The Life and Times of Queen Victoria; vol. 3 of 4 by Robert Wilson








C A S S E L L   &   C O M P A N Y, Limited:








Days of the Rebellion—The Operations in China—The Queen’s Personal Direction of Affairs—Palmerston’s waning Popularity—Attacks on Lord Canning—The Orsini Plot—French Menaces to England—The Conspiracy Bill—Defeat of the Ministry—The Second Derby-Disraeli Government—Abandonment of the Conspiracy Bill—The Queen’s Opposition to the India Bill—The Oudh Proclamation and Ellenborough’s “Secret Despatch”—A Tropical Summer and an Exhausted Legislature—Confirmation of the Prince of Wales—The Queen at Birmingham and Leeds—The Dispute between France and England about the Principalities—The Queen’s Visit to Cherbourg—The Royal Visit to Prussia—The Meeting with the Princess Frederick William—A Royal “Middie”—The Indian Proclamation—The Queen at Balmoral—Donati’s Comet—The Controversy over the Indian Army—Abdication of the King of Prussia—The Queen’s Letter to the Prince of Wales—France and Portugal—Failing Health of the Prince Consort 1


Napoleon’s New Year’s Reception—The Secret Pacte de Famille—Victor Emmanuel and the Grido di Dolore—The Queen’s Views on the Italian Movement—The Queen’s Letter to Napoleon—Meeting of Parliament—Cavour Threatens Napoleon—Appeal of Prussia to the Queen for Advice—Mr. Disraeli’s Reform Bill—Lord John Russell’s Amendment—Defeat of the Government—An Appeal to the Country—The Queen Criticises Austria’s Blunders—War at Last—The General Election—Reconciliation of Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell—Fall of the Derby-Disraeli Administration—The Palmerston-Russell Ministry—Austrian Defeats and French Victories—The Peace of Villafranca—Palmerston Duped—Illness of the Duchess of Kent—The Budget—The Queen and Palmerston—Triumph of the Queen’s Policy—The Holiday at Balmoral—Dancing in the New Year 28


The Queen’s Distrust of French Policy—Her Conferences with Lord Clarendon—The French Pamphlet on “The Pope and the Congress”—Palmerston’s Proposal of an Alliance Offensive and Defensive with France—Intriguing between Palmerston and Persigny—Recall of Cavour—Affairs in China—Mr. Cobden’s Commercial Treaty with France—Cession of Nice and Savoy to France—The Anglo-French Alliance at an End—Lord John Russell’s Reform Bill—Threatened Rupture with France—Russia Attempts to Re-open the Eastern Question—Garibaldi’s Invasion of the Two Sicilies—Collapse of the Neapolitan Monarchy—The Piedmontese Invade the Papal States—Annexation of the Sicilies to Sardinia—Meeting between Napoleon III. and the German Sovereigns at Baden—A New Holy Alliance—The Mahometan Atrocities in Syria—The Macdonald Scandal—Palmerston’s Fortification Scheme—The Lords Reject the Bill Abolishing the Paper Duty—The Volunteer Movement—Reviews in Hyde Park and Edinburgh—The Queen at Wimbledon—The Prince of Wales’s Tour in Canada and the United States—Betrothal of the Princess Alice—The Queen and her Grandchild—Serious Accident to the Prince Consort—Illness of the Queen 43


England in 1861—The Jumble of Parties—Secret Alliance Between Palmerston and the Tories—Opening of Parliament—The Prince Consort and the “Two Old Italian Masters”—Lady William Russell’s Salon—The Proposed Sale of Venice—The Fall of Gaeta—Prussia and Italy—Death of Cavour—A Casus Belli against France—Napoleon in the East—Denmark and the Duchies—The Queen’s Private Sorrows—Last Illness and Death of the Duchess of Kent—Renewed Attacks in the Press on Prince Albert—Palmerston Accused of Tampering with Despatches—Anecdote of Lord Derby and Lord Granville—The Budget—Repeal of the Paper Duty—Palmerston’s “Grudge” Against Prince Albert—The Marriage of the Princess Alice announced—The Queen and Her Social Duties—Two Drawing-Rooms and Two Investitures—A Season of Mourning—Death of Lord Herbert of Lea—Lord John {v}Russell’s Peerage—Reform and the Working Classes—Ministerial Changes—The Queen’s Tour in Ireland—The Queen and German Unity—Coronation of the King of Prussia—Death of the King of Portugal—Fatigue of the Prince Consort—Signs of His Last Illness—The Queen at Her Husband’s Sick-Bed—A Mournful Vigil—The Prince Consort’s Last Words—Scene at the Death-Bed—The Sorrow of the Country—The Queen’s Despair—Her Removal from Windsor—Prince Albert’s Character and Career—His Funeral—The Scene at the Grave—The Queen and the Princess Alice 73


Outbreak of Civil War in the United States—Origin of the Dispute—The Missouri Compromise—Effect of the “Gold Rush” on the Extension of Slavery—Colonising Nebraska—The Struggle in “Bleeding Kansas”—Assault on Senator Sumner—The Wyandotte Constitution—The Dred Scott Case—Election of Mr. Lincoln as President—Secession of South Carolina—Organisation of the Southern Confederacy—The Firing of the First Shot—Capture of Fort Sumter—Lincoln’s Call to Arms—Opinion in England—The Trent Affair—The Queen and the Prince Consort avert War—Opening of Parliament—Bitter Controversy over the Education Code—Parliament and the Civil War—The Cotton Famine—A Relief Bill—War Expenditure—Mr. Disraeli denounces Lord Palmerston’s “Bloated Armaments”—A Budget without a Surplus—The Fortifications at Spithead—Floating versus Fixed Forts—A Mexican Adventure—Revolution in Greece—Bismarck’s Visit to London—Anecdote of Bismarck and Mr. Disraeli—Progress of the American War—Mr. Peabody’s Benefactions—The Exhibition of 1862—The Prince of Wales’s Tour in the East—The Hartley Colliery Accident—Marriage of the Princess Alice—The Queen’s Visit to Belgium—Her Meeting with the Princess Alexandra of Denmark—The Queen’s Visit to Gotha—Removal of the Prince Consort’s Remains to the Mausoleum at Frogmore 111


England in 1863—The Prince of Wales Summoned as a Peer of Parliament—His Introduction to the House of Lords—Cession of the Ionian Islands to Greece—Mr. Disraeli’s Policy—The Prince of Wales’s Income—The Dowry of the Princess—Approaching Marriage of the Prince of Wales—The Voyage of the “Sea-King’s Daughter”—Reception of the Princess Alexandra at Gravesend—Her Entry into London—The Scene in the City—The West End en Fête—Loyalty of Clubland—Accident to the Royal Party at Slough—The High Churchmen and the Queen—Objections to a Royal Marriage in Lent—The Dispensing Power of the Primate—A Visit to Frogmore—The Queen at the Prince of Wales’s Marriage—The Scene in St. George’s Chapel—The Wedding Presents—The Ceremony—The Wedding Guests hustled by Roughs—Riots in Ireland—Illuminated London—Foreign Policy—The Polish Question—The Russian Rebuff to Lord Palmerston—Napoleon III. Proposes a Congress of Sovereigns—Lord Russell Condemns the Proposal—The Death-Knell of the Anglo-French Alliance—France and Mexico and the Archduke Maximilian 146


The Sleswig-Holstein Question—The Danish Succession—Palmerston’s Partisanship—The “Danification” of the Duchies—The Letters-Patent of Christian VIII.—The Revolution of ’48—The Sleswig-Holstein Treaty of Berlin—Salic Law in the Duchies—Palmerston’s Intrigue with the Russian Ambassador—The Protocol of 1850—The Queen’s Objections to it—Prince Albert’s Advice to the Prince of Noër—The Treaty of London—Lord Malmesbury’s Fatal Blunder—His Mistake as to the Mandate of the Diet—Letters-Patent of Frederick VII.—His Death—Accession of Christian IX.—Revolt of the Duchies—Proclamation of the Duke of Augustenburg as Sovereign—Mr. Gladstone’s Popular Budget—Death of Sir George Cornewall Lewis—The Queen’s Letter to Lady Theresa Lewis—The Dispute with Brazil—The Prison Ministers Bill—A South Kensington Job—Hoodwinking the Commons—A “Scene” in the House of Commons—A Ministerial Defeat—Sir George Grey and the City Police—The Civil War in America—Escape of the Alabama—Illegal Seizure of the Alexandra—Blockade Running—Proclamation Abolishing Slavery—Progress of the War—Net Results of the Campaigns 164


Stagnant Politics—Excitement over the Danish War—Attitude of the Queen—Withdrawal of the Danes from Holstein—Lord Wodehouse’s Mission—The Quarterly Review advocates War—Mr. Disraeli Repudiates a War Policy—Lord Palmerston’s Secret Plans—The Case against Germany—The Queen’s Warnings—Mr. Cobden’s Arguments—Lord Russell’s “Demands”—Palmerston drafts a Warlike Queen’s Speech—The Queen Refuses to Sanction it—Lord Derby Summoned to Osborne—He is Pledged to a Peace Policy—Austria and Prussia in Conflict with the Diet—The Occupation of Sleswig—War at Last—Retreat of the Danes to Düppel—Palmerston’s Protests Answered by German Victories—The Invasion of Jutland—Storming of the Düppel Redoubts—Excitement in London—Garibaldi’s Visit to London—Garibaldi and the Dowager Duchess of Sutherland—Anecdotes of Garibaldi’s Visit—Clarendon’s Visit to Napoleon III.—Expulsion of Garibaldi by Palmerston—Napoleon III. Agrees to Accept the Proposal for a Conference—Triumph of the Queen’s Peace Policy—Palmerston’s Last Struggle—His {vi}Ministry Saved by Surrender to Mr. Cobden—The Treaty of Vienna—End of the War 186


Disputes with American Belligerents—The Southern Privateers—Uneasiness of the Queen—Federal Recruiting in Ireland—Mr. Gladstone’s Budget—Revival of the Reform Agitation—Mr. Gladstone Joins the Reformers—“Essays and Reviews”—A Heresy-Hunt in Convocation—A Ribald Chancellor—The Parliamentary Duel between Wilberforce and Westbury—The Vote of Censure on Mr. Lowe—The Five Under-Secretaries and the House of Commons—Prorogation of Parliament—The Strife in the United States—Gambling in Cotton—A Commercial Panic in England—The Battle of Chancellorsville—Sherman’s March through Georgia—The Canadian Raiders—The Presidential Election—Birth of the Heir-Presumptive—Baptism of the Heir-Presumptive—The Queen’s Gift to her Little Grandson—The Queen and the Floods at Sheffield—The Murder of Mr. Briggs—The Queen Refuses a Reprieve to the Murderer—The Queen’s Letter to the Princess Louis—John Brown and the Queen’s Pony—Dr. Norman McLeod’s Message from the Queen—An Anniversary of Sorrow and Sympathy 211


Opening of Parliament—Lord Russell and the American Government—Catholicism and Conservatism—Mr. Disraeli angles for the Irish Vote—Palmerston on Tenant Right—Another Panic in Piccadilly—Death of Cobden—Failure of the “Manchester School”—A Prosperity Budget and a Round Surplus—End of the American War—Moderation of the Victors—Assassination of President Lincoln—Reorganising the South—Conflict between President Johnson and the Republican Party—The Mexican Empire and the United States—The Danish Question—The Convention of Gastein—Bismarck’s Interview with the Duke of Augustenburg—The Mystery of Biarritz—Lord Chancellor Westbury’s Fall—Death and Character of Palmerston—The New Ministry—Mr. Gladstone Leader of the Commons—The Rinderpest—The Fenian Conspiracy—The Queen’s Letter on Railway Accidents—Laxity of Administration in the Queen’s Household—Birth of Prince George of Wales—Majority of Prince Alfred—The Queen at Gotha—The Betrothal of the Princess Helena—The Last Illness and Death of King Leopold of Belgium—His Character and Career—Suppressing a Rebellion with a Carpet-Bag 231


End of the Era of Compromise—Dawn of the new Epoch of Reform—Opening of Parliament by the Queen—The Queen’s Nervous Prostration at Osborne—Introduction of the Reform Bill—Hostility of the House of Commons—Dissentient Liberals in “the Cave of Adullam”—Defeat of the Reform Bill—Resignation of the Ministry—Lord Derby forms a Cabinet—His attempted Coalition with the Whig Dukes—Domestic Policy during the Session—The House of Commons and the Rinderpest—Another Prosperity Budget—Large Remissions of Taxation—Coercing Ireland—The White Terror in Jamaica—Marriage of the Princess Helena—The Financial Embarrassment of the Princess Louis of Hesse—The Queen Intercedes with Prussia on behalf of Hesse-Darmstadt—The Queen’s Gift to Mr. Peabody—The Queen’s Visit to Aldershot—The Foundation of the Albert Medal—Marriage of the Princess Mary of Cambridge—The Queen’s first Telegram to the President of the United States—The Queen’s Visit to Aberdeen and Wolverhampton 252


Stemming the Tide of Democracy—Lord Derby and Reform—The Reform League—The Riots in Hyde Park—Cowing the Ministry—The Adullamites—Mr. Disraeli’s Resolutions—Crises in the Cabinet—The Ten Minutes Bill—The Government Measure—Mr. Gladstone’s Alterations—A Leap in the Dark—The Movement in Favour of German Unity—The Austro-Prussian War—The Luxembourg Question—Execution of the Emperor Maximilian—Mr. Disraeli’s Budget—Academic Discussions of Irish Grievances—Fenian Outrages at Manchester and Clerkenwell—Rattening at Sheffield—Prince Arthur Passes his Military Examination—Illness of the Princess of Wales—Founding of the Royal Albert Hall—The Sultan in England—Abdul Aziz, K.G.—Visit of the Queen to the Duchess of Roxburghe—Dr. Macleod at Balmoral—Prince Arthur ill of Smallpox—The Queen Keeping Hallowe’en—Her Majesty Visits Lady Palmerston 269


A “Little War” in Abyssinia—King Theodore’s Arrest of Vice-Consul Cameron—The Unanswered Letter to the Queen—A Skilful but Expensive General—Sir Robert Napier’s Expedition—An Autumnal Session—Addition to the Income Tax—Parliament in 1868—A Spiritless Legislature—Fishing for a Policy—Apologetic Ministers—Mr. Bright on Repeal—The Irish Church Question—Fenian Alarms—Illness and {vii}Resignation of Lord Derby—Mr. Disraeli Prime Minister—His Quarrel with Lord Chelmsford—Lord Derby Arbitrates—The “Giant Chancellor”—Mr. Disraeli’s New Policy—Discontented Adullamites—Public Executions—Lord Mayo and Concurrent Endowment—“The Pill to Cure the Earthquake”—Mr. Gladstone Attacks the Government—The Irish Church Resolutions—Resignation or Dissolution—Mr. Disraeli’s “No Popery” Cry—Lord Chelmsford’s Bad Pun—Defeat of the Ministry—Mr. Disraeli and the Queen—“Scenes” in the House of Commons—Charges of Treason—Mr. Disraeli’s Relations with the Queen—A Parliamentary Duel between Mr. Disraeli and Mr. Bright—The Dissolution of Parliament—Mr. Ward Hunt’s Budget—Conclusion of the Abyssinian War—The General Election—Triumph of Mr. Gladstone—Resignation of the Ministry—Mr. Gladstone’s New Cabinet—The Queen’s Politeness to Mr. Bright—Illness of Prince Leopold—Attempted Assassination of the Duke of Edinburgh—The Queen’s Book—The Queen Accused of Heresy—The West-End Tradesmen and the Queen—Mr. Reardon, M.P., suggests Abdication—A Bungled Volunteer Review at Windsor—A Hot London Season—Serious Illness of the Queen—Her Tour in Switzerland—Death of the Archbishop of Canterbury—Conflict between the Queen and Mr. Disraeli as to Church Patronage—The Revolution in Spain—Rupture between Turkey and Greece—Another War-Cloud in the East 300


Hopefulness all round—Ministers at the Fishmongers’—The Queen’s Speech—The Legislative Bill of Fare—The Queen and Mr. Gladstone’s Irish Church Policy—Release of Fenians—Mr. Gladstone’s Scheme for Disestablishing the Irish Church—The Debate in the Commons—The Second Reading Carried—The Bill in Committee—Read a Third Time—The Lords and the Bill—Amendments of the Peers—The Lords Bought Off—The Bill becomes Law—Mr. Lowe’s First Budget—The Endowed Schools Bill—The Habitual Criminals Act—The Lords and the Commons’ Legislation—Official Hostility to Reforming Ministers—Weak Members of the Cabinet—Mr. Reverdy Johnson and the Alabama Claims—The Policy of “Masterly Inactivity”—Liberalism in France—Prince Leopold’s Illness—The Queen’s Interview with Mr. Carlyle—Visit of Ismail Pasha to the Queen—The Peabody Statue—Prince Alfred in Australia—The Prince of Wales and Court Dress—Death of Lord Derby—Death of Lady Palmerston—Opening of Blackfriars Bridge and Holborn Viaduct—O’Donovan Rossa, M.P.—Orangemen and Fenians 325


Social condition of the Country in 1870—Mr. Bright’s “Six Omnibuses in Temple Bar”—Opening of Parliament—Mr. Gladstone’s Irish Land Bill—Amendments to the Bill—Dual-Ownership Established—The Bill and the House of Lords—The Revolt of Lord Salisbury—The Education Bill—Mutiny of the Liberal Dissenters—Mr. Lowe’s Second Budget—The Civil Service opened to Competition—Mr. Cardwell’s Failure at the War Office—The Queen and the Army—Mr. Childers and Admiralty Reform—Mr. Baxter and Navy Contracts—The Wreck of the Captain—Lord Granville and the Colonies—Death of Lord Clarendon—The Franco-Prussian War—Collapse of the French Armies—Sedan—Fall of the Bonapartist Dynasty—Proclamation of the Third Republic—Investment of Paris—The Government of National Defence at Tours—M. Gambetta Rouses Prostrate France—Gallant Stand of the Mobiles—A Passing Glimpse of Victory—The Queen and the War—Prussia and England—Russia Repudiates the Black Sea Clauses of the Treaty of Paris—Papal Infallibility and the Italian Occupation of Rome—King William Proclaimed German Emperor—Opening of London University—Betrothal of the Princess Louise—Death of General Grey—Death of Dickens—The Novelist and the Queen—Garden Party at Windsor Castle—The Red River Expedition 354



The Prince Consort (After the Photograph by Mayall) Frontispiece
Balmoral Castle, from the North, looking towards Lochnagar (After a Photograph by G. W. Wilson and Co., Aberdeen) 1
The Fortress of Gwalior 5
Lord Canning 8
Attempted Assassination of the Emperor of the French 9
View in Windsor Castle: the Inner Cloisters, looking West 13
The Queen’s Visit to Birmingham: The Procession passing along New Street 17
Visit of the Queen to the Emperor and Empress of the French at Cherbourg 20
Osborne House (From a Photograph by J. Valentine and Sons, Dundee) 21
Potsdam 24
The Queen leaving the Town Hall, Leeds 25
Victor Emmanuel 29
The Guard-Room, St. James’s Palace (From a Photograph by H. N. King) 33
Turin 36
Lord Granville 37
St. George’s Hall, Windsor Castle 41
The Queen Opening Glasgow Waterworks at Loch Katrine 44
View on Loch Katrine: The Walk by the Shore 45
The Royal Exchange, Manchester 49
General Garibaldi 52
The Curfew Tower, Windsor Castle 53
Pope Pius IX. 57
Volunteer Review in the Queen’s Park, Edinburgh (From the Print published by Messrs. McFarlane and Erskine, Edinburgh) 61
The Volunteer Camp, Wimbledon 64
The Queen at Wimbledon 65
President Buchanan 68
Frogmore House (From a Photograph by J. Valentine and Sons, Dundee) 69
The Queen and her Little Grandson, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia To face 70
The Queen’s Private Sitting-Room, Osborne (From a Photograph by Hughes and Mullins, Ryde) 73
St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, from the River 76
Mr. (afterwards Viscount) Cardwell (From a Photograph by the London Stereoscopic Company) 81
Balmoral Castle, from the South-West (From a Photograph by G. W. Wilson and Co., Aberdeen) 84
The Royal Tour in Ireland: the Visit to Ross Castle, Killarney 85
The Eagle’s Nest, Killarney (After a Photograph by W. Lawrence, Dublin) 88
King William of Prussia (afterwards German Emperor) 89
Industrial Museum, Edinburgh 92
The Queen holding the First Investiture of the Order of the Star of India 93
The Princess Alice Reading to her Father 97
Cambridge Cottage, Kew 101
The Princess Alice (From the Photograph by Mayall) 105
St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, showing the Royal Gallery and Altar 108
Funeral of the Prince Consort: Procession in the Nave of St. George’s Chapel 109
Mr. Lincoln 113
The San Jacinto stopping the Trent 117
The Clock Tower, Westminster Palace, 1870 121
Mr. Seward 124
Queen Anne’s Room, St. James’s Palace (From a Photograph by H. N. King) 125
View in Berlin: the Palace Bridge and Pleasure Garden 129
Mr. Peabody 133
The Exhibition Building of 1862 136
The Prince of Wales at the Pyramids 137
Marriage of the Princess Alice 140
Prince Louis of Hesse-Darmstadt 141
Reinhardsbrunn, near Gotha 145
The Vandyke Room, Windsor Castle 149
Entry of the Princess Alexandra into London: the Procession passing Temple Bar 153
The Princess of Wales (From a Photograph taken about the time of her Marriage) 156
Marlborough House, from the Garden 157
Marriage of the Prince of Wales To face 158
Corridor, Osborne House (After a Photograph by J. Valentine and Sons, Dundee) 161
Frederick Charles, Duke of Augustenburg 165
The Exchange, Copenhagen 168
The Harbour, Copenhagen 169
General Grant 172
Christiansborg Castle, Copenhagen 173
Memorial of the Great Exhibition in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Gardens, South Kensington 177
Visit of the Queen to Netley Hospital To face 179
The Queen Unveiling the Statue of Prince Albert at Aberdeen 181
Sir Charles Phipps 184
The Albert Bridge, Windsor 185
{ix}Kronborg Castle, Elsinore 188
Christian IX., King of Denmark 189
The Prussians Storming the Redoubts of Düppel 193
Garibaldi’s Reception in Trafalgar Square, London 196
Kiel 197
Count Beust 201
Windsor Castle, from the Berkshire Shore 205
Fredericksborg Castle, Elsinore 209
The Guard Room, Windsor Castle 213
Oliver King’s Chantry, St. George’s Chapel, Windsor 216
Mr. Lowe (afterwards Lord Sherbrooke) 217
The James River and Country near Richmond 220
General Sherman 221
The Royal Nursery, Osborne (From a Photograph by Hughes and Mullins, Ryde) 225
The Queen at Osborne (After W. Holl’s Engraving of the Original Portrait by Graefle. By Permission of Mr. Mitchell, Old Bond Street, W.) 229
Midhurst, Sussex: Birthplace of Cobden 233
General Robert Lee 237
Biarritz 241
The International Exhibition, Dublin (1865) 245
The Queen Unveiling the Statue of the Prince Consort at Coburg 248
Opening of Parliament in 1866: the Queen at the Peers’ Entrance, Westminster Palace 252
Mr. John Stuart Mill 253
Prince Christian (From a Photograph by W. and D. Downey) 257
Marriage of the Princess Helena 260
Princess Christian (From a Photograph by W. and D. Downey) 261
The Duchess of Teck (From a Photograph by W. and D. Downey) 265
Great Demonstration at the Reformers’ Tree in Hyde Park 272
Lord Carnarvon (From a Photograph by the London Stereoscopic Company) 273
Mr. Disraeli introducing his Reform Bill in the House of Commons 276
Council Chamber, Osborne (After a Photograph by F. G. C. Stuart, Southampton) 277
Prague 281
Last Moments of the Emperor Maximilian (After the Picture by Jean-Paul Laurens) 284
Lord Naas (afterwards Earl of Mayo) 285
The Queen laying the Foundation Stone of the Royal Albert Hall 289
Arrival of the Queen at Kelso 292
Visit of the Queen to Melrose Abbey 293
The Queen investing Abdul Aziz with the Order of the Garter To face 294
The Ball-room, Balmoral (From a Photograph by G. W. Wilson and Co.) 296
The Queen unveiling the Statue of the Prince Consort at Balmoral 297
The Queen Keeping Hallowe’en To face 299
The Prince Consort Memorial at Balmoral 299
Sir Robert Napier (afterwards Lord Napier of Magdala) 301
St. James’s Palace 305
Mr. Gathorne-Hardy (afterwards Lord Cranbrook) 309
The Queen Reviewing the Volunteers in the Great Park, Windsor 313
The Queen Inspecting the Galatea in Osborne Bay 317
The Cathedral, Lincoln 321
Windsor Castle, from Thames Street, and “Bit” of the Outer Walls 324
Mr. Chichester Fortescue (afterwards Lord Carlingford) 329
Choir of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin 332
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin 333
Dr. Wilberforce, Bishop of Winchester (From a Photograph by S. A. Walker) 337
The Victoria Embankment, London 341
The Queen’s Drawing-Room, Osborne (From a Photograph by Hughes and Mullins, Ryde, Isle of Wight) 344
Ismail Pasha 345
The Tapestry Room, St. James’s Palace (From a Photograph by H. N. King) 348
The Queen Opening Holborn Viaduct 349
The Queen Opening Blackfriars Bridge 353
Blackfriars Bridge, London 357
Mr. Disraeli (afterwards Lord Beaconsfield) (From the Bust by J. E. Boehm, R.A., in the possession of the Queen) 361
Cowes, Isle of Wight 364
Sedan 368
The French Troops Leaving Metz 369
Versailles, 1871: Proclaiming King William German Emperor 373
Charles Dickens 380
Garden Party at Windsor Castle 381



(After the Photograph by Mayall.



(After a Photograph by G. W. Wilson and Co., Aberdeen.

Life and Times of Queen Victoria



A Commercial Crisis—Suspension of the Bank Act—The Fall of Lucknow—Sir Hugh Rose in Central India—Last Days of the Rebellion—The Operations in China—The Queen’s Personal Direction of Affairs—Palmerston’s waning Popularity—Attacks on Lord Canning—The Orsini Plot—French Menaces to England—The Conspiracy Bill—Defeat of the Ministry—The Second Derby-Disraeli Government—Abandonment of the Conspiracy Bill—The Queen’s Opposition to the India Bill—The Oudh Proclamation and Ellenborough’s “Secret Despatch”—A Tropical Summer and an Exhausted Legislature—Confirmation of the Prince of Wales—The Queen at Birmingham and Leeds—The Dispute between France and England about the Principalities—The Queen’s Visit to Cherbourg—The Royal Visit to Prussia—The Meeting with the Princess Frederick William—A Royal “Middie”—The Indian Proclamation—The Queen at Balmoral—Donati’s Comet—The Controversy over the Indian Army—Abdication of the King of Prussia—The Queen’s Letter to the Prince of Wales—France and Portugal—Failing Health of the Prince Consort.

Towards the end of 1857 the commercial credit of the country was severely shaken. The great railway companies in America sank under the burden of debenture debts: when they failed to pay their creditors, the banks were unable to give gold in exchange for their convertible issue of notes, and then private firms of the highest standing rapidly tumbled into insolvency. The effect of these disasters on English commercial credit was most serious. Houses engaged in American commerce that had been rashly over-trading on the capital of their{2} creditors, fell in rapid succession, dragging down others in their fall. The Western Bank of Scotland stopped payment, and spread ruin far and wide through the districts of which Glasgow is the business centre. The failure of this establishment revealed the fact that gigantic frauds had been perpetrated by the auditors, who had certified the existence of a fictitious surplus of £2,000,000. A panic in Ireland, together with these disasters in Scotland, brought the crisis to a head in England. The sudden demand for gold at the Bank of England alarmed the Government, which, on the 12th of November, suspended the Bank Act, limiting the issue of notes.

It has been already mentioned that in 1847, when a similar course was adopted, the mere notification of it restored confidence, and the Bank did not take advantage of the licence granted to it. The crisis of 1857, however, was more serious, for fresh notes in excess of the legal issue were promptly put in circulation.[1] But the suspension of the Bank Charter Act by the Executive necessitated an application to Parliament for a Bill of Indemnity. Hence Parliament was summoned to meet on the 3rd of December. The Queen was under the impression that fresh light would be thrown on the crisis by the debates in both Houses; but there was really nothing new that could be said on the subject. As the Prince Consort observed in one of his letters, “Long prosperity had made all bankers, speculators, and capitalists careless, and now they are being unpleasantly reminded of natural laws which have been violated, and are asserting themselves.” Other matters besides the Indemnity Bill were mentioned in the Royal Speech; but, after passing that measure, Parliament separated on the 12th of January, 1858, to meet again on the 4th of February.

The business of suppressing the Mutiny was carried on vigorously in 1858. After Campbell’s victory over the Gwalior army at the end of 1857, he remained for two months at Cawnpore, whilst his reinforcements were coming to him, and the surrounding districts were being swept by flying columns. Then with an overwhelming force of artillery he moved forward swiftly to effect the final capture of Lucknow.[2] On the 4th of March the last of the siege train reached that city, and operations began in real earnest, ending with the capture of the third line of defence on the 14th of March. The place was virtually taken on the 15th; but most of the rebels had escaped. The Queen of Oudh, with 7,000 men, still clung to the Palace of the Moosee Bágh, and the fanatical Moulvee of Fyzabad yet held the heart of the city. Outram captured the Queen’s position, but not the Queen herself, whilst Sir Edward Lugard drove the Moulvee from his stronghold. Campbell’s loss was 177 killed and 505 wounded, and of the enemy 3,000 were buried, though no exact account of their wounded could be{3} ascertained. On the 23rd of March General Grant overtook and routed a large body of fugitives on the road to Seetápoor, which brought operations to an end in this region.

The mutineers had now contrived to concentrate at Bareilly, with Khan Bahádoor Khan, Prince Féroze, of Delhi, the Queen of Oudh, the fanatical Moulvee, and the Nana Sahib of Bithoor, as leaders. Bareilly, however, suffered the fate of Lucknow, the leaders again escaping. The rebel Köer Singh was hunted out of Báhar and the jungle round Oudh, by Brigadier Douglas, after much harassing irregular fighting. During May and June the rebels contrived, greatly to the surprise of the Government, to concentrate in force at different places in the most unexpected manner. Driven out of the Upper Provinces, they tried to find refuge in the eastern Gangetic districts, but at every turn they were met and dispersed by flying columns told off to watch them.

It was, however, in Central India that the sword of vengeance was plied most ruthlessly. Sir Hugh Rose, with the army of Bombay and the Hyderabad Contingent, had, early in 1858, begun his march from Indore, hoping to reach Lucknow in time to take part in its capture. He had, however, to devote his attention to the insurgents of Central India, and conduct a campaign over the most rugged and difficult ground. He relieved Saugor on the 3rd of February. He invested the formidable fortress of Jhansi, the Ranee, or Queen, of which was, as Sir Hugh himself said, “the best man of the war.” On the 1st of April he defeated, in spite of great odds against him, a rebel army that attempted to raise the siege. On the 3rd he stormed a small breach in the walls, the Ranee effecting her escape into the jungle. On the 4th he carried the citadel, and took possession of the town. The investment was so complete that escape was impossible, and, as at the Secunderbund, the mutineers, to the number of 5,000, were all massacred.[3]

The Ranee of Jhansi and Tantia Topee had now concentrated an army of 20,000 men at Kalpi, and held an entrenched position at Kunch. Here, on the 7th of May, Rose defeated them, and his pursuit was so fierce and unresting that hardly a single fugitive escaped. Another rally was made at Kalpi, which was seized on the 23rd of May, the flying Sepoys being cut and shot down by hundreds, no quarter being given or taken. “Soldiers,” said Sir Hugh Rose, in his proclamation to the Central India Field Force, “you have marched more than a thousand miles, and taken more than a hundred guns; you have forced your way through mountain passes and intricate jungles, and over rivers; you have captured the strongest forts, and beat the enemy, no matter what the odds, wherever you met him; you have restored extensive districts to the Government,{4} and peace and order now reign where before for twelve months were tyranny and rebellion; you have done all this, and you have never had a check.” Led by a dandy, who might almost be termed the Alcibiades of the Indian army, the Central India Field Force had carried fire and sword from the shores of Western India to the waters of the Jumna, and literally quenched the spirit of the insurrection in blood. But fresh work awaited Rose and his followers. Tantia Topee had organised a conspiracy against Scindia at Gwalior, whose contingent had, early in the Mutiny, revolted from his standard. Instead of waiting for British help, Scindia insisted on striking at the conspirators with such troops as he had still attached to his household. When he attacked the enemy at Barragaom, his followers deserted him, and he had to fly, with a small escort, to Dhólpoor, leaving the great fortress of Gwalior, with its vast stores of arms and munitions of war, to be occupied by the rebels. This gave fresh life to the Mutiny: the Nana Sahib promptly proclaimed himself Peishwa, and took the field with a new army of 18,000 men, strengthened by the superb artillery of Gwalior. But the news of this terrible misfortune did not daunt Sir Hugh Rose. He immediately resumed the command of the Central Field Force, which he had laid down, and made a dash for Gwalior. On the 16th of June he surprised the rebels at Morar, where he waited for one of his brigades, which came up on the 17th. He drove the enemy before him, like chaff before the wind, tearing them to pieces by fierce onsets of cavalry, in one of which a trooper of the 8th Hussars slew the dreaded Ranee of Jhansi, who fell fighting in male disguise. On the 18th the rebel army was in full retreat, and on the 20th Scindia took possession of his capital, the sack of which by the rebels cost him the loss of £500,000 of treasure, jewels, and other property. Nana Sahib’s broken army alone kept up a faint semblance of rebellion in Oudh towards the end of 1858.

Nor were British arms less fortunate elsewhere than in India. The operations at Canton, which had been suspended by the Mutiny, were successfully ended at the beginning of the year, a small French contingent acting as our allies against the Chinese. Commissioner Yeh was captured along with the city of Canton, in which Admiral Sir Michael Seymour established a provisional government. But the Imperial authorities affecting to consider the dispute a purely local one between the British Consul and the Imperial Commissioner, refused to come to terms. Lord Elgin accordingly crossed the bar of the Peiho river with a strong naval force, proclaiming his intention of attacking Pekin itself. The Imperial Government, therefore, made haste to conclude the Treaty of Tien-tsin on the 26th of June, which formed a new basis for British commercial intercourse with Eastern Asia.[4] The interest of the Queen in this achievement{5} was heightened by the fact that the treaty was brought to her at Balmoral (20th of August), by Mr. Frederick Bruce, Lord Elgin’s younger brother and secretary, also brother to Colonel Bruce, governor to the Prince of Wales, and a confidential friend of the Royal Family. A Commercial Treaty with Japan followed, which completed the triumph of Lord Elgin’s energetic and adroit diplomacy.

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Home and Foreign Affairs, however, brought more trouble and annoyance to the Queen than the operations of war in the East. In fact, at this period of her career, her Majesty found it more necessary than ever it had been to devote her best energies to the public service. In a conversation with Mr. Greville during the autumnal recess of 1857, Lord Clarendon said that “the manner in which the Queen in her own name, but with the assistance of the Prince, exercised her{6} functions, was exceedingly good, and well became her position, and was eminently useful. She held each minister to the discharge of his duty and his responsibility to her, and constantly desired to be furnished with accurate and detailed information about all important matters, keeping a record of all the reports that were made to her, and constantly recurring to them; e.g., she would desire to know what the state of the navy was, and what ships were in readiness for active service, and generally the state of each, ordering returns to be submitted to her from all the arsenals and dockyards, and again weeks and months afterwards referring to these returns, and desiring to have everything relating to them explained and accounted for, and so throughout every department. In this practice Clarendon told me he had encouraged her strenuously. This is what none of her predecessors ever did, and it is in fact the act of Prince Albert, who is to all intents and purposes King, only acting entirely in her name. All his views and notions are those of a Constitutional Sovereign, and he fulfils the duties of one, and at the same time makes the Crown an entity, and discharges the functions which properly belong to the Sovereign. I told Clarendon that I had been told the Prince had upon many occasions rendered the most important services to the Government, and had repeatedly prevented them getting into scrapes of various sorts. He said it was perfectly true, and that he had written some of the ablest papers he had ever read.”[5]

The Queen, however, like the Prince Consort, was uneasy as to the stability of the Government. But she had erroneously formed an opinion, which was indeed shared by many others, that the danger to be apprehended was from the decay of Lord Palmerston’s health. “Clarendon,” writes Mr. Greville in November, 1857, “told me of a conversation he had recently with the Queen à propos of Palmerston’s health, concerning which her Majesty was very uneasy, and what could be done in the not impossible contingency of his breaking down. It is a curious change from what we saw a few years ago, that she has become almost affectionately anxious about the health of Palmerston, whose death might then have been an event to have been hailed with satisfaction. Clarendon said she might well be solicitous about it, for if anything happened to Palmerston, she would be placed in the greatest difficulty. She said that in such a case she should look to him, and expect him to replace Palmerston, on which Clarendon said he was glad she had broached the subject, as it gave him an opportunity of saying what he was very anxious to impress upon her mind, and that was, the absolute impossibility of his undertaking such an office, against which he enumerated various objections. He told her that Derby could not form a Government, and if she had the misfortune to lose Palmerston, nothing remained for her to do but to send for John Russell, and put him at the head of the Government. She expressed her great repugnance to this, and especially to make him Prime Minister. Clarendon then entreated her to conquer her repugnance, and to be persuaded that it would never do to offer{7} him anything else, which he neither would nor could accept; that she necessarily was to have a man who could lead the House of Commons, and that there was no other but him; that Lord John had consented to take a subordinate office under Lord Aberdeen, who was his senior in age, and occupied a high position, but he would never consent to take office under him (Clarendon), and the proposal he would consider as an insult. For every reason, therefore, he urged her, if driven to apply to him at all, to do it handsomely, to place the whole thing in his hands, and to give him her full confidence and support. He appears to have convinced her that this is the proper course, and he gave me to understand that if Lord John acts with prudence and moderation all the present Government would accept him for their head.”[6]

The real danger, as will soon be seen, which menaced the Ministry was not Palmerston’s decaying health, but his waning popularity. The Party of Reform early in 1858 had become convinced that nothing was to be hoped for from him beyond empty and evasive promises. They were therefore, when Parliament reassembled on the 4th of February, simply waiting for a pretext to turn him out of office.[7] While the Radicals were mutinous, Mr. Disraeli, through the medium of Mr. C. Greville, was intriguing with the younger Whigs[8] to form a Coalition.[9] Palmerston had also incurred much unpopularity by appointing Lord Clanricarde to the office of Lord Privy Seal; in fact, it was known that this appointment would have been laid hold of as a pretext for moving a resolution which might destroy the Ministry. Of course, when Parliament met no division of opinion existed as to the propriety of passing addresses congratulating the Queen on her daughter’s marriage. But when, on the 8th of February, resolutions were moved thanking the civil and military officers in India for the ability with which they had dealt with the Mutiny, some of the Tories,[10] let us hope reluctantly, led by Lord Derby and Mr. Disraeli, made themselves the mouth-pieces of the “White Terror” at Calcutta, and opposed a vote of thanks to Lord Canning. His policy had been objected to because it was not sufficiently bloodthirsty; therefore, argued his critics, it was rash to pass a vote of thanks to him. The vote was carried, but it was clear that the Indian policy of the Government would bring trouble on their heads. The Indian government{8} must be transferred to the Crown, and as Mr. Vernon Smith, a man of limited capacity, was the Minister responsible for India, the prospect was not thought by experienced Anglo-Indians to be an alluring one. We ought to wait till we had stamped out the last traces of the Mutiny, it was contended by Lord Ellenborough, before we brought India directly under the Government of the Queen. Still, Ministers defeated a resolution to postpone their India Bill, and nothing seemed fairer than their prospects, though they were even then (18th of February), on the brink of destruction. The blow came when Palmerston, desirous of conciliating the French Emperor, introduced a Bill to alter the Law of Conspiracy.

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The history of this fateful measure is as follows:—Ten days before the marriage of the Princess Royal, a small group of conspirators in England carried out a plan for assassinating the Emperor of the French in the Rue{9}

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Lepelletier, Paris, by exploding hand-grenades under his carriage. The Emperor and Empress escaped, but ten persons were killed, and 156 were wounded. The plot had been concocted by Felix Orsini in England. Therefore, the followers of the Emperor, whose fortunes depended on his life, denounced the English nation as Orsini’s accomplices. The Emperor himself was so unmanned by the incident, that after he drove home to the Tuileries, he and the Empress, on retiring to their room, wept bitterly over the wretched prospect before them. His terror probably prevented him from appreciating the fact, that if his own police could not protect him from Orsini, it was not likely that the police of a foreign country would be much more efficient. It may be, too, that the ease with which he had forced Palmerston to accept a humiliating settlement of the Question of the Principalities deluded him into the idea that it would be equally easy to compel him to restrict the freedom of Englishmen, in the interests of the Bonapartist dynasty.[11] He may also have imagined that England’s difficulties in the East{10} would render Palmerston’s Government more complaisant than the Tory Ministry showed itself on this matter in 1853. His calculations, however arrived at, proved to be correct. The French Government addressed menaces on the subject of harbouring refugees to Sardinia, Switzerland, and Belgium. On the 20th of January Walewski wrote a despatch to Persigny, which he had to communicate to Lord Clarendon, and which not only accused England of deliberately sheltering the assassins of the French Emperor, but also asserted that the English Government ought to assist that of France, in averting “a repetition of such guilty enterprises.” Instead of answering this despatch in the high-spirited tone which Lord Malmesbury had taken in his conversation with the Emperor in 1853, a reply of a timid and indefinite character was privately sent through what was called the “usual official channels of personal communication.” The substance of it was that the Government needed no inducement to amend the English law of conspiracy, and that the Attorney-General had the matter in hand already. The assumption that the English Government was deliberately aiding and abetting a gang of assassins was an insult which Lord Palmerston, as the exponent of a spirited foreign policy, was expected to resent. His failure to resent it gave his enemies an opportunity of recalling his Civis Romanes Sum doctrine, and holding him up to contempt. But at first it was not known that he had shown the white feather in his dealings with the French Emperor. Addresses from the Army, burning with rancorous insults to England, had been presented to the Emperor, and published in the Moniteur. The Emperor finding that these insults, which were only intended for home consumption, had been republished in England, where he feared they might inflame popular feeling, instructed an expression of regret to be sent to the British Government. In introducing the Conspiracy to Murder Bill, Lord Palmerston (18th of February), carried the first reading by leading the House of Commons to believe that this Imperial apology was adequate. He did not think it worth while to explain that it had not been inserted in the Moniteur, where the insults and menaces of the French Colonels had appeared, and that the French people were thus fully under the delusion that their vaporous threats had coerced England into restricting the liberty of her subjects at their bidding. Later on, this deception was discovered. Walewski’s despatch, by an inconceivable blunder, was laid before the House, which also found out that it had never been answered with spirit and dignity. The anger of the Representatives of the people then rose to white heat; and when Mr. Milner Gibson moved a resolution of censure, which had been drafted by Sir J. Graham and Lord John Russell on the 19th of February, it was carried by a majority of 19, in a House of 459. Lord Palmerston and the Cabinet immediately resigned.{11}

At first the Queen, knowing the difficulty of forming a new Government, was reluctant to accept their resignation. She contended—very properly—that it was a bad precedent for a Government to go out on the strength of a vote which was hardly constitutional. The treatment of a despatch was, in her Majesty’s opinion, purely a question for the Executive to decide. The House of Commons had but a very dubious right to touch it at all; at any rate, no Ministry was bound by the Constitution to resign because of a Vote of Censure from either House of Parliament on such a question.

There can be no doubt that the Queen’s view was the correct one, and it is now known that Lord Eversley, the ablest Speaker who has in her Majesty’s reign presided over the House of Commons, actually advised Mr. Speaker Denison to rule Mr. Gibson’s motion out of order, on the very grounds which seemed to the Queen to justify Lord Palmerston in ignoring the censure.[12] On the other hand, her Majesty had to admit the fact that Lord Palmerston and Lord Clarendon had been maladroit in their handling of the whole affair. They should have answered Walewski’s despatch more formally than in a private letter from Clarendon to Cowley. They ought at the outset to have pleaded the constitutional privilege of the Executive, and refusing to produce the despatch in Parliament, have challenged the Opposition to a vote of censure. Moreover, the Queen knew only too well by this time that if Palmerston refused to resign on Mr. Gibson’s motion, he would be turned out on one to abolish the office of Lord Privy Seal, Lord Clanricarde’s appointment to which had given great offence.[13] Thus, though it was in some respects objectionable to sanction a Ministerial resignation because the House of Commons censured, not the policy of the Government, but an administrative act of the Executive,[14] the Queen bent to circumstances, and sent for Lord Derby to form a Cabinet. Lord Derby, though he took office, did not desire it, because he could only reign on sufferance. His party, strictly speaking, was in a minority of about two to one in the House of Commons, and his Government would be at the mercy of casual combinations among the factions of the Opposition. He had to fall back on his old Administration (minus Sir E. B. Lytton).[15]

A painful quarrel between Sir E. B. Lytton and his wife had enlisted{12} considerable public sympathy on the side of the lady, so that his re-election for Hertford was a little doubtful. When offered the Colonial Secretaryship, Sir E. B. Lytton gave Lord Derby a hint on the subject, and Lord Derby, under the impression that Sir E. B. Lytton considered his re-election impossible, induced Lord Stanley to accept the Colonial Office.[16] Lord Grey would have joined Lord Derby had it not been for his distrust of Mr. Disraeli; and he told Lady Tankerville that Mr. Gladstone would have also joined the new Ministry, “had he been offered the leadership of the Commons.”[17] If Lord Palmerston reckoned on the reluctance of the Queen to trust a Derby-Disraeli Ministry with the conduct of affairs, he fell into a grave error. Mr. Greville, who, like many politicians, held the Derby-Disraeli combination in contempt, admits that during this crisis the Queen’s conduct “was certainly curious, and justifies them in saying that it was by her express desire that Derby undertook the formation of the Government. If Palmerston and his Cabinet were actuated by the motives and expectations which I ascribe to them, her Majesty certainly did not play into their hands in that game. When Derby set before her all the difficulties of his situation, and entreated her again to reflect upon it, a word from her would have induced him (without having anything to complain of) to throw it back into Palmerston’s hands. But the word she did speak was decisive as to his going on, and there is no reason to believe that she was playing a deep game, and calculating on his favour. Nor do I believe that she would herself have liked to see Palmerston all-powerful. She can hardly have forgotten how inclined he has always been to abuse his power, and how much she has suffered from his exercise of it. Even when he was to a certain degree under control, and although she seemed to be quite reconciled to him, and to be anxious for the stability of his Government, it is difficult to know what her real feelings (or rather those of the Prince) were, and it is more than probable that her anxiety for the success of Palmerston’s Government was more on account of the members of it, whom she personally liked, and whom she was very reluctant to lose, than out of any partiality for the Premier himself. To Clarendon she is really attached, and Granville she likes very much; most of the rest she regards with indifference.”[18]

When the new Ministry took office they soon announced that they would drop the Conspiracy to Murder Bill, and answer the Walewski despatch. The{13}

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temper of the English people was such as to render it impossible, after what had been said on both sides, to proceed with Lord Palmerston’s Bill. Moreover, Lord John Russell and Mr. Gladstone had put themselves at the head of 140 Members pledged to use all the forms of the House of Commons for the purpose of obstructing any measure of the sort, and the case was one where obstruction by keeping open a sore between two nations would soon render it an unhealable wound.[19] As for Walewski’s despatch, Mr. Milner Gibso{14}n’s motion had censured Lord Palmerston’s Government for not answering it, so Lord Palmerston’s successors, who had supported that motion, were bound to reply to it. Their difficulties were complicated by the foolish behaviour of De Persigny, the French Ambassador. He was a strong partisan of Palmerston’s, and he went about London drawing-rooms denouncing the Tory Government in the most violent terms. Nay, he made a practice of communicating to Lord Palmerston everything which passed between himself and Lord Malmesbury in their official conversations, and Lord Palmerston did not scruple to use information obtained by this dishonourable violation of diplomatic rules; nor did he shrink from making himself De Persigny’s accomplice in these questionable transactions. Lord Malmesbury felt himself so completely embarrassed by such proceedings that he caused Lord Cowley to privately inform the French Emperor that he must in future decline to transact business through De Persigny. Lord Malmesbury said plainly, that he must communicate directly through Lord Cowley or Count Walewski in Paris, for De Persigny at this time not only carried his confidential conversation to Palmerston, but Palmerston actually instructed him how to embarrass the English Government in attempting to resist dictatorial pressure from France. Lord Malmesbury’s spirited protest was well-timed and highly effective.[20] Acting through Lord Cowley, Lord Malmesbury arranged with Count Walewski a form of reply to the despatch which would adequately meet the demands of the English people, and yet give the French Government an opportunity of honourably repudiating any intention of wounding British susceptibilities. On hearing of this, Persigny, who had pledged himself to restore Palmerston to power by forcing the Tory Government to pass the Conspiracy Bill in a week, resigned. To his surprise and disgust his resignation was accepted, and Marshal Pélissier, Duke of Malakoff, was sent to England in his place. This was another triumph for the Tory Ministry, because Palmerston had reckoned on Walewski appointing Moustier, French Ambassador at Berlin, to the Court of St. James’s when Persigny resigned, and as Moustier was, like Walewski, virtually a Russian agent, fresh troubles would soon have been manufactured for Lord Malmesbury. Napoleon III., however, insisted on sending a personal representative, who from his Crimean services would not be unacceptable to the Queen and the English people. He, therefore, selected Pélissier,[21] who, though ignorant of diplomacy, was not likely to fall into Persigny’s indiscretions, and whose appointment was received by the Queen as a token of renewed goodwill on the part of France. This attempt of Palmerston’s to drive{15} a Ministry from office by getting a Foreign Government to menace it with hostility,[22] having ended in ignominious defeat, he and his party soon showed how bitterly they resented the failure of their conspiracy with the French Emperor and his Ambassador against English liberty. When Mr. Disraeli announced the settlement of the quarrel with France in the House of Commons, on the 13th of March, the Opposition received it sullenly, and immediately raised a bitter attack on Lord Malmesbury for not procuring the release of the English engineers who were imprisoned in the Cagliari.[23] Their arrest was illegal, and Lord Malmesbury, as soon as he obtained the opinion of the law officers of the Crown, not only procured their release, but liberal compensation for the annoyance to which they had been put.

Where the Government broke down was in attempting to deal with the future administration of India; and it is a fact that had they but listened to the Queen’s advice, who strongly opposed their policy, they would have avoided a defeat which served to convince the people that the evil reputation of the Derby-Disraeli group for legislative incapacity was only too well founded. The Tories had opposed Palmerston’s India Bill, transferring the government of India to the Crown, so they were forced to bring in one of their own. Palmerston’s Indian Council consisted of nominated officials of high rank and ripe experience. The Tory Bill, which was devised by Lord Ellenborough, introduced into the Council a fantastic elective element. Four out of the Council of eighteen were to be chosen by holders of Indian Stock, and by Indian military and civil servants of ten years’ standing, and five were to be elected by the commercial constituencies of London, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, and Belfast. The Queen warned the Cabinet that these provisions were fatal to their Bill. The selection of the constituencies was arbitrary, and other cities would in time agitate for representation on the Council. The turmoil of democratic elections was not likely to influence for good Imperial policy in a country about which the electors could at best know little. But the Cabinet held that the electoral clauses would secure the Radical support necessary to carry the Bill, and the Queen, reluctant to bring about another Ministerial crisis, left the matter in the hands of her Ministers. But when Mr. Disraeli, on the 26th of March, introduced the Bill, to his surprise, the Radicals{16} objected as strongly as the Queen to the electoral clauses. Mr. Roebuck complained that they gave a sham colour of democracy to what was really a despotic Government. Mr. Bright said they “savoured of what was generally called claptrap.” Anxious, however, to keep the Tories in power, lest Lord Palmerston and his followers might return to office, the Radicals refused to embarrass Mr. Disraeli[24] on this point, and urged the Government to reconsider it during the Easter recess. Most assiduously did Lady Palmerston endeavour to induce Lord John Russell to coalesce with Lord Palmerston during the recess for the purpose of defeating the Ministry on the India Bill; but her intrigues were in vain. On the contrary, Lord John determined to bring in a series of Resolutions on which the Ministry might base a Bill, and when Parliament re-assembled on the 12th of April he confidentially communicated them through Mr. Edward Horsman to Mr. Disraeli, who had himself resolved to adopt the same course. Mr. Disraeli was only too willing to be thus extricated from a difficulty by one of the leaders of the Opposition. But the House of Commons considered that as the India Bill was now removed from the arena of party strife, it would be wisest to let the Government prepare the Resolutions. This was done, and the debate on them began on the 30th of April, and went on favourably.

The Budget, though it showed a deficit of £4,000,000, which was met by a tax on bankers’ cheques, and by equalising the Irish spirit duty, gave the Ministry no trouble. The acquittal of Dr. Bernard in April, who had been arrested by Lord Palmerston’s Government on a charge of conspiring with Orsini to murder the French Emperor, embarrassed Lord Malmesbury, for the jury who tried Bernard refused to convict in the teeth of clear evidence of guilt. But Napoleon III., recognising that the action of the jury was simply the “retort courteous” to Walewski’s maladroit demand that an English Government should alter English laws at the bidding of a foreign autocrat, wisely ignored the incident, and accepted Pélissier’s view of it, which was that “one must be callous to this sort of thing, and let the water run under the bridge.”[25] Then the tide of Ministerial success suddenly turned, and the Cabinet was nearly wrecked by the indiscretion of its most brilliant but erratic member, Lord Ellenborough, who had succeeded Mr. Vernon Smith at the Indian Board of Control.

In 1857 Lord Canning had incurred the odium of panic-stricken Englishmen at Calcutta, because in his repressive measures he mingled justice with severity. In June, 1857, when he gagged the Native press, he gagged the English press as well. In August, when disarming Calcutta, he compelled{17}

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Europeans, as well as Natives, to take out licences to carry arms, and in July he issued orders to stop the indiscriminate slaughter of mutineers, distinguishing between the cases of those whose guilt was of varying degrees of intensity. A storm of abuse accordingly broke over his head, and the English in Calcutta petitioned for the recall of “Clemency Canning.” The British army in India, with its reinforcements, was but a handful of men among millions. Indiscriminate proscription of the Natives, such as was clamoured for, would have driven the whole of India into mutiny; in other words, it would have cost England her Indian Empire. The Queen and the Cabinet, however, supported Canning, and matters went well with him for a time. But in the spring of 1858, when Lucknow fell, another attack was made on him from a different point of view. He had drawn up a proclamation confiscating the lands of all landowners in Oudh save those who had been loyal to England, and those who would immediately return to their allegiance, and help to put down the rebellion. Lord Ellenborough, ignoring the saving clauses in the proclamation, sent Canning a “Secret Despatch,” bitterly condemning the apostle of “clemency” as a heartless tyrant, and even casting doubts upon the title by which Oudh was held by England. He permitted the Secret Despatch to{18} be made public; and, what was still worse, Mr. Disraeli, with singular lack of patriotism, proclaimed in the House of Commons that the Government disapproved of Canning’s policy. Such a declaration, made at such a moment, was almost as mischievous as if the Government had telegraphed out to India, that they desired the Natives to organise another revolt.

The Queen’s indignation at the conduct of both Ministers was not diminished by the fact that neither of them had waited to receive Canning’s despatch, explaining at length the reasons for his policy. Notices of resolution, censuring the Ministry, were given in both Houses, and one member of the Cabinet (Lord Malmesbury) wrote personally to Lord Canning, begging him, on behalf of his colleagues, not to quit his post. The defeat of the Government, in fact, was only averted by the sacrifice of Ellenborough, who, to “save his colleagues, volunteered to play the part of Jonah.”[26] Mr. Gladstone was offered his place by Lord Derby, but on his refusing to join the Government, Lord Stanley became Ellenborough’s successor, Sir E. B. Lytton going to the Colonial Office. Yet in view of Mr. Disraeli’s denunciation of Canning’s policy, even Ellenborough’s resignation would not have saved the Ministry, had it not been that the Radicals and Peelites, along with Lord John Russell, refused to carry the matter farther, because, as they frankly said, they did not desire to let Palmerston and his faction return to power.[27]

On the 17th of June the India Bill, based on the resolutions of the Government, and vesting the sole dominion of India in the Crown, was introduced by Lord Stanley, and it passed into law on the 2nd of August.

Another measure was passed in July, though opposed rather venomously by the Tories in the House of Lords—namely, the Bill providing that either House might resolve that henceforth Jewish members of Parliament might omit from the Parliamentary Oath the words, “and I make this declaration on the true faith of a Christian.” This ended a long and bitter controversy. On the 26th of July Baron Lionel Nathan de Rothschild came to the table of the House of Commons, and was sworn on the Old Testament, the House having agreed to resolutions in terms of the new Act.[28]{19}

The exceptional heat of the summer soon exhausted the energies of legislators. Mephitic odours from the Thames even caused some to demand that the Houses of Parliament should be shifted to another site. “We have,” writes Lord Malmesbury, on the 27th of June, “ordered large quantities of lime to be thrown into the Thames; for no works can be begun till the hot weather is over. The stench is perfectly intolerable, although Madame Ristori, coming back one night from a dinner at Greenwich, given by Lord Hardwicke, sniffed the air with delight, saying it reminded her of her ‘dear Venice.’” Perhaps this nuisance induced the House of Commons to pass with unlooked for rapidity a Main Drainage Bill, which was to prevent sewage from being turned into the Thames as it passed through London. All intrigues set on foot to reconcile Lord Palmerston to Lord John Russell,[29] and the Radicals to both, failed, so the Tory Ministry successfully weathered the storms of faction, and closed the Session, on the whole, with credit, on the 30th of July.

The family life of the Court had been brightened early in the year by the cordial welcome which the Queen’s eldest daughter had received in her new home in Prussia. Projects for a visit to her and her husband were formed by the Queen and the Prince Consort, which public duty compelled them to abandon month after month. On Maundy Thursday the Prince of Wales was confirmed at Windsor, having acquitted himself well during his examination by the Archbishop. After a fortnight’s tour in Ireland, it was arranged that he should live in the White Lodge, Richmond Park, and prepare for his military examination, his companions being Lord Valletort, eldest son of Lord Mount-Edgecumbe, Major Teesdale, R.E., one of the heroes of Kars, Major R. Loyd-Lindsay (afterwards Lord Wantage), V.C., and Mr. Gibbs, the Prince’s tutor. In May a visit from the beautiful Queen of Portugal charmed all hearts, and during the Whitsuntide holiday, when the Prince Consort went to pay a flying visit to Coburg, the Queen solaced her loneliness by visiting Prince Alfred at Alverbank, a cottage opposite the Isle of Wight, where he was pursuing his naval studies. Delightful letters came to the Queen from Babelsberg, describing the married happiness of her daughter, who received the Prince Consort there, and from whence he returned to London on the 8th of June.

On the 14th, her Majesty paid her promised visit to Birmingham, and to Lord Leigh at Stoneleigh Abbey. It was smiling summer weather when she drove from Coventry through Shakespeare’s country to her host’s house, where{20}

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she was delighted with her reception. Next day she went by train to Birmingham, when, wonderful to relate, the sun shone through a smokeless though sultry atmosphere. As for the arrangements for her reception, she writes, “all was admirably done—handsomer even than Manchester. The cheering was tremendous.” Loyal addresses were presented at the Town Hall, where, seated on an extemporised throne, her Majesty knighted the Mayor. The Royal Party next proceeded to Aston Hall and Park, “now to be converted,” writes the Queen, “into a People’s Museum and Park, and to obtain which the working people had worked very hard, and subscribed very largely.” Here six of the working men associated with the managers of the proceedings were presented to the Queen, who conversed with them affably, and then proclaimed the Park open. “Quite a pattern lady!” “What a darling!”—such were among the exclamations, writes the Queen, with which she was greeted by the crowd. After visiting many places of interest in the district, the Queen returned to Buckingham Palace on the 16th, greatly impressed with the welcome she had received from the most democratic and republican community in England. This visit had a marked political influence. It gave a great though unseen impetus to the movement for Reform, and many thoughtful{21} Conservatives now began to suspect that there was less danger in giving votes to the loyal artizans of Birmingham, than to the lower middle class whom the Whigs desired to enfranchise.

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(From a Photograph by J. Valentine and Sons, Dundee.)


(From a Photograph by J. Valentine and Sons, Dundee.)

In May the Emperor of the French had sent the Queen an invitation to come and inspect the fortifications at Cherbourg. At this time the friction between France and England had been somewhat increased by a divergence of view between the two countries as to the settlement of the Danubian Principalities. England, by opposing their union, had irritated France. France, by refusing to admit that the engagements entered into by Napoleon III. at Osborne in 1857 bound her to support the English view, had annoyed England.[30] It was, however, thought that the Queen’s personal popularity in France, and her influence with the Emperor, might bring about friendlier relations between the Governments, and the Ministry pressed her to accept the Imperial invitation. Writing on the 5th of August, the day after the Queen’s arrival at Cherbourg, Lord Malmesbury, who was one of her party, says, “It blew hard in the night, but subsided towards morning. The Queen not ill. The approach to Cherbourg{22} very fine. Arrived there at 7 p.m. At 8 the Emperor and Empress came on board the Royal yacht without any suite. Nobody was admitted. Marshal Pélissier, who went in without any invitation, was immediately turned out by the Emperor.” What passed at this interview, however, was an embarrassing inquiry about the feeling against France in England. “We smiled,” writes the Queen of herself and her husband, “and said the feeling was much better, but that this very place caused alarm, and that those unhappy addresses of the Colonels had done incalculable mischief.” The grand effect of the saluting cannon seems to have impressed the Queen, and, says Lord Malmesbury, “when the Emperor left the Queen’s yacht, the electric light was thrown on the Emperor’s barge, following it the whole way into the harbour; the light shining only on the barge, whilst all around remained in darkness.” The Emperor, adds Lord Malmesbury, “was very friendly in his manner; but both he and the Empress could not digest some of the articles in the Times which had been offensive, especially against her, and I tried to make them understand what freedom the Press had in England, and how independent it was of all private and most public men.” As for the Queen, she says in her Diary that, after this grave visit she “went below,” and “read and nearly finished that most interesting book ‘Jane Eyre.’” On the morrow thunderous salutes smote her ears as she was dressing, and when she went on deck the harbour was literally swarming with craft brave with gala array. “Next morning,” writes Lord Malmesbury of this day’s proceedings, “the Queen, Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, Sir John Pakington, and myself breakfasted at the Préfecture. After which the Royal Personages drove over the town…. Returned to the Royal yacht, and accompanied the Queen to dinner on board the Bretagne. Among the officers at dinner was General Macmahon.” Here the Queen was rendered very nervous because Prince Albert had to make a complimentary speech in reply to the toast of her health, for at that moment every eye in Europe was on Cherbourg, and every ear straining for echoes of Royal and Imperial conversations on which might hang the dread issues of war. “I shook so,” writes the Queen, “that I could not drink my cup of coffee.”[31] All went off well, however, and the kindliest words on both sides were spoken. The display of 25,000 francs’ worth of fireworks ended a brilliant but fatiguing day. August 6th was devoted to leave-taking, amidst a complimentary cannonade, and the Queen got home in time to greet{23} Prince Alfred on his birthday at Osborne. “The evening,” she writes, “was very warm and calm. Dear Affie was on the pier, and we found all the other children, including Baby (Princess Beatrice), standing at the door.” A visit of inspection to Prince Alfred’s birthday presents, a little birthday fête and dance on the terrace, adds the Queen, formed “a delightful finale to our expedition.”[32] But the visit was a mistake, though, as the Ministry insisted on it, the blame was theirs alone. It produced an abundant crop of alarms and attacks in the press on the menacing preparations for war which had been seen at Cherbourg. It caused the Queen to have a controversy with Lord Derby, who would pay no heed to her appeal to provide a counterpoise to the threatening stronghold which she had inspected.

A visit—long promised and long looked for—to the Prince and Princess Frederick William of Prussia followed. Her Majesty’s suite arrived at Potsdam on the 14th of August, and on the same evening the Queen and Prince Albert arrived at Babelsberg, where they were received with a warmth of welcome by their Prussian relatives that made the Queen, as she herself says, feel as if she were at home. The meeting between her and her daughter brought a moment of supreme delight to both. Each day spent in the happy circle of the Prince and Princess of Prussia seems to have knit the heart of the Queen closer to the family of which her eldest daughter was so obviously a cherished member. Every day some fresh mark of attention was paid to the Queen and her husband by their hosts, who seemed to exhaust their ingenuity in devising expedients for making her visit pleasant to her. Though this visit was purely a private one, the people gave her as cordial a reception as the Court, until at last her Majesty began to feel sad at the approaching termination of such a charming holiday. But on the 28th of August the last day came, and, writes the Prince Consort, “the parting was very painful.” The Queen and the Princess Royal wept in each other’s arms, though her Majesty says, with a pathetic reference to the conflicting duties of sovereignty and womanhood, “all would be comparatively easy were it not for the one thought that I cannot be with her at that very critical moment when every mother goes to her child.”[33] Dover was reached on the 31st, from whence the Queen went on to Portsmouth, and thence to Osborne, where they found Prince Alfred, who had passed his examination—especially the mathematical part of it—with great distinction, eager to tell them he had been appointed to the Euryalus. He was waiting for his mother, writes the Queen, “in his middie’s jacket, cap, and dirk, half-blushing, and looking very happy. He is a little pulled down from these three days’ hard examination, which only terminated to-day…. We felt very proud, for it is a particularly hard examination.”[34]{24}

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Only one anxiety had intruded itself during the Prussian tour—the issue of the Queen’s Proclamation to the Indian people on assuming the government of India. She objected strongly to the draft of it which was submitted to her, and begged Lord Derby to write one out for her in “his own excellent language,” keeping in view “that it is a female Sovereign who speaks to more than a hundred millions of Eastern people on assuming the direct government over them after a bloody civil war, giving them pledges which her future reign is to redeem.” Such a Proclamation should, says her Majesty, emphasise the ideas of generosity, benevolence, religious toleration, liberty, and equality before the law. What offended her deeply in the draft was a menace reminding the Indian people that she had “the power of undermining” native religions and customs. Her Majesty, writes Lord Malmesbury by her directions, “would prefer that the subject should be introduced by a declaration in the sense that the deep attachment which her Majesty feels to her own religion, and the comfort and happiness which she derives from its consolations, will preclude her from any attempt to interfere with native religions.” The name of the official personage who drew up this blundering and exasperating Proclamation, which the Queen had the good{25} sense and good taste to cancel, need not be mentioned. It is but just to Lord Derby to say that when the Queen’s objections were telegraphed to him he examined the document, and so completely agreed with her Majesty that he re-wrote the Proclamation in a manner that anticipated her detailed instructions. A few additions were made to it by the Queen, and when it was issued it was hailed with delight by the Natives as the Magna Charta of India.

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On the 6th of September the Queen and Prince Albert proceeded to Leeds to open the splendid Town Hall which the people of that borough had built, and where they were welcomed by the most picturesque Mayor in England, who in his robes and bearing, wrote the Queen, was “the personification of a Venetian Doge.” Needless to say then that, after the Hall was opened, Mr. Mayor Fairbairn was knighted. The Royal Family next sped northwards to Balmoral, where Prince Albert brought down his first stag on the 14th, and where the whole household gazed nightly at Donati’s comet, which blazed with peculiar brilliancy in the clear and “nimble air” of the Highlands. Among the superstitious mountaineers it was held to be a portent of war and pestilence. At Balmoral the Queen became involved in a discussion with her Ministers as to the future of the Indian Army. Who was to command it{26}—the Queen through the British Commander-in-Chief, or the Queen through the Secretary of State in Council, as successors to the old East India Company and Board of Control? Her Majesty stoutly contended that the union between the British and Indian Armies should be completed by their being placed under the same supreme authority—namely, the Commander-in-Chief in India. The Indian Council grasping at patronage, however, held that though the Commanders-in-Chief in the Presidencies should not be subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief in India, except in respect of the Queen’s troops under their order, over the Native troops in their presidencies their authority must be supreme. Lord Clyde took the Queen’s view of the matter, and so did General Peel, War Secretary, and also the Prince Consort, and in 1860, when the controversy ended, it was her view that prevailed. Towards the end of the Balmoral holiday the Queen and her husband were greatly delighted to find that their much-loved friend, the Prince of Prussia, had finally been chosen Prince Regent in succession to his brother, the king, who had become too infirm in mind and body to hold the reins of Government. The Prince Regent (afterwards German Emperor) and Prince Albert were not only warm friends, but were in close confidential correspondence on public affairs, and the Queen and her husband alike looked to him as the only possible deliverer of Prussia from Absolutist Administrations dominated by Russian ascendency. Their counsels had a powerful influence on the Prussian Regent’s policy at the outset of his career, when he dismissed the Manteuffel Ministry, and initiated an era of moderate constitutional progress in his country. Indirectly, they conferred a marked benefit on this country at the same time. The foreign policy of Prussia, which had up till now seemed to be antipathetic to England, changed. Without abating any of their zeal for their respective interests, the Foreign Offices of the two countries found it much easier than it had been to work together in matters of general interest. This cordiality between the Courts of Berlin and St. James’s was promoted by the kindness which the Prince Regent bestowed on the Prince of Wales when, in November, he proceeded to Berlin to visit his sister. He returned, not only bearing with him a confidential letter from the Prince Regent to his father, but with it the Order of the Black Eagle, which had been, greatly to his delight, bestowed upon him. He had just completed his eighteenth year, and had been promoted to a colonelcy in the army. Colonel Bruce was now his governor—his tutor, Mr. Gibbs, having retired. The Prince had, in fact, become emancipated from pupilage, and Mr. Greville referring to this event says in his “Memoirs,” “I hear the Queen has written a letter to the Prince of Wales announcing to him his emancipation from parental authority and control, and that it is one of the most admirable letters ever penned. She tells him that he may have thought the rule they adopted for his education a severe one, but that his welfare was their only object; and well knowing to what seductions of flattery he would eventually be exposed, they wished to prepare and strengthen his mind{27} against them, that he was now to consider himself his own master, and that they should never intrude any advice upon him, although always ready to give it him whenever he thought fit to seek it. It was a very long letter all in that line, and it seems to have made a profound impression on the Prince, and to have touched his feelings to the quick. He brought it to Gerald Wellesley in floods of tears, and the effect it produced is a proof of the wisdom which dictated its composition.”[35]

A fresh cause of disagreement had, however, now arisen with France. The seizure of a French slaver, called the Charles-et-Georges, by the Portuguese authorities at Mozambique, tempted the French Government to demand its surrender, and an indemnity whilst her status was sub judice. Coercion was threatened by the appearance of a French squadron in the Tagus, and an offer on the part of Portugal to submit to arbitration was refused. Englishmen in these circumstances gave vent to much indignation against a revival of the old brutal methods of Bonapartism in dealing with a small Power, and this indignation was shared by the Queen, though it was prudently veiled, her personal relations with the Portuguese Court being of an unusually cordial character. Lord Malmesbury was also well known not only to be a partisan of the French alliance, but a personal friend of the French Emperor. This led many to suspect that the British Government had played into the hands of France; and Lord Malmesbury’s policy was, in truth, so spiritless in defence of Portugal, that the Portuguese, fearing to waste time in appealing for the good offices of England, yielded to the overbearing menaces of France. At the same time, it is quite clear, from a sentence in one of the Prince Consort’s letters to Baron Stockmar, that the Court, on the whole, approved of the Foreign Secretary’s policy, which, at all events, kept the country clear of war. The loyal reception of the Queen’s Proclamation in India on the 17th of October, and the end of the rebellion in Oudh, gladdened the closing months of 1858. Over these, however, the first symptoms of the Prince Consort’s failing health projected the slowly-advancing shadow, that was so soon to shroud the remainder of the Queen’s career in widowed sorrow.{28}


Napoleon’s New Year’s Reception—The Secret pacte de famille—Victor Emmanuel and the Grido di Dolore—The Queen’s Views on the Italian Movement—The Queen’s Letter to Napoleon—Meeting of Parliament—Cavour Threatens Napoleon—Appeal of Prussia to the Queen for Advice—Mr. Disraeli’s Reform Bill—Lord John Russell’s Amendment—Defeat of the Government—An Appeal to the Country—The Queen Criticises Austria’s Blunders—War at Last—The General Election—Reconciliation of Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell—Fall of the Derby-Disraeli Administration—The Palmerston-Russell Ministry—Austrian Defeats and French Victories—The Peace of Villafranca—Palmerston Duped—Illness of the Duchess of Kent—The Budget—The Queen and Palmerston—Triumph of the Queen’s Policy—The Holiday at Balmoral—Dancing in the New Year.

