WETHERELL, Charles (?1770-1846), of 5 Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn and 7 Whitehall Place, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. ?1770, 3rd s. of Rev. Nathan Wetherell, DD (d. 1807), master of Univ. Coll. Oxf. and dean of Hereford, and Ricarda, da. of Alexander Croke of Studley Priory, Oxon.1 educ. St. Paul’s sch. 1783; Univ. Coll. Oxf. 14 Jan. 1786, aged 15; Magdalen, Oxf. 1788-91; I. Temple 1790, called 1794; L. Inn 1806. m. (1) 28 Dec. 1826, his cos. Jane Sarah Elizabeth (d. 21 Apr. 1831), da. of Sir Alexander Croke of Studley, 1s. d.v.p.; (2) 27 Nov. 1838, Harriet Elizabeth, da. of Col. Francis Warneford of Warneford Place, Wilts., s.p. kntd. 10 Mar. 1824. d. 17 Aug. 1846.
KC 25 Mar. 1816; bencher, I. Temple 1816, treas. 1825; solicitor-gen. Jan. 1824-Sept. 1826; att.-gen. Sept. 1826-Apr. 1827, Feb. 1828-Mar. 1829.
Counsel for Magdalen 1804, for Oxf. Univ. 1830-d.; recorder, Bristol 1827-d.; dep. steward, Oxf. Univ. 1846.
In 1820 Wetherell was ‘a disappointed lawyer’ without a seat. Despite the patronage of lord chancellor Eldon, his rise at the chancery bar had been slow. Above all, he fancied himself entitled to legal office in the Liverpool ministry, which, as a ‘thorough Tory of the oldest school’, he had supported in the 1812 Parliament.2 He had undeniable talent and considerable learning, but damaged himself through his intemperance, prolixity and quixotism, which often betrayed him into buffoonery. The clownish aspect of his public persona was reinforced by his permanent state of dishevelment and his indifference to personal hygiene. One observer recalled that ....
whilst strait-laced in his opinions, his ideas of dress were much the reverse, in fact he was one of the greatest slovens who ever walked, and it was a wonder when he did walk how his clothes and his body contrived to keep together.3
He could not, however, be ignored.
At the general election of 1820 he stood for his native city of Oxford, where he became involved in a contest with one of the sitting Members, standing on the Blenheim interest, and a barrister who had been turned out of the seat in 1818. In a canvassing speech, he praised the ‘excellence’ of the existing constitution. At the nomination, when he boasted of his ‘growing reputation and fame in Westminster Hall’, he denied being ‘addicted to the purposes and intentions of the radical reformers’ (an impression created by his successful defence of the radical James Watson in the treason trial of 1817, which he had undertaken purely to make a professional point), and tried to prove ‘how incompatible the infatuated schemes of the radical reformers were with the sober genius and well-established foundations of the British constitution’. He comfortably topped the poll.4 Echoing his conduct in 1817, he sought to make a name for himself by championing the cause of Queen Caroline. His attempt to secure action against the editor of the Western Luminary for a libel on her, 24, 25 July 1820, when he denied being her ‘shadow or faggot’, ended in near farce and failure. On 23 Jan. 1821 he insisted, despite having been ruled out of order, on moving for the production of copies of documents in anticipation of the Whig Lord Archibald Hamilton’s motion on the omission of the queen’s name from the liturgy. Ministers moved the previous question, which was carried by 260-169.5 Wetherell was allowed to repeat the motion without hindrance the next day. Supporting Hamilton’s motion, 26 Jan., he said that he had ‘always been opposed to the principles of the radicals’ and their ‘wild and visionary schemes of reform’, but argued that ‘the whole course of the proceedings pursued by ministers, from the first introduction of the bill of pains and penalties, had been a series of monstrous and unjustifiable innovations on the constitution’. His speech, which was loudly cheered, was considered by the Whig Members James Abercromby and Thomas Creevey as ‘effective ... and very good’ and ‘a most triumphant, unanswerable legal argument ... supported with great ability’. George Howard*, a spectator in the gallery, thought it ‘masterly and unanswerable ... only too lengthy in the end’.6 The ‘Mountaineer’ Henry Grey Bennet described it as
one of the most vigorous and able speeches I ever heard. It had rather too much of the copia verbum and was too long, with terrible repetitions; but for legal argument and clear and powerful illustrations, and above all, the claim for riveting attention, I hardly ever heard from anyone a speech of the same character.7
Wetherell, who got into more trouble with the Speaker for referring back to this debate, 31 Jan., voted for the opposition censure of ministers’ conduct, 6 Feb., and for further motions on the liturgy question, 13, 15 Feb. He divided against government on the suppression of the liberal constitution in Naples, 21 Feb. He voted silently against Catholic relief, which was anathema to him, 28 Feb., and spoke against aspects of the relief bill, 23 Mar. (when, to the great private amusement of Canning, he minted the word ‘posteriority’), 26, 27 Mar.8 He voted with government against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr., and the disfranchisement of ordnance officials, 12 Apr. 1821.
He did likewise against more extensive tax reductions, 11, 21 Feb., and abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar. 1822. He said that the bill to reduce the navy five per cents must be effected so as not to depreciate them in the event of war, 8 Mar., and upheld the royal prerogative to dismiss army officers and make articles of war, 12 Mar.9 He denounced the Catholic peers bill as ‘the acme and perfection of unrivalled singularity’ and attributed dubious motives to Canning, its author, 30 Apr.; but ‘the House grew so noisy and impatient’ that he was ‘obliged to stop before he had finished half of what he had prepared’.10 On 10 May he moved an unsuccessful killing amendment against its second reading. He raised objections to details of the Marriage Act amendment bill, ‘an unconstitutional innovation on the rights of property’, 20 May, 12 July, when he was a teller for small minorities against the Lords’ amendments to it. He said a ‘few words’, inaudible to the reporters, against Brougham’s motion condemning the increasing influence of the crown, 24 June.11 He spoke and voted against repeal of the salt duties, 28 June, observing that ‘tax after tax could not, with safety to the country, be remitted’. He favoured investigation of the Calcutta bankers’ financial claims, 4 July, and was a teller for the majority in the division. According to the Whig Henry Fox*, in his defence of the aliens bill, 19 July, Wetherell
used some of the strangest words imaginable in a long tiresome speech. Somebody said to the chancellor [of the exchequer], ‘what words Wetherell coins’. ‘Oh!’ said he, ‘I should not mind the coinage, if it was not for the utterance’.12
He voted for the grant for the publication of government proclamations in Ireland, 22 July. At the annual Oxford mayoral feast, 30 Sept. 1822, he reviewed and explained his parliamentary conduct, ‘much to the satisfaction of the assembly’.13
After describing the revised Marriage Act as ‘an Arabia of rapine and confusion’, Wetherell presented a petition from the archdeacon of Oxford against it, 14 Feb. 1823.14 He voted against repeal of the house tax, 10 Mar., when his call for abolition of the tax on Oxford college grooms was deemed facetious by the chancellor. In the absence of the Members for Dublin he presented the petition of the grand jury complaining of aspersions cast on their conduct in the prosecution of the Orange theatre rioters, 11 Apr.; and he divided in the ministerial minority against inquiry into the affair, 22 Apr. In the committee in May he insisted that the Commons had the power to compel jurors called as witnesses to break their oaths of secrecy and objected to the Irish attorney-general being examined in a case which involved his professional character. He voted against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr. He presented anti-Catholic petitions from the corporation and inhabitants of Oxford, 15, 17 Apr. He favoured an immediate, comprehensive grant to finance the erection of the new Westminster law courts, 18 Apr.15 He called for the case against the judge O’Grady to be postponed, 16 May, 13, 17 June, opposed going into committee on it, 2 July, objected to the implication of criminality, 3 July, and supported the dropping of all charges, 9 July. On 16 May he denounced the principle of the Irish tithes composition bill, which ‘deprived the clergy of their character of freeholders, and gave them a character of pensioners on the state’. He reiterated these views, 30 May, 6, 16 June, when he voted against going into committee on the measure. He opposed Lord Nugent’s bill to place British Catholics on the same footing as Irish, which he considered as tantamount to a repeal of the Test Acts, 28 May, 18, 23 June. He spoke and voted in defence of Eldon and the existing chancery administration on Williams’s motion for inquiry into delays, 5 June. He supported the bill setting up the Scottish law commission as ‘a choice of considerable difficulties’, 10 July 1823.
Charles Williams Wynn*, president of the board of control, ruled Wetherell out of consideration for the vacant puisne justiceship of Chester in September 1823 because his ‘business is I apprehend too great to induce him to sacrifice a portion of it to this office’.16 In the reshuffle in the legal hierarchy necessitated by death and retirement at the end of the year, he was an obvious candidate for the solicitor-generalship, if only, as the cynics said, ‘to stop his mouth about the court of chancery in the House of Commons’.17 As the Whig Sir James Mackintosh* observed:
A connection with Wetherell is a difficulty for an administration. It is not desirable to drive him into opposition and it is impossible to place him in any conspicuous office that requires common sense. I thought they might have got out of the scrape (though not well) by withdrawing him into the exchequer.
His fellow Whig John Whishaw told Lady Holland that Wetherell ‘is very anxious for office, but will assuredly be disappointed’.18 In fact, Wetherell had the backing not only of Eldon but of Peel, the home secretary, who commented to the lord chancellor that
on account of his general knowledge, of his attainments as a chancery lawyer, and his readiness in debate on all subjects, the attention which he has paid to ecclesiastical matters, and his zeal for the interests of the church, I think decidedly that he will be more useful to us in the House of Commons than any other man.
