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THE

LETTERS OF QUEEN VICTORIA

VOL. I



-




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

EDITED BY ARTHUR CHRISTOPHER BENSON, M.A.
AND VISCOUNT ESHER, G.C.V.O., K.C.B.



IN THREE VOLUMES

VOL. I.
1837-1843



NEW YORK
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.

1907



Copyright, 1907
BY LONGMANS, GREEN, AND Co.



Copyright, 1907, in Great Britain and Dependencies
BY H. M. THE KING.



All rights reserved



THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, U. S. A.



PREFACE

ENTRUSTED by His Majesty the King with the duty
of making a selection from Queen Victoria's corre-
spondence, we think it well to describe briefly the
nature of the documents which we have been privileged
to examine, as well as to indicate the principles which
have guided us throughout. It has been a task of no
ordinary difficulty. Her Majesty Queen Victoria dealt
with her papers, from the first, in a most methodical
manner ; she formed the habit in early days of preserv-
ing her private letters, and after her accession to the
Throne all her official papers were similarly treated, and
bound in volumes. The Prince Consort instituted
an elaborate system of classification, annotating and
even indexing many of the documents with his own
hand. The result is that the collected papers form
what is probably the most extraordinary series of
State documents in the world. The papers which deal
with the Queen's life up to the year 1861 have been
bound in chronological order, and comprise between
five and six hundred volumes. They consist, in great
part, of letters from Ministers detailing the proceed-
ings of Parliament, and of various political memoranda
dealing with home, foreign, and colonial policy ; among



vi PREFACE

these are a few drafts of Her Majesty's replies.
There are volumes concerned with the affairs of
almost every European country ; with the history of
India, the British Army, the Civil List, the Royal
Estates, and all the complicated machinery of the
Monarchy and the Constitution. There are letters from
monarchs and royal personages, and there is further
a whole series of volumes dealing with matters in
which the Prince Consort took a special interest.
Some of them are arranged chronologically, some by
subjects. Among the most interesting volumes are
those containing the letters written by Her Majesty
to her uncle Leopold, King of the Belgians, and his
replies. 1 The collection of letters from and to Lord
Melbourne forms another hardly less interesting series.
In many places Queen Victoria caused extracts, copied
from her own private Diaries, dealing with important
political events or describing momentous interviews, to
be inserted in the volumes, with the evident intention
of illustrating and completing the record.

It became obvious at once that it was impossible
to deal with these papers exhaustively. They would
provide material for a historical series extending to
several hundred volumes. Moreover, on the other
hand, there are many gaps, as a great deal of the busi-
ness of State was transacted by interviews of which no
official record is preserved.

1 A set of volumes containing the Queen's letters to Lord John Russell came
into our hands too late to be made use of for the present publication



PREFACE vii

His Majesty the King having decided that no
attempt should be made to publish these papers in
extenso, it was necessary to determine upon some
definite principle of selection. It became clear that the
only satisfactory plan was to publish specimens of such
documents as would serve to bring out the develop-
ment of the Queen's character and disposition, and
to give typical instances of her methods in dealing
with political and social matters to produce, in fact,
a book for British citizens and British subjects, rather
than a book for students of political history. That
the inner working of the unwritten constitution of the
country, that some of the unrealised checks and bal-
ances, that the delicate equipoise of the component
parts of our executive machinery, should stand revealed,
was inevitable. We thought it best, throughout, to
abstain from unnecessary comment and illustration.
The period is so recent, and has been so often traversed
by historians and biographers, that it appeared to us a
waste of valuable space to attempt to reconstruct the
history of the years from which this correspondence has
been selected, especially as Sir Theodore Martin, under
the auspices of the Queen herself, has dealt so minutely
and exhaustively with the relations of the Queen's inner-
most circle to the political and social life of the time.
It is tempting, of course, to add illustrative anecdotes
from the abundant Biographies and Memoirs of the
period ; but our aim has been to infringe as little as
possible upon the space available for the documents



viii PHEFACE

themselves, and to provide just sufficient comment to
enable an ordinary reader, without special knowledge
of the period, to follow the course of events, and to
realise the circumstances under which the Queen's
childhood was passed, the position of affairs at the
time of her accession, and the personalities of those
who had influenced her in early years, or by whom
she was surrounded.

