VYVYAN, Sir Richard Rawlinson, 8th bt. (1800-1879), of Trelowarren, nr. Helston, Cornw. and 24 Great George Street, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



27 Jan. 1825 - 1831
14 July 1831 - 1832
1832 - 1837
1841 - 1857

Family and Education

b. 6 June 1800, 1st s. of Sir Vyell Vyvyan, 7th bt., of Trelowarren and Mary, da. of Thomas Hutton Rawlinson of Lancaster. educ. Harrow 1813-17; Christ Church, Oxf. 1818; grand tour. unm. suc. fa. 1820. d. 15 Aug. 1879.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Cornw. 1840-1.


Vyvyan was descended from a very old Cornish family who had resided at Trelowarren since the reign of Henry VII: the first baronet had been a Royalist during the Civil War and the third was imprisoned as a Jacobite in 1715. He inherited his father’s title and all his freehold estates in January 1820, before he came of age.1 John Hearle Tremayne, the Tory county Member, visited the ‘young baronet’ shortly afterwards and wrote that

I have seldom seen a young man whom I liked better on a short acquaintance. His conversation is very animated and he seems alive on all subjects. I am much mistaken if he does not one day [aspire to] the representation of this county, and I really think it a great thing ... to have the prospect of a person so well able and willing to serve it.2

He left Oxford in the summer of 1820 and spent much of the next four years travelling on the continent.3 In 1823 he was spurned by Lady Frances Stuart, daughter of the marquess of Bute, and wrote an embittered letter to her brother in which he declared that ‘all my romantic visions are vanished and I must never more see that person for whom I thought myself born ... I am indifferent about what becomes of me’; he never married.4 His decision to take up permanent residence at Trelowarren in the autumn of 1824 was propitious, as the death that December of the Whig county Member, Sir William Lemon, created an opening for him. He offered at the resulting by-election on ‘principles completely independent ... influenced by no party feeling’, although a Whig newspaper claimed that he was ‘in the fullest sense of the term, an Ultra Tory, strenuously opposed to every amelioration of existing systems’. He maintained that he was ‘attached to the constitution in church and state’ which embodied ‘the real Whig principles of our ancestors’, although the ‘party now assuming the name of Whigs had abandoned’ them, and he accepted the right of ‘Dissenters ... to the participation of civil rights, where they do not admit a foreign influence’. He questioned whether the present prosperity was due to the liberal commercial policy of Lord Liverpool’s ministry and promised to oppose it if Cornwall’s mining interests were threatened. He was returned unopposed after the Whig, Edward Wynne Pendarves*, declined to be nominated.5

He divided against Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May, and the Irish franchise bill, 26 Apr. 1825. He warned that the free importation of South American copper would ‘have the effect of shutting up some of the principal mines of Cornwall’, on which ‘one fourth of the population’ depended for employment, 25 Mar. He voted for the financial provision for the duke of Cumberland, 2, 6, 10 June, but against the judges’ salaries bill, 17 June 1825. He divided with the minorities to condemn the Jamaican slave trials, 2 Mar., and against the corn bill, 11 May 1826. In the autumn of 1825 he had canvassed Helston, apparently in search of a safer seat, but he offered again for Cornwall at the general election of 1826. He defended his vote for the Cumberland grant, which was necessary to ensure that the possible future king was educated in England, and denied that he was a ministerial candidate, insisting that his support of the government ‘depended on their line of policy’. In fact, ‘he did not approve of the present conduct of ministers’, who were ‘the real authors of all the calamities that had befallen the country’, and he condemned their devotion to the ‘abstract principles of political economy’, which threatened Britain’s agricultural and mining interests. He repeated his opposition to Catholic relief, observing that ‘they should not as Protestants hate the Catholics’ but that ‘he distrusted them because they hated Protestants’. He was returned unopposed with Wynne Pendarves after Tremayne retired from the contest.6

Vyvyan gradually became more active in his second Parliament and usually served on a couple of select committees each session. He mobilized his supporters to promote petitions from Cornish parishes in favour of agricultural protection, and he presented eight of them, 12, 21 Feb., 8 Mar. 1827.7 He reported to a constituent that Canning’s statement on the corn laws, proposing ‘a range of duties like a thermometer’, 1 Mar., had satisfied neither the free traders, who considered it ‘too favourable to the landed interest’, nor the landowners, who were ‘inclined to treat the proffered boon with scorn’; the debate had nevertheless been ‘carried on with the greatest moderation’. While the proposed sliding scale was ‘vastly inferior to the prohibitory system’, he admitted that it did not seem ‘altogether bad’ if the pivot price was ‘placed higher up, say at 65s. or 66s.’. To another correspondent, a week later, he wrote that Canning had ‘thrown himself into the arms of the economists’ and that ‘the struggle will soon begin’ as ‘we are going to fight the principle of the old law and then for 64s. ... instead of 60s.’. He added that ‘the country gentlemen are united to a certain degree’ and ‘we have had some meetings’, but ‘they all speak at once’; he feared that ‘we are not strong in orators’. After the debate he expressed satisfaction that there had been ‘no inconsiderable harmony of opinion’ among the country gentlemen, which was ‘so difficult to obtain in that august body’.8 He divided against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. He presented petitions from Helston and Truro Dissenters for repeal of the Test Acts, 12 June, having assured one of the organizers that while he objected to Catholic claims on account of ‘my conviction that Catholic ascendancy is hostile to civil and religious liberty’, the ‘same principles’ made him ‘anxious to witness the extension of liberty of conscience to every individual, and to remove any hindrance to the free exercise of his own form of worship’, provided this did not endanger the established church or the constitution.9 He voted for the spring guns bill, 23 Mar. Early in May he sent information to George Legh Keck, who was preparing the Penryn election bill, to show the effect of throwing open the borough’s franchise to the Penwith and Kerrier freeholders, and hoped that ‘you will put an end to the system of giving a power to landholders to make votes, by granting small tenements on life leases’, as there was ‘no system more prejudicial to the independence of a county than the sort of manufacturing of votes which goes on to a great extent where a contest is expected’.10 He divided against the amended bill, 7 June. In late May he joined a deputation of Cornish and Devon Members to the president of the board of trade, Huskisson, and ‘strenuously advocated’ the continuation of export bounties on pilchards.11 He voted with Canning’s coalition ministry for the grant to improve water communications in Canada, 12 June 1827. He apparently contemplated a motion for information regarding ‘the state of Turkey and the treaty said to be in existence between the courts of London and St. Petersburg relating to the dissensions in the Turkish dominions’, but nothing came of it. This was presumably the occasion when Lord Palmerston*, the secretary at war, who had ‘frequent communications’ with Vyvyan on ‘foreign and domestic’ subjects, took him to the foreign office ‘to read over a mass of papers’, which ‘so far succeeded in altering his opinions’ that he refrained from making a motion.12 He explained to a Cornish clergyman hoping for a church living for a son that he would ‘feel considerable embarrassment and difficulty’ in asking lord chancellor Lyndhurst for any favours, and that ‘independence of principle induces me to avoid being under any degree of obligation to a government which I have not supported’.13 Later that year, in a revealing memorandum, Vyvyan wrote of his desire to ‘take advantage of the situation ... in which I am placed ... to lead a quiet and philosophical life’:

The happiness of such an inexhaustible fund of calm contentment as the pursuit of philosophy is alone experienced by those who have inclination and courage to adopt it. Those who have never done so, will ridicule the naturalist or scientific man. Could they but know the independence of his soul, how would they envy him! His delights are a foretaste of eternal bliss ... I feel I have had some experience of his pleasure, but in an evil hour the tempter came and offered me the gratification of my selfish passions. I knew the worthlessness of the distinction, the material inconsequence of the raving hunger of ambition ... I knew this and fell with my eyes open. Yet even then I made a resolution like a yielding sinner, to reform by and bye ... For five years I meant to run the wild career of selfishness, to jostle others and follow the fools called politicians, then if I found myself no greater than when I first commenced, it was my resolution to retire into private life. Three years are nearly passed: I have not altered my resolution. I am no greater than I was when I commenced; politics are like the labours of those ghosts of pagan evil, whose punishment was to draw a sieve from a well instead of a bucket ... I cannot labour heartily when I know the end of it, even if I succeed.14

He presented more Dissenters’ petitions for repeal of the Test Acts, 25 Feb. 1828, but did not vote on this issue next day. He divided against Catholic relief, 12 May. He opposed the duke of Wellington’s ministry by voting for information regarding civil list pensions, 20 May, and against the additional churches bill, 30 June. In May he circularized his supporters urging them to organize memorials to Cornish borough Members against the government’s small notes bill, ‘one of those momentous questions which extend their influence to every branch of society’. He was convinced that only a ‘continuance of a £1 note circulation will save us from stagnation in our mines and agriculture, a depreciation of value in every article of produce, and a melancholy want of employment’.15 He presented petitions from St. Columb and Breage in this sense, 3 June, and voted against the small notes (Scotland and Ireland) bill, 5, 16, 27 June. He presented anti-slavery petitions from Marazion and Falmouth, 23 June 1828.

In February 1829 Planta, the patronage secretary, listed Vyvyan as being ‘opposed to the principle’ of Catholic emancipation, and he emerged that session as one of the leading figures in the ‘revolt of the Ultras’. He presented 16 hostile petitions from Cornwall, which he claimed ‘represented the feelings of a large portion of the wealth ... intelligence and ... respectability of the county’, 24 Feb. He declared that Wellington and Peel’s conduct had ‘entirely destroyed my confidence in public men’, as there were ‘no reasonable grounds for their conversion’, and he insisted that ‘an administration might have been formed on the principle of adhering to the constitution of 1688 ... anti-Catholics might have been found capable of directing the affairs of the country’. He accepted that the consequences of resistance might be ‘civil war’ but was unwilling to ‘surrender’ the constitution. He asserted that a ‘great conspiracy’ was ‘in progress throughout Europe’ to destroy the ‘civil and religious liberty of nations’, inspired by ‘absolute or would be absolute sovereigns and by the Papal power’, whose principal agents, the Jesuits, had achieved ‘immense’ power in England. Catholic emancipation was therefore no ‘mere provincial subject’ but part of the ‘warfare between religious liberty and religious despotism’. He believed that ministers should have proceeded ‘more gradually’ and ‘tried at first to procure the admission of Catholic peers to the House of Lords’, rather than ‘taking the nation by surprise’. The Whig Lord Howick* thought that Vyvyan ‘certainly showed a good deal of power of speaking, though what he said was very open to answer’.16 He divided against the emancipation bill, 6, 18, 23, 27 (when he was a minority teller), 30 Mar., and presented more hostile petitions, 10, 24 Mar. He attended a meeting of Ultras at Lord Chandos’s* house, 16 Mar., and talked of organizing a county meeting ‘to address the king to dismiss his ministers and dissolve Parliament’; nothing came of this.17 On 27 Mar. he moved an amendment to insert words into the new parliamentary oath requiring Catholics to renounce the murder of heretics and the Papal dispensing power, but this was negatived. He also moved that Jesuits in all of ‘His Majesty’s dominions’ should be required to register, in order to prevent them ‘subverting constitutions and erecting a new anti-national power in every state’, but he withdrew after receiving assurances about registration in the colonies. Another amendment to prohibit Jesuits and other Catholic monks from acting as schoolmasters was eventually withdrawn. One Whig Member described Vyvyan’s speeches that day as ‘very absurd’.18 He voted against the silk trade bill, 1 May. He expressed regret, 12 June, that for reasons including ‘the Epsom races, a matter of great import to the senators of this country’, no time had been found for his motion for inquiry into distress. He deemed it ‘indecorous and dangerous’ that Members were about to disperse without considering the subject, and took the opportunity to blame the withdrawal of small bank notes for ‘creating the existing state of distress’ and argue that there was ‘no hope of improvement but by adopting some ameliorated system of paper currency’. He opposed the anatomy bill, 18 May, as Warburton would not agree to prohibit the dissection of murderers, and was a minority teller against the third reading. In June Sir James Mackintosh* wrote of the ‘angry underlings’ who resented the Whigs’ support for Wellington, and noted that ‘Vyvyan says ... he wishes an end to a state of things in which "the unplaced retainers of ministers occupy the opposition benches"’.19 During the summer and autumn he was in communication with fellow Ultras, including George IV’s brother, the duke of Cumberland, to whom he looked as the ‘champion’ of the ‘Protestant party’ and as a channel of communication between them and the king, who needed encouragement to change his ministers. He was anxious that Wellington should not be granted an early dissolution, as ‘the influence of the treasury must always be paramount in a general election’ and the result would be a Commons even more compliant to the duke’s wishes. He told the duke of Newcastle that given the ‘conduct of the Irish Catholics’ since emancipation and the ‘deplorable state of trade’, Wellington was becoming ‘more unpopular every day’ and his ministry ‘may not last six months’. It was therefore essential for the Ultras to act with ‘firmness and unity of purpose’.20 Vyvyan looked to the formation of a ‘Tory government upon Tory principles’, but while he was prepared to see certain members of the present government retained in office, he was adamant that Wellington, the ‘arch deceiver’, must not be included as this would ‘ruin’ the ‘Tory party’ and lead to the advent of a Whig administration. He was confident that the personnel for a new government, headed perhaps by Lord Mansfield, could be found, but he argued that Lord Blandford* had disqualified himself by his ‘headstrong’ pledge to raise the question of parliamentary reform, which ‘in the present state of affairs ... would be nothing more or less than the commencement of a revolution ... more fearful even than that of France’ in 1789.21 In late September he showed Cumberland his analysis of the state of the Commons, which suggested that the projected government would have 278 ‘certain supporters’, comprised of those Tory Members who had either opposed emancipation or not voted at all, while the sentiments of another 89 who had supported the third reading were ‘unknown’. Shortly afterwards he had an interview with Palmerston, whom he hoped to detach from the Huskissonites with the proposal that he should lead the Commons in a ‘Mansfield, Eldon, Newcastle and Knatchbull administration’, in which Vyvyan seems to have envisaged himself as foreign secretary. He advised Cumberland that if decisive action was taken at the opening of Parliament ‘a government might be formed almost entirely of Tories, which would probably be as strong as any that has been in power for the last 20 years’, but he feared the consequences if nothing was done and ‘we form part of a discordant opposition’ to Wellington:

With some few exceptions, the Tory party in both Houses, however staunch and firm they may be, are not the men to act well together in opposition, many of them are persons in easy circumstances and liable to be discouraged by being in small minorities, nor have they sufficient energy or policy to combine in a systematic opposition and to keep together for some time.22

By the end of November 1829, he was dismayed to find that there seemed little prospect of the ‘Protestants’ striking ‘an immediate blow’ and he detected signs of ‘gradual defections from their ranks’. He was increasingly suspicious that Wellington was acting as part of a ‘new Holy Alliance’, with Metternich, Polignac, the tsar of Russia and the ‘apostolical party’, to ‘put down representative governments’, and felt that his removal from office ‘alone will save Europe’.23

Early in 1830 it was rumoured that Vyvyan would move an amendment to the address enunciating his ‘high Tory and currency’ opinions,24 but in the event he divided for Sir Edward Knatchbull’s amendment on distress, 4 Feb. He and Knatchbull were the leaders of a group of some 30 hard core Ultras who engaged in more or less outright opposition to ministers that session, and he reportedly told the Tory whips that ‘his object was to reduce the government majorities as much as possible and to make the government as contemptible as possible’. He voted consistently with the revived Whig opposition on retrenchment issues.25 On 16 Mar. he announced that he would not press his call of the House for that evening, as there was already a ‘very full attendance’ for Davenport’s motion for inquiry into the state of the nation. Two days later he maintained that distress ‘pervades all ranks except the monied interest and presses most heavily upon the productive classes’. The country was ‘in a state of peril’ and unless action was taken to alleviate the problem and ‘calm the public sentiment of exasperation against the legislature’, he feared that ‘this House will not meet for three sessions more in its present form and the equilibrium of our government may be destroyed’. He doubted whether overpopulation was the cause of distress, as there were sufficient means to feed everyone, and some undoubted causes, such as ‘improvements of machinery’ which were ‘appalling to the present generation’ but ‘ultimately ... productive of great benefits to civilized society’, were beyond Parliament’s control. However, the currency question was ‘intimately connected with the subject’, as the withdrawal of small notes from circulation had ‘annihilated a great portion of that ... property ... founded upon credit which ... found its way into the remotest corners of the kingdom’, with the result that the ‘prosperity of the greater part of the agricultural population’ had been undermined. Falling prices meant that the burden of the national debt, arising from the necessary wars against revolutionary France, had grown, and ministers were unable to make tax reductions because military establishments had to be maintained. He therefore predicted that the government must soon either ‘have a paper currency or commit an ... overt act of national bankruptcy’. He denied that he and his friends considered ministers to be ‘unworthy of the confidence of the nation’, but they would not ‘blindly place themselves at the disposal’ of government and resented being accused of ‘factious motives’. He declared that ‘the landed interest have their all at stake’ and ‘may probably save themselves’ by voting for inquiry; he was a minority teller, 23 Mar. He claimed on 8 June that ‘we have gradually gained an accession of strength’ on the currency question, which would ‘continue to press upon the House like an incubus’, and that the only opponents of inquiry were ‘the holders of pensions [and] the well-paid officers of the crown ... now receiving 30s. for every £1 granted them by Parliament during the depreciation’. He was named to the select committee on the East India Company, 9 Feb. (and again, 4 Feb., 26 July 1831). He divided against Blandford’s reform plan, 18 Feb., and Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., 17 May. He was one of a handful of Ultras who voted for Palmerston’s motion regarding British interference in the internal affairs of Portugal, 10 Mar.26 He condemned the government’s foreign policy, 2 July, declaring that ‘never was England in a more disgraceful position’, distrusted by other countries, and he gave the example of the unwise military intervention against Turkey. He openly expressed his ‘fear, almost amounting to a conviction’, that ministers were acting with ‘the despotic governments of Europe’ to ‘depress the spirit of liberty in different countries’, and he sought reassurance that there was no intention of intervening in France. He warned that the militia ballot suspension bill might lead to the ‘extinction of the constitutional force’ and leave nothing but a ‘large standing army’, 25 May. He moved for a return of the number of metropolitan police officers, 28 May, and expressed concern about ‘the unconstitutional character of this establishment and the ultimate intentions of the government’, 15 June. It was necessary to preserve the system of ‘self-government’ as a ‘safeguard of our liberties’, and he ‘dreaded’ the extension of the London model to other parts of the country, which would make the home secretary ‘supreme’ and create the potential for ‘an efficient army’. He moved to adjourn the debate on the sale of beer bill owing to the late hour, 3 June, and said he regarded this measure as ‘lowering the magistracy’ by leaving beer houses ‘entirely without regulation’. He thought consumption on the premises should be allowed, but wanted to see a ‘distinction between tippling and drinking a glass in passing ... no tippling should be allowed’; he was a minority teller. However, he voted against on-consumption, 21 June, 1 July, when he complained that the bill was being ‘forced on us as a pet measure’ of ministers, regardless of the warnings of the ‘unpaid magistracy’, who were ‘disliked by the executive power’. Referring also to the police and militia measures, he detected signs of the ‘art of enslaving a free people’. He divided to abolish the Irish lord lieutenancy, 11 May, and against the Galway franchise bill, 25 May. He voted for abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June, and against increased recognizances in the libel law amendment bill, 6, 9 July. He regretted that the export bounties on fish had not been made an ‘exception to the doctrine’ of free trade, 28 May, and gave notice of an amendment in committee on the labourers’ wages bill to restrict its operation in the Devon and Cornwall stannaries, 3 July. He thought the decision to dissolve Parliament quickly, without making proper arrangements for supply, was ‘unnecessary so far as the interests of the country are concerned’, 2 July 1830, and saw it as proof that the government had lost the confidence of the Commons, although there had been ‘no coalition between the three sections of opposition’. He felt obliged to express his ‘total want of confidence’ in ministers, ‘whether I look at their home policy, their commercial or foreign policy’. At this time he wrote another memorandum describing his feelings about his decision to enter politics:

