholera prevention bill with the comment, ‘this is all humbug, cant and hypocrisy’; he divided the House against it, but was defeated by 55-10. He alleged that the City and the public had lost all confidence in the board of health, which had ‘created unnecessary fears and alarm’. He supported and was a teller for the minority of 28 for Hunt’s attempt to end army flogging, 16 Feb. He described the dismissal of Captain Sartorius as ‘one of those many acts of weakness on the part of the government, which we meet with every day, in sacrificing their friends and principles to the sneers of this side of the House’, 26 Mar. He voted with government for the malt drawback bill, 2 Apr. On the 10th he admitted to Dawson that the Scottish exchequer court bill was ‘a job’, but said that it had been brought in to ‘undo a greater job’, namely the appointment by the Wellington ministry of Abercromby to head a court with no business. Hobhouse was unimpressed with his allegations that British trade had been impeded by the protracted delay in settling claims against Brazil, 16 Apr. 1832:
Hume ... said that, since the Whigs had been in office, the British flag had been disgraced in every part of the world. I often thought that this man was totally careless about his own assertions, as well as what had been said or done by others. This appeared to me strange enough in any politician; but, in a man of long experience, and much reputation, and very high popular position, I thought it totally inexplicable.166
When considering their plans to reform Irish tithes in December 1831, the cabinet had expected Hume to move an amendment for inquiry into the entire Irish church establishment.167 He called for the abolition of tithes and a redistribution of Irish church property, 23, 24 Jan. 1832. On 14 Feb. he was pleased to hear Althorp’s assurance that a report that Grey had threatened to ‘deluge Ireland with blood for the purpose of collecting tithes’ was ‘altogether a mistake’. He voted in the minority of 51 for printing the Woollen Grange petition for tithes abolition, 16 Feb. At the meeting of government supporters called to explain and rally support for their plan for the gradual extinction of Irish tithes, 8 Mar., Hume, according to Littleton, ‘expressed his individual dissent from the policy of arming the government with the power of placing itself in the situation of the clergy with respect to tithe rights and giving it summary powers for the collection of tithe rent, but approved of the general policy of the proposed arrangement, and promised support’. As Hawkins put it, Hume, ‘after a few preliminary growls, gave his adhesion’.168 He confirmed his qualified approval in the House, 13 Mar., but said that ultimately he desired a complete remodelling of the Irish church. In committee on the tithes resolutions, 30 Mar., he endorsed four but objected to that which gave the viceroy additional powers to enforce payment; he voted in the minority of 25 for an alternative means of funding relief of the clergy. On 6 Apr. he entreated ministers not to proceed with tithes collection until the composition bill had been brought in and voted in the minority of 21 against the arrears bill. He objected to any tithes money going to non-resident clergy, 9 Apr., when he spoke and was a minority teller against the Irish registrar of deeds bill. On 16 Apr. 1832 he said that Smith Stanley’s attack on Sheil over tithes ‘amounts very nearly to a declaration of war against Ireland’ and accused him and his colleagues of breaking their promise to bring in a ‘remedial’ bill to complement the coercive one: ‘Talk of agitation, if you please, but who is the agitator here? But it is in vain; the people, the millions will not be put down’. This provoked outraged protests.
