WILLIAMS WYNN, Charles Watkin (1775-1850), of Llangedwyn, Denb.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Education
b. 9 Oct. 1775, 2nd s. of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, 4th bt.† (d. 1789), of Wynnstay and 2nd w. Charlotte, da. of George Grenville†; bro. of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, 5th bt.* and Henry Watkin Williams Wynn†. educ. by Rev. Robert Nares 1779-83; Westminster 1784; Christ Church, Oxf. 1791; L. Inn 1795, called 1798. m. 9 Apr. 1806, Mary, da. of Sir Foster Cunliffe, 3rd bt., of Acton Park, Denb., 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 5 da. d. 2 Sept. 1850.
Under-sec. of state for home affairs Feb. 1806-Apr. 1807; pres. bd. of control (with a seat in the cabinet) Jan. 1822-Jan. 1828; PC 17 Jan. 1822; sec. at war Nov. 1830-Apr. 1831; chan. of duchy of Lancaster Dec. 1834-Apr. 1835; eccles. commr. 1835.
Recorder, Oswestry 1798-1835; bencher, L. Inn 1835.
Vol. London and Westminster light horse 1798-9, 1801-3; maj. Ruabon vols. 1798, lt.-col. commdt. 1803; lt.-col. commdt. Mont. vol. legion 1803-8; col. E. Denb. militia 1808; commdt. Mont. yeoman cav. 1808-28, 1831-44.
Following his defeat in the 1817 Speakership election, Williams Wynn, ‘never strictly a Whig or a Conservative’, but a committed advocate of humane reforms, had assumed the leadership in the Commons of the oligarchic third party of his uncle Lord Grenville.1 A potential cabinet minister, he aspired to the political achievements of the Grenvilles, his paternal grandfather Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, 3rd bt.†, who led the Tory opposition to the government of Sir Robert Walpole, and his great-great-grandfather Speaker William Williams. His expertise on procedural matters was already widely acknowledged, but his interventions on precedents often pre-empted the Speaker’s and were shouted down; for although he was a frequent and fluent debater, his enunciation and high-pitched voice were ridiculed, and it was said of him that he ‘may squeak, but never can speak so as to command attention or make effect’.2 A parliamentary commentator described him in the early 1830s as
of middle size, rather, if anything, inclined to corpulency. He has a round face, is of dark complexion and slightly pitted with the smallpox ... He often takes the common sense view of questions, not immediately bearing on party objects: but at other times he is quite unintelligible.3
His return in 1820 for Montgomeryshire, which he had represented since 1799 on the Wynnstay interest of his elder brother Sir Watkin, was unopposed, and he belatedly negotiated support at Wenlock for their kinsman by marriage Paul Beilby Lawley (Thompson)*.4 On constituency matters, the brothers acted with Members controlled by Sir Watkin’s father-in-law, the 1st earl of Powis, a Tory group headed by Powis’s eldest son Viscount Clive*. Williams Wynn endeavoured to attend assizes and yeomanry exercises, patronized the hunt, and sought inclusion on locally important parliamentary select committees on asylums, gaols, militia expenses, the poor and turnpikes, on which his constituents initiated legislation, 1820-32.5 He dined in the best circles and placed great store on displaying his Welshness if he thought it would bring him votes, for by 1820 he commanded no more than six Members. Their support for Lord Liverpool’s Tory administration on the suspension of habeas corpus in 1817 had signalled the end of the Grenvillite coalition with the Foxite Whigs who had sustained them in office, 1806-7. Grenville’s nephew, the 2nd marquess of Buckingham, their party’s leader in the Lords, advocated open collaboration with the ministerial Tories; but Williams Wynn set greater store by political consistency and, unlike Buckingham, he (with their cousin Lord Ebrington*) had voted with the opposition Whigs in 1819 for Brougham’s appointment to the secret committee on the Bank of England and against the grant to the duke of York.6
Unsure about the stance and tactics their party should adopt during pre-session negotiations, he stayed at Llangedwyn to entertain his friend Robert Southey* and corresponded with Joseph Phillimore*, Buckingham and their uncles, Grenville and Thomas Grenville†. To Phillimore, 25 Mar. 1820, he observed that ‘opposition have gained on the whole six, but there may be many among the new Members some whose names and probable votes I do not know. I am very sorry for Lambton’s triumph and also for Morpeth’s defeat’.7 He arrived in London, 2 May, resumed his place on the cross bench next day, but left early to avoid voting on the review of civil list expenditure ‘which I really thought government had no ground whatever for resisting’. He intended abstaining on the opposition motion to have admiralty and crown droits treated as civil list revenue but, bowing to family pressure, he justified Lady Grenville’s pension and announced that he would divide with administration, 5 May.8 He accepted the Lords’ amendments to the civil list, despite a clerical error, 30 May. He divided with opposition on the appointment of an additional Scottish baron of exchequer, 15 May, and on revenue collection, 4 July 1820.
Expounding on precedents and procedures enabled ‘Squeaker’ Williams Wynn, who chaired the select committee on privileges, 1820-5, to demonstrate his knowledge and avoid taking sides in debate. He declared against proceeding with Alderman Wood’s motion on the case of George Edwards, implicated in the Cato Street conspiracy, 9 May, but wished he had ‘said many things which I had intended and which escaped me’.9 He thought the Aldborough election petition merited consideration and that extra time should be allowed for the receipt of recognizances from Drogheda, 25 May, and objected to discussing the Boston petition on the floor of the House instead of in committee, 26 May. He reported that day on the case of Robert Christie Burton†, freed without authority from the Fleet prison, and welcomed the withdrawal of the petition against him, 31 May 1820. On his advice, the Boroughbridge election committee ruled that the franchise there was confined to resident ‘boroughmen’ [burgesses], 7 June.10 Supporting its chairman Phillimore, he cited precedents justifying the Grantham election committee’s decisions to summon Sir William Manners†, 5 July, and request his committal to Newgate for non-attendance, 10 July, and endorsed calls for the release of Manners’s servant, 12 July. He opposed clemency for the convicted boroughmonger Sir Manasseh Masseh Lopes*, 11 July 1820, and was a majority teller that day for Phillimore’s motion for making compensation payments for loss of working time at elections illegal.
The 1817 select committee on the administration of justice in Wales had been Grenvillite in conception, and following its chairman George Ponsonby’s death Williams Wynn had compiled and submitted their evidence. He welcomed and was appointed to the committees conceded to John Frederick Campbell (afterwards 2nd earl of Cawdor) in 1820 and 1821, but warned that measures barring judges from sitting in Parliament and practising as barristers, and for abolishing the Welsh courts of great sessions, ‘could not all at once be effected, or effected with immediate advantage’, 1 June 1820. Responding on 22 Mar. 1822 to a question from Sir Robert Williams, the erstwhile Grenvillite and patron of Beaumaris, whose assize town status was at risk, he explained that although he wanted the Welsh courts assimilated and their judicature abolished, he had no plans to legislate. He asked Cawdor’s Member John Hensleigh Allen to withdraw resolutions to this effect, 23 May, and raised no objection to the rival remedial measure brought in with government’s acquiescence by John Jones, whom he had refused to recommend for a puisne judgeship on the Chester circuit, and supported it until it became law, 24 June 1824.11
He had anticipated the financial and constitutional problems which bedevilled the Queen Caroline affair, on which ‘all parties are got into an embarrassment’.12 Realizing that ‘both parties’ considered Commons support vital, he wrote proudly to his wife, 9 June 1820, after his plea that the House should be deferred to was cheered: ‘I really begin to be an important person and am appealed to on both sides on the present negotiation’.13 Discussing the case’s impact on party politics and negotiations to strengthen the ministry in which they expected to be involved, he observed to Grenville, 15 June:
It is certainly true that the dearth of talent which has prevailed in the ... Commons for several years past and the weakness of the conduct of those who ought to have guided it have released it from all control and that there is no longer any means of ascertaining how the majority ... may vote upon any given question. I do not ... think it improbable that Lord Lansdowne might be willing to co-operate for this purpose with Lord Buckingham and the duke of Wellington, since he must be aware that the old opposition is incapable of making up an administration, particularly in the ... Commons, which could command any degree of confidence or support.14
When James Stuart Wortley and William Wilberforce sought his support for an address to the queen, 20 June, he refused to sanction anything stronger than a resolution, deeming it ‘a step too degrading for us to take, much as [I] wish this abominable investigation at an end’. He did ‘not at all like’ that drafted by Wilberforce, 22 June, ‘though perhaps one must at least swallow it’ as ‘an address in the form of a resolution’, favourable to the queen ‘in effect, though not in words’.15 As the queen’s reply left no alternative to proceeding ‘through all the evils of this disgusting and protracted inquiry’, he spoke against adjournment, 26 June, but contradicted Grenville and Phillimore by letting it be known that he doubted whether the Lords had the power to proceed with the investigation before the Commons, as there was no precedent for instigating a bill of pains and penalties in the Upper House.16 Despite his preference for impeachment, he affirmed in debate, 6 July, that ‘the public, not the king, was the suitor’ and expressed ‘full confidence’ in the Lords’ proceedings. As usual, when his views differed from those of his colleagues, he confined his observations to procedural points, 12 July. When Buckingham and Lord Grenville resolved to offer the king and ministers ‘consistent parliamentary support’, he informed Thomas Grenville†, 27 Aug., that he could not approve a bill, which, ‘without any clause for divorce’, was ‘a mere measure of degradation and punishment’, and being first considered by the Lords, ‘seems to me subversive of every principle of our political system’.17 However, in October, after studying it, he informed Buckingham, their uncles and Phillimore that he would support it despite his doubts.18 He warned:
You offer as a bribe to reconcile me to this course that through a bill of pains and penalties the Commons exercise those judicial functions which the general practice of the constitution vests exclusively in the Peers. Now this really is among my strongest objections, for under existing circumstances I feel even more dread of our encroaching upon functions and privileges which do not belong to us, than of our losing those which do. The judicial character is that of all others which from our number and from the limitation of our powers we can exercise with least advantage, and which therefore when not absolutely forced upon us, we ought to avoid, and it is on this account, among others, that I dread, as a Member of the ... Commons, seeing myself obliged to act as a final judge instead of sending up a case for the decision of a tribunal with higher powers and less biased by popular clamour.19
In fact, he expected it to fail, sparing him ‘the necessity of declaring my difference from my uncles and most of my political connection’, and he was preparing for the ‘prorogation and censure motions’ he was sure would follow.20 His relief at its withdrawal, 10 Nov., was tempered by misgivings over the likely ‘popular commotion’ and a summons to Stowe, where Buckingham hoped for an invitation to join the government. Williams Wynn, trusting to ‘the usual and never failing effect of office in making them vehement anti-radicals’, would have preferred an arrangement with the Whigs.21 He also thought ministers would gain more ‘at this juncture’ by replacing the president of the India board Canning with Robert Peel and the chancellor Nicholas Vansittart with Charles Grant. He informed Grenville, 12 Nov:
I really do not see what prospect a junction with the present ministers or any large proportion of them could afford us but degradation to our own character, distrust, and desertion. Much as I object to the conduct of the opposite party, I feel at least a greater confidence in their sincerity and integrity, though I am aware that in all probability there is such a difference of opinion with respect to the internal policy of this country as must raise an insurmountable barrier between us. Altogether, I am best satisfied with the hope that it is most probable that no such proposition will be made to us. If the Whigs come into undivided possession of power they must bring in so large a proportion of radicals that I fear nothing could check the progress of revolution, and if the present ministers continue, their weakness and disunion will still combine to make the same result more certain and probably less distant.22
The clamour for Grenville persisted, but he turned down the king’s invitation to form a ministry, as Williams Wynn had anticipated.23 He genuinely regretted the ‘injudicious’ omission of the queen’s name from the liturgy, but was ‘averse to the ... Commons expressing any opinion upon [it] ... or the grant of a palace to the queen’, and informed Grenville, 26 Dec. 1820, that he would ‘support ministers against every proposition’ except ending the £50,000 annuity which formed part of her marriage settlement.24 Indeed, his endeavours to further his brother Henry’s diplomatic career, his few known votes despite regular attendance, his active membership of committees and frequent interventions in debate when Parliament reassembled, have been interpreted as indications that he no longer actively sought realignment with the Whigs.25 William Fremantle* and his patron Buckingham complained repeatedly that Williams Wynn followed ‘his own whim’, taking Phillimore with him, ‘at all times on the alert to catch an opportunity of attacking the government’, yet he consulted Buckingham and Lord Grenville throughout and voted against the opposition censure motion, 6 Feb. 1821. Even Buckingham acknowledged that his speech against restoring the queen’s name to the liturgy, 13 Feb., was ‘a very good one’, although ‘you stated stronger than I should have done the misdeeds of ministers’.26 He opposed attempts by the queen’s partisans to have the Nottingham petition for the impeachment of ministers received, 20 Feb., and proceedings at the Cheshire and Dublin meetings investigated, 20, 22 Feb. 1821.27
On the Grampound disfranchisement bill, 12 Feb. 1821, he reaffirmed the Grenvillites’ opposition to sweeping parliamentary reform and suggested transferring the seats to Yorkshire, divided so that the West Riding returned two and the North and East Ridings one Member each, instead of two to Leeds. He failed to secure alterations in the Lords’ amendments, 30 May, but obtained leave for a bill to divide the Yorkshire constituency, 3 July 1821. (It was considered, 2, 3 Apr., 2 May and killed by adjournment, 7 June 1822.) He voted against reform, 9 May 1821, 20 Feb., 2, June 1823, 26 Feb. 1824. He failed to stall an opposition inquiry motion into the Holy Alliance’s treatment of Naples, 21 Feb., but he carried new standing orders governing the business of the House, 22 Feb., 14 Mar. 1821. He judged several petitions inadmissible, including those against legal judgements in the cases of Thomas Davison, 23 Feb., 7 Mar., and Nathan Broadhurst, 7 Mar., and for naval half-pay, 2 July. Despite the Speaker’s reservations, he had a petition from Lower Canada rejected because it was in French, 16 Mar. He helped to delay and destroy the contentious Stoke Newington select vestry bill on procedural points, 16 Feb., 21 Mar., 6 Apr. Preferring withdrawal to defeat, 19 Feb., he raised several points of order before voting to consider Catholic relief, 28 Feb. Liaising with William Plunket* and Buckingham, he worked with Lord Londonderry* and Thomas Spring Rice* on the measure, which they failed to amend to include provision for Catholic clergy and oath-taking, 2, 27, 29 Mar., 2 Apr. They co-operated again on the case of the absentee Irish chief baron O’Grady and reform of the Irish judicial system, 5 Mar., 2, 6 Apr., 9 May, 22 June, 3 July 1821, and resolved to instigate future Catholic legislation in the Lords.28
He ‘showed by the proceeding of the House on the Westminster case in 1745’ that the use of military force at the Carlisle election had been irregular, 15 Mar., and testified to the impartiality of the committee which found it ‘impossible not to disapprove’ of the use of regular troops there despite the inadequate civil force, 3 Apr. 1821.29 He explained that the privileges committee was not empowered to consider Lyme Regis’s petition for restoration of its ancient electoral rights, 12 Apr. On 11 May, after failing to secure his committal, he demanded a harsh sentence for Robert Thomas Weaver, the printer of John Bull found guilty of libelling Henry Grey Bennet by misreporting parliamentary debates.30 On 30 May he deemed Stuart Wortley’s motion to indemnify Christie Burton’s creditors superfluous, and was equally dismissive of private prosecutions brought against the Constitutional Association. To Williams Wynn, who chaired the 1821 select committee, ‘nothing short of absolute necessity, the safety of the state and the preservation of society could justify’ capital punishment for forgery, 23 May, 4 June. On slavery, he remained abolitionist in principle but dreaded precipitate action and wanted the slave removal bill postponed pending the receipt of further evidence, 31 May, 1 June. He voted in his cousin Lord Nugent’s minority for inquiry into the administration of justice in Tobago, 6 June, and backed William Courtenay’s abortive call that day for an address to the king on behalf of uncompensated American loyalists. He divided with government against omitting arrears from the duke of Clarence’s grant, 18 June 1821. During the recess he promoted the candidature of Richard Heber* for Oxford University, where Lord Grenville was vice-chancellor.
