Richard Monckton Milnes
(1809-1885)

'Richard Milnes,' said Carlyle one day, withdrawing his pipe from his mouth, as they were seated together in the little house in Cheyne Row, 'when are you going to get that pension for Alfred Tennyson?'

'My dear Carlyle,' responded Milnes, 'the thing is not so easy as you seem to suppose. What will my constituents say if I do get the pension for Tennyson? They know nothing about him or his poetry, and they will probably think he is some poor relation of my own and that the whole affair is a job.'

Solemn and emphatic was Carlyle's response. 'Richard Milnes, on the Day of judgement, when the Lord asks you why you didn't get that pension for Alfred Tennyson, it will not do to lay the blame on your constituents; it is you that will be damned.'

—T. Wemyss Reid, The Life, Letters and Friendship of Richard Monckton Milnes, First Lord Houghton (1890), i. 295-296.

IN the autumn of 1845, Monckton Milnes was one of a party at the Grange at the same time with Carlyle and myself. He was famous for the interest he took in notorieties, and especially in notorious sinners, always finding some good reason for taking an indulgent view of their misdeeds. I have heard that on the occasion of some murderer being hanged, his sister, Lady Galway, expressed her satisfaction, saying that if he had been acquitted she would have been sure to have met him next week at one of her brother's Thursday morning breakfasts. At the time of this visit, Sir Robert Peel had just formed his government, and had not found a place in it for Monckton Milnes, who appeared to be somewhat dissatisfied with Sir Robert on the occasion. Carlyle took a different view: he highly commended Sir Robert's judgement and penetration, insisting that no man knew better who would suit his purposes and who not, and ended by pronouncing his own opinion, that the only office Monckton Milnes was fit for was that of 'Perpetual President of the Heaven and Hell Amalgamation Society'.

— Taylor, Autobiography, i. 330-331.

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