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 1) online

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Army, 1 but your Majesty must contemplate the
possibility, not to say the probability, of his not being
able to succeed. It will not do for the sake of
temporary accommodation to sacrifice the honour of
your Majesty's Crown or the interests of your Majesty's

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

31st December 1837.

. . . Lord Melbourne has not yet been able to
leave London. In order to have a chance of arranging
these troublesome affairs, it is necessary continually to
see those who are principally engaged in them. From
a conversation which he has had this evening with
Lord Howick, Lord Melbourne has better hopes of
producing a general agreement upon Canadian affairs,
but the question of the administration of the Army,
which is of less immediate importance, is of more
difficulty. Your Majesty knows the importance
attached by the King of the Belgians to this matter.
The opinion of the Duke of Wellington is also strong
against the projected alteration. On the other hand
five Cabinet Ministers have pledged themselves to it by
signing the report, and consider themselves as having
publicly undertaken to the House of Commons that
some such measure shall be proposed. Lord Melbourne
has asked for the opinions of Lord Hill 2 and Sir
Hussey Vivian 3 in writing. When Lord Melbourne
receives them he must submit them to your Majesty
with as short and as clear a statement as he can make
of a question which is of a technical and official
character, and with which Lord Melbourne does not

1 See Introductory Notes for 1837 and 1838, pp. 72 and 131.

2 Commander-in-Chief.

8 Master-General of the Ordnance.
VOL. i. 9


feel himself to be very familiar. Lord Melbourne
transmits a copy of the proposed Order in Council to
carry the recommendation of the report into effect,
which will acquaint your Majesty precisely what the
powers and duties are which it is intended to transfer
from the Secretary of State l to the Secretary-at-War.
It is the more necessary to be cautious, because it can
be done without taking the opinion or having recourse
to the authority of Parliament. Your Majesty will not
suppose that Lord Melbourne by laying before you the
whole case has an idea of throwing the weight of such a
decision entirely upon your Majesty. Lord Melbourne
will deem it his duty to offer your Majesty a decided
opinion upon the subject.

Lord Melbourne is much rejoiced to hear that your
Majesty enjoys Windsor. The Duchess of Sutherland, 2
who appreciates both the grand and the beautiful,
could not be otherwise than delighted with it. ...

Lord Melbourne has the pleasure of wishing your
Majesty a happy and prosperous New Year.

1 The Secretaries of State (then three, now five in number) have co-
extensive authority, that is to say, any one of them can legally execute the
duties of all, although separate spheres of action are for convenience assigned
to them ; at that time the administration of Colonial and Military affairs
were combined, the Secretary-at-War not being a Secretary of State. After
the Crimean War a fourth Secretary was appointed, and after the Indian
Mutiny a fifth was added, entrusted severally with the supervision of Military
affairs and the administration of India. See letters of Lord Melbourne of
1st, 4th, and 5th November 1841.

* Harriet Elizabeth Georgiana, Duchess of Sutherland (1806-1868), was
the daughter of the sixth Earl of Carlisle, and married her cousin, Earl
Gower (1786-1861), who became Duke of Sutherland in 1833. On the
accession of the Queen, the Duchess of Sutherland became Mistress of the
Robes, a post which she held till 1841, and on three subsequent occasions.
The Duchess was a cultivated woman with many tastes, and made Stafford
House a great social centre. She was deeply interested in philanthropic and
social movements, such as the Abolition of Slavery, and had a strong
sympathy for national movements, which she showed by entertaining Garibaldi
in 1H64. She combined a considerable sense of humour with a rare capacity
for affection, and became one of the Queen's closest friends ; after the Prince
Consort's death she was for some weeks the Queen's constant companion.


