TIERNEY, George (1761-1830), of 11 Savile Row, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 20 Mar. 1761, 3rd s. of Thomas Tierney of Limerick, prize agent at Gibraltar, and w. Sabina (d. 23 July 1806). educ. Boteler’s, Warrington;1 Eton 1776; Peterhouse, Camb. 1778; L. Inn 1780, called 1784. m. 9 July 1789, Anna Maria, da. of Michael Miller of Bristol, 1s. 3da. d. 25 Jan. 1830.
Treas. of navy June 1803-May 1804; PC 1 June 1803; pres. bd. of control Oct. 1806-Apr. 1807; master of mint May 1827-Feb. 1828.
Lt.-col. commdt. Loyal Southwark vols. 1803-4, Somerset Place vols. 1803-4.
At the start of this period Tierney sat uneasily in the unenviable position of leader of the Whig opposition in the Commons to which he had been nominated (not entirely faute de mieux, for he was a formidable parliamentarian) in 1818. Although he had received scant support from the selfish and idle Lord Grey, he had generally performed well in a difficult situation. Yet he was being undermined by indifferent health: after suffering a collapse in the House towards the close of the 1819 emergency session, he had told Grey and the whip Lord Duncannon* that if he was to continue as leader, he must be allowed to act ‘upon a limited scale’.2 It was not only unreliable health which led contemporaries habitually to refer to Tierney as ‘old’, even before he reached his sixtieth birthday in March 1821.3 His innate pessimism, a nervous temperament (Lord Althorp* commented that he was ‘so anxious that it tears him to pieces’)4 and a timidity in council which contrasted strikingly with his bold assertiveness in debate, of which he was a master, gave an impression of weakness and indecision, to the exasperation of the party’s more adventurous spirits. Shortly before the dissolution which followed the death of George III, Tierney, by taking an avowedly neutral line in the House on the case of Queen Caroline, while trying to prevent ministers from fudging the issue, not only annoyed her more violent partisans, such as Henry Brougham* and Joseph Hume*, but upset some of the moderates. Backed as he subsequently was by Grey and Lord Holland, he stood by what he had said, remarking to the former that ‘there can be no middle line between cashiering and giving her all her rights. If she is not fit to be acknowledged by the king, she is not entitled to be supported at the expense of the country’.5
Accepting the offer of the 6th duke of Devonshire to bring him in again for Knaresborough at the 1820 general election, Tierney (who was also returned for Appleby on the interest of the 9th earl of Thanet, as part of a contingency plan arising out of the Cumberland election), wrote from his Savile Row house, 16 Feb.:
My room is a sort of office for electioneering and I do nothing but write and talk about contested counties, cities and boroughs ... Personally, it would be of little moment to me if I never again entered the House of Commons. I am growing old, and my health is not what it was, but I am willing to carry on the war, as well as I am able, so long as it is thought I can be of any service to the cause of my friends.6
In the course of his journey to Knaresborough with his colleague Sir James Mackintosh he said that ‘he could no longer attend regularly or even frequently in the hot weather’ and, ruling out Mackintosh and Lord Althorp for different reasons, envisaged Brougham as his successor as leader.7 He calculated an overall gain of about six for opposition, but reported to Grey that ‘government people are much discomposed at the result of the elections, and it is the fashion to call it the triumph of the radicals’.8 In early April Lord Granville recorded that Tierney was ‘evidently much disposed to make parliamentary reform a party question, and wishes the Whigs to head the reformists’; but the following day Tierney himself wrote gloomily to Grey:
Anything like constant attendance in the House of Commons ... is quite out of the question. Of this I gave Duncannon and others fair notice before Christmas, so that no fault ought to be found with me. I am it is true at this moment in good health, but I know by experience what I have to expect from two or three long nights in a bad atmosphere, even if exposed to nothing more than my share of work. I am greatly mistaken, however, if in the next session there is not a demand upon me for stronger nerves, better spirits and more temper than I pretend to possess, and if, to execute the office of leader, it is not found necessary to have requisites which do not fall to my lot. As for authority, except with a certain number, I have it not, and in your absence, I do not see where it is to come from; and yet if I were to withdraw they tell me - and I am afraid with truth - I should disband the whole opposition. A pleasing prospect this.9
From Brighton, where he went for a short spell of recuperation, he told Lady Holland, 10 Apr. 1820, that he ‘never had less inclination for a parliamentary campaign than I have for that which is approaching’.10 Grey, who, to Tierney’s irritation, gave no ‘hint at the possibility of his coming to town’, observed to Duncannon that ‘his health forbids us to hope that he will be able to bear hard work and constant attendance, and without this a leader must be in a great degree inefficient’.11
On his return to London he was reported to be of opinion that it would be ‘infinitely better to make good use’ of the Peterloo massacre ‘collaterally in debates than to bring forward any substantive motion respecting it’.12 His anodyne observation on the address, 27 Apr. 1820, that he was not disposed to disturb the ‘prevailing unanimity’ of the House at the start of a new reign, was privately condemned as ‘very bad’ and ‘shabby’ by Hobhouse, the advanced Whig Member for Westminster.13 He harried Vansittart, the chancellor of the exchequer, on ministers’ intentions regarding the civil list, 27, 28 Apr., 1, 2 May.14 He spoke and voted for the opposition motions on the subject, 3, 5, 8 May, protesting against ‘voting away the public money in the dark, during a season of great public pressure’, and throwing out hints about provision for the queen.15 Althorp informed his father a few days later that he
has hitherto kept well, but we have not been later than twelve yet, and he has not been called upon to make a long speech. Whenever this happens I am afraid he will fail, and we have all agreed to insist upon his not hazarding his health in the least by coming down when he is not quite able to bear it, and we must fight under Brougham during his absence.
Sydney Smith told Grey that he was ‘well, but very old, and unfit for anything but gentle work’.16 He was hopeful of beating government on the question of the appointment of an additional baron of exchequer in Scotland, 15 May, when he accused them of clinging to power through ‘patronage and influence’; but a poor opposition muster and a ministerial promise of inquiry saw the motion defeated by 189-177. He was blamed by some for the subsequent procedural bungling which ‘wrecked the effect’ of the debate; and Holland told Grey, still taking his ease in Northumberland, that he was ‘timid and inactive’.17 Tierney again attacked government on the civil list, 17 May. Supporting the transfer of Grampound’s seats to Leeds as an indication to the ‘middle classes’ that the House was willing to implement reasonable improvements to the electoral system, he castigated Lord Castlereagh and his colleagues for their obscurantism. Yet to the disgust of Brougham, who complained that he had ‘got Castlereagh out of the worst scrape he ever was in’, he supported the ministerial restriction of the scope of the inquiry into agricultural distress, 31 May.18 The following day he supported the imposition of a duty on the import of foreign linen yarn and voted against the aliens bill; but Althorp reported that ‘many’ Whigs were irritated by his refusal to attack Vansittart over his policy of borrowing to finance the national debt.19 He called for the creation of a contingency fund to provide for the sisters of deceased naval officers, 9 June. He spoke and voted for Hume’s motion for economies in revenue collection, 4 July, when he said that ‘at bottom, all the abuses on this subject were attributable to influence’, and voted against the barrack agreement bill, 13 July 1820.
He had scarcely credited reports earlier in the year that the queen intended to come to England, and indeed had bet Brougham, of all people, a guinea that she would not appear within six months. In mid-May, sensing the possibility of a ‘new era’, which might benefit the Whigs, though basically inclined to the view that the affair would end in ‘a compromise disgraceful to her, the king and the administration, and their renewal of their lease for another year for those who can neither possess the good opinion of the crown nor the confidence of the country’, he implored Grey to come to London to direct operations:
No man can estimate more highly than I do the comfort of being out of the reach of political warfare at such a moment as the present, for, though I put as good a face upon the matter as I can, I am most heartily sick of the House of Commons and its bustle, and should be happy if I could devise the means of passing my few remaining years in peace and quiet ... I know it is said by some that the business of the queen ought not to be made a party question. I do not see it exactly in that light, but, if it is to be so considered, you are the only person who can place it upon the right footing, and if anything should occur to render it expedient that we should all act together as a body, you ought to be here to take the lead.20
Grey did not go up for another four weeks. On the motion for the appointment a secret committee, 7 June, Tierney ‘thanked God’ that he had had nothing to do with the negotiations, but insisted that ‘before any money was voted to the queen, some course ought to be taken which would establish either her innocence or her guilt’. He attacked ministers, who had ‘acted with injustice to the queen, disrespect to Parliament, and above all with the most marked indifference to the feelings and dignity of their master’, and, opposing the committee, argued that compromise was not possible under present circumstances. The Tory Member Henry Bankes noted that in doing so he indulged in some ‘levity and jocularity’.21 To Grey he condemned the conduct of government, who had ‘contrived to create a general interest in her favour’, as ‘disgustingly disgraceful’; and he told Lady Holland that he was ‘satisfied that the line I took ... on this business was the right one’.22 Soon afterwards Tierney, like Holland and Lord Lansdowne, was sounded by emissaries from the king (in his case Lord Hutchinson), who ‘assured me that the ministers would be immediately dismissed if I would say that I advised him to press the king to do so’. He refused to give such advice, pointing out that ‘the management of his present ministers had given such a turn to the opinion of the country, and made such an impression upon the House of Commons, that I was satisfied no administration could be formed capable of stemming the tide of popular feeling’. He observed to Grey, who now had no option but to go to London, that ‘a sudden dismissal of the ministry in a moment of wrath would have been the worst possible thing for us’; but, while he did not trust George IV, he was not entirely dismissive of the chances of the Whigs being able to form and sustain a ministry:
You know that I have always felt, or, as you would perhaps say, exaggerated, the difficulty of our forming an administration ... Are we to confine ourselves to our own ranks, or are we to look for alliances? This is the main embarrassment ... In other respects a variety of circumstances concur to render the present a favourable moment for a new administration to commence its labours. The distressed state to which this country has been brought in its finances, trade and agriculture is so universally admitted that it constitutes in itself a sort of claim upon public support in aid of those who, without having contributed to the mischief, are to be employed in endeavouring to avert or mitigate it. The question of the queen, too, having been disposed of, the civil list settled and the budget for the year arranged gives infinite advantage to those who might, ten days hence, be called to office, and who would have six months before them, uninterrupted by parliamentary duties, to form their plans and prepare for a future campaign. These apparently favourable circumstances must not, however, be allowed to mislead you, or make us overload the probable difficulties we should have to encounter in the next session. I always speak with reference to the House of Commons.23
When Grey did arrive in London, he complained to his wife, 21 June, that he had no idea what Tierney intended to do on Wilberforce’s motion of the following day for a compromise settlement, which he thought should be opposed.24 Tierney, who, according to Mackintosh thought ministers would soon be forced out office,25 duly took this line in the House, and he spoke and voted for the opposition adjournment motion, 26 July, when he strongly attacked ministers and called for a change of government. He forced Castlereagh to concede that they had plans to provide financially for the queen, 3 July 1820. On the 6th, discountenancing Ferguson’s earlier motion for the production of papers on the Milan commission, which drew ironical cheers from the ministerial benches, he declared that he would ‘keep his mind clear and unbiased’, so that when the queen’s affair came regularly before the House, he could consider it ‘without regarding popular clamour on the one hand or Court influence on the other’. He admitted in private at the end of the month that he was ‘considerably alarmed’ at the threat posed to public order, especially in London, by popular support for Caroline, whom he was later inclined to consider as ‘mad’.26
On 21 Aug. 1820 he opposed Hobhouse’s attempt to prorogue Parliament, prompting Lord Morpeth† to condemn ‘the violence of the queen’s friends and the irresolution of Tierney’.27 A month later a backbencher complained that ‘Tierney contrives to be out of town’ on the occasion of Hobhouse’s renewed attempt to force a prorogation.28 A ‘slight bilious attack’ at about this time decided Tierney, whose sister’s son William Robarts, Member for St. Albans, was causing him great anxiety as he lapsed into what soon proved to be a fatal illness, to stay away from the queen’s trial in the Lords, as he told Holland, 1 Oct.: ‘I do not ... think it would be a very wise action unnecessarily to expose myself to the heat of one House of Parliament when I shall so soon be obliged to encounter the other’.29 He attended the Commons, 17 Oct., when his milk and water countering of the ministerial proposal for a five week adjournment with one for a fortnight and his failure to condemn the bill of pains and penalties led to a clash with a furious Creevey (who had come in in his room for Appleby). Creevey, who had dubbed Tierney ‘Mrs. Cole’, after the brothel keeper in a Foote farce much given to proclaiming her own virtues, reflected:
Alas poor Cole! I had always a misgiving that she would get her death from me, and last night I fear the presentiment was nearly verified ... I had not pronounced two sentences before one and all of his troops deserted him. The roar that resounded from every part of the benches behind him (which were very full) was as extraordinary to me as it must have been agreeable to him.