Hume deplored ‘the cry raised against these new beer shops’ and denied that the Scottish clergy were unanimously hostile to the government’s Irish education scheme, 7 May 1832. Next day he obtained returns of pluralities of benefices in England and Wales. When Althorp announced the government’s resignation on the king’s refusal to create peers, 9 May, Hume spoke ‘violently’, as the Conservative Member Sir John Beckett saw it, in approval of their action.169 Supporting Ebrington’s motion for an address asking the king to appoint only ministers who would carry an undiluted reform bill, 10 May, he contradicted Alexander Baring’s assertion that ‘the greater part of the wealth and intelligence of the country’ was opposed to reform and deplored his description of the people as ‘the brawlers out of doors’. He argued that only the Grey ministry could command national confidence, but he again rebuked them for allowing ‘the avid enemies of reform’ to stay in their offices. He dismissed the notion that Peel, a lifelong anti-reformer, could carry a bill; condemned the rotten borough system as the key to excessive expenditure; called for a reformed Parliament to appoint ‘parliamentary commissioners to take charge of the public purse’ (which provoked hilarity); denounced the ‘mongrel set’ of Conservative peers, and implied that William IV had betrayed his ministers. Littleton thought Hume, who was a teller for the ministerial majority, was ‘excellent’.170 On 11 May he accepted Baring’s explanation of his ‘brawlers’ remark, but said that the king should not be allowed to ignore the reality that the people wanted and must have reform. He carried a motion to hold a call of the House on the 14th, when he planned to submit one on the state of the nation. At a meeting at Brooks’s, 13 May, he and Ebrington proposed the uncompromising course of opposing ‘any [reform] bill’ which the anticipated Conservative government might propose, but they were outvoted.171 In the House, 14 May, he stated that Baring’s speech that evening had dished any hope of a Conservative reform administration being formed, and secured an adjournment to forestall further debate.172 Next day, when he spoke at the Kensington reform meeting of the ‘silly ... cry of revolution’ which had been raised to ‘scare away the timid and trepan the well meaning’, he deferred his call motion to the 18th, unless the Grey ministry had been reinstated by then.173 He condemned the attack by a mob on the bishop of Lichfield at St. Bride’s, Fleet Street, but suggested that it was the work of ‘idle boys, or persons of no character’. On 17 May he arrived in the House fresh from a large and unanimous public meeting in favour of uncompromised reform, and warned whoever was now in power not to ‘disappoint the well founded expectations of the people’. He had the House called over on 18 May, but elicited from Althorp confirmation that he and his colleagues were back in office with a ‘sufficient’ arrangement for getting reform through the Lords. He said that the conduct of the people during the crisis had been characterized by ‘peace, order and unanimity’ and their object gained ‘not by physical force, but by moral power’: in effect, they had rescued the king, whom he now praised, from the clutches of ‘a monopolizing oligarchy’. That day Raikes recorded a story that Hume, ‘the ... most vapouring radical in the House’, had ‘shown that courage is not amongst his peculiar virtues’ by backing down when Ross, who had come in again for Aberdeen Burghs in 1831, libelled him as a liar for writing to his former constituents alleging that Ross was backsliding on reform.174 Hume endorsed the Scottish reform bill at its second reading, 21 May. Next day he said that he would keep back 40 petitions for supplies to be withheld until reform was secured because he had faith in ministers’ sincerity; he presented them on 10 July. He supported the prayer of the Birmingham Political Union’s petition to that effect, 23 May. He divided for the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May. Three days later Grey received from the king a querulous letter expressing alarm at ‘the demoralizing designs and effects of a third party, which appears to be daily increasing in strength and audacity’, having specifically in mind declarations by Hume, in and outside the House, to the effect that reform was only ‘a stepping stone’ to ‘reformation of the church and of corporation property, etc.’ The cabinet considered the letter and endorsed Grey’s ‘spirited and respectful reply’.175 In early June Hume (like others) was duped by the charlatan Benjamin Disraeli† into commending him to the electors of Chipping Wycombe as a ‘radical’, but he recanted on discovering that Disraeli was standing against the interest of two local reformers.176 On the Scottish reform bill, 1 June, he said that ideally he would have liked some minor changes, but he spoke and voted against a Conservative amendment to increase the number of county Members. His suggestion on 4 June that superiorities should be continued for the lives of their holders was dismissed by Althorp. He pressed Dixon to drop his proposal for a £5 voting qualification because there was no hope of its being adopted and he ought to ‘take what he can get at present’. He welcomed the abandonment of the property qualification for Scottish Members, 27 June, and, while he agreed (as he had since the previous autumn) with Traill and others that Orkney and Shetland should logically have a Member each, argued that it was too late now to effect this.177 On the Lords’ amendments to the English reform bill, 5 June, he said that the ‘dangers’ of the political unions had ‘no existence but in the disturbed imagination’ of Conservatives, who had almost destroyed the monarchy. After attacking Peel personally, he declared his belief that ‘the people should have complete control over the government’; and he supported the bill precisely because it would lead to further changes, having, like others, sacrificed personal preferences to secure a significant step towards the creation of a ‘politically honest’ Commons. He was in the minority of 23 on Whitehaven’s boundaries, 22 June. In a discussion on the ballot, 24 July, he admitted that he had been ‘anxious to guard against extending to the multitude the right of voting’, but he wanted the issue to be ‘speedily settled, for otherwise a great deal of unfair influence will be used’. On 18 June he rebuked O’Connell and Stanley for quarrelling over the Irish reform bill, but said that O’Connell was entitled to ‘call in aid the physical force of the country’, given that successive governments had ‘oppressed’ Ireland and ignored ‘quiet remonstrance’. When challenged on this remark, he insisted that ‘physical force’ was a legitimate last resort for obtaining redress and argued that the measure short-changed Ireland by narrowing the franchise and not placing the country on the same footing as England and Scotland. He and Peel had angry words over his endorsement of violence, and the Speaker called him to order. He voted for amendments to enfranchise £5 freeholders and £30 rent payers, on which he was in a minority of nine. On 20 June Peel linked the attack on the king at Ascot races with Hume’s advocacy of ‘physical force’, but Hume accused Peel of ‘uncandid and illiberal conduct’. He voted for Sheil’s unsuccessful amendment to the Irish bill, 29 June, and on 2 July 1832 condemned it overall as ‘disgraceful’.