THE Melbourne Ministry were able to maintain themselves in
office during the year, but were too weak to carry important
measures. The prevailing distress led to much criticism of the
Poor Law Act in 1834, and the disturbances in Canada turned
the tide of emigration to Australia. But public interest in
politics was eclipsed by the gaieties of the Coronation, in which
all ranks partook. The events of Imperial importance else-
where centred in Jamaica and Canada, the apprenticeship
system in the former place leading to a renewal of the anti-
slavery agitation at home, and the passing of a Colonial Bill for
absolute emancipation. The Canadian troubles brought about
the passing of an Imperial Act for the suspension for two
years of the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada, and Lord
Durham, an impulsive but generous-hearted man, was sent out as
High Commissioner. Having dismissed the Executive Council
of his predecessor, he nominated a fresh one, and induced it to
pass a high-handed and wholly illegal ordinance of pains and
penalties against the rebels. Lord Brougham, rejoicing at the
opportunity of paying oft' old scores, castigated the Government,
especially Lord Glenelg, the Colonial Secretary, and carried a
measure censuring their Canadian policy. The Ministry dis-
allowed the ordinance of Lord Durham, who, finding himself
abandoned, resigned his Commission and returned home. While
he was boasting at Plymouth of his suppression of the rebellion,
tidings arrived of its recrudescence. Sir John Colborne was
appointed to succeed Lord Durham with full powers.

The Civil War continued in Spain through the year, and
intermittent rioting took place in Portugal, a country which was
now verging on bankruptcy. The old Dutch and Belgian con-
troversy as to the possession of Luxemburg was revived, the King
of Holland, who had obstinately withheld his concurrence for six
years from the Articles on the faith of which King Leopold
accepted the throne of Belgium, now showing overt hostility
in the disputed territory. As was natural, France was in
sympathy with Belgium, and the two countries entered into a
treaty of commerce and reciprocity.



Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

1st January 1838.

. . . Lord Melbourne feels most deeply the extreme
kindness of your Majesty's expressions. Whatever
may happen in the course of events, it will always be to
Lord Melbourne a source of the most lively satisfaction
to have assisted your Majesty in the commencement
of your reign, which was not without trouble and
difficulty, and your Majesty may depend that whether
in or out of office Lord Melbourne's conduct will
always be directed by the strongest attachment to
your Majesty's person, and by the most ardent desire
to promote your Majesty's interests, which from his
knowledge of your Majesty's character and disposition
Lord Melbourne feels certain will be always identified
with the interests of your People.

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

Uth January 1838.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and has the honour of acknowledging your
Majesty's gracious communication, which he received
this evening. Lord Melbourne has this morning seen
Lord Durham upon the subject of his assuming the
Government of Canada, 1 and has had a long conversa-
tion with him. Lord Melbourne is to receive his final
answer before the Cabinet to-morrow, which meets

1 In the room of Lord Gosford. See ante, p. 131.

1838] CANADA 133

at ten o'clock. Lord Durham is anxious that your
Majesty should express to him your wish, or rather,
as he phrased it, lay upon him your commands that
he should undertake this duty, and also that as his
absence will be but temporary, that Lady Durham 1
should retain her situation in your Majesty's house-
hold. Lord Melbourne thinks that your Majesty
may properly gratify him in both these points. Lord
Durham made some other stipulations, which Lord
Melbourne will explain to your Majesty, but, upon
the whole, Lord Melbourne feels little doubt that he
will accept.

Lord Glenelg 2 is on Monday to make a statement
to the House of Lords upon the subject of Canada,
on which a debate may not improbably arise by
which Lord Melbourne may be detained. On
Wednesday there is neither House of Lords nor
Cabinet dinner. Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday
will therefore be festive days, on which Lord
Melbourne will have great pleasure in obeying
your Majesty's commands and also on Monday, if
he should not be kept in the House of Lords.

Lord Melbourne thinks it was prudent in your
Majesty not to expose yourself to the cold of the
Chapel. He is himself better, but has still much
cough, though he has kept himself very quiet and
been very careful of his diet since he has been in

Queen Victoria to Viscount Melbourne.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 15th January 1838.
(Half-past nine o'clock. )

The Queen has written approved on Lord
Melbourne's letter as he desired ; but adds a line to
express her satisfaction at Lord Durham's having
accepted the office of Governor General of Canada.

The Queen will be very happy to see Lord
Melbourne at half-past three.

