Sunday, March 21, 2010

23Feb1872, A Strange Will and Gov. Eyre

LONDON, Friday, February 23rd, 1872.
—The W. E.G.'s dined with us : he had a regular scrimmage last night over a Parks Bill : Mr. Hardy rather inexcusably leading off with sharp party accusations, Dizzy maliciously seizing the opportunity for tickling up Uncle W. with a straw, Mr. Harcourt "posing as tribune of the roughs," and the lot amongst them getting sad rises out of the Prime Minister, who never will learn [FN: The same incapacity to ignore attacks meant only to "draw" him caused great loss of time in his later Ministries.] the right moments for silent contempt or calm snubs. In spite of all this, however, and the many more important vexations and anxieties ahead, Uncle W. plunged con amore into Jamaican politics and told us of his father's odd will leaving his sugar estates, when they were at the lowest ebb of value, to be divided inalienably among his four daughters-in-law ! His sons desired only to sell these shares to their brother Robertson ; but could not do so legally ; and Uncle W. was advised that his only dodge was to put a clause into his own will disinheriting anybody who should dispute the sale ! The Gov. Eyre topic came up, and it was interesting to see Uncle W.'s intense feeling against the panic style of putting down black risings—the more striking as coming from the son of a canny old slaveholder. He told us of certain terrible reprisals in Cephalonia upon the subject race that had got up a row many years ago—his whole countenance full of wrath and pain. "The English are not a humane people," he said with great emphasis.

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