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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assured that it will be an ornament to you, and the
means of finding the same truth and warmth of feeling
in others. Those who serve, from whatever motive it
may be, have always their eyes wide open on their
superiors, and no qualities impose so much on them the
necessity of respect, which they gladly avoid, than a warm
and noble character that knows how to feel for others,
and how to sympathise with their sorrows. I pity Lord
John from all my heart, having always had for him senti-
ments of the sincerest regard. I fear that as a political
man it may prove also a severe blow. All depends on
how he takes it, if he will wish to forget his grief by
occupying himself with political strife or if his greater
sensibility will make him wish to indulge it in solitude. ...

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, I2th November 1838.

MY DEAREST UNCLE, I was certain you would
take interest in and feel for poor Lord John ; he is, I
hear, still dreadfully shaken, and quite unequal to do

1 Charles Augustus, sixth Lord Howard de Walden, was the British
Minister at Lisbon, and afterwards (1846-1868) at Brussels.


any business at present. His chief consolation is in
attending to the children.

1 felt much for you, and still more for poor dear
Aunt Louise, when the sad separation from poor Marie 1
took place ; it is so melancholy to see a dear relation
depart who is so ill.

I have this morning heard from Ferdinand that
the good Queen is at last confined after keeping us for
two months and more dans Fattcnte of the event. It
took place on the 3rd, and Ferdinand writes such
a funny letter, saying, "nous sommes tous bien
heureux surtout moi qui craignais que ce ne fut une
petite fille ce qui m'eut ete un peu desagreable, car en
fait d'enfants j'aime mieux les petits garcons, parcequ'ils
sont plus gais et plus tapageurs." 2 Isn't this very good ?

I believe the King of the French is to be god-
father. . . .

discount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

20th November 1838.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and transmits a copy of Mr Macaulay's
letter. 3 . . .

Lord Melbourne fears, from what he hears of the
language of Lord Howick and Mr Monson, that
much difficulty will be found in making arrangements
and deciding upon questions. But Lord Melbourne
will use every effort in his power in order to keep
the administration together and to carry on the
public service. Lord Melbourne hears with concern
from Mr Fox Maule that Lord John Russell does not
return to business as readily as Mr Maule had hoped
that he would, and Lord Melbourne fears that he
will not do whilst he remains at Cassiobury with
the children. Solitude and retirement cherish and
encourage grief. Employment and exertion are the
only means of dissipating it.

1 See post, p. 182.

2 The Prince received the title of Duke of Oporto.

8 Declining to join the Government. The original is not preserved among
the Queen's papers.


Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

22nd November 1838.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and begs to acknowledge your Majesty's
gracious communication received yesterday. Lord
Melbourne had nothing particular to lay before your
Majesty, but still regrets that he did not write, as
your Majesty might have wished to hear from him.

Lord Melbourne returns the King of Portugal's 1
letter, which, as your Majesty observes, is very rough
and ill-tempered with reference to Lord Howard. 2
Lord Melbourne read it with much concern, as it
shows so much dislike and alienation, as renders it
very improbable that they should ever go on together
well and in a friendly spirit. Lord Melbourne fears
that the epithets applied to Lord Howard, though
very severe and full of resentment, are not entirely
ill-chosen and inappropriate.

All the Ministers, except Lord Duncannon 3 and
Lord John Russell, dined here yesterday, and they all
appeared to be in very good humour and disposed to
co-operate in order to meet the difficulties by which
we are surrounded. . . .

With respect to Canada, Lord Melbourne feels that
it may be considered somewhat presumptuous in him to
undervalue danger, which is considered by those upon the
spot to be so great and so imminent, but still he cannot
feel the alarm which seems to be felt there. Lord
Durham, Lord Melbourne is convinced, exaggerates the
peril in order to give greater eclat to his own departure.
The worst symptom which Lord Melbourne perceives is
the general fear which seems to prevail there, and which
makes every danger ten times as great as it really is.

