CROKER, John Wilson (1780-1857), of Munster House, Fulham, Mdx. and West Molesey , Surr.

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



1807 - 1812
1812 - 1818
16 Mar. 1819 - 1820
1820 - 1826
1826 - 12 May 1827
15 May 1827 - 1830
1830 - 1832

Family and Education

b. 20 Dec. 1780, 2nd s. of John Croker, surveyor-gen. port of Dublin, and 2nd w. Hester, da. of Rev. Richard Rathbone of Ballymore, co. Galway. educ. James Knowles’s sch. Cork; French émigré sch. Cork; Willis’s, Portarlington 1792; Trinity, Dublin 1796; King’s Inns 1798; L. Inn 1800, called [I] 1802. m. 25 May 1806, Rosamund Carrington, da. of William Pennell of Waterford, dep. comptroller of customs, later British consul, S. America, 1s. d.v.p. d. 10 Aug. 1857.

Offices Held

Customs controller of Wexford, Waterford and Ross 1804-7; sec. to admiralty Oct. 1809-Nov. 1830; PC 16 June 1828.

Dir. Greenwich Hosp. 1815.


According to Benjamin Disraeli†, writing on 1 Mar. 1832, the witty Henry Luttrell said that ‘the two most disgusting things in the world, because you cannot deny them, are [Sir George] Warrender’s* wealth, and Croker’s talents’.1 Never at a loss for words, he emerged towards the end of this period as a ‘dextrous’ and combative debater, with a ‘fluent’ delivery ‘somewhat impaired by ... not being able to pronounce the letter r’, and a ‘mercurial’ action which made him look ‘like a hen on a hot griddle’. His party prejudice and taste for sarcastic personal abuse sometimes rebounded on him.2 He was a conscientious and capable administrator during his 21-year tenure of the secretaryship of the admiralty (the first political appointee to that post), with a salary from 1818 of £3,000 a year. ‘For many years regarded as really master ... of the admiralty’, he made himself indispensable to successive Tory first lords and, while taking care to further the interests of his family and friends, looked for genuine ability in his juniors and closely supervised their work.3 He employed his facile pen effectively and often venomously in journalism, particularly after his premature retirement from politics in 1832; but he was less successful as a historian and editor of eighteenth century literary and political manuscripts, for in this sphere, as one critic noted, ‘his painstaking was not great’.4 He was widely disliked, not only by political opponents; but he had the duke of Wellington, Robert Peel* and George Canning* as personal friends and was a favourite of George IV.

In December 1819 Croker had a part in founding the Guardian weekly journal to support Lord Liverpool’s administration; it folded in 1824.5 After the death of George III in January 1820, under pressure from the premier which he privately resented as unreasonable, he ‘reluctantly’ withdrew his pretensions to stand for Dublin University at the impending general election so as not to disturb the Grenvillite Whig William Plunket, who had beaten him in 1818.6 In the event Croker, who believed that the Cato Street conspiracy was ‘not directly and immediately connected with any larger design’, but was ‘a kind of episode in the great plot against the whole establishment’, was returned unopposed for Bodmin on the de Dunstanville interest. After being ‘perished with cold’ at Lord de Dunstanville’s Tehidy Park home, he was obliged to dance with ‘two of the prettiest damsels’ at the ‘tiresome and foolish’ ball. On his way back to London with the king’s friend Lord Yarmouth, Member for Camelford, whose unpaid homme d’affaires he became after his succession as 3rd marquess of Hertford in 1822, he visited Plymouth dockyard and the nearby ‘seat of [his Devonian] ancestors’. In late March he was visited at his Fulham residence, Munster House (bought for £1,200), by Sir Walter Scott. His outlook on life was permanently changed in May 1820 by the death, after three weeks’ illness, of his beloved only child, three-year-old Spencer Perceval. His wife was inconsolable, while Croker lost all serious political ambition. He claimed eighteen months later that he would have retired from office but for his fear that he ‘should be desoeuvre out of it’ and ‘could not answer for my own strength of mind’. He took consolation in his wife’s youngest sister Rosamund Pennell (‘Nony’), whom they had legally adopted as their daughter in about 1815. Yet he felt that his ‘nerves ... grow every day weaker and more irritable’, and he suffered a marked decline in his health during the 1820s.7

Soon after the accession of George IV Mrs. Croker was given a grace and favour apartment in Kensington Palace, which Croker frequently used; and in 1820 he acquired a marine villa near Gosport, handily placed for Portsmouth dockyard.8 He was given periods of leave from Parliament on account of his bereavement, 1, 17 June 1820. Of the Queen Caroline affair he observed to Peel, 1 Sept., that ‘all the disgusting details proved against her seem to make no change in the minds or numbers of her partisans’; and he correctly predicted two months later that ministers would be forced to abandon the prosecution. On 15 Dec. 1820 the king summoned him to talk ‘very freely and fully of public affairs’ and apprise him of his wish to see Peel replace Canning at the board of control. He immediately warned Peel, who was ‘disinclined to accept’, as Croker felt he was entitled to be. He duly voted in defence of his colleagues’ conduct towards the queen, 6 Feb. 1821, and he was of course a regular voter on the ministerial side for the remainder of that Parliament. He paired for Catholic relief, 28 Feb., and on 15 Mar. gave notice that in committee on the relief bill he would move an instruction to include provision for the Irish Catholic clergy. He defended this concept as essential to the permanent success of emancipation, 19 Mar., and, ignoring attempts to ‘deter’ him, moved his instruction at the report stage, 29 Mar., but withdrew it in the face of the foreign secretary Lord Castlereagh’s objections, claiming that the principle had been conceded.9 That day he argued that Buonaparte had been ‘fairly’ treated in exile. He opposed admiralty reductions, 4 May, and boasted of having established an asylum for deranged naval officers, 7 May. That month he published an edition of the Letters of Lady Hervey. In June he could not blame Peel for refusing Liverpool’s renewed offer of the India board, but tried to convince him that ‘if not in government, he would soon be in opposition’. On his own initiative he informed the king’s secretary Sir Benjamin Bloomfield† that Peel’s refusal had ‘not ... been general, but limited to the board of control’ and suggested that the king should agree to Canning’s readmission to the cabinet on condition that Peel became chancellor of the exchequer, which would scupper the negotiation but place the blame on Liverpool, Castlereagh and Canning.10 When he presented Nony at Court on the 17th, the king confided to him that ministers were ‘madmen ... not to leave well alone’. Next day he went to the Commons to vote for the grant for the duke of Clarence. He dismissed as ‘absurd’ a report that he was to be moved to woods and forests. Soon afterwards he concluded that the king was ‘playing the game of softening, if not conciliating, the opposition’ to ‘obtain domestic quiet’, but thought ‘that line ... in the long run ... [could] not ... succeed’, as ‘party is in England a stronger passion than love, avarice or ambition’. As he was unable to attend the coronation, 19 July, being obliged to ‘stay at the admiralty to be at hand to give directions in case of confusion’, the king gave him a gold snuff box and gold medals for his wife and Nony. He was allowed to delay his departure to Ireland as one of the king’s retinue on account of his wife’s illness at Brighton, where George told him of his extreme dissatisfaction with Liverpool. He was in Dublin on 4 Aug. and was among those who greeted the king on his arrival at Howth on the 12th. He thought the address of the Catholic bishops was ‘in bad taste’ and overtly political. He attended dinners for the king at Slane Castle, 26 Aug., and Dublin University, 27 Aug., and returned to Holyhead in ‘a rolling and disagreeable passage’ by steam packet on the 29th; he avoided sea-sickness by sitting on deck in his carriage. Back in London on 31 Aug., he defended himself against a written complaint from Charles Arbuthnot*, the patronage secretary, that he had ‘talked of the king being dissatisfied and the government in danger’. In early September interviews with Liverpool, who wanted him to help mollify the king over the botched arrangements for the queen’s funeral procession, Croker, pointing out that the premier’s ‘real quarrel’ with George ‘was old, and lay deeper’, encouraged him to ‘meet the king not argumentatively, but kindly and frankly’:

I ... [told] ... Liverpool that I gave this advice for no object but peace sake; that I was in a situation which would render it highly irksome to me that the king, who honoured me with his private favour, should be dissatisfied with those under whom I held public office, but that I was above or below the reach of royal or ministerial favour; that I wanted nothing, and would take nothing, and ... had no object but to prevent ... dissatisfaction and dissension.

On the day of his departure for Hanover the king told Croker that Liverpool had ‘thrown the weight of rejecting Mr. Canning on his shoulders’ and that he had postponed considering his response, but hoped an arrangement could be made with Peel. To Peel Croker confided that ‘in the whole round of the political compass there is no point to which I look with any interest but yourself’: ‘I should like to see you in high and effective office ... but if I looked only to your own comfort and happiness, I should never wish to see you within the walls of Pandemonium’. A month later he told the veteran Whig George Tierney* that ‘as soon as the king came back, it must be brought to a decision, either for him to strengthen his government by the admission’ of the Grenvillites and Canning, or ‘to change ... [it] altogether’.11 He warned Peel in mid-November 1821 that an offer of the home office was imminent, along with a formal alliance with the Grenvillites, a change in the Irish administration and the disposal of Canning by his nomination as the next governor-general of India.

