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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in their charges to the Juries ? 2

1 Solicitor-General : his health gave way in middle life, and he died in

2 In consequence of the manner in which the trial terminated, and the
feeling excited in the country, the House of Lords put certain questions on
the subject of criminal insanity to the judges, whose answers have been since
considered as establishing the law.


The Earl of Aberdeen to Queen Victoria.

FOREIGN OFFICE, 13th March 1843.

Lord Aberdeen presents his humble duty to your
Majesty. In obedience to your Majesty's commands
he has endeavoured to consider the letter of the
Grand Duke of Baden with reference to the position
of the Princess Mary 1 in this country. Lord Aberdeen
does not find in the proceedings of the Conference of
Great Powers at Vienna, at Aix la Chapelle, or at Paris,
anything which can materially affect the question. The
great difficulty with respect to the Princess appears to
arise from the fact that in this country the rank and
precedence of every person are regulated and fixed by
law. Should your Majesty be disposed to deviate from
the strict observance of this, although Lord Aberdeen
cannot doubt that it would receive a very general
acquiescence, it is still possible that the Princess
might be exposed to occasional disappointment and
mortification. . . .

There is a consideration, to which Lord Aberdeen
would humbly advert, which may not altogether be
unworthy of your Majesty's notice. Your Majesty does
not wish to encourage alliances of this description ;
and although there may be no danger of their frequent
occurrence, it cannot be denied that an additional
inducement would exist if Princesses always retained
their own rank in this country.

On the whole, Lord Aberdeen would humbly
submit to your Majesty that the Princess might be
received by your Majesty, in the first instance with
such distinction as was due to her birth either by
a Royal carriage being sent to bring her to your
Majesty's presence, or in any manner which your
Majesty might command with the understanding
that she should permanently adopt the title and
station of her husband. Your Majesty's favour and

1 The Princess Mary of Baden had recently married the Marquis of
Douglas, eldest son of the Duke of Hamilton. See p. 549.


protection, afforded to her in this character, will
probably realise all the expectations of the Grand
Duke ; and, without acknowledging any positive claim
or right, your Majesty would secure the gratitude of
the Princess.

Queen Victoria to Sir Robert Peel.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, nth March 1843.

The Queen has spoken again to the Prince about
the Levees, who has kindly consented to do what
can be of use and convenience to the Queen. There
is one circumstance which must be considered and
settled, and which the Queen omitted to mention to
Sir Robert Peel when she saw him. The chief,
indeed the only, object of having these Levees is to
save the Queen the extreme fatigue of the Presentations
which would come in such a mass together when the
Queen held them herself; the Prince naturally holds the
Levees for the Queen, and represents her ; could not
therefore everybody who were presented to him be
made to understand that this would be tantamount to
a presentation to the Queen herself? There might
perhaps be an objection on the part of people presented
to kneel and kiss the Prince's hand. But this could
be obviated by merely having the people named to
the Prince. The inconvenience would be so great if
nobody at all could be presented till late in the
season, that something must be devised to get over
this difficulty.

Sir Robert Peel to Queen Victoria.

DOWNING STREET, ISth March 1843.

Sir Robert Peel presents his humble duty to
your Majesty, and begs leave to submit to your
Majesty that should your Majesty determine that
the Prince should hold Levees on behalf of your
Majesty, the best course will be to announce the


intention from the Lord Chamberlain's Office in
terms to the following purport :

" His Royal Highness Prince Albert will, by
Her Majesty's command, hold a Levee on behalf
of Her Majesty on

" It is Her Majesty's pleasure that presentations
to the Prince at this Leve'e shall be considered
equivalent to presentations to the Queen.

"Addresses to Her Majesty may be presented to
Her Majesty through the Secretary of State, or
may be reserved until Her Majesty can hold a
Levee in person."

Sir Robert Peel humbly submits to your Majesty
that it would not be advisable to prohibit by notice
in the Gazette subsequent presentations to your
Majesty. It will probably answer every purpose
to state that they shall be considered equivalent,
and when your Majesty shall hold a Levee it may
be then notified at the time that second presenta-
tions are not necessary.