1 The birth of an heir on 16th September 1837, conferred on Prince
Ferdinand the right to the title of King.

2 See ante, p. 167.

3 Lord Duncannon (1781-1847), at this time Lord Privy Seal and First
Commissioner of Woods and Forests, was afterwards (as Earl of Bessborough)
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. He must not be confused with the Lord
Dungannon who sat in the House of Commons as Mr Hill-Trevor, from
1 830-1841 , and, as Viscount Dungannon was elected in 1843, but immediately
unseated on petition.

The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

LAEKEN, 24<A November 1838.

MY DEAR VICTORIA, Van Praet 1 is bearer of this
letter. The present moment being one of some import-
ance which may, if imprudently managed, cause great
disturbances in the West of Europe, and exercise a
reaction on your own Government I think it my
duty to inform you of what is going on.

I join a copy of a letter to Lord Palmerston. I
should feel obliged to you if you would read it in the
presence of good Lord Melbourne, in whose fairness and
sense of justice I must say I feel great confidence. . . .

I will not complain, only one subject I must touch
upon as really very unfair. That your Ministers should
take a line unfavourable to this country may be
explained by their political position, but why should
they press so much on the French Government ? I
really see no cause for it. England is in an excellent
position for a mediator, and for all parties it is highly
desirable that that position should be maintained. 2

I will not plague with a longer letter. You know
from experience that I never ask anything of you. I
prefer remaining in the position of having rendered
services without wanting any return for it but your
affection ; but, as I said before, if we are not careful
we may see serious consequences which may affect
more or less everybody, and this ought to be the object
of our most anxious attention. I remain, my dear
Victoria, your affectionate Uncle, LEOPOLD R.

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

2nd December 1838.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and returns this letter with the enclosures.

1 Van Praet, Jules, author of a History of Flanders, was Secretary of the
Belgian Legation in London in 1831, and took a leading part in the negotia-
tions which placed King Leopold on the throne.

2 King Leopold considered that the interests of Belgium were being
neglected by the four Powers, and in his speech at the opening of his
Parliament, on 13th November, stated amid loud acclamations that those


He has read it and them with great attention. Your
Majesty will probably think it right to acquaint the
King that your Majesty had already seen his letter
to Lord Palmerston.

Lord Melbourne cannot perceive the justice of the
King's complaint. For the sake of the King himself
and of the Belgian nation, we are most anxious to
settle speedily and definitively the questions so long
pending between Belgium and Holland, and which
arose from the separation of the two countries in
1830. We can only settle it by the agreement of the
four great Powers who constitute the Conference to
which the question was referred, viz., Austria, Prussia,
England, France. Of course it is of vital importance
for us to carry them all along with us, and for that
reason we press France. If she differs from us, there
is a ground immediately laid for difference and war.

Lord Melbourne would suggest that your Majesty
should say " that your great affection for the King,
as well as your anxiety for the interests of your own
country and your desire for the promotion of peace,
render you most solicitous to have the Belgian question
speedily and definitively settled ; that it appears to
you that it can only be settled by the agreement of
the four Powers who constitute the Conference, and that
therefore you cannot but wish most strongly to carry
France as well as the two others along with you." 1

discount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

3rd December 1838.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and begs to acquaint that as soon as he
arrived at half-past two, Sir George Grey 2 ran in to
acquaint him that the whole insurrection in Canada

interests would be defended with perseverance and courage. The Deputies, in
reply, said that Belgium had consented to painful sacrifices only under a
formal guarantee by the Powers, which they now shrank from carrying out

1 See the Queen's letter of 5th December to the King of the Belgians.

2 Sir George Grey (1799-1882), at this time Under-Secretary for the
Colonies, afterwards Secretary of State successively for Home and Colonial

172 CANADA [CHAP, ni

was put down and suppressed. 1 Despatches have been
received from Sir John Colborne to say that the British
turned out with the utmost alacrity, the volunteers
beat the French wherever they met them, the whole
are dispersed, and Sir John says that he feels no doubt
of the tranquillity of the Colony during the rest of
the winter. Unless, therefore, the Americans make
an attempt upon Upper Canada, all is well. Lord
Melbourne will have the pleasure of returning to
Windsor to-morrow, unless there should be any
impediment of which Lord Melbourne will inform
your Majesty.