Morpeth, however, took Tierney’s side, and got the impression that he had ‘had some influence with his irregular troops’. The Hollands, too, were outraged by Creevey’s behaviour.30 After the debate he ‘had a word’ with Hobhouse:
He said the bill would not pass the Lords, but what would the queen get? ‘She will get her name in the liturgy’, said I. ‘Oh yes, for that, but all will be forgot and quiet in six months’. ‘What’, said I, ‘won’t you hang these ministers?’ ‘Ah’, replied Tierney, ‘I wish I had my life on so good a tenure as the ministers have their places’.31
On 23 Nov. 1820 Tierney joined in the rowdy opposition attempt to delay the prorogation by Black Rod so that Brougham could deliver a message from the queen. Lord John Russell*, in Paris, found it hard to ‘fancy the cautious Tierney applauding a schoolboy riot’.32 Yet Lord Buckingham heard a month later that he was ‘very angry with his radical friends and they with him’.33 He was approached by Lord Donoughmore at the behest of the king, who, furious with his ministers after the abandonment of the bill, wished to negotiate with Grey. In his absence Tierney was cautious and non-committal, and nothing came of the business. Indeed, they agreed in early December that no further overtures from third parties should be entertained.34 Tierney and Holland took the lead in attempting to promote county and other meetings to petition in support of the queen. To an initially dubious Grey he argued that ‘everything depends upon the public mind being kept thoroughly alive during the next two months’: ‘The nail to drive is the restoration of the queen to the liturgy ... All clamour for change of ministers I am quite against’. He was discouraged by setbacks in Yorkshire and Cumberland, but persevered into the new year, with ultimately encouraging results.35 There was a ludicrous episode in December 1820 when Tierney, in a jocular answer to the question of Decaze, the French minister, as to what the Whigs would do with Buonaparte if they came to power, said that they would ‘put him on the throne of France’. The remark, relayed to Metternich, caused ‘a diplomatic frisson’ at the Congress of Troppau, and in the ensuing fuss Tierney, who was described at this time by Henry Fox* as ‘one of those wise-acres who always see into a mill-stone’, was ‘frightened out of her wits’ at the possible consequences, as a delighted Creevey put it.36
At Cassiobury in the last days of 1820 Tierney, just recovered from ‘a terrible cough and cold’, told Sir Robert Wilson* that he was ‘all for refusal of [the] queen’s allowance, be the sum what it may ministers propose to offer, until her name is restored to the liturgy’.37 ‘Lively and witty’ at Holland House, 3 Jan. 1821, he was heartened by the success of Devonshire, to whom he wrote a fawning letter of congratulations, in carrying a successful amendment to a Tory motion for a loyal address at a Derbyshire county meeting. He worked to ensure a good attendance, though he did not doubt that government would have a majority in any division on the queen, and urged Grey to come up for the start of the session to assert his authority, ‘however limited’. Unlike Grey, he was not keen on an amendment to the address, but he met Brougham, James Scarlett* and James Abercromby* to consider the matter, 14 Jan. In the event, none was moved.38 On 23 Jan. Tierney, supporting Wetherell’s call for papers on the liturgy question, responded to Castlereagh’s comment that he should use his influence to prevent such obstructive motions being made with the observation that while the minister tried to
represent the opposition as an army invariably acting under the orders of a general ... [he] disavowed the power and command which ... [he] ascribed to him; if such a power were offered to him he would decline the responsibility attached to it.39
On the address, in a speech described by the Grenvillite Member William Fremantle as ‘tame’,40 he demanded a more active line in the protection of European liberalism, welcomed the promise of retrenchment but noted the disastrous state of the economy and deplored recent attempts by sheriffs to suppress county meetings in support of the queen. He gave a silent vote for her restoration to the liturgy, 26 Jan., after being delayed in his appearance in the House by an ‘indisposition’. He received his share of blame for the procedural disarray into which the opposition campaign on behalf of the queen had fallen.41 On 31 Jan., in what even Creevey considered to be ‘one of his very best speeches’,42 Tierney, having called Castlereagh to order for accusing opposition of stirring up agitation in the country in the hope of gaining office, retorted that he would ‘rather die on a dung hill’ than hold power on the same terms and by the same methods as Castlereagh. Admitting that he had been accused by some of his political associates of being ‘too lukewarm’ in the queen’s business, he now roundly condemned the government’s treatment of her, which had been ‘marked by a little, petty, rancorous malevolence’. When supporting the opposition censure motion, the crushing defeat of which seemed to confirm ministers’ security in office for the immediate future, 6 Feb., he argued that there would be no advantage in a change of government without ‘a change of system’, specifying Catholic emancipation, repeal of the Six Acts and an instalment of parliamentary reform, of which he had always been ‘a warm friend’, sufficient to ‘make the House a real representative of the Commons of England’. He concluded with a denunciation of the corrupt system developed by Pitt and his successors, which
had given them such a root in the church, in the army, and in the navy, as proves, when a strong resistance is made against them, that the sense of the people is opposed to them, since a great number of the people are absolutely under their fangs.
Henry Labouchere*, a spectator at the debate, was disappointed with the ‘eloquence and debating talent’ displayed, but said that ‘Tierney alone exceeded my expectations’. John Whishaw noted that he ‘has spoken very well, but is declining in vigour. His health is quite unequal to these late nights’.43 He spoke and voted for Mackintosh’s motion deploring the Holy Alliance’s suppression of the liberal regime in Naples, 21 Feb., when he alleged that Castlereagh ‘approved in his heart of the conduct of Austria’. He voted silently for Catholic relief, 28 Feb., and protested against unwarranted delay in proceeding with the subsequent bill, 19 Mar.44 On 2 Mar. he said that the Grampound disfranchisement bill would be rejected by the Lords if it sought to deprive the untainted electors of that borough of a vote for Cornwall.45 He voted for Maberly’s motion on the state of the revenue, 6 Mar., and Macdonald’s attempt to reduce the army by 10,000 men, 14 Mar. 1821.