Acting through the duke of Wellington and Fremantle, on 10 June 1821 Liverpool had authorized a formal approach to the Grenvilles and suggested offering Williams Wynn, who had little knowledge of Asia, the presidency of the India board with a seat in the cabinet.31 Buckingham made his appointment a sine qua non of acceptance, but refused to include the Lansdowne Whigs in the arrangement as Williams Wynn had wished, and complained of ‘the difficulties which I have to encounter in managing the half-Whig principles of Charles, encouraged as they are by the very different but chilling feelings of my uncles’:
Everything that is told him passes immediately through the sieve of every possible uncle and aunt, and not only gets all over London, but is submitted to the question of their individual imprimatur, the consequence of which is that I am thwarted in all my views.32
Williams Wynn saw little prospect of success without ousting Lord Harrowby as president of the council, removing Vansittart and securing ‘the assistance of Canning or Peel, if not both’, and predicted correctly, 12 June, that the reshuffle would be delayed ‘till after the session, then till after the coronation, then till the return [of the king] from Ireland’. Buckingham quipped to Fremantle that ‘Charles the sulky is now changed into Charles the impatient ... he wants to make his arrangement and get out of town’.33 When negotiations resumed, 21 Nov., Buckingham accepted a proffered dukedom, and after Londonderry and the new pro-Catholic Irish viceroy Lord Wellesley, whom he met, 5, 8 Dec., had convinced him that the king would not attempt to bring in the Whigs, Williams Wynn agreed, despite his own and his uncles’ dismay at the continued anti-Catholic majority in the cabinet, to take the presidency of the India board. Reports that he and Buckingham would be sent to Ireland proved unfounded, and although he was briefly considered for the secretaryship at war, he was not offered it.34 Before formally accepting office, he took the unprecedented step of writing to Liverpool from Dropmore, 11 Dec. 1821, expressing approval of Plunket’s appointment as Irish attorney-general and Wellesley’s as lord lieutenant, concern at that of the anti-Catholic Henry Goulburn* as Irish secretary, and claiming ‘perfect liberty’ to speak and act as he saw fit for the Catholic cause, whose success, he wrote, was his ‘principal inducement to accept of office’. Liverpool, already briefed by Londonderry, acquiesced.35 Henry Williams Wynn was promised the Swiss embassy with £4,000 a year, and his friend Peter Elmsley preferment in the church. Phillimore and Fremantle remained unplaced, and Lord Northland was not offered the British peerage Grenville had promised him until 1825.36 The elder Grenvilles declined to approve the arrangement and distanced themselves from the ‘dispersal’ of their party.37 Lord Eldon, Harrowby, Huskisson and their followers thought ‘the Squeaker’ had risen ‘much beyond his pretensions’ and that government had gained nothing.38 The Whig Lord Althorp* feared that Williams Wynn placed too much store by Plunket’s and Wellesley’s appointments and warned:
In my opinion the step you have taken will not add one title to the probability of the Catholic concessions being carried; and ... the system of compromise and balance with regard to this most important subject to which you have lent yourself, is of the most mischievous and unconstitutional character.39
Southey, who understood Williams Wynn’s disappointment at failing to get Ireland or the home office, observed that ‘the voluminous documents with which you must become acquainted will not be so appalling or irksome to you as they would be to most persons’.40 Williams Wynn broke his journey to Wales for the Christmas recess to discuss Irish affairs with Wellesley at Dropmore, and he was quick to seek patronage and press Phillimore’s claims to become a judge. However, he found Liverpool ‘cool’, and Phillimore, like Fremantle, had to settle for a place on the India board, adding to Grenville’s disappointment.41 Williams Wynn’s voice, his brother’s posting and the strong Grenvillite presence on his board attracted lampoons and hostile comment, and testing motions were expected when Parliament reassembled.42
Grenville hinted, 5 Feb. 1822, that Williams Wynn should resign over the nature and paucity of the government’s relief package to alleviate agricultural distress, but he did not do so, and he divided with his colleagues against Althorp’s critical resolutions, 21 Feb.43 At his re-election in Montgomery, 18 Feb., he had claimed that retrenchment and recent currency reforms had enabled him to support government without changing his opinions and that it was idle to think that precipitate tax reductions were possible or parliamentary reform ‘by principle and application’ necessary.44 Though clearly embarrassed by Calcraft’s motion for a reduction in the salt tax, which the Grenvillites had long advocated, he decided to take consolation from Vansittart’s intimation that something might be possible the following year and voted against reduction, 28 Feb., and repeal, 23 June.45 His criticism of John Maberly’s resolutions for massive tax cuts, 4 Mar., caused a disappointed North Wales landowner to comment: ‘Our new cabinet minister Charles Williams Wynn seems quite as ignorant as any of them’.46 He assisted with the Superannuation Act amendment bill, 11 Mar., 25 July. Pre-empting criticism of nepotism and inconsistency preoccupied Williams Wynn in the Commons. He had to justify his vote against abolishing one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar., after supporting similar measures in 1812 and 1813.47 Not content with Canning’s ‘expert defence of the board and demolition of Creevey’, who couched his attack on the Grenvillites and the cost to the exchequer of their party’s adhesion to government, by seeking inquiry into the duties of the India board, ‘a peg on which to hang his remarks against me’,48 Williams Wynn repeated the ‘wretched personal’ defence he had delivered in Montgomery, 14 Mar.49 He interpreted Lord John Russell’s reform proposals, 25 Apr., as a fresh attack on the Grenvillites, and was drawn to disclose that he favoured repeal of the salt tax, supported Catholic relief and would always oppose general motions for reform. However, he also stressed his previous differences with opposition over reform and the Six Acts. Countering charges of bringing his friends to the India board, he expressed regret at William Sturges Bourne’s* removal. Grenville was glad that ‘an opportunity has been afforded you ... to vindicate your character and conduct and that you have done so in manner satisfactory to your own feelings’.50 Discouraged by lack of support from Liverpool and cabinet colleagues, he faced further difficult debates and divisions on the aliens bill, which he had previously opposed, and from which he now absented himself at ministers’ behest. He spoke as planned against an opposition motion for reductions in diplomatic expenditure that concentrated on Henry’s appointment, 15 May. He supported Grey Bennet’s attempt to legislate to amend the manslaughter laws, 17 Apr., and, having failed to secure the withdrawal of Mackintosh’s motion for criminal law reform, which he advocated, he annoyed Buckingham but pleased Grenville by apparently voting for it, 4 July.51 Writing to Liverpool when Buckingham threatened a breach with government in June 1822, he sought confirmation that he had been free to do so.52
He conferred and corresponded regularly with Grant, Grenville, Sir John Newport*, Sir Henry Parnell*, Phillimore, Plunket, Tierney, Wellesley and Buckingham (with whom relations were now strained) on the best strategy to adopt to secure Catholic relief, and despite his regrets at its introduction ‘without consultation’, he spoke for Canning’s bill to emancipate Catholic peers, 10 May 1822, and praised Phillimore’s speech.53 He spoke for the Irish constables bill, 21 June, defended the grant to the Cork Institution, 17 July, and presented Mitford’s petition on the O’Grady case, 23 July. He had failed to prevent the production of colonial accounts, 6 Mar., and was annoyed to see how debts had accumulated at the India office under Lord Bathurst and Canning, whose nomination to succeed Lord Hastings as governor-general he bemoaned because of the loss to domestic politics.54 When Liverpool East India merchants petitioned for the removal of restrictions on trade with China, 31 May, he said nothing could be done until the Company’s charter was renewed. His bill to consolidate the East India Trade Acts was repeatedly deferred and timed out that session.55 He was hard pressed to justify East India Company policy and the deployment of their revenues, 1 July, and suggested delaying the sugar bill until the board of trade had reported and commodity quality could be taken into account, 25 July. When the select committee on the Calcutta bankers’ petition (of which he was a member) reported, 29 July, he endorsed Canning’s arguments for a declaratory Act and agreed to refer the matter to the attorney and solicitor-general and East India Company counsel. He stalled Hume’s attempt to secure information on prisoners taken after the Persian Gulf expedition, 30 July 1822.
Assisting government colleagues, he argued against treating interference with Members’ mail as a breach of privilege, 25 Feb., 15 Mar., opposed an appeal to the royal prerogative to secure Henry Hunt’s* early release from Ilchester gaol, 4 Mar., the receipt of pro-Hunt petitions from Leeds, 14 Mar., and Newcastle, 22 Mar., and remission of his sentence, 24 Apr. 1822. He upheld the crown’s sole right to grant military rewards and distinctions, 22 Mar., and denied that there was any understanding that government would take up the Masseh Lopes case, 24 Apr. He advocated adjournment to hear Abercromby’s testimony before summoning the Courier’s printers for breach of privilege, but was overruled, 9, 12 July, and when the printers were examined, 17 July, he accepted that the case against them was proven. The rapid growth in petitioning alarmed him, and he commented on Maidenhead’s petition for licensing individual beer sellers instead of their premises, 17 Apr., objected to receiving those for remission of the Bowditches’ sentences, as an underhand attack on Justice Best, 24 May, and spoke against receiving the radical Greenhoe petition linking distress and parliamentary reform, ‘a menace and an insult to the House’, 3 June. Even so he insisted that he would never recommend rejecting a petition merely because of particular expressions or words. He spoke against receiving the 4,000-signature petition in favour of the Middlesex county court bill, which was backed by Huskisson and accepted, 19 June, and commented on those from Wood, 26 June, William Murray Borthwick, 28 June, and against packing juries, 22 July. He was in favour of authorizing a complete printed edition of ‘the ancient histories of this realm, without any splendour’, 24 July. Londonderry’s suicide in August 1822 deprived Williams Wynn of his ‘best support in cabinet’ at a time when plotting to oust the Grenvillites was rife.56 John Croker*, having heard from Huskisson, who hoped to profit by Williams Wynn’s removal, informed Peel, 25 Aug.:
Wynn is a man of good sense and fair character; but he is extremely unpopular and his parliamentary oratory is almost ludicrous from his voice and manner. He will do very well for a short speech, but, even when at the head of a floating party the House never bore him for a long one such as a minister must occasionally make on what poor Londonderry used to call his field days ... I cannot better explain to you the estimation in which his weight and talents as a minister in the House ... are held than by this fact, that, except in Huskisson’s hint, I have never heard his name mentioned as one to whom the future leader was to look for support.57
Williams Wynn consulted Buckingham, Frederick Robinson* and Wellington, and readily accepted the need to have Canning as leader of the Commons. He was considered for the Indian governorship, a lucrative post which, with a family of seven and annual income, out of office, of no more than £1,500, Buckingham and Fremantle thought he should accept ‘if it were offered him’.58 Aware that Canning’s real intention was to remove him to make way for Huskisson, he prevaricated; but it mattered little, for the East India Company ‘would not hear’ of his appointment.59 Ministers considered sending out Charles Manners Sutton and backing Williams Wynn’s nomination for the Speakership in return for continued Grenvillite support, and Canning discussed this with Grenville, 22 Sept. When it was put to Williams Wynn, 23 Sept., Grenville reminded him that it arose from pressure to promote Huskisson and left him free to decide.60 Buckingham hoped for cabinet office through Williams Wynn’s removal and advised him to go, but changed his mind on learning that his departure would leave them unrepresented in the cabinet.61 By 4 Oct., he had decided to refuse, conscious that his acceptance would deprive Fremantle and Phillimore of their places and alienate him from many of his former supporters.62 Manners Sutton’s conduct during the Cambridge University by-election, ‘the most stupid and unpardonable mess at Cambridge made by anyone’, brought fresh reports of the Speakership or the chancellorship of the duchy of Lancaster being offered to Williams Wynn, who, at Grenville’s request, had canvassed on behalf of Lord Bristol’s son Lord Hervey*.63 The 3rd marquess of Hertford quipped: ‘Had Wynn unluckily had still a penchant for the Chair, he would have let Sutton take the hundreds, but it seems as if he just permitted him to bestir himself and then tendered the paper [his resignation]’.64 George Dawson* informed his brother-in-law Peel:
It is said ... that both ... Liverpool and ... Canning were most anxious to induce Wynn to vacate his seat in the cabinet for the Speaker’s chair, but that he steadily refused giving up the certain place, for the uncertain honour. Perhaps he was right, but the Speaker thinks that his prospects should not have been allowed to depend upon Wynn’s choice.65
Similar rumours circulated when Vansittart was removed from the exchequer in January 1823, but Williams Wynn kept his cabinet post despite his reputed unpopularity.66 He and his family were summoned to Dropmore that month to help Grenville entertain Liverpool and his wife, but Grenville suffered a stroke and the visit was postponed.67
Despite his uncles’ reassurances, he disapproved of the decision to send Henry to Stuttgart instead of Stockholm, as originally proposed, and remained convinced that Canning sought his removal.68 He anticipated a stormy session on Irish business, but was broadly satisfied with the king’s speech and taxation policy.69 On the O’Grady case, which saw the Grenvillites in the minority against the ‘whitewashing’, he supported Spring Rice’s motion to have the latest papers printed, 12 Feb. 1823, and thought it would be better dealt with by a private Member than by government. When he brought up the select committee report on fees charged in Irish law courts, 16 May, Abercromby asserted that it was indeed a government matter, and Canning had to come to his defence. He wanted O’Grady’s case referred back to the committee, 13, 17, 27 June, and for him to testify at the bar of the House, but he had to proceed with the report without him, 2, 4, 9 July. He welcomed O’Grady’s resignation as chief baron, 4 Oct.70 After much deliberation and consultation he voted against producing information on, 24 Mar., and inquiry into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. He divided for the Irish churches grant, 11 Apr., and, according to Buckingham, cut a ‘wretched figure’ when he spoke against repealing the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr.71 The following day, during a rowdy debate on Catholic claims, for which he had tried to ensure that Plunket had strong support, he refused to second Henry Bankes’s motion to have Canning and Brougham taken into custody for their derogatory comments on the Lords, whereupon Tierney accused him of ‘inconsistency’. His ‘indiscreet’ defence, ‘that his great object in coming into office had been to serve the interests of the Catholic body’, coupled with the impression he gave that all Irish governments before Wellesley’s had been partial, was interpreted as a slur on Peel’s conduct as Irish secretary and generated a public exchange of letters between them. Assisted by Charles Grant, he made a clarificatory declaration, which might have provoked further disagreement had not the Speaker intervened, 22 Apr.72 Liverpool warned Wellington before the Irish Insurrection Act was considered, 12 May 1823, that it was
the policy of opposition to endeavour to provoke Wynn to state again his differences with the government on questions relating to Ireland. I am quite of opinion that he ought not to suffer himself to be goaded by our enemies and his own, and if he falls into the trap he will only provoke a reply from Peel which must have the very worst effects. I am led, however, particularly to notice this at the present moment, as I heard he had expressed some intention of reading the letter he addressed to me upon the occasion of his taking office, and I am persuaded that if he does this it will lead to a dissolution of the government ... It is a step to which he ought not to resort, but in the last extremity, and certainly not because he is attacked by the opposition ... give him a hint as to his proceeding. He might take it better from you than from me.73
Having remained silent hitherto, he was drawn by Sir Abraham Bradley King’s testimony on the Dublin prosecutions to disagree with his colleagues, who on the advice of Canning, Goulburn and Peel had excluded him from their deliberations, and he urged Bradley King to disclose information, notwithstanding his oath as an Orangeman, 23 May, certain that the House was empowered to compel him to do so though he now doubted its expediency, 26 May. Annoyed at the ‘unmerited and uncalled for reserve and disinclination manifested toward Charles Wynn and myself by Mr. Canning since his return to office’, Buckingham asked Wellington to discuss Williams Wynn’s treatment with Liverpool, 28 May.74 Wellington replied that Williams Wynn’s conduct in cabinet was satisfactory.75 He spoke against amending the Irish tithes composition bill, 30 May, and pressed for ample compensation payments, 16 June. He intervened when Colonel Allen’s petition complaining of the loss of his commission was presented, 6 Mar., testified to the ‘excellent conduct and discipline’ of the Montgomeryshire yeomanry when the grant was voted, 7 Mar., challenged Hume’s assertion that the mutiny bill did not authorize the king to dismiss an officer and vainly tried to halt the ensuing spat between Colonel Davies and Lord Palmerston, 14 Mar. 1823. Claiming that government had the matter in hand, he had a private Member’s bill to repeal the Insolvent Debtors Act withdrawn, 18 Mar. He opposed the receipt on the 24th of the Arundel election petition and defended Sir Thomas Maitland’s† conduct as governor of the Ionian Islands. Stating that a libel had been proved, he clashed with Hume over Mary Ann Carlile’s petition for release from Dorchester gaol, 26 Mar. 1823.
