The letters of Queen Victoria : a selection from Her Majesty's correspondence between the years 1837 and 1861 : published by authority of His Majesty the king (Volume 2) online

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kept asunder.

The enthusiasm here has not abated, and there is

1 The late Duke of Cambridge.


not an individual in Dublin that does not take as a
personal compliment to himself the Queen's having
gone upon the paddle-box and having ordered the
Royal Standard to be lowered three times.

Even the ex-Clubbists, 1 who threatened broken heads
and windows before the Queen came, are now among
the most loyal of her subjects, and are ready, according
to the police reports, to fight anyone who dare say
a disrespectful word of Her Majesty.

In short, the people are not only enchanted with
the Queen and the gracious kindness of her manner
and the confidence she has shown in them, but they
are pleased with themselves for their own good feelings
and behaviour, which they consider have removed the
barrier that hitherto existed between the Sovereign
and themselves, and that they now occupy a higher
position in the eyes of the world. Friend Bright was
with me to-day, and said he would not for the world
have missed seeing the embarkation at Kingston, for
he had felt just the same enthusiasm as the rest of the
crowd. " Indeed," he added, " I'll defy any man to
have felt otherwise when he saw the Queen come upon
the platform and bow to the people in a manner that
showed her heart was with them." He didn't disguise
either that the Monarchical principle had made great
way with him since Friday. Ever yours truly,


Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

OSBOHNE, 3rd October 1849.

The Queen has received Lord John Russell's
explanation respecting the brevet promotions on the
occasion of her visit to Ireland, but cannot say that
his objections have convinced her of the impropriety
of such a promotion (to a limited extent). To Lord
John's fears of the dangerous consequences of the
precedent, the Queen has only to answer, that there

1 Seditious clubs had been an important factor in the Irish disturbances
of 1848.


can be only one first visit to Ireland, and that the
first visit to Scotland in 1842 was followed by a few
promotions, without this entailing promotions on her
subsequent visits to that part of the country ; that
even the first visit to the Channel Islands was followed
by a few promotions, and this under Lord John's
Government. All the precedents being in accordance
with the proposition made by the Duke, an opposition
on the part of the Government would imply a declara-
tion against all brevets except in the field, which would
deprive the Crown of a most valuable prerogative. If
such a brevet as the one proposed were to lead to
great additional expense, the Queen could understand
the objection on the ground of economy ; but the
giving brevet rank to a few subaltern officers is too
trifling a matter to alarm the Government. Perhaps
the number might be reduced even, but to deviate
from the established precedents for the first time
altogether in this case, and that after the excellent
behaviour of the Army in Ireland under very trying
circumstances, would be felt as a great injustice.

The Queen therefore wishes Lord John to ask
the Duke to send him the former precedents and to
consider with his colleagues whether a modified
recommendation cannot be laid before her. 1

Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

WOBURN ABBEY, 4th October 1849.

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to
your Majesty, and will consider, in communication
with the Duke of Wellington, whether any modified
list can be proposed by him to your Majesty.

The economy, as your Majesty truly observes, is not
a matter of much consideration. But to reward
Officers on the Staff, who are already favoured by
being placed on the Staff in Ireland, is a practice

1 The Duke of Wellington had submitted a list of Officers for brevet
promotion, which received the Queen's sanction ; but the list was afterwards


which tends but too much to encourage the opinion
that promotions in the Army and Navy are given not
to merit, but to aristocratical connection and official

In the midst of the degradation of Thrones which
the last two years have seen in Europe, it will be well
if the English Crown preserves all its just prerogatives,
and has only to relinquish some customary abuses,
which are not useful to the Sovereign, and are only
an equivocal advantage to the Ministers of the day.

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 31st October 1849.

The Queen has just received Lord John Russell's
letter, and was much rejoiced at everything having
gone off so well yesterday ; * she was very much annoyed
at being unable to go herself, and that the untoward
chicken-pox should have come at this moment ; she is
however quite recovered, though still much marked.

