In Praise of Palmerston 99

It is impossible to read this without warming to Palmerston.

94 Picadilly
Oct 31, 1857

Rt Hon Sir B Hall
[Commissioner for Public Works, a cabinet post]

My Dear Hall,

I cannot agree with you as to the principle on which you think the grass in the park should be treated. You seem to think it is a thing to be looked at by people who are to be confined to the gravel walks. I regard it as a thing to be walked upon freely and without restraint by the people, old and young, for whose enjoyment the parks are maintained; and your iron hurdles would turn the parks into so many Smithfields, and entirely prevent that enjoyment. As to people making paths across the grass, what does that signify? If the parks were to be deemed hay-fields, it might be necessary to prevent people from stopping the growth of the hay by walking over the grass; but as the parks must be deemed places for public enjoyment, the purpose for which the parks are kept up is marred and defeated when the use of them is confined to a number of straight gravel walks.

When I see the grass worn by foot traffic, I look on it as a proof that the park has answered its purpose, and has done its duty by the health, amusement and enjoyment of the people.

In the college courts of Cambridge a man is fined half a crown who walks over the grass plots, but that is not a precedent to be followed

Yours sincerely


It is impossible to imagine a Prime Minister writing like that today, or any politician in power coming down on the non-authoritarian side of any argument.

Palmerston would have been absolutely furious at the government’s new secret courts, regarding them as fundamentally un-British. And he would have been quite right. I absolutely cannot believe the “Liberal Democrats” are doing this.

In judging the character of people, it is essential to take into account the environment in which they develop. There is no more convinced anti-monarchist than me, but I did not join in some unkind comments on this blog about the Queen’s recent illness, because I have spent some time with her and think she is a good woman. It is not her fault she was born as she was, and had I been I may well have behaved worse.

I appreciate Palmerston was not a socialist anti-colonialist. But it would have been very strange if he was.

99 thoughts on “In Praise of Palmerston

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  • Vronsky

    I used to work for a municipal Parks Department. A new, young director had all the ‘Keep off the grass’ signs removed from public parks. The worn tracks where people walked he called ‘desire lines’ and made those the paths. As Machado says: no hay camino, se hace camino al andar

  • Abe Rene

    Hopefully the House of Lords will make the implementation of secret cours more difficult, if nor impossible. For example by insisting that a panel of judges, not just one, examine such evidence.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    Well said, Craig re. your comments about the Queen and the behavious of some commenters. You correctly and justly demonstrate that it is possible to be a fervent republican while refraining from posting comments which seem to mock the Queen for falling ill or which even seem to display an ill-concealed glee that she has. There was also that stupid and offensive comment about diarhoeia and soiled laundry (that may have been Mary, but she can correct me if I’ve mis-attributed).

    The Eminences who post in this ad hominem way really seem to be too stupîd to understand that their vindictiveness, pettiness and lack of all sense of proportion are some of the reasons why their political and social ideas have so little purchase with the wider public – people are simply put off.

  • arsalan

    The parts of the field that have been worn down should be the graveled as paths. And the gravel paths that no one ever walks on should be grassed over.

    If they want to control where people walk what they should do is plant shrubs and flowers on the corners. No one walks through a bush. And they don’t confine people off the grass the way fences do.

  • Mary

    @There was also that stupid and offensive comment about diarhoeia and soiled laundry (that may have been Mary, but she can correct me if I’ve mis-attributed).

    No it wasn’t me and he/she knows damned well it wasn’t.

    PS Sp. diarrhoea. Well that’s the English spelling.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Someone told me about a college campus in the US where the architects didn’t specify any paths across the lawns, but waited until the students had worn their own. Then they built the paths where the students had walked. I know it’s not quite the point Palmerston was making, but it does strike me as rather clever.

  • me

    ” It is not her fault she was born as she was,”

    ~maybe so but it IS her fault and her leech family members’ that she continues to take so much money for doing so little, in not speaking out against the idea of a monarchy, of thinking they’re better than everybody else, blah blah blah.

    It is not the Pope’s fault he was elected to where he was……etc.[/sarcasm]

  • Clark

    Habbabkuk continues to harass Mary; the comment referred to was by Doug Scorgie.

    Comments can be interpreted as (in Habbabkuk’s words) “stupid and offensive”, but doing so is at least partly, maybe mostly, in the mind of the one doing the interpretation.

    Interestingly, it is also nearly impossible to imagine Habbabkuk “coming down on the non-authoritarian side of any argument”, whose comments always seem to favour the powerful and attempt to discredit those promoting progressive or minority opinion. Habbabkuk also seems to seed the threads with comments designed to provoke conflict.

  • crab

    Ideally great architecture would develope an understanding of why and where desire paths develope and be able to design in harmony with them rather than in complete ignorance or in complete surrender to them.

  • johnf

    Ed Miliband outs himself as yet another lowlife neocon. On the subject of Syria:

    “”If the message to dictators around the world is that the West will never intervene – and that’s the message that President Assad of Syria has got today – we’re going to live in a very, very dangerous world.”
    The international community was “on the back foot”, he said.
    “The issue William Hague is raising this week – should we give more small arms – that’s not really the issue because they’re flooded with small arms in Syria.
    “The issue is – is someone going to take on the Assad air force which is bombing his own cities?””

