William Godwin's Diary


The government was weakened in the House of Commons by the elevation of Althorp as Earl Spencer (1782–1845) to the House of Lords, and a series of changes were required in the government as a result. The king, largely out of sympathy with the remnants of the Whig government in office, and resistant to appointing Lord John Russell (1792–1878) to the Exchequer because of his sympathy to lay appropriation and other concessions to Irish Nationalism, dismissed the government claiming that it was too weak to be viable. Sir Robert Peel (1788–1850) was abroad and Wellington (1769–1852) initially held the position as first Lord of the Treasury and secretary of state while waiting for Peel’s return. He then took the position of foreign secretary, having insisted from the start that Peel be prime minister. The government was a minority Tory administration in a parliament dominated by Whigs. A general election was inevitable, and when it was held at the beginning of 1835 Peel secured an additional 98 seats, which left them still in a minority. The ministry struggled on but faced a succession of defeats in the House and eventually resigned on 8 April 1835, with Melbourne returning to the premiership on 18 April.

See Boyd Hilton, A Mad, Bad, and Dangerous People: England 1783-1846 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006) pp. 496-8 and Norman McCord, British History 1815-1906 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991) pp. 141-3.