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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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ment I think something may be made of it.

Another thing which made me think that Parlia-
ment would have acted with more decency, is that
I return to the country now near 40,000 a year,
not because I thought my income too large, as worthy
Sir Robert Peel said, but from motives of political

1 The ministers proposed an income of 50,000 a year for the Prince : the
Conservatives and Radicals united on an amendment reducing it to 30,000,
which was carried by a majority of 104.

a The Consort of Queen Anne.



1840] THE PRINCE AT BRUSSELS 271

delicacy, which at least might be acknowledged on
such occasions. I was placed by my marriage treaty
in the position of a Princess of Wales, which in
reality it was, though not yet by law, there existing
a possibility of a Prince of Wales as long as George IV.
lived. I can only conclude by crying shame, shame / . . .
I hope and trust you will not be too much worried
with all these unpleasant things, and that Albert will
prove a comforter and support to you. And so good-
bye for to-day. Ever, my dearest Victoria, your
devoted Uncle, LEOPOLD R.



The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

BRUSSELS, 1st February 1840.

MY DEAREST VICTORIA, I hope you will be
pleased with me, as I send a messenger on purpose
to inform you of Albert's arrival. He will write
himself this night, though rather inclined to surrender
himself to Morpheus.

He looks well and handsome, but a little interesting,
being very much irritated by what happened in the
House of Commons. He does not care about the
money, but he is much shocked and exasperated by
the disrespect of the thing, as he well may.

I do not yet know the exact day of their departure,
but I suppose it will be on the 5th, to be able to cross
on the 6th. I have already had some conversation
with him, and mean to talk a fond to him to-morrow.
My wish is to see you both happy and thoroughly
united and of one mind, and I trust that both of you
will ever find in me a faithful, honest, and attached
friend.

As it is eleven o'clock at night I offer you my
respects, and remain, ever, my dearest Victoria, your
devoted Uncle, LEOPOLD R.

Your poor Aunt fainted this morning ; she is
much given to this, but it was rather too long to-day.



272 AMIABILITY OF THE PRINCE [CHAP.



The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

BRUSSELS, 4<A February 1840.

MY DEAREST VICTORIA, I have now treated all
the questions you wished me to touch upon with
Albert, and I was much pleased with his amiable
disposition. At a certain distance explanations by
letter are next to impossible, and each party in the
end thinks the other unreasonable. When he arrived
he was rather exasperated about various things, and
pretty full of grievances. But our conversations have
dissipated these clouds, and now there will only remain
the new parliamentary events and consequences, which
change a good deal of what one could reasonably
have foreseen or arranged. You will best treat
these questions now verbally. Albert is quick, not
obstinate, in conversation, and open to conviction if
good arguments are brought forward. When he
thinks himself right he only wishes to have it proved
that he misunderstands the case, to give it up without
ill-humour. He is not inclined to be sulky, but I
think that he may be rendered a little melancholy
if he thinks himself unfairly or unjustly treated, but
being together and remaining together, there never
can arise, I hope, any occasion for any disagreement
even on trifling subjects. . . . Ever, my dearest
Victoria, your devoted Uncle, LEOPOLD R.



The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

BRUSSELS, 8th February 1840.

MY DEAREST VICTORIA, This letter will arrive
when I trust you will be most happily occupied ; I
don't mean therefore to trespass on your time.

May heaven render you as happy as I always
wished you to be, and as I always tried hard to see
you. There is every prospect of it, and I am sure
you will be mistress in that respect of your own



1840] THE WEDDING MORNING 273

avenir. Perfect confidence will best ensure and con-
solidate this happiness. Our rule in poor Charlotte's
time was never to permit one single day to pass over
ein Missverstdndniss however trifling it might be. 1 I
must do Charlotte the justice to say that she kept
this compact most religiously, and at times even more
so than myself, as in my younger days I was some-
times inclined to be sulky and silently displeased.
With this rule no misunderstandings can take root
and be increased or complicated by new ones being
added to the old. Albert is gentle and open to
reason, all will therefore always be easily explained,
and he is determined never to be occupied but by
what is important or useful to you. . . .

Now I conclude, with my renewed warmest and
sincerest good wishes for you, ever, my dearest
Victoria, your devoted Uncle, LEOPOLD.