Five years have passed and I am still in Parliament, but greater than I was - living with the first men of the party with which I am connected - in the confidence of princes - and powerful enough to direct the balancing party in the House of Commons against the minister - possibly to upset his government. Another five years of statesmanship, and unless I am in power I will cease to climb the giddy height.27

He stood again for Cornwall at the general election that summer and delivered a lengthy speech defending his conduct during the previous two sessions. He declared that he was ‘so decidedly opposed’ to the principles of Wellington’s government that he ‘must range himself in the ranks of a decided opposition’ to it. He accused the premier of ‘destroying party’, by drawing support from the old Whig opposition, and likened his policies on the police and the militia to those of Polignac, from which he concluded that ‘the great struggle between despotism and freedom was not now confined to one country’. He maintained that it would ‘give him no pain to see the Whigs, as a body, in power’, and though ‘he should probably be amongst their opponents’, this would be for the sake of ‘keeping up the wholesome spirit of party’ rather than ‘from any personal objection’. Until this happened, he thought it ‘behoved ... Whigs and Tories to oppose the present mixed government by forming a Conservative, or anti-Wellington party, or a country party, on the principle of resisting [Wellington’s] attempt ... to concentrate all power in himself’. He insisted that ‘Whigs and ... Ultra Tories ... might coalesce with honour’, and he ‘commented with severity’ on the conduct of Lord Althorp’s ‘independent party’, which had saved the government in the division on Knatchbull’s amendment. He observed that ‘the monied interest will muster powerfully’ in the next Parliament and give ‘zealous support’ to ministers, and he lamented to see the power of the country gentlemen being ‘crushed’ as a result of the government’s commercial and financial policies. After receiving promises of support from some prominent Whigs, who accepted him as a champion of ‘liberty’, he explained that he could give ‘no pledge’ to support parliamentary reform, as ‘he apprehended danger from any [general] plan’, and that he would not ‘vote for such a change until he found that the present system, under proper direction, had ceased to work well’; the ‘future conduct of the ... Commons would determine his views on that point’. He emphasized that he would never support military intervention to restore Charles X, who had ‘so grossly outraged the constitution of his country’, to the French throne, and argued that this proved he was not an Ultra, in the original meaning of the term. He was returned unopposed with Wynne Pendarves. One Tory peer commented on Vyvyan’s speech that ‘I have never before seen joined together, such power of expression and such weakness of judgement, such a strong charge for his musket, and so blind in taking aim’.28

The ministry of course listed him among the ‘violent Ultras’. He presented 53 anti-slavery petitions from Cornwall, 12 Nov. 1830. Following a meeting of his and Knatchbull’s Ultra friends, he and they voted against the government in the decisive civil list division, 15 Nov., playing a crucial part in its downfall.29 It is not clear whether he was sounded as to the possibility of joining Lord Grey’s ministry, but when the Ultra duke of Richmond accepted office he declined to follow him. During the next few months attempts to reunite the Tory opposition in the Commons under Peel’s leadership came to nothing, and the state of political confusion was magnified by divisions of opinion amongst the Ultras themselves. Vyvyan and Knatchbull led one group, who were personally hostile to Peel and determined to take an independent line on the government’s reform bill. Henry Goulburn* lamented that the ‘most formidable’ of the difficulties facing the opposition was ‘the obstinacy of ... Vyvyan and others’, who ‘insist on moving a resolution in which we find it impossible to concur inasmuch as it would pledge us to an extent of reform little short of that which the bill proposes to effect’. The arguments of leading Tories had made ‘some impression upon him’, but ‘with a man so uncertain and obstinate it is not possible to say what we may be ultimately able to effect’.30 On the morning of 21 Mar. 1831 the Vyvyan-Knatchbull group met to discuss their tactics on the second reading of the ministerial reform bill, and it was agreed that Vyvyan should move its rejection that evening. He explained to the House that since taking his seat in 1825 he had ‘abstained from voting upon parliamentary reform’, except for his opposition the previous session to the ballot, and he admitted the ‘necessity for occasional changes and improvements in all human ordinances’. However, he did not believe it was ‘safe at any time to attempt an entire change in the constitution of a country’, as this was ‘most dangerous to the whole superstructure of society’, yet ministers were proposing their ‘fearful experiment’ at a time of instability in Britain, Ireland and Europe. The bill was therefore ‘full of danger to the throne and our existing institutions’. Whereas the constitutional settlement of 1688 had been ‘a revolution of the aristocracy’, ministers were proposing ‘a revolution of the democracy’, and he knew of no instance in history where this had been achieved ‘without eventually throwing the supreme sovereignty of the state into the hands of an absolute king or a military despot’. He observed that ‘two years of severe distress in the agricultural and manufacturing interests’ had caused the people to demand relief, and claimed that it was the refusal to grant an inquiry that had made ‘the legislature and the executive ... unpopular’ and given rise to ‘a renewed cry for parliamentary reform’, which was seen as a ‘panacea for the evils of the country’. He warned that reform would lead to attacks on tithes, rents and funded property, which included ‘all the accumulations of the savings banks, amounting to 20 millions of the poor man’s property’. He specifically objected to the bill because it gave ‘an undue and anti-agricultural influence to towns’, and because the abolition of small boroughs with varied franchises removed the means by which ‘all the great interests of the country’ obtained their ‘due weight in the indirect but yet efficient representation’; he particularly feared that colonial interests would suffer as a result. He stated that if the bill was rejected he would move a ‘declaratory resolution’, to show the House’s determination to ‘strengthen and extend the representation’ at a more appropriate time, and he indicated that ‘any plan ... I might offer hereafter would go nearly to the extent of that which I believe it was the intention of ... ministers to propose before they came into office’. However, the second reading was carried by 302-301, 22 Mar. Mackintosh described Vyvyan’s oration as ‘shewy’ and ‘rambling’, but one Whig minister noted that it was ‘much cheered’ on the opposition benches and had probably helped to sway the votes of a ‘few’ who had deserted the government. Lord Granville Somerset* thought the speech ‘able’, while Henry Bankes, a rival Ultra, agreed it was ‘clever and argumentative’ but regretted that, ‘like many other county Members ... fear of his constituents and of a dissolution’ had driven Vyvyan to ‘declare himself friendly to some moderate reform’.31 He acknowledged that his hostile vote had provoked opposition to him in Cornwall, 29 Mar., but declared that he would never ‘basely yield to the ill-advised clamour ... now raised throughout the country’. He denied that he had acted from factious motives in opposing reform and the timber duties, 30 Mar. He voted for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr, but insisted two days later that this was not ‘for the purpose of throwing out the bill’, as the Commons had merely sought to ‘uphold the Protestant religion of this country’ by opposing increased representation for Ireland. He condemned the resulting dissolution, 22 Apr. 1831, denounced ministers as ‘the most incapable ... inconsistent ... least efficient body of men that ever attempted to govern a great country’, and warned that they were ‘about to incur a fearful responsibility’ by raising unrealistic expectations amongst ‘every class’ as to the benefits of reform. As he continued to speak, the sound of cannon fire heralding the king’s approach was heard in the chamber, and a Whig diarist noted how ‘at each discharge of the guns the ministerialists cheered loudly, as if in derision of the orator’s solemn sentences’. Finally, ‘the roaring of the cannon, the laughter and our cheering ... beat the baronet, and he suddenly sat down’. On the other hand, Greville judged that, ‘excited as he was’, Vyvyan’s speech had been ‘very well done’.32 At the ensuing general election he offered for Cornwall with Lord Valletort*, but they faced strong opposition from Wynne Pendarves and another Whig. He insisted that he was a ‘moderate reformer’ and claimed that ‘ministers did not wish their bill to pass and had made it violent, that it might be rejected’. He repeated his opposition to ‘wild theories of free trade’, favoured an ‘adjustment’ of tithes and declared his support for the ‘gradual abolition’ of slavery, with due regard to the rights of the planters, the welfare of the slaves and the ‘general interests of the empire’. He and Valletort were defeated after a contest lasting five days. Lord Grey was afterwards informed that that ‘ill-conditioned and most unpopular man’ could ‘never show his face in Cornwall again’.33

