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From The Edinburgh Review.
memory, and at the velocity with which MEMOIRS OF THE EARL OF
these events have succeeded each other MALMESBURY..
and passed away. Hardly in any age has ENGLISH literature is not rich in politi- the world lived so fast and seen so much, cal memoirs. We can hardly recall an and undergone such vicissitudes. The instance, since the times of Lord Claren. conditions of time and space have been don and Bishop Burnet, in which an Enaltered. Almost every action of our daily glish statesman, having filled offices of the lives would have been impracticable sevfirst rank, has left behind him an autobio enty years ago. The forms, and even the graphical record of the events in which he substance, of social and political life are played a part. It might be added, by way changed — et nos mutamur in illis. The of contrast, that there is scarcely a French
more important is it to trace, even in statesman or soldier of eminence who has slight and fugitive lines, the process of not left some such record for the benefit this amazing transmutation, in which the of posterity; and the history of France
younger generation rising about us finds for hundreds of years, from St. Louis and it hard to believe. Philippe le Bel to the present time, may
But Lord Malmesbury's recollections be read in the incomparable series of me. have a higher character and purport than moirs which are one of the most valua- the record of common things. He has ble possessions of the French language. been through life a consistent member of Those who are curious in national charac. the Tory party. He became, upon the teristics might draw soine inference from termination of Sir Robert Peel's adminis. the fact; but we content ourselves with tration, and the rupture of the Conservaacknowledging that the French memoir. tive body, one of the leaders of the Pro. writers are far more numerous and bril. tectionist section of it, the trusted and liant than our own. We are, therefore, valued colleague of its chief.
He held the more grateful to a veteran statesman, the office of foreign secretary in the Cabi. like Lord Malmesbury, who consents to
nets of Lord Derby in 1852 and 1858, make his personal reminiscences and and the privy seal in that of 1866. He diaries the property of the public, and to
supplies, therefore, an important element retrace the incidents of a long and busy hitherto entirely wanting to the historian life, with entire truth and simplicity, in the of these times, for he lets us into the language in which he recorded them at councils of the Tory leaders themselves; the time. Lord Malmesbury says, mod. he produces with very little reserve their estly enough, that the readers of these
correspondence with himself, which was memoirs are not to expect a continuous at the time confidential, and is now histornarrative, but rather a macédoine of memical. Our own knowledge of these transoranda, diary, and correspondence, recall. actions is naturally derived from the ing the social and political events of a lise
opposite sources of information, which of seventy-seven years. As he wrote at have been more freely published to the the time of men, events, and common world by other hands. Nothing is more things, so he publishes his remarks, which curious than to compare the impression have therefore the freshness and reality produced by a given event or act of policy of a contemporaneous impression, for the on the minds of those who were antagomost part brief, but essentially clear and nists, and viewed the opposite side of the
shield. And what a vista of incident and change
In his youth Lord Malmesbury lived a does a retrospect of seventy years open good deal with the Whigs. His father-in. to the view! Every reader of these vol. law, Lord Tankerville, bad been a Whig. umes must be astonished at the prodi. He visited the family of Lord Grey at gious number of events they revive in the Howick, and it was at Bowood that he
first met Mr. Stanley, the future Lord Memoirs of an Ex-Minister. An Autobiography, by the Right Hon. the Earl of Malmesbury, G.C.B. Derby, then wearing, like his host, Lord 2 vols., 8vo. London: 1884.
