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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offer to Lord St Leonards to remain, but Lord John
Russell insisted, on the part of his Party (which he
personally regretted to have to do), that the Chancellor
should be a Liberal; Lord Aberdeen in consequence
recommended Lord Cranworth.

The Presidency of the Council. The Duke of
Newcastle, who might have done for Ireland, but
whose presence in the House of Lords would be a
great support to Lord Aberdeen.

The Privy Seal. The Duke of Argyll, to whom
he had however not yet applied.

The Secretaries of State. It appeared that Lord
Palmerston had repented of his decision, for he had
addressed Lord Lansdowne, and told him that he gave


him his proxy putting himself entirely into his hands,
feeling sure that he would take care of his honour.
Lord Lansdowne, who had been throughout very kind
in his exertions to bring about the junction of Parties,
was now engaged to prevail upon him to take the
Home Office. We congratulated Lord Aberdeen upon
this symptom, which augured confidence in his success.
Lord Aberdeen said that when he saw Lord Palmerston,
who then declined office, nothing could have exceeded
the expressions of his cordiality ; he had even reminded
him that in fact they were great friends (!!!) of sixty
years' standing, having been at school together. We
could not help laughing heartily at the Harrow Boys
and their friendship. The Foreign Office Lord John
had again positively refused, contrary to the advice of
all his friends, and to please Lady John. This arrange-
ment failing, Lord Clarendon was to undertake it, but
Lord Clarendon was now gone himself to try to per-
suade Lord, or rather Lady, John to accept at least
temporarily declaring his readiness to take it off his
hands at any time if he should find the work too
heavy. Lord Aberdeen had no hope, however, of
Lord Clarendon's success. Then there would come
the grave Constitutional Question of establishing the
novelty of a Leader in the House of Commons who
held no office. Lord John had seen the danger of
being exposed to the reproach that he had slipped into
office without having gone through the popular ordeal
of a re-election, and had proposed to obviate this by
accepting the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds,
and then having himself re-elected for the City of
London. But this would not meet all the objections,
for it would still be considered unconstitutional that
he should lead the business of the Government in the
House of Commons without the responsibility of
office. The Leader of the House of Commons was
an irresponsible person, and Lord John's saying : " I
shall represent you (Lord Aberdeen) in the House of
Commons," would be equally unconstitutional. Lord
John must therefore be prevailed upon to take the


Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster, though he
felt no inclination to become the successor of Mr
Christopher. Lord Aberdeen read a memorandum of
Lord John's, containing his political views on the crisis
and the principles of the new Government, of which
he is to send the Queen a copy.

For the Colonial Office. Lord Aberdeen wavered
between Sir J. Graham and Mr Gladstone ; either
could be this, or Chancellor of the Exchequer. Lord
John wished Sir James as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
We argued the greater capabilities of Sir James for the
Administration of the Colonies, and Mr Gladstone for
the Finances.

Chancellor of the Exchequer therefore, Mr

Admiralty Mr Sidney Herbert.

Board of Control Sir C. Wood.

Board of Trade Lord Granville.

Board of Works Sir F. Baring.

(Baring and Wood being the two men whom Lord
John had insisted on having on the Treasury Bench
sitting by his side.)

Postmaster Lord Canning.

Secretary at War Mr Cardwell.

These would form the Cabinet. Upon Ireland no
decision had been come to, though Lord Granville
was generally pointed out as the best Lord Lieutenant.

Lord Aberdeen was very much pleased with the
entire confidence existing between him and Lord
John. The Budget would be a formidable difficulty,
as in fact the Government would be an Income Tax

Lord Derby's intemperate and unconstitutional
behaviour would do no good to the Government ; many
of his friends were disgusted. Lord Clanwilliam had
called his speech in the House of Lords "a great
outrage." The Radicals might be conciliated in some
of the lower Offices by the appointment of Mr Charles
Villiers, Sir William Molesworth, and others.


The Earl of Malmesbury to Queen Victoria.

FOREIGN OFFICE, 23rd December 1852.