Croker dined with the king at Brighton in early January 1822. A month later he assured the Irish administration that there was no truth in the stories that he was ‘in correspondence with a party in Dublin’ hostile to Lord Wellesley, the new viceroy, and ‘that I attack him in the Courier’. He was poorly soon afterwards, but by 18 Feb. was

as well as ever I shall be, liable to headaches and fits of low spirits, but on the whole better in both body and mind than I had hoped to be ... My doings ... are just what they always are - all day busy in my office and most nights busy in Parliament; no very lively state of existence.12

He clashed with Hume on the navy estimates, 22 Feb., when he derided Hume’s ‘gross mistakes’ and, before getting rid of his hostile motion by 144-54, denied Grey Bennet’s allegation that he was the owner or editor of John Bull (a common radical misconception). When the dispute with Hume was renewed, 27 Feb., Thomas Creevey* judged that the ‘villain’ Croker had been ‘completely defeated’; but Sir James Mackintosh*, recognizing Croker’s ‘singular talents’, thought it was ‘at most a difference not in the amount of expenditure but merely in the mode of stating an account’.13 Croker refused to answer Hume’s renewed complaints, 1 Mar., and replied to him tartly, 21, 28 Mar.14 He defended the work of the Java prize money committee, 17 July, and the admiralty’s efforts to curb Spanish piracy in the Caribbean, 30 July 1822.15 In his spare time he was working on an edition of the letters of the countess of Suffolk, George II’s mistress, which he published in 1823.16

When Lord Londonderry’s suicide, 12 Aug. 1822, necessitated a government reshuffle, Croker, who was horrified by the ‘loud acclamation of joy from a considerable body of people’ as the coffin reached the door of the Abbey, kept Peel informed of the negotiations with his rival Canning; he was sounded by the latter’s henchman William Huskisson.* He believed that if Canning decided to go to India there would be no ‘great difficulty in carrying on the government’ with Peel leading the Commons, and that if he was taken in as foreign secretary or leader, as Croker preferred, there would be ‘a good deal of dissatisfaction amongst the subordinate office men’, but no serious problem, unless Canning began to ‘intrigue’. His greatest anxiety was that Canning might be driven into opposition by the king’s hostility, in which case he would draw off about 40 ministerialists and so ‘be at the head of the most powerful floating party which has existed for near a century in Parliament’.17 He wrote to Peel, 26 Aug.:

The art of governing is nothing but the art of managing the follies and waywardness of mankind; and in the career in which you are engaged you must submit to conquer your disgust and impatience, and endeavour to humour the grown children whom you have to guide ... What children you and I are ourselves, to go on leading a life we hate, pursuing objects which if attained we should not care for and sacrificing to the anxieties and ingratitude of public life the private happiness of our existence ... Let us both resign.18

He was satisfied with Canning’s installation as foreign secretary and leader of the Commons in September 1822. That month he was admitted as a freeman and capital burgess of Hertford’s Suffolk boroughs of Aldeburgh and Orford, and appointed mayor of the latter.19

At the turn of the year, according to Mrs. Arburthnot, Croker thwarted Canning’s intemperate dispatch ordering a blockade of Spanish West Indian ports by pointing out some of its ‘glaring indiscretions’ to Wellington, who had it recalled.20 In the House, 24 Feb. 1823, he opposed the production of information on the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters as ‘interference ... with the proceedings of courts of justice’. On 14 Mar. he defended the navy estimates and claimed that as secretary of the widows’ fund he received over 30,000 letters a year. On the vote for accommodating George III’s library, 20 June, he argued that it must not be located in ‘that disgraceful place ... the British Museum’, whose trustees he attacked with ‘strong and sharp ridicule’.21 On 1 July he carried by 80-54 an amendment to place the matter under treasury control. When asked earlier in the year by the publisher Charles Knight to give his ‘countenance’ to a planned pro-government paper, he had replied that he had for ‘some years foresworn all connection with newspapers’ and poured cold water on the project.22 In 1823 he leased Munster House to Peel’s brother William Peel.* At the end of the year he was the prime mover in the foundation of the Athenaeum Club for men of letters and artists; he involved himself closely in its increasingly flourishing affairs for the rest of his life.

Croker endorsed the chancellor of the exchequer Robinson’s line that responsibility for public buildings and works should be vested in the treasury and called for the east wing of Somerset House to be used for the national art gallery, 1 Mar. 1824. On the grant for the British Museum, 29 Mar., he said that ‘the library was pretty well managed’, but he ‘complained loudly of the state of the catalogue’. There was gossip that as Hertford’s ‘chief political adviser and friend’ he was ‘disposed to quit the admiralty in order to take the command and manage his concerns in the House of Commons’, where the marquess was building up a squad. William Fremantle*, a junior minister, felt that ‘Croker’s character don’t stand high enough for such a position, and Lord Hertford must know this’. Later in the year Lord Lonsdale was said to have spoken ‘with very little favour’ of Croker as one of Hertford’s acolytes, though he ‘admired’ his ‘parts’.23 He approved the Maynooth grant, 15 Mar., but believed improvements could be made in the college’s administration.24 When securing a return of Irish borough householders and county freeholders, 19 May, he disavowed ‘any intention on his own part of attempting any revision of the defective [representative] system of Ireland’.25 A week earlier he had told Bloomfield that ‘politics look fair and smooth’, though he considered it ‘not unlikely that if anything was to induce Lord Liverpool to retire we should have what is vulgarly called a blow-up’ between Canning and his critics in the cabinet. He defended the superannuation bill, pointing to cuts in admiralty clerks’ pensions, 17 June 1824. Later that year he published an edition of Horace Walpole’s Letters to Lady Hertford.

In December 1824 Croker informed Bloomfield that the state of Ireland was the only serious problem facing the ministry. He regarded the Catholic Association as ‘a lever by which the disaffected hope to overthrow the government’, but he considered the prosecution of Daniel O’Connell* ill advised. After explaining details of the navy estimates, 14, 24 Feb., on the 28th he briefly seconded Burdett’s motion to consider Catholic claims, but argued that provision for the Catholic clergy was essential: as he told the bishop of Ferns, 2 Mar., ‘if it be not adopted a rebellion and massacre will go near to pull the establishment about our ears’. He was hopeful of carrying emancipation, but saw it ‘only as a sedative under the influence of which other and more effective machines may have opportunity of operating’. He voted for the second reading of the relief bill, 21 Apr., but, after discussing the problem with Plunket and others, did not go through with his plan to move ‘resolutions for a provision for the clergy’. He paired for the third reading, 10 May.26 He opposed the introduction of Trench’s Thames Quay bill until private property owners were guaranteed indemnity, 15 Mar. On the 28th he said that the national gallery should be sited where ‘the great tide of human existence flowed’ and not in the vicinity of Russell Square, the exact location of which he pretended not to know. He approved and was appointed to the select committee on the printed papers of the House, 14 Apr., and suggested keeping a daily record of Members’ attendance at private bill committees, 30 June 1825.27 In late November Croker, a guest at Windsor, was treated by the king to a ‘regular history of some circumstances of his political life’ and was allowed to make some notes. On a fifteen-hour journey with Peel to Staffordshire in December he was ‘very talkative the whole way’; and at Hertford’s Suffolk seat of Sudbourne over Christmas Mrs. Arbuthnot noted that he ‘talks incessantly and, with his usual presumption ... gave [Admiral] Sir Richard Strachan a lesson upon attacking batteries’.28

On 7 Feb. 1826 Croker dismissed the petition of one Burridge alleging that most naval ships were falling to pieces as the product of a ‘disordered imagination’.29 He justified the deployment of a large force in Indian waters, 21 Feb. In March he ‘fought the government battle against Walter Scott’, replying to the latter’s attack on the proposal to prohibit the circulation of small bank notes in Scotland, Letters of Malachi Malagrowther, in a series of ‘very amusing’ letters in the Courier.30 He told Wellington, who was abroad, that it was ‘not very comfortable to think, nor very creditable to have it known, that the administration was for four or five days at the mere mercy of the opposition and the Bank’. In the House, 21 Apr. 1826, he urged Grattan to bring forward his plan to allow Irish parishes to make poor rate assessments as a substantive motion. When the Irish barrister John North* canvassed Dublin University in anticipation of Plunket’s retirement in March, Croker staked his claim for ministerial backing and went to Dublin for a few days at the end of the month to show his face and assess his chances. He repeated his promise not to disturb Plunket, but wanted government support on any future vacancy. He returned to Dublin on 16 May 1826, but, finding that Plunket intended to stand at the impending general election, he resigned his pretensions for the present.31 Hertford brought him in for Aldeburgh with Liverpool’s Protestant nominee, in a deal brokered by Croker himself.32