1 Daughter of Earl Grey.

2 Colonial Secretary.


The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

BRUSSELS, 16th January 1838.

grateful for Lord Melbourne's kind recollection of me.
I have a sincere regard for him, and I think that our
intercourse has satisfied him of one thing, that I
have nothing so much at heart than your welfare,
and what is for the good of your Empire. I wish very
much that you would speak with him on the subject
of what ought to be done to keep for the Crown the
little influence it still may possess. His views on this
important subject are the more trustworthy as he
always has belonged to the moderate Liberals, and
therefore has had the means of judging the matter
with great impartiality. Monarchy to be carried on
requires certain elements, and the occupation of the
Sovereign must be constantly to preserve these elements
or should they have been too much weakened by
untoward circumstances, to contrive by every means
to strengthen them again. You are too clever not to
know, that it is not the being called Queen or King,
which can be of the least consequence, when to the
title there is not also annexed the power indispensable
for the exercise of those functions. All trades must
be learned, and nowadays the trade of a constitutional
Sovereign, to do it well, is a very difficult one.

... I must end, and remain ever, most affec-
tionately, my dear child, your devoted Uncle,


Queen Adelaide to Queen Victoria.

<2Uh January 1838.

MY DEAREST NIECE, Having just been informed
of your gracious consideration of, and your generosity
towards, the dear King's children, 1 I must express to you

1 The eldest of the five illegitimate sons of William IV. and Mrs Jordan
had been created Earl of Munster, and his sisters and brothers had been given
the precedence of the daughters and younger sons of a Marquis. The Queen
now continued the same allowances as they had received from the late King.

the j-nLt-Lta.ti.u~e. .a-t C li; i LSLCCAOT- Ccurfie


how deeply I feel this kind proof of your attachment
to the late King, whose memory you respect by the
generous continuance of their former allowances from
the Privy Purse. Nothing could have given me more
real satisfaction, and I trust and hope that they will
prove their gratitude and entire devotion to you by
their future conduct. Let me thank you, dearest
Victoria, from the bottom of my heart, and be assured
that the heavenly blessing of our beloved King will be
upon you for your generous kindness to those he loved
so much in this world.

I hope that you have not suffered at aU from the
severity of the weather, and are as well as all your
subjects can wish you to be, amongst whom there
is none more anxiously praying for your welfare and
happiness than, my dear niece, your most devoted and
affectionate Aunt, ADELAIDE.

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 22nd February 1838.

My DEAR UNCLE, ... I had a very brilliant
Levee again yesterday, at which O'Connell and all
his sons, son-in-law, nephew, etc., appeared. I received
him, as you may imagine, with a very smiling face ;
he has been behaving very well this year. 1 It was
quite a treat for me to see him, as I had for long
wished it.

We are going on most prosperously here, which
will, I am sure, give you as much pleasure as it does
me. We have no fear for any of the questions.
Lord John Russell is much pleased with the temper
of the House of Commons, which he says is remark-
ably good, and the Duke of Wellington is behaving
uncommonly well, going with Ministers, and behaving
like an honest man should do. . . .

1 Ever since the accession, O'ConnelTs speeches had been full of expressions
of loyalty, and he had been acting in concert with the Whigs.


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

STANHOPE STREET, 25th February 1838.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to
your Majesty, and with reference to your Majesty's
question upon the subjects to which Lord William
Russell's recent despatch relates, he has the honour
to state : that in the Governments of the Continent, and
more especially in those which have no representative
Assemblies, the second class of persons in the public
offices possess and exercise much more power and influ-
ence than the corresponding class of persons do in this
country. In England the Ministers who are at the
head of the several departments of the State, are liable
any day and every day to defend themselves in Parlia-
ment; in order to do this, they must be minutely
acquainted with all the details of the business of their
offices, and the only way of being constantly armed
\vith such information is to conduct and direct those
details themselves.

