HUSKISSON, William (1770-1830), of Eartham, nr. Chichester, Suss. and Somerset Place, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 11 Mar. 1770, 1st s. of William Huskisson of Oxley, nr. Wolverhampton, Staffs. and 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of John Rotton of Oxley. educ. Brewood; Albrighton, Staffs.; Appleby Magna g.s., Leics. 1782-3; Paris, privately from 1783. m. 6 Apr. 1799, Eliza Emily, da. of Adm. Mark Milbanke, s.p. suc. fa. 1790; gt.-uncle Dr. Richard Gem 1800. d. 15 Sept. 1830.
Supt. aliens office Jan. 1793-July 1794; chief clerk to sec. of state for war July 1794-Mar. 1795, under-sec. of state for war Mar. 1795-May 1801; agent, Cape of Good Hope 1799-1801, Ceylon 1801-4, 1807-23; sec. to treasury May 1804-Feb. 1806, Apr. 1807-Dec. 1809; PC 29 July 1814; commr. of woods, forests and land revenues Aug. 1814-Feb. 1823; member, bd. of trade Dec. 1814, pres. Feb. 1823-Sept. 1827; treas. of navy Feb. 1823-Sept. 1827; sec. of state for war and colonies Sept. 1827-May 1828.
Dir. Sun Fire Office 1814-d.
‘Tall, slouching and ignoble-looking’ but arguably the ablest practical financier of his generation, Canning’s ‘profound coadjutor’ Huskisson was a plain, clumsy man with hair ‘cropped as close as a ploughman’.1 He compensated in the Commons for his appearance and feeble, uneducated voice with ‘sheer political intellect’, well-prepared speeches (of which his notes for some 300 survive), a facility with facts, occasional ‘cutting and corrective looks’ and by exuding composure and avoiding sarcasm.2 Commending his contribution on trade, a radical publication of 1825 added that ‘his manner is cold and formal, but his reasoning excellent’.3 A follower of the younger Pitt, he was ‘Mercury’ in Canning’s ‘Pantheon’, ‘a man of the world of the best sort’ to his friend John William Ward* (Lord Dudley), while Sir James Mackintosh*, a Whig who preferred him to Canning, thought him a ‘good natured and kind hearted man’.4 He was universally regarded as ‘a very clever fellow’, able administrator, and entertaining dinner guest, but suffered throughout his career from being disliked, at times intensely, at Court, and by leading City bankers, on account of his demeanour and background; for although he was ‘not a new man of business’, he had been half-raised in Paris among philosophes. In the 1820s he antagonized a growing number of Members on both sides of the House whose ambitions he thwarted. Tory agriculturists especially felt threatened by and mistrusted his ‘liberal’ policies on corn and trade.5 As Canning’s second fiddle, though vastly his superior on finance, in debate he too frequently became the scapegoat for him and Frederick Robinson. Furthermore, both as leader of the liberal Tories in the 1827-8 coalition ministries and subsequently, he rarely perceived the need to update Canning’s policies or the weakness of executing them unamended.
By 1820 he had languished for more than five years as the Liverpool government’s first commissioner of woods and forests, a brief he had long mastered and that bored him. Excluded from the cabinet he hankered for, he was an unpaid member of the board of trade yet a key member of the premier’s policy committee. Adhering broadly to principles he had set out with Francis Horner† in the 1810 bullion committee’s report and The Question Concerning the Depreciation of Our Currency, he advocated a gradual retreat from wartime depreciation and inflation, served on every major finance committee, rallied support for the 1815 corn law and 1819 Bank Act and condoned the repressive legislation after Peterloo. He also warned against reliance on government intervention to heal economic distress.6 His re-election for Chichester, which since 1812 he had represented on the independent interest with Lord Egremont’s acquiescence, was opposed at the 1820 general election, when he assisted the successful government candidate, Lord Ashburnham’s nominee Edward Curteis, whom he mistrusted, in the bitter contest for Sussex. As the government whip William Holmes remarked, he ‘escaped’ a poll himself, but was sorely tested by the mob at the county one.7 Drawing on this experience, on 24 Mar., five days before their pre-session meeting with Liverpool, he wrote to the patronage secretary Arbuthnot warning that the concessions opposition demanded on the civil list (‘£30,000 more or less to the king’s household’) counted for little compared with the need for the cabinet to be seen to be appeasing the farmers:
This dissolution has deprived us of nearly all our best and steadiest props ... and has substituted in their stead men of very different character ... We must not shut our eyes to the spirit which is spreading through the country even in the agricultural districts ... It is a soreness on every subject connected with expense, a clamour for economy, a feeling growing out of the present straitened circumstances of the yeomanry contrasted with the ease which they enjoyed during the war ... The infection of radicalism, which is prevalent in the town is gradually making its way into the villages ... Government ... must not only forbear from provocation ... In my opinion the period may not be remote in which we may find it necessary to do something to secure the affection and more cordial goodwill of some great class in the state. To bid for the lower classes or the manufacturing population is out of the question. Duty and policy would equally forbid it, but the yeomanry are still within your reach and to them in my opinion we must look.8
Intervening regularly to support colleagues, he helped the chancellor of the exchequer Vansittart to counter attacks on the civil list, 27 Apr.-8 May. That day, he carried the division against further inquiry (by 256-157), praised the 1816 civil list report and dismissed opposition demands for reductions in diplomatic expenditure on the ground that ambassadors were accountable to the king, not Parliament.9 On 12 May, anticipating the arrival of the Sussex agricultural distress petition (which Henry Brougham presented in his absence on the 16th), he urged that these petitions be presented silently. He countered James Stuart Wortley’s arguments for repeal of the wool tax with the rejoinder, ‘what else would give the treasury £250,000?’, demonstrated statistically that the continental wool trade was depressed, and defeated the proposal (by 202-128), 26 May. Four days later he reinforced the president of the board of trade Robinson’s arguments against referring the agricultural distress petitions to a select committee and insisted that as the Irish trade had resumed, the 1815 corn law and an 80s. pivot price afforded sufficient protection. When named to the select committee conceded next day, he immediately carried a motion confining its remit to the averages. Representing West Sussex interests, he had Curteis’s bill authorizing the transfer of county polls from Chichester to Lewes postponed, 9 June, pending the arrival of hostile petitions, and defeated it (by 35-28) on the 23rd. He scotched a similar bill, 9 May 1827.10 He disregarded quibbles on the estimates, 16, 21 June 1820, but he had to concede the shortcomings of the consolidated fund when the City banker William Heygate criticized it, 19 June, and admitted that without further savings the £5,000,000 sinking fund could not be retained.
His perspective on Queen Caroline’s case was determined by his commitment to protecting and representing Canning, whose early liaison with her was common knowledge and an embarrassment to the cabinet, as George IV sought a divorce. When finance for the secret service was voted, 16 June, he was hard pressed to counter criticism of the undisclosed cost of proceeding against the queen by means of a bill of pains and penalties prosecuted by publicly funded government lawyers, using evidence acquired by the secret service, but he would not be drawn. He was a government teller for persisting with her prosecution, 26 June, and a key spokesman on 17 July against her counsel Lushington’s motion for papers on the plate presented to her in 1808. (His decision, as treasury under-secretary that year, to remodel King William III’s plate for her use, now enabled the foreign secretary and leader of the House Lord Castlereagh to designate it public not personal property.) He faced awkward questions on the prosecution’s deployment of contingency and secret service funds to influence newspaper coverage of the queen’s case, 18 Sept. He knew, through his early patron the 2nd marquess of Stafford’s half-brother Lord Granville, that their friends opposed the bill in the Lords, and initially favoured forcing it through there and conceding defeat in the Commons, or carrying a resolution confined to its principle. However, Canning wrote from Paris scotching the proposal. As directed by him, on 22 Oct. he advised Liverpool to ‘take the earliest opportunity of getting rid of the proceeding altogether’, and retreated to Eartham to distance himself from further intrigue.11 Lady Palmerston noted that the bill’s abandonment and the forced prorogation, 23 Nov., which prompted Canning’s resignation, left Huskisson feeling ‘very low’, despite talk of his promotion.12 Canning had vainly suggested him for the board of trade. Reports that he would deputize for Canning at the India board, where Lord Bathurst was the substitute, were unfounded and he stayed on at woods and forests purely to allay suspicion of a ‘job’.13 With strong popular petitioning on the queen’s behalf in Chichester and elsewhere, he feared that she might yet be the means of bringing down the government, and warned Canning in December 1820:
We may possibly struggle through the liturgy and the palace, but we shall be left weak and lingering to meet other questions and impressions and prepossessions, such ... as those growing out of the Milan Commission ... the final yielding to the king upon the divorce ... the £100,000 at least to be voted for the ... commission.14
Defending government’s handling of the affair, 6 Feb. 1821, he attributed the recent industrial revival to the Six Acts, warned that the radicals’ crusade for the queen threatened that recovery and rehashed and elaborated on the litany of misdemeanours she had been accused of in 1806 and 1813. It was his first major speech on a general question, and according to the radical Whig Henry Grey Bennet
the dullest and most stupid speech I ever heard. It was in fact, an entire failure, and he had better confine himself to finance and trade. He was repeatedly groaned at by his own friends and, when I, in my reply, sneeringly complimented him on the enlivening nature of his speech, the benches behind him cheered me.15
He justified the queen’s £50,000 civil list pension, 12 Feb. He supported Londonderry (formerly Castlereagh) on the alleged libels against the judge William Draper Best†, 23 Feb., 19 Apr., and by the Morning Chronicle, 26 Feb. Quoting from official papers, he refuted William Smith’s claim that the duke of Clarence could live on his inheritance, 8 June, and defended the inclusion of arrears in his award, 8, 18, 29 June.16 He was a government teller against inquiry into the preferential sale of the Llanllechyd slate quarries to Lord Penrhyn, in which his department was implicated, 21 June 1821, 8 July 1823. As agreed with Canning, he divided silently for Catholic relief, 28 Feb., and spoke against parliamentary reform, 18 Apr. 1821. His smile when Lambton, whose motion it was, returned to the chamber after missing the division, made him the target of the latter’s wrath.17 He was a majority teller against Lord John Russell’s reform proposals, 9 May 1821.
Sparring frequently with John Maberly and the political economist Ricardo, whose works he had recently read, Huskisson defended the estimates in several speeches and interventions, 9 Feb.-18 May 1821.18 He considered massive reductions in the sinking fund unsustainable and opposed all attempts to repeal or reduce the taxes on malt, 9 Feb., 21 Mar., husbandry horses, 5 Mar., windows, 6 Mar., and wool, 9 Apr. On 7 Mar., supported by Ricardo and Londonderry, he tried to confine the remit of the agriculture select committee deliberately conceded to Thomas Gooch to protection. ‘Taking the leading oar’, he colluded during it with Ricardo to carry (by 10-6) his own recommendation for a moderate fixed duty, removable in dearths, and included it in the report he drafted anonymously and presented on their behalf, 18 June.19 To Lord Althorp, a Whig member of the committee, it was a ‘masterly refutation of the views in which the inquiry had originated ... clearing the way for a more liberal system of legislation’.20 Hence he was caricatured as the watering can used by ‘the gardener’ Londonderry to nourish the placemen ‘thistles’.21 He failed to prevent Curwen’s resolution repealing the husbandry horse tax, which Londonderry had stifled, being revived and carried against government, 14 June.22 Opposing Hume’s economy and retrenchment motion, 27 June, he criticized the ‘gloomy’ account of the country given by Canning’s nephew Lord Titchfield, scorned opposition’s tactical use of statistics for 1792 and 1797 for comparison purposes and, arguing that the £4,000,000 savings Hume proposed would destroy the country’s defence strategy, praised the modest ones already achieved. On the bank cash payments bill, 19 Mar. 1821, he objected to Lord Folkestone’s defence of a paper currency and was glad to see Alexander Baring’s amendment defeated.
When ministerial negotiations resumed in April 1821 preparatory to Canning’s return, Huskisson was suggested for the navy treasurership, the mint and the Irish secretaryship but, rejecting all three, he informed Liverpool on the 25th that he would risk an election at Chichester ‘only for the India board’.23 He had set his terms too high. Although in contention, his threatened resignation and complaints of neglect, throughout the protracted discussions that preceded the January 1822 Grenvillite accession, when Charles Williams Wynn* became president of the India board ‘with cabinet rank’, dissipated the good will of Liverpool and Canning and their friends.24 Liverpool had asked Arbuthnot, who found him ‘unreasonable’, and the duke of Wellington to soothe him, and he was talked of for Ireland, the war office and the exchequer. He and Palmerston quashed the first two suggestions, and Lord Buckingham reported to Lord Grenville that the last was never an option as the Bank ‘would do no business or have any concern’ with Huskisson.25 Informing Granville on 3 Dec. 1821 of his decision to ‘gulp Mr. Squeaker’ [Williams Wynn] and stay on ‘at least for the present’, he attributed it to Charles Ellis’s* influence and to Canning, who, to his relief, had yet to agree to go to Bengal as governor-general.26 He wavered briefly when Grenvillites were substituted for his political allies Lord Binning* and William Sturges Bourne* on the India board, and complained formally to Liverpool of the hardship of his ‘nearly eight years of lingering in expectation’.27
In February 1822 he vainly hoped that Londonderry could expedite repayment of the Austrian loan, so that borrowing through exchequer bills or a ‘further inroad upon the feeble remnant of our sinking fund’ could be avoided and ‘our country gentlemen [put] in good humour before Parliament met’.28 The session began badly for him. Opposing Hume’s amendment to the address, 5 Feb., he became embroiled in hostile exchanges over his alleged ‘jobbing’ at woods and forests by investing incoming funds and pocketing the interest before declaring them in the official returns. He gave a qualified endorsement only of the government’s relief package, 15 Feb. He argued that distress could not be solved by emigration, reform or ‘annihilation of the pretended national debt’, and praised the vice-president of the board of trade Wallace’s proposals for relaxing the navigation laws, but credited these to himself as a leading member of the 1820 and 1821 select committees on trade, which recommended the change. He attributed the low prices associated with distress to an excess of supply and the improved value of money and cautioned that the 1815 law had generated an artificial expectation that corn would fetch 80s. a quarter. He preferred bounties to sliding scales and gold coins to small banknotes, and endorsed the projected £4,000,000 exchequer loan as a means of boosting the money supply and the economy. Citing his 1821 report, he maintained that tax remissions afforded ‘no immediate remedy to agricultural distress arising directly from low prices, but may benefit agriculture and other interests’. Speaking similarly on his reappointment to the agriculture select committee, 18 Feb., he also echoed criticism ‘out of doors’, and came under pressure from Curteis and others who accused him of having ‘mystified’ and ‘misled’ the committee, to acknowledge his authorship of the 1821 report.29 He countered objections to the navy five per cents bill, 8, 11 Mar. He naturally divided against abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar., 2 May, but conceded that there was a case for it, 2 May. He complained that the brewers’ objections to the malt duty repeal bill were unjust, 18 Mar., presented petitions against Grey Benett’s alehouses licensing bill, 6 May, and was instrumental in persuading Brougham to withdraw his, 18 July. He defended the concessions to colonial and American shipping under the colonial trade bills and disputed the abolitionists’ spokesman Thomas Fowell Buxton’s claim that they would boost the West Indian-North American slave trade, 1 Apr. He deliberately held aloof from the agriculture committee, whose report, based entirely on the 1821 evidence and recommending a 70s. pivot price and fixed countervailing duties was presented that day by its co-author Gooch. His relief proposal was one of seven it published and he submitted it to the House as an alternative to Londonderry’s, 29 Apr.30 Liverpool had freed him from making his differences with Londonderry on corn a resignation matter, and he now echoed Ricardo’s preference for perpetual ‘open’ trade. He prefaced his resolutions (based on a 15s. duty on corn at 80s. a quarter with variable duties above and below this pivot price and provision for lesser grains and pulses) with a speech defending government’s decision to extend the circulation period of small notes, and also reiterated his confidence in bounties and fixed term annuities. He sanctioned warehousing as a necessary evil.31 Although he neither forced a division nor cast a wayward vote, his opposition to lending money on corn created a furore during a difficult period in the government’s negotiations with the Bank, whose assistance was vital to the establishment of Londonderry’s ‘agricultural bank’, 6 May. Londonderry rejected his proposals, 8, 13 May. He complained to Liverpool that he was being informed against, but that he did not consider this a resignation matter, 12 May.32 Countering Ricardo’s objections to the naval and military pensions bill, he denied that it infringed the sinking fund, 1, 24 May. Opposing Western’s motion for inquiry into the resumption of cash payments, 11 June, he rendered his speech memorable by carrying as an amendment (by 194-30) the 1696 Commons resolution ‘that this House will not alter the standard of gold and silver, in fineness, weight, or denomination’. The Whig George Agar Ellis* thought he spoke ‘no better’ than Western, ‘except that he only spoke for two hours’.33 He was a government teller for the aliens bill, 11 July, and against reducing the grant for publicizing Irish proclamations, 22 July 1822.