In July 1831 a vacancy was created for Vyvyan at Okehampton, where the Savile interest predominated, and after being returned at the by-election he sought to organize the depleted ranks of the Ultras.34 He voted to use the 1831 census for the purpose of scheduling boroughs in the reintroduced reform bill, 19 July. He warned on 29 July that if ministers persisted in their plan to devote five days per week to the bill the opposition would be driven to the ‘unpleasant alternative’ of moving an adjournment the next day. While not taking an active part himself in the reform debates, he defended the right of Members to protect the interests of their constituents by engaging in detailed opposition, 4 Aug. He divided to preserve the voting rights of non-resident freemen for life, 30 Aug. He feared that government appointment of the boundary commissioners risked placing ‘boroughs more under undue nomination than they are under this present system’, 1 Sept. He supported Waldo Sibthorp’s amendment to prevent Members from being appointed as boundary commissioners, 13 Sept., on the ground that ministers would otherwise be able to ‘delegate to a body of their own friends and adherents a power so despotic’. He was convinced that ‘this bill never can pass’, once the revelation of such ‘gross ... anomalies’ awoke the nation from its ‘delusion’ that the measure was ‘meant for ... great national objects’. He admitted that he was ‘now a reformer to a greater extent than when the bill was first brought forward’, but thought it would be ‘dangerous to offer any plan of reform as a counter-project, whilst we are discussing this bill’. He believed the approaching crisis would ‘try the firmness’ of the peers, who had ‘an opportunity for deciding how far they are free senators of a great empire’. One Whig Member wrote that the ‘barrage of ... Vyvyan, who had been got up to be very effective ... was infinitely absurd’.35 Though he could not ‘go to the full extent’ of Waldo Sibthorp’s amendment to disfranchise persons holding civil offices during the pleasure of the crown, 14 Sept., he felt ‘the substance of [it] ought to have been embodied in the bill’, to prevent the government from ‘interfering in election matters’ by ‘exercising a direct control’ over public servants. He argued that ‘without universal suffrage the ballot would be the most unfair system of election that could be possibly adopted’, 21 Sept., as those excluded from the franchise had a right to know how those included had voted. He divided against the bill’s passage, 21 Sept. He mentioned on 11 Oct. that he had voted against Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion the previous day. In what Greville described as a ‘furious attack’, 12 Oct., he condemned the ‘novel and dangerous ... practice’ of ministers corresponding with the political unions, which had ‘set themselves in array against the legislature’. He hoped the rejected bill would be amended to make it acceptable to the Lords, but suspected that ministers would prefer to exploit popular clamour.36 He argued that Ireland had no case for increased representation because she ‘does not contribute to the revenue to the extent which she ought in proportion to her population’, 17 Oct. He objected to the language used in a Birmingham Political Union petition, 19 Oct., and exclaimed, ‘God protect us from the government of clubs or unions!’ He trusted that such bodies would never be allowed to ‘dictate to this House what course it should pursue’, and said he would prefer to see ‘riots in some parts of the country than that the peace should be kept by means of these unions’. He maintained that the House had no right to withhold the Liverpool election writ for ‘anything done before the present Parliament was in existence’, 12 Oct., and considered it ‘hard for such a place ... to be without two representatives’. He agreed to postpone his motion for papers regarding the Belgian crisis, while diplomatic negotiations were continuing, 6 Aug., but insisted that he was ‘fully justified’ in raising the matter as the government’s conduct had been ‘highly detrimental to this country’ and ‘may involve us in war’. After reluctantly agreeing to further postponements, 9, 11 Aug., he brought on his motion, 18 Aug., when he defended the right of the Dutch king, who had been ‘abandoned and sacrificed’ by the London conference of the Powers, to send troops into Belgium, and argued that the king had always been faithful to ‘his professed principles of toleration and national feeling’, in difficult circumstances. It would be detrimental to Britain’s ‘faith and honour’ in the eyes of the ‘minor powers’, if the British fleet took action against the Dutch, and he hoped the ‘mistake of Navarino’ would not be repeated. The Belgian revolt had been organized by an ‘alliance of the ultramontanes and the liberals’, the ‘precise counterpart of what is now going on in Ireland’, and a similar combination in France, a ‘power behind the government and the throne’, was bent on provoking war with Britain. He urged ministers ‘for the safety of the country and for the peace of Europe’, to ‘offer a firm, bold, and determined resistance to the policy of that party wherever it may be found’. He explained that ‘those who have been falsely called "Ultras" in this country are widely different ... from the persons who were originally so termed in France’, because those in Britain were ‘desirous to maintain order’ and ‘make as few alterations as possible to support the ancient institutions, authority and honour of the country’, whereas the French Ultras ‘wanted a government by edicts and ordinances ... destructive of the liberties of the people’. He withdrew his motion when the foreign secretary, Palmerston, declined to give any information. Sir Henry Hardinge* thought Vyvyan had been ‘very poor in his motion and very indiscreet’. It may have been conceived as a diversionary attack on the government.37 He congratulated ministers on the news that French troops had been withdrawn from Belgium, 27 Sept. He objected to the Commons receiving the North Western Union petition against the Queen’s Dower Act, 19 Aug., as this would establish ‘a most dangerous precedent’. He voted to censure the Irish administration for using undue influence in the Dublin election, 23 Aug. He complained the same day that the Beer Act had caused ‘disorder and inconvenience’, and warned that if beer houses were not ‘placed more effectually’ under magisterial control ‘there must be an increased necessity for a larger police’. In the debate on the wine duties, 7 Sept., he criticized ministers for sacrificing the existing trade with Portugal in the ‘delusive hope’ of increased trade with France, and complained that they were ‘trifling with the interests of our great colonial system’ by proposing to expose Cape producers to French competition. He feared that ‘our colonies will cease to regard the metropolitan part of the empire ... with respect and confidence’. He called that day for ‘measures ... to render our currency less fluctuating’, and questioned the restrictions on private banks and the need for a state bank, observing that ‘the present system, both of currency and banking, is calculated to throw every impediment in the way of safe speculation’. He voted for inquiry into the effects on the West India interest of renewing the Sugar Refinery Act, 12 Sept. Next day he expressed doubts that the banning of threshing machines would create employment, as this would ‘cause land now in cultivation to be thrown out of it’. He approved of the vestries bill, 30 Sept., having ‘long entertained’ the view that the ‘whole of those who pay rates ought to be entitled to vote’, but he hoped it would be amended to give extra weight to larger property owners, so that they were not ‘borne down by numbers’. He urged ministers to take immediate steps to ‘isolate places infected’ with cholera, 18 Oct. 1831.

