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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intrigue. He would make me the medium of any
written communication.

With regard to Peel's position with the Queen, he
thought that circumstances must make it. He thought
the Queen must see him oftener than King William
did him, as he thought the present state of things
would require more frequent intercourse. The late
King used to see him once a week after the Levee,
seldom oftener ; all the rest of the business was
transacted by correspondence, but this mode, though
it had its merits in some respect, very much impeded
the public business.

The less personal objections the Queen took to
any one the better, as any such expression is sure to
come out and a personal enemy is made. It was also
to be recollected that Peel was in a very different
position now, backed by a large majority, to when
the other overture was made. He had the power now
to extort what he pleased, and he fancied he saw the
blank faces of the heads of the Party when Peel told
them that he had agreed to the dismissal or resignation
of only three of the Queen's ladies.

Lord Melbourne said the Queen was afraid she
never could be at ease with Peel, because his manner
was so embarrassed, and that conveyed embarrassment
also to her, which it would be very difficult to get over.

The Queen took leave of Lord Melbourne to-day.
Her Majesty was much affected, but soon recovered
her calmness.

Peel had his first audience at half-past three o'clock.

Discount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

30th August 1841, 6 P.M.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty. The announcement has been made in both


Houses of Parliament. A few words were said by
Lord Stanley l in the House of Commons, and nothing
in the House of Lords.

Lord Melbourne cannot satisfy himself without
again stating to your Majesty in writing what he had
the honour of saying to your Majesty respecting his
Royal Highness the Prince. Lord Melbourne has
formed the highest opinion of his Royal Highness's
judgment, temper, and discretion, and he cannot but
feel a great consolation and security in the reflection
that he leaves your Majesty in a situation in which
your Majesty has the inestimable advantage of such
advice and assistance. Lord Melbourne feels certain
that your Majesty cannot do better than have recourse
to it, whenever it is needed, and rely upon it with

Lord Melbourne will be anxious to hear from your
Majesty as to what has passed with Sir R. Peel. Your
Majesty will, Lord Melbourne is sure, feel that the same
general secrecy which your Majesty has always
observed respecting public affairs is more particularly
necessary at the present moment.

Lord Melbourne earnestly hopes that your Majesty
is well and composed, and with the most anxious
wishes for your Majesty's welfare and happiness,
remains ever your Majesty's most devoted and attached
Servant, and he trusts that he may add, without
presumption, your Majesty's faithful and affectionate

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria. Memorandum.

Your Majesty might say, if to your Majesty it
seems good, that in consequence of the Addresses
voted by both Houses of Parliament, your Majesty's
servants had tended their resignations, and that for the
same reason your Majesty had accepted those resigna-
tions. That your Majesty's present servants possessed
your Majesty's confidence, and that you only parted
with them in deference to the opinion of Parliament.

1 Who now became Colonial Secretary.
VOL. L 25


That your Majesty naturally had recourse to Sir
Robert Peel as possessing the confidence of the great
Party which constitutes the majority of both Houses,
and that you were prepared to empower him to form
an Administration.

That your Majesty did not conceive that the
giving him this commission of itself empowered him
to advise the removal of the officers of your Majesty's
Household ; that you conceive that all that the
Constitution required was that the Sovereign's
Household should support the Sovereign's Ministers ;
but that you was prepared to place at his disposal,
and to take his advice upon all the offices of the
Household at present filled by members of either
House of Parliament, with the exception of those
whom your Majesty might think proper to name, i.e.,
Lord Byron 1 and it should be understood that this
exception was not to extend further than to him.

If Sir Robert Peel should wish that in case of
Lord Byron's remaining it should be considered as a
fresh appointment made by his advice, this wish
might properly be acceded to.

The Ladies. If any difficulty should arise it may
be asked to be stated in writing, and reserved for
consideration. But it is of great importance that Sir
Robert Peel should return to London with full power
to form an Administration. Such must be the final
result, and the more readily and graciously it is
acquiesced in the better.

Your Majesty must take care not to be driven to
the wall, and to be put into a situation in which it is
necessary to Aye or No. No positive objection
should be taken either to men or measures.

It must be recollected that at the time of the
negotiation in 1839 Lord Melbourne and Lord John
Russell were still at the head of a majority in the
House of Commons. This is not the case now.