Privately, Peel confessed to his friend Goulburn, the Irish secretary, that he inclined to Wetherell ‘partly because having an appetite for tithe bills (which appetite will be wonderfully sharpened by the preference of another candidate) he will be a most troublesome opponent’. The king was ‘strongly for Wetherell, having a high opinion of his powers of abusing a foe’.19 Williams Wynn, a pro-Catholic who considered Wetherell a ‘bore’, was
not surprised the chancellor and Peel should support him, for he is as bigoted and furious No Popery as they could wish; but why Canning should, unless because he was one of the queen’s friends, I cannot conceive. He is a good lawyer, but a most tedious House of Commons speaker, most uncouth in his manners.20
It was not quite plain sailing for Wetherell, because Lord Liverpool and Eldon agreed that it was essential to accompany the offer ‘with some explanation as to particular measures likely to be brought before Parliament’, especially the tithe question, and ‘likewise (in order to obviate future embarrassment and misapprehension), with some reserve as to certain situations in the course of judicial succession’.21 Eldon conducted the initial interview with Wetherell, who on 31 Dec. 1823 gave Liverpool the impression that he was ‘perfectly tractable on the tithe question, and all other questions’. Later that day, however, he threw all into confusion by returning to Eldon and expressing his concern that Liverpool’s ‘reserve’ on ‘the matter of judicial succession’ amounted to an unacceptable and degrading ‘stipulation’ that he was not to be considered for promotion to the higher ranks of the judiciary after he had become attorney-general, which he could expect to be whenever it proved possible to promote John Copley*. Liverpool, who professed merely to be keen to ensure that in future the law officers of the crown retained their places for longer periods than had been the case of late, was unwilling to give way, and it was left to Eldon to try to mollify Wetherell with assurances that no personal slight was intended and that, subject to the desirability of long service by the law officers, his professional pretensions to such vacancies as arose in the future would be given due weight. He was, however, pessimistic on 3 Jan. 1824, when he told Liverpool that
the final tenor of his conversation was to the effect that his future condition would rest in such a state of uncertainty, as he understood the rule as exemplified by practice would leave him, that he felt not disposed to accept, and he intimated that I should receive a letter from him today, which from what he said, I expect will be a refusal ... I told him my opinion was that he was deciding wrong if he declined.
In the event, to Eldon’s surprise, he meekly signified his acceptance without further demur.22 Hobhouse of the home office reviewed the affair later in the month:
The arguments in favour of Wetherell were that he is a man of undoubted talents, that he had brought himself for some years into Parliament, probably not without encouragement from the chancellor, and had with some rare exceptions supported the administration, that through his father he was connected both with Lord Liverpool and the chancellor, that he had already been twice disappointed in 1817 and 1819, and borne those disappointments ill, and if again foiled would probably become a desperate opponent in Parliament, and a grievous annoyance to the chancellor personally in the discussions respecting his court. The objections to him were, that he has an uncontrollable spirit and very strong passions and an ill-regulated mind, and an hereditary tendency to madness ... The chancellor from the first was a strong advocate for Wetherell, and prepossessed the king in his favour ... It may be doubted whether the chancellor in his selection of Wetherell were more actuated by fear or favour. Even the favoured person himself during his suspense expressed this sentiment. The chancellor flatters himself that W. being conciliated will follow his advice. This may be doubtful even while he remains in his present office or that of attorney-general, but is scarcely to be looked for, when he shall be removed to one of the high judicial offices; and much less, if it should be deemed prudent to repel him from one of those offices, which may be expected to become vacant in a year or two.23
William Fremantle* alleged that the appointment was ‘universally condemned’.24
Hobhouse underestimated Wetherell’s loyalty and instinct for self-preservation, for he did not kick over the traces during his tenure of the post, the duties of which he apparently executed efficiently enough. His re-election for Oxford was undisturbed.25 He voted against the production of information on Catholic office-holders, 19 Feb., and reform of Edinburgh’s representation, 26 Feb. 1824. He objected to Hume’s call for accounts bearing on the Austrian loan, 25 Feb., and opposed reception of a petition complaining of the conduct of Chetwynd, Member for Stafford, as chairman of quarter sessions, 27 Feb.26 That day he divided against repeal of the usury laws. On 1 Mar., speaking ‘humbly’, he defended Eldon against a charge of breach of privilege and supported a further grant for the new law courts, although he ‘approved of the buildings as little as any man could do’;27 he was named to the select committee on the cost of the undertaking, 23 Mar., having been appointed to that on the criminal laws, 16 Mar. He voted against abolishing flogging in the army, 5 Mar., and opposed Martin’s bill to prevent the ill-treatment of cattle, 9 Mar.28 He favoured compensation for officials of the courts who were made redundant by reforms, 26 Mar. He presented a claim for compensation from employees of the palace court, 14 Apr.29 He was dismissive of George Lamb’s scheme to allow defence by counsel in felony trials, 6 Apr., and saw no reason to change the existing regulations governing Catholic baptisms, marriages and burials, 13 Apr. He helped to see off Curteis’s mariners’ apprentices settlement bill, 18 May. He was in the ministerial majorities against inquiry into the prosecution of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June, and for the Irish insurrection bill, 14 June 1824.
Wetherell presented an Oxford parish petition for repeal of the house and window taxes, 8 Feb. 1825, but of course had nothing to do with the parliamentary campaign for that object. His statement that the chancery commissioners, of whom he was one, would make ‘a partial report’ very soon, 10 Feb., provoked derisive opposition laughter.30 He moved a successful wrecking amendment against Onslow’s usury laws repeal bill, which was ‘unseasonable in time and pernicious in principle’, 17 Feb. He spoke against hearing the Catholic Association against the bill to suppress it, 18 Feb., and, opposing consideration of Catholic claims, 28 Feb., argued that what had been ‘denied to reason, argument, and quiet solicitation, ought never to be yielded to menace, terror, or intimidation’. He was a teller for the hostile minority, 1 Mar. He insisted that in opposing relief he was following ‘his own unbiased opinion’ rather than deferring to his constituents, 18 Apr. He voted silently against the relief bill, 21 Apr., and spoke and voted (as a teller) against it, 10 May. He voted against the disfranchisement of Irish 40s. freeholders, 21 Apr. He was wary of Fyshe Palmer’s county transfer of land bill, 25 Apr., and, while admitting that the law concerning wrongous imprisonment in Scotland required ‘improvement’, urged John Grant to consult legal experts before proceeding with his proposed amendment bill, 5 May. He denied Hume’s allegation that Eldon had it in his power to regulate fees, line his own pockets and generally profit from chancery delays, 27 May; and on 31 May denounced petitions on this sore point as ‘unfair, false, fabricated, fallacious and deceptive’. He voted for the grant to the duke of Cumberland, 30 May, 6, 10 June. He was involved in talks with Peel and his colleague at Oxford about the universities police bill, which was unpopular in the city; but he supported it in the House, 20 June.31 He objected to Denman’s motion for the attendance of witnesses for the inquiry into the William Kenrick† affair, 21 June 1825.
By the end of the year Wetherell had apparently decided not to stand again for Oxford, where it was thought that in any case he would be ‘turned out ... for parsimony’ at the next general election.32 When a vacancy occurred for Oxford University in January 1826 he offered himself, with the backing of his college, though it was reported that ‘the feeling is strong against him’, and he was extremely unpopular. Peel, the sitting Member, remained officially neutral, but privately told the dean of Christ Church that if he was ‘a free man’, he would vote for Wetherell (a ‘strange fellow’) or the eminent civilian Sir John Nicholl*, who was one of several men initially in the field: ‘Wetherell is the most active and most unsafe. He is a bitter and a powerful enemy, if he is roused to exertion, but his capacity to serve is not equal to his power of injuring. At the same time he is very zealous’. It seemed for a while that Wetherell would come in by default, but his opponents put up a generally acceptable country gentlemen, Thomas Estcourt, and, aware that he faced the humiliation of being defeated for the University and failing to regain his city seat if he vacated it, he withdrew in mid-February 1826.33 He spoke and voted in defence of the Jamaican slave trials, 2 Mar. 1826. He opposed Wilson’s motion for a return of bankruptcy commissioners’ tavern expenses, 15 Mar., and Martin’s cruelty to cattle prevention bill the following day. He was in the government majorities on the salary of the president of the board of trade, 10 Apr., and against reform of Edinburgh’s representation, 13 Apr., when he was also a teller for the majority against Hume’s motion on Westminster Abbey. On 18 Apr. he deplored Hume’s description of Eldon as a ‘curse’ on the country and was contemptuous of the ‘far-fetched invective, gross calumny, and wanton falsehood’ of the petition of a prisoner confined for contempt of chancery. Three days later he complained that ‘there existed a systematic attempt to hunt down the lord chancellor’. He again opposed defence by counsel in felony trials, 25 Apr. On the government motion for a bill to implement the recommendations of the chancery commissioners, 18 May, he defended them against Williams’s strictures. He protested against the use of arguments in favour of Catholic relief based on an alleged violation of the Treaty of Limerick, 28 Apr. Wetherell, whom Hudson Gurney*, his neighbour at a ministerial dinner, described at this time as ‘the awkwardest hound at a table I ever saw’,34 was a government teller in the division on the corn law report, 8 May. He objected to inquiry into James Silk Buckingham’s† petition concerning the freedom of the press in India, 11 May, and voted against Russell’s resolution condemning electoral bribery, 26 May 1826.