His correspondence with Buckingham, whom he defended against accusations of unfair prosecution under the game laws, 23 Apr. 1823, was chiefly devoted to the likely conflict between France and Spain, and although Buckingham did not share Grenville’s admiration for Canning’s foreign policy, they agreed to adhere to the government line.76 Opposition pressure forced Williams Wynn to seek adjournment of the debate on the negotiations with Spain, 29 Apr., and his understanding of the monarchical principle was savagely criticized by Hobhouse before they carried the division, 30 Apr. Drawn late into the debate on Whitbread’s motion for inquiry into the duties on East and West Indian sugars, 22 May, he refused to confirm or deny reports that ministers would concede one and maintained that Vansittart had wished to restrict inquiry to the 15s. additional duty on clayed sugars. He introduced the Indian mutiny bill, 22 May, and it was enacted, 18 July. He had been denied leave to introduce the East India half-pay bill (announced, 12 June) on a point of order, 27 June, and though the Commons passed it, 11 July, he was hard pressed to refute Courtenay and Bright’s criticisms, 3 July.77 He defended Lord Hastings’s handling of the James Silk Buckingham† case in the Commons, 10 July; but writing on 12 Aug. to Wellington, whom he consulted regularly and embarrassed by pursuing Wellesley’s claim to an East India Company grant, he blamed Hastings for
the very injudicious encouragement of the licence of the press [and] the hazard to which he has brought the security and tranquillity of India in order to gratify a foolish vanity and acquire an ephemeral popularity among the newspaper writers, but there is also a more serious charge which may possibly affect even his personal character, which arises out of the loans from the House of Palmer and Company to the nizam, illegally sanctioned by him. These have excited such general attention and suspicion that I should not be at all surprised if they became the subject of parliamentary investigation.78
He abhorred Hindu immolation and infanticide and had no qualms about releasing copies of relevant departmental correspondence, but he opposed legislative interference, preferring to delegate the matter to local authorities lest force should prove ineffective, 18 June 1823, 6 June 1825.79 He voted against inquiry into the currency, 12 June, and to receive the report on the usury laws repeal bill, 27 June 1823, and, citing the works of Bentham and Adam Smith, supported similar measures, 27 Feb., 8 Apr. 1824, 8, 17 Feb. 1825, claiming on the last occasion, and in their absence, that it had the approval of the chancellor and the president of the board of trade. He projected the 1826 bill as a boon to the landed interest, 15 Feb., and on 15 Mar. carried an amendment to it, restricting inquiry into bankruptcy expenses to cases under the 1824 Act. Deeming it a matter for the courts, he had petitions charging James Crosbie* with bribery to secure his son-in-law a place in the excise thrown out, 26 June, 1 July 1823. Like ‘all Grenvilles’, his absence from the divisions on the Crosbie case, 1 July, and the Irish reciprocities bill, 4 July, was ‘much commented upon and considered as a retaliation for the desertion of Plunket in the House of Commons’.80 He spoke against permitting bills to be engrossed in ‘Italian’ [Latin] instead of old script, 3 July. He was ready to accept the Lords’ amendments to the Scottish juries bill, 18 July. He and his wife attended Liverpool’s end of session dinner at Carlton House, and when ministerial changes were contemplated in August, he encouraged Buckingham to press his claim for ‘official responsibility’, hoping it would strengthen the ‘lukewarm and hollow’ Catholic party in the cabinet and end his own isolation.81 He cautioned: ‘Canning knows not where to look for support but is afraid that by joining himself with us, who seem his natural allies, he would increase the indisposition of the king and the duke of York, which he would make any sacrifice to deprecate’. He thought Buckingham would need the support of Wellington, who looked only to his fellow Protestants Peel and Goulburn, and that Robinson, with whom he had discussed possible changes, ‘confines himself to his own business’;82 but Buckingham’s overtures to Wellington in September 1823 conflicted with plans to bring in Huskisson and threatened to increase Williams Wynn’s isolation.83 He thus remained in place, unable to secure patronage at Buckingham’s request, dealt with by Peel ‘only as much as necessary to avoid any public rupture’, ever conscious of the loss of Londonderry and his own exclusion from the inner cabinet of Bathurst, Canning and Wellington, who regularly shadowed his brief.84
Before Parliament reassembled, Williams Wynn discussed draft legislation to increase the number of Catholic office-holders with Plunket and Buckingham and was delegated by the cabinet to enlist Plunket’s assistance to ensure that Newport’s contentious Catholic burials bill failed.85 Assisted by Canning, he had a petition sponsored by opposition complaining of George Chetwynd’s* conduct as chairman of Staffordshire quarter sessions withdrawn as a matter for king’s bench, 27 Feb., and refuted Abercromby’s allegations of a breach of privilege by Eldon, 1 Mar. 1824. He voted against a radical motion to end military flogging, 5 Mar. Drawn that day into the discussion on the depressed silk trade by Haldimand’s criticism of the India board and the East India Company, and on the 22nd by the 7,000-signature Bethnal Green petition, he laid the blame on the Company’s charter, which could not yet be altered. Opposition also goaded him over the Alien Act renewal bill, which he privately considered ‘useless and unnecessary’, but, as agreed in cabinet and with Buckingham, he declared for it, stating that its mode of enforcement over the last eight years had ‘quieted’ his fears, 23 Mar.86 He felt confident of government backing on Indian issues, but lamented their encroachment on time he wished to devote to Ireland.87 He declined to comment on the Silk Buckingham petition and the treaty with the Netherlands, for the endorsement of which by the House he was responsible, 30 Mar., 14 Apr. He insisted that the cattle ill-treatment bill, 9 Mar., admission charges at Westminster Abbey, 9 Apr., and legislation on horse slaughter, 4 June, were not Parliament’s business, and halted discussion of the liberty of the Indian press, ‘incidentally introduced and when the House was unprepared’, 25 May. He refused to delay his East India trade bill and claimed it would operate to the advantage of the colonies rather than the Company, 12 June, and on the 17th defended the East India possessions bill, enacted on the 24th.88 He voiced support for Peel’s unsuccessful jury laws consolidation bill, 18 June. Though aware of Court hostility towards Robert Waithman* and the City as former supporters of the queen, Williams Wynn warned Buckingham, 17 Apr., that he intended going to the lord mayor’s dinner, at which a South American delegation was expected to promote their campaign for diplomatic recognition independent of Spain, ‘partly because I think Canning right in going, though none of his other confrères go, and partly because Waithman is a Welshman’.89 A letter attached to the king’s formal protest at Canning’s attendance stated: ‘I have not mentioned Mr. Wynn’s name, for he is quite contemptible and below my notice’.90 Williams Wynn presented Merioneth’s petition criticizing the treatment of the Methodist missionary John Smith, indicted for inciting slaves to riot in Demerara, 2 June, and planned to speak and vote accordingly, 11 June, ‘but the lawyers spoke too long’, and Canning’s speech ‘approached sufficiently to my opinions to cover my vote tolerably satisfactorily’.91 His interventions that day helped to secure the withdrawal of petitions of complaint against the Middlesex magistrate Cockerell and the continued detention of Robert Gourlay for assaulting Brougham. He welcomed the decision to set up an investigative committee on the disturbed districts in Ireland preparatory to renewing the Insurrection Act, was appointed to it, 11 May, and judged it ‘well selected’. Although disappointed that the renewal bill was first introduced in the Lords, he was happy to remain in London to vote for it, 14 June 1824.92 Speculation that Liverpool would retire proved premature but brought fresh reports of plots to oust the Grenvillites, Canning’s personal hostility to Williams Wynn and plans to send him to India. His own preference was for a ministry with Robinson as foreign secretary with a seat in the Lords and Canning as prime minister and chancellor, but he realized that the strength of the duke of York and the anti-Catholics would make it unworkable.93 Sir Thomas Munro’s resignation as governor of Madras gave him the difficult task of assessing the rival claims of Lords Combermere, Mountstuart and Elphinstone, Stephen Rumbold Lushington* and Sir John Malcolm* to succeed him.94 Lord Granville, writing in May, reported that the East India Company Directors disapproved of Lushington
and Squeaker Wynn seems disposed to compromise with them and find out a person who may not be objectionable either to the Court of Directors or government. If he does so, all the patronage of this government in India will infallibly be lost, and having gained this point they will certainly attempt to nominate the next governor-general.95
Acting with discretion throughout,96 he postponed his departure for a continental holiday until September, but the matter remained unresolved when he returned in October, and was further complicated by the Bengal mutiny, disagreements over Amherst and Sir Edward Paget’s† handling of the Burmese war, and differing interpretations of the duties of Indian governors. After consulting Liverpool and Wellington, Williams Wynn set aside his preferences and agreed to fight for Lushington. He advised the king to appoint Combermere rather than Malcolm as commander-in-chief in the East Indies, Elphinstone to Bombay and Lushington to Madras. In November 1824, news of Munro’s decision to stay on (until 1827) brought temporary relief, and Williams Wynn thought his own position improved by Lord Sidmouth’s retirement from the cabinet.97
Parliament’s recall brought the expected pleas for information on Amherst and the war, and Williams Wynn, whose work was now shadowed by Buckingham and Wellington, promised to comment as soon as practicable, 4 Feb. 1825.98 On 24 Mar., after news arrived of the previous autumn’s troubles in Bengal, he rejected a request for particular papers, claiming it was ‘a peg on which to hang’ charges against the absent Amherst, who had been forced into war by Burma. He affirmed that ‘much government’ had to be left to the direction of the governor, whom he praised, refused to divulge more until a full statement could be issued to replace ‘those exaggerated and ... garbled accounts which had been received from private quarters’, and defeated the motion by 58-5.99 He steadfastly opposed combining the offices of governor-general and commander-in-chief.100 He laid copies of recent treaties with native powers before the House, 21 Apr., and when Sir Charles Forbes called for dispatches allegedly received in the secret department, he had to concede that there had been delays in producing information on Bengal, 1 July. Opposition interest in the Silk Buckingham case continued. Hume carried a slightly amended motion for papers on deportations, 24 Feb., and Williams Wynn was repeatedly obliged to defend the independence of the Indian judicature, before his East India judges bill received royal assent, 5 July.101 He agreed to produce returns of prisoners detained without trial and of half-caste jurors, 7 June 1825, but denied the existence of Hastings’s 1817 council minute on the appointment of Indo-Britons and resisted endeavours to authorize the appointment of half-castes in Bombay and Madras.
Liverpool had sought his opinion on the ‘explosive’ state of Ireland, where he feared a union of radicals and emancipationists and considered the organization of the Catholic Association formidable, ‘not from the amount of its funds ... but from its correspondence with a regular rent collector in every part’.102 Briefed by Plunket and Thomas Frankland Lewis*, whose communications he circulated, he shared his uncles’ and Plunket’s preference for non-intervention, and differed from Buckingham by welcoming the promise in the king’s speech to confine inquiry to facts.103 Addressing the House, 11 Feb. 1825, he said that he thought the Irish unlawful societies bill was unlikely to pacify Ireland unless combined with emancipation and denounced the Association for the harm it had done to the Catholic cause. He added that he had always disliked Orange Associations ‘not so much from a fear of the mischief which they did in themselves, as the formation of such bodies as the Catholic Association’ in retaliation, which their very existence encouraged. Fremantle thought his declaration ‘manly, and quite right in his situation, and he was better heard than usual’.104 He was appointed to the select committee on Ireland, 17 Feb., and objected to hearing counsel for the Catholic Association at the bar of the House, 18 Feb. Co-operating with Canning, Huskisson and Robinson, he intervened on a point of order when the Irish franchise bill was considered, 22 Apr., voted for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May, and endorsed the franchise bill, 29 Apr.105 Buckingham, who had been expected to introduce the Catholic clergy bill in the Lords, tried to insist on Williams Wynn’s resignation over the duke of Cumberland’s anti-Catholic speech, 25 Apr. Disagreeing, Grenville thought Buckingham and Canning should resolve the matter between them. Williams Wynn and Canning meanwhile agreed to do nothing which might force a dissolution, and negotiated through Spring Rice to hold back petitioning. Thus ‘neglected’, Buckingham refused to return Phillimore again for St. Mawes.106 Williams Wynn cautioned against introducing a rule preventing Members from voting on questions in which they had a pecuniary interest, 10 Mar., and joined Phillimore in opposing the production of returns on clergymen holding corporate office, 17 Mar., preferring wider inquiry into the eligibility of the clergy for civil office. After errors in the Ipswich returns were disclosed, he recommended withdrawing all similar requests, 17 Mar. He voted for the Cumberland annuity bill, 30 May, 2, 6, 10 June, having first declared, 27 May, that there was no inconsistency with his hostile votes in 1815 and 1818, when there had been no children to consider. He took up the cause of the Welsh judge and recorder of Dover William Kenrick†, charged as a Surrey magistrate with felony against a poor man, John Franks, 29 May, 14, 17, 21 June, but conceded that there had been ‘some haste and intemperance in Mr. Kenrick’s conduct’ and that the matter would have to be held over, 18 June 1825. He failed to prevent the appointment of a committee of inquiry, 17 Feb., and despite his efforts Kenrick’s petition against his treatment was rejected, 20 Feb., and the charge against him remained, 21 Feb. 1826.107
Amid speculation that Amherst would be recalled, Williams Wynn wrote to Liverpool, 7 Aug. 1825:
Should a vacancy arise, I am by no means blind to the strong objections which may oppose themselves to the nomination of the duke of Buckingham, but I should very much prefer not being called upon to form a decision where I have so natural and obvious a bias and would therefore, if possible, wish to leave the question wholly to the determination of Canning and yourself.108
Newspaper reports that Buckingham was preparing to leave ensured that the king raised the matter with Canning and Williams Wynn at their audiences in September, and afterwards Williams Wynn informed Buckingham, whom he had briefed on India throughout, despite suspicions that he was intriguing against Amherst, that he would be proposed. He denied this directly he realized that Buckingham was prepared to withdraw his support from government over the issue.109 He and Phillimore failed to placate Buckingham, 4 Oct., and before leaving for yeomanry duty and the Montgomeryshire assizes that day Williams Wynn notified Liverpool of his ‘mistake’, attributed it to his having misunderstood Canning, and asked government to act without delay. Liverpool, finding ‘the whole Indian question is in a very disturbed state, from a course having been followed decidedly at variance with what I understood had been settled’, consulted Wellington, who advised that Amherst was not to blame for the Barrackpoor mutiny and should not be removed, 11 Oct.110 On the 13th Liverpool asked Williams Wynn to make Buckingham accept that he would never be appointed and to resolve the Amherst problem, a task that Buckingham and his son Lord Chandos* made almost impossible.111 Piqued, Williams Wynn informed Liverpool, 19 Oct., and again after an acrimonious meeting with Fremantle and Chandos, 1 Nov.:
You know I never had any confidence in Lord Amherst as a public man, and the experience we have had of him in India more than ever convinces me that we require a much more able governor-general.112
Confirming his preference for ‘a new governor-general’, in a detailed report to Wellington, 27 Oct., he suggested Lord William Cavendish Bentinck* or Munro. He told his wife that he would propose Buckingham, certain that he would be rejected and, not anticipating the East India Company’s continued insistence on Amherst’s recall, he informed Buckingham, 3 Nov., that there was now no vacancy. Difficult secret meetings with the Court of Directors, with which Wellington assisted, followed, 16, 24 Nov.113 Suspecting ‘some intrigue against me in which Canning is endeavouring to hook in Lord Liverpool, and Charles Wynn is frightened out of his wits’, Buckingham denounced Williams Wynn as ‘a perfectly incapable and inefficient representative in cabinet: he can neither speak nor act without inviting attack’.114 Hurt to see his dismissal urged as the ‘only obstacle’ to Buckingham’s appointment and Fremantle’s reassurances of his good intentions ignored, Williams Wynn again looked to the cabinet to resolve the issue, and despite his professed dread of ‘exposure to the abuse of a general court’ on 21 Dec. 1825, professed himself ‘completely indifferent’ to the outcome.115 Cabinet’s decision not to recall Amherst displeased Buckingham and the Court of Directors, and Williams Wynn’s situation became even more uncomfortable when, at Buckingham’s behest, the king ordered an inquiry into this alleged conspiracy by Canning, which Williams Wynn’s report of 15 Feb. 1826 duly denied.116 Lady Williams Wynn thought the episode ‘leaves my dear Charles, however, with a lesson on the danger of unreserved confidence and communication which he has bought too dearly soon to forget’.117
Charged with ‘indifference’ during the debate on the address, 3 Feb. 1826, Williams Wynn defended the principle and conduct of the Burmese war, but refused to make private correspondence available and left the defence of Amherst to others. Securing leave on 22 Feb. for his Indian juries bill (enacted on 5 May after a difficult passage, 6, 20 Mar., 7 Apr.), he pointed out that although jury service would be widened to include half-castes, Christians would always be tried by Christians. He insisted, 16 Mar., that his East India Company writers bill, which received royal assent, 26 May, was a reaction to a shortage and implied no dissatisfaction with the training offered by Haileybury College. He had already sponsored a writership competition at Westminster.118 Knowing that the slightest reference to Amherst and Buckingham would make Chandos disclose everything, he resisted Hume’s call for information on the Barrackpoor mutiny and Burmese war, 23 Feb., and again when his bill to fund an additional naval force for the East Indies (which received royal assent, 26 May) passed its first reading, 26 Apr.119 He voted against the immediate abolition of West Indian slavery, 2 Mar., and presented an anti-slavery petition from Llangollen, 6 Mar. He defended the £10,180 cost of indexing the Commons Journals, 10 Mar. He supported the spring guns bill, and Goulburn’s amendment restricting their use, 26 Apr. On privilege, he considered Members exempt from jury service during parliamentary sittings, 20, 21 Feb. He agreed with Russell that ‘any practice tending to defeat [the] fairness and purity with which elections ought to be conducted’ should be opposed, 1 Mar., but rejected his electoral bribery bill, 14 Mar., 28 Apr., and declaratory resolutions, 26 May, claiming that prosecutions brought under existing legislation were sufficient. He voted against reforming the representation of Edinburgh, 13 Apr., and on the 26th said that it was too late to bring in a bill on the rights of electors in counties corporate that Parliament. Sykes, who did so, blamed Williams Wynn for delaying his bill. An opponent of the 1825 bill, he spoke against receiving petitions on the St. Olave tithes, 25 Apr., 18 May. His objections to the strong opposition presence on the select committee on the Silk Buckingham case were heeded, 9 May, and ten ministerialists, including the Grenvillite Sir Edward Hyde East, were added, 11 May. However, delaying tactics deployed by Hume ensured that they failed to report before the dissolution.120 Williams Wynn was returned without incident at the general election in June 1826, having negotiated a compromise of sorts with Buckingham in which their uncles would have no part.121 He viewed the results solely according to Members’ views on the Catholic question:
I am happy to say that although in this part of the world 99 out of 100 are anti-Catholic in their inclinations, poor Sir R. Williams [who, facing defeat in Caernarvonshire, came in for Beaumaris] is the only candidate whose election has been affected by it. There were new candidates who started at Bridgnorth and at Shrewsbury on the cry of ‘No Popery’, but failed in both instances. We lose, however, two by the change, one at Denbigh, the other in the borough of Caernarvon ... To the crowd I would still hold confident language, but as far as I can judge of the returns I certainly expect that we shall lose sufficient to turn the majority against us, at least in the first session, on the Catholic question. I think, however, that the result of a dissolution in the autumn would have been still more unsatisfactory.122
He discussed this with Spring Rice before Parliament met, and corresponded with Huskisson, Peel and Wellington on controverted elections and Indian affairs, including equalization of the three Indian armies, which Williams Wynn advocated and Wellington opposed. He passed September in Spa with his wife.123 Buckingham excluded him from the new arrangement he suggested to Canning, 13 Nov., but offered to co-operate with him provided he paid his ‘debt of honour’ by acknowledging his claim to the Indian governorship, 15 Nov. 1826. Williams Wynn declined, and their uncles refused to intervene.124
Williams Wynn congratulated Manners Sutton on his re-election as Speaker and proposed the customary adjournment, 14 Nov. 1826. His objections to readopting Russell’s bribery resolutions, 22 Nov., were assumed to be government’s. He made many useful procedural points and appeals to precedent when the returns for Athlone, Denbigh Boroughs, Dundalk, Galway, Leicester, Leominster, Penryn, Reading and Tregony were considered that session. Arguing that existing legislation was adequate, he successfully opposed Althorp’s motion for a standing committee on election petitions, 26 Feb. 1827. Lord Howick* wrote:
The debate ... was very interesting though it ended in a most unsatisfactory manner ... I was very much provoked at Hobhouse and a few more being so completely taken in by the resolution proposed by Wynn and preventing Ld. Milton from dividing on the original one. Wynn’s as one might expect is likely to do a great deal more harm than good as without making the corporations of small boroughs at all more honest, it will prevent money being brought into competition with places and favours from government ... merely exchang[ing] one kind of corrupt influence for another.125
Williams Wynn (who was included on the select committees, 15 Mar., 5 Apr.) found Althorp’s inquiry motion on county polls difficult to counter, 15 Mar., and merely regretted its timing and referred to his dislike of staggered polls and making land tax returns serve as electoral registers. His arguments against treating petitions against the Arigna Iron and Coal Company, in which Sir William Congreve* was implicated, as parliamentary matters prevailed, 28 Nov., 5, 7 Dec., and he spoke effectively against Littleton’s resolutions on committees on private bills, 28 Nov., and foiled an attempt by Waithman to introduce general legislation on joint-stock companies, 30 Nov. 1826. However, he failed to prevent the receipt of a petition against the Devon and Cornwall Mining Company, which had many Members on its board, 9 Apr. 1827. He divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar., and to consider the Clarence annuity, 16 Mar., and spring guns bills, 23 Mar., to which he gave his ‘most cordial support, 26 Mar. 1827.
