MACKINTOSH, Sir James (1765-1832).
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Family and Educationb. 24 Oct. 1765, 1st s. of Capt. John Mackintosh of Kyllachie, Inverness and Marjory, da. of Alexander Macgillivray.1 educ. Fortrose acad. 1775; King’s Coll. Aberdeen 1780; Edinburgh Univ. 1784, MD 1787; L. Inn 1790, called 1795. m. (1) 8 Apr. 1789, Catherine (d. 8 Apr. 1797), sis. of Daniel Stuart, editor of the Morning Post, 1s. d.v.p. 3da.; (2) 10 Apr. 1798, Catherine, da. of John Bartlett Allen of Cresselly, Pemb., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1788; kntd. 21 Dec. 1803. d. 30 May 1832.
Recorder, Bombay 1803-11; judge of vice admiralty ct. Bombay 1806-11; professor of law, Haileybury Coll. 1818-24; PC 16 Nov. 1827; commr. bd. of control Dec. 1830-d.
Rect. Glasgow Univ. 1823-5.
‘I can no more play the game of life than I can play the game of whist’, admitted Mackintosh.2 His intellectual gifts were immense, but his grasp of practicalities was tenuous and his lack of purpose notorious. After his death Sydney Smith, who considered that ‘his conversation was more brilliant than that of any human being I ever had the good fortune to be acquainted with’, told Mackintosh’s son that ‘he never knew the use of red tape, and was utterly unfit for the business of life’.3 Lord John Russell* wrote that ‘conversation was his favourite employment and his chief seduction’; and Tom Moore went so far as to say that he ‘sacrificed himself to conversation ... read for it, thought for it, and gave up future fame for it’.4 Torn between the attractions of scholarship and politics, he fell short in both, promising much but delivering little. Indolence and indecision were largely responsible for this, but he was undermined by poor health, particularly an unreliable stomach, a legacy of his singularly unprofitable stay in India. It was real enough, but hypochondria and morbid self-absorption enhanced its debilitating effects. Shortage of money and an unhappy second marriage to an intelligent, waspish woman whose ill concealed disappointment in him had destroyed their intimacy, were further sources of anxiety to him.5
At the start of this period Mackintosh combined his parliamentary career, in which he occupied a position of some eminence among the Whig opposition, with his undemanding role as professor of law at the East India Company’s training college at Haileybury, Hertfordshire, occupying a rented house, described by Henry Fox* as ‘lamentable’, at Mardocks, near Ware. There he tried also to advance his too numerous and ambitious literary and historical projects, which included a continuation of Hume’s and Fox’s history of Britain from 1688.6 In the spring of 1819 the American George Ticknor met him at Holland House, where he was a great favourite, and found him
a little too much made up in his manners and conversation, but ... at the same time very exact, definite, and logical in what he says ... As a part of a considerable literary society ... he discourses most eloquent music, and in private he is mild, gentle, and entertaining. But he is seen to greatest advantage, and in all his strength, only in serious discussion, to which he brings a great disciplined acuteness and a fluent eloquence, which few may venture to oppose, and which still fewer can effectually resist.
After visiting him at Mardocks, Ticknor concluded that ‘on the whole, I have never met with an Englishman [sic] whose conversation was more richly nourished with knowledge, at once elegant and profound’.7 Later in the year the Whig attorney James Losh privately questioned the view of James Scarlett*, who thought Mackintosh ‘the ablest speaker in the House of Commons’ (though he was reputed to take opium for courage before major speeches)8, that he would be ‘the fittest leader for opposition’ there if George Tierney’s health failed:
I knew Sir James well in former times and cannot agree in his fitness as a leader. He has neither sufficient confidence in himself, nor sufficient energy and independence of spirit ... [He is] mild, liberal and with just and enlarged views on almost every subject; but without much dignity or firmness of mind. Indeed he has several times lamented his want of firmness and resolution.9
Mackintosh had offended the radicals, for whom he had no time, and even some Whigs by failing to oppose root and branch the coercive legislation introduced by the Liverpool ministry in the aftermath of Peterloo. He disputed Lord Holland’s assertion that the Cato Street conspiracy of February 1820 could be attributed to anger and frustration at repression, as ‘the disposition to assassinate must have existed long before the passing of the seditious meetings bill’.10 Yet, while his Whiggism was of an essentially conservative, thoughtful cast, he remained committed to the cause of moderate, restorative parliamentary reform.11 He was worried in early 1820 about the potentially damaging consequences for opposition of the Queen Caroline affair ‘if a single person of importance among us were to espouse one side with great warmth’.12 At the general election of 1820 he was returned again, with Tierney, for Knaresborough by the 5th duke of Devonshire, to whom he wrote that ‘it will be a great satisfaction to both of us if we can contribute in the least degree to render the inhabitants ... more inaccessible to the seductions of the radicals who surround them’.13 He travelled there with Tierney for their uneventful election. In the course of their journey Tierney told him that ‘he could no longer attend regularly or even frequently in the hot weather, that as I had the same illness with himself he had no choice but the appointment of [Henry] Brougham to act in his stead’. Mackintosh, whose tentative suggestion that the leadership might be put ‘into commission’ was scouted by Tierney, wrote to his wife, with typically mixed feelings:
In examining the case calmly I cannot pretend to deny to myself that his determination was right. But to be deprived of so great a distinction which seems to have been brought within reach by a most unexpected concurrence of circumstances must be felt to be painful even while it is acknowledged not to be unreasonable. The state of my health during the present journey compels me to own the justice of the present exclusion, but it is not an agreeable ground of conviction ... From Tierney I have experienced no kindness. He has never trusted or consulted me, nor did he tell me this important determination till it was no longer a secret.14
It is safe to say that he would have been a broken man within weeks had he become leader.
Unwell with persistent ‘nausea’ after his return, he promised his absent wife ‘whenever you are pleased to come ... a still more complete forbearance from offence and a more unresisting submission to any censure which you may deem still to be necessary’.15 Soon afterwards he made what was probably the worst decision of his life. On 2 Apr. 1820 he told Lady Holland that ‘my health and spirits are improved and ... I have now no fear of being unable to encounter the toils and conflicts of the session’.16 Yet three days later he asked his Edinburgh friend Adam Gillies, whom he told that ‘circumstances partly connected with my own health and fortune, partly arising out of the state of the country and of our party have of late often made me feel an inclination to steal out of public life’, to make discreet soundings as to the possibility of his being appointed to the newly vacant chair of moral philosophy at Edinburgh University. Gillies and other influential Edinburgh Whigs urged him to put himself forward, but he was wracked with indecision, as he told his wife, who was against the idea from the start:
It is a question in which better health, perhaps longer life, ease in my private affairs and the probability of completing my history are placed on one side; on the other side political importance and parliamentary reputation. These last objects are so dazzling that it would probably [be] difficult to compare them calmly ... [with] those for which they would be sacrificed if it were not for the peculiarly uneasy circumstances of my parliamentary situation. Our party is in a state of the greatest division and dissension and ... there seems little doubt of final schism.
He was still miffed at Tierney’s casual rejection of his pretensions to leadership, and the prospect of acting as second string to a headstrong Brougham, determined to involve the party in the queen’s cause, did not appeal, particularly as Brougham was currently ‘at war’ with Devonshire and his family. Yet he feared that if he turned his back on the professorship he ‘must lay my account with having no position of that sort to fall back on when the time comes (which probably will come) of Parliament becoming too uneasy to remain in it’. Holland and Lansdowne, whom he consulted, were utterly hostile to the idea of his leaving Parliament, the latter urging him not to sacrifice ‘a situation of great authority independent of all official situation [and] ... no inconsiderable share of following and popularity both in and out of Parliament’. Even though Mackintosh complained to his wife that Lansdowne, ‘the best example of sincerity without frankness of any man I know’, had ‘said nothing explicit about the place which he wished me to fill in the House of Commons’, these views were decisive with him, the more so when Lansdowne reacted with ‘unwonted frankness and even warmth’ to dismiss the fanciful notion, held out to him by his Edinburgh friends, that he might take the chair and retain his seat, attending Parliament for only the last three months of each session after completing his lectures, ‘which though not enough for the leader leaves room for a respectable situation’.17
In early May 1820 Mackintosh was pressed by a deputation from Gibraltar to take steps to become their London agent, which opened to him the enticing prospect of an income of £600, possibly £1,000, a year with an office and a clerk; nothing came of it.18 In the House, 4 May, when he was named to the select committee on the Scottish royal burghs (as he was again, 16 Feb. 1821), he defended ministers against Hume’s attack on the Gibraltar duties, but challenged Vansittart’s interpretation of the law of nations. The following day he spoke at length and voted for Brougham’s motion on the civil list. He voted against government on the same subject, 8 May, and on the appointment of an additional baron of exchequer in Scotland, 15 May 1820. He voted in the combined government and opposition majority for the resolution restricting the inquiry into agricultural distress which had been carried unexpectedly against ministers and which, in his view, ‘held out false hopes to the agriculturists and threatened the rest of the country with instant ruin’, 31 May.19 On 1 June he did not object to the introduction of Littleton’s labourers’ wages bill, but said that the ‘best remedy’ would be the abolition of all restrictions. At the request of Sir Robert Wilson, he stayed late at the House for the debate on the aliens bill. Wilson would not let him answer Lord Castlereagh, and he ‘gave up all intention of speaking’; but he was eventually provoked by Copley into attacking the measure after midnight ‘for three quarters of an hour with unusual energy and universal applause’, as he told his wife. He paid for his exertions with a sleepless night and a debilitating headache.20 He presented and supported a petition from the inhabitants of Galway complaining of abuses in the management of the corporation, 12 June. On the 14th, in the absence of Sir John Newport, who had suffered a bereavement, he moved the new writ for Dublin and delivered a formal eulogy of Henry Grattan I, the late Member. His extreme nervousness beforehand was increased by his receipt of
an angry letter from Brougham complaining that I should do that for Grattan which I thought in general a bad practice and which we had agreed not to do for [Sir Samuel] Romilly†. I answered him mildly that I was too far advanced to retreat and stated ... the difference between a recent death where the praise might be natural and a death some time before the motion when it must seem cold and studied. I spoke for about half an hour with more than usual satisfaction to myself and with evidently strong impression on the House.
He had written plaintively to his wife the previous day that ‘I go on journalising, though you don’t vouchsafe to give me any signs that you are satisfied with my attempts to amuse you’.21 He was ‘strongly for impartiality and calmness’ by opposition on the queen’s case and was alarmed by the determination of the Whig ‘Mountaineers’ to ‘act as her furious partizans’: ‘We ought not to court [Matthew] Wood’s* mob and since the ministers have consented to prosecute the queen we have nothing to expect from the Court even if we were base enough to make sacrifices for Court favour’. Although he professed to have ‘little expectation’ of the Whigs profiting from the feelers put out by the king in mid-June, he admitted to his wife that ‘I am in a flurry on this occasion, the first in my life in which I have been so very near negotiations for forming a government’. Plagued by ‘much pain and fullness in the side’ and ‘a severe cold’, he reflected that while the case against Caroline was clearly ‘not indefensible’, the ‘popular current has now set too strongly to be safely resisted’. On 22 June he voted against Wilberforce’s ‘peace making address, which it was natural for me in my character of Mr. Harmony to support’, on the pretext that if it was rejected by the queen the House would be ‘exposed to a very great indignity’. Two days later he wrote:
It seems to me that a dangerous spirit spreads among the soldiery ... Full of these really alarming stories I went to bed at one and had a disturbed night with dreams of revolutionary horrors soothed only by visions of kindness from those from whom I dare not hope for it in my waking hours.
Despite having diarrhoea, he attended ‘a Whig council at John Lambton’s* beautiful house’ next day, when he confided to his wife, ‘I often sigh for the professorship’. He voted with his friends against the appointment of a secret committee on the queen’s case, 26 June.22 He made ‘a little observation which was well received’ in support of Brougham’s proposals for promoting the education of the poor, 28 June, when he said that ‘though he might be considered a speculist, yet he was no visionary on the subject’.23 He supported the bill to exclude Thomas Ellis, Grattan’s successor as Member for Dublin, from the House as an Irish master in chancery, 30 June. He voted for Hume’s ‘eternal motion about finance’ (for economies in revenue collection), 4 July 1820.