At the general election the following month he duly abandoned Oxford and was returned unopposed for Hastings on the treasury interest.35 When Copley was promoted to the vacant mastership of the rolls in September, he, Liverpool and Eldon finally agreed that for all their misgivings, it was impossible to pass over Wetherell for the attorney-generalship. Liverpool floated the notion of trying to fob him off with a judgeship, but Eldon
was quite sure that W. would receive that as an insult to him, and ... I certainly would not propose it to him ... I could see no determination, if he did not succeed Copley, which he could act upon, and that upon any such office as could be, or had been thought of, he would have no option but to retire without office to the bar. I am quite sure he would not take a judgeship. In all this Copley ... fully concurred. His emoluments at the bar were very considerable before he was solicitor. They have of course since (for such always happens with a solicitor-general) been less. But I have no doubt that if he quitted that office, such emoluments would be very considerable ... You should not discourage gentlemen from taking the office of solicitor by not allowing them to have the few advantages which vacancies of higher offices may offer ... I have not the slightest doubt that W., with some friendly advice first given, would make a very good master of the rolls, to which he may be removed if Copley goes higher, and that removal cannot be distant if things remain as to politics as they probably now are. But I think there was no option between the attorney-generalship and retirement for W.
It was hoped that the highly regarded Nicholas Tindal*, who was to replace Wetherell as solicitor-general, would ‘have considerable influence over him’; and following his acquiescence in certain ‘explanations’, he received his promotion.36 In December 1826 he vacated Hastings and came in on the Mount Edgecumbe interest for Plympton.
He was a teller for the majority in the division on the Dover election petition recognizances, 13 Feb. 1827. On 21 Feb. he opposed inquiry into the allegations of electoral malpractice by Northampton corporation, though he claimed that he had no wish to ‘screen delinquency’. He conceded that Catholics had a case in complaining of double exactions of land tax in certain instances, but foresaw difficulties in rectifying the matter, 26 Feb. He voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. He repelled renewed attacks on Eldon and chancery administration, 27 Feb., 13 Mar., 5 Apr., when he was a teller for the majority against the production of information. He voted for the spring guns bill, 23 Mar. He was dubious about Shadwell’s writ of right bill, 27, 30 Mar., deprecating ‘rash or hasty interference’ with the laws of real property. He opposed inquiry into the state of debtors’ gaols and the laws governing imprisonment for debt, 3 Apr., and expressed strong reservations over Hume’s proposed bill to prevent frivolous arrests for debt on mesne process, 10 Apr. A week later he ‘very handsomely’ resigned with Peel, Eldon and the other Protestant ministers rather than serve in Canning’s ministry, even though he would almost certainly have soon become master of the rolls or vice-chancellor had he remained in office. He opposed Lords’ amendments to the spring guns bill, 17 May, and was a teller for the minority in two divisions. Opposing the Coventry magistracy bill, 8 June, he argued that the Commons ‘ought rather to exercise a conservative power, for the preservation of charters, than lend itself to the uncalled for confiscation of them’. He was in the small minorities against the measure, 11, 18 June. He did not oppose the introduction of the bill to transfer East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 June, but said that its advocates must prove their case at the bar of the House; and he suggested that it would raise false expectations if it was given a second reading, 22 June. He opposed Smith’s Dissenters’ marriages bill, which ‘placed the people of this country, and of these times, under the revolutionary law of Cromwell’, 18 June. He spoke against Lord Nugent’s proposal for the registration of voters, 29 June 1827.37
In August 1827 the duke of Wellington was informed that lord chancellor Lyndhurst (as Copley had become) thought that in the event of the Protestant Tories’ return to power, Wetherell, ‘one of the bad bargains of the previous administration’, might be ‘easily satisfied’ by appointing him chief baron of the exchequer in the room of Alexander, who was ready to ‘retire when desired’. When Wellington formed his ministry in January 1828 he, Peel and other ministers would have preferred to retain the services as attorney-general of Sir James Scarlett*, the Whig who had replaced Wetherell in 1827. The king, too, was keen to keep Scarlett, so that he could take the lead in certain duchy of Cornwall law cases pending in king’s bench in which he had a direct interest. Wetherell, who was reported to be ‘very much depressed’ at receiving no immediate approach, wrote to Wellington ‘positively declining all contingent offers’. In the event Scarlett, after consulting his close political connections, decided that he was too nearly associated with the Whigs to continue in the post, and it was offered to and accepted by Wetherell. Eldon, who was piqued at being himself disregarded for office, claimed to have been instrumental in persuading Wellington to restore Wetherell as fair reward for his political loyalty and personal sacrifice.38 A delay ensued while Wellington, Lyndhurst and Eldon tried to cajole Wetherell into waiving his technical right as attorney-general to lead in the king’s bench cases and give precedence to Scarlett. To their annoyance, and the great fury of the king, he refused to comply, insisting that his professional honour was at stake; but his appointment was eventually ratified, and he was quietly re-elected for Plympton.39
On 21 Feb. 1828 he was named to the select committee on parochial settlements, though he warned that he would be able to give only occasional attendance. He thought that Davies’s proposed bill to limit the duration of borough polls would be of little benefit, and he opposed it, 3, 31 Mar., 2, 28 Apr., 6, 15 May. He still had reservations about the Catholic land tax bill, 21 Feb., and he criticized it in detail, 10 Mar., 18 Apr., and was appointed to the select committee on the problem, 1 May. He voted against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and spoke at length and voted against Catholic relief, 12 May. He was willing to accept a commission of inquiry into the common law ‘with limited objects and intelligible means’, but not the comprehensive affair proposed by Brougham, 29 Feb. He encouraged Kennedy to divide his bill to amend the Scottish law of entail into prospective and retrospective parts, 6 Mar., and was sceptical about Spring Rice’s plans to amend the law concerning testators and executors, 2 Apr. He opposed Taylor’s motion on chancery delays, 24 Apr., still unconvinced of the need for a fourth equity judge. He clashed with Williams Wynn and Littleton during the East Retford inquiry, 3, 4 Mar., and spoke and voted against the committal of a witness for prevarication, 7 Mar. He opposed Sykes’s motion for inquiry into the parliamentary franchise in boroughs with county jurisdiction, 11 Mar., arguing that once one anomaly was corrected, ‘you know not when you will be allowed to stop in your career of alteration’. He was hostile to the bill which Sykes introduced, 20 Mar., 23 May, when he complained that it had ‘cost me a great deal of labour, and not a little inconvenience’, but seemed to be of no interest to most Members. He thought Benett’s tithes commutation bill was hopelessly flawed, 17 Mar. He had insurmountable objections to Lord Althorp’s freeholders registration bill, 25 Mar. Leading the resistance to Harvey’s motion for more efficient control over crown excise prosecutions, 1 May, he mocked the ‘plausible idea, that it is possible to devise a petty system for the protection of a revenue of £43,000,000’. He was willing to accept Poulett Thomson’s bill to amend the usury laws if it preserved their principle, 20 May, but warned that he would have no truck with repeal of the standard of interest. He defended the archbishop of Canterbury’s bill, 5 June, commenting that opposition, with their ‘great talent for multiplication’, were guilty of exaggerating the registrar’s income. He carried its third reading, 16 June, when he was a teller for the majority in two divisions. He was twice a teller for majorities in favour of the additional churches bill, 30 June. He opposed investigation of Baron de Bode’s compensation claims and was a teller for the hostile majority, 1 July. He voted with his colleagues on the ordnance estimates, 4 July, and the customs bill, 14 July. On 17 July 1828 he denounced a petition attacking the conduct of Nicholl in the prerogative court as ‘a gross, scandalous, and malicious libel’.
In late October 1828 Wellington and Peel considered the possibility of offering Wetherell a puisne judgeship and, if he refused to accept it, of forcing him to resign as attorney-general, to be replaced by Scarlett or Tindal. Neither thought he would take the offer, and on reflection they decided ‘not to resort to extremities’, for reasons which Peel explained:
We reappointed Wetherell, therefore we thought him qualified ... at the beginning of the year. Since that time he has done his business at least as well as he ever did it, probably better ... He would not put his refusal of the puisne judgeship on any private or personal ground. He would say, ‘I refuse, because acceptance in my case would be to lower the pretensions and dignity of the office of attorney-general’ ... Whatever you and I may think of Wetherell’s wrongheadedness in excluding Scarlett from the duchy of Cornwall cause, the bar would violently resent anything that had the appearance of a punishment inflicted for the assertion of a right. Then comes the Catholic question and political martyrdom added to the above considerations ... I would not offer the puisne judgeship ... unless you have reason to expect that he would accept.40
According to Lord Ellenborough, president of the board of control, Lyndhurst at the end of the year was determined in the event of the death of the master of the rolls to exclude Wetherell, for he would ‘ruin the court of chancery and be a most mischievous man in the House of Commons, a great Tory and bigoted Protestant’. He contemplated making him chief baron in the room of Alexander, whom he earmarked for the rolls. When the cabinet decided in late January 1829 to concede Catholic emancipation, Ellenborough noted that Peel ‘thought Wetherell would resign’, though he also wondered whether ‘the weak state of the master of the rolls’ health might possibly induce honest Wetherell to profess his Protestantism’. John Croker*, observing the ‘wry face’ which he made at ‘Peel’s merriment’ at the Speaker’s eve of session dinner, also thought he might well resign.41 In the House, Wetherell defended the bill to suppress the Catholic Association. On 22 Feb. Wellington reported to the cabinet on ‘a long conference with Wetherell ... who does not so much seem to object to the [relief] bill as to being abused for supporting it’. The following day Wellington demanded a final answer from Wetherell as to whether he would help to prepare it; and Wetherell replied that ‘without a sacrifice of opinion, which I think I ought not to make, I should be unable to give my individual support in Parliament to the proposed measure’. Wellington, to the frustration of Ellenborough, who considered Wetherell ‘a discredit to the government’, made no move to dismiss him. John Campbell II*, who thought that ‘the opportunity would have been seized to get rid of an inefficient ... officer’, reported that Wetherell ‘says to his private friends that he will not resign, and that he will throw the onus of dismissing him upon the government’.42 His silent vote against the measure, 6 Mar., increased the pressure on Wellington from Lyndhurst, Ellenborough and Mrs. Arbuthnot, among others, to act against him; but the duke was anxious not to alienate the Protestants permanently from his ministry.43 Wetherell opposed Spring Rice’s proposed bill to make better provision for the undisposed effects of testators, 10 Mar. He brought matters to a head on the Catholic question with his rabid rant against emancipation, 18 Mar., when he accused Peel of betraying the Protestant cause, claimed that he had only told him of the decision to concede it seven days before the opening of the session, and made a savage personal attack on Lyndhurst. Peel accused him of a breach of official confidence, to which he made a blustering but unconvincing retort, coolly dismissed by Peel. Wetherell’s ‘bitter but absurd’ speech was wildly applauded in the anti-Catholic press, but even Lord Lowther*, a sympathizer, thought that he had given ‘too much’ vent to his feelings: ‘if he had handled his subject he would have been more effective’. Hostile observers were astounded by the uncontrolled vehemence and sheer vulgarity of his performance; many supposed him to have been drunk. Althorp wrote that he had
never heard such a speech ... He out-Heroded Herod. Its vulgarity and coarse buffoonery was beyond anything that ever was exhibited. His contortions were such that his braces broke, and his breeches were near coming down, so that his shirt appeared in large expanse between his waistcoat and them.