    He’s lost my vote.

  • Mark Golding

    ‘B’nai B’rith came into existence under the personal direction of the Earl of Shaftesbury, Lord Palmerston, who was the Grand Patriarch of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and their “Hofjuden” (Court Jew) accomplices, Sir Moses Montefiore and the family of the Rothschilds. In a July 1841 memorandum to Foreign Minister Palmerston, written in part as a motivation for the then recent founding of the “Colonization of Palestine Society,” Shaftesbury described the usefulness of the Jews for British strategic intentions.’

    Elaborated from “The Life and Work of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury KG” Ulan Press ISBN-13: 9781163466339

  • Blegburnduddoo

    Apologies O/T
    Jack Straw announced yesterday that he would stand again as MP for Blackburn at the next election.
    The Lancashire News has invited readers to say whether they are in favour or not. Currently, 28% are and 72% are not

  • Mark Golding

    Agreed ‘Johnf’ – succinct and intelligent analysis thank-you.

    A British contact in Syria consistently informs at some risk that Saudi terrorists are destroying Syria’s infrastructure with targeted bombing financed by Britain.

  • CE

    We should have known, Palmerston was a zionist! 🙄

    PS.Palmerston was also an avowed abolitionist who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and stand up to the US.


    Like yourself, I am also quite disturbed by the idea of CMP’s in the UK, but would you also agree the current system is not fit for purpose, when terror suspects can sue the intelligence and security agencies for millions and they effectively have no right of reply, as to do so may place agents or operations at risk.

    I think CMP’s should be available, but only if their use is decided by a Judge, and it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that their use is a last resort when national security outweighs the public interest of having open justice.

  • craig Post author

    Mark Golding

    Palmerston was never head of the Scottish rite of freemasonry – which I have been studying extensively because Alexander Burnes brother James was No. 2 in it. And they never had a “Court Jew”. Moses Montefiore lived about 400 meters from the study where I was writing this, and was on the whole a good man – there are still charitable trusts operating in his name assisting Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

    Just because someone wrote something in a book in the 19th Century does not make it true.

  • Mark Golding

    Thank-you Craig – I bow to your intensive research and will sit down and read my Eretz Yisrael census notes together with an analysis of Mishkenot Sha’ananim and the now Yemin Moshe quarter which of course this great philanthropist and British banker financed through the Montefiore Testimonial Fund.

    I must add my understanding is that Sir Moses Montefiore was of paramount importance to the Zionist cause and the eventual re-establishment of the Jewish State in the Holy Land.

  • John Devon

    Back on topic (-ish). When I was a student the authorities put up a sign on the grass where we cut across a corner saying “your feet are killing the spring bulbs” (which were not apparent). A wag replaced this with one saying “F*** the spring bulbs”

  • lwtc247

    It’s her fault >1m Iraqi’s were slaughtered with her signature! But she’s nice?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    Various :

    1/. @ Craig (13h35):

    “Just because someone wrote something in a book in C19 does not make it true”

    Well said, and a comment I’d been meaning to make at the approproate juncture for some time now. It is noteworthy how often some people on this blog post links to articles and suchlike in order- surprise, surprise! – to support their own notions.

    As to the rest of your post, I’m gald that you set the record straight regarding Palmerston’s alleged freemasonry and the Hofjuden. I assume that even someone as irresponsible and paranoid as Mark Golding will take your word for it (although a public recognition that he was way off-beam will, I imagine, not be forthcoming). BTW – can you imagine the buckets of urine that would have been poured on my head had I said what you did, Craig? I would have been called, variously, a Zionist hasbara agent, an authoritarian and, last but not least, a disrupter of this blog.

    2/. Clark (12h17) :

    You continue to disappoint, although I’m getting used to it.

    “Habbabkuk also seems to seed the threads with comments designed to provoke conflict”

    This is presumably your way of saying that I don’t tamely accept each and every thought expressed here by those you somewhat somewhat boastfully proclaim to be “promoting progressive or minority opinion”?
    You also claim that I seek to “discredit” the above posters. Is “discredit” a synonym of yours for “argue against” or “disagree with”? You’re not much of a democrat, are you.

    @ Mary (11h30)

    My apologies for mis-attributing, I should have checked. And without checking, I take your word for it, because it is just the kind of comment that Dougie-boy would come out with. Coarseness and bad manners will always through. Perhaps I was thinking of you, Mary, because of that tasteless lottle “quip” you made not so long ago that the poor murdered girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius would have made a great grilfriend for Prince Haryy (or something along those lines – feel free to supply the verbatim quote if you’ve the gall to).

    All for now!


    La vita è bella, life is good!

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    I have just seen the grudging “half-apology” from Mark Golding. Typical though that he can’t just say something like “Sorry for getting that wrong” or “I stand corrected” and leave it at that.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Clark (

    Forgot this one (there is so much nonsense that it’s difficult to keep track) :

    “Comments can be interpreted as (in Habbabkuk’s words) “stupid and offensive, but doing so is at least partly, maybe mostly, in the mind of the one doing the interpretation”

    Yes indeed. It’s called having an opinion.