Not easily will the world forget the New Year’s Day of 1859. “I regret,” said the French Emperor to Baron Hubner, the Austrian Ambassador, at the reception at the Tuileries, “that the relations between our two countries are not more satisfactory; but I beg you to assure the Emperor (of Austria) that they in no respect alter my feelings of friendship to himself.” Taken in connection with the rumoured results of Continental intrigues, but one interpretation could be put on these words. The restlessness of France was to be appeased by a war for the deliverance of Italy from the Hapsburgs, and the bombs of Orsini had forced the Emperor to be faithful to his forgotten engagements to his old comrades among the Carbonari. The Emperor’s own story was that he felt convinced there could be no peace in Europe unless the Territorial Settlement of 1815 was revised. He professed to have aimed at effecting that object by the regeneration of Poland. The Crimean War having, however, proved this scheme to be futile, his policy was thenceforth directed to the deliverance of Italy from Austrian servitude. In either case the waters of diplomacy would be troubled, and it would be easy to fish out of them something that might partially compensate France for what she lost in 1815. But the truth was that, at his secret interview with Count Cavour, at Plombières, in the autumn of 1858, the Emperor had entered into an engagement to defend Piedmont, if attacked by Austria, and to establish under the Sardinian Crown a Kingdom of Northern Italy, the price for this aid being the cession of Savoy and Nice to France. At this meeting the marriage of Prince Napoleon to the Princess Clothilde, daughter of the King of Italy, was discussed, but not definitely arranged. The announcement of the coming marriage was, however, made to the Queen by the French Emperor on the 31st of December, 1858. On the 23rd of January, 1859, the formal request for the Princess Clothilde’s hand was made. On the 30th the wedding was celebrated, and on the 3rd of February the Prince and Princess Napoleon returned to Paris. On the evening before the marriage, Napoleon III. was said to have signed a pacte de famille,{29} promising aid offensive and defensive to Sardinia, Victor Emmanuel pledging himself to cede to France Savoy and Nice, in return for territorial acquisitions in Lombardy.[36] Thus the French Emperor was bound to Sardinia as with “hoops of steel,” when the European crisis in 1859 became acute, and Lord Malmesbury imagined that he could compose it by diplomacy.

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After the Imperial declarations to Baron Hubner, Victor Emmanuel, on the 10th of January, in his Address to his Parliament, had said, “While we respect treaties, we are not insensible to the cry of suffering (Grido di dolore) which comes{30} to us from so many parts of Italy.” Austrian troops forthwith began to swarm into the passes of the Tyrol, and to form on the line of the Ticino. Russia encouraged France to the utmost, and from conversations with Lord Palmerston and Lord Clarendon during their visit in autumn to Compiègne, the French Emperor felt convinced that the powerful party in England, led by Palmerston, would give him that moral support which the Queen and her Ministers denied him.[37] The Courts of St. James’s and Berlin were cold friends to the cause of Italian freedom. To them any war which upset the Settlement of 1815 was like the letting out of waters. The victory of either party could bode no good for Prussia, under whose leadership the Queen was even then hopeful that Germany would yet form a united Empire. The triumph of the Hapsburgs would strengthen their position in Germany, and as Herr von Bismarck said, this must mean that “our Kings will again become Electors and vassals of Austria.”[38] The victory of France, on the other hand, would tempt Napoleon III. to seize Belgium and the Rhine Provinces.

In Germany public opinion was, on the whole, pro-Austrian. In England, popular feeling, stimulated by the Liberal Party, was decidedly Anti-Austrian. The view of the Tory Ministry was that of Lord Malmesbury, who thought that it was as wicked to dispute the right of Austria to her Italian provinces, as to question that of England to Ireland. Frenchmen, again, were as little inclined to go to war for “an idea” in Lombardy as in the Crimea.

It would be tedious to follow the tangled skein of intrigue that finally ended in war. At the outset the advantage lay with Austria, because if she had struck quickly and sharply she might have crushed Sardinia, ere France could have come to her rescue. Protracted negotiation deprived Austria of this advantage, so Napoleon III. welcomed the proposal of England to find a diplomatic solution of the Italian Question—all the more readily that his failure to obtain pledges of absolute neutrality from England and Prussia, caused him to waver from his purpose. It was in the hope that he might be induced, when in this state of mind, to insert a pacific clause in his address to the Chambers, that the Queen, on the 4th of February, wrote to him suggesting this course,[39] in a letter thanking him for his congratulations on the birth of the Princess Royal’s son. Napoleon’s reply was friendly but evasive. He professed great friendship for England, and respect for treaties, but virtually reserved to himself the right to interpret them in his own interests. So matters stood at the beginning of the Session of 1859.

Parliament had been called together on the 5th of February. Ministers were undoubtedly discredited by a popular suspicion that they were using the influence of England to buttress up Austrian tyranny in Italy. The impartial{31} impotence of Lord Malmesbury’s policy, as subsequently revealed in his despatches, however, showed that these suspicions were unfounded. The question of Reform had been stirred during the autumnal recess by Mr. Bright. But his violent attacks on the propertied classes had roused the fiercest antagonism, and probably did more to retard than advance the cause he had at heart. Yet the Government could not afford to dispense with the support of the Party of Parliamentary Reform, and so Mr. Disraeli’s determination to deal with the question was intimated in the Queen’s Speech. Lord Granville, Lord Palmerston, and Lord John Russell, though speaking less hopefully than Mr. Disraeli of the efforts of the Government to preserve peace, alike deprecated a war for the expulsion of Austria from North Italy, where her position was secured to her by the Treaty of 1815. But they argued that she had no right to go beyond that Treaty, and that the presence of Austrian and French armies in Central Italy, on which they imposed a government that was hateful to the people, was most dangerous to the peace of the world. The Emperor’s speech to the French Chambers, as the Prince Consort said, was “meant to look peaceful”—but that was all. “Not a word,” wrote Lord Malmesbury “is said about Treaties, but a good deal about the interests and honour of France.”[40] Indeed, Victor Emmanuel and Cavour fancied they detected in it signs of wavering. The former threatened to abdicate, and the latter to resign, after disclosing to the world the secret compact of Plombières and the pacte de famille, signed on the eve of the Princess Clothilde’s marriage. This threat, together with Cavour’s Mephistophelean allusions to the vengeance of the Carbonari, invariably brought the Emperor back to his original resolve, and defeated the efforts of British diplomacy to avert war. Meanwhile, the Prince Regent William had been pressed by the French Emperor to hold aloof from Austria. Rival parties in Prussia were trying to drag him in contrary directions, and at last he appealed confidentially to his friends, the Queen and the Prince Consort, for advice, saying, “I anxiously await your answer, for it will be decisive for us.”[41] It is important to study this correspondence, because at the time the Queen and Prince Consort were denounced in many quarters, where French influence was at work, for intriguing through the Courts of Berlin and Brussels to get up a great German League against the liberties of Italy. England, replied the Prince Consort, would not now go with France, no matter how far Austria put herself in the wrong. Prussia would be well advised, thought the Prince, to take the same line. In the meantime, let German public opinion, of which Napoleon stood much in awe, on the question, be elicited by encouraging the freest discussion in Germany, and when the crisis came, let that opinion guide Prussia. Prussia and the German States, the Prince Consort thought, should adopt an attitude of armed neutrality—ready to strike a blow for the protection of the Rhine provinces before a victorious France could quite clear her hands of{32} a defeated Austria. Prussia and Germany, argues the Prince in another letter, owe no duty to Austria in respect of Italy. But Austria owes them a duty as a German State bound to assist in the defence of Germany from French aggression. Ere Prussia sided with Austria, an Austrian army must be ready to advance on the Rhine, and Germany must be permitted to exercise a distinct influence on Austrian policy in Italy. The Prince Regent of Prussia treated the Prince Consort’s views as “decisive,” and, as will be subsequently seen, by acting on them he not only increased the influence of Prussia in Germany, but virtually brought the war between France and Austria to a sudden close. In the meantime, Parliament, with great generosity and patriotic spirit, refused to embarrass Ministers by debating the Italian Question, and at the request of the French Emperor, Lord Cowley was sent to Vienna to mediate between France and Austria.

On the 28th of February Mr. Disraeli expounded his Reform Bill, the adoption of which compelled Mr. Walpole and Mr. Henley to retire from the Cabinet. The great blunder of the Whig Reform Bill of 1832 was that it excluded the working classes—without whose support the Bill could never have been forced on the Crown—from political power. The object of a practical Reform Bill was therefore simple. It was to lower the franchise, so as to give votes to the working classes, and then readjust the distribution of power in the constituencies in terms of this reduced franchise. Mr. Disraeli, however, produced a fantastic scheme, in which every concession given with the right hand was taken back with the left. The county franchise was reduced to £10, but then as a set-off the freeholders in towns were no longer to vote for the counties. The franchise in towns was not reduced, but a series of what Mr. Bright called “fancy franchises’ was created, with a view to render the representation of “interests” predominant.[42] Certain constituencies were to have additional members, and some small boroughs with two members were to lose one. Nobody was satisfied with the measure, so Lord John Russell on the 10th of March gave notice that he would move an amendment to the motion for the Second Reading, condemning the disturbance of the freehold franchise, and demanding a greater extension of the suffrage than Mr. Disraeli contemplated. All sections of the Opposition were able to vote for the resolution. Lord John Russell, who imagined he enjoyed a monopoly of the question of Reform, and that nobody should deal with it but himself, wanted to carry the Resolution and reject the Bill. Lord Palmerston was willing to vote for the Resolution and go on with the Bill. “I do not,” he said, “want them [the Ministry] to resign. I say to them, as I think Voltaire said of a Minister who had incurred his displeasure, ‘I won’t punish him; I won’t send him to prison; I condemn him to keep his place.’” Mr. Gladstone refused{33}

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THE GUARD-ROOM, ST. JAMES’S PALACE. (From a Photograph by H. N. King.)

to support the Resolution, because he said he wanted the question of Reform settled, and it would be quite possible to re-model the Bill in Committee, and Mr. Roebuck took the same view. Mr. Bright, however, thinking that any settlement arrived at in 1859 would be too favourable to the territorial interest, supported the Resolution in order to quash the Bill. Sir James Graham, who had drafted the Resolution, made by far the most statesmanlike speech 111 the debate. He argued that it was of no use to lower the borough franchise unless it were reduced so that no further reduction could be demanded, and suggested that the municipal rating franchise would be the best to adopt. On the 1st of April the Government by this coalition of factions was defeated by a vote of 330 to 291, and, undeterred by Lord Palmerston’s threat to stop supplies, Mr. Disraeli on the 4th of the month intimated that the Ministry would appeal to the country.{34}

Partisans of the Government had attempted to make capital out of the disturbed state of the Continent, and had spoken as if it were wicked to oppose a bad Reform Bill at a time when Lord Malmesbury was mediating between armed nations. As a matter of fact, Lord Malmesbury was only permitted to amuse himself with futile mediation, which was to be protracted till France was ready to attack Austria, and Austria was lured into an attack on Piedmont, that would give France an excuse for fulfilling the secret compact with Cavour at Plombières. When Lord Cowley returned from Vienna he brought the assent of Austria (1), to withdraw her troops from the Roman States; (2), to support a reforming policy in Italy; and (3), to promise not to assail Sardinia. His mission would have been successful had not Napoleon in the meantime manufactured failure for it. He gave a hint to Russia which caused her to propose a Congress for the settlement of all questions at issue between France and Austria, and Lord Cowley’s plans were put out of the field. A Congress, by protracting negotiations, exposed Austria to the exhausting drain of her armaments, whilst France was perfecting her arrangements for falling upon her. Time, too, might bring about a change of Ministry in England, where the substitution of a warm ally like Lord Palmerston for a Tory Cabinet whose sympathies were, if anything, in favour of Austria, would be an advantage to France.

It was in these circumstances that the Queen reluctantly consented to a dissolution, when Mr. Disraeli and Lord Derby convinced her that they could not, after Lord Palmerston’s insolent speech, honourably go on with their Reform Bill. In fact, they pointed out that, even if they resigned, the Whigs would have to dissolve Parliament themselves in a few months to carry, against the opposition of the House of Lords, their own alternative measure of Reform, to which they were pledged. “The Congress truly does not dance,” observes the Prince Consort, in one of his shrewd letters to Stockmar. The fact is, that whenever Cavour heard of it, he warned the Emperor that if he played false, he (Cavour) would return to Turin, place his resignation in Victor Emmanuel’s hands, proceed to the United States, and not only charge the Emperor with luring the Sardinian Government into a ruinous warlike policy by promises of assistance, but that he would publish documentary proofs of his charges to the whole world. As Prince Albert said, Napoleon had “sold himself to the devil,” and “Cavour can do with his honour what he pleases.”[43] Hence, France would no longer support a proposal that Sardinia should disarm, and when Austria proposed simultaneous disarmament all round, the Emperor’s reply was, that the forces of France were not yet on a war footing. At last, Napoleon assented to this project, on condition that Sardinia and the other Italian States were heard in the Congress, which left the issue in the hands{35} of Austria. The tension of the situation was now extreme, and telegrams came pouring in every hour to the Queen, whose nerves were sorely strained by the excitement of the crisis. Just before the dissolution, explanations of a somewhat unsatisfactory nature were given in both Houses of Parliament on the 18th of April, and next day (the 19th), Austria took the fatal and aggressive step which, as the Queen predicted, would turn public opinion against her. Instead of accepting the Congress, as France and Sardinia had accepted it, she called on Sardinia to disarm within three days, otherwise an Austrian army would march on Turin. Had Austria attacked at once she might have crushed her enemy before France could come to her aid. She hesitated and was lost. The effect of Count Buol’s ultimatum on England was electric. The Ministry, despite its pro-Austrian sympathies, hastened to protest against the invasion of Sardinia, and the Queen, in a letter to King Leopold, reflected the opinion of the people, when she said “though it was originally the wicked folly of Russia and France that brought about this fearful crisis, it is the madness and blindness of Austria that has brought on the war now.”[44] But this “madness and blindness” would not have deterred Austria from allowing the small Italian States to have a consultative representation at the Congress, had she been sure that a friendly Ministry would be in power in England. She, however, was afraid to weaken her position on the eve of Lord Palmerston’s possible return to office.[45] On the 29th Austrian troops crossed the Ticino. “All Italy is up,” writes Lord Malmesbury in his Diary: a feeble effort on his part to patch up negotiations for a Congress was rejected by France, though accepted by Austria, and the game of war began in earnest. In England, Ministers were blamed for having encouraged by their sympathy the obstinacy of Austria, which led her to break the peace. As a matter of fact, Lord Malmesbury’s efforts had been directed to pacify the combatants, to localise the war, and to prevent the German States, whose people were clamouring to be led to the conquest of Alsace, from joining in the fray.[46]

The General Election resulted in a gain of twenty-nine seats to the Tory Party, but this still left them in a minority whenever all sections of the Opposition chose to combine against them. The Liberal Party, tired of dissension, put pressure upon the two leaders by whose long rivalry it had been{36}

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caused, for the purpose of reconciling them, and accordingly Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell—after being urged by his brother, the Duke of Bedford—agreed that either would serve under the other. At a meeting in Willis’s Rooms, on the 5th of June, the union of all sections of the Party was consummated, and an Amendment to the Address, declaring their want of confidence in the Ministry, was drafted and agreed to. Parliament met on the 6th of June. Next night Lord Hartington in the House of Commons moved this Amendment, which, after a debate lasting over three nights, was carried on the 10th of June by a majority of thirteen in a house of 643. The Government resigned, and the Queen, who was not particularly anxious to entrust either Lord John Russell or Lord Palmerston with the Premiership, invited Lord Granville to form a Ministry. Lord Palmerston very generously consented to serve under Lord Granville, but Lord John Russell refused. He had agreed to serve under Palmerston if he were appointed to the Foreign Office, but under Lord Granville he must at least be Leader of the House of Commons. As Lord Palmerston would not accept a peerage, and as it was impossible to ask him to abandon the Leadership of the Liberal Party in the{37}

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Lower House which he had held so long, Lord Granville retired from the field. The Queen then sent for Lord Palmerston, who formed a Ministry consisting of Lord John Russell, Lord Campbell, Sir G. C. Lewis, Sir George Grey, Sir Charles Wood, the Duke of Newcastle, the Duke of Argyll, Lord Elgin, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Sidney Herbert, Mr. Cardwell, the Duke of Somerset, and Mr. Milner Gibson. A place—the Presidency of the Board of Trade—was offered to Mr. Cobden, which he declined. The first five represented the Whigs; the next six represented the Peelites; Messrs. Gibson and Cobden were selected to conciliate the Radicals; and there could be no doubt that, tested by individual capacity, the combination was one of the strongest ever formed. The Queen deeply regretted the exclusion of Lord Clarendon from the Cabinet, and Mr. Greville says that Lord John Russell’s selfish determination to take the Foreign Office kept Clarendon out. This is hardly just. Lord Clarendo{38}n’s pro-Austrian sympathies, and his opposition to Palmerston’s foreign policy, rendered him ineligible for office at the time. The change was attended by one unpleasant incident. The substance of the Queen’s conversations with Lord Granville found their way into the press, and her Majesty’s indignation at this betrayal of her confidence was not concealed. It was clear that some of those with whom Lord Granville had been in negotiation had not kept faith with him, and in the House of Lords (17th of June) he expressed his regret, without, however, divulging the name of the culprit who had betrayed him.

The war in the North of Italy had in the meantime been raging furiously. An uninterrupted series of defeats led Austria to the crowning disaster of Solferino (June 24th), and forced her to take refuge in the Quadrilateral. The losses of the French army had been heavy, and a weary struggle before the famous Four Fortresses was not inviting. The victory of Magenta had forced Prussia to mobilise her forces, and Solferino decided her to adopt a policy of “armed mediation”—the object of which was to concert with England and Russia terms of peace reconciling Austrian rights with Italian liberties, and forcing these terms on the combatants. In the end of May the Queen, depressed by the reverses of Austria, had been anxious that England should take her side, but had fortunately been dissuaded from pressing her views on the Government by Lord Malmesbury, who told her plainly that “the country would not go to war even in support of Italian independence, and there would not be ten men in the House of Commons who would do so on behalf of Austria.”[47] For the German States intervention was, however, hardly avoidable, and so the French Emperor prudently began to negotiate for peace.

On the 6th of July Persigny submitted to Lord John Russell a proposal that England should ask for an armistice on terms which the Emperor was willing to grant, but which the Austrian Ambassador, Count Apponyi, rejected. England also declined to sanction them because, in Lord Palmerston’s opinion, they ignored the wishes of Italy.[48] The Emperor then signed an armistice with the Austrians for seven days on the 8th of July, and arranged for a meeting with the Austrian Emperor on the 11th. On the 10th Persigny insidiously renewed his negotiations for the “moral support” of England in the new turn of affairs. Lord Malmesbury, who had the story from Persigny, says he “went to Lord Palmerston and said that the time was come for mediation, and suggested conditions, namely, Venice and its territories to be taken from Austria, not annexed to Sardinia, but made into a separate and independent State. There were other conditions, but this was the principal one.[49] That Lord Palmerston agreed to this, and rode down to Richmond to tell Lord John Russell, who was equally delighted; and that the proposal was adopted by{39} them and sent to the Queen, who was at Aldershot, which occasioned some delay. That her Majesty refused her consent, saying the time was not yet come to make these proposals, as the fortresses were not yet taken. That, however, in the meantime, Persigny had telegraphed the consent of the English Government to his master, who immediately asked for an interview with the Emperor of Austria, showed him Persigny’s despatch, saying, ‘Here are the conditions proposed by England, and agreed to also by Prussia. Now listen to mine, which, though those of an enemy, are much more favourable. So let us settle everything together without reference to the neutral Powers, whose conditions are not nearly so advantageous to you as those I am ready to grant.’ The Emperor of Austria, not suspecting any reservation, and not knowing that the Queen had refused her consent to these proposals, which, though agreed to by her Government, were suggested by Persigny, evidently to give his master the opportunity of outbidding us, and making Francis Joseph think that he was thrown over by England and Prussia, accepted the offer, and peace was instantly concluded.”[50] There cannot be any doubt that the Queen, though unaware that Persigny was merely intending to use Palmerston as a dupe, was right in refusing her consent to these sham proposals. The Emperor of Austria, it is known, would not have accepted them. But in that case “moral support” of them, recklessly promised by Palmerston, might have laid us open to the charge of having abandoned our strict and scrupulous neutrality. By the Peace of Villafranca, which was arranged at the meeting of the Emperors, Venice was left as an Austrian State, but was to enter an Italian Confederation, presided over by the Pope; Lombardy was ceded to France, who might cede it to Sardinia, and the Dukes of Tuscany and Modena were to be restored. The verdict of the Parisian flaneurs was that “France had made a superb war, and Austria a superb peace.” Victor Emmanuel ground his teeth with rage when he found he had to accept this arrangement, adding, after his signature, the significant words, “I ratify this convention in all that concerns myself.” Cavour placed his resignation in the King’s hands, and left the camp for Turin, after a stormy interview with the French Emperor. “Arrêtez-moi, et vous serez forcé de retourner en France par le Tyrol,” he said, when Napoleon threatened to put him under arrest for his insolent language. Palmerston, in a letter to Persigny, protested against the arrangement with impotent rage.[51] The Prince Consort, however, cynically observed that the Italian Question was not quite settled yet, and that a Confederation with the Pope at the head of it was only “a bad joke.” The Queen soothed Lord Palmerston, in his bitter disappointment, by pointing out to him that his ally had now legalised in Italy that very Austrian influence which it was the object of the Palmerstonian policy to expel, but, she added, as Lord Palmerston had not protested against the war, he could not protest against the peace, unless it were considered wise to “make it appear as if to persecute Austria were{40} a personal object with the First Minister of the Crown.” To Lord John Russell she wrote in terms that must have been as gall and bitterness to Palmerston, who had, in defiance of her objections, consented to give “moral support” to Persigny’s sham proposals for peace. The Emperor Napoleon, she observed, by his prudence and victories, had created for himself a formidable position. “It is remarkable,” she adds, “that he has acted towards Austria now just as he did towards Russia, after the fall of Sebastopol. But if it was our lot then to be left alone to act the part of the extortioner, while he acted that of the generous victor, the Queen is doubly glad that we should not now have fallen into the trap to ask from Austria, as friends and neutrals, concessions which he was ready to waive.”[52]

Still, her Majesty did not regard the anxious events of the year with unmixed regret. It was a gratifying fact that the Indian Mutiny had been suppressed, and on the 14th of April the thanks of Parliament were voted to those who had saved our Indian Empire. The Queen, in conveying her personal thanks to Lord Canning, laid before him her project for founding the Order of the Star of India. A visit from her eldest daughter had brightened her birthday festivities—saddened though these were by the illness of the Duchess of Kent, who had been attacked by erysipelas. The Government had begun to strengthen the defences of the country, and the spontaneous uprising of the people, which originated the Volunteer Movement, placed at her disposal the nucleus of a superb defensive army, to the organisation of which the Prince Consort now began to direct his attention. Mr. Gladstone’s Budget, too, though it necessitated a ninepenny income-tax[53] to meet exceptional naval and military expenditure, was passed ungrudgingly by Parliament, though, of course, it increased the popular antipathy to the French Emperor which the Peace of Villafranca had excited.

In vain did Napoleon III. endeavour to induce England to propose a Congress or a Conference for the purpose of settling the Italian Question in a manner that would allay Italian discontent. Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell would have fallen into this trap also, but for the tenacity with which the Queen urged her objections to their policy. Walewski fortunately admitted to Lord Cowley that the French and Austrian Emperors had agreed not to submit the Peace they had made to a Congress. “Two emperors,” wrote the Queen to Lord John Russell (20th July), “who were at war with each other have suddenly concluded personally a peace, and we have before us merely the account of one of them through his Minister. This Minister’s account admits that his master pledged his word on{41} certain points, but thinks it not binding if England will propose its being broken. This is a duty which honour forbids us to undertake.” The Cabinet then so far yielded to the Queen’s reasoning that they agreed to hold aloof from the whole business, till the arrangement between the two Emperors was embodied in the Treaty of Zurich. A debate in the House of Commons (8th August) showed that Parliament, on the whole, approved of this course. On the 13th came the prorogation of the Legislature, which enabled the Queen and her husband to make a short excursion to the Channel Islands.

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A grave conflict of opinion now arose between the Queen and Lord John Russell. Lord John, like Lord Palmerston, was desirous of re-arranging the affairs of Italy in terms of an understanding with France. In other words, he was desirous of neutralising the Treaty of Zurich by getting one of its signatories to join him in breaking those of its conditions which were favourable to the other signatory. No doubt it was difficult to persuade the Central Italian States to abide by a treaty that handed them back to the oppressors whom they had got rid of. But the problem of reconciling the people to their petty despots was one which the Queen argued should be solved, not by England, who did not create it, but by France and Austria, who did.{42} Again, after some controversy, she succeeded in overruling fresh plans for intervention which Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell had mooted,[54] and thus matters were left when the Court reached Balmoral on the 31st of August. Hardly had the first week of her holiday passed by when the Queen discovered that Palmerston had broached his project for annexing the Italian Duchies to Sardinia in a private letter to Walewski, who, however, frankly said such a proposal would prevent Austria from signing any treaty, and thus lead to a renewal of the war. She wrote to Lord John Russell condemning Palmerston’s indiscretion, and pointing out that Walewski himself suggested that annexation of Savoy to France would be the natural compensation for annexing the Duchies to Sardinia—a compensation which would be odious to England, but which would be justified on the ground, that Palmerston’s policy rendered it necessary. But Tuscany and Romagna desired annexation to Sardinia, and Napoleon accordingly suggested that a Congress should be summoned to consider the matter. Lord Palmerston agreed to this project, and though the Queen did not oppose Palmerston, she did not conceal her opinion that the object of the Congress was to induce England to do for the Italians what Napoleon had promised but had failed to do. She, however, induced the Cabinet to warn Napoleon that England would not take on herself his self-imposed duty to his clients in the revolted States. They, in the meanwhile, calmly carried on their government in the name of the Sardinian king, and in open defiance of the compact of Villafranca.

Save for these anxious diplomatic perplexities, the Balmoral holiday was a highly enjoyable one, notable for long mountain excursions, of which the Queen’s ascent of Ben Macdhui was one of the most striking. The Prince Consort’s address to the British Association at Aberdeen was well received, and it was followed by a Highland gathering of philosophers at Balmoral, whose fête was, however, marred by tempestuous weather. On the journey south the Queen opened, on the 14th of October, the great waterworks at Loch Katrine for the supply of Glasgow—works on a scale of magnificence not unworthy of the Roman Empire. After a pleasant, but brief sojourn in Wales, the Queen and her husband reached Windsor on the 17th, pleased to find that the Prince and Princess Frederick William proposed soon to visit them. They came on the 9th of November—when the birthday of the Prince of Wales was celebrated—and stayed till the 3rd of December. The last month of the year was spent at Osborne, till Christmastide came round, when the Royal Family removed to Windsor, where, writes the Prince Consort in his Diary, “we danced in the New Year.{43}”


The Queen’s Distrust of French Policy—Her Conferences with Lord Clarendon—The French Pamphlet on “The Pope and the Congress”—Palmerston’s Proposal of an Alliance Offensive and Defensive with France—Intriguing between Palmerston and Persigny—Recall of Cavour—Affairs in China—Mr. Cobden’s Commercial Treaty with France—Cession of Nice and Savoy to France—The Anglo-French Alliance at an End—Lord John Russell’s Reform Bill—Threatened Rupture with France—Russia Attempts to Re-open the Eastern Question—Garibaldi’s Invasion of the Two Sicilies—Collapse of the Neapolitan Monarchy—The Piedmontese Invade the Papal States—Annexation of the Sicilies to Sardinia—Meeting between Napoleon III. and the German Sovereigns at Baden—A New Holy Alliance—The Mahometan Atrocities in Syria—The Macdonald Scandal—Palmerston’s Fortification Scheme—The Lords Reject the Bill Abolishing the Paper Duty—The Volunteer Movement—Reviews in Hyde Park and Edinburgh—The Queen at Wimbledon—The Prince of Wales’s Tour in Canada and the United States—Betrothal of the Princess Alice—The Queen and her Grandchild—Serious Accident to the Prince Consort—Illness of the Queen.

Although the new year (1860) opened brightly for commercial England, the political outlook was far from cheerful. The Cabinet and the Queen were by no means in harmony on Foreign affairs, and Ministers were themselves far from being agreed as to a Reform policy. Lord Palmerston, Lord John Russell, Mr. Gladstone, and Mr. Milner Gibson were violently anti-Austrian. They were so eager to win credit for establishing a free kingdom in Northern Italy, that they were easy dupes in the hands of the French Emperor, whose design it was to achieve this end, so that whilst the credit should be his, the risk should be theirs. The Queen, on the other hand, was profoundly distrustful of French policy. She persisted in seeing in it nothing save a scheme for getting England to “pull the chestnuts out of the fire” for France. Her view was that the Italian people were now masters of the situation. Their old rulers could not be restored save by force, which Napoleon did not dare to use, and which Austria, weakened in her finances, and menaced by a Hungarian rising, was also afraid to apply. The solution of the Italian question in the opinion of the Queen might be safely left to the natural course of events, and the duty of England was done when she frankly expressed her sympathy with the Italian struggle for constitutional freedom. Napoleon, however, after promising to make Italy “free from the Alps to the Adriatic,” could hardly leave her to free herself as she was doing. His engagements to Austria on the other hand rendered it difficult for him to interfere actively. But it would have suited his convenience admirably if he were able to interfere with an ally, and on the basis of a proposal which originated with England, for then he might be able to offer a plausible excuse for not abiding by the pact of Villafranca. The game of diplomacy during this period was played, by France insinuating projects of interference to Lord Palmerston, so that they might seem to have originated with him, and by Lord Palmerston putting them into Lord John Russell’s mind, so that Lord John, who was at{44}

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the Foreign Office, might seem to the Queen to be the originator of them. There is reason to believe that the Queen quite understood her Prime Minister’s tactics. Mr. Greville gives a graphic sketch of her relations to her Ministers during this period of controversy, in his record of a conversation which he had with Lord Clarendon about a confidential visit he paid to Osborne in the previous summer. “The Queen,” writes Mr. Greville, “was delighted to have him (Clarendon) with her again, and to have a good long confidential talk with him, for it seems she finds less satisfaction in her intercourse with either Palmerston or Lord John. The relations of these two are now most intimate and complete. Palmerston, taking advantage of Russell’s ignorance of Foreign Affairs, used to suggest a project to him. Russell would bring this before the Cabinet as his own, and Palmerston would support it as if the case was quite new to him.” At Osborne Clarendon “was unfortunately attacked by gout, and confined to his room. He was sitting there with Lady Clarendon, when Lady Gainsborough came in and told him that she was desired by the Queen to beg he would, if possible, move into the next room [the lady-in-waiting’s room] and establish himself there; that the Queen would come in, when all the ladies present were to go away and leave{45}

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her tête-à-tête with him. All this was done, and she remained there an hour and a half talking over everything, pouring all her confidences into his ears, and asking for his advice about everything. He said he had endeavoured to do as much good as he could, by smoothing down her irritation about things she did not like. As an example, he mentioned that while the Prince was with him a box was brought in with a despatch from Lord John which the Prince was to read. He did so with strong marks of displeasure, and then read it to Clarendon, saying they could not approve of it, and must return it to Lord John. Clarendon begged him not to do this; that it was not the way to deal with him, and it would be better to see what it contained that was really good and proper, and to suggest emendations as to the rest. He persuaded the Prince to do this, advised him what to say, and in the end Lord John adopted all the suggestions they made to him. On another occasion the Queen had received a very touching letter from the Duchess of Parma, imploring her protection and good offices, which she had sent to Lord John, desiring he would write an answer for her to make to it. He sent a very short, cold answer, which the Queen would not send. She asked Clarendon{46} to write a suitable one for her, which he did, but insisted that she should send it to Lord John as her own. She did so, Lord John approved, and so this matter was settled.”[55]

An “inspired” pamphlet on the “Pope and the Congress” had appeared in Paris, pointing to a re-arrangement of the Italian Provinces, that not only alarmed Austria, but caused her to decline to enter the Congress altogether, unless France would disavow her complicity with such schemes. The moment, therefore, was opportune for a fresh combination, and the Emperor’s new plan was one to settle the Italian Question by a triple alliance between England, France, and Sardinia, which would guarantee the latter Power against all foreign intervention in Italy. At a meeting of the Liberal Cabinet this insidious project was broached by Lord Palmerston[56] on the 3rd of January, who was willing to enter into it even at the risk of war. The compact was long an affair of mystery, but light is thrown on it by a letter from Lord Derby to Lord Malmesbury (January 15th, 1860), in which Lord Derby says, “I return the well-known handwriting enclosed in your letter of the 13th. The information there given tallies with what I have received from other quarters, among others from Madame de Flahault, whom I met at Bretby. The offer of a commercial treaty was, however, coupled, though she did not tell me so, with the proposal of an alliance, offensive and defensive, with France, and a joint guarantee of the independence of Central Italy! Cowley came here specially to urge the adoption of these two measures; but my latest intelligence is that they were debated in the Cabinet on Tuesday last, strenuously urged by Palmerston and J. Russell, who had confidently assured the Cabinet of their success, acquiesced in by Gladstone, by the double inducement of his Italo-mania and his Free Trade policy, but on discussion rejected by a majority of the Cabinet.”[57]

The enlightened obstinacy with which the Queen pressed her objections to this wild scheme caused it to be abandoned, and for the courage and tenacity with which she maintained her position at that crisis England can never be too grateful. She foresaw, what Palmerston ignored, the inevitable conflict between Prussia and France, which she hoped and believed would lead to the unification of Germany, and one almost shudders to think of the position Great Britain would have occupied in 1870, had this offensive and defensive alliance with France been consummated in 1860. Her Majesty had permitted herself to be dragged by Palmerston into a war with Russia “for an idea,” with France as an ally. She could not forget the harsh lesson which that blunder had impressed on her. She could not forget, as easily as did Palmerston, how that alliance left England with little control over her action in war, and still less control over the settlement of the peace which was forced on her by the{47} sudden desertion of her ally. Thwarted at this point, Napoleon and Palmerston renewed the attack at another. Persigny came to Lord John Russell with a suggestion that Austria and France should both pledge themselves not to interfere in Italy unless under a European mandate in case of anarchy, and he proposed that this arrangement might be made “the basis of an agreement between France and England.” The Queen’s answer was crushing. “If,” she wrote, “France and Austria will both abstain from interfering in the affairs of Italy, it will be much the wisest course; but the Queen cannot see why this should require an agreement to be entered into between France and us, who ought not to interfere at all.”[58]

As a matter of fact, Austria formally intimated she had no intention of interfering, and French troops in Rome and Lombardy were the only foreign troops at the time on Italian territory. But the recklessness of Palmerston’s intrigues with France cannot be justly appreciated, unless it is kept in view that Napoleon was now entering into another arrangement for settling the Italian Question. At Plombières he had promised Cavour to free Italy from the Alps to the Adriatic on condition that Sardinia would cede Savoy and Nice to France. This bargain Cavour repudiated when the Emperor failed to make his word good at Villafranca. On the 16th of January Victor Emmanuel recalled Cavour to the head of affairs, and a new compact was made by which Sardinia would cede Nice and Savoy, as the price of Napoleon’s consent to her annexation of the revolted Duchies. It is hardly necessary to say that had Lord Palmerston, who was in ignorance of this compact, contrived to entangle England in alliance with France, the storm of indignation which swept over England when the cession of Nice and Savoy was intimated would have brought about the fall of his Ministry. But when Parliament opened on the 24th of January, and when Mr. Disraeli, in speaking to the Address, elicited very plainly the strong feeling of the House against compromising engagements with France, Lord Palmerston was fortunate in being able to say that his Government “was totally free from any engagement whatever with any Foreign Power upon the affairs of Italy.” He did not deem it necessary to add that for this stroke of luck the Cabinet owed him no thanks.

The points in the Queen’s Speech which attracted attention after the Italian Question were the hostilities with China and the Commercial Treat with France, which Mr. Cobden had negotiated during the fall of the preceding year. The Treaty with China was to have been ratified at Pekin. But when our Ambassador attempted to proceed thither he found the Peiho river blocked, and the Chinese forts not only opened fire, but repulsed our squadron. A joint expedition was fitted out in conjunction with France to avenge this defeat, and compel the Chinese Government to ratify the Treaty at Pekin, and complaints were made that Parliament had not been consulted before the{48} joint expedition had been decided on. The history of Mr. Cobden’s Commercial Treaty has been told at great length elsewhere,[59] so that we need do no more than say it was signed on the 29th of January. Manchester immediately hailed Napoleon III. with the same effusive admiration that it bestowed on Peel in 1846. The English press, foreseeing an era of extended trade and permanent peace, ceased its attacks on the French Emperor, and complimented him so violently, that M. Baroche told Mr. Cobden its flattery would make the Treaty unpopular in France. The Treaty was at this stage merely the skeleton of a reciprocal fiscal arrangement. England gave France coal and iron duty free. England further agreed to reduce import duties on French wines and various articles of French manufacture. France, on the other hand, engaged not only to limit her customs duty to thirty per cent. on the value of English goods, but by the 13th Article she agreed to convert ad valorem duties into specific duties by a supplementary convention. The extent to which, under this Article, duties were reduced would of course measure the usefulness of the Treaty.

The Treaty, along with the changes in taxation which it would involve, was explained by Mr. Gladstone in the House of Commons on the 10th of February. His Budget estimates showed a deficit of over £9,000,000, to meet which he not only continued the tea and sugar duties, but levied an Income Tax of 10d. in the pound on incomes over £150 a year, and 7d. on incomes under that amount. One part of his scheme was to abolish the Paper duty, but in this he was thwarted by the House of Lords. The French Treaty compelled him to lower the duty on French spirits and wines, and to abolish duties on manufactures not subject to excise in England. He struck 370 articles out of the Tariff list, and reduced and readjusted those that he retained, which were forty-eight. “The whole of our recent fiscal history,” according to a high authority on financial questions, “is a complete vindication of the policy of remitting and reducing duties, so that nothing should remain on the tariff which did not contribute a substantial sum to the revenue, and in order that it might do so, should bear no duty high enough to preclude its passing into general consumption. By the remissions of 1860 that ideal was nearly attained. As an example of how the remissions worked, I may mention that the imports of French wines increased at once by 127 per cent. on the reduction of the duty. On the whole of the articles on which the customs duties were repealed in 1860 the immediate increase on the import duty was 40½ per cent., although the year 1861 was in some respects a highly unfavourable one in which to judge of the purchasing capacity of the nation.”[60] This brilliant and successful policy, however, was opposed bitterly by the Tories and a few Peelites, like Sir James Graham; and some Whigs, like Lord Clarendon,{49}

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even condemned the policy of the Treaty as unsound.[61] The Queen was not sanguine about the matter, and the Prince Consort saw in the Treaty only a device for giving France the supply of coal and iron which she needed to compete with England in the markets of the world, whereas England surrendered valuable sources of revenue, without any adequate compensation. The strongest point against the Treaty was made by Lord Derby. He complained in the House of Lords that though the arrangement was based on the assumption that there would be peace between France and England, the general policy of the Cabinet, as tested by Mr. Gladstone’s estimates, assumed that war between the two nations was imminent. On a motion in the House of Commons asserting that it was not expedient to diminish sources of revenue or add a penny to the Income Tax, the whole policy of the Treaty and the Budget was challenged, and the opposition to both defeated by a majority of 116. The theoretical objections to commercial treaties generally were overcome by Mr. Gladstone’s argument that by making a small sacrifice of revenue England gained a vast extension of her export trade. But the real difficulty, of course, lay in fixing the limits of the duties under the 13th{50} Article of the Treaty. A Commission was sent to Paris, on which Mr. Cobden agreed to serve, for the purpose of beating down the duties from the thirty per cent. maximum to a minimum of as nearly as possible ten per cent., and it was while this Commission was haggling with the French Commissioners that Cobden found himself thwarted by the secret hostility of the Foreign Office, and embarrassed by the bellicose policy of the Cabinet, which naturally produced ill feeling in France. He resented this action so bitterly, that he could not bring himself to accept from the Government the slightest reward for his services as a negotiator after he had carried out his mission with triumphant success.[62]

At the same time, it is only fair to say that the conduct of Napoleon at the time was singularly indiscreet. He made it plain that he was about to annex Nice and Savoy, although when he went to war in Italy he had protested that he did not seek for extension of territory. The Central Italian States, however, by voting through their assemblies in favour of annexation to Sardinia, furnished the French Emperor with an excuse for annexations, which were only necessary to recompense France for her expenditure of blood and treasure in the war with Austria. It was obvious that a great Italian kingdom would now be created in North Italy, and the Emperor held that he could not leave in its hands the passes by which France might be invaded. To secure his Alpine frontier, then, the Emperor insisted on taking Savoy and Nice. The provoking matter was this: the suggestion that the Central States should by a new vote in their Assemblies declare their intentions as to their future came from England. “We are asked,” wrote the Queen, in a sharp letter to Lord John Russell, “to make proposals about Italy, ‘to lay the basis for a mutual agreement with France, upon that question, and to enable the Emperor to release himself from his engagements with Austria.’ In an evil hour the proposal is made, and is now pleaded as the reason for France seizing on Savoy…. Sardinia is being aggrandised at the expense of Austria and the House of Lorraine, and France is to be compensated. If the passes of the Alps are dangerous to a neighbour, the{51} weaker power must give them up to the stronger!”[63] The Queen, in fact, feared that on the same pretext the French Emperor might be led to demand a rectification of his Rhenish frontier, a demand which she knew must lead straight to a disastrous European war. A discussion raised by Lord Normanby in the House of Lords on the 7th of February stirred up the forces of public opinion against France. As for Cavour, he was helpless. The consent of France to the enlargement of Sardinia could not be bought save by the cession of Nice and Savoy, and so they were ceded to France, despite Cavour’s reluctance, on the 24th of March.

But the Commercial Treaty was not the only project of the Government which English mistrust of France imperilled. The Ministry was pledged to bring in a Reform Bill, and at a time when folk were brooding over the growing restlessness of France, there was little chance of carrying it. On the 1st of March Lord John Russell expounded his scheme to the House of Commons for reducing the franchise from £10 to £6, and taking twenty-five seats from small constituencies returning two members, and giving them to large constituencies deserving increased representation. The scheme fell flat in the House of Commons and in the country. It was cautiously attacked by Mr. Disraeli, who, though he declined to oppose the Second Reading, suggested that the Bill should be withdrawn. The supporters of the Ministry had no love for the measure, because if passed it involved a dissolution. The Second Reading was taken without a division, but before the stage of Committee was reached Lord John Russell withdrew the measure, and thus the question of Reform was shelved for several years to come. Lord John at last admitted that he had been mistaken in supposing that there was any widespread enthusiasm for Reform in the country. He, however, failed to see that the withdrawal of the Bill rendered Palmerston’s tenure of office a little precarious, for the party of Reform, knowing it could expect no more from him, had no strong motive for supporting him any further against the Tories.

In the meantime France was beginning to hint that Prussia should play the part of Sardinia in Germany. The consent of France, of course, could be obtained on the same terms as those which Cavour paid for it—the cession to France of territory on the Rhine. Clearly, it was argued, Napoleon would give Europe no rest till he had rectified the frontier assigned to France in 1815, after the fall of the First Empire. Very soon it became necessary to proclaim that England had no part in these schemes, and when, on the 26th of March, Lord John Russell declared in the House of Commons that there was no longer an exclusive alliance with France, the Queen congratulated him on what was really the triumph of her own policy. According to her view, a belief that this alliance existed made the European Powers at all times chary of cooperating with England. Unfortunately, Lord John Russell’s speech irritated{52}

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public opinion in France, and the recriminations of the Press in both countries caused Persigny to warn Palmerston that war between them would soon be inevitable. Count Flahault and Lord Palmerston held a conversation on the subject, in which they discussed the chances of war in the frankest manner—each vaunting the undeniable superiority of his country in battle.[64] Count Flahault is supposed to have been impressed with Palmerston’s demonstration that victory in such a struggle must rest on English banners, and to have succeeded in soothing down the angry feeling against England, which then raged at the French Court. The real reason why all danger of a rupture passed away was that Persigny’s favourite argument—namely, that war with England meant the{53}

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destruction of the dynasty—prevailed. Moreover, Napoleon saw plainly that as every European Power was afraid of France, and as no European Power had anything to dread from England, Europe in a war between England and France would not be on the side of the latter Power. But no sooner did France suggest that the Treaty arrangements of 1815 might be rectified, than Russia hinted that the same process might be applied with advantage to the Treaty of 1856. The old pretext for opening up the Eastern Question—namely, the oppressiveness of the Turkish Government—lay ready to Russia’s hands. The English Cabinet, in reply to Russia’s communications on the subject, insisted that the plots of foreign intriguers in Bosnia, Bulgaria, and Servia were really at the root of the miseries of the people. Russia, in raising this question, had assumed that France would help her. But Napoleon’s eyes were fixed not on the Danube but on the Rhine; so Russian hopes of aid from France were doomed to disappointment. The next move on the European chess-board justified the anticipations which the Queen held out after Lord{54} John Russell’s speech of the 24th of March. Finding that England no longer leaned solely on France, Austria and Prussia suggested that they should come to an understanding with England, by which they bound each other to oppose every future disturbance of frontiers in Europe—a step, however, which her Majesty shrank from taking. At her suggestion, the Cabinet agreed to a compact that each of the Powers should give the others warning of any projected disturbances of territory as soon as they were heard of, and frankly discuss their bearings; and of these disturbances one was already imminent in Southern Italy.

“Naples,” Lord Malmesbury writes in his Diary on the 17th of March, “is in a dreadful state. The tyranny of the present king far exceeds that of his father, and the exasperation is so great that a revolution may take place at any moment. But events in the north of Italy have much to say to these feelings, and naturally encourage the Neapolitans to imitate them.” In fact, Francis II. had obstinately refused to make the slightest concession to the popular party in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Heedless of the revolution in North Italy he upheld in all its baneful integrity the arbitrary system of his father, King “Bomba.” Hence in April an insurrection broke out, as Lord Malmesbury predicted, in Palermo and Messina with the avowed object of joining Sicily to the new kingdom of Northern Italy. On the 5th of May General Garibaldi, who, after the cession of his native province of Nice to France, had renounced all connection with Cavour, sailed from Genoa with 2,000 men to succour the Sicilian insurgents. “‘Italy and Victor Emmanuel!’” he said in his proclamation, “that was our battle-cry when we crossed the Ticino; it will resound to the very depths of Etna.” Landing at Marsala, he proclaimed himself Dictator in the name of the King of Sardinia, and Cæsar’s Veni, vidi, vici, might well be the record of his triumphal march to the north. On the 27th he captured Palermo, and then the Island of Sicily soon passed under his control. Every road was swarming with patriotic volunteers eager to join Garibaldi’s army, and the Royal troops, disgusted with the cowardice and incapacity of their leaders, were wavering in their allegiance to the King. They made a final stand at Melazzo, after which they took refuge in the citadel of Messina, where they remained undisturbed at the end of the year. “If we succeed,” wrote Garibaldi to Victor Emmanuel, “I shall be proud to adorn your Majesty’s crown with a new and perhaps more brilliant jewel, but always on the condition that your Majesty will resist your advisers should they wish to cede this province to the stranger, as they have ceded my native city, Nice.” The bitter allusion to Cavour’s policy, which had converted Garibaldi into a Frenchman against his will, is a sufficient answer to those who have alleged that Cavour was acting at this time in concert with Garibaldi. The most that can be said is that he knew privately that a revolutionary attack on the Sicilian monarchy was contemplated, and finding it to his account to preoccupy Francis II., then threatening interference{55} in the revolted Roman States, he did not consider it necessary to prevent Garibaldi’s departure from Genoa.[65] But all the European Governments believed that Cavour was secretly in league with Garibaldi, and they pretended to see in the revolution of the Sicilies an attempt at piratical self-aggrandisement by Sardinia. Sardinian ambition must be curbed, said the diplomatists; and so Cavour soon found himself surrounded by embarrassments. Russia hinted at armed intervention for the protection of the Neapolitan Bourbons. France, in a paroxysm of virtue, deprecated any extension of Sardinian territory. England implored Sardinia to take no hand in, and lend no countenance to, the revolution in the Sicilies, lest France should demand more compensations in Genoa and the Island of Sardinia itself. When Lord John Russell pressed this view on the Cabinet of Turin he was probably ignorant of the fact that Cavour, when he signed the compact ceding Savoy to France, said, bitterly, “Et maintenant vous voilà nos complices!” (“Now you are an accomplice”). France had, in fact, been paid in full for her neutrality; and though Cavour issued a platonic protest against the conquest of the Sicilies in May, it was obvious that Victor Emmanuel would never risk his Crown by actively impeding in any part of Italy the movement for national independence.

The Court of Naples at this crisis seemed paralysed with panic. In August Garibaldi advanced virtually unopposed, and captured the capital, the King, with 50,000 troops, retreating to Capua and Gaëta.[66]

Italy, said Mr. Disraeli, in one of the debates in Parliament, “was in a state far beyond the management of, and settlement of Courts and Cabinets,” and whilst diplomatists were debating how she could be kept in bondage, she had freed half of her territory by one daring but decisive stroke. Flushed with his easy victory, Garibaldi now declared he would hold South Italy till the whole peninsula was free—till Austria was expelled from the north-east, and the eagles of France were chased from the pinnacles of the capital. This{56} declaration forced the hands of France and Sardinia. Cavour and Napoleon agreed that intervention in the Papal States and in Naples could not be postponed.[67] Victor Emmanuel, therefore, summoned the Pope to dismiss the foreign levies he had organised for the purpose of forcing his revolted subjects to return to their allegiance. His Holiness refused, and then Cialdini and Fanti overran Umbria and the Marches, crushed the Papal army, and forced Lamoriciere to surrender the fortress of Ancona. Carefully avoiding a collision with Austria and with the French army of occupation in Rome—a condition attached to the neutrality of Napoleon III.—the Piedmontese troops marched on to complete the conquest of the Sicilies, where the King still held out at Gaëta and Capua. When this had been effected the kingdoms, by a popular vote, decided on annexation to Sardinia, and Europe acquiesced in the interests of law, order, and monarchical institutions. Garibaldi, on handing over the Sicilies to Victor Emmanuel, retired to Caprera, refusing all reward or recompense for his splendid services to his country, and appealing to Italy to be ready to renew the struggle for freedom in Venetia next year. But the prevailing feeling was that a final settlement of the Italian Question had not yet been arrived at, and would never be arrived at whilst Austria held Venetia and the French occupied Rome. Knowing well that the hold of Austria on Venetia was weakened by disaffection in Hungary, the Emperor of Austria promulgated a general constitution for the Empire, with separate charters for the various provinces. The scheme, however, broke down, because it failed to satisfy the popular demand for the restoration of the rights of Hungary as they existed in 1848.{57}

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Early in the summer a remarkable incident in European politics happened that profoundly agitated the Queen. The French press had suggested that, provided France was compensated by an extension of frontier on the Rhine, Prussia might, with her consent, play in Germany the rôle assumed by Sardinia in Italy. When Lord John Russell publicly abandoned the French alliance, the Queen suggested the substitution for it of an arrangement between England, Prussia, and Austria, to the effect “that each should make known to the other two any overture or proposition, direct, or indirect, which either of the three may receive from France tending to any change of the existing state of territorial possessions in Europe, and that no answer should be given to such overture or proposal until the Government to which it may have been made shall have had an answer from the other two to the communication so made.” [68]


This arrangement subsisted when the French Emperor suggested to the Prince Regent of Prussia that they should meet in friendly conference together at Baden on the 16th of June. The Prince Regent of Prussia met the French Emperor, not alone, but in company with the Kings of Wurtemberg, Bavaria, Saxony, and Hanover; the Grand Dukes of Baden, Saxe-Weimar, and Hesse Darmstadt; and the Dukes of Nassau and Saxe-Coburg Gotha, and the Prince of Hohenzollern. This, says the biographer of Prince Bismarck, was a “demonstration for the integrity of German soil,”[69] and it compelled the French Emperor to suddenly change his plan, which had been to suggest that Prussia should seize Savoy and Hanover, and let France rectify her frontier on the Rhine. This design could not be avowed at such a meeting, so Napoleon contented himself with assuring the Prince Regent of Prussia that he had no intention of dissevering any territory from Germany—and giving for the first time his reasons for violating the pledges of Milan and annexing Nice and Savoy. The Prince accepted Napoleon’s assurances, saying that he could immediately restore confidence to Germany by communicating them to the German sovereigns then in Baden. He also transmitted to the Prince Consort a private account of the interview, which quite relieved the anxiety which the conference had caused the Queen.[70]

Following closely on this conference came a letter from the French Emperor to Persigny for Palmerston’s perusal, in which he strove hard to reconstruct his English alliance, but to which no other reply was given than that England gave France credit for good intentions, and would remain her friend so long as she did not disturb the peace of Europe.[71] Garibaldi’s invasion of the Sicilies had alarmed Austria. French conspirators, it was said, were already busy in Hungary and Russian Poland, and Venetia might be attacked at any{59} moment. In these circumstances the attitude of Prussia was a matter of supreme concern to Austria. The unrest of Poland rendered it inconvenient for Russia to help Austria. Could she hope to induce Prussia to assist her in coercing her mutinous subjects? The meeting of the Emperor of Austria and the Prince Regent of Prussia at Töplitz was watched with intense interest by the Queen, who knew how fatal it would be for Germany if Prussia suffered herself to be entangled in the non-German affairs of Austria. The Austrian Emperor, however, did not ask for Prussian aid in the event of Venetia being attacked by France or Italy, unless, as he hoped, Prussia “after negotiations,” saw in such an attack a common danger. The real danger to Prussia was that Austria, after getting a promise of assistance, might provoke France to attack Italy; but as a matter of fact, the Prince Regent kept clear of all engagements with Austria at this interview, about which so much mystery was raised at the time. According to the private account of it given by the Prince of Prussia to the Prince Consort, it only led to an exchange of ideas, and to certain vague promises on the part of the Emperor Francis Joseph, that he would grant reforms to his provinces.[72] After the fall of the Neapolitan dynasty had been brought about, the French Emperor let it be known that whilst he approved of the creation of a strong Italian kingdom, he would not defend Italy if she attacked Austria. It was, indeed, the knowledge of this fact which enabled Cavour to hold the Italian Revolution in hand, for even Garibaldi was not so reckless as to rush into war against Austria without allies. Still, the Austrians put little faith in Napoleon’s assurances, and on the 25th of October a meeting between the rulers of Austria, Russia, and Prussia was held at Warsaw to discuss the situation.

The rumour which immediately flew round was that the Holy Alliance was to be revived, that the three Powers were to combine for the revision of the Treaty of 1856, and, having isolated England, to coerce all struggling nationalities, and defend Austria in Venetia and Hungary. This rumour was quite unfounded. The Powers did agree, however, that if Austria, attacked in Venetia, proved victorious and re-conquered Lombardy, she could not be asked beforehand to give back Lombardy to Italy, though the fate of that province might properly be determined by a Peace Congress. The Prince Regent of Prussia insisted that England must be kept informed of all their{60} transactions in such a Congress. But at this meeting there was a decided tendency to isolate England because of Lord John Russell’s despatch of the 27th of October, and the Russian Czar pressed forward Prince Gortschakoff’s idea, which was that by conciliating France, a quadruple alliance might be formed against the progress of revolution, which Lord John Russell was supposed to have stimulated. The objection of the Prince Regent of Prussia—who, like the Austrian Emperor, thought that France ought to give new guarantees against raising revolutionary disturbances in Europe—to act save in concert with England, was, however, fatal to Prince Gortschakoff’s schemes. Prussia, in fact, held obstinately to the opinion that the friendship of England was of vital importance to the defence of Germany against French encroachments. These facts are worth noting, for they explain the just indignation of the Queen against a series of attacks on Prussia which at this inopportune moment began to appear in the Times. They preyed on the mind of the Prince Consort to such an extent that the Queen asserts his health gave way, which but served to add to her sorrows and anxieties.

Yet it is but just to say that the Times was not entirely to blame. The conduct of the Prussian Government in a matter of painful dispute between the administrations of the two countries was far from satisfactory. In September a certain Captain Macdonald quarrelled with the railway authorities at Bonn about a seat in a railway carriage. He was violently dragged from his place and cast into prison with arbitrary brutality. The Public Prosecutor, in dealing with his case, had publicly accused English residents and travellers in Germany of being notorious for “rudeness, impudence, and boorish arrogance;” and as the Queen and her husband were, a few days after that speech was delivered, themselves tourists in Germany, the Public Prosecutor’s insolence was felt to be peculiarly obnoxious. The Queen herself, in an entry in her Journal made during her German tour, says, “Saw Lord John on the subject of a vexatious circumstance which took place about three weeks ago—namely, a dispute on the railway at Bonn, and the ejection and imprisonment (unfairly, it seems) of a Captain Macdonald, and the subsequent offensive behaviour of the authorities. It has led to ill blood and much correspondence; but Lord John is very reasonable about it, and not inclined to do anything rash. These foreign Governments are very arbitrary and violent, and people are apt to give offence and to pay no regard to the laws of the country.”[73] Baron Schlenitz, says the Prince Consort in a letter to Stockmar, “took it [the dispute] very lightly;” whereas, on the other hand, Lord Palmerston demanded that the judge who sentenced Captain Macdonald to imprisonment should be dismissed, and reparation made to the Captain, otherwise diplomatic relations would be broken off with Prussia. But the Prussian Government kept this irritating business open for several{61}

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(From the Print published by Messrs. McFarlane and Erskine, Edinburgh.)


months; in fact, they did not settle the affair till May, 1861, and thus the English Press could not be altogether blamed if its criticisms of Prussian diplomacy were somewhat caustic.

Springing from the unrest of Europe we find in 1860 a great popular movement in England in favour of national defence. This found expression in two forms—in Palmerston’s Fortification Scheme and the rapid increase of the Volunteer Force. Both schemes were watched by the Queen with the closest attention, and both were furthered by her to the utmost of her power, though one of them very nearly shattered the Ministry. In an article on the History of 1852-60, Mr. Gladstone comments on the silent conflict that went on during 1860 between the policy that found expression in the Commercial Treaty with France, and that which was typified by the Fortification Scheme of Lord Palmerston.[74] The annexation of Nice and Savoy alarmed the country, and convinced even Lord Palmerston that the French Emperor had a fixed idea that it was his mission to rectify the frontier assigned to France in 1815. This might lead him to cast a hungry eye on Belgium, where already French intriguers were busy. As Mr. Tennyson sang, in the poem the publication of which in the Times of the previous year evoked the Volunteer Force, the word went round:—

“Form! be ready to do or die!
Form! in Freedom’s name and the Queen’s!
True, that we have a faithful ally,
But only the Devil knows what he means.”
France was increasing her army and her navy. The Report of a Royal Commission on National Defences had early in the year recommended the construction of fortifications to protect our arsenals and places of arms. The Cabinet resolved to spend £9,000,000 in carrying out these works, the money to be raised by a loan to be repaid in twenty years.

The vast fiscal changes involved by the Treaty were based on the supposition that France would be at peace with us. Yet the Fortification Scheme clearly rested on the assumption that France would soon involve us in war. In defence of this contradictory policy Mr. Gladstone writes, “like the builders of the Second Temple, grasping their tool with one hand and the sword with the other, we with one hand established commercial relations with France of unexampled amity and closeness, while with the other we built ships, constructed fortifications, and founded volunteers with a silent but well-understood and exclusive view to an apprehended invasion from France.”[75] He goes on to say that the augmentation of our forces in 1860 had the advantage “of strengthening the position of England in the councils of Europe with respect to the reconstitution of Italy.” But, at the time, he was by no means{63} favourably disposed to this military expenditure. Lord Palmerston told the Queen that Mr. Gladstone was threatening to resign if it were sanctioned; adding that, however much that was to be regretted, “it would be better to lose Mr. Gladstone than to run the risk of losing Portsmouth or Plymouth.” He was not satisfied in fact that the danger was so great as Palmerston and the Party of Panic imagined. He did not like the mode of raising the money which was proposed. “The struggle in the forum of his conscience,” writes Mr. Morley, “was long and severe;”[76] but finally he decided he could do more for the taxpayers’ interest by remaining in the Cabinet and influencing it than by resigning office; and trivial concessions were made to him which allayed his scruples. The Prince Consort, writing on the 31st of July to Baron Stockmar, says, “Gladstone continues in the Ministry, but on the condition that he shall be free next year to attack and denounce the fortifications, to the construction of which he this year gives his assent and the money. Palmerston laughingly yielded this condition to him.” Accordingly, on the 23rd of July, a resolution was carried in the House of Commons authorising £2,000,000 to be raised on annuities terminable in thirty years—this sum being enough to cover the expenditure possible within the year. Lord Palmerston, in speaking to the resolution, attacked France with great spirit, though it is unlikely that if France had really evil designs at the time on England, she would have given the Government even a year’s grace in which to begin their costly coast-fortification. One reason why Mr. Gladstone was hostile to a Fortification Scheme was that it upset all his financial arrangements. It created a feeling against sacrificing revenue, of which so much had already been surrendered to carry out the French Treaty.

It was soon evident that the proposal to abolish the Paper Duty was unpopular in Parliament, and when it passed the third reading by a majority of nine only, Lord Palmerston warned the Queen, who was on the side of the minority on this occasion, that the House of Lords would probably reject it. The Cabinet was not united on the subject, for Lord Malmesbury states that he was deputed to tell Lady Palmerston that the Opposition meant to reject it, “for which she thanked us.” Nay, he was deputed to go further, and promise her their support in the event of Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Milner Gibson and Lord John Russell resigning either over the failure of the Paper Duty scheme, or over the withdrawal of the Reform Bill. When both events became inevitable, the Cabinet was severely shaken, and all through the early days of June it was expected that it would be broken up. When the Lords rejected the Paper Duty Bill, Mr. Gladstone threatened to resign unless the Government and the House of Commons censured them for meddling with a Bill relating to taxation. The Peers, however, though they have not the right to initiate Bills dealing with taxation, have always claimed the right{64} of rejecting them, and the Commons’ Privilege Committee in their Report of the 29th of June admitted this right. However, to pacify Mr. Gladstone and the Radicals, Lord Palmerston introduced a series of Resolutions on the 6th of July in a speech which Lord Derby said was “the best tight-rope dancing he ever saw.”[77] These Resolutions affirmed once more the exclusive right of the House of Commons to impose and remit taxes, and to frame Bills of Supply, but did not challenge the claim of the Peers to reject them—and they were carried by a vote of 177 to 138.

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The feeling of mistrust against France had given a strong impetus to the Volunteer movement in the country, and in 1860 this found vent in the great review of the citizen army in Hyde Park, and the formation of the National Rifle Association at Wimbledon. The review was held on the 23rd of June, and 20,000 men from all parts of the country attended. The Queen appeared on the ground at four o’clock in the afternoon with the King of the Belgians, the Princess Alice, and Prince Arthur, the Prince Consort riding beside her carriage. In two hours it was over—belying the Duke of Wellington’s historic doubt whether we had a general who could get so many men into Hyde Park and out again without “clubbing” and confusion. Lord Malmesbury says, “I went to Mr. Disraeli’s house in Grosvenor Gate to see the sight, which was very fine. The enthusiasm of the men and spectators exceeded all description. There were 20,000 Volunteers, all young men between eighteen and thirty.{65}

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They went through their evolutions with the greatest steadiness and precision, and at the final advance in line, when they halted within a short distance of the Queen, and the bands had ceased playing ‘God Save the Queen,’ they raised a cheer that might be heard for miles. This was taken up by the spectators, and the scene was so exciting that the Queen was quite overcome, and I saw many people the same.”[78] On the 7th of July her Majesty opened the first meeting of the National Rifle Association on Wimbledon Common, under the first sunny summer sky of a peculiarly bleak season. Mr. Whitworth[79] had adjusted one of his rifles so neatly that when her Majesty pulled the trigger and fired the first shot at 400 yards she scored a bull’s-eye.[80] Her own{66} prize, conferring the Champion Marksmanship of England on the winner, was carried off by Mr. Edward Boss, of the 7th North York Rifles, with a score of twenty-four points—the greatest possible score being sixty. The public interest in the meeting, which was, in a sense, a great volunteer picnic, was indicated by the fact that the admission money (1s. a head) taken in six days from visitors amounted to £2,000.

Later in the season (7th of August) a grand review of the Scottish Volunteers was held in the Queen’s Park, Edinburgh, where the smooth plain on which Holyrood stands picturesquely surrounded by hills and crags, forms a natural amphitheatre admirably adapted for the popular enjoyment of a military pageant. All Scotland, so to speak, swarmed into Edinburgh, to be present at the scene, and contingents even from the Orkneys and Shetlands and the “storm-tossed Hebrides” were represented in the ranks of the great citizen army of the northern kingdom. It was said at the time that Scotland—always a military nation—must have a mania for volunteering, because she sent more troops to the review than passed the Queen at Hyde Park. The Queen herself remarked this fact, and her suite, who had seen the display in Hyde Park, were struck with the superior physique and drill of the men, though somewhat surprised that the Highland costume was worn by so few even of the Highland Regiments. The Queen was accompanied by her mother, the Duchess of Kent, then living at Cramond, near Edinburgh, the Prince Consort, the Princess Alice, and Prince Arthur. The Prince Consort rode on the right of her carriage, and the Duke of Buccleuch, as Captain of the Royal Body-Guard of Scottish Archers—a corps consisting entirely of nobles and gentlemen, who have the exclusive right of watching over the Royal person north of the Tweed—rode on the left hand. The programme was the same as at Hyde Park, but the surroundings and the enthusiasm of the troops and the myriads of spectators who covered the hillsides, made the spectacle more impressive. “It was magnificent,” wrote the Queen to King Leopold; “finer decidedly than in London.”

Many interesting family events rendered the year 1860 memorable to the Queen. Of these, one of the most important was the tour of the Prince of Wales in Canada—a visit which had been promised during the Crimean War, in answer to a deputation which had invited the Queen to go to the Colony,[81] and, without avail, begged her to appoint one of her sons Governor-General.[82] In spring it was decided that the Prince should proceed to the Far West{67} under the care of the Duke of Newcastle, Secretary of State for the Colonies, and when the news reached America, Mr. Buchanan, President of the United States, invited the Prince to visit the Republic, promising him such a warm welcome as would be most pleasing to the Queen. The invitation was accepted, but it was intimated that on his tour the Prince would drop all Royal state and travel under one of his Scottish titles—Baron Renfrew. On the 2nd of August his Royal Highness received a hearty greeting from the people of St. John’s, Newfoundland, the rough fishermen and their wives being especially enthusiastic in their loyalty. On the 7th, at Halifax, he was pelted with flowers by cheering crowds till, the Duke of Newcastle said, their carriage was rapidly filled up with bouquets; in fact, all through Canada the welcome given to the Queen’s son for the Queen’s sake was cordial in the extreme. One of the most picturesque incidents of the tour was the visit to Niagara by night, the Falls being illuminated by Bengal lights. These were first of all placed between the Falls and the rock over which they tumble, and turned as if by magic the vast sheet of water into a mass of incandescent silver, the boiling river itself gleaming with phosphorescent tints, and the spray rising high in the air as a thick luminous cloud. Then when the white lights were changed to crimson, the Falls and rapids were transformed into a seething lurid river of blood, and the spectators were awed into silence by the terrific grandeur of the scene. When the Prince crossed to the United States the people there strove to outdo the Canadian welcome. It was laughingly said that he would be lucky if he got out of the country without being asked to “run for President” next year, and the accounts which the Queen received of the splendid reception at Chicago deeply moved her. At Cincinnati and St. Louis the crowds were still greater and more enthusiastic, though quieter and more staid in demeanour than those in Canada. On the 3rd of October the Prince visited President Buchanan at Washington, and in company with him stood uncovered before the tomb of Washington—who had wrested the independence of the continent from his great-grandfather. In New York no monarch of ancient or modern times could have received a warmer ovation from his own people, and the reception at Boston, if less effusive, was not less cordial. The Duke of Newcastle, in reporting on the results of the tour, attributed its success first, to the growing feeling of goodwill that was springing up between Americans and Englishmen—a feeling, alas! to be soon rudely disturbed by the ungenerous support which the aristocratic classes gave to the secession of the Southern Slave States, and secondly, added the Duke, to the “very remarkable love for your Majesty personally, which pervaded all classes in this country, and which has acted like a spell upon them when they found your Majesty’s son actually among them.” The Prince of Wales, in fact, embodied for the American people the romance of their ancestral past—and their hearts warmed to him from the moment he set foot on their territory. The President also wrote to the Queen, telling her how the Prince had passed through the ordeal of the{68}

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visit—always dignified, always frank, always affable, so that he “conciliated, wherever he has been, the kindness and respect of a sensitive and discriminating people.”[83] The Queen in her reply said that her son could not sufficiently extol the great cordiality with which he had been received, and she went on to say, “Whilst as a mother I am most grateful for the kindness shown him, I feel impelled to express, at the same time, how deeply I have been touched by the many demonstrations of affection towards myself personally which his presence has called forth.”[84] The Duke of Newcastle had taken grave responsibilities on him in connection with the visit, and, as Dr. Acland told Mr. Charles Sumner, it was therefore for him a personal triumph. The Queen{69} was evidently of the same opinion, because, on his return, she testified her appreciation of the tact with which the Duke had managed the tour by conferring on him the Order of the Garter. A similar visit paid by Prince Alfred to Cape Town evoked similar expressions of goodwill from the colonists. Writing to Stockmar the Prince Consort speaks of the curious coincidence which, in almost the same week, caused one brother to open the great bridge across the St. Lawrence, and the other to lay the foundation stone of the breakwater in Cape Town harbour at the other end of the world. “What a cheering picture,” he writes, “is here of the progress and expansion of the British race, and of the useful co-operation of the Royal Family in the civilisation which England has developed and advanced.”[85]

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(From a Photograph by J. Valentine and Sons, Dundee.)

Early in May the Royal Family were visited by Prince Louis of Hesse-Darmstadt, between whom and the Princess Alice “a natural liking” had grown up, which was destined to ripen into a warmer feeling. “The Queen and myself,” observes the Prince Consort in a letter to Baron Stockmar, “look on as passive spectators, which is undoubtedly our best course as matters at{70} present stand.” It was, however, an open secret that they favoured the alliance. In the following November, Prince Louis came to Windsor as a formal suitor for the hand of the Princess. In her “Leaves from a Journal” the Queen herself tells the story of the wooing on the 30th of November. “After dinner,” she says, “while talking to the gentlemen, I perceived Alice and Louis talking before the fireplace more earnestly than usual, and when I passed to go to the other room, both came up to me, and Alice in much agitation said he had proposed to her, and he begged for my blessing. I could only squeeze his hand and say ‘Certainly,’ and that we would see him in our room later…. Alice came to our room—agitated but quiet…. Albert sent for Louis to his room—went first to him, and then called Alice and me in…. Louis has a warm, noble heart. After talking a little we parted, a most touching, and, to me, sacred moment.”