Mackintosh had assumed Romilly’s mantle as the parliamentary champion of criminal law reform. On 9 May 1820 he secured the reappointment of his select committee of 1819 and, on the basis of its report, got leave to introduce four bills, which he presented that day, to abolish capital punishment for a variety of offences. On 19 May he introduced two general bills to repeal the whole or part of certain statutes imposing the death penalty, withdrew his original measure relating to the punishment for forgery and brought in an amended one. After consultations with the crown law officers, he withdrew the latter and his measures dealing with robberies in dwelling houses and on navigable rivers, which they would have opposed. On 4 July Mackintosh, who had earlier that day made an unsuccessful personal appeal to Lord Sidmouth, the home secretary, for clemency for a young man sentenced to death for uttering forged notes (Sidmouth pointed out that ‘though a married man he had uttered one in a brothel’, which prompted in Mackintosh the silent reflection that the miscreant was ‘thus in part hanged for adultery’), secured the third reading of the two general bills and the privately stealing in shops bill. He had been forced to modify all of them and felt no personal elation but, as he told his wife, he still felt that if the Lords sanctioned them he would have achieved a significant mitigation of the severity of the criminal code. After passing ‘two hours very tiresomely’ at the Scottish burghs committee, 5 July, he went to the Lords with his bills, ‘and felt more nervous in delivering them to the chancellor than I have of late been used to do on public occasions’. The measures were further emasculated by the Lords, but became law on 25 July 1820 as 1 Geo. IV, c. 115 (capital felonies punishment); c. 116 (capital felonies repeal); and c. 117 (privately stealing in shops).24 Mackintosh had wanted to speak again against ‘the threatened perpetual aliens bill’, but, as he told Holland, was ‘disheartened by the tone of the last debate in which we seemed to receive C[anning]’s threat as a favour’. He found no opportunity to speak on 7 July, when he voted against the second reading, but on the motion to go into committee on the bill, 10 July, he moved three instructions intended to curb the power of the authorities, including one to protect foreign witnesses in the queen’s trial. All were negatived without a division, and he moaned to Lady Holland that he had been ‘ill supported by my friends’.25 He thought it likely at this time that the trial would result in ‘the death of the English monarchy’, with which would perish the aristocracy. On a visit to London in early August 1820 he found ‘more rumours and alarms of military disaffection than ever’, though he cynically observed that ‘the alarms of the ministerialists are so loud that I could almost fancy that they had it in view to frighten the king into immediate and unlimited submission’.26
Soon afterwards he fell ill, but he recovered during the autumn with the aid of a lengthy course of Cheltenham waters, to the extent that in late October he could ‘begin to think myself a new man’. However, Lansdowne, with whom he stayed at Bowood a month later, was far from convinced that he was ‘well’.27 Moore had a conversation with Russell at this time about
Mackintosh’s want of observation in common life, and his helplessness in the House of Commons from that circumstance. Tierney ... has rather a slighting opinion of his consequence; and says he is a ‘very good historical man, and may be relied upon for a sound opinion about Cardinal Wolsey or so; but for anything of the present day’, etc.28
Tierney and Lord Grey were accordingly happy to exploit Mackintosh’s literary skills, which he applied to the composition for the Edinburgh Review of an article advocating a measure of parliamentary reform. Tierney observed to Grey that ‘if you like the whole, or any part of his suggestions, you will have the means of drawing up what you may avow as your own creed, and if you disapprove of his project it can be considered only as the speculation of the writer, and binds no one’. Writing the piece, which was ostensibly a review of Russell’s speech of 14 Dec. 1819 advocating the transfer of the franchise from corrupt boroughs to unrepresented large towns, convinced Mackintosh, as he told Holland, that
something substantial and serious must be proposed. Without such a plan I doubt whether the country can be kept quiet and whether you can become ministers. I am sure you cannot without a measure of that sort continue ministers.29
He advocated the immediate addition to the Commons of 20 Members for unrepresented large towns, to be elected by ‘a widely diffused franchise’ adapted to local conditions. He proposed the adoption of more effectual machinery for the disfranchisement of ‘delinquent boroughs’: the first ten such forfeitures were to be used to restore the membership of the House to its current size; and thereafter transfers of the franchise were to be made piecemeal as necessary. He wanted a significant widening of the Scottish county franchise and an unspecified reduction in the duration of Parliaments. To Losh, the article, which earned Mackintosh some credit, ‘looks like feeling the pulse of the reformers, by proposing a plan which might suit what is called the Whig faction’.30
Mackintosh voted against the omission of the queen’s name from the liturgy, 23 Jan., and spoke and voted in the same sense, 26 Jan. 1821, when the Whig George Howard*, a spectator in the gallery, thought he was ‘very good and able, but his voice and lungs were unequal’, while the ministerialist Lord Ancram* admitted that his speech was ‘excellent’. The ‘Mountaineer’ Henry Grey Bennet wrote that his ‘very able, clever and eloquent speech ... made mincemeat’ of the attorney-general Gifford.31 Supporting the opposition censure motion, 5 Feb., for which he duly voted the following day, he was called to order and rebuked by the Speaker for asserting that ‘the majority of the House of Commons had declared war against the people of England’. He spoke after and, according to Grey Bennet, ‘scarified’ the Tory Henry Bankes, who noted that Mackintosh had ‘exerted himself with great acrimony and ingenuity to expose and turn into ridicule most of the topics which were urged’.32 He was in the opposition minorities on the liturgy, 13, 15 Feb., when he spoke in support of Hamilton’s motion for a copy of the order in council to the Scottish church, and on the conduct of the sheriff of Dublin, 22 Feb., when he called for inquiry. John Whishaw informed Sydney Smith that Mackintosh ‘has been most successful, and has shown powers of regular debate which he was not supposed to possess’.33 On 21 Feb. he brought on his eagerly anticipated motion for an address to the king for the production of information on the British government’s attitude towards the Allies’ suppression of the liberal regime in Naples. Grey Bennet thought ‘his speech was of the most brilliant character, very forcible, eloquent and learned, and his invective against the king was in the bitterest tone’; while Bankes conceded that it was ‘executed with uncommon ingenuity, variety and brilliancy’.34 His motion was defeated by 194-125, but he told Sismondi, the Italian economist and historian who was married to his wife’s sister and who kept him abreast of European affairs, that it had been attended ‘with such success that in the opinion of many, if the discussion had occurred two months earlier it might have produced some effect at Troppau’.35 He supported the Neapolitan Captain Romeo’s petition for redress of his grievances and condemned the secret Austrian treaty, 20 Mar., when, replying to Canning’s comments, he said that ‘the only opinion which he had ever asserted on this subject was not that the Neapolitan constitution was a good one, but that the independence of nations had been attacked by the flagitious conduct which the allied powers had exhibited towards the Neapolitans’. He spoke and voted for Catholic relief, 28 Feb., after urging Catholics to persevere in their petitioning campaign. On 16 Mar. he questioned the validity of a petition from Staffordshire Catholics against the relief bill, the second reading of which he then supported. The anti-Catholic Bankes wrote that he ‘twisted and turned all the arguments with his usual ingenuity of conversion and perversion’.36 He was believed in some quarters to have been responsible for ‘harmoniously’ incorporating the veto clauses into the original bill.37 He spoke on details of the measure, 23, 26, 27 Mar. (subsequently lamenting his ‘folly in speaking ... when the House was unwilling to listen and thereby incurring more disagreeable manifestations of their impatience than have usually fallen on me of late’), 2 Apr. Hobhouse reckoned that he expected it to pass the Lords.38 He was in the minority for the repeal of the duty on husbandry horses, 5 Mar., but only paired for repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr. On 17 Mar. the backbencher Hudson Gurney, noting Tierney’s recent resignation of the leadership, observed that Mackintosh had ‘sat in Tierney’s place the last night or two - whether [as] a sort of leader I know not’.39 (In fact there was no clear leadership for several sessions.) Mackintosh supported Martin’s bill to allow defence by counsel in capital cases, 30 Mar. During the Easter holiday he reflected that
perhaps there never was a session in which the balance turns out so much against our party as the present. The queen and the Neapolitans have proved wretched adventures, and the Catholic question, which has had a partial success, is not all our own.
He was ‘very much perplexed’ as to what to do on Lambton’s planned parliamentary reform motion, feeling that if it was for inquiry he would be obliged to vote for it to ‘avoid being thought an enemy of reform’, but that it was ‘very difficult’ for him to speak on the issue. Relieved to find that Lambton intended to ‘open his motion in such a way as to deliver us moderate reformers from the necessity of speaking merely to disavow his plan’, he voted silently for it, 18 Apr.40 He voted with Hume to disfranchise civil officers of the ordnance, 12 Apr. He divided for Russell’s reform motion, 9 May, when he also voted in protest at delays in the proceedings of the commission of judicial inquiry, and for reform of the Scottish county representation, 10 May. He voted for repeal of the Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Act, 8 May, and inquiry into Peterloo, 16 May 1821.
On 11 Apr. 1821 he introduced a bill to abolish capital punishment for all forgery offences except that of Bank of England notes, the defence of which he largely entrusted to his coadjutor Fowell Buxton. He had a ‘glorious’ victory, 23 May, when, to his own great surprise, he carried his motion to go into committee on the measure against ministerial resistance by 118-74.41 He was subsequently forced to make substantial alterations to the bill, conceding the death penalty for the forgery of wills, country bank notes, marriage entries and stock transfers. Grey Bennet, who liked the principle of the measure, believed that these concessions ‘to make friends’ had rendered the bill a nullity.42 Mackintosh carried the third reading, 4 June, by 117-11, but Lord Londonderry dished it by unexpectedly dividing the House against its formal passage, by 121-115.43 Mackintosh presented a petition from the inhabitants of St. John’s, Newfoundland, for judicial reforms, 28 May, spoke and voted for inquiry into the administration of justice in Tobago, 6 June, and was appointed to the select committee on the report of the Irish judicial commission, 26 June. He voted to equalize the rates of interest on Irish treasury bills and British exchequer bills, 30 May, and, in rare votes for economy, for cuts in the ordnance estimates, 31 May; but, with Brougham and Tierney, he left the House before the division on Grey Bennet’s motion for a reduction in the number of placemen in the Commons.44 The next day he supported Maxwell’s slaves removal bill. On 21 June, replying to Londonderry, ‘but by no means as he ought to have done’, as Grey Bennet saw it, he backed Lord William Cavendish Bentinck’s motion criticizing the government’s indifference to Sicilian independence and denounced the Laybach declaration.45 He endorsed Wilberforce’s motion for an address to encourage suppression of the foreign slave trade, 26 June, observing that ‘the principle of reformation in this country of reason and liberty ... would always ultimately triumph, and that from this country it would spread to others’; Wilberforce thought he ‘spoke capitally’, and Grey Bennet that he ‘made, as usual, a splendid speech’.46 He pressed Londonderry to clarify the British position on the French trade, 2 July.47 He was credited with a speech in opposition to the grant for the alien office, 29 June, but was not listed in the minority of 27. He voted for Hume’s general motion for economy and retrenchment, 27 June, but incurred a rebuke from Lord Grey and a private censure from Grey Bennet, who lamented that all session he and Scarlett had taken ‘every occasion to separate themselves from the few combatants who fought on the third bench for public economy’, for his failure to speak.48 Mackintosh, who went to London in mid-July 1821 for the first meeting of the commission on public records, of which he was a assiduous member, told Lady Holland, who had asked how he felt about his recent speeches, that
I did not satisfy myself on criminal law, but ... I thought I did tolerably on Sicily and the French slave trade. I had however no great reason to believe that others thought so, for as I never before was so scurrilously treated by the enemy, so on the other hand I never received so little countenance and civility from those whom the world calls my political friends. John Bull and a villainous paper at Edinburgh called the Beacon have pursued me with libels.
He could not ‘catch at such straws’ as the belief of some Whigs that ministerial conflict with the king would bring them down, though he was ‘vulgar enough to wish that the Whigs were in power (by any means) if it were only for a few months and to do two or three things’, notably carry Catholic emancipation. He had little interest in the coronation, which he nevertheless attended, and the dispute over the queen’s right to be crowned, preferring to dwell instead on the death of Buonaparte, ‘the greatest of conquerors and nearly the best’: ‘No one who forced himself into the supreme power from a private station and conquered so great a part of the bravest and most intelligent of mankind ever did so little evil’. On a personal note, he found it painful to ‘recollect how little of the business of life has been accomplished’ in the last 20 years. In early August 1821 he felt that ‘the Whigs in London are doing all they can by their present clamour to frustrate all good intentions which the king may feel’. Later in the month he observed to Lansdowne, ‘I am displeased with the sublimities of some of our friends who seem to think that if once in half a century a favourable breeze should spring up at Court the Whigs should take no advantage of it’. 49
In October Mackintosh’s son-in-law Claudius Rich, the husband of his daughter Mary, died suddenly in Persia. Mackintosh secured a pension of £200 a year from the East India Company for Mary (who eventually came home and contributed to his domestic unease by not getting on with his wife) and negotiated the sale of Rich’s papers to the British Museum for £7,000.50 In mid-December he was irritated by renewed allegations in the Tory press of his supposed appropriation of £20 of the fund collected for the radical Joseph Gerrald, who had been transported for sedition in 1795, even though Samuel Parr and James Perry, the originators of the smear in 1806, when Mackintosh’s loyalty to Fox had been called in question, had recently issued public retractions. To Holland, who advised him to ignore the libels, he wondered whether he might not, if the next session proved, as he expected, to be neither ‘busy’ nor ‘important’, ‘dedicate a great deal more time than formerly to my history’, which was well behind schedule. He added:
I do not think the Whig affairs were in so bad a state since Mr. Fox was first a leader as they are now. We have lost such help as we received from the radicals and the queen. The odium of both connections remains.51
At the end of the month he commented to Lansdowne that by accommodating the Grenvillites ‘the ministers have considerably secured themselves by taking off all those with whom opposition might have coalesced to make a government’. He considered Peel’s appointment as home secretary to be
a step to a higher Toryism and consequently to a more undistinguishing resistance of all novelties. With that opinion I am perplexed about my criminal law. On the one hand it is not advisable to damp the spirit of the friends of those measures by inactivity. On the other it is dangerous to multiply parliamentary decisions against them.52
Three weeks later Whishaw found him
remarkably well [at Mardocks] and seriously engaged upon his history, in which he is now more in earnest than I have ever known him. He works at it regularly some hours every day, and his conversation shows that his mind is full of the subject. He is inclined to give only an occasional attendance in Parliament.