In mid-February 1821 Henry Grey Bennet, reflecting on the increasing enthusiasm of opposition for the ‘Mountain’s’ campaign for economy and retrenchment, hoped ‘the leaders will take an interest in the whole affair’, but thought that ‘if not it will be necessary to come to an understanding with Tierney, who is not to be allowed to take our exertions amiss if he absents himself on any plea except bad health from his daily attendance in the House’.46 However, in the first week of March Tierney formally resigned the leadership.47 Lady Cowper observed that ‘the reason is ill health and bore and above all that nobody attends him’; while Lady Palmerston reported that he ‘says nobody minds him, and he is sick of politics’; but she noted that
many of our rational friends think it will be better and that when ... there is no leader, there will be less jealousy of him, and that his opinion will have more weight and that perhaps the whole party may hang better together or, if not this, that they will quite divide and the violent ones walk off together.48
In fact the party, which Tierney, ground down by indifferent health and left to sink or swim by Grey, felt unable any longer to control, was ‘now completely disorganised’, in the words of John Campbell II*.49 Yet Tierney himself told Joseph Jekyll† that ‘his health failed under the duties’ and that ‘one late night was not recruited by three days’ quiet’. He added that ‘absence on motions by opposition friends was misinterpreted into dissent by the public and unpleasantly felt by the party’, but denied that ‘there was any schism or mutiny in his troops’, who ‘manifested implicit deference to his opinions, except perhaps a few intractable ultras’.50 Abercromby, reviewing the episode some years later, wrote that to the ‘assigned’ reasons of poor health and the bad impression created by selective attendance must be added ‘the violent course pursued by ... Creevey and others acting with him, who not only did not yield that respect and obedience which the party principle requires, but on occasions manifested personal opposition towards the views and conduct of ... Tierney’.51 ‘With the exception of the cause’, the duke of Bedford was ‘not sorry that Tierney has abdicated the command’, for ‘he had no authority over his troops’, and was ‘too old, too wary and too cautious for the enterprising spirit of the present day’. At the end of what he regarded as ‘a sorry campaign’ for opposition, Bedford told Lady Holland that ‘though I most sincerely wish that Tierney’s health may be completely restored, I trust I shall never again see him come forward as our leader. He is not to blame, as he was forced into the situation, but the experiment has wholly failed’.52 Grey Bennet, from the perspective of the ‘Mountain’, condemned Tierney’s initial ‘indecision in reference to the queen’, which had ‘damped the spirit of everyone’ from the outset, and his ‘indifference’, shared with other occupants of ‘Rotten Row’ (the opposition front bench) to the economy campaign.53
Tierney agreed with Creevey, 6 Apr. 1821, that distress petitions had been disregarded, but he was not prepared to countenance the denunciation of the dismissal of Lord Fife* from his household post for voting for repeal of the additional malt duty which Creevey had incorporated in his amendment against going into committee of supply. Later that day, however, he voted to reduce the war office grant. He voted for further army economies, 11, 16 Apr. On 12 Apr. he supported Hume’s motion for the disfranchisement of civil officers of the ordnance as a remedy for a specific grievance at Queenborough, but said he was not willing to conflate it with ‘the grand question of parliamentary reform’. He gave silent votes for Lambton’s, 18 Apr., and Russell’s, 9 May, motions on that subject, and for reform of the Scottish county representation, 10 May. He divided for repeal of the Blasphemous and Seditious Libels Act, 8 May, and inquiry into Peterloo, 16 May. He voted to censure of delays in the proceedings of the commission of judicial inquiry, 9 May, and was named to the select committee on the Irish report, 26 June (and again, 19 Mar. 1823). He voted fairly regularly for economies during May, and was in the minority for Hume’s general motion for retrenchment, 27 June 1821. He voted for mitigation of the punishment for forgery, 23 May, 4 June. He divided for inquiry into the administration of justice in Tobago, 6 June, and in condemnation of the suppression of liberalism in Sicily, 21 June. He was, however, one of the few Whigs who supported the grant of £6,000 to the duke of Clarence, as he explained on 8 June 1821.54
Tierney and his wife spent the late summer at Sandgate, near Folkestone, and moved in mid-September to Dover. Though not ‘much surprised’ that Wilson’s ‘indiscretion’ had got him into ‘a scrape’, he was ‘sincerely sorry’ for him after his dismissal from the army on account of his conduct at the queen’s funeral, and advised him as to his best course of action when he called on his return from the continent. In early October, telling Grey that he was otherwise out of the way of political news, he wrote:
My aversion to the present system does indeed daily increase, but, as I do not see how I can contribute to its overthrow, I may as well not set my bile afloat by worrying myself about it, at least during the recess. When Parliament meets ... I shall, if I continue as well as I am at present, have quite enough of storms and bitterness in the course of what will probably be the bustling and angry session which I shall witness.55
In December 1821 he convinced himself that the recruitment by the ministry of the Grenvillites and the Irish appointments of Lord Wellesley and William Plunket* indicated that ‘the king is friendly to [Catholic] emancipation, and that it is nearer at hand than many imagine’. He maintained this view, notwithstanding Grey’s cynicism, and refused to believe that he would ‘find a good many flying off this year on the Catholic question’.56
On the eve of the 1822 session, when he was ‘in good health and spirits’, he could ‘never remember town so empty when the meeting of Parliament was so close at hand’ and admitted that he knew ‘nothing of the intention of opposition’. He told Mackintosh that ‘he thought none of us (barring unforeseen calls) should speak, but should leave the ministers and the country gentlemen to squabble’, though he placed little faith in the reports that ‘the country gentlemen are coming up in a rare humour, and are to frighten ministers out of their wits’: ‘I do not take the wrath of Messrs. Gooch and Co. to be quite so formidable’. He was critical of Russell for writing public letters on the corn laws to Huntingdonshire farmers.57 Provoked by Londonderry’s (Castlereagh) comments into speaking on the address, 5 Feb., when he voted for Hume’s amendment (on which he did not want to divide), he nevertheless appealed to the disgruntled country gentlemen for support, and, showing some of ‘his old spirit and vigour’, called for sweeping retrenchment and abolition of the sinking fund (of which he had hitherto been a staunch supporter) to facilitate tax reductions.58 He voted against the suspension of habeas corpus in Ireland, 7 Feb., and for Wilson’s motion on his dismissal, 13 Feb., reporting to Grey that it had gone off ‘very satisfactorily’.59 He also voted for the motion in support of Alderman Robert Waithman*, 28 Feb. He would not support Brougham’s motion for further tax reductions, 11 Feb., believing it to be too strong; but on the 21st he spoke and voted for Althorp’s more moderate one, taking the opportunity to avow his change of opinion on the sinking fund, and arguing that to continue it, when the real surplus was only £5,000,000, was ‘to throw dust in the eyes of the country’. On 22 Feb. he mocked Vansittart, who ‘had for many years got so entirely out of his understanding, his accounts and speculations had become so indistinct, that for five years he [Tierney] had not troubled his mind with them’; but later that day he ‘went out of the House to avoid voting’ on Hume’s motion for information on naval pay.60 He voted for the production of detailed estimates, 27 Feb., gradual diminution of the salt duties, 28 Feb., and admiralty reductions, 1 Mar., when he denounced the government’s ‘manoeuvre’ in remitting part of the malt duty, but he left the chamber before Hume’s motion for army reductions, 4 Mar.61 He claimed to have no objection to the principle of the navy five per cents bill, 8 Mar., but voted for an amendment to extend the time allowed for dissent. He voted for abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar. The following day he supported Creevey’s motion for inquiry into the India board, though he complained that he had not been given notice of it. He was shocked by Creevey’s subsequent ‘Billingsgate’ attack on the Grenvillites, but felt he had committed himself to vote for the motion.62 Fremantle, a member of the board, thought that ‘nothing could be more absurd than Tierney’s conduct, speaking entirely against Creevey, and by his vote identifying himself with the opposition’.63 At this time Brougham, writing to Duncannon from the northern circuit of what he considered the folly of opposition in quarrelling amongst themselves, condemned Tierney: ‘The mischief he does is quite incalculable ... He sows distrust and disheartens everyone except the enemy, who he cheers daily by his complaints to them of us’.64 On 29 Mar. Tierney encouraged Plunket to bring on the Catholic question, but failed to draw him. He was present, 16 Apr., at a meeting with the Members Plunket, Newport, Parnell, Canning, Charles Grant, Phillimore and Charles Williams Wynn to consider the best course to adopt on the question. He ‘expressed a very strong opinion as to the detriment the general question had received from not having been taken up immediately upon the meeting of Parliament’ (he told Lady Holland that ‘the Catholic interests have been strangely and grievously mismanaged’), but he acquiesced in the decision to shelve it, though he carried his point that ‘the postponement should be Plunket’s own act, and not a measure advised by the friends of emancipation’.65 He objected to reception of a petition from the synod of Glasgow against Canning’s bill for the relief of Catholic peers, 17 Apr.66 He voted for parliamentary reform, 25 Apr., 3 June, abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 2 May, and Hume’s motion for the payment of military pensions from the sinking fund surplus, 3 May. He spoke and voted in the minority of 37 for Wyvill’s call for a large remission of taxation to ease agricultural distress, 8 May. Supporting the motion for cuts in diplomatic expenditure, 15 May, he urged the Tory country gentlemen to call Londonderry’s resignation bluff. Sir Watkin Williams Wynn* thought the speech ‘ingenious and good’; but Tierney voted in censure of his brother Henry’s appointment to the Swiss embassy the following day.67 He voted for criminal law reform, 4 June. He divided against the aliens bill, 14 June, 10 July, in protest against the present influence of the crown, 24 June, and for inquiry into chancery delays, 26 June, and repeal of the salt duties, 28 June. He voted for inquiry into the conduct of the lord advocate towards the Scottish press, 25 June, and called for the miscreant Hope to be speedily punished for breach of privilege, 9, 17 July. He voted for inquiry into the Calcutta bankers’ claims, 4 July, and was in Hume’s minority of 20 on the burgh accounts bill, 19 July 1822.
Tierney was at Worthing in August, and moved on to Brighton towards the end of the month. He anticipated no major changes following Londonderry’s suicide; wrongly predicted that Canning would still go to India; thought that there was not the remotest chance of an approach being made to the Whigs, who were ‘as much out of the question as if they were out of the world’, and supposed that the government, however reconstituted, would ‘have a sore time of it’ in Parliament’ but, ‘in the present state of their opponents’ would ‘contrive to keep their heads above water’.68 Brougham, anxious that opposition should be prepared in the unlikely event of an overture, urged Grey to take the appropriate steps and suggested that as he could not give up his profession, Tierney might ‘go on’ as a ‘nominal leader ... taking it just as easily as he chose’ and relying on Brougham’s ‘constant support’. Grey replied that only Brougham could provide effective leadership. Brougham, who asked Duncannon, if he saw Tierney, to ‘make him be quiet and not go telling Charles Long,* etc., every sort of twaddle that is against the party, which they immediately carry to Carlton House’, also exhorted the Hollands not to indulge in premature cabinet-making. Having been sent ‘a long quotation’ from Brougham’s letter by Lady Holland, Tierney commented:
I quite agree that it is foolish for any of our friends to proclaim the impossibility of our having the means within ourselves to form a government, but I must be forgiven if I think that it would be a very difficult undertaking, and if I confess myself entirely in the dark as to the manner in which it might be managed ... To constitute anything which could deserve the name of an administration there must be a great deal more than a mere muster of noblemen and gentlemen ready to accept the principal places. This I should say under any circumstances, but more especially in the present state of public affairs.69
Tierney, who was worried by the illness of two of his children, welcomed Hume’s reported disavowal of his connection with the Whigs, and was made ‘sick’ by the adulation of Canning on his promotion to the foreign office: ‘Anyone would suppose he was some young man of great promise but untried talents, instead of being an old battered politician who has been spouting all over the country for the last 20 years’. He was reported as believing that the introduction of Canning had made the ministry ‘stronger’; but at the close of 1822, writing from Russell Farm, near Watford, which his widowed sister rented, he observed that ‘if our friends act with common prudence and will have but a little patience they may occupy a more advantageous position than six months ago they could have hoped for’.70
Bedford, deploring the opposition hierarchy’s desertion of Hume when he attacked the recent appointment of a lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 12 Feb. 1823, commented that Canning had ‘laid himself particularly open, and it would have been a fine opportunity for old Tierney in his better days, mais ces beaux jours ... sont passes’.71 Tierney spoke and voted for Maberly’s motion for tax remissions of £7,000,000, 23 Feb., though with slight reservations as to the amount. On 3 Mar. he criticized the budget statement and voted for Hume’s call for £2,000,000 in reductions.72 He joined in the attack on the national debt reduction bill, 6, 13, 17 Mar., producing forceful speeches on the last two occasions. He was in Creevey’s minority on the Barbados defence fund, 17 Mar., but not Maberly’s for repeal of the assessed taxes the following day. Campbell now quoted him as saying that ‘the game is up’, and that ‘the party may almost be considered as dissolved’.73 He cast silent votes against the naval and military pensions bill, 11, 14, 18 Apr. On 17 Apr., speaking ‘very well’, as George Agar Ellis* thought, he reaffirmed his support for Catholic relief, but said it would never be carried unless a government was formed which would take it up fairly, and accused Canning of trifling with Catholic hopes and the Grenvillites of betraying the cause through their ‘eagerness to get into power’.74 He supported inquiry into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. He voted for Russell’s reform motion, 24 Apr., and Scottish reform, 2 June. He divided for abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 21 May. He voted in condemnation of the lord advocate’s conduct in the Borthwick case, 3 June, and was pleased with the strong opposition muster.75 He voted against government on chancery delays, 5 June, and the coronation expenses, 19 June. He said that chief baron O’Grady should be heard in his own defence at the bar of the House, 17 June. He was in the majority for the Scottish juries bill, 20 June. Two days later he breakfasted with Brougham at Holland House, and was described by Lord George William Russell* as ‘sententious and sarcastic, but very agreeable’.76 He voted for Brougham’s motion for further consideration of the Catholic petition complaining of the administration of justice in Ireland, 26 June, and against the grant for Irish glebe houses and for the petition of complaint against James Crosbie*, 1 July 1823.