The development of the Queen's character is
clearly indicated in the papers, and it possesses an
extraordinary interest. We see one of highly vigorous
and active temperament, of strong affections, and with
a deep sense of responsibility, placed at an early age,
and after a quiet girlhood, in a position the greatness
of which it is impossible to exaggerate. We see her
character expand and deepen, schooled by mighty
experience into patience and sagacity and wisdom,
and yet never losing a particle of the strength, the
decision, and the devotion with which she had been
originally endowed. Up to the year 1861 the Queen's
career was one of unexampled prosperity. She was
happy in her temperament, in her health, in her
education, in her wedded life, in her children. She
saw a great Empire grow through troubled times in
liberty and power and greatness ; yet this prosperity
brought with it no shadow of complacency, because
the Queen felt with an increasing depth the anxieties
and responsibilities inseparable from her great position.
Her happiness, instead of making her self-absorbed,



PREFACE ix

only quickened her beneficence, and her womanly
desire that her subjects should be enabled to enjoy
a similar happiness based upon the same simple
virtues. Nothing comes out more strongly in these
documents than the laborious patience with which the
Queen kept herself informed of the minutest details of
political and social movements both in her own and
other countries.

It is a deeply inspiring spectacle to see one sur-
rounded by every temptation which worldly greatness
can present, living from day to day so simple, vivid,
and laborious a life ; and it is impossible to conceive
a more fruitful example of duty and affection and
energy, displayed on so august a scale, and in the
midst of such magnificent surroundings. We would
venture to believe that nothing could so deepen the
personal devotion of the Empire to the memory of
that great Queen who ruled it so wisely and so long,
and its deeply-rooted attachment to the principle of
constitutional monarchy, as the gracious act of His
Majesty the King in allowing the inner side of that
noble life and career to be more clearly revealed to
a nation whose devotion to their ancient liberties is
inseparably connected with their loyalty to the Throne.



EDITORIAL NOTE

OUR special thanks, for aid in the preparation of these volumes,
are due to the Right Hon. John Morley, M.P., who has read and
criticised the book in its final form ; to Mr. J. W. Headlam, of
the Board of Education, and formerly Fellow of King's College,
Cambridge, for much valuable assistance in preparing the prefa-
tory historical memoranda ; to Mr. W. F. Reddaway, of King's
College, Cambridge, for revision and advice throughout in con-
nection with the introductions and annotations ; to Lord Knollys,
for criticism of selected materials ; to Lord Stanmore, for the loan
of valuable documents ; to Dr. Eugene Oswald, for assistance in
translation ; to Mr. C. C. Perry and M. G. Hua, for verification of
French and German documents ; to Miss Bertha Williams, for
unremitting care and diligence in preparing the volumes for press ;
to Mr. John Murray, for his unfailing patience and helpfulness ;
and especially to Mr. Hugh Childers, for his ungrudging help in
the preparation of the Introductory-annual Summaries, and in the
political and historical annotation, as well as for his invaluable
co-operation at every stage of the work.



TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER I

PAGE

Ancestry of Queen Victoria Houses of Brunswick,
Hanover, and Coburg Family connections
The English Royal Family The Royal Dukes

Duke of Cumberland Family of George III.