Yet the same day Mackintosh, seeking instruction from Holland House as to what line opposition intended to take at the opening of the session, prophetically observed that although ‘history occupies every hour ... I often have painful misgivings that after all I only collect materials for some man of greater powers who will begin the arduous work in a season of more leisure, cheerfulness and strength’.53 Maria Edgeworth was a guest at Mardocks at this time:
Mackintosh is much improved in the art of conversation since we saw him. Mixing more with the polished world and being engaged in great affairs and with great men and women has perfected him in the use and management of his wonderful natural powers and vast accumulated treasures of knowledge. His memory now appears to work less, his eloquence is more easy, his wit more brilliant, his anecdotes more happily introduced. The whole is brought into better compass and proportion and he has the high-bred touch and go of the man of the world as well as the classical high and deep advantages of the scholar and orator. Altogether his conversation is the most delightful I ever heard.54
He went to London on 1 Feb. 1822 and occupied lodgings in Cork Street, found for him by the Hollands. Almost immediately he was afflicted with deafness and stomach trouble. He felt that ‘the parliamentary prospect is very disheartening’, for ‘we are no longer a party’, and ‘every man is in a great measure left to act according to his own judgement or according to his want of it’. Unsure what line to take on Hume’s anticipated amendment to the address on 5 Feb., Mackintosh, who thought that the ‘Mountaineers look rather adversely on me’ and that he was ‘weakened’ by Brougham’s current ‘inactivity’, consulted Lansdowne ‘about speaking’. Lansdowne seemed ‘well pleased that the dissolution of the party should clearly distinguish the moderates from the Mountain’; but in the event Hume gave up his amendment and opposition decided to keep quiet. Mackintosh apparently attended on the opening day, although he was ill, and described it as ‘one of the most suffering days of the last eleven years of ill health’. He voted against the Irish insurrection bill, 7 Feb.55 An eruption of cold sores and intermittent bouts of diarrhoea confined him to his quarters for a fortnight and prevented him from attending to support Sir Robert Wilson’s motion complaining of his dismissal from the army, 13 Feb. He was better by 21 Feb., when he voted for more extensive tax reductions to relieve distress.56 He was in the House on 27 Feb., but did not vote for Hume’s motion on the estimates. The following day he went to a meeting at Brooks’s ‘convened for the purpose of trying to patch up a treaty or a truce between us and the Mountain’, but the attempt was abandoned as ‘vain’. He voted for a gradual reduction of the salt duties (but not in support of the complaint against the assault on Robert Waithman* at the queen’s funeral), 28 Feb., and was in the opposition majority for admiralty reductions, 1 Mar. Yet he ‘went to bed unwell and little elated by our victory’, and returned next day to Mardocks, where he reflected on the 3rd that
in the course of 12 years suffering I have not had so vexatious an interruption to my usefulness as during the last month. The rude have expressed and even the more refined have betrayed their surprise at my silence in Parliament.57
He was in the House on 6 and 7 Mar., when he broke his silence with a few unreported words on the records of Parliament. He was appointed to the select committee on that subject, 12 Mar., and to the one on the police of the metropolis, 14 Mar. He spoke and voted for abolition of one of the ‘totally and absolutely useless’ joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar., delivering what the Whig backbencher Moulton Barrett considered ‘a most brilliant speech’.58 The following day he witnessed Creevey’s vicious attack on the Grenvillites in the guise of a motion for inquiry into the board of control. After hearing the ‘Billingsgate and brutality’ of Creevey’s reply to the debate he was a reluctant voter for the motion, but felt obliged to stand by Tierney, who had earlier committed himself to vote for it. On 25 Mar. 1822 he made a speech in support of Romeo’s petition as ‘an act of justice to him’. He remained ‘very low and in momentary apprehension of stomach complaint’.59
At Brooks’s on 22 Apr. 1822 Mackintosh ‘lamented the irreparable injury done to the Catholic cause by such animosities among its supporters’ as the one anticipated in the Commons that day between Plunket, recently appointed Irish attorney-general, and Newport. Like most of the Whigs, he was won over by Plunket’s brilliant performance in the debate. He paid the price of his late night with
a very miserable day of constant headache and languor, frequent efforts to prepare my parliamentary business and very melancholy apprehensions that after having sacrificed so much to it I shall be under the sad necessity of relinquishing it altogether.
He was well enough to speak in support of the remission of Henry Hunt’s* prison sentence, 24 Apr., deploring ‘the maxim that any illegal severity could be practised upon any individual because he was odious’.60 He voted silently for Russell’s parliamentary reform motion the following day. He was in the majority for Canning’s motion for a bill to relieve Catholic peers, 30 Apr., when he was lost in admiration of Canning’s ‘extraordinary ingenuity and resource’.61 On 2 May he ‘wasted three hours in vexatious and unprofitable talk’ at the colonial office about ‘the objects of the African Institution’ with Wilberforce and Buxton.62 Later that day he voted in the majority for abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships. He spoke and voted for cuts in diplomatic expenditure, 15, 16 May. He supported the Marriage Act amendment bill, 20 May. On his brother-in-law John Allen’s motion to consider the select committee reports on the Welsh judicature, 23 May, he suggested adding two judges to the courts of common law rather than appointing inferior ones. He voted for Hume’s motion to pay naval and military pensions from the sinking fund, 3 June. The following day he moved, after prior consultation with Peel, for early consideration next session of the criminal laws, with a view to making them more effective by reducing their severity. He was cheered on both sides of the House and, though opposed by ministers, his motion was carried by 117-101.63 He was later said to be ‘in great spirits at his success’.64 On 5 June, despite feeling unwell, he fortified himself with ‘aromatic vinegar’ to attend the debate on the aliens bill, when, enraged by Peel, he made ‘a vehement though I hear a very good speech against him’. Taken ill again later in the evening, he made a pair and, as he told his wife, ‘was violently sick in the coach the whole way to Holland House. I never remember to have retched and vomited so much’. On 6 June he returned to the Commons for a debate on Ireland, but failed to catch the Speaker’s eye.65 He led the opposition to the second reading of the aliens bill, 14 June, in what Hudson Gurney* described as ‘a very long speech of outrageous exaggeration’; and he voted silently against the measure, 1, 19 July, when he was in minorities of 32 and 20.66 He spoke - ‘I think as well as on most occasions’ - for the second reading of Thomas Kennedy’s Scottish juries bill, 20 June, when he also declared his hostility to the Canada bill.67 He attended the debate on the Catholic question in the Lords, 21 June.68 He voted in condemnation of the influence of the crown, 24 June, and spoke and voted for inquiry into the lord advocate’s dealings with the Scottish press, 25 June. Supporting Wilberforce’s address on the foreign slave trade, 28 June, he gave credit to the British government for their attempts to suppress it, but lamented the ‘perfidy’ and ‘hypocrisy’ of the Allies. He voted for repeal of the salt duties that day. On 2 July he voted ‘in a minority of four’ against the bill to authorize the Bank to issue notes of £1 and £2, which were the great temptation to forgery.69 He quizzed Londonderry about infractions of British maritime rights, 5 July, inadvertently revealing as he did so the foreign secretary’s unprecedented state of mental distraction, which presaged his suicide a few weeks later.70 He supported the Marriage Act amendment bill and was a teller for the majority in favour of the Lords’ amendments, 12 July. He presented a petition in support of the Greeks in their struggle with Turkey, 15 July.71 He failed to draw Londonderry on the question of recognition of the independent South American states, 17 July.72 Grey and his son-in-law Edward Ellice* had failed to persuade him to drop his opposition to the Canada bill, which he voted against, as one of a minority of 14, 18 July.73 On 23 July 1822 he took issue with Burdett on the subject and supported calls for the recognition of the South American states. The following day he seconded the government motion for the publication of an edition of the ancient historians of Britain.
Mackintosh, who claimed to ‘find industry the best remedy against depression’ caused by the ailing state of his daughter Elizabeth and his worries for the safety of Mary Rich, whose ship from the East was overdue, considered the death of Londonderry a ‘great blow’ to the Catholic cause, and did not think Canning’s admission to the cabinet would restore the balance.74 There was a rumour, discounted as nonsense by John Croker*, of ‘an intended overture’ from ministers to Mackintosh and Lansdowne.75 Russell visited him at Mardocks in mid-October 1822, and found him
looking unwell and old, but ... in better spirits than I expected. He is however too much cast down by the crises and afflictions he has had lately to think of leaving home ... He seems to be living indolently and quietly, feeding himself as usual with new books.
As for his history
he ... [seemed] more worried by study and the responsibility of an historian than anything else. He seems to have advanced very much ... Five or six years is after all not much for such a work considering he has had a liver, and risen to great fame as an orator and reformer of laws within the same time. To say nothing of reviewing, a species of eminence not easily classified.76
At the same time Whishaw reported that Mackintosh, who was additionally distracted by having been given notice to quit Mardocks at next Lady Day [25 Mar. 1823] and by recent disturbances at Haileybury, was ‘altogether much better than I expected’, though he ‘complains of the effects of constant anxiety upon his health, and has lately had some returns of the giddiness which affected him two years ago’. He feared that the history had been neglected for an article on foreign politics for the Edinburgh: ‘It is become an unpleasant subject, and I could not press him upon it’.77 The Hollands, Lord Morpeth†, Tierney and James Abercromby* were also very concerned for Mackintosh’s physical and emotional welfare; he was ‘touched’ by the Hollands’ ‘kindness’, and resumed work on the history ‘under great depression of spirits’. He was more cheerful by late November, having heard that Mary Rich was safe, and ‘tickled’ at his election, over Sir Walter Scott, as rector of Glasgow University, where he was to be installed on 3 Jan. 1823.78 Meanwhile, he was in touch with Lord Ellenborough on the Marriage Act, worried about the French threat to Spain, ‘the only independent part of the continent’, and fretted over his future accommodation and its effects on the progress of his history:
I am indeed daily frightened about finishing the history at all. I despair of doing it well. Yet I cannot relinquish it and as I have at last got into the habit of daily application to it I am very anxious that the habit should be interrupted as rarely and shortly as possible.
After Christmas he was at Althorp, where Agar Ellis greatly enjoyed ‘his most agreeable and instructive conversation’: ‘I know no man whose society gives me so high an admiration for his talents ... such clearness of expression, such cultivation of intellect, such memory, wit, everything in short that gives grace and amusement and dignity to social intercourse’.79 For his Scottish jaunt, Holland talked him out of his notion of asking Lord Lauderdale and William Adam† to act as his minders and as ‘a sort of Tory vouchers against Tory calumny in this last public visit to my native country’. He reluctantly accepted a pressing invitation to speak at the Fox dinner in Edinburgh a few days after the Glasgow ceremony.80 There were conflicting accounts of his speech on that occasion. Henry Cockburn deemed it
an utter and inconceivable failure. I cannot tell whether the conception or the execution of it was worst [sic]. It has baffled all my speculative powers to discover how such an absolute want of tact and effect could be evinced by such a master.
A correspondent of Fox informed him:
The speech was brilliant in some passages and very Mackintoshian in all. The spirit just and philosophic, the expression copious and refined, but the manner nothing better than the parliamentary see-saw and sing-song. The chief fault was length and a total misconception of the audience. He never seemed to recollect that the great majority of his hearers were almost boys and could not be interested in long details and historical allusions. But on the whole it was well received, though I must not conceal from you that disappointment was the general impression.81
He did rather better at the Fox dinner, 14 Jan. 1823. Cockburn thought he was ‘didactic’ but ‘good’, while Abercromby wrote that he ‘did on the whole very well’, though he doubted ‘the taste and judgement of having made his speech not only a eulogy of Mr. Fox but also an attack on Mr. Pitt’. Grey, on whom he called at Howick on his way south, noted, with some slight misgivings, ‘how deeply he and all our friends pledged themselves to the question of reform’. Mackintosh also descended on Sydney Smith at Foston:
About half after five in the evening (3 feet of snow on the ground and all communication with Christendom utterly cut off) a chaise and four drove up to the parsonage and from it issued Sir James and his appendages. His letter of annunciation arrived the following morning ... Mackintosh is always agreeable, but is a little older than he was 20 years ago. His daughter [Frances, his favourite] is a pleasant girl, rather overpraised. The most valuable gift Providence could have presented him with, would have been a daughter addicted to arithmetic, and needle-work, a cunning sempstress and one who could cast up a bill. Unfortunately this young woman is as helpless as her father, without having I am afraid so valid an excuse for the deficiency ... Mackintosh had 70 volumes in his carriage; none of the glasses would draw down or let up but one. He left his hat behind him at our house.82
On the address, 4 Feb. 1823, he applauded ‘many of the just principles’ enunciated in the king’s speech, but deplored Allied aggression against Spain and held out the spectre of ‘a Muscovite army lining the shores of the continent, from Amsterdam to Cadiz’; as Gurney saw it, he ‘proved we ought to go to war out of Cicero and the speeches of William III’.83 He gave himself a ‘perplexed and disturbed day’, 9 Feb., by yielding to ‘the temptation of the Speaker’s great variety of wines’ at the opposition dinner.84 He recommended Phillimore to postpone his Marriage Act amendment bill, 14 Feb.85 He fell ill again,86 and no further trace of his parliamentary activity has been found until 18 Mar., when he questioned Canning, now foreign secretary, about negotiations to avert war between France and Spain; he and Lansdowne were now said to be ‘in favour of peace against the more violent party of the Whigs’.87 His speech at a public meeting in support of the Spaniards, 7 Mar., when he proposed ‘the preservation of the peace of Europe’, did not impress Lord Duncannon*, to whose comments Brougham, away on the circuit, replied: ‘I could easily suppose it bad, for he was quite sure to overdo that sort of thing, and to do it badly, but it don’t signify. The reporters always puff him and so it goes out to the public as a good speech, and that is the same thing’. The duke of Bedford, prompted by Lady Holland’s ‘just and candid opinion of Mackintosh’, agreed that he was ‘too prone’ to ‘pervert almost every feeling to the most unfavourable side of the question’.88 Russell reported that he had been ‘blarneying too much, but he is likewise too much laughed at’.89 Devastated by the death of his daughter Elizabeth the following month, he set up home at 42 Cadogan Place at about this time.90 On 22 Apr., after challenging those who alleged that Catholic priests had interfered in the Leitrim election to produce hard evidence, he voted in the majority for inquiry into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters.91 He voted for Russell’s reform motion, 24 Apr., and spoke and voted for reform in Scotland, where there was ‘no popular election whatever’, 2 June. He spoke at length in support of the opposition motion criticizing British policy on Spain, 29 Apr., condemning ‘the unprincipled and atrocious aggression of France’. At this juncture Coleridge assessed Mackintosh as
the king of the men of talent. He is a most elegant converser ... He is uncommonly powerful in his own line; but it is not the line of a first-rate man. After all his fluency and brilliant erudition, you can rarely carry off anything worth preserving. You might not improperly write on his forehead, ‘Warehouse to let!’ He always dealt too much in generalities for a lawyer. He is deficient in power in applying his principles to the points in debate.92
He was in a minority of 14 for an attempt to prevent the reappointment of insolvent collectors under the Irish county treasurers bill, 2 May. He contributed to the Dublin inquiry, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9 May, arguing that witnesses should not be compelled to dispense with their previous oaths. On 21 May he questioned Canning about Russian threats to British maritime rights, before moving nine resolutions for extensive revision of the criminal code. Although Peel secured their defeat by 86-76, he made it clear that ministers intended to introduce reforms, which Mackintosh recognized as the best chance of achieving significant results. He supported Lord Nugent’s proposal to place British and Irish Catholics on the same footing as regarded civil rights, 28 May, when he said that the refusal to concede emancipation had the appearance of ‘one of those acts of infatuation which had sometimes preceded the downfall of empires’; and he presented a petition for legalizing Catholic marriages by Catholic clergy, 12 June. He voted in condemnation of the lord advocate’s treatment of the Scottish press, 3 June, and for inquiry into chancery delays, 5 June. He spoke and voted in favour of referring the silk manufacture bill to a select committee, 9 June, when he was in the opposition minorities on the Leeward Islands duties and the coronation expenses. He spoke at a London Tavern meeting in support of the Spanish liberals, 13 June.93 On 20 June, when Wilberforce thought he ‘spoke beautifully’, he expressed his preference for housing the late king’s library in a new building near Hyde Park rather than in the British Museum.94 He spoke and voted for the Scottish juries bill that day,95 and on its third reading, 30 June, endorsed its proposal for selection by ballot. His amendment to the larcenies bill to exempt from capital punishment the crime of stealing from a shop which was part of a dwelling house was defeated by 35-19, 25 June. He unsuccessfully divided the House on the application of an individual to be heard by counsel against certain provisions of the New South Wales jurisdiction bill, 2 July; and on 7 July his attempt to introduce trial by jury into the measure was rejected by 41-30. He persisted in his opposition to the bill, 8, 9 July.96 He voted for investigation of the Irish Catholics’ petition complaining of abuses in the administration of justice, 26 June, and against the grant for Irish glebe houses, 1 July. He said that slave removals in the West Indies were tantamount to a renewal of the trade, 4 July.97 He voted in the minority of 22 to end flogging in prisons, 7 July 1823.