Tierney voted for information on Catholic burials, 6 Feb., and the criminal jurisdiction of the Isle of Man, 18 Feb. 1824. He divided for reform of Edinburgh’s representation, 26 Feb. He voted for Hume’s attempts to reduce the ordnance estimates, 27 Feb., when he also voted for repeal of the usury laws, as he did again, 8 Apr. He spoke and voted in support of Abercromby’s charge of breach of privilege against lord chancellor Eldon, 1 Mar. The following day he voted for repeal of the window tax. Like Brougham, he thought inquiry preferable to Heron’s proposed bill to end the necessity of a renewal of offices on a demise of the crown, 4 Mar. On 15 Mar. he was in the opposition minorities on the beer tax, flogging in the army, and the grant for Protestant charter schools; and he voted against the provision for the publication of Irish proclamations, 19 Mar. Although ‘a fast friend to the principle of free trade’, he applauded Alexander Baring’s efforts to persuade government to hear the representations of the silk manufacturers before proceeding with the reduction of duties, 18 Mar. He opposed the aliens bill, 23 Mar., 2 Apr., when, following Canning, he stressed the importance of Britain’s maintaining ‘not a nominal but a real neutrality’ in European affairs; Canning’s friend Charles Ellis* thought he spoke ‘very well’.77 He voted to refer the reports of the Scottish commission of judicial inquiry to a committee of the whole House, 30 Mar. He voted against ministers on the grant for the refurbishment of Windsor Castle, 5 Apr., after joining in futile demands for assurances that no more money would be required. He voted against the grant for building new churches, 9 Apr. He divided for an advance of capital to Ireland, 4 May, and, when supporting inquiry into the state of Ireland, 11 May, gave Canning what was considered a ‘deserved ... dressing’: he accused him of indifference to the Catholic cause and of ‘playing fast and loose’ with opposition who, though ‘anxious for the success of parliamentary reform’, were not, as he alleged, pledged to introduce it if they came in. Fremantle reported that Tierney was ‘cheered in thunders by an immense band of opposition, and [there was] no attempt to put it down by the government’.78 Tierney, who was in the opposition minorities on Irish first fruits, 25 May, and pluralities, 27 May, presented a Knaresborough petition for inquiry into the prosecution of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 1 June, but he did not vote for Brougham’s motion on the subject, 11 June.79 He was in Hume’s minority of 38 for inquiry into naval impressment, 10 June. The following month Lady Holland reported that he ‘keeps perfectly well’ and ‘defies even punch and turtle’; but he was unable to ascertain what lay behind the almost daily cabinet meetings, as he told Grey, 29 July 1824: ‘All our politicians are quite in the dark, and the government secrets are well kept’.80
He did not write to Grey again until mid-January 1825, having just arrived in London, where he had not spent a fortnight since the summer. He could not guess how Canning would handle the Catholic question, but, hearing that many Whigs approved the conduct of the Catholic Association, was clear as to his own line:
My vote will be given as it always has been, but I must be pardoned if I steer clear of anything that looks like making common cause with Messrs. [Daniel] O’Connell* and Co. Indeed, they have parted company with us, their oldest and most tried friends, and have thrown themselves upon Sir F. Burdett* and [William] Cobbett†. Let my opinion, however, of their proceedings be what it may, I am more and more convinced of the pressing necessity which exists of granting their just claims, and I lament that the intemperate speeches with which the Association commenced its sittings should have frightened away some of their former supporters.
Gratified that Grey and Holland agreed with him, he planned to remain silent, if possible, until the ‘regular question of emancipation’ came on. He approved of Canning’s policy towards the independent South American states, but found it ‘really amusing’ to see him being ‘cried up as the champion of liberal principles’, though acknowledging that he was infinitely preferable to the Tory old guard.81 He felt obliged to attack the bill to suppress the Association and to urge the ‘pressing necessity’ of conceding Catholic claims, 11 Feb., when he made a splash with an attack on Plunket and his ministerial colleagues in his best and inimitably sarcastic style. One backbencher reported that it was ‘quite delightful and kept the House in a continued roar of laughter’; while according to Hobhouse, even his victims ‘could not help joining in the laugh’. Yet Fremantle noted that ‘although the House was amused’, Tierney’s raillery ‘did not lessen one iota the impression made by Plunket’; and Mrs. Arbuthnot thought it was entirely ‘irrelevant’ and ‘had nothing to do with the question’.82 Tierney, who did not subscribe to the view of many Whigs that ‘public opinion has undergone a material change in favour of emancipation’, confided to Grey his regret that Brougham had by his speeches identified himself so closely with the Association.83 But he voted for Brougham’s motion to hear their case against the unlawful societies bill at the bar of the House, 18 Feb., and was generous in his praise of his speech. He welcomed of the decision of the Association leaders, reached in concert with Burdett and Brougham, to bring on the Catholic question by resolution on 1 Mar., though he was worried that the interval which must necessarily elapse before a bill was brought in would allow the anti-Catholics to rally. According to Canning, Tierney assured him privately in the House, 21 Feb., that there would be no more serious resistance to the progress of the unlawful societies bill, which he voted silently against that evening, and on the 25th. He went over the lists with Duncannon, and correctly predicted a majority for the consideration of relief.84 He was named as a defaulter, 28 Mar., but attended and was excused, 1 Mar., when he duly voted for it. He divided for repeal of the assessed taxes, 3 Mar. On the Catholic relief bill, he urged Burdett to resist ministerial pressure to delay its second reading, 22 Mar., denied, as one of the committee who had drawn it up, that O’Connell was its author, 23 Mar., and reserved judgement on the proposals to pay the Catholic clergy and disfranchise Irish 40s. freeholders, 28 Mar. He voted for the second and third readings, 21 Apr., 10 May, but was suspected by the Grenvillites of intriguing with Grey to ensure that it did not become law.85 He voted for revision of the corn laws, 28 Apr. He opposed the grant to the duke of Cumberland, an ‘unwarrantable precedent’, 30 May, 2, 6, 9, 10 June. He wanted William Kenrick’s† conduct as a Surrey magistrate to be investigated, 21 June, and condemned, 28 June. He was in Hume’s minority of 18 for his amendment to the combination bill concerning intimidation, 27 June 1825.
Tierney and his wife went to Brussels in the second week of September, but he was laid low with diarrhoea and a ‘derangement’ of his liver. To his surprise and amusement Cumberland, who was also there, was uncommonly civil to him, and they ‘vowed everlasting friendship’. Expecting a ‘confounded dissolution’, which did not in the event take place, he returned to London earlier than planned. He took a pessimistic view of prospects for the Catholic question, and had ‘no idea of again being in a majority [on it] when the present Parliament is no more’, for ‘the sense of the country is against us’. He had misgivings about Lord Tavistock’s* address to Bedfordshire declaring that at the next election he would neither solicit votes nor spend money; but Bedford, Tavistock’s father, dismissed them as an example of his ‘usual way of croaking’.86 Towards the close of the year he kept a concerned eye on the commercial crash and the ‘gloom’ and ‘panic’ in the City, not the least disturbing aspect of which, he thought, was the handle which it gave to ‘Lord Eldon’s tribe’ to ‘talk of the mischievous effects of liberal principles’. In mid-January 1826 he wrote to Lady Holland from London:
With Grey I have not exchanged a line since he went out of town ... The meeting of Parliament is now near at hand and, though there are no longer any of the old party battles to be fought, I suspect there will be plenty of debating. Corn, currency and trade will it is most probable furnish many a long night, to say nothing of the state of slavery in the colonies ... and the Catholic question ... Of the state of the country as to money and trade there are many and contradictory reports, but, if I am rightly informed, the full effect of the late alarm has not yet been felt and great distress in the commercial world is to be looked for. Happily there seems to be no prospect of the peace being interrupted or the prospect would be very discouraging ... I have nothing to complain of but that I grow older every day and feel it.87
In the House, 9 Feb. 1826, Tierney got Robinson, the chancellor, to admit that the Bank had not made any formal proposal for the establishment of branches in the country. His initial impression of the measures proposed by government to deal with the banking crisis was favourable; but on 17 Feb., a few hours after Peel, the home secretary, had told the duke of Wellington that he seemed ‘indifferent’, he attacked the promissory notes bill as an abrogation of their stated principle of ‘a speedy return to a metallic currency’. He called for the issue of £5,000,000 in exchequer bills on ‘proper security’, which would facilitate a ‘return to a wholesome state of things ... a large circulation of paper, founded on a solid, substantial metallic currency’. Greville thought this speech ‘admirable’.88 On 20 Feb. Tierney spoke and voted in the minority of 24 against the ministerial proposal to allow banks to issue small notes until October. He told Holland that while he did ‘not see things in quite so gloomy a light as many of my neighbours’, he thought that ‘commercial credit is for the moment at an end’. He wanted ministers to act decisively, and even harboured a fear that ‘all this may end in our falling back into a paper system’, which ‘the Ultra members of administration’ would like to foist on Canning and the liberal group. He saw that he would be obliged to support Thomas Wilson’s motion for an issue of exchequer bills, 28 Feb., though he was resolved ‘if I say anything to take care distinctly to mark my opinion on the relative merits of the two contending parties so that my vote shall not be misunderstood’; in the event, the motion was withdrawn, as ministers revealed their own plans. That day Tierney criticized their scheme to indemnify the Bank for its advances to relieve distress, which was ‘all soap and oil - no one could get hold of it’. He also attacked what he later described to the Hollands as their ‘shabby’, and ‘miserable and mischievous ... subterfuge’ of getting the Bank to issue exchequer bills. He reckoned that they owed him thanks for exposing it, for ‘if I had made a formal motion with a few days notice, I should have run them very hard, and if nobody but Lord Liverpool had been concerned I would have done it’. Tierney, who voted against government on the Jamaican slave trials, 2 Mar., the army establishment, 3 Mar., Hume’s amendment to the notes bill requiring country banks to make monthly returns, 7 Mar., and Newport’s attempt to disfranchise non-resident Irish borough voters, 9 Mar., told Holland a few days later that economically, ‘things are certainly a little better’, though a return to prosperity was some way off. He anticipated an ‘abundance of bitterness and animosities’ on the corn laws, for there was ‘plenty of suppressed wrath fermenting which only waits for a good opportunity to vent itself against Canning and Huskisson’. He applauded Peel’s plans for reform of the criminal code: ‘Opposition as a party is extinct, and my only object being now to support that branch of the administration whose opinions come the nearest to my own, I rejoice in whatever annoys and disgraces those with whom I think it is nearly impossible that I should ever agree’. He sympathized with the outcry in Scotland against the proposal to prevent the issue of promissory notes below the value of £5: ‘if we had proposed to screw every Highlander into a pair of tight leather breeches we could not have created more alarm’. He was named to the select committee on the subject, 16 Mar., but did not expect a bill to result. On a personal note, he confessed to Holland that ‘though on the score of health I have nothing to complain of, I feel every day more and more that which I do not accomplish soon I may never accomplish at all’. Irritated by the reluctance of the Hollands’ son Henry Fox* to embark on the parliamentary career which had been earmarked for him, he commented that ‘all the young ones appear to me to want that sort of energy and ambition which used to animate us old boys when in our youth’.89 He presented a Knaresborough petition for the abolition of slavery, 20 Mar.,90 when he voted to reduce the grant for Irish chartered schools. He was in the minority on Irish first fruits revenues the following day. A ‘very troublesome cough ... which is tolerably quiet all day but plagues me sadly at night’ drove him to Brighton, ‘without reaping much if any benefit’, in early April. On the 7th he spoke and voted against the proposal to give the president of the board of trade a separate ministerial salary, and he did so again on the 10th, when he made a hard-hitting, sarcastic speech at Canning’s expense, and repeated the reference to ‘His Majesty’s Opposition’ made earlier in the debate by Hobhouse; he was subsequently credited with coining the phrase. He was surprised, he told Holland, by the continued ‘general stagnation of trade’ and ‘want of confidence’.91 He voted for reform of Edinburgh’s representation, 13 Apr., and Russell’s reform motion, 27 Apr., when he was pleased with some of the opposition speeches but disappointed with ‘a bad division’ (247-123).92 He voted for Whitmore’s motion for revision of the corn laws, 18 Apr. He welcomed the unexpected ministerial proposal to give themselves the power to open the ports at their discretion for the importation of corn at a duty of 12s., 1 May, but found himself at odds with the Whig protectionists, as he informed Holland:
All the landed interest are in a terrible commotion ... I have had no private communication with anybody but G[rey] and I then saw enough to satisfy me that the less I meddled the better as I might subject myself to the imputation of beating up for recruits against those with whom I am most sorry to differ. Upon my own opinion I must vote, and, if it be necessary, speak. The conduct of government has been very unaccountable and is, I admit, liable to much animadversion, but having supported Whitmore’s motion ... it is impossible for me not to give my countenance to a measure which provides some remedy for the evil which I deprecate ... I cannot say that I am in the sweetest possible temper.