In October 1826 he told Hertford that ‘corn, currency and Catholics’ would ‘perplex ... if not dissolve the government’. He spoke on the navy estimates, 12 Feb. 1827.33 ‘Confined by a sore throat’ at the end of the month, he advised Peel to treat the electoral bribery issue ‘as one of a notorious specific evil, requiring some notorious and specific remedy’, and warned him of a potentially ‘formidable’ opposition in the Lords to the government’s plan to relax the corn laws.34 He divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827. On the day of Liverpool’s incapacitating stroke, 17 Feb., Croker had recorded his personal belief that with Wellington now commander-in-chief, Canning was the only feasible candidate for the premiership. To Wellington, who concurred, he expressed the hope that Peel would consent to serve under Canning; and he claimed that from a subsequent conversation he got the distinct impression that Peel ‘had then no idea of separating himself from Canning’. By 14 Mar., however, he feared that Peel was ‘quite indisposed to serving under ... a Catholic premier’, and the following day he warned him that ‘notice had been taken’ of his having invited to dinner only anti-Catholic Tories. Wellington’s confidante Mrs. Arbuthnot a week later condemned Croker as ‘a great Canningite pretending all the time to be devoted to the duke’ and ‘trying to persuade me that ... Canning should be prime minister’.35 Croker kept out of Peel’s way as negotiations intensified and was much with Canning, partly to consider the plan to send Hertford on a mission to Russia. Rumours that he was ‘busy settling the ministry’ abounded and, sensing Peel’s displeasure, he wrote on 6 Apr. to explain his conduct. Peel civilly accepted this but declined to discuss politics. Croker tried to persuade some Protestant members of the Liverpool ministry, notably Lord Lowther*, to remain in under Canning. When the mass Tory resignations, including Peel’s, were sent in, he accepted on 13 Apr. Canning’s offer to continue at the admiralty (having failed to persuade Peel to see him beforehand), but to Peel disclaimed any wish for promotion ‘which might seem to advance my private interests’. Peel, who felt betrayed, sent a frigid reply, and on 20 Apr. Croker wrote again, asserting his loyalty, lamenting ‘this interruption to our cordiality’ and hoping for ‘its removal in better times’. He continued to badger Lowther, but in vain. He did not like the coalition with the Lansdowne Whigs, but believed that Canning had been driven into it and that ‘a Tory opposition cannot last’.36 Croker was popularly but wrongly held responsible for engineering the appointment in May 1827 of the duke of Clarence as lord high admiral, in order to secure his own tenure in a future reign. In fact it was entirely Canning’s doing and caused Croker much discomfort.37 On the 15th he was returned for Dublin University, made vacant by Plunket’s removal to the Lords, after a sharp contest. In the House, 25 May, he justified grants to various Irish charitable institutions in the absence of the poor laws. He voted with his colleagues against the disfranchisement of Penryn, 28 May, and was a minority teller against the Coventry magistracy bill, 18 June. He defended the system of naval promotion, 7, 21 July 1827, and on the 22nd said that while impressments could not safely be abandoned, the admiralty was reducing reliance on it by improving seamen’s pay and conditions.38

Immediately after Canning’s death, 8 Aug. 1827, Croker wrote to Hertford:

I do not doubt that the king will eventually give his chief confidence to the duke of Wellington ... I expect a complete Tory government, with which I wish Lord Carlisle could act, nay I should not be sorry for Lord Lansdowne; but I do not think they can well coalesce with the duke and Peel ... An exclusive Protestant government cannot ... stand; there would be an opposition of 250, which would stop all public business.

He made known to Sir Henry Hardinge*, Wellington’s confidant, his desire that the duke should form an administration, with Peel leading the Commons and moderate Whigs included, even if Wellington should hand over the premiership to ‘a fagot’, such as Lord Goderich. When he found that the latter had been charged with the formation of a government Croker, as Peel disapprovingly noted, ‘with all his usual sagacity and discretion was open-mouthed against ... Goderich as a vacillating, indecisive character’ and was ‘vociferous for the duke being sent for’.39 Consulted by Goderich on 11 Aug., Croker urged him to take in Wellington and Peel and some Lansdowne Whigs, warning him that otherwise he would ‘never make the king’s speech’. He put his own place, with its handsome salary and ‘one of the best houses in London’, at Goderich’s disposal, but stayed in office in the doomed ministry and subsequently impressed on Huskisson, a member of the cabinet, ‘the advantage (not to say necessity) of reconciling the aristocracy with the government, and suggested how Lord Lonsdale might be appeased’.40 On 1 Oct. he beseeched Peel for ‘a return to our formal intercourse’. Peel agreed to forget his part in the formation of Canning’s ministry, but banned all future discussion of politics. Croker, still protesting his innocence, was pathetically grateful for Peel’s condescension, claiming that their ‘separation ... broke my rest and mixed with my dreams’.41 At the end of 1827, as the ministry foundered, he remarked that Goderich ‘still continues in the fool’s paradise of fancying that he is minister’, predicted that the king would next approach Wellington and observed, ‘What fools, fools, fools, our Tory friends have been!’.

In early January 1828 Croker had ‘confidential’ talks with John Herries*, the chancellor of the exchequer, and Joseph Planta*, the patronage secretary, ‘on the embarrassing situation of the government’ over the composition of the finance committee. Advised by Hertford to ‘stay in quietly and wait events’,42 he knew little of Wellington and Peel’s negotiations to form a government, but when matters were settled felt that they had satisfied ‘all my private and public feelings’ by keeping him in his office, though he had private reservations about Wellington’s retention of the army command and Henry Goulburn’s* appointment to the exchequer. When he met Peel by chance on 20 Jan. - ‘the first meeting ... on friendly terms since April’ - he found him ‘very cordial’. In the Commons, 9 Feb., he refused to supply a printed comparison of the 1792 and current navy estimates, and on the 12th he replied to Hume’s criticisms of the way in which they were presented and of the level of expenditure. He was ‘examined for near three hours before the finance committee’, 22 Feb. He divided against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and objected to the Lords’ amendments to the bill, 2 May. On 14 Mar., claiming that he had ‘always been (as an anti-reformer) inclined to give the representations which might fall in by disfranchisement’ of delinquent boroughs to ‘the great towns having populations of 100,000’, he told Peel that he would ‘individually be glad to see both Retford and Penryn transferred to Birmingham and Manchester’, which would ‘tend to stave off reform’. As, however, ‘the Tories in general’ would not swallow that, he suggested the compromise of sluicing East Retford into the hundred and giving Penryn’s seats to Manchester. This was the line adopted at a ministerial meeting later that day, which Croker attended.43 The turn of events in Portugal kept him ‘ten hours at my desk without intermission, except to see people on the business’, 19 Mar. He was added to the select committee on Irish education, 20 Mar. He thought that the minister Charles Grant’s speech on the revised corn duties, 31 Mar., was ‘very apologetical’ and ‘the country gentlemen ... but half pleased’. Next day he called for action to stop the ‘evil’ of Irish emigration to England and Scotland. He had something to say on Williams Wynn’s plan to revise the regulations concerning controverted elections, 3 Apr. On the 21st he and his wife entertained Lockhart and Scott, who sensed that ‘there was something ... awanting to the cheerfulness of the party’; but two weeks later he found Croker ‘very decisive and overbearing to a great degree’ at a dinner party and considered it ‘strange [that] so clever a fellow should let his wit overrun his judgement’.44 On 4 May Clarence ‘tired’ Croker ‘to death’ with ‘his usual dish of Catholic question politics’; he voted for relief, 12 May. He agreed to allow the Irish judicial commissioners to investigate the admiralty court, 20 May. On the resignation of the Huskissonites from the government Croker wrote to Wellington, 27 May, to offer his services as Irish secretary. He went to Dublin and had a conversation with the viceroy, Lord Anglesey, who was friendly, but told him after reflection that although he would not block his appointment if Wellington pressed it, he thought that as an Irishman Croker would by ‘plagued to death’. While Croker was returning to London Anglesey informed Wellington that he ‘would not do’, as he would be ‘unpopular’. When the premier told him of this, 7 June, Croker ‘startled’ him by asking ‘whether he thought I could remain at the admiralty’ and complained that although the post was more important and remunerative than ‘privy councillor’s office’ he could not honourably ‘acquiesce in my official inferiors and juniors being ... put over my head’. Wellington persuaded him to sleep on it and eventually pacified him by securing his nomination as a privy councillor, which pleased him immensely.45 He suggested to Peel that the talented Whig Sir James Graham* might be recruited to the ministry and urged on Wellington the ‘vital importance’ of maintaining the right to blockade the rebel Portuguese government.46 In the Commons he defended the grants for Irish charities, 9 June, and carried through the Longitude Act repeal bill, to ‘set to sleep all ... absurd projects for finding the North Pole’, 4 July. He defeated an attempt to end the subsidy for the survey of Ireland, 7 July. In the light of O’Connell’s return for Clare he submitted to Peel a ‘rough draft of a bill ... to render incapable of being elected persons who are incapable of sitting in Parliament’ and discussed the legalities with the former Speaker, Lord Colchester. When Peel argued for postponement of the issue until next session, Croker claimed to have made him ‘wince’ by condemning such ‘a timid ... course’.47 Wellington backed him and the lords of the admiralty in their dispute over patronage with Clarence, which now came to a head; Clarence’s forced resignation was a great relief to Croker.48 He nevertheless told Peel, 13 Aug., that if possible he would like to be made treasurer of the navy or master of the mint:

They are not better in income (not so good) as my present office, and ... would give me no increase of rank, but I ... am a little tired of the labour and constant attendance of this place, and if I were in either of the other offices I might be able to take a more useful part in the House ... though I ... am out of the habit of speaking and fear that you would not find me as useful ... as I would have been ten years ago ... I do not at all look to the cabinet, which it would be absurd ... for me to do.