Henry Bankes* confirmed that ‘his manner, countenance, grimace and gesture, and his variety and contortion of attitude were so excessively grotesque that the House was kept almost in a continued roar of laughter’. Greville, who described Wetherell as ‘half mad, eccentric, ingenious, with great and varied information and a coarse, vulgar mind delighting in ribaldry and abuse, besides an enthusiast’, recorded the Speaker’s comment (which Ellenborough attributed to Horace Twiss*) that ‘the only lucid interval he had was that between his waistcoat and his breeches’.44 It was decided to dismiss him, ‘not distinctly upon the Catholic question, but upon his conduct in abusing the chancellor, breaching confidence, etc.’ There was some concern that the king might make difficulties, especially as Cumberland was said to be boasting that ministers would not dare to sack Wetherell; but he put up no serious resistance, and Wellington summarily gave Wetherell his marching orders on 22 Mar.45 He voted silently against emancipation the following day. In the course of his frantic speech against the bill, 27 Mar., he accidentally hit George Bankes on the head with the copy which he was brandishing. On the third reading, 30 Mar., when Abercromby thought he was ‘less mad and less entertaining’ than before, he said that it ‘may be sent as a covering for butter and cheese to ... shops of green-grocers, but for any legislative or protective purpose, the bill is an utter waste of printing, ink and paper’.46 He was suspicious of Smith Stanley’s bill to amend the laws concerning the leasing power of Irish bishops and ecclesiastical corporations, 2 Apr. He did not think any significant improvement in the patent laws could be achieved, 9 Apr., and objected to Hume’s proposal for the sale of admiralty advowsons in Northumberland, 14 Apr. When Wellington sought the king’s permission to ‘restore the resigners’, 15 Apr., George, according to Ellenborough, ‘just mentioned Wetherell’s name as if he thought he was to be excepted from the restoration, but desired to be certior factus’. Peel reflected soon afterwards that Wetherell had ‘lately made a wrong cast in politics’.47
In October 1829 the Ultra leader Sir Richard Vyvyan* listed him among the ‘Tories strongly opposed to the present government’, and it was with the Ultras that he was politically associated for the remainder of his parliamentary career. On 11 Dec. 1829 he had a furious row in the chancery court with Edward Sugden*, the solicitor-general, over a matter of etiquette, which might have ended in a duel if they had not been dragged before a magistrate and bound over to keep the peace.48 Wetherell voted for Knatchbull’s amendment to the address, 4 Feb., but against the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb. 1830. That day, when he approved the government’s various bills to reform chancery procedure (he said on the 24th that he had all along contended that ‘reforms in the law ... should not be undertaken by sweeping commissions, but by bills brought in to remedy particular evils’) he made a savage personal attack on Hume, who had pilloried previous law officers and Eldon. He observed, 26 Feb., that the law officers were not the servile tools of administration and received no payment for supporting bills, and modestly noted that there were ‘cases where the law officers have been independent enough to vote against and oppose the ministry’. He was willing to support Taylor’s bill reforming lunacy regulations, on which he had been consulted, 2 Mar., provided it did not diminish the authority of the lord chancellor. Later that day, in what the Whig Member Lord Howick deemed a ‘violent and tiresome’ harangue of two-and-a-half hours, he moved for papers concerning the filing of an ex-officio prosecution for libel by Scarlett, who had replaced him as attorney-general, against Alexander of the Protestant Morning Journal. Harsh words were exchanged between him, Scarlett, Peel and John Hobhouse. Littleton reported that
Wetherell was glorious. The brute will sit next to me, when he has not a friend, but it is near the treasury bench. He stank so unutterably as he advanced in his argument, that he cleared a space round himself, like the upas tree.49
On 4 Mar. he supported Inglis’s motion for the previous question to be moved against Newport’s call for a commission on the Irish church, which ministers were ready to concede to a limited degree; he was not happy with Peel’s attitude. He voted against government in the divisions on relations with Portugal, 10 Mar., the Bathurst and Dundas pensions, 26 Mar., and the ordnance estimates, 29 Mar. He supported Davenport’s motion for inquiry into the state of the nation, 19 Mar., but saw no reason why it should dwell on the currency question. He clashed with Daniel O’Connell over demands for repeal of the Union, 22 Mar. He secured returns of information on chancery administration, 30 Mar., 8 Apr. He was not happy with Ellenborough’s divorce bill, 1 Apr. He opposed Poulett Thomson’s usury laws repeal bill, 26 Apr., 6 May, when he was a teller for the hostile minority, and 15 June. He challenged O’Connell to proceed with his threatened motion on the Cork conspiracy trials, 29 Apr., and thought his bill dealing with Catholic charitable bequests went too far, 4 May. He voted against ministers for the production of information on privy councillors’ emoluments, 14 May. He divided against Jewish emancipation, 17 May. He protested against the notion that ministers could shelter behind the formal opinions of the law officers, 21 May, expressed misgivings about the House’s handling of the inquiry into the Barrington case, 22 May, and voted against the amendments to the Galway franchise bill, 24 May. He failed to secure the addition of a clause to the king’s signature bill making it a treasonable offence to forge royal stamps, 27 May. Later that day he condemned the administration of justice bill as a half-baked mess, which would do ‘ten times more mischief than we pretend to reform’; and on 18 June, when he was a teller for the minority against going into committee on it, he said that majority opinion in Wales was hostile to it and that ‘leave might as well have been given to bring in a blank sheet of paper’, so incomprehensible was it. He asked for support from ‘the Cambrian warriors’ in his unsuccessful attempt to secure its postponement, 5 July. He opposed Phillimore’s motion for inquiry into the divorce laws, 3 June, and was a teller for the majority against it. He also pressed Sadler to drop his motion for the introduction of a system of poor laws to Ireland. On 4 June he explained that having been prevented by the pressure of Commons business from bringing in a bill to regulate ex-officio prosecutions, he would move that the expenses incurred in the Alexander case be deducted from the supply unless ministers gave a satisfactory statement of intent; Peel mollified him. He gave notice of a motion for a bill, 10 June, but did not act on it. He spoke and voted against abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June. On 10 June he moved for prior inquiry before sanctioning the proposed appointment of a fourth chancery judge. When the debate was resumed, 24 June, he argued that arrears were not sufficient to justify it; but the order of the day for the second reading of the justice in equity bill was carried against him by 133-96, and against an adjournment motion, for the division on which he was again a minority teller, by 118-77. He said that the House was not obliged to adopt the recommendations of the law commissioners, especially regarding a general register, 11 June. That day he voted against government on the grant for consular services. He voted for restrictive amendments to the sale of beer bill, 21 June, 1 July. On 30 June he called on Members not to adopt the address on the temporary provision for the public service after the death of George IV, which would leave ministers free to dissolve Parliament without dealing with the regency question. He opposed Hume’s demand for a reduction in the salary of the chairman of ways and means, 7 July 1830.
At the general election of 1830 Wetherell was put up for Boroughbridge by the 4th duke of Newcastle and was returned with another Ultra after a contest forced by the duke’s local rival. There had been approaches to him from Bristol, where he was recorder, and supposedly, though Croker could not credit it, from Protestant extremists in Dublin.50 Ministers listed him as one of the ‘violent Ultras’. He opposed abolition of the oath of abjuration as proposed by Williams Wynn, 4, 12 Nov. 1830 (and later explained, 4 Feb. 1831, that he wished it to be preserved ‘as a kind of Protestant momento’). He was absent from the division on the civil list which brought down the ministry, 15 Nov. 1830. In discussions with their successors Knatchbull, the Ultras’ spokesman, admitted to Lord Palmerston*, the foreign secretary, ‘the difficulty of making anything of Wetherell’.51 He opposed the production of information on churchwardens’ accounts, 25 Nov., and on borough freemen, 7, 9 Dec., suspecting that in moving for the latter Hodgson had a political motive. He was named to the select committee on the reduction of salaries, 9 Dec. He wanted the regency bill to be made more specific about Princess Victoria’s rights, 9 Dec. The following day he said that arguments for parliamentary reform were ‘subversive of the constitution’. He seconded O’Connell’s motion against the second reading of Scarlett’s judgements in execution bill, 13 Dec., stated his hostility to Campbell’s plan for a general registry and defended the practice of appointing solicitors to chancery secretaryships, 16 Dec. He was declaiming on the subject of chancery returns when the House was counted out, 20 Dec. 1830.