When the Prince shall hold the Leve'e, it may
be made known at the time, without any formal
public notification, that kneeling and the kissing
of hands will not be required.

Sir Robert Peel hopes that the effect of holding
these Levees may be materially to relieve your
Majesty, but it is of course difficult to speak with
certainty. He was under the impression that in the
reign of Queen Anne, Prince George had occasionally
held Levees on the part of the Queen during the
Queen's indisposition, but on searching the Gazette
of the time he cannot find any record of this.

Queen Victoria to Sir Robert Peel.

CLAREMOVT, 19th March 1843.

The Queen has received Sir Robert's letter, and
quite approves of his suggestions concerning the
Levies. The Prince is quite ready to do whatever


may be thought right, and the Queen wishes Sir
Robert to act upon the plan he has laid before her
in his letter of yesterday. Perhaps it would be right
before making anything public to consider the question
of Drawing-Rooms likewise, which are of such import-
ance to the tradespeople of London. It would be
painful for the Queen to think that she should be
the cause of disappointment and loss to this class of
her subjects, particularly at this moment of commercial
stagnation. The Queen conceives that it would be the
right thing that the same principle laid down for the
Levees should be followed with regard to Drawing-
Rooms, the Prince holding them for her. The Queen
is anxious to have soon Sir Robert's opinion upon this
subject. The Queen in looking at the almanac finds
that only the two next weeks are available for these
purposes before Easter.

Sir Robert Peel to Queen Victoria.

WHITEHALL, 27th March 1843.

Sir Robert Peel presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and hastens to reply to your Majesty's note
of this date.

Sir Robert Peel assures your Majesty that he
does not think that there is the slightest ground for
apprehension on the occasion of the Levee, but Sir
Robert Peel will, without the slightest allusion to
your Majesty's communication to him, make personal
enquiries into the police arrangements and see that
every precaution possible shall be taken.

He begs, however, humbly to assure your Majesty
that there never has reached him any indication of a
hostile feeling towards the Prince. It could only
proceed from some person of deranged intellect,
and he thinks it would be almost impossible for
such a person to act upon it on the occasion of a

It may tend to remove or diminish your Majesty's


anxiety to know that Sir Robert Peel has walked
home every night from the House of Commons, and,
notwithstanding frequent menaces and intimations of
danger, he has not met with any obstruction.

He earnestly hopes that your Majesty will dismiss
from your mind any apprehension, and sincerely believes
that your Majesty may do so with entire confidence.
But nothing shall be neglected.

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.


MY DEAREST UNCLE, I had the pleasure of
receiving your kind letter of the 24th, on Sunday.
How lucky you are to have seen the comet ! 1 It is
distinctly to be seen here, and has been seen by many
people, but we have till now looked out in vain for
it. We shall, however, persevere.

We left dear Claremont with great regret, and since
our return have been regaled with regular March winds,
which, however, have not kept me from my daily walks.
To-day it is finer again.

It is most kind and good of dearest Albert to hold
these Levees for me, which will be a great relief for
hereafter for me. Besides ccla le met dans sa position;
he and / must be one, so that I can only be represented
by him. I think this, therefore, a good thing for that
reason also; and God knows, he, dear angel, deserves
to be the highest in everything.

Our Consecration went off extremely well, and the
Chapel is delightful, and so convenient. I am sure you
will like it.

You will be glad to hear that dear old Eos (who
is still at Claremont) is going on most favourably ;
they attribute this sudden attack to her overeating

1 Its appearance gave rise to much discussion among astronomers. On
the 17th Sir John Herschel saw its nucleus from Collingwood in Kent, and
on the following night a dim nebula only ; so it was probably receding with
great velocity.


(she steals where ver she can get anything), living in
too warm rooms, and getting too little exercise since
she was in London. Certainly her wind was not in
the slightest degree affected by her accident, for, in the
autumn she coursed better than all the other young
dogs, and ran and fetched pheasants, etc., from any
distance, and ran about the very evening she was
taken so ill, as if nothing w r as the matter. Evidently
part of her lungs must be very sound still ; and they
say no one's lungs are quite sound. She must be well
starved poor thing, and not allowed to sleep in beds,
as she generally does.