The autumnal sojourn at Balmoral was shortened by the Queen’s decision to visit Germany, where she had now a little grand-daughter added to the Royal circle. On the 22nd of September the Queen, Prince Consort, and Princess Alice left Buckingham Palace for Gravesend, Lord John Russell being Minister in attendance. The flat scenery of the Scheldt, which was speedily reached, struck her Majesty as being in ugly contrast to the romantic grandeur of the Aberdeenshire mountains. At Verviers the tour was saddened by the news of the death of the Dowager Duchess of Coburg, the Prince Consort’s stepmother. At Aix-la-Chapelle the Prince’s valued friend, the Prince Regent of Prussia, and his brother, Prince Frederick Charles, met them; and at Frankfort they were joined by the Princess of Prussia and Prince Frederick William. As they neared Coburg the Queen says she felt quite agitated when her husband began to identify each scene and spot with his life in his old home, now darkly shadowed by mourning. The Princess Frederick William was here, however, and brought “the darling little grandchild” for the Queen’s inspection—“such a darling little love,” writes her Majesty—“a fine, fat child, with a beautiful white, soft skin, very fine shoulders and limbs, and a very dear face, like Vicky and Fritz, and also Louise of Baden. He has Fritz’s eyes and Vicky’s mouth, and very fair, curly hair.” A meeting with Stockmar, then old and feeble, but fresh in heart and spirits, also enhanced the enjoyment of the visit. After a fortnight’s residence, the Queen writes, “Our English people are enchanted with everything, with the beauty of the country, and of the palaces, the quiet simplicity of the people, &c.” On the 1st of October the Prince Consort narrowly escaped being killed. The horses of his carriage ran away with him, and to save his life he had to jump out when he saw that a collision with a barrier across the road was inevitable. He was bruised badly, though not seriously injured. The Queen however, was much alarmed. “Oh! God,” she writes, “what did I not feel! I could only, and do only, allow the feelings of gratitude, not those of horror, at what might have happened, to fill my mind;” and in testimony of her

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gratitude she established a foundation, called the “Victoria-Stift,” in Coburg. The “Victoria-Stift” consisted of the investment of 12,000 florins (£1,000) in the names of the Burgomaster and chief clergyman of Coburg. Every year, on the 1st of October—the anniversary of the Prince’s escape—the interest from this sum is divided among certain young men and women to help them in their occupations and assist them to earn a livelihood. Old family friends and all picturesque places in the neighbourhood were visited; and the Queen’s grandchild, the little Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, seems to have been a source of never-failing delight to her Majesty. But on the 9th of October the enjoyment of these quiet days came to an end, and the Queen and her husband left a spot endeared to them by many sweet remembrances. This fortnight, writes the Queen, “with its joys and sorrows, and the fearful episode of my dearest Albert’s accident, will be for ever deeply engraven on my heart.” On the return journey they were joined by the Prince Regent of Prussia, who travelled with them to Mayence. Rain spoiled the beauties of the Rhine; but when Coblentz was reached the Princess of Prussia was waiting to solace the Royal Party, who arrived, wet, chilled, and uncomfortable. The Queen, in fact, had caught a cold, and illness and depression of spirits due to the parting from her daughter and her beloved grandchild, Prince Wilhelm, robbed the rest of her holiday of all enjoyment. When she reached Brussels she could hardly walk, and had to keep to her room and comfort herself with the “Mill on the Floss” for a day, whilst Dr. Bayly was treating her for a feverish sore throat. After a dismally rainy voyage the Royal travellers reached Windsor on the 17th of October. “Already a week since we left Coburg,” writes the Queen, “and the dear happy days there belong to the treasured recollections of the past!”[86]

Politically, though the year had been eventful, it was not without its compensations. The dying embers of the Indian Mutiny had been extinguished. The war with China had ended with the capture of Pekin, the destruction of the Summer Palace, and the ratification of the Convention of Tchung-Kow and the Treaty of Tien-tsin[87] (24th of October). “At home with ourselves and with our colonies,” Prince Albert says in a letter to Stockmar (28th December), “we have every reason to be satisfied.” One event, indeed, brought grief to{72} the Queen and her family. This was the death of the venerable Earl of Aberdeen, on the 14th of December. Lord Aberdeen was not only the trusted Minister, but the valued personal friend of the Queen and her husband. His experience of public affairs extended from the close of the war with Napoleon to the beginning of the war with Russia, and no English Minister in modern times enjoyed in a higher degree the respect and confidence of foreign Governments and Sovereigns. His stainless integrity and scrupulous honesty won the confidence of the Prince Consort. The high moral courage which led him to speak the truth in public, however unpalatable and unpopular it might be, so endeared him to the Queen that she expressed her admiration for it on the only occasion when she rebuked him for an impolitic indulgence in this virtue. Though a Peelite, he differed from his leader in having greater foresight, and a firmer grip of principle. Aberdeen did not, like Peel, work aimlessly from sheer expediency. He had a theory, a guiding idea, which, rightly or wrongly, always pushed him far in advance of his Party. This theory was that the less people were meddled with by governments, the happier and more prosperous would they become. He carried his principle of non-intervention from foreign to home policy, and acted on the conviction that more good was to be done by repealing old laws, than by enacting new ones. For the salvation of the people, he trusted to independence rather than patronage—to liberty rather than protection. He was blamed for buttressing the petty despotisms of the Continent, but he was blamed unjustly. He shrank from shedding English blood, and wasting English treasure in helping revolutionary movements, and he did so for two reasons. Nations worthy of freedom, he thought, must free themselves; the patronage of revolutionary movements must sooner or later involve England in war with all the Great Powers of Europe. His failure to avert the Crimean War need not here be dwelt on. It was the great blot on his career. Yet it is but due to his memory to say, as even Mr. Disraeli admitted, that if Lord Aberdeen had been head of a Cabinet the members of which all shared his views, and were all loyal in supporting his policy, the Crimean War would probably never have broken out. If Aberdeen had been master in his Cabinet, if he had been served at Constantinople by a loyal Ambassador, and at St. Petersburg by an Envoy who could have opposed with his own tact, patience, and cool common sense the monomaniacal ideas and arguments of the Czar, the conflict between Russia and England could have been averted.[88]{73}

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(From a Photograph by Hughes and Mullins, Ryde.)


England in 1861—The Jumble of Parties—Secret Alliance Between Palmerston and the Tories—Opening of Parliament—The Prince Consort and the “Two Old Italian Masters”—Lady William Russell’s Salon—The Proposed Sale of Venice—The Fall of Gaeta—Prussia and Italy—Death of Cavour—A casus belli Against France—Napoleon in the East—Denmark and the Duchies—The Queen’s Private Sorrows—Last Illness and Death of the Duchess of Kent—Renewed Attacks in the Press on Prince Albert—Palmerston Accused of Tampering with Despatches—Anecdote of Lord Derby and Lord Granville—The Budget—Repeal of the Paper Duty—Palmerston’s “Grudge” Against Prince Albert—The Marriage of the Princess Alice announced—The Queen and Her Social Duties—Two Drawing-Rooms and Two Investitures—A Season of Mourning—Death of Lord Herbert of Lea—Lord John Russell’s Peerage—Reform and the Working Classes—Ministerial Changes—The Queen’s Tour in Ireland—The Queen and German Unity—Coronation of the King of Prussia—Death of the King of Portugal—Fatigue of the Prince Consort—Signs of His Last Illness—The Queen at Her Husband’s Sick Bed—A Mournful Vigil—The Prince Consort’s Last Words—Scene at the Death-Bed—The Sorrow of the Country—The Queen’s Despair—Her Removal from Windsor—Prince Albert’s Character and Career—His Funeral—The Scene at the Grave—The Queen and the Princess Alice.

From her own tranquil island the Queen, at the beginning of 1861, looked abroad upon a world that was strangely disturbed. It was a world in which men cried peace when there was no peace. In Europe, French agents were intriguing with the revolutionary parties in Poland, Hungary, and the Danubian Principalities. Italian conspirators were busy as usual in Venetia. The{74} misgovernment of Turkey was again goading her Christian subjects to despair, and rousing the wrath of Panslavic fanaticism in Russia. Across the Atlantic the New Year brought with it the severance of South Carolina from the United States, and the pulse of the British aristocracy and their social parasites rose high as their golden youth congratulated each other on the “bursting of the bubble Republic.”[89] It is true that the harvest had been bad, and that the winter had been the coldest that had been experienced for half a century. But Free Trade made food cheap and wages high, so that there was no popular discontent to trouble the Government. The prospect of a cotton famine in Lancashire, as the result of a civil war in America, was not thought to be within the range of practical contingencies. As for political parties, they were, as Mr. Ashley says, “in a singular jumble at the period which we have now reached.”[90] The Tories were alarmed by Mr. Gladstone’s Budgets. These were supposed to be dangerously democratic, not only because his attack on the Paper Duty seemed designed to strengthen the power and position of a cheap press, but because in his financial speeches he seemed to justify the repeal of taxes solely by his desire to benefit the poor, and his imposition of new burdens by his desire to punish the rich for being wealthy. Absurd as this suspicion was, it is necessary to take it seriously, because it had much to do with creating the unexpected dictatorship of Lord Palmerston.

It was well known that Palmerston’s hostility to reform had well-nigh driven the Radicals into factious opposition. They had no more to expect from him, and at any moment they were ready to act against him. They even offered to combine with the Tories, turn out the Government, and keep Lord Derby and Mr. Disraeli in power for two years, during which period they thought the Reform problem would ripen for solution. This offer was not accepted. In fact, through Lord Malmesbury and Lady Palmerston, a secret alliance was organised, in terms of which the Tories agreed to maintain Lord Palmerston in office “if only he would resist ‘Democratic’ Budgets, and keep his hands from any violent action against Austria.”[91] This compact was ratified by the people, who, despite the triumph of the Anglo-French alliance in China, were growing every day more distrustful of Napoleon’s warlike preparations, which it was part of Palmerston’s policy to counteract. Mr. Ashley asserts that Lord Palmerston was “too loyal to enter into any such secret understanding.” As a matter of fact, the alliance was, on behalf of Lord Derby and Mr. Disraeli, first tendered by Lord Malmesbury at Lady Palmerston’s party, on the 12th of May, 1860, when, says Lord Malmesbury, “Lady Palmerston expressed herself as being very grateful for the offer.” [92]


Count Vitzthum, however, puts the matter beyond doubt. Writing in 1861, he says:—“The secret agreement between the Conservatives and Palmerston, which had checked the barren Party contest of the previous year, was renewed before the Session began, and even received the secret sanction of the Court. After Lord Palmerston, in January, had submitted to the Queen and Prince Albert his programme for the current year, and had promised in particular his vigorous prosecution of the works for national defence, Disraeli was invited to Windsor. The Prince, to his no small satisfaction, received the assurance from the leader of the Opposition that the Tories, though three hundred strong, had no thoughts of undertaking the Government, so long as Palmerston continued to safeguard the Conservative interests of the State. Disraeli added that it rested only with the present Prime Minister to exercise a power such as none of his predecessors had wielded since Pitt.”[93] Finally, conclusive proof of the existence of the alliance is given by the highest living authority on such a matter—namely, Sir Theodore Martin—who discloses details of the whole transaction. Sixty members of the House of Commons had apparently pledged themselves to follow Mr. Cobden’s policy of “democratic finance,” which was to lessen expenditure by reducing armaments. Palmerston’s Government was therefore doomed unless an alliance could be struck up with the Tories. According to the Prince Consort, Mr. Disraeli said that “the Conservative party was ready not only to give general support to a steady and patriotic policy, but even to help the Minister out of scrapes if he got into any.” But, in return, they must, to use Sir Theodore Martin’s words, “state explicitly the principles of their policy, and not enter into a line of what he (Mr. Disraeli) termed democratic finance.”[94] When Mr. Ashley stated that Lord Palmerston was “too loyal to enter into any such secret understanding,” he must have neglected to read the letter dated 24th of January, 1861, which the Prince Consort sent to Lord Palmerston, embodying the terms of the understanding in question. It is also possible that he did not anticipate the publication of Lord Malmesbury’s diary, in which, under date the 14th of March, 1861, there is the following entry:—“The House of Commons threw out Mr. Locke-King’s Bill for reducing the county franchise to £10, by a majority of 28. We had agreed with the Government that, if they helped us to throw out this Bill, we would help them to pass Lord Palmerston’s Resolution, reversing their former vote on the payment of the Navy.”[95]

On the 4th of February the Queen came to town for the opening of Parliament, which took place on the 5th. The Royal Speech, says Count Vitzthum, “ratified the private agreement (between Palmerston and the Tories) by making no mention of reform. The skirmishes that took place during the{76}

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Session had therefore no practical importance, and only served to conceal from the public and the parties themselves the understanding already effected between the leaders.”[96] Very few points for debate were raised by the Queen’s Speech. Peace in Europe, it was suggested, could be preserved by the moderation of the Powers. Syria would soon be pacified, and thankfulness was expressed at the success of British arms in China. A sympathetic allusion to the Civil War in America, was prettily pointed by a reference to the kindly welcome which the Prince of Wales had received in the United{77} States, and the loyalty of the Canadians was frankly recognised. Crime, bankruptcy, land transfer, and rating were the subjects suggested for legislation. The debate on the Address in both Houses was insincere. Lord Derby made fun of the Government for coquetting with revolution in Italy, and he ridiculed Lord John Russell’s inconsistent despatches to Sir James Hudson. “Mr. Disraeli,” writes Count Vitzthum, “handled the same theme in an academic fashion in the House of Commons,” but nobody dreamt of seriously assaulting the Ministerial position. “In Italy strange things are taking place. It is still the idol of the two ‘old Italian masters,’” wrote the Prince Consort to Stockmar on the eve of the opening of Parliament.[97] And yet, when Ministers heard that Cavour had allowed arms to be shipped from the arsenal at Genoa for the conspirators who were organising an insurrection in Turkey, they became a little uneasy. No harm, however, came of this, because the Turkish authorities at Constantinople being forewarned, seized the arms when they arrived. But the problem of problems was, what did Napoleon mean to do in Italy? He had opened the French Chambers with a speech which, describing the annexation of Savoy as an act done in maintenance of the natural rights of France, created a panic among the Palmerstonians and their Tory allies. If Savoy—why not Belgium? was the question which this doctrine of natural rights suggested to men’s minds. And yet at this time Napoleon’s power was vastly exaggerated. The priests, who had not forgiven him for enriching Italy at the expense of the Pope, condemned his policy from their pulpits. The vulgar luxury and swindling speculations in which the Imperial entourage indulged, disgusted the educated classes. It was at this time that those who had hailed the Emperor as the “saviour of Society” began to call him “Badinguet”—after the bricklayer whose disguise he had borrowed when escaping from Ham. At one time Palmerston and Russell imagined they had discovered the solution of the most pressing of the Italian problems. They thought—or rather the Emperor of the French persuaded them to think—that Austria might sell Venetia to Sardinia, and whilst retaining half the purchase price to relieve her strained finances, with the other half buy Bosnia and the Herzegovina from the Sultan, who was also in lack of money. The Queen thwarted this cunning scheme, when Lord John Russell broached it in the end of December, by pointing out{78} that to suggest the sale of Venetia to Sardinia, was to record an official opinion that Venetia ought to be in some way freed from Austrian rule. In the event of Austria refusing to sell the province this would be used as a justification for wresting Venetia from her, or for compelling England to press her to give it up. Palmerston himself came round to this view, and so the Venetian question was for a time eliminated. But in Italy it soon became clear that France meant to give Victor Emmanuel freedom to act. Gaeta surrendered in February when the French fleet was withdrawn—the King and Queen of Naples being conveyed to Rome. They sought refuge there under the protection of French bayonets, in the cheerless shelter of the empty Farnese Palace. Five days after the fall of Gaeta Victor Emmanuel summoned the first Italian Parliament to Turin, where it met in a large wooden hall improvised for the occasion. In his speech from the throne he regretted the recall of the French Minister, but did not pretend to be downcast by the platonic rebuke of France. As to the protest of Prussia against his policy, Victor Emmanuel said an ambassador had been sent to King William “in token of respect for him personally, and of sympathy with the noble German nation,” which he hoped would become convinced that Italian unity could not prejudice the rights of other states. The meaning of this reference in the speech was pointed out by De la Marmora. He cynically told the Prussian Government at Berlin, that Italy consoled herself with the thought that she had set an example which Prussia, in spite of her protests, would find useful “in conquering the hegemony of Germany.” On the 17th of March the Turin Parliament proclaimed Victor Emmanuel King of Italy, and two days afterwards England recognised his position. France delayed her recognition till June, Napoleon’s chief difficulty being the disposal of Rome. Opportunity, said Italian statesmen, will open the way to Venice; and as for Rome, though it must be the capital of free Italy, we only desire to go there, not at the head of a revolutionary army, but hand in hand with France. Personally, Napoleon would have wished to evacuate Rome. Its occupation was a heavy burden on his finances—which had become seriously embarrassed. To uphold the temporal power of the Pope, which he had disavowed, against the will of the Italian people, which in other quarters he had enforced by the sword, put him in a false position. On the other hand, the priests in France had to be conciliated, and there was a strong party among Frenchmen who thought that France should be compensated, by the occupation of Rome, for the rise of a new naval Power in the Mediterranean.[98] Early in the summer Cavour, who like Themistocles lived to convert a small state into a great one,{79} died—his policy being cherished as a sacred legacy by his successor, Riccasoli. Cavour, however, lived long enough to see the failure of an intrigue to procure the evacuation of Rome by the cession of Sardinia to France. Mr. Kinglake in July tried to convince the House of Commons that this cession was practically agreed on, and he pointed out that Nelson had declared Malta would be useless to England whenever the Bay of Cagliari passed into the hands of a great naval power. But Lord John Russell—in the last speech he ever made in the Lower House—assured the country that he could find no evidence pointing to the existence of such a scheme. At the same time he made it plain, though he did not say so in as many words, that England would regard the cession of Sardinia to France as a casus belli.[99]

Another project was on foot which gave the Queen great uneasiness. Napoleon—whose brain, said Lord Palmerston once, was as full of schemes as a warren was full of rabbits—was said to be in favour of creating a new Eastern State or kingdom, with Constantinople as its capital, and King Leopold, the Queen’s uncle, as its Sovereign. In that case France would naturally take Belgium by way of compensation; but the idea, if ever seriously entertained, was soon consigned to the limbo of vanished Imperial dreams. The condition of Austria was now rather serious. All her proposals for reforming the political system of Hungary, relegated that ancient kingdom to the position of an Austrian province. The Hungarian people, however, refused to accept this position, and demanded the restoration of their rights as an independent State under the Sovereign of Austria, reigning over them as crowned King of Hungary. Their demand might at any moment take the form of a revolutionary movement, which would probably re-open the Eastern question, and involve England in war. Luckily this calamity was averted by the preoccupation of Napoleon and Victor Emmanuel, who alone had either the power or the will to raise a revolution in Hungary.

But affairs in the North were much more disquieting. Early in March the dispute between Denmark and the Duchies of Sleswig-Holstein, which the Queen and her husband had watched with jealous eyes from its origin, became acute. The Danish Government was willing to submit the budget for the Duchies to their local legislatures, on condition that it was not altered. The German Diet or Bund declared that this was equivalent to an assertion that territory which was really subject to the authority of the Bund, was under the exclusive Sovereign authority of Denmark. The three non-German Great Powers declared that Denmark ought to yield to the Duchies their{80} constitutional rights, and laid it down that if this were not done, the German Bund might justly force concessions from Denmark, by Federal execution in Sleswig-Holstein. Denmark ignored the award and threats of the Powers, and Prussia took up the cause of the Sleswigers. In England the Prussian Government was sneered at for menacing Denmark because she denied the Duchies the right to control their Budgets, whilst it raised money for its own military purposes without the consent of its own subjects.

Other than political anxieties made the spring of 1861 dismal to the Queen. On the 12th of March she had visited her mother, the Duchess of Kent, at Frogmore, and found her suffering great pain from the effects of a surgical operation which had been performed to relieve an abscess in her arm. On the 15th Her Majesty and her husband were inspecting the Horticultural Society’s gardens at South Kensington, when they were summoned by Sir James Clark to the bedside of the Duchess of Kent, who began to develop feverish symptoms. When they arrived they found her dying. “I knelt before her,” writes the Queen, “kissed her dear hand and placed it next my cheek; but though she opened her eyes, she did not, I think, know me…. I went out to sob,” adds Her Majesty, stricken to the heart at finding, for the first time in her life, her mother had not received her with a loving smile of recognition. All through the night the Queen watched by the bedside of the dying Princess, weeping as she thought of her childhood and its sacred memories, and of the dreadful blank her mother’s death must make in her life. At eight in the morning of the next day (the 16th) Prince Albert persuaded the Queen to leave her mother’s room for a little, and rest. But she could not rest. She insisted on returning to the sick-room, and when she went back she saw that her mother was passing away. The heart-beats grew fainter; the eyes slowly closed, and as the clock struck half-past nine, Prince Albert took the Queen out of the room, and she knew all was over. For forty-one years she had not been parted from her mother save for a few brief weeks at a time. Now they were parted for ever on this side of the grave. “I seemed,” she writes, “to have lived through a life, to have become old.” The death of the Duchess of Kent plunged the Royal household in grief. She died leaving not one dry eye behind her among those who had known and served and loved her. The Princess Frederick William of Prussia hurried to her mother’s side, arriving at Windsor on the 18th; and then from every quarter, letters and messages of condolence came pouring in. Addresses of sympathy were carried in both Houses of Parliament, and every effort was made by Ministers to lighten the anxieties of the Queen at a time when sorrow lay heavily on her heart. The funeral took place on the 25th, in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, where the body was laid till a mausoleum at Frogmore could be built. “I and my girls,” wrote the Queen to King Leopold on that day, “prayed at home together, and dwelt on her happiness and peace.” On the 2nd of April the Princess Frederick William{81} returned to Berlin, and the Queen and her husband retired to Osborne. The Easter recess had produced a lull in politics, and it might have been expected that the Queen would have been permitted to mourn her bereavement in peace. It was not so. On the 12th of April she was deeply pained to find the Times renewing its old attacks on Prince Albert, and again accusing him of thwarting Lord Palmerston’s Italian policy in the interests of his German relatives. For this cruel imputation there was no warrant, save the fact that Austria persisted in holding Venetia, which had been guaranteed to her by the pact of Villafranca, in spite of Lord Palmerston’s recommendation that she should cede the province to Italy.

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(From a Photograph by the London Stereoscopic Company.)

On the 15th of April the Prince Consort, writing to Stockmar, says, “Home{82} politics have gone asleep.” Before the recess the position of the Ministry had been easily maintained, simply because Mr. Disraeli was of opinion that premature Tory attacks on it might heal the schism between Palmerston and the Radicals. But the weakness of the Cabinet in the House of Commons was illustrated in March, when Palmerston had—as we have seen—to help the Tories to throw out Mr. Locke-King’s Bill for reducing the county franchise to £10, in return for their support of his resolution reversing an adverse vote on the payment of the Navy. It was also illustrated by Mr. Dunlop’s motion for an inquiry into the mutilation of the Afghan Blue Book in 1839. Lord Palmerston (who had been Foreign Secretary) was accused of having created the disastrous Afghan War, simply because he would not believe the reports of his own agents in Afghanistan. To excuse the disasters of the campaign he had hacked and garbled the despatches in the most unscrupulous manner, so as to make it appear that these agents reported the very opposite of what they actually told him. Mr. Dunlop had unearthed evidence to prove this charge, and he proved it up to the hilt. Palmerston’s only defence was that the mutilations complained of were quite regular, and were made in the public interest. “The Commons,” writes Count Vitzthum, “were extremely indignant, and nothing but Disraeli’s intervention saved the Ministry. Lord Derby,” Count Vitzthum goes on to say, “is on the most friendly footing with his political opponent, Lord Granville. The latter added to a business letter a postscript, with the question, ‘When will you turn us out?’ The Tory chief answered, ‘I am thinking day and night how I can manage to keep you in, but it will be devilish difficult.”[100] Mr. Disraeli had set his face against taking office till he had a trustworthy majority in the House of Commons that would enable him to carry out a foreign policy even in the teeth of Lord Palmerston’s opposition. The aim of the Opposition was, therefore, to keep Palmerston in power till this majority was obtained. It was feared, however, that the Government might fall on their Budget, and its production was awaited with intense interest on the 15th of April, when Mr. Gladstone made his financial statement. Dismal predictions of a large deficit had been promulgated. On the contrary, though the revenue had fallen off considerably, there had been an equivalent saving in expenditure, and on the year’s work the deficit was only £855,000 when the accounts were balanced. Mr. Gladstone’s estimates for the current year, however, after providing for this deficit, showed a surplus on the basis of existing taxation of about £2,000,000; so he was able to take a penny off the income-tax, and at last to repeal the Paper Duty, without incurring the reproach of rashly sacrificing revenue. But to do this he had to leave the duties on tea and sugar unaltered. To prevent the Peers from rejecting the repeal of the Paper Duty, he tacked his scheme on to the Bill containing all his financial proposals. The House of Lords{83} shrank from rejecting the whole Budget: they passed it grudgingly, after a feeble and futile threat of opposition from the Duke of Rutland. In the Commons a majority of 15 in a House of 577 members carried the Budget of 1861, which is memorable as the one that abolished what was popularly called “the taxes on knowledge.” The financial debates in the House did not end till Mr. Gladstone had shown pretty clearly that he thought too much money was being spent on the Army and Navy. On the other hand, Lord John Russell took occasion, in a debate on Italian affairs, to declare that the state of Europe rendered this expenditure necessary. The assumption here was that events abroad might falsify Mr. Gladstone’s estimates, which showed a surplus. In that case, as the Paper Duty could not be re-imposed, any deficit must be met by an increased income-tax, and it was this fear that rendered the Whigs and the Tories alike anxious to retain the Paper Duty. But the Cabinet was too weak to dispense with Mr. Gladstone’s services. As the price of his allegiance to Palmerston was the repeal of the Paper Duty, and the consequent humiliation of the House of Lords, who had threatened to oppose its abolition, Palmerston had to submit to the Paper Duty being repealed. Still, the Premier was not without his consolations. The dispute with the Prussian Government over Captain Macdonald’s grievances had not terminated, and on the 26th of April Lord Palmerston seized the opportunity it afforded him of making a coarse and undignified attack on Prussia because her laws, which in Macdonald’s case he admitted had not been overstepped, were “harsh, unjust, arbitrary, and violent.” This provoked recriminations in the Berlin Chamber, where Baron Schleinitz foolishly mixed up Captain Macdonald’s arrest with high policy. To these recriminations the Times delivered an insulting reply, and, greatly to the annoyance of the grief-stricken Queen, a rancorous quarrel was thus developed about a trivial affair between the two Governments, which, said the Prince Consort, made the “outlook most melancholy.” Mr. Disraeli told Count Vitzthum that Palmerston’s outburst against Prussia was delivered in order to annoy the Prince Consort rather than the Berlin Cabinet, and if that were the fact it must be allowed that his malignity was eminently successful. It was, in truth, so ill-concealed at this time that Mr. Disraeli himself said he was puzzled to account for the Prime Minister’s “grudge” against Prince Albert.[101]

On the 27th of April the Queen announced the approaching marriage of the Princess Alice and Prince Louis of Hesse-Darmstadt, which was approved by Parliament on the 4th of May. On the 6th the Princess was voted a dowry of £30,000 and an annuity of £6,000 a year. During Whitsuntide the Queen’s birthday was celebrated at Osborne quietly and without the usual festivities, her holiday being marred not only by the nervous prostration which affected her after her mother’s death, but by the illness of Prince Leopold,{84} who was smitten by a severe attack of measles which he caught from Prince Louis of Hesse.

The death of Cavour on the 6th of June was followed by the recognition of the kingdom of Italy by France on the 25th in response to an appeal from Riccasoli. He knew that till this recognition was given, it would be difficult for the Italian Government to raise the loans necessary to construct those railways and other public works which were urgently needed to develope the resources of the new kingdom. This recognition, however, implied that for a time the Italian question must be shelved. It was therefore with great satisfaction that England now saw the triumph of her policy, though this satisfaction was allayed somewhat by the rumour that Sardinia was to be ceded to France. Sir J. Hudson told Baron Riccasoli that such a cession would be taken by England as a casus belli, a warning which elicited from him a fervent denial that Victor Emmanuel would ever sanction such a transaction.

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(From a Photograph by G. W. Wilson and Co., Aberdeen.)

Meanwhile the Queen, still sad at heart and depressed in spirits, struggled bravely to perform her social duties. She held two Drawing-rooms and two Investitures before June was over. Visitors, too, came to comfort her in her sorrow. The King of the Belgians and his son, and the Crown Prince and Princess of Prussia and their children arrived in midsummer. They were followed in rapid succession by others, including some members of the Orleans family, the Archduke Maximilian, and the Archduchess Charlotte, the Princess{85}

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Charles of Hesse, and the King of Sweden, who arrived in August. But it was a year fruitful in sorrow for the Queen and her family. Mr. Sidney Herbert had early in the year accepted a peerage, and retired to the Upper House as Lord Herbert of Lea. In July he fell ill, and to the great grief of the Queen, who regarded him as the future Prime Minister, died in August. In him the Peelites lost the Bayard of their party. On the 25th of July a great gap was made in the ranks of the Ministry in the Lower House by the elevation of Lord John Russell to the peerage as Earl Russell of Kingston Russell.[102] “The comments of the newspapers,” wrote Count Vitzthum, “on Lord John Russell’s acceptance of a peerage read like funeral sermons,” and his farewell speech to the House of Commons, broadly hinting that England would make the cession of the island of Sardinia to France a casus belli, rang like a thunderclap through Europe. It was more effective than his farewell address to his constituents. In this document, when reviewing the exploits of his{86} career, Lord Russell modestly compared himself to the Emperor Charles V., who, having been engaged in all the great affairs of his age, and desiring to see how the world would get on after his death, had the dark pageant of his funeral prepared, and officiated as his own chief mourner at the ceremony. One of the last events of the Session was a spirited debate on the 26th of June on the demand of the Government for £200,000 for new ironclads. Palmerston, by dwelling on the growth of the French navy, frightened Parliament into granting the money, and the Manchester Radicals were fain to hold their peace. Mr. Disraeli, however, rather leant to the Peace Party in this debate. He suggested that diplomacy might effect a friendly understanding with France which would fix the relative proportions between the two navies, but his followers, who were bellicose, listened to him with amazement and anger. It did not occur to them that he was already speculating on the prospect of being in office next year, and was preparing the way for a friendly reception at the Tuileries.

It was a tranquil Session, during which hardly one party division was challenged in the Lower House. Though Lord John (now Earl) Russell had virtually abandoned his Reform Bill, the artisans in some of the large towns still kept alive the agitation for Parliamentary Reform. The country, however, seemed apathetic on the subject. How to give the best of the working men votes without at the same time enfranchising those who were unworthy, seemed to most people an insoluble problem. The American Civil War and the triumph of the Protectionists in Australia also rendered Englishmen somewhat sceptical as to the beneficial results of a democratic franchise. A Bankruptcy Bill was carried. It was not a party measure, and it was the only Ministerial Bill bearing on domestic affairs the passing of which in 1861 calls for record. When Parliament was prorogued on the 6th of August, the only shadow on the horizon of the future discernible by the Queen was the prospect of a cotton famine in Lancashire. Her Majesty’s anxiety on this subject was also apparently shared by Lord Palmerston. Writing to Mr. Milner Gibson about the matter in June, Lord Palmerston wistfully asked if the Board of Trade or any other department had any means of helping the country to make good the deficiency in the cotton supply which the Civil War in America was sure to cause. “As to our manufacturers,” he writes, “they will do nothing unless directed and pushed on. They are some of the most helpless and shortsighted of men. They are like the people who held out their dishes and prayed that it might rain plum-puddings. They think it is enough to open their mill-gates, and that cotton will come of its own accord. They say they have for years been looking to India as a source of supply; but their looks seem to have had only the effect of the eyes of the rattlesnake, namely, to paralyse the object looked at, and as yet it has shown no signs of falling into their jaws.”[103]{87}

On the 16th of August the Crown Prince and Princess of Prussia and their children left Osborne for Germany. Next day her Majesty, the Prince Consort, and the Princess Alice visited the grave of the Duchess of Kent at Frogmore, celebrating there in sorrow a birthday anniversary which had hitherto brought joy every year to the Royal circle. They placed wreaths on the tomb, and felt, writes the Queen to King Leopold, “that it was only the earthly robe of her we loved so much that was there—the pure, tender, loving spirit is above, and free from all suffering and woe…. The first birthday in another world, must have been a far brighter one than any birthday in the poor world below.”[104]

The time had now come when the Queen had to make preparations for a visit to Ireland which she had planned. On the 21st of August her Majesty, the Prince Consort, Prince Alfred—fresh from his West Indian cruise—and the Princesses Alice and Helena, started for Holyhead, which they reached at seven o’clock in the evening. They arrived at Kingstown at midnight, and next morning (22nd August), accompanied by Lord Carlisle, the Lord-Lieutenant, his Chief Secretary, Sir Robert Peel, and Sir George Brown, Commander of the Forces in Ireland, they proceeded to Dublin. Despite the wet and stormy weather, the populace gave their Royal visitors a cordial reception. Next morning (23rd August) the Prince Consort visited the Curragh Camp to see for himself how the Prince of Wales was progressing with his military studies there, and the Queen received a loyal address from the Lord Mayor and Corporation of Dublin. In the afternoon the Royal party drove through the city, where crowds cheered them loudly wherever they went, and in the evening they met at dinner the Duke of Leinster, the Marquis and Marchioness of Headfort, the Marquis and Marchioness of Kildare, and Lady Charlemont. On Saturday, the 24th, the Queen herself visited the Curragh Camp, and reviewed the troops there. As they passed the cavalry one of the bands began to play an air which had been a favourite with the Duchess of Kent, and repeated it on marching past. “This,” wrote the Queen in her Diary, “entirely upset me, and the tears would have flowed freely had I not checked them by a violent effort. But I felt sad the whole day till I came to Bertie (the Prince of Wales), who looked so well.”[105] Then came some field manœuvres, and a visit to “Bertie’s hut,” where the whole party, with Sir George Brown, General Ridley, Colonels Wetherell, Browning, and Percy—the latter of whom had the Prince of Wales under his care—partook of a comfortable luncheon. The Queen thanked Colonel Percy very warmly “for treating Bertie as he did like any other officer, for,” she says in her Diary, “I know he keeps him up to his work in a way, as General Bruce told me, no one else has done; and yet Bertie likes him very much.” On Sunday afternoon the Queen visited the Kilmainham Hospital, and on Monday (August 26th) celebrated her husband’s birthday. “Alas!” she{88} writes to King Leopold, “there is so much so different this year—nothing festive, and we on a journey, and separated from many of our children, and my spirits bad.”

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(After a Photograph by W. Lawrence, Dublin.)

In the afternoon the Queen and her family left the Viceregal Lodge for Killarney, and, recording her impressions on the road, her Majesty dwells on the sparseness of the population, and the scarcity of villages and towns. At Thurles she notes how the crowd shrieked rather than cheered, how “wild and dark-looking” the people were, and how handsome the girls seemed, despite their dishevelled hair. At Killarney the Queen was received by Lord Castlerosse, Mr. Herbert of Muckross Abbey, the General commanding the district, and the Mayor, who presented a loyal address. Guarded by a strong escort of troops, her Majesty drove amidst cheering crowds to Lord Castlerosse’s house, which was so charmingly picturesque that she sketched it on her arrival. At dinner in the evening she met the Roman Catholic Bishop, Dr. Moriarty—whom she describes as “a tall, stout, and very intelligent, clever man.”—the Knight of Kerry, and a brother of O’Connell’s, whose views her{89}

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Majesty found more to her liking than those of the Liberator. On the 27th the Queen spent most of her time on the lakes in this lovely and romantic spot—the close, warm, humid atmosphere being the only drawback to her delightful tour. In the evening Muckross was visited, and next day (28th August), after driving round Muckross Lake, the Queen went on that splendid sheet of water, and admired especially the excellent rowing of the boatmen. Very reluctantly did the Queen bid farewell to her kind hosts on the 29th of August, when she hastened back to her yacht at Kingstown. At nine next morning she reached Holyhead, where she rested, while the Prince Consort and her suite made an excursion to Carnarvon. Leaving Holyhead in the evening, and travelling all night, the Royal party reached Balmoral on the 30th of August.{90}

The affairs of Germany had now drifted into such a critical condition that the Prince Consort felt bound to explain to the King of Prussia the views of the English Court on this subject. All over the Fatherland the people, stirred by the success of the movement in Italy for unity, were forming political clubs, and Prussia, to whom they looked for leadership, was disappointing them by refusing to reform her internal administration. Prince Albert, writing to the King of Prussia, took the popular German view—pointing out how Austria had ever worked for the purpose of weakening the Fatherland, and how she had once more given to France, after her victories in Italy, a strong position on the Rhine. “Is it an evil trait of the spirit of the people,” asks the Prince, “if they yearn for general unity and active co-operation in what is to decide their destiny? Do not allow yourself to be annoyed or misled if here and there the people are guilty of stupid extravagances. They and you are Germany’s only stay, and the power by which alone the enemy can be held at bay. It is not a Cavour that Germany needs, but a Stein.” It has been said that the Queen and her husband were not consistent in their policy, because, while they showed little sympathy for the national movement in Italy, they always encouraged the same movement in Germany. To them it must be remembered that the former movement was an anti-German one. They believed that if Austria lost Venetia, Galicia, Hungary, and Poland, Germany would be crushed—because they assumed that these nations, like the new kingdom of Italy, would be under the hostile influence of France. The mistake which they made in the case of Italy lay in supposing that political gratitude is stronger than the love of national independence.

During this autumn the Prince of Wales visited Germany, ostensibly to be present at the military manœuvres in the Rhine Provinces, but really to make the acquaintance of the Princess Alexandra of Denmark at Speyer and Heidelberg, where she happened to be staying, and where, according to the Prince Consort, “the young people seem to have taken a warm liking for each other when they first met.[106] The visit of the King of Prussia to Compiègne somewhat disturbed the mind of the country, for it set afloat rumours of an alliance with France, one result of which might perhaps be a scheme for the unification of Germany, with Belgium and the Rhine Provinces playing the part which was allotted to Nice and Savoy in the scheme for unifying Italy. The Queen and her husband, however, knew that the visit was purely one of ceremonial courtesy, and that no attempt had been made to inveigle Prussia into any such conspiracy. This information was communicated to the Cabinet, and soon all disquieting rumours ceased.

On the 18th of October the King of Prussia was crowned at Königsberg, and Lord Clarendon, who was present as representing the Queen, congratulated{91} her Majesty on the charming manner in which the Crown Princess did homage to her father-in-law. King William I. was desirous of conferring the Order of the Black Eagle on Lord Clarendon, but the Queen begged him not to offer it, because it was against the traditions of the English Foreign Office to permit a subject to accept such a distinction.[107] Lord Clarendon mixed very freely in society at Berlin, and was able to report to the Queen that the attacks of the Times on everything Prussian would have damaged the position of the Crown Princess, had it not been safeguarded and secured by her own high personal qualities. These attacks broke out afresh over the King’s seeming assertion of the principle of Divine Right in his Address to the Chambers, and Clarendon begged the Queen to remonstrate with Lord Palmerston, who was supposed to influence the Times. Though Lord Palmerston, in one of his letters, penned a high-spirited reply to a Royal communication on the subject, it is a curious coincidence that the attacks of which her Majesty complained suddenly ceased from this moment.

On leaving Balmoral the Court proceeded to Holyrood, and on the 23rd of October the Prince Consort laid the foundation stones of the new Post Office and the Industrial Museum in Edinburgh. The Queen and her family reached Windsor on the same evening, where her Majesty’s grief broke out afresh, as it was the first time she had lived at the Castle without finding her mother at Frogmore. As Sovereign of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, the Queen held her first investiture of Knights at Windsor Castle on the 1st of November. The difficulty which perplexed the Indian Government in establishing this Order had been to find for it a suitable name and an appropriate device. The suggestions of the Prince Consort had a few months before been in the main adopted, and many fantastic ideas had been extinguished by the cold douche of his common sense. It had been settled that the Order was to consist of the Indian Viceroy as Grand Master, and twenty-five Knights, together with such extraordinary Knights as the Queen might appoint. The badge was to be an oval onyx cameo suspended from an Imperial crown in the centre of the collar, and on the stone Her Majesty’s head was cut in high relief, the motto being “Heaven’s Light Our Guide.” The jewel was surmounted by a star, and set in diamonds. The ceremony of investiture was held in high state. The Queen having previously conferred the Order on the Prince Consort and the Prince of Wales, entered the Throne Room wearing the sumptuous Mantle of the Order. After the usual formalities, she invested with the Insignia, of the Order, Lord Harris,{92} Lord Gough, Lord Clyde, His Highness the Maharajah Duleep Singh, Sir John Lawrence, and Sir George Pollock.

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At Windsor the Prince Consort now began to make arrangements for the approaching marriage of the Princess Alice, and the journey of Prince Leopold, then in delicate health, to Cannes. He busied himself also with the preparation of Marlborough House as a residence for the Prince of Wales. On the 4th of November he inspected the works at Wellington College. A brilliant company of guests, including the Grand Duke and Duchess Constantine, the Duke of Cambridge, Lord Granville, Earl and Countess Russell, Lord Sydney, and the Baron and Baroness Brunnow, were at the Castle when the birthday of the Prince of Wales was celebrated on the 9th. The death of Prince Ferdinand of Portugal, from typhoid fever, together with sad memories of the late Duchess of Kent, had somewhat darkened this family festival, and in a few days her Majesty and the Prince Consort were still further shocked to hear that the King of Portugal had also fallen a victim to the disease which had cut short his brother’s life. The attachment which existed between the Prince Consort and the Portuguese branch of the House of Coburg was close and tender, and it is certain that the sudden death of King Pedro and his brother weighed heavily on his heart. The Crown Princess of Prussia was suffering from illness, brought on by the fatigues and excitement of the coronation ceremony, and, as the last letter the Prince Consort ever wrote to Stockmar indicates, this also preyed on his mind. To these troubles were added certain private vexations, hinted at, but not specified by Sir Theodore Martin. The Prince began to look ill, and his irritability amazed his household, every member of which loved him for his serene temper, his imperturbable good humour, and his invincible patience. On the 12th of November the Queen{93}

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began to notice that her husband’s repeated journeys to London were making him “low and sad.” His sleeplessness returned, and her Majesty pressed Sir C. Phipps to lighten as much as possible the strain on his energies. On the 22nd of November he inspected the buildings of Sandhurst Military College amidst a downpour of rain, and it was at first thought he here caught the illness which sent him to his grave. On the 23rd, though complaining of malaise, he went out shooting with Prince Ernest of Leiningen. On the 24th he complained of rheumatic pains, but walked with the Queen and her family to Frogmore. Next day (Monday) he went to Cambridge to see the Prince of Wales, who found him “greatly out of sorts,” and when he came back to Windsor he was so ill that he could not walk out with the Queen in the afternoon. On the 26th he was worse; on the 28th he was still worse, and greatly grieved at the seizure by the Americans of the Confederate Commissioners, who were passengers in the English mail steamer Trent. During the next two days the Prince still complained of illness, and when, on the 1st of December, he drafted a memorandum—the last he ever wrote—for the Queen on the Trent affair, he could scarcely hold his pen. Yet he had struggled against his malady, and during the two previous days had appeared among his guests—including the Duc de Nemours, Lord Carlisle, and Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone—as best he could. But he ate nothing, and when he went to bed he complained of shivering with cold. On the 2nd of December Sir James Clark and Dr. Jenner pronounced{94} him to be suffering from low fever. Curiously enough, when Lord Methuen called on him to report on the death of the King of Portugal he said he was glad his disease was not typhoid fever, because he knew he could not survive an attack. Lord Palmerston was a guest at the Castle on the 2nd, and when he found that the Prince was still unable to take food or leave his room he suggested that another physician should be called in. The Queen could not bring herself to believe that her husband was seriously ill, and on the 3rd her opinion was confirmed by that of Sir James Clark, for the Prince slept better that night and so Palmerston’s suggestion was overruled. Next day even Sir James Clark admitted there was no improvement, and that the symptoms were discouraging. On the 4th of December the Queen says she found the Prince “very woebegone and wretched.” He had not slept, and his appetite had gone. He seemed to care for nothing save that his daughter, the Princess Alice, should sit by him and read to him. His irritability extended even to the selection of books, and it was not till the Princess began to read Scott’s “Talisman” to him that he was satisfied. Sir James Clark still consoled the Queen with smooth prognostications; but Dr. Jenner told her that the Prince must eat because he was simply starving to death. On the 5th he began to marvel what kind of illness it could be that clung to him so persistently, and how long it would last. Clark, however, reported that he was somewhat better, and the Queen was again deceived by delusive signs of improvement. He still begged the Princess Alice to read to him, and nothing else seemed to soothe his irritability. On the 6th he rose early and talked to the Queen about his illness. She told him it sprang from overwork, to which he replied: “It is too much. You must speak to the Ministers.”[108] His mind, he remarked, had begun to brood over Rosenau and the scenes of his childhood, and when he said that the Queen felt as if her heart were breaking. For by this time the physicians could not conceal from themselves the gravity of the case. The Prince was obviously suffering from typhoid fever, and Dr. Jenner broke the news to her Majesty as softly and kindly as he could. Still, they told her the symptoms were not bad, and she tried to think of those who had been smitten with typhoid fever and had survived. On the 7th the Queen worked hard—harder than ever she had worked in her life; for her husband’s pen was no longer at her service. She herself has said that “the tears fell fast” as she sat by his bedside watching him and thinking of the shipwreck of their plans, “and of the painful loss this long illness would be, publicly as well as privately.”

On the 8th the Prince felt so well that he begged to be moved into a larger room, and as he lay in the sunshine he asked the Princess Alice to play for him some of his favourite German chorales. Tears came to his eyes as her fingers wandered over the keys. Suddenly he cried out, “Das reicht hin”—“that is enough”—and then the music was mute. Charles{95} Kingsley preached that Sunday in the Chapel, but the Queen, who attended service, says in her Diary, “I heard nothing.” In the afternoon she sat by her husband and read “Peveril of the Peak,” he holding her hand, and occasionally murmuring words of love and tenderness. Lord Palmerston, himself disabled with gout, could no longer conceal his anxiety. He and his colleagues again pressed the Queen to call in some other physician, and Sir James Clark and Dr. Jenner accordingly sent for Sir H. Holland and Dr. (afterwards Sir Thomas) Watson. The Prince, after seeing the latter, spoke hopefully, and told the Queen that he was “quite the right man”—but still they noticed as a distressing sign that his mind had an increasing tendency to wander. On the 10th Lord Palmerston again urged that further medical advice should be obtained, and by this time the public were becoming alarmed at the condition of the patient. Still, ere the evening wore away even Dr. Watson admitted that the Prince had improved. But on the 11th the Queen, on visiting him in the morning to give him some beef-tea, noticed how his face, “more beautiful than ever, had grown so thin.” As she assisted him to his sofa, he stopped to look at a picture on china of the Madonna, saying, “It helps me through half the day.” The doctors, it seems, felt uneasy towards the evening, when they discovered that the Prince had begun to breathe with more difficulty. The Queen read to him during the greater part of the day, and he manifested great reluctance to let her leave him, even when her duty called her away for a few minutes. On the 12th the bad symptoms increased, and Palmerston wrote three letters, in quick succession, to Sir C. Phipps, each more distracted than the other. On the 13th Dr. Jenner had to warn the Queen that congestion of the lungs might set in, and she herself saw that her husband had become much weaker. But all through the night comforting reports were brought to her, and next morning, the 14th, Mr. Brown, the Royal apothecary, told her that Prince Albert was over the crisis. She went straight to his bedside. “I went in,” she writes, “and never can I forget how beautiful my darling looked, lying there with his face lit up by the rising sun, his eyes unusually bright, gazing as it were at unseen objects, and not taking notice of me.”[109] Hour after hour, as she watched by the sick bed, the Queen saw that her husband was slowly sinking. Still, in the afternoon he knew her—for as he laid his weary head on her shoulder, he kissed her and muttered, “Gutes frauchen.” Then his mind would wander, and then he would doze in brief and troubled snatches of sleep. He took his children by the hand when they came and kissed him, but it is doubtful if he now knew them. Late in the afternoon he asked for Sir Charles Phipps, who came and kissed his hand, whereupon he again closed his eyes. So he lingered on, the Queen keeping her mournful watch with breaking heart. At a late hour they changed his bed, and on the Queen{96} pointing to a favourable sign, Dr. Jenner told her that the Prince’s breathing rendered all favourable signs of no avail. At last she went to her room, but returned when she heard the breathing grow worse. The Prince was partially conscious, for when she kissed him and whispered, “Es ist kleines Frauchen”—“’Tis your own little wife”—he kissed her also. But he seemed desirous of being left quite undisturbed, and so she retired to her room to weep. The end was coming fast. Clark soon saw that a serious change for the worse was setting in, and the Princess Alice went to summon the Queen. When she came she found the Prince still breathing, and she knelt at the bedside, taking his cold hand in hers. On the opposite side knelt the Princess Alice—at the foot of the bed the Prince of Wales and the Princess Helena. The doctors, Generals Bruce and Grey, Sir Charles Phipps, the Dean of Windsor, Prince Ernest of Leiningen, and the faithful valet, Löhlein, stood around hushed and grief-stricken, and the sobs of those to whom the Prince was dearest alone broke the stillness of the chamber of death. The dying man’s face grew serenely soft and reposeful, as his breathing became feebler and feebler. At last he strove hard to take a long, deep breath. In this effort he passed away to his last, long rest, as the great clock of the Castle struck the third quarter after the tenth hour of the night. Those who heard the doleful chime at the Prince’s deathbed will never forget it.

“Yet in these ears, till hearing dies,
One set slow bell will seem to toll
The passing of the sweetest soul
That ever look’d with human eyes.”
Of the grief that broke the widowed heart of the Queen it is not becoming to speak here. The veil of silence must be drawn over a crisis in her life too sacred, and too tragical even for her children’s eyes. But through England a great wave of sorrow swept over the hearts of men when they became conscious of all that the Prince Consort’s death might imply. Political partisans whose waywardness had harassed the Prince during his life, were not unmoved by the touching story of his last days. Some were even ready to drop a remorseful tear over his grave, when they remembered how eagerly they had, for base party purposes, too often wounded the proud but gentle heart which would now beat no more. The voice of calumny was silenced at last. The Times newspaper, which had pursued the Prince with ungenerous criticism throughout his life, had, to quote the Queen’s own words in a memorandum which she wrote on this painful subject, in January, 1862, “the most beautiful articles on him when he died.” Lord Palmerston also shared in the general grief, and his biographer says that he felt the death of the Prince Consort most acutely, and looked upon it as an irreparable loss. Indeed, he was almost melodramatic in his manifestations of remorse when in presence of a member of the Royal Family. The Duke of Cambridge,{97}

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for example, considered it his duty to inform Palmerston of the sad event, and was utterly astounded at the effect the news had on him. He told Count Vitzthum that “the Prime Minister was so affected that he had fainted away several times in the presence of the Duke, who expected him to have a fit of apoplexy, and still fears that his days are numbered.” Count Vitzthum, however, adds significantly:—“He (Palmerston) recovered again in the afternoon so far as to be able to receive Baron Brunnow, who perceived nothing unusual about him.”[110] Mr. Hayward has stated that the news of the Prince Consort’s death so affected Lord Palmerston that he had a violent attack of gout.[111] According to Mr. Ashley, the Prime Minister was suffering from gout before it was suspected that the Prince Consort was dangerously ill; though, no doubt, Mr. Hayward rightly accounts for Lord Palmerston’s demonstrative emotion when he explains that he was afraid of the effect of the Prince’s death on the Queen. But this apprehension as to the weakness of her Majesty’s nerves must have quickly worn away, for when he visited her at Osborne, on the 29th of January, 1862, for the first time after the Prince’s death, he not only neglected to put on mourning, but enhanced the gaiety of his raiment by wearing green gloves and blue studs.[112]

The English people, however, had on the whole judged the Prince Consort generously through life, and they mourned over his death with genuine and unaffected sincerity. Never since the death of the Princess Charlotte was the grief of the people more widespread and more real. Friar Francis says of Hero’s supposed death—

“That what we have we prize not to the worth
Whiles we enjoy it, but being lack’d and lost,
Why, then we rack the value.”
Some such feeling as this was universal when, amidst the gloom that tinged the skirts of the dying year with hues of sorrow, the nation reviewed Prince Albert’s career, so full of usefulness, of self-restraint, of high aim, of patriotic purpose, of unselfish devotion. Very beautiful and touching, too, were the popular expressions of sympathy which were sent to the widowed Queen, the light of whose life had been extinguished at one fell stroke.

Till Count Vitzthum’s “Reminiscences” appeared, little that was authentic had been published as to the personal history of the Queen during the first days of her widowhood. “Just as the Queen had failed,” writes Count Vitzthum, who obtained his information from the Duke of Cambridge, “to recognise the danger till the last moment, so also she appears not to have realised, for the{99} first few days after all was over, the full extent of her loss. Her composure was almost unnatural, and it was not till her return to Osborne that she awoke to the full consciousness of this unexpected blow. ‘Her Majesty is unnaturally quiet,’ was the remark of an eye-witness two days after the event.” The Duchess of Cambridge was the first member of the Royal Family who ventured to write to the Queen. She described the answer of the Princess Alice as “heartrending.” Her Majesty sat all day in dumb despair, staring vacantly round her, and it was only with the utmost difficulty that the Royal sign manual could be obtained for the most urgent business. The wise, strong affection and the capable energy of the Princess Alice, however, spared her Majesty from many anxieties at the moment when her grief was keenest. Lord Granville was the first Minister she was able to see, and she transacted some business with him a few days after the Prince’s death. Sir Charles Phipps, too, strove hard to lighten the burden of sovereignty for his Royal mistress in the darkest hours of her life; but his efforts, though well meant, gave rise to misunderstandings. “I hear,” writes Lord Malmesbury in his Diary, on the 28th of December, “that Ministers have signed a memorial to the Queen refusing to transact business with her through Sir C. Phipps.” From a constitutional point of view Palmerston and his colleagues were right in taking this course. Whether it was generous, or even wise, to annoy the Queen at such a moment with their cruelly conscientious pedantry is not a question that admits of much argument.[113] Her Majesty was able to hold her first Privy Council, after the Prince’s death, on the 11th of January, the Duke of Newcastle, Lord Granville, and Sir George Grey being in attendance. The chief point under discussion was that of summoning Parliament.

The Duke of Newcastle, who was a valued friend of the Prince Consort,, had a quiet conversation with her Majesty early in January, before she left Windsor for Osborne. “His account of the Queen,” writes Mr. Hayward in a letter to Lady Emily Peel, “is highly favourable. He said his private interview left him with the very highest opinion of her strength of character.”[114] After retiring to Osborne, however, nervous exhaustion seriously impaired her strength. Lady Ely told Lord Malmesbury that during the first weeks at Osborne her Majesty seemed very low and wretched. “She (Lady Ely),” writes Lord Malmesbury on the 4th of February, 1862, “gives a sad report of the poor Queen, who talks continually about the Prince, and seems to feel comfort in doing so. She takes great pleasure in the universal feeling of sympathy for her and sorrow for him shown by all classes.”[115] King Leopold of Belgium came to Osborne in the end of January, and he endeavoured by his good offices to bring about an arrangement with Lord Palmerston for facilitating the transaction of Ministerial business with the{100} Queen. At that time her health was not actually bad. But the King of the Belgians said that though she was outwardly composed she was not equal to the strain of dining at table, even with her half-sister, the Princess Hohenlohe, and with Prince Louis of Hesse, who were then at Osborne. She seems to have desired no other companionship in the first weeks of her widowhood save that of the Princess Alice.

Count Vitzthum was in Lisbon when the tidings of the Prince Consort’s death arrived, but he returned to London very soon afterwards. He says, “The consternation I found prevailing among all classes of the people surpassed my utmost expectations. Mr. Disraeli spoke to me with deep and heartfelt sorrow of the irreparable loss that England had sustained. ‘With Prince Albert,’ he said, ‘we have buried our Sovereign. This German Prince has governed England for twenty-one years with a wisdom and energy such as none of our kings have ever shown. He was the permanent Private Secretary, the permanent Prime Minister of the Queen. If he had outlived some of the ‘old stagers,’ he would have given us, while retaining all constitutional guarantees, the blessings of absolute government. Of us younger men who are qualified to enter the Cabinet, there is not one who would not willingly have bowed to his experience. We are now in the midst of a change of government. What to-morrow will bring forth no man can tell. To-day we are sailing in the deepest gloom, with night and darkness all around us.’” Some very curious details were collected by Count Vitzthum relating to the Prince Consort’s illness. On the 15th of January the Duke of Cambridge, who was then staying with his mother at Kew, invited Count Vitzthum and Count Apponyi to dinner, and from his conversation the former was able to glean the following facts:—“The illness,” writes Count Vitzthum, “which snatched away the Prince so suddenly in his forty-second year was at first nothing but a gastric fever, as his private librarian, Mr. Ruland, had informed me by letter on the day before I left for Lisbon. This so-called Windsor fever, so frequently recurrent at that season in the badly-drained town, soon, however, became typhoid. The Prince did not seem to be really ill, though as early as the 23rd or 24th of November his mind strangely wandered. His valet[116] felt instinctively what was necessary. ‘Living here will kill your Royal Highness,’ he frequently repeated. ‘You must leave Windsor and go to Germany for a time to rest and recover strength.’ These well-meant warnings passed unheeded by the patient, who showed the listlessness so foreign to his nature, but so characteristic of this disease. The most serious sign was sleeplessness and a total want of appetite. All the symptoms show that. I had the same illness myself last year. My own experience, therefore, makes me convinced that the sick man, from the indifference he showed for everything, especially for the preservation of his own life, had no idea of the danger he{101} was in. This is the peculiarity of typhoid fever, which so completely shatters the nervous system. It requires, after timely diagnosis, complete rest and gentle treatment. When once the blood-poisoning has reached a certain stage no human aid can avail.

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“Above all things the Prince seems to have had no doctor attending him who was capable of recognising the gravity of the disease in time. Unfortunately, his physician, Dr. Bayly, had been killed in a railway accident the year before. Sir James Clark, fifty years before a distinguished physician of the old school, had virtually retired from practice, and probably had but a limited knowledge of the advance made by modern science in the treatment of typhoid diseases. As physician to the Queen his position had been for twenty years a sinecure. Her Majesty enjoys such excellent health that she does not know what it is to be ill. Hence to the last moment she clung to vain hopes in regard to the condition of her husband, which Sir James very possibly confirmed. In consequence of the urgent representations of Ministers,[117] Dr. Watson and{102} Sir Henry Holland were summoned in addition to Dr. Jenner. Sir Henry Holland is said to have been the first to have had the courage, when it was too late, to tell the Queen the truth.

“The news of the death of King Dom Pedro, whom the Prince had loved as a son, had deeply affected him…. As he himself confessed, he hardly closed his eyes from the time he received the news till the fever actually set in. The troubles with America also embittered his last hours. He was so tired that at times he nodded off to sleep when standing. He felt always cold, and ate scarcely anything. Already in the autumn at Balmoral he had a presentiment of his death. So strong was this feeling ten days before he died that he enjoined Princess Alice, having ascertained that the Queen was not in the room, to write and tell her sister in Berlin that their father would not recover. The next day he asked the Princess whether she had done so, and she replied that she had not. On the 13th, the day before his death, he got up and transacted some business with his private secretary, Mr. Ruland. The Queen drove out, and during the drive appeared much easier about her husband’s condition. On her return she found him in bed, unconscious, and with the extremities ice-cold. Now for the first time they all realised the danger. Princess Alice, on her own responsibility, sent for the Prince of Wales, who was then at Cambridge. Sir Charles Phipps telegraphed during the night for the Duke of Cambridge, who left London by the first train on the 14th, and arrived at Windsor at 8 o’clock in the morning. The alarming symptoms had increased, and the doctors did not conceal that the Prince had only a few hours to live. The Queen alone still deceived herself with hopes, and telegraphed early on the 14th to Berlin, ‘Dear Vic., Papa has had a good night’s rest, and I hope the danger is over.’” These details are important, because they partially explain the secret of what has been to many inexplicable—the extreme sorrow that has clouded the Queen’s life during her long widowhood. It has been bitter to look back on the past and see how much might have been done that was left undone to save the life which was far dearer to her than her own.

As to the public aspects of the Queen’s married life, Count Vitzthum was favoured with many disclosures from the Duchess of Cambridge. “She spoke,” writes the Count, “with tears in her eyes, of the almost unparalleled happiness of his (the Prince Consort’s) twenty years of married life, now brought to such a sudden end. In all that clear and sunny sky there was only one cloud. How gladly would the Queen have shared her crown with the husband who helped her to wear it, and was her all in all! In vain already, in Sir Robert Peel’s time, had she expressed her wish to bestow the title of King upon her husband. The constitutional scruples of the deceased Tory Minister were urged still more emphatically by Lord Palmerston when, later on, the question was again mooted. The promotion{103} of the Prince to the title of ‘Prince Consort’ was the consequence of a compromise. Prince Albert was naturalised in 1840, and obtained, in the same year, by letters patent, precedence next to the Queen. Nevertheless, he was not a British prince, and both at Court and the Privy Council his eldest son, on attaining his majority, must have taken precedence of him. ‘For the Prince of Wales,’ as the Duke of Cambridge says, ‘is and remains Prince of Wales.’”

“The value which the Queen attached to her husband’s precedence is explained by the submissive veneration she invariably showed him in great as well as small affairs. He was complete master in his house, and the active centre of an Empire whose power extends to every quarter of the globe. It was a gigantic task for a young German prince to think and act for all these millions of British subjects. All the threads were gathered together in his hands. For twenty-one years not a single despatch was ever sent from the Foreign Office which the Prince had not seen, studied, and, if necessary, altered. Not a single report of any importance from an Ambassador was allowed to be kept from him. The Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Secretary for War, the Home Secretary, the First Lord of the Admiralty—all handed to him every day just as large bundles of papers as did the Foreign Office. Everything was read, commented upon, and discussed. In addition to all this, the Prince kept up private correspondence with foreign Sovereigns, with British Ambassadors and Envoys, with the Governor-General of India, and with the Governors of the various colonies. No appointment in Church and State, in the Army or the Navy, was ever made without his approbation. At Court not the smallest thing was done without his order. No British Cabinet Minister has ever worked so hard during the Session of Parliament—and that is saying a good deal—as the Prince Consort did for twenty-one years. And the Ministers come and go; or at any rate, if frequently and long in office, as was the case with Palmerston and Russell, they have four or five months’ holiday every year. The Prince had no holidays at all. He was always in harness.

“The Continental notion that Royalty in England is a sinecure was signally refuted by the example of Prince Albert. As for the charge sometimes alleged against him, that owing to his Liberalism he yielded too much to the Ministers—in other words, to Parliament—it is wholly groundless. The influence exercised on the Government by the Crown is a power which makes itself felt, not merely in crises at home and abroad, but continually. This influence is, however, indirect, and wears a different garb in England to that which it assumes, for example, in Russia and France. Prince Albert’s task was all the more difficult, since his decision depended on unknown data, and he had to reckon with the changing factors of a constitution the foundations of which have been undermined for years by the rising waves of democracy. If, in spite of all this, the Crown’s game, as Prince Metternich{104} expressed it, has been well played, this result is doubly creditable to the late Prince, inasmuch as he could only direct the game—not play it himself. With what tact and skill he did so is proved by the fact that, with the exception of the British Ministers and a few intimate friends, no one had any idea of the actual position of the Prince during his lifetime. Those who knew it were pledged to keep the secret, which now for the first time since his death has been revealed to the nation.

“As truth appears to have been the most prominent attribute of the Prince, this necessary game of concealment must have been all the more painful to him. The daily regard for public opinion gave rise to misunderstandings, to overcome which required an amount of elasticity which was bound gradually to weaken. Sparing as the deceased was of sleep, it is difficult to understand how he found time to grapple with the mass of business. He could never call an hour his own. The continual receptions, notwithstanding the uniformity of an almost cloister-like Court life, no less than the mere physical strain caused by the continual change of residence, cut up the day into pieces and left scarcely any time for rest and reflection. The wonder is how he found it possible, in the midst of these occupations, to attend with labouring conscientiousness to the cares of government; to conduct personally the education of nine children; to prosecute his studies in all branches of human knowledge; to astonish men with the results of these studies; and at the same time to live, as he did, for art, himself a student, and constant patron of music, painting, and poetry.”[118]

From these disclosures the following conclusions can now be drawn. The Prince Consort really killed himself by overwork. The Windsor fever, which was the proximate cause of his death, was neglected at the outset. Even when the symptoms were recognised as serious they were misunderstood and treated feebly by his physicians. Finally, when competent medical advice was sought, it was sought too late.

Of the Prince Consort’s character, much that is interesting and curious might be written. “The silent father of our kings to be” was respected rather than appreciated during his life by the nation he served so well. Save for the fact that he had no special aptitude for military science, we might have traced a curious parallelism between the work he did for England, and that which was done by William of Orange. Prince Albert’s strength, and perhaps his weakness, really lay in his capacity for looking at affairs from other than merely conventional British points of view. His serene intellect had scarcely any bias traceable to prejudice or vanity. His conclusions were always based on the application of a finely tempered logical mind, to all the facts of a given case that could be collected by patient and unceasing industry. A natural love of justice and truth informed his convictions. Instinctive{105}

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(From the Photograph by Mayall.)

sagacity and wise tolerance characterised his judgments. The good sense—which, according to Sainte-Beuve, gave form and substance to the ideas of Louis XIV.—never deserted Prince Albert in any crisis of his life. His policy was seldom at fault, because its sole aim was to conserve national as distinguished from dynastic interests. If he erred during the Crimean War he erred with some of the wisest men of his time. If he undervalued the promise and potency of the great movement which led to Italian independence, his mistake was excusable. It was wrapt up in the tortuous policy of Napoleon III. and Cavour, which was hateful to him just because it was tortuous, and, moreover, he dreaded any movement on the Continent which, by letting loose the ungovernable ambition of the Bonapartist dynasty and{106} giving free play to the aggressive instincts of France, might again convert Belgium and Germany into “the cockpit of Europe.” Arnold has said of Sophocles, “He saw life steadily and saw it whole.” The Prince Consort was almost alone among his contemporaries by reason of his capacity to see organised society steadily and to see it whole. He was an omnivorous, desultory reader, and his education was fortunately neither academical nor technical, neither exclusively literary nor exclusively scientific. His thirst for knowledge was unquenchable, and it was gratified under the guidance of a singularly correct taste. He was constantly corresponding with all sorts of interesting people, in all ranks of life, who happened to know anything that was worth knowing. Every business, or pursuit, or calling, that made men useful to each other, or added comfort, grace, beauty, and dignity to existence, had an irresistible fascination for him. A clever critic has said of Edmund Burke what might well be said of Prince Albert, whose mind, though less imaginative was more reflective. “Burke’s imagination,” writes Mr. Augustine Birrell, “led him to look out over the whole land: the legislator devising new laws; the judge expounding and enforcing old ones; the merchant despatching his goods and extending his credit; the banker advancing the money of his customers upon the credit of the merchant; the frugal man slowly accumulating the store which is to support him in old age; the ancient institutions of Church and University, with their seemly provisions for sound learning and pure religion; the parson in his pulpit; the poet pondering his rhymes; the farmer eyeing his crops; the painter covering his canvases; the player educating the feelings.”[119] Similarly, when Prince Albert thought of England or her interests, her aims, and her mission in the world, it was not the England of St. James’s or St. Giles’s, of Piccadilly or the slums, or of any special class or order, that presented itself to his mind. It was the England which the eye of the historian will see—the England which has been built up and is maintained by the toil, the self-sacrifice, the enterprise, the leadership, and the genius of all who in their several stations work for her with brain and hand. To give these workers peace and security—that was to the Prince Consort the fundamental problem of statecraft, and the only true touchstone of policies. His finger was always on the pulse of the nation, and to every change in its feverish throbbing he was as sensitive as a physician. His “catholicity of gaze” has done for his writings and his speeches, what originality of thought and brilliancy of style have done for those of other men. It has enabled them to stand the test of time. If he failed to win unbounded popularity during his lifetime, it was because, as the French say, he had the defects of his qualities. His lot was not with the idlers of the earth, and he had little in common either with an aristocracy of pleasure or a democracy of noisy but futile activities. “Society,” says Dr.{107} Martineau, “has reason for dismay where there is an ever-widening chasm between the two summit levels of thought and character.” The Prince Consort’s public life seemed as if it were planned in order to bridge this chasm. As for his private life, it is perhaps enough to say that the veneration and love with which his family, his friends, and his servants regarded him sufficiently attest its unblemished worth. Of the calumnies that pursued him almost to the verge of the grave, there is little to add to what has been already stated in preceding chapters. They never touched his honour as a gentleman, or his conduct as the head of an illustrious family. All the attacks which were directed against him were ostensibly directed against his supposed interference with affairs of State—in the interests of foreign despots. These attacks were, however, made by the Iagos of politics, from mixed motives of malignity and self-interest. As the late Mr. Albany Fonblanque once remarked, they came from those who had distinguished themselves by their unfailing championship of every form of despotism, and by their inveterate hatred of liberty “in every province of politics, and in every part of the world.”[120] Calumny from such quarters never needed any explanation, and the Prince met it, not with a defence, but with disdain.