Hume replied to a protectionist motion for a select committee on the state of trade and commerce, 22 May 1832, denying that he was ‘one of those ultra political economists who profess doctrines to which the whole commercial community of England are opposed’. He failed to have the remit of the committee on renewal of the Bank of England’s charter and small notes extended to Scotland, 4 June, when he attacked the Bank’s monopoly. He pressed Lord Milton to save his motion for repeal of the corn laws for the first reformed Parliament, 30 May. He spoke and voted for the government’s temporizing amendment to Fowell Buxton’s motion for the abolition of slavery, 24 May, arguing that planters’ rights must receive ‘due regard’ and that emancipation should be gradual. He supported the bill to abolish the death penalty for various offences, but wished it to be extended to all crimes except murder, 30 May. To salvage something of the measure, he recommended acceptance of the Lords’ amendments, 6 July, but on 15 Aug. he decided that it had been rendered nugatory. He voted against Baring’s bill to exclude insolvent debtors from the Commons, 6 June, because, as he explained on the 27th, it did not apply to the Lords. On 7 June, fending off Sadler’s criticism, he said that he approved of his factories bill in so far as it restricted the labour of children under ten. He opposed Sadler’s motion for a tax on Irish absentee landlords to provide for the poor, 19 June, when he seconded and was a teller for the minority of 15 for Hunt’s motion to suspend army flogging. That day he raised the case of Alexander Somerville, a private in the Scots Greys, who had been flogged ostensibly for refusing to mount an unruly horse, but in reality, as his partisans believed, for radical political activities. Hume evidently discussed the business privately with Hobhouse, whom he told that he had raised it to prevent O’Connell from doing so and that ‘the less said about it the better’ if Hobhouse would secure Somerville an honourable discharge. This he did, but the process took several weeks; and Hobhouse was ‘never more surprised than when Hume [on 3 July] got up and made a bitter speech against me’ and moved for information. Hobhouse opposed this and Hume eventually dropped it; but Hobhouse, who was ‘pledged against flogging’, was embarrassed by the episode, exasperated by Hume’s ‘meddling’ and considered resignation.178 Hume moved an amendment for coroners to be qualified in medical law, which was defeated by 80-11, and voted for inquests to be made public, 20 June. He endorsed O’Connell’s denunciation of the tsar as ‘a monster in human form’, 28 June, and, supporting De Lacy Evans’s plea for intervention on behalf of the Poles, 7 Aug., described Russia’s conduct since 1815 as ‘one uninterrupted violation of all her pacific professions’. But he opposed as ‘uncalled for’ and was a teller for the minority of 16 against the government’s Greek loan proposal, 6 Aug., which Hobhouse thought showed remarkable effrontery.179 Hume said that the advance of £1,000,000 to the West Indies would be money down the drain, as the planters would be unable to repay it, 29 June; and he attacked the crown colonies relief bill, 3 Aug., when the colonial under-secretary Howick accused him of ‘pursuing a course which is calculated to throw discredit upon those who wish to improve the state of slavery’. Hume was critical of the size of the ordnance estimates and voted to reduce the barracks grant, 2 July, but next day he postponed his motion to abolish unmerited pensions. He could not persuade Althorp not to fill the vacant governorship of Stirling Castle, 10 July. He gave Brougham the benefit of the doubt over the supposedly temporary appointment of his brother to a chancery sinecure, 25 July. He supported an unsuccessful motion of army reductions, 26 July, and opposed the ‘vicious’ tax on post horses, 27 July. He did not object to the award of a pension to Speaker Manners Sutton on his anticipated retirement, but did not think it should become automatic in future cases, 1 Aug. He approved in principle the proposal to pay the lord chancellor by salary rather than fees, but felt that it and the related pension were set too high, 2 Aug. His bid to reduce the salary from £14,000 to £12,000 was defeated by 56-6, 8 Aug.; and he supported and voted for Hunt’s amendment to cut the pension by £1,000, 9 Aug. He argued for leaving the silk trade to market forces and could see no remedy for the ‘evil’ of dislocation caused by machinery, 7 Aug. On the consolidated fund bill next day, he said that he had acquiesced in numerous