Political position of the Queen . . . 1-10

CHAPTER II

Queen Victoria's early years Duke and Duchess of
Kent Parliamentary grant to Duchess of Kent

The Queen of Wiirtemberg George IV. and
the Princess Visits to Windsor Duchess of
Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld Education of the Prin-
cess The Duchess of Kent's letter to the
Bishops Religious instruction Result of ex-
amination Speech by Duchess of Kent The
Princess's reminiscences of Claremont William
rV. and the Princess The accession Queen
Victoria's character and temperament Her
sympathy with the middle classes . . . 1128

CHAPTER III

Queen Victoria's relations and friends King Leo-
pold's influence Queen Adelaide Baroness
Lehzen Baron Stockmar .... 2935

CHAPTER IV
1821-1835

Observations on the correspondence with King Leo-
pold and others First letter received by Queen
Victoria Her first letter to Prince Leopold

xi



xii CONTENTS

PAGE

Birthday letters King Leopold's description
of his Queen His valuable advice - - The Prin-
cess's visit to Hever Castle - - King Leopold's ad-
vice as to reading, and the Princess's reply
New Year greeting - - On autographs - - The
Princess's confirmation King Leopold's advice
as to honesty and sincerity .... 36 54

CHAPTER V

1836

Visit of Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg Invita-
tion to the Prince of Orange Arrival of Princes
Ernest and Albert The Princess's apprecia-
tion of Prince Albert King Leopold's advice
as to conversation Crisis in Spain - - Farewell
letter The Princess and the Church Death
of Charles X. Abuse of King Leopold - - Revo-
lution at Lisbon The Princess's name News-
paper attacks on King Leopold . . . 55-71

CHAPTER VI

1837

Spain and Portugal Music with Princes Ernest and
Albert Parliamentary language and political
passion The throne of Greece - - Queen of
the Belgians' dowry The English Press The
Princess's establishment Young Belgian cousins

Irish Municipal Bill "Whig Ministers
Birthday rejoicings King Leopold's advice
and encouragement Accession imminent
Condition of the King Reliance on Lord Mel-
bourne The Princess and the Church - The
Accession The Queen's Journal - - Interview
with Lord Melbourne The Queen's first Council

Letter from the King of the French Con-
gratulations from King Leopold Nationality
of the Queen The Queen and her Ministers
Reflection advised - - Baron Stockmar Impor-
tant subjects for study Sister Queens - Letter
from Queen Adelaide Buckingham Palace



CONTENTS

Madame de Lieven Parliament prorogued
England and Russia Discretion advised
Singing lessons The elections Prevalence of
bribery End of King Leopold's visit Recep-
tion at Brighton Security of letters Eng-
land and France France and the Peninsula
Count Mole The French in Africa Close of
the session Prince Albert's education Can-
ada Army estimates Secretaries of State .

CHAPTER VII

1838

Lord Melbourne Canada Influence of the Crown

Daniel O'Connell Position of Ministers of
State in England and abroad New Poor Law

Pressure of business Prince Albert's educa-
tion Favourite horses Deaths of old ser-
vants The coronation Address from Bishops

Ball at Buckingham Palace Independence
and progress of Belgium Anglo-Belgian rela-
tions - - Foreign policy Holland and Belgium

Coronation day Westminster Abbey The
enthronement Receiving homage Popular
enthusiasm Coronation incidents Pages of
honour Extra holidays for schools - - Review
in Hyde Park Lord Durham and Canada
Government of Canada Ireland and O'Connell

Death of Lady John Russell The Queen's
sympathy with Lord John Russell Belgium
and English Government Belgium and Hol-
land Canada Resignation of the Earl of
Durham English Church for Malta Disap-
pointment of Duke of Sussex Brighton .