Wetherell deplored calls for repeal of the Union and supported the Grey ministry in their avowed determination to enforce the rule of law in Ireland, 8 Feb. 1831. He said that the laudable practice of allowing prisoners free communication with their attorneys was not confined to London gaols, as Wood suggested, 10 Feb. He supported Sugden’s unsuccessful motion for a bill to extend the Mortmain Act of 1736 to Ireland, 22 Feb. On 3 Feb. he mischievously asked why, if the forthcoming reform bill was a government measure, it was to be brought in by Russell, who was not a member of the cabinet. He spoke briefly against the secret ballot, 9 Feb. He supported Lord Chandos’s attempt to pre-empt the bill by investigating electoral corruption at Evesham, 17 Feb., when he was a teller for the majority against printing a petition alleging corrupt practices at Bridport, and the following day tried to get Graham, one of the ministers responsible for drafting the measure, to admit that he had threatened the House with dissolution if it was defeated. Unlike Vyvyan and Knatchbull, who were prepared to accept moderate changes, Wetherell and his closest associates were implacably opposed to all reform. Greville recorded that when Russell unveiled the ministerial scheme, 1 Mar., ‘Wetherell, who began to take notes, as the plan was gradually developed, after sundry contortions and grimaces and flinging about his arms and legs, threw down his notes with a mixture of despair and ridicule and horror’. Thomas Gladstone* told his father that
Wetherell’s vociferations and contemptuous cheers, every now and then, when Lord John Russell announced some new sweep, were very amusing. He seemed to lose all control over himself and would toss the sheet of paper from his hand to the table, as much as to say ‘this is absurd’.
Significantly, when Peel in his reply ‘admitted that he would consent to some reform, Wetherell looked grave and desisted from cheering’.52 Meetings of Ultras at his and Knatchbull’s houses ‘resolved ... not to divide at present’ against the scheme.53 He spoke against it, 2 Mar., rising as ‘the dying Member for Boroughbridge’ (which was to be disfranchised) to address the House for the last time. He said that the borough disfranchisement proposals were based on ‘motives of partiality or conceived expediency’, noticing particularly the retention of both Members by the cabinet minister Lord Lansdowne’s borough of Calne, deplored the reduction in the overall number of Members and likened ‘Althorp and Company’ to Cromwell and the Regicides. His main argument against the plan was that it amounted to nothing less than ‘corporation robbery’. In a striking conclusion, he ranted:
I will call this bill Russell’s Purge of Parliament ... [It] is republican in its basis ... [and] destructive of all property, of all right, of all privilege ... The same arbitrary violence which expelled a majority of Members in the time of the Commonwealth, is now ... proceeding to expose the House of Commons again to the nauseous tyranny of a repetition of Pride’s Purge.
The cheering when he sat down was ‘immense’, as Gladstone reported, while Greville commented that ‘such loud and long cheering as everybody agreed had not been before heard in the House’ was less a testimony to the merits of his ‘long, rambling and amusing’ speech than ‘an indication of the disposition of the majority of the House’. Mackintosh thought it was one of ‘his coarsest, but not his strongest speeches’, and that the applause for it revealed ‘the imbecility of the Tory party’.54 On 3 Mar. he derided Russell’s motion for the 1821 population returns for the schedule A boroughs as an attempt to ‘legislate on posthumous information’. On 6 Mar. he had a ‘long and full conference’ with Newcastle, who
told him that I quite approved of what he had done and that I strongly recommended him to persevere in the same line - to be forward in setting an example of what is right and to leave it to others to follow if they will, but by all means to avoid being led, as that is the only way to make good government.55
The following day he was called to order for trying to force Althorp to say what ministers intended to do if the threat of armed rebellion in the event of the defeat of the reform bill became reality. He said that it was ‘highly problematical’ whether Canning or Huskisson would have supported the measure, 9 Mar. He suggested that the freemen of Canterbury who petitioned for reform were in breach of their corporate oaths, 10 Mar., as were petitioners from Kinghorn and Dundee, 16 Mar., and criticized ministers for leaving their budget proposals in suspense on account of the reform bill, 11 Mar. He thought Newport’s motion for a revaluation of Irish first fruits should be submitted directly to the law officers, 14 Mar. He stated some objections to Scarlett’s examination of witnesses bill, 17 Mar. Supporting Inglis’s motion alleging a breach of privilege by The Times, 21 Mar., he condemned Burdett’s ‘dictatorial’ speech inviting the Members for condemned boroughs to leave the House. He voted against the second reading of the reform bill, 22 Mar., having been reported beforehand as being utterly confident of its defeat.56 He also sought to embarrass Palmerston over his delay in presenting an anti-reform petition from his constituency of Cambridge University, and enraged O’Connell with a reference to a ‘diplomatic approximation of amicable tendencies’ between him and Smith Stanley, the Irish secretary, which hinted at bargaining with the authorities to secure his support for the Irish reform bill in return for concessions on Ireland. On 24 Mar., when he presented a petition against reform from Wootton Bassett, he alleged that the ‘list of boroughs to be disfranchised is a stock in trade ministers have kept in their hands to job with, here and there, as may be convenient for the general purpose of carrying the measure’. He called for abandonment of the proposal to disfranchise freemen and noted that many of those Members now enthusiastic for reform had been ‘the most staunch opponents’ of inquiry into distress the previous year, 29 Mar. On the report of the salaries committee, 30 Mar., he said that its recommendations, along with the reform bill, formed part of ‘a plan for striking at the just prerogatives of the crown’. He made humorous capital out of Palmerston’s tardy presentation of the Cambridge University petition. In late February he, Eldon and Lord Mansfield, worried by ‘the progress of disorganization’ among the Tory opposition, had approached Wellington via Lord Burghersh for a rapprochement. At that time Wetherell and Peel were still not on speaking terms, and Peel gave an initially frosty reception to further peace overtures sent by him and Lord Stormont* at the end of the month. Soon afterwards, however, it was reported that he and Peel were ‘reconciled’, though the opposition remained in a fractured state.57 He advised ‘the utmost caution and care’ in proceeding to reform real property law, as Campbell proposed, 14 Apr. The following day he had more to say on the subject of Calne. He repeated his warnings about the sweeping nature of O’Connell’s Catholic charities bill, 18 Apr. He voted silently for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment to the reform bill, 19 Apr. 1831, and next day argued that it was not popular in Oxford, on account of its threat to freemen, and still less understood by the majority of the inhabitants. He presented a Boroughbridge petition against the measure and called for a favourable one from Staffordshire artisans to be withdrawn because it breached privilege.58 It was reported on the eve of the dissolution that he had been authorized by Cumberland to spread the word that the king had promised not to sanction it.59
Wetherell, who lost his wife on 22 Apr. 1831 (their only child had died in infancy the previous year), was returned unopposed for Boroughbridge a week later. He and Thomas Sadler* were nominated for Norwich without their consent, and were heavily beaten by two reformers.60 On the eve of the session Ellenborough met him at dinner and found him ‘very reasonable’ on the subject of relations between Peel and the Ultras, having ‘no disinclination’ to an ‘approximation’.61 On the address, which was ‘a waste of words’, 21 June, he complained of the lord mayor’s having been party to the activities of the ‘vitreo-faction’ organizing the recent London illuminations, deplored the violence and intimidation exerted by reformers at the elections, and ridiculed the ministerial budget. It was observed that when speaking he ‘jumps about like a kangaroo and spoils the effect of his wit, sarcasm and eloquence’.62 He accused government of dropping the intended prosecution of O’Connell to avoid trouble in Ireland, 27 June, and complained of subversive doctrines published in the Republican and apparently endorsed by Hume, 29 June. He raved against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, declaring that the effect of the £10 borough franchise would be to ‘melt down the church, the monarchy, and the peerage’, that ‘the abolition of tithes, and the conversion of church property to the paying off the national debt’ had been held out as corollaries of reform by irresponsible Members, and that the bill could in no way be final. Hudson Gurney wrote that in an insufferably hot House he was ‘bothering beyond human endurance’, while Spring Rice dismissed his performance as mere ‘buffoonery’.63 He duly voted against the bill. On 12 July he attacked ministers for bungling the borough schedules and predicted that in a reformed Parliament Members would be mere delegates. He took a prominent role in the ensuing farce, after Peel had left the House, of repeated divisions for an adjournment, insisting that opposition were merely trying to show that ‘we are not to be put down by clamour’.64 He claimed that the working classes, especially those likely to be affected by the disfranchisement of freemen by apprenticeship, were awakening to the defects of the bill, and objected to the extensive and arbitrary powers to be given to the boundary commissioners, 13 July. The following day he attacked ministers for their muddled thinking on the problem of disfranchisement according to population and refusal to hear evidence at the bar. On 19 July, when he voted for adoption of the 1831 census, he expressed horror at the prospect of ‘a seraglio of these assembled beauties of St. Giles, Saffron Hill and the Tower Hamlets’ sending Members to the House by ‘Jacobin nomination’. Wetherell was one of the most persistent, indefatigable and irritating critics of the reform bill in committee, assuming, with a few others, the role largely abdicated by Peel. While his boorishness and clowning damaged his credibility, the bill, a flawed piece of legislation, gave ample scope for legal captiousness, and he was by no means a negligible opponent. From 20 July until 2 Aug. he was a frequent speaker on schedules A and B, pointing out their inconsistencies and anomalies: he referred to A as ‘this schedule of irrational disparities’, 26 July; held out the prospect of its rejection by the Lords, 27, 28 July, and lamented the ‘military proscription and erasure of boroughs’, 29 July, when he also claimed that as a result of opposition’s detailed exposure of its shortcomings, ‘the bill daily retrogrades in public opinion’. He was equally pertinacious in his opposition to the enfranchisement of new boroughs, 2-9 Aug. On the union of Rochester with Chatham, for example (9 Aug.), he said:
If the political cranium of the framers of this bill were dissected by a skilful phrenologist, some disciple of Gall or Spuzhei would say that the organ of destructiveness was not only fully developed, but that it protruded marvellously. The organ of destructiveness would only be second in size to the organ of inconsistency.