  • CE

    @Johnf – ‘Ed Miliband outs himself as yet another lowlife neocon. On the subject of Syria:’

    It was David Milliband (according to your link).


    Steady on there old chap, don’t let the facts get in the way of a misinformed rant.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    Re. the vulgar and offensive remarks about the Queen’s gastro-enteritis :

    I may have exculpated our friend Mary rather to quickly!

    While it is true that the vulgar and offensive comment about diarhoeia and the consequent need to launder underwear came from the unspeakable Dougie Scourge, I note that the very next post after Dougie’s was one from Mary (09h56 on 2 March) in which she wrote (I quote):

    “Poor old dear {ie, the Queen}. I hope she has not been consuming Brown Windsor Soup”.

    I cannot believe that the Saintly Mary was jumping onto the scatological bandwagon so crudely launched by The Scourge. To reassure me and others, I wonder if Mary would care to explain exactly what she meant by this rather curious sentence?

    Thank you.

  • guano

    Saudi terrorists .. financed by the British !!??

    Surely the terror comes from the West and the money from Saudi.
    Are you saying that the proceeds from bank-stolen capital, 20% income tax, 20% VAT, etc can tell Saudis what to do?

    The Saudis are floating the capsized Western banks which releases the stolen capital to the zionist bankers who then tell the blackmailed Western governments who to pay and what to do.

    The Queen is not a naive, unpolitical figure. The first rule of politics in the UK is to convince people that you are not political, which is a trick even Saudi rulers fail to pull off.

    The Saudis combine their Islamic duty to instigate Jihad against dictators, with propagating tawheed/ exclusive worship of God alone in the Muslim world.

    The UK refuses to be a normal European country. I can understand why the Queen is content to dominate her equals, but it is hard to accept that the Saudis would want to dominate their equals in Islam in the same way.

    I think maybe you have been listening to Shi’a rumour mongers.
    I strongly advise you not to listen to them and not to confuse others with Shi’a anti-Saudi prejudice. They do not like being criticised for their false doctrines.

    The British will always support what is deviant against what is truthful. The royalty being head of the church is about as deviant as anything in the world.

  • guano


    Behave. People are allowed to have their individual senses of humour and to share them with others without being told off all the time. I think it’s funny Craig being blonde and wearing a skirt. I think he should keep up with fashion and make it either shorter and tighter or longer and fuller. Why are so infantile about nit-picking over other people’s sense of humour? Mostly just to be annoying, I suppose.

  • Mary

    Yes indeed! Raise the Butcher’s Apron to the mast and three cheers for Her Majesty.

    What nonsense. What crimes have been committed in her name.

    Anyone ever read the ‘oath’ that the Privy Councillors take? It is odious and unimaginable in a so called democracy in the 21st century. A relic.

    You do swear by Almighty God to be a true and faithful Servant unto the Queen’s Majesty, as one of Her Majesty’s Privy Council. You will not know or understand of any manner of thing to be attempted, done, or spoken against Her Majesty’s Person, Honour, Crown, or Dignity Royal, but you will lett and withstand the same to the uttermost of your Power, and either cause it to be revealed to Her Majesty Herself, or to such of Her Privy Council as shall advertise Her Majesty of the same. You will, in all things to be moved, treated, and debated in Council, faithfully and truly declare your Mind and Opinion, according to your Heart and Conscience; and will keep secret all Matters committed and revealed unto you, or that shall be treated of secretly in Council. And if any of the said Treaties or Counsels shall touch any of the Counsellors, you will not reveal it unto him, but will keep the same until such time as, by the Consent of Her Majesty, or of the Council, Publication shall be made thereof. You will to your uttermost bear Faith and Allegiance unto the Queen’s Majesty; and will assist and defend all Jurisdictions, Pre-eminences, and Authorities, granted to Her Majesty, and annexed to the Crown by Acts of Parliament, or otherwise, against all Foreign Princes, Persons, Prelates, States, or Potentates. And generally in all things you will do as a faithful and true Servant ought to do to Her Majesty. So help you God.

    It’s not so much Mrs Windsor who bugs me. It’s the office, the multiple hangers on and the panoply of state. We will at some time be having a state funeral and another coronation. No expense will be spared to stage those, just like the nonsense last year which seemed interminable. They will take place when people are unemployed, short of food and money, even without a roof when IDS’s cruel plans come into effect.

    Also think of Bliar, and Brown, standing at the Union Flag draped Cenotaph bowing their heads, and now joined by Cameron fresh from Libya, Mali and his intervention in Syria, covert or overt. Rest assured that they do not give a stuff how many brown skins have been shredded and burned in her Majesty’s name.


    Incidentally, we have had enough of the contrived patriotism from the Resident Interrogator and the little cohort of followers. Little SOH too but that is par for the course in my experience.

  • lwtc247

    In addendum to my 2:25 pm post, I’m afraid I really have to say this…
    Craig, you know, sometimes you are a right tit!
    Try to see past her training old boy!

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