With respect to the proposition about the Thanks-
giving, the Queen quite approves of it, and (if it is
generally preferred) that it should be on a week-day.
As to the Bishop of London's proposal, 2 the Queen
thinks that Lord John may have misunderstood him ;
she supposes that he meant that she should attend some
place of public worship, and not in her domestic chapel,
in order to join in the public demonstration. The Queen
is quite ready to go with her Court to St George's Chapel
here ; but she would like it to take place on an earlier
day than the 27th of November when she would
probably be already in the Isle of Wight, where we
think of going as usual on the 22nd or 23rd.

1 The ceremony of opening the new Coal Exchange, at which, as well as
Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales and Princess Royal were present.

2 There had been a severe epidemic of cholera in the country. In twelve
months 14,000 deaths in London alone were due to this malady. The 15th
of November was appointed for a general Day of Thanksgiving for its cessation,
and the Bishop of London had suggested that the Queen should attend a
public service at St Paul's. Lord John Russell was in favour of Westminster


Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

EATON SQUARE, 29th November 1849.

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to
your Majesty. In answer to your Majesty's enquiry, he
has to state that a very short conversation took place
in the Cabinet on the affairs of Germany upon an
enquiry of Lord John Russell whether the Diet of
Erfurt 1 might not be considered a violation of the
Treaties of 1815. Lord Palmerston thought not, but
had not examined the question.

The affairs of Germany are in a critical position ;
Austria will oppose anything which tends to aggrandise
Russia ; Russia will oppose anything which tends to
free Government ; and France will oppose anything
which tends to strengthen Germany. Still, all these
powers might be disregarded were Germany united,
but it is obvious that Bavaria and Wiirtemberg look to
Austria and France for support, while Hanover and
Saxony will give a very faint assistance to a Prussian

The matter is very critical, but probably will not
lead to war.

Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

FOREIGN OFFICE, 30th November 1849.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to
your Majesty, and in reply to your Majesty's enquiry
as to what the measures would be which Sir William
Parker 2 would have to take in order to support Mr
Wyse's 3 demands for redress for certain wrongs sus-
tained by British and Ionian subjects, begs to say that
the ordinary and accustomed method of enforcing such
demands is by reprisals that is to say, by seizing some
vessels and property of the party which refuses redress, 4
and retaining possession thereof until redress is granted.

1 In order to effect the Consolidation of Germany, the King of Prussia
had summoned a Federal Parliament to meet at Erfurt.

2 Commanding the Mediterranean Fleet.
8 British Envoy at Athens.

* See Introductory Note for 1850, post, p. 274.

-the portrait 6y foAsi tJartrutye a/ M uctusig/iam t


Another method is the blockading of the ports of
the party by whom redress is refused, and by interrupt-
ing commercial intercourse to cause inconvenience and
loss. Viscount Palmerston, however, does not appre-
hend that any active measures of this kind will be
required, but rather expects that when the Greek
Government finds that the demand is made in earnest,
and that means are at hand to enforce it, satisfaction
will at last be given. The refusal of the Greek
Government to satisfy these claims, and the offensive
neglect with which they have treated the applications
of your Majesty's representative at Athens have, as
Viscount Palmerston is convinced, been the result of
a belief that the British Government never would take
any real steps in order to press these matters to a

Queen Victoria to the King- of the Belgians.

OSBORNE, llth December 1849.

MY DEAREST UNCLE, Thank you much for your
kind letter of the 6th ; you will have received mine of
the 4th shortly after you wrote. 1 know how you would
mourn with us over the death of our beloved Queen
Adelaide. We have lost the kindest and dearest of
friends, and the universal feeling of sorrow, of regret,
and of real appreciation of her character is very touching
and gratifying. All parties, all classes, join in doing
her justice. Much was done to set Mamma against her,
but the dear Queen ever forgave this, ever showed
love and affection, and for the last eight years their
friendship was as great as ever. Ever yours affection-
ately, VICTORIA R.