Queen Victoria to the Prince Albert?

10th February 1840.

DEAREST, ... How are you to-day, and have
you slept well ? I have rested very well, and feel

1 (From an unpublished Contemporary Memoir by Admiral Sir William

Hotham, G.C.B.)

" Her Royal Highness was now and then apt to give way to a high flow of
animal spirits, natural at her time of life, and from carelessness more than
unkindness to ridicule others. In one of these sallies of inconsiderate mirth,
she perceived the Prince, sombre and cold, taking no apparent notice of what
was going on, or if he did, evidently displeased. She at length spoke to him
about it, and he at once manifested reluctance to join in the conversation,
saying that though he had been a tolerably apt scholar in many things, he
had yet to learn in England what pleasure was derived from the exercise of
that faculty he understood to be called ' quizzing ' ; that he could by no means
reconcile it to himself according to any rule either of good breeding or
benevolence. The tears instantly started in her eye, and feeling at once the
severity and justice of the reproof, assured him most affectionately that,
as it wo.s the first time she had ever merited His Royal Highness's reproof on
this subject, she assured him most solemnly it should be the last."

2 A note folded in billet form, to be taken by hand. Addressed :

" His ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE.
" THE QUEEN."

This was the day of their marriage at the Chapel Royal. After the
wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace they drove to Windsor, and on the
14th they returned to London.
VOL. i. 18



274 PUBLIC ENTHUSIASM [CHAP, rx

very comfortable to-day. What weather ! I believe,
however, the rain will cease.

Send one word when you, my most dearly loved
bridegroom, will be ready. Thy ever-faithful,

VICTORIA R.



Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, llth February 1840.

DEAREST UNCLE, I write to you from here,
the happiest, happiest Being that ever existed. Really,
I do not think it possible for anyone in the world to
be happier, or AS happy as I am. He is an Angel, and
his kindness and affection for me is really touching.
To look in those dear eyes, and that dear sunny face,
is enough to make me adore him. What I can do to
make him happy will be my greatest delight. Indepen-
dent of my great personal happiness, the reception we
both met with yesterday was the most gratifying and
enthusiastic 1 ever experienced ; there was no end of
the crowds in London, and all along the road. I was
a good deal tired last night, but am quite well again
to-day, and happy. . . .

My love to dear Louise. Ever your affectionate,

VICTORIA R.

The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

BRUSSELS, 2lst February 1840.

MY DEAREST VICTORIA, I am more grateful than
I can express that, notwithstanding your many
empechements and occupations, you still found a little
moment to write to me. News from you are always
most precious to me, and now almost more than
ever. This is such an important moment in your
life, it will so much decide how the remainder is to
be, that I am deeply interested in all I can hear on
the subject. Hitherto, with the exception of your
own dear and Royal self, I have not been spoiled,




the pcrlrait hi/ Ichn Cartridge a U)iickiiiy ham .Jaiacc



1840] PLAYS IN LENT 275

et fed puise beaucoup de mes nouvelles in the Times
and such like sources.

God be praised that the dear menage is so happy !
I can only say may it be so for ever and ever. I
always thought that with your warm and feeling
heart and susceptibility for strong and lasting
affection, you would prefer this genre of happiness,
if you once possessed it, to every other. It must
be confessed that it is less frequent than could be
wished for the good of mankind, but when it does
exist, there is something delightful to a generous
heart like yours in this sacred tie, in this attach-
ment for better for worse, and I think the English
Church service expresses it in a simple and touching
manner.

I was happy to see that the Addresses of both
Houses of Parliament were voted in a decent and
becoming way. How mean people are ! If they had
not seen the public at large take a great interest in
your marriage and show you great affection, perhaps
some would again have tried to bring on unpleasant
subjects. . . .

My letter is grown long ; I will therefore conclude
it with the expression of my great affection for your
dear self. Ever, my most beloved Victoria, your devoted
Uncle, LEOPOLD R.



Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

&th March 1840.

... As your Majesty has by your Lord Chamber-
lain permitted plays to be acted on Wednesdays and
Fridays in Lent, it would be condemning yourself if
you did not go to see them if you like to do so. ...

