PEEL (Sir ROBERT) Private and Confidential' autograph letter signed ('Robert Peel'), to Lord Lyndhurst, formerly the Lord Chancellor, 1835
Lot 126
PEEL (Sir ROBERT) Private and Confidential' autograph letter signed ('Robert Peel'), to Lord Lyndhurst, formerly the Lord Chancellor, 1835
Sold for £500 (US$ 807) inc. premium

Lot Details
PEEL (Sir ROBERT)
'Private and Confidential' autograph letter signed ('Robert Peel'), to Lord Lyndhurst, formerly the Lord Chancellor, expressing his determination not to serve again in a minority government, the reason for the failure of his First Ministry just over a month before [8 April 1835] ('...I think there has been a recent, manifest practical Proof that a Government cannot maintain its ground without a majority in the House of Commons [the Conservatives had had 290 against 368], however decided and cordial the Support which that Government may receive from the Crown and the House of Lords...') and declaring that he will not be a party to any proceeding merely calculated to defeat the [Melbourne Whig] Government rather than a bad measure, stating that if others have a different view they may act on it but they must not feel that it will impose on him any obligation to resume office in the event of its success and reiterating his opinion that 'the attempt to form a Government which has not such a Support from the house of Commons - or can acquire such a support, as may enable it to act systematically upon its principles, only makes matters worse...'; the letter begins with the assertion that the Duke of Wellington's memorandum was 'written without the slightest communication with' him, though it states clearly his opinion and with Peel returning some papers, 3 pages, top right-hand corner cut away without loss of text, inner fold splitting, remains of former mounting on blank last page, 4to, Whitehall, 20 May 1835

Footnotes

  • Letters by Peel with such significant content are uncommon. His disappointment at loss of office after only 100 days is clear from the letter as is his frustration with Wellington, his former Foreign Secretary, whose alliance with Peel had proved an uneasy one. Peel has been described at this time as being 'in deep despondency, high dudgeon and a state of physical exhaustion' and he kept away from Wellington for some five months until a rapprochement was effected by Arbuthnot. Nor was there was any deep love between Peel and Lyndhurst, the recipient and Lord Chancellor from December 1835 to April 1835: Lyndhurst once exploded: 'Peel! what is Peel to me? Damn Peel!'

    The paper by Wellington referred to in the letter may well have reflected the Duke's conclusion that a coalition government was necessary despite it having been anathema to him five years previously. He recorded at this time that the 'only thing that I can see a chance for the country is that the King should try and compose a Ministry out of the different Parties, Lord Grey, Stanley and Peel and so on. And yet that is a dream - a mere vision...' Peel formed his second Ministry in 1841.
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