Lansdowne, the blue coat and yellow
waistcoat which were the appropriate / remarkable talent or any fixed idea but the one dress of the friends and followers of Mr. I mention. It grew upon him with his growth, Fox. Later in life this acquaintance rip- and increased daily until it ripened into a cerened into the closest intimacy, and the tainty. He was a very good horseman and record of Lord Malmesbury's political proficient at athletic games, being short, but relations with Lord Derby is the chief ob- very active and muscular. His face was grave
and dark, but redeemed by a singularly bright ject and the most important result of this
smile. Such was his personal appearance in publication. It supplies us, for the first 1829, at twenty-one years of age. time, with authentic materials for the biography of that remarkable man, especially remarkable men would suffice to give a
Lord Malmesbury's intimacy with these during his short administrations of 1852 and 1858, to which we shall presently have deed his principal object appears to have
peculiar interest to his memoirs, and inoccasion to revert. Lord Derby's numer
been to sketch their characters. But his ous letters are of the utmost interest and
own public career entitles him to a distin. value, and they do honor to his industry, guished place in our political history. foresight, and patriotism. It is a pleasing He speaks of it with becoming modesty, characteristic of English political life, or and with no wish to exaggerate its imporat least of what has been English political tance. But the reader of these volumes life, that its asperities are tempered by will be satisfied that he deserves a higher almost unbroken personal and social rela
rank than that previously awarded to him tions. Lord Malmesbury has been all his by public opinion. It was not till 1846, life a strong Tory, but Lord Sydenham, after the disruption of the Tory party, and Lord Canning, and Sidney Herbert were the fall of Sir Robert Peel, that Lord his most intimate friends; Lord Lans.
Malmesbury entered upon active political downe writes him an affectionate letter life, and he entered upon it as the warm on his leaving office; Lord Palmerston
partisan of a lost cause. He never sat in and Lord Clarendon assist him with their the House of Commons, for although he counsels, and the battle of the night be once stood for Portsmouth and was a can. fore on the opposing benches of Parlia. didate for the borough of Wilton in 1841, ment is forgotten the next day at the his father's death at that very time placed dinner-table. Now and then a little ex. him in the House of Peers. The strong plosion of temper takes place, but it is
excitement caused by the repeal of the laughed away, and inflicts no lasting Corn Laws roused his political energy, wound on the friendships of a life.
and he threw himself with ardor into the It was Lord Malmesbury's good fortune Protectionist party, led by Lord Derby, to contract in his earlier years another but condemned at the outset to abandon intimacy which had a considerable influ.
the cause of protection. In 1852, when ence on his after life. In the course of a Lord Derby rallied the forlorn hope of Continental tour which he made in 1829, the Tories and formed a government, the he was introduced at Rome by Madame Foreign Office was placed in his hands, de Guiccioli to the Duchesse de St. Leu, although he was entirely without official Queen Hortense, whose house was one of
experience, and his knowledge of diplothe most agreeable resorts in the city.
macy was derived from the careful study Here for the first time I met Hortense's son, of his grandfather's despatches and corre. Louis Napoleon, then just of age. Nor would spondence, which he had recently pubanybody at that time have predicted his great lished. But the love of letters and a and romantic career. He was a wild, harum- ready appreciation of the foreign relations scarum youth, or what the French call un
of the country and of the character of crâne, riding at full gallop down the streets to the peril of the public, fencing, and pistol- foreigners, with whose language and man shooting, and apparently without serious ners he was extremely familiar, were he. thoughts of any kind, although even then he reditary in the Harris family, and there was possessed with the conviction that he is no trace in his correspondence of the would some day rule over France. We be- hand of a novice. It was the opinion of came friends, but at that time he evinced no his successors in office, Lord John Russell and Lord Clarendon, that the business trophe. Lord Malmesbury applied himof the department had been conducted self with success to localize the war, which with ability and dignity. Lord Malmes- he had not the power to prevent; but his bury was never an ambitious politician. exertions, at the time, were singularly He accepted, more than he sought, the misrepresented and misunderstood. functions he was called upon to discharge, Before we enter upon the more imporactuated mainly by a sense of duty to the tant passages to be found in these volHouse in which he sat, to the party which umes, it is just to pay our tribute to their he had adopted, aod to his country. When literary merit. The mere jottings of a he took office in 1852, the recent coup diary have, of course, no literary pretend'état in France, which placed Louis Nasions, yet they sparkle with anecdote and poleon near the throne, bad shaken the incident, and they recall to memory a confidence of Europe, and raised in this prodigious number of persons and occur. country the liveliest apprehensions of rences, extremely amusing to those who, what the renovated empire might bring like ourselves, can remember the greater forth. Lord Malmesbury himself was part of them, and perhaps not less interviewed with suspicion from his known esting to later generations, who see these intimacy with the author of a revolution ghosts and shadows of the nineteenth which was regarded in England as a de-century Ait belore their eyes. But when testable aggression on the liberties of Lord Malmesbury allows bis pen to run France, and as an act dangerous to the freely, no one writes more pleasantly. In peace of Europe. Here, however, his his introductory chapter he brings before knowledge of the character and opinions us the naval review of 1814 which Prince of the future emperor stood him in good Metternich also witnessed in the Solent, stead. He firmly adhered to the convic- and we mount the ancient galley of the tion that peace and good-will to England governor of the Isle of Wight, with its were the basis of the imperial policy, lofty gilded poop, dating from the days and he was right; but at that moment a of William III. He describes with an friendly reliance on the intentions of the "eternal affection” that wild tract of ruler of France was unpopular in an En. moorland, stretching between Christ. glish minister.