. . . Lord Melbourne is much pleased to hear that
your Majesty and the Prince liked the School for
Scandal. It is upon the whole the cleverest comedy
in the English language, the fullest of wit and at
the same time the most free from grossness.



276 DEBATE ON THE CORN LAWS [CHAP.



Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

Uh April 1840.

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and has the honour to state that the House
of Commons having resumed the consideration of the
Corn Laws, the debate was closed by Sir Robert Peel,
in a speech much inferior to those which he usually
makes. Mr Warburton moved an adjournment, which
caused many members to leave the House. The motion
being opposed, there were on a division 240 against
adjournment, and only 125 in favour of it.

Mr Warburton then by some blunder moved that
the House adjourn, which puts an end to the debate.
This was eagerly caught at by the opposite party, and
agreed to. So that the question is lost by this ridiculous
termination, and it is to be feared that it will produce
much discontent in the manufacturing class. 1



Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

5th April 1840.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty. He is quite well but much tired. He has
so much to do this morning that he will not be able
to speak to Albemarle, 2 but if Albemarle dines at the
Palace, he certainly will then.

Lord Melbourne always feared anything like a
mixture of the Stable establishments. It would have
been much better that what horses the Prince had
should have been kept quite separate, and that the
horses of your Majesty's which he should have to use
should have been settled, and some plan arranged by
which they could have been obtained when wanted.
Horses to be used by one set of people and kept and
fed by another will never do. Servants and sub-

1 The opposition to the Corn Laws was now increasing in the North.

2 Master of the Horse.



1840] ENGLAND AND CHINA 277

ordinate agents in England are quite unmanageable
in these respects. If they get [matters] into their
hands, neither the Deity nor the Devil, nor both
together, can make them agree. Lord Melbourne
writes this in ignorance of the actual facts of the
case, and therefore it may be inapplicable.

Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

8th April 1840.

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and has the honour to state that Sir James
Graham yesterday brought forward his motion on
China in a speech of nearly three hours. 1 He was
answered by Mr Macaulay in a manner most satisfactory
to his audience, and with great eloquence. Sir William
Follett spoke with much ingenuity, but in the confined
spirit of a lawyer.



Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

9th April 1840. ' '

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and has the honour to report that the debate
went on yesterday, when Mr Hawes spoke against the
motion. In the course of the debate Mr Gladstone 2
said the Chinese had a right to poison the wells, to
keep away the English ! The debate was adjourned.

discount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

2nd May 1840.

Mr Cowper has just come in and tells me that
they have determined to begin the disturbance to-night
at the Opera, at the very commencement of the

1 The motion was to censure Ministers for their want of foresight in their
dealings with China in connection with the extension of commerce, and
with the opium trade. The motion was rejected by 271 to 262.

2 Mr Gladstone had been member for Newark since 1832.



278 DISTURBANCE AT THE OPERA [CHAP, ix

performance. 1 This may be awkward, as your Majesty
will arrive in the middle of the tumult. It is the
intention not to permit the opera to proceed until
Laporte gives way.

Lord Melbourne is afraid that if the row has already
begun, your Majesty's presence will not put an end
to it ; and it might be as well not to go until your
Majesty hears that it is over and that the performance
is proceeding quietly. Some one might be sent to
attend and send word.



Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

6th May 1840.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty. He has just received this from Lord John
Russell a most shocking event, 2 which your Majesty
has probably by this time heard of. The persons who
did it came for the purpose of robbing the house ;
they entered by the back of the house and went out
at the front door. 3 The servants in the house, only
a man and a maid, never heard anything, and the
maid, when she came down to her master's door in
the morning, found the horrid deed perpetrated. . . .

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

6th May 1840.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty. Since he wrote to your Majesty, he has
seen Mr Fox Maule, 4 who had been at the house in
Norfolk Street. He says that it is a most mysterious

1 A fracas took place at the Opera on 29th April The manager, Laporte,
not having engaged Taraburini to sing, the audience made a hostile demonstra-
tion at the conclusion of the performance of / Puritani. An explanation
made by Laporte only made matters worse, and eventually the Tamburinists
took possession of the stage.