CHAPTER VIH

1839

Murder of Lord Norbury Holland and Belgium
Dissension in the Cabinet The Duke of Lucca

Portugal Ireland and the Government



xni
PAGE



72-130



131-177



xiv CONTENTS

PAGE

England and Belgium Prince Albert's tour in
Italy - - Jamaica - - Change of Ministry immi-
nent - - The Queen's distress Interviews with
the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel
Lord Melbourne on Sir Robert Peel - - The House-
hold Proposed new Cabinet Interview with
Lord Melbourne The Ladies of the Household
and Sir Robert Peel Reply to Sir Robert Peel

Resignation of Sir Robert Peel The Queen's
journal Cabinet minute Whigs resume office

- Ball at Buckingham Palace Lord John Rus-
sell and Sir Robert Peel The Queen on the crisis

King Leopold's approval The penny postage

The Queen and Prince Albert Syria Eng-
land and the Sultan Proposed visit of King Louis
Philippe Preparing the Queen's speech King
Leopold's feeling for the Queen Coming visit of
Prince Albert Arrival of Princes Ernest and Al-
bert - - The Queen's engagement to Prince Albert
Lord Melbourne's congratulations King Leo-
pold's satisfaction Austria and the Porte The
Queen's happiness Queen Louise's congratula-
tions - - The Queen's letters to the Royal Family

The Prince's religion Announcement to the
Council Marriage treaty Question of a peer-
age English susceptibilities Letter from
Donna Maria Household appointments
Mayor of Newport knighted The word " Prot-
estant " The Prince's coat-of-arms The
Prince and Mr Anson Appointment of Treas-
urer The Prince and Lord Melbourne . . 178-263

CHAPTER IX

1840

Letters to Prince Albert Opening of Parliament
The Prince's grant The Prince at Brussels
Marriage of the Queen and Prince - - Public
enthusiasm Plays in Lent Debate on the
Corn Laws England and China Disturbance



CONTENTS xv

PAGE

at the Opera Murder of Lord William Russell

Mrs Norton Character of Princess Char-
lotte English manners Oxford's attempt on
the Queen's life Egypt and the Four Powers
Prince Louis Napoleon King Leopold at Wies-
baden A threatened crisis France and the
East A difficult question Serious measures

Palmerston and France Views of King Louis
Philippe Propositions for settlement Atti-
tude of France Pacific instructions The
Porte and Mehemet Ali Bombardment of Bey-
rout Guizot and Thiers Differing views
The Queen's influence An anxious time At-
tempt on life of King Louis Philippe Negotia-
tion with France advised Thiers more moderate

Death of Lord Holland Change of Ministry
in France Importance of conciliation The"
Prince's name in the Prayer-book King Leo-
pold on Lord Palmerston Birth of the Princess

Royal - - Settlement of Eastern Question . . 264-318

CHAPTER X
1841

Letter to King Leopold The Prince and literature

The speech from the throne Domestic hap-
piness Duke of Wellington's illness England
and the United States Operations in China
Lord Cardigan Army discipline The Not-
tingham election The Budget Irish Regis-
tration Bill Sugar duties Ministerial crisis

Lord Melbourne's advice Dissolution or
resignation The Household question Sir
Robert Peel Mr Anson's intervention Inter-
view with Lord Melbourne King Leopold's
sympathy The Corn Laws The Queen's
journal' The Prince's support Further in-
terviews Resignation postponed The Queen
and the Church King Leopold's advice The
Queen's impartiality Difficulties removed
Vote of want of confidence The country quiet



xvi CONTENTS

PAGE

King Leopold's views - Fiscal Policy Mar-
riage of Lord John Russell - - Visit to Nuneham

Archbishop Harcourt The Prince visits Ox-
ford Letter from Lord Brougham - - Visit to
Woburn Abbey - - Lord Melbourne and the Garter

A dreaded moment Debate on the Speech
Overwhelming majority - - Resignation - - New
arrangements Parting with Lord Melbourne
The Prince in a new position The Queen and
Sir Robert Peel Lord Melbourne's opinion of
the Prince The Household question - - New
Cabinet Lord Melbourne's official farewell
Sir Robert Peel's reception New appointments