It was on the 23rd of December that the Prince Consort’s remains were removed from Windsor Castle, and temporarily deposited in the entrance to the Royal Vault in St. George’s Chapel, where they were to lie until the completion and consecration of a mausoleum for their reception. Shortly before noon the gloomy pageant began to file through the gate of the Norman Tower. It was headed by mourning coaches, containing four of the Prince’s old servants, followed by an array of coaches with officials of his suite and household. One of the Queen’s carriages preceded the hearse. In it was Lord Spencer, who, as the Prince’s Groom of the Stole, carried his “crown.” His bâton, sword, and hat were borne by Lieut.-Colonel Lord George Lennox, the Prince’s Lord of the Bedchamber. The hearse, decorated in quiet, good taste with the Prince’s escutcheons, was escorted by the Second Life Guards, followed by the Queen’s carriage, the carriages of the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, and the Duchess of Cambridge. The line of route was kept by the Second Life Guards and Scots Fusiliers with arms reversed. Long ere the procession reached St. George’s Chapel, the choir was filled by those who were invited to the ceremony, but not to join in procession, and the Knights of the Garter were in their stalls. The Royal Family met in the chapter-room at noon, from which, when the funeral procession was re-formed, on the arrival of the corpse at the South Park, they were conducted to their places by the Lord Chamberlain. As before, the servants and dependents of the Prince headed the procession. They were followed by servants and officers of the Royal household, in order of rank, the bâton, sword, hat, and crown{108}

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of the Prince being carried immediately before the coffin, which was preceded by Lord Sydney, her Majesty’s Lord Chamberlain. The pall-bearers were Sir Charles Phipps, General Grey, General Wylde, Colonel Francis Seymour, Lord Waterpark, Colonel Hood, Lieut.-Colonel Dudley de Ros, and Major du Plat, who were respectively Treasurer, Private Secretary, Groom of the Bedchamber, Lord of the Bedchamber, Clerk Marshal, and equerries to his Royal Highness. Immediately after the coffin came Garter King-at-Arms, followed by the Prince of Wales as chief mourner, who was supported by Prince Arthur, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-and-Gotha, and attended by General Bruce, the Crown Prince of Prussia, the Duke of Brabant, the Count de Flandres, the Duke de Nemours, Prince Louis of Hesse, Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar, the Count Gleichen, and the Maharajah Dhuleep Singh. They were followed by their suites. On arriving within the choir, the Prince’s crown, bâton, sword, and hat were reverently laid on the coffin, at the head of which stood the Prince of Wales, with Prince Arthur and the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-and-Gotha on either side of him. The other illustrious mourners formed a group behind them. At the foot of the coffin the Lord Chamberlain stood, and the pall-bearers stood on each side of it. When the first part of the{109}

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service was over, the coffin was lowered into the vault. The Dean of Windsor having concluded the ritual, Garter-King-at-Arms proclaimed the style and titles of the Prince, and then the mourners left the chapel, while the “Dead March” in Saul was played on the organ. Lord Palmerston’s absence was accounted for by an attack of gout, which had been aggravated by his grief for the Prince’s death. Severe illness confined the Duke of Cambridge to his room. The absence of Dr. Jenner, which was remarked, was due to a melancholy cause. He was detained at Osborne in constant attendance on the grief-stricken Queen. For during the first agony of grief that followed the death of the Prince Consort serious fears were entertained lest the Queen should herself fall ill and die. “How you suffered,” wrote the Princess Alice to her mother many long years afterwards, “was dreadful to witness. Never shall I forget what I went through for you then; it tore my heart in pieces.”[121] Although the Princess took on herself the management of the household, and both verbally and by writing strove to transact her mother’s business, it was obvious that something must be done to rouse{110} her Majesty from the lethargy of sorrow. King Leopold accordingly insisted on an immediate change of surroundings, and decided that she must be taken to Osborne. For a time the Queen resisted this decision. Even the Princess Alice remonstrated with Sir Charles Phipps against a step which seemed to her to be cruel. But she yielded at last to King Leopold’s wishes, and it was indeed through her influence that the Queen was finally induced to quit Windsor before her husband’s remains were laid in the grave.[122] “What a blow this has been,” wrote Bishop Wilberforce to the Hon. Arthur Gordon when describing the scene at St. George’s Chapel; “all my old affection for him (the Prince Consort) has revived over his tomb—and for our poor Queen…. The funeral was most deeply affecting; you saw old dry political eyes, which seemed as if they had long forgotten how to weep, gradually melting and running down in large drops of sympathy. The two Princes and the brother (the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-and-Gotha) and the son-in-law intended (Prince Louis of Hesse) were all deeply moved.”[123]{111}


Outbreak of Civil War in the United States—Origin of the Dispute—The Missouri Compromise—Effect of the “Gold Rush” on the Extension of Slavery—Colonising Nebraska—The Struggle in “Bleeding Kansas”—Assault on Senator Sumner—The Wyandotte Constitution—The Dred Scott Case—Election of Mr. Lincoln as President—Secession of South Carolina—Organisation of the Southern Confederacy—The Firing of the First Shot—Capture of Fort Sumter—Lincoln’s Call to Arms—Opinion in England—The Trent Affair—The Queen and the Prince Consort avert War—Opening of Parliament—Bitter Controversy over the Education Code—Parliament and the Civil War—The Cotton Famine—A Relief Bill—War Expenditure—Mr. Disraeli denounces Lord Palmerston’s “Bloated Armaments”—A Budget without a Surplus—The Fortifications at Spithead—Floating versus Fixed Forts—A Mexican Adventure—Revolution in Greece—Bismarck’s Visit to London—Anecdote of Bismarck and Mr. Disraeli—Progress of the American War—Mr. Peabody’s Benefactions—The Exhibition of 1862—The Prince of Wales’s Tour in the East—The Hartley Colliery Accident—Marriage of the Princess Alice—The Queen’s Visit to Belgium—Her Meeting with the Princess Alexandra of Denmark—The Queen’s Visit to Gotha—Removal of the Prince Consort’s Remains to the Mausoleum at Frogmore.

The closing days of 1861 and the opening days of 1862 were days of feverish excitement. The citizens of the United States were locked in the deadly and fratricidal strife of Civil War. The passions and prejudices which divided them into hostile armies, divided their kith and kin in England into hostile factions. In America the fight between North and South was waged on the field of battle. In England it was carried on in the Press, on the Platform, on the floor of the Senate, in Clubs, in drawing-rooms, by road and rail, in the market-places of the great cities, and in the ale-houses of quiet rural villages. Roughly speaking, the classes as opposed to the masses took the side of the South. Those who view public affairs from the standpoint of privileged as distinguished from national and popular interests, and who can always command the facile advocacy of what may be termed the organs of well-dressed opinion in the London Press, were nearly all arrayed against the North. At the end of 1861 the nation watched the struggle with breathless interest, for events had happened which rendered it probable that England might be dragged into it.

When the United States formed themselves into a Federal Republic each State dealt as it pleased with the question of slavery. But when new Territories were annexed it was difficult to say whether slavery should or should not be recognised in them. The people of the slave States argued that under the Federal Constitution a citizen of any State had the right to settle in and transfer his property to any of the partially organised Territories which were owned in common by all the States. Slaves were property. Therefore a citizen who had slaves had a right to hold them in any of the Territories. Soon, however, Territories became sufficiently populous{112} to be admitted as States. In that case was slavery to be recognised in them? During the Presidency of Mr. Monroe (1816) this difficulty became acute. A Bill authorising the Territory of Missouri to form itself into a State was introduced. Mr. Talmage, of New York, proposed to insert a clause converting the Territory into a Free State. The controversy raised on the point was settled in 1820 by the adoption of what was called “The Missouri Compromise” by which slavery was prohibited in new States north of latitude 36° 30´. The slave-owners’ party endeavoured, by making war on Mexico, to increase the territory available for slavery, and under the Presidency of General Taylor, who was elected in 1849, they persuaded Congress to virtually abandon the Missouri Compromise, and permit all Territories, in the event of becoming States, to decide for themselves whether or not they should recognise slavery. They based their hopes on the aggressive activity of their squatters. It was supposed that they would pour more rapidly into the new Territories than emigrants from the Free States, and thus in every plébiscite turn the scale in favour of slavery. And but for an accident the policy of the Southern leaders would have triumphed, and slavery would not only have been established in the new Territories contiguous to the Southern States, but even in the North-West itself. This accident was the discovery of gold in California. The “gold rush” from the Free States to the Pacific Coast was not a migration but an exodus, and long ere the Southern squatter could settle in force in these regions, they were swarming with citizens from New England. In the Pacific Territories, where slavery must have been legalised had the Missouri Compromise not been upset by Southern politicians, it was prohibited by popular vote, and in 1850 California joined the Union as a Free State. Meanwhile the Fugitive Slave Law had created much ill-feeling between the Free and other Slave States.[124] Some of them, like Massachusetts, prohibited its enforcement. But the two great parties were agreed in abiding by the Fugitive Law, and maintaining slavery in statu quo. During the administration of President Pierce (who was elected in 1852) the conflict over the organisation of Kansas and Nebraska into Territories disturbed the status quo. Their people had it in their power to determine the question of slavery for themselves, and to control the popular vote in favour of slavery. Missouri, which was a Slave State, therefore poured pro-slavery emigrants into both Territories. It was alleged that most of these were sham settlers, and that the pro-slavery vote was tainted by terrorism and fraud. But be that as it may, a Territorial government in favour of slavery was organised in Nebraska and Kansas, and President Pierce appointed Governors pledged to secure the ultimate admission of these Territories to the Union as Free States. To defeat this policy settlers from the Free States migrated to Nebraska and Kansas—“bleeding{113} Kansas,” as it was called in the North—and they were supplied with arms and money to defend themselves against the “border ruffians” from Missouri, who naturally objected to their company. Ultimately there came to be two rival governments in the Territories, and when in 1856 the anti-slavery party elected their own State officers, and repudiated all that had been done in the interests of slavery, President Pierce ordered the Governor to call on Federal troops to enforce the pro-slavery laws of the Territory.

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During the debates in Congress on this subject, Senator Sumner happening to make a strong speech in favour of the anti-slavery party in Kansas, was brutally assaulted in his place in the Senate by a slave-owner called Brooks, a senator from South Carolina. “To me,” said Sir George Cornewall Lewis{114} of this outrage, writing to Sir Edmund Head, “it seems the first blow in a civil war,” and it was. In 1857 Mr. Buchanan was elected President. The Supreme Court of the United States, in the famous Dred Scott case, decided that negroes had no rights save those which the Government gave them, and that Congress could no more prohibit a citizen from taking his slave into any State, than it could prohibit him from taking there any kind of property whose safe possession was guaranteed to him by the Constitution.[125] This, of course, intensified the struggle between North and South for the control of Nebraska and “bleeding Kansas.” Southern slave-owners saw that they must have an outlet for their surplus slave population. If they lost Kansas and Nebraska they must seize Cuba or Mexico, or both, or secede from a Union in which the Slave States would be in a minority, and at the mercy of the Free States. The struggle went on till, in 1859, Kansas adopted, by a majority of 4,000, the Wyandotte Constitution, prohibiting slavery. President Buchanan seems to have prepared for the worst, because he now began secretly to pour munitions of war and arms, which were the common property of the North and the South, into Southern strongholds. The Democratic party split into a Southern and a Northern wing over the Dred Scott case, so that in November, 1859, the Republicans elected Mr. Abraham Lincoln as President, pledged to maintain the principle that freedom was the normal condition of the Territories, which Congress must preserve and defend—though slavery in the old Slave States was not assailed as a domestic institution.

The difference between North and South was thus sharp and clear. The North desired to maintain the status quo with regard to slavery, and to prohibit the extension of its area. The South demanded the extension of its area into the Territories, and all new States that might be carved out of them. Lincoln’s election was followed, at the beginning of 1860, by the secession of South Carolina. By the end of February, 1861, her example was imitated by Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, and Alabama. Tennessee, North Carolina, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Missouri were wavering. When Congress met, President Buchanan, in his last Message, explained how events were drifting, denied the right of the Southern States to secede, but doubted the power of Congress to levy war on seceding States. The Crittenden compromise was now proposed, but it came too late.[126] Another attempt was{115} made to conciliate the South by an amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting Congress from ever meddling with slavery in the United States. By this time the seceding States had met at Montgomery, and had organised the Government of the Confederate States of America. The constitution adopted differed from that of the United States in that it recognised slavery, extended the term of the President’s office, and prohibited tariffs for other purposes than raising revenue.[127] Being producers, not of manufactured goods, but of raw material, the governing class in the South were naturally Free Traders. Mr. Jefferson Davis was chosen President, and Mr. Alexander H. Stephen Vice-President, and their Government prepared to carry on war. In Congress, the withdrawal of the Southern representatives enabled the Republicans by large majorities to admit Kansas as a Free State, to organise Nevada, Colorado, and Dakota as Territories, and to adopt a new protective tariff mainly in the interests of the Eastern States and Pennsylvania.

With the exception of two or three small forts, the Government of the seceding States took quiet possession of all fortresses and places of arms in their territory. This was easily done, because in most instances the officers in command, though holding Federal commissions, betrayed their masters. Major Anderson, however, was an exception. He held Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbour, for the Federal Government. Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated as President on 4th of March, 1861. In his Message to Congress he said that the Government was determined to relieve Fort Sumter, and whilst denying the right of the South to secede, he asserted the right of the Federal Government to preserve the Union. On the 13th of April, 1861, Fort Sumter was attacked by the rebel, or Confederate forces, and on the 14th it surrendered. On the 15th Lincoln issued his first call for troops, and by this time only an insignificant section of the Democratic Party remained true to their principle that secession was a constitutional right, and that the Federal Government had no legal authority to coerce a State. Within a fortnight after the first shot was fired, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas joined the South. Small majorities, however, held Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri for the North. The capture of Fort Sumter stirred up a war feeling in the loyal States which astonished the Confederate leaders. So eagerly did the Northern men respond to Lincoln’s call that the Federal Government, ere the end of the year, had half a million of troops at its disposal. As, however, most of the officers of the regular army had gone over to the South, the Federal troops chiefly consisted of armed mobs of volunteers.

In England up to this point the main current of public opinion set in favour of the North. Lord Shaftesbury gave expression to the general voice when he said, in a letter to the Times, “the triumph of the South meant{116} the consolidation of slavery, and his sympathies, therefore, were wholly for the North.”[128] But the inflated language in which Northern partisans discounted their easy conquest of the South, and denounced the “unnatural rebellion” of the Confederate States, tended to strengthen the aristocratic faction who were in favour of the South. It was asked sarcastically if Secession could possibly be more illegal than the revolt of the Thirteen Colonies from which the Federal Union sprang? Had not Americans defended, with wearisome iteration, the sacred right of insurrection in Monarchical countries? Was it consistent with English Liberalism to scan too closely the legitimate origin of States, either in the Old world or the New, which having struck out an independent existence, were prepared to defend it? As for slavery, had not President Lincoln overruled General Fremont’s order liberating slaves in Missouri? In fact, the partisans of the South grew bolder every day. The asperity of the Northern Press and Government, when they found they could not command the unanimous support of England, favoured the progress of the Southern cause in England. In concert with the French Government, Lord Palmerston not only adopted a policy of neutrality, but recognised each party to the struggle as belligerents. He would indeed have been foolish to have treated the people of twelve organised States as a small mob of rioters, and armed ships flying their flags, as pirates. For this step England was as violently denounced in the North, as France was fulsomely praised. The classes who have no anchorage in principles for their plastic opinions were fast veering round to the side of the South, and Mr. Lincoln’s strong measures, which caused Habeas Corpus to be suspended in Washington, suppressed newspapers, and imprisoned persons suspected of disloyalty, helped to obscure the real issue in the eyes of the English people.

In August the Federal troops attacked the Confederate position south of the Potomac at Bull’s Run, and were defeated; but the Northern levies effectually protected Washington, and held down wavering States like Maryland. Then an incident happened which threatened to extinguish the small party which among the wealthier classes in England still favoured the North. On the 8th of November, 1861, Captain Wilkes, of the San Jacinto, a Federal man-of-war, stopped and boarded the English mail steamer, Trent, which had the day before sailed from Havannah with passengers for Europe. Among these were Messrs. Mason and Slidell, Envoys accredited by the Confederate Government to the English and French Courts. Captain Wilkes arrested them and carried them away to the San Jacinto, in spite of the protests of the Commander of the Trent. On the 27th of November, when the news reached England, the partisans of the Southern States strove hard to lash the country into fury. The arrest was an outrage, but instead of inquiring whether Captain Wilkes acted under orders, the sympathisers with the South, headed by the{117}

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Tory Press, clamoured for war against the United States. The popular excitement increased every day, and the Prince Consort, then sickening under his last illness, grew anxious as to the result. The Crimean War had taught him that with popular passions roused, and a bellicose Minister like Palmerston in power, there was no limit to the folly which Englishmen might perpetrate. The Queen, who had steadfastly opposed every suggestion which had been made in the direction of manifesting sympathy with the Southern Confederacy, became nervous lest her policy of scrupulous neutrality should be thwarted. She was informed on the 29th of November that the Cabinet were determined to demand reparation, and Palmerston had indicated that he was ready to assume Captain Wilkes had been positively instructed by Mr. Lincoln’s Government to insult the British flag. To the Queen this seemed an absurd assumption. But she knew that if the idea was in Palmerston’s mind it would most certainly appear in some offensive form in Lord Russell’s despatches. Yet, if it was offensively manifested there, it would tempt the United States Government to refuse reparation—for Mr. Lincoln had also to contend with a stupid, boastful party in the Northern States, who were as eagerly clamouring for war with England as the same stupid party in England were clamouring for war with America.

On the 30th of November, 1861, Lord Russell forwarded the despatches to Windsor, and they confirmed the Queen’s suspicions. She disliked their tone, and took them to the Prince Consort, who quite endorsed her opinion. Though he was so ill that he could hardly hold his pen, he drafted a Memorandum for the Queen, complaining of the dispatch to the American Government, and suggesting a more courteous and friendly way of stating the case against them. Even this draft the Queen herself revised and slightly toned down. The point on which she and the Prince Consort insisted was that all through Lord Russell should emphasise the assumption that as the United States Government could not have intended to wantonly insult England, they would naturally be desirous of offering reparation for any breach of international law Captain Wilkes had committed, either by disobeying or misunderstanding his instructions. The words of the royal draft were adopted, and with the happiest result. When the despatch arrived at Washington, Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State, told Lord Lyons, the British Minister, that the wording of it meant peace or war. He begged him, therefore, to let him see it privately before it was presented officially. It was sent to him. After reading it, Seward went immediately to Lord Lyons and told him that the tone of the despatch was so courteous and friendly that it would enable him to avert war, in spite of the recriminatory outcry of the press, the vote of thanks which Congress had passed to Captain Wilkes, and the ovations he had received in Northern cities. Seward was now able to extricate his Government from a false position, by the loophole of escape which the Prince Consort’s sagacity had opened for him. With some difficulty he reconciled the Government and{119} people of the North to admit that Captain Wilkes acted without instructions, that a breach of international law had been committed, but that the prisoners must be “cheerfully liberated.” The difficulty of his task was unfortunately aggravated by the menacing warlike preparations of the English Government, and the departure of troops for Canada before he had an opportunity of answering the despatch. On the 9th of January, 1862, the news that the dispute was settled reached the Queen. She replied, in a note to Lord Palmerston, that she was sure he would recognise that the peaceful issue to which the quarrel had been brought was “greatly owing to her beloved Prince,” whose Memorandum altering the despatch to the American Government “was the last thing he ever wrote.”[129] Palmerston’s warlike preparations, which nearly rendered a diplomatic solution of the difficulty impossible, cost the country £5,000,000.

Although the houses of the grandes dames of politics were opened earlier than usual in 1862, and politicians flocked to town sooner than was their custom, it was generally known that the Session would be dull and uneventful. The death of the Prince Consort overshadowed Society, and the leaders of both parties generously agreed that political strife should be suspended till the Queen was better able to bear the anxieties of party conflicts which lead to Ministerial crises. Lord Russell was well pleased with the termination of the American quarrel, because it left the Foreign Office free to assert the ascendency of England in the councils of Europe. Lord Palmerston was not displeased that his Government had won a diplomatic victory, for which the public, ignorant of the true effect of his extravagant military preparations on American opinion, gave him credit. Rumours had at this time gone abroad that his health was seriously impaired by the death of the Prince Consort, but these he was at pains to disperse by his conspicuous energy in the hunting-field. Lord Derby did not complain of the settlement of the Trent affair, because he saw it would enable Lord Palmerston to hold office for life. But the rank and file of the Tory Party, and a small fringe of aristocratic Whigs, were disappointed, for a war in which England would have fought on the side of the Southern Confederacy had been averted. Mr. Disraeli, who has obtained great credit for never manifesting his sympathies in favour of the slave-holding confederacy, did not conceal them from his intimate friends. In conversation with Count Vitzthum he said, “The effects on England (of the American War) are incalculable. Considering the probable loss to English trade, we (the Tory leaders) cannot, of course, proclaim openly the satisfaction we naturally feel at the collapse of Republican{120} institutions. But speaking privately, we can only congratulate ourselves if the monarchical principle comes into favour on the other side of the Atlantic.”[130]

Parliament was opened on the 6th of February, 1862. The Speech from the Throne touched on the death of the Prince Consort, the termination of the dispute with the United States, and on the Convention with France and Spain, the object of which was to obtain redress from Mexico for wrongs committed by the Mexican Government on foreign residents. It alluded to a Land Transfer Bill, and vaguely to “other measures of public usefulness” which would be submitted to Parliament. The debate on the Address mainly consisted of eloquent eulogies on the late Prince Consort—Lord Palmerston declaring that it was no exaggeration to say that so far as the word “perfect” could be applied to human imperfection, it was applicable to the character of the Prince. Out of respect to the Queen, politics were but lightly touched, Ministers promising to give full information as to the blockade of the Confederate ports, and the Mexican enterprise.

National education, curiously enough, was the first subject that produced anything like an earnest discussion in Parliament. During the Recess a Revised Code had been drawn up by Mr. Lowe, which had roused the wrath of those interested in sectarian education. The objection to the old system was that the State did not get value for the subsidies which Parliament voted for Primary Education. Subventions to the Training Colleges seemed to lessen rather than stimulate voluntary efforts to maintain them; in fact, 68 per cent. of their cost was now borne by the State. Of the 2,200,000 children who ought to be in inspected schools, only 920,000 attended them, and of these only 230,000 received adequate instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic. The Revised Code proposed to pay by results. A penny a head was to be given for each attendance over 100, provided the children (grouped according to age) passed examinations in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Failure in any one branch was to lead to the loss of one-third of the grant. Failure in all was to cut off the whole grant. The sectarian party, alarmed at the application of Mr. Lowe’s stern practical test to their work, first of all raised the cry of “Religion in Danger.” But when Parliament met, the Opposition attacked the Code on the ground that the Government, by embodying it in an Order in Council, had tried to evade Parliamentary criticism. This was a futile objection, for the scheme was not only criticised but modified under the fire of sharp assaults in both Houses of Parliament. These attacks were ultimately concentrated in the Resolutions which Mr. Walpole laid before the House of Commons. He condemned (1), the individual examination of the pupils; (2), the system of paying exclusively by results; and (3), the plan of grouping by age. It was, however, admitted on all sides that the existing system could not be defended. The only point to be decided{121} was as to what was the right method of altering it. The existing system was neither cheap nor efficient, but Mr. Lowe contended that his system, if not both, would be either the one or the other. Ultimately a compromise was arranged. It was agreed that 4s. a year was to be given on the average annual attendance of each pupil; that 8s. would be given for reading, writing, and arithmetic to every pupil who put in 200 attendances, 1s. 3d. being deducted in case of failure in attendance; and managers were to be permitted to group pupils for examination as they thought best. Neglect of religious instruction in Anglican schools would forfeit the grant, and any future revision of the Code was to be laid before Parliament for a month before it became operative. In this struggle the Tories, therefore, carried most of their points.

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The Civil War in America naturally caused many discussions. The Cabinet, on the whole, were loyal to the policy of the Queen and the Prince Consort, which was that of scrupulous neutrality. But they were not quite loyal to her Majesty’s desire that neutrality should be tempered by generous consideration for the great and unprecedented difficulties with which President Lincoln’s Administration had to contend. The effect of the virtual withdrawal{122} of the Queen from public life was soon seen in the supercilious tone of Lord Russell’s despatches, and in the latitude of criticism in which Lord Palmerston too frequently indulged in his references to American affairs in the House of Commons. The partisans of the Southern States made strenuous efforts to induce the Government to declare that the blockade of the Southern ports would not be recognised. But Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell, greatly to their credit, refused to yield to pressure on this point, although it was known that the French Emperor would have supported them gladly if they had yielded. The argument of the Opposition, beaten out over many long wearisome speeches, simply came to this—that the blockade was inefficient, and was, therefore, by international law invalid. It will always be difficult to understand how responsible persons could gravely maintain that position in face of the fact that Lancashire was starving because she could not get cotton out of Southern harbours, and that English trade was suffering because English goods could not get into them. The affair of the Trent gave rise to a brisk passage at arms between Mr. Bright and Lord Palmerston. Mr. Bright complained that whilst the Foreign Office was busy settling the dispute by firm but conciliatory diplomacy, the War Office and Admiralty were spending £1,000,000 on provocative preparations for war, which inflamed popular excitement in America, and really rendered it difficult for the United States Government to admit that they were in the wrong. “It is not customary,” said Mr. Bright, “in ordinary life for a person to send a messenger with a polite message to a friend, or neighbour, or acquaintance, and at the same time to send a man of portentous strength, wielding a gigantic club and making every kind of ferocious gesticulation, and still to profess that all this is done in the most friendly and courteous manner.” Lord Palmerston’s defence was that Mr. Lincoln’s Cabinet was in danger of being overawed by mob dictation, and that the preparations for war which Mr. Bright condemned, neutralised the pressure of popular passion in the United States Government. A curious illustration of the provocative tone adopted by the Ministry in their dealings with the United States was given by their condemnation of an order issued by General Butler, the military governor of New Orleans. The ladies of that city, after its occupation by Federal troops, appear to have been in the habit of publicly insulting their conquerors by methods which most respectable persons would hesitate to adopt. General Butler put a stop to these practices by ordering the military authorities to treat the culprits as if they were loose women plying a disreputable vocation. What the British Government had to do with the police arrangements of a foreign army in a foreign city it is not possible to conceive. Still, Lord Carnarvon, Sir John Walsh, and Mr. Gregory insisted that the Government should protest against General Butler’s order; and Lord Palmerston considered he was entitled to denounce the order as “infamous,” to assert that “Englishmen must blush to think that it came from a man of the Anglo-Saxon race,{123}” and to declare that the course which the Cabinet would take “was matter for consideration.” As Lord Palmerston took no “course,” it is to be presumed that he preferred to “blush” for General Butler, rather than run the risk of being snubbed by Mr. Seward. On the 18th of July Mr. Lindsay, in spite of protests from Mr. Ewart, Mr. Clay, and some others, persisted in pressing a motion in the House of Commons which, if carried, would have pledged the Government to mediate between the belligerents in the interests of the Southern States. The debate was an elaborate argument on the part of Tory speakers for the recognition of the Confederate Government. But the responsible leaders of the Opposition took no part in it, and Lord Palmerston refused to abandon his policy of neutrality.

Towards the close of the Session it was seen that the operatives of Lancashire must quickly sink into pauperism. The blockade of the Southern ports cut off the exports of cotton. The cotton mills in Lancashire, it was evident, must soon be stopped, and a teeming industrial population must become a prey to famine. Mr. C. Villiers, President of the Poor Law Board, accordingly introduced a Bill enabling Boards of Guardians to meet extraordinary demands for poor law relief. It provided that any parish which was overburdened by extraordinary pauperism might claim a subvention from the common fund of the Union to which it belonged, and that in certain cases one Union might call upon others in the county for assistance. Mr. Cobden, Mr. Ayrton, and Mr. Puller were strongly in favour of permitting distressed Unions to raise money by loans as well as by a rate-in-aid, and Mr. Villiers ultimately yielded to the pressure which they put on him.[131]

Mr. Gladstone’s Budget was hotly attacked. His estimated expenditure—including supplementary estimates—for the year 1861-62 had been £71,374,000. The actual expenditure had been less than that by £536,000. But still the revenue had only amounted to £69,674,000, so that there was a deficit of £1,164,000. Had there been no supplementary estimates voted there would, however, have been a surplus of £335,000. The harvest had been bad, and the American War had depressed trade. Hence it was not natural to look for elasticity in the revenue. Yet Mr. Gladstone estimated the revenue for 1862-63 at £70,190,000. As the expenditure would be £70,040,000, he could not look for a surplus on the existing basis of taxation of more than £150,000. He would not, he said, impose new taxes. But on the other hand he could not remit any old ones. He even proposed to abolish the duty on hops, and as a set-off readjust brewers’ licenses, so as to sacrifice by this change only £45,000 of revenue. His scheme, in fact, consisted of a Budget without a real{124}

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surplus, and its only popular feature was the simplification of the wine duties.[132] Why had Mr. Gladstone failed to provide a surplus? Had not Peel said that one ought always to begin the year with a surplus? Why was the Paper Duty surrendered, seeing it would have provided a surplus? Why did Ministers persist in exceptional expenditure when they assured the country that their relations with the only foreign Government that could be distrusted were friendly and satisfactory? Our expenditure was due to distrust of Napoleon III., whose objects were the same as ours. And yet,{125}

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(From a Photograph by H. N. King.)

said Mr. Disraeli, instead of acting cordially in alliance with France for the purpose of maintaining English influence in the councils of Europe, Lord Palmerston had tried to attain that end by exerting what was called the “moral power” of the country, which really meant “bloated armaments in time of peace.” If the conduct of France justified distrust, why not go to war with her? If she was not giving us cause for distrust, why waste money{126} in preparing for war with her? Such were the questions and arguments which Mr. Disraeli put forward. But Peel’s doctrine of the surplus was of course never meant to apply to all circumstances. As for the Paper Duty, to expect Mr. Gladstone to revert to it was as absurd as to ask Nature to bring back the Mastodon. It was more difficult to escape from Mr. Disraeli’s dilemma as to the relations of England and France, but Lord Palmerston satisfied the House at this time that by outstripping the armaments of France he really freed her from any temptation she might have to become an enemy. The Radical Party, however, induced Mr. Stansfeld to move a resolution asserting that expenditure could be reduced with safety to the country, and the Tories showed their sympathy with the attack, when Mr. Walpole gave notice of another expressing a hope that expenditure might be cut down. Lord Palmerston said such attacks involved the fate of the Ministry—which settled the matter. Mr. Stansfeld’s resolution was rejected. Mr. Walpole, loving Lord Palmerston better than retrenchment, withdrew his motion, for which Mr. Disraeli, to the consternation of his party, assailed him bitterly, and Lord Palmerston carried unanimously a vote of confidence in himself.

The fight in March between the Confederate iron-clad Merrimac, and the Federal Monitor, indicated that wooden war-ships were henceforth useless. The Admiralty were therefore pressed to push forward the construction of iron-clad ships. Nay, it was suggested that the new type of iron-clads, working guns from revolving turrets, was better for coast defence than the costly fortifications on which Lord Palmerston had persisted in spending enormous sums of money. Why not, it was asked, stop the building of forts at Spithead till the value of iron-cased gunboats for coast defence had been fully considered? Strong supporters of Lord Palmerston’s fortification scheme—like Sir J. Hay—declared that their opinion as to the necessity for the Spithead forts had changed, because a ship of the Monitor type being a movable fort was of course more useful than any fixed fortification. Then, if the country spent, as it would probably have to spend, £20,000,000 on a great fortification scheme, how were the forts to be manned? Was the House of Commons prepared to vote for a corresponding increase in the Army? The Government, however, insisted on getting the money for fortifications voted, though events subsequently justified the criticism of their opponents. The economists consoled themselves by making a fierce but futile assault on the Ministry at the end of the Session, in the course of which Mr. Cobden declared that Lord Palmerston’s policy was based on a phantom of French aggression, and that it had cost the country £100,000,000. Colonial defence was more practically dealt with, for early in the year the House of Commons adopted a resolution to the effect that self-governing colonies should in the main provide for their own defence.

Foreign politics gave rise to no important debate in the House. Abortive attempts were made to induce the Government to make representations to{127} Russia on behalf of the Poles, which would probably have led to Russia imploring the Ministry to deal more generously with Ireland. Partisans of the Pope and of the deposed Italian despots also indulged in impotent demonstrations of hostility against the new Kingdom of Italy. A Session which was from a party point of view almost colourless, ended on the 7th of August, the only discernible result of its proceedings being an aggravation of the feud between Lord Palmerston and the Radicals, who, as Mr. Cobden said, would now be better pleased to see the Tories in power. But the Tories had no desire to hold office till they were strong enough to resist Radical dictation. The Queen, too, was more than usually desirous that, in the circumstances, a Cabinet should remain in power which could avert Ministerial crises. Thus Lord Palmerston’s dictatorship was again confirmed.

The policy of intervention in Mexico in conjunction with France and Spain was not one which found much favour in England, although King Leopold of Belgium endeavoured to win the Queen over to support it in the interests of his son-in-law, the Archduke Maximilian of Austria. It was for this purpose that his Majesty carried on his intrigues at Osborne early in February. The real object of his policy was to establish a monarchy in Mexico, and to persuade the Queen that the Mexicans desired to have Maximilian as their ruler. This, however, was not divulged at the time, and thus, so far as England was concerned, she stood committed—despite King Leopold’s secret negotiations at Osborne—to nothing save to act with Spain and France in obtaining from Mexico satisfaction for wrongs done to certain British subjects. The French Emperor, however, was bent on creating a Latin Monarchy in the New World, under French protection, as a counterpoise to the great Anglo-Saxon Republic. After the allies landed, dissensions soon became manifest when the French contingent was doubled. Spain objected to convert Mexico into a French dependency, nominally under the rule of an Austrian Archduke. Hence, when the Mexican Government of Juarez offered to submit to the original demands of the allies, England and Spain accepted their proposals, and withdrew their forces. The French had permitted a Mexican conspirator called Almonte to accompany their expedition, and as his object was to overthrow the Mexican Government, President Juarez demanded that he should be sent back to Paris. The French refused, and made the demand an excuse for declining to treat with the Mexican Government. This, of course, broke up the alliance, and General Lorencez was ordered to march on Mexico, and enable the natives to choose a Government with which France could negotiate, which meant that they were to vote for a French Protectorate under the Archduke Maximilian. As a preliminary token of their appreciation of this proposal, the Mexican troops stopped the march of Lorencez at Orizaba. General Forey, with reinforcements, was accordingly sent out from France to prosecute the war, which was already unpopular with all Frenchmen who were not slaves of the Ultramontane Party.{128}

During the last six months of the year, events in Italy and Greece preoccupied the Cabinet. Indeed, affairs in Greece took a turn that for the moment roused the Queen from the depths of her sorrow.

Baron Riccasoli, who succeeded Count Cavour, did not hold office long. The object of his policy was to win Rome for Italy, which rendered him obnoxious to Napoleon III. Moreover, he was too stiff and formal in his manners for the loose-living King of Italy, and so his fall was inevitable. To him succeeded Ratazzi—a Minister who was acceptable to Napoleon because he thought more of winning back Venice, than of expelling the French from the Holy City. How far Victor Emmanuel and Ratazzi participated in an intrigue, the result of which was that General Garibaldi began to raise the “Party of Action,” is not clear. At any rate, Garibaldi, at a meeting of a rifle club in Palermo, at which the Heir Apparent to the Crown was present, announced his intention of opening a new campaign of liberation. From Sicily he led a band of “Red Shirts” to the mainland, evidently under the impression that he was to repeat his former exploits with the secret connivance of the Italian Government. Before he advanced into the heart of Calabria, he found he had been deceived. Victor Emmanuel’s troops attacked and dispersed his irregular forces at Aspromonte, before they came into collision with the French. Garibaldi himself was wounded, and though at first sent as a prisoner to Spezia, he was soon afterwards set free, and his “rebellion” forgiven. Napoleon III. then induced Russia and Prussia to recognise the Kingdom of Italy. But in November Ratazzi resigned rather than face a vote of censure, and Farini succeeded him.

Italian intriguers had been busy at Athens fomenting rebellion against King Otho. Their object was to depose him, and seat Prince Thomas, the Duke of Genoa, on the throne. Russian and French intrigues seem also to have been going on. But every conspiracy, whether of native or foreign origin, had for its object the expulsion of King Otho, whose authority had been undermined by Palmerston’s treatment in 1850, and whose reign had done nothing to gratify Greek aspirations for an extension of territory. Otho’s opposition to progressive reform rendered him an obstacle to those who thought that Greece in the Ottoman Empire, might play the part of Piedmont in Italy. He was therefore driven from his throne, and the Crown of Greece offered to Prince Alfred of England, on whose behalf it was declined. England, however, showed her goodwill to Greece by declaring herself ready to surrender the Ionian Islands, an offer which gave Lord Palmerston an opportunity of emphasising his belief in “the doctrine of nationalities,” which he had so strenuously insisted on applying in Italy. In 1863, when the Greeks chose a Danish Prince for their King, these islands were transferred to Greece.

In Germany the cause of Reform slept. Austria apparently had increased her influence, because the King of Prussia was in conflict with the representatives of the Prussian people as to the reorganisation and strengthening of{129}

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the Army. But Hungary and Venetia had still to be held down by the sword. The Queen, however much she might regret the contest between the Crown and the nation in Prussia, did not view it with the scornful levity that was fashionable at the time in England. She knew that the carrying out of the military policy of Prussia was the condition precedent to the incorporation of North Germany under Prussian leadership. She was well aware that when the Bernstorff Ministry fell, Count von Bismarck, Prussian Minister at Paris, would become President of the Council, and she knew what purpose he had in view. Von Bismarck had, in fact, visited London in July, 1862, and he had conversed freely and frankly with the leaders of both parties. At a dinner party given by Baron Brunnow in his honour, he revealed his plans to Mr. Disraeli, who on the same evening repeated the conversation to Count Vitzthum. “‘I shall soon,’ said in effect the Prussian statesman, ‘be compelled to undertake the conduct of the Prussian Government. My first care will be to reorganise the Army, with or without the help of the Landtag. The King was right in undertaking this task, but he cannot accomplish it with his present advisers. As soon as the Army shall have been brought into such a condition as to inspire respect, I shall seize the first best pretext to declare{130} war against Austria, dissolve the German Diet, subdue the minor States, and give national unity to Germany under Prussian leadership. I have come here to say this to the Queen’s Ministers.’”[133] Count Vitzthum adds that Mr. Disraeli’s commentary was, “Take care of that man! he means what he says.” On the other hand, the late Lord Ampthill—who was present at the dinner—told Mr. Lowe, the biographer of Prince Bismarck,[134] that Mr. Disraeli described the Bismarckian policy as the “mere moonshine of a German Baron.”[135] The Landtag refused to sanction an increase in the Army, for which it saw no obvious use. The King could not publicly avow why the increase was wanted. The Cabinet confessed itself helpless in the dilemma, whereupon the King telegraphed for Count von Bismarck, who was holiday-making in the Pyrenees, to come to Berlin. He arrived there on the 19th of September. On the 23rd, after seven days’ debate, the Chamber refused to vote the Army Estimates and the Ministry resigned. The King’s retort was the appointment as Prime Minister of the man, whose policy was that of “blood and iron.” From that moment the history of Continental Europe took a fresh departure, which was watched by the Queen with anxious eyes. Like the Prince Consort, her sympathies were with the new Prussian policy. Only, she would have endeavoured to attain Von Bismarck’s ends without using his methods. That the Bismarckian methods were adopted in less than a year after the Prince Consort’s death, only serves to illustrate how quickly the policy of the Court of Berlin changed after the King of Prussia was emancipated from Prince Albert’s moderating influence.

As might be expected, the struggle in America was followed in England with keen interest, and step by step. The Confederate States found no difficulty in raising troops, and in supplying them with capable leaders. They seemed to have raised money on the security of their stocks of cotton. But they evidently were soon in financial straits, for Mr. Mason told some of his intimate friends in London in February that it would be hardly possible for{131} the Confederates to find money for their troops much longer. The war was then costing them £500,000 a day. The Federal Government was more prosperous. In a few months it had 800,000 men under arms, and even its enemies bore testimony to the fact that these troops were always well paid and well fed. General McClellan, during the autumn and winter of 1861, organised a great army for the defence of Washington, which was menaced by the Confederate forces. Instead of dispersing these, McClellan contented himself with watching them. Early in January the Federals at Mill Springs, Kentucky, foiled an attempt of the Confederates to attack Ohio. Next month Burnside captured the Confederate garrison of Roanoke, in North Carolina, and in March he also took Newbern. Fort Henry, on the Tennessee, and Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River, yielded to General Grant, and Pope seized a Confederate post on the Mississippi, called “Island No. 10.” On the 24th of February Commodore Farragut, after a brilliant action, forced the defences of New Orleans, from which the Confederates retreated, and the city was then occupied by General Butler. So far victory had crowned the Federal banners. But on the 6th of April the fortune of war favoured the Confederates, when General Albert Sydney Johnston surprised Grant at Pittsburg Landing, on the west side of the Tennessee River, opposite to Savannah. The timely arrival of General Buell and the galling fire of two Federal gunboats on the river saved Grant’s army from utter destruction, and when night fell he still stood at bay on the river’s bank. Next morning (the 7th) he renewed the struggle with characteristic obstinacy, and drove the Confederates back to their lines at Corinth. In this action General Johnston was killed. To him succeeded Beauregard, who for many weeks held, by sheer audacity, the lines at Corinth against Halleck and 150,000 Federal troops. At last Beauregard and his army suddenly vanished, leaving Halleck and his lieutenant, Pope, in a state of stupefaction at their disappearance.[136] The Western States echoed with the tramp of armed men on both sides, but save for a Confederate defeat at Corinth in October, and a Federal surrender at Hartville in December, nothing worth recording happened. The lesson from the year’s campaign in this region was that the Confederates blundered by trying to do too much when they attempted to hold the line of the Ohio. Vicksburg was the only strong post which they retained on the Mississippi. On sea they were more successful. They nailed iron rails on to the hull of the old United States warship Virginia, and sent her forth in March from the Navy Yard at Norfolk as the Merrimac to spread terror through the Federal transport fleet. The United States ironclad, Monitor, however, fought her on the 9th of March and drove her into port. At close quarters the shot glanced{132} off the protected sides of the ships, and it was not till the Monitor fired into the unprotected part of the Merrimac’s hull that she disabled her. This action—as we have seen—aroused naval critics in England, and convinced them that the “wooden walls” of the country were obsolete.

Meanwhile great expectations had centred in the Army of the Potomac. Its leader, McClellan, was one of the most highly trained and scientific soldiers in the service of the Federal Government. Its numbers were overwhelming, and yet month after month passed by and it did nothing. It permitted the Confederates to retreat unmolested from their lines at Manassas in spring, when McClellan pursued them for two days. He then suddenly returned to Washington, and made arrangements to convey his army from the Potomac to the peninsula between York River and James River. From that point he meant to deliver a crushing blow against Richmond, the Confederate capital. At this moment President Lincoln deprived McClellan of the Command-in-Chief, and gave Generals McDowell and Fremont independent commands in Northern Virginia. It is not fair to forget, therefore, in criticising McClellan’s movements, that he thus lost the right to dispose of McDowell’s division as he pleased, for the protection of his left flank. McClellan’s campaign was unfortunate. General Joseph Johnston artfully seduced him into the swamps of the Chickahominy River, where he settled down and entrenched himself behind earthworks, while Stuart, with the Confederate cavalry, worked round the Federal right, looted part of their camp, and returned in safety to Richmond. General Jackson—“Stonewall” Jackson—dashing through the Shenandoah Valley, had driven the Federals under Banks back to the Potomac, and was menacing Washington. McDowell, who was hastening to McClellan’s aid, was suddenly recalled to protect the Federal capital, and McClellan, whose position was now hopeless, had to retreat, after repeated attacks, to Harrison’s Landing, on the James River—a manœuvre which was termed by the New York Press “a strategic movement to the rear.” He then embarked his army at Aquia Creek, and took it to Alexandria. To cover McClellan’s retreat, Pope advanced from the Rapidan to the Rappahannock, but was met by the Confederate General, Robert Lee, who fought a drawn battle with him at Cedar Mountain on the 9th of August. Jackson, by a rapid movement westward, crossed the Blue Mountains and thrust himself between Pope’s rear and Washington, and again Stuart made a raid on the Federal camp. Pope was now completely outmanœuvred, so he was fain to fall back on the Potomac and the strong lines of Washington. Lee pushed on, intending to raise Maryland. He was checked by McClellan at Antietam, and recrossed the Potomac, but without being pursued. Jackson now captured the Federal garrison at Harper’s Ferry.

A month elapsed before McClellan renewed his advance on Richmond, and in November he was dismissed from his command. Halleck was now Commander-in-Chief, and Burnside, McClellan’s successor, transferring the struggle{133}

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to the Rappahannock, undertook to advance on Richmond—a movement which was partly forced on him by the Government at Washington, in order to redeem the prestige it had lost through McClellan’s failures. On the 13th of December he was defeated by Lee with great slaughter at Fredericksburg, the news of this victory creating much excitement in England. This ended the campaign for the year. New Orleans was all that the Federals had to show for two years’ campaigns. Their invasion of Virginia was rolled back, and the partisans of the Southern States in England pointed to this fact as a proof that the Union could never be restored by force. In the Northern States the Abolitionist faction had now absorbed the Republican Party. Slavery was abolished in the district of Columbia, and Lincoln was induced{134} to say that he was now ready to restore the Union with or without slavery. Finally he issued his proclamation on the 22nd of September, declaring that he would recommend Congress to pass a Bill to free all slaves in rebel States. In England the proclamation was sneered at as an act of confiscation, and Lord Russell sent a despatch to Lord Lyons, scoffing at it with ill-concealed malice as “a measure of war, and a measure of war of a very questionable character.” The naval operations of the belligerents also gave Lord Russell several opportunities for controversy. He waxed very indignant over the blockade of Charleston harbour, where the Federals had sunk ships loaded with ballast. In January the Confederate cruiser Nashville, after preying on American commerce, ran into Southampton Water for repairs. Mr. Adams, the American Minister in London, warned Lord Russell that her conduct had been almost piratical, to which Lord Russell replied that as she bore the commission of a recognised belligerent she would be allowed to make such necessary repairs as would not increase her fighting power, and that care would be taken to prevent the Foreign Enlistment Act from being infringed. The excitement created by the Trent affair was dying out, when the country was startled to find a United States cruiser, Tuscarora, moored in Itchen Creek, and watching the Nashville. Her officers and men were accused of prowling suspiciously close to the Nashville, and people began to ask if the Government was going to tolerate such an outrage as a naval engagement in an English creek. Lord Russell warned Mr. Adams that Captain Craven of the Tuscarora must respect our neutrality, and that whichever ship left first must have twenty-four hours’ “law” before the other was allowed to follow. H.M.S. Dauntless and Shannon were sent to Southampton to overawe Captain Craven, who ultimately put to sea. The Nashville followed, and thus escaped her antagonist.

A more romantic and perplexing case was that of a British ship, the Emilie St. Pierre. She had sailed from Calcutta for St. John’s, New Brunswick, and had gone to Charleston to see if the port was blockaded. The Federal cruiser, James Adger, seized her, and put a prize crew on board. The skipper of the Emilie St. Pierre—a Scotsman called Wilson—aided by the cook and steward, one morning overpowered the prize crew and their officers by a clever stratagem, and after escaping many dangers brought the ship safely into Liverpool on the 31st of April. Wilson for the moment was the idol of the seafaring population, and Mr. Adams, somewhat nettled at the defeat of the prize crew, demanded the surrender of the vessel. Lord Russell refused, alleging that the Government had no legal power to seize her, or “interfere with her owners in relation to their property in her.”

These controversies rather embittered the relations between Americans and Englishmen in this country. It was therefore most gratifying to the Queen to learn that a kind-hearted citizen of the United States, whose princely charity has endeared his memory to the English-speaking race, had bestowed{135} on the poor of London a gift of surpassing munificence. Mr. George Peabody had a high reputation as a merchant in the City, where his generosity and courageous use of his credit had saved many firms from ruin in the financial crisis of 1857. In the spring of 1862 he made over to Trustees the sum of £150,000, to be applied for the benefit of the poor of London, his only stipulation being, that the management and application of the fund should be free from all sectarian bias. He did not limit the discretion of the Trustees, though he suggested that they would best spend the money in providing improved dwellings for the people. His ideas were not quite carried out, for the blocks of buildings erected by the Peabody Trustees were soon occupied, not by the poor of London, but by the lower middle class, who were not meant by Mr. Peabody to participate in the benefits of his gift.

The 1st of May had been fixed for the opening of the Great Exhibition of 1862, and the ceremony was a somewhat mournful one. The sable liveries of the lackeys who appeared in the grand procession served to remind the people of the late Prince Consort, who had been the life and soul of the project. His place was taken by the Duke of Cambridge and the Crown Prince of Prussia, who was associated with him by the special request of the Queen, as one of her representatives. South Kensington was crowded with sightseers, and it was admitted that the ceremonial was one of the most imposing pageants that had ever been witnessed. To the daïs, where the formal business of inauguration was transacted, none but persons in uniform were admitted, and the scene was therefore bright with rich masses of colour, glittering with the flashing jewels of knightly Orders and military decorations. When the Duke of Cambridge and the other Special Commissioners had taken their seats, the National Anthem was sung, and Earl Granville, as the representative of the Exhibition Commissioners, placed an address to the Queen in the hands of his Royal Highness. To this the Duke replied, alluding in touching terms to the death of the Prince Consort, and to the affliction which had prostrated the Queen with sorrow. The brilliant procession then slowly filed down from the daïs to the eastern dome, where Meyerbeer’s Overture en forme de Marche, written for the occasion, was performed, and Tennyson’s fine ode, set to music by Professor Sterndale Bennett, was given. Its allusions to Prince Albert went home to every heart:—

“O silent father of our Kings to be,
Mourn’d in this golden hour of jubilee,
For this, for all, we weep our thanks to thee!
The world-compelling plan was thine,
And lo! the long laborious miles
Of Palace: lo! the giant aisles,
Rich in model and design”—
were lines that gave expression to the feeling of the country with rare felicity and power. It was admitted on all hands that the building of the new{136} Exhibition was far grander and far larger than that of 1851. But on the other hand the witchery of the Palace, with its walls of crystal and its strong flood of diffused light, had vanished. The roof and walls of the new building were solid, and these and the windows “factory-patterned,” as a singer in Punch called them, destroyed the sensation of unconfined space which one felt on entering the Crystal Palace of 1851, and which gave to that structure its magical charm.

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On the 14th of June the Prince of Wales, who had completed the Eastern tour that had been planned for him by his father, returned to England. He had left Osborne on the 6th of February with General Bruce and a carefully selected suite, of whom Dr. A. P. Stanley (afterwards Dean of Westminster), who joined him at Alexandria, was a member. On the 1st of March he landed at Alexandria, where, despite his incognito as Baron Renfrew, he was saluted with Royal honours. At Cairo he enjoyed the hospitality of the Viceroy of Egypt, and on the 4th of March left the city for the Pyramids, which were reached just as the mysterious outline of the Sphinx was vanishing in the fading light of sunset. At dawn the Prince ascended the Great Pyramid without assistance, much to the amazement of the Bedouins, who asked, sceptically, “Is that the Governor? If so, why does he go alone?” The party then went up the Nile as far as the First Cataract, viewing the Temple at Esneh by torchlight. After Assouan and its antiquities were explored, the Prince returned down the river, halting three days at Thebes, where he met the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg. On the 21st of March a tournament between some Arnauts and Arab chiefs was held; then Memphis was visited, and Cairo again reached on the 23rd. After some other excursions the Prince proceeded to Jerusalem, which he entered on the 31st of March. He was received by the{137}

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Pacha and a picturesque escort of wild horsemen, who kept circling round the party, brandishing their spears and firing their guns in mimic combat. His Royal Highness pitched his tent on the northern side of the city, near the Damascus Gate, and visited all the sacred places—even those from which Christians are excluded being opened to him.[137] He left Jerusalem on the 10th of April, and next day arrived at Nablûs, on the eve of the Samaritan Passover. He ascended Mount Gerizim, and saw this last vestige of the old Jewish ritual performed, the sun sinking behind the western hills as the Paschal sheep were sacrificed. On the 15th he encamped at the foot of Mount Carmel, and on Easter eve saw the sun set on the Sea of Galilee. At Damascus he received but a churlish welcome from the sullen, fanatical population, and on the 6th of May he visited Beyrout. On the 10th he landed at Tripoli, and on the 12th explored the cedar groves of Lebanon. On the 15th the Royal yacht touched at Rhodes, on the 17th at Patmos, and—after visiting Smyrna,{138} Constantinople, Athens, Cephalonia, and Malta—the tour ended at Marseilles. A brief visit was paid to the French Emperor at Fontainebleau, and on the 14th of June the travellers reached Windsor. Three days afterwards the Queen heard, to her deep regret, that General Bruce—long a trusted friend of her family—had died from Syrian fever, contracted during his journey. He had sacrificed his life to the chivalrous discharge of his duties as the Prince’s Governor, and the Queen felt only too keenly that his loss was an irreparable calamity at a time when his wise guidance and exquisite tact rendered his services to her eldest son of supreme importance.[138]

During the greater part of the year the Queen led a life of absolute seclusion. The first public sign of her renewed interest in current events was given when the tidings of the Hartley Colliery accident sent a thrill of horror through every English heart. On the 16th of January the beam of the steam-engine in the Hartley coal-pit snapped. The shaft was blocked and shattered by the wreck of the machinery, and some two hundred and four miners were consigned to a lingering death in the workings, into which the water poured at the rate of 1,500 gallons a minute. For nine days rescue parties toiled without stint or ceasing to reach the prisoners. They even heard their efforts to cut their way out, but were unable to reach them. When a gang was at last able to penetrate to the workings they found men and boys lying dead in groups, surrounded by mournful relics and painful records of their last hours of agony. The male population of three hamlets was swept away; every cottage contained a coffin, some, alas! more than one, over which widows and orphans wailed out their hearts in unavailing sorrow. Among the first to express sympathy with the bereaved ones was the Queen. Haud ignara mali miseris succurrere disco was probably the thought that flashed across her mind when she sent her anxious telegraphic messages to the scene of the disaster, whilst as yet there were hopes that some lives might be saved. After the funeral, the scene at a great religious meeting held at the pit was most touching, when the incumbent of Earsdon read to the assembly of mourners a letter which her Majesty had dictated to Sir Charles Phipps, and which had been addressed to the head viewer (or overseer) of the mine. It ran as follows:—

“Osborne, January 23rd, 1862.

“Sir,—The Queen, in the midst of her own overwhelming grief, has taken the deepest interest in the mournful accident at Hartley, and up to the last had hoped that at least a considerable number of the poor people might have been recovered alive. The appalling news since received has afflicted the Queen very much.

“Her Majesty commands me to say that her tenderest sympathy is with the poor widows and mothers, and that her own misery only makes her feel the more for them.

“Her Majesty hopes that everything will be done, as far as possible, to alleviate their distress, and her Majesty will have a sad satisfaction in assisting in such a measure. Pray let us know what is doing.

“I have the honour to be, your obedient servant,

“C. B. Phipps.”

It was estimated that £17,000 would be needed for the relief of the widows and orphans. In London alone £20,000 was sent to the Lord Mayor, and by the end of February it was necessary to close the fund, for upwards of £81,000 had been generously subscribed by the public.[139]

A glimpse of the early days of the Queen’s widowhood is afforded in the “Diaries” of one of her chaplains in Scotland—the late Dr. Norman Macleod, Minister of the Barony Parish Kirk, Glasgow. Her Majesty was advised to retire to Balmoral in the first week of May, and when she reached her Highland home she commanded the attendance of Dr. Macleod. He seems to have been somewhat nervous at being called upon to undertake the delicate duty of offering spiritual consolation to his widowed Sovereign. On the 12th of May, however, Dr. Macleod, writing to his wife, says, with a sense of relief, “All has passed well—that is to say, God enabled me to speak in private and in public to the Queen in such a way as seemed to me to be truth, the truth in God’s sight; that which I believe she needed, though I felt it would be very trying to her spirit to receive it. And what fills me with deepest thanksgiving is that she has received it, and written to me such a kind, tender letter of thanks for it.”[140] Writing in his Journal on the 14th of May, Dr. Macleod jotted down, whilst the facts were fresh in his mind, the chief incidents of his visit to the Queen at this painful period of her life. “After dinner,” he says, “I was summoned unexpectedly to the Queen’s room. She was alone. She met me, and, with an unutterably sad expression, which filled my eyes with tears, at once began to speak about the Prince. It is impossible for me to recall distinctly the sequence or substance of that long conversation. She spoke of his excellences—his love, his cheerfulness, how he was everything to her. She said she never shut her eyes to trials, but liked to look them in the face; how she would never shrink from duty, but that all was at present done mechanically: that her highest ideas of purity and love were obtained from him, and that{140} God could not be displeased with her love. But there was nothing morbid in her grief. I spoke freely to her about all I felt regarding him—the love of the nation and their sympathy; and took every opportunity of bringing before her the reality of God’s love and sympathy, her noble calling as a Queen, the value of her life to the nation, the blessedness of prayer.”

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“Sunday: the whole household, Queen and Royal Family, were assembled at 10.15. A temporary pulpit was erected. I began with a short prayer, then read Job xxiii., Psalm xlii., beginning and end of John xiv., and end of Revelation vii. After the Lord’s Prayer I expounded Hebrews xii. 1-12, and concluded with prayer. The whole Service was less than an hour. I then, at 12, preached at Crathie[141] on ‘All things are ours.’ In the evening at Crathie on ‘Awake, thou that sleepest.’ The household attended both Services.”

“On Monday I had another long interview with the Queen. She was much more like her old self—cheerful—and full of talk about persons and things. She, of course, spoke of the Prince. She said that he always believed he was to die soon, and that he often told her that he had never any fear of death. I also saw the Princesses Alice and Helen—each by herself. No{141} words of mine can express the deep sympathy I have for all these mourners…. The more I hear about the Prince Consort, the more I agree with what the Queen said to me about him on Monday, ‘that he really did not seem to comprehend a selfish character or what selfishness was.’”[142]

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After her father’s death, the Princess Alice was so deeply affected by her mother’s grief and her own bereavement, that for a time Prince Louis of Hesse thought she would not hold to her engagement with him. However, this fear soon passed away, and it was duly announced that the Princess would be married on the 1st of July. The ceremony took place in private at Osborne, and was performed by the Archbishop of York, in the absence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was suffering from a severe illness. The Queen{142} attended in deep mourning, but her agitation was so great that, when the service was ended, she had to be led away to her room. The Crown Prince of Prussia, all the bride’s brothers and sisters, the parents, brothers, and sisters of the bridegroom, and many other near and dear relatives, were present. The Duke of Saxe-Coburg-and-Gotha gave the Princess, his niece, away at the altar, and the married couple, after the ceremony was over, drove off quietly to St. Clare, near Ryde, which Colonel and Lady Catherine Harcourt had placed at their disposal. There they remained three days. On the 9th of July they left for Hesse-Darmstadt, accompanied by the kindliest wishes of all classes in the country, who had watched with sympathy and interest the affectionate solicitude with which the Princess had solaced the Queen under the first shock of her bereavement.

“Dear to us all by those calm earnest eyes,
And early thought upon that fair young brow.
Dearer for that where grief was heaviest, thou
Wert sunshine, till he passed where suns shall rise
And set no more: thou, in affection wise
And strong, wert strength to her, who even but now
In the soft accents of thy bridal vow
Heard music of her own heart’s memories.
“Too full of love to own a thought of pride
Is now thy gentle bosom; so ’tis best;
Yet noble is thy choice, O English bride!
And England hails the bridegroom and the guest
A friend—a friend well-loved by him who died.
He blessed you both; your wedlock shall be blessed.”
In these simple and pathetic lines Punch, dropping the jester’s cap and bells, gave graceful expression to the popular feeling with which the nation bade the Princess good-bye. The parting between mother and daughter was a mournful one, though both kept their feelings well under control. Writing from the Royal yacht to bid adieu to the Queen, the Princess said, “My heart was very full when I took leave of you and all the dear ones at home; I had not the courage to say a word—but your loving heart understands what I felt.”[143] And again after she reached Darmstadt, she recurs to this sad theme. “Away from home,” is the concluding sentence of one of her letters to the Queen, “I cannot believe that beloved papa is not there; all is so associated with him.”

Indeed, it may be doubted whether the loss of her daughter’s society for a time had not a salutary influence on the Queen. It stimulated her to take a fresh interest in her family life, for a correspondence, intimate and affectionate, was carried on between mother and daughter, in which the Queen had to transmit budgets of home news, the mere collecting of which diverted her thoughts from the heart wound that tortured her. From this{143} correspondence we gather that in those days the Queen’s life was full of many gloomy hours. It is clear that the shadow of death at times fell very darkly on her spirit, and that she poured out her heart to her daughter without reserve. The Princess Louis of Hesse—as Englishmen had to learn to call the Princess Alice—on her side sympathised with every varying mood of her mother’s troubled mind, although her letters indicate how each reference to her father, whom she had idolised from her childhood, made her own wounds bleed afresh. She is sedulous in cheering her mother with accounts of her new home. She enters into all the Queen’s plans for perpetuating the Prince Consort’s memory. From her we gather that, outside of public business and family duties, these plans now filled the Queen’s life. Commissions were given to sculptors like Mr. Theed to carve busts of the Prince. Marochetti’s equestrian statue was projected, and the Princess Louis, soon after reaching Darmstadt, presses the Queen to tell her how it is progressing. The Queen also makes a collection of the Prince’s speeches, and this again stimulates the interest of her daughter, who expresses her pleasure at hearing that Mr. (afterwards Sir Arthur) Helps has been selected by her mother to write an introduction to them for publication. “What can it be,” she writes in one of her letters to the Queen, “but beautiful and elevating if he has rightly entered into the spirit of that pure and noble being?” But even these occupations failed entirely to divert the mind of the Queen from brooding over her bereavement, and now and again her letters, so full of despondency and hopelessness, alarmed her daughter. To one of these the Princess replies from Auerbach, in the month of August, as follows:—“Try and gather in the few bright things you have remaining, and cherish them, for though faint, yet they are types of that infinite joy still to come. I am sure, dear mamma, the more you try to appreciate and to find the good in that which God in His love has left you, the more worthy you will daily become of that which is in store. That earthly happiness you had is indeed gone for ever, but you must not think that every ray of it has left you. You have the privilege, which dear papa knew so well how to value, in your exalted position, of doing good and living for others, of carrying on his plans, his wishes, into fulfilment, and as you go on doing your duty, this will, this must, I feel sure, bring you peace and comfort.”[144]

In the meantime preparations for an interesting and important event in the Royal Family had to be made. It has been already mentioned that the Prince of Wales had been much attracted by the fascinating society of the Princess Alexandra of Sleswig-Holstein-Glücksburg, whom he met shortly before his father’s death whilst visiting Germany. The feeling had ripened into a warm attachment, and it soon came to be rumoured that the lady had listened favourably to his suit as a lover. In autumn it was decided{144} that the Queen should proceed to the Continent and arrange the preliminaries of this alliance with the parents of the Princess. It was also her Majesty’s wish to visit Gotha—consecrated to her now by many tender memories—as soon as she was able to endure the fatigue of travel. Lord Russell was selected to accompany her Majesty as Minister in attendance.

Writing in his Diary on the 1st of September, Count Vitzthum says, “The Queen, who returned two days ago to Windsor, held a Privy Council there, in order to make the necessary arrangements for the period of her absence. Lord Palmerston did not attend this sitting, but has come down to town to receive her Majesty’s last commands. The Queen embarks to-day at Woolwich, and goes first to Brussels to meet for the first time the Princess Alexandra, and her parents. A few days later the Prince of Wales will also come to Brussels, when the betrothal will be officially declared. The indiscretion of the newspapers, which speak of the betrothal as a settled affair before it has actually been announced, has given great annoyance at Windsor Castle.”[145] The impression which the youth and beauty of the Danish Princess made on the Queen was most favourable, and the preliminaries of the marriage were soon arranged. Her Majesty then proceeded to Germany, where she retired to the little shooting-box of Reinhardsbrunn, a residence so small that even Lord Russell had to stay at Gotha for lack of accommodation. In a letter to Count Vitzthum, he gives us a casual glimpse of the Queen’s retreat. “I went to Reinhardsbrunn yesterday (17th September),” says Lord Russell, “and took an opportunity of speaking to the Queen about the proposed visit of Prince George of Saxony. Her Majesty appreciated the kindness of the King of Saxony, whom she regarded, she said, in the light of a relation. The Queen has no room in the house she inhabits to lodge any one, but if the Prince George could come any day after to-morrow (Friday), about three o’clock to pay her a visit, she would be happy to see him. The Prince of Wales is in high spirits, and willingly accepts congratulations on his marriage.”[146]

In the middle of October the Princess Louis of Hesse-Darmstadt and her husband came to England, awaiting at Windsor the arrival of the Queen, who was then at Osborne. The thoughtful affection of the Princess herself prompted this visit. It was feared that the anniversary of the Prince Consort’s death might bring on one of those attacks of nervous prostration from which the Queen suffered, during the first year of her bereavement, and at such a moment the presence of the Princess Alice afforded comfort, consolation, and confidence to the Royal family.

On the 18th of December the Queen emerged from her seclusion to superintend the removal of the Prince Consort’s remains from St. George’s Chapel{145} to the Mausoleum at Frogmore Park. This sepulchral edifice had been built by her special directions as a monument of the affection and reverence which she and her children bore to the dead Prince. It is cruciform in plan, the arms of the cross radiating from a central cell, lit by three semi-circular windows in the clerestory, to the cardinal points of the compass. Polished shafts of cold grey granite decorate the outside of the building, and on an octagonal roof of copper a gilded cross gleams on a square-set tower. The transepts are also square, and lit by a clerestory corresponding with that in the central cell. Monoliths of Aberdeen and Guernsey granite flank the steps of the entrance porch, and the whole exterior is faced with polished granites and parti-coloured masonry. When the Prince’s remains were laid there, the interior—remarkable for its almost Oriental richness of subdued colour and for the splendour of its golden decorations—was unfinished, nor was Marochetti’s recumbent statue of the Prince, which was to be placed over his sarcophagus, completed.

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Early on the morning of the 18th of December the remains of the Prince were taken from St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, to Frogmore, the ceremony being conducted in extreme privacy. The coffin was first placed in a hearse,{146} which was followed by the Prince of Wales and Prince Louis of Hesse in a mourning coach. The Lord Chamberlain, the Dean of Windsor, Sir Charles Phipps, Colonel Grey, and other officials and domestics of the Royal Household formed the rest of the procession. The ceremony was very brief, simple, and solemn, and when the coffin was placed within the sarcophagus, the Princes laid upon it floral wreaths, which the Princesses had woven with their own hands for their father’s grave.


England in 1863—The Prince of Wales Summoned as a Peer of Parliament—His Introduction to the House of Lords—Cession of the Ionian Islands to Greece—Mr. Disraeli’s Policy—The Prince of Wales’s Income—The Dowry of the Princess—Approaching Marriage of the Prince of Wales—The Voyage of the “Sea-King’s Daughter”—Reception of the Princess Alexandra at Gravesend—Her Entry into London—The Scene in the City—The West End en fête—Loyalty of Clubland—Accident to the Royal Party at Slough—The High Churchmen and the Queen—Objections to a Royal Marriage in Lent—The Dispensing Power of the Primate—A Visit to Frogmore—The Queen at the Prince of Wales’s Marriage—The Scene in St. George’s Chapel—The Wedding Presents—The Ceremony—The Wedding Guests hustled by Roughs—Riots in Ireland—Illuminated London—Foreign Policy—The Polish Question—The Russian Rebuff to Lord Palmerston—Napoleon III. Proposes a Congress of Sovereigns—Lord Russell Condemns the Proposal—The Death-Knell of the Anglo-French Alliance—France and Mexico and the Archduke Maximilian.

But for the controversy that was waged in the Press over the Civil War in America, and the sufferings of Lancashire, where the people were lying under the blight of the Cotton Famine, the year 1863 would have presented a record of unruffled calm. The classes and the masses still wrangled over the rights and wrongs of the Southern States; but the leaders of political parties, adhering to the policy of neutrality, discouraged all projects for interfering between the belligerents. The organs of public opinion in the Northern States bitterly condemned England because her aristocracy displayed strong Southern sympathies. The organs of public opinion in the Southern States reviled the English Government because Lord Russell refused to join the Emperor of the French in recognising the Southern Confederacy. For some mysterious reason France, whose policy was thus absolutely hostile to the Federal Government, was not only popular in the South but in the North. Both belligerents were, however, surprised to find that events falsified the anticipations which they had based on the effect of the Cotton Famine. So far from forcing England to interfere in the struggle, the destruction of her cotton industry was seen to produce local suffering rather than national disaster. The foundations of British trade, in fact, had, by the fiscal policy of Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Gladstone, been laid so broad and so deep, that the nation easily withstood the shock from the ruin of its most productive{147} branch of manufacture. Losses in the cotton trade were more than balanced by increased gains in other forms of commercial enterprise, and on New Year’s Day the revenue had increased so unexpectedly, that Mr. Gladstone not only began to dream of surpluses, but was busy hatching projects for a fresh reduction of taxation. Indeed, the lavish subscriptions to the fund for relieving distress in the cotton districts indicated how little the Cotton Famine had affected the aggregate amount of disposable wealth in the country. By the end of January this princely fund had reached three-quarters of a million sterling—a sum which did not, of course, represent the unestimated contributions of manufacturers who, like Mr. John Bright, ran their mills on short time at a loss, rather than turn their workpeople into the streets.

Parliament was opened by Commission on the 8th of February—the first paragraph in the Queen’s Speech announcing the approaching marriage of the Prince of Wales to the Princess Alexandra. The offer of the Crown of Greece to Prince Alfred was alluded to, and the continuance of the Civil War in America, with its attendant Cotton Famine in Lancashire, deplored. But as to legislation, the Royal Speech said nothing definite. All promises were conveyed in Lord Palmerston’s stereotyped formula, that “various measures of public usefulness and improvement” would be submitted for the consideration of Parliament. The debates on the Address attracted less popular interest than the ceremonial proceedings of the House of Lords, when, on the first day of the Session, the Prince of Wales took his seat in that august Assembly. The scene on that occasion was a memorable one. In the side galleries near the Throne the Duchess of Cambridge, the Princess Mary of Cambridge, and a brilliant array of Peeresses had secured places. The Foreign Ambassadors and Ministers and Members of the House of Commons were also well represented. After the Royal Speech was read the Commissioners retired, and at about a quarter to four the Lord Chancellor, in his ordinary black silk robe, wig, and three-cornered hat, entered the House, preceded by the Great Seal, and seated himself on the woolsack. The Bishop of Worcester having read the prayers, a brilliant procession of Peers was then seen defiling from the Prince’s Chamber, and it marched with slow and stately formality up the floor of the House, led by Sir Augustus Clifford, Usher of the Black Rod, who was followed by Sir Charles Young, arrayed in the robes of the Garter-King-at-Arms. He was followed by an equerry carrying the coronet of the Prince of Wales on a gorgeously embroidered cushion. Then came the Prince himself, wearing the scarlet and ermine robes of a Duke over a general officer’s uniform, and decorated with the insignia of the Garter, the Golden Fleece, and the Star of India. Accompanying him were the Dukes of Cambridge and Argyll, the Earls of Derby and Granville, Earl Spencer and Lord Kingsdown, Lord Willoughby d’Eresby, Hereditary Grand Chamberlain, and Lord Edmund Howard, representing the infant Duke of Norfolk, as Hereditary Grand Marshal. As the{148} procession entered the House, the Peers rose and remained standing during the ceremony—the Lord Chancellor alone retaining his seat, and wearing his cocked hat. The Prince bowed, and advancing to the woolsack, delivered his patent of nobility and writ of summons to the Lord Chancellor. He then returned to the table where Sir J. Shaw-Lefevre, Clerk of the Parliaments, administered the oath to him, as Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay, Earl of Chester and Carrick, and Lord of the Isles. Having signed the roll, the procession passed round behind the woolsack, till the Prince reached the right-hand side of the Throne, where he took his seat formally on the Chair of State reserved for the Heir-Apparent to the Crown. As he seated himself he placed his hat on his head. Then uncovering he rose, advanced to the woolsack, and shook hands with the Lord Chancellor, who very slightly raised his hat as he went through the formal salutation. The procession then left the House, and business was suspended till five o’clock, when the Prince reappeared in ordinary walking-dress, with the Duke of Cambridge, beside whom he sat on one of the cross-benches throughout the debate on the Address.