He denounced the proposal for three Member counties, 13 Aug., saw merit in Hume’s call for colonial representation, 16 Aug., welcomed the decision to give Parliament ultimate control over the boundary commissioners, 17 Aug., and objected to the appointment of returning officers by sheriffs, 19 Aug. When Peel went to the opposition headquarters to announce that he could not undertake to stay in London for much longer to continue the pointless struggle against the bill, 23 Aug., Wetherell was one of those ‘dissatisfied with this and prepared to go on interminably on the present system’.65 On the £10 householder franchise, which he abominated, 25 Aug., he pronounced that ‘every large town ... will be democratized, sans-culottised, by the unconstitutional submission of the government to the Birmingham Union’. He foolishly and fatefully remarked, 27 Aug., that in Bristol ‘reform fever’ had ‘a good deal abated’; and when Ellenborough a few days later ‘complimented him on his useful exertions ... against the bill’, he said that there had been ‘a decided change in public opinion’. Ellenborough ‘represented the inexpediency of raising that too much, as it would produce meetings in its favour’.66 He spoke and voted for attempts to preserve the voting rights of non-resident freemen, 30 Aug., and the freeholder franchise in the four sluiced boroughs, 2 Sept. He made technical comments on the registration machinery, 3 Sept., when he said that the bill was ‘so much darned, stitched, mended, and remended, that like Sir John Cutler’s stockings, not a thread of the original workmanship remains’, 5, 6 Sept. On 4 Sept. he made a bantering reply to Tom Duncombe’s proposal to transfer Newcastle’s borough of Aldborough to schedule A. He was shut out of the unexpected division on the third reading of the bill, 19 Sept. Two days later he angrily accused Crampton, the Irish solicitor-general, of breaching privilege by threatening a dissolution and suspension of the writs for schedule A boroughs if the bill foundered in the Lords. He went on to speak against the passage of the measure, which ‘necessarily lays the train for evils which those who introduced it can never have contemplated’, and was ‘calculated to subvert the throne, the monarchy, the church, and ultimately the liberties of the people’. The Tory Lord Worcester* thought he was ‘very good and very amusing, but as he usually is, much too long’.67 In a wrangle with Torrens, 23 Sept., Wetherell said that ‘there was abroad a spirit of insolent threat ... [and] of unconstitutional terrorism, a spirit bordering on illegal threat, and actual violation of the law’. He detected ‘some smell of patronage’ in the arrangements for appeals on disputed votes under the Scottish reform bill, 4 Oct. According to Littleton, when he went to the Lords to listen to the debate on the English bill, 8 Oct., Wetherell, ‘in order to escape the constant solicitation of ... the deputy serjeant to leave room for the entrance, or rather the exit of the peers ... walked straight into the House and stood there’.68 He made a wild speech, following Macaulay’s triumphant effort, against the motion of confidence in the government, 10 Oct. The young reformer John Hawkins reckoned it ‘not better than his usual string of jokes and quibbles’. Wetherell was in an even more agitated state on 12 Oct., when he was called to order in the course of a denunciation of the recent reform riots, especially those in Nottingham, where Newcastle had been targeted. Threatening to move for the appointment of a special commission of inquiry (which he did the following day, to no avail), he said that he did ‘not believe that ministers will boldly, manfully, and energetically use the constitutional powers in their hands to control and suppress these scandalous and anti-social outrages’. Hobhouse recalled:
[Wetherell] so misbehaved himself that it was charitable to think him either drunk or crazy. He threw his legs on the bench, and called on Lord Althorp to speak up. We passed the word that no notice should be taken of his speech; but, as he had fallen foul of O’Connell, we could not prevent that gentleman from rising and giving Sir Charles his deserts. The castigation was most complete and most severe.
Hawkins told the same tale:
Wetherell got well drubbed with his own weapons ... by Dan O’Connell. The castigation which the placid Althorp was provoked to bestow upon him, was in reply to his outrageous personal attack ... Some passages in Althorp’s speech, which are not very intelligible in a newspaper report, were provoked by the disorderly and insolent gesticulations in which he indulged while Althorp was speaking, a demeanour which gave the House, at the time, the idea that the Old Buffoon was inebriated. This I believe was not the case. The opinion of his own party now is (seriously) that he is labouring under a temporary derangement on the subject of reform.
Hawkins thought that the effects of this ‘double castigation’ were evident in Wetherell’s ‘improved behaviour and somewhat mitigated abuse’ on 14 Oct. 1831.69
He expressed surprise at allegations that Irish tithes could not be collected without the assistance of the civil or military authorities, 12 July 1831. He deemed William Pole Long Wellesley* to be guilty of contempt of chancery, 18 July. He thought ministers should have been firmer with Brazil over acts of piracy, 19 July, accused them of breaching the Methuen Treaty concerning duty on foreign wines, 4 Aug., and was critical, though not censorious, of their policy on Holland and Belgium, 12 Aug. That day he seconded a wrecking amendment to the Irish judicial officers bill. He favoured immediate payment of the claims of Lescene and Escoffery, 22 Aug. The following day he spoke and voted against government on the Dublin election controversy, and he voted to suspend the Liverpool writ while bribery was investigated, 5 Sept. He thought the House would have to intervene if the problem of the Irish master of the rolls’s secretary could not be amicably resolved, 16 Sept. He said that the commissioners under the new lunacy bill should be accountable to the home secretary rather than the lord chancellor, 26 Sept, when he voted in the minority to end the Maynooth grant. He opposed O’Connell’s motion for documents concerning alleged irregularities at the Cork trials, but favoured investigation of the Deacles’ charges against Hampshire magistrates, 27 Sept. He wanted changes under the vestry bill to require the consent of at least two-thirds of ratepayers, 30 Sept. He spoke and was a teller for the minority against the bill to reform the Scottish exchequer court, 7 Oct. He supported Sadler’s motion for leave to introduce a bill to improve the condition of the labouring poor, 11 Oct. ‘With half-a-dozen young chancery lawyers at his back’, he led an obstructive opposition to lord chancellor Brougham’s bill to reform bankruptcy administration.70 He condemned it out of hand and divided the House in a vain bid to have its second reading deferred, 28 Sept., but was more successful, 30 Sept. He supported an attempt to have it referred to a select committee, 12 Oct., and the following day outlined his own alternative plan to reduce the number of commissioners and give an appeal from the lower courts to chancery. His amendment to have only one puisne judge for the court of review was defeated by 71-19. He spoke in detail against the measure, 14, 15, 17 Oct., and on its third reading, 18 Oct. 1831, described it as ‘mischievous ... and unjust in the extreme’. That day he opposed reception of a petition calling for the exclusion of bishops from the Lords.
Wetherell’s words on the waning enthusiasm for reform in Bristol came back to haunt him on 29 Oct. 1831, when, as recorder, he processed into the town to open the assizes, disregarding prior warnings of trouble, which he considered it was the responsibility of government to prevent. His appearance triggered a riot and an attack on the Mansion House, from which he barely escaped with his life by disguising himself as a postilion and scrambling over the rooftops. (The wags had it that ‘he made his escape from the fury of the mob in the disguise of a clean shirt and a pair of braces’.) Aided by official timidity and military bungling, the mob remained in control of Bristol for three days, at the end of which large parts of the town had been destroyed and burnt and numerous people were dead. Wetherell was widely condemned and pilloried for having gone there, though in fairness it must be said that Protheroe, one of the Members, had given the home secretary assurances that there would be no disturbance. As recorder, he would normally have presided at the trial of the rioters, but ministers wisely bypassed him by omitting him, without explanation, from the special commission.71
On the address, 6 Dec. 1831, Wetherell denied having been ‘directly the author’ of the riots and complained of his exclusion from the commission. He welcomed the ‘beneficial change’ in the revised reform bill regarding the freeman franchise, 12 Dec., but portrayed this and other modifications as admissions by ministers of earlier errors rather than genuine concessions. He joined in criticism of ministerial conduct on the Russian-Dutch loan, ‘a flagrant violation of the law’, 16 Dec. The following day, after presenting and endorsing a petition for reform of the system of poor management in the southern counties, he opposed the second reading of the reform bill, a defective measure brought forward to ‘satisfy people out of doors’ and ‘bottomed on the principle of radical equality’. On 20 Jan. 1832 he spoke and voted against going into committee on the bill, a ‘new-fangled plan of a constitution’, with ‘cooked up’ borough schedules. Hawkins reported to his father:
Wetherell, I think, promises more madly than ever. He seems more incoherent in his ideas, and less under command in his manner. If his gesticulations on so tame a subject as last night’s discussion are a specimen of what may be expected when we arrive at more irritating topics, the House will not hold him.72
For the next two months he was indefatigable in his criticism of the details of the bill, taking particular notice of the inadequate information on which the borough disfranchising and enfranchising proposals were based and mocking the calculations of Drummond, ‘the English Euclid’. On 19 Feb. he asserted that the creation of enough peers to carry the measure through the Lords would be ‘illegal, unconstitutional, and unprecedented’. He was a teller for the minority against proceeding with the disfranchising schedules, 20 Feb., after complaining that ‘we are committing political injustice at the expense of mathematical accuracy’. He voted against the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., when he also objected to giving Manchester and Salford separate representation. At this time Croker noted that while ‘the Ultra Tories are but a hollow support’ to the opposition leaders, Wetherell was ‘very cordial’, indeed ‘sincerely, actively and usefully so’. Hawkins dismissed his speech against the third reading, 20 Mar. 1832, when he attacked ministers on all fronts, as a ‘grotesque rodomontade’.73 He was in the minority two days later.