He was ‘vexed’ to see Grey (to whom he seems not to have written after the summer of 1825), ‘after professing to withdraw from all political activity’, joining Lord Malmesbury and ‘the most violent of the Tories’ in attacking the government on this issue in the Lords, 1 May. From the other side of the protectionist fence, Bedford commented that ‘old Tierney the consumer’ had ‘always been the enemy of the agricultural interest, without understanding a jot of the subject. All he cares about is cheap bread, and when he gets it, what a pretty state the country will be in!’93 Tierney voted for inquiry into the state of the nation, 4 May 1826. Reported to be ‘in great health and vigour’ later in the month, on the 26th, as one of the ‘dissentients’ from the report of the small notes committee, he reviewed and criticized the ministry’s financial policy that session, wishing to
clear himself from having given any assistance to, or having participated in, what he conceived to be a system of delusion ... He washed his hands of it ... He felt no hostility to Lord Liverpool. He wished him every possible good ... as a man whom he respected; and he also wished him a little more nerve and firmness as a minister.94
Later that day he was in the majority for Russell’s resolution proscribing electoral bribery. He came in again for Knaresborough at the general election the following month.
Tierney stood by his support for the opening of the ports, even though it turned out that the legislation was ‘so worded that it will not meet the case’.95 When Peel’s brother-in-law George Dawson* asked him in early October 1826
what kind of campaign the opposition intended to carry on, he said, ‘There is no opposition now. I and others have long since given it up, the parties now are the government and the Canningites, and I and a great many others are of the latter class’.96
Three months later, when Hobhouse found him with Burdett, ‘discussing in what form the Catholic question ought to be brought on’, he ‘lamented that there was no opposition, no man to whom the country looks up’.97 In the House, 16 Feb. 1827, he voted with government for the grant to the duke of Clarence, to the disgust of Creevey and the surprise of Bedford, who asked: ‘What became of old Tierney? Is he, who is always so stout and plain spoken on these subjects, looking to the future favours of William IV?’98 He voted for Catholic relief, 6 Mar., and information on the Orange procession at Lisburn, 29 Mar. 1827. In the early stages of the period of uncertainty created by Liverpool’s stroke, he told Peel that opposition ‘meant very soon to ask a question as to the state of the government’, and that ‘for sixpence I would make a motion myself’. He did so on 30 Mar., when, with Brougham absent on the circuit, he took the initiative in moving to postpone going into committee of supply until ‘a strong, an efficient, and a united administration’ was in place. He at first seemed satisfied with Canning’s assurance that the king intended to replace Liverpool, and a considerable number of Members left the House, thinking there would be no division. But Tierney subsequently demanded a promise that the new ministry would be announced before the Easter holidays, which Canning refused to give; and, ‘at the instigation of some persons around him’, he divided the House, which rejected his motion by 153-80.99 He voted for inquiry into the Irish miscellaneous estimates and information on chancery delays, 5 Apr. On 12 Apr., when Williams Wynn moved the writ for Newport, Isle of Wight, where Canning was to come in after his appointment as first lord of the treasury, and an adjournment of the House to 1 May, Tierney ‘faintly opposed’ the latter, but did not force a division. He told Holland that he would have had a majority, ‘but then it would have been a majority of Tories, so it was best avoided’. Ruminating on the mass resignation of the anti-Catholic ministers, he went on:
How the new minister is to carry on the war is beyond my comprehension, that is to say with any strength of his own. He cannot hazard a single division without an assurance of our full support. Indeed I do not see how he is to form his staff without our help and though I now begin to think he must ask for it, I own I do not understand how it is to be obtained. Without us I should say Canning’s administration, unless he can whistle back the Tories, cannot last through the session ... I am afraid ... [Grey] is under evil influence.
Indeed Tierney, who was not particularly well, was upset by reports of Grey’s ‘ill considered invective’ against Canning, though he claimed to be unwilling to ‘pledge myself either to support or oppose the new administration’ without knowing what line Canning intended to take on the Catholic question. He observed to Holland in mid-April:
There never was a moment in which we were called upon for so much firmness, circumspection and temper, and what remains of our character will revive or be extinguished as we conduct ourselves. The state of the country requires a government bearing upon the face of it the appearance of stability ... God forbid that I should see ... [Eldon’s] gang brought back again and above all that I should see it restored to power in such a way as to induce a belief that their services could not be dispensed with. Now a short-lived ministry with Canning at its head would I am afraid have just such an effect.100
Soon afterwards he was quoted in Tory circles as saying that there was ‘no chance’ of the Whigs forming an alliance with Canning; and there was a curious report that he, like Grey, was actually ‘adverse’ to a junction.101 This was not the case, though he continued to dither as negotiations commenced between Canning and Lord Lansdowne. He did not wish the latter to be ‘pushed into administration’ by the cabal at Brooks’s led by Brougham; and he refused to take the blame for fouling the negotiations by ‘stipulating for a Catholic government in Ireland’, though he admitted that he had ‘heartily concurred’ in this demand, which was the very least that the Whigs were entitled to press. He told Holland that ‘the more I think of it the less inclination I have to take office without Grey or you’, and claimed that only concern for the future welfare of his son George, a junior diplomat with delicate health, prevented him from washing his hands of the business:
If I close my political life (and to withdraw at this moment would be to do so, as well as to give offence to a very great majority of my friends) I leave him as unprotected as I was myself when I began the world, and deprive him of the only advantage which can in any degree serve to counterbalance the follies of my own life, and the little use I have made of the talents which you at least I know will not accuse me of overrating from any vanity and self conceit ... People of all ranks and degrees seem to me to be gone mad about a junction with Canning. Some are actuated by a natural hatred of the Tory faction, some by being heartily sick of the thing called opposition, and not a few by a wish for office. All that can be said for them is that in giving their support to Canning they are not conscious of any dereliction of principle. The junction I am persuaded would in the first instance be popular, but how long such a temper as now prevails may last is another question. Unless the great mass of the Whig interest can cordially co-operate in giving and have some satisfactory security for receiving support by the projected union, the experiment is full of danger.102
Holland strongly urged him to take office, arguing that it would be ‘folly’ to refuse on account of scruples about offending Grey, and that no dereliction of principle would be involved. He also pressed Lansdowne to ensure that Tierney was given ‘a post of honour and profit’. Tierney still hesitated, fearful that the Catholics would be sacrificed to the king’s prejudices.103 On 26 Apr., however, he agreed to enter Canning’s cabinet, as master of the mint, with Lansdowne and Lord Carlisle, although their appointments were not to take place until Canning had managed to settle the Irish government to the satisfaction of the pro-Catholics. Lansdowne, communicating Tierney’s acceptance to Canning, ‘strongly’ urged him not to require Tierney to undertake to oppose parliamentary reform.104 The wags made play of his playful reference to Canning in his speech of 30 Mar. by imagining a ‘circular letter’ to the London press:
My speech on Canning’s ‘Master-mind’
One great mistake contains, I find:
Please to correct the gross mis-print
Of ‘Master-mind’, for ‘Master-Mint’.105
Bedford deplored the coalition, but told Holland that
what pleases me best in all these ridiculous transactions is to see old Citizen Tierney become a cabinet minister after 40 years’ hard labour to attain that eminence. I am pleased at it, because I like him and admire him personally, very sincerely; because I think it will cheer his old age, and he will not be troubled with any ‘compunctious visitings’.106
Tierney sat on the second bench on the government side of the House, 1 May, and on the treasury bench, 7, 16 May, when he moved the adjournment, in what was his sole reported contribution to debate during the life of the ministry. He told his son that their victory on 7 May, when, on Gascoyne’s motion for inquiry into the shipping interest, ‘the enemy were afraid to come up to the scratch and ran fairly away’, was ‘by far the most satisfactory thing that he has seen yet’.107 Canning offered him the governor-generalship of India as an alternative to the mint, but he was not interested. It became necessary to expedite the Whigs’ entry to the cabinet sooner than intended; and they meekly swallowed a stipulation that the Catholic question was to remain an ‘open’ one, as in Liverpool’s ministry.108 Tierney had an untroubled re-election for Knaresborough, 24 May. His absence from the Commons for the debate on the budget, 1 June, was taken as one of the signs of the ministry’s weakness; and at the end of the month, when Lansdowne and Canning were supposed to be at loggerheads, he was reported as saying, ‘We cannot go on; the coach must be all unpacked and repacked again’.109 Mackintosh noted in early July 1827 that Tierney had recently ‘suffered alarmingly from a singular complaint ... a hardening and swelling of a small and delicate but important organ which nature has unusually exposed to danger’. He was ‘confined six weeks to the sofa and took 350 grams of blue pill at 15 grams a day without touching his gums. He cannot yet take much exercise, but is in good general health’.110 According to John Denison*, on 7 Aug. Tierney assured the ailing Canning that his strong constitution would pull him through: he was dead within hours.111 Lady Cowper, speculating as to what might now happen, noted that ‘Tierney would hate being leader, it is too much work for him; but I believe he would not decline it for the sake of keeping things together if he was sure of powerful support’.112 The Tory Lord Lowther* predicted that although his health was not equal to ‘every night’s work’, he was one of the cabinet ministers who would ‘stick to the last, as they have little chance of again gaining six months salary or patronage’.113 Brougham, expecting the worst of Tierney, urged Holland
by main force [to] keep ... [him] from his wonted course of twaddle. I see him shaking his head and looking wise and saying we can’t carry on the government in the House of Commons now Canning is dead. Let him speak for himself. I say we can. I say he himself is more than a match for all Peel can bring against him. But I say whether he is or not, I am, and I say it without the least vanity, but because there are always some Tierneys ... who, distressing themselves, choose also to be so kind as to distress all their friends and to be fainthearted for others.