church and Poole, in which the old manor As in 1852 Lord Malmesbury was ac- house of Heron Court was planted by the cused of a leaning to France, so in 1859, priors of Christchurch a region now in. when the Franco-Austrian war broke out vaded by a thousand villas, but on which in Italy, he was accused of a leaning to sixty years ago blackcock might be shot Austria, because at that time he strongly where the largest church in Bournemouth opposed the aggressive policy of Napo. now stands, and where even the eagle and leon III., in the interest of the general the bustard were not unknown. The last peace. That war was more popular in lesser bustard was shot there by Lord England than it was in France, because it Palinerston. had for its object the independence of At two-and-twenty he starts for the Italy. But, however desirable that object Continent, and escapes by a hair's-breadth was to the Italians, more than one states from the wound of a fencing.master at man thought that it might be too dearly Geneva, who runs him through the body purchased by the overthrow of the exist- with a broken foil; and again in the Si. ing settlement of Europe. Lord Malmes cilian seas from the wreck of a vessel in bury foresaw that this was the letting out which he had all but embarked. Con. of waters. He even predicted that in the nected by his marriage with the family of long run it would cost the emperor his the Duc de Gramont (Lady Malmesbury crown or his life. And it would not be was a granddaughter of the old Duc de difficult to show that the series of events Gramont, who arrested the Cardinal de which followed in succession the first out. Rohan at Versailles, and lived to tell the break of the military ambition and activity story fifty years afterwards); received as of France did in fact lead up to that catas. a confidential friend by the heir of the Bonapartes, whom he saw in all the vicis. | sail on his own account, and by the time he situdes of fortune, in England, at Ham, was thirty, the rapid voyages he invariably upon the throne in Paris, and upon his made cut out everybody else, and gave him deathbed at Chislehurst; acquainted, as
such advantages that he realized a large fortune.