Wellington set the matter aside for the moment, but there were false stories that the East India Company directors had refused to accept Croker as secretary to the board of control and that he was to be made judge advocate.49 In June 1828 he had taken a lease of a cottage at Molesey Grove, Surrey. He bought it a year later, extended it and made it his home for the rest of his life, although he continued to use Kensington Palace.50 At a shooting party at Sudbourne in October 1828 Peel discovered that Croker (who was now almost completely bald) had ‘something the matter with his head, and is very much oppressed with it’.51

‘Astounded’ by the treasury secretary George Dawson’s* ‘unseasonable’ public confession of his conversion to Catholic emancipation, 12 Aug. 1828, Croker admitted that ‘so far from being at all induced by terror of the Catholic Association to persevere in my vote, I have more than once been on the point of suspending my support ... on account of the ... Association’. A month later he contended to Wellington that the Association must be put down:

If the Catholics are to be allowed to carry Parliament sword in hand, they will occupy every open seat in Ireland. The reign of terror will be carried on with a higher hand. The Protestant gentry will emigrate, the Protestant poor will fly or be converted, the Protestant church will be spoiled ... and instead of settling the matter with your pen you will have to settle it on the field.52

In early January 1829 Wellington took him into his confidence on the changed aspect of affairs following the publication of Anglesey’s ‘most extraordinary’ letter condemning ministerial inaction. Croker felt that the duke had conceded ‘the principle of concession’, but that the present circumstances were ‘inauspicious’ for a settlement.53 He feared for Peel’s credibility and thought him wrong to vacate his seat for Oxford University. He voted for emancipation, 6 Mar., and subsequently pressed Peel, without success, to tackle the problem of ‘frauds and perjuries’ in Irish borough registration: otherwise, ‘the priests will return three or four of the most mischievous firebrands’, who would try to ‘bring back the old system in the counties’.54 On 23 Mar. he played down the significance of the anti-Catholic petition from his constituency, but privately he had little enthusiasm for emancipation, which had been ‘surrendered to intimidation’, came ‘too late to conciliate the Catholics’ and was ‘sure to alienate the Protestants’. Illness prevented him from voting in person for the third reading of the relief bill, 30 Mar. He feared ‘a dissolution of the great church and king party’, but according to Lockhart ‘talked very boldly of the duke’s confidence that the Tories would all reunite ere next session under his banner’.55 He defended the findings of the admiralty inquiry in the sinking of the Rosanna brig in a collision with a navy frigate, 22 May. On 31 July 1829, Mackintosh, misinforming Lady Holland that Croker was about to resign ‘disaffected and not ill disposed to show it’, described him as ‘a very clever man who by a little hypocrisy might have been a powerful man’.56 In August he was asked by Planta, at Wellington’s behest, how ministers could more effectively manage the press. Without much conviction he suggested the designation of a member of the cabinet to take responsibility, but, having begun work on his cherished project of a new edition of Boswell’s Life of Johnson, he declined to resume his own journalistic activities. He failed to interest Lockhart in buying a share in the Star.57

Croker was uncomfortable with Wellington’s decision to make no reference to distress in the 1830 king’s speech and hoped he would ‘be able to bring the country gentlemen to his opinion’. In early February the duke proposed to make him treasurer of the navy, but allowed him first to ascertain his chances of easy re-election for the University, although Hertford had promised him a certain seat at the next general election. Croker made a fuss about the possibility of the office being abolished, but accepted the offer in principle on being reassured. In the end, however, Wellington lost patience and, on Peel’s advice, allowed Croker to stay where he was.58 Writing to Peel on the eve of the session of the ‘great progress’ made by ‘the cause of reform’, he argued that the government was ‘bound to resist it altogether’, as ‘any unhappy vacillation or weakness’ would ‘break down the dykes and flood-gates, and lay the whole country under the wave of reform’. At the same time, he thought cases of borough corruption should be dealt with as they arose. He voted against the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., and the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb.; but next day he suggested to Peel that the seats given to Yorkshire from Grampound in 1821 might now be conferred (one each) on Leeds and Sheffield, and Retford’s be divided between Birmingham and Manchester.59 He defended the admiralty’s record in holding down salaries, 12 Feb. At Peel’s request, he made himself ‘master’ of the history of the treasurership of the navy and, in defiance of angry interruptions, put the case for giving it a separate ministerial salary, 12 Mar.60 He replied to Hume’s attacks on the navy estimates, 22, 26, 30 Mar. He divided silently against Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., 17 May, when he thought that Peel’s ‘very faint’ speech ‘in principle gave up the whole connection of church and state’. Lord Ellenborough, a member of the cabinet, noted at this time that ‘that foolish fellow’ Croker ‘and others imagine that they could go on without Peel’; but in fact Croker regarded Peel as indispensable, as the ministry’s only reliable prop in the Commons.61 He spoke at some length in justification of British intervention at Terceira, 28 Apr., and paired against abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June. Believing that Wellington must and would strengthen the administration, he told William Vesey Fitzgerald* that if changes reached ‘even as low as me’ he was ready to volunteer his resignation, though he would ‘make no parade of disinterestedness’. At the end of May he heard that Clarence, anticipating the death of his brother the king, had let it be known that his ‘first act’ on coming to the throne would be to send Croker packing from the admiralty. This scotched his notion of tendering his resignation and he decided to ‘lie at single anchor to wait the turn of the tide’. In response to ‘a furious canvass against me’ in Dublin University by North, he obtained in mid-June 1830 a declaration of ‘exclusive’ ministerial support.62 On his return from a flying electioneering visit to Ireland he found the king at death’s door; and when he kissed hands as one of William IV’s privy council he was ‘agreeably disappointed’ to receive a civil and jocular greeting. Yet two weeks later it was widely reported that the new king had again spoken of his intention to get rid of him.63 Croker had ‘no doubt’ that ‘eventually the activity of his mind will bring him into collision with his ministers’ and, aware that the government only survived because of the disunity of opposition, he felt that ‘if we do not get help somewhere, we shall become ridiculous’. When he returned to Dublin he was alarmed by the ‘Protestant zeal’ of the University in support of Thomas Lefroy. With Wellington’s backing he persuaded North to step aside, but North changed his mind and his late intervention resulted in Croker’s narrow defeat by Lefroy. He had, however, already been returned for Aldeburgh.64

Croker considered the elections ‘very bad’ for the government and told Lowther, 13 Aug. 1830, that while this was ‘not the light in which the treasury views the returns ... I see in them the seeds of the most troublesome and unmanageable Parliament since that which overturned the monarchy and beheaded the monarch’.65 Croker, who was wrongly credited with writing ‘a very clever pamphlet’ in reply to Brougham’s on the outcome of the general election, urged William Blackwood to tone down the attacks on the duke and Peel in his Tory Magazine. When he called on Lord Palmerston* on the eve of the new session to try to persuade him to reconsider his rejection of Wellington’s recent overture, he soon established that as Palmerston was prepared to support reform they were wasting their breath.66 He encouraged Peel to stand firm in the House against the overrated opposition. On 5 Nov. 1830, when only he and Arbuthnot were on the treasury bench, he deplored O’Connell’s attack on the ministry. He was of course in their minority on the civil list on the 15th and, determined to go out with them (although no admiralty secretary had ever been removed on a change) he wrote to Hertford, ‘So after twenty-two years of office I am about to be a free man. I wonder how I shall like it. Perhaps after a season I shall pine for my green desk’. With his pension of £1,500 he had no serious financial worries, though he accepted the need for a ‘more economical course of life’. On 22 Nov. he ‘took the opposition seats’ with Peel and ‘our whole party’. Next day he denounced Brougham for taking the lord chancellorship only a week after proclaiming himself the champion of the people. Macaulay, having conceived a great hatred of Croker and his ‘insufferable impertinence and poltroonery’, gave him ‘a dressing’, as he saw it.67 Croker, who undertook to do what he could to promote the Tory cause in the press,68 joined in calls on Hodgson to withdraw his motion of a return of the number of freemen in parliamentary boroughs, 7, 9 Dec. He was incensed by the Grey ministry’s allowing ‘the king to be ... besieged in his palace by an illegal assembly, a mob calling itself the trades of London’, and reflected that just as ministers’ ‘violent declamations against the existing amount of [military] force’ now obliged them to increase it to suppress disorder, so they would be forced to ‘eat all their pledges’. On 23 Dec. 1830 he persuaded Trevor to drop a resolution accusing William Cobbett’s† Political Register of libel. He was ‘violently opposed’ to the Tories noticing the radicals’ attack on the civil list that evening, but Herries ignored him.69

On 2 Jan. 1831 Croker wrote to Lowther:

If the Tories could be rallied together, if Peel would lead us with vigour and firmness, if we were all ... anxious to help create a public opinion in counteraction of the revolutionaries, I think we could weather the gale, but I see no union, no firmness, no zeal ... I wish I had more early cultivated my turn for parliamentary speaking. I might now be of use to the cause ... I have the feelings and I believe the views which might save us, but I want the power adequately to express them and ... the station from which I could speak with authority and effect.70

Peel, to whom he observed that ‘when I look seriously at public affairs, I get a sick qualm’, invited him to Drayton a week later.71 He was now against ‘any alteration whatsoever’ in the representative system and avowed that ‘the question is not reform, but in fact revolution’; yet he could not get Peel, ‘sick with eating pledges’, to commit himself to this line. At Wellington’s home at Stratfield Saye, 27-31 Jan., Ellenborough recorded that Croker ‘engrossed’ the conversation ‘in a great measure to himself. He was very entertaining and, although extravagant and exaggerating, right in the main in his views’. Behind Wellington’s back he ‘complained bitterly of Peel, of his wish to remain alone, unconnected with others, of his selfishness, etc.’72 He assumed that Peel had absented himself because it ‘must look like a political reunion’ and, while he professed not to ‘mistrust him’, remained ‘convinced that he wishes to stand alone’. A cold and ‘whooping cough’ confined him to his room for most of February; he got a week’s leave from the House on the 18th. He had hopes of defeating the ministerial reform plan, which if carried would ‘end in a republic, and after an agony, more or less bloody, would revert to another restoration’; and he saw their budget as ‘the first step to confiscation’. ‘In defiance of conjugal and medical advice’, he attended the Commons for the unveiling of the reform scheme, 1 Mar., unhappy with the opposition leaders’ decision to allow the measure to be introduced and determined to ‘raise my broken and ineffectual voice against the revolution’. Anticipating an offer of employment if the Tories soon returned to power, he told Hertford:

I shall put myself into Wellington’s hands, and do as he desires. I am by no means anxious for office, indeed just the reverse. I have lowered my scale of expenses and ... having nothing to desire ... feel an inward quiet and satisfaction that I have been for twenty years a stranger to; so that I shall really rejoice if either no offer, or Wellington’s opinion, should save me from renewed trouble and worry.