dubious grants that session in order not to obstruct reform. He praised ministers for reducing expenditure, especially in ‘minor branches’, but insisted that much remained to be done, particularly on pensions, and promised to demonstrate to the next Parliament how £5,000,000 could be lopped off the national expenditure. He criticized Hobhouse’s proposal to allow army half-pay officers to hold civil posts as a departure from the advice of the finance committee; Hobhouse considered his opposition ‘most unfair’ in ‘trying to make this act of justice appear as odious as possible’.180 On 9 Aug. Hume moved but was persuaded to drop a resolution to restrict civil list pensions to one year. He presented petitions for the abolition of tithes, 9, 24 July, and on the 10th pressed ministers to abandon their Irish tithes composition bill until the next session, as it begged the wider question of reform of the church establishment. He voted against the measure, 13 July. On 2 Aug. he divided the House for reception of an abolition petition, but was left in a minority of ten; and next day, when he spoke and voted in the minority of 12 for an amendment to the ecclesiastical courts contempt bill, he endorsed a petition from Preston against the use of troops to enforce tithes payment. On 6 Aug. he said that all tithes must be abolished, and on the 10th called for repeal of the provision which empowered the Irish viceroy and six privy councillors to suspend habeas corpus and ascertained from Stanley that an inquiry into Irish church revenues was in the offing. On 17 July he seconded and divided for Harvey’s motion for inquiry into admissions to the Inns of Court. For all this, he voted with government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12, 16, 20 July, frankly admitting that it was a ‘wrong’ measure but that he wished to keep the ministry in power: he would vote that black was white for that purpose if necessary.181 He urged investigation of the parochial costs of the metropolitan police, 24 July, when he secured, by 36-16, leave to introduce a bill to exclude the recorder of Dublin from the Commons in future. On its second reading, 31 July, the House was counted out and the measure lapsed. He seconded Courtenay’s motion for an address to ask the king to exercise his influence over the German Diet to protect the independence and freedom of German liberals, 2 Aug. He suggested an amendment to the electoral bribery bill to empower a committee of inquiry to disfranchise guilty electors, 6 Aug., but the matter was left undecided; and he supported an abortive attempt to construe payment of registration costs as bribery, 9 Aug. Next day and on 16 Aug. he questioned ministers closely on the fatal canvassing affray at Clitheroe. When he had raised the problem of the lack of time for £10 householders of Marylebone and other metropolitan constituencies to pay their rates in order to qualify for the vote, 10 July, Althorp had brushed him aside. He backed De Lacy Evans, who had been alerted to this threat of mass disfranchisement by Place, in his attempts to get ministers to take action, 7, 9 Aug.182 On 15 Aug. he complained that the registration fee of 1s. would press most heavily on small tradesmen, who would make up the bulk of the metropolitan electorates, and declared that the Reform Act would ‘never be thoroughly satisfactory to the country until it is so far modified as that the test of payment of rates should be removed altogether’. He brought up petitions on a wide range of issues, 16 Aug. 1832, when his last recorded act in the unreformed Parliament was the presentation of one from the political union of Bethnal Green praying that the name of the king should not be used to ‘crush the liberty of Germany’.
At the general election of 1832 ‘the immaculate Joseph’, as Bedford disparagingly called him, sent down the ‘Benthamite baronet’ Sir Francis Knowles to oppose Holland’s son Charles Richard Fox* at Tavistock, notwithstanding the support which he received from Holland in Middlesex. Although he did not approve of personal canvassing, kept his purse strings tightly closed until the last minute and was embarrassed by public exposure of his ‘shuffling’ on slavery, he was returned at the head of the poll.183 He was defeated there in 1837, but found other seats, which enabled him to bore and exasperate six reformed Parliaments until death stopped his mouth in February 1855. Tom Macaulay* was amused to receive a memorial poem from his son Joseph Burnley Hume:
‘His body was a masterpiece; for force, endurance, speed And every kind of action perfect; beautiful indeed’.