In both Houses the Government was attacked, mainly on account of its foreign policy. The Tories pretended to see in the proposed cession of the Ionian Islands to Greece the premonitory sign of the fall of the British Empire. Their argument turned on a strange misconception, not only of the arrangements made at Vienna in 1815, but of the Queen’s prerogative. The Ionian Islands were never British territory. They formed an independent Republic, placed by the European Powers under the protection of England.[147] But the primary aim of that protectorate was to foster the spirit of Greek nationality, and not to give Corfu to England as a place of arms. When the Ionians therefore desired annexation to Greece, and Greece was able to protect them, England would have been false to the trust she undertook in 1815, if she had maintained her protectorate by force. Earl Grey clearly proved that it was quite within the prerogative of the Queen to cede a protectorate without consulting Parliament. In fact, as the magnificent island of Java, which was a possession and not a protectorate, was given to the Dutch without Parliament being consulted on the subject, it is difficult to understand why the Opposition raised the question of prerogative in this instance. Mr. Disraeli’s complaints that certain Ministers—of whom Mr. Gladstone was one—had made speeches during the recess indicating a{149}

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desire to recognise the Confederate Government in the United States, were more difficult to meet. These speeches compromised the policy of strict neutrality which had been accepted by the Cabinet, and on that account they had caused considerable annoyance to the Queen. The absence of legislative proposals from the Royal Speech naturally gave Lord Derby a cue for some gibes, which, however, did not in the least affect Lord Palmerston’s peace of mind. The position of the Tories at this time was frankly avowed by Mr. Disraeli in a conversation with Count Vitzthum just before Parliament met. “I have not, indeed,” said Mr. Disraeli, “yet settled with my friends our plans for the coming Parliamentary campaign; but I think I can tell you at once that there will be no serious fighting. Something, of course, may turn up, but at present there seems to be nothing that could force us to quit our waiting attitude. We shall not form a weak Ministry a third time. We can wait, and shall upset nothing. If we take the helm again, we shall do so with the prospect of a longer and safer tenure. Whether this will happen or not before Lord Palmerston dies I don’t know; for the present, at any rate, the old man need fear no serious attack from us.” The change in strategy here is obvious. In 1862 the policy of the Opposition was adopted{150} in deference to the general feeling that the Queen should, during the first days of her widowhood, be spared the anxiety of party conflicts, which possibly involved Ministerial crises. In 1863 the Tories adopted the policy of patriotically supporting Lord Palmerston’s Ministry simply because they were themselves unable to form a strong Cabinet, and Mr. Disraeli had determined that they must not “form a weak Ministry a third time.”[148]

But an event was approaching which diverted the minds of the nation from politics, namely, the marriage of the Prince of Wales, which it was now known would take place before Easter. The object of one of the first proposals laid before Parliament was to make an adequate provision for the future establishment of the Heir-Apparent. A message from the Queen to both Houses on the subject evoked a loyal congratulatory Address, and Palmerston himself moved the formal resolutions called for by the occasion in the House of Commons. He said that the Government considered that £100,000 a year would be a fair income to allow the Heir-Apparent, and, as he derived £60,000 a year from the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall, the House would be asked to vote only £40,000 a year out of the Consolidated Fund. For the Princess of Wales, it was proposed that a separate allowance of £10,000 a year should be sanctioned, and, further, that in the event of her surviving her husband, a jointure of £30,000 should be secured to her. No objection could be fairly made to an arrangement which was at once moderate and business-like. Indeed, the Radicals were agreeably surprised to find that Parliament was not called on to vote anything approaching the enormous sum which was sanctioned by the precedent of 1795.[149] As for the domestic arrangements relating to the marriage, they were proceeding apace, and the nation was pleased to know that the Queen was able to participate in them with ever-quickening interest.

It has been said already that during the visit of the Queen to Brussels in the autumn of 1862, the preliminaries of this marriage had been arranged, and in November the Princess Alexandra had paid a brief visit to the Queen at Osborne, where her winsome manners charmed all hearts. In February, 1863, the King of Denmark and his subjects alike testified their approval of her marriage by bestowing on her many valuable gifts. On the 26th the Princess left Copenhagen with the good wishes of all classes sounding in her ears. The day was kept as a public holiday, and the crowded streets from the palace to the railway station were gay with festal flags and garlands.{151} From the windows of the houses the Princess, who was escorted by her eldest brother, Prince Frederick, was pelted with bouquets of flowers, and at the station she was met by all the high functionaries of State, who took leave of her in formal farewell addresses for which her father, Prince Christian of Sleswig-Holstein-Glücksburg, Heir-Presumptive to the Danish throne, returned thanks. The Royal party travelling by Kiel, Hamburg, Hanover, and Coblentz, reached Brussels on the 2nd of March, where they were received by the Duchess of Brabant, the Count de Flandres, and the English and Danish Ambassadors. On the 5th they left for Antwerp, where they embarked on board the Victoria and Albert yacht and sailed for Flushing, where Rear-Admiral Smart’s squadron of escort was waiting for them. At eight in the evening the Royal yacht, which had passed Flushing, was sighted by the two chief vessels of the escort. Royal salutes from each awoke the echoes of the deep, yards were manned, and rockets went hissing up into the air, falling round the Royal yacht in a sparkling shower of stars. Without stopping for a moment, the bridal party and their convoy sped on through the darkness, gliding over the glassy surface of what might have been a summer sea. Before midnight the Victoria and Albert had anchored in Margate Roads. At eight o’clock in the morning of the 6th the Revenge and the Warrior were dressed with flags, and again a royal salute thundered over the waves. Admiral Smart, by hurrying at racing speed across the North Sea, had earned the gratitude of the Princess and her companions, for soon after the bridal party entered English waters the German Ocean was swept by south-westerly gales. At four o’clock in the afternoon the squadron was sighted from Sheerness, whereupon the ships at the Nore manned their yards and saluted. Bonfires blazed along the beach. The word “Welcome” in letters ten feet high gleamed in the radiance of blue lights, and a long line of torches glimmered along the sea-wall. Next morning the Royal yacht, escorted by the Warrior, steamed up the Thames, arriving at Gravesend at noon. Here the Prince of Wales met his bride, and they landed amidst Royal salutes from the warships. The Mayoress presented the Princess with a bouquet. The Mayor and municipal dignitaries presented loyal addresses, but the prettiest part of the ceremony was the procession from the landing-place to the Royal carriage. A band of young ladies dressed in white—wearing red burnous cloaks and straw hats decked with wreaths of oak-leaves—tripped gaily along in advance of the Princess, strewing her path with flowers. At the railway station the party was greeted by crowds whose cheers betokened their desire to welcome the “Sea-King’s daughter.” When the Royal train reached London it stopped at the Bricklayers’ Arms Station, which was gay with crimson drapery, and here a boudoir and ante-chamber for the travellers had been fitted up. Among the brilliant crowd of about 700 privileged persons who were admitted to the station were the Duke of Cambridge, the Prince of Prussia, the Duke of Saxe-Coburg, the Count de Flandres, Sir George Grey, the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of London, Sir Richard Mayne, Chief{152} Commissioner of Police, Mr. Layard, and others. Here the Royal party partook of luncheon, received some congratulatory addresses, and left the station at five minutes past two o’clock.

There was some fear lest the entry of the Princess into the capital would not be an unalloyed triumph. The officials of the Court had contrived to irritate the populace by several of their arrangements. The people were at first annoyed because they had been told the procession was to pass through the metropolis at a smart trot. Then the municipal dignitaries were greatly affronted because in the original plan they were to have no part in the procession. The reason given for this prohibition was that the Lord Mayor would necessarily have headed the pageant, but inasmuch as his unwieldy State coach must proceed at walking pace, his presence would have prevented the Royal carriages passing along at high speed. But when the Corporation met and expressed their anger at this interference with their prerogative, the Court officials yielded, and so it was arranged that the Lord Mayor and his train should head the procession as far as Temple Bar. But the moment the Princess appeared, her grace, her beauty, her charming simplicity of manners, carried all hearts by storm, and London was quite delirious with joyful excitement when she came on the scene. As the cortège left the station it was headed by the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, and by the High Bailiff of Southwark, escorted by Horse Guards. Loyal crowds lined the route, which was decked with flags and triumphal arches. The officials of Southwark left the procession at London Bridge, which had been decorated in the most lavish manner by the Corporation. Venetian masts, surmounted by the Danish arms, medallions of the Danish Kings, tripods of incense, and banners innumerable were seen on all sides. Near Fishmongers’ Hall, a huge triumphal arch, seventy feet high, spanned the roadway. It was a gorgeous but somewhat confused mass of allegory and symbolism, bearing statues of Saxo Grammaticus, Holberg, Thorwaldsen, and Juel; a group of horses in plaster crowning the whole structure. As for the centrepiece, it was a fearful and wonderful work of art, blazoned with gold and flaunting colours. Britannia, surrounded by all the Pagan gods and goddesses; a portrait of the Queen in widow’s weeds; banners and heraldic devices and armorial escutcheons, all combined to make this structure unforgettable. In the City, it must be allowed, the local authorities rivalled the Court officials in their capacity for mismanagement. They refused all offers of assistance from the Horse Guards and the Home Office. Neither the Duke of Cambridge’s Cavalry nor Sir Richard Mayne’s Police were permitted to keep the crowds in order—that duty being entrusted to the City Police, the Honourable Artillery Company, and some Volunteers. Hence the streets were blocked up, and, according to Lord Malmesbury,[150] “if it had not been for the good temper of the people some terrible catastrophe must{153} have occurred.” At the Mansion House a brilliant group of ladies, of whom the Lady Mayoress was the central figure, was waiting in the portico to welcome the Princess. Here the procession paused, and a bouquet was presented to her Royal Highness. But whilst this ceremony was going on, the authorities lost control of the crowd, and dense masses began to press on the Royal carriages with such persistency, that the Danish dignitaries in the train of the Princess were thrown into a panic, which was, however, allayed by the presence of mind of the Prince of Wales. The procession then drove on to Temple Bar, which was transformed into a grand triumphal arch, crowned with a tent of cloth of gold. At the corners smoking tripods sent up clouds of incense. Here the Civic dignitaries left the cortège, which was then headed by the High Steward of Westminster and other officials, who fell out at Hyde Park.

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Clubland was in gala array, and the Princess seemed quite interested when Marlborough House was pointed out to her by the Prince as her future home. On the balcony at Cambridge House in Piccadilly Lord and Lady Palmerston were the most conspicuous figures in a group of aristocratic sightseers, and were honoured with gracious salutes from the Royal party. But of all the houses in Piccadilly that of Lord Willoughby d’Eresby was the most florid in its decoration.{154} It was decked with evergreens, flags of all nations, and numberless banners. The wall space under the drawing-room windows was draped with white and gold, and with blue hangings studded with golden stars. “We went,” writes Lord Malmesbury, in his Diary, “to Lord Willoughby’s house at a quarter before one to see the entry of the Princess. The houses along Piccadilly were decorated, with few exceptions, but I saw nothing really pretty except Lord Willoughby’s and Lord Cadogan’s. There were a good many people in the drawing-room. It was the coldest day we have had for a long time, no sun, with occasional showers, and we were half frozen standing on the balconies. The Duke of Cambridge rode by two or three times with his staff, and was greatly cheered. Lord Ranelagh passed at the head of his brigade of Volunteers. Then appeared the Royal carriages; and I was never more surprised or disappointed. The first five contained the suite and brothers and sisters of the Princess Alexandra; the carriages looked old and shabby, and the horses very poor, with no trappings, not even rosettes, and no outriders. In short, the shabbiness of the whole cortège was beyond anything one could imagine, everybody asking ‘Where is the Master of the Horse?’ The Princess kept bowing right and left very gracefully. The moment the procession had passed the crowds dispersed, but there were universal remarks and compliments on the Princess’s beauty.”[151] Through a double line of seventeen thousand Volunteers the procession drove to Paddington Station, and there the Royal Party took the train for Slough, where they were received by the Princes of Prussia and Hesse, and Princes Arthur and Leopold. Night was now closing in, and rain fell fast. To add to the discomforts of the travellers, the horses of the first carriage became restive. The leaders of the second turned right round on the wheelers, and great confusion prevailed. All the harness became entangled. “Altogether,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “everything done by the Court authorities was bad.” It was past ten o’clock when Eton was reached, the boys of the College cheering the Princess vociferously, after which the cortège was met and welcomed at the triumphal arch at Windsor by the municipal authorities. The shouts of the people and the loyal and royal town rang in the ears of the Princess as she drove into the Castle. Here she was received by the Queen and the Princesses Louise and Beatrice, who had been waiting anxiously for her coming.

Next morning (Sunday) the Queen, her family, and her guests attended service in the private chapel, where the Bishop of Oxford preached from the text “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Wilberforce had to handle his theme with great delicacy and tact, because the Queen had been sadly annoyed by the carping criticism of some zealots of the High Church Party. They had taken offence because her Majesty had permitted her son to be married in Lent, and they even threatened to absent{155} themselves from all the national festivities that were to mark the event. The Queen had invoked Wilberforce’s aid in pacifying these persons, and in a letter to the Bishop of Salisbury he writes as follows:—“I am very sorry for the time of the marriage, but everything possible has been done to get it changed, and in vain. I think the best thing now possible would be for the Archbishop to write a letter saying that for high State reasons, that time having been thought necessary, he, as Archbishop, thinks it his duty to express that he, so far as it is lawful for him to do so, dispenses for that day with the Church’s ordinary rule, or add that all may, without scruple, legally devote it to rejoicing.”[152] This advice, however, was not acted on. But Wilberforce issued a letter to each of his Archdeacons for the guidance of the clergy in his diocese, in which he said that “any rejoicing, to be real, must be on the day of the marriage.” He held that the Archbishop’s Episcopal authority gave him the right to abrogate the Lenten Fast for such an occasion, and he added that from communications he had received he considered “that the Primate had exercised his dispensing power.”[153] Wilberforce’s sermon, however, pleased and impressed his illustrious audience. In his “Diary,” and in that of Dr. Macleod, some interesting facts of the Queen’s life at this period are disclosed. After referring to the sermon on the 8th of March, Wilberforce writes: “Saw the Queen in the afternoon, and had much talk with her; always the Prince—expecting him in old places. Large dinner; after, presented to the Princess Alexandra; she very pleasing—such a countenance, mien, demeanour, and conversation!” Some days previously Dr. Macleod had visited her Majesty at Windsor, and she took him, with Lady Augusta Bruce and the Princess Alice, to the Mausoleum at Frogmore. “She (the Queen),” writes Dr. Macleod, “had the key, and opened it herself, undoing the bolts, and alone we entered and stood in silence beside Marochetti’s beautiful statue of the Prince. I was very much overcome. She was calm and quiet…. I had a private interview at night with the Queen. She is so true, so genuine, I wonder not at her sorrow. To me it is quite natural, and has not a bit of morbid feeling in it. It but expresses the greatest loss that a Sovereign and wife could sustain.”[154] The bridal festivities of the Princess were overcast to some extent by the cloud of melancholy which had settled on the Queen’s heart.

But there was no lack of joyous display on the part of the public. On Monday, the 9th of March, the Lord Mayor of London and several members of the Corporation brought their wedding gift to the Princess—a diamond necklace{156}

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(From a Photograph taken about the time of her Marriage.)

and earrings worth £10,000. The Princess spent the day in driving about the neighbourhood of Windsor, and in the evening there was a splendid State banquet in St. George’s Hall, followed by a party and a magnificent show of fireworks in the Home Park. On the 10th the marriage took place in the Chapel Royal at Windsor, in the presence of a brilliant assembly, the Queen—shrouded in the deepest mourning—taking no part in the ceremony, which she watched with tearful eyes from the Royal closet. Shortly before noon the Archbishop of Canterbury, the assisting bishops and clergy, entered the Chapel—the prelates walking to the altar, the Archbishop to the north side, and the Dean of Windsor to the south. The Chapel was one mass of gorgeous colour, softened in tone by the rich light that streamed through the painted window of the choir. Massive sacramental plate of gold and silver, superb golden candlesticks,{157}

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alms-dishes, quaint and curiously-wrought chalices and patens, were heaped in a glittering pile on the altar. The reredos, hung with rich crimson velvet curtains, with its fine panels of Christ and the Woman of Samaria, the Ascension, and the Institution of the Holy Communion, shone with the virgin purity of white alabaster. Time and space would fail to catalogue the dazzling array of Royal and Princely guests, of Ambassadors and Ministers of State, whose resplendent uniforms and sparkling decorations almost fatigued the spectator’s eye. The Princess Alexandra was clad in rich white satin robes, trimmed with Honiton lace and orange blossoms. Her necklace, earrings, and brooch of pearls and diamonds were a gift from the Prince of Wales; her rivière of diamonds was the gift of the Corporation of the City of London. On her wrists shone three bracelets—two being of opals and diamonds, one of which was given to her by the Queen, the other by the ladies of Manchester, whilst the third, of diamonds, was the gift of the ladies of Leeds. Her bouquet was a magnificent collection of orange blossoms, white rosebuds, lilies of the valley, and costly orchids, made up at Osborne in accordance with the Queen’s directions, and throughout, the mass of floral bloom was relieved by sprigs of the myrtle which had served for the bridal bouquet of the Princess Royal. The design of the{158} four great flounces of Honiton lace on her robe was a sequence of cornucopiæ filled with roses, shamrocks, and thistles, arranged in festoons and interspersed with these national emblems.[155] As for the Prince of Wales, he wore a General’s uniform, with the mantle of the Garter, the gold collar and jewel of that Order, and the decorations of the Golden Fleece and the Star of India. His chief supporters were the Crown Prince of Prussia, and the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-and-Gotha. The Princess was led in by her father, Prince Christian of Denmark, and the Duke of Cambridge, and her bridesmaids were eight unmarried daughters of Dukes, Marquises, and Earls, namely, Lady Victoria Scott, Lady Diana Beauclerk, Lady Elina Bruce, Lady Victoria Howard, Lady Emily Villiers, Lady Agneta Yorke, Lady Feodore Wellesley, and Lady Eleanor Hare. As the procession reached the altar, the band and organ performed Handel’s march from Joseph. The choir next sang one of the late Prince Consort’s chorales—Jenny Lind’s sweet birdlike notes ringing high above all other voices. The Archbishop then read the service, and when the ring was placed on the finger of the Princess, distant guns thundered forth a salute, and the bells of Windsor rang out a peal of joy. After the benediction the Psalm was chanted with great solemnity, and the united processions of the bride and bridegroom left the Chapel, the choir singing Beethoven’s Hallelujah Chorus from the Mount of Olives. At the Grand Entrance to Windsor Castle the bride and bridegroom and their train were received by the Queen, whose features bore traces of deep emotion, and were by her conducted to the Green Drawing Room and White Room, where the marriage was attested in due form by the Royal guests, the ecclesiastical dignitaries, the Ministers of the Crown, and M. de Bille, the Danish Minister. Breakfast was served in the Dining Room to the Royal guests, and in St. George’s Hall to the company present at the ceremony, upwards of four hundred in number. The wedding cake on the table at St. George’s Hall is said to have weighed eighty pounds. At four in the afternoon the Prince and Princess of Wales left for Osborne, amidst hearty cheers from loyal crowds, who greeted them as they drove along to the station.

Dr. Norman Macleod, describing the ceremony, says in his Diary, “Two things struck me much. One was the whole of the Royal Princesses weeping, though concealing their tears with their bouquets, as they saw their brother, who was to them but their ‘Bertie’ and their dear father’s son, standing alone, waiting for the bride. The other was the Queen’s expression as she raised her eyes to heaven, while her husband’s chorale was sung. She seemed to be with him before the throne of God.” The Bishop of Oxford, in a letter to Sir Charles Anderson, gives a less pathetic description of the scene. He writes:—“The ceremony was certainly the most moving sight I ever saw. The Queen, above all, looking down, added a wonderful chord of deep feeling to all the lighter notes of joyfulness and show. Every one behaved quite at their best. The

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Princess of Wales calm, feeling, self-possessed. The Prince with more depth of manner than ever before. Princess Mary’s entrance was grand. The little Prince William of Prussia, between his two little uncles[156] to keep him quiet, both of whom—the Crown Princess told me—he bit on the bare Highland legs whenever they touched him to keep him quiet.”[157] There was, however, one jarring incident in the proceedings which irritated the Queen not a little, and to which reference is made by Lord Malmesbury and Count Vitzthum. Lord Malmesbury says in his Diary, “Nothing could exceed the splendour of the scene in St. George’s Chapel. The foreigners were all much struck with it; it was so grand as to be overpowering. Mr. Paget confirmed all I had heard of the confusion on the departure of the special train for London. The Duchess of Westminster, who had on half a million’s worth of diamonds, could only find place in a third class carriage, and Lady Palmerston was equally unfortunate. Count Livradio had his diamond star torn off and stolen by the roughs.” Count Vitzthum writes, “The confusion at the railway station when the special train was leaving was incomprehensible. We men were in full uniform, and the unfortunate ladies in full Court attire and covered with jewellery. It had never occurred to the police to close the entrances to the platform, and the returning guests were hemmed in by a noisy and disorderly crowd.”[158]

In every part of the kingdom the 10th of March was kept as a national holiday. London and all the great cities were brilliantly illuminated—in fact, it was only in Ireland that the event was not marked by universal manifestations of popular loyalty. There was some rioting in Dublin and Cork; indeed, in the latter city, troops had to be called out to restore order. The appearance of Edinburgh on the evening of the 10th was particularly memorable, the “grey metropolis of the North” naturally lending itself to effective illumination. After a brief honeymoon at Osborne, the Prince and Princess of Wales returned to London. But Lord Malmesbury, who describes their entry to St. James’s Palace, says, the scene struck him “as very melancholy, when one considered the cause of the Queen’s absence.” A few days afterwards, he was invited to Windsor Castle. “The Queen,” he writes, “was quite calm and even cheerful, and looks well, but she complains of not feeling strong, and being unable to stand much.”

So far as the Queen was able to take an active interest in the management of the Foreign policy of the country, the only questions to which she paid close attention were those relating to Poland and the Duchy of Sleswig-Holstein. For two years rebellious agitators had disturbed Poland, and at last the Russian Government, in a moment of irritation, resolved to seize the youth of the upper{160} and middle classes, who represented the discontented sections of the people, and drive them into the Imperial Army as conscripts. The rigour with which this measure was enforced roused a great deal of popular sympathy in England on behalf of the Poles, and strong pressure was put on the Government by the Tories, by some Radicals like Mr. Stansfeld, who were friendly to Continental revolutionary movements, and even by a large section of the Evangelical party, led by Lord Shaftesbury, to interfere on behalf of the Polish insurgents. For in February, 1863, the Committee of the Polish National Insurrection had issued its first proclamation, after which, Mieroslavski raised the standard of revolt on the Posen frontier. A pamphlet, called “Napoleon III. et la Pologne,” had been published in Paris, under the auspices of the French Emperor, and it not only created a sensation on the Continent, but it roused the suspicions of the Queen. Palmerston’s personal sympathies were naturally with the Poles. But, on the other hand, the Queen could not forget that the restoration of Poland was one of the many devices which the Emperor of the French had in reserve for upsetting the Treaties of 1815, in order to give him a pretext for seizing the left bank of the Rhine. It was not, therefore, from any sympathy for the Czar’s autocratic policy of repression that the English Court was averse from encouraging the Polish insurrection, or that the King of Prussia and his Minister, Herr Von Bismarck, actively aided Russia in coercing the Poles by massing troops along the frontier of Posen, and delivering up Polish fugitives who fled to Prussian territory. The Courts of Berlin and St. James’s alike dreaded a general European war—and to that issue the Queen honestly believed a policy of intervention must tend. For a time Lord Palmerston’s Ministry tossed about aimlessly in a vortex of embarrassments. They were afraid to develop a policy of intervention, lest it might encourage an outbreak of anti-Russian opinion in England, and drive them into a war, with Napoleon III. as a self-interested ally. They were equally afraid that a policy of cold neutrality might be resented by the populace, whose sympathies were being roused daily on behalf of Poland. At last they sent a secret agent—Mr. Lawrence Oliphant—to Poland, to discover the real character of the revolutionary movement. His report was very discouraging to Lord Palmerston, but it strengthened the hands of the Queen. Mr. Oliphant found that the conscription enforced by Russia was really an act of precaution against an insurrection which had been carefully planned in secret, and was ordered and guided by a Central Committee of Social Democrats in London. The movement was not, therefore, a national one in its origin, though resistance to the conscription had drawn a large body of the nobles and the middle classes into the ranks of the insurgents. In order to free themselves from the dictation of the Socialists, they had made Langiewicz Dictator; but after a time he left them and fled to Austria. The Committee of Insurrection, which was then formed, had nothing to do with the Socialist Committee in London, and it was fighting, not for Constitutional reform under the Czar, but for the restoration of the Polish{161}

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(After a Photograph by J. Valentine and Sons, Dundee.)

Kingdom of 1772, an object of which England, as a party to the Treaties of 1815, could hardly approve. The insurgents had no military organisation or competent leaders, and they were carrying on guerilla warfare with the tenacity of despair.[159] As for the peasants, they had no reason to love their old tyrants, the nobles. For them the Government of the Czar was a lesser evil than the régime of 1772, and so they held aloof.[160] Still, some steps had to be taken to satisfy public opinion and ward off attacks in Parliament. Ministers accordingly decided to remonstrate gently with Russia—the excuse being that the Treaties of 1815 gave England a moral right of interference between Russia and Poland. The policy of France, on the other hand, was interference, not on the basis of the Treaties of 1815, which, the Emperor declared in his Speech to the Chambers, were dead, but in the interests of humanity outraged at the excesses which Poles and Russians were alike committing.{162} Austria, on the other hand, considered that she could only approach Russia as a neighbouring Power, like Prussia, possessing Polish subjects, whose institutions might with advantage be imitated in Russian Poland. The attitude of Prussia was that of declared friendliness to Russia.

Thus the Powers were grouped as before the Crimean War: England, France, and Austria in accord, but each with a different end to serve, and a different idea underlying their respective policies: Russia and Prussia, on the other hand, solidly in alliance. Ultimately, Lord Russell suggested on the 17th of June that Russia might submit the whole Polish Question to a Conference of the Eight Powers who had signed the Treaty of Vienna, on the basis of an understanding that there should be an amnesty, and an armistice, and that moderate constitutional reforms should be carried out in Poland. The weak point in the proposal was that Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell ignored the warning of their own secret agent to the effect that the Poles had no organised leadership. Russia was therefore able to ask ironically with whom did Lord Russell propose to negotiate an armistice? and how he did propose to guarantee obedience to it by migratory bands under guerilla chiefs? It was therefore the contention of Russia that surrender must precede any negotiations for peace, and that were it not for the hope of aid from France and England, the Poles would have long since ceased to resist. Russia, in a word, refused to accept the basis of negotiations. She offered, however, to discuss the affairs of Poland with Austria and Prussia—the other partitioning Powers—probably anticipating the refusal of Austria to separate herself from England and France. Finally, she declined to accept any foreign interference whatever in her domestic affairs. Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell meekly submitted to this rebuff, and concurred with France and Austria in remonstrating with Russia, on the grave responsibility she incurred in haughtily rejecting their good offices.

The speech of the Emperor Napoleon at the opening of the French Chambers has already been referred to. The sentences alluding to the Treaties of 1815, and to the summoning of a European Congress, not only to settle the Polish Question, but other questions affecting nationalities struggling to be free, soon received a practical comment, for in Paris the Funds fell with startling rapidity. A few days after the speech was delivered the Emperor addressed a circular to the Powers which fully justified the warnings that the Queen had given to her Ministers, from the day the Polish Question was raised. Napoleon, in fact, invited the Sovereigns of Europe to meet in Congress and settle the affairs of the Continent, and the tone of the circular, combined with the veiled threat of war in his speech, really transformed the invitation into a summons. Italy and Prussia accepted the proposal, the former because she saw in it an opportunity for wresting Venice from Austria. As for Lord Russell, he met the project with a refusal couched in terms that stung the French Emperor to the{163} quick. Writing on the 29th of November, Lord Malmesbury, in his “Diary,” says, “Mr. Seymour Fitzgerald arrived from Paris, where he says the refusal of our Government to attend the Congress proposed by Napoleon, and especially the rude tone of Lord Russell’s despatch, has created great irritation. The correspondence between the English and French Governments respecting the Congress is published in to-day’s papers. Lord Russell’s despatch is published in the Gazette, and I am not surprised that the French are angry; for not only is it very rude, but it was sent without the least delay, and published in the Times before it was delivered to Drouyn de Lhuys.”[161] The despatches, however, merely reveal the customary combination of dogmatic argument with a supercilious affectation of infallibility, which gives a distinctive mark to all Lord Russell’s diplomatic correspondence. Napoleon, too, had laid himself open to a rebuff by not sounding England on his proposal, before he sprang it on the world. Count Vitzthum says that the despatch was approved at a meeting of the Cabinet on the 19th of November, after which it was submitted next day to the Queen at Windsor, who, according to Lord Russell’s statement to the Count, “had given her assent with pleasure to the refusal to take part in the Congress.”[162] Still Napoleon was not without his consolations. In Mexico Forey’s victories enabled the French to bring together a Mexican Assembly of their partisans, who recommended the establishment of a mimic Bonapartist Empire under the Archduke Maximilian. This unfortunate Prince consented to take the Crown, provided the Mexicans sanctioned his dynasty by a plébiscite.

Much more serious for the Queen was the rapid development of the Sleswig-Holstein Question, as to which her opinions were known in Society to be in undisguised conflict with those of her Ministers. The death of Frederick VII. and the succession of the father of the Princess of Wales to the Danish Crown rendered this question urgent.{164}


The Sleswig-Holstein Question—The Danish Succession—Palmerston’s Partisanship—The “Danification” of the Duchies—The Letters-Patent of Christian VIII.—The Revolution of ’48—The Sleswig-Holstein Treaty of Berlin—Salic Law in the Duchies—Palmerston’s Intrigue with the Russian Ambassador—The Protocol of 1850—The Queen’s Objections to it—Prince Albert’s Advice to the Prince of Noër—The Treaty of London—Lord Malmesbury’s Fatal Blunder—His Mistake as to the Mandate of the Diet—Letters-Patent of Frederick VII.—His Death—Accession of Christian IX.—Revolt of the Duchies—Proclamation of the Duke of Augustenburg as Sovereign—Mr. Gladstone’s Popular Budget—Death of Sir George Cornewall Lewis—The Queen’s Letter to Lady Theresa Lewis—The Dispute with Brazil—The Prison Ministers Bill—A South Kensington Job—Hoodwinking the Commons—A “Scene” in the House of Commons—A Ministerial Defeat—Sir George Grey and the City Police—The Civil War in America—Escape of the Alabama—Illegal Seizure of the Alexandra—Blockade Running—Proclamation Abolishing Slavery—Progress of the War—Net Results of the Campaigns.

Lord Palmerston is said to have declared that only one man in Europe knew all the history and details of the Sleswig-Holstein Question, and that his opinion about it seemed to be contrary to common sense. Since 1846 the problem had engaged the subtlest of European diplomatists and Jurisconsults in chronic controversy. The Kings of Denmark were also Sovereign Dukes of Sleswig-Holstein, and when they were absolute monarchs, the Germans in the Duchies were on the same footing as the Danes. They were equally in bondage. On the death of Frederick VI., in 1839, his great-nephew, Christian VIII., succeeded him as King of Denmark, and all the subsequent trouble rose from the fact that his only son, the Prince Frederick, was not likely to have an heir. The question of the succession was further complicated because the Salic Law which existed in the German Empire obtained in the Duchies of Sleswig and in Holstein—the latter, indeed, being actually one of the States of the Germanic Confederation. The Landgravine Louise of Hesse would, on the death of Prince Frederick, be the nearest heir to the Danish throne. But as the Salic Law excluded a woman from the Sovereignty of the Duchies, her succession must destroy the integrity of Denmark. It was of the utmost importance to Russia to preserve this integrity, because, in the first place, the Romanoffs had themselves claims to part of the Duchies, which, on the extinction of the Royal House of Denmark, might be extended over the whole country; and, in the second place, if the Duchies broke away from Denmark they would naturally be absorbed by Germany, which would thus gain not only a valuable seaboard, but the formidable naval station of Kiel, from which she might dispute Russian supremacy in the Baltic. Two leading ideas, therefore, are from this point seen to dominate diplomacy in treating the question of the Duchies. The first is the Teutonic idea, which was, by every legitimate means, to prevent the Duchies from being absorbed by Denmark, and to draw closer and closer their connection with Germany. The{165}

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second is the Slavonic idea, which was to maintain, at all costs, the integrity of Denmark, and as far as possible encourage the policy that promoted a closer union between her and the Duchies. In this conflict of diplomatic forces the policy of England was vacillating and inconsistent, and for an excellent reason. Palmerston committed the fatal blunder of identifying British interests with the veiled designs of Russia, and he became a violent partisan of Denmark, whose policy was solely directed to what was called the “Danification” of the Duchies. On the other hand, the Queen had what Palmerston lacked—patience to master the complicated facts of the Danish question, and she became convinced that law and justice were on the side of the German Party in Sleswig-Holstein. The Prince Consort, again, was{166} perhaps the only eminent man of his time who detected the hand of Russia in the game of intrigue at Copenhagen, from which sprang the policy of absorbing the Duchies against their will. He had the sense to see that British interests could hardly depend on maintaining the integrity of a small State like Denmark against the will of its people, and against the public law of Europe, and with no other practical result than that of preventing Germany from establishing herself as a rival power to Russia in the Baltic. Prince Albert’s death merely strengthened the Queen in her loyalty to his ideas—which in this instance were in harmony with her own conclusions. Hence, in 1863 and 1864, when the Danish Question became acute, the Queen and Lord Palmerston were in irreconcilable conflict, which explains why English policy seemed to the world at the time, a tissue of unintelligible inconsistencies. Happily for the English people, this conflict ended in the humiliating defeat of Palmerston—who, however, fought for his hand to the bitter end, with a courage and an obstinacy worthy of a better cause. No Tudor Sovereign ever strove more unweariedly and with more complete success than did the Queen at this time, to thwart the policy of her Minister, in the interests of peace, progress, and civilisation.

The first sign of trouble in the Duchies was given in 1846, when Christian VIII., as the Queen and Prince Consort knew, acting at the instigation of Russia, issued letters-patent extending the Danish law of female succession to all his dominions. These letters were a flagrant outrage on the public law of Europe, which excluded female sovereignty from his German provinces. Still Germany could only interfere on behalf of Holstein, which, as one of the States of the Germanic Confederation, was—as we have seen—under Salic Law. On the other hand, the German Party in the Duchies agitated against the letters-patent as an infringement of their autonomy; they demanded the union of the two Duchies, and their full and final absorption by the German Bund or Diet. The Diet, however, merely promised to defend their rights in Holstein, and vindicate the claims of all legal agnates in the succession to the Sovereignty of the Duchies. The death of Christian VIII. on the 20th of January, 1848, gave the German Party an opportunity for revolt. A Provisional Government was formed for the Duchies, and Prussia helped the Germans in Sleswig-Holstein to expel their Danish masters. The dispute dragged on till the 2nd of July, 1850, when a Treaty between Denmark and Prussia was signed at Berlin, vesting the Danish succession in Prince Christian of Sleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, and on his issue in the male line by his marriage with Louise, Princess of Hesse, heiress of the Crown of Denmark, who ceded to him all her rights. But the rights of the German Federation as regards Holstein and Lauenburg were not prejudiced by this Treaty. As for the heir to the Sovereignty of the Duchies under Salic Law—the Duke of Augustenburg—he sold his claims for 3,500,000 dollars. But obviously such a Treaty had no validity till it was sanctioned{167} by the German Diet, inasmuch as it changed the legal succession in Holstein. An acknowledgment of the principle of maintaining at all hazards the integrity of Denmark, to be of use, must therefore have European sanction. To pave the way for a Treaty embodying this sanction Russian diplomacy at once set to work, and, unfortunately, Palmerston’s indiscretion at this juncture put him at the mercy of Baron Brunnow, the Russian Minister in London. It will be remembered that Palmerston’s policy of coercing Greece to recover Don Pacifico’s bad debts, had caused France to withdraw her Minister from London. But Russia took up the quarrel quite as fiercely as France, and Baron Brunnow not only absented himself from the official dinner at the Foreign Office on the Queen’s birthday, but finding that, through Lady Palmerston’s agency, means were taken to persuade the Queen that he meant to insult her personally, Brunnow called on Prince Albert privately and told him why he could not be present. It need hardly be said that this explanation did not soften her Majesty’s feeling towards Palmerston. Then came the censure which the House of Lords passed on him on the 17th of June. It was morally certain that if Russia followed France in withdrawing her Minister, the House of Commons would have confirmed the censure of the Lords, whereupon—condemned alike by the Crown and by both Houses of Parliament, by the Tories, the Radicals, and the Peace Party—Palmerston’s career must have ended. And every moment Brunnow’s demand for his passports was expected. At this crisis Palmerston, says Count Vitzthum, “turned to the Russian Minister with the inquiry whether there were no means of reconciling the Cabinet of St. Petersburg. After some consideration, Brunnow proposed a bargain: ‘Give us Denmark,’ he said, ‘and then we will give you Greece and forget the past.’ Of course it was not a question of ceding the Danish Kingdom, but of converting it into a Russian dependency, and giving the Emperor Nicholas a prospect of obtaining the harbour of Kiel.”[163] But how was this to be done? The first step was to get the integrity of Denmark affirmed as a European interest. Playing on Palmerston’s ignorance, Brunnow invented Russian claims to the Duchies based on those rights to the Gottorp portion, which the Emperor Paul had surrendered. These claims, Brunnow said, would be revived by the Czar Nicholas when the Danish line of kings became extinct with the death of Frederick VII. At such a suggestion Palmerston entered quite eagerly into the project of settling the succession to the Danish Crown on the basis (1), of recognising the integrity of Denmark as a European interest; (2), of passing over all male heirs to the sovereignty of the whole Danish Kingdom, in favour of Prince Christian of Glücksburg, the husband of the female heir. The points in the game which Russian diplomacy scored were three. The bargain kept Kiel out of German{168} hands, which were alone strong enough to hold it against Russia. By getting the integrity of Denmark recognised, Russia rendered it easy for her to demand the whole kingdom whenever the time came to revive the Czar’s so-called claims to the Duchies as heir to the House of Gottorp. By getting the sovereignty of Denmark vested in Christian of Glücksburg, Russia contrived to seat on the Danish throne a Prince whose line of succession was not unlikely to fail.

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When the bargain was struck France and Sweden recognised it. The Czar, as usual, “answered” for Prussia and Austria, and it was embodied in the Protocol of the 4th of July, 1850. The Queen, however, objected most strenuously to the whole arrangement. She warned her Ministers that it arbitrarily set aside the legal rights of nineteen agnates nearer in succession to the childless Frederick VII. than Christian of Sleswig-Holstein-Glücksburg. The Prince Consort declared in one of his letters to Stockmar that it violated law, equity, and honour, and predicted that trouble would spring from it. “But,” writes Count Vitzthum, “though he alone saw through the Russian game, he shrank from bringing the direct pressure of his influence to bear on the English Ministry in a matter which might expose him to the charge of sympathising too strongly with his Fatherland.” Yet he seems to have taken very strong means privately to neutralise the policy of Palmerston and Brunnow. He advised the Prince of Noër, one of the nineteen agnates who were set aside, to protest formally against the settlement of the Danish succession, so that the idea of challenging it was at all events kept alive in{169}

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Germany. The Prince of Noër warned the Powers that he would only acquiesce in the new order of succession on condition of its being stipulated by an International Treaty, similar in principle to that of Utrecht, that the Czar of Russia should in no case be permitted to wear the Danish Crown. After the intrigue between Palmerston and the Russian Minister, it was of course impossible to put this condition, which would alone have protected British interests, into the Protocol, which was subsequently expanded into the Treaty of 1852 and signed by Lord Malmesbury. This Treaty was known as the Treaty of London (8th of May, 1852), and so completely did Palmerston in 1863-64 feel that his policy and prestige were bound up with it, that he dragged the country to the verge of war to uphold its provisions. When the Treaty of London was signed, an inexplicable blunder was made by the Tory Government. The document was legally worthless unless ratified by the German Diet. But Lord Malmesbury permitted himself to believe that Austria and Prussia signed it as mandatories of the Diet, whereas, as a matter of fact, they took care merely to sign it in their individual capacities, as independent States.{170} Other German States afterwards gave their sanction to it, but most of them with the reservation that the ratification of the Diet—that is, of Germany in her corporate capacity—should be obtained. Thus Palmerston’s settlement of the Danish succession was a Treaty which settled nothing, because he and Lord Malmesbury had been reckless enough to take it for granted that Austria and Prussia, in signing it, acted on a mandate from Germany, which they had neither sought nor obtained.

The arrangement of 1852 not only changed the Danish succession, but before it was made Denmark pledged herself to fulfil all her obligations to the Diet in regard to Holstein, to respect the old autonomy and privileges of both Duchies, to maintain their union, and never to incorporate them into Denmark proper. Frederick VII., under the influence of the Democratic party and a meddlesome mistress, repeatedly violated these engagements. He was perpetually attempting to undermine the independence of the Duchies, and the Diet was perpetually protesting against his policy.[164] At last, in March, 1863, he issued decrees dissolving the union of Sleswig and Holstein, and practically incorporating them in Denmark. Frederick VII. died on the 15th of November, 1863, and the father of the Princess of Wales succeeded him as Christian IX. His first act, done under Democratic menaces at Copenhagen, was to decree that legislative power in respect to the common affairs of Sleswig and Denmark, was to be vested in the King and the Danish Rigsraad, and that no law passed by the Rigsraad was to be dependent upon the passing of a similar law by the legislatures of either Sleswig or Holstein. This completed the subjection of the Germans in the Duchies to the Danes, and the very day after Christian IX. ascended the throne they accordingly retaliated by disputing his right to rule over them. The young Duke of Augustenburg thereupon claimed the sovereignty of the Duchies. True, his father had surrendered his rights. But, it was argued, a hereditary sovereign cannot surrender hereditary rights without the consent of his heir-apparent—just as the owner of an entailed estate cannot sell it, without the consent of his heirs in tail. On the 21st of November the Holstein Legislature refused to swear allegiance to Christian IX., after which Saxony, Bavaria, Hesse, and other German States resolved to support the claim of the Duke of Augustenburg to Holstein, and the Prussian Chambers passed a resolution in favour of vindicating the rights of the Duchies and of the Augustenburg family. On the 27th of December the Duke of Augustenburg was proclaimed Sovereign of Sleswig-Holstein, and on the 30th he made his entry into Kiel. On the 31st the Danish Cabinet resigned, and a new Ministry was formed by Bishop Monrad. The question of the Succession, so far as the German Diet was concerned, was simple enough. For the Diet the Treaty of London had no existence. Therefore the Landgravine Louise of Hesse{171} was Queen of Denmark. As the Salic Law excluded her from the sovereignty of the Duchies, it was for the Diet purely an open question who had the best right to them.[165]

The domestic policy of the Government was not of much interest in 1863. Very early in the Session Mr. Gladstone introduced his Budget. The American War had sent the price of cotton up from 7d. to 2s. 1d. a pound, and trade was prostrate and stagnant in Lancashire. The agricultural wealth of Ireland from 1856 to 1860 had been, on the average, about £39,437,000[166] a year. But in 1863 it had fallen to £27,327,000—a decrease of £12,000,000, a sum not far short of the established annual valuation of the country, which was but £13,000,000. Ireland and Lancashire ought therefore to have made havoc with Mr. Gladstone’s estimates for the past year. So far from that being the case, the revenue, under the expansive influence of Free Trade, had risen to £67,790,000, or £805,000 over the estimates.[167] The expenditure had been £69,302,000, or £806,000 less than the estimates. For the coming year Mr. Gladstone accordingly estimated a revenue of £71,490,000 on the existing basis. Hence he had in view a surplus of £3,741,000, so that he saw his way to lessen the pressure of taxation on the people. He therefore reduced the Income Tax from 9d. to 7d. in the pound, readjusting its incidence so as to give more relief to small incomes. He reduced the tea duty to 1s. in the pound, and equalised the duties on chicory and coffee, but his attempts to levy Income Tax on public charities and trust corporations were defeated[168] after a somewhat acrid controversy. Mr. Gladstone’s argument was that their corrupt management really deprived most of the rich incorporated charities of a right to an appeal ad misericordium. He, however, pressed his point too far. His lurid picture of their administrative abuses tempted people to doubt whether the penal imposition of a sevenpenny Income Tax was the best means of dealing with such gigantic evils.

The lamented death of Sir George Cornewall Lewis in April not only brought confusion into the Cabinet, but it deprived the Queen of a valued{172}

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friend, whose services she could ill afford to lose. “To me, dear Lady Theresa,” the Queen says in a letter to Sir George’s widow (15th April), “this is a heavy loss, a severe blow! My own darling had the very highest esteem, regard, and respect for dear Sir Cornewall Lewis; we delighted in his society; we admired his great honesty and fearless straightforwardness. We had the greatest confidence in him, and since my terrible misfortune, I clung particularly to characters like his, which are so rare. I felt he was a friend, and I looked to him as a support, and a wise and safe counsellor. He is snatched away, and his loss to me and to the country is irreparable. How little did I think, when I talked to him the last time here, and he spoke so kindly of my popularity, as he so kindly expressed it, that I should never{173} see his kind face again.”[169] He was leader of “the Court Party” in the Cabinet, and was succeeded at the War Office by Earl de Grey.

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Only one question provoked anything resembling a party division during the Session, and that was the Prison Ministers Bill. The object of the measure was to allow prisoners to be attended by clergy of their own denominations and persuasions. As the Roman Catholics would derive most benefit from the Bill, it was opposed warmly by a powerful body of the Tory Party. The Liberals naturally supported the measure, and on this occasion they were joined by a few of the more enlightened Conservatives, such as Lord Derby, Mr. Disraeli, Mr. Henley, and Sir John Pakington. As Mr. Disraeli was at the time favouring an intrigue for detaching the Roman Catholic Party from the Liberals, it was with ill-concealed chagrin that he listened to the bigoted attacks of his followers on the Bill, which was, however, passed. The suspension of amicable relations with Brazil,[170] the vote for the purchase of the Exhibition Buildings, the reorganisation of the London{174} police, and the attitude of the Government to the belligerents in the American Civil War, were the only other topics that created serious or practical Parliamentary discussion.

The vote for the purchase of the Exhibition Building of 1862 was extremely unpopular, and but for the Queen’s influence it would probably have been rejected by the House of Commons. The country even then viewed with strong suspicion the tendency to centralise all National collections in the distant Court suburb of Kensington. It was also insinuated that the Royal Family had pecuniary interests in building land, the value of which would be enhanced by creating a Science and Art Department in this quarter. That insinuation is contradicted by Sir Theodore Martin, who asserts that Prince Albert never was able to save any money out of his private income to purchase such lands for his heirs.[171] This perhaps accounts for what has long been a popular mystery—the fact that his will was never submitted to Probate. As a matter of course, if he had no money to leave to his heirs, the Prince must have left no will that was worth proving. But in 1863 these insinuations had sunk deep in the public mind, and the manner in which Lord Palmerston managed the question gave colour to them. He knew that the proposal to buy the Exhibition Building of 1862 was hateful to the taxpayers. The edifice was architecturally unfit for the reception of a permanent national collection of paintings, and its distance from London rendered all schemes for transferring to it the pictures from the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square objectionable in the extreme. Palmerston, however, at the outset disarmed his critics by proposing merely to buy from the Exhibition Commissioners, for £67,000, the site of the Exhibition, and it was tolerably cheap for a metropolitan site, in days when land in the City fetched £119,000 an acre. This site, he said, was wanted for a building to house the new Patent Office, some natural history collections from the British Museum, and for a National Portrait Gallery. Then he asked the House of Commons to vote £120,000 for the purchase of another “lot” of seventeen acres belonging to the Commissioners adjacent to the Exhibition site, and, finally, he desired it to vote £80,000 for the building itself. Very artfully he had the votes put separately, and Mr. Gladstone aided him by positively assuring the House that the project of buying the building—which was universally unpopular—was one quite apart from the other projects. By a vote of 267 to 135 the House agreed, but grudgingly, to the purchase of the ground, intending to fight the taxpayers’ battle on the question of buying the building. When, however, they came to the vote for the building, Mr. Gladstone informed them they had no option but to purchase it, for the contractors were under no obligation to remove it—a fact which Lord Palmerston had carefully concealed from the House. Members were thus in possession of a site burdened with a useless building which it was nobody’s business to{175} remove. If the Government pulled it down, and then put up another structure in its place, the operation would cost much more than the £105,000 which were needed to buy and adapt it to public uses. The House was furious at finding itself trapped by Lord Palmerston and Mr. Gladstone. Bitter complaints of Courtly jobbery were heard on all sides, and a Ministerial defeat was the result. Lord Malmesbury, writing on the 5th of July in his “Diary,” says:—“Several people called, who told me that the scene in the House of Commons when the division took place on the vote for the purchase of the Exhibition Building was extraordinary. Sir Stafford Northcote’s speech[172] was the signal for a storm, and he was forced to sit down. Disraeli had canvassed his supporters, telling them that he had a letter in his pocket from the Queen. This had a disastrous effect, and when he got up the hooting was so terrific that he could not be heard. Gladstone’s speech had already excited great indignation, for it showed how completely the Government had deceived the House when Lord Palmerston had induced them to vote for the purchase of the land, leaving them under the delusion that the contractors for the Exhibition were bound to remove the building if it was not sold within a certain time. Gladstone had told them that there was no engagement of the sort, and that he believed they were not obliged to remove it at all. This, whether true or not, was taken as a menace to force them to buy the building, and infuriated the House of Commons the more, as Lord Elcho proved that the purchase would be a most disadvantageous one, entailing an enormous expense. So the House rose en masse, and, after a scene of the utmost confusion and excitement, defeated the Government by more than two to one, Gladstone and Disraeli looking equally angry.”[173] It need hardly be said that Mr. Disraeli’s indiscreet use of the Queen’s name in this questionable transaction was unwarranted and unwarrantable.

The inefficiency displayed by the City Police at the entry of the Princess Alexandra into London tempted Sir George Grey to propose that the Metropolitan and City Forces should be amalgamated under the control of the Home Office. This was hotly opposed. The Lord Mayor and Mr. Alderman Sidney protested against a scheme for giving the Home Secretary control of what might become a large standing army in the City of London.[174] Other members raised the cry of “centralisation,” and denounced the measure as an attack on the principle of local self-government. It was now the turn of London to be assailed, but Manchester and Birmingham and all other powerful cities would soon share the fate of the Metropolis. All over England municipal bodies naturally made common cause with the City of London, and it was soon apparent that the Government must either bend or break. Luckily it was{176} discovered that the Bill was not a public but a private Bill, and, as such, subject in respect of notices to certain Standing Orders which had not been obeyed. This omission gave Sir George Grey a technical excuse for withdrawing it.

Vigorous efforts were made during 1863 to induce the Government to recognise the Southern Confederacy, but they were made in vain. Mr. Roebuck, in the House of Commons, proposed a motion in favour of recognition, alleging that in an interview with Napoleon III. he had discovered that France would co-operate with England for that purpose—nay, he warned Lord Palmerston that France might recognise the South without waiting for our co-operation. The Tory Party, though strongly sympathising with Mr. Roebuck’s views, were restrained by their leaders from harassing the Cabinet, and it was the general feeling that Ministers should be left quite free to act. As for the Government, through Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell, it repeatedly declared that it was bent on adhering to a policy of scrupulous neutrality. But this was a matter of some difficulty. Many Englishmen had engaged in the lucrative trade of blockade-running. When their vessels failed to pass the Federal cordon round the Southern ports, and were seized, their owners, as Lord Russell said, “put on an air of injured innocence, and came to the Foreign Office demanding redress.” In Parliament, too, their friends attacked Ministers for meekly submitting to violations of International Law by officers of the Federal Navy, and the investigation of these cases, especially when the seizures were of doubtful legality, raised many irritating controversies between the two Governments. Swift-armed cruisers were built in English ports for the Confederate States, and then taken out to sea, and fitted with their guns and armaments. The difficulty of preventing their escape—at all times serious—was aggravated by the uncertain state of English law on the subject. One of these cruisers, the Alabama, had been allowed to sail from the Mersey, and had committed fearful depredations on Federal commerce. The American Government alleged that her escape was due to Lord Russell’s culpable negligence. The truth was that the Government meant to arrest the Alabama, but owing to the temporary mental derangement of the Judge Advocate-General there was delay in going through certain legal formalities, and before this was overcome the ship had put out to sea. On the other hand, when another vessel of the same class—the Alexandra—was seized, her seizure was pronounced illegal by the English Law Courts. Lord Russell’s action was either too slow or too quick, and in each case it served to irritate both North and South. But the country gave the Government a generous support, recognising their sincerity in endeavouring to maintain a neutral policy, in spite of the pressure which was put upon them by Southern partisans.

In America the war dragged slowly on. On the 1st of January Mr. Lincoln’s Proclamation abolishing slavery in the rebel States took effect, but without producing a servile insurrection, as was anticipated. After{177}

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the drawn battle of Murfreesborough, with which the year 1862 closed, and the Federal defeat at Fredericksburg, the efforts of the North were chiefly directed against Charleston. In April Admiral Dupont was repulsed in an attack on the harbour, and in summer Admiral Dahlgren resumed siege operations, but without success. In May General Hooker led the Army of the Potomac across the Rappahannock, and took up positions above and below that held by the Confederates at Fredericksburg. Lee, by a rapid movement westward, crushed Hooker’s force at Chancellorsville, and then suddenly doubling back easily defeated Sedgwick’s division which had occupied Fredericksburg. The Army of the Potomac retraced its steps across the Rappahannock, and Richmond was no longer menaced. On the 4th of July Grant captured Vicksburg after a series of{178} brilliant operations, and then Port Hudson surrendered to Banks. This was a great gain for the Federals, for not only did they clear the Mississippi of rebels, but the powerful garrisons, with their material of war, which President Davis had, by an inconceivable blunder, shut up in the river forts, fell into their hands. At the beginning of summer Lee outflanked Hooker, defeated Milroy on the Shenandoah, and then, by a daring movement, crossed the Potomac, and, to the terror of the Government at Washington, carried the war into Maryland and Pennsylvania. Hooker was dismissed, and Meade, summoning all available troops to his standard, marched in haste to arrest Lee’s progress. They met at Gettysburg, where, after terrible slaughter, Lee confessed his failure, and retreated unmolested to Virginia.[175] Beauregard’s successful defence of Charleston consoled the Confederates for the failure of Lee’s invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania, and in September they were further cheered by Longstreet’s victory over Rosecrans at Chickamauga in Tennessee. Though the obstinate valour of General Thomas’s division enabled Rosecrans to rally his troops on Chattanooga heights, the position of the Federals in Tennessee was perilous. Rosecrans at Chattanooga, and Burnside at Knoxville, were separated in the midst of a hostile population, and Lee was hurrying on reinforcements to strengthen General Bragg, who was threatening the Federal Commanders. On the other hand, Grant, who had the chief command in this region, was reinforced by Sherman, and he determined to attack Bragg as the easiest way of relieving Burnside. This he did on the 23rd of November at Missionary Ridge, his plan being to overwhelm Bragg’s right by hurling masses of Sherman’s troops against it till he broke it up. When Sherman was repulsed, the Federals then attacked the left centre of the Confederate position, compelling Bragg to retreat to the frontier of Georgia. Grant then fell back on Chattanooga, Burnside holding his entrenchments at Knoxville, from which Longstreet drew off his forces. Thus, though the Northern campaign in Virginia was unsuccessful, the Federals were masters of the Mississippi and of Tennessee when the year closed. The Confederate Government, failing to induce Lord Russell to recognise the Southern States, withdrew their envoy, Mr. Mason, from London.

In early summer (8th May) the Queen and the Princess Alice paid a visit rather unexpectedly to Netley Hospital, the foundation-stone of which had been laid seven years before by the late Prince Consort. She visited ward after ward, conversed with the invalided soldiers in a soft, low voice, questioning

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the officials about their cases, and even penetrated to the married men’s quarters, where she carefully inquired into the comfort of the soldiers’ wives and their families. One of the men, in whose case she had interested herself, was dying, and in broken accents exclaimed, as she went away, “I thank God that He has allowed me to live long enough to see your Majesty with my own eyes.” On the 9th of June the Queen and the younger members of her family came to town from Windsor to inspect privately the memorial of the Great Exhibition—which also took the character of a memorial to the late Prince Consort—in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Gardens at Kensington. It was inaugurated next day by the Prince and Princess of Wales, attended by a company of ladies and gentlemen from the Court.

On the 12th of June the Queen received an extraordinary address on the birthday of the late Prince Consort from the ballast-heavers of the Port of London, which touched her very deeply. In it they said, “Before he (Prince Albert) came to our aid we could only get work through a body of riverside publicans and middlemen, who made us drink before they would give us a job, made us drink while we were at it, and kept us waiting for our wages, and drinking after we had done our work, so that we could only take half our wages home to our families, and that half too often through a drunkard’s hands.” The Prince, it seems, on getting an appeal from them, privately persuaded the Government to insert a clause in the Merchant Shipping Act putting these men under the control of the Corporation of Trinity House. Then he used his influence in the Corporation to pass rules for the employment of ballast-heavers, which met most of their grievances, and he even gave them a house where they might wait for work, supplied it with papers and books, and helped them to start a benefit society. The men said in their address that they were in the habit of celebrating their deliverance from bondage by an annual treat on the Queen’s birthday, and they added, “Your Majesty will not wonder that we then think with equal gratitude of our deliverer. He year by year asked after us, and rejoiced to hear of our improvement while he lived on earth.” They were, however, desirous of having a portrait of the Prince to hang in their room, and begged the Queen to give them one. “We hope,” they said, “your Majesty will excuse our boldness in asking this favour, but we feel we may speak to our Prince’s wife; and, therefore, praying you to grant our humble request, we are your Majesty’s most obedient and faithful servants.” The Queen’s answer came from her heart. It was as follows:—

“Windsor Castle, June 12.

“My Dear Sir,—I have had the honour to lay before her Majesty the Queen the address from the ballast-heavers of the Port of London, which you have forwarded to me for presentation. Her Majesty has been deeply touched by this spontaneous testimony to the active benevolence of her beloved husband, and amongst all the tokens of sympathy in her grief, which she has gratefully received from all classes of her people, no one has been more gratifying to the Queen, and no one more in harmony with her feelings, than the simple and unpretending tribute from these honest, hard-working men. I am commanded to request that{180} you will assure the ballast-heavers that the interest in their welfare, so especially displayed by him whose life was employed in endeavouring to benefit the people of this country, is fully shared by her Majesty, and that her Majesty rejoices to hear of the happy change in their moral and social condition. The Queen has the greatest pleasure in complying with the request contained in the address, and has ordered two prints of the Prince Consort, one in uniform and one in ordinary dress, to be framed and presented, to be hung in the room in which the ballast-heavers wait; to these her Majesty has added one of herself, as the Queen would wish, in the remembrance of these grateful men, to be associated with her great and good husband, whose virtues they have so highly and justly appreciated.

“Believe me, sincerely yours,
“C. B. Phipps.”
“Fredk. J. Furnivall, Esq.”

Nor was this the only occasion during the year on which the Queen manifested her vigilant interest in the lot of her poorer subjects. In July a wretched woman named Geneive had been forced by her husband to walk on a rotten tight rope, suspended thirty yards above the ground, at a Foresters’ Fête in Aston Park, Birmingham. The rope broke, and the poor creature, who was far advanced in pregnancy, was dashed to pieces in the most shocking manner. Yet the fête was continued, the Committee callously determining “to go on with the programme, omitting the dangerous parts.” On the 25th of July the Mayor of Birmingham was somewhat startled to receive from Sir C. B. Phipps a letter in the following terms:—“The Queen has commanded me to express to you the pain with which her Majesty has read the account of a fatal accident which has occurred during a fête at Aston Park, Birmingham. Her Majesty cannot refrain from making known through you her personal feelings of horror that one of her subjects—a female—should have been sacrificed to the gratification of the demoralising taste, unfortunately prevalent, for exhibitions attended with the greatest danger to the performers. Were any proof wanting that such exhibitions are demoralising, I am commanded to remark that it would be at once found in the decision arrived at to continue the festivities, the hilarity, and the sports of the occasion after an event so melancholy. The Queen trusts that you, in common with the rest of the townspeople of Birmingham, will use your influence to prevent in future the degradation to such exhibitions of the Park which was gladly opened by her Majesty and the beloved Prince Consort, in the hope that it would be made serviceable for the healthy exercise and rational recreation of the people.” The Mayor explained that when he became a patron of the fête he did not know that a dangerous exhibition was contemplated, and though Aston Park was outside his jurisdiction, he promised to use his influence to prevent such exhibitions from being held there in future.

On the 11th of August the Queen left London for Antwerp, from which she proceeded to Laeken with the King of the Belgians. From Belgium she went on to Gotha, where she stayed at the Castle of Rosenau till the 7th of September. On the 8th of the month her Majesty journeyed to Kranichstein, near Darmstadt, and spent the day with the Princess Louis of{181}

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Hesse. Leaving at night, the Queen was in Antwerp early next morning (9th), and on the 10th at Greenhithe, whence the Fairy, steam tender to the royal yacht, conveyed her to Woolwich. Driving to Nine Elms, she took train to Windsor, greatly pleased by the hearty greetings she received from crowds of people at the chief stations on the way. The autumnal holiday was, as usual, spent at Balmoral, where a kindly and sympathetic family party gathered round the Queen. Prince Louis of Hesse and the Princess (Alice) stayed with her at the Castle. The Crown Prince and Princess of Prussia, with their family, were lodged hard by at Abergeldie. The Princess Louis of Hesse devoted herself to her mother, and with characteristic energy endeavoured to dispel the heaviness of heart which was again settling on her. For this purpose she urged the Queen to resume the old open-air life among the mountains, from which she had derived incalculable benefit in times past. The Princess therefore organised an expedition to Clova, which her mother was induced to join. The party consisted of the Queen, the Princess Louis of Hesse, the Princess Helena, the Queen’s coachman, Smith, and her gillie, John Brown, and “Willem,” a little black page-boy in the service of the Princess Louis. The excursion was marred by an alarming accident which{182} befell the party on the way home. The coachman lost his way in the dark, and about two miles from Altnagiuthasach the carriage was upset—the Queen being flung violently on her face to the ground. “Alice,” writes the Queen in her “Journal,” was “soon helped up, by means of tearing all her clothes to disentangle her; but Lenchen (Princess Helena), who had also got caught in her dress, called out very piteously, which frightened me a good deal, but she was also got out with Brown’s assistance, and neither she nor Alice was at all hurt. I reassured them that I was not hurt, and urged that we should make the best of it, as it was an inevitable misfortune…. Meantime the horses were lying on the ground as if dead, and it was absolutely necessary to get them up again. Alice, whose coolness was admirable, held one of the lamps while Brown cut the traces, to the horror of Smith, and the horses were speedily released, and got up unhurt.” The Queen’s common-sense advice to “make the best of it” was taken, and the Royal party encamped in this desolate mountain solitude, while Smith was sent on to get another carriage. Then the Princesses discovered that their mother had been bruised severely on the face, and that her right thumb was sprained. “A little claret,” the Queen says, “was all we could get either to drink or wash my face and hands.” Luckily, the groom, who had gone on in front with the “shelties,” or rough little mountain ponies, which the Queen and her family use for hill climbing, got alarmed at their long absence, and he very sensibly rode back to see if any accident had happened. When he came up the Queen insisted on mounting at once and riding all the way home, which she reached after ten o’clock at night, to find the Crown Prince of Prussia and Prince Louis of Hesse at the door of the Castle anxiously looking out for her. A week after this accident (13th of October) the Queen was present at the inauguration of Marochetti’s statue to the Prince Consort at Aberdeen. “I could not reconcile it to myself,” she said, in replying to an address from the subscribers, “to remain at Balmoral while such a tribute was being paid to his (Prince Albert’s) memory, without making an exertion to assure you personally of the deep and heartfelt sense I entertain of your kindness and affection, and at the same time to proclaim in public the unbounded reverence and admiration, the devoted love, that fills my heart for him whose loss must throw a lasting gloom over my future life.” It was a mournful ceremony for the Queen, whose emotion was so great that she had to depute Sir George Grey, the Minister in attendance, to read her reply. Dense crowds of people filled the streets, but forbore to cheer, greeting the Royal widow merely with silent and respectful sympathy. In a letter to the Lord Provost of the city, the Queen, on her return to Balmoral, assured him how fully she appreciated the consideration which was shown for her feelings, not only by those who took part in the ceremony, but by the townspeople generally, “on an occasion which was one of severe and painful trial” for her. During the months of September and October the Princess Louis of Hesse was in attendance on the{183} Queen, who was much cheered and benefited by her affectionate companionship. But her visit came to an end in October, when the Princess, in a letter to her Majesty written from Buckingham Palace, on her way to Darmstadt, says of her sojourn, “It was such a happiness to speak to you, and in return to hear all you had to say, to try and soothe you, and try to make your burthen lighter…. I can only say again, trust, hope, and be courageous, and every day will bring something in the fulfilment of your great duties which will bring you peace and make you feel that you are not forsaken, that God has heard your prayer, felt for you as a loving Father would, and that dear papa is not far from you.”[176] The 14th of December—the anniversary of the Prince Consort’s death—was passed in deep seclusion by the Queen at Windsor. As the year closed the country was relieved of all anxiety as to the Cotton Famine in Lancashire. The crisis had, indeed, passed early in summer, and the nation no longer feared that the calamity would prove unmanageable. The history of the Cotton Famine may be termed a history of agreeable disappointments. It was predicted that the prostration of trade in Lancashire would deal a mortal blow at English commerce—that the revenue would dwindle to a vanishing point—that the problem of sustaining vast masses of pauperised labour, whose pauperism must be but the harbinger of general bankruptcy among their employers, would prove insoluble—that their starvation would breed pestilence and lead to outbreaks of violence and crime, ending with seditious attacks on the Government and all institutions that upheld law and order. Already it has been shown that commerce, so far from declining, flourished apace during 1862-63, and that the revenue increased so rapidly that Mr. Gladstone actually remitted taxes.

The problem of relieving the distress was solved with ease and simplicity. There were no epidemics of pestilence, and, save in Stalybridge, no riotous disturbances. The noble resignation, the heroic patience of the sufferers, and their perfect confidence in the sympathy and the helpfulness of their countrymen, in fact compelled the admiration of the civilised world. In the month of December, 1862, there were 500,000 cotton operatives receiving relief in Lancashire, and the loss in wages from lack of employment was estimated at £168,000. Cotton then came in, though in small quantities, and some mills were able to run. Emigration and the transference of labour to other employments also relieved the pressure, so that in June, 1863, only 256,000 persons were receiving relief in the afflicted districts. At the end of the year this number was reduced to 180,000. So far from the health of the people suffering, it rather improved. There was less infant mortality than usual in the cotton districts, possibly because female operatives, being thrown out of work, were able to devote more attention to their children.[177] Enforced{184}

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sobriety gave the people more power to resist disease, and sanitary precautions which, at the instance of the Executive Committee in Manchester, were taken by local authorities also tended to keep the villages wholesome. The funds by which distress was relieved came from special local rates levied by consent of Parliament in the unions; from loans raised by local authorities under Parliamentary sanction, and spent on public works which gave employment to the operatives; and, last of all, from voluntary subscriptions, which were sent from all quarters of the world. At first it was thought that little could be expected from the cotton districts themselves. “Lancashire,” said Mr. Cobden to Lady Hatherton, “with its machinery stopped is like a man in a fainting fit. It would be as natural to attempt to draw money{185} from the one as blood from the other.”[178] But in one form or another, in voluntary contributions, rates, loss of wages, depreciation of fixed capital, business losses, Lancashire spent an aggregate of £12,445,000 in coping with the Cotton Famine. Lancashire, indeed, raised £1,400,000 of the voluntary contributions received up to April, 1863, which came to £2,735,000. The work of administration was chiefly centred in the Executive Committee at Manchester, the President of which was the Earl of Derby. The voluntary labour at their command must have been very great, for the cost of administration came only to 15s. for every £100. What was afterwards called “the Conservative reaction” in Lancashire set in after this Fund was distributed, for in time, when the old generation of Radicals died out, their successors in the districts which had been saved from starvation by the almoners of the Fund, who were often zealous Anglicans, nearly all went over to the Tory Party. The Queen did her utmost to contribute to the success of the Fund, and her joy was unalloyed when she saw that its administrators had, in the beginning of 1864, averted the disaster that menaced her Northern Duchy.

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Stagnant Politics—Excitement over the Danish War—Attitude of the Queen—Withdrawal of the Danes from Holstein—Lord Wodehouse’s Mission—The Quarterly Review advocates War—Mr. Disraeli Repudiates a War Policy—Lord Palmerston’s Secret Plans—The Case against Germany—The Queen’s Warnings—Mr. Cobden’s Arguments—Lord Russell’s “Demands”—Palmerston drafts a Warlike Queen’s Speech—The Queen Refuses to Sanction it—Lord Derby Summoned to Osborne—He is Pledged to a Peace Policy—Austria and Prussia in Conflict with the Diet—The Occupation of Sleswig—War at Last—Retreat of the Danes to Düppel—Palmerston’s Protests Answered by German Victories—The Invasion of Jutland—Storming of the Düppel Redoubts—Excitement in London—Garibaldi’s Visit to London—Garibaldi and the Dowager Duchess of Sutherland—Anecdotes of Garibaldi’s Visit—Clarendon’s Visit to Napoleon III.—Expulsion of Garibaldi by Palmerston—Napoleon III. Agrees to Accept the Proposal for a Conference—Triumph of the Queen’s Peace Policy—Palmerston’s Last Struggle—His Ministry Saved by Surrender to Mr. Cobden—The Treaty of Vienna—End of the War.

The year 1864 gives one a vivid illustration of the stagnant condition of politics in England under Lord Palmerston. The mind of the country was absorbed in one question, and one only, namely, whether England should make war in Prussia and Austria to maintain the integrity of Denmark and uphold the Treaty of London. Ten years before, England had rushed headlong into war for a cause that was more shameful, and for “British interests” that were much more visionary than those which were now at stake. But great progress had been made during these ten years. The disasters and disgrace which had fallen on the nation during the Crimean struggle had not been endured for nothing. Englishmen had no longer boundless confidence in the aristocratic war party, whose clumsy diplomacy and military incapacity had involved the country in the inglorious contest with Russia. Moreover, while the Court was neutral in that struggle, latterly leaning, if to any side, to the side of the war party, in 1864 the Queen was obstinately determined to keep out of war, and Palmerston found in her a much more formidable antagonist than either Mr. Cobden or Mr. Bright. Mr. Morley, in his “Life of Cobden,” asserts that it was his (Cobden’s) influence, and the pressure brought to bear on the Ministry by Lancashire, that thwarted Palmerston at the end of the struggle. Count Vitzthum, on the other hand, credits the Queen with the honour of defeating the Premier. The truth is that neither the Queen nor Mr. Cobden, acting alone, could have saved their country from a fate as melancholy as that which smote Austria to the dust at Sadowa. [179]


But, acting together, though quite independently of each other, they represented a combination of social and political forces, which would have crushed not only Palmerston, but his Cabinet, had he continued to resist them with blind oppugnancy.

At the beginning of the year the Danes, acting on English advice, had withdrawn from Holstein, where Prussia and Austria had put in Federal execution on behalf of the Diet. Danish and German troops therefore faced each other on the Eider, which divided Sleswig from Holstein, and Europe waited with almost breathless excitement for the first shot that would kindle the far-darting flames of war. Councils of moderation had been pressed by Lord Russell on the Danish Government, but in vain. They were urged by Lord Wodehouse, who had been sent on a special mission to Copenhagen, to withdraw the Constitution of November which had provoked the intervention of Germany. His mission was a failure. Politicians at home and abroad were alarmed by an extraordinary essay known to be from the pen of Lord Robert Cecil, which appeared in the Quarterly Review, advocating war against Germany on behalf of Denmark, and it was supposed to represent the policy of the Tory Party. It, however, did not represent the views of Mr. Disraeli, who, in a confidential conversation with Count Vitzthum, disowned it, and as for Lord Derby, he had no well-defined views on the subject. Had it been otherwise, Lord Palmerston could have easily frightened his Cabinet into war. “Any doubt,” writes Count Vitzthum, “as to the validity of the Treaty of 1852 offended so deeply the amour propre of the Prime Minister that he was capable of going any lengths. The plan which he devised, to save his work, was to attack with one portion of the British ironclad fleet the North Sea and Baltic coasts of Germany, and with another portion, Trieste and Venice, to support with English gold Mazzini and Garibaldi in Italy, and Kossuth in Hungary, and thus kindle a general conflagration.”[180] This might have been Palmerston’s plan at the beginning of the year. A few week’s reflection, however, toned it down, for in a private letter to Lord Russell, dated the 13th of February, it seems that, though his animus against Germany had not abated, he was of opinion that “it would be best for us to wait a while before taking any strong step; though,” he adds, “it is very useful to remind the Austrians and the Prussians privately of the danger they were running at home.”[181] A few days after that, in a private letter to the Duke of Somerset, Palmerston’s plan is found to be still further modified, but this time in a mischievous direction. It now took the form of sending the Fleet to Danish waters, with orders to prevent the Germans from attacking Zealand and Copenhagen.[182] Every word{188} spoken and every line written on the Sleswig-Holstein Question by Palmerston and Russell at this juncture, deluded the Danes into the belief that the British Government were prepared to defend by force of arms the integrity of Denmark as a British interest. But for this delusion Denmark would not have obstinately resisted even the most moderate demands which were made for concessions to the Germans in Sleswig-Holstein.