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 5th December 1838.

MY DEAR UNCLE, I have to thank you for two
letters, one brought by Van Praet, and the other
received on Tuesday. Before I proceed further I
must tell you that both Lord Melbourne and I had
already seen your letter to Lord Palmerston, which
he sent to us immediately on receiving it. I have
read these letters with the greatest attention, and can
quite understand that your difficulties are great in
trying to restrain the eagerness and violence of some
of your people.

My great affection for you, of course, makes me
most anxious to see these troublesome and long
pending affairs settled, for the sake of a continuance of
peace and tranquillity ; but, dear Uncle, as it appears
to me that these affairs can only be settled by the
agreement of the four Powers, it is absolutely necessary
that France should go with us as well as the others,
and I think, dear Uncle, you wrong us in thinking

1 Lord Durham left Montreal for England on November 1, and, on landing
at Plymouth, boasted that he had effaced the remains of a disastrous rebellion.
On the 3rd of the same month, however, the insurrection broke out anew
in Lower Canada, while in Upper Canada many American " sympathyzers "
joined the insurgents there ; these were decisively defeated at Prescott.
This fight cost the British 45 in killed and wounded ; 159 of their opponents
(including 131 natives of the United States) were taken, and conveyed to
Kingston, to be tried by court-martial.


that we urged France too much and unfairly. You
must not, dear Uncle, think that it is from want of
interest that I, in general, abstain from touching
upon these matters in my letters to you ; but I am
fearful, if I were to do so, to change our present
delightful and familiar correspondence into a formal
and stiff discussion upon political matters, which would
not be agreeable to either of us, and which I should
deeply regret. These are my reasons, and I trust
you will understand them, and be convinced of my
unalterable and very great affection for you my
dearest Uncle, and of the great interest I take in all
that concerns your welfare and happiness and the
prosperity of your country. . . .

Pray give my affectionate love to Aunt Louise
and the children, and believe me always, your most
affectionate Niece, VICTORIA R.

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

8th December 1838.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and has just received your Majesty's letters.
Lord Durham arrived yesterday evening, 1 and Lord
Melbourne has just seen Mr Stanley, who has seen
him. He represents him as calm, but much hurt and
vexed at the last despatch which expresses your
Majesty's disapprobation of his conduct in issuing the
proclamation. Lord Durham said that he should
immediately write an answer to it, in which he should
state that he would communicate to the Government
all the information which he had collected upon the
state of the Canadas. That he should not ask an
audience of your Majesty. This is his present decision.
He may alter it ; if he should, and through any channel
request an audience, Lord Melbourne is now clearly of

1 Lord Durham stated at Devonport : " I shall, when Parliament meets,
be prepared to make a representation of facts wholly unknown here, and
disclosures which the Parliament and people have no conception of." At
Plymouth he boasted of his achievements, and said that his career of
complete success had been suddenly arrested.


opinion that your Majesty should merely say that an
answer will be sent and the propriety of granting an
audience may then be fully considered by your
Majesty's confidential servants. Mr Stanley represents
Lord Durham as not speaking with much violence or
asperity, but seeming to feel much the censure con-
veyed in the last despatch.

Your Majesty will receive from the Colonial Office a
precis of Sir John Colborne's despatches. Nothing can
be more honourable. The American force which made
an incursion into Upper Canada have all been taken
prisoners. . . .

Lord Melbourne thinks that as long as Lord Durham
is here and some communication has been received from
him, he had better remain to-night in London. He
will return to Windsor to-morrow. . . .

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

8th December 1838.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and begs to acquaint your Majesty that Lord
Glenelg has this evening received a letter from Lord
Durham, tendering formally his resignation, and stating
that his general report upon the affairs of Canada must
be delayed until the gentlemen connected with his
Mission return from that country, which they were to
leave on or about the 20th of last month, and therefore
may be shortly expected here. It will be necessary to
ask Lord Durham whether he has no intelligence of
immediate importance to give.

Queen Adelaide to Queen Victoria.

PALACE, VALETTA,* Wh December 1838.