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

BROCKET HALL, 2nd April, 1843.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty. He received yesterday morning your
Majesty's letter of the 30th ult, for which he
sincerely thanks your Majesty. Lord Melbourne is
delighted to find that your Majesty was pleased
with the bouquet. The daphnes are neither so
numerous nor so fine as they were, but there are
still enough left to make another bouquet, which
Lord Melbourne will take care is sent up by his cart
to-morrow, and left at Buckingham Palace. Lord
Melbourne is very much touched and obliged by
your Majesty's very kind advice, which he will
try his utmost to follow, as he himself believes that
his health entirely depends upon his keeping up his
stomach in good order and free from derangement.
He owns that he is very incredulous about the
unwholesomeness of dry champagne, and he does
not think that the united opinion of the whole
College of Physicians and of Surgeons would per-
suade him upon these points, he cannot think that
a " Hohenlohe " glass of dry champagne, i.e., half a
Schoppen, 1 can be prejudicial. Lord and Lady Erroll 2
and Lord Auckland and Miss Eden are coming

1 A Schoppen is about a pint, it is the same word etymologically as " scoop."

2 William George, seventeenth Earl of Erroll, married a sister of the first
Earl of Munster.

VOL. i. 38


in the course of the week, and they would be much
surprised not to get a glass of champagne with their
dinner. Lord Melbourne is very glad to learn that
the Prince's Levee did well, and feels that His Royal
Highness undertaking this duty must be a great relief
and assistance to your Majesty. Lord Melbourne hopes
to see the Baron here when he comes. The spring still
delays and hangs back, but it rains to-day, which Lord
Melbourne hopes will bring it on.

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, kth April 1843.

DEAREST UNCLE, Many thanks for your very
kind letter of the 31st, which I received on Sunday,
just as our excellent friend Stockmar made his
appearance. He made us very happy by his ex-
cellent accounts of you all, including dearest Louise,
and the children he says are so grown ; Leo being
nearly as tall as Louise ! En revanche he will, I hope,
tell you how prosperous he found us all ; and how
surprised and pleased he was with the children ; he
also is struck with Albert junior's likeness to his
dearest papa, which everybody is struck with. Indeed,
dearest Uncle, I will venture to say that not only
no Royal Menage is to be found equal to ours, but
no other menage is to be compared to ours, or is any
one to be compared, take him altogether, to my
dearest Angel ! . . .

Sir Robert Peel to Queen Victoria.

WHITEHALL, 6th April 1843.

Sir Robert Peel presents his humble duty to
your Majesty, and has this moment received your
Majesty's note.

Sir Robert Peel will immediately make enquiry
in the first instance in respect to the correctness of
the report of the dinner. The omission of the health


of the Prince is certainly very strange it would be
very unusual at any public dinner but seems quite
unaccountable at a dinner given in connection with
the interests of one of the Royal Theatres.

The toasts are generally prepared not by the
chairman of the meeting, but by a committee, but
still the omission of the name of the Prince ought
to have occurred at once to the Duke of Cambridge,
and there cannot be a doubt that he might have
rectified, and ought to have rectified, the omission.

Sir Robert Peel is sure your Majesty will approve
of his ascertaining in the first instance the real facts
of the case whether the report be a correct one,
and if a correct one, who are the parties by whom
the arrangements in respect to the toasts were made.

This being done, Sir Robert Peel will then apply
himself to the execution of your Majesty's wishes,
in the manner pointed out by your Majesty.

He begs humbly to assure your Majesty that he
enters most fully into your Majesty's very natural feel-
ings, and that he shall always have the greatest pleasure
in giving effect to your Majesty's wishes in matters of
this nature, and in proving himself worthy of the con-
fidence your Majesty is kindly pleased to repose in him.

Sir Robert Peel to Queen Victoria.

WHITEHALL, 6th April 1843.

Sir Robert Peel with his humble duty to your
Majesty hastens to make a communication to your
Majesty, on the subject of your Majesty's letter of
this morning, which, he hopes, will remove from
your Majesty's mind, any unfavourable impression
with regard to the toasts at the theatrical dinner,
or to the conduct of the Duke of Cambridge in
reference to them.