Later that month Mackintosh, who contrived, with the assistance of Brougham, to keep out of the press reports of the scandal involving his daughter Catherine, who had abandoned her husband Sir William Wiseman for another man, went on a tour of private archives, seeking material for his history, which took him to Welbeck, Netherby and Brougham. In early August, even ‘especially abominable heartburn’ did not diminish his pleasure at ‘the good accounts from Spain’.98 Three months later Whishaw told Lady Holland that he had ‘had another attack of his complaint, which prevented him from going last week to the College, where his lectures have now been suspended near a month’; and Mackintosh confirmed that he had ‘passed an ailing time ... free from sharp attacks but seldom applicable to any useful or agreeable purpose’. By the end of 1823, however, he claimed to be very ‘eager about the part of history on which I am engaged’.99 He was ‘very ill’ again in January 1824, after ‘a regular bilious fever’, and it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to cope with travelling from London to fulfil his duties at Haileybury. Unfortunately, as Whishaw commented, the professorship was ‘a considerable object to him’ financially. Bedford was so worried about his ‘melancholy state ... both as to health and finances’ that he suggested to Lady Holland the possibility of getting up a subscription, under the nominal aegis of Lord Spencer, to ‘secure to him a comfortable competence for the remainder of his life’; but nothing seems to have come of the idea. Mackintosh was staying at Holland House at the end of the month, ‘better ... and of course agreeable’, as Lady Holland noted: ‘How full and ready he is with his knowledge’. At the Speaker’s opposition dinner, however, the mischievous Creevey mocked to Hobhouse his ‘mean-looking face and figure’ and assured him that the story of his having made off with Gerrald’s money was true. More charitably, Wilberforce recorded a week later that at dinner ‘I drew the highest prize in the lottery; I sat by Sir J. Mackintosh’.100 He voted for information on Catholic burials, 6 Feb. He spoke and voted for the production of papers on the criminal jurisdiction of the Isle of Man, 18 Feb., voted for reform of Edinburgh’s representation. 26 Mar., and, speaking ‘at no small personal inconvenience’ on account of illness, supported the charge of breach of privilege against lord chancellor Eldon, 1 Mar. That day he regretted the ‘almost sacrilegious’ destruction of historic buildings in Westminster; and on 24 Mar. he supported the appointment of a select committee, to which he was named, on the construction of the new law courts there. He was in a small minority in favour of inquiry into the beer and malt taxes, 15 Mar. He was named to the select committee on the criminal laws, 16 Mar. On 13 Feb. he had given notice for early March of ‘a conditional motion of a very extensive nature’ concerning relations between Britain and the independent Spanish American states. In doing so, he was acting in concert with Lansdowne, and to the displeasure of Grey.101 He was in Nugent’s minority of 30 censuring the conduct of government towards Spain, 17 Feb. He questioned Canning on the subject, 5 Mar., and said that he would persevere with his own motion. On 18 Mar., after explaining that he ‘highly approved’ of ministers’ policy on the silk duties as a limited but welcome adoption of the ‘self-evident principles’ of free trade, he supported Russell’s unsuccessful motion for information on the occupation of Spain by the French army, replying ‘indifferently’ to Canning and disclaiming any attempt to impugn the British government.102 The Canningite member Charles Ellis reported that he was ‘very heavy’ and ‘not at all listened to’; but it seems that there were mitigating circumstances, for Mackintosh told Lady Holland that ‘I was so unqualified for exertion as to be attacked in the middle of my speech by the sickness of stomach which has not quite ceased to torment me’. The discomfiture of the Whigs on this occasion prompted him to consult Holland:
I see more clearly ... that attempts to question our foreign policy are at present unseasonable and serve only to exalt Canning. Shall I for that reason withdraw my notice about South America? It might perhaps be done on the avowed ground of Canning having said on ...[the 18th] that he should consider a Spanish armament against America while the occupation lasts as being in effect French. Do you think that it might be thought shabby after Canning’s triumph? I lay no stress on my own bad speech for I think myself rather entitled to credit for having thrown myself into the breach when I was very unwell and when I was not only unprepared to speak but had resolved not to speak. Neither do I say anything of some from whom I expected more friendly treatment and who I think would have done better to have dissuaded myself from the motion than to have run it down in the world.
He accordingly withdrew his notice on that pretext, 25 Mar. 1824. Bedford commented that it was ‘a pity’ that Mackintosh, ‘with all his great talents and lofty mind, should injure himself by fulsome and ridiculous compliments to such a man as Canning’.103
Speaking early in the evening because he was still not well, he opposed the aliens bill, 23 Mar. 1824. He voted silently against it, 2, 12 Apr. He voted to refer the reports of the Scottish justice commission to a committee of the whole House, 30 Mar. He spoke and voted for George Lamb’s bill to permit defence by counsel in felony cases, 6 Apr. The previous November Fowell Buxton had pressed him to give his ‘full, hearty, and unreserved co-operation’ to the abolitionist cause; and he presented an anti-slavery petition, 25 Mar., and welcomed the slave trade piracy bill and the pending treaty with America, 26 Mar. He presented a petition from the London Missionary Society complaining of the prosecution of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 13 Apr., and supported Brougham’s motion on the subject, 11 June, when Wilberforce wrote that his speech was ‘most beautiful, his mind teemed with ideas’.104 He paired against the grant for the building of new churches, 9 Apr. Mackintosh, who was seen as a likely recruit for Canning should he succeed an ailing Lord Liverpool as premier, presented petitions from Knaresborough both for and against the hides regulation bill, 3 May, and one from Inverness in favour of the Scottish juries bill, 7 May.105 He voted for inquiry into the state of Ireland, 11 May. On 15 June he presented and, in a long speech which was subsequently published, endorsed the London merchants’ petition for recognition of the independent South American states, disclaiming party motives, though he was ‘and ever shall be a member of a party associated, as I conceive, for preserving the liberties of the kingdom’. He presented a similar petition from Manchester, 21 June. Before presenting a Perth petition for the gradual abolition of slavery, 17 June, he gave notice that next session he would raise two subjects which ‘severe indisposition’ had prevented him from pressing in the current one: amendment of the law of copyright and relaxation of the curbs on the licensing of plays. He presented petitions for the removal of restrictions on Church of Scotland marriage ceremonies, 22 June 1824.106
That month, still afflicted by poor health which ‘not only deprives me of enjoyments, but either hinders or enfeebles the performance of duties, and often crowds with indispensable business the intervals when it is itself more tolerable’, he gave up the Haileybury professorship and took a pension of £200.107 From late August until early October 1824 he was abroad, touring the Low Countries and Germany and finishing in Paris.108 Towards the end of the year Lady Davy told Henry Fox ‘proofs of Sir James Mackintosh’s selfishness and cunning combined, which was not much to his credit’; presumably this was a rehash of the Gerrald story.109 Hazlitt at about this time assessed him as
one of the ablest and most accomplished men of the age, both as a writer, a speaker, and a converser. He is, in fact, master of almost every known topic ... He has lived much in society, and is deeply conversant with books. He is a man of the world and a scholar; but the scholar gives the tone to all his other acquirements and pursuits ... By education and habit ... [he is] a college man; and perhaps he would have passed his time most happily and respectably, had he devoted himself entirely to that kind of life ... In company he talks well, but too much ... In writing he overlays the original subject and spirit of the composition by an appeal to authorities and by too formal a method ... In public speaking the logician takes the place of the orator ... and he fails to give effect to a particular point or to urge an immediate advantage home ... As a political partisan, he is rather the lecturer than the advocate ... The chief characteristics of his mind are retentiveness and comprehension, with facility of production; but he is not equally remarkable for originality of view, or warmth of feeling, or liveliness of fancy. His eloquence is a little rhetorical; his reasoning chiefly logical ... He is distinguished more as a man of wonderful and variable talent than as a man of commanding intellect ... He makes a respectable ally, but not a very formidable opponent.110
Mackintosh denounced the Irish unlawful societies bill and attacked Plunket to ‘loud cheers’, 14 Feb. 1825; Sir John Nicholl* thought it a ‘fine speech ... though not much grappling with the real question; but the biased Bankes was scathing:
Mackintosh ... laboured at it with tiresome and curious infelicity, applying all the subtleties and discriminations of metaphysical sophistry to the interpretation of a sentiment addressed to the most common and least educated understanding. Never was indeed a more wretched failure than the whole of his long speech.111
He voted against the measure, 15, 21, 25 Feb. He presented a Knaresborough petition in favour of the county courts bill, 25 Feb.112 He supported Martin’s cruelty to animals bill, 11 Mar. Having voted silently for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., when he was excused after being named as a defaulter the previous day, he was involved in discussions with Burdett, Newport and Plunket as to how best to proceed with the bill. Believing that the simultaneous measures of the disfranchisement of Irish 40s. freeholders and payment of the Irish Catholic clergy were ‘the only means by which, short of imminent danger from abroad the Catholic question can be forced’, he acquiesced in the decision that Newport should give notice of such measures while Burdett pressed on with the relief bill, though as regarded the payment of priests he made it clear that he would ‘not assent to any measure that was not founded on the principle of giving assistance without gaining influence’.113 On 22 Mar. he opposed the introduction of the ‘curse’ of the poor laws to Ireland. The following day he set off for Glasgow for a dinner to mark the end of his period as rector of the University. He was taken ill while preparing for the event, but, fortified by ‘a grain of opium’, he attended, with disastrous consequences, as he told his wife:
I soon felt a whirl in the head and in about ten minutes I was compelled (in spite of brandy and water) to rush out into an adjoining room where I retched and vomited for twenty minutes over or into an immense pail (used for washing decanters, plates, etc.), surrounded by fifty servants, till I was carried home in a chair and put to bed where I gradually got into a quieter state.114
On 21 Apr. he presented and endorsed a Glasgow petition in favour of Catholic claims and voted for the relief bill. He paired for its third reading, 10 May 1825.
His health was by now so poor (he made his will on 30 Jan. 1826, having on the 1st noted that he was ‘unwell on the first morning of perhaps the last day of my life)115 that, on doctor’s orders, he absented himself from the rest of the 1820 Parliament. In the late summer of 1825 he derived some benefit from the ‘nauseous waters’ of Harrogate, before going for a while to Brougham’s home in Westmorland.116 On 15 Oct. 1825 he wrote to Lansdowne of speculation that the anticipated dissolution had been put off as a result of the pro-Catholic liberals in the cabinet having overruled Eldon. He expected the Whigs to lose ‘several seats’ at the next general election, though not as a result of anti-Catholic feeling, though ‘they will all be ascribed to it’.117 Early in 1826 Whishaw reported that ‘his countenance and manner show more of the marks of age’, and that his relaxed and reclusive regime was ‘very unfavourable to any material progress in the history’, which had ‘become an unpleasant and almost painful topic to himself and his friends’. Mackintosh himself claimed in mid-February that ‘my present condition is tolerable’, but complained that ‘too much abstemiousness in study is still enjoined - a great deal more than suits what I have to do and the little time that remains to do it’.118 He retained his interest in the Catholic question, the abolition of slavery, criminal law reform and the Greek cause, but studiously avoided all political engagements, though he composed four articles for the 1826 Edinburgh. He was said to be indulging in ‘abuse’ of Grey’s speech in support of the corn laws in May 1826. He had ‘no thoughts of giving up his seat’, and at the general election the following month was returned again unopposed for Knaresborough, where Abercromby stood in for him at the formalities.119
That summer, when Lady Holland reckoned that he was ‘better, but ... still tremulously alive to any symptom that denotes a change in health or sensations’, he was in agonies of indecision as to whether to go to Switzerland or Belgium or his brother-in-law’s residence at Cresselly in Pembrokeshire for a lengthy period of seclusion. Apart from wishing to devote himself to his flagging history, he needed to economize, having lost money in some unwise speculations as a result of the commercial crash of 1825-6. The Hollands came to his rescue by placing Ampthill at his disposal as a temporary retreat offering ‘a very agreeable and undisturbed retirement’ within easy reach of London, where he could attend meetings of two obscure insurance companies, for his chairmanship of which he received modest fees. He moved in there with his books and household goods at the beginning of September 1826.120 He was plagued with toothache and biliousness in the autumn, but claimed that ‘my ink ... flows and I think that I can finish four or five quarto pages of print a day, which allowing me a bad day a week would do a great deal in six months’. Yet Scarlett commented that ‘he reads too much ever to write much and is more fastidious than he owns himself to be. If he wishes to make sure of accomplishing his work he should put out his eyes’.121 It had been decided that as his health was still ‘feeble’, he would attend the new Parliament in the first instance only for the Catholic question. In late February 1827 he told Lady Holland:
My time is spent in exercise, writing and struggling with my megrim, which, if I could trust appearances which have already deceived, I should almost think subdued. I know that the few who will think of me for a moment when I am dead will call me a hypochondriac. If they knew my whole condition in mind and body and estate they would rather wonder at my cheerfulness.