He elicited that the government did not intend to set up an inquiry into distress, 12 Dec. 1831. Three days later he observed that the ‘inevitable consequence’ of free trade policies was that such manufactures as gloves were being ‘driven out of the market by ... foreigners’, which must ‘inevitably diminish the employment of our own workpeople, unless ... you increase the means of consumption’. He admitted that ‘if we were about to establish an entirely new system of government, no doubt we ought to be in favour of free trade, for the abstract truths of its benefits cannot be denied’, but thought it was ‘impossible to make any alteration in existing trade without creating much misery’. He declared that ‘the free trade system has had its trial and ... has completely failed’, 31 Jan. 1832. He considered the Coventry ribbon makers’ case ‘a very hard one’ which merited inquiry, 21 Feb., described the appointment of a committee on the silk trade as ‘a great triumph’, 1 Mar., and successfully moved that Alderman Waithman be added to it, as a ‘practical man’ was needed, 6 Mar. He argued that statistics proving the growth of trade did not show whether the labourers were ‘in as comfortable a condition as formerly’, 3 July, and he complained that Parliament had shown insufficient attention to their interests, having ‘on every occasion rather regarded the interests of the capitalist’. He pointed out that he and other opponents of reform had supported inquiries into distress, although some had ‘lost their seats ... in consequence of the excitement which prevailed on the subject of reform’, and he thought it ‘right that the country should know who are its true friends’. He dissented from Hume’s claim that ‘the property of the church is national property’, 14 Dec. 1831, and he divided against the government amendment to the Irish tithes bill, 9 Apr. 1832. He asked what Hume would do about advowsons and lay improprietors, 10 Aug. 1832, ‘because if we once admit the principle that property ... is to be taken away from the holders at pleasure, there is an end of all government and all justice’. He said he would again oppose the anatomy bill unless the clause giving over murderers’ bodies for dissection was omitted, 15 Dec. 1831, observing that ‘if ... you wish to further the ends of science, by allaying the prejudices that exist against dissection, you must remove that feeling of degradation which is now associated with it in the public mind’. He believed that ‘those who die in the poor house ... are as much entitled to the protection of the law as those who die in palaces’. He expressed regret the same day that ministers had not tried the ‘experiment of isolation’ to stop the spread of cholera, but he agreed that it was ‘necessary to give all the powers that are requisite’ and that ‘all party considerations ought to be thrown aside’, 14 Feb. 1832. He concluded that given the separation of Belgium from Holland, Britain was ‘no longer liable’ to pay the interest on the Russian-Dutch loan, 16 Dec. 1831, and he voted accordingly, 26 Jan. 1832. He hoped the forthcoming London conference of the Powers would show the Dutch king ‘fair and even handed justice’, 17 Dec. 1831, observing that ‘Holland is sure to be a more serviceable ally to this country than Belgium, which must always be under the influence of France’. He agreed, apparently on Wellington’s advice, to postpone his motion on the Dutch-Belgian treaty until it had been fully ratified, 6 Feb. 1832, and it was suspected on the ministerial side that he had also been influenced by the likelihood of cutting ‘a bad figure in the division’; the motion never came on.38 He again voted against the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July, complained that the House was being asked to give a ‘blind vote of confidence’ when insufficient information had been provided, 16 July, and suggested that payment should be seen ‘in the light of a bribe to Russia’, 20 July. He sought information regarding the landing of French troops at Ancona, which he feared would ‘again excite a civil war in Italy’, 7 Mar. He emphasized that ‘as an Englishman and an admirer of our constitution’, he considered the government of the duke of Modena to be ‘of a character which no man ... can approve of’, while ‘that ... of the Pope is such as no love of liberal proceedings can sanction’. He denounced the ‘hostile invasion of the Papal territory’ by France, which was claiming ‘a right of uncontrolled discussion in the affairs of Europe’, 13 Mar., and he urged the government to ‘maintain the honour and interests of England’. Believing that ‘we must take foreign governments as we find them’, he argued that ‘we are bound by treaties to preserve the peace and maintain the balance of power in Europe’. A Whig Member remarked that Vyvyan had ‘become a good speaker’, but was ‘unfair and mischievous’.39 In the general debate on foreign policy, 26 Mar., he accused Palmerston of securing peace by allowing France to ‘gain all her points’, in Algiers, Portugal, Italy and Belgium, ‘without opposition’, although he denied that he wished to ‘plunge the country into war’. Following conversations with Palmerston and the Dutch ambassador in late July 1832, he reported to Peel that ‘it may now be prudent to allow the session to terminate without saying anything more on foreign politics’.40