Council at Claremont - - The Lord Chamber-
lain's department The French ambassador
Confidential communications The diplomatic
corps Governor-General of Canada - - India
and Afghanistan Lord Ellenborough - Russia
and Central Asia Indian finances The Span-
ish mission Correspondence with Lord Mel-
bourne Fine Arts commission Peers and
audiences Lord Radnor's claim The Chinese
campaign English and foreign artists - - Lord
Melbourne and the Court The Queen and her
Government - - Baron Stockmar's opinion Lord
Melbourne's influence Baron Stockmar and Sir
Robert Peel Professor Whewell Queen Chris-
tina Queen Isabella French influence in Spain

Holland and Belgium Dispute with United
States - - Portugal - - The English Constitution

- The " Prime Minister " - - The " Secretaries
of State * - Baron Stockmar expostulates with
Lord Melbourne Birth of heir-apparent -
Created Prince of Wales - - The Royal children . 319-464

CHAPTER XI

1842

Letter from Queen Adelaide - - Disasters in Afghan-
istan- -The Oxford movement Church matters

The Duke of Wellington and the christening



CONTENTS xvii

PAGE

Lord Melbourne ill A favourite dog The
King of Prussia Marriage of Prince Ernest
Christening of the Prince of Wales The Corn
Laws Marine excursion Fall of Cabul
Candidates for the Garter The Earl of Mun-
ster The Queen and Income Tax Lambeth
Palace Sale at Strawberry Hill Selection of
a governess Party politics A brilliant ball

The Prince and the Army Lady Lyttelton's
appointment Goethe and Schiller Edwin
Landseer The Mensdorff family Attack on
the Queen by Francis Letters from Queen
Adelaide and Lord Melbourne Successes in Af-
ghanistan Sir R. Sale and General Pollock
Debate on Income Tax The Queen's first rail-
way journey Conviction of Francis Presents
for the Queen Another attack on the Queen by
Bean Death of Duke of Orleans Grief of the
Queen Letters from the King and Queen of the
French Leigh Hunt Lord Melbourne on mar-
riages Resignation of Lord Hill Appoint-
ment of Duke of Wellington Manchester riots

Military assistance Parliament prorogued

Causes of discontent Mob in Lincoln's Inn
Fields Trouble at the Cape Tour in Scot-
land Visit to Lord Breadalbane Return to
Windsor Royal visitors A steam yacht for
the Queen Future of Queen Isabella The
Princess Lichtenstein Historical works Wal-
mer Castle Lord Melbourne's illness The
Crown jewels Provision for Princess Augusta

Success in China A treaty signed Vic-
tories in Afghanistan Honours for the army

The gates of Somnauth France and Spain

Major Malcolm The Scottish Church A
serious crisis Letter from Lord Melbourne
Esteem for Baron Stockmar . . . 465-563



VOL. i. b



xviii CONTENTS

CHAPTER XII

1843

PAGE

Recollections of Claremont Historical writers
Governor-Generalship of Canada - - Mr Drum-
mond shot Mistaken for Sir Robert Peel
Death of Mr Drummond Demeanour of Mac-
Naghten Letter from Lord Melbourne Prep-
arations for the trial - - The Royal Family and
politics King Leopold and Sir Robert Peel
The American treaty - - Position of the Prince of
Wales Good wishes from Queen Adelaide
Proposed exchange of visits Mr Cobden's
speech The new chapel Fanny Burney's
diary - - MacNaghten acquitted Question of
criminal insanity Princess Mary of Baden
The Prince and the Levees Sir Robert Peel's
suggestions Police arrangements Looking
for the comet - - Flowers from Lord Melbourne

The Royal children The toast of the Prince

King of Hanover's proposed visit Gates of
Somnauth restored Death of Duke of Sussex

Birth and christening of Princess Alice
Irish agitation Rebecca riots Duchess of
Norfolk's resignation Duelling in the army
Out-pensioners of Chelsea Crown jewels Ob-
struction of business Lord Melbourne on
matrimonial affairs Visit to Chateau d'Eu
Increased troubles in Wales Royal visitors