Lord Malmesbury presents his humble duty to the
Queen, and considers it right to inform your Majesty
that Count Walewski again asked him yesterday where
the Prince of Hohenlohe was now residing, adding that
it was the intention of the Emperor to send a person
to see him, and ascertain his feelings with respect to a
marriage between him and the Princess Adelaide.
Lord Malmesbury confined himself to replying that
he did not know. Lord Malmesbury might perhaps
in his private capacity endeavour to discourage these
advances, but as long as he has the honour of being one
of your Majesty's Ministers, it appears to him that your
Majesty will be personally the least committed by his
interfering as little as possible in the matter.

The Emperor is becoming extremely irritable at the
delay of the three great Powers in recognising the
Empire, and he has said to M. Huebner that, as they
had plenty of time to agree among themselves what
course they should pursue when it was proclaimed, he
cannot understand how Austria and Prussia can in the
face of Europe humiliate themselves by waiting for the
orders of Russia " les ordres de la Russie."

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Malmesbury.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 23rd December 1852.

The Queen has received Lord Malmesbury 's letter.
She thinks he is acting very judiciously in giving Count
Walewski no advice whatever as long as he holds the
Seals of Office.

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Aberdeen.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 23rd December 1852.

The Queen has received Lord Aberdeen's com-
munication of this morning, and was pleased to hear

VOL. ii. 33


that Lord John has finally accepted the Foreign Office.
She has also received the second communication, with
the List of the distribution of Offices. The Queen
thinks it of such importance that the Cabinet should be
now announced to the world as complete, that she is
unwilling to throw any difficulties in the way. At the
same time, she must observe that in some instances
the changes are, in her opinion, not for the better. Sir
J. Graham will be very unpopular in the Navy ; his
achievements at the Admiralty in former times 1 were
all retrenchments, and have since proved in many
instances injurious to the Service. The Secretary
at War ought properly to be left out of the Cabinet
for the well working of the Army ; 2 the President of
the Board of Trade has always been in the Cabinet, and
in Lord Granville's case, even the Vice - President.
Lord Granville will have a difficulty as Chancellor of
the Duchy of Lancaster, being one of the chief lessees
of the Duchy, and, the Queen believes, even engaged
in a law-suit against it. The Queen has no objection
to Sir William Molesworth 3 at the Office of Works. She
hopes that the Presidency of the Council will be filled
at once, for which Lord Clarendon would be best.

Amongst the Under-Secretaries of State, the Queen
wishes merely to express her objection at seeing Mr
B. Osborne 4 at the Foreign Office. The Queen sees
Lord Chandos's 5 name as Secretary to the Treasury ;
she would be very much pleased to see his services
secured. All the other proposals she approves.

The Queen must repeat in conclusion that she
considers the rapid completion of the Government of
the first importance, even if none of the points the
Queen has alluded to should be amended.

1 From 1830 to 1834.

2 The Secretary-a-War was not a Secretary of State.

3 M.P. for Southwark ; well known as a philosophical writer, the first
member of the Radical Party included in any Ministry.

4 Mr Bernal Osborne, a well-known speaker at the time, became Secretary
of the Admiralty.

5 Afterwards, as Duke of Buckingham, Secretary for the Colonies and
Governor of Madras.


Queen Victoria to the Earl of Aberdeen.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 24-th December 1852.

The Queen has this moment received Lord
Aberdeen's letter, reporting that new difficulties have
arisen in the completion of the Government by new
proposals made by Lord John Russell, since the
Queen's sanction had been given to the arrangements
submitted to her by Lord Aberdeen, which had then
been agreed to by Lord John Russell. The Queen
begins to fear serious mischief from the long duration
of the crisis. It must weaken the prestige of the new
Government, and, instead of smoothing difficulties, is,
from the nature of things, rather calculated to invite
new ones. The Queen has, in her letter of yesterday,
stated some objections she felt, but added that she
would waive them all for the satisfaction of the
immediate want of the country (a strong Government),
and she must express her hope that political parties
will not fall short in patriotic spirit of the example she
has thus herself set.

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Aberdeen.
[Draft from recollection.']

WINDSOR CASTLE, 24-th December 1852.

The Queen has received Lord Aberdeen's letter of
this afternoon, and is very glad to hear that he has
overcome the difficulties which he mentioned this
morning, and. that he has secured the services of Lord
Lansdowne in the Cabinet. She hopes, however, that
Lord Aberdeen will remain firm on the other points,
as difficulties are never overcome by yielding to more
than can be fairly demanded.