Amherst’s decision to return rekindled Buckingham’s false optimism and renewed the pressure on Williams Wynn, who had successfully moved the vote of thanks to the victorious troops in India, 27 Nov. 1826, corresponded regularly with Wellington, Canning, Combermere and Malcolm, and supplied Peel with information to counter Hume’s East India House motion on Barrackpoor, 13 Feb. 1827.126 He pointed out factual errors in Hume’s speech, on opposing production of Sir Edward Paget’s report on the Burmese war, 22 Mar., when the motion was defeated ‘most satisfactorily by a majority of four to one’, but realized it was fortunate that Hume had changed his tactics.127 Insisting that Williams Wynn ‘does not speak my sentiments’, Buckingham approached Wellington and Canning during the ministerial negotiations which followed Liverpool’s stroke and doggedly pressed his futile claim to be governor-general, which, according to Fremantle, Williams Wynn unfairly undermined. Canning of course would have none of it and the breach with Buckingham became complete.128 Buckingham informed Wellington, 2 Apr.:
I owe it to myself to state distinctly that Mr. Williams Wynn, from circumstances which it is not necessary for me to detail, is no longer considered by me as my representative in the cabinet now to be formed, and I am authorized to say that no part of the support of my friends will attach itself to him in that situation or through him to government.129
Wellington replied, 4 Apr.:
I may have used the term your representative in the cabinet as applied to Mr. Wynn. I knew that he was in the cabinet for the two reasons because he was one of your family and because he possessed the qualifications to entitle him to look to high office in this country. You have the full right to withdraw your confidence from him and to announce to the minister that you have done so, but I beg you to decline to charge myself with the delicacy of the message.130
Williams Wynn monitored Robinson and Lansdowne’s reactions, corresponded closely with his uncles while Canning formed his ministry and probably benefited from their friendship with him.131 He kept his place at the India board, hosted a cabinet dinner for Canning, 11 Apr., so revealing the extent of the Tory resignations, and moved the writ for his re-election to opposition cheering the next day.132 Though not considered for the home office, to which he always aspired as a means of influencing Irish decisions, he concluded:
I am inclined to think that I am better where I am, as besides all the disadvantages of comparison with Peel, I should have to encounter that of my going beyond most of my colleagues in my impression of the urgency of the Catholic question, and besides, I conceive myself to be personally more unacceptable to the king.133
He had declined Canning’s offer of the Indian governorship, which ‘would indeed be, in my opinion, for myself and my children, "to sell for gold what gold can never buy"’.134 His mother wrote:
We have personally every reason to be satisfied with the situation in which it all leaves Charles, who, without having been mixed up in any intrigue or cabal, stands more on his own ground, steadily adhering to the support of those measures to which he has repeatedly pledged himself.
His period in office under Canning was reputedly his happiest.135 Nevertheless, Wellington’s resignation and anti-Catholic speech dismayed him. He considered the subsequent departure from the India board of William Peel* and Lord Salisbury inevitable, 10 May 1827.136
Seconded by Hume, he proposed the promised vote of thanks to the troops in India, 8 May 1827, endorsed the decisions made by officers and apologized for the ‘accidental’ omission of the naval commander in the original address. He also now announced the deferral of his bill to consolidate election law until next session and expressed support for Althorp’s election expenses regulation bill, which was enacted, 21 June.137 He refused to condemn Penryn, where the extent of corruption was not determined, though its existence was not in doubt, criticized the witnesses examined, and secured an adjournment, 18 May. Convinced that bribery there was systematic, he backed Canning and voted with the minority against its disfranchisement, 28 May.138 He agreed that a prima facie case for disfranchisement had been established for East Retford, but refused to give ‘any opinion as to the place to which the franchise should be transferred’, 11, 22 June.139 He persuaded Wolrych Whitmore and Cutlar Fergusson to withdraw motions for inquiry into trade with, 15 May, and land ownership in India, 21 June, claiming that investigations were already under way, 29 June. He welcomed Peel’s criminal justice bill enacted that session, and the different provisions he suggested for genuine mutes and those deliberately exercising their right to silence were widely approved, 18 May. He supported the Coventry magistracy bill, 18 June, and urged postponement that day of Hume’s resolutions on private bills. He assisted government on supply, 25 May, 12 June, and presented petitions from Montgomeryshire for repeal of the Test Acts, 8 June 1827.
Following Canning’s death in August 1827, when Robinson, as Lord Goderich, formed his administration, Williams Wynn was ‘decidedly against remaining if the Whigs are forced out’ and unnerved by the appointment of the anti-Catholic John Herries* as chancellor of the exchequer. Heeding his uncles’ pleas for caution, he stayed on in London, where he consulted Althorp, Sturges Bourne, Huskisson, Frankland Lewis and Tierney, and accepted the India board with an assured pension of £3,600 a year.140 He informed his wife:
Nothing can be more satisfactory than the footing on which I find myself with my colleagues, reste à voir how it may last, but at present my situation is far more comfortable than it has been.141
His brother Henry welcomed the new arrangement.142 By December, ill with rheumatism and influenza, and neglected by cabinet colleagues, he realized that his department had hardly been consulted over Navarino or Lord Combermere’s future as commander of the Indian army.143 He complained to Huskisson of Wellington:
I cannot help being struck by the general tone which he has taken on this occasion, and the want of attention in writing letters as being so decidedly contrary to the course he has adopted with respect to all former communications from me.144
Sturges Bourne tried to keep him abreast of developments, but even so his situation deteriorated, and when Wellington became prime minister in January 1828 he was ousted.145 He wrote:
I must fairly say that from the way in which things have been going on ever since Canning’s death I have seen such frequent reasons to expect it, that it does not prove any disappointment to me; and that I only rejoice that I have for so long been able to retain my office honourably, indeed far longer than I originally thought there was any chance of.146
Southey, with whom he was editing Bishop Heber’s letters, had warned him in September 1827 to ‘look to another plank in the State-vessel start ere long’, as ‘men in office’ found him ‘one of the most impracticable persons to deal with, taking crotchets in his head and holding to them with invincible pertinacity’.147 Writing to Phillimore from Plymouth for clarification, Fremantle asked ‘Does Wynn stick to the Whigs, and is the government quite settled?’148 He was particularly dismayed to find Phillimore and their friends all thrown out.149 Faced with a drop in annual income from £5,800 to £1,800, he pursued the promised pension, assisted by Goderich and Lord Grenville; but, as it had not been authorized before Goderich resigned, the decision became Wellington’s, who knew that the king, although ready to grant audiences to Goderich and Williams Wynn, would only award the pension as a personal favour to him.150 Williams Wynn regarded the pension as a reward for past not future services, and, ‘surprised’ and saddened by Wellington’s neglect, he did not reapply.151
According to Palmerston, Williams Wynn, who saw parallels between Wellington’s coalition ministry and that of the earl of Chatham, 1766-8, thought that the Canningites in and out of office should likewise be seated together and conduct themselves as a distinct group in the Commons, and seek out contentious policy issues to exploit to their own advantage.152 He placed little credence in current rumours that he would be offered the Speakership and decided to ‘hold back and keep guard at present, connecting myself with no one, but supporting the course of policy pursued by the late administration’. He confided to Henry that he was not yet ready to ‘re-embark with the Whigs or even to join company with Lord Lansdowne’, as their uncles favoured.153 His family had always lived up to their means, and to economize he let their house in Whitehall Place to Sir Richard Vyvyan* for the season for £650 and took one in Clarges Street for £315 before settling in Jermyn Street.154 His mother wrote:
The one object with them all is to be able to afford to keep a home in London ... some place he must find a permanent deposit for his books and papers which he really could not stow at Llangedwyn and if he could he would be miserable to be separated from them for so long as he continues a regular attender on the House of Commons. Great are the political storms at this moment and never was there a union so widely disunited as that of the present administration, but nothing I fear can arise to our advantage out of the jars and squabbles ... Our late premier has certainly proved himself not equal even to be dernier, and has with the best intentions towards Charles, done him a mischief which I fear will be long irreparable.155
From Naples, Buckingham, who had given Goderich his proxy, expressed sorrow at Williams Wynn’s plight, and regret ‘that prudence did not remind him that having kicked away the ladder upon which he had mounted, he was not likely to find another support to maintain him in his position or break his fall’.156 Williams Wynn rejected his proffered reconciliation.157 He continued to receive private dispatches from India and retained an interest in the administration of justice in its presidencies.158 He defended his former department, 7 Feb., 21 Feb. 1828, when, backed by Sturges Bourne, he repeatedly denied Herries’s charge that he had known of impending ministerial changes before 9 Jan. He dismissed allegations that the East India Company had embezzled the estate of the late Myles O’Reilly, 18 Apr. Reminded by Hume of his promises to introduce legislation to improve the administration of criminal justice and relieve insolvent debtors in the East Indies, 22 May, he brought in both bills, 4 June, and secured their passage, 10 July; they were enacted later that month. He waived his earlier objections to Fergusson’s real property in India bill, which was also passed that session. Demonstrating his command of departmental detail, he denied that Britain ruled India for her own benefit and successfully opposed the referral of the Calcutta petition against stamp duty to a select committee, 17 June. He drew parallels with Calcutta when endorsing Huskisson’s New South Wales bill, 20 June. Being eager to extend free trade to India, he found it ‘impossible’ to keep silent at the third reading of the customs bill, 14 July 1828, and declared for Fergusson’s amendment.
He presented petitions, 25 Feb., voted, 26 Feb., and spoke, 28 Feb. 1828, for repeal of the Test Acts, believing that Dissenters would accept nothing less and would petition until it was granted. He saw no need for securities, nor did he oppose the declaration proposed by Peel, 18 Mar., but on 5 May he said he feared that by permitting Quakers and Moravians to affirm rather than swear an oath, the law of evidence bill (which received royal assent, 27 June) would establish an unworkable precedent. Drawing on the work of his 1827 select committee, he steered the pauper lunatic regulation bills successfully through the Commons, 17 Mar. On 5 May he criticized the failure of the government’s offences against the person bill to provide for Britons fighting duels abroad, ‘intent to murder’, trying lesser offences with a capital charge to facilitate conviction, and for divorce following conviction for bigamy. He divided for Catholic relief, 12 May, and after the Lords had rejected it, expressed regret, praised Peel and called for moderation, 12 June. The House took his advice that the Kilkenny petition against charity abuse was a private rather than a parliamentary matter, 20 June. He had the third reading of the archbishop of Canterbury’s bill deferred pending the production of papers on the office of his registrar, 5 June, but apart from Sir Watkin and Phillimore, he could find little support for a compromise clause, and he voted with the minority against giving the archbishop control over the appointment, 16 June. He divided with government against reductions in ordnance salaries, 4 July 1828.
On East Retford, the attorney general Wetherell remarked that ‘all the store of knowledge of [Williams Wynn]... will not enable him to produce a precedent like the present case’, 3 Mar. 1828. His hopes of securing a postponement that day were dashed, but he successfully countered Littleton’s assertion that witnesses’ testimony before Commons select committees could be cited in a court of law without the House’s consent, 4 Mar., and intervened effectively when witnesses were examined, 7 Mar. He was against summoning the entrepreneur Samuel Crompton to testify, 10 Mar., but acknowledged that his objections were not those commonly held and cited Colonel Wardle’s case in 1782 to substantiate his claim that there were not ‘sufficient grounds for the delay which would result from Crompton’s examination’. He also committed himself to opposing ‘any motion which has the effect of placing any person in a situation to criminate him unless it is absolutely unavoidable for the ends of justice’. He explained that he was against sluicing the franchise at East Retford, 21 Mar., but at the same time affirmed his retrospective support for the adoption of this course at Aylesbury, Cricklade and New Shoreham. On 19 May, replying to Peel, he suggested allocating the East Retford franchise ‘alternately to a borough and to a great town’, sending up both bills and letting the Lords decide; and, protesting that the case had not been fairly tried, he voted with Smith Stanley and the Whigs to transfer the seats to Birmingham (which was rejected by 146-128).159 He was in the minority against the bill’s recommittal, 27 June, when, citing the case of Bishop’s Castle, he again called for a proper investigation of corruption and delaying the writ. He opposed the candidature of the returning officer at Penryn, 28 Mar., and endorsed Phillimore’s witnesses indemnity bill, 2, 3 Apr., which received royal assent, 18 Apr. He remained against general reform of Parliament, arguing that the system as a whole was strengthened by its anomalies, 11 Mar., but he welcomed attempts to improve efficiency and suggested extra booths, shorter polls, and awarding magistrates the right to choose county polling places, 31 Mar. He defended and commended the borough polls bill, 15 May, which received royal assent, 15 July. As Southey had hoped, his controverted elections bill was well supported, 3 Apr., 5 May, and after it was assented to, 23 May, he chaired the committee which amended the standing orders and brought up their resolutions, 14 July. Its object was to ensure that a Parliament heard all relevant election petitions in its first session, to prevent sitting Members dithering over whether to defend their returns, to stop nominees sitting on election committees, and to restrict membership to 11 of 33 Members balloted instead of 15 of 49 as hitherto.160 He supported Littleton’s bill exempting turnpike legislation from renewal fees, 21 Apr. He advocated piecemeal reform of the corn laws, and having welcomed the lowering of the pivot price in 1826, he voted similarly to reduce it to 60s., 22 Apr.161 However, on 25 Apr., when it was carried by 140-50, he declared for the measure. Despite his dislike of protection, he presented Montgomeryshire petitions for duties on imported wool and repeal of the 1827 Malt Act, 29 Apr., dissenting only from their petition for repeal of the Small Notes Act, 17 June 1828.