He was worried that he might be obliged to appear in the Commons to defend the ill-fated Colombian Association, of which he was chairman, against the petition of disgruntled settlers sent out under its aegis, but nothing came of this. He was present to vote, despite being tormented by headache and toothache, for Catholic relief, 6 Mar., resting in a committee at intervals during the debate. Disappointed at the defeat of the motion, and fearful that `the high Tories if they become rulers’ in the aftermath of Liverpool’s stroke would ‘ruin the country’, he attended a meeting at the duke of Norfolk’s, 8 Mar., at which it was decided to ‘do nothing till the administration is formed’. After further dental treatment he returned to Ampthill. He was given three weeks’ leave on account of ill health, 23 Mar., when he complained of ‘frequent fits of weakness and languor’, but talked optimistically of going to press with the first volume of his history by October 1827. A week later he observed that ‘had I begun this continued labour ten years ago unseduced by a little transient and accidental success of another kind, I should have had better faculties as well as more leisure for my undertaking’.122
He was at Ampthill when he heard of the negotiations for the formation of Canning’s ministry. By his own account, composed three months later, he was initially ‘presumptuous enough’ to think that if Canning offered the Whigs three cabinet places in the Commons, he would have one of them, along with Tierney and Lord Althorp. He was ‘withheld by a perhaps foolish delicacy’ from going to London, but wrote to Holland and Lansdowne to express his view, as a professedly ‘disinterested spectator’, that however circumscribed Canning might be by the king’s known aversion to Catholic relief, the Whigs should coalesce in government with him as perhaps ‘their last chance of contributing to the pacification of Ireland and mitigating Toryism in this country’.123 As it turned out, Canning had comparatively little to offer the Lansdowne Whigs in the way of offices. Mackintosh received a number of letters congratulating him on his reported appointment as judge advocate, of which he had heard nothing from his friends in London. In fact the place was first offered to Abercromby, who hesitated, for personal reasons, and suggested that Mackintosh deserved it. When Lansdowne mentioned his name to Canning, the premier insisted that the office required constant attendance in Parliament, and that in any case the king had stipulated that Abercromby was the only Whig whom he was prepared to have in it. Time was short, and Lansdowne and Tierney took it upon themselves to answer for Mackintosh’s inability to give regular attendance. Abercromby accepted the post. Lansdowne would not countenance a ‘scheme of making way for Mackintosh’ suggested, at the instigation of Tierney, by James Macdonald*, who was in line for a place at the board of control, and, as Mackintosh later saw it, ‘too easily persuaded himself that there would be a vacancy at the end of the session and that an appointment then would better suit my health than one in the hurry and heat of the session’.124 Mackintosh went to London on 1 May to appear in the House and mark his adhesion to the new ministry by sitting on the treasury benches, and also ‘to show by my appearance that I am not at all piqued and not wholly disabled’. Macdonald told him what had occurred regarding his own claims to office, and assured him that ‘there was ... the greatest anxiety to do something and he had no doubt that it would be done’. The following day Mackintosh saw Lansdowne and, after his explanation, told him that
I was not ashamed to own how much office was desirable to me; that I was ambitious of it through him as a public token of the satisfaction of my friends with my public services; that for adequate office I would undertake to attend some part of every night and live within call; that I was aware this rule might stand in my way in almost every department; but that I placed my hopes in obtaining a relaxation of rule in one case when he was bringing so great an accession of strength as the whole Whig party to Canning.
Lansdowne assured him that he would press this on Canning and that ‘if a vacancy occurred at the board of control which might be soon he thought means might be found of making matters easy to me’. Mackintosh privately objected to the reported suggestion of Lord Lyndhurst, the new lord chancellor, of a barony of the exchequer, because of ‘the great occasional fatigue and exertion of circuit’; but he rejected nothing out of hand, and hinted to Lansdowne that he might after all prefer a diplomatic appointment. After sleeping on the matter he told his wife:
My prospects seem to be that I am likely to be offered a seat at the board of control with £1,500 a year about the end of the session. For this I must sacrifice much leisure and some health. I must live six months of the year within reach of a message from the House of Commons and I must obey every message. I say nothing of the humiliation. But the expense of that London residence is a material consideration. I am at present determined to prefer an envoyship and doubtful whether I should accept the other.
Through Lansdowne he wrote to Canning in the second week of May to stake his claim and preference for a diplomatic posting, though without ruling himself out for domestic employment; but in passing the letter on to Canning Lansdowne commented that ‘it appears to be the opinion of his friends, that if it is found practicable, a situation connected with the legal, would probably suit him better than that which he designates for himself in the diplomatic service’. On 20 May Mackintosh wrote to Lansdowne in an attempt to make it clear that he had not intended to give the impression that he did not want a place on the Scottish bench or a domestic political appointment: ‘I pretend to no exclusion and only venture to mention preference’. Desperate for office, he was in fact extremely sore at his treatment, and admitted to Lady Holland, with Lansdowne in mind, that he would have been ‘less mortified with the result whatever it may be if I had been informed of the suggestions relating to myself as they passed and if there had been some appearance of consulting me on them as far as circumstances allowed’. ‘In a further outburst at the end of May he told her:
The want of forethought which has helped to keep me poor has the good effect of lessening the ills of poverty to me. I did not suspect myself of much pride and perhaps I have not much. But a sharp mortification has found out a proud corner and I feel the smart more because I cannot divert it into another channel by harbouring dissatisfaction with those who (I am sure) were full of good will towards me. Whatever may be done below and long after everyone else must be merely a personal provision without any disguise. That is my main reason for wishing to pass the remainder of my days out of England, or at least at a distance from the scenes where the last 14 years of my useful life have been misspent.
The filling up of a vacancy at the board of control without a word to him a few days later prompted another complaint to Lady Holland, in which, despite having received assurances of Canning’s ‘desire to consult my wishes and of his readiness to communicate with me as soon as he was released from the session’, he moaned that ‘the moment which would have rendered an appointment at home gratifying to me has been missed and will probably not return’:
In the secret of my thoughts I may sometimes doubt whether a little less precipitancy, modesty and facility might not have saved me from being lowered so very much. I am therefore obliged to countenance that opinion of my bodily inability of which I am not convinced. If the whole of the administration were driven into opposition I should then honourably try to confute it by parliamentary exertion and such a trial I should in that case certainly make at any risk.125
Two weeks later Whishaw, whom Lady Holland had evidently reproved for failing to make Mackintosh’s feelings clear to Lansdowne, defended himself, claiming that ‘it was with great surprise I heard by your note early last week that he was seriously annoyed and mortified by what had taken place’.126
He had expressed on 20 May 1827 ‘some desire of speaking in Parliament’, having ‘been so well ... for the last two months’, perhaps for repeal of the Test Acts, when, as he told Lansdowne, ‘I could take the oath of allegiance to your government very naturally in such a speech’. He added that ‘a man’s first appearance after two years’ silence is of importance to himself’; but a week later he confessed to Lansdowne that ‘my fancy for speaking has rather gone off or at any rate would without watering it’. At the same time, he professed to be ‘perfectly satisfied to put off whatever related to myself’, in terms of office.127 He was subsequently dissuaded by Holland and Lord Carlisle from going to the House for the debate on the Penryn election bill, 7 June, ‘thinking it ungracious in me to take my first division against Canning’; but, prompted by Holland, who was ‘very adverse’ to his going abroad and thought that ‘as I have nothing specific to propose I should not break in on Canning before his own time’, he spoke in defence of the vote of credit to Portugal, 8 June, taking the opportunity to declare his general support for the ministry. He told his wife:
I had a headache but I brushed up my matters as best I could and went to the House, took my seat on the treasury bench and ... rose at eight o’clock and spoke for three quarters of an hour, for the first few minutes with some nervousness, but afterwards easily and agreeably to myself and with fair success. The House heard me very handsomely and seemed not displeased to renew their acquaintance with an old friend. I was not exhausted and sat down with my nerves strengthened. The sound of my own voice gave me courage. Canning took me by the hand with very kind congratulations on success and enquiries after health. I went home and suffered nothing worse than an entirely sleepless night, which a speech in my best times has sometimes inflicted on me.
Canning told the king that Mackintosh had ‘made a splendid speech’. Encouraged by his doctor to believe that ‘moderate exertion in public may be more serviceable than hurtful and that at present I need nothing but great attention to eating, drinking and exercise’, he went to the House to say ‘a few words’ in favour of the disfranchisement of East Retford, 11 June. He was present to vote for the ministerial corn bill, 18, 21 June.128 After weeks of anxious anticipation he had his interview with Canning on 13 July 1827, when, asked whether he wished to remain in Parliament or preferred a more permanent situation out of it, he said that he now believed himself to be physically equal to the duties of any office to which he could aspire, but that ‘permanency was undoubtedly a very great object’: ‘I went through foreign missions and the Scottish exchequer and political office, hinting at a new jurisdiction in colonial appeals which Brougham has I believe on no authority given out that I am to have’. He left ‘persuaded’ that Canning would ‘do all he can whenever an opportunity offers’. A ‘curious’ interview immediately afterwards with Croker, the secretary to the admiralty, who seems to have engaged to put in a word for him with Canning, led to nothing. The following day Mackintosh wrote that 38 years previously (the day of the taking of the Bastile) he had been ‘eight thousand pounds richer than I am now. If the other objects of living had been better obtained this paltry failure would inspire little regret’. A week later he reflected on his interview with Canning:
I believe that if the administration and my life last something will be done for me. They are much fettered, they must wait for vacancies, and often fill them up with a view to strengthen the government. I thought it absurd to affect resentment though I did not profess to be satisfied and I shall not now throw away such hold as I have. Had the Whigs come in on a footing of reasonable equality, had Lord Holland not been actuated by an ill requited regard for the capricious and unamiable feelings of Lord Grey [towards junction with Canning], had I been in town at the first negotiation, had I then entertained as tolerable an opinion of my health as the trial in the House of Commons helped to give me I should probably have been in some respectable office. I am as sincere an adherent of the present government as if I were a cabinet minister ... I think it honourable as well as prudent to take all proper means of obtaining office. I by no means despair of being placed in a situation somewhat proportioned to my former place in Parliament, if the ministers succeed in withstanding the very formidable combination or conspiracy of peers against them.129
He wrote that Canning’s death soon afterwards was ‘deplored as that of a guardian by every friend of liberty from Philadelphia to Athens’. He attended his funeral with an eye to ‘the possibility of advantage besides propriety’. In mid-August 1827, unwell once more, he went with his wife and Frances to stay for several months with their Wedgwood relatives at Maer, Staffordshire, from where he wrote to Lady Holland, 27 Aug., that ‘I am neither well nor cheerful’ and was worried by rumours that the Lansdowne Whigs were about to resign from the fledgling Goderich ministry; the same day he wrote to Lansdowne encouraging him to stay in office with his associates if decently possible.130 In the negotiations which confirmed the ministry in office Lansdowne stipulated that Mackintosh was to replace Phillimore at the board of control as soon as the latter could be provided with a legal office, and that in the meantime he was to be made a privy councillor.131 He accepted this, but only as ‘a public pledge of the speedy performance of a specific engagement’ to provide him with paid employment as soon as practicable. He admitted that
I am not sorry at the end of five mortifying months to receive some mark of distinction which may a little conceal from the vulgar the estimate formed of me by the most competent judges. I wish the lesson against conceit had been given when I had more life left to profit by it.
At the same time, he did
not like the provision intended for me. But my claim would be so strengthened by the public pledge that it might be considered as distinct enough to be the subject of negotiation; and it appears to me that if a vacancy in the Scotch exchequer should occur it would be more easy to promote me to it in my surrender of the promise than professional etiquette might allow it to be after an actual appointment to a political office.132
Being ‘in the highest degree desirous of bringing my first volume to a conclusion’, but ready with a litany of excuses, including ‘autumnal bile’, for his lack of progress, he was unable to fulfil a tentative agreement with Brougham to supply tracts for the Useful Knowledge Society. Anticipating a summons to London in November to be sworn in to the privy council, he fretted about where he was to settle between then and the opening of Parliament, and asked Lady Holland for permission to use Ampthill. It was given, but he still hesitated between moving there lock, stock and barrel or remaining in Staffordshire.133 When he went to be sworn in, 16 Nov. 1827, he stayed at Lansdowne House, but he decided to take Ampthill, thereby irritating his wife. His defence was that ‘I am now more convinced that I ought to be within hearing of the bell and particularly at a time when there may be unforeseen changes either adverse or prosperous’. He was in some respects disappointed to learn that Lord Stowell, whose retirement from the admiralty court to make way for Phillimore had been daily expected, was now insisting on a pension, which would require an act of Parliament:
This will delay my poor appointment perhaps for a month after the opening of the session ... There is one advantage ... If I were now to be appointed I should vacate my seat and so be disabled from taking a part in defence of the measures of government for the Greeks. Perhaps I may gain an opportunity of usefully and creditably discharging an important duty.134
He was worried by the ‘formidable’ opposition forming against government in defence of the Turks and in condemnation of Navarino; but two days spent in reading the relevant correspondence in the foreign office files convinced him that ‘we have a case which I should not fear to defend’. He had ‘some thoughts of showing myself at the opening of Parliament’ and of returning to Ampthill until the Greek question came on, and thereafter waiting until ‘constant attendance became my official duty or till the hope of it was destroyed by the Turks of England and Constantinople’.135 He became increasingly alarmed in December at signs of ministerial disarray and weakness, still believing that they had ‘an opportunity of re-establishing themselves if they open the session with boldness’. He was planning to go up for the opening when the government collapsed, and he decided to stay away until the Greek question came on, resisting his son’s pressure on him to put in an appearance in London ‘for the chances of advantage in the confusion’:
I now consider my ship as just about to sink and I cannot enter in another. I can neither prevent nor profit by the fall of my friends. I see no object for striving.