1 George Anson, seventh Lord Byron (1789-1868), cousin and successor of
the poet

1841] THE CABINET 387


As it stood in September 1841.

First Lord of the Treasury . . . VISCOUNT MELBOURNE.

Lord Chancellor LORD (afterwards Earl of)


Chancellor of the Exchequer . . Mr FRANCIS BARING (after-
wards Lord Northbrook).

Lord President of the Council . . MARQUIS OF LANSDOWNE.




Colonial Secretary LORD JOHN (afterwards Earl)


First Lord of the Admiralty . . EARL OF MINTO.

President of the Board of Control . Sir JOHN CAM HOBHOUSE (after-
wards Lord Broughton).

Secretary at War Mr T. B. (afterwards Lord)


President of the Board of Trade . Mr LABOUCHERE (afterwards

Lord Taunton).

Chief Secretary for Ireland . . . VISCOUNT MORPETH (after-
wards Earl of Carlisle).

First Commissioner of Land Revenue VISCOUNT DUNCANNON (after-
wards Earl of Bessborough).

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Sir GEORGE GREY.


As formed in September 1841.

First Lord of the Treasury . . . Sir ROBERT PEEL.

Lord Chancellor LORD LYNDHURST.

Chancellor of the Exchequer . . Mr H. GOULBURN.

(Without Office) DUKE OF WELLINGTON.

Lord President of the Council . . LORD WHARNCLIFFE.


Home Secretary Sir JAMES GRAHAM.

Foreign Secretary EARL OF ABERDEEN.

Colonial Secretary LORD STANLEY (afterwards

Earl of Derby).

First Lord of the Admiralty . . EARL OF HADDINGTON.

President of the Board of Control . LORD (afterwards Earl of)


Secretary at War Sir HENRY (afterwards Vis-
count) HARDINGE.

President of the Board of Trade . EARL OF RIPON.

Pay master- General Sir EDWARD KNATCHBULL,

1 The Peel Ministry of 1841 was unique in containing three ex- Premiers :
Sir Robert Peel himself, the Earl of Ripon, and the Duke of Wellington,


Queen Victoria to Viscount Melbourne.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 30th August 1841.

. . . The first interview with Sir Robert Peel has
gone off well, and only lasted twenty minutes ; and
he sends the Queen to-morrow, in writing, the proposed
arrangements, and will only come down on Wednesday
morning. He first wished to come to-morrow, but on
the Queen's saying that he need not to do that, but
might send it and only come down Wednesday, he
thought the Queen might prefer having it to consider
a little, which she said she certainly should, though
she meant no want of confidence. The Queen, in
the first instance, stated that she concluded he was
prepared for her sending for him, and then stated
exactly what Lord Melbourne wrote, viz., the resigna-
tion having taken place in consequence of the
Addresses, the Queen's great regret at parting with
her present Ministers the confidence she had in
them, and her only acceding in consequence of the
Addresses in Parliament, and then that consequently
she looked to him (Sir Robert Peel) as possessing the
confidence of both Houses of Parliament to form an
Administration. He made many protestations of his

who succeeded Lord Goderich as Premier in 1828. Ripon's career was a
curious one ; he was a singularly ineffective Prime Minister, and indeed, did
not, during the course of his Ministry (August 1827-January 1828) ever have
to meet Parliament. He was disappointed at not being invited to join the
Wellington Ministry, subsequently joined the Reform Ministry of Lord
Grey, but followed Lord Stanley, Sir James Graham, and the Duke of Rich-
mond out of it. In August 1841 he moved the vote of want of confidence
in the Melbourne Ministry, and became President of the Board of Trade in
Peel's Government. In 1846 it fell to him, when President of the Board of
Control, to move the Corn Law Repeal Bill in the Lords.

The only later instance of an ex-Premier accepting a subordinate office
was in the case of Lord John Russell, who, in 1852, took the Foreign
Office under Aberdeen, subsequently vacating the office and sitting in the
Cabinet without office. In June 1854, he became Lord President of the
Council, and left the Ministry when it was menaced by Roebuck's motion.
When Lord Palmerston formed a Ministry in 1855, Lord John, after an
interval, became Colonial Secretary, again resigning in five months.
Finally, in 1859, he went back to the Foreign Office, where he remained
until he succeeded Palmerston as Premier in 1865.