Directly Parliament was prorogued that month he renewed to Liverpool his threat to resign unless promoted, giving as reasons Canning’s forthcoming departure for Bengal and his own long tenure of woods and forests ‘less from a desire to hold it, than in the expectation of being removed to some other’. He emphasized also the loyalty he had shown by staying on after the Grenvillite accession. With Londonderry as intermediary, negotiations to find ‘ways and means’ of promoting him commenced on 30 July, but no agreement had been reached when Londonderry committed suicide, 12 Aug.34 Any decision impacted on Chichester, where government expected a stiff contest, possibly defeat, should Huskisson retire; and Liverpool, where Canning had yet to vacate but he been requisitioned in June as his replacement. He had also accepted an invitation to Canning’s farewell dinner.35 On 9 Sept., ten days after the dinner, Canning was confirmed as foreign secretary and leader of the House. Huskisson had pressed his claims to both offices and deliberately stayed away from the Liverpool proceedings, only to see, as Palmerston put it, the premier ‘clinch one point without embarrassing it with another’. Ruled out for the exchequer, and with only a chance of the India board, should Williams Wynn agree to move, it proved impossible to accommodate him and, after a month’s speculation, his claim was relegated to the pre-session reshuffle.36 John Croker*, with whom he exchanged pleasantries and misinformation, commented:
All that Huskisson can do for the government he can do best in his present rank ... He is au fait in all official and financial details, and has a great love of what the French call administrative experience. But the defects of his manner and voice prevent his being a useful speaker, for no one is useful whom the House merely tolerates.37
Hurt to be offered the presidency of the board of trade ‘without cabinet’, 3 Oct., he vented his spleen on the Grenvillites and the ‘via inertia which has been so long Liverpool’s principle of government’. He urged Canning as intermediary not to press his claim ‘further than you feel to be conducive to some arrangement satisfactory to yourself, for improving gradually your position in the House’ and took solace, as Canning knew he would, from Buckingham’s exclusion from the cabinet.38 Nothing came of a proposal to make him chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, so giving him cabinet rank and influence in Liverpool, where the merchant elite were prepared to guarantee his election as Canning’s replacement, but categorically refused to fund a by-election resulting from his subsequent promotion.39 After sounding Wellington (who deplored his tactics) and half the ministry, partly through indecision, partly from what Arbuthnot indignantly called an attempt to ‘carry the cabinet by storm’, he heeded Ellis’s warning that the political world would not sanction his refusal. On 5 Jan. 1823 he accepted the presidency of the board of trade with a written promise of cabinet later.40 His exclusion was commonly credited to the king and communicated to him by Canning as such, 3 Jan. However, according to a letter of the previous day, cited by Liverpool’s nineteenth-century biographer Yonge, the king had ‘no objection’.41 On the 7th Liverpool informed Wellington candidly of his decision, Canning’s agreement and Huskisson’s assent, ‘though not with as good a grace as I should have desired for his credit’, and requested that the ‘secret’ be kept from their colleagues. Wellington’s letter to the home secretary Peel that day indicates that it was.42 Canning touted Huskisson briefly for the India board, when Wallace refused to stay on as his deputy, claiming that he had no ‘peculiar aptitude for the situation’ and no ‘marked accession of political weight to the government been obtained by his appointment’. Nevertheless, the arrangement endured and his promotion (financed by a second appointment as treasurer of the navy at £3,000 a year) was gazetted, 31 Jan.43 He was directed with Arbuthnot to find a mover and seconder for the address and instrumental in securing Canning a £3,000 pension, should he leave office.44 Reluctant to cast off his interest ‘like an old shoe’, he prevaricated over Chichester before coming in for Liverpool after a vexatious contest, during which he was placarded as an alien, a Jacobin and a placeman.45 On the hustings and at the dinner afterwards he refuted these slurs, rejected claims that the economy could not sustain a war, eulogized Canning and endorsed his decision not to act to suppress the new liberal regime in Spain, as France intended. He saw no inconsistency in opposing domestic reform while condoning it abroad; defended, on economic grounds, the repressive measures taken after Peterloo and the use of government informers; and spoke of the advantages of having ministers in the Commons, where they were directly accountable to Members. He repeated much of the speech when thanking his Chichester friends for a gift of plate, 3 Apr. 1823.46
The commercial component of Canning’s liberal Tory policies, executed by Huskisson and by Robinson as chancellor of the exchequer, was considered remarkable for the facility with which excise duties were reduced, antiquated trading restrictions abolished and protection perpetuated only where subsidized foreign competition threatened trade, or it was considered necessary to invoke colonial preference. Initially assisted by Wallace, whom Charles Grant replaced as vice-president in April 1823, Huskisson also relied heavily on his clerks (George Chalmers, Thomas Lack and the economist and codifier of the Customs Acts James Deacon Hume) and a staff of about 36, to whom he added his private secretary and biographer Edward Leeves (Leeves’s brother William was his Chichester agent).47 He drew too on the Liverpool Parliament Office in Fludyer Street and his merchant backers, especially reports supplied by the Liverpool merchant John Gladstone* (a potential rival for the Liverpool seat) and the Glasgow and Liverpool manufacturer Kirkman Finlay*. They expected him to add ‘weight’ to their petitions and suggestions for legislation. Between 1823 and 1830 he commented briefly on most of the diverse issues affecting Liverpool, doing so at length if they were matters of national concern.48 In his first session as president of the board, he carried the Reciprocities Duties Act (4 Geo. IV, c. 77), an empowering measure permitting the king in council to grant foreign powers reciprocal concessions on duties, drawbacks and shipping, including carriage in foreign ships in breach of the Navigation Act. It was the basis for his 1824 and 1825 Acts and a raft of commercial treaties with Austria, Denmark, France, Hanover, the Hanse Towns, Mecklenburg, Prussia, South America and the United States. He negotiated them as a plenipotentiary with Canning and the latter’s nephew Stratford Canning*.49
Drawn by Edmond Wodehouse’s criticism of the 1821 report to comment on Whitmore’s proposal for a corn bill based on a gradual reduction to 60s. in the pivot price, 26 Feb. 1823, Huskisson dismissed his case for separating the corn and currency questions as ‘superficial’, disputed Curwen’s account of the benefits accruing from lowering taxes on household goods and cottages and, denying that the agriculturists had a right to protection because other taxes were high, hinted that he might support free trade ‘at the right time’. Two days later, supporting Robinson in a prepared speech, he ridiculed Maberly’s attempt to raid the entire £7,000,000 sinking fund to finance tax cuts and defended the policy of allowing it to accumulate at compound interest under the national debt reduction bill. Presenting a Liverpool petition for repeal of the window tax, 7 Mar., he conceded that he could not support its prayer50 Floored by Baring’s criticism of the naval and military pensions bill, whose committal ministers carried by only 11 votes, 11 Apr., he deemed his complaint ‘irrelevant’ and fudged a response based on the history of previous government dealings with the Bank. He fared no better at the bill’s third reading, when Ricardo challenged him to explain the role of the Bank as its guarantor, 18 Apr. He made light work of opposing inquiry into the currency, despite being baited by Titchfield on behalf of the agriculturists, and it was rejected (by 96-27), 12 June. He justified the inflated salary awarded to the Grenvillite Henry Williams Wynn† as ambassador to the Swiss Cantons, 25 Mar. His merchant vessels apprentice bill (4 Geo. IV, c. 25), which involved the registration of shipping, impressments and wages, passed after several hostile exchanges with Ricardo, 13, 24 Mar., 18 Apr. 1823. Like the reform of the law of principal and factor (4 Geo. IV, c. 83) that he carried in the teeth of Scarlett’s objections, 12 May, it was largely the product of mercantile pressure from Liverpool and London, and was hurriedly executed. Both required time-consuming remedial legislation in 1824, 1825 and 1826.51 His legislation simplifying Commons procedures for dealing with trade bills (4 Geo. IV, c. 42) was not seriously opposed, and his measures for deregulating Scottish and Irish linen manufacture (4 Geo. IV, cc. 40, 90) were enacted, 18 July. That day, after two months of intense debate, petitioning and close divisions forced by City interests, he conceded that the Lords had wrecked the silk manufacture bill (repealing the Spitalfields Acts), which he had struggled to carry through the Commons with Whig support. Urged to accede to the demands of the Liverpool East and West India Associations, but anxious to stifle discussion of slavery, he decided that sugar prices should be determined by the world market, suggested restoring the 1814 import duties and refused to be directed towards equalization by Charles Grant, who voted in Whitmore’s minority against him, 22 May.52 His hostility to change and anxiety to stifle the issue persisted, and were apparent when he moved on behalf of the indisposed Robinson to prolong the 1823 duties for a year, 8 Mar. He refused to concede a committee to Whitmore, 13 May 1824. He described himself as ‘sympathetic’ to the ship owners’ complaints, but refused to waver on the principles of the reciprocity bill, which he carried (by 75-15), 4 July 1823, having commended it to the House as a measure which would protect British shipping and assist commerce ‘with a view not only to increase our wealth, but to securing the means of national defence against foreign states’. He accompanied Canning and the American envoy Richard Rush to the Liverpool dinner during their abortive negotiations in August. Amendments to the Reciprocity Acts in 1824 and 1825, in consequence of the Monroe doctrine, were endorsed in 1833 by the select committee on manufacturing, commerce and shipping.53
After three months of intrigue and in-fighting, on 6 Nov. 1823 the king authorized his admission to the cabinet when it met to discuss West Indian business on the 18th, but cautioned: ‘Mr. Huskisson may be and no doubt is a very clever man, but he is not always a prudent one’.54 He relinquished the Ceylon agency and £1,200 a year that month, lest it compromise his department, and resigned from the African Institution with Canning.55 Briefed by Gladstone (a plantation owner) on the insurrection in Demerara, where Canning’s 1823 order in council on slavery was not implemented, his ‘strictly private’ reply on 2 Nov., endorsing the principle of emancipation but criticizing as unproductive the tactics of its parliamentary advocates and the role of Nonconformist missionaries, was misappropriated and printed in the Jamaica Journal, 21 Feb. 1824. As intended, it appeared in the London papers in late April, when the abolitionists agitated the case of Methodist missionary John Smith, indicted in Demerara, of whom Huskisson had written, ‘it is difficult to presume that he was altogether innocent in the late conspiracy’.56 He neither commented nor voted on Brougham’s critical motion, 1, 11 June. He denied the Carlow petitioners’ allegations that all slaves were cruelly treated, 15 June 1824. He had hinted at support for repeal of the combination laws when it was agitated by Moore, 3 Mar., but quashed his complicated proposals, 27 May 1823. Deliberately named to the 1824 committee, he delegated their inquiry, which included artisan emigration and machinery exports, to Hume, directing him ‘to filter out the good and bad from the current laws’, 12 Feb. 57 He approved the repeal bill that Hume rushed through that session (5 Geo. IV, c. 95), but had to revive the committee himself, 21 Feb. 1825, in order to act to protect machinery, property and strike-breakers in the wake of the widespread industrial disruption it had legitimized. He promoted the revised act (6 Geo. IV, c. 129) in speeches on 29 Mar., 3 May, 27, 30 June, so attracting the opprobrium of the shipwrights and other disaffected artisans, who, as he predicted in debate, 29 Mar. 1825, encouraged opposition to him in Liverpool at the next election.58 He advocated repeal of the ‘oppressive’ usury laws as government intended, 16, 27 Feb., but forfeited it on being outmanoeuvred by Littleton and the agriculturists, 8 Apr. 1824.59 That session’s silk bill was carried first by Lauderdale in the Lords, making Baring, with whom Huskisson had clashed over the hostile Spitalfields petition, 5 Mar., its only serious Commons opponent. Introducing it, 8 Mar., in a speech universally acknowledged as ‘one the best, if not the very best ... ever heard on a trading question’, he used evidence on the relatively unrestricted cotton trade to prove the case for replacing the current prohibitions and bounties with a 30 per cent tax on imported silks.60 Supported by his colleagues, he intervened again in support of the bill 9, 10 18, 29 Mar., and it received royal assent, 12 Apr. (5 Geo. IV, c. 21). By May Huskisson was showing the strain of overwork after preparing reports on the Canada-United States border and transatlantic steam packets, while attending the House daily to defend policies which had increased his unpopularity at Court and on the Tory backbenches, where Canning rarely shielded him from attack.61 He carried the government’s warehoused wheat bill, 17, 27 May, to taunts that it had been introduced to benefit Liverpool; and was harassed over the marine insurance bill entrusted to him by Robinson, which was factiously delayed, 17 May, 3 June, before he carried its third reading (by 59-15), 14 June 1824. During the recess he travelled to Spa with Robert Wilmot Horton* and Ellis, ostensibly for his health, but also to negotiate a reciprocity treaty with the Netherlands, whose foreign minister Falk had rejected their terms. Writing to Granville, ambassador at The Hague, on his return in September, he expressed grave misgivings about Canning’s ‘private’ visit to the Irish viceroy Lord Wellesley and its likely interpretation as a portent that Catholic relief would be carried, or of ministerial change.62
He mistrusted private bills and joint-stock companies and became increasingly critical of the protective measures sought by speculators and of their toll on Parliament’s resources. This became evident in his interventions on the Irish Royal Mining Company, 6 May 1824, the Birmingham gas light bill, 6 May 1824, and the Manchester and Salford Loan Company, 10 May 1824, 28 Feb. 1825. Predicting ‘many losses and disappointments’, he agreed with lord chancellor Eldon that acquiring chartered status and appeals to law not Parliament should be used to check the ‘wild and unreasonable speculation’ in joint-stock companies ‘which vanish into thin air and leave those who entertained them nothing but regret and disappointment’, 18 Mar. 1825, and resisted Moore’s assault on the 1720 Bubble Act, 29 Mar., but he had to concede it, 2 June 1825.63 Initially wary of committing his support for schemes for a Liverpool-Birmingham or Liverpool-Manchester railway, he ‘reluctantly’ endorsed the latter as a public utility and boon to commerce, after ensuring that a clause was added to limit profiteering by shareholders, 2 Mar. 1825. He supported the revived bill, 6 Apr. 1826, and engineered a majority for it in the Lords.64