On the Continent, where Ministers of State are not
liable so to be called to account for their conduct, the
Ministers are tempted to leave the details of their
business much more to their Under-Secretaries and
to their chief clerks. Thus it happens that all the
routine of business is generally managed by these
subordinate agents ; and to such an extent is this
carried, that Viscount Palmerston believes that the
Ministers for Foreign Affairs, in France, Austria,
Prussia, and Russia, seldom take the trouble of w r riting
their own despatches, except, perhaps, upon some very
particular and important occasion.

Your Majesty will easily see how greatly such a
system must place in the hands of the subordinate
members of the public departments the power of
directing the policy and the measures of the Govern-
ment ; because the value and tendency, and the con-
sequences of a measure, frequently depend as much
upon the manner in which that measure is worked out,


as upon the intention and spirit with which it was

Another circumstance tends also to give great power
to these second-class men, and that is their permanence
in office.

In England when, in consequence of some great
political change the Heads of Departments go out,
the greater part of the Under- Secretaries go out also;
thus the Under-Secretary (with two or three exceptions)
having come in with his Chief, has probably no more
experience than his Chief, and can seldom set up his
own knowledge to overrule the opinion, or to guide
the judgment, of his superior.

But on the Continent, changes of Ministers are
oftener changes of individual men from personal causes,
than changes of parties from political convulsions ; and
therefore when the Chief retires, the Under-Secretary
remains. There are consequently in all the public
offices abroad a number of men who have spent the
greater part of their lives in their respective depart-
ments, and who by their long experience are full of
knowledge of what has been done in former times, and
of the most convenient and easy manner of doing what
may be required in the time present. This affords to
the Chiefs an additional motive for leaning upon their
subordinates ; and gives to those subordinates still
more real influence.

This class of subordinate men has, from the fact of
its being possessed of so much power, been invested by
the jargon of the day with the title of " Bureaucratic "
a name fabricated in imitation of the words " aristo-
cratic" and "democratic," each being compounded of
the word " cratic," which is a corruption from the Greek
word "kratos," which means power; and the prefix,
denoting the particular class of society whose power
is meant to be expressed. Thus " aristo-cratic " is the
power of the upper, or, as in Greek it is called, the
" aristos " class of society ; " demo-cratic " is the power
of the people, which in Greek is called the " demos " ;
and " bureau-cratic " is the power of the public offices


or "bureaus," for which latter the French name has
been taken instead of a Greek word.

It appears, then, to be the opinion of Lord William
Russell, that this second class of public men in Prussia
are animated by a desire to see the general policy of
their country rendered more national and independent
than it has hitherto been ; that for this purpose they
were desirous of urging on the Government to take
its stand against foreign influence upon some point
or other, not much caring what that point might be ;
that they thought it would be difficult to choose a
political question, because on such a question the King
of Prussia might be against them, and that conse-
quently they chose a religious question, on which
they knew they should have the King with them ;
and that accordingly they led the Government on
to a quarrel with the Court of Rome, and with the
Catholic or Austrian party in Germany, more with
a view to place Prussia in an independent national
position than from any particular importance which
they attached to the question itself upon which the
rupture was to be effected.

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

2lst March 1838.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty. The House sate until half-past eleven last
night. Lord Stanhope 1 made a long declamatory
speech, very violent, but having in it nothing defined
or specific, and was answered by Lord Brougham in
a most able and triumphant defence and maintenance
of the late Act for Amending the Laws for the Relief
of the Poor. 2

1 Philip Henry, 4th Earl.

2 Before 1834 a great source of public abuse was the out-door relief given
to able-bodied paupers, either in kind or money. The Act of that year was
based on the principle that no one must perish through the want of the bare
necessities of life. Poor Law Commissioners were established, England was
divided into Districts, and the Districts into Unions. Out-door relief was to


Lord Melbourne was very sorry to be prevented
from waiting upon your Majesty. He is very grateful
for your Majesty's enquiries, and feels very well this


Lord Minto 1 told Lard Melbourne last night to
acquaint your Majesty that Lord Amelius Beauclerck, 2
your Majesty's first Naval Aide-de-Camp, intended to
ask an Audience to-day of your Majesty, and that
the object of it was to request that he and the other
Aides-de-Camp might wear sashes. This was always
refused by the late King as being absurd and ridicu-
lous as it is, particularly considering Lord Amelius's
figure and your Majesty had perhaps better say that
you can make no change.