... Who but a son would have pronounced Joe the model of beauty? This son, I hear ... had but lately returned from his harlots and his hog trough to the fatted calf when the old gentleman died.184
Hobhouse called him in 1827 ‘the queerest mortal, if not malicious, I ever knew’; but he later wrote that Hume was ‘essentially a part of the House of Commons for many years’ and recollected ‘a saying of Sir Robert Peel, that he could not conceive of a House of Commons without a Joseph Hume’.185
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: David R. Fisher
See R.K. Huch and P.R. Zeigler, Joseph Hume: the People’s MP (1985) and V. Chancellor, The Political Life of Joseph Hume (1986). Neither is up to much. For a fresh perspective on Hume see M. Taylor, The Decline of British Radicalism (1995) and ‘Joseph Hume and the Reformation of India, 1819-33’, in Radicalism in English Political Thought, 1550-1850 ed. G. Burgess and M. Festenstein (2005).
- 1. According to Willis’s Current Notes (1855), 48.
- 2. The Times, 26 Feb. 1855.
- 3. Gent. Mag. (1815), ii. 178; PROB 11/2210/326. She was bap. in July 1786 (IGI).
- 4. [J. Grant], Random Recollections of Commons (1837), 276, 278.
- 5. Huch and Zeigler, 20-21.
- 6. Grant, 79-80.
- 7. Broughton, Recollections, iii. 204.
- 8. B. Gordon, Economic Doctrine and Tory Liberalism, 8-9; G. Wallas, Francis Place, (1908), 183.
- 9. HP Commons, 1790-1820, ii. 592; Inverness Courier, 9, 16 Mar.; Aberdeen Jnl. 15, 22, 29 Mar., 5 Apr. 1820.
- 10. Lonsdale mss, Long to Lonsdale, 20 Mar. .
- 11. Von Neumann Diary, i. 41; Add. 56541, ff. 74, 84.
- 12. Huch and Zeigler, 23; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 67.
- 13. Colchester Diary, iii. 217.
- 14. HLRO, Hist. Coll. 379, Grey Bennet diary, 21.
- 15. Ibid. 34-36.
- 16. Harrowby mss, Castlereagh to Harrowby, 8 Mar.; TNA FO352/8/4, Planta to Canning, 15 Mar.; Dorset RO, Bond mss D/BoH, Jekyll to Bond, 20 Mar. 1821.
- 17. Dorset RO D/BKL, Bankes jnl. 126.
- 18. Grey Bennet diary, 63.
- 19. Ibid. 81.
- 20. Bagot mss.
- 21. Grey Bennet diary, 100, 102, 104, 112-13.
- 22. Ibid. 79-81; Bankes jnl. 129.
- 23. Grey Bennet diary, 98.
- 24. Ibid. 89; Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, i. 182.
- 25. Heron, Notes, 126; Huch and Zeigler, 25-26; The Times, 10, 14 July 1821.
- 26. The Times, 27 Oct. 1821.
- 27. Grey Bennet diary, 117, 121-3.
- 28. Add. 51659.
- 29. Hobhouse Diary, 73; Add. 36459, f. 115; 36460, f. 104.
- 30. The Times, 14 Dec. 1821, 8, 16 Jan. 1822.
- 31. Add. 36459, f. 183.
- 32. Bagot, Canning and Friends, ii. 123.
- 33. Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland, 22 Jan. .
- 34. Add. 52445, ff. 29, 30.
- 35. Gurney diary, 5 Feb.; Harewood mss, Gladstone to Canning, 6 Feb. .
- 36. Grey mss, Grey to Holland, 9 Feb. 1822.
- 37. NLW, Coedymaen mss 621.
- 38. Creevey Pprs. ii. 35; Add. 52445, f. 36; Huch and Zeigler, 28; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 153.
- 39. Ashley, Palmerston, i. 88; Hants RO, Malmesbury mss 9M73/G2535/10.
- 40. The Times, 19 Apr. 1822; Edgeworth Letters, 398.
