PP/GC/LE/116 Letter from Sir G.C.Lewis, to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, regarding Lewis's meeting with Lord John Russell in connection with a proposed vote of confidence in the government, 16 May 1859
Letter from Sir George Cornewall Lewis, second Baronet, [Member of Parliament for Radnor], Kent House, Knightsbridge, [London], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: [Transcript] "I expected to find Lord John at the meeting of the trustees of the British Museum on Saturday, but he was prevented from attending, and I accordingly went to Pembroke Lodge yesterday. I delivered to him your message, and he agreed in thinking that it would not be advisable to propose [f.1v] an anti-ministerial vote on the question of dissolution, or of foreign policy, or of delay in reform legislation. He agrees in the opinion that there should be an adverse motion upon the meeting of Parliament, and that it should be a resolution of general want of confidence, similar to that carried against Lord Melbourne's [f.2r] government in 1841. He will write to Graham, who remains at Netherby until the meeting of Parliament, and will ascertain his views on this subject. He will also communicate with Milner Gibson, and through him acertain what Bright is prepared to do. I likewise mentioned Sidney Herbert and Gladstone. He thinks that the intentions of the latter can be best discovered through the * latter * \ former. / [f.2v] With regard to the form of the resolution, he suggested (in imitation of the address in 1841) a declaration that the reform question required settlement, and \ that / the foreign policy of the country was a cause of solicitude, that the state of public affairs required a government which * required * possessed the confidence of Parliament and the country, and that [f.3r] the present government did not possess that confidence. He wishes to allude to the subject of reform, without making any promise of immediate legislation. If a vote of want of confidence is proposed, he does not think it very material whether it is * proposed * moved as an amendment to the address, or as a substantive motion. [f.3v] The former mode would, by saving time, afford the greatest facility for immediate legislation on reform. With regard to the mover and seconder, he would take Peel's proceeding in 1841 as a precedent; the mover was then John Wortley, Member for the West Riding, and the seconder was Lord Bruce. He suggests Barnsden as [f.4r] the mover, and Hanbury, the Member for Middlesex, as the seconder. Nothing else passed of any importance. He remains at Pembroke Lodge for the present. Rarcourt had come over from Stawberry Hill to say that, unless he could see * the * \ a / reasonable prospect of the formation of a strong government, and of a party ready to support it, he could [f.4v] not join in any anti-ministerial vote. I have a calculation that when all the doubtfuls on our side are subtracted, there will remain a majority of about twenty against the government. I have no thoughts of moving from London, and I shall be happy to make any further communication which you may desire." 16 May 1859
Two papers
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Lord John Russell, later first Earl Russell, Member of Parliament for London
Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, London
Frederick James Lamb, third Viscount Melbourne, deceased
Sir James Graham, second Baronet, Member of Parliament for Carlisle
Thomas Milner Gibson, Member of Parliament for Ashton-under-Lyne
John Bright, Member of Parliament for Birmingham
William Ewart Gladstone, Member of Parliament for Oxford University
Sidney Herbert, Member of Parliament for South Wiltshire
Sir Robert Peel, second Baronet, former Prime Minister, deceased
John Wortley, former member of Parliament, deceased
?Ernest Augustus Bruce, styled Lord Bruce, later third Marquis of Bruce, Member of Parliament for Marlborough
Robert Hanbury, Member of Parliament for Middlesex
Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, London
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