Radical Jack: The Life of John George Lambton, First Earl of Durham, Viscount Lambton, and Baron Durham

Radical Jack: The Life of John George Lambton, First Earl of Durham, Viscount Lambton, and Baron Durham

Radical Jack: The Life of John George Lambton, First Earl of Durham, Viscount Lambton, and Baron Durham

Radical Jack: The Life of John George Lambton, First Earl of Durham, Viscount Lambton, and Baron Durham

Excerpt

Cleveland Row is a short street near St. James's Palace and its solid, dignified houses run westward towards St. James's Park, but there is no plaque to tell that No. 13 was once the town house of John George Lambton, First Earl of Durham, and that it was the birthplace of the First Reform Bill of 1832 and of the Durham Report of 1840.

There is little record of any sort in London today of the man who was known to his contemporaries as Radical Jack and to Mr. Creevey as 'King Jog' and 'The Angry Boy'; who was Lord Privy Seal, Ambassador to Russia, High Commissioner for and Governor-General of Canada. There is no statue outside the Houses of Parliament, or before Canada House; nothing but two public houses which were named after him in the first rush of enthusiasm over the Reform Bill. One of these, near the Oval, has so far forgotten its origin as to bear on its signboard the arms of the Diocese and City of Durham. The other, in the Maida Vale district, has been more faithful and its board shows the arms of Lambton -- Sable a fess between three lambs passant argent. In the bar there are booklets which tell of its origin and naming, but so far has Radical Jack passed from general memory that any taxi-driver knows the inn better by its common name, 'The Drum and Monkey'. His own county, the County Palatine of Durham, has done a little more for him. Lambton Castle, though it is no longer the family seat, still stands on the bluffs from which the trees run almost sheer down to the windings of the River Wear. A traveller by train, going north to Newcastle and looking out of the right-hand window of his carriage, can see, eastward of Chester-le-Street, the graceful temple which the Freemasons of County Durham raised in his memory. His county, which loved him, has not forgotten him.

The Durham folk of his own time loved him less for his public work, his lifelong championship of the weak and oppressed, than because he was an honest and generous employer and most of all because he was their Squire and a familiar figure. There had been Lambtons at Lambton for the best part . . .

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