Sir Robert Peel, since he addressed your Majesty,
has made enquiry from Colonel Wood, the member
for Brecon, who was present at the meeting.

In order to have the real statement of the case,
Sir Robert Peel did not mention the object of the


enquiry. The following were the questions and the
answers :

Q. What were the toasts at the theatrical
dinner last night ?

COLONEL WOOD. The first was The Queen and the
Prince. The Duke said he thought he could not give
the health of the Queen in a manner more satisfactory
than by coupling with the name of Her Majesty that of
her illustrious Consort.

Colonel Wood said that his impression was that
the Duke meant to do that w r hich would be most
respectful to the Prince, and that he had in his mind
when he united the name of the Prince with that
of your Majesty, the circumstances of the Prince
having recently held the Levee on behalf of your

It might perhaps have been better had His Royal
Highness adhered to the usual custom, and proposed
the health of the Prince distinctly and separately,
but he humbly submits to your Majesty that the
intention of His Royal Highness must have been to
show respect to the Prince.

The reports of public dinners are frequently
incorrect, the reporters being sometimes placed at
a great distance from the chairman.

Sir Robert Peel to Queen Victoria.

WHITEHALL, Uth April 1843.

Sir Robert Peel presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and will not fail to forward by the first
opportunity the letter to Lord Ellenborough which
accompanied your Majesty's note.

In consequence of his conversation yesterday
morning with Baron Stockmar, Sir Robert Peel begs
to mention to your Majesty that he saw to-day a
private letter from Berlin, which mentioned that the
King of Hanover had apparently abandoned the
intention of visiting England this year, but that on
the receipt of some letters from England, which he


suspected to be written for the purpose of discourag-
ing his visit, the King suddenly changed his intention
and wrote a letter to your Majesty stating that he had
thoughts of such a visit.

It was not stated from whence the letters advising
the King to remain on the Continent had proceeded.

This letter also stated that the King of Hanover
proposed to waive his rank of Sovereign as far as he
possibly could on his arrival in England, and to take
his seat in the House of Lords without taking any
part in the proceedings.

It added that the King could not in any event
be in England before the latter end of May or begin-
ning of June, and rather hinted that as his proposed
visit was more out of a spirit of contradiction and
impatience of obstacles being thrown in the way of it,
than from any strong wish on his part to come here,
he might probably change his intention and defer his
visit, particularly if he should find that there was no
particular impediment in the way of it.

Sir Robert Peel to Queen Victoria.

WHITEHALL, 13th April 1843.

Sir Robert Peel presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and begs leave to acquaint your Majesty
that the Duke of Cambridge having called on Sir
Robert Peel this morning, he took an opportunity
of asking His Royal Highness whether he thought
the King of Hanover had made up his mind to visit
England this year.

The Duke's reply was, as nearly as possible, as
follows :

"Oh yes, the King will certainly come, but I can
tell you privately he means to have nothing to do
with the House of Lords. He will not make his
appearance there. The King has taken his servants
for six weeks that is, engaged their attendance upon
him for that time. I know the porter is engaged
and the stable servants. The King has written to


Her Majesty. His real object in coming is to arrange
his private papers, which were left in confusion, and to
consult Sir Henry Halford."

This was all that was material that His Royal
Highness said.

Lord Ellenborough to Queen Victoria.

CAMP, DELHI, 19th February 1843.

. . . The gates of the Temple of Somnauth, which
have been escorted to Delhi by five hundred cavalry
of the protected Sikh States, will be escorted from
Delhi to Muttra and thence to Agra by the same
force of cavalry, furnished by the Rajahs of Bhurtpore
and Alwar. 2

While there has been universally evinced a feeling
of gratitude to the British Government for the con-
sideration shown to the people of Hindustan in the
restoration of these trophies, there has not occurred
a single instance of apparent mortification amongst
the Mussulmans. All consider the restoration of the
gates to be a national, not a religious, triumph. At
no place has more satisfaction been expressed than at
Paniput, a town almost exclusively Mussulman, where
there exist the remains of the first mosque built by
Sultan Mahmood after he had destroyed the city and
temples of the Hindoos. . . .

