Thursday, 8th December 1853
“I have told Aberdeen that I am persuaded that the Measure as proposed by John Russell and Graham will not pass through the two Houses of Parliament without material modifications, and that I do not choose to be a party to a contest between the two Houses or to an Appeal to the Country for a Measure of which I decidedly disapprove; and that I cannot enter into a career which would lead me to such a position, that, in short, I do not choose to be dragged through the dirt by John Russell.
“I reminded Aberdeen that on accepting his offer of Office, I had expressed apprehension both to him and to you, that I might find myself differing from my Colleagues on the question of Parliamentary Reform.
“I have thought a good deal on this matter. I should be very sorry to give up my present Office at this moment: I have taken a great interest in it, and I have matters in hand which I should much wish to bring to a conclusion. Moreover, I think that the presence in the Cabinet of a person holding the opinions which I entertain as to the principles on which our Foreign Affairs ought to be conducted, is useful in modifying the contrary system of Policy, which, as I think, injuriously to the interests and dignity of the Country, there is a disposition in other quarters to pursue; but notwithstanding all this. I cannot consent to stand forward as one of the Authors and Supporters of John Russell’s sweeping alterations.
Yours sincerely, Palmerston”.