Williams Wynn had renewed contact with Lords Holland and Lansdowne and was not considered for office during the May and August 1828 reshuffles, when his only recorded meeting with Wellington was on Asiatic Society business.162 He spent part of the recess in Ireland executing Lord Carysfort’s will, and while there predicted that the ‘stalemate’ on the Catholic question would continue.163 His letters to Holland and Henry Williams Wynn from Llangedwyn, 17 Sept., were cautiously optimistic, and by November, having heard again from Spring Rice and Goderich, he surmised that Wellington might carry emancipation. Informing Holland, 27 Dec. 1828, he observed: ‘It is more than I expected of him’.164 As was customary, he and his family celebrated twelfth night at Wynnstay, and he returned to London in January 1829 from Llangedwyn, after studying schemes for codification of the laws and penal reform.165 He was saddened by Lord Anglesey’s dismissal as Irish viceroy, which he realized had little to do with his letter to Dr. Curtis, and was delighted by the cabinet’s decision to concede emancipation.166 When Peel resigned his Oxford University seat, Williams Wynn expected to be offered it ‘notwithstanding my Papistical principles’, and informed Henry, 11 Feb., ‘I shall of course decline, but if there were anyone of the family at liberty and of an age to hold Montgomeryshire, I certainly should come to a different decision’. He campaigned strenuously for Peel at the by-election, chaired the meeting of his Oxford supporters, and was hurt when Peel neglected to thank him during their joint deliberations over the relief bill.167 In the Commons, he praised Peel and disputed Cooper’s claim that if the bill were passed the title of the House of Brunswick would be impaired, 13 Feb. He had failed to stem the anti-Catholic tide at Oswestry, and he presented and dissented from Montgomeryshire’s anti-Catholic petition, 4 Mar., describing it as genuine but misguided. With Sir Watkin he adopted a high profile at the London St. David’s Day celebrations, and both were named as defaulters, 5 Mar. He divided for the relief bill, 6, 30 Mar., raised procedural points in committee, 17, 18, 30 Mar., and declared that he only backed the ‘defective’ Irish 40s. freeholders bill, 19 Mar., and a modified oath, 23 Mar., to avoid jeopardizing emancipation. He saw its passage by the Lords as the ‘accomplishment of the great object of our labours during my political life’, and soon accepted that it could only have been carried by its former opponents.168 He confirmed that it would not open India and Madras to Catholics, 24 Mar., and equated the power of the general council with that of the Council of Trent, 27 Mar. Despite the precedents he cited, his advice that Daniel O’Connell be permitted to state his case against taking the oath of supremacy at the table or bar of the House was ignored, as was his proposal for a Declaratory Act, 15 May. He voted to permit O’Connell to sit without taking the oaths, 18 May, and spoke against issuing a new writ for county Clare, where 40 days had not passed since freeholder registration, 19 May. By moving ‘that Mr. O’Connell, not having taken the oath of supremacy is disqualified from sitting and voting’, 21 May, he contrived to avoid creating an incorrect precedent. Spring Rice assured him that O’Connell would be returned quietly.169 He said that he saw nothing new in the Irish Catholic bishops’ petition for a national education system based on the commissioners’ report, 9 Apr. 1829.
Citing precedents, he confirmed that a by-election at Canterbury was necessary following Lushington’s appointment as governor of Madras, 19 Mar., and raised the issue again, 22 May 1829, when he was named to the select committee. He defended the India board’s handling of the Bencoolen compensation claims, 6 Apr., and was added to the select committee on the registrar at Madras, 7 May. He had to concede that he was no longer on the investigative committee when Whitmore’s East India Company resolutions were considered, 14 May, and privately expected government to concede committees, but postpone the charter question ‘for a year or two longer’. On 16 June he wrote to Sir John Malcolm:
Of news of this country it is scarcely sending any as it consists solely of reports which vary from day to day. The internal political situation is totally unlike anything which I can recollect as the whole pack of cards has been so comprehensively shuffled that no one can tell what will be played next. There seems to be a strong expectation of the introduction of Edward Stanley into the cabinet, of which I shall be glad as I think he is facillime primus among the rising generation in the ... Commons, but I am not disposed to give now credit to that more than the other reports. At the same time it does appear almost impossible that the persons I have mentioned should meet Parliament without some acquisition of strength and I know not where the duke is to get this but from the Whigs. He would prefer the old Tories, but they can supply him with no parliamentary talent, and his unabated hostility to Huskisson and the rest of Canning’s friends render it highly improbable that he will ask their assistance. The next session must at all events be a peculiarly busy and interesting one as all the business of this year has been deferred.170
Presenting Calcutta’s petition requesting that Muslims and Hindus be permitted to hold office and serve as jurors under the 1826 Act, 5 July 1829, he said he did so knowing that Cavendish Bentinck, Munro, Elphinstone and Heber had advocated it.
His assertion that the circumstances of the Dover election petition were covered by the Grenville Act was ruled incorrect, 26 Mar., and he arranged next day for it to be heard on 28 Apr. 1829. On East Retford, ‘a judicial question which should not have been mixed up with political considerations’, 5 May, he said he had formerly thought corruption proven and favoured ‘absolute disfranchisement’; but in view of the problem of reconciling the rival claims of the landed interest in Bassetlaw and the commercial interest in Birmingham, he would now vote to transfer the franchise to the latter. He presented Oswestry’s petition for a change in the law on small debts, 22 May. He opposed additional expenditure on the marble arch sculpture, 27 May. As agreed by Welsh Members and peers at Sir Watkin’s house, 16 May, he headed a delegation to Peel, 19 May, to protest against the proposed partitioning of counties to form new assize districts when the Welsh courts of great sessions were abolished.171 During the recess the brothers failed to persuade Denbighshire to adopt the pro-forma petition agreed in London (16 May), requesting the introduction of the English assize system, but leaving the existing county assize structure intact, 15 Sept. 1829.172 Afterwards, Williams Wynn went to Dublin, where his sister Henrietta’s case against Hamerton was heard, staying on to observe the effects of emancipation, which he dutifully reported to his uncles. His assessment of the political system on the mainland was unchanged.173
He now believed that he had gained more by leaving office in January 1828 than ‘the other remains of Canning’s cabinet’ ousted in May, and expected and obtained nothing from Wellington’s reshuffle in January 1830, when he ‘lingered’ in Wales, ‘not sorry’ to miss the debate on the omission of distress from the king’s speech.174 He informed Phillimore:
Believing, as I do, the general distress to arise from causes which Parliament could not remedy or control, I should not have wished to excite fallacious hopes and strengthen the anti-currency, anti-free traders by supporting an amendment, the adoption of which I was not prepared to follow up by forcing any measure upon government. The only real object in amendment to an address is either to drive ministers out or to compel them to do something they are not inclined to. My objection to the present administration is, I must fairly avow, rather to men than to measures.175
Over the following months, he repeatedly expressed his reluctance ‘to see the management of affairs taken out of the hands of the duke and of Peel’, preferring to see their administration broadened to remove the ‘ever present danger of a government in minority’. In June 1830 Wellington included him on his list of party leaders ‘more anxious to and ready to support and join the government than any other party acting in opposition’.176 Returning to London as planned for the inquiry motion on the East India Company,177 he was appointed to the investigating committee, 9 Feb., and had a petition from Woodhouse for free trade in India and China referred to it, 5 Apr.178 He voted against Lord Blandford’s reform motion, 18 Feb. Opposing the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., he said that he feared it would establish a precedent for increasing Commons Membership and explained that he was now sorry he had not supported Grey’s call for disfranchisements to be made before permitting the influx of Irish Members in 1801.179 Feeling obliged to comment on East Retford, he continued:
I think it much safer when a borough shall be convicted of corruption that the franchise shall be given to a great town than to a hundred, which has no recommendation but that of its vicinity to the disfranchised borough. If the amendment ... shall be pressed to a division, I will certainly vote for it. I oppose the [present] motion ... because the principle which it would establish would inevitably lead to an indefinite increase of the number of Members in this House and would totally change the character of its representation and would render it most tumultuous and less adapted for business than it is at present.
He opposed Littleton’s parliamentary agency bill, 26 Feb., and confined his observations on the Rye election petition to procedural points, 25 Mar. He was against treating Galway’s Catholic and Protestant traders equally because it took rights away from Protestants instead of conferring them on Catholics, 4 Mar., but was for proceeding with the Galway franchise bill, 26 Apr. He spoke and voted for inquiry into the Bombay judicature, 8 Mar., stressing at the same time that he did not consider the dispute between Sir John Peter Grant* and Malcolm one on which the House should rule: both men had acted conscientiously and from the best motives. Lord Ellenborough as president of the India board vainly hoped that the Calcutta petition for better status for half-castes would not be presented by Williams Wynn,180 who on doing so supported it and moved successfully for a copy of Munro’s 1824 minute on the Fort St. George presidency, 4 May 1830.
One of the cases which interested him that session was that of Sir Jonah Barrington, the Irish admiralty judge accused of peculation. He failed to prevent its deferral, 4, 6, 10 May, but he succeeded in having Barrington’s petition printed, 13 May, and his testimony heard by counsel, 18 May. When the resolutions against Barrington were passed, 22 May, he suggested and cited precedents for proceeding otherwise, but to no avail. He objected to the Commons being ‘made a sort of court of appeal for the reconsideration of cases which have been already decided by those who had competent jurisdiction’ in the case of the dismissed Irish excise officer James Kelly, 18 May, and spoke to little effect the same day on the Dean Forest bill and Birmingham-London Junction Canal bill. When the latter was considered, 20 May, he accused its solicitor Eyre Lee of a breach of privilege. He also took up the case of Dumbarton corporation, represented by its provost Jacob Dixon, against the Clyde navigation bill, 26 May. He had Dixon’s petition referred to a committee of appeal, 28 May, reported their finding against the bill, 7 June, and prevented its recommittal and speedy passage, 10 June. Speaking for Phillimore’s abortive motion for a commission of inquiry into the divorce laws, 3 June, he tried to counter Dr. Lushington’s objections that it was a matter for the ecclesiastical courts and cited the increase in bigamy as proof that civil legislation was necessary. Not wishing to act as a ‘factious opponent’ of administration or to align with the revived Whig opposition, he informed Phillimore and announced in debate, 29 Mar., that as in 1823 and 1828, he would vote against combining the offices of lieutenant and master-general of the ordnance.181 He divided, 5 Apr., and paired, 17 May, for Jewish emancipation, voted to make forgery a non-capital offence, 24 May, 7 June, and cited statistics undermining the case for its retention and the strong petitioning campaign for its abolition to strengthen his case against accepting the Lords’ amendment that undermined the bill, 20 July, when he blamed the Upper House for the ‘critical’ delay by which the measure was lost. When the king was dying, Williams Wynn, supporting attempts by Peel and Brougham to reschedule public business to deal with the legislative backlog, 15 June, suggested introducing additional Wednesday and Saturday sittings in order to rush though the Madras registrar bill which he promoted, 15, 19 June. He spoke in favour of retaining the metropolitan police despite the additional cost and his dislike of a military police force, 15 June 1830, and later that day defended the usury bill which he asserted would not affect the Annuity Act or inconvenience trustees.
When the administration of justice bill that abolished the Welsh judicature and great sessions was introduced, 9 Mar. 1830, he lauded the advantages of assimilation, but predicted incorrectly that despite recent hostile petitions the measure would become popular in Wales, now the proposed division of counties was largely abandoned (this was not confirmed until 27 May). He had its second reading deferred so that opinion could be sounded at the assizes and quarter sessions, and duly commended it to the House, 27 Apr., but privately he considered the measure
incorrectly and loosely drawn ... The outline of the proposed plan of circuits ought to be detailed subject to the subsequent modification of the privy council. My own wish is that the Oxford circuit should be divided combining the Chester and North Wales circuits with Worcester, Stafford and Shrewsbury and the South West circuits with the remainder of Oxford. One judge only on each of the former Welsh circuits, so that the Montgomeryshire and Merioneth assizes would be contemporaneous. Denbigh and Flint, Caernarvon and Anglesey to be respectively united ... Or Oxfordshire might be added to the first of the two if it were thought preferable.182
As most petitions indicated that the Welsh were satisfied with their courts, he colluded with the barrister William Owen to procure a petition favouring their abolition from Montgomeryshire, but he declined attendance at the county meeting, 27 Apr., on account of Madras business and the debate on the ‘bungled’ Terceira affair, 28 Apr., when he divided with the opposition.183 Presenting the Montgomeryshire petition, 4 May, he emphasized its prayer for English jurisdiction and made light of its other demands.184 He defended the bill in committee 18, 19, 27 May, 18 June, 5 July, but complained when the Lords returned it amended, 22 July, that improved modes of proceeding were being sacrificed to its rapid passage. Peel now denied him the Lords’ conference he requested and his confidence that corrective legislation would soon follow proved misplaced.185 He had had little to say on the continuation of offices bill, 10 May, but when George IV died he deferred his measure to repeal the oath of abjuration, 28 June, and urged the House to adopt an address of condolence, 29 June, and to proceed with the civil list, 30 June. He considered the enactment of a regency bill before the dissolution ‘essential’ and was sorry to see it made a party issue, for which he blamed Brougham. In a speech packed with precedents he supported and was a minority teller for Robert Grant’s motion for an address pressing William IV for immediate clarification on the regency, 6 July 1830.186 He faced no opposition in Montgomeryshire at the ensuing general election, and mediated successfully between Edward Clive and Edmund Lechmere Charlton† at Ludlow.187
Williams Wynn made his customary plea for early consideration of election petitions in the new Parliament, pointing out that the reduction he had achieved in committee size made it possible to consider four daily instead of two, 3 Nov. 1830. He later intervened with limited success when those from Calne, Carrickfergus, Perth Burghs, Queenborough, St. Mawes, Rye and Wigan were considered.188 He scorned Hume’s ‘useless’ suggestion that a minister should be present whenever the House was sitting, 3 Nov., and gave notice that day of his oaths in Parliament bill, which he introduced with Sturges Bourne, carrying its first and second readings, 9, 12 Nov. Fergusson, Lord Nugent and Robert Palmer supported it, but for O’Connell it did not go far enough, and Peel, like Wetherell, was against repealing the abjuration oath and would only assent to it ‘with reservations’. He prevented Sir Harcourt Lees’s petition against it being printed, 23 Dec., but was obliged to defer its committal until 4 Feb., when he split it to concentrate on the less contentious oaths before the lord steward bill, which encountered opposition, 11 Feb., 20 Apr. 1831, and was timed out. The ministry had classified him in September 1830 as one of their ‘foes’, and he divided against them on the wheat import duties, 12 Nov., and on the civil list when they were brought down, 15 Nov. 1830. Advocating inquiry, he cited precedents from Burke’s time onwards and drew on his experience of the 1820 committee when the ‘indelicacy’ of the royal couple’s situation had complicated the issue. Sir John Walsh* described him that day as a ‘Canningite’.189 When Lord Grey as premier considered him for office he did not want to return to the India board, hoped for the home office, and negotiated, with Palmerston and Brougham as intermediaries, for freedom of action on reform. He also vainly tried to secure ministerial backing for the Speakership, ‘my whole object ... which must be vacant soon’. After accepting the proffered post of secretary at war, without cabinet, and at only £2,480 a year, which he conceded was ‘not brilliant’, he confided to Brougham, 25 Nov.:
At present I cannot flatter myself that my acceptance of a department of mere detail of which I am wholly ignorant can be of advantage to the government or afford me opportunity of rendering myself more useful than in my private capacity as a Member ... actively supporting it.190
To ensure the arrangement was ‘clearly understood’, Grey, who believed he might refuse and held Lord Sandon* in reserve, wrote to Williams Wynn, 24 Nov., acknowledging his ‘qualification’ to be Speaker, but refusing to commit his government to supporting him. He also warned that on reform, ‘I probably may feel it necessary to go to a greater extent than you would approve in the suppression of what are called the rotten boroughs ... You can be under no obligation to resign your office’. Lord Anglesey thought ministers would find Williams Wynn ‘eminently useful in all reform discussions’, and Grey promised him ‘an opportunity hereafter of fully considering the measure before it is finally determined upon and brought forward’.191 With fees of £157 payable on appointment, Williams Wynn calculated: ‘If I remain in office less than three months, as may very possibly be the case, I shall be the loser’.192 Henry Williams Wynn wrote:
I am disappointed that in the formation of a new administration in direct opposition to the last you should find yourself in the same situation, that of being between two stools. Independence is the most desirable line, in the same manner that being a gentleman is the best profession, but this is a sacrifice which such as you and I with large families must in some degree make.193
The ailing Grenville, who had not been consulted until a late stage in negotiations, shared his dismay at seeing ministers disposed to favour Littleton for the Speakership during Manners Sutton’s illness that winter.194 Palmerston intimated that Williams Wynn had threatened resignation, but that his bluff was called.195 His attempts to secure something for Phillimore failed.196 A strong Powis Castle and Wynnstay presence at Machynlleth gave him ‘a most triumphant re-election’ in December 1830 despite ‘the baiting we had at a county meeting on reform’, which ‘certainly was by no means agreeable’.197 Although he categorically refused to declare for reform, ministers expected him to divide with them and were not alarmed that support for it was minimal.198 He quickly perceived a link between reform meetings and unrest which proved difficult to quell in Montgomeryshire and neighbouring counties.199
In office, Williams Wynn laboured to master the army estimates, which he moved successfully, 21 Feb., 14 Mar. 1831, despite increases in colonial expenditure and voluble opposition from Hume and Davies, who failed to restrict payments to a single quarter.200 His constant ‘dread of ... splitting from the concern on the reform question’ intensified when he learnt of the bill’s details. After discussing it with Grey and Russell, 21 Feb., he consulted Grenville, who, troubled by speculation in The Times over his sinecure exchequer auditorship, declined to take responsibility for ‘one of the most important decisions of your life’.201 Presenting a reform petition, 1 Mar., he generated ‘a roar of laughter throughout the House from the circumstance of having the whole of the front of his hat covered with a leek which he wore in commemoration of St. David’s Day’.202 He considered remaining silent and supporting the second reading of the government’s bill ‘with an expression of hope of such alterations being made in committee as might relieve if not remove my objections’, but decided against doing so, lest his motives be misconstrued.203 He informed Henry, 5 Mar.:
The measure proposed goes so much further than anything I could have anticipated that I shall tonight declare my utter inability to support it without great and essential modification, more than I can reasonably expect will now be consented to by its authors. I regret this extremely, not so much as it must be followed by going out of office, for I think that there is no probability of the bill passing or the administration remaining in office, as because it will again leave me isolated and unconnected and because [of] the excitement and ferment and party violence which I must look forward to encounter. Still, after much consideration I thought I had no other course to adopt, and have just notified it to ... Grey.204