The Government also contained three future Premiers, Aberdeen, Stanley,
and Gladstone.


sorrow, at what must give pain to the Queen (as she
said to him it did), but of course said he accepted
the task. The Duke of Wellington's health too
uncertain, and himself too prone to sleep coming
over him as Peel expressed it to admit of his
taking an office in which he would have much to do,
but to be in the Cabinet, which the Queen expressed
her wish he should. He named Lord De Grey 1
as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Lord Eliot 2 as
Secretary for Ireland, who, he said, were both moderate
people. The Queen said she gave up to him the
officers of State and those of her Household who
were in Parliament, and he then asked if Lord
Liverpool would be agreeable as Lord Steward (the
Queen said he would), and if she would object to Lord
Jersey as Master of the Horse (she said she would
not), as she believed he understood it perfectly. He
said he was so anxious to do everything which could
be agreeable to the Queen, that he wished her to name
whom she should like as Lord Chamberlain ; she said
he might suggest someone, but as he would not, and
pressed the Queen to name whoever she pleased, she
said she should like the Duke of Rutland, and he said
he would certainly name it to him. The Queen said
that Lord Melbourne had always been very particular
to name no one who might be disagreeable to her
in the Household, and Sir R. Peel said he felt this,
and should be most anxious to do what could be agree-
able to me and for my comfort, and that he would
even sacrifice any advantage to this. The Queen men-
tioned the three Ladies' resignation, and her wish
not to fill up the three Ladies' places immediately.
She mentioned Lady Byron, 3 to which he agreed
immediately, and then said, as I had alluded to
those communications, he hoped that he had been

1 Thomas, Earl de Grey (1781-1859) ; he was the elder brother of Lord
Ripon who had been previously known as Mr Robinson and Viscount
Goderich, and whose son, besides inheriting his father's and uncle's honours,
was created Marquis of Ripon.

2 Afterwards third Earl of St Germans.

8 Lady Byron had been Miss Elizabeth Chandos-Pole.


understoood respecting the other appointments (meaning
the Ladies), that provided I chose some who had a
leaning towards the politics of the Administration, I
might take any I liked, and that he quite understood
that I should notify it to them. The Queen said this
was her rule, and that she wished to choose moderate
people who should not have scruples to resign in case
another Administration should come in, as changing
was disagreeable to her. Here it ended, and so far
well. He was very anxious the Queen should under-
stand how anxious he was to do everything which was
agreeable to the Queen. The Queen wishes to know
if Lord Melbourne thinks she should name the
Duchess of Buccleuch Mistress of the Robes, on
Wednesday, and if she shall ask Sir Robert to sound
the Duchess, or some one else, and then write to
appoint her? She thinks of proposing Lady de la
Warr and Lady Abercorn by and by as the two
Ladies, but these she will sound herself through
other people, or Lady Canning, or Lady Rosslyn in
case these others should not take it. She should say
she meant to sound those, and no more. What the
Queen felt when she parted from her dear, kind
friend, Lord Melbourne, is better imagined than
described ; she was dreadfully affected for some time
after, but is calm now. It is very, very sad ; and she
cannot quite believe it yet The Prince felt it very,
very much too, and really the Queen cannot say how
kind and affectionate he is to her, and how anxious to
do everything to lighten this heavy trial ; he was quite
affected at this sad parting. We do, and shall, miss
you so dreadfully ; Lord Melbourne will easily under-
stand what a change it is, after these four years when
she had the happiness of having Lord Melbourne
always about her. But it will not be so long till
we meet again. Happier and brighter times will
come again. We anxiously hope Lord Melbourne
is well, and got up well and safe. The Queen trusts
he will take care of his valuable health, now more
than ever.

Memorandum by Mr Anson.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 3lst August 1841.