Huskisson played a part in the passage of most of the public bills enacted in 1825 and although his health held out, he found the session long and taxing.65 On the budget, 28 Feb., he declared that the bounties on sugars would be abolished as part of a wholesale revision of the trade and tariff system, and he promised legislation to assist the West Indies before the close of the session, 11 Mar. He refused that day to concede a committee to investigate cutting duties on imported spirits, tobacco and tea, which he had hinted (28 Feb.) would be excluded from his list. He now classified most of the legislation his department had carried since 1822 as outmoded, and projected himself as ‘an innovator only to the extent that colonial interests have changed’, 21 Mar. He introduced his colonial trades and customs consolidation bills that day as revisionary measures (6 Geo. IV, cc. 104-13). Having established the principle of the colonial bill, he proceeded on the 25th with the attendant measures, intended to promote trade and manufacturing by relaxing prohibitions and lowering tariffs on raw materials and to encourage British shipping and navigation. Singling out Finlay, he paid tribute to the contribution of British manufacturers in formulating policy, discussed individual tariffs and reforms, including repeal of the quarantine duties and taxes on ship sales and debentures, and replacing the current unsatisfactory ad hoc system with a salaried consular service. Confident that ‘public opinion and the ... Commons’ were on his side, ‘although in detail everyone has an objection to my measures’, he promoted them in further speeches, 13 May, 3, 14, 17, 24 June.66 John Herries* deemed him ‘one of the most dangerous men that ever was admitted into our councils’, and warned the Arbuthnots in April and May 1825 that he was resented in the City on account of his ‘indecent presumption’, ‘haste’ and ‘gross mistakes’, for goods were ‘not admitted in foreign ports on better terms than they were’ and with trade ‘turning against us’, merchants were ‘obliged to pay in gold’.67 Huskisson’s reforms did not weaken the principle of imperial preference, but his ‘enumerated articles’ were mostly imported from Europe in British ships, or the vessels of the country of production.68
He rightly interpreted Maberly’s motion to repeal the assessed taxes, 3 Mar. 1825, as a tactical one, ‘calculated to win over those who would not meddle with the sinking fund per se’. He did not rule out tax cuts but stipulated that the priority was to cut those affecting manufacturing, and amid fears of a shortfall in corn supplies, he strove to stifle discussion of the City petition, 28 Mar. Opposed in cabinet, 18 Apr., when he sought a pledge that government would consider revising the corn laws in 1826, he gave nothing away when baited by Gooch, 25 Apr. 1825, but bringing up a Liverpool petition next day, he hinted at concessions on warehousing.69 Exceeding his brief, his speech opposing Whitmore’s inquiry motion, 28 Apr., promised legislation leading to ‘a free trade in corn, under proper and due protection’ next session. He made the ‘excessive speculation in shares, companies and foreign merchandise’ his reason for delaying it, and warned that unless adequately restrained by the Bank and country banks, overspeculation would result in depression and financial exhaustion. His warehousing bill, introduced on 2 May (nominally effective from 15 Aug.) authorized the release of corn from bond at a 70s. pivot price with 10s. in duty, and proposed repealing the prohibit tariff on Canadian wheat. Amendments substituting 8s. for 10s., pressed by the Liverpool importers, 2 May, and for 7s., by the Newcastle merchants, 13 May, were easily defeated, but pressure from Baring, Gooch and Londonderry’s brother-in-law Thomas Wood obliged him to concede a 5s. tariff on Canadian wheat, 2 May, 9 June.70 Probably reflecting Canning’s growing reluctance to make common cause with the Grenvillites on Catholic relief, his speech at the bill’s third reading, 10 May 1825, included what William Fremantle* and Lord Grenville termed a ‘strange declaration’ that ‘the spirit’ of the suppressed Catholic Association would ‘remain and start up in another shape’. This and the reservations he expressed over the franchise bill and provisions for the Irish clergy made them complain that he had cost them votes and set back the Catholic cause.71 He told Granville on the 23rd that he did not despair at the measure’s defeat in the Lords.72
During the recess he participated in negotiations in Paris and London with the French ministers Villèle and Polignac, which yielded another commercial treaty, and discussed the corn question at length with Liverpool.73 Convinced that overspeculation by the Bank posed the risk of a ‘stoppage or threat to public and private credit’ that would be ‘felt in their full extent’ in late autumn, he suggested to Liverpool and Canning before the cabinet considered it, 22 Sept., that it would be better to hold a general election after the 1826 session, provided difficulties on corn, the Catholic question and slavery could be contained.74 He stood firm when Pole, Thornton and Company crashed in December, bringing down 43 country banks and, with Liverpool, Canning and Wellington, he badgered the Bank, which only narrowly avoided suspending payments, 16 Dec., to co-operate in instigating inflationary measures.75 Wellington, echoing the former chancellor Lord Bexley and the banker Rothschild, privately attributed the crisis to Huskisson’s ‘false policy’ of encouraging foreign speculation and a rapid growth in country bank notes.76 Critics denounced him as the ‘French Jacobin in the English cabinet’. Defending his stance, he wrote on 21 Dec. to Gladstone, the rescuer of the Gloucester bank:
For years I have been constantly labouring to prevail with the Bank of England to permit a modification of their charter. I have uniformly urged this concession on their part, in the double view of security to the country, and to themselves. To the country, by replacing the present system of individual bankers of little capital and often of less prudence or honesty, by joint- stock, or even locally chartered banks of ample capital, carrying on their business as bankers, and not making their credit the channel to feed, either in their own rash adventures, or those of their connections, every wild speculation. To the Bank, in preventing the periodical recourses of panics, with all their alarming consequences to their stability, such as that which is now, I hope, subsiding, but the traces of which will long remain. I have always urged too that the concession would, in fact, be no sacrifice, for that Parliament would secure to them the circulation of the metropolis and a certain district round it, which, together with the exclusive use of their paper in the receipt of the revenues and the payment of the dividends, would maintain it nearly, if not entirely at its accustomed level. Now I trust these considerations will have their weight; that the Bank, on the one hand, will no longer incur the odium of claiming the strict letter of its monopoly, and on the other, that the influence of the country bankers in Parliament will no longer be attended to, in opposition to so great and necessary an improvement.77
He rightly predicted a session ‘less smooth and satisfactory than the last ... plagued with motions and inquiries’ and that government would be ‘called upon to devise means of relief where none can be afforded’ in 1826.78 Speaking after Peel and Canning on the address, 2 Feb., he justified the proposed joint-stock banks of six or more partners and the small notes bill and added that by being ‘liberal and seasonable ... in saving others, the Bank had actually saved itself’.79 His defence of the promissory notes bill, 10 Feb., a critical day for government, when the City, country bankers and squires combined against them, was according to John Denison*
an admirable display of deep practical knowledge and of sound science proved by the test of experience. He took down Mr. Baring’s 24,000,000 to about 14,000,000 ... He attributed the distress to the combined action of speculation and overissue of paper. He laid it down as an absolute rule that gold and paper cannot circulate together, the paper will drive out the gold ... Next, that no currency can be safe, where the bullion bears a very small relative proportion to the paper. That the substitution of gold for one pound notes will relieve the Bank from part of the enormous responsibility of standing as security for the 800 country banks of England, and for the banks of Ireland and Scotland, because with this portion of bullion in circulation, each country bank will have the same interest as the Bank of England in observing the exchanges and in regulating their issues accordingly.80
Agar Ellis thought his concluding speech on 13 Feb. ‘the best ... I ever heard from him - clear, firm, and sound - and with a better manner and delivery than usual’.81 Privately and to the dismay of Peel and Wellington, who saw it as evidence of his rashness, Huskisson now shared the bankers Hudson Gurney* and Baring’s belief in the benefits of a bimetallic currency and he circulated a memorial to the cabinet accordingly.82 Differing from Finlay and the parliamentary committee, he was also reluctant to concede ‘a paper dram’ instead of specie to the Scots.83 Despite his reservations on policy he spoke for the Bank charter and promissory notes bills and exchequer loans, 20, 24, 27 Feb. 1826; but the City, where he was considered the ‘real author of the finance measures of government’, remained hostile.84
Though expected to yield, he successfully resisted the protectionists and the Coventry manufacturers’ demands for higher protective tariffs on silk, 9, 14, 23 Feb. 1826.85 Peel observed that his two-and-a-half-hour speech on the 23rd against conceding them an inquiry ‘converted many who meant to vote against the government’ and eclipsed that of his ablest opponent, John Williams.86 He attributed stagnation in trade to the recent banking crisis and currency fluctuations and stated that the ‘whole principle of liberal commercial policy’ was at stake and that he was ‘not for turning back’. Members cheered, Lord Holland endorsed him, Lord Stafford sent him a euphoric letter, and Canning commended his performance to Lord Liverpool as ‘far, far beyond what anyone believed he could do’; but, as George Tierney* reminded the Hollands, ‘there is a strong party against him and Canning and matters appear to be fast coming to extremities’.87 He intervened briefly when challenged in a violent speech by Baring on the 24th, and carried the division (by 222-40) only after Canning’s dazzling performance. Protectionists and anti-Catholics begrudged him their support and Canning avoided using him as a speaker on corn and slavery before the question of his salary had been disposed of.88 Implementing a treasury directive of 13 July 1825, and with a dissolution expected, Robinson moved a resolution for a bill awarding the president of the board of trade £5,000 a year and the navy treasurer £2,000, 6 Apr. 1826. Huskisson hoped to relinquish the treasurership without loss of income, and maintained privately that he had ‘no personal anxiety upon the subject’ beyond that of timing the change to coincide with a general election, to avoid alienating his Liverpool sponsors.89 In the House, 6 Apr., he spoke of his overwhelming workload and the differences between the posts. The Whigs’ personal tributes to him that day and the next were not reflected in their votes. With the backbench Tories hostile or at best apathetic, and Canning and Peel’s speeches below par, the resolution was delayed by spoiling motions and divisions in committee, 7 Apr., and carried by the embarrassingly narrow majority of 87-76, 10 Apr. Sensing the mood of the House, Canning acceded to opposition demands to unite the two offices at £5,000, and the amended bill received royal assent, 5 May.90 Wellington’s confidante Mrs. Arbuthnot blamed Canning and Huskisson for the ministry’s unpopularity and condemned the proceedings as ‘a rank job’. She also commented that ‘it served them quite right’ as ‘trade ... ought always to be subordinate to the finances and always have [sic] been hitherto, but Mr. Huskisson has quite emancipated himself from all such control, and what a pretty mess he has made’.91
On 28 Apr. 1826, with full government backing, he defeated Whitmore’s motion to reduce agricultural protection (by 250-81). Gloomy statistics procured for the board of trade by William Jacob†, on which the motion was based, were hinted at and the discussion highlighted Huskisson’s failure to initiate the inquiry promised in 1825. His citations from the 1821 agriculture report and allusions to his commercial policies were stale. In consultations with Canning and Liverpool afterwards, he explained that Jacob’s figures indicated a likely shortfall in supply, coinciding with a depression in manufacturing. Legislation to open the ports could not therefore be held back until the next Parliament in November although he would be unable to carry it himself in the Commons.92 He therefore schooled and supported Canning who led the debate, 2, 5, 8, 9 May, when they were opposed from both sides of the House and the impact of the extra-parliamentary debate was evident. They forfeited the corn admission bill, 9 May, but carried the warehoused corn bill, permitting the privy council to authorize foreign grain imports of only 500,000 quarters, on the 12th. The Hollands delighted in the reports of Tory disunity and rebellion at Boodle’s, induced by Huskisson’s policies.93 He redeemed himself with a definitive speech on his reform of the navigation laws, 12 May 1826.94 As requisitioned, and with Wilmot Horton in reserve lest a serious contest ensued, he was returned for Liverpool at the general election in June. He suspected his colleague Gascoigne, an anti-Catholic Tory and recent opponent of his reforms on combinations, corn and shipping, of promoting the token poll instigated by the shipwrights.95 Afterwards, he was dismayed to find his election speech and remarks to the ship owners misreported by the radical Liverpool Mercury. It added to his difficulties with Canning and especially Wellington that summer.96
His main pre-session concerns were the deplorable state of the revenue, the Catholic question and the state of Ireland.97 He had invoked the order in council on corn during the recess, and as agreed beforehand with Liverpool, Canning, Peel and Wellington, and in cabinet subsequently, he moved the necessary indemnity bill, 24 Nov. 1826. It substituted ‘an open trade for prohibition’ and regulated it with descending and ascending scales, based on a 70s. remunerative price, with corn flowing freely from 65s. but inhibited at 60s. It also set scales for pulses and inferior grains.98 According to Agar Ellis, ‘he spoke ill, as did the country gentlemen who followed him’, and although the ‘resolutions were agreed to nem. con.’, Tierney observed that unlike Canning, he had not gained ground recently in the House and remained ‘sadly abused as well as his doctrines’.99 Harried by Sir Henry Parnell to produce import returns, 30 Nov., by Lord Folkestone on corn, 1 Dec., and by Hume on machinery exports, 6 Dec., he also had to comment on the dealings of the Arigna Mining Company and other ‘wild’ and ‘mischievous’ joint-stock schemes his colleagues had speculated in, 5 Dec. 1826. He did not escape the wave of intrigue and sickness which swept through the cabinet after the duke of York’s funeral in January 1827, and was said by Lady Palmerston to be in ‘a very sickly state’ from a ‘constant inflammation of the trachea, and general derangement, and the moment he gets the least better and is able to move out of his bedroom, they come and talk to him about business and lay him up again’.100 His recovery was slow, but, with Canning’s illness worse, when a stroke disabled Liverpool he rescheduled the debates on corn and Catholics ‘under the shadow of Liverpool’s authority, though in abeyance’ and, being housebound, hosted cabinet business meetings with Bathurst, Peel, Robinson and Wellington, and arranged for Thomas Frankland Lewis to represent Gladstone on the Berwick election committee (which unseated Gladstone).101 He paired for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, and his ‘accidental absence’ was seen as an unavoidable factor in its defeat.102 Binning, who saw him that day, found him ‘very weak, and it is a poor little voice that comes from his chest, which is, and has long been sadly oppressed’.103 He correctly predicted that the loss of Liverpool in the Lords would be ‘a great blow to the corn question’ which, as the main target of the agriculturists’ hostility, he was ill placed to introduce in the Commons.104 Barred by the City, the ‘Protestants and corn aristocracy’ from the exchequer his friends sought for him, the anti-Catholic exodus led by Wellington and Peel and the subsequent Lansdowne Whig adhesions to Canning’s ministry afforded him little prospect of promotion. With Williams Wynn in situ and support for a Liverpool by-election as yet uncertain, he remained at the board of trade ‘for the present’ and ‘because it is that against which an attack is threatened’.105