MY DEAREST NIECE, - The English mail going
to-day gives me another opportunity to address you
and to name a subject to you which I think deserves
your consideration, and about which I feel most

i The Queen-Dowager was at this time cruising in the Mediterranean, and
made some stay at Malta.


anxious. It is the want of a Protestant church in
this place which I mean. There are so many English
residents here, it is the seat of an English Govern-
ment, and there is not one church belonging to the
Church of England. . . . The consequence of this
want of church accommodation has been that the
Dissenters have established themselves in considerable
numbers, and one cannot blame persons for attending
their meetings when they have no church of their own.

I address myself to you, as the Head of the
Church of England, and entreat you to consider well
this important subject, and to talk it over with your
Ministers and the Archbishop, in order to devise the
best means of remedying a want so discreditable to
our country. Should there be no funds at your
disposal to effect this object, most happy shall I feel
to contribute to any subscription which may be set
on foot, and I believe that a considerable sum may
be raised amongst the Protestants of this island, where
all parties are most anxious to see a proper place of
divine worship erected ; without assistance from Eng-
land, however, it cannot be effected. I therefore most
humbly and confidently submit this subject to you,
dearest Victoria, who will bestow upon your Prot-
estant subjects of this island an everlasting benefit
by granting them what they want most. 1 . . .

I hope this will find you quite well and happy,
and that I shall soon again have the pleasure of
hearing from you. Give my affectionate love to
your dear Mother, and all my dear sisters, and believe
me ever, my dearest Niece, your most devoted and
faithfully attached Aunt, ADELAIDE.

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

2lst December 1838.

. . . Lord Melbourne saw Mr Stephenson this morn-
ing and learns from him that the Duke of Sussex 2 is in

1 Queen Adelaide herself erected the church at a cost of 10,000.

2 The Duke of Sussex was anxious to be appointed Viceroy of Ireland.
Mr Stephenson was his Private Secretary. See ante, p. 165.


the highest degree discontented at being informed
decisively that there is no intention of sending him
to Ireland. He is very loud against the Government,
and is also very angry with Mr Stephenson, and the
latter expects that he shall receive his dismissal. . . .
Mr Stephenson assures Lord Melbourne that he has
mentioned this matter to no one but Lord Melbourne
and Lady Mary, and it is of importance that it should
be kept secret. Lord Melbourne thinks it his duty
to apprise your Majesty of the feelings of the Duke,
and of the possible origin of them.

Lord and Lady Holland return to London to-day
and Lord Melbourne is going to dine with them.

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

2<2nd December 1838.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and cannot express how deeply concerned
he is to find himself restrained from obeying your
Majesty's commands, and repairing without delay to
Brighton. Both his duty and his inclination would
prompt him to do this without a moment's delay,
if he did not find it incumbent upon him to represent
to your Majesty the very important circumstances
which require his presence for two or three days longer
in London. The Session of Parliament approaches ;
the questions which are to be considered and prepared
are of the most appalling magnitude, and of the
greatest difficulty. Many of your Majesty's servants,
who fill the most important offices, are compelled
by domestic calamity to be absent, and it is absolutely
necessary that there should be some general superin-
tendence of the measures to be proposed, and some
consideration of the arrangements to be made. Lord
Melbourne assures your Majesty that he would not
delay in London if he did not feel it to be absolutely
necessary for your Majesty's service. . . .

1838] BRIGHTON 177

The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

LAEKEN, 28th December 1838.

MY DEAREST VICTORIA, I have to thank you for
two extremely kind and dear letters, which made me
very happy, and your kind heart would be pleased to
know how Jiappy. Sir H. Seymour 1 gave me a very
favourable account of your dearest Majesty, and was
deeply gratified by your gracious reception.

I am glad to find that you like Brighton better
than last year. 1 think Brighton very agreeable at this
time of the year, till the east winds set in. It also
gives the possibility of seeing people without having
them on one's hands the whole day, as is the case
in the country. The pavilion, besides, is comfortable ;
that cannot be denied. Before my marriage it was
there that I met the Regent. Charlotte afterwards
came with old Queen Charlotte. How distant all this
already, but still how present to one's memory.