I was sent up to Town to-day to see Lord Melbourne
and Sir Robert Peel. I found Lord Melbourne as
usual up in his bedroom. He had received the account
of Her Majesty's first interview with Peel, which he
thought very satisfactory. Sir Robert very much
regretted that he should have been the instrument of
obliging Her Majesty to change her Government. The
Queen had said to Sir Robert that though she did not
conceive the Minister could demand any of the House-
hold appointments, still it was Her Majesty's intention
to give up to him the great offices of State, and all
other places in the Household filled by people in
Parliament. He was to send his proposed list for
offices the next day and be at Windsor the morning
after that. Lord Melbourne had written to the Queen
the night before, stating his opinion of the Prince that
he had great discretion, temper, and judgment, and
that he considered him to be well worthy of Her
Majesty's confidence, and that now was the time for
Her Majesty to feel comfort and assistance from giving
him her fullest confidence. He had just received the
Queen's answer to this, saying what " pleasure it had
given the Queen to receive his letter with this expression
of his opinion of her beloved husband, and that what
he said could not fail to increase the confidence which
she already felt in him. He was indeed a great comfort
to her in this trying moment ; at times she was very
low indeed though she strove to bear up. It would
always be a satisfaction to her to feel secure of Lord
Melbourne's faithful and affectionate friendship to her
and the Prince. She hoped after a time to see him
here again, and it would always be a pleasure to her
to hear from him frequently."

From South Street I went to Sir Robert Peel's.
I told him I came to speak to him about Lord Exeter,
whom the Prince proposed to make the head of his
Household, should it not interfere with any of Sir


Kobert's arrangements for the Queen. Sir IJobcrl saitl
he was so good a man and one that he tell sure the
Prince would like, and he therefore thought he had
better propose the situation to him at once.

Melbourne to (|)//<r// r

S.'i in Sruii r, :\\sf .lii.inxf IHIl.

Lord Melbourne hat! the pleasure of receiving lasl
night both your Majesty's letters, the one dated (our

t2 "

o'docki ami written immediately after your Majesty's

interview with Sir K. Peel, the other dated half-past
nine. Lord Melbourne thanks your Majesty niueh
for them both, and tor the expressions of kindness
Contained in them. Lord Melbourne will ever consider
the time during which your Majesty is oood enough
tt> think that lit' has been of service to your Majesty


the proudosl as well as the happiest pnrl of his life.

Lord Melbourne has read with great care your
Majesty's ycry clear and full account of what passed.
It appears to Lord Melbourne that nothing could be
better. Sir Kohcil Peel seems to have been anxious
to act with the utmost respect anil consideration for
\ our Majesty, and your Majesty most properly and
wisely met him halfway. In the spirit in which the
negotiation has been commenced 1 see the prospect
of a termination of it, which will be not so unsalis
factory to your Majesty as your Majesty anticipated,

. ' ' .

and not. Lord Melbourne trusts, disadvantageous to the
country. . . .

Lord Melbourne concludes with the most anxious
wishes for your Majesty's happiness, and with expressing
a great admiration of the firmness, prudence and good
sense with which your Majesty has conducted yourself.

. *' .

Lord Melbourne begs to be remembered to 11 is
Koyal Highness most respectfully, most allect lonately.

t'iscoiint Melbourne to

:u.sY .lii-.nmt is 1 1

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duly to your
Majesty, and has just received your .Majesty's letter.


Lord Melbourne rejoices much to learn that, your
Majesty feels more composed and that yon are well.
Recollect IIONV precious is your Majesty's lie:ill.h, ;nul

how much health depends u|)on tranquillity of mind. . . .

Lord Melbourne will either write to Sir I<Yaneis
Chantrey ' to-morrow i Morning, or call upon him :md
settle without further delay about the DUSt, There
is no end of subscript ions to Monuments, but perhaps
your Majesty will do well to subscribe to Sir David


Your Majesty is very <jfood about the blue Kihhand,
but Lord Melbourne is certain that upon the whole,
it is belter lor his own position and character that he
should not have it.

The Karl of Clarendon* to I'/scoi/nt Melbourne*

(iiiosvKNoii ('III:SI'I<:NT, '.list., IHH.

MY DKAII MELBOURNE,- - ^ ^ ou may like to know
that 1'eel was perfectly satisfied with his reception
yesterday, and does lull justice' to the Queen's decl.'i-
ralion of her regret at parting with her Ministers,
which he said it was (juite natural she should 1'eel,
and quite ri^ht she should express. This I know
from undoubted authority, and from a person who
came to enquire of me whether I could tell what
impression Peel had produced upon the Queen, which
of course I could not.

lie assured the Queen that he had had no com-
munication with his friends, and was not prepared to

submit an Administration for her approval, but he

is to see her a.^ain to-morrow morning.

The only appointment yet settled is I )e (Hrey to
Ireland ; he was very unwilling, but I 'eel insisted.
Yours sincerely, CI.AI<|'.NIM>N.