The assault on Canning’s liberal economic policy and Huskisson’s ‘Reciprocity Acts’ was enshrined in a motion for a select committee on the distressed shipping industry, announced on 21 Feb. 1827. Entrusted to Gascoyne, with Canning’s office secretary Henry Thomas Liddell, representing the Tyne ship owners, as seconder, it was backed by favourable petitions from all the major ports and was moved on 7 May. Responding in a triumphant two-and-a-half-hour speech, after Charles Poulett Thomson had prepared the ground, Huskisson used statistics culled from different returns to Gascoyne’s to contradict his account of recent trading losses and decline. Highlighting the achievements of his liberal policies, he reviewed and assessed the petitions submitted and made comparisons with silk, timber and other trades. He did not shy from dealing with their Irish and colonial dimensions, including slavery. The Great Yarmouth, Newcastle, Bristol and London Members, the agriculturists Wodehouse and Curwen, and Baring, Bernal and Peel were among those (about 40) whom he won over during the debate and who openly withdrew their support from Gascoyne.106 Encouraged by this endorsement of his policy and fêted,107 he opposed Whitmore’s motion for inquiry into the East India trade, a bid to secure equalization of the sugar duties, 15 May, and denied another on manufacturing distress to Edward Davies Davenport, 14 June. The attack had, however, switched to agriculture and to the Lords, where Wellington wrecked his corn bill by raising the pivot price from 60 to 66s., 1 June, supposedly in accordance with his written instructions of 24 May. Humiliated, he was castigated by Canning, the bill’s pilot in the Commons, and engaged in open correspondence with the duke, which discredited both sides and proved Huskisson was correct. He quoted from their letters (as Wellington had done in the Lords) when supporting Canning’s abortive corn resolutions, 18 June.108 As his health was deteriorating rapidly, the king authorized his pension to be increased from £1,800 to £3,000, should he retire, and he went abroad on his doctor’s orders for three months’ complete rest.109 Edward Ellice* informed his brother-in-law Lord Grey: ‘From what the papers say, one would suppose Huskisson’s mind was affected. His loss would be felt everywhere, however much people may differ as to the extent he carries his principles and his policy’.110 Warning Granville, in Paris, to expect him, Huskisson wrote:
Our session is now over, and our difficulties postponed. They were formidable enough without the necessity of trying our strength again upon a new corn bill at the commencement of the next session. However, I shall not despair of getting people into better humour if Canning keeps his health, and the king remains firm.111
News of Canning’s death on 8 Aug. 1827 reached him in Switzerland on the 15th in letters from Granville and the treasury secretary Planta, who asked him to ‘give us your best assistance’.112 Travelling through Basle, he missed the couriers sent out to him. He arrived at the Paris embassy, to be briefed by Lambton and Granville, who had corresponded with their friends, ‘shocked, fatigued and agitated’, 20 Aug. It was too late for him to attend Canning’s funeral.113 He knew before he reached London on the 28th that Lord Goderich (Robinson) had kissed hands as premier on the 13th, that the Canningite-Whig coalition risked collapse unless the reluctant Sturges Bourne could be persuaded to take the exchequer instead of Herries, the king’s choice, and that he was expected to resolve this impasse. The colonial office and leadership of the House were his, as ‘the only person competent’.114 Friends and foes feared lest what Croker termed his ‘health ... disposition and habits would prevent his accepting’. Sturges Bourne, Dudley, the Grants, Lord Seaford (Ellis), Wilmot Horton, Frankland Lewis, Planta, Lord Howard de Walden and most of his ministerial colleagues were anxious that he should.115 Holland and Baring for the Whigs suggested Althorp as an impractical alternative.116 For the Tories, Peel’s brother-in-law George Dawson* revived talk of Huskisson’s stock-jobbing, and Arbuthnot intimated to Peel, 25 Aug.:
We all know Huskisson well. Had he, upon coming home, found that the duke had refused the command, he would not I think have liked to embark with so feeble a government, but now I should not be at all surprised if he persuaded the Whigs to acquiesce in Herries’s appointment’.117
The Whig James Abercromby*, for different reasons, agreed:
He is a man of resource. But all my reflections lead to the conclusion that he is hostile. Canning being gone, he sees that he has no real protection against the growing influence and power of the Whigs, whom he hates and fears and is determined at all hazards to keep them out.118
He had decided by the 24th that retirement was no option. Accepting Goderich’s offer two days later he wrote:
I find myself upon the treasury bench almost the sole survivor not only of the generation under which I first entered it, but also of that which immediately succeeded Mr. Pitt’s ministry and of which I was the contemporary. In the short space of six months the country has been deprived of Lord Liverpool and Mr. Canning, both born in the same year as myself, and both, I firmly believe, in a great degree prematurely destroyed by the anxiety and toil of public life. My labours, it is true, in point of importance, have been as dust in the balance compared to theirs; but however insignificant, they have not been the less wearing or incessant. The result has been that the greater part of these last six months has been passed by me in a very serious state of illness, and the unavoidable neglect of the public duties of my situation.119
He had met Tierney and the Whig peers Carlisle, Devonshire and Lansdowne by arrangement directly he returned, before going to Windsor.120 Though ‘harassed beyond measure’, he impressed Lansdowne with his ‘agreeableness, sagacity and firmness’, but he proved as unwilling as Sturges Bourne, whose desertion he condemned, to take the exchequer as a way out: ‘in that office I should lose the only chance of keeping well with the king and of acquiring his confidence’.121 Although prepared to serve under Goderich without the Whigs, by telling Lansdowne otherwise he persuaded them to swallow Herries and mediated between them.122 The king’s preference for a ‘coalition with the old Tories’ did not elude him.123 Lord Grey condemned the arrangement, but Brougham was ambivalent, dangerous and unplaced.124 Ellice thought he would ‘lead the House well, if Brougham is got rid of, as ‘Peel will do nothing against him’, and informed James Brougham*:
I sincerely wish success to Huskisson and his ministry and pray that prudence will create another miracle in inspiring the king with truth, constancy and firmness to support them through all the struggles and difficulties before them.125
Others noted the Canningites’ lack of parliamentary influence, which Holland, who coveted the foreign secretaryship but was offered nothing, could have provided.126 Consulted only over minor appointments, Huskisson agreed to take Edward Smith Stanley* as his under-secretary when Wilmot Horton (whom he had hoped to promote) vacated, and tried to find employment for Stafford’s son Lord Francis Leveson Gower*.127 Concern for his health persisted, and he feared that he had taken on a task beyond his strength.128 But his was a popular appointment and the high point of his career.129 The Whig John Fazakerley* wrote:
My hope, and confidence and comfort of every sort is in Huskisson. I consider him not only to entertain all poor Canning’s better opinions, but to be free from some of ... the ... prejudices of his friend and chief, and to want nothing but power to make him at least as efficient as a minister. But I tremble for his health’.130
As leader of the House, he was consulted on the Lanarkshire by-election and corresponded frequently with Binning on Scotland, where support for the ministry declined.131 His departmental problems included refusals by the Jamaican and other assemblies to implement Canning’s slavery resolutions and Wellington’s fury after he failed to consult him as commander-in-chief before naming the duke of Gordon as governor of Lower Canada.132 His early confidence in the foreign secretary Dudley’s ability to handle the Navarino crisis, ‘a nice kettle of fish’, which would ‘plague us to death until it gets settled’, turned to despair when in late November he considered its implications for the coming session and realized that colleagues ignored his advice. The ministry’s weakness troubled him: ‘We have more heads (or rather noses) with less of the real work in the cabinet than I ever recollect’.133 He was, according to Howard de Walden
the only purposeful cabinet member ... the mainstay of the government and without him they could not go on a week ... In fact he is the person who directs everything, and I think the only one who understands anything about foreign politics.134
He took charge of the Canning pension and Kilbrahan peerage legislation, a potential problem as the revenue was in deficit and subject to finance committee scrutiny.135 On 29 Nov. 1827 he warned the master of the mint Tierney that their choice of Althorp to chair the latter and discussion with Herries on its membership had been leaked. Herries delayed a month before making Althorp’s appointment a resignation matter, and the wrangle, closely following another over overtures to Brougham, Holland and Wellesley, eventually destroyed the tottering ministry. Goderich resigned twice. Huskisson thrice drafted and threatened resignation, having between times dispatched summonses for the 1828 session and remained at the heart of negotiations between the king, Goderich, Harrowby and Lansdowne.136 To Granville he described it as a ‘worse scene, if possible, than that into which I was drawn on my arrival from the continent.137 He explained in a draft resignation letter, 19 Dec.:
I can no longer conceal to myself that councils which ought to be, and which the king specially directs should be, held most strictly secret are not so kept. If on one occasion they are divulged to newspapers to secure any particular purpose, am I not justified in apprehending that in others they are betrayed to other quarters to serve some other purpose? Against such risks I cannot hope to be able to conduct the affairs of the government in the ... Commons. They open a door to intrigue against which no minister can contend, and no reputation can be safe. Neither can I venture to be one of the depositaries of confidence, which, however violated, must excite suspicion; and that suspicion may fall upon myself.138
With the ministry doomed, he wrote similarly, 29 Dec. 1827, 4 Jan. 1828, after seeing Palmerston and Wellington. Convinced that they could not go on, and of the king’s secretary Knighton’s intriguing, his official resignation letter (4 Jan.), which he knew would be fatal to the ministry, alluded directly to Herries, who had again agitated the finance committee, and made no mention of the Commons leadership.139 Negotiations with Anglesey, Goderich and lord chancellor Lyndhurst ensued. Goderich vainly encouraged Herries, who denounced Huskisson, Lansdowne, Tierney and Holland, to yield and the ministry lingered until 8 Jan.140 Having trusted Anglesey to expose ‘all the petty intrigues and miserable weakness which have brought matters to their present helpless state’, Huskisson was sorry when the latter’s involvement ceased.141 Caricatured hanging on to Wellington’s galloping charger scattering the Whigs, he was recruited by Lord Lyndhurst and the home secretary Peel (his replacement as leader of the House) the following week to serve ‘with but not under’ him as the Wellington ministry’s colonial secretary. He had abandoned the Whigs, but the ‘triumvirate’, whom he consulted throughout, were in place: Dudley as foreign secretary, Palmerston at the war office and Charles Grant as president of the board of trade.142 They demanded a free vote on Catholic emancipation, secured Herries’s exclusion from the exchequer (he went to the mint) and Althorp’s inclusion on the finance committee. Frankland Lewis, Smith Stanley and Scarlett (who resigned), were expected to remain in office and accept Huskisson’s leadership. His wife’s cousin William Lamb stayed on as Irish secretary and Planta remained at the treasury, but Leveson Gower initially refused office ‘by the desire of his father’ and Sturges Bourne again declined.143 The Tory Lord Lowther* informed his father, 16 Jan. 1828:
There is a considerable difference of opinion amongst our best friends as to the admission of Huskisson. He will bring some votes, and contra. It is stated that his forming part of the government will indispose and make 90 country gentlemen as shy as hawks, and that the late cabinet intrigues only began when he was admitted into it. This is the theme of debate, but I don’t think his wings would be so clipped ... Upon the whole I think it would be better to have him.144
The duke of Rutland and Sir Henry Hardinge* wrote similarly of the need to keep Huskisson in order: ‘in short he is the dry rot of any cabinet into which he enters, but then he leads about 30 votes and is really an able fellow, and Peel is so short of aid in the Lower House’.145 Non-Canningite Whigs condemned the Canningites in and out of office,146 but Ellice, Hobhouse and Lord John Russell were among the few that ‘at first’ condoned Huskisson’s conduct.147 Tierney was disgusted:
The compromise between Herries and Huskisson is most curious. The objections urged against the former were pointed, it now seems, rather against the office than the man, for Mr. Herries appears to Huskisson a harmless cabinet minister when changed into the master of the mint.148
Carlisle’s exclusion and Huskisson’s failure to insist on leading the House caused a furore among their friends.149 The unforgiving Lady Canning helped to accentuate the party split and gave Huskisson, whom she charged with ‘delinquency and apostacy’, a bad press.150 He left London in late January suffering from stress and a bad chest.151 He was anxious to reinforce Canning’s London Treaty of July 1827, and in cabinet forced through euphemistic descriptions of Navarino and Portugal for inclusion in the king’s speech. He also insisted on a government corn bill, with a view to enacting that forfeited in 1827.152
On 5 Feb. 1828 he went to Liverpool to be re-elected. The arrangements had been made when a resolution of support for Canning was carried the previous May, and he was asked to explain his changing political allegiance.153 He sent Peel the following account:
We had long speeches from some Whigs who had received their lessons from town; and in reply to which I was obliged to go into explanations much more at length than I could have wished. Lord Molyneux† was put in nomination, but no poll being demanded, everything was over by three o’clock, and without the least symptom of violence.154