He felt that his only hope lay in the remote possibility of the formation of ‘an universal coalition’; and when this was dashed by the duke of Wellington’s accession to power he told Lady Holland that ‘as my last card is trumped I am turning my thoughts to some retreat suitable to my income and where I am not likely to be disturbed or drawn away’. He elaborated on this in a letter to Allen:
I cannot pretend that I have not been a good deal vexed ... These vexations have sunk through my spirits into my health and have brought back some of my former uneasinesses, though not in their worst state. I am once more at sea with respect to a plan of residence for my little remaining life. At my age and with my health and income it would be madness to think of regular attendance and active opposition in Parliament. All that I should even wish to do would be to attend say six times in the session on great questions and when I was well. To do that with ease my residence should be within a short ... [distance] of London ... On the other hand it is question[able] whether it would not be more conducive to health, peace of mind, and to some chance of being able to publish some part of my history, if I were to go to some distant retirement either in England or abroad where I should be beyond the reach of all temptation to intermeddle with public broils. The choice is so difficult that it has little chance of being prudently made.136
On 14 Feb. 1828 he defended the Treaty of London of July 1827, welcomed ministers’ promise to implement it and argued that ‘the intervention in favour of the Greeks was an office of humanity to them’. He backed Wilson and Burdett in their denunciation of the Turkish treatment of the Greeks, 3 Apr., when he also approved Williams Wynn’s proposals to revise the laws governing controverted elections. He voted silently for repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and belatedly presented petitions to that effect, 1 Apr. He spoke and voted for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 21 Mar. He presented and endorsed a petition from New South Wales for the introduction there of popular representation and jury trial, 18 Apr., and on 1 May he secured papers concerning the state of the colony in 1822; he moved but did not press amendments to the New South Wales bill, 20 June. He presented and warmly supported the prayer of a petition from Edinburgh University for relaxation of the restrictions on dissection, 21 Apr., and brought up a similar one from British students in Paris, 4 July. He presented two petitions of grievance from the inhabitants of Lower Canada, 1 May, and on Huskisson’s motion for inquiry into its civil government the following day spoke at length in favour of a liberal colonial policy; he was named to the select committee. He presented petitions in favour of Catholic relief, 8 May, spoke for it, 9 May, when Croker thought he was ‘long and laborious, and puzzled himself and tired us with references to papers’, and voted for it, 12 May.137 He evidently supported the provision for Canning’s family, 13 May, but was ignored by the chairman of the committee (Planta) in his several attempts to defend it.138 He got his chance on 22 May, when he praised Canning and said that ‘his friendship was the only favour that I ever received from him’. He presented petitions for redress from the former president of the supreme court of Demerara, 15 May, and an individual who had suffered losses as a result of the insolvency of the registrar of Madras, 22 May, when he confirmed Hume’s allegations that the evils of the system of imprisonment for debt in India were ‘very great’. He presented a petition for the more effectual suppression of bull-baiting, 6 June. Supporting reception of the Liverpool petition for extension of the local franchise to householders, 9 June, he denied that it constituted ‘the purest specimen of radical reform’. Later that day he welcomed Peel’s assurances that the government had broken off diplomatic relations with the present regime in Portugal and got him to disavow Dom Miguel; but on 30 June he complained that ministers had ‘departed from a neutral temper and spirit, so as to favour the party condemned by every moral principle and natural feeling’. He presented petitions for the abolition of slavery, 17 June, when he moved to refer a petition from Calcutta complaining of hardships inflicted by the stamp duty to a select committee, but was persuaded to withdraw it in the light of the ‘liberal sentiment’ evinced by ministers. He was in a minority of 22 for reducing the grant to the Royal Cork Institution, 20 June. He again spoke and voted for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 27 June. He paired for reduction of the salary of the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 4 July,139 and voted against the grant for North American fortifications, 7 July. On 14 July he welcomed the ‘conciliatory’ language of the colonial secretary towards Canada, but spoke and voted against government on the silk duties. He presented more anti-slavery petitions, 15, 25 July 1828, when he defended the inactivity that session of the abolitionists in general and Brougham in particular, and promised action in the next; he was inclined to attribute the distorted account in The Times to ‘corruption or personal animosity in the reporter’.140
That month he moved to Clapham Common. Soon afterwards he contracted with Macvey Napier to write for his Encyclopaedia Britannica a history of ethical philosophy, which allowed him not only to set aside his onerous history but to borrow money in advance to ease his financial difficulties. Almost immediately he was put out of action for two months by a recurrence of illness. (He told Lady Holland in September 1828 that ‘my health has been so unprosperous since I saw you as to render my life equally joyless and useless.’) He continued to miss deadlines, the project got out of hand and there was a misunderstanding as to exactly what was required. It was eventually published as a somewhat perfunctory Dissertation on the Progress of Ethical Philosophy in 1830.141 Whishaw reported to Lady Holland, 21 Nov. 1828, that Mackintosh
seemed tolerably well in health, but not in very good spirits, though he talked with all his usual powers about the books he had been lately reading, which I was sorry to observe had no reference to his historical work. Reading, indeed, and collecting information from books, is become his principal literary pleasure. Composition, except on the spur of an occasion or to answer some temporary purpose, seems no longer to give him any delight.142
He agreed with Brougham that ‘there should be a general call of our friends from all quarters for the first day and the most vigorous opposition if the speech be silent or unsatisfactory on Ireland’. After recovering from ‘a pain in my face and cough’, he spoke on the address, 4 Feb. 1829, when, welcoming the announcement that government intended to concede Catholic emancipation, he said that ‘I have felt greater joy at the transactions of this day, than I yet have at any public event’.143 At the same time, he indicated his ‘great doubts’ over ministerial policy on Portugal, and on 9 Feb. he gave notice of a motion for the 19th for papers on that subject. At Althorp’s private request, he postponed it, 16 Feb., until the Catholic question had been dealt with, and put it off until after Easter, 23 Mar.144 He presented petitions in favour of emancipation, 20 Feb., 4 Mar., when he also brought up one for colonial reform, 25 Mar. He voted silently for emancipation, 6 Mar. According to Hobhouse, some Whigs wanted him to answer Wetherell’s violent speech against the measure, 18 Mar.; but ‘he went across the House to ask Peel what his wishes were’ and found that the minister wished to do it himself.145 Like many Whigs, he had initially been worried as to what line to take on the security measure of the disfranchisement of Irish 40s. freeholders; but he fell in with the decision to swallow it, and he justified it in the House, 20 Mar. He defended the oaths clause of the relief bill, 24 Mar. On 26 Mar., when he was beginning to ‘suffer a good deal from these late nights’, he presented and endorsed an Edinburgh petition for emancipation, with 7,000 respectable signatures, which he had asked to be put into his hands. He presented a petition from members of regular orders in Ireland against their suppression by the bill, and one for the measure from the Protestant Society for the Protection of Religious Liberty, 30 Mar. He had planned a speech ‘from which I expected some credit’ on the third reading that day; but he made ‘the paltry sacrifice’ of giving it up in order to ‘expedite the measure’. He subsequently reflected:
I have felt the great fatigue more yesterday and today than when the exertions were going on. But I am very thankful for my escape from more serious consequences. We (Whigs) have performed a great duty which is its own best, and will probably be its only reward ... Distant generations will I trust pronounce that we have employed our strength for the preservation of our country without any angry remembrance of the past or selfish expectations from the future.146
He presented a pro-emancipation petition from Glasgow University students, 8 Apr. 1829.
‘Three weeks of a more fatiguing parliamentary attendance than I believe ever was encountered with impunity by a man of my health’ took its toll, and he was confined to his house for most of the rest of the month, complaining to Lady Holland that ‘my indispositions are embittered by the necessity of employing every half hour of remission in drudgery. This is the punishment of idle youth’.147 Having recovered, he secured the appointment, 5 May, of a select committee to investigate the financial claims on the registrar of Madras. He got leave to introduce a relief bill, 25 May, but on 3 June set it aside for that session because of lack of time. He opposed the Smithfield market bill, 15 May, and supported the petition of the Church of Scotland requesting the restoration of records currently in the keeping of Sion College, 20 May. He did not vote in the minority in favour of allowing Daniel O’Connell to take his seat for Clare unhindered, 18 May, and on the 21st, supporting the government motion for the issue of a new writ, argued that his temporary exclusion was an unavoidable sacrifice for the achievement of emancipation. He welcomed Peel’s plans for the metropolitan police and his hints that he would mitigate the severity of the criminal code, 25 May, when he was also pleased with the ministerial statement that the evidence of slaves was to be made admissible in West Indian courts. He was in a minority of 40 for reduction of the hemp duties, 1 June. That day he successfully pressed his motion for papers on relations with Portugal in a lengthy speech, later polished and published, disclaiming ‘any spirit of party opposition’ to ministers, but demanding an explanation of the ‘aggravated treachery’ by which that country had been reduced to ‘the lowest level of degradation’. He supported Fowell Buxton’s motion for information on the Madras slave trade, 3 June, presented petitions for the suppression of suttee, 4 June, and on 5 June 1829 supported Hume’s call for papers on the fees of proctors in Doctors’ Commons and endorsed an petition in favour of native Indians being allowed to sit on grand juries. He told Lady Holland that he had ‘seen no symptoms’ of any approach by the beleaguered Wellington ministry to the Whigs ‘if I must not number amongst them a shake of the hand with unwonted kindness which I had in St. James’s Park from the great captain’. The following month he was ‘a good deal vexed by my old enemy the brow ague’, which had him ‘stretched on the bed or the sofa’ for a week.148
In the autumn of 1829 Mackintosh’s wife left him for the last time, travelling first to Paris and on to the Sismondis near Geneva. Mackintosh, who had contracted to write a popular History of England for The Cabinet Cyclopaedia, went with Frances to visit the duc de Broglie in Normandy. On his return he told Lady Holland that ‘I began to grow well almost as soon as we landed and have ever since been improving in strength, spirits and appetite’. He accepted her offer of a room at Holland House during the next session, although he could not ‘afford many days to Parliament’.149 In November Greville was in his company at Roehampton:
It was uncommonly agreeable ... I never was more filled with admiration. His prodigious memory and the variety and extent of his information remind me of all I have heard and read of Burke and Johnson; but his amiable, modest, and unassuming character makes him far more agreeable ... while he is probably equally instructive and amusing ... I do not know of a greater treat than to hear him talk ... I could not help reflecting what an extraordinary thing success is in this world, when a man so gifted ... has failed completely in public life, never having attained honours, reputation, or wealth, while so many ordinary men have reaped an abundant harvest of all ... His virtues are obstacles to his success; he has not the art of pushing or of making himself feared; he is too doucereux and complimentary, and from some accident or defect in the composition of his character, and in the course of events which have influenced his circumstances, he has always been civilly neglected.150
Wilberforce, a Clapham neighbour, who regarded him as ‘a paragon of a companion’, heard at this time that he
spends ... much of his time in the circulating library room at the end of the Common, and chats with the utmost freedom to all the passengers in the Clapham stage as he goes and comes from London. It is really to be regretted that he should thus throw away time so valuable. But he is at everybody’s service, and his conversation is always rich and sparkling.151
Holland told Russell in December 1829 that Mackintosh had ‘settled the state of our friends as usual in a phrase: "He never saw, he will not say, such difference of opinion, but such strong divergences of inclination among them"’.152 He was present to vote for the amendment to the address, 4 Feb. 1830. The following day he attacked Lord Ellenborough, the president of the board of control, over his leaked letter concerning the renewal of the East India Company’s charter. He was named to the select committee on the subject, 9 Feb. He supported Russell’s motion calling for a fair and final settlement of Greece as ‘the triumph of common sense and natural feeling over the worldly wise’, 16 Feb. He voted for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 Mar. Feverish illness laid him low soon afterwards, but he attended to speak and vote for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr.: ‘Let us love our neighbours as ourselves, and not withhold any benefit or franchise from them, though they may happen to be as odious to us as the Samaritans were to the Jews’.153 He was in O’Connell’s minority of 47 for Irish vestry reform, 27 Apr., and the next day he supported the opposition motion condemning the government’s conduct over the Terceira incident, a ‘most flagrant violation’ of the law of nations. Mackintosh, who does not seem to have been unduly affected by his wife’s sudden death in Switzerland, 6 May 1830, presented an Edinburgh petition for abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 13 May, and on the 24th moved an amendment to Peel’s forgery punishment bill to substitute transportation or hard labour for the death penalty for the forgery of bank notes and exchequer bills. It was defeated by 128-113; but on the third reading of the bill, 7 June (after voting against the grant for South American missions), he moved and carried broadly the same amendment, having, against his better judgement, excluded the forgery of wills, by 151-138. It was rejected by the Lords, reinstated by the Commons but not passed. Mackintosh paired for Russell’s reform motion, 28 May. On 19 June he handled the second reading of the reintroduced Madras registrar bill, which, after he had conceded modifications, 9 July, became law on the 23rd. He secured a return of droits of the crown during the French wars in connection with a planned motion on the claims of British subjects on Denmark, 9 July 1830.
The first volume of Mackintosh’s popular History of England was published that summer. It sold well, as did the second volume, which appeared in 1831, and had the approval of Russell, who thought its observations on European history were ‘masterly’.154 Devonshire offered him another return for Knaresborough, which he accepted, though his doctors deemed him to be too sickly to attend the election; he got Brougham to deputise for him.155 Buoyed by events in France, he went at the beginning of September to Cresselly, where his health temporarily improved. He was at first reluctant to return to London for parliamentary attendance before ‘absolute duty requires’, feeling that a longer stay would help him to become ‘better ... than I had ever hoped to be this side of the grave’; but he yielded to the blandishments of Lady Holland and went up for the opening, even though he professed that ‘if I had courage I ought to cut the tie that binds me to Westminster’.156 On 3 Nov. 1830, when he gave notice that he would present a petition from claimants on the Danish government, he witnessed Brougham’s ‘splendid speech’:
Many such triumphant displays of superiority in an opposition will be a trying test to the House of Commons ... Nevertheless I believe they [ministers] will try to swim ... The Tories seem to be dispirited and divided ... In the meantime the state of Europe is very alarming. We have lost in Guizot and Broglie our best security for the pacific character of the French government. Their successors are all what we should call a party between Whigs and Radicals ... They will not desire war. But the world is a step nearer to the danger of war since their promotion.157
He presented petitions for the abolition of slavery, 9, 10 Nov. He voted in the majority against the Wellington ministry on the civil list, 15 Nov. He wanted to be judge advocate in the Grey administration, but heard nothing definite and agonized in his suspense. Holland assured him that there were ‘circumstances unknown to you which might if you had the option, alter your present preference ... to board of control’. This was what he was offered (at £1,500 a year) and accepted, apparently satisfied, as Holland reported, ‘though aware that the other was £1,000 better’. Grey, who privately thought that ‘with all his extraordinary talents and acquirements he was, practically, quite useless’, disingenuously assured him that he had ‘wished to offer you a situation more suited to your views and expectations, and I should have done so, had I found the spirit of accommodation which I had a right to expect in others’.158 At the time Brougham told Holland that he thought that Mackintosh, who had ‘very high claims indeed’, even though he ‘may not be up to much work’, had been ‘scurvily and I will add shamefully treated’. He later wrote that ‘Grey and Co. never could bear him’ and that Holland and Lansdowne, ‘his sworn friends ... treated him as they always do their friends’.159 When Croker attacked Brougham’s appointment as lord chancellor in the House, 23 Nov., Mackintosh on ‘impulse’, and in the absence of senior ministers, repudiated his ‘insinuations’. He went to Knaresborough for his re-election, 2 Dec., when there was a token show of opposition. Later in the month he observed bitterly to Lady Holland that ‘nobody would tell anything to a man who has such a badge of inferiority as my office is at my age and parliamentary standing’. He was further irked to find that ‘by the petty expedient of placing Macdonald above me in our commission (against routine) somebody has not only lowered me a peg but pointed me out as the commissioner to be reduced’ if the finance committee so decided. He was worried about the political prospects of the new ministry, fearing that if the Tory opposition beat them on reform they would be placed in ‘such a situation that by dissolving in such a temper they will frighten all the rich and by not dissolving they will lose all the influence over the reformers which is their only and slender chance of doing good’. He took a house in Great Cumberland Street, Westminster, at the end of the year.160 Mackintosh, who was of course named to the revived East Indian select committee, 4 Feb., presented Scottish petitions for the abolition of slavery and for reform, 23 Feb. 1831. He presented and endorsed London corporation’s reform petition, 4 Mar., taking the opportunity to defend the ministerial bill as ‘the best safeguard of the liberties of the country’. He claimed that he bore the ‘very close attendance’ on the reform bill debates ‘better than I could have hoped’. He voted silently for the second reading, 22 Mar. He was ‘rather severely seized’ on 15 Apr. 1831 ‘by one of my (of late very infrequent) bilious attacks’, but was well enough to attend for the debate on Gascoigne’s wrecking amendment on the 19th, though he was under orders ‘not to try speaking or long sitting till I get a little stronger’. He voted against the amendment, but would have preferred the government not to have made their defeat ‘decisive of the fate of the bill’, which he thought ‘extremely impolitic on all suppositions but one, namely that there is danger in delay which gives time for the play of intrigue’.161
He was obliged to go to Knaresborough for the 1831 general election, when he was returned unopposed and his speech was ‘very well received’. He told Lady Holland that he had been led to believe by some of the electors that
there is no doubt of my having one of the Knaresborough seats after the reformation. But it is hard to foresee the movements of the popular mind for a year or two which in these times may be equal to as many centuries in times of quiet. It would I suppose be best for me to retire and I am disposed to wish that I had done so in November.