Extract from the Will of his late Royal Highness the
Duke of Sussex, dated the 11 th August 1840 3 (sent
at the Queens request by Sir Robert Peel to the
Duke of Wellington for his advice}.

" I desire that on my death my body may be
opened, and should the examination present anything

The eminent physician.

1 See ante, p. 557.

The Duke of Sussex died on 21st April of erysipelas. His first marriage
in 1793 to Lady Augusta Murray, daughter of the fourth Earl of Dunmore,
was declared void under the Royal Marriage Act. Lady Augusta died in
1830 ; her daughter married Sir Thomas Wilde, afterwards Lord Truro. The
Duke contracted a second marriage with Lady Cecilia, daughter of the Earl
of Arran and widow of Sir George Buggin : she was created Duchess of
Inverness in 1840.


useful or interesting to science, 1 empower my
executors to make it public. And I desire to be
buried in the public cemetery at Kensal Green, in the
Parish of Harrow, in the County of Middlesex, and
not at Windsor."

The Duke of Wellington to Sir Robert Peel.


STRATH FIELDS A YE, 21st April 1843.

MY DEAR PEEL, I have just now received your
letter of this day, and 1 return the enclosure in the
box. It appears to me that the whole case must be
considered as hanging together ; that is, the desire
to be buried at Kensal Green, that of Freemasons
to pay Masonic Honours, 1 that the body of the
Duchess of Inverness should be interred near to his
when she dies.

Parties still alive have an interest in the attainment
of the two last objects, which are quite incompatible
with the interment of a Prince of the Blood, a Knight
of the Garter, in St George's Chapel at Windsor.

The Queen's Royal Command might overrule the
Duke's desire to be buried at Kensal Green. 2 Nobody
would complain of or contend against it.

But there will be no end of the complaints of
interference by authority on the part of Freemasons ;
and of those who will take part with the Duchess of
Inverness : and it is a curious fact that there are
persons in Society who are interested in making out
that she was really married to the Duke. Against
this we must observe that it will be urged that the
omission to insist that the interment should take
place in the Collegiate Chapel of St George's, Windsor,
and thus to set aside the will, lowers the Royal Family
in the opinion of the public ; and is a concession to
Radicalism. But it is my opinion that the reasons
will justify that which will be done in conformity
with the will.

f J The Duke of Sussex being Grand Master of England, and Master of the
Lodge of Antiquity.

2 The body lay in state at Kensington, and was eventually buried, as the
Duke had desired, in the Kensal Green Cemetery.


I confess that I don't like to decide upon cases in
such haste ; and I cannot consider it necessary that
a decision should be made on the course to be taken
in respect to the Duke's funeral, on the morrow of
the day on which he died.

It would be desirable to know the opinion of the
Lord Chancellor, the Archbishop, and others.

I can't think of anything likely to occur, which
might alter me : and I '11 abide by that which I have
above given.

It will be absolutely necessary to take effective
measures for the preservation of the peace at this
funeral at Kensal Green : and even that the magistrates
should superintend the procession of the Freemasons.
Believe me, ever yours most sincerely,


Queen Adelaide to Queen Victoria.

Mnd April 1843.

MY DEAREST NIECE, I am just come back and
feel very anxious to know how you are, and beg at
the same time to offer to you my most affectionate
condolence, on the melancholy event which has taken
again another member of our family from us. Pray
do not trouble yourself "wi^a. answering this note, but let
me hear how you feel, and whether you will like to see
me to-morrow or at any time most convenient to you.

I feel deeply our new loss which recalls all the
previous sad losses which we have had so forcibly,
and I pray that it may not affect you too much,
dearest Victoria, and that you will not suffer from
the shock it must have been to you. I was not in the
least aware of the danger and near approach of the
fatal end, and only yesterday began to feel alarmed by
the accounts which I have received.

I have been with the poor Duchess of Inverness on
my way to town, and found her as composed as possible
under the sad circumstances, and full of gratitude to
you and all the family for ah 1 the kindness which she


had received. I pity her very much. It must be her
comfort to have made the last years of the Duke's
life happy, and to have been his comfort to the last

I wish you good-night, dearest Niece, and beg you

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 48 of 52)