VOL. n. 18


THE Ministry (1850) were still able, relying on the support of
Sir Robert Peel, to resist the attacks of the Protectionists in the
House of Commons, though the majority on a critical occasion
fell to twenty-one ; but they were rehabilitated by the discussions
on foreign policy. One Don Pacih'co, a Portuguese Jew, a native
of Gibraltar and a British subject, had had his house in Athens
pillaged by a mob ; he, with Mr Finlay, the historians who had a
money claim against the Greek Government, instead of establishing
the claims in the local courts, sought the intervention of the home
Government ; Lord Palmerston, whose relations with the Court
were even more strained than usual, resolved to make a hostile
demonstration against Greece, and a fleet was sent to the Piraeus
with a peremptory demand for settlement. The House of Lords
condemned this high-handed action, but a friendly motion of
confidence was made in the Commons, and Lord Palmerston had
an extraordinary triumph, by a majority of forty-six, notwith-
standing that the ablest men outside the Ministry spoke against
him, and that his unsatisfactory relations with the Queen were
about to culminate in a severe reprimand.

Sir Robert PeePs speech in this debate proved to be his last
public speech, his premature death, resulting from a fall from his
horse, taking place a few days later ; Louis Philippe, who had been
living in retirement at Claremont, passed away about the same
time. Another attack on the Queen, this time a blow with a
cane, was made by one Robert Pate, an ex-officer and well
connected ; the plea of insanity was not established, and Pate
was transported.

Public attention was being drawn to the projected Exhibition
in Hyde Park, Prince Albert making a memorable speech at the
Mansion House in support of the scheme ; the popular voice had
not been unanimous in approval, and subscriptions had hung
fire, but henceforward matters improved, and Mr Paxton's design
for a glass and iron structure was accepted and proceeded with.

The friction with Lord Palmerston was again increased by his
action in respect to General Haynau, an Austrian whose cruelty
had been notorious, and who was assaulted by some of the
employes at a London brewery. The Foreign Office note to



the Austrian Government nearly brought about Palmerston's
resignation, which was much desired by the Queen.

At the close of the year the whole country was in a ferment
at the issue of a Papal Brief, re-establishing the hierarchy of
Bishops in England with local titles derived from their sees, and
Cardinal Wiseman, thenceforward Archbishop of Westminster,
by issuing a pastoral letter on the subject made matters worse.
The Protestant spirit was aroused, the two Universities presented
petitions, and the Prime Minister, in a letter to the Bishop of
Durham, helped to fan the " No Popery " flame. Just at a time
when a coalition of Whigs and Peelites was beginning to be
possible, an Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, almost fatal to mutual
confidence, became necessary.


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 5th February 1850.

MY DEAR UNCLE, We had the house full for three
days last week on account of our theatrical performances
on Friday, which went off extremely well. The Grand
Duchess Stephanie was here, tres aimable, and not
altered. She spoke much of Germany and of politics,
and of you in the highest terms " Comme le Roi
Leopold s'est bien tenu" and that she had mentioned
this at Claremont, and then felt shocked at it, but that
the poor king had answered : " II avait mon example
devant lui, et il en a profit^ ! " She thought the whole
family tres digne in their malheur, but was struck with
the melancholy effect of the whole thing.

Our affairs have gone off extremely well in Parlia-
ment, and the Protectionists have received an effective
check ; the question of the Corn Laws seems indeed
settled. This is of great importance, as it puts a stop to
the excitement and expectations of the farmers, which
have been falsely kept up by the aristocracy. . . .

I must now conclude. Ever your devoted Niece,


Viscount Palmerston to Lord John Russell.

CARLTON GARDENS, 15th February 1850.

MY DEAR JOHN RUSSELL, I have altered this draft
so as I think to meet the views of the Queen and of


yourself in regard to the continuance of the suspension. 1
I should not like to put into a despatch an instruction
to accept less than we have demanded, because that
would imply what I don't think to be the fact, viz.
that we have demanded more than is due. If the
demands were for the British Government, we might
forego what portions we might like to give up, but
we have no right to be easy and generous with the
rights and claims of other people. Besides, if we
get anything, we shall get all. The whole amount is
quite within the power of the Greek Government to
pay. Yours sincerely, PALMERSTON.

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, nth February 1850.