Holland, however, assured him that ‘Tierney’s head was never more fixed, nor his heart less appalled than upon this occasion’; Brougham was glad to hear it.114 Tierney agreed initially to stay on with Lansdowne under Lord Goderich, but objected ‘strenuously’, with ‘hasty and coarse expressions’, to the proposed appointment of the anti-Catholic John Herries* as chancellor of the exchequer, on which the king insisted. The resultant impasse seemed at one point almost certain to end in the resignation of the Whig ministers, though the Canningite Lord Palmerston* thought that Tierney only ‘affects’ to be outraged: ‘Will any man living believe that he would willingly go out if he had a decent excuse for staying on?’115 Holland, whom Tierney and Lansdowne were anxious to have admitted to the cabinet, whenever the king’s objections could be overcome, strongly urged him, 22 Aug., to resist Herries’s appointment to the death, even at the cost of resignation. Tierney agreed ‘entirely’, but could not
feel as confident as you do that our friends and the public will support us if the result is to be our retiring ... I am afraid that some of our adherents and a large portion of the country will ... strongly express their disapprobation of the part we act. We do not live in times when anything that savours of resistance to power is likely to meet with encouragement or even countenance ... As things stand at the moment [25 Aug.] all I can say to you is that ... if the Canningites are steady and act with us, as I am sure we wish to act with them, the king, so far as relates to Herries, cannot do otherwise than give way. If there is to be temporizing, timidity and concession, our days are numbered.116
He hoped for salvation from the offer of the exchequer to William Sturges Bourne*, but on his refusal was thrown back into agonies of indecision, as he told Lady Holland, 31 Aug.:
We have a most delicate and difficult game to play, and I do not doubt we shall be severely censured whatever we do. If we stay in with Herries we shall be said to disgrace ourselves. If we resign we shall be charged with breaking up the government and letting in the Tories. Would that some creditable middle course could be devised, but I hardly see how it can be looked for.117
He was by now, however, convinced that the nomination of Herries had originated not with the king but with Goderich and, while claiming that this did not ‘alter my opinion as to the unfitness of the appointment, which I still think a most improper one’, he did not feel that he could advise Lansdowne to refuse the entreaty which the king was expected to make to him to withdraw his tendered resignation, for the sake of the public service, 1 Sept. 1827. He wrote to this effect to Lansdowne before he went to Windsor that day, ‘after a sleepless night’, and confessing that ‘I never had a harder battle than between my feelings and my discretion’. He entirely endorsed Lansdowne’s submission to the king’s request: ‘I heartily rejoice that you tendered your resignation, but I think, there being no sacrifice or even compromise of any principle in question, you would not have been justified if you had continued to press it after the earnest manner in which His Majesty was pleased to appeal to you’.118 The Tories were contemptuous of the Whig ministers’ capitulation: the Arbuthnots wondered how Tierney, in particular, could stay in after ‘saying that he would rather starve than sit in the cabinet with Herries’.119 Bedford, however, was inclined to blame Lansdowne and acquit ‘the old Citizen’, who had been ‘stout and held out to the last’, but, quite rightly, ‘would not desert him’ at the crunch.120
Russell found Tierney, who got into a panic over the impending Lanarkshire by-election, fearing ‘an end to all cordial co-operation with the friends of liberal principles in Scotland’ if the lord advocate was allowed to continue supporting the Tory candidate against a Whig, ‘much out of humour’ when he met him at the Hollands’ Bedfordshire home at Ampthill just after the crisis had been resolved. Yet Lady Holland reported that he was ‘more at ease since the last breeze ... and has become quite fond of Lord Lansdowne and praises and extols him to the skies for his compliance’.121 He did his best to recruit support for the government, especially from Althorp and the young Whigs. He conducted negotiations with Russell, who submitted six propositions, endorsed by Grey, Althorp, Milton and Lord Tavistock, which amounted to stipulations of what was required to ensure their neutrality. Tierney, who insisted that there must be ‘nothing like a bargain’, preferred to regard them as ‘hints’; in any case, he was unable to persuade his cabinet colleagues to agree to them.122 Mrs. Arbuthnot heard in late October that he and Lansdowne were ‘very uncomfortable in their seats’; but Bedford had a ‘good account’ of him from Lady Holland, which dispelled his own worries about his well-being:
What I wrote to you some time ago was simply from my own observation. I passed two days with him, and three or four hours tete a tete, and thought he had lost much of that lively fancy, cheerfulness and gaiete de coeur, which used to delight us all; but I did not mean that he was going to hang himself, au pied de la lettre!123
Tierney, whom Holland found infuriatingly and unusually ‘boutonne’ at Brighton in early November 1827, assured Lady Holland that the story that ministers were ‘endeavouring by some compromise’ to prevent the Catholic question from being brought on next session was no more than malicious gossip.124 Tierney was worried about the popular and possible parliamentary reaction to the destruction of the Turkish fleet at Navarino, though he hoped that ‘satisfactory explanations will be given and ... all will end well’; but it was said in ministerial circles that his ‘want of power to conceal his apprehensions is complained of as hurtful’.125 Grey, regretting the lapse of their friendship, blamed him, along with Brougham, for spreading ‘injurious’ tales attributing his hostility to the coalition ministries to personal pique and snobbish distaste for Canning.126
In mid-November 1827 Tierney suggested to Goderich that Althorp should be appointed to the chairmanship of the finance committee. Herries, who later denounced Tierney as ‘an old rogue, the very focus of intrigue, descending to all kinds of tricks’, appeared at first to acquiesce, but subsequently raised strong objections and threatened to resign. Certainly Tierney, disregarding an understanding with Huskisson, carried on covert negotiations with Althorp. The deadlock created by Herries’s intransigence led to the collapse of the government, as the feeble Goderich threw in the towel in early January 1828.127 Tierney was dismissed by the duke of Wellington when he formed his ministry, though he promised to do what he could for his son, who aspired to be secretary of embassy at The Hague, where he was currently second secretary; had he wanted it, he could have applied for a commissionership of customs or excise.128 Tierney was said by a Tory to be ‘inexpressibly sad at losing a salary which he hugged’, while Palmerston, who joined the ministry with the other former Canningites, noted that Herries’s appointment as master of the mint would make him ‘doubly furious’.129 To his son he wrote, 21 Jan. 1828, of his
disgust ... that the friends of Canning, in return for the cordial and efficient support they received from the Whigs, should so readily avail themselves of an opportunity to exclude us from the cabinet, and to form a junction with those who have been his and their most inveterate enemies ... The compromise between Herries and Huskisson is most curious ... Herries appears to Huskisson a harmless cabinet minister when changed into the master of the mint. But all this is too contemptible to be talked of ... How all this will go down in the House of Commons remains to be seen, but I confess that I rather expect it will succeed, at least in the outset. I do not see how we are to embark at once on a systematic and furious opposition without exposing ourselves to the same censures which we heaped upon our opponents last year. At any rate so far as I am concerned I have no stomach for attacking anything but such measures as may seem fairly to provoke a battle. A great deal will depend upon the manner in which the recent change shall be received in Ireland.
Advising his son of Wellington’s friendly disposition, he wrote: ‘Do not trouble your head about my politics except to remember that they are very near their end, and that there is very little probability of my ever being again in office’.130 Anxious to set the record straight, both on his own and the Lansdowne Whigs’ account, he gave his version of events in the House, 18 Feb. 1828, after Huskisson and Herries, whose statements he described as ‘not altogether accurate’. He ironically expressed the hope that Wellington ‘may be enabled to control the jarring and discordant elements over which he has been called upon to preside’, criticized the former Canningites for their treatment of the Whigs, and insisted, unconvincingly, that Canning’s policy as prime minister on the Catholic question had been quite distinct from that of his predecessor. He was generally thought to have ‘shattered ... [Herries’s] statement to atoms’, though Abercromby wished he had been ‘less abusive of the Canningites’, and a Tory observer thought that while he was ‘very entertaining’, he had ‘impugned little of Herries’s statement’.131
This marked the effective end of Tierney’s political career. He was ‘very far from well’ in the spring of 1828, but recovered by slow degrees at Brighton, from where he wrote at the end of April that Wellington had ‘a very difficult game to play’ on the Catholic question, and that the Whigs ‘ought to be very well satisfied with what he has done’. He was ‘not sorry to have been away’ from the reportedly fractious proceedings of the finance committee, to which he had been named, 15 Feb. He was agreeably surprised by the majority to consider Catholic relief, 12 May, when he took a pair. It was rumoured in late August that he was ‘breaking up’ and close to death; but he was in fact tolerably well, and he improved still more when he returned to Brighton in the autumn.132 His son, meanwhile, had applied to Wellington and the foreign secretary Lord Aberdeen for promotion, and he was rewarded at the end of the year with a posting to Munich as secretary of legation.133 In early January 1829 Tierney had ‘a bad cold’, but he was optimistic of decisive ministerial action on the Catholic question. In the event he told Holland that if, as was reported, Catholics were to be admitted to Parliament, he ‘should be disposed to accept it almost on any terms’, no matter how unpalatable the ‘securities’ might be.134 He voted silently for emancipation, 6, 30 Mar. (Curiously, Planta, the patronage secretary, had included him the previous month among those whose attitude was ‘doubtful’, though this may have had more to do with his stance on securities than with his views on the main question.) When Greville told him that there had been ‘great disappointment that he had not answered Sadler’ on the 17th, he ‘said that he could not speak for coughing’, and ‘talked of the duke’s management of this business with great admiration’.135 He voted for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May. In his last reported speech in the House, 15 May, he argued that O’Connell should be allowed to state at the table his reasons for objecting to swearing the oath of allegiance before taking his seat, having debated the merits of this issue, ‘bill in hand’, with Grey at Lady Jersey’s that morning.136 In his last known vote, he supported O’Connell’s right to take his seat without hindrance, 18 May 1829. Three weeks later he told Greville that unless Wellington was careful, and avoided such blunders as the current ministerial support for the anti-Catholic George Bankes* against a Whig in the Cambridge University by-election, he would ‘offend more people than he would conciliate’: ‘the way he went on was neither fish nor flesh’. Later in June, observing the ministry’s crying want of additional strength and paucity of debating skill, he ‘said it was very lamentable that there should be such a deficiency of talent in the rising generation, and remarkable how few clever young men there are now in the House of Commons’.137