On leaving the House that night he told a fellow Tory that ‘the ministers, finding they could do nothing with the civil list or the budget, were preparing their retreat under the reform question’.73 Shocked by the scale and scope of the plan, he believed that the opposition should have ‘divided ... against the introduction of the principle’ and killed it at birth, and was furious that ‘timid counsels’ had prevailed. On 4 Mar. he attacked the bill in a ‘clever, but extremely violent’ speech.74 He argued that it would not satisfy the radical reformers outdoors and that the £10 borough franchise would throw ‘all the power of elections’ into the hands of ‘the lowest class of householders’. He seized on the many anomalies and discrepancies in the disfranchisement schedules A and B, arising largely out of errors in and ministerial misinterpretation of the 1821 census returns, the ‘pandects and codex of our new Justinian’, Lord John Russell, who was trying to ‘remodel all the institutions of the empire by the rules of arithmetic’. He implied political bias in the selection of boroughs for disfranchisement, noting the retention of two Members by the radical Whig Lord Radnor’s borough of Downton and by the moderate Lord Lansdowne’s borough of Calne, Macaulay’s seat. He accused ministers of ‘scattering the seeds of contention and discord’ and of undermining ‘natural and legitimate influence’ and declared that the scheme had ‘a revolutionary tendency and will, if carried, at last end in a revolution’. Lockhart had thought that Croker possessed ‘neither manner nor character to win or command attention in the House’, but was impressed by his ‘capital and most powerful performance’:

I never saw so much horror excited as by his slashing dissection of ... Russell; and the House, at first cold and reluctant, became, as he went on, intoxicated with glee. He had some real eloquent declamation too, and his delivery was manly and authoritative, wherever it was not diabolical and vindictive.75

The Whig William Ord* conceded that he was ‘clever’, though ‘very violent and abusive’; but Creevey reckoned that ‘even the boroughmongers’ at Crockford’s ‘admitted that ... Croker had made a damned rum figure’, while Ellenborough felt he had spoken ‘ill, slowly and heavily’. For Macaulay, Croker was ‘now beyond all comparison the most impudent man in the House’.76 Still unwell, Croker secured a fortnight’s leave, 14 Mar. To Hertford, 15 Mar., he denounced those Tories who ‘would not give East Retford to Birmingham’ but ‘would now jump at a compromise which should take one Member from each borough in the kingdom’.77 He thought a ‘fine occasion’ to oust the ministry on the timber duties had been missed and correctly anticipated the narrow majority for the second reading of the reform bill, 22 Mar., when he was of course in the minority. He went to West Molesey soon afterwards ‘for change of air’, but was ‘for twelve days confined to my bedroom’. His doctors were ‘inclined to forbid’ his attendance at the House, and he was prepared to be ‘docile’, except on reform. He told Wellington that ‘the danger now seems to be so great’ that ‘some and every endeavours should by made to put out this radical administration’. Thinking of ‘nothing else’ but ‘the revolutionary reform’, and predicting that ‘all will be levelled to the plane of the petty shopkeepers and small farmers’, he bemoaned the opposition’s paralysis. Deluding himself that ‘the tide is turning against reform’ in the country, he exhorted Peel to oppose it ‘boldly and inveterately’. He suggested trying to wreck the bill on the motion to go into committee, but after consulting the whip Billy Holmes* Peel ruled this out. Croker informed Peel that he considered Gascoyne’s planned amendment against any reduction in the number of English Members ‘a good one’, but, fearing that the bill would be ‘the worm that never dies’, he suggested a compromise scheme to increase the membership of the House by 12, take two Members from Weymouth’s four and redistribute these 14 thus: two each to Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield; one each to Belfast, Galway, Limerick and Waterford, and one each to Glasgow and Leith:

A year ago it would have been thought a radical reform. Now I suppose it would be called no reform at all, but I ... think it would allay a good deal of public feeling, and some provisions for rendering elections less troublesome and expensive would conciliate some votes in the House and opinion in the country.78

Yet to Hertford, who was critical of Peel, he wrote that defeat on the amendment would not deter ministers and that ‘the real cause of the success of this fearful measure is that our leader neither has, nor chooses to have, the command of the army’. He duly voted for the amendment, 19 Apr. 1831, and, despite being ‘low’ and ‘ill’, did his share of election work at the Charles Street committee rooms.79 He came in unopposed for Aldeburgh, which was scheduled for disfranchisement.

Croker complained of the novel way in which the navy estimates were presented, but defended the deployment of a West African squadron to check the slave trade, 27 June 1831. He divided silently against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July. That month he resumed, after a lapse of about five years, his contributions to the Quarterly Review’s political content.80 He was at the opposition meeting, 11 July, when it was decided to make an issue of allowing the petitioners against Appleby’s contentious disfranchisement to be heard by counsel, and he spoke in that sense next day.81 Despite his poor health, Croker put himself conspicuously forward in contesting the details and exposing the anomalies of the reform bill throughout the sweltering summer. Russell later wrote that ‘by his profusion of words ... his warmth of declamation and ... elaborate working out of details’ he had proved to be ‘a still more formidable adversary’ than Peel. Yet his own carelessness over details, his intemperance and his fixation with the treatment of Calne - ‘the key-stone of the arch’, as he called it - told against him. In any case ministers, backed by a working majority of about 130, always remained in control of the schedules.82 Croker had one of his best moments on 19 July, when he exploited ministers’ failure, which they now admitted, to realize that the 1821 census returns had not distinguished between boroughs and parishes; but the motion to use the 1831 census was crushed by 244-169. He insisted that the bill would damage the agricultural interest, 22 July, and described schedule B as its most obnoxious feature, 2 Aug. Next day he caused ‘uproar’ with a ‘noisy speech’ opposing the enfranchisement of Greenwich and personally attacking Macaulay, who hated him ‘more than boiled veal’ and later had his revenge on the ‘impudent leering scoundrel’, already prepared in the shape of a savage review of his Boswell in the September edition of the Edinburgh Review (liv. 1-38): he believed this had ‘smashed’ the ‘shamefully inaccurate’ book.83 On 5 Aug. Croker said it was ‘absolutely necessary’ that the boundary commission ‘should not have the wild power of altering the limits of boroughs according to their own discretion’ and dwelt on the preferential treatment given to the county of Durham, the territory of Lord Durham, one of the framers of the bill. In a diversion from reform, 12 Aug., he tried to embarrass Palmerston, the foreign secretary, and his colleagues over their silence on the Dutch invasion of Belgium, but his motion for information was rejected.84 He opposed Hunt’s call for a general householder suffrage in English boroughs, 24 Aug., and regretted the proposed disfranchisement of non-residents, though he admitted that they had been a source of corruption, 30 Aug. He predicted that voter registration would ‘create an annual contest’ and increase costs, 2 Sept. Next day, after consulting colleagues, he reached an agreement with Lord Althorp, the leader of the House, over the timetable for proceeding with the bill when it emerged from the committee.85 He spoke and voted against issuing the Liverpool writ, 5 Sept. He took credit for some of the minor adjustments made to the reform bill at the report stage, 13 Sept., but the following day, to mark his opposition to ‘this great and sweeping change in the constitution’, he formally moved to get rid of schedules A and B. His motion to transfer Downton from A to B was beaten by 96-43, 15 Sept. Speaking at length against the passage of the bill, ‘in a way he had never done before’, 20 Sept., he mocked Macaulay’s ‘approaching promotion’, disputed his attribution of ‘the downfall of the French nobility to an injudicious and obstinate resistance to popular opinion’, rehearsed his specific and general objections to the measure and the ‘arithmetical legerdemain’ behind it, condemned the inclusion of the Members Littleton and Gilbert on the boundary commission and, predicting that if the bill became law ‘the experiment of a republic will be near at hand’, urged the Lords to throw it out. He was an opposition minority teller, 21 Sept. Ellenborough thought it a ‘capital’ speech by a man who was ‘rising rapidly’, Williams Wynn reckoned it ‘good and effective’ and even Littleton found it ‘impudent and entertaining’.86 Mrs. Arbuthnot, commending Croker’s ‘eloquence ... research and distinguished ability’ in resisting the bill, commented that ‘if he had a little more tact and more urbanity, he might be anything; but everybody in the House dislikes him, and it is a pity ... [for] he is an excellent good natured man and full of talent’.87 On 4 Oct. he approved the general registry bill and attacked the Scottish reform bill as one of ‘flagrant injustice and national degradation’. He traded insults with and got the better of the Whig lawyer John Campbell, who admitted that he ‘is a very clever fellow and has a great ascendancy in the House’.88 Though pleased by the Lords’ rejection of the reform bill, Croker was ‘not satisfied’ with the ‘reformish’ tone of opposition speakers and the ‘inadequate’ number of lay lords in the majority, as he told Mrs. Arbuthnot:

What I said, from the first hour ... is likely to become true ... that we shall have a reform and that any reform will ... overthrow the Lords and the monarchy ... My inclination is to do nothing ... I have no political object in the world but to postpone the revolution ... and to do that, I am ready to do anything, if I could see the anything which it would fall to my lot to do. Of some utility I believe I have been, by the exposure of the bill in our House, which certainly diminished its popularity ... but now, higher and wider considerations must come into operation, which only those who are likely to have to deal with their results as ministers ... can properly decide upon. I am not one of those expectants, and I therefore feel that I have little to do in these discussions ... but as far as my vote goes, I do not contemplate that it can ever be otherwise than with the duke.89