The portrait of your Aunt and Leopold is nicely
done. Don Leopoldo is like, and has at times even
a more intelligent look ; he would amuse you he is
very original and very sly. I often call him the little
tyrant, because nobody knows so well de fairc otter
le monde . . . My most beloved Victoria, your devoted

1 Sir Hamilton Seymour, Minister at Brussels.

VOL. i. 12.


THE chief political event of the year (1839) at home arose out
of the troubles in Jamaica. In addition to the apprenticeship
question, the state of the prisons, much overcrowded owing to the
planters 1 severity, had excited attention, and an Imperial Act was
passed for their regulation. To this action the Colonial Assembly
showed marked hostility, and, after the dissolution by Sir Lionel
Smith, the Governor, the new House was no more placable.
Accordingly, the home Government brought in a Bill, in April, to
suspend temporarily the Jamaica Constitution, but on a division
had a majority of five only in a house of five hundred and eighty-
three. The Ministers therefore resigned, and Sir Robert Peel was
sent for; a difficulty as to the Ladies of the Household, commonly
called the Bedchamber Plot, compelled him to resign the task,
and the Whigs, much injured in reputation, resumed office.
Some changes took place, Macaulay joining the Ministry, and
Lord Normanby, who had succeeded Lord Glenelg at the Colonial
Office, exchanging places with Lord John Russell, the Home
Secretary. The trial of strength over the Speakership ended in
a victory for the Ministerial candidate, Mr Shaw Lefevre, by a
majority of eighteen in a house of six hundred and sixteen.

Penny Postage was introduced by an Act of this session.

The Princes Ernest and Albert of Saxe-Coburg arrived on
a visit to the Queen in October, and on the 14th the Queen's
engagement to the latter was announced by herself to Lord
Melbourne. A few weeks later the Queen announced her betrothal
at a meeting of the Privy Council.

During the year risings in favour of the " people's charter "
took place in various parts of the country, especially Birmingham
and Newport, the six points demanded being the ballot, universal
suffrage, annual Parliaments, payment of members, the abolition of
a property qualification for members, and equal electoral districts.
At Newport one Frost, a linen draper whom Lord John Russell
had made a magistrate, headed a riot. He was tried with his
confederates by a special commission at Monmouth, and, with two
others, sentenced to death ; a sentence afterwards commuted.

In the East, war broke out between the Sultan Mahmoud
and the Pasha of Egypt, Mehemet Ali, who had originally
helped Turkey against Greece, but had since revolted and driven
the Turks from Svria. On that occasion (1833) Turkey had
been saved by Russian intervention, a defensive alliance, known


as the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, made between Russia and Turkey,
and Mehemet granted Syria as well as Egypt. On the revival of
hostilities, Ibrahim, son of Mehemet, defeated the Turkish Army
on June 24 ; a week later the Sultan Mahmoud died, and the
Turkish admiral treacherously delivered over the Turkish Fleet to
Mehemet at Alexandria. Once more the four Powers (Great
Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia), interfered to save the
Sultan. The Czar accepted the principle of a joint mediation,
the advance of the Egyptians was stopped, and the Sultan was
informed that no terms of peace would be accepted which had
not received the approval of the Powers. The terms were settled
at a congress held in London. Mehemet refused to accept the
terms, and was encouraged by France to persevere in his refusal.

The dispute between Belgium and Holland as to the Luxem-
burg territory was settled by a treaty in the course of the year.
Lord Durham presented his report on Canada, a document drafted
by Charles Buller but inspired by Lord Durham himself; though
legislation did not take place this year, this document laid the
foundation of the federal union of the Canadas, and of the Con-
stitution of other autonomous colonies, but for the present the
ex-Commissioner met with much censure for his indiscretions.

Our troops were engaged during the year against Dost
Mahommed, the Ameer of Afghanistan, a usurper who many years
earlier had driven Shah Sooja into exile. Lord Auckland, the
Viceroy of India, had sent Captain (afterwards Sir Alexander)

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 15 of 52)