However, his speech, as circulated in the press, greatly offended the Whigs, Tories and Lady Canning. In it he castigated Goderich, who reciprocated with a motion in the Lords, 11 Feb., inflated his status in Wellington’s ministry and projected himself as the true heir to Canning. To make matters worse, he spoke as if he was in charge of the corn bill and commercial policy. Having no notes of the speech, he found the newspaper allegations difficult to deny.155 He took Dudley’s Downing Street house for the session.156 He rallied to Peel’s defence on the sinking find, 11 Feb., but his remarks, which echoed Maberly’s, alarmed his colleagues.157 He justified the anodyne selection of papers on Navarino and wanted ‘Codrington’s freedom from blame understood’, 14 Feb., and pursued the matter in cabinet, 6, 10 Mar.158 Contrary to his wishes, and certainly against Wellington’s, on 15 Feb. he was added to the finance committee. He helped to carry the abolition of the sinking fund, and their fifth report, published on 10 July, exonerated his conduct in cutting the excise duties.159 Briefed beforehand by Littleton and Lord Normanby*, he and Herries substantiated their explanations of the ministerial changes with correspondence, 18 Feb. His account, which highlighted Herries’s silence, 2-26 Dec. 1827, accorded well with Carlisle’s private memorandum and seemed the more reliable. In what was generally considered a satisfactory performance, he made no mention of Lyndhurst, Anglesey or any intermediary, and tried to correct assumptions based on his Liverpool election speech by citing relevant correspondence sent to him by the leading Liverpool reformer, the Rev. William Shepherd.160 A caricature of the debate depicted Rothschild bribing Herries with Knighton’s collusion, while ‘a busy Husky fellow’ ruled the king.161
He defended the corporation-sponsored Liverpool dock bill, 25 Feb., reluctantly acquiesced in the cabinet’s decision to uphold the Test Acts as a government question and divided and apparently spoke against repeal, 26 Feb., but later complained that his ‘views were misrepresented out of doors’, 14 Mar. 1828. Agar Ellis and Lord George Cavendish Bentinck* thought his first speech ‘wretched’ and his argument that repeal would jeopardize Catholic relief ‘contemptible’.162 On corn, the issue that almost brought down the administration in March, he could not see beyond the 1827 bill wrecked by Wellington. He failed to steer the cabinet close enough to his scheme or to satisfy Grant or Wellington. He proposed stabilizing prices at 64-66s. a quarter, and threatened resignation should this be refused. Grant, in the event, avoided the debates.163 He discussed the issue with George IV, 28 Mar., but according to Ellenborough the king only feigned a wish to keep him.164 The duke of Bedford, writing on 31 Mar. to Holland, quipped: ‘Corn will I think very likely upset the ministry. I always suspected that Huskisson would die by the sheaf’.165 Deputizing for Grant, he quibbled over the statistics used by the agriculturists Waldo Sibthorp and Lethbridge to criticize his 1826 and 1827 bills, 31 Mar.; and when Grant moved the government bill in committee, 22 Apr. 1828, he fielded the agriculturists’ questions himself and divided against Edward Portman II (202-58). He would not concede that the pivot price had changed, and tried to justify the fluctuation in the upward and downward scales which Canning had tried to carry for him. Smith Stanley condemned the tactic as ‘disingenuous’, while Peel and Herries could barely contain their laughter. Hobhouse, after discussing it with him next day, described him as ‘a shabby unprincipled man, and cares not what he says’.166 He and Grant sought Wellington’s sanction to support John Benett’s amendment for ‘a higher duty at the low prices, and a lower duty at high prices’ than the government’s scale, but the tactic failed.167 Citing from Jacob’s 1826 report, and puffing his 1827 bill, he hinted at support, but failed to divide in Benett’s minority.
He answered questions on the colonial assemblies and slavery, 27 Feb., 5, 6 Mar., and promised to support a bill ‘to improve the civil and moral conditions of slaves’, based on Canning’s 1823 resolutions, 6 Mar. 1828. In cabinet, 4 Apr., he suggested keeping manumission compulsory and permitting the privy council to authorize slave transfers.168 He defended the Canada Company, 27 Mar. His New South Wales bill was criticized for failing to provide trial by jury, 1, 18 Apr., an omission he justified in view of the colony’s scattered population and high percentage of convicts. He gave qualified support to Wilmot Horton’s emigration bills, 4 Mar., 17 Apr. Proposing a select committee on the Canadian government, 2 May, and backed by Wilmot Horton and Smith Stanley, he traced the background of the 1791 Act and, warning against making population density the determinant of representation, he described how it had left the French seigneuries overrepresented compared to the English ones. In June Lord Durham expressed astonishment at Huskisson’s decision to make the matter one of open inquiry.169 No longer trusted by Bathurst and Wellington, who found his meddling and obstinacy in cabinet irritating, especially on the Rideau Canal and foreign policy, Huskisson was, according to Ellenborough and Mrs. Arbuthnot, a target for ejection well before May.170 The 3rd marquess of Londonderry, who blamed him for worrying his half-brother to his death, denounced him as ‘this Machiavellian parvenu’, the ‘primum mobile of all the Aeolian system’, and ‘Husky and his fag-end of the Canningites’.171 He presented favourable petitions, 5 May, and spoke and voted for Catholic relief, 12 May. Lady Canning’s fury remained unabated, despite his endeavours on her behalf and interviews with family members. He supported her brother-in-law the duke of Portland in cabinet (with Grant and Palmerston), 2, 5 May, when they failed to secure the £3,000 pension for two lives, but had it awarded to Canning’s younger son.172 In one of the best speeches for the pension bill he dwelt on Canning’s political achievements, demonstrated the sacrifices he had made in turning down India and praised him ‘above all Englishmen save Nelson’, 13 May 1828.173
He found fault with Russell’s proposal to transfer Penryn’s franchise to Manchester, 24 Mar., but supported the principle behind the exchange. He vainly urged the postponement of the freeholders registration bill, 25 Mar., and opposed the Liverpool franchise bill, for which Smith Stanley presented a petition, 2 Apr., stating, ‘it has never yet been held by this House desirable to give the franchise to a different class of voters, except for the purpose of punishing the former electors in cases of corruption’. He opposed it again, 9 June. On East Retford, 21 Mar., he maintained that the time had come to ‘establish some general principle’ for franchise transfer, and Lord Sandon duly claimed his vote for transferring the seats to Birmingham, 19 May. Backed by Dudley, Grant and Palmerston, he had stated in cabinet on the 17th that they ‘must vote for a town’, but on the morning of the 19th the cabinet agreed to follow Peel and support sluicing. In Grant’s absence, Huskisson and Palmerston called for an adjournment until Penryn’s fate was known. Peel refused, and by not leaving the chamber with him they were counted in the minority. Huskisson’s short speech argued that sluicing and a £20 ratepayer qualification would ‘annihilate’ the borough.174 The votes caused a sensation. Huskisson’s hasty draft to Wellington asking if he should resign was forwarded to the king as a formal resignation, and Wellington and the king denied him a second chance.175 He later remarked: ‘Where there is a will there is always a way. A most unimportant occurrence on a most trifling question afforded the way’.176 Dudley, Grant and Palmerston resigned reluctantly and others, including Lamb, followed.177 Among several caricatures, Huskisson was depicted in a fool’s cap as ‘a naughty boy turned out of school’, being ordered back to Liverpool.178 He spoke for government on the civil list while correspondence flew, 20 May, but informed Gladstone on the 21st that ‘the time is now arrived when I shall probably have more leisure to look after my health, as well as other neglected concerns’.179 Giving a personal perspective to Granville on the 23rd, he explained:
I now incline to think it was a hasty step, taken under feelings of excitement, and that it would have been more discreet to have waited till daylight. At the same time I do not believe that the most cautious and guarded letter would have produced a different result, because ... the duke has his answer to the explanation which he treats as offensive. Be that as it may, this hasty letter (marked however private and confidential) was sent off in a breathless hurry to the king, and without any previous communication with me, as a positive absolute resignation. It is a breach of all the relations of confidence between a minister and the head of the government to have made such a use of a letter so marked.180
He received letters of sympathy, and the consensus was that he had been hard done by.181 In Liverpool the Albion deprecated Wellington’s ‘cashiering of Mr. Huskisson and the retirement of his friends from office in consequence of that act of military severity’.182 On 2 June, in a bitter and acrimonious speech, he gave the House a full account of events since 21 Mar., including all his correspondence with Wellington. He said that Peel had been well aware of the problem which the division on 19 May posed for him, and referred to his resignation in May 1822 and different treatment by Londonderry and Liverpool. He regretted his loss of office and influence on trade, commerce and industry, but acknowledged that he had lost the confidence of important colleagues. Peel, firm in reply, spoke of the painful failure of the coalition and maintained that Huskisson’s precipitate action had given East Retford a singular importance.183 Ellenborough noted that he ‘spoke in a tone of exacerbation which will do him no good. The opposition did not take him up’. Ministers carried the division (by 258-152).184 Lord Seaford and Wilmot Horton echoed Lord Morley’s complaint to Granville that Huskisson was ‘guilty of great omission in involving the interests of so many persons without consulting any of them’.185 According to lists which Palmerston drafted, 3-7 June, the so-called Huskissonite party, or ‘ejected liberals’, could rely on at least 26 Members and 10 peers. Lord Colchester estimated their Commons strength at 21-35, but supplied only 17 names.186
Huskisson spoke against inquiry into small notes, warning that it might trigger a panic, 3, 5 June. He acquiesced in the continuance of the sugar duties for one year and, in view of his differences with Grant on their equalization, he deferred discussion of American involvement in the West Indian trade. He presented the Calcutta merchants’ petition for equalizing the duties on all East and West Indian imports but deemed further discussion premature, 16 June. He replayed the shipping debate with Gascoyne to his own advantage next day and defended his policies as a minister when the Hull shipping petition was presented, 24 June. He intervened on the New South Wales bill, 20 June, Buckingham House expenditure, 23 June, and steam packets, 25 June. He supported his successor Sir George Murray’s motion perpetuating the Slave Laws Consolidation Act, 1 July, and moved for a copy of his own letter of 22 Sept. 1827 to the governor of Jamaica. He divided with ministers on the ordnance estimates, 4 July, and defended his policies on Canada, 7, 14 July, and the silk trade, 14, 15 July, when opposition tried to exploit his humiliation. Citing from his correspondence with Gladstone, he ordered papers and accounts on American tariffs, 18 July 1828.187 Before leaving for the continent that month, he arranged to bring in a new recruit (William Ewart) for Bletchingley.188 To Denison he confided that he had thought it best ‘to be quiet this session’, as many recommendations ‘opposed while they came from him’, had subsequently been adopted.189
Huskisson returned from Switzerland in November 1828 in better health than at any time since 1826. He saw nothing extraordinary in Peel’s Liverpool visit and was encouraged by growing talk of Catholic emancipation.190 With Goderich, Melbourne (Lamb), Palmerston and Planta, he mustered his party at Eartham in late November. Their exact number is not reported.191 Lady Cowper and others thought that his appetite for office had waned but that he remained as ‘eager about politics’ as ever. He considered an alliance with the Holland House Whigs, and was preparing speeches on East Retford and Portugal. On Catholic emancipation, he anticipated that ‘cabinet will neither originate nor attempt anything, except by every means of indiscreet influence and insinuation, to procure a majority’.192 Following another ‘Eartham conference’ in January 1829, he was confident no Canningite would be ‘backward or lukewarm’ on emancipation, but ‘the course of the Canning-hating Whigs ... [who] threw the country into the hands of the duke’, troubled him.193 On 6 Feb. he endorsed the Liverpool Dissenters’ pro-emancipation petition, whose presenter John Wood criticized his opposition to Test Acts repeal. He also now praised Peel for conceding emancipation and endorsed his policy on Greece but not on Portugal.194 Greville found him in ‘good humour and spirits but rather bitter’ at dinner at Grant’s, 8 Feb., where they, Granville, Melbourne, Palmerston, Warrender ‘and one or two more’ agreed to support Duncombe’s motion on Terceira.195 Provoked by Henry Bankes, he spoke for the Irish unlawful societies bill, but added that he condoned it only to secure emancipation, 10 Feb. His interventions in favour of the measure were well received, 16, 24 Feb., 3, 6 Mar. Grey’s son Lord Howick commended him for pressing the ‘absolute necessity of carrying the question and the impossibility of any person in its favour consenting to form part of a neutral government’, 3 Mar., which Lady Holland noted ‘cuts off all hope of the king getting him’.196 Clashing frequently with Gascoyne, he presented and endorsed petitions from Liverpool and elsewhere, 6, 9, 17, 19, 20 Mar., but he deplored the time-wasting involved, 19 Mar. To accusations of inconsistency, he criticized the disfranchisement of Irish 40s. freeholders ‘as an enemy of parliamentary reform’, and said that he regarded ‘emancipation as uniting, consolidating and strengthening all the great interests of the empire’ and reform as ‘tending to destroy [not only] the church establishment, but every other important institution’. According to Howick, he added that he would not vote against the franchise bill.197 He spoke, 23, 24, 27 Mar., and divided for the relief bill, 30 Mar. He was for permitting Daniel O’Connell to take his seat without swearing the oath of supremacy, 18 May, but wanted the issue deferred, 19 May. Attending to Liverpool business, he presented at least 40 minor petitions, 30 Mar.-12 June, including one against importing foreign boots, which he refused to endorse, and took charge of the St. Martin’s church bill. In several speeches (9 Mar., 13 Apr., 8 May) he defended his policy on silk in 1824 and a gradual transition to free trade. Before voting for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May, he joined in the clamour for its disfranchisement and argued that such towns as ‘Birmingham must be represented when issues like the renewal of the East India Company and Bank charters are considered’. Supporting Peel, he said he would move to kill Villiers Stuart’s resolutions for introducing the English poor law in Ireland, 7 May. Next day and on the 11th he clashed frequently on the budget with the banker Matthias Attwood, Baring, Poulett Thomson and Ward. He presented and endorsed Liverpool’s petitions against renewing the East India charter and, opposing monopoly ‘on political grounds’, stated that if India was to be a permanent possession, the happiness of its people mattered, 12 May, 5 June. He also supported Whitmore’s inquiry motion and welcomed its likely concession, 14 May. He defended his conduct as colonial secretary when Smith Stanley presented a petition for jury trial in Canada that day, and again when Labouchere ordered papers, 5 June. On corn, he doubted if the time for major reform had arrived, 19 May, and warned that a fixed permanent duty would be ‘a perfect delusion’ as protection for the agriculturist and impossible to levy. His definitive speech of 1 June on Portugal traced the origins of the dispute, defended Canning’s foreign policy and gave a detailed account of his dealings with foreign ministers and consular officials. He portrayed Britain as deceived by Dom Miguel, argued that British intervention against Queen Maria at Terceira had been wrong and ordered papers to demonstrate that Canning had never given advice on the acceptance of the Portuguese constitution. He refuted Attwood’s allegations that Members put party advantage before action on distress in 1825-6, 12 June 1829.