He delivered what the reformer John Hawkins* considered a ‘very feeble and unusually ungentlemanlike, even for Croker’, speech against Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. 1831, and was a teller for the minority.90 Next day he said that there was no need to remodel the interior of the Commons but that the ‘offensive’ parts of the exterior might be removed. After the outbreaks of violence which followed the defeat of the reform bill, Croker thought the promotion of counter associations to combat the political unions would only bring ‘more certain and earlier destruction’ to the Tories, because ‘the four Ms, the monarch, the ministry, the Members and the multitude’ were ‘all against us’.91 On 20 Nov. 1831 he received but declined an invitation to go to London to see Lord Wharncliffe, one of the leaders of the ‘Waverer’ peers, who was negotiating with ministers for a compromise. He told Wellington and Peel that ‘I am not presumptuous as to think of playing a part in such affairs’ and that they were ‘the best judges of what may be best to be done’, and repeated his determination ‘not to return to office under any circumstances except ... in such as would make a refusal to share the difficulties and dangers ... dishonourable’. He considered all attempts to secure a compromise ‘quite illusory and a juggle probably meant to throw responsibility and odium on us’; Peel endorsed his decision to keep out of it.92

On the address, 6 Dec. 1831, Croker condemned ‘the desolating hand and rash counsels of ... ministers’, laid the ground for opposition to the revised reform bill and voiced alarm at the hint of a threat to Irish tithes. The Tory Lord Mahon* thought the speech was ‘very powerful’, but the ministerialist Hobhouse damned him as ‘somewhat smart and insolent’ when predicting ‘stagnation of trade’ and ‘a serious convulsion’ if reform was enacted, 7 Dec.93 Croker declared his undiminished hostility to the principle of the reform bill, 12 Dec., and, pestering ministers to produce the related statistical material, said it was ‘liable to more suspicion than the former one’. Hawkins, noting that he had ‘broke loose from the leading strings of his former patrons at the close of last session’, thought he was ‘showing evident symptoms of a desire to set up for himself’.94 To Hertford he wrote that the measure was ‘in its great principles just the same as before; but in its details it is a great triumph for me and ... our party, for there is not one of my points on which we divided ... which is not conceded’. Yet this was ‘not worth a pin, except as empty glory, for it leaves the great objection just where it was; nay, by removing anomalies and injustice, it makes the bill more palatable and therefore more dangerous’. Alarmed by the inclination of some Tories not to resist the second reading, Croker made a determined stand against it, 16 Dec., when, following Macaulay (who decided to ignore his ‘silly little pamphlet’ replying to the Edinburgh’s criticism of his Boswell), he noted Calne’s inclusion in schedule B, accused ministers of truckling to the unions, said that ‘vesting political power in the hands of so many thousands of the people’ would ‘end ... in the disorganization of civilized society’ and drew elaborate historical parallels between the present crisis and the events of the 1640s in England and the recent French revolution. The speech made an impact and apparently many government supporters were ‘much annoyed at the very mild tone’ of Althorp’s reply.95 Alas for Croker, Littleton, Hobhouse and Macaulay detected several ‘extraordinary blunders’ in the historical part of the speech and supplied Smith Stanley, the Irish secretary, with the materials to give him a ‘trimming’. This he did to devastating effect on 17 Dec. 1831. Le Marchant’s depiction of Croker’s complete humiliation was echoed by other witnesses:

The cheers ... were deafening. Croker at first seemed to [be] determined to brazen it out, but as Stanley proceeded to trace him through his falsifications of history, and the House so manifestly showed their sense of his conduct, his courage sunk. He turned very pale and pulled his hat over his brows and bent his head over his breast. Lord Althorp thought he was going to faint. Peel, who sat next, did not ... [seem to] sympathize much with him. Charles Lefevre was told that when the opposition had gone into the lobby to divide, Peel said to the man next to him, ‘I wonder how our biographer, Croker, likes the dressing he got from Stanley.’ Before he received an answer he perceived Croker was standing behind them and must have profited by the remark. I dare say Peel cared little for it, as his friend Milman told me there was not a man in the higher ranks of the Tories who did not believe Croker to be wholly unworthy of confidence, which was the reason for his little influence over his party, for they appreciated his talents.96

Yet the ‘pert vulgarity of Croker’, as Greville called it, was soon rampant again.97 In early January 1832 he was ‘working away at Lieutenant Drummond’s calculations’ of houses and assessed taxes, on which the revised English borough disfranchisement schedules were based.98 He now believed the ‘danger narrowed’ to emanate from ‘the king and the ministers’, who would ‘endeavour to revive the frenzy which is cooling in the public mind, and ... to pass the bill’ regardless, which would mean ‘good-night to the monarchy, and the Lords and the church’. Presenting a Helston petition for its removal from schedule A, 17 Jan., he denounced Drummond’s principle as ‘unjust’ and his scale of small boroughs as ‘complicated and absurd’, and clashed with Russell, who later wrote that Croker ‘seemed to be ignorant of all mathematical science’.99 On 19 Jan. he said ministers had excited unreasonable reform expectations in Ireland and Scotland. Next day he failed by 152-99 to delay going into committee on the bill, having complained that the boundary reports and maps were not to hand. In committee he moved the omission of the specified number of 56 boroughs from schedule A, but failed to ‘hook in’ Irish Members and was defeated by 198-123.100 On 23 Jan. he supported the opposition motion to omit the number 30 from schedule B and was disappointed with the division. He again alluded to Calne and its mysterious increase in population since 1821. He divided silently against government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., advocated the extension of factory child legislation to Ireland, 1 Feb., was a teller for the minority for adding Warrender to the committee on the Scottish court of exchequer bill, 2 Feb., and again approved the general register bill, 3 Feb. He denounced anomalies in the reformed English county representation, 27 Jan., and, in a testy exchange with Waithman, denied indulging in obstructive resistance to the bill. He criticized details of the £10 householder franchise, 7 Feb., and objected to empowering judges to appoint revising barristers for registration, 10 Feb. He demanded assurances that the authorities were ready to combat the cholera epidemic, 13 Feb. Next day he ridiculed ministerial differences over Irish tithes but welcomed their stated intention of enforcing payment, approved Alexander Baring’s bill to exclude insolvent debtors from the House and said that the navy civil departments bill was ‘founded on a mistaken view of what had passed, and a mistaken opinion of what was to come’. He was with Wellington at Stratfield Saye, 16-18 Feb., and found him ‘very much improved in health’, but ‘sadly dispirited’ at the prospect of public affairs. Croker criticized Peel’s reluctance to attend and rejection of ‘a bold course’, though he admitted that the ‘Ultra Tories are but a hollow support’.101 On 20 Feb. he presented a petition from Dr. MacIntyre of Aberdeen University, which he claimed exposed the ‘erroneous principle’ of Drummond’s equation, and divided the House against going into committee. Resuming his denunciation of Drummond’s scheme as ‘a blind guide’, he failed by 254-153 to have Midhurst replace Amersham in schedule A. He was teller for the minority against the disfranchisement of Appleby, 21 Feb. He continued to dwell on the bill’s ‘odious and ridiculous absurdities’, especially in schedule B. He was defeated by 256-179 in his bid to have Helston’s inclusion set aside, 23 Feb. On the 27th he elaborated his objections to the navy civil departments bill, which he believed would make his old job almost impossible. He found fault with aspects of schedule C (the new two Member boroughs), 28 Feb., and divided against the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets. On 5 Mar., when he argued against giving Gateshead a Member, he got involved in a furious row with Ewart, Member for Liverpool, in which the chairman, Bernal, had to intervene before it went too far. Littleton considered it ‘a disgraceful and most ungentlemanly scene’ in which ‘Croker’s manner was more violent and worse than his language’.102 Croker attributed his loss of temper to being ‘very much wearied and dispirited’ and to his ‘constant anxiety and labours in this barren vineyard’, feeling that Peel seemed ‘inclined to consult his own personal ease’ and that even Wellington ‘seems to abandon the field’. On 9 Mar. he tried to portray the enfranchisement of Walsall as a ‘job’ by Littleton, who privately recorded his view that Croker had ‘lied through thick and thin’; he got 87 votes to 165 against it.103 On 14 Mar. he moved for the purpose of recording in the Journals resolutions explaining the rationale which had inspired him and his associates to resist the reform bill. Opposing the third reading, 19 Mar., he defended Peel against Macaulay’s attack and predicted that the measure would ‘not satisfy or pacify what are so improperly called the people’. Before voting in the minority, 22 Mar. 1832, he managed despite the uproar to deny Hobhouse’s allegation that he had likened ‘the populace’ to ‘an insatiable wild beast, which would not cease from devastation until it had fully glutted its love for gore’, claiming that he had been referring merely to ‘the abstract principle of innovation’.