- 41. Life of Wilberforce, v. 127.
- 42. M.D. George, Cat. of Pol. and Personal Satires, x. 14369.
- 43. Broughton, ii. 190.
- 44. Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 166.
- 45. Buckingham, i. 354.
- 46. Heron, 133.
- 47. The Times, 12, 22, 25 Sept., 1 Oct. 1822.
- 48. Bessborough mss f 150.
- 49. Add. 51586, Tierney to Holland, 6 Oct. .
- 50. Creevey Pprs. ii. 50-51.
- 51. Bessborough mss f 1.
- 52. Cockburn Letters, 72, 164, 305.
- 53. Add. 52445, f. 112; Broughton, iii. 11.
- 54. Creevey Pprs. ii. 63; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 216; Merthyr Mawr mss F/51/4, Sir J. Nicholl to son, 11 Mar.; Bessborough mss f 53, Brougham to Duncannon, 2 [4 Mar.]; Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland [23 Feb. 1823].
- 55. Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 224; Croker Pprs. i. 263.
- 56. Broughton, iii. 17.
- 57. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 1012.
- 58. Add. 40687, f. 1.
- 59. Northants. RO, Agar Ellis diary, 4 Mar. .
- 60. Creevey Pprs. ii. 66; Bessborough mss f 53, Brougham to Duncannon [10 Mar. 1823].
- 61. Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland, 7 Mar. .
- 62. Buckingham, i. 467.
- 63. Add. 36460, f. 123.
- 64. Add. 51586; Gent. Mag. (1823), ii. 571; PROB 11/1678/666; IR26/944/1880.
- 65. Add. 56548, f. 55.
- 66. Life of Wilberforce, v. 188.
- 67. Add. 56548. f. 93.
- 68. Broughton, iii. 73-75; Add. 36460, ff. 280-4.
- 69. Huch and Zeigler, 35-42; Wallas, 206-40; Place Autobiog. ed. M. Thale, p. xii; Gordon, 27-32.
- 70. Gurney diary, 29 June .
- 71. Gordon, 33-36; Huch and Zeigler, 42-44; London Radicalism ed. D.J. Rowe (London Rec. Soc. v), p. xi.
- 72. Colchester Diary, iii. 412.
- 73. Buckingham, ii. 242.
- 74. Add. 38747, ff. 73, 98.
- 75. The Times, 4, 12, 24 Oct., 1, 22 Nov. 1825; Add. 37949, f. 160; George, x. 14804; Disraeli Letters, i. 44.
- 76. Fitzwilliam mss 124/10, Fitzwilliam to Milton, 4 Feb. .
- 77. Ibid. 124/8, Althorp to Milton, 11 Feb. 1826.
- 78. Wellington mss WP1/850/9; Surr. Hist. Cent. Goulburn mss Acc 304/67A, Goulburn to wife, 12 Feb. 1826; Hobhouse Diary, 120.
- 79. Add. 51584.
- 80. Goulburn mss 67A.
- 81. Harewood mss, J. Gladstone to Canning, 22 June; Aberdeen Jnl. 14 June, 5 July; Inverness Courier, 28 June 1826.
- 82. The Times, 26-28 Nov. 1826; George, x. 15146; Huch and Zeigler, 47-50.
- 83. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1271; Grey mss, Brougham to Grey, 20, 26 Nov., Grey to Howick, 24 Nov.; Castle Howard mss, Abercromby to Carlisle [22 Nov.] 1826; Huch and Zeigler, 50-52.
- 84. Morning Chron. 28 Nov.; The Times, 29 Nov. 1826; Huch and Zeigler, 53-54.
- 85. Broughton, iii. 159.
- 86. Nottingham Univ. Lib. Denison diary, 1 May .
- 87. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1341; Huch and Zeigler, 56.
- 88. Add. 37949, f. 201; Huch and Zeigler, 57.
- 89. Broughton, iii. 201.
- 90. Add. 37949, f. 210.
- 91. Add. 40307, f. 50; 40395, ff. 219, 221; Croker Pprs. i. 407.
- 92. Add. 35148, ff. 24, 25.
- 93. Croker Pprs. i. 419; Powis mss 142.
- 94. St. Deiniol’s Lib. Glynne-Gladstone mss 277.
- 95. Hants RO, Tierney mss 38.
- 96. Add. 40397, ff. 190, 407, 409.