2 The murder of Lord William Russell by his valet, Courvoisier, in Norfolk
Street, Park Lane.

8 This was the original theory.

4 Under-Secretary for Home Affairs ; afterwards, as Lord Panmure,
Secretary for War.



1840] MURDER OF LORD WILLIAM RUSSELL 279

affair. Lord William Russell was found in his bed,
quite dead, cold and stiff, showing that the act had
been perpetrated some time. The bed was of course
deluged with blood, but there were no marks of
blood in any other part of the room ; so that he had
been killed in his bed and by one blow, upon the throat,
which had nearly divided his head from his body.
The back door of the house was broken open, but
there were no traces of persons having approached
the door from without. His writing-desk was also
broken open and the money taken out, but otherwise
little or nothing had been taken away. The police
upon duty in the streets had neither heard nor seen
anything during the night. In these circumstances
strong suspicion lights upon the persons in the house,
two maids and a man, the latter a foreigner 1 and
who had only been with Lord William about five
weeks. These persons are now separately confined,
and the Commissioners of Police are actively
employed in enquiring into the affair. An inquest
will of course be held upon the body without delay.
Lord Melbourne has just received your Majesty's
letter, and will immediately convey to Lord John
your Majesty's kind expressions of sympathy.

The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

LAEKEN, 22 nd May 1840.

MY DEAREST VICTORIA, I received yesterday a
most kind and dear letter from your august hands.
Charles, 2 who wanted to cross yesterday, will have
had very bad weather. He is prepared not to make
too long a stay in England. He dined here on the
19th. Louise was prepared to come to dinner, but
was not quite equal to it ; she therefore came after it.
He came also to see me on the 20th, before his
departure for Ostende. It is very gracious of you to
have given him subsidies, but in fact poor Feo stands
more in need of it. She really is too poor ; when one

1 Courvoisier. * Prince Charles of Leiningen.



280 MRS NORTON [CHAP, ix

thinks that they have but 600 a year, and that
large castles, etc., are to be kept up with it, one
cannot conceive how they manage it. It was a
very generous feeling which prompted you to see
Mrs Norton, and I have been too much her friend to
find fault with it. True it is that Norton was freely
accepted by her, but she was very poor, and could
therefore hardly venture to refuse him. Many people
will flirt with a clever, handsome, but poor girl, though
not marry her besides, the idea of having old Shery l
for a grandfather had nothing very captivating. A
very unpleasant husband Norton certainly was, and
one who had little tact. I can well believe that she
was much frightened, having so many eyes on her,
some of which, perhaps, not with the most amiable
expression.

I was delighted to learn that you meant to visit
poor Claremont, and to pass there part of your
precious birthday. Claremont is the place where in
younger days you were least plagued, and generally
I saw you there in good spirits. You will also nolens
volens be compelled to think of me, and maybe of
poor Charlotte.

This gives me an opening for saying a few words
on this subject. I found several times that some
people had given you the impression that poor
Charlotte had been hasty and violent even to
imperiousness and rudeness. 1 can you assure that
rt was not so ; she was quick, and even violent, but
I never have seen anybody so open to conviction, and
so fair and candid when wrong. The proverb says, and
not without some truth, that ladies come always back to
the first words, to avoid any symptom of having been
convinced. Generous minds, however, do not do this ;
they fight courageously their battles, but when they

1 The three sisters, Mrs Norton, Lady Dufferin, and Lady Seymour
(afterwards Duchess of Somerset), the latter of whom was " Queen of
Beauty " at the Eglinton Tournament, were granddaughters of R. B.
Sheridan. Lord Melbourne was much in Mrs Norton's company, and Norton,
for whom the Premier had found a legal appointment, sued him in the
Court of Common Pleas for crim. con. ; the jury found for the defendant.



1840] CHARACTER OF PRINCESS CHARLOTTE 281

clearly see that they are wrong, and that the reasons
and arguments submitted to them are true, they
frankly admit the truth. Charlotte had eminently
this disposition ; besides, she was so anxious to please
me, that often she would say : " Let it be as it may,
provided you wish it, I will do it." I always answered :
" I never want anything for myself ; when I press
something on you, it is from a conviction that it is
for your interest and for your good." I know that
you have been told that she ordered everything in the
house, and liked to show that she was the mistress.
It was not so. On the contrary, her pride was to make
me appear to my best advantage, and even to display
respect and obedience, when I least wanted it from
her. She would almost exaggerate the feeling, to
show very clearly that she considered me as her
lord and master.