Memorandum by Queen Victoria.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 25th December 1852.

Lord Aberdeen came this afternoon to announce
the completion of his Cabinet.

From many of them answers have not yet been


The day before it looked very bad. Lord John
Russell had sent in such a list of persons whom he
required in the Cabinet (Sir Francis Baring, Sir George
Grey, etc., etc.), that, having been very yielding hitherto,
Lord Aberdeen was obliged to be peremptory in his
refusal. Now that the Cabinet was formed on a due
proportion, he was inclined to let Lord John have his
own way pretty much with regard to the minor Offices,
considering that he brought 250 followers, and he (Lord
Aberdeen) only 50.

It was to Lord Clarendon that the persuasion of
Lady John was finally due, but Lord Aberdeen had
to add his own promise to that of Lord Clarendon, that
the latter would take the Foreign Office whenever she
thought Lord John ought to be relieved from it.

Lady Palmerston had been most anxious to bring
her husband into office again ; Lord Aberdeen had seer
the first symptom of their joint wish in the earnestness
with which Lord Palmerston's friends declared in al
places that, had he been well enough, he would certainly
have voted against the Government.

Lord Lansdowne's exertions and Lord Clarendon's
disinterestedness were beyond all praise.

Of the Derbyites, he heard that most of them would
be very quiet, and many would be very friendly.

Lord Breadalbane is to be Lord Chamberlain. AVe
recommended a trial to get Lord Jersey to remain as
Master of the Horse. VICTORIA R.

The Prince Albert to the Earl of Aberdeen.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 26th December 1852.

MY DEAR LORD ABERDEEN, I have heard rumours
of some appointments in the Household, for which the
writs are to be moved to-morrow. As you have not
yet placed before the Queen your recommendations,
I merely write this to you, fearing that the " Whig
Party " may deal out places before you have had an
opportunity of taking the Queen's pleasure. Ever
yours truly, ALBERT.


Memorandum by the Prince Albert.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 2Tth December 1852.

Lord Derby had his audience of leave yesterday
afternoon. He repeated his thanks to the Queen for
the support and countenance she had given him
throughout the period he had been allowed to serve
her, adding his regrets that his services could not have
been more efficient or longer. One thing only distressed
him in taking leave, and that was the idea that the
Queen might think he had unnecessarily raised diffi-
culties to the formation of a new Government by his
Speech in the House of Lords. Now, it had been
incumbent upon him to show to his Party that he had
not quitted office on light grounds, after the sacrifices
of opinion they had brought in order to support him ;
he had to prove that the vote in the House of
Commons was not an accidental vote, but the pre-
concerted Union of all Parties (in opposition) against
him, which gave them a real majority. We replied
that it was not his opinion on the late division, to
the expression of which the Queen had objected, but
to that of an opinion on the character of the new
Government which the Queen had not yet formed. It
was of the greatest importance to keep that in suspense,
and the declaration that Lord Derby knew Lord
Aberdeen to profess Conservative opinions of his own
(Lord Derby's) shade, had at once given the alarm to
the Radicals, and made them insist upon a greater pro-
portion of Liberals in the Cabinet. Lord Derby
rejoined he had expressed his doubts as to how these
differences could be reconciled ; and he did not see
now how this was to be done. How could Lord
Aberdeen and Lord John Russell agree upon the
Foreign Policy, for instance ? The Queen replied
that Lord John's views were very sound and moderate,
and that the line of Foreign Policy he had formerly
had to pursue had been forced upon him by Lord
Palmerston, who had never left a question for the
decision of the Cabinet to which he had not already
given a decided bias.


Did Lord Derby know that Lord Palmerston gave
it out everywhere that, had he been well enough, he
should certainly have voted against the Government ?
Lord Derby could only say that he had allowed
his son-in-law, Lord Jocelyn, to go to Italy under the
firm conviction that Lord Palmerston would refuse to
join Lord Aberdeen or Lord John Russell !

Lord Derby took leave after five o'clock.


The Countess of Derby to the Marchioness of Ely.

ST JAMES'S SQUARE, 27th December 1852.