Tierney was ‘quite well, and in good spirits’ in August 1829, and, having lost another Robarts nephew in October, he went to London from Russell Farm in early January 1830.138 There was a report that he planned to attend on the opening day and, as Huskisson later put it, make ‘a grand exposé with all the solemnity of a farewell speech, and to have concluded by the earnest prayer of a dying man to the House to support the duke of Wellington, as the only hope of salvation’.139 The Commons were spared this exhibition, for in the afternoon of 25 Jan. 1830 Tierney was found dead in his chair at his Savile Row home by his servant, who had ‘returned only five minutes after having taken a parcel off the table, to announce some visitor’; he had suddenly succumbed, ‘without a struggle and apparently without a groan’, to ‘organic disease of the heart’.140 He was ‘a great loss to all his friends’, commented Greville, though ‘his political life was already closed’.141 He died intestate, and administration of his estate, which was sworn under £2,000, was granted to his widow, 10 Mar. 1830. It was reckoned that he had ‘left scarcely £1,000 a year for his family, having rather encroached on his wife’s fortune’, though he had ‘never placed himself under a pecuniary obligation ... to ... any of his family’. Holland saw this as ‘very painful proof of the little advantage he has derived from his long services in public life’142 There was considerable shock and sadness at his death. Lord Ellenborough, a political opponent, was ‘very sorry’.143 Grey was ‘quite overwhelmed’, as he told Princess Lieven:
He was one of my oldest friends, and almost the only one remaining of those with whom I was connected on my setting out in public life. There never has been any interruption of our mutual regard, though some divergence in our political feelings and conduct on one or two occasions ... But I can think of nothing now but his many amiable and valuable qualities, which render his loss irreparable.144
The Hollands were deeply upset. Lord Holland lamented the loss of ‘one of my best and oldest friends, and the pleasantest one that public life ever procured me. Indeed, so agreeable a man I do not think is left behind him’. Bedford wrote of him as ‘a valued and excellent friend ... and a constantly cheerful and kind hearted companion’; while Russell said he would miss his ‘kind, friendly, agreeable conversation’. Holland’s son Charles Fox* observed that ‘he was of all the older set of Holland House the one I loved and liked the most’.145 Abercromby wrote that he was ‘in some respects a man by himself’, who would always ‘be remembered with pleasure by those who have known him’; Lord Carlisle regarded his death as ‘a great blow’, and Lord Essex observed that ‘we have indeed lost a most valuable friend and one not to be easily replaced’.146 On a less effusive note, Milton commented that ‘Tierney would have made a great gap some years ago’, but ‘now one has only to lament the loss of an acquaintance’; while the king’s creature Sir William Knighton, a man not fit to lace Tierney’s shoes, noted in his diary, 4 Feb., that like all ‘contemptible’ politicians, he would ‘not be remembered a week hence, and ought not’.147 Tierney’s widow was ‘deeply hurt to find that the writ for Knaresborough is to be moved without any tribute of respect’ to him; but Holland, after consulting several leading Whigs, advised her that the practice of pronouncing posthumous panegyrics in the House had been abandoned, ‘by a sort of understanding or consent among leading public men’, after one or two unhappy recent examples.148 However, on 12 Feb. 1830 Lord Morpeth, as Lord Lansdowne related, introduced into his speech ‘quite naturally as arising out of the subject of finance and economy, some observations on Tierney’s public services that were admirable both in taste and feeling’.149 The Wellington ministry subsequently granted Mrs. Tierney a civil list pension of £400 a year; but her son made no immediate headway in his bid for a move back to The Hague.150
Tierney was a man of great personal charm and a genuine master of debate, although, as he told Tom Macaulay*, ‘he never rose in the House without feeling his knees tremble under him’.151 Sir George Philips* later described him as
one of the cleverest debaters in a clear, simple, condensed, unpretending style, appropriate, as to its language, to the matter that I ever knew. He never affected eloquence and imagery, and no man had the same talent for putting down and ridiculing all his opponents who attempted flights of eloquence.152
He would almost certainly have made a fortune had he opted for a career at the bar. As a politician he was often weak, pessimistic and indecisive, and perhaps too much given to intrigue. Hobhouse wrote three days after his death:
The panegyrics in the newspapers seem to me to be true as to his parliamentary capacity, but false as to his integrity. My father, who knew him well, told me he was as great an intriguer as ever lived. I also think that no statesman ever took such false views of coming events ... His conjectures, so far as I ever heard of them, were never happy.153
Holland, who thought he was ‘much more disinterested than his sometimes grovelling way of talking of public virtue led superficial men to imagine’, commented:
It was hardly in his nature to take any step without some previous hesitation or some subsequent misgivings ... His oratory, though of no elevated, commanding or even brilliant kind, was perhaps the most popular and the most agreeable, and certainly by far the most original, then left in Parliament ... In truth his irresolution was fed, if not engendered, by that very sense of humour which enabled him to discern so keenly and to expose so admirably whatever was ridiculous in other public men. His pleasantry and easy manners shed a charm over all intercourse with him, even on the driest matters of business and detail ... Though not destitute of spirit, and though his physical courage was redundant rather than deficient, he had perhaps less pride and certainly far less vanity than any man of equal talents and acquirements whom I ever had an opportunity of observing ... In his capacity as leader of a party he was sometimes too readily offended at insignificant deviations, and disproportionately alarmed at the indiscretion of individuals. He was ... always striving to be more circumspect in conducting other men than is compatible with preserving any authority over them at all; and yet by a contradiction not uncommon in the caution which has its source in timidity, he was occasionally so enamoured of some crotchet or refinement of his own that he was hurried into courses hazardous and rash.154
Brougham, who detested his ‘doctrine of self-distrust and stultification’, later wrote:
He possessed sufficient industry to master any subject, and, until his health failed, to undergo any labour. His understanding was of that plain and solid description which wears well ... To any extraordinary quickness of apprehension he laid no claim; but he saw with perfect clearness, and if he did not take a very wide range, yet, within his appointed scope his ideas were strongly formed, and ... luminously expressed ... Everything refined he habitually rejected; partly as above his comprehension, partly as beneath his regard; and he was wont to regard the efforts of fancy still lower than the feats of subtlety ... A man undeniably of cool personal courage; a debater of as unquestioned boldness and vigour, he was timid in council; always saw the gloomy side of things; could scarcely ever be induced to look at any other aspect; and tormented both himself and others with endless doubts and difficulties ... It is probable, however, that this defect in his character as a politician had greatly increased as he grew older ... He was one of the surest ... speakers ... and his style ... seemed so easy and so natural to the man as to be always completely at his command ... He was wanting in decision and vigour ... until he rose, when a new man seemed to stand before you.155
Tierney’s son wrote to Holland, 4 Nov. 1831:
His shrewdness and penetration were employed not in refining upon that which was plain in itself, but in stripping from truth, or rather from the simplicity of truth, all the colouring with which he found it disguised. Of all the men I ever knew he was perhaps the easiest to be amused, the most tolerant of a bore, and the best natured apologist for dullness and mediocrity in others ... [He was marked by] a total absence of all vanity and pretension.156
Mackintosh recalled him as ‘so shrewd and droll - the words seemed made for him’.157
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: David R. Fisher
The only biography to date is the inadequate one by H.K. Olphin (1934).
- 1. According to E. Baines, Lancs. (1824-5), ii. 585.
- 2. NLS mss 5319, f. 195; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey [28 Dec.]; Bessborough mss, same to Duncannon, 28 Dec. 1819.
- 3. See, e.g., Life of Campbell, i. 396; Smith Letters, i. 355; Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland [16 Mar. 1821]. Mrs. Arbuthnot thought he was ‘above 70’ in August 1827 (Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 135).
- 4. Althorp Letters, 101.
- 5. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 22 , 27 Feb. 1820.
- 6. Hants RO, Tierney mss 21c; Chatsworth mss; Add. 51571, Thanet to Holland [18 Mar. 1820].
- 7. Add. 52444, f. 93.
- 8. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 17, 22 Mar., 5 Apr. 1820; Arbuthnot Corresp. 14.
- 9. BL, Morley mss, Granville to Morley, 4 Apr.; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 5 Apr. 1820.
- 10. Add. 51586.
- 11. Ibid. Tierney to Lady Holland , 19 Apr.; Bessborough mss, Grey to Duncannon, 9 Apr. 1820.
- 12. JRL, Bromley Davenport mss, Macdonald to Davenport, 24 Apr. .
- 13. Broughton, Recollections, ii. 126.
- 14. The Times, 28, 29 Apr., 2 May 1820.
- 15. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 18 May 1820.
- 16. Althorp Letters, 107; Smith Letters, i. 355.
- 17. Dorset RO D/BKL, Bankes jnl. 117 (15 May);Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 18 May, Grey to Lady Grey, 20 May 1820; Add. 30123, f. 157.
- 18. Brougham mss, Brougham to Grey [1 June 1820]; Add. 52444, f. 122.
- 19. Althorp Letters, 109-10.
- 20. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey [29 Feb.], 5 Apr., 18 May 1820.
- 21. Bankes jnl. 118.
- 22. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 8, 10 June; Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland [9 June 1820].
- 23. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 12 June 1820 (two letters).
- 24. Ibid.
- 25. Add. 52444, ff. 192, 196.
- 26. Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, i. 53; Countess Granville Letters, i. 175-6.
- 27. Add. 51578, Morpeth to Holland, 25 Aug. .
- 28. Essex RO, Barrett Lennard mss D/DL C60, T.B to Sir T.B Lennard, 19 Sept. 1820.
- 29. Add. 51586.
- 30. Creevey Pprs. i. 327-8, 329, 330, 336; Add. 51579, Morpeth to Lady Holland, 19, 22 Oct. 1820; 56541, f. 84.
- 31. Add. 56541, f. 85.
- 32. Hobhouse Diary, 42; Add. 51679, Russell to Lady Holland [3 Dec. 1820].
- 33. Bucks. RO, Fremantle mss D/FR/46/11/38.
- 34. Geo. IV Letters, ii. 878, 881; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 21, 24, 25 Nov., 7 Dec. 1820.
- 35. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 24 Nov., 7, 9, 13 Dec. 1820, 13 Jan. 1821.
- 36. Fox Jnl. 51, 54; Creevey Pprs. ii. 5.
- 37. Add. 30123, f. 233; 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland [28 Dec.]; Lonsdale mss, Ward to Lonsdale, 27 Dec. 1820.
- 38. Fox Jnl. 60; Cockburn Letters, 14-15; Chatsworth mss 6DD/GPI/486; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 10, 13 Jan. 1821.
- 39. HLRO, Hist. Coll. 379, Grey Bennet diary, 2.
- 40. Buckingham, i. 112.
- 41. Colchester Diary, iii. 201; Creevey Pprs. ii. 5; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 66; Add. 38742, f. 171.
- 42. Creevey’s Life and Times, 137.
- 43. Smith Letters, i. 374; Add. 43212, f. 180; Harrowby mss, Labouchere to Sandon, 12 Feb. 1821; Pope of Holland House ed. Lady Seymour, 234-5.