Speculation persisted that Wellington wanted to strengthen his ministry, and of a fresh approach to Melbourne or Palmerston, but reports of an overture to Huskisson were groundless.198 Assessing his party and its potential, the secretary at war Hardinge wrote, 6 July:
Huskissonian or liberal Tories ... unite the largest number of efficient public men. They embrace youth and talent in the House of Commons. They have a strong hold in the affection which the king displays for them; especially if they could join with them that portion of Whiggism connected with the House of Cavendish, which supported Canning’s government. ... If they had such a partisan as the duke of Cumberland near the king’s person and that ... [he] took as much pains for them as he is doing for his Tory adherents ... e’re long he would establish them, making the Ultra Tories also join their standard. But the duke of Cumberland dislikes the Huskisson tribe, and rallying what he calls the king’s friends, he makes his own party the sole consideration ... I believe the government the king would fancy, as most at his disposal, would be formed out of the liberal Tory party, and His Majesty has even looked (as I am told) to Lord Melbourne as leader in the Lords, and Lord Palmerston in the Commons. It is, however, the policy of this junta not to commit themselves in any violent opposition, because they think it might widen them from the sovereign, who, they flatter themselves, will call on them in the first crisis. Their game is to remain ‘en potence’. They are satisfied of the duke’s dislike. They see no hope of approximation, and they return the feelings the government displays towards them, with the most secret and cordial hate. Palmerston’s able speeches at the close of the session were warmly eulogized, in private, by Huskisson and Co., and this is, I presume, the sort of battery that will be opened next session from that quarter.199
During the recess Huskisson visited Liverpool where he discussed politics with his merchant backers and free trade with Lord Harrowby.200 He met Wellington at Sudbourne in October and Goulburn in November 1829, so encouraging rumours of a junction, which were duly lampooned, but he was ‘indifferent to office’, and believed that Wellington would meet Parliament unstrengthened and should be attacked on foreign policy.201 After declining to join Wellington’s ministry without him, on 3 Nov. Palmerston informed Lady Cowper that he had been told that
there is so strong a prejudice among the country gentlemen that it would hardly be possible to bring them to join with him. ... I told them exactly the manner in which he and I had been thrown together; that we agreed generally in opinions and therefore were acting together, but that I looked upon him as entirely free to act for himself without reference to me, and held myself also equally free as to him.202
Convinced that the economic downturn was systemic, not cyclical, Huskisson complained before the 1830 session that Wellington ‘does not allow that there is anything wrong in the state of the country’ and wrongly assumed that he would fob off the distressed farmers with inquiry, as in 1820-22: ‘This is always a convenient course for government. It gives them the chapter of accidents, and wears away the session without anything being done’.203
Confirming his opposition in a ‘very bitter’ speech drawing on his experience of distress in Sussex, he supported the amendment regretting its omission from the address, 4 Feb. 1830. He did not expect Wellington to propose a remedy.204 Writing to Denison, he argued that the ‘real evil of the country is not want of money ... but the want of profit in all the pursuits of industry’ and that the remedy would ‘only be found in a more general reduction of rents and a revision of ... taxation’.205 He presented favourable petitions and demanded inquiry into the East India Company’s monopoly, 9 Feb., was named to the select committee that day and presented further petitions, 11 Mar. He again advocated the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb. Equating the enfranchisement of large industrial towns to concessions on the Test Acts and Catholic emancipation, he explained: ‘my principle is to deal with the evil before us in order to confine the remedy, if possible, to the immediate case, and to avoid a sweeping reform on principles too abstract and general’. Durham and Ellice thought his speech most ‘hostile and mischievous’ to the government, as it ‘produced a great effect’.206 On 12 Feb. the Huskissonites agreed to ‘keep clear of all factious opposition, maintain strict independence, scrutinize measures on their own merit and avoid with all care petty causes of squabbling with government or anyone else’.207 Probably the most active group in opposition, they eschewed all talk of coalition.208 Still refusing to treat the enfranchisement of large towns as a party issue, Huskisson strongly advocated it for Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. He also realized that amid increasing calls for reform, waiting for transfers from corrupt boroughs had proved futile.209 He demanded a comprehensive review of excise regulations on presenting petitions from the Liverpool tobacco trade, 2 Mar., and was named to the committee, 14 May. He presented petitions for Jewish emancipation, 11 Mar., 4 May, and supported Robert Grant’s bill for it, 5 Apr., 17 May. He had annoyed Althorp on 9 Mar. by pre-empting the revived Whig opposition’s intended criticism of government policy on pensions and superannuations, and his speech supporting Palmerston’s unsuccessful motion for information on Portugal, 10 Mar., was considered ‘very bad [and] dull’. Howick dismissed it as the ‘most tiresome twaddle’.210 He criticized Frankland Lewis’s appointment as navy treasurer, but praised him personally, 12 Mar. Contributing to the debate on the state of the nation, 18 Mar., he cautioned against overemphasis on the currency and free trade as causes of distress and advocated inquiry into Irish poverty and banking.211 Continuing his crusade against Wellington, he divided with the Whig opposition on taxation, but without endorsing a property tax, 25 Mar.212 Responding to Peel’s criticism of Canning’s foreign policy, when intervention in Terceira was discussed, 28 Apr., he said it had been justified by a contravention of international law and that policy on Portugal was similarly defective. The speeches were regarded as a Whig-Canningite triumph, but the division (191-78) was a poor one.213 He maintained close contact with the Whigs through Littleton and Sir James Graham, whose motion for returns of privy councillors’ emoluments he supported, 14 May.214 He voted for Labouchere’s resolutions on Canada, 25 May, but not for parliamentary reform, 28 May. He was not, as expected, entrusted with a select committee on banking, and bringing up petitions for currency reform, 3 June, he criticized paper currencies and promised to instigate a committee on banking in the next Parliament, 25 Mar., 6, 7 Apr., 8 June.215 He voted to abolish the death penalty for forgery, 7 June. Petitions for action on vagrancy, 21 May, and for a reduction in the freight charges on bullion, 17 May, were among the many he presented from Liverpool that session. In a major speech supporting the Liverpool-Mexico Merchants’ Association petition, 20 May, he traced the development of the trade since independence, regretted its recent interruptions and projected Mexico and its 7,000,000 inhabitants as a potential market and base from which to curb American aggrandisement. His request for information on Greece, 10 June, drew a hostile response from Peel, for he had cited extracts from particular letters which exposed ministers’ botched attempt to effect reconciliation between Turkey and Russia.216 He spoke briefly on the reciprocity agreement with Portugal, 15 June. He urged Chandos to withdraw his motion on the sugar duties until government’s proposals were announced and, perceiving scope for reduction, he moved his own, 14 June. His speech of 21 June, proposing a tariff reduction from 27 to 20s. was considered ‘almost fatal’ to the ministry.217 He stressed that his position as Liverpool Member had given him inside knowledge of the West India planters’ plight and, criticizing the government’s meddling, he urged that sugar production be boosted and used for spirits:
We cannot deal with the vast commerce of this country with its immense and complicated many concerns, with the varied interests connected with its civil government and foreign policy, by a system of meeting every temporary difficulty by some expedient just suited to the occasion. We cannot put forward laws, as you would an advance guard, with instructions to fall back, or go to the right or left, as the occasion may require. There must be something like a well-adjusted, organized plan, undertaken deliberately, pursued firmly.
His amendment was defeated by 182-144. He quibbled over details of the government’s and Chandos’s tariff scales, 30 June, and although taken to task by Peel, he persevered in his attempt to secure a reduction in the sugar duties, 1, 2 July. He supported Littleton’s bill to abolish truck payments, 23 June, 1, 5 July. He objected to deferring the regency question to the next Parliament and supported Robert Grant’s motion for its immediate consideration, 5 July.218 He also spoke on Irish distress and immigration, 13 July 1830. Speculation over his party’s future and allegiance persisted. Both Grey and Wellington had recently made overtures to Melbourne and Palmerston, who feared they would ‘lose character’ by rejoining Wellington’s administration.219
Huskisson was ‘seized with a strangury’ and other distressing symptoms at the king’s funeral, was bled profusely and required surgery.220 Recovering afterwards at his new house in Carlton Terrace, he remained ‘wretchedly ill ... weak ... and very thin’. The Liverpool election was consequently delayed, but he remained unable to attend and was returned in absentia after a token poll.221 He sympathized with Denison and Finlay in defeat and regretted that Ewart lacked a seat.222 From Eartham and Cowes, where he was glad not to see the new king, he arranged to meet colleagues and rivals at the opening of the Liverpool-Manchester railway on 15 Sept.223 He thought the Wellington ministry ‘ought not to stand the shock of the next session’, and wrote to Graham, whom he hoped to meet, 26 Aug.:
The great captain [will] be there with all his tail. Of course one object is to throw me into the background at this ceremony; another is by extending his visit to Manchester ... [to] bid for a little popularity before Parliament meet.224
Wellington and members of all parties witnessed his fatal accident at Parkside, near Newton, struck down by the Rocket after panicking and ‘trying to fling himself out of its way’. He spent his last hours at Eccles vicarage, his left leg reduced to pulp, and died that evening.225 Arbuthnot, who was near him, wrote: ‘If poor Huskisson had but stood still with his back towards our machine nothing could have happened’.226 The inquest jury recorded a verdict of accidental death and ‘acquitted the engineers and machinery of all blame’. He was buried with great pomp in the new St. James’s cemetery in Liverpool, where, as in Chichester, a memorial was erected in his honour.227 At Chichester, 13 Nov. 1830, their drafter, the Liverpool Parliament Office secretary Wainwright, testified to the authenticity of two holograph codicils had Huskisson made to his will, added after the accident. It was proved under £60,000 in the province of Canterbury and £40,000 in the province of York, 22 Nov. 1830. As he was childless, his Worcestershire and Staffordshire estates passed to his brothers and their heirs. He left his unentailed Sussex property and the bulk of his fortune to his widow, who died in 1856 worth £40,000.228
The manner of Huskisson’s death made a great impression on his contemporaries. Tributes flowed, but within hours most acknowledged that his loss facilitated a political realignment.229 His former partisan Thomas Spring Rice* wrote to Peel’s brother-in-law George Dawson*, 20 Sept.:
What an awful event has been the death of Huskisson. In point of knowledge and of that kind of knowledge just now most wanting, knowledge of commercial matters and political economy, he has not left his match behind. The Bank question, the East India question would all have brought him greatly prominent. The set-off was the want of confidence of all parties in his straightforwardness and sincerity. To us on the breaking up of Goderich’s government he certainly did not act a chivalrous part. To Canning’s personal friends he did not attach himself with the zeal that might have been expected. I leave you to decide your own cause of quarrel. But with all these defects, he was a mighty master in all the questions I have referred to and he is a prodigious loss to the country. Not so I think on party principles to his immediate clique. To them his unpopularity was a greater disadvantage than his abilities were a gain. This seems a paradox but the event will prove my prediction correct. One vessel may be over ballasted with gold as another with lead.230
Hardinge, then Irish secretary, fairly typically observed:
He was a very agreeable, good natured man, and on all subjects very plausible and clever. If he had joined or not opposed the government, his views and measures would have been warped by the desire to please Liverpool at the expense of the state, but his death appears to me to be important as dissolving his party, and [as a means] of obtaining individuals [belonging to it] at less cost.231
By late September 1830, the Huskissonite party in the Commons was estimated by the Wellington administration at only 11.232 Lamenting his loss and claiming ‘a very sincere friendship for him’, the duke of Gloucester added, 9 Oct.: ‘I do no think it possible that the present administration can stand until Christmas and they have certainly not gained by the dissolution’, or Huskisson’s death.233 He is generally recalled as portrayed by Greville, who knew him and had access to the kind and critical tributes paid to him:
In society he was extremely agreeable, without much animation, generally cheerful, with a great deal of humour, information, and anecdote, gentlemanlike, unassuming, slow in speech, and with a downcast look, as if he avoided meeting anybody’s gaze ... It is probably true that there is no man in Parliament, or perhaps out of it, so well versed in finance, commerce, trade and colonial matters, and that he is therefore a very great and irreparable loss. It is nevertheless remarkable that it is only within the last five or six years that he acquired the great reputation which he latterly enjoyed. I do not think he was looked upon as more than a second-rate man till his speeches on the silk trade and the shipping interest; but when he became president of the board of trade he devoted himself with indefatigable application to the maturing and reducing to practice those commercial improvements with which his name is associated and to which he owes all his glory and most of his unpopularity.234
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Margaret Escott
There is no modern chronological biography of Huskisson. His life is treated kindly and thematically in A. Brady, William Huskisson and Liberal Reform (1928, 1967) and C.R. Fay, Huskisson and his Age (1951). Biographical articles of varying reliability are included in Huskisson Speeches ed. J. Wright, 3 vols. (1831) and Huskisson Pprs. ed. L. Melville (1931). B. Hilton, Corn, Cash, Commerce (1977) offers a detailed comprehensive survey of Huskisson’s economic policy. S. Garfield, The Last Journey of William Huskisson (2002), combines biographical information with an account of the construction and opening of the Liverpool-Manchester railway.