Wetherell was a steady opponent of Campbell’s bill to establish a general registry, 17 Jan., 8, 22 Feb., 6 Mar.; he was added to the select committee on the subject, 27 Mar. 1832. Nor did he see any merit in his fines and recoveries bill, 20 Jan. On the bill to provide for the continuity of the work of the court of session in the event of the death of a judge, 24 Jan., he said that as his arguments against the appointment of extra bankruptcy judges had been vindicated by subsequent experience, the surplus men should be sent to Scotland; and he strongly objected to abolishing the Scottish court of exchequer without proper inquiry, 2 Feb. He voted against ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., and argued on 6 Feb. that it revealed their ‘utter incapacity’. He was against the production of information on unenclosed lands and intestates’ estates, 31 Jan. He supported the prayer of a petition for the restriction of childrens’ hours in factories, 1 Feb. On 8 Feb. he welcomed Grey’s statement that government were determined to uphold the rule of law to enforce tithe collection in Ireland, but he failed to goad Althorp into making a similar declaration.74 He supported the opposition motion for information on relations with Portugal, 9 Feb., and had more to say on the subject, 26 Mar. He was cautious about Baring’s bill, which he was given a hand in preparing, to exclude insolvents and bankrupts from the Commons, 14 Feb. He disapproved of the way in which money was to be levied under the cholera prevention bill, 15 Feb. The following day he voted against Hunt’s motion for information on military punishments. He approved of the principle of O’Connell’s Irish witnesses in equity bill, 22 Feb. He supported a call for documents concerning Lord Plunket’s alleged nepotism and corruption as Irish chancellor, 6 Mar. Next day he accused ministers of yielding to popular clamour in deciding to prosecute Bristol magistrates over the riots, and, opposing the sugar duties, said that ‘the whole system of the present government may be termed anti-colonial’. On Irish tithes, 28 Mar., he admitted the need for reform, but would not accept their extinction; and he was severely critical of the ministerial proposals, which amounted to spoliation in response to ‘a very extensive conspiracy’, 2, 6 Apr. He doubted the utility of Warburton’s anatomy bill, 11 Apr., and called for redress from Brazil for acts of piracy, 16 Apr. 1832.
Two days later, when he saw Campbell while filing a criminal information for a libel on Cumberland, he boasted that ministers were ‘afraid to meet Parliament, and that this is the reason why the Easter recess is so unusually long’.75 Opposing the address asking the king to appoint only ministers who would carry the reform bill unimpaired, 10 May, when he again followed Macaulay, he cracked what the Whig Member William Ord described as ‘small, bad jokes’; and even Croker thought his ‘flourish ... on the mode of presenting the address’, which was answered by Althorp, was ‘very foolish’. During the ensuing ministerial crisis, he let Ellenborough know that he would support a ministry formed by Wellington.76 He contended that government were wrong not to prosecute in a recent case of libel on the king, 21 May, for ‘the licentiousness of the press’ had become intolerable. He supported their temporizing amendment to Fowell Buxton’s motion for the abolition of slavery, 24 May. He voted against the second reading of the Irish reform bill the following day, and made technical comments on it, 25 June. He had remarks to make on various details of the boundaries bill, including one on Oxford, 7 June, when he wondered why two parishes had been ‘capriciously’ added: ‘when the system of proscription is abandoned, there is established in its stead a system as anomalous and discrepant’. That day he reprimanded Paget for suggesting that the discretionary power of the crown to commute death sentences had not been generously exercised. He insisted that ministers had not expressed any leaning towards the immediate ‘total extinction’ of tithes, 14 June; but on the 29th he said that a petition for that object confirmed his view that they had been unwise to give that impression, and protested against O’Connell’s plan to enforce a call of the House for the debate on the ministerial bill, 5 July. He also said that the reduction of the prescription period to 60 years was too drastic and that the whole measure was ‘most awkwardly framed’. He had no truck with Sheil’s argument that the House, being defunctus officio after the enactment of the reform bill, should not deal with the tithes problem. He thought it was too late to press on with the Indian juries bill, 18 June. That day (the anniversary of Waterloo), Wellington was harassed by a mob while on horseback in Holborn, and took refuge with Wetherell in Lincoln’s Inn.77 He raised this incident, and the recent attack on the king, in the House, 20 June, when he defended Peel’s attempt to get Smith Stanley to say that ‘the use of physical force was unjustifiable’. Later he deplored the haste with which Campbell’s real property reform bills had been pushed through, having joined with leading equity lawyers of both parties in a signed protest to Brougham.78 On the Scottish reform bill, 27 June, he said that in effectively abandoning the proposed property qualification for Members, ministers had tamely submitted to the Scottish unions and their ‘radical republican principle’. He spoke and voted for Baring’s bill to exclude bankrupts, though it did not entirely satisfy him. On 28 June he got the Speaker to confirm that a petition from London Poles complaining of the conduct of Russia was inadmissible, and on 7 Aug. he applauded ministers’ resistance to De Lacy Evans’s motion condemning Russia. He forced Wyse to defer his proposed bill to enable Irish tenants to raise mortgages for improvements, 28 June. He condemned Hume’s ‘unconstitutional’ doctrine that soldiers should not be punished for ‘a political offence’, 3 July. He spoke and voted against ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July, and spoke again on it, 16 July, when he seized on Hume’s admission that he would ‘vote black was white’ to keep ministers in office. He was scornful of Hume’s ‘petty farthing economy’ in calling for a reduction in the Bahamas establishment, 23 July. He stated his undiminished hostility to the general register scheme, 16 July, and spoke and was a teller for the minority of two against Harvey’s motion to inquire into the Inns of Court, 17 July. He supported and vindicated Sugden in his attack on Brougham’s allegedly corrupt disposal of chancery sinecures, 25, 26, 27 July.79 He paid tribute to Manners Sutton on his retirement as Speaker, 30 July, and on 1 Aug. defended the pension of £4,000 for him and his male heir against Hume’s strictures. He said that the electoral bribery bill was ‘an instrument of vexation and ... political intrigue’, 30 July. He spoke against the ‘most mischievous’ proposal to abolish the death penalty for all forgery offences, 31 July, 2 Aug. He was in the minority against the crown colonies relief bill, 3 Aug. When Evans raised the problem of the possible disfranchisement of borough voters through failure to pay their rates in time, 9 Aug., Wetherell observed that it was clear that the enthusiasm to register fell far short of ministerial expectations. In his last reported intervention in Commons debates, 16 Aug. 1832, he secured the withdrawal of a Hull petition against government interference with Irish tithes.
Newcastle reported in mid-July 1832 that Wetherell had ‘a short time since abandoned the idea of coming into the next Parliament, but he has since revoked’, and wondered whether he might stand for Newark.80 Nothing came of this, but at the general election in December he put himself forward for Oxford, where he had reduced the mayoral dinner in October to farce with a facetious speech mocking the reform bill as ‘the feast of reason’. He tried to court popularity by carousing in the taverns, but he had little support in the city, trailed badly in the poll and withdrew before its close.81 He declined an invitation to stand for Dover on a vacancy soon afterwards.82 As counsel for Oxford University, he made ‘an amusing speech’, which he subsequently published, before the privy council in April 1834 in opposition to the London University petition for a charter. Greville noted that ‘it is seldom that the sounds of merriment are heard within those walls, but he made the Lords laugh, and the gallery too’.83 Having been loyal to Wellington in May 1832, he was a candidate for legal office when Peel formed his first ministry in December 1834. He was earmarked for the vice-chancellorship, but Lancelot Shadwell*, the incumbent, refused to take the Irish seals. With great misgivings, Peel and Lyndhurst offered him the attorney-generalship, and they were far from sorry when he declined it because ‘it would appear to the world supercession’. Lyndhurst, who thought he hankered after the place of chief baron, and took upon himself ‘entirely on political grounds the responsibility of not sending him to Ireland’, concluded that he was ‘satisfied that we did all we fairly could for him’.84 Wetherell claimed to have turned down two free offers of seats from ‘private individuals’ at the 1835 general election, and certainly rejected an approach from the Conservatives of Bandon Bridge.85 In August 1835 he annoyed Peel by helping to work the Conservative peers ‘into a frenzy’ with a speech at the bar of the House against the municipal corporations bill.86 He was nominated without his consent by desperate Birmingham Conservatives at the by-election of January 1840 and polled quite respectably, though he finished well behind the Liberal candidate.87 He admitted that there were ‘circumstances which prevent my coming forward at Oxford’ at the 1841 general election, and he did not expect to be in the new Parliament.88
Wetherell died at Preston Hall, near Maidstone, Kent in August 1846, a week after suffering ‘concussion of the brain’ in a carriage accident nearby.89 He had not made a will, and administration of his estate, which was sworn under £250,000, was granted to his second wife. There was also valuable real estate.90 An obituarist commented that ‘he never acquired any great influence with the House’, where he was ‘treated by both sides ... as a whimsical pedant’. Although his opposition to reform was deemed ultimately futile and ‘exposed him to the effects of extreme unpopularity’, it was reckoned that ‘every one admired the learning, talent, enthusiasm, and even good humour and drollery’ with which he conducted it.91 As king of Hanover, Cumberland, to whom Wetherell had been devotedly attached for over 30 years, wrote of his sorrow at the death of
that most excellent and deserving man ... No one knows his sterling merits or great qualities better than I do ... I never knew a man of keener sense or neater perspicacity, one who had the clearest insight into all going on, whose principles were the soundest both in church and state, and who had the courage not only boldly to declare them, but always acted up to them ... In private life ... he was one of the most agreeable companions that I have ever met.92
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: David R. Fisher
- 1. HP Commons, 1790-1820, v. 521, following Gent. Mag. (1846), ii. 426, states that at his death Nathan Wetherell was ‘worth £100,000’. In fact, his personalty was sworn under £3,500, though the residue was calculated for duty at £19,143. Charles Wetherell received an equal share with his five brothers in a trust fund of unknown value (IR26/131/379; PROB 11/1473/73).