- 44. The Times, 20 Mar. 1821.
- 45. Ibid. 3 Mar. 1821.
- 46. Grey Bennet diary, 23.
- 47. Harrowby mss, Castlereagh to Harrowby, 8 Mar. 1821.
- 48. Lady Airlie, Lady Palmerston and her Times, i. 86; Lady Palmerston Letters, 74.
- 49. Life of Campbell, i. 396; Colchester Diary, iii. 212; Von Neumann Diary, i. 54; Hants RO, Carnarvon mss 75M91/E4/27.
- 50. Dorset RO, Bond mss D/BoH C16, Jekyyll to Bond, 20 Mar. 1821.
- 51. NLS acc. 10655, Abercromby’s pol. memorandum.
- 52. Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland, Friday [16 Mar.], Tuesday [June 1821].
- 53. Grey Bennet diary, 120-1.
- 54. Ibid. 113.
- 55. Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland, 11, 21 Sept., 7, 11, 13 Oct.; Grey mss, same to Grey, 3, 10, 31 Oct. 1821.
- 56. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 3 Oct., 11, 30 Dec. 1821, 23 Jan. 1823.
- 57. Add. 52445, f. 31; Buckingham, i. 282; Cockburn Letters, 41; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 23 Jan. 1822.
- 58. Add. 52445, f. 35; 56544, f. 61.
- 59. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 14 Feb. 1822.
- 60. The Times, 23 Feb. 1822; NLW, Coedymaen mss 621.
- 61. Bankes jnl. 134
- 62. Add. 52445, ff. 66-67.
- 63. Buckingham, i. 294; Fremantle mss 46/10/20.
- 64. Bessborough mss, Brougham to Duncannon [15 Mar. 1822].
- 65. Buckingham, i. 314; Coedymaen mss 633; Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland 16 Apr. 1822.
- 66. The Times, 18 Apr. 1822.
- 67. Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 163; NLW ms 2794 D, Sir W. to H. Williams Wynn [15 Mar. 1822.]
- 68. Bessborough mss, Tierney to Duncannon, 14 Aug.; Add. 51586, same to Lady Holland, 23, 26  Aug. , 22 Sept. 1822.
- 69. Brougham and Early Friends, iii. 46; Bessborough mss, Brougham to Duncannon [4 Sept. 1822].
- 70. Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland, 21 Oct; 51586, same to Lady Holland, 6, 28 Oct., 31 Dec. 1822; Buckingham, i. 392.
- 71. Add. 51667, Bedford to Lady Holland [23 Feb. 1823].
- 72. The Times, 4 Mar. 1823.
- 73. Life of Campbell, i. 416.
- 74. Northants. RO, Agar Ellis diary, 17 Apr. .
- 75. Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland, 6 June 1823.
- 76. Blakiston, Lord William Russell, 101.
- 77. TNA 30/29/9/5/25.
- 78. Buckingham, ii. 75; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 310-11.
- 79. The Times, 2 June 1824.
- 80. Lady Holland to Son, 27; Grey mss.
- 81. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 19, 31 Jan. 1825.
- 82. Cumbria RO, Howard mss D/HW8/48/6; Broughton, iii. 86; Agar Ellis diary, 11 Feb.; Bankes jnl. 153; Buckingham, ii. 211; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 376.
- 83. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 17 Feb. 1825.
- 84. Ibid. same to same, 21 Feb. 1825; Buckingham, ii. 216.
- 85. Lonsdale mss, Long to Lonsdale, 23 Mar.; Buckingham, ii. 232, 239, 241; Fremantle mss 46/11/116.
- 86. Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland, 24 Sept., 13, 14 Oct.; 51586, same to Lady Holland, 24 Oct.; 51663, Bedford to Holland, 28 Oct. 1825; Carnarvon mss 824/8.
- 87. Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland, 25 Nov. 2, 19 Dec. 1825, 16 Jan. 1826.
- 88. Fitzwilliam mss 124/8/1; Wellington mss WP1/850/9; Greville Mems. i. 158.
- 89. Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland, 23 Feb., 12, 24 Mar.; 51586, same to Lady Holland, 3 Mar. 1826; Wellington mss WP1/852/11.
- 90. The Times, 21 Mar. 1826.
- 91. Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland, 10 Apr. 1826; Broughton, iii. 129-31, 191.
- 92. Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland, 28 Apr. 1826.
- 93. Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland, 4 May; 51663, Bedford to same, 9 May ; Russell Letters, i. 52.
- 94. Add. 51668, Bedford to Lady Holland, 23 May; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Denison diary, 19 May .
- 95. Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland, 2 Sept. 1826.
- 96. Add. 40389, f. 123.
- 97. Broughton, ii. 161.
- 98. Add. 51784, Holland to C.R. Fox, 17 Feb.; Creevey Pprs. iii. 106; Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland [18 Feb. 1827].
- 99. Wellington mss WP1/885/6; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1299; Canning’s Ministry, 66; Colchester Diaries, iii. 475.
- 100. Canning’s Ministry, 124; Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland, 12 [?13] Apr. .
- 101. Canning’s Ministry, 150, 233; Wellington mss WP1/887/28; Bagot, Canning and Friends, ii. 395; Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 24 Apr. 1827.
- 102. Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland [22 Apr. 1827].
- 103. Canning’s Ministry, 222, 234, 247; Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland, 24 Apr. .
- 104. Canning’s Ministry, 254, 255, 259; Chatsworth mss 1469, 1477, 1478.
- 105. Cent. Kent. Stud. Stanhope mss U1590 C138/1, Strangford to Stanhope, 28 Apr. 1827.
- 106. Add. 51663, Bedford to Holland, 5 May .
- 107. Gurney diary, 1, 7, 16 May 1827; Bagot, ii. 397.
- 108. Canning’s Ministry, 272, 297, 299, 305, 307-9; Tierney mss 15a, 15c, 43c; Greville Mems, i. 174-5; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 120.
- 109. Creevey Pprs. ii. 120; Colchester Diary, ii. 520.
- 110. Add. 52447, f. 87.
- 111. Denison diary, 7 Aug. .
- 112. Lady Airlie, i. 140.
- 113. Croker Pprs. i. 393.
- 114. Add. 51562, Brougham to Holland Aug.; Brougham mss, reply [13 Aug. 1827].
- 115. Palmerston-Sulivan Letters, 194, 199; Ward, Letters to ‘Ivy’, 328-9; Croker Pprs. i. 391-2; Add. 38750, f. 39; Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 28 Aug. 1827.
- 116. Tierney mss 37c; Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland [25 Aug.]; 51586, same to Lady Holland, 22 Aug. 1827.
- 117. Add. 51586.
- 118. Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland, 1  Sept.; 51586, to Lady Holland, 3 Sept.; Lansdowne mss, to Lansdowne, , 5 Sept.; Tierney mss 43b, 43d, 43f; Greville Mems. i. 187.
- 119. Add. 40340, f. 200; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 141; Arbuthnot Corresp. 89.
- 120. Russell Letters, i. 74.
- 121. Fitzwilliam mss, Russell to Milton, 6 Sept. 1827; Add. 38750, ff. 280, 283, 286; Russell Letters, i. 76.
- 122. Russell Letters, ii. 104; Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland [19 Sept. 1827]; Tierney mss 61a-e; E.A. Wasson, Whig Renaissance, 152.
- 123. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 146; Add. 51669, Bedford to Lady Holland, 26 Oct. .
- 124. Lansdowne mss, Holland to Lansdowne, 4 Nov.; Add 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland, 1, 8 Nov. .
- 125. Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland, 15 Nov.; 51655, Mackintosh to same [19 Nov. 1827].
- 126. NLS, Ellice mss, Grey to Ellice, 15, 16, 23, 27 Dec. 1827.
- 127. Tierney mss 4c, 66, 85b; Add. 38752, ff. 104, 164; 51663, Bedford to Lady Holland [21 Dec. 1827], 15 Jan. ; Wellington mss WP1/913/8; Creevey Pprs. ii. 141; Croker Pprs. i. 406; Greville Mems. i. 197; Wasson, 154.
- 128. Wellington mss WP1/914/22; 915/25; Southampton Univ. Lib. Broadlands mss BR 23AA/5/1; Tierney mss 85a.
- 129. Devon RO, Sidmouth mss, H. Addington to Sidmouth, 23 Jan.; Broadlands mss PP/GMC/26.
- 130. Tierney mss 85a.
- 131. Tierney mss 43g; Hatherton diary, 18 [Feb.]; Greville Mems. i. 206; Castle Howard mss, Abercromby to Carlisle [19 Feb. 1828]; Keele Univ. Lib. Sneyd mss SC12/86.
- 132. Lady Holland to Son, 79; Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland, 30 Apr., 11, 16 May, 22 Aug. 5 Oct. ; Hatherton mss, Warrender to Littleton, 31 Aug. 1828.
- 133. Wellington mss WP1/936/15; 939/13969/15, 36; 971/32; Tierney mss 2.
- 134. Duke Univ. Lib. Fazakerley mss, Ord to Fazakerley [Jan.]; Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland [3 Feb.]; 51586, same to Lady Holland [31 Jan. 1828].
- 135. Greville Mems. i. 274.
- 136. Ibid. i. 292.
- 137. Ibid. i. 95, 298-9.
- 138. Add. 51669, Bedford to Lady Holland, 11 Aug.; 51584, Tierney to Holland, 27 Aug.; 51586, same to Lady Holland, 5, 8 Jan. .
- 139. Nottingham Univ. Lib. Ossington mss OsC 72.
- 140. Grey mss, Ellice to Grey [27 Jan.]; Add. 51785, Holland to C.R. Fox, 7 Feb.; The Times, 28, 29 Jan. 1830; Gent Mag. (1830), i. 270.
- 141. Greville Mems. i. 363.
- 142. PROB 6/206; Grey mss, Ellice to Grey [3 Feb.]; Add. 51785, Holland to C.R. Fox, 7 Feb. 1830.
- 143. Ellenborough Diary, ii. 177.
- 144. Lieven-Grey Corresp. i. 422-3.
- 145. Countess Granville Letters, ii. 57; Add. 51670, Bedford to Lady Holland [Jan.]; 51674, duchess of Bedford to Holland [4 Feb.]; 51680, Russell to Lady Holland, 26 Jan.; 51785, Holland to C.R. Fox, 7 Feb.; 52058, C.R. to H.E. Fox, 1 May 1830.
- 146. Add. 51575, Abercromby to Holland [28 Jan.]; 51578, Carlisle to same, 27 Jan.; 51596, Essex to same, 26 Jan. 1830.
- 147. Add. 51836, Milton to Althorp, 30 Jan. 1830; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1575.
- 148. Add. 51584, Mrs. Tierney to Holland [Feb.]; 51574, Abercromby to same [Feb. 1830]; Tierney mss 75b.
- 149. Add. 51687, Lansdowne to Holland [12 Feb.]; 51670, Bedford to Lady Holland, 14 Feb. .
- 150. Wellington mss WP1/1121/38; 1122/65, 71; 1127/8; 1141/2; 1143/27, 37.
- 151. Macau