Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/342

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Lord John RussellSydney Smith said of little Lord John Russell, that he was "ready to undertake anything and everythingthing—to build St. Paul's,—cut for the stone,—or command the Channel fleet," and this satire of the wit was true. He tried politics and he tried literature, and few people will say that he was entirely successful at either. As a politician, for instance, his general capacity for getting himself and his party into a mess, earned from the most intellectually powerful of his political opponents the enduring title of "Lord Meddle and Muddle." He has not been dead very long, yet what reputation has he left behind him as a dramatist—novelist—historian—biographer—editor—pamphleteer, all of which rôles he essayed at some time or other of his long and eventful career? His Nun of Arronca (1822) fetches it is true an exceedingly high price, because having been rigidly suppressed by its author it is now exceedingly rare. The best that can be said of Lord John—and that is saying a great deal—is, that he was a consistent Liberal according to his lights, and that to him belongs the honour and glory of bringing about the great measure of Reform, which, as we have seen, was, mainly through his instrumentality, accomplished in 1832.

Lord John, as might have been expected, frequently appears in the "political sketches" of HB. He cuts an amusing figure in one where Jonah (Lord Minto) is about to be thrown overboard by Lords Lansdowne, Palmerston, and Duncannon, by order of the captain (Lord Melbourne), to appease the storm raised by Lords Brougham and Lyndhurst in reference to a rumour that Lord