Lord Melbourne will be at St James's twenty
minutes before ten.

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 4th April 1838.

MY DEAREST UNCLE, Vous ne men voudrez pas,
I sincerely hope, for not having written to you sooner
to thank you for your kind letter which I received last
week, but I really could not do so. As honesty is the
best policy, I will tell you the simple fact. I have
been out riding every day for about three hours, which
quite renovates me, and when I come home I have
consequently a good deal to do, what with seeing
people, reading despatches, writing, etc. You will, I
trust, now quite forgive your poor niece, whom you
so often call " the little Queen," which is, I fear, true ;
but her feelings of affection are not so small as her
body is, I can assure you.

be given, on the order of two justices, to poor persons wholly unable, from
age or infirmity, to work. But there was much opposition to the new law ;
it was considered a grievance that old couples were refused relief at home,
and that the sexes must be separated at the workhouse, to which the name of
"Bastille" began to be attached. In Devonshire it was even believed that
the bread distributed by the relieving officers was mixed with poisonous

1 The First Lord of the Admiralty.

2 A son of the eighth Duke of St Albans.


The Prince de Ligne 1 will be received with every
possible attention, I can promise ; it would have been
so without his being recommended ; his rank, and,
above all, his being one of your subjects, would of
course entitle him to a good reception from me. . . .

There is another sujct which I wish to mention to
you, et que Jai bien a cceur, which is, if you would
consult Stockmar with respect to the finishing of
Albert's education ; he knows best my feelings and
wishes on that subject. . . .

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

5th April 1838.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and is much distressed that, being in the
House of Lords, he was unable to answer your
Majesty's letter as soon as he received it. Lord
Melbourne went to the palace about half-past four,
but learning from the porter at the gate that your
Majesty was not returned, went away thinking that
there was not left time to see your Majesty before
the House of Lords. Lord Melbourne is very much
concerned that your Majesty should have hastened at
all, and most earnestly requests your Majesty never
will do so upon his account. Lord Melbourne hears
with great pleasure that your Majesty has had a
pleasant ride, and likes your horse. Lord Melbourne
is very well himself, and will wait upon your Majesty
to-morrow morning about ten minutes before ten.

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 10th April 1838.

MY DEAREST UNCLE, I received your kind letter
of the 5th on Sunday, and return you my best thanks
for it. I shall, before I say another word, answer
your question about the horses which I ride, w r hich I

1 He was appointed to attend the Coronation as Minister Extraordinary
from King Leopold.


do the more willingly as I have got two darlings, if
I may use that word. They are, both of them, quite
perfect in every sense of the word ; very handsome, full
of spirit, delightful easy-goers, very quiet, and never
shying at anything. Is not this perfection ? The one
called Tartar (which belonged to Lord Conyngham),
an Irish horse, is a very dark brown, a beautiful
creature ; the other, which Lord Uxbridge * got for me,
is called Uxbridge; he is smaller than Tartar, and is
a dark chestnut, with a beautiful little Arabian head.
I am afraid I shall have bored you with this long
account of my horses.

I am going to Windsor to-morrow afternoon, and
have got a great deal to do in consequence. . . .

Poor dear Louie 2 lingers on, but, alas ! I can
only say lingers; she does not gain strength. I
cannot say how it grieves me, I am so sincerely
attached to the good old soul, who has known me
ever since my birth. But I still entertain a hope
that she may get over it.

We shall have a fortnight's respite from our
Political Campaign. I trust we shall do as well as
we have done when Parliament meets again. Believe
me always, your devoted Niece, VICTORIA R.

The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

13th April 1838.

. . . Concerning the education of our friend Albert,
it has been the best plan you could have fixed upon,
to name Stockmar your commissary-general ; it will
give unite faction et de f ensemble, which otherwise

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 12 of 52)