He then remembered his native hills, few Englishmen are, with every province of France by frequent excursions to that This he did, but he felt that he was not really
and determined to buy an estate upon them. country, Lord Malmesbury's notes of
a Highland gentleman without a deer-forest, French society and manners are of ex- and therefore he extended his domain, took off traordinary variety and interest.*
the sheep, and hired the best stalker in ScotAnd if we turn from courts and Cabi- land. All this being prepared for his happi. nets to his life in the Highlands, where ness and amusement, he started with him to he rented for many years the shootings of stalk in his own forest, but day after day he Achnacarry from Cameron of Lochiel, on
was disappointed by the perverseness of the the west coast, our author becomes the weather, the wind constantly changing the mo. ardent and successful sportsman, passing he found himself always going down wind, so
ment he went out. Whatever circuits he took months in that wild scenery which he that, whether as single deer or herds, no aniknew how to describe and to enjoy. We mal allowed him to approach within a quarter must cite the following passage, which of a mile. He looked upon this merely as a has something of the lightness of touch of piece of bad luck, till by chance, crossing the our old friend Mrs. Barbauld :
burn on which he had seen the pixie fifteen September 29th. — A tremendous gale and years before, he heard a tiny giggle and then a rain. The whole party sat together in the little woman, and then the terrible truth broke
long low laugh. Turning round, he saw the drawing-room, each obliged to tell a story. Mine was as follows, and was founded on the upon him that if he lived to a thousand years fact that Richelieu had refused to shoot with he never could possibly kill a stag. Loughborough in consequence of his always We must here intercalate for in this hunting his pointers down wind :
kaleidoscope diary incidents occur in a There was once a young Highland shepherd, perplexing variety – Lord Malmesbury's who was drinking at a burn, and being in the humor of desiring all sorts of things that he very curious account of his visit to Louis had never seen or possessed, he wished that Napoleon Bonaparte, then a prisoner at one of the fairies he had heard of, who haunted Ham, in April, 1845: the place, would appear and give him what
April, London. — I am just returned from ever he wanted. At that moment his dog the Castle of Ham, on the Somme, where I howled, and a pixie stood before him. “I
have been to see Prince Louis Napoleon in have heard you,” she said, " as I sat under that the prison in which he has been confined since pebble in the burn, and I will give you what. 1840. Early last January he sent M. Ornano ever you wish for, but it must be one thing to London to ask me to come and see him on only and forever.” “Thank you,” said the lad, not at all alarmed, “ I have only one de- a matter of vital importance to himself, bring. sire in the world, and that is to go to sea and vignette of the fortress of Ham painted in
ing a small almanack for the year, with a become a rich merchant.” This happened be
I was unable to go fore steamers were invented, and the fairy till now, and having obtained with some diffi
miniature on the cover. answered most graciously, “Mr. MacGuffog, I culty a permission from M. Guizot to see the will give you what the most essential thing Prince, I went to Ham on April 20. I found for a prosperous voyage and successful trading him little changed, although he had been im- namely, wherever you go you shall have a fair wind whichever way you turn yourself or
prisoned five years, and very much pleased to
see an old friend fresh from the outer world, your ship.” The young MacGuffog fell on his and that world London. As I had only half a knees with gratitude, and having given the fairy a pull at his whiskey-flask, went forth day allowed me for the interview, he confessed with to Fort William, and enlisted as a cabin. mained unabated, he was weary of his prison,
that, although his confidence and courage reboy on board a merchantman. It was not
from which he saw no chance of escaping, as very long before the fact became known that he knew that the French Government gave whatever ship he was on board always had the him opportunities of doing so that they might wind astern ; all the trading captains hired him shoot him in the act. He stated that a depu. at any price, but he soon gained enough to tation had arrived from Ecuador offering him • Sometimes his transitions are rather abrupt, as if Philippe would release him, and in that case
the Presidency of that Republic if Louis he thought that bis readers had as good a memory as his own. Thus, after saying that Lady Tankerville, his he would give the King his parole never to remother-in-law, was a Gramont, he passes immediately turn to Europe. He had, therefore, sent for to Count d'Orsay without explaining the connection.
me as a supporter and friend of Sir R. Peel, at The young Duchesse de Guiche, afterwards Duchesse de Gramont — a lady still alive – was Count d'Orsay's that time our Prime Minister, to urge Sir sister; the couot was therefore allied by marriage to Robert to intercede with Louis Philippe to Lady Tankerville's family.