In early April 1832 Croker coached Ellenborough for dealing with the reform bill in the Lords. At the request of the ‘Waverer’ Lord Haddington he produced a paper detailing how he thought a Conservative who had voted for the second reading might try to modify the measure, though he, like Wellington, partly blamed the ‘Waverers’ for the pickle they were in. He had it privately printed, but was dissuaded from publishing it. Ellenborough considered his scheme ‘too parsimonious’.104 After the resignation of the Grey ministry he was summoned to London, 10 May, to consult with Peel and leading Commons Conservatives as to how to meet Ebrington’s confidence motion that evening, but he was ‘so deaf with a cold’ that he heard and said little. In later talks with Wellington, Peel and Lord Lyndhurst he endorsed Peel’s refusal to take office to carry a measure of reform and suggested that the ‘Waverer’ Lord Harrowby should be approached; Wellington vetoed this. After rushing down to Molesey to see his poorly wife, Croker returned for the debate, but stayed silent, resisting the temptation to answer Macaulay, and was pleased with the division of 288-208. Next day, having concluded that ‘if a Tory government of some shade or another weren’t formed, and if the Whigs were allowed to return triumphant over the king’s scruples, the revolution might be looked upon as consummated’, he sent Peel ‘a strong letter urging him to take the government, even on the king’s terms, if there was no alternative’. In London on the 12th he found Wellington on the verge of attempting to make a government, but was encouraged by the duke to try to persuade Peel to become premier. Croker agreed, but stressed that he himself had no intention of taking office again, having made this decision at Christmas 1830, quite apart from the consideration that he could hardly join an administration committed to carrying schedule A. Peel refused to take office, though Croker felt that before he was made to desist in his entreaties by Holmes and Goulburn, he ‘shook Peel’s resolution for a moment’ and ‘certainly tried his temper’. On 13 May, when it seemed likely that the Speaker would form an administration, Croker was ‘strenuously’ pressed by Wellington to take office, but he flatly refused, to the duke’s ‘annoyance’, adding unreliable health to his litany of reasons. He was in the Commons on 14 May, when Baring’s indiscretion presaged the humiliating collapse of the attempt to create a Conservative reform ministry, and was at Apsley House that night when it was decided to abandon resistance to the bill in the Lords. Next day he had ‘no difficulty’ in resisting the Speaker’s blandishments to accept cabinet office should events take yet another turn. He found ‘some of the Tory ladies, and even a few of the gentlemen’ angry with him for this, but was unrepentant. Leaving the House after the reinstatement of the Grey ministry, 17 May, he said to Littleton: ‘Well, it is all over. I shall not be in a reformed Parliament, but you will, and you and Palmerston, and Althorp, and Milton and Peel and Portman and such as they will all be acting together in defence of property, and perhaps of your lives’. Next day at Molesey, where his wife remained ‘very ill’, he was pestered for money by two ‘workmen from Manchester’, who confessed that they were part of a large body who had come to London ‘to carry the reform bill’. He apprized the home secretary Lord Melbourne of ‘this migration of the northern hives’.105 In the House, 21 May, Croker ‘reluctantly’ agreed to vote for the second reading of the Scottish reform bill because the principle had been ratified. He voted silently against the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May. On the Lords’ amendments to the English bill, 5 June, he said that far from it being ‘final’, as ministers insisted, its ‘loudest advocates’ outside Parliament were ‘united for two great objects, reform and democracy’, and aimed at ‘the subversion of the monarchy’. He tried to expose the flaws and anomalies of the boundaries bill, 7 June, lecturing ministers thus: ‘the reform bill was a great moral and political measure ... but here, in your geographical ... arithmetical ... numerical bill you have settled that numbers ... shall be your standard, and it is unpardonable in you ... not to adhere to it strictly’. He objected to an attempt to give Dublin University only one Member, 13 June, and spoke and voted to preserve the voting rights of Irish freeman, 2 July. He opposed Harvey’s bid to open the Inns of Court, 14 June, and deplored recent libels on the royal family, 20 June. In his last known Commons speech, 12 July 1832, he attacked the Russian-Dutch loan.

Croker turned down invitations to stand for Ipswich and Wells and, after hesitating, disregarded promises of support from Dublin University at the forthcoming general election. On 11 Aug. 1832 he informed Wellington:

I have today declared, what I had all along resolved, that I would not offer myself for the new Parliament ... [which] will substantially be as complete a usurpation leading to as complete a subversion of our ancient constitution as that of the Long Parliament. My sitting in it would be an acknowledgement of its legality ... I will not spontaneously take an active share in a system which must, in my mature judgement, subvert the church, the peerage and the throne.106

Wellington could not understand his reasoning, and all his ‘political friends’ disapproved, thinking that he was abandoning the cause. Accepting an invitation to Drayton, 11 Oct. 1832, he told Peel that ‘every event of every day increases my terror’, and that he professed to believe that ‘by this day twelve months I shall be either in my grave or in the workhouse, and hope it may be the former’.107 Arbuthnot complained that Croker ‘talks more nonsense than any wit ever did before, and to make his nonsense the more glaring it is well varnished with vanity’. He was mortified to find that having escaped from him at Walmer Castle, Croker, the ‘greatest bore and torment alive’, who ‘does nothing but say all day long that there will be a revolution before the year’s out’, had pursued him to Sudbourne. Harriet Arbuthnot, too, was now so ‘annoyed by his croaking’ that she ‘dreaded the sight of him’.108 While Croker certainly ‘viewed the passing of the reform bill ... as if it had been a personal calamity of the first magnitude’, physical and mental exhaustion contributed to his political self-immolation.109 He refused to change his mind when Peel formed his first ministry in December 1834. He promoted the Conservative cause in the Quarterly with a steady stream of articles until he laid down his pen in 1854, and he kept up his literary and historical pursuits, publishing an edition of Lord Hervey’s Memoirs in 1848.110 As factotum to the degenerate Hertford, who left him about £21,000 on his death in 1842, he attracted some criticism as a fawning hypocrite; and it was on this unsavoury aspect of his life that Disraeli drew for his malicious and unfair portrait of Croker as Nicholas Rigby, whose ‘real business in life had ever been to do the dirty work’, in Coningsby in 1844.111 He remained friendly with Peel (who was not averse to mocking him behind his back) until his savage written attacks on what he considered Peel’s betrayal of the Conservative party by repealing the corn laws terminated their relationship in 1847.112 In March 1851 Lord Stanley (the future 15th earl of Derby) went to West Molesey

on business, to see the veteran politician and reviewer ... Croker. His house crowded with books, pictures, busts, and manuscripts, suited well the character of its owner ... Croker’s views are gloomy in the extreme ... He might be reconciled to a de facto republican government as such, but did not see how it could be brought about in an old country without violence ... I listened with a strong feeling of respect for his laborious life, acute intellect and singleness of purpose ... He spoke of his death as near, but this is a habit of his ... (he is alive still, an active invalid, always complaining and criticizing, and convinced of the impending ruin of England). His conversation was peculiar: the slow pompous delivery, meant to be impressive, seemed to me rather tedious; but the matter, though diffusely stated, always worth hearing. On the whole I went away pleased to have seen a man of note, but not desirous to repeat the visit.113

Croker died, ‘nearly forgotten’, after years of ‘declining health’, at the villa of his friend Sir William Whiteman at Hampton, Middlesex in August 1857. It was fairly said of him that the ‘malignant ulcer of the mind, engendered by political disappointment’, which drove him in his reviews and articles to use criticism ‘at last for the gratification of his own morbid inclination to inflict pain’, eventually overcame ‘his better qualities’. He was credited with notable ‘command of detail ... industry and ... sagacity within a small range’.114 Cyrus Redding considered ‘bitterness of feeling and audacity’ the ‘leading features of his character’, but overlooked his more attractive traits, conceding only that he had ‘a certain ill-natured readiness’.115 By his will, dated 8 May 1857, Croker left £2,000 to be invested for his wife, his residuary legatee, and made her the beneficiary of the rents of his real estate in Surrey and Gloucestershire, with remainder to their adopted daughter, now Rosamund Barrow.116

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


Based, unless otherwise stated, on The Correspondence and Diaries of John Wilson Croker ed. Louis J. Jennings, 3 vols. (1844). The only modern biography is by Myron F. Brightfield (1940), which concentrates on Croker’s ‘relation to literary history and literary criticism’ (p. viii). See also Oxford DNB and W. Thomas, The Quarrel of Macaulay and Croker (2000), 32-58, 96-101.

