The History of the Great Irish Famine of 1847 (3rd ed.) (1902) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 704 pages of information about The History of the Great Irish Famine of 1847 (3rd ed.) (1902).

Lord John Russell was summoned by the Queen on the 8th of December; he was still at Edinburgh and was unable to present himself before her Majesty until the 11th.  He was in the unfortunate position of being in a minority in the House of Commons.  However, being empowered to form an administration, he asked for time to consult his political friends; besides which he also opened a communication with the late First Lord, to see how far he could reckon on his support, at least with respect to the question of the Corn Laws.  He received from Sir Robert Peel what seemed a kind and re-assuring answer; but although Sir Robert, in his letter to the Queen of the 8th of December, told her Majesty he would support the new Government in carrying out the principles, to carry out which a majority of the members of his own Cabinet refused to aid him; still he did not, when interrogated on the subject, pledge himself to support Lord John who then saw the promised aid could not be relied on; for any change in the programme might be regarded as a change of principle, and no minister takes up the precise programme of his predecessor.  Still, on the 18th Lord John undertook to form a Government; on the 20th, he writes to the Queen to say he found it impossible to do so.  It was no secret, that Lord Grey’s objection to one appointment was the immediate cause of this failure, nor was it a secret, that the person objected to was Lord Palmerston.[86] Some, however, thought that this incident was cleverly laid hold of by Lord John, to free himself from an untenable position.  On the same day Sir Robert Peel found himself again in the Queen’s presence, who at once announced to him, that instead of taking leave of him, she must request him to continue in her service.  On his return to town he immediately summoned his late colleagues to meet him.  All but two agreed to enter the Cabinet again.  These were Lord Stanley and the Duke of Buccleugh; the former stood firm to his principles of protection, the latter asked time for consideration, which resulted in his re-accepting his former place; the rapid changes and events since the 6th of December giving, he said, such a new character to things, that he was now of opinion that a measure for the absolute repeal of the Corn Laws, at an early period, was the true policy.  Thus, after an interregnum of fifteen days, the old Government, Lord Stanley excepted, was back in power.  Mr. Gladstone replaced Lord Stanley at the Colonial Office, giving “the new administration the weight of his high character, and great abilities and acquirements."[87]


[68] Letter of 17th October:  Peel Memoirs, part 3.

[69] Writer of the article Sir R. Peel, in Encycl.  Brit.

[70] Memoirs, part 3, page 100.

[71] Ibid.

[72] Memoirs, part 3, page 98.

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The History of the Great Irish Famine of 1847 (3rd ed.) (1902) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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