In a widely reported speech expected to damage government, he drew parallels between the importance of reform and Catholic emancipation and stressed his readiness to disfranchise boroughs found guilty of corruption and transfer Helston’s franchise to Yorkshire in 1813. He endorsed the ministry’s policy on peace and retrenchment. He explained that as he had not been in the cabinet, he had had no opportunity to discuss the bill’s details at an early stage and learnt of its contents only a week before it was published. He endorsed its proposals to restrict the borough franchise to resident freemen and replace non-residents with £10 householders, and approved the proposed extension of the county franchise and all regulatory provisions except that ‘authorizing the crown to appoint a committee of privy councillors to divide counties into districts and determine what adjoining parishes shall be added to such boroughs as shall not contain a sufficient number of £10 householders’. This he considered a task for Parliament. Concluding, he upheld Parliament’s right to legislate for reform and expressed approval of it in principle, but added that the bill proposed greater change than he could agree to and would have to be altered before he could support it.205 His resignation on ‘a point of conscience’ pleased his uncles. Goderich and Brougham, who had hoped he would support the bill, respected his decision, but Lord Holland did not ‘think Squeaker Wynn behaves well in deferring his resignation till after the plan had been opened’. He stayed on at the war office until his successor was appointed.206 On 15 Mar. 1831, convinced that the bill, which he condemned for starting with disfranchisement, would be ‘cut to pieces’ and eventually fail, he joined William Ormsby Gore in deploring the use made of anti-Catholic sentiments in reform petitions from Caernarvon and Oswestry that he refused to present, and ordered returns of population and houses rated above £10 in the Welsh contributory boroughs (schedule F).207 His vote for the bill at its second reading, 22 Mar., surprised former colleagues and attracted much comment.208 A Montgomeryshire reformer observed:
I see our Member has drawn in his horns. He has done wisely. He would otherwise have had an opposition at the next election. His transfiguration will probably save him.209
Buckingham thought any prospect of an accommodation between Grenville and Wellington was over and wrote to the duke: ‘As to Mr. Wynn’s conduct it is too disgusting to allow of a thought. It would be contamination again to come near him’.210 In the Commons, 24 Mar., Williams Wynn explained that he had divided for the bill to ensure that it was considered in committee, where he hoped to modify it and would immediately move to postpone or omit the disfranchisement clause. He conceded privately that he had acted at the entreaty of Sir Watkin, who was anxious to please their disgruntled constituents. This at least placated Buckingham, who had hoped for reconciliation between them before the anticipated dissolution.211 Grenville opposed reform, but when Williams Wynn asked him whether they should introduce their own bill or take a lead in opposing the government’s, he urged caution:
You are of all men in the House, the most unfit to put yourself forward in the very first (or indeed in any) discussion of the bill as the leader of any mode or plan of resistance and it is quite clear to me that unless you mean to make yourself responsible to the House or country for the whole cause, details and consequences of any modified plan of reform, you have in common prudence (I had almost said with reference to your particular situation in common decorum) nothing else to do in any part of this discussion but to await the proposals and motions of others for or against the bill and to speak for or against them as you shall honestly judge them beneficial or harmful to the country ... It is well worth your observance how strongly Peel, though not under half your difficulties of situation, evidently feels the impolicy of taking this sort of lead. He plainly waits, and so undoubtedly should you to follow, or oppose, as the case may be, the proposals or motions of country gentlemen and others, not avowed and seasoned politicians, like himself and you, both men in the line of office whether at this moment in or out.212
Apparently heeding this advice, Williams Wynn confined his remarks to procedures until the debate on Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr., when he reiterated his reasons for voting for the second reading, confirmed his support for the bill’s committal and mentioned among its anomalies the incorporation of population totals for enfranchised towns in county figures, awarding Glamorganshire (population, 101,000) two borough and two county Members, but leaving Carmarthenshire (population, 90,000) with two single Member constituencies, and the enfranchisement as £10 householders of the ‘delinquent’ electors of Aylesbury, Cricklade, East Retford and New Shoreham. He suggested withdrawing the bill for redrafting and resubmission, making the 1831 census the criterion for determining borough representation, classifying the disfranchised boroughs, and, as Spring Rice observed, ‘nearly, though not explicitly promised his vote for Gascoyne’ by declaring against a proportionate increase in Irish representation. Countering, the Irish secretary Smith Stanley, who, with Sir Edward Pryce Lloyd had been requisitioned to oppose him in Montgomeryshire, referred to Williams Wynn’s early briefing on the bill’s details and constituency pressure to support it. Williams Wynn conceded this and claimed to be confident of electoral success. He divided for the amendment, 19 Apr. 1831.213 Portraying himself as a supporter of limited reform, he made no effort to disguise his annoyance at being forced to a five-day poll by the reformer Joseph Hayes Lyon at the ensuing general election.214 His speech on the hustings encouraged speculation that he would introduce an alternative reform bill.215
Williams Wynn nominated the Speaker in the new Parliament and was complemented on his own expertise, ‘constant attendance’ and ‘unwearied attention to all questions affecting or connected with the privileges, orders, and proceedings of the House’, 14 June 1831. He raised his usual points on election petitions, 22 June, and on 20 July carried his oaths before the lord steward bill, which received royal assent on the 30th. As a member of the East India committee, he joined Goulburn in opposing a reduction from £5,000 to £3,500 in the salary of the president of the India board, arguing that the attendant patronage, which was expected to supply the deficit, was no substitute for emolument, 28 June. He declined to present an Oxford University anti-reform petition, and, as he had warned a disappointed Grenville, but to the king’s surprise, he and his brother divided for the reintroduced reform bill at its second reading, 6 July.216 Their decision was apparently dictated by local factors and, after the division, Williams Wynn considered himself free to oppose the bill as he wished.217 He met Croker, Peel and 20 others to discuss tactics, 11 July. With them, he urged that counsel be heard on the Appleby petition and voted to adjourn the bill’s committal, 12 July.218 Next day he carried a referral motion for all petitions, accounts, returns and papers on reform, but failed to have the disfranchisement clause deferred. He also objected to giving the boundary commissioners legislative powers and to the ‘magic 2,000’ population threshold for continued borough representation, preferring multiple borough constituencies and adhering to ‘the combined principles of population, property and situation’. He endorsed a petition for continued enfranchisement from the Clives’ borough of Bishop’s Castle, 14 July. Arguing that abolishing nomination boroughs would not improve county representation, he repeated his case for contributories, 15 July, but conceded that there was no scope for considering this until the disfranchisements had been dealt with. He voted to use the 1831 census to determine English borough representation, 19 July, and against disfranchising Appleby, 19 July, and Downton, 21 July, and criticized government plans for rushing the bill through committee, 21 July. Althorp, whom he privately warned of likely defeats unless a separate committee on county representation was appointed,219 agreed that reform committees should start at five o’clock. Williams Wynn defended his erstwhile patron Lord Camelford’s management of Old Sarum and divided against disfranchising St. Germans, 26 July. He was against taking a Member from Chippenham on ‘a parish officer’s error’, 27 July, argued that corruption at Malmesbury should be proved and Sudbury’s case reconsidered, 30 July, and made useful interventions on scheduling and the use of Saturday sittings, 29 July. He confided to Grenville, 2 Aug., that he expected the bill to lose support as ‘clauses of construction’ replaced ‘the work of destruction’.220 In debate that day he objected to the notion of the bill as a step to further reform and portrayed it as threat to ancient chartered rights and privileges. He stressed the dangers of electorate control, radicalism and unrest in populous constituencies, 3, 4 Aug., but he did not vote on the enfranchisement of Greenwich, 3 Aug., and agreed that Stoke-on-Trent should be awarded two Members, 4 Aug. He privately considered further opposition in the Commons futile, although ‘perseverance may produce some effect out of doors and may at all events encourage the Lords to resist the attempts to overawe them’, and confessed that he was ‘grievously sick’ of the bill and Saturday sittings, which prevented him from joining his family at Cowes.221 He spoke against combining Chatham with Rochester and Strood, 9 Aug. Later that day, when Schedule F boroughs were considered, he restated the case for increased Welsh representation, bemoaned the ‘harsh treatment’ of Merthyr, and suggested that Caernarvonshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Merioneth, Montgomeryshire and Pembrokeshire merited two Members. Wynnstay’s preferred boundaries for newly enfranchised Wrexham were acceded to, 10 Aug. Endorsing the division of counties, 11 Aug., he commended his Yorkshire plan, urged the exclusion of enfranchised borough populations from county totals, and suggested restricting the annuitant franchise. He failed to have the whole bill recommitted or consideration of the Welsh counties deferred, 12, 13 Aug.; but his suggestions elicited little response until taken up on the 18th by the Ultra Lloyd Kenyon, who was to stand for Denbighshire in 1832. Williams Wynn observed:
To my great surprise, Althorp showed a disposition in some degree at least to concede. Personally, I rather wish that he would not, as I think that the alteration may produce more frequent contests in the counties than we have hitherto been exposed to.222
He is not known to have voted on Chandos’s clause enfranchising £50 tenants-at-will, 18 Aug., but, encouraged by this sign of government’s vulnerability, he exploited errors and anomalies in the provisions for returning officers as signs that ‘the bill was brought forward in a hurried and undigested form’, 19, 20 Aug., but refused to endorse Hume’s criticism of the government’s scheduling policy, 27 Aug. He repeatedly criticized the householder franchise, 24-27 Aug., suggesting that a universal £10 qualification would prove as easy to manipulate as scot and lot, and calling for a qualification period of six months instead of six weeks after rates were paid, to limit landlord influence.223 He opposed the reception of a petition from Arundel for election by ballot, 19 Aug., and voted to defeat an opposition amendment to preserve freemen’s voting rights, 30 Aug. On learning that the boundary commissioners would report to Parliament, he waived his objections to them, 1 Sept.; but, anticipating problems where boundaries were disputed and petitioned against, he proposed adding a clause to prevent the Act taking effect ‘before completion of these final steps’, in the event of a dissolution. Early in September he joined his family at Cowes.224 Returning to hear the bill reported, 13, 14 Sept., he failed to have it recommitted or amended to include the second Members promised to Carmarthenshire and Denbighshire. His objections to the £10 franchise and suggestions for polling by parish and allowing extra time for allocating booths were ignored, but his advice on registration courts was heeded, and a clause covering dissolution was added as a rider to the bill at its third reading, 19 Sept. He approved it in principle and in part, leaving Peel and others to highlight its shortcomings. Before voting against its passage, 21 Sept., he defended the powers of amendment held by the Lords, denounced large towns as centres of corruption and explained:
I have repeatedly been in the minority when motions have been made to direct prosecutions in cases of bribery. I voted for the second reading of the bill and for its being committed that it might be fairly considered, and so improved and amended as to render it a proper and beneficial measure ... It is still calculated to effect too great a change, and I therefore feel bound to oppose it.
He repeated his objections to its unnecessary disfranchisements and uniform £10 franchise, defended small boroughs for affording opportunities to men of talent and direct representation for East and West Indian interests, and ended with a pledge ‘to be healthily negative to this bill, but ready as ever to support a moderate measure’. Writing to Thomas Grenville, 22 Sept., he welcomed the recent damage inflicted on the bill and praised Croker, Peel and Thomas Pemberton’s speeches.225 Before leaving for yeomanry duties, the quarter sessions and a round of post-election dinners and celebrations in Montgomeryshire, for which he had been granted three weeks’ leave, 26 Sept. 1831, he wrote to Grenville of his regret at seeing their kinsman Lord Ebrington ‘at the head of the party who have united to urge ministers forward to measures of violence’, and the Glynnes and others ‘of my connections and relations’ supporting reform, ‘when Lord Brougham has so prudently held back from committing himself’.226 He had expressed support for administration on supply, 8 July, and the secret service estimates, 18 July, and was appointed to the select committees on civil list expenditure, 12 Aug., and the coronation 6 Sept.227 He raised many points of order and procedure on railway and other private bills, 6, 18, 25 July, 4, 9, 19 Aug.; and, though moved by the Rothsay Castle disaster, said he thought Parliament could do little to protect steamboat passengers except legislate against overloading, 19 Aug., 20 Sept. He denounced liberty of the press as an ‘absurd doctrine’, 28 June. He intervened on behalf of the sitting Member Sir John Owen when the Pembrokeshire election petition was considered, 8 July, 23 Sept., and had Richard Gurney’s petition against the Tregony election committee’s decision rejected, 12 Sept. On the Dublin election controversy, he sought to delay summoning William Gossett*, 20 Aug., and was a minority teller for Gordon’s censure motion, 23 Aug. 1831, but spoke highly of the Irish lord lieutenant Anglesey.228
While he was in Wales on yeomanry duty, Frankland Lewis briefed him as arranged on the Dorset by-election and the reform bill’s progress in the Lords, where he had anticipated its defeat.229 He wrote to Southey, 27 Oct. 1831:
The late division in the Lords has had the effect of awakening many of those who, conceiving their position past remedy, had like the Indians folded their arms and lain down in the canoe, but what is wanted to afford us a hope of deliverance is the inspiriting voice of some man of courage and eloquence fitted to seize the command of the vessel, such as providence has in like emergencies frequently raised up, but such as we have now nothing approaching to. There are many who have done their duty morally and honestly and with great effect, but there is no head that commands public confidence. Peel is decidedly the best, but he is too cautious, too rich and too much at his ease for active ambition to excite him and he is too cold, reserved and unconfiding ever to attach warm and zealous friends.230
Sturges Bourne wrote that day asking ‘what course’ he ‘and the few others with whom I have acted in and out of office’ would now take. Williams Wynn was expected back in London for the round of pre-session dinners and meetings, but politics now depressed him, and after prevaricating he ‘determined to remain in Wales till after the recess unless something more pressing should arrive’.231 Early in December Lord Harrowby, using Lord Clive and Thomas Grenville as intermediaries, asked him to return, and Grenville reminded him that his position in the Commons could only be ‘maintained as it has been created, by attendance’.232 He attributed his failure to do so to ‘a lame leg’, the cost and family commitments, but added:
I should have little hope of being of service in communicating with Ld. P[almerston]. In truth he is a person in whom I have no kind of confidence and I had much rather discuss any subject of the kind with Brougham, Graham or Ld. John [Russell] rather than any of my ci-devant colleagues except perhaps Ld. Lansdowne, and he has voluntarily shelved himself.233
Like the Clives, Barings, Frankland Lewis and others associated with Harrowby, he hoped for an alliance of moderates from both sides without an immediate change of government, and deliberately avoided voting on the revised reform bill at its second reading, 17 Dec. 1831, but he subsequently regretted this division on ‘diminished [reduced] numbers’.234 He claimed that constituency pressure had played no part in his decision, and informed Thomas Grenville that
as at present advised, I am disposed to follow the same course in the committee on this bill as I did on the last, and point out all the mistakes and blunders which seem to me nearly as numerous though different. The great objection to the £10 qualification in large towns and to the suburban Members continue and the number of Members from the sinks of radicalism and sedition such as Oldham, Bradford, Blackburn and Stockport are increased. The provisions for the registration of county votes are rendered still more impracticable than ever.235
He remained ‘most anxious to act in concert’ with Harrowby, Baring and Clive, but without the ‘previous engagement to government’ they had offered, and he perceived correctly that there was little prospect of Grey compromising.236
He returned to London after the Christmas festivities at Wynnstay, and opposing the bill’s committal, 20 Jan., he condemned it as vague and full of faults, and advised the House to ‘keep the power of altering the number of boroughs in its own hands’, 21 Jan. 1832. He complained that the designation of returning officers was flawed, 24 Jan., and criticized the proposed county divisions, 27 Jan., and methods of determining county copyhold, freehold and leasehold franchises, 1 Feb. Co-operating with opposition, he helped to delay the bill’s progress, 2, 3, 16, 21 Feb., 2 Mar. On 28 Feb. he successfully proposed the high constable as returning officer for Greenwich and voted against enfranchising Tower Hamlets. He kept aloof from the debate on Merthyr, 5 Mar.; but on the 14th he exposed irregularities in the disfranchisement in 1728 of Montgomery’s former contributories and protested at the bill’s failure to restore fully their ‘ancient rights’ prior to re-enfranchisement. He presented supportive petitions prepared by Powis Castle retainers, 19 Mar., but to no purpose.237 He divided against the bill’s third reading, 22 Mar. Following its defeat in the Lords, and using Buckingham as go-between, Wellington summoned Williams Wynn and asked him to join his projected administration, bringing with him Alexander Baring and Frankland Lewis, but he had many misgivings and had not replied when the plan was abandoned and Grey reinstated.238 His acceptance seems unlikely. He did not divide on Ebrington’s motion for an address calling on the king to appoint only ministers who would pass the bill unimpaired, 10 May, and was privately convinced that ‘as it must pass, it should be passed by those ministers who introduced it’. He thought the Whigs would achieve this without creating further peers, a precondition of his acting with Wellington, whom he likened to a ‘military dictator’. He considered that a Conservative-sponsored bill would cause more damage than the current one, which he did not think irreparable ‘should a talented administration arise’, and favoured one headed by Peel, Smith Stanley and Brougham.239 His brother Watkin thought the ‘one good consequence from these discussions’ was an improvement in their relations with Buckingham.240 Williams Wynn asked questions on the incorporation of new boroughs and their designated returning officers, 4 June, and made several useful interventions on the boundaries bill, 7, 8 June, the Scottish reform bill, 27 June, and the Liverpool franchise bill, 4 July. Inclined by ‘experience’ to oppose Baring’s electoral bribery bill, he suggested its postponement, 6 May, voted for its committal, although he doubted whether it could be made to operate beneficially, so that he could support it, 27 June, but belatedly endorsed it, 9 Aug. He referred that day to France’s occupation of the Low Countries as evidence of Britain’s ‘total want of influence, in itself a serious charge against an administration’, and predicted that they would forfeit the support of the Irish Members directly the reform bill was enacted. He spoke and voted against government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July,241 but with them on the civil list and chancery sinecures, 9 Aug. 1832. Concerned at the slenderness of the ‘barrier’ between Whigs and radicals and the likely succession of weak ministries, he wrote after the January division:
The ministry exists by the [reform] bill ... In short we are still in the situation in which the breaking up of Lord Liverpool’s government in 1827 left us: split, subdivided into parties which the course of events inevitably unites upon some question to beat the minister.242
Ever the champion of procedures and precedents, on 17 Feb. 1832 he defended Beresford’s conduct of the Portuguese campaigns and upheld his own decision, as secretary at war, not to means test the pensions of army widows. He made further points on army matters, 6, 28 Mar., breach of privilege, 7 May, 1 June, petitions and procedures 8, 30 May; but his opinion was of insufficient weight to procure amendment of the London-Birmingham railway bill for the Clives, 18 June. His interventions on the coroners bill achieved little, 20 June, and he failed to impede the progress of Kenyon’s labourers’ employment bill, 27 June. He presented Montgomeryshire’s petition for changes in the highways bill, 13 June. Although he was for amending the laws on slavery and capital punishment, in neither case was he a true abolitionist, and the high profile and popular appeal of both issues as the dissolution approached troubled him.243 He suggested and obtained a conference with the Lords when their amendments virtually wrecked the punishment of death abolition bill, 5, 6 July; and did the same for the lunatic asylums bill he had worked hard for, 9, 10 Aug. After 24 years’ campaigning he said that he would rather accept the amendments than lose the asylums bill, which received royal assent, 11 Aug. 1832.
