Lord Castlereagh

R.J. White describes the life and career of the great Foreign Secretary, Robert Stewart, Lord Castlereagh, who considered unpopularity 'convenient and gentleman-like'.

When Lord Castlereagh took his own life in August 1822, Cobbett predicted that the ancient custom of burying suicides at the cross-roads, with a stake through the heart to prevent the Devil carrying them off, would go out of fashion. In fact, the dead statesman was buried in Westminster Abbey, close by Mr. Pitt.

“The people, who crowded the streets thro’ which the procession passed, behaved with the utmost decency,” wrote Mrs. Arbuthnot, the Tory friend of the Duke of Wellington, “except just at the door of the Abbey where a few shouted; they were put down by the rest of the mob, who cried ‘Shame.’ Cobbett,” she added, “has been labouring all the week to excite the people to a riot at the funeral...”

Harriet Martineau, the Philosophic-Radical lady with an ear-trumpet, thought the behaviour of the mob was “natural enough, though neither decent nor humane.”

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