- 2. Colchester Diary, iii. 201; W. Ballantine, Some Experience of a Barrister’s Life, i. 148.
- 3. Ballantine, i. 148; Gent. Mag.(1846), ii. 428; M.D. George, Cat. of Pol. and Personal Satires, xi. 16836, 17194.
- 4. Jackson’s Oxford Jnl. 19, 26 Feb., 4, 11 Mar. 1820.
- 5. Dorset RO D/BKL, Bankes jnl. 122; HLRO, Hist. Coll. 379, Grey Bennet diary, 2.
- 6. Add. 51574, Abercromby to Holland [26 Jan.]; Creevey’s Life and Times, 136; Castle Howard mss, Howard to Lady Morpeth, 28 [Jan.1821].
- 7. Grey Bennet diary, 5a.
- 8. Harewood mss, Canning to Miss Leigh, 24 Mar.; The Times, 27 Mar. 1821.
- 9. The Times, 9, 13 Mar. 1822.
- 10. Bankes jnl. 136.
- 11. The Times, 25 June 1822.
- 12. Fox Jnl. 136.
- 13. Jackson’s Oxford Jnl. 5 Oct. 1822.
- 14. The Times, 15 Feb. 1823.
- 15. Ibid. 16, 18, 19 Apr. 1823.
- 16. Add. 38296, f. 356.
- 17. Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 8 Dec. .
- 18. Add. 51654, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 8 Nov.; 51659, Whishaw to same, 13 Nov. 1823.
- 19. Add. 40304, f. 197; 40315, f. 106; 40329, ff. 229, 247; 40359, f. 147.
- 20. Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, ii. 17, 22.
- 21. Add. 38298, f. 103; 38576, f. 33; 40304, f. 204.
- 22. Add. 38298, ff. 101, 140, 147; 38302, f. 156; 38370, f. 134; 40259, f. 307.
- 23. Hobhouse Diary, 108-9.
- 24. Bucks. RO, Fremantle mss D/FR/138/14/9.
- 25. Jackson’s Oxford Jnl. 7, 14 Feb. 1824.
- 26. The Times, 26 Feb. 1824.
- 27. Northants. RO, Agar Ellis diary, 1 Mar. .
- 28. The Times, 10 Mar. 1824
- 29. Ibid. 15 Apr. 1824.
- 30. Ibid. 9, 11 Feb. 1825.
- 31. Add. 40379, f. 20; The Times, 21 June 1825.
- 32. Add. 40342, f. 297; 40383, f. 272.
- 33. Colchester Diary, 409; Oxford University and City Herald, 28 Jan., 18 Feb. 1826; Add. 40342, ff. 297, 303, 311, 315, 316; 40385, ff. 102, 111, 114, 116, 132, 151, 162, 168, 170, 173; 43231, f. 171; Wellington mss WP1/850/9.
- 34. Gurney diary, 7 May .
- 35. Jackson’s Oxford Jnl. 10, 17 June 1826.
- 36. Add. 38302, f. 52; 40315, ff. 217, 268; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1250.
- 37. The Times, 30 June 1827.
- 38. Wellington Despatches, iv. 216-17, 222; v. 179; Wellington mss WP1/913/1; 915/57; Add. 40307, f. 23; 40395, ff. 21, 129; Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 18 Jan. 1828; Life of Campbell, i. 45; Twiss, iii. 27-28, 32.
- 39. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1491, 1494-7, 1499, 1500; Wellington mss WP1/917/4, 13, 17, 27; 918/15; 920/18, 21, 36; 979/7.
- 40. Wellington Despatches, v. 179-80, 189-90, 192, 203-4, 217; Wellington mss WP1962/8; 964/24; 965/7; 968/17.
- 41. Ellenborough Diary, i. 284-5, 321; Croker Pprs. ii. 8; Bankes jnl. 166 [Feb. 1829].
- 42. Ellenborough Diary, i. 355, 368; Wellington Despatches, v. 507-8; Wellington mss WP1/998/10; 1000/28; Life of Campbell, i. 462-3.
- 43. Ellenborough Diary, i. 382, 383, 385-6; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 250-1.
- 44. Broughton, Recollections, iii. 311; Agar Ellis diary, 18 Mar.; Bankes jnl. 166 [Mar.]; Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 19 Mar.; Add. 76369, Althorp to Brougham, 19 Mar. 1829; Greville Mems. i. 274, 278; Ellenborough Diary, i. 399, 406.
- 45. Ellenborough Diary, i. 400-1, 404-8; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 256, 257; Wellington Despatches, v. 547-8; Wellington mss WP1/1004/18; 1007/30; Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 23, 24 Mar. 1829.
- 46. Croker Pprs. ii. 12; Brougham mss, Abercromby to Brougham [31 Mar. 1829].
- 47. Ellenborough Diary, ii. 15; Add. 40336, f. 266.
- 48. The Times, 12, 15 Dec. 1829; George, xi. 16020.
- 49. Grey mss, Howick jnl. 2 Mar.; Keele Univ. Lib. Sneyd mss, Littleton to Sneyd, 2 Mar. 1830.
- 50. Nottingham Univ. Lib. Newcastle mss Ne2 F3/1/245-6, 248; Add. 40320, f. 166.
- 51. Hatherton mss, Palmerston to Littleton, 17 Nov. 1830.
- 52. Three Diaries, 14, 49; Greville Mems. ii. 123; St. Deiniol’s Lib. Glynne-Gladstone mss 197, T. to J. Gladstone, 2 Mar. 1831.
- 53. TCD, Jebb mss 6397/427.
- 54. George, xi. 16602; Glynne-Gladstone mss 197, T. to J. Gladstone, 3 Mar.; Greville Mems. ii. 124; Broughton, iv. 89; Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland [3 Mar. 1831].
- 55. Newcastle mss Ne2 F3/1/327.
- 56. Creevey Pprs. ii. 224.
- 57. Greville Mems. ii. 126; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 416; Wellington Despatches, vii. 408; Wellington mss WP1/1176/23; Arbuthnot Corresp. 145; Three Diaries, p. xxxix; Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 3 Apr. 1831.
- 58. Newcastle mss NeC 6982.
- 59. Le Marchant, Althorp, 306.
- 60. Notts. Archives, Tallents mss, Newcastle to Tallents, 23 Apr.; The Times, 5 May 1831.
- 61. Three Diaries, 94.
- 62. Glos. RO, Hyatt mss 26/F32/13.
- 63. Gurney diary, 6 July; Add. 51573, Rice to Lady Holland [6 July 1831].
- 64. Hatherton diary, 13 July ; Greville Mems. ii. 165.
- 65. Peel Letters, 134.
- 66. Three Diaries, 126.
- 67. Badminton mun. Fm M 4/1/19.
- 68. Hatherton diary, 8 Oct. .
- 69. Cornw. RO, Hawkins mss 10/2171, 2172, 2174; Broughton, iv. 141.
- 70. Hawkins mss 10/2172.
- 71. N. Gash, Sir Robert Peel, 23-24; M. Brock, Great Reform Act, 251-2; J. Cannon, Parl. Reform, 227; J. A. Phillips, Great Reform Bill in Boroughs, 65-71; Ballantine, i. 149; Three Diaries, 153; Wellington Despatches, viii. 26-29; Wellington mss WP1/1201/16; Cockburn Letters, 354; George, xi. 16824, 16836, 17194; Holland House Diaries, 87, 89.
- 72. Hawkins mss 10/2178.
- 73. Croker Pprs. ii. 151; Hawkins mss 10/2189.
- 74. Three Diaries, 191.
- 75. Life of Campbell, ii. 7.
- 76. Add. 51569, Ord to Lady Holland [10 May 1832]; Croker Pprs. ii. 157; Three Diaries, 257.
- 77. Creevey Pprs. ii. 248; Von Neumann Diary, i. 274.
- 78. Brougham mss, memo [June 1832].
- 79. Greville Mems. ii. 314.
- 80. Tallents mss, Newcastle to Tallents, 17 July 1832.
- 81. Jackson’s Oxford Jnl. 6, 13, 20, 27 Oct., 3, 10, 17, 24 Nov., 1, 8, 15 Dec. 1832; Add. 40403, f. 105.
- 82. Wellington Pol. Corresp. i. 14.
- 83. Ibid. i. 448, 460, 463, 465, 471-2, 476, 478, 479, 507, 509; Greville Mems. iii. 32, 35.
- 84. Three Diaries, 291, 312; Arbuthnot Corresp. 175; Wellington Pol. Corresp. ii. 227; Add. 34571, f. 411; 40316, ff. 95, 97, 100, 104, 106; Durham CRO, Londonderry mss D/Lo/C115 (8).
- 85. Add. 34571, f. 411; 40409, f. 148.
- 86. Peel Letters, 153; Greville Mems. iii. 229; Torrens, Melbourne, ii. 152.
- 87. The Times, 24, 25, 27 Aug. 1840.
- 88. Add. 34581, f. 552.
- 89. The Times, 24, 25, 27 Aug. 1846.
- 90. PROB 6/222/330; Gent. Mag. (1846), ii. 430.
- 91. Gent. Mag. (1846), ii. 428-9.
- 92. Letters of King of Hanover to Lord Strangford ed. C. Whibley, 93-94.