It had been a difficult period in Williams Wynn’s personal life. His mother’s illness and death in October 1832 followed closely on those of his wife’s brother, the reformer Foster Cunliffe Offley*, his mother-in-law and his elder son Watkin, who, as he had been warned in March, failed to recover from an inflammation of the lungs.244 The ‘one bright point amid the gloom’ was his acquisition of a son-in-law ‘with a passion for the House quite equal to his own’ in James Milnes Gaskell, who, assisted by him, contested Wenlock successfully at the 1832 general election.245 His campaign for the Speakership, for which his rival was Littleton, was unsuccessful. Liaising with Peel, who, possibly because of Wellington’s reservations, proved slow to rally, he eventually secured Conservative support, possibly, as Lord Granville Somerset’s* memorandum to Peel suggested, 11 Nov. 1832, ‘because Wynn had better be the vanquished man than Goulburn’.246 He found the canvassing, with which his nephew Charles Shipley Conway assisted, difficult and irksome and ‘Members in general extremely unwilling to commit themselves’. Buckingham and his relations backed him, and so did the ‘reformers’ Ebrington, Newton Fellowes, Sir Stephen Glynne and James Hamlyn Williams, ‘a tribe of Welshmen’, joined out of hostility to Littleton by Edward Bolton Clive, Sir Edward Foley and Sir Matthew White Ridley. General election results were inauspicious for the Conservatives, and Manners Sutton’s decision to stay on left Williams Wynn ‘happy to be relieved from a pursuit which I consider as quite hopeless’.247 His return for Montgomeryshire passed off smoothly and he retained the seat unchallenged for life.248 Already 57, he considered his health ‘still apparently equal to the exertion’ of being Speaker, but, being prone to rheumatism, he surmised that it might not long continue so and he reluctantly agreed with Peel, when Manners Sutton retired in 1834, that the opportunity had come too late for him, and became chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster.249 He was not included in Peel’s 1841 cabinet and declined the commissionership of Greenwich Hospital he was then offered.250 He died in September 1850, recalled as a scholarly and ‘sterling advocate of social reforms’, and was buried at St. George’s, Hanover Square, alongside his wife and son. By his will Llangedwyn, his town house and his mother’s Grenville bequests passed in trust to his son Charles (1822-96), Conservative Member for Montgomeryshire, 1862-80, and there were small annuities for his married and unmarried daughters.251 His nephew Herbert Watkin Williams Wynn (1822-62) succeeded him as Conservative Member for Montgomeryshire.
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Margaret Escott
Reference was made to unpublished work by Gwyneth Evans, ‘Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 1775-1850’ (Univ. of Wales M.A. thesis, 1935), which treats the subject chronologically; M.A. Whittle, ‘Charles Watkin Williams Wynn (1775-1850): a political biography’ (Univ. of Wales M.A. thesis, 1984), which treats it thematically; and A.W. Williams Wynn, ‘Mem. of Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 1796-1850’ (1936), held at NLW. There is no published biography of note.
- 1. A.D. Harvey, Britain in Early 19th Cent. 10; T.G. Davies, ‘Welsh Contribution to Mental Health Legislation in 19th Cent.’ WHR, xviii (1996), 40-62, esp. 41-50.
- 2. J.J. Sack, ‘The Decline of the Grenvillite Faction Under the First Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, 1817-1829’, JBS, xv (1975), 112-19; PRO NI, Castlereagh mss D3030/P/194; Oxford DNB.
- 3. [J. Grant], Random Recollections of Lords and Commons, ii (1838), 139-40.
- 4. Salop RO. Weld-Forester mss box 337, C.W. Forester to Emery, 2 Mar., P. Acton to C.W. Forester, 2 Mar.; Shrewsbury Chron. 17, 24 Mar. 1820.
- 5. See DENBIGHSHIRE, MONTGOMERYSHIRE, SHROPSHIRE and WENLOCK.
- 6. HP Commons, 1790-1820, v. 587-94; W.A. Hay, The Whig Revival, 94; J.J. Sack, Grenvillites, 176-184; A.D. Harvey, ‘The Ministry of All the Talents’, HJ, xv (1972), 619-48.
- 7. Life and Corresp. of Southey ed. C.C. Southey (1850), v. 36-39; Buckingham, Mems. George IV, i. 33-34; NLW, Coedymaen mss 578; bdle. 29, Williams Wynn to Phillimore, 25 Mar., 10 Apr. 1820; Sack, Grenvillites, 183.
- 8. Coedymaen mss 579.
- 9. Ibid. 935.
- 10. CJ, lxxv. 264, 284-5; Coedymaen mss 938.
- 11. Buckingham, i. 428; Add. 38296, ff. 356-8; M. Escott, ‘How Wales lost its judicature: the making of the 1830 Act for the Abolition of the Courts of Great Sessions’, Transactions Hon. Soc. of Cymmrodorion (2006), 135-59.
- 12. Coedymaen mss 576, 598, 600.
- 13. Ibid. 937, 939, 940, 943.
- 14. Ibid. 581.
- 15. Coedymaen mss 588-602, 944.
- 16. Ibid. 582-3, 945; Buckingham, i. 48-49.
- 17. Buckingham, i. 57-58; Sack, Grenvillites, 184-5; Coedymaen mss 183, 585.
- 18. Buckingham, i. 57-58; Coedymaen mss 184, 592.
- 19. Coedymaen mss bdle. 29, Williams Wynn to Phillimore [9 Oct. 1820].
- 20. NLW ms 2793 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 31 Aug.; 4816 D, same to same, 9 Oct.; Coedymaen mss bdle. 29, same to Phillimore 12, 18 Oct., 2 Nov. 1820.
- 21. Buckingham, i. 77-78.
- 22. Ibid. i. 102; Coedymaen mss 594, 595.
- 23. Sack, Grenvillites, 185 and JBS, xv. 119-20; Coedymaen mss bdle. 29, Williams Wynn to Phillimore, 19, 30 Dec.; TNA, Dacres Adams mss, T.P. Courtenay to Adams, 21 Dec.; Lonsdale mss, Ward to Lonsdale, 27 Dec. 1820; Cent. Kent. Stud. Camden mss U840 C530/6; Add. 58963, f. 46; Hay, 120-1.
- 24. Coedymaen mss 596; bdle. 29, Williams Wynn to Phillimore, 21 Dec. 1820.
- 25. NLW ms 2793 D, Buckingham to H. Williams Wynn, 9, 18, 29 Mar., H. Williams Wynn to wife, 21 May 1821; Coedymaen mss bdle. 21, passim; Buckingham, i. 125-7, 130-2; Sack, Grenvillites, 186.
- 26. Bucks. RO, Fremantle mss D/FR/46/11/45; 46/12/36; Christ Church, Oxf. Phillimore mss, Buckingham to Phillimore, 3 Feb. 1821; Coedymaen mss 348, 603, 605, 611; Buckingham, i. 111-17, 119-23, 162-6.
- 27. HLRO, Hist. Coll. 379, Grey Bennet diary, 25.
- 28. The Times, 20 Feb., 3, 8 Mar. 1821; Coedymaen mss 606, 607; bdle. 17, Plunkett to Williams Wynn, 4 Apr., 2, 11 May; bdle. 21, Buckingham to same, 11, 18 Mar. [24 Apr.]; NLW ms 2793 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn [29 June] 1821.
- 29. Grey Bennet diary, 37
- 30. Ibid. 77, 79.
- 31. Coedymaen mss 586, 944; bdle. 21, Buckingham to Williams Wynn, 9 Mar., 5, 10 [undated], June; Add. 38289, f. 169.
- 32. Fremantle mss 46/12/29, 30; Buckingham, i. 166-7, 175-9, 197-9.
- 33. Fremantle mss 51/5/14.
- 34. Add. 38370, f. 57; 38743, ff. 31, 56; 51574, Abercromby to Holland ; Buckingham, i. 227-8, 232-6, 243-5; Add. 69044, Buckingham to Grenville, 30 Nov., 2, 6, 7  Dec.; Add. 69044, Williams Wynn to same, 4, 5, Dec.; Fremantle mss 46/11/58, 59; 46/12/25; Castlereagh mss P/193; Coedymaen mss 350, 352, 353; Geo. IV Letters, ii. 971, 973; Aberdeen Univ. Lib. Arbuthnot mss, Londonderry to Wellington [9 Dec.] 1821; Sack, Grenvillites, 189, 190.
- 35. Add. 38290, ff. 143-5, 155, 191-9, 210; Coedymaen mss 946; bdle. 21, Buckingham to Williams Wynn, 8, 30 Dec.; Buckingham, i. 241-3, 247-54; Harrowby mss, Bathurst to Harrowby, 12 Dec. 1821.
- 36. Add. 38290, ff. 210-16; NLW ms 2793 D, H. Williams Wynn to wife, 18 Dec. 1821.
- 37. Coedymaen mss 350-2; Add. 69044, Buckingham to Grenville, 30 Nov. .
- 38. Add. 38743, f. 77; Castlereagh mss P/194; Lonsdale mss, Long to Lonsdale, 21 Dec; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 30 Dec. 1821; Buckingham, i. 265.
- 39. Coedymaen mss 501.
- 40. Southey Letters ed. J.W. Warter, iii. 290.
- 41. Add. 38290, ff. 176, 222-4; Coedymaen mss 355, 610, 613-18; Buckingham, i. 262-4, 272-3, 275, 279, 281-2; Sack, Grenvillites, 192.
- 42. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 23 Jan.; Hatherton mss, R. Smith to Littleton, 29 Jan. 1822; Buckingham, i. 275-6, 281-2, 284-5; Sack, Grenvillites, 194.
- 43. Coedymaen mss 360.
- 44. Shrewsbury Chron. 22 Feb. 1822; Coedymaen mss 626.
- 45. Coedymaen mss 363, 621.
- 46. Flint RO, Leeswood mss D/LE/1352.
- 47. Fremantle mss 46/10/19.
- 48. The Times, 15 Mar. 1822.
- 49. Gurney diary, 14 Mar. 1822.
- 50. Coedymaen mss 370, 624.
- 51. Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 162; Whittle, 82; Coedymaen mss 373, 632, 642; CJ, lxxvii. 273; Leeswood mss 1352; NLW ms 2794 D, Sir W. to H. Williams Wynn, 14, 15 May 1822; Fremantle mss 46/12/77.
- 52. Add. 40373, f. 196; Fremantle mss 46/12/77, 78.
- 53. Add. 37298, f. 342; 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland, 15/16 Apr.; Buckingham, i. 304, 306, 309-10, 313-19, 323; Fremantle mss 46/10/20, 25, 29, 56; Coedymaen mss 366-8, 630-3, 640; bdle. 17, Plunket to Williams Wynn, 5 Feb., 6 Apr.; The Times, 11 May; Phillimore mss, Buckingham to Phillimore [12 May 1822].
- 54. Coedymaen mss 364, 625, 629, 637, 640; Add. 37398, f. 342; Buckingham, i. 273-5.
- 55. CJ, lxxvii. 327, 347, 352.
- 56. Buckingham, i. 350-1, 354-6.
- 57. Add. 40319, f. 57.
- 58. Coedymaen mss 185, 647, 1021; Buckingham, i. 369-72, 375, 379, 380; Fremantle mss 46/11/64; 46/12/76; 51/5/16; Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland [4 Sept.] 1822.
- 59. Buckingham, i. 381; Add. 38743, f. 215.
- 60. Powis mss (History of Parliament Aspinall transcripts), Palmerston to Lord Clive, 13 Sept.; Harewood mss WYL 250/8/83, Liverpool to Canning, 15 Sept.; Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 24 Sept. 1822; Add. 38732, f. 211; Coedymaen mss 187, 377.
- 61. Fremantle mss 46/10/43/1.
- 62. TNA 30/29/9/5/16; Add. 38743, ff. 217, 227, 236; 51578, Morpeth to Holland, 2 Oct.; Add. 69044, Grenville to Buckingham, 1, 3 Oct.; Harewood mss 8/83, Williams Wynn to Canning, 5 Oct., reply, 6 Oct.; Fremantle mss 46/12/72, 73; Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 11 Oct. 1822; Coedymaen mss 188.
- 63. Buckingham, i. 390-3; Fremantle mss 46/11/66; Coedymaen mss 378, 379, 653.
- 64. Add. 60286, f. 283.
- 65. Add. 40352, ff. 27-28.
- 66. Buckingham, i. 408, 411-12, 417-19; Greville Mems. i. 136; Add. 38193, f. 171; 38291, f. 270; NLW ms 2794 D, Buckingham to H. Williams Wynn, 5 Jan., Sir W. Williams Wynn to same, 12 Jan. 1823.
- 67. Coedymaen mss 385.
- 68. Buckingham, i. 406-7, 409-10.
- 69. Coedymaen mss 384; bdle. 17, Williams Wynn to Plunket, 4 Dec., replies, 29 Dec. 1822, 28 Jan. 1823.
- 70. Add 40358, f. 229.
- 71. Buckingham, i. 427-44, 446-50; Fremantle mss 46/11/84/3.
- 72. Buckingham, i. 454-7; Add. 40355, ff. 307-12; The Times, 23 Apr. 1823, N. Gash, Secretary Peel, 401.
- 73. Wellington mss WP1/7623/13.
- 74. Ibid. WP1/7623/24.
- 75. Buckingham, i. 458.
- 76. Fremantle mss 51/5/17; Wellington mss WP1/760/11; Buckingham, i. 452-5, 466-7, 473, 477.
- 77. Buckingham, i. 474.
- 78. Wellington mss WP1/760/2, 8; 762/18; 769/8; 770/8.
- 79. NLW ms 4815 D, Williams Wynn to Southey, 25 July 1823.
- 80. Buckingham, i. 477-8.
- 81. Fremantle mss 46/11/84/3.
- 82. Buckingham, i. 491; Coedymaen mss 1022.
- 83. Fremantle mss 51/5/19; Wellington mss WP1/771/8, 15; 773/6; 774/2.
- 84. Buckingham, i. 338-9, 458, 474, 494; ii. 9-12, 18; Harewood mss 8/83, Canning to Williams Wynn, 1, 7 Apr., reply, 7 Apr. 1823.
- 85. Buckingham, ii. 11-23, 32, 36-39, 46-47, 55, 56; Coedymaen mss bdle. 17, Williams Wynn to Plunket, 1 Nov., replies, 18 Nov., 28 Jan.; The Times, 7 Feb. 1824.