- 1. Greville Mems. ii. 47-48.
- 2. [E. Leeves], ‘Biog. Mem. of Huskisson’, in Huskisson Speeches, i. 261-2.
- 3. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 470.
- 4. HP Commons, 1790-1820, iv. 270-6; J.E. Cookson, ‘Canning’s Pantheon’, History, lxii (1977), 43-45; Ward, Llandaff Letters, 321; Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland [27 Feb. 1827].
- 5. P. Harling and P. Mandler, ‘From fiscal military state to laissez-faire state’, JBS, xxxii (1993), 61-62; Countess Granville Letters, i. 254; Life of Campbell, i. 402; Lieven Letters, 286.
- 6. HP Commons, 1790-1820, iv. 276-8.
- 7. The Times, 21 Feb., 21 Mar. 1820; J.R. McQuiston, ‘Suss. Aristocrats and County Election of 1820’, EHR, lxxxviii (1973), 534-58; Arundel Castle Archives, bdle. Fc 16, Holmes to Few, 10 Mar. 1820.
- 8. Arbuthnot Corresp. 14; Add. 38742, f. 6.
- 9. Dorset RO D/BKL, Bankes jnl. 116 (8 May 1820); Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, i. 19.
- 10. The Times, 10, 24 June 1820, 10 May 1827.
- 11. Add. 38742, ff. 29-46, 89-96, 109-14; Huskisson Pprs. 111-17; TNA 30/29/9/3/5-7.
- 12. Add. 38742, ff. 130, 146; Harewood mss WYL 250/8/26, Canning to wife, 24 Nov., 19 Dec. 1820; Buckingham, i. 93; Lady Palmerston Letters, 58.
- 13. TNA 30/58, Dacres Adams mss, T.P. Courtenay to Adams, 21 Dec.; NLW, Coedymaen mss, bdle. 29, Williams Wynn to Phillimore, 30 Dec. 1820.
- 14. The Times, 13, 20 Nov.; Harewood mss 26, Canning to wife, 24 Nov. 1820; Add. 38742, ff. 156, 171.
- 15. HLRO, Hist. Coll. 379, Grey Bennet diary, 14a.
- 16. The Times, 9, 19 June 1821.
- 17. Add. 38742, f. 125.
- 18. B. Semmell, Rise of Free Trade Imperialism, 137.
- 19. PP (1821), ix. 1-27; Add. 38743, ff. 148, 337-72; The Times, 15 June, 10 July; Quarterly Rev. xxv (1821), 466-70; Hilton, 104-9.
- 20. Le Marchant, Althorp, 220.
- 21. M.D. George, Cat. of Pol. and Personal Satires, x. 14195.
- 22. Grey Bennet diary, 85.
- 23. Add. 38742, ff. 201-10, 225.
- 24. Croker Pprs. i. 193; Huskisson Pprs. 120-31; Add. 38743, ff. 34, 56, 65; NAS GD249, Canning to Binning, 1 Dec., same to Morley, 12 Dec. 1821.
- 25. Hatherton diary, 20 Nov.; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 127; Buckingham, i. 210; Add. 69044, memo. 30 Nov. 1821; Add. 38743, f. 76; 38829, f. 11.
- 26. TNA 30/29/9/3/9.
- 27. Add. 38743, ff, 72-132; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 23 Jan. 1822.
- 28. Wellington mss WP1/691/1, 2.
- 29. Buckingham, i. 288.
- 30. PP (1822), v. 1-92; Hilton, 151.
- 31. Ibid. 1-64, 75-84.
- 32. Huskisson Pprs. 137-9.
- 33. Northants. RO, Agar Ellis diary, 11 June 1822.
- 34. Add. 38743, ff. 176, 179, 192.
- 35. Harewood mss 83, Canning to J. Gladstone, 31 May, 1 June; Add. 38568, f. 115; 38743, ff. 156, 160; St. Deiniol’s Lib. Glynne-Gladstone mss 275, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 1 July 1822.
- 36. Add. 38743, ff. 192-218; Herts. Archives, Panshanger mss D/Elb F78, W. to F. Lamb, 16 Aug.; BL, Morley mss, Granville to Morley, 9 Sept.; Powis mss (History of Parliament Aspinall transcripts), Palmerston to Clive, 13 Sept.; Harewood mss 26, Canning to Liverpool, 14 Sept. 1822; Buckingham, i. 380-6; Creevey Pprs. ii. 70.
- 37. Add. 40319, f. 57; Croker Pprs. i. 227-32.
- 38. Add. 38743, ff. 217-243.
- 39. Harewood mss 83, J. Gladstone to Canning, 8 Oct. 1822; Add. 38193, f. 171; 38291, f. 174; 38575, ff. 34-37; 38743, ff. 263, 266.
- 40. Add. 38743, ff. 263-9, 285-8, 294; 38744, ff. 2-6; 38291, f. 164; Wellington mss WP1/732/15; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 200-1.
- 41. C.D. Yonge, Lord Liverpool, iii. 211.
- 42. Wellington mss WP1/754/13, 16; 772/18; Add. 40304, f. 106.
- 43. Add. 38744, ff. 14-38; 38291, ff. 335, 344, 398; Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 21 Jan. 1823; Buckingham, i. 406-10.
- 44. Add. 38744, ff. 49, 53; Wellington mss WP1/754/26; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland mss PwH 132, Lord G. Cavendish Bentinck to Portland, 15 Feb. 1823.
- 45. Harewood mss 83, J. Gladstone to Canning, 21 Jan.; 84, Backhouse to same, 14, 15 Feb.; Glynne-Gladstone mss 275, J. Gladstone to Huskisson, 26 Jan., replies, 29 Jan., 3, 6 Feb.; Huskisson Pprs. 160-6; Add. 39948, f. 72; Liverpool Mercury, 14 Feb. 1823.
- 46. The Times, 19 Feb. 1823; Huskisson Speeches, iii. 647-62 and app. iv.
- 47. A.L. Lingelbach, ‘Huskisson as president of board of trade’, AHR, lxiii (1938), 759-74; L. Brown, Board of Trade and Free Trade Movement, 1-25 and passim.; Add. 38758, ff. 258, 317.
- 48. W.O. Henderson, ‘Liverpool Office in London’, Economica, xiii (1933), 473-9; G.S. Veitch, ‘Huskisson and Liverpool’, Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Cheshire, lxxx (1928), 1-50; Brougham mss, Shepherd to Brougham, 29 Jan. 1823.
- 49. Brown, 117-8; J.H. Clapham, ‘Last Years of the Navigation Acts’, EHR, xxv (1910) 480-501, 687-707.
- 50. The Times, 8 Mar. 1823.
- 51. Add. 38744, ff. 218-330; Glynne-Gladstone mss 275, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 23 Mar., T. Booth to Huskisson, 8 July 1823.
- 52. Add. 38744, ff. 153, 194-202.
- 53. Glynne-Gladstone mss 275, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 3 Aug.; Liverpool Courier, 27 Aug.; The Times, 30 Aug. 1823; E. Halévy, Liberal Awakening, 200-2; PP (1833), vi.
- 54. Buckingham, i. 488-9, 494; ii. 6; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 254, 259-60, 273; Wellington mss WP1/771/8, 12, 13, 15, 18; Add. 38568, f. 122; Harewood mss 87, Liverpool to Canning, 10 Nov. 1823; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1109-10.
- 55. Huskisson Pprs. 166-73; Buckingham, i. 426; Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 278. See also P. Harling, ‘Rethinking "Old Corruption"’, P and P, cxlvii (1995), 146-7.
- 56. Glynne-Gladstone mss 353, passim.; 275, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 2 Nov. 1823; 176, same to same, 8 Feb. 1824; Courier, 24, 27 Apr.; Observer, 25 Apr.; Morning Herald, 26 Apr.; The Times, 27, 30 Apr., 3, 5 May 1824.
- 57. Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (Stratford-on-Avon), Philips mss DR198/11.
- 58. Halévy, 203-10; N. Gash, Secretary Peel, 348-50.
- 59. Ann. Reg. (1824), p. 81.
- 60. TNA 30/29/6/3/92.
- 61. Wellington mss WP1/792/1, 2; 801/15; 805/2, 28; 806/21; 807/9; 808/4, 7; Buckingham, ii. 78.
- 62. TNA 30/29/9/3/10, 11; Glynne-Gladstone mss 276, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 12, 29 July 1824; Huskisson Pprs. 176-8.
- 63. R. Harris, ‘Political economy, interest groups and repeal of Bubble Act in 1825’, EcHR, l (1997), 675-96.
- 64. Glynne-Gladstone mss 276, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 12 July, 9 Nov. 1824; 350, passim.; Add. 38748, f. 17.
- 65. TNA 30/29/9/3/13, 14.
- 66. Ibid. 13.
- 67. Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 391.
- 68. Brown, 2-3.
- 69. Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 389.
- 70. Huskisson Pprs. 181-5.
- 71. Buckingham, ii. 249-50, 260-1.
- 72. TNA 30/29/9/3/14.
- 73. Ibid. 30/29/16/10; Huskisson Pprs. 194-9; Bagot, Canning and Friends, ii. 319.
- 74. Add. 38747, ff. 76, 100; Lansdowne mss, Baring to Lansdowne, 16 Sept. 1825; A.G. Stapleton, Canning and his Times, 225-7; Croker Pprs. i. 282.
- 75. Hilton, 210-12, 215-17; Glynne-Gladstone mss 276, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 26 Jan. 1826.
- 76. Arbuthnot Jnl. i. 426-7.
- 77. Glynne-Gladstone mss 276.
- 78. TNA 30/29/9/3/15.
- 79. Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 2 Feb. 1826.
- 80. Wellington mss WP1/849/13; Stapleton, 229; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Denison diary, 10 Feb. 1826.
- 81. Keele Univ. Lib. Sneyd mss SC8/79; TNA 30/29/9/38.
- 82. Gurney diary, 10 Feb. 1826; Wellington mss WP1/848/24, 30.
- 83. Glynne-Gladstone mss 276, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 25 Mar., 11 Apr. 1826; Add. 38748, f. 35.
- 84. Add. 51574, Abercromby to Holland, 16 Feb. 1826; Greville Mems. i. 156-7.
- 85. Denison diary, 8 Feb. 1826.
- 86. Wellington mss WP1/851/3.
- 87. Denison diary, 23 Feb.; Add. 38833, f. 347; 51584, Tierney to Holland, 23 Feb.; 51784, Holland to C.R. Fox, 5 Mar.; 69366, Greville to G.M. Fortescue, 5 Mar.; Agar Ellis diary, 23 Feb. ; Wellington mss WP1/851/3; Broughton, Recollections, iii. 127; Huskisson Pprs. 202; Stapleton, 236-7; Greville Mems. 159-60.
- 88. Add. 51574, Abercromby to Holland, 7 Mar.; 51584, Tierney to same, 12 Mar. 1826; TNA 30/29/9/3/16; 9/5/39.
- 89. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 17; Huskisson Pprs. 186-7.
- 90. Buckingham, ii. 297; Creevey Pprs. ii. 99; Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland, 10 Apr. 1826; Wellington mss WP1/854/10.
- 91. Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 20, 26.
- 92. Huskisson Pprs. 202-4, Hilton, 273-5.
- 93. Add. 51569, Whishaw to Lady Holland, 14 May; 51574, Abercromby to Holland, 16 May; 51662, Bedford to same, 9 May 1826.
- 94. Gurney diary May; Denison diary, 12 May 1826.
- 95. Liverpool Mercury, 26 May, 2, 16 June; Glynne-Gladstone mss 276, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 30 May, 24 June; Add. 38748, f. 40; Harewood mss 84, Huskisson to Canning, 12 June 1826.
- 96. The Times, 15, 21 June; Liverpool Mercury, 16, 23, 30 June; Wellington mss WP1/857/14; 858/11; Harewood mss 84, Huskisson to Canning, 22 Aug. 1826; Huskisson Pprs. 204-8; Stapleton, 239.
- 97. Add. 38748, f. 182.
- 98. Huskisson Pprs. 209-13; Hilton, 279-83.
- 99. Agar Ellis diary, 24 Nov.; Add. 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland, 25 Nov. .
- 100. Canning’s Ministry, 30; TNA 30/29/9/3/17; Lady Palmerston Letters, 158; Glynne-Gladstone mss 277, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 12 Feb. 1827.
- 101. Wellington mss WP1/883/11; Huskisson Pprs. 214-6; Canning’s Ministry, 10, 12, 13, 19, 22-26, 32-34; Lady Palmerston Letters, 161; Glynne-Gladstone mss 277, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 21, 24 Mar. 1827; Croker Pprs. i. 364-5.
- 102. Canning’s Ministry, 48.
- 103. Ibid. 42.
- 104. Add. 38749, ff. 90, 112; Croker Pprs. i. 361.
- 105. Sneyd mss SC12/78; Huskisson Pprs. 220-3; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1304; Glynne-Gladstone mss 277, J. Gladstone to Huskisson, 17 Apr., reply 21 Apr. 1827; Canning’s Ministry, 192, 229-31, 269.
- 106. Glynne-Gladstone mss 123, Gascoyne to J. Gladstone, 9 May; 277, Huskisson to same, 8 May; Denison diary, 7 May 1827; Broughton, iii. 193.
- 107. Lady Palmerston Letters, 167.
- 108. Cent. Kent. Stud. Stanhope mss U1590 C190/2, J. Sinclair to Stanhope, 3 June 1827; Wellington mss WP1/889/23; 890/16; 891/1-5, 12; 892/3, 4; Canning’s Ministry, 387-98; Bagot, ii. 406; Creevey Pprs. ii. 122; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1357; Hilton, 283-7. W.D. Jones, Prosperity Robinson, 147-9 attributes the error to Huskisson.
- 109. Add. 52447, f. 88; Bagot, ii. 409-10; Russell Letters, ii. 92; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1368; Broughton, iii. 216.
- 110. Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 19 July 1827.
- 111. TNA 30/29/9/3/18.
- 112. Add. 38750, ff. 9, 19; TNA 30/29/9/3/19.
- 113. TNA 30/29/9/3/20; 14/4/8; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1397; Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland, 25 Aug. .
- 114. Huskisson Pprs. 224-6; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1399; Add. 38750, f. 81; 51578, Carlisle to Holland, 22 Aug.; 51586, Tierney to Lady Holland, 22 Aug.; 51687, Lansdowne to Holland, 24 Aug.; Castle Howard mss, Holland to Carlisle, 22 Aug. 1827.