- England and Spain Arrest of O'Connell -
Dwc de Bordeaux not received at Court - - Due
de Nemours expected - - Visit to Cambridge -
Due d'Aumale's engagement Indian affairs

Loyalty at Cambridge - - Proposed visit to
Drayton Manor - - Travelling arrangements
Duchesse de Nemours Birmingham Cana-
dian seat of government Chatsworth Ameri-
can view of monarchy Prince Metternich and

Spain ......... 564-641



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

QUEEN VICTORIA RECEIVING THE NEWS OF HER ACCESSION TO THE
THRONE, 20ra JUNE 1837. From the picture by H. T. Wells,
R.A., at Buckingham Palace ..... Frontispiece

T.R.H. THE DUCHESS OF KENT AND PRINCESS VICTORIA.
From the miniature by II. Bone, after Sir W . Beechey, at Wind-
sor Castle ....... To face p. 14

H.R.H. PRINCESS VICTORIA, 1827. By Plant, after Stewart. From

the miniature at Buckingham Palace . . . . 24

H.R.H. PRINCESS VICTORIA, 1833. From the picture after Sir

G. Hayter at Windsor Castle . . . . . 48

H.M. KING WILLIAM IV. From a miniature at Windsor Castle . 88

H.R.H. THE DUKE OF KENT. From a miniature at Windsor

Castle .... 134

H.R.H. THE PRINCE CONSORT, 1840. From the portrait by John

Partridge at Buckingham Palace ...... 224

H.M. QUEEN VICTORIA, 1840. From the portrait by John Par-
tridge at Buckingham Palace ...... 274

H.M. QUEEN VICTORIA, 1841. From the drawing by E. F. T.,

after H. E. Davce, at Buckingham Palace . . . 338

H.R.H. THE DUCHESS OF KENT, 1841. From the Portrait by

John Lucas at Windsor Castle ...... 424

H.M. QUEEN VICTORIA, 1842. By Essex, after Winterhalter.

From the miniature at Buckingham Palace . . . 498

f

H.M. QUEEN ADELAIDE, 1832. From the miniature by H. P. Bone

at Windsor Castle ........ 548

VISCOUNT MELBOURNE. After Sir T. Lawrence, P.R.A. . . 612



CHAPTER I

THE ANCESTRY OF THE QUEEN HOUSES OF
BRUNSWICK, HANOVER, AND COBURG 1

QUEEN VICTORIA, on her father's side, belonged to
the House of Brunswick, which was undoubtedly one
of the oldest, and claimed to be actually the oldest, of
German princely families. At the time of her birth it
existed in two branches, of which the one ruled over
what was called the Duchy of Brunswick, the other over
the Electorate (since 1815 the Kingdom) of Hanover,
and had since 1714 occupied the throne of England.
As will be seen, there had been frequent intermarriages
between the two branches. The Dukes of Brunswick
were now, however, represented only by two young
princes, who were the sons of the celebrated Duke
who fell at Quatre Bras. Between them and the
English Court there was little intercourse. The elder,
Charles, had quarrelled with his uncle and guardian,
George IV., and had in 1830 been expelled from his
dominions. The obvious faults of his character made
it impossible for the other German princes to insist
on his being restored, and he had been succeeded

1 The accompanying Tables are constructed to show the more important of
the widespread family connections of Queen Victoria, and may enable the
reader to identify the various royal and princely personages mentioned in the
letters.

VOL. i. 1



2 THE HOUSE OF SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA [CHAP, i

by his younger brother William, who ruled till his
death in 1884. Both died unmarried, and with them
the Ducal family came to an end. One Princess of
Brunswick had been the wife of George IV., and
another, Augusta, was the first wife of Frederick L,
King of Wiirtemberg, who, after her death, married



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 1) → online text (page 1 of 52)