The Queen sent the day before yesterday the
proposed draft to Mr Wyse back to Lord Palmerston,
enclosing a Memorandum from Lord John Russell,
and telling Lord Palmerston "that she entirely con-
curred with Lord John, and wished the draft to be
altered accordingly." She has not yet received an
answer from Lord Palmerston, but just hears from
Lord John, in answer to her enquiry about it, that
Lord Palmerston has sent the draft off unaltered?
The Queen must remark upon this sort of proceeding,
of which this is not the first instance, and plainly tell
Lord Palmerston that this must not happen again.
Lord Palmerston has a perfect right to state to the
Queen his reasons for disagreeing with her views, and
will always have found her ready to listen to his
reasons ; but she cannot allow a servant of the Crown
and her Minister to act contrary to her orders, and
this without her knowledge.

Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

CARLTON GARDENS, nth February 1850.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to
your Majesty, and in reply to your Majesty's com-

1 /. e. of hostilities against the Greek Government, in order to extract
compensation for the injuries inflicted on British subjects. See ante, p. 274.
3 See Ashley's Palmerston, vol. i. chap.v.


munication of this day, he begs to state that upon
receiving, the day before yesterday, your Majesty's
Memorandum on the proposed draft to Mr Wyse,
together with the accompanying Memorandum 1 from
Lord John Russell, he altered the draft, and sent it
to Lord John Russell, and received it back from Lord
John Russell with the accompanying note in answer to
that which he wrote to Lord John Russell. It was
important that the messenger should go off that
evening, and the time occupied in these communications
rendered it just, but barely, possible to despatch the
messenger by the mail train of that evening. The
despatch thus altered coincided with the views of your
Majesty and Lord John Russell as to the question in
regard to the length of time during which reprisals
should be suspended to give scope for the French
negotiation. The other question as to giving Mr
Wyse a latitude of discretion to entertain any proposi-
tion which might be made to him by the Greek
Government was considered by the Cabinet at its
meeting yesterday afternoon, and Viscount Palmerston
gave Mr Wyse a latitude of that kind in regard to
the claim of Mr Pacifico, the only one to which that
question could apply, in a despatch which he sent by
the overland Mediterranean mail which went off
yesterday afternoon. That despatch also contained
some instructions as to the manner in which Mr
Wyse is to communicate with Baron Gros, 2 and those
instructions were the result of a conversation which
Viscount Palmerston had with the French Ambassador
after the meeting of the Cabinet. Viscount Palmerston
was only waiting for a copy of the despatch of yesterday
evening, which, owing to this day being Sunday, he has
not yet received, in order to send to your Majesty the
altered draft of yesterday evening, with an explanation

1 Lord John Russell's opinion was that three weeks should be allowed
to Mr Wyse and Sir H. Parker to accept terms as satisfactory as they could
obtain, and that Sir H. Parker should not be obliged to resume coercive
measures, if the concessions of the Greek Government should appear to
afford a prospect of a speedy settlement of the affair.

2 Baron Gros was the Commissioner despatched by the French Government
to Athens to assist in arranging the dispute.


of the circumstances which rendered it impossible to
submit them to your Majesty before they were sent
off. 1

Memorandum by the Prince Albert.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 3rd March 1850.

Before leaving Town yesterday we saw Lord John
Russell, who came to state what had passed with
reference to Lord Palmerston. He premised that Lord
Palmerston had at all times been a most agreeable and
accommodating colleague ; that he had acted with Lord
John ever since 1831, and had not only never made
any difficulty, but acted most boldly and in the most
spirited manner on all political questions ; besides, he
was very popular with the Radical part of the House of
Commons as well as with the Protectionists, so that both
would be ready to receive him as their Leader ; he
(Lord John) was therefore most anxious to do nothing
which could hurt Lord Palmerston 's feelings, nor to
bring about a disruption of the Whig Party, which at
this moment of Party confusion was the only one which
still held together. On the other hand, the fact that
the Queen distrusted Lord Palmerston was a serious
impediment to the carrying on of the Government.
Lord John was therefore anxious to adopt a plan by
which Lord Palmerston's services could be retained
with his own goodwill, and the Foreign Affairs entrusted
to other hands. The only plan he could think of was
to give Lord Palmerston the lead in the House of
Commons the highest position a statesman could
aspire to and to go himself to the House of Lords.
He had communicated his views to Lord Lansdowne,
who agreed in them, and thought he could do nothing
better than speak to Lord Palmerston at once. Lord
Palmerston said that he could not have helped to have
become aware that he had forfeited the Queen's con-
fidence, but he thought this had not been on personal
grounds, but merely on account of his line of policy,