MY DEAREST LADY ELY, Lord Derby told me
that he saw you yesterday, but only for a moment.
I think he was nervous about his audience of leave,
but he returned deeply touched by the kindness of
manner of the Queen and the Prince. I cannot resist
saying to you that, during the last year, he has been
more and more impressed with the admirable qualities
of the Queen, and her noble straightforwardness on all
occasions, and her unvarying kindness have inspired
him with the strongest attachment (if I may venture
so to express his feelings for Her Majesty). During
that week of terrible suspense he continually said to
me that his chief anxiety and regret were caused by
the fear of leaving the Queen, particularly before he
had had time and power to do more in her service. I
am writing in haste, having much to do this last day
in Town, but I have very often wished that the Queen
knew how warmly and sincerely Lord Derby is devoted
to her service. He is also very grateful to the Prince,
for whose abilities he has the highest admiration, often
speaking of his wonderful cleverness. I am delighted
to hear that the Queen is so well ; he said she was
looking remarkably well yesterday. He told me that
Her Majesty used some kind expression about myself.
If you should have an opportunity of saying to Her
Majesty how grateful I am for all her former kindness,
I should be very much obliged to you. Ever yours
very affectionately, EMMA DERBY.

nl 'Jivntlwnt < . /A' J


Memorandum by the Prince Albert.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 2&th December 1852.

The delivery of the Seals of Office of the out-going
Ministers into the Queen's hands, and her bestowal of
them upon the new Ministers, took place to-day.

Of the former, Mr Disraeli seemed to feel most the
loss of office.

We saw Lord Aberdeen for some time, who sub-
mitted the names of all the persons he recommended
for the subordinate Offices, of whom he will send a
list. We asked him what might have passed between
the last Session and this to chill his feelings for Lord
Derby, who maintained that up to the Dissolution he
had sent him messages to say that he perfectly agreed
with him, except on the Commercial Policy, and that
he never would join the Whigs. Lord Aberdeen dis-
claimed all knowledge of such messages, though he
acknowledged to have been very friendly to Lord
Derby. At the General Election, however, it appeared
to him that there was such a total want of principle
in him and his Party, pledging themselves for
Protection in one place and Free Trade in another,
and appearing consistent only on one point, viz. their
hatred to Sir Robert Peel's memory and his friends, that
he became determined to have nothing to do with them.

The formation of the government appeared to give
satisfaction to the country, though of course the number
of the disappointed must be even larger than usual on
such occasions. Lord Canning seemed very much hurt
at not being taken into the Cabinet, and felt inclined to
refuse the Post Office. We agreed upon the impolicy
of such a step, and encouraged Lord Aberdeen to
press him. Lord Clanricarde, and particularly Lord
Carlisle, were very much grieved at being left out
altogether, but there was no help for it ; for each man
taken in from one side, two would be proposed from the
other, and the Cabinet was just large enough to work.

We saw Lord Lansdowne after the Council, who
seemed well satisfied with the Government, a combina-


tion he had so much and so long wished. Lord
Carlisle's annoyance was the only thing which person-
ally grieved him. He said that from the moment he
had read Mr Disraeli's Budget he had felt sure that
the Government would fall immediately ; the country
would never submit to a new tax with a surplus in
the Exchequer.

Lord John Russell, whom we saw afterwards, seemed
in very good health and spirits. He told us that
the peaceful parting scene in the House of Commons
had been his doing ; he had told Mr Walpole that he
thought Mr Disraeli ought to make an apology to the
House for the language he had used, and which had
given pain to a great many persons ; and on Mr
Walpole's saying that that was a very delicate thing
to tell Mr Disraeli, he had allowed it to be told him as
a message from him (Lord John). Mr Disraeli declared
his readiness, provided others would do the same, and
declared they had meant no offence. 1 We owned that
we had been astonished to find them of a sudden
all so well bred. We asked what Lord Palmerston
had been about during the crisis ? Lord John told
us in reply that Lord Palmerston had certainly been
disposed to join Lord Derby's Government, but always
said he could not do so alone ; that if eight of them
were to join, then they would have the majority in
the Cabinet. He also said that he believed Lord
Palmerston would have voted for some parts of the
Budget and against others. Lord John does not think
that that large Party of Lord Derby's will long keep
together, that some would vote for the Government,
others might try to raise a Protestant cry.