He divided against the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831. In January 1832 there was speculation that he might be included in a ministry formed by the Tory ‘Waverers’, Lords Harrowby and Wharncliffe, but there is no evidence of any direct communication with them; he remained hostile to Tory reunion under Peel.41 He complained that ministers were apparently resolved to disfranchise a certain number of boroughs without allowing the House to consider the merits of individual cases, 20 Jan. 1832, when he was a minority teller against going into committee. However, he offered his ‘cordial vote in support’ of the clause to ‘prevent the creation of fictitious freeholders’, which had been ‘introduced to overpower the real constituency of a county’, 1 Feb. He also admitted the benefits of a ‘well conducted registration’, 8 Feb., since ‘the idea of confining the representation of a county to the three or four families in it who may have the money requisite to undertake a contest’ was ‘in contradiction to the general freedom of elections and the principles of the constitution’; but he objected to revising barristers being given the power to decide who could register, as there was a danger of political bias entering into their decisions. Sources differ as to whether he voted for the registration clause that day or abstained. He thought the two-day interval between the nomination meeting and the election for counties should be increased to seven, to prevent surprise candidatures, 11 Feb., or else ‘cunning and trick will constitute the chief weapons at an election’. He criticized the ‘errors’ committed by the boundary commissioners in the case of Helston, which was to lose one Member, 23 Feb., and urged that the case be adjourned. He voted against the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and argued that Gateshead, which ‘may be considered as one town’ with Newcastle, had no claim to separate representation, 5 Mar. He accepted that the reform question must be ‘speedily settled’, 20 Mar., but advised ministers to present a ‘more moderate’ plan in order to conciliate the peers and the country. He objected to the total disfranchisement of any borough, except where corruption had been proved, and deplored ministers’ determination to ‘assail the corporations’ and ‘infringe upon and destroy charters’, which must ‘endanger all property’. He suggested that through the ‘partial disfranchisement of a sufficient number’ of boroughs, using size of electorate as the criterion, it would be possible to provide for ‘new constituencies in towns and counties’, although increased representation for London was ‘unnecessary’ as it was ‘virtually represented by nearly half the House’. He argued that the £10 borough franchise was ‘arbitrary’ and set a ‘fearful precedent’, as ‘there is but one abstract right of voting which can be brought forward by pure theorists, and that is universal suffrage’. If the bill was passed he foresaw the introduction of a property tax, repeal of the corn laws and an attack on church revenues. He warned ministers that ‘in their attempt to enjoy a long tenure of office’, by means of the bill, ‘they and the aristocracy of their own party are committing an act of suicide’. A sketch of an alternative reform plan in Vyvyan’s hand, evidently from this time, proposed that there should be no change in the proportionate representation of England, Scotland and Ireland, and that 74 boroughs drawn by lot, from among those with under 100 voters or a population of under 5,000, should each lose one Member. Of the seats made available for redistribution, two each should be given to 27 counties and the other 20 to the towns listed in schedule C, except Merthyr Tydfil and one other. Those remaining boroughs with under 100 voters should be thrown open to the hundred, while in boroughs with large populations a variable household franchise of up to £20 should apply. All existing voting rights should remain except for the out-voters, who should have a vote for life where they resided.42 He divided against the third reading, 22 Mar., and for Waldo Sibthorp’s amendment regarding Lincoln freeholders, 23 Mar. In April he submitted to the marquess of Salisbury a proposed amendment to the bill’s preamble, which he regretted not having moved in the Commons, embodying the principle that there should only be partial disfranchisement of an unspecified number of boroughs. He observed that if in the Lords committee, ‘where proxies do not count (and that must be a benefit to your cause in the present state of the House), you could carry [this] proposition ... I should think you might succeed’. Thus, ‘the principle of Lord Grey’s bill will be overthrown and the entire measure ... emasculated’. Nothing came of this, and he afterwards expressed to another correspondent his hope that the Lords would reject the bill, as ‘time is everything’ and ‘a better measure may be more acceptable in a few months’. He feared that if the bill passed and Parliament was dissolved, ministers ‘must have a war-cry, and in these days I know of none which can be raised without advantage to the Jacobin party’.43 On 10 May, following the resignation of Grey’s ministry, he attended a meeting of opposition Members at Peel’s house to discuss their response to Ebrington’s motion that evening, for an address asking the king to appoint only ministers committed to carrying an unimpaired bill.44 After the address was carried he objected to its being presented as the view of the Commons, when there had only been a majority of 80 in favour of it. This raised the important question of ‘whether the other branch of the legislature is to be dictated to by the king’s ministers for the time being’, and he warned that if it was accepted that the government had the power to change the composition of the Lords, it would be ‘utterly impossible for that body to act as a free assembly’. During the ensuing constitutional crisis, when Wellington attempted to form a government in order to carry a similar reform bill, Vyvyan was reportedly ‘not amenable’ to the explanations offered to justify this course.45 However, on 18 May he defended Wellington’s willingness to ‘sacrifice ... himself and ... his personal opinions’, arguing that ‘his acceptance of office might have saved the independence’ of the Lords. He also said that he understood Peel’s refusal to serve, as he had ‘made more decided and solemn protestations on ... the reform bill’. He described the Whig proposal to create new peers as ‘so gross and outrageous to the spirit of the constitution’ as to be ‘akin to treason’. William IV had shown himself ‘a greater friend to the liberties of the country’ than the Whigs, and he was confident that if a general election were held ‘the sober, reflecting and calmly judging people of England’ would show their approval of the king’s conduct. Early in June he wrote a desperate letter to Cumberland urging that the Lords should postpone the bill’s third reading, for if it passed:

I do not believe that any earthly power can save this country from a social revolution. The present House of Commons will not venture to destroy the unions ... because each Member will look to his future election, and the ministry will feel that their existence depends upon the aid of these societies ... On the other hand, a Tory government might recommit the bill in the Lords, make such alterations as were necessary and (if the Commons rejected the bill) they might dissolve with such a bill before the country as the Lords might be induced to pass without incurring the charge of slavery. There may be danger on one side, but there is irresistible ruin on the other.

However, he was advised that nothing more could be done.46 After the bill’s passage he continued to talk of forming an ‘old Tory party’, separate from Wellington and Peel, but as Sir John Benn Walsh* noted, though a ‘clever, subtle fellow with a good deal of ingenuity and penetration’, Vyvyan was ‘rather crotchety in his views and far fetched in his ideas’.47 He favoured referring the boundaries bill to a select committee in order to ‘proceed with greater rapidity’, 4 June. He divided for Alexander Baring’s privileges of Parliament bill, 27 June, when he remarked that since political power had been placed ‘in the hands of the bulk of the community’, it was necessary to ensure that ‘those without property’ should not be allowed to ‘vote away the public money’. He warned against the provision in the bribery at elections bill allowing Members to be petitioned against for two years after an election, 30 July 1832, as this would hold over them ‘a scourge ... which might altogether destroy their independence’; he advised that the matter be left to the next Parliament, since so few Members remained in London.

At the general election of 1832 Vyvyan was returned at the head of the poll for Bristol, where he sat as a ‘Conservative’ until his retirement in 1837. By then most of the Ultras had been reconciled to Peel’s leadership and Vyvyan had become an isolated figure. He was described about that time as ‘a man of middle size ... slenderly and delicately made’, with ‘something of a pensive cast’ about his countenance and a ‘rather sallow’ complexion, whose ‘voice and manner’ were nevertheless ‘pleasant’.48 In another personal memorandum, in 1837, he wrote:

Before the ten years were completed, I succeeded in overthrowing an administration. I was instrumental in placing men in office who have done great mischief ... I have been courted by all parties, and at last I was indirectly consulted by two British sovereigns, and in communication with the first foreign statesmen in the world. Still my resolution remained unbroken. The ten years have elapsed ... I am not in power, and I thank my good fortune for it. I am no longer in Parliament. My retirement has been optional. All Hail philosophy ... All Hail religious peace! I have fulfilled my vow. Vain pomp and glory of the world farewell.49

In fact, he was returned for Helston in 1841 and sat until his final retirement in 1857, but he was never again a major force in the House. He published several works on philosophical and scientific subjects, and on one occasion he mentioned an unpublished volume, ‘so arranged as to pretend to something like a system’, in which he attached particular importance to ‘the chapters on the laws of matter and geology, and the last chapter in which I have attempted to prove the subordinate agency’.50 He died in August 1879 and was succeeded by his nephew, the Rev. Sir Vyell Vyvyan (1826-1917).