He subsequently took the waters at Harrogate, claiming to be ‘better than I have been for eight years’, and promising to be in London in the first week of June:
Notwithstanding our numbers we shall have no strength in the House of Commons for any purpose but the bill. We shall continue to be outspoken there. We are outweighed in respectable opinion out of doors. All the most faithful and old reformers of this country are I suspect more alarmed at the extent of the bill than they choose to confess. I believe that the more decent radicals would have liked the banquet better if there had been less of it. Those who are forced by the popular tide to vote for this reform may I fear take their revenge on other matters.162
Early in the new Parliament he wrote to Lady Holland from the Commons that ‘I had no idea how unpleasant a parliamentary life that of a subaltern placeman is and I am not sure that it is worth while to continue it’.163 He supported the petition of British merchants resident at Canton for better protection of their interests by the East India Company, 28 June. On 4 July he spoke for two hours in support of the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, arguing that it sought to restore the balanced relationship between the three elements of the constitution and that the question was one of a choice between ‘concession and bloodshed’. Hobhouse thought that he did ‘very well indeed - rather "caviare to the general", but sound and profound’. Denis Le Marchant† described it as ‘one of the last efforts of a philosophical and highly cultivated mind, and not unworthy of his brilliant reputation’, though he ‘looked very ill, and his voice was too weak to be heard with effect’. The minister Spring Rice considered it ‘a very long, learned and well reasoned dissertation in favour of the bill, but it was rather too cold and abstract for our temperature. It was however extremely good indeed’. Henry Lytton Bulwer* recalled the performance as
remarkable. Overflowing with thought and knowledge, containing sound general principles as to government, undisfigured by the violence of party spirit, it pleased and instructed those who took the pains to listen to it attentively; but it wanted the qualities which attract or command attention ... The speaker’s person ... was gaunt and ungainly, his accent Scotch, his voice monotonous, his action (the regular and graceless vibration of two long arms) sometimes vehement, without passion, and sometimes almost cringing, through good nature and civility.164
The following day Mackintosh corrected the impression given by press reports that he had stated that ‘political privileges were property’: he had said exactly the opposite. He was in the majority for the bill, 6 July. He had taken a pair for the all-night divisions on adjournment motions, 12 July.165 On the 28th, when he was ‘recovering rather slowly’ from ‘an attack of sick headaches’, he told Lady Holland that he was required to be present for ‘almost every division’ on the details of the bill, but that ‘I pass the greater part of the evening in an adjoining room ... [where] I read novels’. He was not entirely happy with the performance of the ministers in the front line, who were
far from rising in general estimation. Most people own to their intimate friends that the campaign in the committee has shown no generalship. They have neither firmly adhered to their rules nor liberally relaxed them with an equal hand. I and many others when we voted with them in some cases were obliged to consider the votes as given to protect them from the consequences of their own fluctuation.166
He was in the ministerial majorities on the 1831 census, 19 July, St. Germans and Saltash, 26 July, Dorchester, 28 July, Guildford, 29 July, and Greenwich, 3 Aug.; but a ‘stomach attack’ which turned out to be ‘a bilious fever’ and, so he claimed, endangered his life, put him out of action for the rest of that month; he was sent ‘by medical advice and political permission’ to Ramsgate on the 21st ‘in hopes of quickening my recovery by change and by the sea’.167 He was present to vote in the minority of 20 against the quarantine duties, 6 Sept. He divided for the passage of the reform bill, 21 Sept., and on the 23rd spoke and voted for the second reading of the Scottish bill, which he again defended, as bestowing for the first time ‘a popular representation’, 4 Oct. He voted for Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 14 Oct. He supported the prayer of a petition from Lower Canada for redress of grievances, 14 Oct. He remained extremely interested in the problem of Portugal, advised the exiled Palmella, and at the end of October 1831 wrote to Holland recommending recognition of Donna Maria’s regency and the offer of a joint mediation with France.168
He remained ‘weary’ of his junior situation at the board of control, and told Lady Holland that he had applied ‘in strict confidence’ to his chief Charles Grant* for the vacant office of chief justice of Bengal: ‘as I rather expected he for reasons perfectly satisfactory to me declined to appoint me’. In late October 1831 Macdonald told Brougham that he was willing to retire from the board of control to accommodate the rising star Tom Macaulay* if ministers wished to bring him in. Brougham, informing Holland, said that any promotion of Macaulay over Mackintosh’s head would be ‘preferring interest to gratitude’, and was ‘not to be thought of’. Holland replied:
I quite agree in all you say about Mackintosh. You had better say as much to Grey, who is himself well prepared, for he asked me if Robert Grant* [the judge advocate] would not like to go chief justice to Bengal, and if you would approve such an appointment, to which I could only answer from conjecture, not knowledge, that I thought and hoped both would approve of such an arrangement if, as he had before hinted, it was for the purpose of making Mackintosh king’s advocate, and introducing Macaulay into the board of control. Grey dropped something about Mackintosh’s health or want of energy, but you and I and above all the truth can remove that impression, for Mackintosh is more than equal to the business of king’s advocate, which he would do admirably, and being pleased would be infinitely more active and useful in the Commons than he is now, and to the full as much as Robert Grant.169
Nothing came of this.
Mackintosh, who moved his London residence to Langham Place at the end of the year, voted for the second reading of the final reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, and for the borough disfranchisement clauses, 20, 23 Jan. 1832. He was in the ministerial majority on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan. He supported the principle of restricting factory hours for children, 1 Feb., placing considerations of humanity above devotion to the principles of political economy. He voted for clause 27 of the reform bill, 3 Feb. In his last speech in the Commons, 9 Feb., he opposed Courtenay’s motion for papers on Portugal, defended the British and French governments and condemned Dom Miguel. After leaving the House on the evening of Friday the 17th he had an accident while ‘hurrying through a lonely dinner’, as he explained to Allen:
I unwarily suffered a large morsel of chicken containing a pointed bone to go over almost unchecked or rather unscratched by teeth. I was nearly suffocated and ... I continued very ill Saturday and Sunday. But [Dr.] Kennedy ... with the help of well mixed coaxing and command on Monday got me to take a mustard emetic which produces its effect in three or four minutes and removes the contents of the stomach without an instant’s loathing. In my case it brought up immediately one of the largest pieces of flesh and bone which has been commonly removed from a living gullet. This mishap has caused a complete salivation which is very much better today. But I am advised not to venture abroad till it quite ceases.
Mackintosh, who was still privately ‘very anxious about the determination of our leaders’, was able to vote for the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb.170 But the wound in his throat became infected and inflammation spread eventually to his spine and brain. He struggled on for a few weeks, able to conduct minimal departmental business and to visit Holland House; but in May he took to his death bed in Langham Place, finding consolation in a ‘declaration of religious belief ... when he had never believed at all during his life’. He died at the end of the month, ‘a great public and private loss’, as Whishaw saw it, and, in the view of Holland, ‘some loss in politics and much greater in society, and the greatest of all in literature, where his knowledge, good nature and talents rendered him most useful and delightful’.171 He was buried in the family plot at Hampstead on 4 June. A subscription set up by friends of both parties paid for a memorial to him in Whigs’ Corner, Westminster Abbey.172 By his brief will of January 1826 (which, typically, he forgot to have witnessed) he had left such property as he possessed to his wife, with remainder to his daughter Frances. On 5 July 1832 administration of his estate, which was proved under £8,000, was granted to her, Mackintosh’s only surviving son and future biographer Robert James, a fellow of New College, Oxford, and his niece Elizabeth Wedgwood. The residue was assessed for duty at £1,888, but debts and expenses left only £863 to be shared among his five surviving children. His library, which proved to be ‘not a very valuable or important collection’, was sold over nine days in November 1832.173 A third volume of his History of England was published posthumously that year, while William Wallace completed and published his History of the Revolution of 1688 in 1834. His massive collection of notes passed to Macaulay, who made better use of it than he had.
Macaulay had a soft spot for Mackintosh, who had been kind to him in his early days in Parliament, and wrote that
his proper place was his library, a circle of men of letters, or a chair of moral and political philosophy. He distinguished himself highly in Parliament. But nevertheless Parliament was not exactly the sphere for him. The effect of his most successful speeches was small when compared with the quantity of ability and learning which was expended on them.
He observed that Mackintosh was ‘a man who would have done something if he had concentrated his powers instead of frittering them away’:
He halted between two opinions. He fell between two stools. He attended too much to politics for a man engaged in a great literary work, and too much to literature for a man who aimed at great influence in politics. Society, too ... stole away too much of his time both from Parliament and from his study.174
Lytton Bulwer wrote perceptively of Mackintosh:
Though it was difficult to fix on any one thing in which he was first-rate, it was generally maintained that he was a first-rate man ... Though mixing in the action of a great and stirring community ... [he] never arrived at an eminence in law, in letters, or in politics that satisfied the expectations of those who, living in his society, were impressed by his intellect and astonished at his acquirements ... [He] was not fit for the daily toil and struggle of Parliament; he had not the quickness, the energy, the hard and active nature of those who rise by constant exertions in popular assemblies ... He was ... inclined by his nature rather to repose than to strife ... His striking, peculiar, and unrivalled merit ... was that of a conversationalist. Great good nature, great and yet gentle animation, much learning, and a sound, discriminating, and comprehensive judgement, made him this ... He knew everything and could talk of everything without being tedious ... He ever remained the man of promise; until, amidst hopes which his vast and various information, his wonderful memory, his copious elocution, and his transitory fits of energy, still nourished, he died ... universally admired and regretted, though without a high reputation for any one thing, or the ardent attachment of any particular set of persons.175
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: David R. Fisher
The latest biography is P. O’Leary, Sir James Mackintosh: the Whig Cicero (1989), which, though useful in many respects, is weak on politics and carries no scholarly apparatus. See also Mems. of Sir James Mackintosh ed. R.J. Mackintosh (1836) and J. Rendall, ‘The Political Ideas and Activities of Sir James Mackintosh (1765-1832): a Study in Whiggism between 1789 and 1832’ (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1972). This article draws extensively on Mackintosh’s journals, which are in the form of letters to his wife, 1820, 1821-3, 1825-8 (Add. 52444, 52445, 52447).
- 1. HP Commons, 1790-1820, iv. 498 incorrectly describes him as the only son of John Mackintosh; but he had a younger brother John (1769-1800).
- 2. B. and H. Wedgwood, The Wedgwood Circle, 153.
- 3. Mackintosh Mems. ii. 500-2.
- 4. Moore Mems. vi. pp. xi-xii, 292.
- 5. O’Leary, 181-5; Wedgwood, 159, 163, 171.
- 6. Fox Jnl. 84.
- 7. Life, Letters and Jnls. of George Ticknor ed. G.S. Hillard, i. 265, 289-90.
- 8. Reid, Monckton Milnes, i. 100.
- 9. Losh Diaries ed. E. Hughes (Surtees Soc. clxxi), i. 95.
- 10. Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 27  Feb. 1820.
- 11. Russell Early Corresp. i. 205.
- 12. Ibid. i. 210.
- 13. Chatsworth mss, Mackintosh to Devonshire, 29 Feb. 1820.
- 14. Add. 52444, ff. 87-88, 93.
- 15. Ibid. f. 106.
- 16. Add. 51654.
- 17. Althorp Letters, 106; Cockburn Mems. 348; O’Leary, 144; Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 18, 24 Apr.; 51659, Whishaw to Lady Holland, 24 Apr. 1820; 52444, ff. 109-13, 116-17; 52453, ff. 30-38, 42-49.
- 18. Add. 52444, f. 114.
- 19. Ibid. f. 122.
- 20. Ibid. ff. 125-7.
- 21. Ibid. ff. 149-51.
- 22. Ibid. ff. 120, 133, 146, 174-7.
- 23. Ibid. f. 180.
- 24. Ibid. ff. 118, 121, 158, 177, 183, 185, 188, 190-1; CJ, lxxv. 173-4, 229, 325-6, 355-6, 394-5, 467, 469, 470-1, 477.
- 25. Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland [2 July]; 51654, to Lady Holland [11 July 1820]; 52444, f. 192.
- 26. Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 6 Aug. 1820; 52444, ff. 197-8, 203-4.
- 27. Add. 51654, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 8 Sept., 15, 23 Oct., 3 Nov.; 51686, Lansdowne to Holland, 27 Nov. .
- 28. Moore Mems. iii. 177.
- 29. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 7 Dec.; Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 22 Dec. .
- 30. Edinburgh Rev. xxxiv (1820), 464-501; Russell Early Corresp. i. 217; Losh Diaries, i. 126; Ward, Llandaff Letters, 276-7.
- 31. Castle Howard mss, Howard to Lady Morpeth, 28 [Jan. 1821]; Add. 43212, f. 180; HLRO, Hist. Coll. 379, Grey Bennet diary, 6.