- 115. Lonsdale mss, Croker to Lowther, 11 Aug., reply, 14 Aug. 1827; Add. 38750, ff. 28, 30, 39, 75; NLW, Harpton Court mss C/621; TNA 30/29/9/5/55; 14/4/8; Croker Pprs. i. 387; Buckingham, ii. 348.
- 116. Add. 76138, Holland to Spencer [19 Aug.]; Lansdowne mss, Baring to Lansdowne, 1 Sept. 1827.
- 117. Add. 40340, f. 195; 40394, f. 206.
- 118. Chatsworth mss, Abercromby to Devonshire [27 Aug. 1827].
- 119. Add. 38750, f. 104; Huskisson Pprs. 231-3.
- 120. Add. 38750, ff. 81, 128, 132; Add. 51687, Lansdowne to Holland, 24 Aug. 1827.
- 121. TNA 30/29/9/3/21; 9/5/56; Add. 51584, Tierney to Holland, 31 Aug.; 51687, Lansdowne to Holland, 31 Aug.; Lansdowne mss, Huskisson to Lansdowne, 29 Aug.; Hants RO, Tierney mss 31M70/43d.
- 122. Add. 38750, ff. 132, 145-58, 166, 188; Denison diary, 1 Sept. 1827; Huskisson Pprs. 236-7.
- 123. TNA 30/29/9/3/21.
- 124. Fitzwilliam mss, Grey to Fitzwilliam, 30 Aug. 1827; NLS mss 24748, ff. 17, 27.
- 125. Brougham mss, same to J. Brougham, 9 Sept.; Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 19 Sept. 1827.
- 126. Baring Jnls. i. 55; Lansdowne mss.
- 127. Add. 38750, ff. 180, 229, 264, 325; 38752, f. 38.
- 128. Add. 38750, f. 235; Glynne-Gladstone mss 277, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 5 Sept. 1827.
- 129. A. Aspinall, ‘Goderich Ministry’, EHR, xlii (1927), 543-5.
- 130. Hatherton mss, Fazakerley to Littleton, 29 Sept. 1827.
- 131. Derby mss 920 Der (14) 62, Huskisson to Smith Stanley, 12 Sept., Stewart to J. Maxwell, 21 Sept. 1827; Add. 38750, ff. 280, 283; 38752, ff. 78, 84, 177, 280; 38753, f. 71; 38754, f. 20.
- 132. Geo. IV Letters iii. 1408, 1411; Huskisson Pprs. 238-43; Add. 38751, f. 42.
- 133. TNA 30/29/9/3/25, 26; Add. 38751, f. 124; 38752, f. 69.
- 134. TNA 30/29/14, Howard de Walden to Granville, 16 Nov. .
- 135. Huskisson Pprs. 240-1, 267, 272-4; Geo. IV Letters, 1431; Add. 38751, f. 88; Add. 38753, ff. 3-6, 88, 92, 97, 98, 178.
- 136. Hilton, 243-6; Tierney mss 85b/1, 2; Add. 38752, ff. 104, 204, 221-40, 296; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1443-5; Durham CRO, Londonderry mss D/LO/C83 (11); Melbourne Pprs. 115; TNA 30/29/9/30.
- 137. TNA 30/29/9/3/29.
- 138. Add. 38752, f. 306.
- 139. Add. 38753, ff. 122-6, 138-40, 167, 223, 232-3, 276; Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 20 Dec. 1827; Huskisson Pprs. 268-70; TNA 30/29/9/3/17, 31; Croker Pprs. i. 400.
- 140. Add. 38753, ff. 185, 187, 199, 242, 282; 38754, f. 24; Croker Pprs. i. 401; Londonderry mss C83 (12).
- 141. Huskisson Pprs. 277-9.
- 142. George, xi. 15505; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1461, 1469-70; TNA 30/29/9/3/34; Add. 38574, ff. 124, 126; 39948, f. 105.
- 143. Southampton Univ. Lib. Broadlands mss PP/GMC/26, 27, Palmerston to Lady Cowper, 17, 18 Jan. 1828; Huskisson Pprs. 282-3; Add. 38754, ff. 106, 154, 159, 162, 179, 182, 188, 200, 215, 282, 300, 317, 325, 327; 40395, ff. 21, 26; TNA 30/29/9/3/37.
- 144. Lonsdale mss.
- 145. Aberdeen Univ. Lib. Arbuthnot mss, Rutland to Mrs. Arbuthnot, 18 Jan. 1828; Londonderry mss C83 (185).
- 146. Add. 36464, f. 166; 51785, Holland to C.R. Fox, 13 Jan. 1828.
- 147. Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 12 Jan.; Lambton mss (History of Parliament Aspinall transcripts), Ellice to Lambton, 13 Jan. 1828; Add. 38754, f. 114; Broughton, iii. 237.
- 148. Tierney mss 85a.
- 149. Huskisson Pprs. 279-80; Greville Mems. i. 196-200; Harewood mss, Lord W. Cavendish Bentinck to Lady Canning, 21 Jan.; Bagot mss (History of Parliament Aspinall transcripts), Binning to Bagot, 25 Jan. 1828.
- 150. Add. 38754, f. 179; Agar Ellis diary, 17 Jan.; Devon RO, Sidmouth mss, J. Pearse to Sidmouth, 25 Jan. 1828; Ellenborough Diary, i. 6; Add. 38754, f. 234.
- 151. Castle Howard mss, Huskisson to Carlisle, 27 Jan. 1828.
- 152. Ellenborough Diary, i. 6, 9; Wellington mss WP1/913/7, 8; Creevey Pprs. ii. 144-5.
- 153. Glynne-Gladstone mss 277, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 11, 17 May, 16 Sept. 1827, 7 Jan. 1828; Add. 38751, f. 20; The Times, 17, 21 Sept. 1827.
- 154. Add. 40395, f. 208.
- 155. The Times, 2, 5-7, 21, 26 Feb.; Liverpool Chron. 12, 19 Feb. 1828; Greville Mems. i. 204, 359; Ellenborough Diary, i. 20-21; Huskisson Pprs. 286-93; Add. 38755, f. 18; Wellington mss WP1/920/34.
- 156. Wellington mss WP1/916/9.
- 157. Ellenborough Diary, i. 29; Creevey Pprs. i. 152.
- 158. Ellenborough Diary, i. 48-53.
- 159. Add. 40395, f. 221; 40307, f. 50; PP (1828), v. 1-3, 553-9.
- 160. Hatherton diary, 10, 12, 16-18 Feb. 1828; Ellenborough Diary, i. 33-34; Sneyd mss SC12/86; 17/178; Manchester New Coll. Oxf. William Shepherd mss vii. ff. 89-91.
- 161. George, xi. 15522.
- 162. Ellenborough Diary, i. 36, 40; Portland mss PwH 146/1-3; Agar Ellis diary, 26 Feb. 1828.
- 163. Ellenborough Diary, i. 50-67; Add. 38755, ff. 155, 269; PRO NI, Anglesey mss D619/31A/49.
- 164. Ellenborough Diary, i. 72.
- 165. Add. 51663.
- 166. Broughton, iii. 257-8.
- 167. Ellenborough Diary, i. 90-91.
- 168. Ibid. i. 76.
- 169. Ibid. i. 141.
- 170. Wellington mss WP1/921/13; 922/11; 924/2; 925/29, 36; 930/7,8; Ellenborough Diary, i. 103-4; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 179.
- 171. Arbuthnot Corresp. 98.
- 172. Huskisson Pprs. 293-300; Agar Ellis diary, 20 Feb. 1828; Ellenborough Diary, i. 40, 78, 97, 100.
- 173. Harewood mss 87, Lord G. Cavendish Bentinck to Lady Canning, 14 May; Castle Howard mss, Abercromby to Carlisle, 17 May 1828.
- 174. Ellenborough Diary, i. 106.
- 175. Croker Pprs. i. 420; Ellenborough Diary, i. 111-15, 117; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1517; Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 187-9.
- 176. TNA 30/29/9/3/39.
- 177. Ward, Letters to ‘Ivy’, 336-7; Aspinall, ‘Last of the Canningites’, EHR, l (1935), 639-69.
- 178. George, xi. 1531-2, 1535.
- 179. Glynne-Gladstone mss 277, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 21 May 1828.
- 180. TNA 30/29/9/3/39.
- 181. Croker Pprs. i. 421; Add. 38756, f. 156. Add. 51567, Anglesey to Holland, 28 May, 1 June 1828.
- 182. Albion, 9 June 1828.
- 183. Broughton, iii. 275; Ellenborough Diary i. 136.
- 184. Ellenborough Diary i. 135.
- 185. TNA 30/29/6/69; 9/2/45,46; 9/5/72.
- 186. Aspinall, ‘Canningite Party’, TRHS, xvii (1934), 177-226.
- 187. Glynne-Gladstone mss 277, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 5, 18 July 1828.
- 188. Ibid. Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 5, 18 July 1828.
- 189. Denison diary, 5 July 1828.
- 190. Glynne-Gladstone mss 277, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 11 Nov., 7 Dec. 1828.
- 191. Add. 51580, Carlisle to Holland, 29 Nov. 1828; Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Howard (of Corby Castle) mss D/HC8/48/12, P.H. Howard to mother, 26 Nov. 1828.
- 192. Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 11 Nov. 1828; Add. 51600, Lady Cowper to Lady Holland [15 Dec. 1828]; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Ossington mss OsC 62a, 67a; Baring Jnls. i. 60; Add. 38757, f. 147, 155, 184; Glynne-Gladstone mss 278, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 2, 11 Jan.; Hatherton mss, Huskisson to Littleton, 25 Jan. 1829.
- 193. Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 20 Jan. 1829; TNA 30/29/9/38.
- 194. Grey mss, Howick jnl. 6 Feb. 1829; Suff. RO (Bury St. Edmunds), Hervey mss 941/56/60.
- 195. Greville Mems. i. 250.
- 196. Howick jnl. 3 Mar. 1829; Russell Letters, i. 120.
- 197. Howick jnl. 19 Mar. 1829.
- 198. NLW ms 10804 D, letterbk. iii, Williams Wynn to Cavendish Bentinck, 16 June 1829; Greville Mems. i. 298, 304.
- 199. Londonderry mss C83 (25).
- 200. Glynne-Gladstone mss 278, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 11, 15 June; 355, reply 2 July, J. Bolton to same, 3 July, reply, 6 July 1829.
- 201. Greville Mems. i. 324-5; Russell Letters, i. 133; George, xi. 15702, 15899; PRO NI, Fitzgerald mss MIC639/13/7, 24; Hatherton mss, Huskisson to Littleton, 23 Sept., 12 Nov.; Glynne-Gladstone mss 278, Huskisson to J. Gladstone, 15 Nov., 19 Dec.; Add. 51574, Abercromby to Holland 20 Dec. 1829; Ossington mss OsC 72a.
- 202. Broadlands mss BR23AA/5/6.
- 203. Add. 38758, ff. 95-96; P. Harling, Waning of Old Corruption, 183.
- 204. Howick jnl. 4 Feb. 1830; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1575.
- 205. Add. 38758, f. 95.
- 206. Grey mss, Durham to Grey, 12 Feb.; Ellice to same, 14 Feb. 1830.
- 207. Ossington mss OsC 74.
- 208. Howick jnl. 14 Feb., 7 Mar.; Add. 51785, Holland to C.R. Fox, 7, 20 Feb. 1830.
- 209. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1579.
- 210. Ellenborough Diary, ii. 208; Add. 76369, Althorp to Brougham, 10 Mar.; Howick jnl. 10 Mar.; Agar Ellis diary, 10 Mar.; NAI, Leveson Gower letterbks. 7.B3.33, Leveson Gower to Singleton, 13 Mar. 1830.
- 211. Add. 38758, f. 155; Howick jnl. 14 Apr. 1830.
- 212. Grey mss, Ellice to Grey, 20 Mar. 1830.
- 213. Leveson Gower letterbks. 7.B3.33, Leveson Gower to Singleton, 29 Apr.; Christ Church, Oxf. Phillimore mss, J. to R. Phillimore, 29 Apr. 1830.
- 214. Hatherton mss, Huskisson to Littleton [May]; Howick jnl. 1, 5, 13 May 1830.
- 215. Ellenborough Diary, ii. 219; Add. 38758, f. 138.
- 216. Castle Howard mss, Abercromby to Carlisle, 4 June 1830.
- 217. Howick jnl. 21, 22 June 1830.
- 218. Glynne-Gladstone mss 195, T. to J. Gladstone, 28 June 1830.
- 219. Croker Pprs. ii. 58; Castle Howard mss, Abercromby to Lady Carlisle, 10 July; Ellenborough Diary, ii. 306, 312, 315-16; Devon RO, Earl Fortescue mss 1262M/FC86; Add. 38758, f. 193; 40340, f. 223, 226; Chatsworth mss, Brougham to Devonshire [12 July]; Broadlands mss, Palmerston’s memo. [late June 1830].
- 220. Ossington mss OsC 75.
- 221. Glynne-Gladstone mss 195, T. to J. Gladstone, 20, 22, 27 July, 8 Aug.; The Times, 4 Aug.; Albion, 5, 26 July; Sir James Graham mss (IHR microfilm XR 80), 1, bdle. 2, Palmerston to Graham, 25 or 28 July; Grey mss, Ellice to Grey July; Ossington mss OsC 76; Liverpool Chron. 7 Aug. 1830; Add. 38758, f. 220, 226.
- 222. Ossington mss OsC 76.
- 223. Add. 51534, T. Grenville to Holland, 9 Sept.; Glynne-Gladstone mss 195, T. to J. Gladstone, 13 Sept. 1830.
- 224. Parker, Graham, i. 86-87.
- 225. Add. 51604, Granville to Holland, 15 Sept. 1830.
- 226. Arbuthnot mss 3029/1/2/17.
- 227. The Times, 17, 18 Sept. 1830. For Huskisson’s inquest, burial and printed obituaries, see also Garfield, 171-99.
- 228. PROB 11/1778/655; 2234/478; IR26/1229/551; 2067/522; Albion, 15 Nov. 1830.
- 229. Aspinall, EHR, l. 639-69; E.A. Wasson, Whig Renaissance, 173.
- 230. NLI, Monteagle mss 13370 (8).
- 231. Arbuthnot Corresp. 139.
- 232. Add. 40401, f. 195.
- 233. Dundee City Archives, Camperdown mss GD/Ca/(tin box EC/11), Gloucester to Duncan, 9 Oct. 1830.
- 234. Greville Mems. ii. 47-48.