And on the day of the marriage, as most people
suspected her of a very different disposition, every-
body was struck with the manner in which she
pronounced the promise of obedience. I must say
that I was much more the master of the house than
is generally the case in private life. Besides, there
was something generous and royal in her mind which
alone would have prevented her doing anything vulgar
or ill-bred. What rendered her sometimes a little
violent was a slight disposition to jealousy. Poor
Lady Maryborough, 1 at all times some twelve or
fifteen years older than myself, but whom I had
much known in 1814, was once much the cause of
a fit of that description. I told her it was quite
childish, but she said, " it is not, because she is a very
coquettish, dissipated woman." The most difficult
task I had was to change her manners ; she had
something brusque and too rash in her movements,
which made the Regent quite unhappy, and which
sometimes was occasioned by a struggle between

1 Lord Maryborough (1763-1845) was William Wellesley Pole, brother
of the Marquess Wellesley and the Duke of Wellington. He married
Katherine Elizabeth Forbes, granddaughter of the third Earl of Granard.



282 ENGLISH MANNERS [CHAP, ix

shyness and the necessity of exerting herself. I had,
I may say so without seeming to boast, the manners
of the best society of Europe, having early moved
in it, and been rather what is called in French de la
fleur des pois. A good judge I therefore was, but
Charlotte found it rather hard to be so scrutinized,
and grumbled occasionally how I could so often find
fault with her.

Nothing perhaps speaks such volumes as the
positive fact of her manners getting quite changed
within a year's time, and that to the openly pro-
nounced satisfaction of the very fastidious and not
over-partial Regent. To explain how it came that
manners were a little odd in England, it is necessary
to remember that England had been for more than
ten years completely cut off from the rest of the
world. . . .

We have bitter cold weather which has given
colds to both the children. Uncle Ferdinand 1 is now
only arriving si dice on Sunday next. He has been
robbed of 15,000 francs in his own room au Palais
Royal, which is very unpleasant for all parties.

My letter is so long that I must haste to
conclude it, remaining ever, my beloved Victoria,
your devoted Uncle, LEOPOLD R.

My love to Alberto.

Memorandum by Mr Anson.

Minutes of Conversations with Lord Melbourne and
Baron Stockmar.

2Sth May 1840.

Lord Melbourne. "I have spoken to the Queen,
who says the Prince complains of a want of confidence
on trivial matters, and on all matters connected with the
politics of this country. She said it proceeded entirely
from indolence, she knew it was wrong, but when she
was with the Prince she preferred talking upon other
subjects. I told Her Majesty that she should try and
alter this, and that there was no objection to her con-

1 Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg, King Leopold's brother.



1840] THE QUEEN AND THE PRINCE 283

versing with the Prince upon any subject she pleased.
My impression is that the chief obstacle in Her Majesty's
mind is the fear of difference of opinion, and she
thinks that domestic harmony is more likely to follow
from avoiding subjects likely to create difference. My
own experience leads me to think that subjects between
man and wife, even where difference is sure to ensue, are
much better discussed than avoided, for the latter course
is sure to beget distrust. I do not think that the
Baroness l is the cause of this want of openness, though
her name to me is never mentioned by the Queen."

Baron Stockmar. "I wish to have a talk with you.
The Prince leans more on you than any one else, and
gives you his entire confidence ; you are honest, moral,
and religious, and wih 1 not belie that trust. The Queen
has not started upon a right principle. She should by
degrees impart everything to him, but there is danger
in his wishing it all at once. A case may be laid
before him ; he may give some crude and unformed
opinion ; the opinion may be taken and the result
disastrous, and a forcible argument is thus raised
against advice being asked for the future.

" The Queen is influenced more than she is aware of
by the Baroness. In consequence of that influence, she
is not so ingenuous as she was two years ago. I do
not think that the withholding of her confidence does
proceed wholly from indolence, though it may partly



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 23 of 52)