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The case against Austria, Prussia, and the Diet was capable of easy statement in a popular form. Hence it is not surprising that the large class of Englishmen who act on what may be called the public schoolboy theory of high politics took the side of the Danes. Denmark was a small Power, whereas Austria and Prussia were two large Powers, who were “bullying” Denmark. Austria, Prussia, and most of the minor States of Germany did not come into court with clean hands. They had individually sanctioned the Treaty of London, to which they now objected, because the German Diet, of which they were members, had not ratified it. They refused to be bound by it because Denmark had violated antecedent engagements, made independently of it, and on another subject than the Danish Succession, with which the Treaty dealt. Austria and Prussia could hardly be disinterested in coming forward as the champions of Constitutionalism, and “the doctrine of nationalities” in Sleswig and Holstein. The Treaty of London of 1852 was the work of England, and to uphold it by arms was a debt of honour which Englishmen ought to pay. The big-boy-and-the-small-boy argument was founded on a strange misconception of the facts. In Holstein and Sleswig the{189}

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Danes played the part of the big boy who was bullying the little one. When they were asked to hold their harsh hand by stronger Powers they pleaded their weakness as an excuse for their tyranny. The bad motives of the champions of the Sleswig-Holsteiners, however, did not affect the rights or wrongs of their clients. Moreover, Englishmen quite mistook the German argument, which was this: The German Powers who sanctioned the Treaty of London did not allege that it was null and void because Denmark had not kept the engagements of 1851. They said that Frederick VII. had died before he had lawfully established in his kingdom the order of succession which the Treaty sanctioned, and which, had Denmark stood by her engagements, they would have had no difficulty in supporting. This being the case, they were, they said, entitled to repudiate a Treaty which was illegal in the eyes of{190} international law, till ratified by the German Diet, by the Sleswig-Holsteiners, and by the heirs to the Duchies who had been set aside by it.

So far as the Queen was concerned, Palmerston’s arguments had no effect on her mind. She had warned him that the change in the Danish succession, effected by the Treaty of London, was illegal, and would one day be disputed. It might have been legalised by a fait accompli—that is to say, if the Germans in the Duchies had been induced to accept the change by a conciliatory policy. On the contrary, the policy of the Danes had been so offensively anti-German, that the Sleswig-Holsteiners were more opposed to the Treaty than ever. Moreover, Germans all over the Fatherland were with them, and it was therefore idle to ask German Sovereigns to risk revolution by forcing on Germans in the Duchies an oppressive foreign government. To propose English intervention was equally objectionable to the Queen. She was firmly convinced that the English people wanted peace and not war, and that the integrity of a petty Northern State was not, in their opinion, essential to their Imperial existence. Her Majesty laid her finger at the outset on the point of folly in Palmerston’s policy, which was the maintenance of the Treaty of 1852. Would Englishmen consent to levy war on the German race to uphold an instrument which the carelessness of English diplomatists, in refusing to obtain legal ratifications, had rendered invalid? And then what would men of business say when asked to bear the burden of such a war, to uphold a Treaty that thrust dynasty on a people who did not want it? Curiously enough, the same line of argument was subsequently taken by Mr. Cobden, though he did not know the secret history of the Treaty of London. “In 1852,” said he, “by the mischievous activity of our Foreign Office, seven diplomatists were brought round a green table in London to settle the destinies of a million of people in the two provinces of Sleswig and Holstein without the slightest reference to the wants and wishes, and the tendencies or interests, of that people. The preamble of the Treaty which was then and there agreed to, stated that what those seven diplomatists were going to do was to maintain the integrity of the Danish monarchy, and to sustain the balance of power in Europe. Kings, emperors, princes, were represented at that meeting, but the people had not the slightest voice or right in the matter. They settled the Treaty, the object of which was to draw closer the bonds between those two provinces and Denmark. The tendency of the great majority of the people of these provinces—about a million of them altogether—was altogether in the direction of Germany. From that time to this year the Treaty was followed by constant agitation and discord; two wars have sprung out of it, and it has ended in the Treaty being torn to pieces by two of the Governments who were prominent parties to the Treaty.”[183] Still, the Queen was so desirous of peace that she did not refuse her sanction to proposals of{191} compromise which were from time to time made by Lord Russell, but which proved abortive. In one of these, addressed to the German Diet on the 31st of December, 1863, Lord Russell said that England “demands, in the interests of peace,” (1), a Conference of the signatory powers in London to compose the dispute, and (2), the establishment of the status quo till this Conference finished its labours—one of those “demands” which, according to Sir Alexander Malet, Herr von Bismarck treated with “disdain.”[184]

Anxious Cabinet meetings were held in January, and reports of Ministerial dissensions flew round. Projects for giving the Danes material support seem to have been broached, but, according to Lord Malmesbury, writing on the 29th of January, the Ministry found “great difficulties in the opposition of the Queen.”[185] In these circumstances Lord Palmerston, knowing that the Tory Party were ready to support him in defending Denmark, began to look to Lord Derby for aid. To his colleagues he said, “If we do not begin the war, the Tories will turn us out in order to do it themselves.”[186] But here he was again foiled. The Queen had an interview with Lord Derby at Osborne, which ended in the leader of the Opposition becoming convinced that the integrity of the Danish Kingdom was a mere phrase involving no British interest which justified a war—an opinion which Mr. Disraeli enforced in private when he scornfully described the “integrity of Denmark” not as “a phrase,” but as “humbug.” He told Count Vitzthum, that he believed if Denmark ever again possessed a fleet she “would fight in the next war not for England, but for Russia and France.”[187] As for making war with France for an ally—another Palmerstonian idea—Lord Derby was asked whether that did not mean sacrificing Antwerp to save Copenhagen? There thus remained for Palmerston but one more chance of committing the country before Parliament met, and that was by inserting a bellicose paragraph into the Royal Speech. Again he was thwarted by the Queen’s opposition. Her Majesty refused to sanction a threatening speech, and her objections were sustained by a majority of the Cabinet, much to Palmerston’s chagrin. “It was not,” says Count Vitzthum, “till the day before Parliament opened, that her Majesty approved the colourless speech which was read on her behalf. Every one,” he adds, “was waiting with the keenest anxiety for the debate on the Address, and the House of Lords was crowded when Lord Derby (February 4) rose to make his three hours’ speech. I stood on the steps of the throne, close by the front railings. It so chanced that Lord Palmerston, who had been fetched by the Duke of Argyll, was standing next to me, and thus I was able to watch the impression produced on the Prime Minister by the eloquence of his opponent. The House listened with breathless silence to Lord Derby’s solemn admonitions on behalf of peace,{192} in which he enlarged with statesmanlike tact and rare skill on the proposition that a war with Germany would be the gravest calamity to England. A perfect storm of applause was the orator’s reward, and Lord Palmerston left the House in evident uneasiness.”[188] And no wonder. He knew that his colleagues would now be all the more disposed for peace, for it was only too obvious that the result of Lord Derby’s interview with the Queen at Osborne had been a pledge that he would not permit his party to aid the Prime Minister in goading the country into war. “That particular danger,” writes Count Vitzthum, “was over. Twice more, however, in the course of that Session did Lord Palmerston attempt to drag the Cabinet along with him and carry his project of a war. Each time he was outvoted. Thrice did the Queen gain a victory over the would-be Dictator in the bosom of his own Cabinet.”[189] The criticism of the Tory chiefs was, however, directed to raise general distrust in Palmerston’s foreign policy as a whole. Lord Derby described it as one of “meddle and muddle.” “Nihil intactum reliquit,” observed Lord Derby, laughingly, “nihil tetigit quod non conturbavit.” In the meantime the whole question was passing out of the sphere of diplomacy.

On the 14th of January, Austria and Prussia asked the Diet to sanction the occupation of Sleswig, pending the withdrawal of the obnoxious Constitution incorporating Sleswig in Danish territory, and all fulfilment by Denmark of her engagements to respect the civic privileges of all Germans in the Duchies. The Diet considered that the Danes might comply with the German demand, and thus recover the Duchies. Hence the Austro-Prussian proposal was defeated, the ostensible reason given by the Diet being that it had no jurisdiction beyond Holstein. Prussia and Austria then intimated that they would themselves occupy Sleswig. The Prussian Chamber, adopting the view of the Diet, refused to grant the Government supplies, because, as Herr Schultze-Delitzsch said, this policy could only lead to the restoration of the Duchies to Denmark. Von Bismarck’s retort was “Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.[190] If you refuse supplies, the Government will take them in spite of you.” Austria, eager to recover the military prestige she had lost in Italy, and alarmed at the progress which democracy was making every day in the Duchies, perhaps also somewhat afraid lest Prussia might win all the glory of a strong and resolute pan-German policy, joined Prussia, thereby striking a mortal blow at the authority of the moribund Germanic Confederation among the German-speaking race. On the 1st of February the Austro-Prussian Army of occupation crossed the Eider, which was the answer the allies gave to Lord Russell’s “demand” for a Conference and the establishment of the status quo. Within a week the Danes were driven northwards behind their fortifications in Düppel—their last line of defence in Sleswig. Lord{193}

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Palmerston, who had imagined that they could gain time for him by holding the Dannewerk, now found that he had made a sad mistake. The English Government accordingly implored France and Russia to join England in giving moral and material support to Denmark. But Von Bismarck, though still opposed by the Prussian Chamber, laughed at Palmerston’s efforts to roll back the tide of German conquest. “He had,” as his biographer says, “already taken care to be sure of his men, in expectation of such a contingency. Russia, as we have seen, had been laid under a counter-obligation to Prussia by the services of the latter in the matter of the Polish insurrection.”[191] As for France, she had been propitiated by a favourable Commercial Treaty, and Napoleon III. was reminded that it was not Prussia, who had accepted, but England, who had refused to accept, his project for an European Congress of Sovereigns in 1863, who had dealt a cruel blow at his prestige. Palmerston now awoke to the painful fact that there was another obstacle in the way of carrying out a war policy. He and Lord Russell had left England without a single ally in Europe. In vain did the two Ministers struggle with their{194} fate. Their protests and their proposals were answered by German victories. At last, when Jutland was invaded—territory so sacred that Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell had resolved to resent its invasion by naval intervention—the Danes offered to negotiate for peace on the basis of the status quo, as established by the Treaties of 1851-52. Von Bismarck’s answer was that the offer came too late, for Prussia no longer considered herself bound by Treaties which war had cancelled. Still, Prussia would not object to a Conference, but it must be a Conference without a basis or an armistice—England having insisted on both. The proposal of an armistice soon had no practical interest. On the 18th of April, after a destructive cannonade, the Prussians stormed the redoubts of Düppel, and captured them after half-an-hour’s fighting. The excitement now became intense in London. Was it possible that the hitherto invincible diplomacy of Palmerston was destined to fail whenever it was met by an antagonist who, as Sir A. Malet says, treated “cajolery and menace” with equal disdain?

“At this juncture,” writes Count Vitzthum, “Lord Palmerston thought fit to offer a spectacle to the London mob, which was calculated to inflame still more their revolutionary passions. Mindful of the panem et circenses of the Roman Emperors, the veteran Premier sought to please the people by showing them Garibaldi. The latter, who had been released from his imprisonment after the affair at Aspromonte, was to be employed, if Palmerston succeeded in carrying through his scheme, against Venetia, and, if necessary, against Rome. Ovations were showered on the guerilla leader from the moment of his landing.[192] In London he was met at the railway station by the Duke of Sutherland, and conducted in pomp through the leading thoroughfares to Stafford House. Countless multitudes thronged the streets, and hailed this triumphal procession with acclamations. There had scarcely been such crowds at the entrance of the French Emperor and Empress in 1855, or at that of the Princess of Wales.[193] Garibaldi was lodged like a prince at the Duke of Sutherland’s mansion. Thither came the most distinguished ladies of the Whig aristocracy to court the favour of a look or a smile from the fêted champion of freedom. The Ministers and the leaders of the Opposition met together at the banquet given in his honour at Stafford House.[194] London{195} society filled the splendid apartments in the evening, and thronged round the lion of the day…. Among those most profuse in their attentions was the Duchess of Sutherland, late Mistress of the Robes, who gave a luncheon party at Chiswick to the adventurer, and received him like a king at the door of her mansion dressed in full attire. Lord Clarendon, not to miss this festivity, postponed his journey to Paris, where he was to make the last fruitless attempt to induce Napoleon to take action.[195] There was something indescribably comic in this exaggerated display of British hero-worship. The only man who was unaffected by it was Garibaldi himself. The old sailor was not the least imposed on by it all—not the least impressed. He made his appearance in the gilded saloons without coat or waistcoat, and paraded in his red flannel shirt. In the streets he wore his black felt hat, with a red feather. Festivities and attentions bored him intensely. He made no secret of his aversion to old women, even though they wore the ermine of duchesses. After the banquet at Stafford House he said that he was not accustomed to sit so late and so long at his meals. He called for his pipe of tobacco. The Dowager Duchess [of Sutherland] overcame her dislike to tobacco smoke, took Garibaldi into her boudoir, lit his pipe with her own hands, and never left him till he had finished it.”[196] This strange episode did not impose on the Queen either, who had reason to believe that nobody concerned was deceived, except the good-natured British populace, whose honest hero-worship was being exploited by Palmerston for diplomatic purposes. The reception of Garibaldi was meant as a warning to Austria that if invincible in Denmark she was vulnerable in Venice; to France, that if through pique she thwarted Palmerston’s diplomacy in Northern Europe, there would soon be trouble brewing for her at Rome; and to Russia, that if she deserted England she would find that the spirit of revolution could yet be roused in Poland. How far the Tory leaders were parties to the imposture is not clear. Lord Malmesbury tries to persuade us that they took part in it merely from motives of childish curiosity. A fashionable lion was reported to be in Stafford House, and so he and his colleagues went there to hear him roar.

One of the most curious projects broached by Lord Palmerston’s satellites was that of raising a subscription among “the gentry of England” to furnish Garibaldi with funds for attacking Austria in Venice, and France in Rome. This scheme, says Lord Shaftesbury, who euphuistically describes it as one for “furthering his [Garibaldi’s] Italian purposes,” was quashed by{196}

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the patriot himself, happily in time to save his credit as well as the credit of “the gentry of England.” After “many sittings of committees,” writes Lord Shaftesbury, who was one of the most active of Lord Palmerston’s agents in this business,[197] “myriads of letters and private requests, we had in two months obtained payments and promises for a sum considerably under three thousand pounds.” Whether Lord Shaftesbury was, like Garibaldi, a tool in Palmerston’s hands it is impossible to say. But it is a singular fact that we find him writing to the Duc de Persigny on the 8th of April assuring him “that there is not in it [Garibaldi’s visit] a notion of politics.” On the other hand, he himself discloses, in a posthumous Memorandum unearthed by the industry of his biographer, the whole story of his abortive attempt to raise subsidies for Garibaldi’s revolutionary designs. Nay, when the Tory chiefs went to Stafford House to dine with the hero, Lady Shaftesbury, who was Lady Palmerston’s daughter, appears on the scene laughing at them for having fallen into a trap.[198]{197}

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But after the lion had roared loud enough to wake the echoes of the Tuileries, Lord Clarendon was sent to Paris on a private diplomatic mission. His object was to induce the Emperor Napoleon to support Lord Palmerston’s proposal for a Conference of the Powers on the Sleswig-Holstein Question, a scheme which France as yet did not sanction. It must be allowed that if the German Powers scoffed at the attempt to frighten them by a Cockney demonstration in favour of Garibaldi, Lord Palmerston and his envoy seem to have made it serve their turn in Paris. Napoleon III. agreed at last to support the Palmerston-Russell scheme of a Conference, provided Palmerston would send Garibaldi out of England as quickly as possible. This was an embarrassing condition to fulfil, as the guerilla chief was becoming far too popular to be treated in such an unceremonious fashion. He had entered into an{198} engagement to proceed to Manchester, and from thence on a provincial tour of agitation, which greatly disquieted Napoleon III., and which must therefore be stopped. The end of the farce may be told in Lord Malmesbury’s words. In his Diary on the 20th of April he writes:—“Garibaldi leaves England on Friday…. Certainly there must be some intrigue, as Mr. Ferguson, the surgeon, writes a letter to the Duke of Sutherland—which is published—saying it would be dangerous for Garibaldi’s health if he exposed himself to the fatigue of an expedition to Manchester, &c. &c. On the other hand, Dr. Basile, Garibaldi’s own doctor, says he is perfectly well, and able to undergo all the fatigue of a journey to the manufacturing towns.”[199] This communication from Dr. Basile was published, because Garibaldi was naturally angry at having been overreached by Palmerston and the Whig aristocracy, who sacrificed him whenever he was of no more use to them as a piece on the political chessboard. What made matters worse was that Garibaldi felt certain that, if he had been allowed but one week for agitation in the provinces, he would have stirred up so much popular feeling that he could have defied Lord Palmerston to order him home.

As usual in cases where Lord Palmerston was forced to do something that displeased the populace, it was promptly insinuated far and wide that he was again the victim of the Court. Garibaldi, it was hinted, had been expelled in deference to the Queen’s pro-Austrian sympathies. It is but right to vindicate her Majesty from the absurd suggestions that were then current, and for that reason it has been deemed expedient to tell the true story of Garibaldi’s visit to London in 1864. Let it be admitted, however, that at least one member of the Whig aristocracy refused to turn against the hero when the mot d’ordre went forth from Cambridge House that he must be dropped. This was the Dowager Duchess of Sutherland, who carried the discarded lion away to Cliefden, and tended him faithfully till he left Plymouth on the 25th of April. It was her enthusiasm that inspired one of the diners-out of the day with an anecdote which rendered the wonderful party at Stafford House on the 13th of April almost as memorable as Garibaldi’s presence there. “She” (the Dowager Duchess), said one of the company, “is noble, richly jointured, romantic, and a widow—why, then, does she not marry her hero?” “Ah,” was the reply, “but you forget he has a wife living.” “That,” said another guest—alleged to have been Lord Palmerston—“is of no consequence; I have Gladstone here, and can easily get him to explain her away.” Yet, though the duchess and the mob alike forgot to mourn for their hero after his expulsion had ceased to be a nine days’ wonder, it is pleasing to know that their fidelity to his cause was unwavering, and that their admiration of the man himself was absolutely untarnished by sordid and selfish calculations.

The project of the Conference on the Sleswig-Holstein Question, now that{199} France accepted it, was fairly started, and it gave Palmerston a chance of extricating his Ministry without much ignominy from the complication in which they had become enmeshed. The Queen favoured it, as she favoured any arrangement that seemed likely to make for peace; but, as the Conference was to meet without a basis and without an armistice—indeed, as the capture of Düppel had made Prussia and Austria masters of the situation, an armistice was of little consequence—her Majesty’s view of the issue was not so sanguine as that of her Prime Minister. “Austria and Prussia,” says Count Vitzthum, “were not sorry to take advantage of it (the Conference) in order to escape from a false position, in which they had placed themselves as belligerent Powers and cosignatories of the London Treaty. Both of them declared their readiness to attend the Conference, on condition that the German Bund received, as such, an invitation also. It was the first time since its existence that the Diet had been invited to attend and vote at a European Conference. The choice of its representation fell on the Saxon Minister of State, the most active advocate of the Federal standpoint. He accepted the choice, but was unable, from the haste with which the matter was arranged, to reach London on the 20th of April, the day fixed by the impatient Lord Russell for the opening of the Conference.”[200]

As might be expected, this led to a hitch in the proceedings. Austria and Prussia alleged that they could not take part in the Conference until Count Beust appeared on the scene, so that the first meeting of the diplomatists was ominously abortive. It was not till the 25th of April that the Conference met for work, and the story of its transactions is somewhat painful for Englishmen to recall. It soon became apparent that the real object of the German representatives was to thwart the policy of the English Government, and tear up the Treaty of London under the very eyes of their English colleagues. Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell speedily discovered why the Diet had been invited for the first time to take part in a European Conference. Austria and Prussia, being cosignatories of the Treaty of London, found it a little embarrassing to take the initiative in “denouncing” that futile instrument; but they put forward Count Beust, as the representative of the Diet, to repudiate it, and he, on behalf of corporate Germany, declared that no solution of the problem could be accepted which did not provide for the complete separation of the Duchies from Denmark. In vain did Palmerston and Russell resist a demand that was utterly irreconcilable with the policy of maintaining the integrity of Denmark which was formulated in the Treaty of London. Russia and France abandoned them, and it became evident that continued victory would render the Germans, not more moderate, but more exacting in their demands. “Lord Clarendon,” writes Count Vitzthum, in his bright but brief account of the secret history of the Conference, “who,{200} though nominally second, was in reality the first British plenipotentiary, induced Lord Russell, with a view of checking the bloodshed, to propose the separation of Holstein, Lauenburg, and South Sleswig. The neutrals—Russia and France—agreed to this, but the Danish representatives declared that their instructions were exhausted, and thus the matter remained to be settled by the sword.”[201]

Count Vitzthum’s narrative does not seem quite fair to Denmark. The Danes, it must be noted, have always alleged that they agreed to a frontier proposed by Lord Clarendon, and accordingly they assumed that after such a surrender of their position England would defend them and stand by her own proposition. Lord Russell, however, in his statement of the 27th June, denied that England had, through Lord Clarendon, committed herself to maintain this frontier. The fact is that Austria and Prussia, at a meeting of the Conference on the 17th of May, brought the proceedings to a deadlock by declaring that they would no longer recognise the King of Denmark as Sovereign of the Duchies. The neutral Plenipotentiaries then met privately at Lord Russell’s house and concocted a compromise by which Denmark should cede Holstein and Sleswig as far as the Schlei, and that the European Powers should then guarantee the rest of the Danish Dominions. Denmark accepted this proposal, but the German Powers, whilst eagerly accepting the principle of separating the Duchies from Denmark, objected to the frontier. According to a statement made by Bishop Monrad in the Danish Rigsraad, it is clear the compromise was not distinctively an English project, though it originated in Clarendon’s suggestions. But, according to Bishop Monrad, “Earl Russell promised that neither would he make a proposal himself nor support the proposal of any other Plenipotentiary which would be less favourable for Denmark, unless Denmark herself should consent to such new proposals.” Yet after the boundary of the Schlei had been suggested, Earl Russell, at a meeting of the Conference, proposed that the question of the frontier should be submitted to arbitration—the King of the Belgians being mentioned as arbiter—although Denmark did not consent to such a proposal. This proposition, partially accepted by Austria and Prussia, was rejected by Count Beust on behalf of the Diet. France then proposed that, while Germany should take German and Denmark should keep Danish Sleswig, the intervening part, with a mixed population, should by a plébiscite determine its own destiny. This was also rejected by Denmark, and so the Conference, which met at the request of England without a basis, separated without a result.

The obstinacy of the Danes, who seem to have built their hopes of English succour on Lord Palmerston’s marvellous power over a servile House of Commons, secured the triumph of Austria and Prussia—who up to this point were encumbered by their signatures to the Treaty of London. Lord Clarendo{201}n’s

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proposal marked the abandonment of that instrument by the only Power desirous of abiding by it. The Conference, by its abortive attempts at solving the Danish problem, therefore, extricated Austria and Prussia from their false position, for when it broke up the ill-starred Treaty of London was there and then consigned to what Carlyle calls “the limbo of dead dogs.” And the curious thing is that Palmerston and Russell seem to have almost courted a defeat, which shattered the diplomatic prestige of England for more than a decade. “The Treaty of London,” writes Count Vitzthum, “might, perhaps, have been saved, had the British Minister acknowledged from the first that the value of a Treaty, intended to settle a quæstio de futuro, an eventuality of the future, depended on the circumstances under which that eventuality occurred. A very different importance attaches to treaties which, like those of 1815, deal with faits accomplis and establish the final results of a war{202} lasting over many years. Palmerston and Russell committed in their zeal a political blunder when they declared that to cancel the Treaty of London was tantamount to unsettling everything else. Had not Napoleon been then so seriously occupied in Mexico he would have taken the British Ministers at their word.[202] But be that as it may, the Treaty was now dead. The Conference had not only united Germany, but also served as a safety-valve against an explosion in Parliament. The saying that no change of Ministry is to be thought of after the Ascot Races was verified anew. The Ascot meeting was now over. Nevertheless, before the Session came to an end, the Ministers were doomed to suffer a humiliation without a parallel.”[203] What made this humiliation all the more mortifying to Palmerston, was that the punishment was to come from the hateful hand of Cobden.

At the end of June, says Mr. Cobden, “the Prime Minister announced that he was going to produce the Protocols,[204] and to state the decision of the Government upon the question. He gave a week’s notice of this intention, and then I witnessed what has convinced me that we have effected a revolution in our Foreign policy. The whippers-in—you know what I mean—those on each side of the House who undertake to take stock of the number and the opinion of their followers—the whippers-in during the week were taking soundings of the inclination of members of the House of Commons. And then came up from the country such a manifestation of opinion against war, that day after day during that eventful week member after member from the largest constituencies went to those who acted for the Government in Parliament, and told them distinctly that they would not allow war on any such matters as Sleswig and Holstein. Then came surging up from all the great seats and centres of manufacturing and commercial activity one unanimous veto upon war for this matter of Sleswig and Holstein.”[205]

The old device which had served Palmerston so often in his contests with the Court—that of pitting the infatuation of a bellicose people against the calm sagacity of a pacific sovereign—could not be employed, and the Minister was forced to admit that the game on which he had staked his reputation had gone against him. Hence, writes Mr. Morley, “when Lord Palmerston came down to the House on that memorable afternoon of the 27th of June, it was to make the profoundly satisfactory but profoundly humiliating announcement that there was to be no war.” He admitted that the Government “felt great sympathy for Denmark,” although “she had in the beginning been in the wrong.” But under a new sovereign she had shown some{203} desire to act properly, and so, said the Prime Minister, “we felt that from the beginning to the end of these events she [Denmark] had been ill-used, and that might had overridden right.” With jaunty audacity he added that Ministers also knew that the sympathies of the British nation were in favour of Denmark—for he made no allusion to the confidential reports of the Ministerial “whips”—and he frankly said “we should therefore have been glad to have found it possible to recommend to our Sovereign to take part with Denmark in the approaching struggle.” But then Denmark had rejected a compromise in the Conference—a compromise which, however, he did not state, had been almost thrust on her by Lord Russell, in violation of his own pledges to her—though he did admit that in rejecting this proposal, her fault was “equally shared by her antagonists.” Yet other considerations must be looked to—an admission which illustrated the revolution that had been effected in English diplomacy since the Crimean War. It did not appear, observed Lord Palmerston blandly, that the matter in dispute “was one of very great importance,” (an amazing statement from the author of the Treaty of London) for “it did not affect the independence of Denmark, and it went very little beyond what she herself had agreed to.” Now, Lord Russell had pledged himself not to support any arrangement that went “beyond what she [Denmark] had agreed to” when she accepted the compromise arrived at in his house by the plenipotentiaries of the neutral Powers, and Lord Palmerston’s additional explanation that it turned “simply on the question to whom a portion of territory should belong,” provoked a contemptuous titter in the House. But the real truth had to be confessed at last. Ministers, said Lord Palmerston—who had led the War Party in Lord Aberdeen’s Cabinet—in advising their sovereign to levy war, “could not possibly lose sight of the magnitude of the object—the magnitude of the resistance which would have to be overcome, and the comparative means which England and its supposed antagonist would have to bring to bear upon the contest.” They had discovered that neither France nor Russia would help England in supporting Denmark. “The whole brunt, therefore,” said Lord Palmerston, “of the effort to dislodge the German troops, and those who might come to their assistance, from Sleswig and Holstein, would fall upon this country alone.” Hence, he continued, “we have not thought it consistent with our duty to give our Sovereign advice to undertake such an enterprise.”

The whole scheme of Palmerstonian diplomacy seemed revealed, as if by a lightning-flash, in all its impotent meddlesomeness. In a matter of no very great importance concerning a foreign country, England was to talk daggers, but use none, if her antagonist chanced to be too strong to be cowed by menaces. The House of Commons instinctively felt that this was not a policy worthy of a great nation. It received the Prime Minister’s statement in a manner that convinced him that his spell over it was broken. He made one final effort to regain his influence by appealing to its foibles. He{204} accordingly uttered dark and terrible threats of vengeance if Austria and Prussia attacked “the existence of Denmark as an independent Power in Europe,” and did other things which everybody knew they had no temptation to do. “If,” said he, “we should see at Copenhagen the horrors of a town taken by assault—the destruction of property, the sacrifice of the lives, not only of its defenders but of peaceful inhabitants, the confiscation which would arise, the capture of the Sovereign as a prisoner of war, or events of that kind—I do not mean to say that if any of these events were likely to happen, the position of this country might not possibly be a fit subject for reconsideration.” Then he paused to see if his old trick of rhetoric would do its work. It failed him, however, and, instead of the cheers for which he waited, his declamation was greeted with shouts of contemptuous derision. The cheers did not come till Mr. Disraeli condemned the utterance as “a continuation of those senseless and spiritless menaces by which her Majesty’s Government had lowered the influence of England in the Councils of Europe.” And they came again and again from every quarter of the House when the Tory leader declared “he should prefer that the foreign policy of this country should be conducted by Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright, for the result would have been the same as in the hands of her Majesty’s Government, while they would not have lured on Denmark by fallacious hopes, and exasperated the German Powers by exaggerated expressions of menace and condemnation of their conduct.” As for Lord Russell, he seemed to feel his humiliation so keenly that it was with difficulty he made his statement audible in the House of Lords. “I heard enough,” writes Lord Malmesbury in his terse summary of it, “to know that the Government were for peace at any price, and meant to desert the Danes.”

Of course the Opposition felt bound to challenge the policy of the Ministry by a vote of censure, though they were far from being unanimous as to their tactics. Writing on the 3rd of July, Lord Malmesbury says:—“Lord Derby is so ill with the gout, that he cannot bring on the question of the correspondence between Denmark and Germany next Friday, and he has deputed me to do it in his place, and Lords Salisbury,[206] Donoughmore, Colville, Hardwicke, Carnarvon, and Chelmsford came this afternoon at one o’clock to consult with me respecting the motion to be made in the House of Lords. Lord Derby is nervous in consequence of some objections made by the Duke of Buccleuch and Lord Stanhope, who talk of a collision between the two Houses, and he fears the Party will not be unanimous. I am for going on with it, and so were the rest. We adjourned at two o’clock, when a large meeting took place, I being in the chair. The two above-named Peers, with Lords Winchester and Bath, made some difficulties, but ended by giving way, and it was settled unanimously that the same resolution{205}

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which Disraeli makes to-day in the Commons is to be moved on Friday in the Lords. I went yesterday to Disraeli to settle about this, he merely pointing to a chair. I did not sit down, but gave him the message Lord Derby had sent, and went away.[207] After the meeting at Lord Salisbury’s I went to Lord Derby’s to report what had occurred. He was pleased to hear that the motion was not given up, but he was in such dreadful pain that I did not stay.”[208] The vote of censure in the House of Lords was rejected by a majority of 9, and little attention was paid to the struggle there. But all eyes turned to the arena of strife in the House of Commons, where the issue was doubtful, and where on the 4th of July Mr. Disraeli moved a Resolution “to express to her Majesty our great regret that, while the course pursued by her Majesty’s Government has failed to maintain their avowed policy of upholding the independence and integrity of Denmark, it has lowered the just influence of this country in the councils of Europe, and thereby diminished the securities for peace.” His indictment of Palmerston’s Foreign Policy was unanswerable. In alliance with France and Russia, England might have controlled the Danish Question. But Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell, after annoying Russia because she persecuted Poland, provoked France by refusing to join her in protecting the Poles from persecution. When the English Government discovered that France was immovably neutral on the Danish Question, they should either have declared frankly that they would, if need be, defend Denmark by force, or, like France, they should have abstained from either menacing the German Powers, or holding out to Denmark delusive hopes of succour. The latter, said Mr. Disraeli, would have been his policy; on the other hand, the British Ministers wavered between peace and war—indulging in unaccomplished threats and unfulfilled promises. The undignified part that Lords Palmerston and Russell made England play at the Conference—which, as Mr. Disraeli observed, “lasted about as long as a Carnival and, like a Carnival, was an affair of masks and mystifications,”—laid them open to a disastrous attack. Palmerston’s first aim was to maintain the integrity of Denmark. In the Conference the English plenipotentiary was the first to accept and even suggest her dismemberment. His second aim was professedly to maintain the independence of Denmark and lessen the risk of a great war in Europe. In the Conference the English representative, however, proposed to put Denmark under the joint guarantee of the Great Powers. “They would,” as Mr. Disraeli pointed out, “have created another Turkey in Europe, in the same geographical situation, the scene of the same rival intrigues, and the same fertile source of constant misconceptions and wars.” Mr. Gladstone virtually acknowledged the diplomatic defeat of the Government. They had tried, he said in effect, to induce France and Russia—the natural enemies of{207} England—to join them in going to war with Germany—her natural ally. But having failed they ceased to menace the German Powers, who were too strong to be intimidated by Lord Palmerston.

The resolution was only a party device to drive Ministers from office by drawing a sensational picture of the degradation to which England had been exposed by Ministerial diplomacy. Mr. Kinglake, however, interfered, and proposed a resolution drafted by Cobden evidently for the purpose of humiliating Palmerston, and yet offering a loophole of escape from a vote of censure that must, if carried, have cut short his career, and brought a Tory Ministry with violent anti-German sympathies back to power. This resolution ironically expressed the satisfaction of the House that the Queen had been advised not to aid Denmark by force of arms. Mr. Kinglake then showed Lord Palmerston a list of the Liberals who intended to vote for Mr. Disraeli’s motion, in the event of the Government declining to accept what Count Vitzthum calls Mr. Cobden’s “humiliating absolution,” so that the Prime Minister had but little choice. “He was bound either to retire from office, or swallow the bitter pill offered to him by the Manchester School and pledge himself to maintain the strictest neutrality.”[209] He agreed to swallow the pill, which Mr. Cobden refused to gild; for in his speech of the 6th of July Cobden delivered a scathing attack on the futility of Lord Palmerston’s whole scheme of foreign policy, which had subjected England to humiliation in all parts of the world. The final demonstration of its failure, he argued, was the complete justification of those principles of non-intervention which he and Mr. Bright had preached for many long and weary years. It was admitted that he laid down with a masterly hand the foreign policy which future Governments, whether Whig or Tory, would be compelled by the people to follow. “Our country,” said Cobden, amidst cheers from every part of the House, “requires peace. Some people think it is very degrading and very base that an Englishman should speak of his country as requiring peace, and as being entitled to enjoy its blessings; and if we allude to our enormous commercial and industrial engagements as a reason why we should avoid these petty embroilments, we are told that we are selfish and grovelling in our politics. But I say we were very wrong to take such measures as were calculated to extend our commerce, unless we were prepared to use prudential precautions to keep our varied manufacturing and mercantile operations free from the mischief of unnecessary war.” England had no armies to spare for Continental interference. She had 79,000 troops locked up in India. In China she had two little armies separated by thousands of miles; she had another detachment in Japan; she had 10,000 men “fighting somebody’s battles” in New Zealand; she had from 10,000 to 15,000 troops in North America, “committed as a point of honour to defend a frontier of{208} 1,500 miles against a country which can keep 700,000 men on the field;” she had also troops at the Cape, the West Indies, West Africa, Malta, and Gibraltar. Surely the world never saw, said Cobden, such a dispersion of force as this by a Power that attempted to interfere with Continental affairs. Hence the time had come for the new departure in foreign politics, for, with the failure of Lord Palmerston’s Danish policy, it was clear our whole system of conducting our relations with foreign countries had broken down. The Foreign Office had lost its credit abroad. Foreign Governments now knew that its threats and its pledges were vain and empty, because the real power now lay, not in the Foreign Office, but in the House of Commons. It was not the Ministry he desired to change, but the system; so that, though he was prepared to vote against Mr. Disraeli’s censure, Mr. Cobden, as Lord Robert Cecil observed, was about as true a friend to the Ministry, as the Ministry had been to Denmark. The only difference was, that whilst the Government gave Denmark fair words and no succour, Mr. Cobden had given Lord Palmerston valuable succour, but no fair words. It was past midnight on the 9th of July when Palmerston rose to defend his position, but he added nothing to the debate. As Mr. Evelyn Ashley, his adoring biographer, says, “he had, in truth, a difficult task. There had been a conspicuous failure; of that much there could be no doubt. Allies, colleagues, and circumstances had proved adverse; yet the excuses for failure could not be laid on any of them. So, with the exception of a dexterous allusion to the words of the resolution as ‘a gratuitous libel upon the country by a great Party who hoped to rule it,’ he did not detain the House for long on the points immediately at issue, but, dropping the Danish matter altogether, went straight into a history of the financial triumphs of his Government.”[210] After all, for these he was indebted to Mr. Gladstone with whom he was rarely in agreement on matters of general policy; and his obvious evasion of the matter in dispute was resented by the House, which interrupted him with angry cries of “Question!” His defence certainly had no bearing on the issue; but, as Mr. Ashley observes, with unconscious cynicism, “it had all to do with the Party question, for it decided the votes of doubting men, who, caring little about Sleswig-Holstein, cared a great deal about English finance. Anyhow, it commanded success, for the Government got a majority of eighteen, and thus renewed their lease of power.” Lord Palmerston had expected only a majority of three, but several Tories had voted with the Liberals, and eleven abstained from voting at all. “This,” writes Count Vitzthum, “is explained by the fear of a Roman Catholic intrigue. The Vatican had been anxious to make use of the opportunity for overthrowing the hated Premier. Some Monsignori especially sent from Rome are said to have been busily engaged in the lobby in inducing the Irish Members to{209} vote with the Opposition. Be that as it may, a majority of eighteen votes was a godsend so unexpected, that the Premier begged some young ladies, who had no notion of what had happened, to congratulate him. Lady Palmerston was delighted at the hand-shakings lavished on the Prime Minister by the crowd that thronged the lobby.”

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The result of the division was hailed with great delight by the country. To have turned out Palmerston would have brought Lord Derby back to office, whose followers, it was suspected, would have finally driven him into war with Germany. To retain Palmerston in power, but by a vote that humiliated him and destroyed his personal prestige, was felt to be in every way safer for the country than the transference of its Government to an Opposition which was at once weak and warlike. “However the dice may fall,” writes Count Vitzthum, “the Prime Minister is disarmed, and his secret schemes of anger and revenge are condemned. The victory of the Peace Party is a victory of the Queen. Maligned, insulted, and reproached for German sympathies, her Majesty has checked the dictatorship of her Prime Minister, and beaten him three times in his own Cabinet on the question of war and peace. The Queen has recognised the true interests, the true wishes of her people, and not allowed herself to be misled by the gossip of the drawing-rooms, or the declamations of the daily Press.”[211] As for Lord Palmerston, his biographer{210} has published some letters which show how bitterly he resented his defeat. In one of these, addressed to the King of the Belgians, he rails at Austria and Prussia for taking advantage of the weakness of Denmark, at Denmark for obstinately putting herself in the wrong, and at France for not cooperating with England. “One consequence,” he says, “is clear and certain, that if our good friend and neighbour at Paris were to take it into his head to deprive Prussia of her Rhenish provinces, not a finger in England would be stirred, nor a voice raised, nor a man or a shilling voted, to resist such a retribution upon the Prussian monarch.” As the Power which seized the Rhine would have Belgium at its mercy, it would be difficult to imagine an English Minister addressing to a Belgian Sovereign a more maladroit expression of impotent discomfiture. Then, in autumn, Palmerston, replying to a letter from Lord Russell, writes, “You say that with less timidity around us we might probably have kept Austria quiet on the Danish affair. Perhaps we might; but then we had no equal pull upon Prussia, and she would have rallied all the German Powers round her, and we should equally have failed in saving Denmark.[212] As to Cabinets, if we had colleagues like those who sat in Pitt’s Cabinet, such as Westmoreland and others, or such men as those who were with Peel, like Goulburn and Hardinge, you and I might have our own way on most things; but when, as is now the case, able men fill every department, such men will have opinions, and hold to them; but, unfortunately, they are often too busy with their own department to follow up foreign questions so as to be fully masters of them, and their conclusions are generally on the timid side of what ought to be the best.”[213] The further development of the Danish Question need not be dwelt on here, as it affected the policy neither of the Cabinet nor of the Court. The Germans resumed the war as soon as the Conference broke up. Uninterrupted victory put them in complete possession of the Duchies, to which Denmark finally renounced all claim by the Treaty of Vienna, which was signed on the 18th of October.{211}


Disputes with American Belligerents—The Southern Privateers—Uneasiness of the Queen—Federal Recruiting in Ireland—Mr. Gladstone’s Budget—Revival of the Reform Agitation—Mr. Gladstone Joins the Reformers—“Essays and Reviews”—A Heresy-Hunt in Convocation—A Ribald Chancellor—The Parliamentary Duel between Wilberforce and Westbury—The Vote of Censure on Mr. Lowe—The Five Under-Secretaries and the House of Commons—Prorogation of Parliament—The Strife in the United States—Gambling in Cotton—A Commercial Panic in England—The Battle of Chancellorsville—Sherman’s March through Georgia—The Canadian Raiders—The Presidential Election—Birth of the Heir-Presumptive—Baptism of the Heir-Presumptive—The Queen’s Gift to her Little Grandson—The Queen and the Floods at Sheffield—The Murder of Mr. Briggs—The Queen Refuses a Reprieve to the Murderer—The Queen’s Letter to the Princess Louis—John Brown and the Queen’s Pony—Dr. Norman McLeod’s Message from the Queen—An Anniversary of Sorrow and Sympathy.

Next in importance to the Danish Question in 1864, were disputes which rose out of the relations of England to the belligerents in the American Civil War. The Southern States having no navy fit to cope with that of the Federal Government, had equipped swift steam cruisers which swept American commerce from the seas. They ran no risks in scuttling unarmed merchantmen, and their speed protected them from capture by men-of-war. The most formidable of these cruisers or privateers, such as the Alabama and the Georgia, had been built in English yards, usually under the pretence of being destined for some Foreign Power which was at peace. When they escaped to sea and got their armament on board, they hoisted their true colours, and set forth to prey on American commerce. It has been shown how the precautions which the authorities had taken to prevent the Southern cruisers from escaping were evaded. The authorities, however, were more successful in arresting certain steam-rams—which were being built at the yard of Messrs. Laird in Birkenhead—the sailing of which Mr. Adams warned Lord Russell would be taken by the Federal Government as an act of war. Lord Monck, then Viceroy of Canada, in a letter to the late Mr. A. Hayward, says that the arrest of the rams had produced a good effect in favour of the English Government on the official mind in America. On the other hand, the ship-building trade supported Messrs. Laird in denouncing the action of the authorities; and the Tory Opposition, and the sympathisers with the Slave States joined the shipbuilders in attacking the Government. These attacks were futile, but to avoid the annoyance of litigation, the Government virtually bribed Messrs. Laird into silence by buying the rams for her Majesty’s service. On the other hand, the partisans of the Northern States blamed the Government for being too generous in extending hospitality to the Southern cruisers, or “pirates,” as they were termed by the extreme Radicals of the period.{212} When the Georgia, a Confederate cruiser, which had been built on the Clyde, and secretly equipped by a Liverpool firm, put into Liverpool, it was pointed out that she ought not to be treated as a ship of war. She had been preying on the commerce of a friendly Power. Like a pirate, she had never taken her prizes to be condemned in a Prize Court, but had scuttled them on the high seas. She had never once been in any of the ports of the belligerent Power under whose flag she sailed, and altogether a very unpleasant precedent for a great Maritime State was being created by her reception at Liverpool. The Queen was understood to be somewhat uneasy on the subject, and Mr. Thomas Baring, on the part of the commercial community, expressed a similar feeling of discomfort. It was admitted that the Government had the power to exclude these vessels from English ports, but Ministers contended that it would be inexpedient to act so conspicuously in favour of one of the belligerents, between whom they desired to stand absolutely neutral. The Government could not be induced to go further than promise to remonstrate with the Confederates on account of the conduct of their agents in this country.[214] Complaints were then made that the Federal Government were surreptitiously carrying on a system of recruiting in Ireland. Of this no proof could be obtained, because of the cloak which emigration gave to the proceedings of the American agents. It was well known in Ireland that any able-bodied labourer who emigrated to New York could get a bounty of nearly £100 if he joined the colours. Hence, it is difficult to believe that the American “crimps” had any inducements to effect the enlistment of Irish recruits at Cork, rather than at New York. There is reason to think that the “crimps” infested passenger ships and cajoled emigrants during the voyage to enlist when they arrived at New York. But public opinion was satisfied that the Government could not effectually stop proceedings of this sort—especially on imperfect evidence.

In 1864 finance was again the mainstay of Lord Palmerston’s Administration. Mr. Gladstone had come to be regarded as a kind of fiscal magician. He rose superior to every reverse of fortune, and he had an expedient ready to meet every emergency. In spite of monetary panics, cotton famines, lavish military expenditure, and large remissions of taxation, the elasticity of the revenue under his fostering care supplied every deficit almost as soon as it was created. The public credit of England had never been higher; her finances had never been more stable or productive. On the 7th of April, when the Budget was introduced, he spoke to an overflowing House, and{213}

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princes, peers, foreign envoys, and men of distinction in all ranks gathered together to listen to the orator. The year had been uneventfully prosperous, and again the balances were on the right side of the national ledger. The revenue had produced £70,208,000, or £2,037,000 above the estimates; the expenditure had been £67,056,000, or £1,227,000 below the estimates. On the existing basis of taxation, Mr. Gladstone estimated for the coming year a revenue of £69,460,000; but his estimated expenditure was only £66,890,000, so that there was a large margin for financial readjustments. He got rid of £20,000 by modifying the duty on corn and grain and the tax on small licences; he devoted £1,330,000 to reduce the sugar duties, and by taking a penny off the Income Tax he sacrificed at once £800,000, though ultimately £1,200,000; he reduced the duty on fire insurances on stock-in-trade from 3s. to 1s. 6d. per £, which involved a loss of £283,000. The net result of his scheme was a loss of revenue of £2,332,000, while the relief from taxation amounted to £3,000,000. This left him with an estimated surplus for the coming year of £238,000. The Budget was popular, not only on its own account, but on account of the masterly exposition of the financial state of England which accompanied it. Englishmen read with swelling pride the{214} figures in which Mr. Gladstone congratulated them on a steady increase of £1,000,000 every year to their revenue—an increase due to its “inherent vigour.” As for the movement of trade, it was marvellous, the value of exports and imports having increased from £377,000,000 in 1871, to £444,000,000 in 1874. Nor was the Queen capable of concealing her satisfaction at the results of the great fiscal policy, the responsibility for initiating which, she and her husband had anxiously shared with Peel. It was the justification, not only of his foresight, but of their unswerving faith in his insight and ideas, that since 1842 the trade of her people had simply been trebled—that what men of business called their “turnover” had now reached the enormous sum of £1,500,000 for every working day of the year. It was not surprising that, with such mighty interests at stake, her Majesty cast her personal influence into the scale against Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell, who led the War Party in the Cabinet, and shrank from putting such a vast fabric of industry in jeopardy, merely to gratify the wounded vanity of a Minister who, having signed an invalid Treaty, was enraged because it was torn up under his eyes. Mr. Gladstone carried his Budget, though he failed to carry a useful measure to substitute the Scottish for the English system of collecting Imperial taxes.[215] He was successful, however, in spite of the clamour of the private companies, in passing a beneficial measure removing the restriction on Government life insurances.[216]

Lord Russell in his speech at Blairgowrie, in the recess of 1863, had told Reformers that they should “rest and be thankful.” In 1864, however, they not only refused to follow the advice, but were rewarded for their enterprise by taking captive no less prominent a personage than the Chancellor of the Exchequer. There had been the usual debate on the ballot, in which the old arguments for and against it were set forth in the old way. Mr. Locke King had revived his scheme for extending the £20 franchise to counties. But both projects had been rejected, and everybody felt that the cause of reform was once more shelved, till suddenly the whole question was quickened into life by Mr. Gladstone’s unexpected declaration of policy. Mr. Baines, one of the members for Leeds, had brought in a Bill substituting a £6 for a £10 rental in boroughs, and it was met by Mr. Cave moving the previous question, on the ground that the{215} working classes did not need or want any better representation of their interests than they enjoyed already. Mr. Gladstone, however, to the consternation of the Whigs and Tories, intervened in the debate, and declared that he thought there ought to be “a sensible and considerable addition” to the infinitesimal portion of the working classes then in possession of the franchise. This he defined to be such as would have been made by the Government proposal of 1860. The Whigs grew pale with fear when they heard him, amidst Radical cheers, declare “that every man who is not presumably incapacitated by some consideration of personal unfitness or political danger is morally entitled to come within the pale of the constitution.” The upper stratum of the working class which was deprived of votes was not inferior to the lower stratum of the middle class, which had votes—indeed, the one section of society was as worthy as the other. As Mr. Forster observed, this speech from the leading member of the Government in the House—Lord Palmerston was absent on the occasion—rendered it impossible for the Ministry to set aside the question of Reform much longer. All men saw that Parties would soon have to join issue and decide whether the country was to be governed by a Tory Ministry on Tory principles, or by a Liberal Ministry acting on Conservative ideas and in secret league with the Conservative Leaders. Mr. Baines’s Bill was got rid of by carrying the “previous question”—but from that day it was settled that the reversion of the leadership of the Liberal Party in the Commons must fall to Mr. Gladstone.

The Session would have been dull and leaden save for a debate with which the Peers diverted the town in the dog days. On the 15th of July Lord Houghton, in the House of Lords, protested against Convocation issuing a synodical condemnation of a now forgotten book entitled “Essays and Reviews,” in which seven clever clergymen discoursed with mild and timorous heterodoxy on seven burning theological questions. Current views were challenged in the light of modern German research and criticism, and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council had acquitted two of the authors who had been prosecuted for heresy.[217] Convocation, however, issued a synodical condemnation of the book which created a considerable sensation at the time, as it was the first occasion during a century and a half on which the Church of England asserted her claim to pronounce authoritatively in controversies of faith. Lord Houghton challenged the legality of the condemnation, and pressed the Government to take action in the matter. Lord Chancellor Westbury disposed of the subject in a provokingly contemptuous statement. There{216}

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were, he said, three modes of dealing with Convocation. The first was to take no notice of its proceedings when they were harmless; the second was, when it was likely to do mischief, to prorogue it and put an end to its power; the third was to bring its members to the bar of justice. To pass such a judgment as had been pronounced on “Essays and Reviews,” Lord Westbury held was technically a usurpation of the prerogative of the Crown as the head of the Anglican Church. Hence members of Convocation had rendered themselves liable to the penalties of præmunire, and to appear as penitents in sackcloth and ashes. Something like £40,000 in fines, he declared, might be exacted from them, but still the Government in the circumstances meant to take no action. Solvuntur risu tabulæ. Westbury’s mincing sneering tones would have sufficed to stir the old Adam in militant ecclesiastics, but it happened that in describing a synodical judgment he directed a personal attack with biting wit and bad taste against the Bishop of Oxford. Such a sentence could not conveniently be dealt with, said Westbury, because “it was a set of what he might call well-lubricated words, but it was a sentence so oily, so absurd, and so saponaceous[218] that no one could grasp it, but, like an eel, it slipped through the fingers. It must mean something or nothing, and he was glad to be able to tell his noble friend (Lord Houghton) that it had literally no signification whatever.” Wilberforce{217}

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lifted the gage of battle with the spirit of a trained gladiator of debate, and he certainly had not the worst of the duel. “If,” said he, “a man has no respect for himself, he ought at all events to respect the tribunal before which he speaks, and when the highest representative of the law of England in your Lordships’ Court, upon a matter involving the liberties of the subject and the religion of the Realm, and all those high truths concerning which this discussion is, can think it fitting to descend to a ribaldry in which he knows that he can safely indulge, because those to whom he addresses it will have too much respect for their character to answer it in like sort, I say that this House has ground to complain of having its high character unnecessarily injured in the sight of the people of this land by one occupying so high a position within it.”[219] The edifying spectacle of a{218} Bishop and the Keeper of the Queen’s Conscience waking the funereal echoes of the House of Lords with acrimonious personalities naturally enlivened the London season of 1864. Quite a year elapsed before the Bishop of Oxford and Lord Westbury resumed anything approaching friendly relations.

Two other personal questions marked the history of Parliament during the year. Lord Robert Cecil carried a resolution virtually censuring Mr. Robert Lowe (afterwards Lord Sherbrooke), the Vice-President of the Council, for cutting out of the Reports of Inspectors of Schools all views which were not in accordance with his own. Mr. Lowe resigned, Mr. H. A. Bruce being appointed in his place. But subsequently the report of a Committee exculpated Mr. Lowe, and the Resolution which censured him, was, on Lord Palmerston’s motion, rescinded. The other personal discussion arose out of a curious oversight by which five under-secretaries were placed in the House of Commons. Mr. Disraeli showed very clearly that, according to law, only four Secretaries of State and four under-secretaries could sit in the Representative Chamber, and the Prime Minister had in consequence to redistribute the Ministerial offices so as to meet the requirements of the Statute. A Select Committee reported that this breach of the law did not vacate the seats of any of these officials, but the House passed a Bill of Indemnity releasing them from any penalty that might possibly attach to the violation of the established practice.

Parliament was prorogued by Commission on the 29th of July, and it left the country satisfied with its relations to Foreign Powers and in a state of expectancy as to domestic reforms. The Eastern Question was virtually in abeyance in 1864, the ruler of the Danubian principalities having formed a government on the basis of a revolution organised on a Napoleonic model. The Ionian Islands were formally ceded by England to Greece. Russia was stamping out the last embers of the Polish insurrection, and she had still further ingratiated herself with the Polish peasants by the Imperial Ukase of the 6th of March, which released them from the oppressive rights of their landlords. Circassia was annexed, and the tide of Russian expansion was beginning to set in the direction of Central Asia. France and Italy by a convention signed at Paris, had come to an agreement, first, that French troops should quit Rome, and that Italy should pledge herself to respect the territory of the Holy See. At the same time Italy resolved to transfer her capital from Turin to Florence, the reason being that Florence was less exposed to an attack from France or Austria. The French Emperor had the good fortune in the course of the year to see his protégé, the Archduke Maximilian crowned in the Mexican capital, and the Latin Empire of the West recognised by the chief European Powers. The Government of the United States withheld its recognition, but the House of Representatives at Washington on the 5th of April passed a resolution declaring that the people of the United States would never recognise a Monarchy under the protection of a{219} European Power, which had been established in the Western Hemisphere on the ruins of an American Republic.

But the truth is, that after the defeat of the War Party on the Danish Question, the English people in 1864 felt little interest in any foreign affairs save the Civil War in the United States, which is, however, hardly a foreign nation to Englishmen. They followed every phase of that struggle as closely as if it had been one of their own. The commercial community had good reason for doing so. Cotton was the favourite article for gambling with, and, when prices had risen to their highest point, suddenly rumours flew round to the effect that the war was coming to an end. Both sides were said to be tired of strife, and even Republican organs and orators began to hint that the end of Mr. Lincoln’s term of office in March, 1865, and the election of a new President in November, 1864, offered a good opportunity for a truce to hostilities. The Democratic Party were in favour of assembling a Convention of all the States to argue the points at issue between North and South, and everybody began to talk as if the Southern ports would soon be open. The price of cotton and the prices of other staples that had risen with it fell at once, and speculators for the rise were ruined. In September the pressure on the Money Market was enormously increased. The Leeds Bank failed; general distrust prevailed as to all financial institutions; and the Bank of England raised its rate of discount to 9 per cent. But when the weak and unstable firms were eliminated, low prices began to rule and attract buyers once again, and at the end of the year confidence revived, and the Bank rate dropped to 6 per cent. The wavering and tortuous policy of the Cabinet during the Danish Conference certainly produced one panic in the City during the early part of the year. Till spring let loose the dogs of war in America, the Northern and Southern armies were inactive. In April the rank of Lieutenant-General was conferred by Congress on General Grant, who took supreme command of all the Federal forces. He resolved to conduct the campaign in Virginia, while to General Sherman was entrusted the command of the Western army on the southern frontier of Tennessee. In the beginning of May both forces made their first move. On the 3rd of May Grant resolved to strike at Richmond, and he sent Meade with his main body over the Rapidan, so that he might gain the shelter of the wooded country south of Chancellorsville before General Lee, who covered Richmond, could attack him. Lee, however, foiled this movement by his prompt attack of the 5th and 6th of May, during which days the battle of Chancellorsville raged without ceasing. The Confederate Generals Longstreet and Jenkins fell in this fight, the result of which was not quite decisive. On former occasions, when Burnside and Hooker met with such an attack, they had shrunk from proceeding farther on the road to Richmond. But Grant was undaunted by the losses he had suffered, and persistently pressed Lee by flanking movements, which drove him back step by step. In Gran{220}t’s

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own words, he kept “pegging away” till, on the 19th of May, Lee, by an artful feigned attack on the Federal right, was able to effect a retreat with his main army to a position twenty miles in front of Richmond. Grant’s losses during these ten days were enormous. On the 16th of May 33,800 of his wounded were under treatment in the hospitals in various parts of the country. Lee’s position on the right was covered by a swamp, and on the left by a rivulet. His front was defended by a curved line of works, the convexity of which projected forward. Grant’s object was now to get between Lee and Richmond. Lee’s object was to compel Grant to attack him before he could reach Richmond, and, as he could always move on a smaller arc than that on which Grant had to manœuvre, the strategic advantage was with Lee. He could always keep his face to the foe, and have the lines of Richmond in his rear as a refuge. On the line of the Chickahominy, attack followed counter-attack, but it was observed that in every instance the attacking party failed, for the configuration of the country enabled troops to entrench themselves easily. In June Grant suddenly changed his plans, and{221}

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transferred his whole army to the south side of the James River.[220] He failed to surprise Petersburg on the 16th of Jane, and he then formed an entrenched camp on the angle between the James River and the Appomattox. Lee had now forced him to describe more than half the circuit of Richmond, and, in spite of all his sacrifices, he was no nearer his objective point. Concerted movements by Butler on the James River and by Hunter in the neighbourhood of Lynchburg were foiled by the Confederates, and Grant’s next attack on Petersburg on the 26th of July was repelled. In September, however, he pushed his left wing across the Welden Valley, and menaced the remaining{222} communications between Richmond and the South. The Confederate General Early about the same time effected a diversion by crossing the Potomac, and threatening Washington and Baltimore, but he was driven back by Sheridan. Richmond, however, was now invested by 100,000 enemies, and night and day the thundering of cannon broke on the ears of its inhabitants.

In the west the Federals were more successful. Sherman, starting with a splendid army from Chattanooga in May, drove Johnston before him towards Atalanta, which was evacuated by the Confederates on the 27th of September. The Confederate General, Hood, however, by a rapid movement passed round Sherman’s right wing, and cut his communications with the North. Whenever Sherman attacked him, Hood turned towards Alabama. Then the daring and original idea occurred to Sherman to quit Atalanta—which could not be conveniently held while Hood hovered over his rear—and march straight onwards through Georgia to the sea. He left Thomas with 20,000 men to hold Hood in Tennessee, whilst he himself with 50,000 men proceeded to devastate Georgia by fire and sword. His march was marked by a track of desolation from forty to fifty miles broad. As the year closed he received the capitulation of Savannah, and demonstrated to the world by his marvellous strategy that the Southern Confederacy was like a nut with a hard shell, but no kernel inside. It is the mark of genius to convert defeat into victory, and this was the feat that Sherman achieved when Hood, by cutting his communications with the North, suggested to him the daring stroke by which he pierced the very vitals of the Confederacy. It need hardly be said that Sherman’s march through Georgia was represented to the English people by many aristocratic organs as a retreat, and that his abandonment of Atalanta, when Hood worked round his right, was hailed by Society as a supreme disaster for “the bubble Republic.” At sea the Federals were also fortunate. In June the United States ship of war Kersarge sank the Alabama near Cherbourg, and the Wachusett captured the Florida, though by a violation of the laws of neutrality, in the harbour of Bahia. Confederate partisans from Canada had made futile raids on the territory of New York, thereby increasing the animosity of the Americans against England. The Canadian authorities no doubt arrested the raiders, but they also discharged them because of some technical flaw in their jurisdiction. President Lincoln in July called out a fresh draft of 500,000 men for service, and this did not tend to make the war popular at the beginning of the year. The enormous sacrifices of life which Grant’s strategy involved, also strengthened the hands of the Peace Party or Democrats. When arrangements had to be made for choosing Presidential candidates there was a strange cleavage of Parties. The old Abolitionists nominated General Fremont. The Republican Party, however, at the Baltimore Convention, nominated Mr. Lincoln. The Democrats, on the other hand, selected General McClellan. His manifesto practically meant that he desired negotiations to be opened up for the purpose of{223} restoring the Union with slavery on the old footing—but the Union must be restored. This alienated a strong faction of Democrats, who were for peace at any price—even at the price of cutting the Slave States adrift—and dissolving the Union. General Fremont withdrew, and it was soon evident, especially when news of Sherman’s successes came in, that Mr. Lincoln, as the representative of the national war policy, was the popular favourite.

Very early in the year, on the 8th of January, the Queen had the gratification of learning that a son and heir had been born to the Prince and Princess of Wales. The event was not expected by her Majesty till March, so that no preparations had been made by the Queen or her Household, at Frogmore—where the Princess was staying at the time—for the accouchement. “There was no nurse,” writes Lord Malmesbury in his Diary, “no baby-linen, and no doctor, except Mr. Brown, the Windsor physician, who attended [the Princess] and brought the child into the world, for which it is said he will be made a knight and receive £500. Lady Macclesfield was fortunately in waiting, and as she has had a great many children, she was probably of use. Lord Granville was the only Minister in attendance, having come to dine with the Prince, and there was not time to summon the others, as the Princess was not ill more than three hours. She had been to see the skating, and did not return to Frogmore till four o’clock, soon after which she was taken ill.”[221] A telegram was sent to the Queen at Osborne immediately after the birth of the little Prince, and next day Frogmore was a scene of busy excitement—Ministers of State and the chief members of the nobility thronging in large numbers to offer their congratulations to the Prince of Wales. All over the kingdom the birth of the Prince was hailed with demonstrations of joy, and in London, when the news was announced, the Tower guns fired a double Royal salute. On the 10th of March, the first anniversary of the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales, their child was christened in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace, the Queen being present on the occasion. The King of the Belgians was also there, and among the company were the Duke of Cambridge, Lord Palmerston, many Ministers of State, and nearly all the representatives of Foreign Courts. The King of the Belgians and Princess Helena represented the Crown Prince and Princess of Prussia, who were sponsors, the others being the Duchess of Cambridge; the Dowager Duchess of Sleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg; Prince John of Sleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg representing the King of Denmark; the Grand Duchess of Mecklenberg-Strelitz representing the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; Prince Alfred and the Duke of Cambridge. Crimson velvet, panelled with gold lace, covered the altar of the chapel. The splendid church plate was displayed, and seats covered with crimson and gold were arranged within the rail for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, and the officiating clergy. Over the{224} altar was hung a rich piece of tapestry, representing the Baptism of our Saviour. A fluted white plinth, picked out with gold, supported the font, which was a tazza of silver-gilt, the rim representing the flowers and leaves of the water-lily, whilst a group of cherubs were shown playing round the base. The Queen, who was dressed in black silk and crape, formed a sombre figure in this brilliant assembly. The Lord Chamberlain and the Groom of the Stole conducted the infant Prince into the chapel, his Royal Highness being carried in the arms of his nurse, Mrs. Clark, and attended by the Countess of Macclesfield, one of the Ladies of the Bedchamber to the Princess of Wales. The little Prince wore the same robe of rich Honiton lace which had been used for his father at his christening. When the Archbishop came to that part of the service for naming the child, he asked how it should be named. The Queen answered quite audibly, “Albert Victor Christian Edward,” and his Grace accordingly baptised it in these names. After the ceremony was over the company proceeded to the Green Drawing-room and the Picture-gallery, and shortly afterwards partook of a cold luncheon with the Royal Family in the supper-room. In the evening the Prince and Princess of Wales gave a banquet at Marlborough House, where some embarrassment was said at the time to have been caused by Count Bernstoff, the Prussian Minister, refusing to drink the health of the King of Denmark. This incident was for a few days eagerly canvassed by the gossips of clubland, but Bernstoff himself always denied the tale. In fact, he was so much annoyed by the persistency with which it was repeated in Society that he sent an official contradiction to Earl Russell.[222] Among the baptismal gifts one of the most striking was that which was presented by the Queen to her little grandson. It was a beautiful little statuette of the Prince Consort, made to the Queen’s design, and with inscriptions written by herself. The Prince’s figure is clad in gilt armour, copied from the effigy of the Earl of Warwick, in St. Mary’s Church, Warwick, and he is represented as Christian in the “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Round the plinth is the verse from Timothy—“I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” On the stump of an old oak behind the figure rests Christian’s helmet, while hard by are the lilies of purity which one always associates with old pictures of the Pilgrim. Beneath the plinth and in front of the entablature of the pedestal is the inscription, “Given to Albert Victor Christian Edward on the occasion of his baptism by Victoria R., his grandmother, and godmother, in memory of Albert, his beloved grandfather.” Appropriate verses written by Mrs. Protheroe, wife of the rector of Whippingham, the Queen’s parish church at Osborne, are inscribed on three of the panels. Beneath the front panel, over the figures 1864, are inscribed in large letters the Prince’s name, and the dates of his birth and baptism.{225} Figures of Faith and Hope, in oxidised silver, stand at the right and left side of the work, and in a third niche behind is the figure of Charity. At the side of each figure are lilies in enamel, and on the frieze over the figure of Faith are the words, “Walk as he walked in—Faith,” the last word being inscribed beneath the figure. This pretty conceit is carried all through. For in the same way one reads, “Strive as he strove in—Hope,” and over the third group one reads, “Think as he thought in—Charity.” To the right of the Prince of Wales’s shield is an infant boy looking up at a full-blown rose on a perfect stem, and beside it a white lily, whilst over the baby fingers droop a cluster of snowdrops, emblematic of the dawning flower-life of the year. The rose, shamrock, and thistle are worked into the background.

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(From a Photograph by Hughes and Mullins, Ryde.)

The day after the ceremony at Buckingham Palace was marked by a catastrophe which seriously shocked the Queen. The Bradfield reservoir of the Sheffield Waterworks burst, and the letting loose of its pent-up waters spread desolation far and wide all along the river from Bradfield to Sheffield. Whole villages were swept down the Valley of the Don, and places once populous were suddenly converted into a swamp of mud, with here and there a broken{226} mill wheel left to mark the site of what had once been a happy hive of industry. Some of the streets of Sheffield itself were flooded, and low-lying, open spaces were turned into lakes dotted with islands formed by rubbish heaps. Wreckage of all kinds and the corpses of the drowned marked the track of the current. The disaster was appalling in the suddenness of its occurrence. The first intimation that hundreds of people had of it was the lifting up of their beds by the water as they lay asleep in their homes. In Sheffield, during the stillness of the night, those who were awake said they suddenly heard an unearthly roar which increased in volume, that this was succeeded by a hissing noise, as of angry waves dashing on sharp and beetling crags, and then by weird shrieks, soon followed by the rush of a panic-stricken crowd, flying with their families from the neighbourhood of the river for safety, and crying, “Oh, God! the flood! the flood!” Some 270 lives were lost, and property to the value of £1,000,000 was destroyed. A relief fund was at once started both in Sheffield and in London, and on the 16th of January Mr. Roebuck, M.P. for Sheffield, received the following letter, which testified to the sympathetic interest with which the Queen had read the accounts of what had happened:—

“Sir,—I have had the honour to submit to her Majesty the Queen your letter received last night. Her Majesty had already directed me to make inquiry whether any subscription had been commenced for the relief of the sufferers by the fearful calamity which has occurred near Sheffield. The Queen has commanded me to inform you that it is her Majesty’s intention to contribute £200 towards the objects advocated in your letter. Her Majesty has commanded me to add the expression of her deep sympathy for the poor persons thus suddenly overwhelmed with grief, and exposed to suffering of every description in consequence of this unexpected and dire calamity. As I am not aware of the name of the treasurer, I shall be very much obliged to you if you will take the trouble to forward the enclosed cheque to the proper quarter.

“I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient humble servant,
“C. B. Phipps.”
An official investigation was made into the cause of the disaster, in the course of which Mr. Rawlinson, the eminent engineer, said, “Several causes may have led to the catastrophe—a fractured pipe, a blown or drawn joint, a creep along the pipes, a pressing down of the pipes in the puddle-trench by the heavy material on both sides of it, or the washing away of the outer slope by a landslip, caused by undiscovered fissures and springs in communication with the interior of the reservoir, which fissures and springs, if they existed, would become active for mischief as the water rose in the reservoir.” The general opinion was that a mistake had been made in laying pipes in the centre of the embankment upon an artificially compressible material—that the bursting of some of these pipes caused a great volume of water suddenly to blow a chasm in the embankment. The celebrated Telford was always opposed to laying pipes through the embankment of a dam, and there could be little doubt that the coroner’s jury came to the right conclusion when they declared in their verdict, that the works had not been constructed with{227} the engineering skill and attention which their magnitude and importance demanded.

On the 30th of April the Queen appeared in public for the first time since the death of the Prince Consort. She visited the gardens of the Horticultural Society, where a flower-show was going on, but the weather was bleak and cold and sleety, and the company assembled to see her were fain to take shelter in the conservatory. She was dressed in deep mourning, yet the visitors all agreed that her appearance was less downcast than they had been led to expect, and she was observed to chat cheerfully with the ladies and gentlemen who were around her. This year, it may also be observed, the Queen’s birthday was kept in London, with all the old ceremonies of high state, for the first time since Prince Albert’s death. The Guards trooped their colours in presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales, and the church bells of the “three Royal Parishes” in London—Westminster, Kensington, and St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields—rang out their most joyous chimes. There was a floral fête at the Horticultural Gardens, and the houses of Ministers of State, of the Clubs, the Government Offices, together with the shops of the Royal tradesmen at the West End, were illuminated as in old times. From May to August the Queen had enjoyed the company of the Princess Louis of Hesse, but when autumn set in and Parliament had been prorogued, the Court migrated to Scotland, and on the 28th of August the Queen broke her journey at Perth to inaugurate a statue to the Prince Consort. The Lord Provost and magistrates of the “Fair City,” and all the local magnates of the county gave her a cordial welcome, and in her suite were the Princess Helena, the Princess Louise, the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Princess Beatrice, and Prince Leopold, the Marchioness of Ely, Sir Charles Wood, and Sir Charles Phipps. After the Queen uncovered the statue, which was greatly admired, she conferred the honour of Knighthood on Lord Provost Ross.