- 86. Buckingham, ii. 49.
- 87. Ibid. ii. 35-36, 85-86.
- 88. CJ, lxxix. 520, 536.
- 89. W. Hinde, Canning, 361-2; Buckingham, ii. 361-2; Whittle, 64-67.
- 90. Wellington mss WP1/790/32.
- 91. Buckingham, ii. 85.
- 92. Ibid. ii. 69-71, 80-81, 86.
- 93. Ibid. ii. 85-86, 91, 106.
- 94. Wellington mss WP1/790/1; Buckingham, ii. 207, 210, 214.
- 95. TNA 30/29/6/7/53.
- 96. Fremantle mss 46/11/106/2.
- 97. Buckingham, ii. 112, 114-15, 120, 121, 145, 147, 161-2, 169-71; Add. 38411, ff. 238-40, 247; 40371, ff. 245, 269; 40372, f. 77; Wellington mss WP1/799/7; 805/5, 14, 20-25; 806/23, 29, 31, 34, 35; 807/22, 24; 810/5; 812/18; 815/6, 16, 21; Fremantle mss 46/11/111/3.
- 98. Fremantle mss 46/11/111/3; Buckingham, ii. 164-5, 197.
- 99. Buckingham. ii. 228-32.
- 100. Ibid. ii. 232-3.
- 101. CJ, lxxx. 626.
- 102. Buckingham, ii. 164-6, 171.
- 103. NLW, Harpton Court mss C/589; Coedymaen mss 410, 414; Buckingham, ii. 200-3, 205-6, 215.
- 104. Buckingham, ii. 211.
- 105. Ibid. ii. 240, 242-3; Coedymaen mss bdle. 18, Fremantle to Williams Wynn ; N. Gash, Secretary Peel, 417.
- 106. Fremantle mss 46/11/116, 117; 138/16/18; Coedymaen mss 416, 418, 420, 994-1001; bdle. 18, Fremantle to Williams Wynn, 28 Aug. 1825; Buckingham, ii. 241-2, 244-7, 257-63, 265; G.I.T. Machin, Catholic Question in English Politics, 68.
- 107. CJ, lxxx. 536-7, 582, 600, 602, 606-7, 612; lxxxi. 16, 44, 76, 82, 88.
- 108. Add. 38412, ff. 14-17; Buckingham, ii. 272, 274-5.
- 109. Add. 38576, f. 72; Fremantle mss 46/12/64; Coedymaen mss 947; Buckingham, ii. 276-81.
- 110. Phillimore mss, Fremantle to Phillimore, 5 Oct.; Add. 38412, ff. 24-27, 59-60; Wellington mss WP1/829/5, 6, 8, 16; 830/10-14, 18; 831/2, 9, 13, 22; 832/3; 833/5, 15; Fremantle mss 138/12/9b.
- 111. Add. 38412, ff. 47-52; 51679, Lord J. Russell to Lady Holland, 11 Oct. 1825; Fremantle mss 46/12/60-63; Coedymaen mss 948-51; Wellington mss WP1/832/4.
- 112. Add. 38412, ff. 74-81; Fremantle mss 46/12/47.
- 113. Add. 38412, ff. 95-96; Wellington mss WP1/829/16; 831/3; 831/7/21; 832/16; Coedymaen mss 952-5; Buckingham, ii. 283-4.
- 114. Fremantle mss 46/12/48, 55, 56.
- 115. Coedymaen mss 957-61, 969; bdle. 18, Fremantle to Williams Wynn, 2 Dec. 1825; Add. 40331, f. 243; Buckingham, ii. 288.
- 116. Coedymaen mss 964, 967, 968; Fremantle mss 46/11/128; 46/12/46-56, 65; 138/12/2, 3; Add. 38576, f. 95; Wellington mss WP1/834/13, 850/2.
- 117. NLW ms 2795 D, Lady Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 28 Mar. 1826.
- 118. CJ, lxxxi. 92, 130, 183, 189, 219, 225, 324, 376.
- 119. Fremantle mss 51/8/1; CJ, lxxxi. 292, 376.
- 120. CJ, lxxxi. 346; NLW ms 10804 D, letterbk. 3, Williams Wynn to Amherst, 29 May 1826.
- 121. Fremantle mss 46/11/135, 136; 46/12/82-85, 90, 92; 51/5/25; 138/16/15a; Buckingham, ii. 300-1.
- 122. NLW ms 10804 D, letterbk. 2, Williams Wynn to Buckingham, 24 June 1826.
- 123. Coedymaen mss 997, 1002, 1004; Add. 38748, ff. 163-7, 171-81; 40387, f. 290, 292; 40388, ff. 48, 51, 77; Wellington mss WP1/858/27; 859/6, 17; 860/12; 861/4, 6; 866/4; NLW ms 2797 D, Lady Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 19 Sept. 1826.
- 124. Harewood mss 8/87, Canning to Warrender, 13 Nov.; Fremantle mss 46/11/168, 149; Fremantle mss 49/1/24; Coedymaen mss bdle. 18, Williams Wynn to Fremantle, 21 Nov. 1826.
- 125. Grey mss, Howick to Grey, 2 Mar. 1827.
- 126. Fremantle mss 46/11/152; Add. 40391, f. 312; Wellington mss WP1/897/9, 11, 13, 20; 880/3; 881/5; 882/5, 11; 885/21; 886/16.
- 127. NLW ms 10804 D, letterbk. 3, Williams Wynn to Amherst, 23 Mar. 1827.
- 128. Wellington mss WP1/883/4; 886/12; 887/3, 4, 6, 9; Canning’s Ministry, 15, 92, 93, 106, 122-3; Fremantle mss 46/11/153; 46/12/100-4; 138/21/1/8, 9; Sack, Grenvillites, 210-12.
- 129. Wellington mss WP1/888/1.
- 130. Ibid. WP1/888/2.
- 131. Coedymaen mss 190-7; Greville Mems. i. 172; Sack, Grenvillites, 210.
- 132. Creevey Pprs. ii. 113; Canning’s Ministry, 91, 94, 98, 102, 124, 269.
- 133. Coedymaen mss 191.
- 134. Canning’s Ministry, 246; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 4 May 1827; Hatherton diary, 19 Aug. 1831.
- 135. NLW ms 2795 D, Lady Williams Wynn to Mrs. H. Williams Wynn, 30 Apr., F. to H. Williams Wynn, 25 May, Charlotte Shipley to same, 5 Oct. 1827.
- 136. Coedymaen mss 192; Wellington mss WP1/889/7, 10; 890/4, 8; NLW ms 2795 D, Brook Taylor to H. Williams Wynn, 23 Mar., 24 Apr., Buckingham to same, 13 Apr. 1827.
- 137. CJ, lxxxii. 502, 587.
- 138. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1337.
- 139. Coedymaen mss 436.
- 140. Ibid. 198-204, 437, 712, 715, 716, 719-22, 729, 730, 1023; Lonsdale mss, Croker to Lowther, 11 Aug. 1827; Greville Mems. i. 184; NLW, Harpton Court mss C/621; Add. 38750, f. 126; 40340, f. 200; 40394, f. 210; Buckingham, ii. 260-1.
- 141. Coedymaen mss 970.
- 142. NLW ms 2803 D, H. Williams Wynn to Williams Wynn, 30 Oct. 1827.
- 143. Wellington mss WP1/899/2; 901/3, 6, 13; 903/14; 908/8.
- 144. Add. 38752, f. 169.
- 145. Coedymaen mss 252-5, 972; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 11 Jan. 1828; Wellington mss WP1/914/4; 915/36.
- 146. Coedymaen mss 973.
- 147. New Letters of Southey (1965) ed. K. Curry, ii. 325, 349-53; iv. 132.
- 148. Phillimore mss, Fremantle to Phillimore, 22 Jan. 1828.
- 149. NLW ms 4815 D, Williams Wynn to Southey, 9 Feb. 1828.
- 150. Add. 38754, f. 240; 40395, f. 275; Wellington mss WP1/914/48; 915/36, 65; 917/6, 13; 918/7, 17; 919/9; 920/31, 32, 36, 65, 79; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 15, 18, 22 Jan.; Devon RO, Sidmouth mss, H.U. Addington to Sidmouth, 23 Jan. 1828; Coedymaen mss 488; Geo IV Letters, iii. 1466, 1498, 1499, 1506, 1507, 1509.
- 151. NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 18, 25 Jan., 12 Feb. 1828; Buckingham, ii. 369-70.
- 152. Southampton Univ. Lib. Broadlands mss BR23AA/5/1.
- 153. NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 25 Jan., 1, 29 Feb., 14 Mar. 1828.
- 154. Coedymaen mss 737; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 1 Feb., 4 July; NLW ms 2795 D, F. Williams Wynn to same, 7 Feb., Lady Williams Wynn to same, 25 Feb.; NLW ms 2796 D, same to same 18 July 1828.
- 155. NLW ms 2796 D, Lady Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 19 Feb. 1828.
- 156. Fremantle mss 51/5/35; Buckingham, ii. 362.
- 157. NLW ms 2796 D, Lady Delamere to H. Williams Wynn, 3 May 1828.
- 158. NLW ms 10804 D, letterbk. 3, passim, esp. Williams Wynn to Malcolm, 14 Apr. 1828.
- 159. Derby mss 920 Der (14) 2/3, parl. proceedings, 19 May 1828.
- 160. Southey Letters, iv. 65, 85; CJ, lxxxiii. 375, 532.
- 161. NLW ms 10804 D, letterbk. 2, Williams Wynn to Buckingham, 7 May 1828.
- 162. NLW ms 2796 D, Sir W. to H. Williams Wynn, 21 July 1828; Coedymaen mss 205.
- 163. NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 4 July, 17 Aug. 1828; Coedymaen mss 206.
- 164. Add. 51834; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 17, 19 Sept., 26 Oct., 2 Nov. 1828; Coedymaen mss 1003, 1005.
- 165. Coedymaen mss 207; Add. 51580, Carlisle to Lady Holland, 18 Jan. 1829.
- 166. PRO NI, Anglesey mss D619/32A/3/5; Coedymaen mss 1006; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 11 Jan., 3 Feb. 1829.
- 167. NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 10, 11 Feb., 3, 17 Mar., 30 Apr.; Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 16 Feb. 1829; Add. 40396, f. 55; 40399, ff. 66, 195.
- 168. NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 3 Apr.; NLW ms 10804 D, letterbk. 1, Williams Wynn to Whateley, 23 July 1829.
- 169. Coedymaen mss 1007.
- 170. NLW ms 10804 D, letterbk, iii, Williams Wynn to Malcolm, 16 June 1829.
- 171. NLW, Glansevern mss 905; Chester Courant, 26 May 1829.
- 172. Cambrian Quarterly Mag. i (1829), 260; Chester Courant, 7 Sept.; Shrewsbury Chron. 25 Sept. 1829; Glansevern mss 905; NLW, Garn mss (1956), J. Edwards to J.W. Griffith, 11 Sept., J. Copner Williams to same, 13 Sept. 1829.
- 173. Coedymaen mss 210-12, 974, 975.
- 174. NLW ms 10804 D, letterbk. i, Williams Wynn to Whateley, 29 July 1829; Coedymaen mss 212, 213, 976; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to Southey, 8 Feb. 1830.
- 175. Coedymaen mss bdle. 29, Williams Wynn to Phillimore, 6 Feb. 1830.
- 176. Ibid. Williams Wynn to Phillimore [Apr.]; NLW ms 4815 D, same to Southey, 8 Feb. 1830; Wellington mss WP1/1166/8.
- 177. NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to Southey, 8 Feb. 1830.
- 178. N. Wales Chron. 4, 11, 18 Mar. 1830.
- 179. Geo IV. Letters, iii. 1579.
- 180. Wellington mss WP1/1104/10.
- 181. Coedymaen mss bdle. 29, Williams Wynn to Phillimore [Apr. 1830].
- 182. Glansevern mss 8419.
- 183. Escott, 150-53.
- 184. Glansevern mss 1435, 8491.
- 185. Escott, 153-9; Brougham mss, same to Brougham, 24 Jan. 1832.
- 186. NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 11 May, 25 June, 1, 9 July 1830.
- 187. NLW, Aston Hall mss C.599; Greville Mems. ii. 16.
- 188. St. Deiniol’s Lib. Glynne-Gladstone mss 197, T. to J. Gladstone, 11 Feb. 1831.
- 189. NLW, Ormathwaite mss F/G/1/5, p. 133.
- 190. NLW ms 4815 D, Williams Wynn to Southey, 8 Feb. 1830; 4817 D, same to H. Williams Wynn, 19, 26 Nov. 1830; Brougham mss, same to Brougham, 25 Nov.; Coedymaen mss 258, 756; Harrowby mss, Sandon to Harrowby, 25 Nov.; Powis mss, Holmes to Powis [Nov]; Hatherton mss, Littleton to R. Wellesley, 26 Nov. 1830.
- 191. Grey mss, Grey to Williams Wynn 24 Nov., replies 24, 25 Nov.; Add. 51568, Anglesey to Holland [21 Nov.] 1830.
- 192. Coedymaen mss 978.
- 193. NLW ms 2803 D, H. Williams Wynn to Williams Wynn, 27 Nov. 1830.
- 194. Coedymaen mss 464, 756-8; Hatherton mss, Littleton to Grey and reply, 6 Dec. 1830; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 14 Jan., 4 Feb.; Brougham mss, Williams Wynn to Brougham, 22 Jan. 1831.
- 195. Hatherton mss, Palmerston to Littleton [Dec. 1830].
- 196. NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 4 Feb. 1831.
- 197. Coedymaen mss 758-8; Glansevern mss 3798; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 21 Dec.; Shrewsbury Chron. 17 Dec. 1830.
- 198. Add. 56555, f. 77; TNA 30/12/7/6.
- 199. NLW ms 2797 D, Lady Delamere to H. Williams Wynn [23 Jan.], Lady Harriet to F. Williams Wynn, 1 Feb.; 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 11, 14 Jan., 22 Feb. 1831.
- 200. NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 22 Feb. 1831.
- 201. Ibid. Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 4 Feb.; The Times, 17 Feb. 1831; Coedymaen mss 471, 472, 763.
- 202. Shrewsbury Chron. 4 Mar. 1831.
- 203. Brougham mss, Williams Wynn to Brougham, 5 Mar. 1831.
- 204. NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 5 Mar. 1831.
- 205. Salopian Jnl. 9 Mar.; Shrewsbury Chron. 11 Mar; Add. 51576, Fazakerley to Holland [4 Mar.]; Grey mss, Grey to Holland [c. 4 Mar. 1831].
- 206. Coedymaen mss 473, 764, 1029; Grey mss, Holland to Grey, 4 Mar.; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 11 Mar. 1831; Greville Mems. ii. 125.
- 207. NLW ms 4815 D, Williams Wynn to Southey, 15 Mar.; 4817 D, same to H. Williams Wynn, 15 Mar. 1831.
- 208. Greville Mems. ii. 133.
- 209. Glansevern mss 2421.
- 210. Wellington mss WP1/1179/13; Coedymaen mss 473-5.
- 211. Coedymaen mss 765-9; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 25 Mar. 1831; Wellington mss WP1/1197/19; Fremantle mss 139/20/9.
- 212. Coedymaen mss 476, 477.
- 213. Ibid. 239, 240, 478, 479; Glynne-Gladstone mss 198, T. to J. Gladstone, 20 Apr.; Add. 51573, Rice to Holland [19 Apr.]; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 22 Apr.; Spectator, 23 Apr. 1831.
- 214. Glansevern mss 1099, 1103, 1407, 2423-7, 8279, 8452; Coedymaen mss 221, 239-51, 770, 979; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 15 Apr., 20 May; Shrewsbury Chron. 29 Apr., 6, 13 May; Salopian Jnl. 4, 11 May, 26 Oct, 9, 30 Nov.; The Times, 10 May; N. Wales Chron. 14 May; Chester Courant, 6 Dec.; NLW ms 2797 D, F. to H. Williams Wynn, 9 May 1831; B. Ellis, ‘Parl. Rep. Mont. 1728-1868’, Mont. Colls. lxiii (1973) 79-84.
- 215. Keele Univ. Lib. Sneyd mss SC17/58; Wellington mss WP1/1186/21.
- 216. Wilts. RO, Pembroke mss 2057/85/15; Coedymaen mss 481; Grey mss, Taylor to Grey, 7 July 1831.
- 217. Coedymaen mss 772.
- 218. Lonsdale mss, Croker to Lowther, 11 July; Hatherton diary, 13 July 1831.
- 219. Hatherton diary, 24 July 1831.
- 220. Coedymaen mss 214.
- 221. Ibid. 215; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn, 5 Aug. 1831.
- 222. Coedymaen mss 217.
- 223. Ibid.
- 224. Ibid. 218.
- 225. Ibid. 220.
- 226. Ibid. 221; NLW ms 4815 D, Williams Wynn to Southey [Sept. 1831].
- 227. Coedymaen mss 218.
- 228. Ibid. 217.
- 229. NLW, Harpton Court mss C/590; Coedymaen mss 219, 1014-20.
- 230. NLW ms 4815 D, Williams Wynn to Southey, 27 Oct. 1831.
- 231. Coedymaen mss 222, 256; NLW ms 4817 D, Williams Wynn to H. Williams Wynn