Lord Palmerston looked excessively ill, and had to
walk with two sticks from the gout.

1 " Mr. Disraeli .... with infinite polish and grace asked pardon for the
flying words of debate, and drew easy forgiveness from the member (Mr
Goulburn), whom a few hours before he had mocked as ' a weird sibyl ' ; the
other member (Sir James Graham), whom he could not say he greatly respected,
but whom he greatly regarded ; and the third member (Sir C. Wood), whom
he bade learn that petulance is not sarcasm, and insolence is not invective.
Lord John Russell congratulated him on the ability and the gallantry with
which he had conducted the struggle, and so the curtain fell." Morley's
Gladstone, Book in. chap. viii.


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 28th December 1852.

MY DEAREST UNCLE, Your dear letter of the 24th
reached me on Monday, and I thank you warmly for it.
The success of our excellent Aberdeen's arduous task
and the formation of so brilliant and strong a Cabinet
would, I was sure, please you. It is the realisation of
the country's and our most ardent wishes, and it
deserves success, and will, I think, command great
support. ... It has been an anxious week, and just
on our happy Christmas Eve we were still very uneasy.

As I mean to write again before this year runs
out, and I have a long Council with outgoing and
incoming Ministers this afternoon, you will excuse my
taking leave here. Ever your truly devoted Niece,


The Princess Hohenlohe to Queen Victoria.

LANGENBURG, 30th December 1852.

MY DEAREST VICTORIA, According to your wish
and our promise, we send this servant with the most
unwelcome news that yesterday morning M. de Jaux
arrived here and told Ernest (as you will see by his
letter to Albert) that the Count Walewski wishes to
have an interview with him to confer on the subject we
know of. A quarter of an hour before I received this
letter from Uncle Leopold, which I sent in Ernest's letter
to Ada, and in which he speaks his opinion that we
ought not to say " No " at once, before telling Ada of it.
This is very much against my wish and Ernest's, for we
both would like to make an end of the affair as soon as
possible, but cannot, as we see the truth of what Uncle
Leopold says. I send a letter to Mamma to you, and
one for Ada. Mamma knows of it, as she wrote to me
the other day, and I leave it to you, dearest Victoria, if
you or Mamma will tell the poor child of the transaction.


She will be in great distress. I wish she may at once
say " A r o," but am not sure of it ; and in our letters we
have not said anything for the thing, but nothing
against also but what naturally is to be said against
it. She will not know what to do, and I am sure you
and Mamma will not put it to her in too favourable a
light, as we are of the same opinion on the subject;
but yet there may be some things in its favour too. I
wish you would make Charles come to us - - if you
tJiink it wise to do so - and he not only will try to
engage us to it. But there may be so many reasons
for or against which in a letter it is not possible to
explain all, and which we could not answer in time ;
besides by him we might learn more accurately what
Ada feels : but I leave it quite to your and Albert's
judgment, if this would be a good plan. I am in great
distress, you well may think, my dearest Victoria. Oh !
if we could but say " A r o " at once ! . . .

Many thanks, my dearest Victoria, for your kind
letter of the 22nd. In the papers I have been follow-
ing with the greatest interest what has been said on
the formation of the new Ministry ; there is one name
though which frightens me Lord Palmerston. Let
me wish you joy of the New Year ; may it bring peace
not only to the nations, but also to us. Every blessing
and happiness to you, dear Albert, and your children,
and for me your love and affection, which is a blessing
to your devoted Sister, FEODORA.

Ernest also wishes you all possible happiness. If
Ada has the wish to see the Emperor before she
decides, what is to be done ?

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 3lst December 1852.

MY DEAREST UNCLE, On this, the last day of the
old year, allow me to offer my most ardent wishes for
many and happy returns of the New Year to you and
yours. May it be one of peace and prosperity to us //,

1852] THE NEW MINISTRY , 523

and may we have the happiness of seeing you again.
May we still hope to see you this winter or not ?

Our Government is very satisfactorily settled. To
have my faithful friend Aberdeen as Prime Minister is
a great happiness and comfort for me personally. Lord
Palmerston is terribly altered, and all his friends think
him breaking. He walks with two sticks, and seemed
in great suffering at the Council, I thought. I must
now conclude. Ever your devoted Niece.



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 42 of 47)