The Prince and Princess of Wales left the Highlands in the beginning of September for Denmark, and the Queen’s holiday was restful and quiet. The only incident that troubled it seriously was due to the pressure which was put upon her to save the life of Franz Müller, the murderer of Mr. Briggs, chief clerk of Messrs. Robarts and Co., the great bankers in the City. Müller had murdered Mr. Briggs in a railway carriage on the night of the 9th July, between Fenchurch Street Station and Hackney Wick, and after robbing his victim threw his body out on the line. He exchanged Mr. Briggs’ watch-chain for another at the shop of a jeweller called Death in Cheapside, who identified his photograph. He left a hat in the carriage which was traced to him. He then fled to America. The crime was perpetrated with ruthless brutality, and for a time railway travelling was rendered an agony to nervous passengers. The detective police had displayed great skill in following up every clue that led them on the track of the criminal, and their exciting pursuit of him across the Atlantic, his arrest in New York, his return, his{228} trial, at which counsel fought for his life with great courage and audacity, his conviction, his stoical denial of guilt, till at the last moment as the hangman drew the fatal bolt he uttered his confession, with the halter tightening round his throat—all contributed to rivet public attention on this most melodramatic of atrocities. A clever attempt at proving an alibi had been made by his counsel, and there were some who believed in Müller’s innocence. The German colony in England took up his case most warmly, and it was whispered that the Queen herself was among those who feared that a judicial murder would be committed if Müller were hanged. For many days nothing else but his chances of being reprieved were discussed, and the King of Prussia, not to mention several other German Princes, sent autograph letters to the Queen pressing her to pardon the assassin. But her Majesty had watched the case carefully. She refused to interfere with the course of justice, and her prudence was justified by Müller’s strange confession, made just at the moment when he leapt into eternity.[223]

The Queen’s correspondence with the Princess Louis of Hesse seems at this time to have become again overcast by the gloom of her great sorrow. Amidst the solemn silence of her mountain home, the Queen felt the loss of the Prince Consort more acutely than while immersed in the busy life of the political year at Windsor. Her younger children were growing apace, and she now felt the need of her husband’s wise and kindly counsel in educating them for their high station. To the Princess Louis she confided her thoughts, and in one of her Royal Highness’s letters to the Queen, bearing date 20th of September, the following passage on the subject occurs:—“… What you say about the poor sisters, and, indeed, of all the younger ones, is true. The little brothers and Beatrice are those who have lost most, poor little things! I can’t bear to think of it, for dear papa, more peculiarly than any other father, was wanted for his children; and he was the dear friend and even playfellow besides. Such a loss as ours is indeed unique. Time only increases its magnitude, and the knowledge of the want is felt more keenly.”[224] In November the birth of a little grand-daughter at Hesse (the Princess Elizabeth) gave rise to an affectionate interchange of letters between the Queen and the Princess Louis, and in one of these she refers to the efforts made by those round her Majesty to free her from the tyranny of her sad thoughts. “We are both much pleased,” writes the Princess Louis to the Queen on the 20th of November, “at the arrangement about Brown and your pony, and I think it is so sensible. I am sure it will do you good, and relieve a little the monotony of your out-of-door existence, besides doing your nerves good. I had long wished you would do something of the kind, for indeed only driving is not wholesome.” On the 18th of December Dr. Norman McLeod, writing in his Diary at Darmstadt, says:—“I was invited{229}

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(After W. Holl’s Engraving of the Original Portrait by Graefle. By Permission of Mr. Mitchell, Old Bond Street, W.)


by Prince Alfred to spend the fourth anniversary of his father’s death with him at Darmstadt. The Queen commanded me to see her before I went, so on Monday I went to Windsor. I told her that the more I was confided in, the more I felt my responsibility to speak the truth.”[225] Dr. McLeod was charged with loving messages to the Princess Louis, who, on December 15, writes to the Queen in reply as follows:—“I had not a moment to myself to write to you yesterday, and to thank you for the kind lines you sent me through dear Dr. McLeod. He gave us a most beautiful service, a sermon giving an outline of dear papa’s noble, great, and good character, and there were most beautiful allusions to you in his prayer, in which we all prayed together most earnestly for you, precious mamma! We talked long together afterwards about dear papa, and about you, and, though absent, were very near you in thought and prayer. Dear Vicky[226] talked so lovingly and tenderly of you, of how home-sick she sometimes felt. She was not with us on that dreadful day three years ago, and that is so painful to her. Dear Affie[227] was, as we all were, so much overcome by all Dr. McLeod said. Vicky, Affie, Louis, and myself sat in the little dining-room; he read to us there. Fritz had left early in the morning. The day was passed quietly and peaceably together, and I was most grateful to have dear Vicky and Affie with me on that day.[228] My dear Louis wishes me to express to you how tenderly he thought of you, and with what sympathy on this sad anniversary. Never can we cease talking of home, of you, and of all your trials.” If these trials were heavy, they were, even in the darkest hours of the Queen’s life, lightened by the love with which her children cherished her.{231}


Opening of Parliament—Lord Russell and the American Government—Catholicism and Conservatism—Mr. Disraeli angles for the Irish Vote—Palmerston on Tenant Right—Another Panic in Piccadilly—Death of Cobden—Failure of the “Manchester School”—A Prosperity Budget and a Round Surplus—End of the American War—Moderation of the Victors—Assassination of President Lincoln—Reorganising the South—Conflict between President Johnson and the Republican Party—The Mexican Empire and the United States—The Danish Question—The Convention of Gastein—Bismarck’s Interview with the Duke of Augustenburg—The Mystery of Biarritz—Lord Chancellor Westbury’s Fall—Death and Character of Palmerston—The New Ministry—Mr. Gladstone Leader of the Commons—The Rinderpest—The Fenian Conspiracy—The Queen’s Letter on Railway Accidents—Laxity of Administration in the Queen’s Household—Birth of Prince George of Wales—Majority of Prince Alfred—The Queen at Gotha—The Betrothal of the Princess Helena—The Last Illness and Death of King Leopold of Belgium—His Character and Career—Suppressing a Rebellion with a Carpet-Bag.

Brighter prospects dawned on the year 1865 than could have been anticipated. England was at peace with all the world, and in spite of Lord Palmerston’s irritation against the German Powers, it was certain that the country would not permit him to engage actively in Continental broils. The Civil War in America, so disastrous to Lancashire, was drawing to a close; and though a dubious and desultory conflict with the Maoris in New Zealand was going on, the scene of strife was far away, and the struggle but slightly affected the course of business. Trade was sound and healthy, and the cotton famine had almost disappeared. Lord Palmerston’s Cabinet still held its ground, and though its aged chief had begun to show signs of physical decay, his high spirits and indefatigable energy gave no indication that the end of his career was at hand. Two of the four or five great ladies of fashion who had for forty years exercised a far-reaching, though unseen, influence on political life—Lady Tankerville and Lady Willoughby d’Eresby—had died in January, within a few days of each other. Lady Palmerston was thus left as almost the sole representative of those grandes dames of politics who were the flower and crown of the old order of society, soon destined to perish under the touch of democratic reform. Parliament was opened by Commission on the 7th of February. The Speech from the Throne, which was read by the Lord Chancellor, referred to the Treaty of Peace between the Emperor of Austria, the King of Prussia, and the King of Denmark, and declared that no renewed disturbance of the peace of Europe was to be apprehended. It regretted the conflict with some of the native tribes in New Zealand, and rejoiced at the tranquillity of our Indian dominions. It spoke with confidence of the condition of Ireland. The Message from the Throne further promised the introduction of Bills for the amendment of the laws{232} relating to patents for inventions, and for conferring on the county courts an equitable jurisdiction in actions involving small amounts. A Bill for inquiring into English public schools was promised, and her Majesty directed that a commission should be issued to inquire into endowed and other schools in England. Lord Derby, though he bore traces of suffering from repeated attacks of gout, was able to speak with fluency and power, but the debates on the Address, it must be admitted, were not interesting, nor did they evoke any material opposition. Discussions took place upon the condition of the Irish peasantry, emigration, the tenure of land, tenant right, and the Established Church. The approaching triumph of the Northern States in the American Civil War was plainly foreshadowed by the increasing civility of Lord Russell’s references to the Federal Government. In a discussion on our foreign relations, he vindicated the neutral policy which his Administration had pursued towards both belligerents, but towards the conqueror his neutrality was now obviously benevolent. He pointed out how Confederate agents were continually employed either in building vessels in this country, or in buying merchant ships which might afterwards be sent to France and other places that they might be fitted out as armed cruisers against the commerce of the United States, and this he now discovered gave rise to the “natural irritation” of the United States against England. The Americans, he said, saw a number of ships, which had come in some way or another from English ports or English rivers, afterwards equipped as men-of-war for the purpose of destroying their sea-borne commerce. It was to be expected that they should wax angry with us in consequence. Still, Lord Russell urged that the Government had done everything in their power to prevent this country from being made the basis of warlike operations against the Federal Government.

In those days Mr. Pope Hennessy was one of the most active and aggressive members of the Irish Party. He had been advanced in public life by the social influence of Cardinal Wiseman, and had attached himself to the Tories as one of Mr. Disraeli’s partisans. His object was to revive, if possible, those Nationalist ideas which Mr. Disraeli had promulgated when bidding for the Irish vote in 1844. Mr. Disraeli’s object in cultivating his enthusiasm was to use him as an agent in cementing “the natural alliance between Catholicism and Conservatism,” which at the time he was most anxious to promote. Early in the Session, then, a lively discussion was initiated by Mr. Hennessy on Irish affairs, obviously with the intention of eliciting from the Ministry declarations that would tend to render Lord Palmerston’s Cabinet unpopular in Ireland. Mr. Hennessy’s motion was “that this House observes with regret the decline of the population of Ireland, and will readily support her Majesty’s Government in any well-devised measure to stimulate the profitable employment of the people; and that an address to the Crown be prepared, founded on the foregoing resolution.” The resolution was supported by a number of speakers, both Irish{233}

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and English, among whom were prominent Conservatives, like Sir Stafford Northcote and Lord Robert Cecil, and prominent Whigs like Sir Patrick O’Brien and Mr. Monsell. It was opposed on the part of the Government by Mr. Gladstone, Sir Robert Peel, and Sir George Grey. Sir Stafford Northcote, in speaking on the motion, indicated very plainly that his leaders had already begun to angle for the Irish vote. Ireland, said he, had been crippled by English legislation, and Parliament “ought to approach this question with a feeling of tenderness,” and a desire to see how far it was possible to remedy that grievance. Lord Palmerston concluded the debate with a speech which has been rendered historic by one of its phrases. He said, “Until by some means there can be provided in Ireland the same remuneration for labour and the same inducements to remain which are afforded by other countries, you cannot, by any laws which you can devise, prevent the people from seeking elsewhere a better condition of things than exists in their own country. We are told that tenant right and a great many other things will do it. None of these things will have the slightest effect.{234} As to tenant right, I may be allowed to say that I think it is equivalent to landlord’s wrong.” In 1865 the idea that there was, and ever had been since the conquest of Ireland, a dual ownership in Irish soil—an ownership which naturally and equitably follows from the relations of an unimproving landlord to an improving tenant, had not yet dawned on the English mind.

One of the results of what Lord Russell called the “natural irritation” of the American people against England was a feeling of much uneasiness as to the safety of Canada. Confederate agents had attempted to make raids on Northern territory from Canadian soil. Threats of reprisals had proceeded from the organs of public opinion in the United States, and something approaching a panic was created in England, when the Federal Government gave formal notice that it was their intention to terminate the Convention under which England and the United States had mutually agreed not to fit out ships of war on the great lakes. It was also suggested that the American Government would soon “denounce” in similar fashion the Treaty of Commerce between the United States and Canada. In the House of Commons the Government was closely questioned on all these complications by Sir J. Walsh, who declared that the steps taken by the Federal Government were tantamount to a declaration of war. Palmerston tried to soothe these fears, and Earl Russell in the Upper House lavished conciliatory flattery on the United States, complimenting them on the patience with which they had endured the unsympathetic demeanour of England—the most unendurable element in which had been the tone of superfine insolence that marked his own despatches.[229] Yet all this time there was perfect tranquillity on the Canadian frontier. The Canadians did not seem to dread an American attack. The American Government, under Mr. Lincoln, in spite of the Irish War Party, was almost fanatically pacific. The truth was, as Mr. Bright said, that English anxiety as to the safety of Canada was due to a feeling “in our heart of hearts that we had not behaved generously to our neighbours; a twitching of the conscience that tended to make cowards of us at this particular juncture.” As usual the people had to pay for this panic in Piccadilly. The Government demanded a vote of £200,000 for the defences of the Canadian frontier, of which Lord Hartington, on behalf of the War Office, proposed to spend £20,000 in fortifying Quebec. As against the{235} United States the frontier of Canada was of course practically indefensible. There was, therefore, reason in the contention of independent critics that such an expenditure might be regarded by the Americans as a provoking menace, rather than as a rational precaution.

By a sad coincidence, whilst these discussions were going on, the hand of death was being laid on the statesman who was of all men most competent to represent those who doubted the possibility of defending Canada. Richard Cobden, who declared that it would be just as possible for the United States to sustain Yorkshire in a war with England, as for England to enable Canada to contend against the United States, was sickening with his last illness. On the 2nd of April he died, and with him passed away the purest, most generous, and most chivalrous paladin of English Liberalism in the House of Commons. Men of all parties joined in doing homage to his memory. Mr. Disraeli vied with Mr. Bright in passing an eulogium on his public services. The Emperor of the French sent a letter of condolence to his widow. In the United States he was mourned by the American people as if he had been one of their own citizens. Mr. Bright said in the House, “I little knew how I loved him till I lost him,” and it indeed seemed as if this feeling were universal throughout England. Cobden’s disinterested honesty, the charm of his sweet and sympathetic nature, the fascination of his earnest, persuasive and transparently lucid eloquence, his buoyant courage, and his genuine devotion to the English people, all contributed to build up the fabric of his reputation and his popularity. His mission in life had been to beat down the power of the territorial aristocracy, which, in his youth, ruled England in the interest of a few rival groups of great families. In their place he imagined he could put a new order of merchant princes and Captains of Industry—an order of liberal-minded and highly-cultured men whose fortunes were bound up with the interest of Labour, and whose public spirit and civil capacity might recall the era of the Medici in Italy, and of the De Witts in the Low Countries. The leading ideas of the “Manchester School,” which he was credited with founding, have long since ceased to influence the English mind, though some of them have had enough vitality to survive the caprice of circumstances and the course of time. Cobden’s errors sprang from the fact that he believed that political power was to be finally centred in and wielded by the middle-classes. For example, it was for their interests to narrow as much as possible the Imperial responsibilities of England. Therefore, whilst he advocated Colonial autonomy it was not with a view to facilitate Imperial Federation, but to prepare the colonies for an independent existence, which should at once free us from the expense of defending them, and enrich us by the profits of their trade. On the other hand, the working classes regard the colonies as a heritage to be jealously preserved for their order, and the success of Federalism in the United States has induced them to dream of making a similar experiment within the British Empire. Obviously nothing{236} could be more completely at variance with Cobden’s doctrines than these ideas. His scheme of policy was in fact faulty, because it was based on enriching a plutocracy, which, however, has not used its wealth for the purposes he had in view. It has, on the contrary, spent its resources in imitating and reproducing the worst qualities of the old feudal nobility, whose power Cobden desired to destroy. As the result of his policy, and the triumph of that part of it which accumulated wealth in the hands of the manufacturing classes, the country had a House of Commons in 1865, which was as much opposed to Reform as the House of Lords in 1832. For Cobden the irony of fate could hardly have been more cruel.

The financial statement of the year was preceded by motions in the House of Commons, for the purpose of obtaining a Parliamentary pledge for the remission of certain duties, which were considered a blot on the fiscal system. One was the Malt Tax, for the repeal or modification of which a desultory agitation had been promoted by the Tories for some years in the agricultural districts. The other motion was in favour of a further reduction of the duties on Fire Insurance. Though the Anti-Malt Tax agitators were beaten, the opponents of the Fire Insurance duties prevailed against the Government. The public had been informed by the Royal Speech that the receipts of the revenue had come up to the estimates; but this information rather understated the fact. The prosperity of the finances, in truth, had exceeded the most sanguine calculations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Remissions of taxation were consequently looked for, and speculation was busy with conjectures as to the quarter in which reductions would be proposed. The 27th of April was appointed for the financial statement, and on that day Mr. Gladstone presented his accounts and his plans. He had raised a larger revenue than had ever been raised in England by taxation at any period, whether of peace or war. In 1864-65 the actual expenditure had been £66,462,000, being £611,000 less than the estimate. Comparing the expenditure of the year with the revenue, he found that there was an apparent surplus of £3,231,000. The estimated revenue had been £66,128,000, whereas the actual revenue was £70,313,000. It had been expected that there would be a total loss on the year of £3,080,000, whereas there had been altogether a gain of £147,000. This showed how the prosperity of the country was advancing by leaps and bounds. Coming to the estimate of the income and expenditure of the ensuing year, Mr. Gladstone said he had to provide for an expenditure of £66,139,000, while he estimated the revenue at £70,170,000. This showed, on the basis of existing taxation, a surplus of £4,031,000. That surplus, he stated, he would dispose of as follows:—He proposed to equalise the stamp duty on scrip certificates and receipts in the case of English and Foreign transactions. The stamp on agreements for letting houses would be reduced to a penny. The tax on appraisements would be graduated, so that property amounting to £5 would not pay 2s. 6d. but{237}

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3d., and so on upwards. The stamp duty on charter parties would be reduced to 6d. There were also to be alterations in regard to Marine Insurance stamps, and stamps on insurances against accidental death, personal injury, and damages to plate-glass. He refused to reduce the Malt Tax, but he proposed to lower the Tea Duty by a remission of 6d. per lb. As to the Income Tax, he admitted that Ministers should do all they could for its reduction. It was, at present, at the lowest point, practically, at which it ever stood. It had never been lower than 6d. in the pound, but still he proposed to remove{238} one-third of it, thus reducing it to 4d. The final loss to the Exchequer by this reduction of 2d. would be £2,600,000, of which about £1,650,000 would fall upon the current year. Dealing with the Fire Insurance duty, he pointed out that it was desirable it should be reduced to a uniform rate of 1s. 6d., and to this would be added the substitution of a penny stamp in lieu of the 1s. duty on insurance policies. The relief given by the proposed reductions would be:—On tea, £2,300,000, on Income Tax, £2,600,000, and on Fire Insurance Duty, £520,000, making a total of £5,420,000, of which £3,778,000 would fall on this year. Deducting this latter sum from the estimated surplus, £4,031,000, there would be still a surplus of £253,000 on the accounts of the coming year.

It was on the 2nd of June that Lord Russell in the House of Lords declared the Civil War in America at an end, and refused Confederate vessels any further rights of harbour in English ports. It has been shown how General Sherman’s devastating march through Georgia exposed the real weakness of the South. At the end of 1864 Hood’s army was pining away in Alabama or Tennessee, and Beauregard, with 20,000 men, alone stood between Sherman’s legions, flushed with victory, and the harassed and outnumbered army of Lee. On Christmas Day the Confederates repelled an attack by Butler on Wilmington, but on the 14th of January, 1865, when operations were renewed by General Terry and Admiral Porter, the key of the position was easily taken, and the Confederates were deprived of their only free and practicable outlet to the sea. On the 17th of February Charleston was evacuated. Sherman had already set forth on his march to the north—Beauregard retreating rapidly before him. And yet, though they thus had victory within their grasp, the leaders of the North made one last effort to conciliate the South. “Although no authorised version of the negotiations has ever been given to the public,” says Mr. Sterne, “it was conceded that, with the single exception of slavery and submission to the authority of the Union on the part of the South, every condition that the Southern States could ask would be submitted to by the North, including the adoption of the Southern debt and the reimbursement to the Southern slave-holders for slaves lost.”[230] In a moment of insanity the Southern Government rejected these generous terms, and so the war went on. Sherman’s movement to the north enabled Grant to press Lee with effect. He forced him back to Petersburg and Richmond. On the 1st of April both towns were captured, and Lee was not only pursued but overtaken and beaten in his last fight. “General,” wrote Grant to his fallen foe on the 7th of April, “the result of the last week must convince you of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the army of Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is so, and regard it as my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further{239} effusion of blood, by asking of you the surrender of that portion of the Confederate States Army known as the Army of Northern Virginia.” The capitulation was arranged on terms which were extremely generous to the vanquished. No prisoners were taken. The officers were paroled, and the troops were all permitted to return home on condition of submitting to the Federal Government. Within a few days Johnston surrendered to Sherman on the same terms, and on the 18th of April the war was at an end.

The victors astonished the world by their moderation. Not a single rebel, save the governor of a military prison, who was convicted of behaving with revolting brutality to Federal prisoners in the South, perished on the scaffold. Even the few prominent civilians who were arrested and imprisoned were soon released. The best men, both in the Northern and Southern States, vied with each other in promoting a policy based on conciliation for the future and oblivion for the past. Mr. Lincoln, who had been re-elected President in the autumn of 1864, began his second term of office on the 4th of March, 1865. On the evening of the 14th of April he visited Ford’s Theatre at Washington with Mrs. Lincoln and another lady and gentleman, and about half-past ten, during a pause in the performance, he was shot by one Wilkes Booth, who suddenly entered the President’s box and discharged a pistol at his head. Booth then leaped on the stage flourishing a dagger, and exclaiming “Sic semper tyrannis!” escaped from the theatre. Mr. Lincoln never recovered consciousness, and he died on the morning of the 15th.

From every part of the world expressions of sympathy were conveyed to Mrs. Lincoln and the American people, who had been thus cruelly deprived of the sagacious and upright statesman whose civic courage and unquenchable patriotism had saved the Union. The Queen, who had always admired Mr. Lincoln’s character and career, sent an autograph letter to Mrs. Lincoln, expressing, with simple and womanly tenderness, her sympathy for the President’s family.[231] Addresses on the assassination of the President were presented by both Houses of Parliament to the Crown, and the Queen in reply to these wrote: “I entirely participate in the sentiments you have expressed in your address to me on the subject of the assassination of the President of the United States. I have given directions to my Minister{240} at Washington to make known to the Government of that country the feelings which you entertain in common with myself and my whole people with regard to this deplorable event.” The miscreants who had conspired against Lincoln’s life had also intended to assassinate his chief Ministers, and one of them inflicted severe wounds on Mr. Seward and his son, from which, however, they both recovered.

Mr. Lincoln was succeeded by the Vice-President, Mr. Andrew Johnson, who, in the first moments of excitement which followed Lincoln’s murder, charged Mr. Jefferson Davis and the leaders of the South, with being Booth’s accomplices. These charges, however, were not generally credited, because it was clear that the life of Lincoln, whose policy was notoriously one of clemency and moderation, was quite as precious to the conquered States, as to their conquerors. But undoubtedly the angry passions which Booth’s crime had stimulated, increased the difficulty of reorganising the territory now held by the Federal troops. To admit the Southern States to the Union with their old rights of sovereignty and autonomy as if nothing had happened was impossible. The negroes, though free, were unenfranchised, and therefore at the mercy of their old masters. But the negroes had bled and suffered for the Union during the war, and they could not be abandoned now. Moreover, Lincoln’s proclamation abolishing slavery gave them an implied promise of protection from subsequent oppression. But then the American Constitution contained no provision for dealing with the difficulty which the war had created. To enfranchise with a stroke of the pen a vast ignorant servile population, which had been demoralised by slavery, was fraught with the utmost peril, not only to American democracy, but to American civilisation. Again, the States themselves had always determined the conditions of enfranchisement. As sovereign communities they had the clearest right to organise their own internal administration free from all interference from the Federal authorities, who had no power over them, save that of seeing that they adopted a republican form of government. The first step taken was to organise the Freedman’s Bureau with agents all over the South with the object of protecting the negroes from injustice and oppression. But President Johnson had spent his life in the Slave State of Tennessee, and he had many sympathies with the slave-owners. Taking his stand on the letter of the Constitution, he refused to sanction those methods of reconstruction which Congress adopted, and sent military governors to rule the conquered States, until their permanent government was organised. The fourteenth amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery in the United States was carried in June. But the President vetoed the Freedman’s Bureau Bill and the Civil Rights Bill, his veto being overridden by the majority in Congress, in which, however, the Southern States were not yet represented. In a word, the President was soon in open conflict with the Republican majority that had carried the country through the long and bloody war.{241}

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This conflict[232] was eagerly canvassed in all its stages by Englishmen of all classes, who seemed at this time to take a keener interest in the fascinating problems of American politics than in their own domestic affairs. But perhaps nothing appealed more strongly to the imagination of the people than the ease with which the American people disbanded their armies, and absorbed a million unpensioned officers and soldiers at the very moment of victory into the mass of the peaceful civil population. The calmness, courage, and good sense with which the Americans set aside the menaces of the war party against England, and applied themselves to pay off the six hundred millions sterling of their war debt, further commanded the admiration of the world. Not even in Mexico could the United States be persuaded to interfere. Their Government simply refused to recognise that of the Emperor Maximilian, and accredited a minister to the President of the Mexican Republic, who still{242} waged a desultory struggle with the Imperial Government and its French allies. As France, however, had now thought it prudent to announce the withdrawal of her troops from Mexico, the United States could afford to wait for the inevitable issue.

The Danish Question, in which the Queen had so deeply interested herself during the previous year, was easily settled—for a time. Austria and Prussia agreed to share the spoils of war, and the Duchies were divided between them. This arrangement, formulated by the Convention of Gastein, in August, averted war between the allies. As for the views of the minor States and the claims of the Duke of Augustenburg, they were brusquely put aside. The Duke had made the fatal mistake of pretending to regard the services of Prussia in liberating the Duchies as uncalled for. He even hinted that his cause would otherwise have been much better managed by the Diet. When he came to Berlin to press his claims at the Prussian Court, he had an interview with Von Bismarck in the King’s billiard-room, which ought to have warned him of what was coming.

“At first,” said Bismarck once, “I wanted from him no more than what the minor Princes conceded in 1866. But he would not yield an inch (thank Heaven! thought I to myself, and thanks to the wisdom of his legal advisers)…. At first I called him ‘Highness,’ and was altogether polite. But when he began to make objections about Kiel Harbour, which we wanted, and would listen to none of our military demands, I put on a different face. I now titled him ‘Translucency,’ and told him at last, quite coolly, that we could easily wring the neck of the chicken we ourselves had hatched.”[233]

The French Government described the Treaty of Gastein as an act of political “highway robbery and attorneyism.” Lord Russell condemned it as a mere expression of brute force, and the Fleets of France and England met and made a foolish demonstration at Cherbourg, by way of giving point to their diplomatic denunciations of the Convention. It was merely a temporary arrangement, which gave Prussia time to secure herself against France before she attempted to expel Austria from North Germany. At a mysterious interview between Napoleon and Bismarck at Biarritz, in October, it was supposed that, in return for vague promises to assist French schemes in Italy and Belgium, the Prussian Minister—now Count Von Bismarck—had obtained an equally vague pledge of benevolent neutrality from France.[234]

The last days of the moribund Parliament were enlivened by a grave personal scandal. Lord Chancellor Westbury was accused of having improperly and corruptly administered the patronage of his high office, and two cases were cited against him. One was that of Mr. Leonard Edmunds, who, though he had heavy defalcations in his accounts, was allowed to retire on a pension from the Clerkships of Patents and of the House of Lords, in favour of Westbury’s son. The other case rested on certain appointments{243} which Westbury had made to offices, and on grants of retiring pensions in the Leeds Court of Bankruptcy. It was alleged that the Lord Chancellor, in making these appointments, had been influenced by family considerations detrimental to the public service. After receiving the Report of a Select Committee, the House of Commons censured Lord Westbury, who immediately resigned his office.[235] His Lordship, when he went to hand over the Great Seal to the Queen, had a somewhat painful interview with her Majesty. In his Diary, under date the 7th of July, Bishop Wilberforce writes:—“Going in to the Queen met Westbury coming out; his fallen look moved my compassion. Later I met him on the broad staircase looking quite down, as he wandered alone down to town. But Delane [the editor of the Times] told me that going up to London in the train he was quite uproarious in his jollity, professing such delight at being free from office, going to enjoy himself, foreign travel,” &c.

Parliament died of old age. It had exhausted its allotted septennial span, and was prorogued and dissolved on the 6th of July. The General Election created little stir or excitement in the country, because no appeal was made by either party to the constituencies on any vital question. The election of Mr. John Stuart Mill for Westminster roused some popular interest. The defeat of Mr. Gladstone at Oxford University was due to the votes of the non-resident graduates among the country clergy; and there was a stroke of unconscious irony in the success of the Opposition at Tiverton, where they managed to give Lord Palmerston a Tory as a colleague. The Liberals claimed to have carried 367 seats, and the Tories 290. But all speculation as to what course the new Parliament might adopt was cut short by the death of Lord Palmerston on the 18th of October. He was within two days of completing his eighty-first year, and, as his biographer says, “the half-opened cabinet-box on his table, and the unfinished letter on his desk, testified that he was at his post to the last.”[236] He had sat in sixteen Parliaments, and had been chosen to sit in a seventeenth. He had{244} been a member of every Administration that had ruled England since 1807, save those of Sir Robert Peel and Lord Derby, and the voice of the nation rightly decreed for him the funeral honours of Westminster Abbey. It will always be a mystery why Palmerston succeeded in establishing, towards the end of his life, a personal dictatorship over the England which was governed by the £10 householder. In home politics he took hardly any interest. One day, for example, at Balmoral, when the Queen asked him for some information about a serious strike in the North of England, he replied that he had none; but “Madam,” said he, “I hear that the Russians have crossed the Pruth.” He was an aristocrat to the core, and his ideas of England’s mission in the world, and of her interests in the political forces and conflicts that shaped the destinies of nations, were those, not of a man of business or of affairs, but of a happy-hearted, reckless, pugnacious public-school-boy. To coolness, courage, and tenacity of purpose, he, however, added a dexterity in action that rendered him a successful as well as

“A daring pilot in extremity.”
In one of his letters to Sir Stratford Canning he reveals the secret of much of his power when he says, “I believe weakness and irresolution are on the whole the worst faults that statesmen can have. A man of energy may make a wrong decision but, like a strong horse that carries you rashly into a quagmire, he brings you by his sturdiness out on the other side.” Looking back on his career, it is hard to find one single stroke of his policy that can be justified by history, with the exception of the support he generously gave to the cause of Italian unity. The cornerstone of his policy in his last administrations was the Anglo-French alliance, and its worthlessness was attested not only by the enormous military expenditure which Palmerston himself extorted from the people to ward off a French invasion, but by the fact that the alliance itself always broke down to the disadvantage of England, whenever a strain was put upon it. His sympathy with democracy abroad brought him no credit, for it was insincere. It was displayed mainly in order to keep the Radical party quiet when the people began to demand reforms at home. His most wonderful practical achievement was that of reconciling both Tories and Radicals to the political supremacy of the extremely moderate Liberals—the Liberals who had been rendered Conservatives by the prosperity which Free Trade had conferred upon them. His cleverness in selecting serviceable subordinates, his personal loyalty to them, his geniality and cheerfulness, his singular gift of managing the House of Commons, all contributed to consolidate his influence in the country. His power over the House of Commons was probably greater than Peel’s. He knew, as if by instinct, in any emergency the kind of argument that was sure to tell on that Assembly. He ruled it through its foibles, its prejudices, and its impulses. He could adapt his style to every passing mood{245} of its fickle temper, and alike in jest and earnest he was always on the level of its standard of good taste and fine feeling.

Lord Palmerston’s funeral took place in Westminster Abbey, accompanied by every mark of respect and honour. The arrangements made for filling up the vacancies in the Cabinet which were caused by his death were simple. Earl Russell was called upon by the Queen to assume the post of Premier. The Earl of Clarendon, then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, became Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Mr. Chichester Fortescue was made Secretary for Ireland in place of Sir Robert Peel, who had always warned his colleagues he would join the Tories after Palmerston’s death. The office of Under-Secretary for the Colonies was conferred upon Mr. W. E. Forster, M.P. for Bradford. Mr. Heath resigned the Vice-Presidency of the Board of Trade, in which he was succeeded by Mr. Goschen. The important position of Leader of the Government in the House of Commons devolved upon Mr. Gladstone, who had found a seat in Lancashire. His financial genius had vastly added to the prestige of Lord Palmerston’s Ministry, and his commanding intellect and fascinating oratorical power had long before marked him out for the leadership.

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Two evil incidents marred the latter portion of the year. These were the outbreak of the cattle disease which became known as “rinderpest,” in England and Scotland, and the development of the Fenian conspiracy in Ireland. Down to the middle of December 5,000 cases of “rinderpest” had occurred, and most of them had ended fatally. The plague, it is true, was disappearing in some districts, but in others its ravages were increasing, and a Royal Commission recommended that all movement of cattle in the country{246} should be stopped for a time. Local authorities in many cases suspended fairs and markets.

The history of Ireland after the resignation of Lord Aberdeen was summed up in the administration of Coercion Acts that were rendered necessary by outrages which a peasantry infuriated by land clearances and rack-rents perpetrated. For a time the policy of eviction and emigration went on unresisted. In 1854 the rebels of ’48 were amnestied, but when they came back they found that Irishmen regarded them rather as reactionaries than rebels. As had always been the case in Ireland, the pendulum of public opinion had now swung over from Anti-Unionism to Separatism. The failure of ’48, the triumph of the evicting landlords, the progressive poverty of the people, the treachery of leaders like Sadlier and Keogh, who were bought up by the Whigs, disgusted Irishmen with Parliamentary agitation. The Fenian conspiracy was the outcome of this feeling. It originated among victims of the famine clearances, and among some of the men of ’48. It was introduced into Ireland during the Indian Mutiny by Mr. James Stephen, when it was known as the Phœnix Society. One of his first converts was a Jeremiah Donovan, of Skibbereen, who afterwards dubbed himself O’Donovan Rossa. He in turn, induced ninety out of the hundred members of the Skibbereen Club to join his band. That Society could hardly have conducted its proceedings with much secrecy at this time, for it was soon denounced from every altar in the country. The Lord-Lieutenant, however, proclaimed it, and there and then elevated the Phœnix plotters to the dignity of national heroes. The leaders were arrested, and on pleading guilty were released with admonition. But over the Atlantic the Society had taken firmer root among the victims of evicting landlords, as the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood. Yet even there it would have probably perished from the opposition of the priests and the advocates of open agitation, but for the cleverness with which its leaders made capital out of the famous McManus funeral. McManus, one of the most amiable and highly respected members of the Young Ireland Party, had, after his escape from Van Diemen’s Land, settled in California, where he died. It was resolved by his compatriots to exhume his body and convey it to Ireland for burial. The route of the funeral, from San Francisco to Dublin, was naturally at every stage the scene of a patriotic Irish demonstration, and by adroit management the Fenian leaders had contrived to get control of all the arrangements, so that the reflected prestige of this impressive and imposing demonstration of Irish nationalism went to their credit. In Ireland the Society was soon considered to be the only one that had any real power to help the people, and after the McManus funeral it grew apace. In 1862 it announced at Chicago its intention of establishing Irish independence by armed force, and its organ—the Irish People—was founded in Dublin by Messrs. John O’Leary, Thomas Clark Luby, and Charles James Kickham. For two years the Society was permitted to carry on its propaganda. Then in{247} September, 1865, Luby, O’Leary, Kickham, and Stephens were arrested. Ten days after their capture Stephens escaped from jail by aid of his gaolers, who were also Fenians. In November the others were tried for treason-felony, and sentenced to penal servitude for terms varying from ten to twenty years. The organisation then became a small club in New York, whose leaders quarrelled amongst themselves. They enjoyed a fictitious importance for a time, because the Democratic Party and partisans of the Southern States, invariably professed Fenian sympathies when contesting State elections.

Two Colonial disputes gave the Government of the day some trouble before the end of the year. The Assembly of Victoria tried to pass a Protective Tariff over the veto of the Council, by tacking it on to the Bill granting the supplies for the year. The Council held to its veto. The Government was thus left without money for the public service, and affairs came to a deadlock. In the circumstances the Governor, Sir Charles Darling, cut the knot of the difficulty by allowing his Ministers to raise money under the sanction of resolutions passed by the Assembly, or representative branch of the Legislature. He also entered into an ingenious arrangement with a bank in Melbourne. The law forbade voluntary payments from the Treasury which were not authorised by an Appropriation Bill. But the bank made advances to the Treasury, and then sued it for recovery. The Treasury of course confessed judgment when sued, and thus the law was evaded.

An outbreak of negroes in Jamaica had been suppressed with great vigour by Governor Eyre. But it was soon suspected that he had mistaken a riot for a revolution, and that the local authorities had acted in violation of law, and with callous disregard of the dictates of humanity. Eyre was suspended, and a Royal Commission was sent out at the end of the year to report on the occurrence.

Though the Queen remained in close seclusion during 1865, she gave more than one token of the vigilance with which she watched popular interests. The year 1864 was famous for the number and the serious character of its railway accidents, and yet it was hopeless to expect a Palmerstonian Parliament to compel the railway companies to improve their management. In the circumstances, it occurred to the Queen that she might effect some good by using her moral influence on behalf of the travelling public, and she accordingly directed the following letter to be sent to the chief companies just as the year opened:—

“Sir Charles Phipps has received the commands of her Majesty the Queen to call the attention of the directors of the —— to the increasing number of accidents which have lately occurred upon different lines of railroad, and to express her Majesty’s warmest hope that the directors of the —— will carefully consider every means of guarding against these misfortunes, which are not at all the necessary accompaniments of railway travelling. It is not for her own safety that the Queen has wished to provide in thus calling the attention of the Company to the late disasters. Her Majesty is aware that when she travels extraordinary precautions are taken, but it is on account of her family, of those travelling upon her service, and of her


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people generally, that she expresses the hope that the same security may be insured for all as is so carefully provided for herself. The Queen hopes it is unnecessary for her to recall to the recollection of the railway directors the heavy responsibility which they have assumed since they have succeeded in securing the monopoly of the means of travelling of almost the entire population of the country.”

On the other hand, evidence was not wanting that her Majesty’s retirement had led to laxity of administration in her household. On the 4th of March, for example, Lord Malmesbury writes in his Diary:—“All London is talking of the way in which the Corps Diplomatique has been invited to the Queen’s reception. It was, as far as I could understand, in these terms:—‘That the Queen would graciously receive them, male and female, at a Court to be held at Buckingham Palace.’ All those concerned are trying to shift the responsibility upon one another. The diplomatists have sent their cards of invitation to their respective Courts, and therefore it has produced a great sensation all over the world, as the term mâle et femelle is never used in French, except in speaking of animals.”[237] But her Majesty’s kind and gracious bearing at this reception, which was held on the 13th of March, did much to neutralise the impression produced by the rudeness of the Lord Chamberlain’s Department. On the 14th of March the Queen visited the Consumptive Hospital at Brompton, bestowing on the patients in the various wards kindly words of sympathy. Circumstances prevented her from undertaking a journey to Ireland, where the people would have been pleased to have welcomed her at the inauguration of an International Exhibition. She, however, testified her interest in that enterprise by requesting the Prince of Wales to open the exhibition in Dublin on the 9th of May. Another son was born to the Prince and Princess on the 3rd of June, and on the 7th of July the infant was baptized in the chapel at Windsor in presence of the Queen, who named him George Frederick Ernest Albert. On the 6th of August the Queen’s second son, Prince Alfred, attained his majority, and was recognised, with her sanction, as heir to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

On the 8th of August the Queen, with Prince Leopold, the Princesses Helena, Louise, Beatrice, and suite, left England for Germany. She arrived at Coburg on the 11th, and immediately proceeded to Rosenau. On the 26th she unveiled the statue which had been set up in memory of the Prince Consort in the quaint market-place of Coburg. The town was en fête, every house being gay with garlands and banners, and decorated with trophies of arms and festoons of flowers and evergreens. The troops paraded the square, while crowds of light-hearted students and schoolboys, and a great concourse of loyal burghers and honest country-folk who had assembled to see the ceremony, gave life and colour to a picturesque scene. The Court carriages bore a brilliant company of Royal personages. Soon after four o’clock in the afternoon the bells in all the steeples in the town pealed forth joyous notes; the{250} cannon of the fortress thundered out a royal salute, and the bands in the square played the English National Anthem. Then the Queen’s carriage drove up amidst deafening cheers. She was accompanied by Prince Arthur and the Princess Beatrice, and was received by the Grand Duke, who led her to the front of the pavilion that had been prepared for the ceremony. She was clad in the deepest mourning, and under her bonnet was seen the cap à la Marie Stuart, which about this time she had begun to wear on all public occasions. The Burgomaster of Coburg presented her with a long and loyal address. The bells rang, the bands played, the cannon saluted again, and at a given signal the veil was withdrawn from the polished bronze statue, which stood out glittering and sparkling in the sultry sunshine of an autumnal afternoon. Walking up to the monument, the Queen handed to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha the bunch of flowers which had lain before her on the balcony of the pavilion. These he placed, together with another bouquet from the Princess Beatrice, on the pedestal of the statue, and the ceremony was over. On the 8th of September the Queen left Rosenau with the Princesses Helena and Louise and Prince Leopold, and stopped en route at Darmstadt, where she was met by the Prince and Princess Louis of Hesse. Proceeding to Ostend, the Queen paid a brief visit to King Leopold, after which she embarked at Antwerp in her yacht for Woolwich.

During the Queen’s autumnal holiday at Balmoral the Prince and Princess Louis of Hesse again visited her. Later in the year it was announced that the Princess Helena was to be married to the Prince Christian of Sleswig-Holstein, second son of the Duke of Augustenburg. “Many thanks,” writes the Princess Louis to the Queen on the 8th of December, “for your letter received yesterday with the account of Lenchen’s verlobung [betrothal]. I am so glad she is happy, and I hope every blessing will rest on them both that one can possibly desire.” It was arranged that the Queen should lend Frogmore to her daughter, so that she and her husband might be able to live in England. But the shadow of death was again brooding over the Royal Household. In the same letter in which the Princess Louis refers to her sister’s betrothal she writes, “I had a letter from Marie Brabant two days ago, where she says dear uncle’s [King Leopold] state is hopeless; but yesterday she telegraphed that he was rather better. What a loss it would be if he were to be taken from us, for his very name and existence, though he takes no active part in politics, are of weight and value.”[238] In England the news of King Leopold’s illness was received with some concern. The Queen had promised to open the next Session of Parliament in person, and it was feared that the death of his Majesty might interfere with a project in which her subjects of all classes were deeply interested. On the 11th of December King Leopold died, and on that day the Princess Louis of Hesse, ever ready to sympathise with her{251} mother’s sorrows, wrote to the Queen, “Alas! alas! beloved Uncle Leopold is no more! How much for you, for us, for all, goes with him to the grave! One tie more of those dear old times is rent! I do feel for you so much, for dear uncle was indeed a father to you. Now you are head of all the family—it seems incredible, and that dear papa should not be by your side. The regret for dear Uncle Leopold is universal—he stood so high in the eyes of all parties; his life was a history in itself—and now that book is closed.” In another letter the Princess says, “The more I realise that we shall never see beloved Uncle Leopold again the sadder I grow. He had, apart from all his excellent qualities, such a charm as I believe we shall seldom find again.”

King Leopold’s life was indeed “a history in itself.” He was almost ostentatiously indifferent to his position—ever impressing on his subjects that he reigned in their interest rather than in his own. It has been said that he could always bring them to reason by threatening to abdicate. The sagacity and tact with which he prevented the Catholics and the Liberals in Belgium from coming to blows, gave him great influence in Europe. But that influence was enhanced by his capacity for diplomatic intrigue, and the opportunities for exercising it which his curious family connections gave him. Though he began life as one of the obscurest of the petty Princes of Germany, he had married in succession the heiress of England and the daughter of the King of the French. By a double marriage, his children were allied to the Imperial House of Hapsburg. He was the uncle and mentor of the Queen and the Prince Consort—indeed, he and Baron Stockmar had brought about their marriage. His position was supposed to be unassailable from the day when, on being threatened with a revolution, he calmly began to pack a carpet-bag in presence of the popular leaders, who thereupon, in a paroxysm of fear, implored him not to leave the country. Yet, according to Lord Malmesbury, “the last years of his life were spent in perpetual terror of Louis Napoleon, and he was constantly alarming our Ministers and everybody on the subject.”[239]{252}

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End of the Era of Compromise—Dawn of the new Epoch of Reform—Opening of Parliament by the Queen—The Queen’s Nervous Prostration at Osborne—Introduction of the Reform Bill—Hostility of the House of Commons—Dissentient Liberals in “the Cave of Adullam”—Defeat of the Reform Bill—Resignation of the Ministry—Lord Derby forms a Cabinet—His attempted Coalition with the Whig Dukes—Domestic Policy during the Session—The House of Commons and the Rinderpest—Another Prosperity Budget—Large Remissions of Taxation—Coercing Ireland—The White Terror in Jamaica—Marriage of the Princess Helena—The Financial Embarrassment of the Princess Louis of Hesse—The Queen Intercedes with Prussia on behalf of Hesse-Darmstadt—The Queen’s Gift to Mr. Peabody—The Queen’s Visit to Aldershot—The Foundation of the Albert Medal—Marriage of the Princess Mary of Cambridge—The Queen’s first Telegram to the President of the United States—The Queen’s Visit to Aberdeen and Wolverhampton.

The year 1866 will be memorable as the beginning of the new epoch of strife, controversy, and political activity which followed the death of Palmerston. The spell of compromise by which he had paralysed the life of England was broken, and Mr. Gladstone’s appointment as leader of the House of Commons filled the working classes with the brightest hopes. It was known that he was in favour of such an extension of the franchise as would partially redress{253}

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the wrong done by the Reform Bill of 1832, which deprived Labour of the political power it enjoyed under the unreformed Parliamentary system. As one of their representative men has said, “those ameliorations of the laws for which they [the working classes] had looked in vain during so many years of Whig rule, when electoral reform was said to be deferred in favour of legal reforms that were only talked about, had to be preceded by the enfranchisement of the class whose welfare required them; and Mr. Gladstone, on his part, was conscious that he could not carry the important measures which he contemplated without first strengthening his hands by a considerable extension of the franchise and redistribution of seats.”[240] Moreover, the civil{254} and military triumph of the United States, marked by moderation in the hour of victory, and invincible valour in the press of battle, gave an irresistible impulse to Democracy in England. But the Party of Reform were well aware that a fierce struggle lay before them. In 1831-32 the House of Lords was the enemy that had to be faced. In 1866 the House of Commons was quite as hostile as the House of Lords, to changes that might affect the power, privileges, and ease of the comfortable classes. Would the Government bring in a feeble Reform Bill which could be accepted by the Commons? In that case the country might look forward to another decade of stagnation. Would the measure be large and comprehensive? In that case the opposition of the Commons could be met only by a dissolution. But supposing, as was not unlikely, that under a £10 franchise a freshly-elected House proved as hostile to Reform as the old one, what was to be done? Its opposition could not, like that of the Crown, be overcome by a refusal of supplies, or like that of the Peers, by the creation of new members. For such a state of affairs the only possible remedy might be—Revolution. Such were the speculations and the forebodings with which thoughtful men greeted the New Year of 1866.

Parliament met on the 1st of February, and Mr. Denison was elected Speaker. It was known that Lord Russell was anxious to strengthen his Ministry by giving Mr. Bright a seat in the Cabinet, but his colleagues objected to this step, and the omen was not auspicious for the Party of Reform. Writing on the 6th of February in his Diary, Lord Malmesbury says, “the Queen opened Parliament to-day. She came in a State coach with her eight cream-coloured horses, but entered by the Peers’ entrance. She was well received, but did not wear her robes, which were placed on the Throne, and did not read the Speech, which was read by the Lord Chancellor.”[241] It was the first State ceremony at which the Queen had assisted since the death of her husband, and the scene in the Upper House was unusually brilliant. The bright dresses of the Peeresses, the mass of gorgeous colour on the floor of the House, where the Peers wore their robes, the flashing lights from glittering orders and uniforms worn by the splendid company of foreign diplomatists, afforded a spectacle that gladdened the artistic eye. It was marred only by the wild and disorderly scramble of the members of the House of Commons for places. They trooped into the Royal presence like a band of disorderly roughs let loose from Donnybrook Fair. The Speaker was hustled aside and jammed against the edge of the Bar as he vainly attempted to make his obeisance to the Queen. The leading members of the Government vanished in the struggle, though Sir Charles Wood was ultimately discovered in an attitude of agony almost impaled on the sharp carving of an oaken lion rampant. As for the sword of the Sergeant-at-Arms, it got entangled with everybody’s legs, including his own.{255}

The reaction which followed the excitement of the ceremony had caused much nervous depression, and the Queen was accordingly recommended to seek repose at Osborne. “I am happy to think,” writes the Princess Louis of Hesse to her mother, in a letter referring to the event, “that you are quiet at Osborne after all you had gone through. The emotion and all other feelings recalled by such an event must have been very powerful and have tried you much. It was noble of you, my darling mama, and the great effort will bring compensation. Think of the pride and pleasure it would have given darling papa—the brave example to others not to shrink from their duty; and it has shown that you felt the intense sympathy which the English people evinced and still evince in your misfortune.”

It was soon apparent that the question of Reform would exhaust the energies of the Legislature, and on the 12th of March Mr. Gladstone introduced what came to be known as the Russell-Gladstone Reform Bill. It proposed to reduce the County Franchise from £50 rental to £14, and the Borough Franchise from £10 to £7. It also gave votes to lodgers and £50 depositors in savings banks. The rate-paying clauses of the Reform Act were abolished. The Bill, it was estimated, would admit to the franchise 172,000 new voters in counties, 204,000 in towns, and 24,000 under the Lodger and Savings Banks qualifications, i.e., 400,000 in all. Of these, one-half belonged to the working classes properly so-called. The House of Commons was not in a pleasant humour for dealing with Reform. The timid classes were alarmed by a speech which Mr. Gladstone delivered during Easter at Liverpool, in which he declared that “the Government had crossed the Rubicon, broken the bridge, and burned their boats behind them.” This, it was vowed, meant that he for one was prepared to roll the Constitution down the inclined plane of Democracy. The country gentlemen were angry, because they thought the Government had compensated them shabbily for the losses they suffered from the Cattle Plague. The plutocracy were in low spirits, because in spring a great financial collapse had smitten the City. Some country banks had failed. The greater part of the stock of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway was offered in the market for “a mere song.” On the 10th of May the bank of Messrs. Overend and Gurney stopped payment, with liabilities amounting to £19,000,000. On the 11th the City was in a frenzy of despair, and Government had to authorise the Bank of England to issue notes beyond the legal limit. Other financial institutions perished, and the blight of bankruptcy fell on the land. English credit on the Continent was so low that the Foreign Office issued a circular explaining to foreigners the distinction drawn in England between insolvency and lack of money. Employers of labour, again, were irritated against the working classes now claiming the franchise, for Trades Unions were growing more aggressive and turbulent every day. The Fenian disturbances in Ireland also gave rise to much uneasiness. The uncertain condition of the Continent led people to{256} urge that, instead of wasting time in debating Reform, Parliament ought to make the defensive system of the Empire effective. Above and beyond all things, it was felt that a Reform Bill involved a dissolution, and to Members of the House of Commons who had just spent large sums of money in getting elected, this was a sufficient temptation to oppose Reform. If we consider the natural effect of all these different motives and feelings on a House of Commons elected to support Lord Palmerston’s colourless domestic policy, we can easily understand why the Russell-Gladstone Bill fared badly. It was opposed by the Tories and by nominal Liberals like Lord Elcho, Mr. Lowe, Lord Grosvenor, Mr. Horsman, and Mr. Bouverie. It was finally defeated in Committee by Lord Dunkellin, who carried a motion substituting a rating for a rental qualification, the effect of which would have been to limit the franchise to £9 instead of £7 householders in towns, and to £16 instead of £14 householders in counties. The Radicals, however, did not regard the defeat of the measure with much grief, though they had loyally supported Mr. Gladstone. Their hearts were in truth set on obtaining a much lower qualification than the Bill offered. Independent critics again, who had no sympathy with the savage diatribes against the working classes which the Tories and the Liberal seceders poured forth day after day, also considered that the Bill had one serious defect. It did not put the franchise on a basis solid enough to be permanent. To fix it at £7 to-day was only to start an agitation to-morrow to reduce it to £3, or to nothing at all. Far better, it was argued, return to the old Radical programme of Household Suffrage, which, at all events, possessed the elements of finality. In fact, early in June Ministers saw that the Bill was doomed, and an intrigue was set on foot between the Cabinet and the “Adullamites”[242] for the purpose of withdrawing the Bill, on condition that the Liberal seceders would steadily support the Ministers on all other questions. After their defeat on the 18th of June, the Cabinet resigned, and although the Queen was somewhat opposed to this step, she waived her objections to it.

According to Lord Malmesbury, the Government first of all thought of dissolving Parliament, but abandoned this idea, fearing they would lose by it. Lord Malmesbury also says that “the Queen being on a visit to Osborne for ten days, refused to shorten her stay, and the country remained for a month with the Government in abeyance. At last her Majesty returned, and appointed Lord Derby Prime Minister. He tried to form a coalition with some Whig Dukes, and invited Lord Clarendon and the Duke of Somerset to join him. They refused. He then did the same by the Adullamites, most of whom also declined. Young Lord Lansdowne, who at their head had promised to support him, died suddenly, and this accident increased his{257}

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difficulties. Encouraged by a meeting of twenty-three leading Conservatives, held at his house, Lord Derby formed the following Cabinet:—Lord Chancellor, Lord Chelmsford; President of the Council, Duke of Buckingham; Privy Seal, Lord Malmesbury; Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr. Walpole; Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Lord Stanley;[243] Secretary for War, General Peel; Secretary for Colonies, Lord Carnarvon; Secretary for India, Lord Cranborne; Poor Law Board, Mr. Hardy; Board of Trade, Sir S. Northcote; Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Disraeli; Secretary for Ireland, Lord Naas; Board of Works, Lord John Manners; Admiralty, Sir John Pakington.”[244] Lord Derby himself personally objected to take office because he could not feel confident of commanding{258} a majority. Some of his friends, like the Marquis of Bath, were indeed angry that he had consented to serve again as Premier without definite pledges of support from the Whigs, whose hostility to Reform had shattered the last Cabinet.

Up to the time when the change of Ministry took place very little business had been done. A Bill dealing with the cattle plague had been introduced by the Home Secretary. It empowered local authorities to kill infected herds and stop all movement of cattle and all fairs in infected areas. For cattle thus sacrificed the owners were to receive from local authorities compensation to the extent of two-thirds of the value, but in no case was this to exceed £20 a head. The money was to be raised, one-third by a rate on the counties, one-third by a rate on the towns, and one-third by the cattle trade itself. The Radical Party admitted the principle of compensation. But Mr. J. S. Mill contended that if the infected animal was shown not to be worth two-thirds of what it would fetch in the market if healthy, the compensation given by the Government was excessive. The Bill, he also complained, compensated the landed interest for a loss some share of which the rest of the community, who were not indemnified, bore in the form of enhanced prices. Then, as the rate was to be purely local, those who suffered least would pay least, whereas the burden of recompense would fall heaviest on districts which suffered most. There could be no doubt that his proposal for a general rate on the land instead of a local rate was just. Mr. Gladstone, impressed by these arguments, agreed to limit the compensation to one-half instead of two-thirds of the value of the slaughtered animals, and the compromise was grudgingly accepted.

Mr. Gladstone introduced his Budget on the 3rd of May. The income, he said, had been £67,812,000 and the expenditure £66,474,000, leaving a surplus of £1,338,000. His estimated loss from remission of taxes had been very slightly below the actual loss, except in the case of Income Tax, for the wealth of the nation was now accumulating so rapidly, that a penny Income Tax, instead of producing £1,000,000, as had always been the calculation, produced £1,400,000. For the coming year Mr. Gladstone estimated, on the existing basis of taxation, a revenue of £67,575,000. His probable expenditure, from an increase of £78,000 in Estimates, he set down at £66,225,000, so that he had an estimated surplus of £1,350,000 to dispose of. He therefore repealed the timber duties, equalised the duties on wines in bottle and in wood, abolished the duty on pepper, and made a considerable reduction in the tax on carriages. He calculated that there would be a loss of £502,000 on the conversion of debt, so that he would, with these changes in taxation, be left with a surplus of £286,000. The financial debates simply ratified Mr. Gladstone’s schemes; but they were rendered memorable by Mr. J. S. Mill’s celebrated speech urging on the House the necessity of reducing the National Debt as a matter of duty to posterity. One of his chief arguments was based on the thesis of Mr. Stanley Jevons{259} that succeeding generations must, at the existing rate of consumption, face a failure in the coal supply of the country owing to the exhaustion of its mines.[245]

Early in the year the Government obtained the consent of Parliament to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland, in order to enable the Executive to deal with the Fenian conspiracy. Mr. Mill, however, though he supported the Ministry, very pertinently observed that, after it got fresh powers, it must not go asleep, as it had done for eighteen years, over Irish grievances. The Bill was passed on the 17th of February. The next step was to obtain the Queen’s assent immediately. As her Majesty was at Osborne, this took time, and the Irish Executive could not brook delay. As soon as the House of Lords had read the Bill a third time, a telegram was sent to Earl Granville, who was at Osborne, announcing the result, upon the receipt of which the Queen instantly signed the document authorising the Commissioners to give her assent to the measure. In order to allow time for bringing her authorisation to London, the sitting of the House of Lords was suspended until 11 o’clock p.m., when it was calculated that the special train with the Queen’s messenger would arrive in London. Time, however, rolled on, but no messenger appeared. The hour of midnight struck. Then the clock chimed the half-hour after twelve, when there entered a clerk bearing a despatch-box, which the Chancellor nervously opened and from which he took out the long-expected document. The House of Commons having been summoned, and about fifty members answering the call, at twenty minutes to one o’clock on the Sunday morning the Queen’s sanction was proclaimed, and the Bill became law. Probably no statute was ever passed with so much celerity as this Irish Coercion Bill—the first Act of the new Parliament. The powers of the Act had indeed been put into operation in anticipation of its passing, and on the 16th of February a large number of arrests were made in Dublin and its vicinity. The mischief done by the alarms of this period was, however, irretrievable, but, with the cessation of active movements on the part of the Fenians, a feeling of contempt for the conspiracy took the place of panic. For a few months, therefore, the country appeared to subside into its usual tranquillity.

On the 21st of March the Commissioners who had been investigating the negro outbreak in Jamaica finished their inquiry. The feeling in London was as violently in favour of repressive measures against the negroes, as it had been in favour of the Southerners during the American Civil War, and against the German Powers during the war in Sleswig-Holstein. It was therefore with some chagrin that the Party of Panic discovered that the Commissioners extenuated the action of the negroes. There had been a planned resistance to the Queen’s authority in Jamaica; but the chief cause was{260}

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not merely the desire for free land, but the want of confidence of the black population in the tribunals before which cases affecting their interests were tried. It was shown that, if the insurgents had been temporarily successful, the suppression of the rebellion would have been attended with greater loss of life and property than had been recorded. Hence praise was awarded to Governor Eyre for the vigour and promptitude with which he put down the rising. But, on the other hand, the Commissioners strongly condemned the Authorities for continuing martial law longer than was desirable, for inflicting excessive punishments, for awarding the death penalty far oftener than was necessary, for sentencing people to be flogged with reckless barbarity, and for burning 1,000 houses in a wanton and cruel manner. This Report, on the whole, justified the first suspicions of calm-minded men at home. The Governor had very skilfully put down the rising before it grew from a riot to a revolution. Then, carried away by “the White Terror” which Lord Canning had so coolly withstood at Calcutta during the Indian Mutiny, he had let the colonial authorities violate the common law, and revel in judicial murders and other hideous barbarities which are inevitable, though regrettable, incidents in the suppression of all servile revolts.{261}

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(From a Photograph by W. and D. Downey.)

The approaching marriage of the Princess Helena with Prince Christian of Sleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg, which had been announced in the Queen’s Speech, gave occasion to messages from the Crown to the two Houses of Parliament, asking them to make provision for the Princess, and also for Prince Alfred on his coming of age. Mr. Gladstone, in introducing the subject to the House of Commons, observed that with respect to the Princess Helena, “her position was a peculiar one, as she was the eldest unmarried Princess of the Royal Family when the most crushing calamity that could befall humanity descended upon her Majesty, and that during that trial all the prominent qualities of the Princess’s character, her strength, her wisdom, and her tenderness were put to the test.” Ignoring to some extent the devotion of the Princess Alice, Mr. Gladstone added that the Princess Helena “was{262} then, and had been since, the stay and solace of her illustrious mother.” He therefore proposed to vote her an annuity of £6,000 a year, in addition to a dowry of £30,000. To Prince Alfred he proposed to grant an annuity of £15,000 a year. Mr. Disraeli said that the claim now made only elicited a fresh outflow of sympathy and affection from a devoted people, and the proposals were at once agreed to. The marriage of the Princess was solemnised in the chapel within Windsor Castle, on the 5th of July. A very lengthy procession entered the church as Handel’s March from Scipio was played. The Queen wore a rich black moiré-antique dress, interwoven with silver and trimmed with black crape, and a row of diamonds round the body. A coronet of diamonds, attached to a long white crape veil, a diamond necklace and cross, and a brooch composed of a large sapphire set in diamonds, the riband and star of the Order of the Garter, and the Victoria and Albert Order completed her adornment. The bride, who wore a rich dress of white satin, on arriving at the chapel took her place on the left side of the altar, while the Queen was conducted to the seat prepared for her near the bride. The Archbishop of Canterbury performed the service, the bride being given away by the Queen. The Prince and Princess left for Osborne after the ceremony.

The Queen appreciated the generous devotion of the House of Commons in so willingly voting a substantial provision for the Princess Helena, all the more that early in the year the financial embarrassments of the Princess Louis of Hesse had caused her sore anxiety. Although the Princess was an excellent house-manager, it was discovered that the handsome income and dowry which had been granted to her by the House of Commons, did not suffice for the wants of her husband’s establishment. Her gentle, uncomplaining nature, ever mindful of the feelings of others, had led her to conceal her difficulties from the Queen, who, however, made the painful discovery soon after suggesting some plans for her daughter’s benefit. These unfortunately could not be entertained. Pauperis est numerare pecus, and the Princess Louis had therefore to explain her circumstances to her mother. Writing from Darmstadt on the 18th of March she says, “Your idea of Friedrichroda for us was so good, but, alas! now even that will be impracticable, on account of money. Louis has had to take up money again at Coutts’s to pay for the house, and the house is surety. We must live so economically—not going anywhere, or seeing many people, so as to be able to spare as much a year as we can. England cost us a great deal, as the visit was short last time. We have sold four carriage horses, and have only six to drive with now, two of which the ladies constantly want for theatre, visits, etc., so we are rather badly off in some things. But I should not bore you with our troubles, which are easy to bear.”[246] The Queen’s nice tact and quick sympathy were shown in not directly noting these matters. But when the{263} Princess’s birthday came round, her Majesty did not forget her daughter’s impecuniosity. Writing to the Queen on the 25th of April the Princess Louis says, “A thousand thanks for your dear lines, and the money, and charming bas-relief of you, which I think very good. I thought so much of former birthdays at home in Buckingham Palace. They were so happy…. The money will go to Louis’ man of business, towards paying off the furniture, and is indeed very acceptable, more so under present circumstances than anything else you could give us; and that part of the furniture,” adds the poor Princess, with the pride of one who seeks to reconcile herself to accept a birthday gift in the form of a cheque, “will then all be your present.”[247] In another letter she endeavours to reassure the Queen as to her embarrassments by speaking brightly and cheerily of them. “I have made all the summer walking-out dresses,” she writes—“seven in number, with paletôts for the girls—not embroidered, but entirely made from beginning to end: likewise the new necessary flannel shawls for the expected. I manage all the nursery accounts, and everything myself, which gives me plenty to do, as everything increases, and on account of the house, we must live very economically for these next years.” The Princess, as will be seen, was looking for an early addition to her family, and the Queen felt that her health was imperilled by the fresh anxiety and the increasing household drudgery which her straitened circumstances added to the burden of her social and public duties. Her Majesty, therefore, with characteristic generosity, herself made arrangements for her daughter’s accouchement, which relieved her of some of her worry. “It is so kind of you,” writes the Princess, gratefully, to the Queen, “to give Dr. Priestly his fee, otherwise I would have scruples in giving so large a sum for my own comfort.” How welcome her mother’s assistance was to the Princess may be gathered from another passage in one of her letters to the Queen, in which she says, “The man who built our house has nearly been made bankrupt, and wants money from us to save him from ruin, and we can scarcely manage it.”[248] Again the same sad subject crops up some nine months after the birth of her daughter, which took place during the Austro-Prussian War. The accumulated anxieties of that dreadful time had told on the health of the Princess. The Queen had taken charge of the little ones in the Darmstadt household, and thus freed the Princess from much care. Hence in autumn we find her rejoicing that the slight change to Nierstein, Gelbes Haus, has done her good, and adding, “If later, through your [the Queen’s] kindness, a little journey should be possible to us, it would be very beneficial to us.” But in a few days she soon fell ill again, and on the 29th of August she writes to the Queen saying, “Mountain air Weber wants me to have, and quite away from all bother; but I fear that is impossible now, on account of Louis not being able to leave—and, then, financially. I have some heimweh{264} [home-sickness] after dear old England, Balmoral, and all at home, I own, though the joy of being near dear Louis again is so great. But life is meant for work and not for pleasure, and I learn more and more to be grateful and content with that which the Almighty sends me, and to find the sunshine in spite of the clouds.” Nor was the Queen’s generosity limited to her daughter. She treated the Prince Louis at this time with great tenderness and sympathy. In one letter from the Princess to the Queen we find her saying, “We are so pleased at your saying that you claim Louis as your son. He always considers himself in particular your child, and if anything helps to stimulate him in doing his duty well, it is the sincere wish of being worthy to claim and deserve that title.” And the Queen’s kindness was not confined to words. She gave him (Prince Louis) the charger that he rode during the war, and helped him in many ways. “That you sent Louis,” writes the Princess to her on the 16th of September, “besides the pretty souvenir, the money for something in the house, is really so kind. Our whole dining-room we consider your present, and it is furnished as like an English one as possible.” Lastly, when the war ended in the triumph of Prussia, and the Princess thought that she and her husband, to use her own phrase, would be made “beggars,” the Queen employed her potent influence at the Court of Berlin to procure favourable terms for Hesse-Darmstadt in the peace that followed. But for the Queen, the Grand Duchy would have been blotted out of the map of Germany as a sovereign State.[249] “We are so grateful,” says the Princess in one of her letters at this anxious moment in her husband’s life, “for your having written to good Fritz [the Crown Prince of Prussia]. What he can do I know he will.”

The eminent American merchant, Mr. Peabody, having added to his splendid gift of the preceding year for the improvements of the dwellings of the poor of London another munificent donation, her Majesty addressed to him the following autograph letter:—

“Windsor Castle, March 28, 1866.

“The Queen hears that Mr. Peabody intends shortly to return to America, and she would be sorry that he should leave England without being assured by herself how deeply she appreciates the noble act of more than princely munificence by which he has sought to relieve the wants of the poorer class of her subjects residing in London. It is an act, as the Queen believes, wholly without parallel, and which will carry its best reward in the consciousness of having contributed so largely to the assistance of those who can little help themselves.

“The Queen would not, however, have been satisfied without giving Mr. Peabody some public mark of her sense of his munificence, and she would gladly have conferred upon him either a baronetcy or the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, but that she understands Mr. Peabody to feel himself debarred from accepting such distinctions. It only remains, therefore, for the Queen to give Mr. Peabody the assurance of her personal feelings, which she would further wish to mark by asking him to accept a miniature portrait of herself, which she will desire to have painted for him, and which, when finished, can either be sent to him to America, or given to him on the return, which she rejoices to hear he meditates, to the country that owes him so much.”


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(From a Photograph by W. and D. Downey.)

In the spring the Queen was well enough to renew her acquaintance with Aldershot. For the first time during five years she visited the camp. She reviewed the troops in garrison, and inspected the ranks; after which the regiments marched past in grand divisions to the music of their bands. When she had inspected the Infantry, the Queen drove through the South Camp, by way of the Prince Consort’s Library, to the Artillery and Cavalry Barracks, and then past the Memorial Church to the Pavilion, where luncheon was served for her. Again on the 5th of April the Queen paid a brief and hurried visit to the Camp, in order to present a new pair of colours to the 89th Regiment. The visit was strictly private, only a few chief officers being aware that it had been arranged. Nearly 11,000 men were on the ground, but there were, comparatively speaking, few spectators. In presenting the colours,{266} the Queen said, “I have much pleasure in renewing the colours given you many years ago, relying confidently on the loyal devotion to my service by which you and all my troops have ever been so distinguished.” Referring to this event, the Princess Louis, in one of her letters to her mother, says: “How trying the visit to Aldershot must have been, but it is so wise and kind of you to go. I cannot think of it without tears in my eyes. Formerly that was one of the greatest pleasures of my girlhood, and you and darling papa looked so handsome together. I so enjoyed following you on those occasions. Such moments I should like to call back for an instant.”

In April the Albert Medal was founded by her Majesty. According to the London Gazette, it was to be awarded, “in cases where it shall be considered fit, to such persons as shall endanger their own lives in saving or endeavouring to save the lives of others from shipwreck or other perils of the sea.”

On the 12th of June the Queen attended the marriage of the Princess Mary of Cambridge to the Duke of Teck. This illustrious lady has always been the most popular of English Princesses—popular alike with the aristocracy and the mob. Her marriage stirred up a good deal of interest. It was celebrated very quietly and simply in her own parish church at Kew, in the midst of the people among whom she had lived from her childhood, and to whom she had endeared herself by her spirited geniality, her good and tender heart, and her generous though somewhat impulsive charities.

On the 27th of June the Queen sent the first message over the telegraph cable that had been successfully laid between Ireland and the United States. It ran as follows: “From the Queen, Osborne, to the President of the United States, Washington.—The Queen congratulates the President on the successful completion of an undertaking which she hopes may serve as an additional bond of union between the United States and England.” President Andrew Johnson replied:—“The President of the United States acknowledges with profound gratification the receipt of her Majesty’s despatch, and cordially reciprocates the hope that the cable that now unites the Eastern and Western hemispheres may serve to strengthen and perpetuate peace and amity between the Government of England and the Republic of the United States.” The President’s reply to the Queen occupied one hour and nine minutes in its transit from Newfoundland to Osborne. The cable laid in 1865 had been lost, but it had been successfully raised, and the daily journal of the operations of the ships comprising the telegraph squadron engaged in recovering it, is a record in which heroic perseverance, extraordinary mechanical ingenuity, and able seamanship alike compel admiration.

On the 20th of September the Prince of Wales presided at the unveiling of a fine marble statue of the Queen at Aberdeen. The subscriptions for this work of art were collected just after the inauguration of the memorial to the Prince Consort by the Queen in October, 1863. A thousand pounds were{267} easily obtained, a large number of the subscribers being working men. The artist, Mr. Alexander Brodie, a local sculptor, represented the Queen standing, bearing the sceptre in her right hand, while with, the other she clasped the folds of a tartan plaid. The statue stands 8 feet 6 inches in height, is cut from a block of Sicilian marble, and is placed on a richly-polished pedestal over 10 feet high. The Prince on the occasion was dressed in Highland costume, and received hearty cheers from the crowds who greeted him. In accordance with a unanimous resolution of the Town Council, he received the freedom of the city. While speaking at the inauguration ceremony, he stated that the Queen had desired him to say how much she appreciated the motive which had led the people of Aberdeen to give this lasting evidence of their attachment, loyalty, and sympathy.

On the 16th of October the Queen herself opened the Aberdeen New Waterworks at Invercannie, twenty-two miles distant from the “Granite City,” and a convenient drive of thirty miles from Balmoral. After receiving an address, her Majesty, speaking in public in her official capacity for the first time since the death of the Prince Consort, said:—“I thank you for your dutiful address, and am very sensible of the fresh mark of the loyal attachment of my neighbours the people of Aberdeen. I have felt that, at a time when the attention of the country has been so anxiously directed to the state of the public health, it was right that I should make an exertion to testify my sense of the importance of a work so well calculated as this to promote the health and comfort of your ancient city.” The Queen then, advancing to an ingenious piece of machinery erected at the edge of the reservoir, gave several turns to the handle, and in an instant the water came plunging in, pure and plentiful. The Queen then declared the Aberdeen Waterworks open.

