Lady John Russell eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 463 pages of information about Lady John Russell.
the Queen sent for representatives of both parties; for Lord Aberdeen as the leader of Peel’s followers and for Lord Lansdowne as the representative of the Whigs.  Naturally she did not wish to summon Palmerston after what had happened; and to have charged Lord John, the other Whig leader, with the formation of a Ministry would have widened the discrepancies within the Whig party itself; for Lord John was unpopular with the Protestant Nonconformist section of the party, who were indignant with him for not strictly enforcing the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, and he had alienated the numerous believers in Palmerston by having forced him to resign.  Lord Lansdowne was universally respected, and since he belonged to the rear-guard of the Whig party there seemed a better chance of his coalescing with the Conservatives.  When he declined, pleading gout and old age, the task devolved upon Lord Aberdeen, who accepted the Queen’s commission knowing that Palmerston was willing to take office and work with, though never again (he said) under, [39] Lord John.  It was most important that both the leaders of the Whig party, Palmerston and Russell, should come into the Cabinet; for if either stayed outside a coalition, which by its Conservative tendencies already excluded Radicals of influence like Cobden and Bright, it could not have counted upon steady Whig support.  Would Lord John consent to take office?  Upon his decision depended, in Lord Aberdeen’s opinion, the success or failure of the coalition.  He had some talk with Lord John before accepting the Queen’s commission, which persuaded him that he could rely upon Lord John’s consent; but it is clear that at that time Lord John did not consider the matter decided.

[39] Although he asserted at the time that he would never serve under Lord John again, yet it appears that he was the only one of Lord John’s colleagues who was willing to serve under him, when Lord John attempted to succeed Lord Aberdeen.  Morley’s “Life of Gladstone,” vol. i, p. 531.

    Lady John Russell to Lady Mary Abercromby

    LONDON, December 24, 1852

God grant our present good accounts may continue. [Lady Minto had been and was then alarmingly ill.] The two last letters have made me as little unhappy as is possible, considering how much there is still to dread.
Whenever my thoughts are not with Mama, they are wearying themselves to no purpose in threading the maze of ravelled politics, or rather political arrangements, in which we are living.  Since I have been in public life, I never spent a week of such painful public anxiety.  When I say that the possibility of John taking office under Lord Aberdeen was always an odious one to me, and one which seemed next to an impossibility, don’t for one moment suppose that I say so on the ground of personal claims and personal ambition, which I hold to be as wrong and selfish in
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Lady John Russell from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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