1 See subsequent correspondence between Lord John and Lord Palmerston,
Walpole's Russell, vol. n. chap. xix.


with which the Queen disagreed. (The Queen inter-
rupted Lord John by remarking that she distrusted him
on personal grounds also, but I remarked that Lord
Palmerston had so far at least seen rightly ; that he
had become disagreeable to the Queen, not on account
of his person, but of his political doings, to which
the Queen assented.) Lord Palmerston appeared to
Lord John willing to enter into this agreement.

On the question how the Foreign Office should be
filled, Lord John said that he thought his father-in-law,
Lord Minto, ought to take the Foreign Office (! ! !).
As the Queen was somewhat startled by this announce-
ment, I said I thought that would not go down with
the public. After Lord Palmerston's removal (who
was considered one of the ablest men in the country)
he ought not to be replaced but by an equally able
statesman ; the Office was of enormous importance, arid
ought not to be entrusted to anyone but Lord John
himself or Lord Clarendon. On the Queen's enquiry
why Lord Clarendon had not been proposed for it, Lord
John said he was most anxious that the change of
the Minister should not produce a change in the general
line of policy which he considered to have been quite
right, and that Lord Clarendon did not approve of it ;
somehow or other he never could agree with Lord
Clarendon on Foreign Affairs ; he thought Lord
Clarendon very anti-French and for an alliance with
Austria and Russia. The Queen replied she knew
Lord Clarendon's bad opinion of the mode in which
the Foreign Affairs had been conducted, and thought
that a merit in him, but did not think him Austrian or
Russian, but merely disapproving of Lord Palmerston's
behaviour. I urged Lord John to take the Foreign
Affairs himself, which he said would have to be done
if the Queen did not wish Lord Minto to take them ;
he himself would be able to do the business when in
the House of Lords, although he would undertake it
unwillingly ; with the business in the House of Commons
it would have been impossible for him. The Queen
insisted on his trying it with a seat in the House of


Lords, adding that, if he found it too much for him, he
could at a later period perhaps make the Department
over to Lord Clarendon.

I could not help remarking that it was a serious risk
to entrust Lord Palmerston with the lead in the House
of Commons, that it might be that the Government
were defeated and, if once in opposition, Lord
Palmerston might take a different line as leader of
the Opposition from that which Lord John would like,
and might so easily force himself back into office as
Prime Minister. Lord John, however, although
admitting that danger, thought Lord Palmerston too
old to do much in the future (having passed his sixty-
fifth year) ; he admitted that Sir George Grey was the
natural leader of the Commons, but expected that a
little later the lead would still fall into his hands.

The arrangements of the Offices as proposed would
be that Lord Palmerston would take the Home
Office, and Sir George Grey the Colonial Office, and
Lord Grey vacate this office for the Privy Seal. If Lord
Minto, however, was not to have the Foreign Office,
the arrangement must be recast. Lord Clarendon
would become Secretary of State for Ireland, after the
abolition of the Lord-Lieutenancy. Possibly also Sir
George Grey might take the office, and Lord Clarendon
take the Colonies, which Lord Grey would be glad to
be rid of. On my observing that I had thought the
Colonies would have done best for Lord Palmerston,
leaving Sir George Grey at the Home Office, Lord
John acknowledged that he would likewise prefer this
arrangement, but considered it rendered impossible
from its having been the very thing Lord Grey had
proposed in 1845, and upon which the attempt to form
a Whig Government at that time had broken down,
Lord Palmerston having refused to enter the Cabinet
on those terms. Lord John ended by saying that Lord
Palmerston having agreed to the change, it was
intended that nothing should be done about it till after
the close of the Session, in order to avoid debates and
questions on the subject ; moreover, Lord Lansdowne


had agreed to continue still this Session his labours as

Online LibraryUnknownThe letters of Queen Victoria : a selection from Her Majesty's correspondence between the years 1837 and 1861 : published by authority of His Majesty the king (Volume 2) → online text (page 23 of 47)