Tuesday, October 4, 2011
October 18, 1865 --- The Death of "Old Pam."
Few Britons alive can remember an England without Palmerston who had held numerous key government posts since 1809. Gladstone, his Cabinet colleague but also a frequent critic, told his wife the news made him "giddy ... it made my head spin." The Queen expressed her regrets, but noted in her diary that Palmerston was a "strange man [who] often worried and distressed us." He had tried to seduce one of her ladies-in-waiting. Lord Shaftesbury, whose wife Minny was almost certainly Pam's illegitimate daughter, called him “A grand pillar appointed, under God's Providence, to which all the vessels of State were linked ... It is now cast down; the ships are set afloat and will drift in every direction.”
Neither the 13,000 word obituary in The Times nor Dean Stanley's eulogy at the burial in Westminster Abbey make any mention of Pam's questionable private life. Instead, the Dean spoke of Palmerston's "unfailing trust in the greatness of England," obliquely leaving other matters "in the unseen world ... known to God alone." The Spectator felt the customary pieties were unnecessary, for "There was little if anything in him of that class of virtues by which the Christian is distinguished from the manly and generous Pagan."
Posted by Tom Hughes at 4:40 AM