- 97. Add. 37950, f. 5.
- 98. Add. 35145, f. 99.
- 99. Greville Mems. i. 370; Grey mss, Howick jnl. 4 Feb. ; Hatherton mss.
- 100. Ellenborough Diary, ii. 179.
- 101. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 334; Le Marchant, Althorp, 235; Howick jnl. 14, 15 Feb..
- 102. London Radicalism, 2.
- 103. Add. 35148, f. 40.
- 104. Add. 56554, f. 81.
- 105. Howick jnl. 10 May .
- 106. Add. 36466, ff. 23, 31.
- 107. Howick jnl. 14 June .
- 108. Ellenborough Diary, ii. 301; NAI, Leveson Gower letterbks. M. 738, p. 184; Howick jnl. 11 July .
- 109. Broughton, iv. 37.
- 110. Add. 56554, ff. 131, 133.
- 111. Add. 37950, ff. 45-52.
- 112. Add. 35146, ff. 114-16; 36466, ff. 161, 163, 256; 56554, ff. 119-20; Broughton, iv. 28-30; Glynne-Gladstone mss 195, T. to J. Gladstone, 29 June 1830; Ellenborough Diary, ii. 275; Huch and Zeigler, 64-69.
- 113. The Times, 16 June, 31 July, 6 Aug.; Aberdeen Jnl. 7, 14, 21, 28 July 1830; Ellenborough Diary, ii. 275, 313; Broughton, iv. 43-44, 46-47.
- 114. Aberdeen Jnl. 11, 18 Aug. 1830.
- 115. Scotsman, 1 Sept. 1830.
- 116. Add. 35148, f. 66; 37950, ff. 91, 92, 94; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1718.
- 117. Howick jnl. 2 Nov. .
- 118. Life of Campbell, i. 483.
- 119. Howick jnl. 5 Nov. .
- 120. Broughton, iv. 59.
- 121. Hopetoun mss 167, f. 189.
- 122. Lieven Letters, 275-6; Life of Campbell, i. 487.
- 123. Add. 35148, f. 73.
- 124. Glynne-Gladstone mss 196, T. to J. Gladstone, 13 Dec. 1830.
- 125. Ibid. T. to J. Gladstone, 15 Dec. 1830.
- 126. Add. 56555, ff. 74-75.
- 127. Broughton, iv. 78.
- 128. Aberdeen Univ. Lib. Arbuthnot mss.
- 129. Add. 35146, f. 130.
- 130. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1751.
- 131. The Times, 17 Feb. 1831.
- 132. Three Diaries, 46.
- 133. Glynne-Gladstone mss 197, T. to J. Gladstone, 9 Feb. 1831.
- 134. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1766.
- 135. Add. 35146, f. 131; 35149, ff. 26, 27.
- 136. Russell, Recollections, 72.
- 137. The Times, 8, 15 Mar. 1831.
- 138. Add. 35149, ff. 34, 40-49; London Radicalism, 16, 17, 20-23.
- 139. Glynne-Gladstone mss 197, T. to J. Gladstone, 14 Mar. 1831.
- 140. Add. 35149, f. 51.
- 141. Broughton, iv. 98.
- 142. The Times, 11 May 1831.
- 143. Scotsman, 8 June 1831.
- 144. Hatherton diary, 11 Aug. .
- 145. Arbuthnot Corresp. 148.
- 146. Holland House Diaries, 58; Three Diaries, 133.
- 147. Hatherton diary, 1 Sept. .
- 148. Ibid. 8 Sept. .
- 149. Three Diaries, 138.
- 150. Hatherton diary, 9 Oct. .
- 151. The Times, 28 Sept. 1831.
- 152. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1839.
- 153. London Radicalism, 35-37; Hatherton diary, 11 Oct. .
- 154. Cornw. RO, Hawkins mss 10/2172.
- 155. London Radicalism, 43-44.
- 156. The Times, 5, 18 Nov. 1831.
- 157. Broughton, iv. 150.
- 158. Hatherton diary, 21 Nov. .
- 159. Holland House Diaries, 93.
- 160. Add. 35149, f. 132; Gent. Mag. (1831), ii. 570.
- 161. Broughton, iv. 201.
- 162. Ibid. iv. 182.
- 163. Arbuthnot Corresp. 163.
- 164. Add. 56556, f. 45.