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Terry Jenkins


  • 1. Five younger children shared all the property from a marriage settlement, £25,000 charged on the real estate and the residue. The personalty was sworn under £16,000 (PROB 11/1628/244; IR26/846/292).
  • 2. Cornw. RO, Tremayne mss DD/T/2545.
  • 3. R. Cornw. Gazette, 16 Oct. 1824.
  • 4. Harrowby mss, Vyvyan to Lord Dudley Stuart, 3 Mar. 1823.
  • 5. West Briton, 17 Dec. 1824, 7, 28 Jan. 1825.
  • 6. Ibid. 11 Nov. 1825, 16, 23 June 1826.
  • 7. Cornw. RO, Vyvyan mss DD/V/BO/47, letters from Roberts, 1 Feb., Shepherd, 17 Feb., Pole Carew, 17, 21 Feb.; The Times, 13, 22 Feb., 9 Mar. 1827.
  • 8. Vyvyan mss 47, Vyvyan to Avery, 2 Mar.; Carew Pole mss CC/N/60, Vyvyan to Pole Carew, 8, 21 Mar. 1827.
  • 9. Vyvyan mss 47, Vyvyan to Rev. Moore, 26 May; The Times, 13 June 1827.
  • 10. Vyvyan mss 44, Vyvyan to Legh Keck, 6 May 1827.
  • 11. West Briton, 1 June 1827.
  • 12. Vyvyan mss 47, Vyvyan to Lord John Russell, 12 June 1827; Palmerston-Sulivan Letters, 231.
  • 13. Vyvyan mss 47, Vyvyan to Rev. Polwhele, 25 June 1827.
  • 14. Ibid. memo. 4 Dec. 1827.
  • 15. Ibid. circular letter, 26 May 1828.
  • 16. Grey mss, Howick jnl. 24 Feb. 1829.
  • 17. Colchester Diary, iii. 608.
  • 18. Gurney diary, 27 Mar. 1829.
  • 19. Add. 52655, f. 156.
  • 20. Vyvyan mss 48, Vyvyan to Cumberland, 13 July, 9 Aug., to Newcastle, 20 July 1829. See generally, G. I. T. Machin, Catholic Question in English Politics, 181-7; P. Jupp, British Politics on Eve of Reform, 280-4; B.T. Bradfield, ‘Sir Richard Vyvyan and the fall of Wellington’s Government’, Birmingham Univ. Hist. Jnl. li (1967-8), 141-56.
  • 21. Vyvyan mss 48, Vyvyan to Cumberland, 22, 29 Aug., to Newcastle, 25 Aug., to Knatchbull, 31 Aug., 7 Sept. 1829.
  • 22. Eldon mss, Cumberland to Eldon, 25 Sept.; Vyvyan mss 48, analysis of Commons, n.d., Vyvyan to Cumberland, 22 Oct. 1829; Palmerston-Sulivan Letters, 231.
  • 23. Vyvyan mss 48, Vyvyan to Eldon, 30 Nov. 1829, memo. n.d.
  • 24. Nottingham Univ. Lib. Ossington mss, Huskisson to Denison, 30 Jan.; Hatherton mss, Wharncliffe to Littleton, 1 Feb. 1830.
  • 25. Ellenborough Diary, ii. 186; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 331-2.
  • 26. Howick jnl. 10 Mar. 1830.
  • 27. Vyvyan mss BO/47, memo. June 1830.
  • 28. West Briton, 13 Aug.; Cent. Kent. Stud. Stanhope mss U1590/C130/9, Mahon to Stanhope, 15 Aug. 1830.
  • 29. M. Brock, Great Reform Act, 128-9.
  • 30. Ibid. 135-6, 172-5; Bradfield, ‘Sir Richard Vyvyan and the Country Gentlemen, 1830-1834’, EHR, lxxxiii (1968), 731-3; Surr. Hist. Cent. Goulburn mss Acc 304/67B, Goulburn to wife, 19 Mar. 1831.
  • 31. Add 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 21 Mar.; 51764, Duncannon to same, 21 Mar.; 51724, Duncannon to Holland, 22 Mar.; Dorset RO D/BKL, Bankes jnl. 173, 21-22 Mar.; Stanhope mss C190/2, Somerset to Stanhope, 23 Mar. 1831.
  • 32. Broughton, Recollections, iv. 104-5; Greville Mems. ii. 137.
  • 33. West Briton, 29 Apr., 6, 13, 20 May; Grey mss, Bedford to Grey, 19 May 1831.
  • 34. Bradfield, ‘Vyvyan and Country Gentlemen’, 733-4.
  • 35. Add. 61937, f. 125.
  • 36. Greville Mems. ii. 209.
  • 37. Aberdeen Univ. Lib. Arbuthnot mss, Hardinge to Mrs. Arbuthnot, 19 Aug. 1831; Bradfield, ‘Vyvyan and Country Gentlemen’, 735.
  • 38. Hatherton diary, 6 Feb. 1832.
  • 39. Gurney diary, 13 Mar. 1832.
  • 40. Add. 40403, f. 57.
  • 41. Bradfield, ‘Vyvyan and Country Gentlemen’, 735-6.
  • 42. Vyvyan mss 47, ‘Reform plan of Sir Richard Vyvyan, 1832’.
  • 43. Ibid. Vyvyan to Salisbury, 18 Apr. 1832, with enclosed sketch; Vyvyan to ?, n.d.
  • 44. Croker Pprs. ii. 154.
  • 45. Three Diaries, 257.
  • 46. Vyvyan mss 47, Vyvyan to Cumberland, 3 June 1832, Lyndhurst to Vyvyan, n.d.
  • 47. NLW, Ormathwaite mss FG1/6, p. 88.
  • 48. J. Phillips, Reform Bill in Boroughs, 73-83, 92-100; Bradfield, ‘Vyvyan and Country Gentlemen’, 738-43; Dod’s Parl. Companion (1833), 171; [J. Grant], Random Recollections of Commons (1837), 154-6.
  • 49. Vyvyan mss 47, memo. Aug. 1837.
  • 50. Add. 60993, f. 98.