- 32. Grey Bennet diary, 13; Dorset RO D/BKL, Bankes jnl. 123.
- 33. ‘Pope’ of Holland House ed. Lady Seymour, 234.
- 34. Grey Bennet diary, 26; Bankes jnl. 124.
- 35. Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 31 Jan. 1821; Rendall, 249.
- 36. Bankes jnl. 126.
- 37. Add. 51667, Bedford to Holland [16 Mar. 1821].
- 38. The Times, 24, 27 Mar., 3 Apr.; Agar Ellis diary, 23 Mar.; Add. 51654, Mackintosh to Lady Holland [28 Mar. 1821]; Broughton, Recollections, ii. 144.
- 39. Trinity Coll. Camb. Dawson Turner mss DT2/K2/3.
- 40. Add. 52182, Mackintosh to Allen, 10  Apr. 1821.
- 41. Add. 51659, Whishaw to Lady Holland, 30 May; 51679, Russell to same, 24 May 1821.
- 42. Grey Bennet diary, 86.
- 43. The Times, 18, 26 May, 1, 5 June 1821; CJ, lxxvi. 250, 354-5, 402, 413.
- 44. Grey Bennet diary, 93.
- 45. Ibid. 103.
- 46. Life of Wilberforce, v. 101; Grey Bennet diary, 105.
- 47. The Times, 3 July 1821.
- 48. Grey Bennet diary, 107-8, 121.
- 49. Add. 51654, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 15, 30 July; 52182, to Allen, 15 July; 52445, ff. 7, 12, 17; Lansdowne mss, Mackintosh to Lansdowne, 23 Aug. 1821.
- 50. Wedgwood, 190, 193; Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland, 11, 13 Oct. .
- 51. Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 18 Dec., reply, 20 Dec. 1821; Add. 52445, f. 7; O’Leary, 31-33, 84-85, 145-6.
- 52. Lansdowne mss, Mackintosh to Lansdowne, 28 Dec. 1821.
- 53. Add. 51659, Whishaw to Lady Holland, 20 Jan.; 52182, Mackintosh to Allen, 20 Jan. 1822.
- 54. Edgeworth Letters, 332.
- 55. Add. 51654, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 27  Jan. 1822; 52445, ff. 25-38.
- 56. Add. 30115, f. 26; 52445, ff. 39-54; Edgeworth Letters, 354.
- 57. Add. 52445, ff. 56-61.
- 58. Ibid. ff. 63-64; HLRO, HC Lib. Ms89, Moulton Barrett diary, 13 Mar. 1822.
- 59. Add. 52445, ff. 66-73.
- 60. Ibid. ff. 78-81; Fox Jnl. 113.
- 61. Add. 52445, ff. 82-83.
- 62. Ibid. ff. 84-85.
- 63. Agar Ellis diary, 4 June .
- 64. Add. 40347, f. 169; Fox Jnl. 123.
- 65. Add. 52445, f. 86.
- 66. Gurney diary, 14 June 1822; Add. 52445, ff. 90-91.
- 67. Add. 52445, f. 88.
- 68. Fox Jnl. 127.
- 69. Add. 52445, f. 92.
- 70. Ibid. f. 94.
- 71. Ibid. f. 100.
- 72. The Times, 18 July 1822.
- 73. Add. 52445, f. 93.
- 74. Add. 51654, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 13, 15, 20 Aug. 1822.
- 75. Add. 40319, f. 57.
- 76. Add. 51679, Russell to Lady Holland [18, 20 Oct. 1822].
- 77. Add. 51659, Whishaw to Lady Holland, 22 Oct. 1822.
- 78. Add. 34613, ff. 112, 115; 51579, Morpeth to Lady Holland, 26 Oct.; 51586, Tierney to same, 28 Oct.; 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 27 Oct., 10 Nov.; 51654, to Lady Holland, 23 Oct.; 51659, Whishaw to same, 29 Oct. [8 Nov.] 1822; Fox Jnl. 149.
- 79. Agar Ellis diary, 28 Dec. .
- 80. Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 4, 8, 12 Dec., reply, 6 Dec.; 52445, ff. 107-8, 110-11.
- 81. Cockburn Letters, 76; Fox Jnl. 152.
- 82. Cockburn Mems. 378; Add. 51574, Abercromby to Holland [21 Jan.]; Grey mss, Grey to same, 22 Jan. 1823; Smith Letters, i. 394-5.
- 83. Gurney diary, 4 Feb. .
- 84. Add. 52445, f. 112.
- 85. The Times, 15 Feb. 1823.
- 86. Christ Church, Oxf. Phillimore mss, Mackintosh to Phillimore, Mon., Fri. [Mar.], 13 Mar. 1823.
- 87. Ibid. 19 Mar.; Wellington mss, Wellington to Mrs. Arbuthnot, 18 Mar. .
- 88. The Times, 8 Mar.; Bessborough mss, Brougham to Duncannon [10 Mar.]; Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland, 25 Mar. .
- 89. Brougham mss, Russell to Brougham [23 Mar. 1823].
- 90. O’Leary, 152-3.
- 91. The Times, 23 Apr. 1823.
- 92. Specimens of the Table Talk of Coleridge (1835), i. 24-25.
- 93. Von Neumann Diary, i. 124-5; The Times, 14 June 1823.
- 94. Life of Wilberforce, v. 186.
- 95. The Times, 21 June 1823.
- 96. Ibid. 10 July 1823.
- 97. Ibid. 5 July 1823.
- 98. O’Leary, 154-5; Add. 51659, Whishaw to Lady Holland, 20 July 1823; 52445, ff. 116-38.
- 99. Add. 51654, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 8 Nov. 19 Dec.; 51659, Whishaw to same, 3 Nov.; 51579, Morpeth to same, 25 Dec. 1823.
- 100. Add. 51659, Whishaw to Lady Holland, 22 Jan.; 51668, Bedford to same [18 Jan. 1824]; Lady Holland to Son, 25; Broughton, iii. 30; Life of Wilberforce, v. 213.
- 101. Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland [16 Mar. 1824].
- 102. Agar Ellis diary, 18 Mar. .
- 103. TNA 30/29/9/5/22, 24; Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 20 Mar.; 51654, to Lady Holland [20 Mar.]; 51667, Bedford to same [28 Mar.] 1824.
- 104. Buxton Mems. 135-6; The Times, 26 Mar. 1824; Life of Wilberforce, v. 222.
- 105. Croker Pprs. i. 266; The Times, 4, 8 May 1824.
- 106. The Times, 18, 23 June 1824.
- 107. Lady Knutsford, Life and Letters of Zachary Macaulay, 421-2; O’Leary, 157.
- 108. Add. 30115, f. 28; 51654, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 3, 29 Aug.; 51679, Russell to same, 4 Oct. ; 52446A and B.
- 109. Fox Jnl. 198.
- 110. W. Hazlitt, Spirit of the Age ed. E.D. Mackerness (1969), 151-3.
- 111. Merthyr Mawr mss F/2/8 (14 Feb. 1825); Bankes jnl. 153.
- 112. The Times, 26 Feb. 1825.
- 113. Brougham mss, Mackintosh to Brougham, 16, 17 Mar. 1825.
- 114. Add. 52447, ff. 1-6; O’Leary, 161-2.
- 115. PROB 11/1803/453; Add. 52448, f. 17.
- 116. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 18, 27 Aug., 8 Oct. 1825; 52447, ff. 11-25.
- 117. Lansdowne mss.
- 118. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 23 Jan., 18 Feb.; 51659, Whishaw to same, 26 Jan. 1826; Russell Early Corresp. i. 246.
- 119. Add. 36462, f. 170; 40385, f. 177; 51659, Whishaw to Lady Holland, 14 May; 51668, Bedford to same, 27 May 1826; 52453, f. 109; Chatsworth mss 6DD/GPI/1263.
- 120. Lady Holland to Son, 43, 49-50; Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland [Aug.]; 51655, same to Lady Holland , 29 Aug., 1 Sept. 1826; 52447, ff. 27-29; O’Leary, 165-9.
- 121. Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 1 Oct.; 51655, to Lady Holland, 24 Oct., 12 Nov., 6 Dec.; 51813, Scarlett to same, 5 Sept. 1826.
- 122. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 21  Feb., 23, 30 Mar. 1827; 52447, ff. 39-60.
- 123. Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 19 Apr.; 52182, to Allen, 20 Apr.; 52447, f. 105; Lansdowne mss, Mackintosh to Lansdowne, 22 Apr. 1827.
- 124. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 29 Apr. 1827; 52447, ff. 105-7; Canning’s Ministry, 241, 265, 276.
- 125. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland  , 11, 27 May, 1 June; 52447, ff. 61-68, 107-8; 52453, ff. 132, 134; Canning’s Ministry, 299; Lansdowne mss, Mackintosh to Lansdowne, 20 May 1827.
- 126. Add. 51569, Whishaw to Lady Holland, 16 June 1827.
- 127. Lansdowne mss, Mackintosh to Lansdowne, 20, 27 May 1827.
- 128. Add. 52447, ff. 69-77, 81-82, 84; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1348.
- 129. Add. 52447, ff. 85-97, 108-10; 52453, f. 146.
- 130. Add. 51655; 52447, ff. 113-14, 146; Lansdowne mss.
- 131. Bucks. RO, Fremantle mss D/FR/138/21/2/17.
- 132. Add. 38750, f. 180; 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 7, 20 Sept.; 51687, Lansdowne to Holland, 2, 5 Sept.; 51690, to Lady Holland, 16 Sept. 1827; Greville Mems. i. 189.
- 133. Brougham mss, Mackintosh to Brougham, 4 Oct.; Add. 51655, to Lady Holland, 8 Oct. [15 Nov.] 1827.
- 134. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland [19 Nov. 1827]; 52447, ff. 117-18, 127, 140-1.
- 135. Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 3 Dec.; 51655, to Lady Holland , 26 Nov., 14 Dec. 1827; 52447, ff. 117-18.
- 136. Add. 36464, f. 212; 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 1 Feb.; 51655, to Lady Holland , 23 Jan.; 52182, to Allen, 11 Jan. 1828; 52447, ff. 146-7; 52453, f. 172.
- 137. Croker Pprs. i. 418.
- 138. Harewood mss, Cavendish Bentinck to Lady Canning, 14 May 1828.
- 139. The Times, 9 July 1828.
- 140. Brougham mss, Mackintosh to Z. Macaulay, 26 July 1828.
- 141. Add. 34613, ff. 402, 415, 419, 428, 446, 450; 34614, ff. 1, 5, 12, 14-17, 19, 22, 55, 57, 67, 77, 94, 105, 119, 131, 138, 154, 160, 225, 263, 375; 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland [Sept.] [6 Nov. 1828].
- 142. Add. 51659.
- 143. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 17 Dec. [Dec.] 1828 , 24 Jan. 1829.
- 144. Add. 76369, Althorp to Brougham, 14 Feb.; Brougham mss, Abercromby to Brougham [c. 16 Mar. 1829].
- 145. Broughton, iii. 311.
- 146. Add. 52447, ff. 148-51; Cockburn Letters, 211.
- 147. Add. 34614, f. 50; 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 30 Apr. .
- 148. Add. 34614, f. 138; 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland [5 June], 31 July 1829.
- 149. O’Leary, 178; Greville Mems. i. 325-6; Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 20 Oct. .
- 150. Greville Mems. i. 328-30.
- 151. Life of Wilberforce, v. 314-15.
- 152. Russell Early Corresp. i. 297.
- 153. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland [4 Apr. 1830].
- 154. O’Leary, 190-1; Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland [July]; 51677, Russell to Holland [26 July 1830].
- 155. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland [July]; Brougham mss, to Brougham, 31 July 1830; Chatsworth mss 6DD/GPI/1997.
- 156. Add. 34614, f. 375; 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 27 Aug., 26 Sept., 3, 15 Oct.; 51659, Whishaw to same, 12 Sept.; 52182, Mackintosh to Allen, 7 Oct. 1830.
- 157. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 3 Nov. 1830; 52453, f. 194.
- 158. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland [Nov.]; 52453, ff. 196, 198; Grey mss, Lansdowne to Grey [19 Nov.], Holland to Grey [20 Nov. 1830], Grey to Holland, 2 Nov. 1835; Harrowby mss, Sandon to Harrowby, 19, 25 Nov. 1830.
- 159. Add. 51562, Brougham to Holland [?29 Nov. 1830]; Corresp. of Macvey Napier ed. M. Napier, 251.
- 160. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 2 [18, 22] Dec. 1830.
- 161. Ibid. Mackintosh to Lady Holland [3, 8, 21 Mar., 19 Apr. 1831].
- 162. Ibid. Mackintosh to Lady Holland [24 Apr.], 4, 18 May 1831.
- 163. Ibid. Mackintosh to Lady Holland, Mon. [?6 June 1831].
- 164. Broughton, iv. 119; Le Marchant, Althorp, 328; Add. 51573, Rice to Lady Holland [4 July 1831]; Bulwer, Hist. Characters, ii. 51.
- 165. The Times, 16 July 1831.
- 166. Add. 51655.
- 167. Ibid. Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 25 Aug. 1831.
- 168. Holland House Diaries, 61, 72-73; Add. 51653, Mackintosh to Holland, 31 Oct. 1831.
- 169. Holland House Diaries, 72; Add. 51563, Brougham to Holland [bef. 27 Oct.]; 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, Sat. [Oct.]; Brougham mss, Holland to Brougham, 27 Oct. .
- 170. Add. 51565, Mackintosh to Lady Holland [19 Feb.]; 52182, to Allen [22 Feb. 1832].
- 171. Mackintosh Mems. ii. 484-9; Eg. 3718, f. 22; Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland [26 Apr. 1832]; Losh Diaries (Surtees Soc. clxxiv), ii. 138; Broughton, iv. 237; Greville Mems. iii. 266; ‘Pope’ of Holland House, 258; Holland House Diaries, 190; Gent. Mag. (1832), ii. 81-83.
- 172. Althorp Letters, 157; Gent. Mag. (1832), ii. 660; O’Leary, 204-5, 207.
- 173. PROB 11/1803/453; IR26/1296/319; O’Leary, 207; Gent. Mag. (1832), ii. 560.
- 174. Edinburgh Rev. lxi (1835), 268; Macaulay Letters, iii. 151; iv. 23, 96.
- 175. Bulwer, ii. 3-4, 59, 91-92.