comply with his wishes, promising every pos
sible guarantee for his good faith. The Prince ceed to the more substantial portions of was full of a plan for a new canal in Nicaragua, his work, which are the fit subjects of dis. that promised every kind of advantage to Brit.cussion and criticism. ish commerce. As a precedent for English official interference I was to quote Earl Grey's took his seat in the House of Lords in
Lord Malmesbury, as has been said, in favor of Prince Polignac's release in 1830. 1841, on the death of his father, who had I assured the Prince that I would do
my best; but added that Lord Aberdeen was our Foreign rather dissuaded than encouraged him to Secretary, and that there was nothing of roenter public life. He appears for some mance in his character. At this time Prince years to have taken no active part in poli. Louis was deeply engaged in writing the his. tics, and although he had applauded Sir tory of Artillery, and he took an hour in Robert Peel's gallant struggle in 1835, we making me explain the meaning of several think we can trace at a later period sometechnical words in English, which he wished thing of that distrust of their great leader translated. He gave me a full account of his which the High Tory Party did not care failure at Boulogne, which he declared was entirely owing to the sudden illness of the to conceal, and which ultimately broke officer of the day whom he had secured, and out in the invectives of Mr. Disraeli. In who was to have given up the barracks at 1839 Sir Robert Peel had “implored the
The soldiers had mostly been gained, Conservatives to be united and not to and the prestige of his name in the French split upon minor differences with respect army was universal. To prove this, he assured to the Corn Laws, declaring himself to be me that the cavalry escort of lancers who ac. in favor of the present system, against companied him to Ham made him constant fixed duty or any alteration whatever."* gestures of sympathy on the road. He then | That was the shibboleth of the Tory said, “ You see the sentry under my window? I do not know whether he is one of mine or Peel's accession to office, to shake their
party. But many things occurred, after not; if he is he will cross his arms, if not, he will do nothing when I make a sign." "He faith. In 1843 Lord Malmesbury says: went to the window and stroked his moustache,
“Many Conservatives think that Peel but there was no response until three were re-truckles to the Radicals, and throws over lieved, when the soldier answered by crossing his friends ;” and in the preceding year, his arms over his musket. The Prince then 1842, he had actually brought in a Corn said, “You see that my partisans are unknown Bill: to me, and so am I to them. My power is in an immortal name, and in that only; but I February 7th. Sir Robert Peel has brought have waited long enough, and cannot endure in his Bill upon the Corn Laws, which is no imprisonment any longer.” I understood that less than taking off inore than half the present Count Montholon and Dr. Conneau, with his duty. Nobody expected such a sweeping valet, Thelin, were his fellow-prisoners at measure, and there is great consternation Ham. After a stay of three hours I left the amongst the Conservatives. It is clear that prison, and returned to London deeply im- he has thrown over the landed interest, as my pressed with the calm resolution, or rather father always said he would. . . . My steward philosophy, of this man, but putting little faith says that the landed proprietors will lose at as to his ever renouncing [qu.? mounting] the least 15 per cent. of their rents by Peel’s Bill. throne of France. Very few in a miserable (Vol. i., p. 139.) prison like this, isolated and quasi forgotten, To which Lord Malmesbury adds in a would have kept their intellect braced by constant day studies and original compositions, as this is far under the mark :” he does not
note that “experience has shown that Louis Bonaparte did during the last five
years in the fortress of Ham.
appear to notice that rents had been artifi. The day after I arrived in London I saw Sir cially raised by the effect of the protective Robert Peel, and related my interview and system, which was precisely the grievance message to him. He seemed to be greatly in- complained of by the nation. Sir Robert terested, and certainly not averse to apply to Peel was not unconscious of the rift in the the French Government in the Prince's favor party of which he was the illustrious chief, on his conditions, but said he must consult and even when his administration was apLord Aberdeen, which of course was inevitable, parently at the height of its power, he That evening he wrote to me to say that Lord foresaw its dissolution. The studied siAberdeen “would not hear of it."
Who can tell how this decision of the noble lord may in. lence of Lord Malmesbury with reference fuence future bistory? (Vol. i., p. 157.)
to the head of the government in these
years is significant. Lord Stanley appears We are compelled, by the limits of this to have been the only member of the article, to pass over numerous anecdotes Cabinet with whom he lived on confidenand incidents of sport, society, and travel, tial terms. Mr. Gladstone he did not which our readers will find for themselves in Lord Malmesbury's pages, and we pro
• Vol. i., p. 98.