  • 1. Disraeli Letters, i. 146.
  • 2. [J. Grant], Random Recollections of Commons (1837), 97-101.
  • 3. Crabb Robinson Diary, ii. 68; C.I. Hamilton, ‘John Wilson Croker: patronage and clientage at the admiralty, 1809-1857’, HJ, xliii (2000), 49-78.
  • 4. Brightfield, 16, 168, 196; A. Aspinall, Politics and the Press, 128, 202; C. Redding, Fifty Years’ Recollections (1858), iii. 308-9.
  • 5. Brightfield, 168-70; Aspinall, 128.
  • 6. NLW, Coedymaen mss 1043.
  • 7. Brightfield, 114-15.
  • 8. Ibid. 111-12.
  • 9. The Times, 16, 20, 23 Mar.; Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, i. 145-6; Dorset RO D/BKL, Bankes jnl. 127 (2 Apr. 1821).
  • 10. Hobhouse Diary, 61-62.
  • 11. Buckingham, i. 213.
  • 12. Add. 52471, ff. 10, 15.
  • 13. Brightfield, 49-51; Creevey Pprs. ii. 35; Add. 52445, f. 56.
  • 14. The Times, 22, 29 Mar. 1822.
  • 15. Ibid. 18 July 1822.
  • 16. Geo. IV Letters, ii. 1010.
  • 17. Add. 40319, f. 57; Parker, Peel, i. 328-9.
  • 18. Add. 40319, f. 69.
  • 19. HMC Var. Coll. iv. 273; PP (1835), xxvi. 2086, 2510.
  • 20. Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 203.
  • 21. Life of Wilberforce, v. 186.
  • 22. Add. 52471, f. 88.
  • 23. Buckingham, ii. 53, 99.
  • 24. The Times, 16 Mar. 1824.
  • 25. Ibid. 20 May 1824.
  • 26. Parker, i. 371; Brougham mss, Mackintosh to Brougham, 16 Mar. 1825; Add. 60287, ff. 84, 87.
  • 27. The Times, 1 July 1825.
  • 28. Peel Letters,77; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 431-2.
  • 29. The Times, 8 Feb. 1826.
  • 30. Miss Eden’s Letters ed. V. Dickinson, 100.
  • 31. Add. 37304, f. 115; 38301, f. 166; 40319, ff. 167, 171, 175, 180, 182, 184; 40322, f. 30; Brightfield, 93-94.
  • 32. Add. 38301, f. 208; 60287, f. 198.
  • 33. The Times, 13 Feb. 1827.
  • 34. Add. 40319, f. 207.
  • 35. Canning’s Ministry, 51; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 93-94.
  • 36. Canning’s Ministry, 78, 156, 157, 159, 160, 180, 187, 188, 203, 204; Parker, i. 469-71; Add. 38749, f. 186; Lonsdale mss, Croker to Lowther, 8 May 1827; N. Gash, Secretary Peel, 442-3; Brightfield, 95-98.
  • 37. Brightfield, 83-84; Hobhouse Diary, 131; Canning’s Ministry, 13, 210; Bagot, Canning and Friends, ii. 391; Colchester Diary, iii. 485; HMC Bathurst, 641; Durham CRO, Londonderry mss D/LO//C 83 (11).
  • 38. The Times, 8, 22, 23 June 1827.
  • 39. Wellington mss WP1/895/13, 16, 22; Wellington Despatches, iv. 75-76, 79-81, 89-92; Aberdeen Univ. Lib. Arbuthnot mss, Peel to Arbuthnot, 10 Aug. 1827.
  • 40. Add. 38750, f. 298.
  • 41. Add. 40319, ff. 252, 256; Parker, i. 472-3.
  • 42. Add. 60288, f. 5.
  • 43. Add. 40320, ff. 7, 17.
  • 44. Scott Jnl. 526, 534.
  • 45. Wellington mss WP1/934/5; 936/7; PRO NI, Anglesey mss D619/32A/2/61; Add. 40320, ff. 30, 49; 51567, Anglesey to Holland, 7 June 1827; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 194; Ellenborough Diary, i. 149.
  • 46. Add. 40320, f. 51; Wellington mss WP1/937/24.
  • 47. Add. 40320, ff. 54, 56, 60; Colchester Diary, iii. 579.
  • 48. Wellington Despatches, iv. 514-29; Wellington mss WP1/948/31; 941/4; 942/12; 947/22, 37; 948/24, 31; 949/23; 950/29; 952/4, 12; Arbuthnot Corresp. 110.
  • 49. Add. 40320, f. 60; 51679, Lord J. Russell to Lady Holland [27 Sept. 1828]; Wellington mss WP1/947/30; 955/15; NLS mss 2270, f. 213.
  • 50. Brightfield, 112-13.
  • 51. Peel Letters, 109.
  • 52. Add. 40320, ff. 70, 76; Wellington mss WP1/953/6; 955/17.
  • 53. Add. 40320, f. 83; Wellington mss WP1/989/6, 8.
  • 54. Add. 40320, f. 110, 113.
  • 55. Ibid. f. 115; M. Brock, Great Reform Act, 63.
  • 56. Add. 51655.
  • 57. Wellington mss WP1/1040/22; 1051/16; 1056/16; Aspinall, 101, 232-3; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1571.
  • 58. Wellington mss WP1/1092/20, 21; 1093/2; 1098/11; Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 4 Feb. 1830; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 330; Ellenborough Diary, ii. 194; Add. 40320, ff. 147-8.
  • 59. Add. 40320, f. 152.
  • 60. Ibid. f. 150.
  • 61. Ellenborough Diary, ii. 220.
  • 62. Add. 40320, ff. 154, 156; Wellington mss WP1/1120/7; 1122/40.
  • 63. NLS mss 24726, f. 6; Bucks. RO, Fremantle mss D/FR/139/14/29.
  • 64. Add. 40320, ff. 161, 163, 166, 168, 170, 172; 40327, f. 194; Wellington mss WP1/1126/11; 1127/2; 1128/2; 1129/21; 1130/51; 1131/17, 39; 132/21, 28; 1133/4, 5; 1137/1, 2.
  • 65. Lonsdale mss.
  • 66. Life of Campbell, i. 481-2; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 393; Grey mss, Ellice to Grey [28 Oct. 1830]; Ashley, Palmerston, i. 213.
  • 67. Macaulay Letters, i. 286-7.
  • 68. Ellenborough Diary, ii. 440; Three Diaries, 23, 27, 35, 37.
  • 69. Arbuthnot Corresp. 140; Three Diaries, 37-38; Add. 57370, f. 62.
  • 70. Lonsdale mss.
  • 71. Add. 40320, f. 173.
  • 72. Castle Howard mss, Graham to Morpeth, 24 Jan. 1831; Three Diaries, 42-43.
  • 73. Bodl. MS. Eng. lett. d. 153, f. 68.
  • 74. St. Deiniol’s Lib. Glynne-Gladstone mss 197, T. to J. Gladstone, 5 Mar. 1831.
  • 75. A. Lang, Lockhart, ii. 66, 97.
  • 76. Add. 51569, Ord to Lady Holland [4 Mar. 1831]; Creevey Pprs. ii. 221; Three Diaries, 63; Macaulay Letters, ii. 6.
  • 77. Brock, 170.
  • 78. Add. 40320, ff. 175, 179; Parker, ii. 181; Wellington mss WP1/1179/32; Arbuthnot Corresp. 144.
  • 79. Three Diaries, 83, 85.
  • 80. Brightfield, 196, 202.
  • 81. Lonsdale mss, Croker to Lowther, 11 July [1831].
  • 82. Le Marchant, Althorp, 335-6; Russell, Recollections, 92; Brock, 216; Three Diaries, 109; Arbuthnot mss 3029/1/2/32.
  • 83. Hatherton mss, Littleton to Leigh, 3 Aug. 1831; Macaulay Letters, ii. 57, 84, 94, 95, 106.
  • 84. Three Diaries, 116; Hatherton diary, 12 Aug. [1831].
  • 85. Add. 40320, f. 183.
  • 86. Greville Mems. ii. 200; Three Diaries, 130; Coedymaen mss 220; Hatherton diary, 20 Sept. [1831].
  • 87. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 430.
  • 88. Life of Campbell, i. 522.
  • 89. Arbuthnot Corresp. 152.
  • 90. Cornw. RO, Hawkins mss 10/2172.
  • 91. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 434; Parker, ii. 192.
  • 92. Add. 40320, ff. 193, 198; Wellington mss WP1/1202/12.
  • 93. Cent. Kent. Stud. Stanhope mss U1590 C318/2, Mahon to Lady Stanhope, 7 Dec. 1831; Broughton, Recollections, iv. 154-5.
  • 94. NLS mss 24762, f. 49; Hawkins mss 10/2176.
  • 95. Macaulay Letters, ii. 110-11; Add. 51569, Ord to Lady Holland [16 Dec. 1831]; Coedymaen mss 224; PRO NI, Anglesey mss 31D/78.
  • 96. Three Diaries, 169-72; Broughton, iv. 155-6; Holland House Diaries, 97; Le Marchant, 383; Greville Mems. ii. 230; Cockburn Letters, 365-6; Life of Campbell, ii. 3; Add. 51670, Bedford to Lady Holland [20 Dec. 1831].
  • 97. Greville Mems. ii. 265.
  • 98. Add. 40402, f. 175.
  • 99. Russell, 88-89.
  • 100. Add. 51573, Spring Rice to Lady Holland, 20 Jan. [1832].
  • 101. Wellington mss WP1/1216/19.
  • 102. Hatherton diary, 5 Mar. [1832]; Broughton, iv. 193.
  • 103. Hatherton diary, 5, 9 Mar. [1832].
  • 104. Add. 40320, f. 204; Three Diaries, 219, 221, 232, 234; Wellington mss WP1/1222/5; Lady Holland to Son, 135.
  • 105. Parker, ii. 204-5; Three Diaries, 249-50, 264; Life of Campbell, ii. 10; Greville Mems. ii. 298.
  • 106. Add. 40320, f. 210; NLI, Moore mss 8148 (vi); Wellington mss WP1/1230/19.
  • 107. Add. 40320, f. 217.
  • 108. Add. 40617, f. 4; Arbuthnot Corresp. 152; Shelley Diary, ii. 247.
  • 109. Grant, 98; Brightfield, 116-18.
  • 110. Brightfield, 202-3, 317-449; Oxford DNB.
  • 111. Brightfield, 127-9; Disraeli Letters, iv. 1229, 1230; B. Falk, "Old Q’s" Daughter, 183-6, 191; Greville Mems. v. 164, 174, 176; Macaulay Letters, iv. 89-91; Monypenny and Buckle, Disraeli, ii. 201-2, 223, 226-7; Lang, ii. 199-200; Lady Holland to Son, 216.
  • 112. Arbuthnot Corresp. 240; Greville Mems. v. 461-2; Peel Letters, 36; N. Gash, Sir Robert Peel, 609.
  • 113. Disraeli, Derby and the Conservative Party ed. J. Vincent, 57.
  • 114. Greville Mems. viii. 122; Gent. Mag. (1857), ii. 333-4.
  • 115. Redding, iii. 306-9.
  • 116. PROB 11/2256/610; IR26/2091/565.