1 Sir I'V.'incis di.'intrry, the sculptor, horn in I7HI, died on \'.!>\\\ November


J Sir Duvid Wilkic, I'ainler in ( )rdiiuiry lo Hie Queen, liad died ou lnt
June, a/v'd fifty-six.

;i Tlie retiring I /ord Privy Se:d.

Letter forw.'irdcd by Lord Melbourne to Hie Quern.


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

CARLTON TERRACE, 31st August 1841.

. . . Viscount Palmerston begs to be allowed to
tender to your Majesty the grateful thanks of himself
and of Viscountess Palmerston for your Majesty's
gracious expressions towards them. Viscount Palmer-
ston sees with deep regret the termination of those
duties in your Majesty's service, in the course of
which he has had the honour of experiencing from
your Majesty so much condescending personal kind-
ness, and such flattering official confidence ; and it
affords him the highest gratification to have obtained
your Majesty's approbation.

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

SOUTH STREET, 2nd September 1841.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty. He received your Majesty's letter yesterday
evening, and was very glad to learn from it that your
Majesty was not ill satisfied with Sir Robert Peel,
and that the arrangements were going on smoothly,
which it is highly desirable that they should. Your
Majesty should desire Sir Robert Peel to give notice
to all those who have insignia of office, such as
Seals, Wands, to give up, to attend at Claremont on
Friday ; but of course he will do this of himself.
Your Majesty will have much to go through upon
that day and much that is painful. Your Majesty
should spare yourself and be spared as much as
possible. It will not be necessary for Lord Melbourne
to go down. He may be considered as having
resigned at the Audience which he had of your
Majesty at Windsor, and Lord Melbourne has
ventured to tell Lord Lansdowne that he thinks he
need not do so either, and that your Majesty will
excuse his attendance. Lord Melbourne need say
nothing about the Secretaries of State, with all of
whom your Majesty is so well acquainted; but


perhaps your Majesty will not omit to thank Mr
Baring l cordially for his services. He is a thoroughly
honest man and an able public servant. If your
Majesty could say to the Lord Chancellor, 2 " that you
part with him with much sorrow ; that you are sensible
that much of the strength of the late Administration
was derived from the manner in which he discharged
the duties of his office, and that you consider his retire-
ment a great and serious loss to the country," it would
certainly be no more than he deserves.

It is thought by some who know him here that
the Duke of Rutland will be so extremely pleased
with the offer being made, and that by your Majesty
yourself, that he will accept it ; but he is a year older
than Lord Melbourne, and therefore hardly fit for any
very active duty. . . .

The appointment of Colonel Arbuthnot will of
course be very agreeable to the Duke of Wellington.
The Arbuthnots are quiet, demure people before
others ; but they are not without depth of purpose,
and they are very bitter at bottom.

Your Majesty will not forget the two Knights for
Mr de la Beche 3 and Major Monro.

Lord Melbourne begins to hope that this affair
will be got through more satisfactorily and with less
annoyance than your Majesty anticipated. As long
as your Majesty is desirous of receiving his com-
munications, he will be always most careful to give
your Majesty his impartial opinion and the best
advice which he has to offer. His most fervent
prayer will always be for your Majesty's welfare and

discount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

SOUTH STREET, 2nd September 1841.

. . . Lord Melbourne hopes and trusts that when
to-morrow is over your Majesty will recover from that

1 The retiring Chancellor of the Exchequer.

8 Lord Cottenham.

3 Sir Henry T. de la Beche, an eminent geologist.


depression of spirits under which your Majesty now
labours. Lord Melbourne never doubted that it would
be so, but is glad to learn from your Majesty the
support and consolation which your Majesty finds in
the advice and affection of the Prince.

This is the last letter which Lord Melbourne will
send in a box. He will to-morrow morning return
his keys to the Foreign Office, and after that your
Majesty will be good enough to send the letters,
with which you may honour Lord Melbourne, through
Mr Anson.

Lord Melbourne most anxiously wishes your Majesty
every blessing.

Viscount Melbowne to Queen Victoria.

SOUTH STREET, 3rd September 1841.

Lord Melbourne earnestly hopes that your Majesty
is well after this trying day. 1 Lord Melbourne has
thought and felt for your Majesty all this morning.

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 32 of 52)