On the 30th of November her Majesty received an enthusiastic welcome from her subjects in Wolverhampton, on the occasion of her inaugurating a statue erected to the Prince Consort. The Queen was accompanied by the Earl of Derby, Princess Helena, Prince Christian, the Princess Louise, and the customary suite. Between two and three thousand people were admitted into the railway station-yard and approaches. At the entrance there had been built an arch of coal, firmly joined by mortar, with abutments of pig-iron. Trophies of picks, spades, and other implements of the collier’s trade were so placed as to give relief to the material of the arch, which, though not very sightly, was very characteristic of the local industry. Beyond this was a trophy of coal, thirty feet high, formed of immense blocks some of them weighing nearly three tons, from Lord Dudley’s pits. Nothing could exceed the enthusiasm and devotion displayed by the population. Town and county assembled in the streets. The colliers, the puddlers, and the forgemen from the iron districts, the workers in metal, japan, papier-maché, and in all the staple trades of Wolverhampton, lined the barriers, and raised a mighty{268} shout when the royal carriages appeared. The treacherous weather of an English November made it, of course, indispensable that the ceremony of unveiling the statue should be performed and witnessed under cover, and an amphitheatre had accordingly been constructed which held two thousand people. The Bishop of Lichfield having offered up a prayer, the Recorder read an address to the Queen, which she accepted. Lord Derby having handed her a sword, she next bestowed the accolade on the kneeling Mayor, who thereupon rose up as Sir John Morris. Before leaving the pavilion, the Queen desired the Mayor to tell her subjects in Wolverhampton that she was greatly pleased with her reception, and with the loyal feeling which had been manifested. A few days afterwards, at a meeting of the Wolverhampton Council, the Mayor produced a letter which, though marked “private,” he had obtained permission to read at that meeting. The letter was from Sir C. Grey. It was dated Windsor Castle, December 1, and, after stating that an official answer to the address of the Corporation would be sent, went on to say:—“Her Majesty is anxious that you should hear, as it were, more directly from herself how much she was gratified by the heartiness and cordiality of the reception she met with from every individual of the vast assemblage that yesterday filled your streets, and how deeply—how very deeply—she was touched by the proof which the day’s proceedings afforded of the respect and affection entertained at Wolverhampton for the memory of her beloved husband. I have also been requested by Princess Christian to say how much she has been gratified by the kindness shown yesterday to herself and Prince Christian, and that she will have much pleasure in wearing the beautiful bracelet presented to her at the station as a remembrance of a most interesting and gratifying day.” Sir John Morris then read another letter he had received from Sir Thomas Biddulph, in which the Queen desired that her condolence might be conveyed to a volunteer who had met with an accident on the occasion of her visit, and also expressed her Majesty’s intention to settle upon him an annuity of £20, payable quarterly. This announcement was naturally received with great enthusiasm by the Council.{269}


Stemming the Tide of Democracy—Lord Derby and Reform—The Reform League—The Riots in Hyde Park—Cowing the Ministry—The Adullamites—Mr. Disraeli’s Resolutions—Crises in the Cabinet—The Ten Minutes Bill—The Government Measure—Mr. Gladstone’s Alterations—A Leap in the Dark—The Movement in Favour of German Unity—The Austro-Prussian War—The Luxembourg Question—Execution of the Emperor Maximilian—Mr. Disraeli’s Budget—Academic Discussions of Irish Grievances—Fenian Outrages at Manchester and Clerkenwell—Rattening at Sheffield—Prince Arthur Passes his Military Examination—Illness of the Princess of Wales—Founding of the Royal Albert Hall—The Sultan in England—Abdul Aziz, K.G.—Visit of the Queen to the Duchess of Roxburghe—Dr. Macleod at Balmoral—Prince Arthur ill of Smallpox—The Queen Keeping Hallowe’en—Her Majesty Visits Lady Palmerston.

When Lord Derby came to power in 1866 he was reported to have said that it would be his mission “to stem the tide of democracy.” It has, therefore, been supposed that he was an irreconcilable opponent of Reform. As he passed an extremely democratic measure of Parliamentary Reform—thereby, to use his own phrase, “dishing the Whigs”—he has been accused of the grossest possible tergiversation. What, then, was the attitude of the Tories to Reform in 1866? The party, as a whole, was certainly hostile to it. To give votes to people who paid £6 a year for their houses meant, as Sir E. Bulwer Lytton declared, the enfranchisement of “poverty and passion.” No speeches stirred the hearts and sympathies of the Tory party throughout this country so strongly as those in which Mr. Lowe, and other Adullamites, heaped the coarsest abuse on the working-classes of England. In those days an English artisan was spoken of in Tory society with an antipathy stronger even than that with which the “mean whites” regarded the negroes in the Southern States. The leaders of the Tory party, however—Lord Derby, Lord Stanley, Mr. Disraeli, and Mr. Henley—never shared these prejudices. But what would they do after being called to power by the declared enemies of Reform? The first public utterances of Ministers did not throw much light on their intentions. Mr. Disraeli told his constituents that when the Government attempted to deal with Reform they would not adopt any foreign pattern—either American or French—as a model for the Parliamentary institutions of the country. He protested that he could not discover whether the defeated Bill was based on the rights of man or the rights of numbers. He seemed to have some notion that “the estate of the Commons” should, like all other estates, have a fair share in the Government of the country. But his idea evidently was to enfranchise not masses but classes, and to give electoral power to the élite of all the different “orders” of society. Sir Stafford Northcote was opposed to bringing in any{270} new Reform Bill.[250] Lord Stanley said bluntly that he had objected to the defeated Bill, because it made the franchise lower than the House of Commons would endure; and as for Lord Derby, his opinion was very ambiguous. He had no objection to see the electorate largely increased. But his difficulty was, that the agitators who were alone earnest in demanding Reform would never be satisfied with any Bill which the great parties in the State could unite in accepting. It was quite clear that he intended to let the matter rest and ripen. Lord Derby and his colleagues, however, made a fatal mistake in imagining that they would be allowed to let the matter rest. He completely miscalculated the strength of the social and political forces which had been let loose by the death of Lord Palmerston. The nation was in a condition of suspense and excitement that recalled revolutionary memories of 1848, and the working-classes had been roused from their apathy by the speeches in which the Tories and Adullamites had held them up to contempt. The Reform League promptly set on foot a great popular agitation, and, to the astonishment of the Adullamites and the Tories, the reply of the people to the refusal of a £6 franchise was a demand for “registered residential manhood suffrage and the ballot.” Huge mass meetings were held all over the country, at which this demand was put forward, and the temper of the populace rapidly became revolutionary. An accident brought this unpleasant fact home to the minds of Ministers.

The Reform League, under the leadership of Mr. Edmond Beales—an energetic barrister, who afterwards became a County Court Judge—organised a meeting in Hyde Park. On the 22nd of July, 1866, notices were posted up by order of the Government prohibiting the Reformers from holding the meeting. On the 23rd the Leaguers, accompanied by an angry mob, proceeded to the Park and demanded admission. When this was refused, Mr. Beales and his colleagues tried to lead the crowd to Trafalgar Square for the purpose of protesting against the action of the Home Secretary. But the crowd refused to be led. It took a more summary and effective method of protesting, for it tore down the railings of Hyde Park and held the ground till it was driven out, after a desperate fight with the police and Life Guards. It was at first supposed that this timely exhibition of force would end the conflict; and Mr. Walpole, the Home Secretary, posted strong patrols of police and soldiery all over the Park. That step was, of course, quickly resented by the people. They attacked the police and the troops on the 24th, and it was not till cavalry were employed that the turmoil was suppressed. But during the whole day the fashionable people in carriages were pelted with mud and stones by the “roughs” whenever they made their appearance. This inglorious warfare went on in the same manner till the 27th, when the Duke of Cambridge decided to bring up three additional regiments of cavalry, whereupon it began{271} to dawn on Society that somehow or other life was not altogether pleasant in the West End of London under the new “Government of moral order.” The Queen, whose legal right to exclude people from the Royal Parks was the pretext for the action of the Government, became extremely nervous as to the effect which the policy of her Ministers might have on the stability of the Monarchy, and it finally turned out that the Home Secretary had gone beyond the law, in vindicating her Majesty’s rights over Hyde Park by military force. Those rights were secured to the Crown solely by a civil action for trespass. At the height of the dispute the leaders of the Reform League obtained an interview with Mr. Walpole, in the course of which that amiable but misguided Minister shed tears when the grave consequences of his action became manifest to him. He withdrew his opposition to the use of the Park. The Reformers held their meetings, and on the 28th of July London was so quiet and orderly, that no chance visitor would have dreamt that it had during the week been on the verge of revolution. Parliament was prorogued on the 11th of August, and the agitation went on throughout the country.

The Derby-Disraeli Government were by this time completely cowed by the mob, and they frankly admitted that it was too dangerous to let Reform alone. Parliament met on the 5th of February, 1867, and was opened by the Queen, who, though driven in a close carriage from the Palace to Westminster, was received with the heartiest cheers by crowds of people, who, despite the wet and dismal weather, came out to greet her as she passed. The Royal Speech was listened to with suppressed excitement, especially when the paragraph relating to Reform was read by the Lord Chancellor. It, however, merely hinted at the introduction of a measure for extending the Franchise, so that naturally attention was next concentrated on Mr. Disraeli’s utterances on the vexed question.[251] He rather amused his opponents by solemnly announcing that the subject of Reform should no longer be treated as one to determine the fate of Cabinets.[252] No doubt it was a little difficult to treat such an announcement seriously, coming from a Minister who had dexterously used the question for the purpose of upsetting Lord Russell’s Cabinet. Still, it was the wisest policy that could be adopted in the circumstances, and its adoption had been strongly pressed on Lord Derby by the Queen herself. Her Majesty’s view was that the history, especially the recent history, of the Reform agitation, proved conclusively two things—first, that no possible Government could by its own effort and authority carry a Reform Bill; and second, as Mr. Gladstone had himself admitted to her, that with a £10 franchise it was not likely that a House of Commons could be obtained with a strong working majority pledged to support a Reform Ministry. “If,” said Lord Derby, in his speech on the Address, in words which aptly reflected the{272}

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opinion of the Sovereign, “we desire to see the representation of the country placed upon a sound basis; if we desire to see a settlement of the question, which I will not say shall be final, but which shall render unnecessary and improbable any further agitation upon the subject for a very considerable time, then I say this object cannot be attained by making the question one of party and political strife for the purpose of obtaining office or Parliamentary majorities. The question must be examined in a fair, deliberate, and dispassionate spirit; we must be prepared to give and take, to meet each other’s views, and, above all things, to cast away all party objects.”

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(From a Photograph by the London Stereoscopic Company.)

The real obstacle had been the Adullamites. But, says Mr. Hayward, in{274} a letter to Mr. Gladstone, dated the 31st of January, “the Cave has split already. Elcho, Lord Grosvenor, heading one section with Lowe and Horsman; Beaumont, Dunkellin, &c., with the other; the numbers about equal…. Beaumont and Co. would vote for an immediate settlement of the Reform Question. This he told me. Elcho would consent to no reduction of the Franchise.”[253] The fate of this small but brilliant party, Bishop Wilberforce says, inspired Mr. Gladstone with a new commandment—“Thou shalt not commit Adullamy.”[254]

On the 11th of February Mr. Disraeli explained to the House of Commons how the Government intended to deal with Reform. He suggested that they should pass a series of Resolutions admitting the necessity of increasing the electorate, and of giving more direct representation to the working-classes, but affirming that it was contrary to the Constitution to give any single interest in the country dominant power over the others. His Resolutions were also in favour of basing the franchise on rating, of plural voting, of the use of voting papers, and of the extension of borough boundaries. The House of Commons, however, clearly showed that it desired the Government to bring in a Bill, and that was plainly the opinion of the public also. Lord Malmesbury writes on the 16th of February:—“New plan on Reform proposed by Disraeli. Four franchises, namely, £5 rated house, £50 in savings bank, an educational franchise, and direct taxation, supposed in its result to give 680,000 voters to property, and 360,000 to democracy. General Peel positively objects. The press, in a body, abuse our Resolutions.”[255] On the 19th a Cabinet meeting was held, at which General Peel, finding he was the only dissentient, withdrew his objections.[256] But public opinion was against the scheme, and the spirit of dissension was brooding over the Cabinet. “Meanwhile,” writes Lord Malmesbury, who has given the world the only authentic account of the secret history of the startling events which followed, “after a Cabinet held on Saturday, Feb. 22nd, at which no difficulty occurred, and after Lord Derby’s having gone down to Windsor to announce unanimity of the Cabinet, on Sunday night Lord Cranborne informed Lord Carnarvon that he could not agree to the Reform Bill as it stood, and must resign. Lord Carnarvon did the same, and at 8.30 on Feb. 25th they wrote to Lord Derby to call a Cabinet at twelve for Lord Cranborne to explain his objections. The confusion may be conceived, as at 2 p.m. Lord Derby had summoned his party to hear the new Bill, and Disraeli was to explain it at five in the House of Commons.{275} It was a paralysis. The dissentients were now joined by General Peel, who refused to remain [he had dissented from the first], and in half an hour, at Stanley’s suggestion, they agreed to meet the M.P.’s with a Bill founded on the £6 and £20 rating, to which the trio agreed. This crude action exposed us to great condemnation and ridicule.” The Bill was afterwards nicknamed the “Six Hours Bill,” and some indiscreet revelations which were made by Sir John Pakington led to it being scoffed at as “the Ten Minutes Bill.” A more ludicrous blunder has probably never been committed by any Government, as some of the Ministers confessed to each other. “No doubt,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “the best thing in such a position would have been to accept the resignation of these three able and honourable men (however serious the loss), and to tell the truth to Parliament, deferring the Bill for a week. I wrote a strong letter to Lord Derby from Heron Court, begging him to do this. The following Saturday it was done, and the Dukes of Richmond and Marlborough and Mr. Corry took the vacant seats in the Cabinet—the first as Board of Trade, the second as Colonial Secretary, the third as First Lord of the Admiralty; Northcote, India; and Pakington, War Office. The statement made by Lords Cranborne and Carnarvon was that Disraeli and Baxter[257] had completely mistaken their figures, and that the result would not be what we intended, but would be perfectly fatal.”

On the 26th of February a meeting of Liberal members, held at Mr. Gladstone’s house, expressed a very strong opinion against the Resolutions and against the Bill with the four franchises—“fancy franchises,” they were called by Mr. Bright and the Radicals—which Mr. Disraeli had sketched under pressure from Mr. Gladstone on the previous day. It was resolved to move an amendment to the Resolutions. But on the same evening Mr. Disraeli foiled this attack by withdrawing them, and by promising to bring in a Bill next week. This was the “Ten Minutes Bill” which had just been adopted in haste by the Ministers at their distracted Councils in Lord Derby’s house. On the 28th of February Lord John Manners, in a letter to Lord Malmesbury, writes:—“A meeting of Conservative M.P.’s was held at the Carlton to-day, Sir M. W. Ridley in the chair; between 120 and 150 present. Much difference of opinion, no resolutions passed, but a general disposition evinced in favour of rated residential household suffrage v. £6 rating and an equal division of new seats between the counties and the boroughs. An anxious desire expressed that we should fix upon the franchise thought best and then stick to it, declining to carry our opponents’ measure. They (our opponents) are, I believe, in equal difficulties, and are quite unable to take office at present.”[258] On the 4th of{276} March it was made known to the country that Lord Carnarvon, Lord Cranborne, and General Peel had resigned their seats in the Cabinet; and on the 18th of March Mr. Disraeli asked and obtained leave to bring in the Bill which the Government had finally adopted. In the debate on the Second Reading Mr. Gladstone somewhat haughtily formulated the changes in it which he must demand. These practically eviscerated the Bill, and at the time it was not supposed that the Government could with any degree of self-respect assent to them. But when the Bill went into Committee it was soon apparent that Mr. Gladstone and his followers meant to force all their proposals on the Government. Ministers day after day held melancholy and mournful Cabinet meetings, and it was with rage that the Adullamites saw the men whom they had brought into office surrendering position after position.

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“The laissez aller system followed by the Government,” writes Lord Malmesbury in May, “trying to make the best they could of it, but constantly yielding something. The Conservative members seem disposed to adopt anything, and to think that it is ‘in for a penny in for a pound.’” At each Cabinet meeting it was found that the Bill had become more Radical; indeed, it seemed as if Tory opposition stimulated Radical aggressiveness. Nor was the demoralisation confined to the Tory Party. There was some dread lest the persistent humiliation to which Mr. Gladstone and his{277}

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(After a Photograph by F. G. C. Stuart, Southampton.)

subordinates subjected Mr. Disraeli day after day might tempt him to resign and abandon the Bill. A body of Radicals, called the “Tea Room Clique,” began to give the Government friendly aid, and so greatly encumbered Mr. Gladstone’s opposition, that for a time he refused to be responsible for the leadership of the Liberal Party. The great difficulty was to apply the Bill to tenants who compounded with their landlords for their rates. As these householders were not personally rated, they would not be enfranchised. Mr. Gladstone’s idea was to definitely fix the franchise at a £5 rating limit, and on the 5th of April Mr. Coleridge was put up to move an instruction to the Committee to clear the path for Mr. Gladstone’s proposal. The Radicals who met in the “Tea Room” of the House of Commons forced Mr. Coleridge to give way. When Mr. Gladstone in Committee proposed his plan, it was defeated by the defection of the Tea Room Party. Finally, the matter was settled by Mr. Disraeli putting an end to the practice of compounding for rates, so that every householder, unless he were a pauper, got a vote. Perhaps the most graphic view of the struggles, and the confused strife of this Session when Mr. Disraeli demoralised his own party by perpetual surrender, and broke up the Opposition under the solvent of{278} intrigue, is given by Mr. Paul’s comparison of the original provisions of the Bill and its provisions when it received the Queen’s assent.

Original Bill. Bill As Passed.
Household franchise in boroughs, conditional Household franchise, conditional on one year’s
on two years’ residence, and personal payment residence; compound householder abolished, the
of rates. occupier alone being rated.
£15 franchise in counties. £12 franchise in counties.
Educational franchise for graduates or associates No educational franchise.
in Arts of any University of the United
Kingdom, for those who passed senior middle-class
examinations, for clergymen, professional
men, and schoolmasters.
A pecuniary franchise for savings bank depositors No pecuniary franchise.
with balance of £50, fundholders of like
amount, and direct taxpayers to the amount of
£1 per annum.
Dual voting—a provision entitling the holder No dual voting.
of the pecuniary franchise to vote for the same
borough in respect to any franchise involving
occupation of premises, and payment of rates.
Voting papers. No voting papers.
No lodger franchise. A £10 lodger franchise.
No cumulative vote or three-cornered constituencies, Four three-cornered constituencies.
these being declared by Mr. Disraeli
erroneous in principle and pernicious in practice.
Twenty-three towns under 7,000 in population Thirty-five towns below 10,000 in population
to be deprived of one member, and Totnes, deprived of one member. Eleven boroughs
Reigate, Great Yarmouth, and Lancaster, convicted ultimately disfranchised.
of corrupt practices, to be disfranchised.
Fourteen of the new seats to be given to Eighteen of the new seats to boroughs,
boroughs, fifteen to counties, and one to London twenty-five to the counties, and one to London
University. University, one seat being afterwards given to
Wales, and seven to Scotland.
No third members to Manchester, Liverpool, Three members given to Manchester, Liverpool,
Birmingham, and Leeds. Birmingham, and Leeds.[259]
As the Duke of Buccleuch said bitterly, the only part of the Bill which the Radicals had allowed to stand was “the word ‘Whereas.’” Mr. Disraeli, in fact, induced his party to tolerate the measure because he surrounded Household Suffrage with an elaborate series of checks. The process of removing these one by one, but so gradually that he familiarised his followers with capitulation, was the process which he subsequently described in a speech at Edinburgh as that of “educating his party.” But when the checks disappeared the Conservative Reform Bill was to all intents and purposes the Bill of Mr. Bright and the advocates of Household Suffrage pure and simple. In June Lord Malmesbury says, “After many vicissitudes, the Reform Bill came up to the House of Lords, and Lord Derby moved the Second Reading without a division, saying it was ‘a leap in the dark.’ Peers on our side were averse to it, but at a meeting of{279} them Lord Derby said he would resign if it was rejected.” That settled the matter. The Bill was ultimately passed on the 15th of August with only one important amendment—the clause creating the three-cornered constituencies. The Bills for Scotland and Ireland were carried in the following year, the Irish franchise being, however, fixed at £4 in boroughs. At Manchester and Edinburgh Lord Derby and Mr. Disraeli, during the recess, celebrated the passing of the Bill at great Conservative festivals, Mr. Disraeli vaunting the success with which he had “educated” his party up to the point of surrender.

During the struggle for Parliamentary Reform in England another great democratic movement on the Continent was in full and rapid progress. It was the movement of the German people in favour of German Unity, which had been arrested in 1848. The pacific policy of the Queen had saved England from sharing in Palmerston’s wild scheme to thwart the aspirations of the German race in 1865. Hence Englishmen could view critically the strife between the people of Germany, led by Prussia, and the forces of Teutonic feudalism, organised and made militant by Austria. But it was impossible for the Queen to be indifferent to the result of this conflict. The husbands of her daughters were fighting on different sides. The struggle had been long foreseen by the Prince Consort, who was a strong partisan of German Unity, and had for years used all his influence with the Court of Berlin to induce Prussia to lead the national movement in Germany. In the summer of 1866 Europe felt that the truce of Gastein was fast coming to an end. Manteuffel was the Prussian Governor of Holstein. Goblenz was the Austrian Governor of Sleswig, and the claims of the Augustenburg Pretender—reserved for future settlement by the Convention of Gastein—soon furnished the administrators of the two provinces with a fruitful cause of quarrel. When a popular ovation was accepted by the Prince-Pretender in Sleswig, Manteuffel harshly reprimanded him. At Kiel in Holstein Austria openly encouraged the Pretender’s Party in defiance of Prussia. Agitators from South Germany went about the country, under Austrian patronage, urging the Holsteiners to shake off the yoke of Prussia. The “conjoint dominion’ was no longer endurable. Austria proposed to submit the dispute to the German Diet, a proposal which Prussia rejected, and when the Powers began to prepare for war, their example was followed by Italy, who now saw her chance of delivering Venice. In fact, early in spring, 1866, Italy and Prussia had entered into a secret Treaty embodying offensive and defensive action against Austria. The French Emperor knew of the existence of this Treaty, and it was a mystery why he did not intervene between the disputants. The probability is that he calculated on being able to interfere with profit to France after Prussia and Austria had each exhausted themselves in a long and sanguinary struggle, a reckoning which the sudden collapse of Austria completely upset. Napoleon III., though ostensibly suggesting a reference of the{280} dispute to a European Conference, was secretly intriguing with both Powers. To Prussia he proposed an alliance on the basis of ceding to France the left bank of the Rhine, including Belgium, which England was bound to defend by arms. To Austria he offered an alliance based on the cession of Venice to Italy, in return for Silesia—a province which every Prussian regards with pride, as one of the Great Frederick’s spoils of war. And all this time England was under the delusion that France was still a loyal ally, while the English Foreign Office was in utter darkness as to the subterranean negotiations in which Napoleon was engaged. Nothing now made for peace, except the scruples of the King of Prussia, who was personally attached to the Austrian Emperor, and who regarded with horror anything approaching fratricidal strife. The project of a Conference was abandoned because Austria disliked it. Prussia refused to submit to the arbitration or jurisdiction of the German Diet, the majority of which took the side of Austria, and the Austrians accordingly plunged into war, with Bavaria, Würtemberg, Hanover, Saxony, and many of the smaller States as their allies. In England fashionable opinion was all in favour of Austria. Her army, we were assured by the leading organs of the upper classes, was invincible. As for the troops and the generals of Prussia, they were spoken of as if they were beneath contempt.

On the 14th of June the Diet, 1866, on the motion of Austria, resolved to put in Federal execution against Prussia, in Holstein. On the 16th Prussian troops were marching through Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, and Hesse-Darmstadt in three columns on Saxony. This swift blow paralysed the minor States; in fact, Bavaria, with her army of 100,000, was not ready to come to the help of Austria till the war was over. Western Germany north of the Maine thus fell an easy prey to Prussian skill and valour. But that skill and valour were more conspicuously displayed in the chief theatre of the war. The Austrian commander, Marshal Benedek, having allowed the Prussians to seize Dresden at the outset, joined the Austrians in Bohemia. In two columns, one under the “Red Prince” (Frederick Charles), and the other under the Crown Prince (the “our Fritz” of the Queen’s family), the Prussians poured like a rapid and resistless torrent through Saxony and the Silesia passes, in a parallel line, into the plains of Bohemia. What need to tell the tale? The flower of the Austrian army—its German troops—was wasted in Venetia. The Italian and Hungarian regiments in Bohemia were disaffected. The Prussians had the needle-gun, whereas the Austrians had the old, slow-firing muzzle-loader. Von Moltke, the ablest strategist in Europe, directed the Prussian attack, and thus fight after fight was lost by Austria. On the 3rd of July, 1866, the crowning victory of the war was won by Prussia at Sadowa, where the Crown Prince, aided by Blumenthal, played the part of Blucher at Waterloo, and the invincible Austrian Empire lay prostrate in the dust. In Italy the Austrians were more successful. They won the battle of Custozza and the sea-fight of Lissa—victories{281} which were barren of results. Peace was signed at Prague on the 23rd of August, 1866. Venice had been surrendered to France, who was to hand it over to Italy. Austria was expelled from Germany, and the Danish duchies were transferred to Prussia, but with the proviso that the people of North Sleswig might, if they desired it, join Denmark. Saxony, however, retained a certain amount of independence, whereas the smaller States were to be organised into a new German Confederation under Prussian leadership. Germany north of the Maine was annexed to Prussia. The triumph of Prussia was immediately followed by the reorganisation of the French army, and the initiation of reforms in Austria.

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The aim of Lord Derby’s Government had been to withdraw England entirely from foreign politics, but that did not prevent Englishmen from rejoicing at the creation of a strong progressive German Power in Central Europe capable of curbing the restless ambition of France, and at the defeat of Austria—one of the strongholds of decaying feudalism. During 1867 the work of consolidating North Germany went on rapidly, and Baron Beust, the Saxon Minister, was called to carry out the new policy of reconstruction{282} in Austria. At last the independence of Hungary was recognised, and the Austrian Emperor having sworn to maintain the Hungarian Constitution, he was crowned in Pesth as King of this ancient Monarchy. When Hungary had been conciliated, Baron Beust next proceeded to frame a constitution for the other provinces of the Empire. One little cloud, however, arose on the untroubled horizon of the English Foreign Office. A pending dispute as to the occupation of Luxembourg tempted Lord Stanley to interfere in Continental affairs during the spring. The King of Holland was Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and he had entered into a secret agreement to sell it to France. But the capital of the province was held by a Prussian garrison, and the new North German Parliament objected strongly to permit a German province to pass under French dominion. France, on the other hand, demanded the evacuation of Luxembourg, and on the 23rd of April, 1867, Lord Stanley wrote to inform Lord Malmesbury that war was imminent. The Luxembourg Question arose simply because the French Emperor had been outwitted by Bismarck’s diplomacy. The claim of France for a cession of German frontier had been postponed till after the peace with Austria was signed. By giving the South German States easy and generous terms, Bismarck had induced them to sign secret Treaties with Prussia, putting their armies at her disposal should France make war on her. Hence, when M. Benedetti presented the French claim for compensation in 1866, Bismarck defied his threats, and as France had neither allies in Germany nor breechloaders in her arsenals, she had to submit. But in 1867 Napoleon imagined he had discovered in Luxembourg a door into Germany that could be forced by diplomacy, and hence the negotiations with the King of Holland, which had been rendered abortive by the resistance of Prussia. The French ambassador in London then appealed to Lord Stanley to use his good offices as mediator, his proposal being that France would cease to press for the purchase of Luxembourg if Prussia would evacuate the garrison, which barred one of the military routes from France into Germany. England advised Prussia to give way. Russia proposed a Conference of the Powers to settle the question, a proposal which Prussia accepted, and the more especially as she doubted whether the dissolution of the Bund which authorised her occupation of Luxembourg had not destroyed her claim to maintain her garrison there. She had also failed to induce Austria to enter into an alliance with her, and so she was open to consider a compromise. Prussia withdrew from the fortress on condition of its being dismantled and the territory “neutralised,” and the European guarantee for the neutralisation of Luxembourg was supposed to be a sufficient compensation for the loss of the fortress. This arrangement was formulated in the Treaty signed at London on the 11th of May, 1867, and at the time it enhanced the prestige of the Tory Government, to whose diplomacy it was greatly due. But, as a matter of fact, it simply served to embitter the relation of the disputing Powers. It left Prussia angry because France had ousted her from the fortress. It left France angry because Prussia had{283} thwarted her attempt to take the territory. Altogether, the Foreign Policy of France in 1867 was strangely bungled. Napoleon, by forbidding the King of Italy to “protect” the Pope against Garibaldian bands, had humiliated a grateful ally. French troops crushed the Garibaldians at Mentana, and thereby deeply wounded the susceptibilities of the Italian people. Worst of all, the Mexican tragedy utterly discredited the French Government in the eyes of Europe. For when France withdrew her troops from Mexico, under pressure from the United States, the Emperor Maximilian elected to remain in the country. His cause soon became hopeless. The Empress Charlotte undertook a fruitless journey to Europe to beg for succour, which was denied her. Her husband was finally taken prisoner by the Mexican Republicans, and shot by order of a court-martial. “There is a very touching account,” writes Lord Malmesbury on the 10th of July, “in to-day’s papers of the Emperor Maximilian’s execution. He died like a Christian and a soldier. His poor wife has become quite insane. The French expedition to Mexico, and its tragical end are a sad blot on Louis Napoleon’s career.”[260]

Though the colony of Victoria was still vexed by the conflict between the two orders of its Legislature, and India was suffering from a famine in one of its Provinces, the dependencies of England in 1867 enjoyed profound tranquillity. One of them, indeed, took a new departure in colonial history. On the 26th of February Lord Carnarvon, carrying out the policy of his predecessor, passed a Bill through the House of Lords, incorporating the scattered provinces of Canada into a Federal Dominion. The financial history of the year, too, was uneventful. Mr. Disraeli introduced his Budget on the 4th of April, just before the Easter recess. In the previous year Mr. Gladstone had determined to use the balance of his surplus for the creation of terminable annuities in order to extinguish debt. The distracted state of affairs abroad, and the difficulties of the Government at home had, however, frustrated the scheme. But it was adopted by Mr. Disraeli in 1867. “He converted £6,000,000 of stock,” says Mr. A. J. Wilson, “costing £180,000 per annum in interest, into an annuity of £440,000, expiring in April, 1885. Of the gross estimated surplus of £1,200,000 he proposed to keep £250,000 against contingencies; and the resolution was wise, for, owing to the Abyssinian War, and to the increase in the general costliness of the public services, the year ended with a considerable deficit. Mr. Disraeli estimated his revenue at £69,340,000, and the actual income was £69,600,000. But the expenditure, instead of being only £68,134,000, as estimated, reached £71,759,000. Deducting £2,000,000 charged that year to the war, the ordinary expenditure still exceeded the estimate by fully a million and a half, about £700,000 of which was due to the increased cost of civil administration.”[261] Hence the{284}

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(After the Picture by Jean-Paul Laurens.)

people said that the old ill-luck of the Tories in finance followed them still. The days of plump surpluses had vanished, and those of growing expenditure and dismal deficits had begun. The only remission of taxation which Mr. Disraeli proposed was the reduction of the Marine Insurance Duties. The Budget, in fact was a tribute to those who, like Mr. Mill and Mr. Stanley{285} Jevons, had impressed the public mind that the time had come when sacrifices must be made not to reduce taxes, but to pay off National Debt.

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The Session of 1867 was not prolific in Irish legislation. Ministers and private members once more made futile attempts to unravel the tangled web of the Land Tenure question. One measure, indeed, of a vigorous and decided character, was rapidly passed, namely, the Act for continuing for three months the suspension of the Habeas Corpus in Ireland. But as to land tenure, Lord Naas, on behalf of the Government, introduced a Bill very early in the Session to promote the improvement of land by tenants. The Bill was founded on the principle of the Lands Improvement Act. There were several kinds of improvements, for the making of which money was advanced under the Lands Improvement Act. These were, thorough draining, the reclamation of waste lands, the removal of old and useless fences, the making{286} of farm roads, and the erection of farmhouses, dwellings, and other buildings. On the Second Reading of Lord Naas’ Bill being moved, a considerable diversity of opinion was exhibited with respect to the tendency and operation of the measure. Several amendments were proposed and discussed at length, and the debate was adjourned. Owing, partly to the pressure occasioned by the Reform debates, and other questions, and partly to a general impression of the futility of attempting to carry a measure of this description, the Bill was dropped.

Another effort was made, with similar results, by the Marquis of Clanricarde, who laid on the table of the House of Lords a Bill for giving facilities for voluntary contracts between landlords and tenants in Ireland. The Bill did not obtain a second reading. A third attempt to deal with the difficulty was made by Sir Colman O’Loghlan, who obtained leave to bring in a Bill, its main object being to encourage the granting of leases, and to discourage tenancies at will. After much controversy this measure was also dropped, and the Irish people read the old moral from these debates, that they must look elsewhere than to Parliament for the redress of their grievances. An effort was now made to raise the Irish Church Question. Sir John Gray, on the 7th of May, moved that the House of Commons on a future day resolve itself into committee to consider the temporalities and privileges of the Established Church in Ireland. This was a motion that was not unattractive to the Whigs, and so Colonel Greville seconded it as a Protestant who, living in Ireland, felt it his duty to protest in the strongest manner against the continuance of an unjust establishment. Sir Frederick Heygate moved the previous question, and then Mr. Gladstone intervened, giving a hint of his coming Irish policy. He found a difficulty in supporting the Resolution, not because he questioned the soundness of it, but because it was an abstract Resolution, and the House ought not to pass it without having a plan for giving effect to it. We might, he contended, support a religious establishment to maintain truth, but we did not support the Irish Protestant establishment for that purpose only, seeing that we also supported the Catholic College of Maynooth. We might maintain an established church because its doctrines were those of the bulk of the people. But that was notoriously not the case in Ireland. We might keep up an established church to supply the poorest class of the community with free and cheap religious teaching. But the Protestant Church in Ireland was the church of the rich. He trusted the time was not far distant when Parliament would take the question of the Irish Church up; and when it did he hoped that “a result would be arrived at which would be a blessing to all.” This speech, coming from the author of the celebrated work in defence of established churches, was listened to with consternation by the Tories. They began to regret that they had “unmuzzled” Mr. Gladstone, to use Palmerston’s phrase, by turning him out of Oxford. The matter was, however, shelved for a time, the “previous question” being carried by a majority of 195 to 183.{287}

That the attack was preconcerted by the Liberal leaders was indicated by the fact that in the House of Lords Earl Russell, on the 24th of June, moved an address to the Queen, praying her to order, by Royal Commission, or otherwise, full information to be procured as to the revenues of the Established Church in Ireland, with a view to their more equitable application for the benefit of the Irish people. Lord Russell hinted that he favoured the application to Ireland of the voluntary principle, and if that were done he would appropriate the property of the Church to educational purposes. Lord Cairns, however, declared that the destruction of the Established Church, whose function it was to teach Christian truth, would be fatal to the landed interest, and to the commerce of Ireland with England. But a motion for an address praying simply for a Royal Commission was agreed to, and the Commission was issued by the Crown in the ensuing autumn. Meantime, as the Times wrote in 1865, Ireland was “being cleared quietly for the interests and luxury of humanity.” And yet not too quietly. The progress of Fenianism, especially in the British Army, was wonderfully rapid. Hundreds of agitators were carrying on their secret propaganda. Scores of Irish-American officers were pouring into Ireland, telling the people that General Sheridan and other hot-headed soldiers of their race in the United States were eager to interfere on their behalf. Early in 1867 sporadic risings of small, half-armed mobs were put down with ease, and in the trials which followed the capital sentence passed on those found guilty was commuted to one of penal servitude, the abstinence of the rebels from wanton outrage giving the Queen a reasonable ground for exercising her prerogative of mercy. But the Fenian organisation had grown to unexpected strength in England, and within a few days after Ministers announced the Bill suspending Habeas Corpus in Ireland (11th of February) a band of men, headed by Irish-American officers, would have surprised and seized the arsenal of Chester Castle, with its 20,000 stand of arms, had not their design been divulged by treachery. In autumn an event occurred which has to this day been the matter of hot controversy between Irishmen and Englishmen. The leadership of the Fenian conspiracy had now passed into the hands of a Colonel Kelly, who succeeded Mr. Stephens. He was returning from a meeting at Manchester with his friend Captain Deasy, and they were both arrested by the police on suspicion of loitering for purposes of burglary. They gave false names, but it was soon discovered who they were. The Fenians of Manchester resolved to rescue them, and on the 18th of September the prison van in which Kelly and Deasy were being conveyed to Salford was attacked by a body of thirty armed men. The horses were shot. The escort ran away, and the Fenians then ordered Police Sergeant Brett, who was on duty inside the van to unlock the door. He refused, and a pistol was fired at the lock, in order to break it. Unfortunately, the bullet struck Brett, who died from the wound. Kelly and Deasy made their escape, and were heard of no{288} more. But in the meantime a crowd had gathered, and had nearly stoned to death William Philip Allen, one of the rescuing party, several of whom, including men called Larkin, Maguire, O’Brien (alias Gould), and Condon (alias Shore), were captured and tried for the murder of Sergeant Brett. They were all sentenced to be hanged, though the evidence against them was somewhat faulty. One of the prisoners (Maguire) was undoubtedly arrested by mistake, and the newspaper reporters who were present at his trial petitioned for his release. On further investigation it was found that the reporters were right, and the man was set free. But three of the prisoners were executed on the 23rd of November, although they protested they had not the remotest idea of hurting Sergeant Brett. “Condon,” writes Mr. T. P. O’Connor, M.P., “in speaking, used a phrase that has become historic: ‘I have nothing,’ he said, in concluding his speech, ‘to regret or to take back. I can only say, ‘God save Ireland.’ His companions advanced to the front of the dock, and, raising their hands, repeated the cry, ‘God save Ireland’”[262]—a phrase that became the shibboleth or watchword of the Irish Nationalist Party. Condon was reprieved because he was an American citizen. Numbers of eminent Englishmen—headed by Mr. John Bright, Mr. Mill, and Mr. Swinburne—endeavoured to get the others reprieved also, but in vain. Allen, Larkin, and O’Brien were hanged on the 23rd of November, and their execution produced a profound impression on the Irish race all over the world. In the towns in Ireland great and solemn funeral processions marched through the streets. Mr. T. D. Sullivan wrote the poem “God save Ireland,” which displaced the National Anthem at Irish political gatherings. “To an Irishman,” writes Mr. O’Connor, “then a youth, living in the country house of his fathers, and deeply immersed in the small concerns of a squire’s daily life, the execution of the Manchester martyrs was a new birth of political convictions. To him, brooding from his early days over the history of his country, this catastrophe came to crystallise impressions into conviction, and to pave the way from dreams to action. It was the execution of Allen, Larkin, and O’Brien that gave Mr. Parnell to the service of Ireland.”[263] But another event happened which made it clear that the Fenian conspiracy was still formidable. One of its leaders, an Irish-American officer named Burke, had been captured and cast into Clerkenwell gaol, and his friends resolved to rescue him. Their agents, on the 13th of December, placed a barrel of gunpowder opposite the exercising ground of the gaol, where General Burke was supposed to be walking at the time. They then blew down the wall. Fortunately for himself, the Government had learned that a rescue was to be attempted, and the General had accordingly been removed to another part of the prison, otherwise he would have been killed. The victims were poor people who lived in the houses opposite the gaol, of whom twelve were killed and one hundred{289} and twenty shockingly injured. An ignorant Fenian named Barrett was convicted of having been implicated in this clumsy plot, and was tried and executed in front of Newgate. This outrage ruined the Fenian organisation, not only in England but in Ireland. Many honest Irishmen, who in a fit of patriotic enthusiasm had joined its ranks, withdrew from a body whose deep and dark designs they saw were apt to be carried out with the stupid brutality that marked the Clerkenwell outrage.

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But the Fenians were not the only outragemongers who frightened the comfortable classes out of their senses in 1867. The skilled artisans in many cases had employed their trade organisations to coerce by violence masters who refused to yield to the demands of their workmen, and workmen who refused to obey the orders of their Unions. Early in the year a Commission had been appointed to consider the legal position of the Unions, which was most unsatisfactory, and a separate Commission, appointed to investigate outrages which had been perpetrated at Sheffield, made some astounding revelations. They reported that the officials of the Sawgrinders’ Union had hired assassins to maim, murder, or torture people who thwarted the policy{290} of the Union.[264] They reported that similar barbarities were practised by the officials of the Brickmakers’ and Bricklayers’ Unions in Manchester. The country rang with denunciations of the working classes, and “strikes,” such as that of the London tailors, were carried on with unparalleled acrimony. War between “the two nations,” to use Mr. Disraeli’s phrase in “Sybil,” was imminent. It is curious to observe how seldom public writers and speakers on the conflict between Labour and Capital which then raged, took the trouble to ascertain the precise position of the artisans in the struggle. The truth, however, had been told with uncompromising honesty by the Committee of the House of Commons, who in 1821 had reported that outlawry made Trades Unionists lawless. In that year it was true an Act had been passed to legalise workmen’s combinations for improving wages and reducing the hours of labour. But then this Act gave the preference to the word of the master in any dispute between him and his servant, and pedantic judges had made it a dead letter, by ruling that “all combinations in restraint of trade” were criminal. Nor had they stopped here. They roused the wrath of the working classes to white heat in 1867, by ruling in the case of Hornby v. Close that Trades Unions could not even hold property or funds for benevolent purposes. In fact, at that period, the position of the English working man was one of almost servile degradation, and under an extended franchise such a state of things could not last long. On the 5th of March a Conference of Trades Unionists was held in St. Martin’s Hall, London, to protest against the decision in Hornby v. Close, a meeting which was the germ of the great Trades Union Congress, that ultimately became a mighty power in the industrial world.[265]

Early in the year the Queen received with pleasure the intimation that Prince Arthur had passed his military examination in a manner that did him great credit. “I am delighted,” writes the Princess Louis to the Queen on the 13th of January,[266] “to hear of dear Arthur having passed so good an examination. How proud you must be of him! And the good Major,[267] who has spared no pains, I know—how pleased he must be! Arthur has a uniform{291} now, I suppose.” From another passage in a letter of the Princess’s, one gathers that the cloud of melancholy which overhung the Queen’s widowed life was beginning to disappear. “I think,” says the Princess, replying to one of the Queen’s letters on the subject, “I can understand what you must feel. I know well what those first three years were—what fearful sufferings, tearing and uprooting those feelings which had been centred on beloved papa’s existence! It is indeed as you say ‘a mercy’ that after the long storm a lull and calm ensues, though the violent pain which is but the reverse of the violent love seems only to die out with it, and that is likewise better. Yet, beloved mamma, could it be otherwise? There would be no justice or mercy, were the first stage of sorrow to be the perpetual one.” Still, the advancing year brought its own cares to the Royal Family. A Princess was born to the Prince and Princess of Wales on the 20th of February, and though the official announcements stated that both mother and child were doing well, this was by no means the case. The recovery of the Princess was not satisfactory, and the physicians at last had to admit that she was suffering from a peculiarly obstinate rheumatic attack, that sadly undermined her health and strength. The Queen had, as usual, confided her anxieties to her daughter at Darmstadt, who in reply wrote as follows:—“The knowledge of dear sweet Alix’s[268] state makes me too sad. It is hard for them both, and the nursing must be very fatiguing for Mrs. Clarke. I am so distressed about darling Alix that I really have no peace. It may and probably will last long, which is so dreadful.” On the 14th of April the accouchement of the Princess Christian took place, when she was safely delivered of a little Prince, the Queen being in close attendance by her bedside all day.

On the 20th of May the Queen laid the first stone of the Hall of Arts and Sciences at Kensington, now known as the Royal Albert Hall. It was intended, and has since been used, for scientific and artistic congresses, both national and international; performances of music, distribution of prizes by public bodies, agricultural, horticultural, and industrial exhibitions, and displays of pictures and sculpture. At the inaugural function 7,000 visitors were arranged in an oval amphitheatre richly draped, and gay with the bright summer costumes of the ladies, and with gorgeous official uniforms. Among the guests were the Foreign Ministers wearing their decorations, the Lord Mayor and Aldermen in their robes, Lord Derby, Mr. Disraeli, and other Ministers and Ex-Ministers. The foundation stone bore in gold letters the inscription, “This stone was laid by her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, May 20, 1867.” Accompanied by Princesses Louise and Beatrice the Queen arrived at the entrance of the building at Kensington Gore at half-past eleven, where the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh met the party. After receiving{292} an address read by the Prince of Wales, her Majesty made the following reply, but, contrary to her usual habit, in a scarcely audible tone of voice:—

“I thank you for your affectionate and dutiful address. It has been with a struggle that I have nerved myself to a compliance with the wish that I should take part in this day’s ceremony; but I have been sustained by the thought that I should assist by my presence in promoting the accomplishment of his great designs, to whose memory the gratitude and affection of the country are now rearing a noble monument, which I trust may yet look down on such a centre of institutions for the promotion of Art and Science as it was his fond hope to establish here. It is my wish that this hall should bear his name, to whom it will have owed its existence, and be called ‘The Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences.’”

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Amid a flourish of trumpets and the distant booming of twenty-one guns that had been stationed in Hyde Park, the polished block of granite was lowered into its place, the Queen declaring it well and truly fixed. The Archbishop of Canterbury offered up a short prayer, and the band and chorus delivered the vocal and instrumental music of a composition by the Prince Consort, entitled “L’lnvocazione all’ Armonia.” The solo tenor parts were given by Signor Mario with great effect, and the Queen, while passing through the building, stopped where he stood, and personally thanked this sweetest of sweet singers.{293}

On the 22nd the Queen and Court left town for Balmoral. Before her departure she had decided not to invite formally any of the European Sovereigns who were in Paris visiting the French International Exhibition, but as the Sultan had intimated his intention of visiting England, orders were given to make preparations for his reception. The Court did not remain long in Aberdeenshire. From June to July the Princess Louis and her husband were in England, and the Queen had to return to Windsor to receive the Queen of Prussia, who paid her a visit on the 25th of June.

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On the 13th of July the Sultan Abdul Aziz arrived in London. On the following day he visited Windsor. The Queen with the younger members of the Royal Family received his Majesty in the Grand Hall, and on his alighting she advanced to meet him. He stepped forward with an Eastern salutation, and kissed her hand, and in the interchange of courtesies which ensued, the Queen affectionately kissed his Highness, the young Izzedin Effendi, the Sultan’s son, as did also the Princess Mary of Teck. The Grand Turk was indeed the lion of the London season of 1867, for Society was en fête in his honour. On the evening of the 19th, after being entertained at a splendid banquet given by the Duke of Cambridge, he attended a grand ball given by{294} the Secretary of State for India. The members of the Indian Council led the procession in a body by themselves, and Sir Stafford Northcote then preceded the august party, at the head of which walked the Sultan, with the Princess Louis of Hesse on his arm. In the brilliant train that followed Moslem and Christian Princes were strangely intermixed. The ball was opened by Sir Stafford Northcote and the Princess Louis, who led off the first quadrille, the Sultan looking on the scene with melancholy gravity, as if it were a show got up for his diversion. He, however, did full justice to the sumptuous supper, after which refreshment he returned to the ball-room, and about two o’clock took his departure, followed by the more distinguished guests. The scene at the India Office had been brilliant as one in Fairyland. But it was marred by one sad incident. Madame Musurus, the wife of the Turkish Ambassador, when taking some friends into supper suddenly dropped down dead. On the 20th the Sultan visited the Volunteer Camp at Wimbledon, and on the 22nd he was entertained by the Duke of Sutherland, and day after day the town was kept in a state of giddy excitement by the uninterrupted succession of spectacles and entertainments provided in honour of the Queen’s Oriental guests. On the 23rd his Majesty left Buckingham Palace, where he had resided twelve days, and amidst the cheering of the populace took his departure for Dover. His visit rather obscured that of the Viceroy of Egypt, who was the guest of the nation at the same time, and was entertained by the Queen at Windsor on the 8th of July.

Besides the melancholy and tragic death of Madame Musurus there was only one other disagreeable incident attached to the Sultan’s visit. A grand naval review at Portsmouth was arranged for his delectation and instruction on the 17th of July. It was known that the Queen intended to confer a mark of distinction on her Imperial visitor, but it was whispered that he was dissatisfied with what her Majesty proposed to do for him. The whole story has since been told by Lord Malmesbury, who says that at first the Queen, at Lord Derby’s suggestion, offered to confer on Abdul Aziz the Star of India. But Fuad Pasha, who was in attendance on Abdul Aziz, hearing of this went to the Lord Steward and warned him that the Sultan would consider himself slighted if he were offered anything but the Garter. Already he had the Bath, and he seemed to consider the Star of India as an inferior distinction to the Bath. Lord Derby was remonstrated with, and finally it was settled that when the Queen received the Sultan on her yacht at the Naval Review she should give him the Order of the Garter. This was done with great pomp and ceremony, as Lord Malmesbury says, “in the midst of the howling of the storm and the roaring of the cannon.” But here another hitch occurred. No ribbon was ready, so the Queen took the ribbon of Prince Louis of Hesse and presented it to the Sultan, intending that he should return it, when a new one could be got for him. “But,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “the Sultan refused to give it (the ribbon) up, saying

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that the one he had was given to him by the Queen, and that he would wear no other.”[269]

In July the Empress of the French spent a few days quietly with the Queen at Osborne, and on the 9th of August the Queen paid a long visit to the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley, where she went through the wards, speaking after her homely fashion to the sick and wounded soldiers. She took a special interest in one case—that of a man who had been shot through the lungs at Lucknow, in 1858, but who had continued to do duty almost down to 1867.

In the end of the month the Queen resolved to pay a visit to the Scottish Border, an enchanted land of romance and minstrelsy, of fairy lore, and feudal chivalry. On the 28th of August, accompanied by Princess Louise, Princess Beatrice, Prince Leopold, Prince and Princess Christian, and Prince Christian Victor of Sleswig-Holstein, the Queen left Windsor Castle in the evening for Balmoral. She broke the direct route by having her special train stopped at Kelso, in order to visit a valued friend of the Royal Family—the Duchess of Roxburghe. On arriving at the station, the Queen affectionately kissed the Duchess; and her procession to Floors Castle was really a triumphal one. In fact, nothing could have exceeded the heartiness of the greeting which she everywhere got from the people. A vast crowd filled the Marketplace, where her Majesty received an address from the magistrates of Kelso. In replying to it, she said, “I thank you, Mr. Craig, and the town of Kelso; an answer will be sent to your address.” A little girl, the daughter of the Baron Bailie of Kelso, was then lifted up to the royal carriage, and presented to the Queen a large bouquet, which her Majesty received with an expression of delight. Her arrival at Floors, the seat of the Duke of Roxburghe, was announced to the town by a royal salute, fired from Roxburgh Castle. Great illuminations took place in Kelso at night, to the delight of thousands of country people. On the 22nd the Queen paid a visit to Melrose Abbey and Abbotsford. On reaching the Priory, she was received by the Duke of Buccleuch, the proprietor of the ruins and Lord-Lieutenant of the county. The Queen went to Jedburgh on the 23rd, and afterwards visited Hartrigge, a place associated with Lord Chancellor Campbell’s memory. When the royal progress through the land of Scott and Thomas the Rhymer ended the Court proceeded to Balmoral.

This tour brightened the Queen’s spirits, which seemed to have been slightly depressed before she left town. She had half hinted in one of her letters to the Princess Louis that her home was losing its attractions for some members of her family, and these suspicions the Princess promptly dispelled in a letter written from St. Moritz. “You say,” she observes to the Queen, “that our home is dull now for those who like to amuse themselves. It is never dull, darling mamma, when we can be with you, for I have indeed never met a{296}

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(From a Photograph by G. W. Wilson and Co.)

more agreeable, charming companion. Time always flies by when one is with you. I hope it is not impertinent my saying so.” In September the household at Balmoral was saddened by the death of Sir Frederick Bruce, whose sister, Lady Francis Baillie, was then staying at the Castle. Dr. Norman Macleod was also a welcome and valued guest at this time, and, writing in his Diary on the 18th of September, he says, “I had a long and pleasant interview with the Queen. With my last breath I will uphold the excellence and nobleness of her character.”[270] Macleod was now avowedly the Queen’s favourite pastor in Scotland, and there can be little doubt that his influence over her Majesty’s mind was most salutary. His visits always brightened the somewhat dull life of the Castle, and in a letter to his wife (15th October, 1866) he has given a vivid little autumnal sketch of a Balmoral “interior” in those days. He says “the Queen is pleased to command me to remain here (Balmoral) till Tuesday. I found Mr. Cardwell had been in the Barony, and, to the great amusement of the Queen, he repeated my scold about the singing.[271] After dinner the Queen invited me to her room, where I found the{297} Princess Helena and Marchioness of Ely. The Queen sat down to spin at a wee Scotch wheel, while I read Robert Burns to her—‘Tam O’Shanter,’ and ‘A Man’s a Man for a’ That,’ her favourite. The Prince and Princess of Hesse sent for me to see their children. The eldest (Victoria), whom I saw at Darmstadt, is a most sweet child; the youngest (Elizabeth) is a round, fat ball of loving good-nature. I gave her a real hobble,[272] such as I give Polly. I suppose the little thing never got anything like it, for she screamed and kicked with a perfect furore of delight, would go from me to neither father nor mother, or nurse, to their great merriment, but buried her chubby face in my cheek, until I gave her another right good hobble. They are such dear children. The Prince of Wales sent me a message asking me to go and see him…. When I was there the young Prince of Wales fell on the wax cloth after lunch, with such a thump as left a swollen blue mark on his forehead. He cried for a minute, and then laughed most bravely. There was no fuss whatever made about him by mother, father, or any one…. He is a dear sweet child. All seem to be very happy. We had a great deal of pleasant talk in the garden.”[273]

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In October fresh domestic cares were added to the overladen life of the Sovereign. To one of these, in a letter from Darmstadt, dated 10th October, 1867, the Princess Louis alludes as follows:—“I can’t find words to say how sorry I am that dear, sweet Arthur[274] should have the small-pox! and that you should have this great anxiety and worry. God grant that the dear boy may get well over it, and that his dear handsome face be not marked. The Major (Elphinstone) kindly telegraphs daily, and you can fancy far away how anxious one is. I shall be very anxious to get a letter with accounts, for I think constantly of him and of you.” And again, on the 14th, she writes: “How glad I am to see by your letter that darling Arthur is going on so very well. One can’t be too thankful; and it is a good thing over, and will spare one’s being anxious about him on other occasions.” In the same letter there is a reference to another matter which had caused the Queen some trouble. There had been, ever since the Danish war, a coolness between the families of her eldest son and eldest daughter, which her Majesty had strenuously endeavoured to remove. Her conciliatory efforts were this year crowned with success. The Prince and Princess of Wales visited the Continent, and met the King of Prussia. “Bertie and Alix,” writes the Princess Louis, on the 14th October, “have been here (Darmstadt) since Saturday afternoon, and leave to-morrow. They go straight to Antwerp, and Bertie is going back to Brussels to see the cousins. The visit of the King went off very well, and Alix was pleased with the kindness and civility of the King (of Prussia). I hear that the meeting was satisfactory to both parties, which I am heartily glad of. Bearing ill-will is always a mistake, besides its not being right.”[275] The embarrassments of the Darmstadt household, however, still continued to grieve the Queen, to whom her daughter the Princess Louis, confided all her troubles. The Princess had broken down in health during the autumn of 1867, and, in one of her letters she tells the Queen that as she does not consider it prudent, “for financial reasons,”[276] to engage a governess for her daughter, the Princess Victoria, she has asked Mr. Geyer, who taught her little black servant Willem, “to give her a lesson every other day.”[277] On the 18th of October the statue to the Prince Consort, at Balmoral, was unveiled, with reference to which the Princess Louis, in one of her letters (26th of October) expresses a hope which was fairly well realised—to the effect that the ceremony “went off as well as the weather would permit.”

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The Scottish festival of Hallowe’en (31st of October) was kept this year by the Queen with unusual formality. “We had been driving,” she writes, “but we turned back to be in time for the celebration. Close to Donald Stewart’s house we were met by two gillies, bearing torches. Louise got out and took one, walking by the side of the carriage like one of the witches in Macbeth. As we approached Balmoral, the keepers, with their wives and children, the gillies, and other people, met us, all with torches, Brown also carrying one. We got out at the house, where Leopold joined us, and a torch was also given to him. We walked round the house with Ross playing the pipes, going down the steps of the terrace. Louise and Leopold went first, then came Jane Ely, and I followed by every one carrying torches, which had a very pretty effect. After this, a bonfire was made of all the torches, close to the house, and they danced reels while Ross played the pipes.”

In December, after returning from Balmoral, the Queen paid a visit to Claremont and to Lady Palmerston. “The visit to Claremont,” writes the Princess Louis, “must have been quite peculiar for you; and I can fancy it bringing back to your mind the recollections of your childhood. In spring it must be a lovely place, and with gayer papers on the walls, and a little modern comfort, the house must likewise be very pleasant…. The account of your visit to Lady Palmerston and to her daughter is most touching. It is so inexpressibly sad for grandmother and mother, for it is unnatural for parents to survive their children, and that makes the grief a so peculiar one, and very hard to bear.”

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A “Little War” in Abyssinia—King Theodore’s Arrest of Vice-Consul Cameron—The Unanswered Letter to the Queen—A Skilful but Expensive General—Sir Robert Napier’s Expedition—An Autumnal Session—Addition to the Income Tax—Parliament in 1868—A Spiritless Legislature—Fishing for a Policy—Apologetic Ministers—Mr. Bright on Repeal—The Irish Church Question—Fenian Alarms—Illness and Resignation of Lord Derby—Mr. Disraeli Prime Minister—His Quarrel with Lord Chelmsford—Lord Derby Arbitrates—The “Giant Chancellor”—Mr. Disraeli’s New Policy—Discontented Adullamites—Public Executions—Lord Mayo and Concurrent Endowment—“The Pill to Cure the Earthquake”—Mr. Gladstone Attacks the Government—The Irish Church Resolutions—Resignation or Dissolution—Mr. Disraeli’s “No Popery” Cry—Lord Chelmsford’s Bad Pun—Defeat of the Ministry—Mr. Disraeli and the Queen—“Scenes” in the House of Commons—Charges of Treason—Mr. Disraeli’s Relations with the Queen—A Parliamentary Duel between Mr. Disraeli and Mr. Bright—The Dissolution of Parliament—Mr. Ward Hunt’s Budget—Conclusion of the Abyssinian War—The General Election—Triumph of Mr. Gladstone—Resignation of the Ministry—Mr. Gladstone’s New Cabinet—The Queen’s Politeness to Mr. Bright—Illness of Prince Leopold—Attempted Assassination of the Duke of Edinburgh—The Queen’s Book—The Queen Accused of Heresy—The West-End Tradesmen and the Queen—Mr. Reardon, M.P., suggests Abdication—A Bungled Volunteer Review at Windsor—A Hot London Season—Serious Illness of the Queen—Her Tour in Switzerland—Death of the Archbishop of Canterbury—Conflict between the Queen and Mr. Disraeli as to Church Patronage—The Revolution in Spain—Rupture between Turkey and Greece—Another War-Cloud in the East.

An autumn Session of Parliament had been held in November, 1867, in order to vote supplies for one of those “little wars’ in which England has so frequently been engaged during the Queen’s reign, a war which arose out of a dispute with the King of Abyssinia. This swarthy and half-savage potentate had detained in captivity several British subjects, one of them being Captain Cameron, a British Vice-Consul on the Red Sea littoral. Theodore of Abyssinia had seized them to mark his indignation at Lord Russell’s culpable discourtesy in neglecting to answer a letter which he had addressed to the Queen. Mr. Hormuzd Rassam, a Syrian emissary of the Foreign Office, had endeavoured to procure the release of the prisoners, but in his turn he, too, was seized and compelled to share their fate. When Parliament was prorogued the Queen’s Speech had intimated that the captives would have to be rescued by force, and an army of 10,000 men, under Sir Robert Napier, was equipped at Bombay for that purpose. At the end of 1867 a portion of it had landed in King Theodore’s country. Napier was a skilful but an expensive general. At the outset he spent £2,000,000 on his Expedition, and a further demand for an equal sum was made. Hence Parliament had to be summoned in November to vote these supplies. An additional penny was put on the Income Tax, and the Government was authorised to use the Exchequer balances for the expenses of the campaign. The most caustic critic of the Ministry was Mr. Lowe, who condemned it for declaring war without the authority of Parliament.

The New Year (1868) found Parties and politicians preparing for the great electoral struggle for power. But there could be no General Election till the new register of voters became operative. Hence the country passed{301}

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through a Parliamentary interregnum during which it was ruled by a House of Commons that had exhausted its mandate, and by its own act had ceased to represent the bulk of the enfranchised classes. It lacked authority to legislate, and was too spiritless to intrigue. All that could be done by its leaders was to prepare the ground for the General Election; in other words, they began to seek for a policy with which they could go to the country. Many Cabinet meetings were held in January, but with no very obvious result. Ministers seemed unable to hit on a programme, and when Lord Stanley and Mr. Gathorne Hardy addressed a great political meeting at Bristol on the 22nd, their chief object appeared to be to apologise for the Reform Act. It had been demanded in a manner that it would have been dangerous to{302} refuse, and the “innovating impulse” which it might create would soon spend itself. Such, at least, was Lord Stanley’s view. The Liberals, on the other hand, had been openly fishing for a policy. Some, like Mr. Lowe, Mr. Stansfeld, and Mr. Forster, pressed for radical measures of educational reform. “We must educate our masters,” said Mr. Lowe, and so he now demanded national compulsory unsectarian education. A few rising young men, like Mr. Fawcett, gave prominence to Land Law Reform, the creation of peasant-proprietorship, abolition of primogeniture, and the like. Mr. Bright, however, like most thinking men at the time, contended that the Irish Question must hold the first place in the Liberal programme of the future. The recent activity of the Fenians, and the discovery that the Irish patriots had found in America a new fulcrum for their agitation, convinced Englishmen that a new departure must be taken in Irish policy. Unless England could dictate a Conspiracy Bill to the United States, the American-Irish could keep Ireland in revolutionary restlessness so long as Irishmen despaired of getting grievances redressed by the Imperial Parliament. But what should be done for Ireland? Some said the Land Question must be settled; others that concessions to the priesthood in the matter of education would suffice; others, like Lord Stanley, thought the Irish case was hopeless, and they talked of the impossibility of conceding anything to noise and menace.

Mr. Bright’s great speech at Birmingham on the 3rd of February, however, advanced the position of the Liberal Party in the boldest manner. There had been some talk of giving Ireland political autonomy, but it had failed to touch the sense of the nation. Oddly enough, however, Mr. Bright did not show himself strongly antipathetic to this policy. He was opposed to the Repeal of the Union, but on the other hand he declared that Repeal was a course which was open to consideration if remedial legislation failed. And he was at great pains to prepare the ground for a Repeal agitation by reconciling the English mind to the discussion of such a policy. It was for this reason that he dwelt on the fact that Repeal of the Union with Scotland was once defeated in a full House merely by a majority of two. That, said Mr. Bright, was a high precedent, if any one wished to adopt a Repeal agitation as a remedy for Irish discontent. But in the meantime Mr. Bright’s plans were (1), to disestablish the Anglican Church in Ireland and secularise its property, distributing the spoil in fair proportions among the chief sects of Ireland; (2), as to the land question, he proposed that a Land Commission should buy up the estates of absentee landlords and sell them to tenants, who were to pay the purchase-money in a certain term of years by a slight addition to their rent. In the meantime London was swarming with special constables. The garrison at Woolwich stood to its guns every night expecting a Fenian attack from the river. Special precautions had also to be taken to guard Windsor, and Lord St. Leonards, with unconscious humour, wrote a{303} letter to the Times imploring the Fenians to confine their operations to Ireland, because by annoying Englishmen they rendered the Irish cause increasingly unpopular in England. In these circumstances Ministers committed the fatal mistake of resolving to do nothing—except pass the Scottish and Irish Reform Bills, a Boundary Bill, and a Bribery Bill. They said that in two or three years’ time they might be in a position to consider other matters, such as that of National Education. The Irish Church could obviously not be assailed by a Party closely dependent on the goodwill of the English clergy. As for the Irish Land Question, Lord Stanley disposed of it by simply declaring that every proposal to deal with it which he would not like to see applied to England was pure “quackery.”

On the 13th of February Parliament met, and on the 16th the town was startled to hear alarming accounts of the Prime Minister’s health. Repeated attacks of gout had broken up his constitution, and on the 24th of February he resigned, Mr. Disraeli being chosen by the Queen as his successor. Here again the Queen showed her good sense. A foolish intrigue had been directed against Mr. Disraeli by some members of his Party, who having trusted him with carrying out a revolution, refused to trust him with the work of Government. Neither Lord Stanley nor the Duke of Richmond—whose names it is understood were mentioned as his rivals—had Mr. Disraeli’s ability, experience, fame, and dexterity in managing men. They had in truth no qualification whatever, save their rank, which could put them in competition with Mr. Disraeli, and the Queen had naturally grave doubts whether, on the eve of an appeal to the new Democracy, it would be seemly to go to it with an open declaration that, when Capacity and Rank competed for the Premiership of England, Rank must carry the day. Mr. Disraeli’s elevation had been, however, foreseen by many shrewd observers. During the vacation Bishop Wilberforce met a brilliant company of statesmen and men of letters at the late Lord Stanhope’s place at Chevening. The events of the Session were frequently discussed, and their conversations are summed up by Wilberforce in his Diary as follows:—“No one even guesses at the political future: whether a fresh election will strengthen the Conservatives or not seems altogether doubtful. The most wonderful thing is the rise of Disraeli. It is not the mere assertion of talent, as you hear so many say. It seems to me quite beside that. He has been able to teach the House of Commons almost to ignore Gladstone; and at present lords it over him, and I am told, says that he will hold him down for twenty years.”[278]

Mr. Disraeli took an early opportunity of showing his colleagues that he meant to be master in his own house. His first act set the Tapers and Tadpoles of the Carlton Club by the ears. He sent Lord Chelmsford—whom he had not forgiven for his venomous opposition to the emancipation of the{304} Jews—an intimation that he must resign. His next act was to offer the Lord Chancellorship to Lord Cairns, in order to strengthen the debating power of the front Ministerial Bench in the House of Lords. According to Bishop Wilberforce’s Diary, when Lord Chelmsford handed his seals to the Queen he held them back for a minute, and said, “I have been used worse than a menial. I have not even had a month’s warning.”[279] Certainly he might have been treated with more courtesy, but technically speaking Mr. Disraeli was well within his right in dismissing Lord Chelmsford. In 1866, when Lord Derby formed his Government, Lord Chelmsford took office on the distinct understanding that one day he must make way for Sir Hugh Cairns. “This being the case,” says Lord Malmesbury, “he had no right to be angry at Disraeli’s arrangement, but he was so, and appealed to Lord Derby, who confirmed the decision as being consistent with his original agreement.” Mr. Disraeli did not withdraw Sir S. Northcote from the India Office, but conferred the Chancellorship of the Exchequer on Mr. Ward Hunt. “He is a giant in body,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “being six feet four, and weighing twenty stone. When he knelt to kiss hands he was even in that position taller than the Queen.” A still better qualification for office, however, was possessed by Mr. Hunt. As the hero of the debates on the compensation clauses of the Cattle Plague Bill, he had become the idol of the squirearchy, and his presence in the Cabinet did much to reconcile them to Mr. Disraeli’s elevation to the Premiership. The constitution of the Government and disposal of the offices curiously reflected the influence which the new electors were already exercising on the ruling classes. The most striking thing about the reconstructed Ministry was the concentration of its power in the House of Commons. For the first time for many years there sat in the popular Chamber the Prime Minister (Mr. Disraeli), the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Lord Stanley), the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Ward Hunt), the Home Secretary (Mr. Hardy, appointed on the retirement of Mr. Walpole), the War Secretary (Sir J. Pakington), the First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Corry), and the Secretary for India (Sir Stafford Northcote). In the House of Lords the representatives of the Government held offices of secondary importance.

The new Prime Minister met his followers in Downing Street on the 5th of March, and promised them that his policy would be truly Conservative. At half-past five he rose in the House of Commons, amidst general cheering, to explain his position, which he did with some superfluous humility. In Foreign Affairs his policy, he said, would be Lord Stanley’s—one of peace without isolation—and in Home Affairs it would be “a Liberal one—a truly Liberal one.” The Reform Bills for Ireland would proceed, an Education Bill was promised, and on the following Tuesday Lord Mayo would explain the views of the Cabinet as to Ireland—views which doubtless would{305}

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satisfy “enlightened and temperate men” of all Parties. Some of the Adullamites thought that a mistake had been made in not attempting to form a Coalition, and Mr. E. P. Bouverie gave voice to their querulous discontent. Before the sitting was over, Mr. Hardy succeeded in carrying a measure in which the Queen was interested—the Bill for abolishing the{306} demoralising spectacle of public executions. But it was quite clear that Mr. Gladstone and Lord Russell would now give the new Cabinet no mercy. Every one therefore felt that the crisis in its fate would be determined when Lord Mayo expounded its Irish policy. The Irish Church Question divided Reformers least, and it was known that to this question Lord Mayo would address himself. There were now three plans before the country for getting rid of the anomaly of supporting in Ireland out of national funds, the Church of a small, a rich, and an anti-national sect. Lords Hardwicke and Ellenborough had proposed to “level up” the Roman Catholics to an equal footing with the Protestants by raising £3,000,000 a year for their endowment. Lord Russell proposed to “level down” the Protestants to the same plane of equality as the Catholics, by diverting six-eighths of the Protestant endowments to Catholic purposes. Mr. Bright proposed to secularise all the Protestant endowments and devote them to purely national purposes, reserving £3,000,000 to break the fall of the Protestant churches, and provide each Roman Catholic parish with a small piece of glebe land. On Tuesday, the 10th of March, Mr. Maguire opened the debate on the affairs of Ireland, and Lord Mayo, with verbose embarrassment, gave an exposition of Irish policy, which sealed the fate of the Government. He promised (1) a small Bill for registering tenants’ improvements and encouraging leasehold tenures, which nobody treated seriously; (2) Commissions of inquiry into the Land Question and into the Irish railway system, with a hint at granting Imperial subsidies to Irish railways; (3) the endowment of a separate Catholic University; (4) an inquiry into the Irish Church, with a suggestion that the right policy was to “level up” the Catholics to the same condition of endowment as the Protestants, and to increase the Regium Donum, or annual subvention of the Presbyterians. As Mr. Horsman said, Lord Mayo seemed to be looking everywhere for a policy without being able to find it. Inaction as regards the Church, procrastination as regards the Land, reaction as regards Education—such was the Irish policy of the Government. The idea of “levelling up” the endowments of the Catholics was felt to be impracticable, for it would have involved an expenditure of about £3,000,000 a year. If this sum were raised by Irish taxation, the Irish Catholics would naturally object to pay to their priests through the State the stipends which they already paid them as free-will offerings. If it were raised by Imperial taxation, it was hopeless to expect the Protestants of England and Scotland to endow an Ultramontane Catholic Church in Ireland. The scheme for a new Catholic University was equally objectionable. It was to have no connection with the State. Hence it would be a standing challenge to the accepted national policy of education, which links State control with State aid. As a remedy for Irish grievances, Mr. Bright likened it to the pill which Addison’s quack sold “to cure the earthquake.” Mr. Gladstone attacked the Government with all the eloquence{307} of action. His policy he declared to be the disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish Protestant Church, and he announced that he would take the opinion of the House on a definite proposal for carrying it out. For that purpose he produced three Resolutions on the 23rd of March, which affirmed the necessity for creating no new interests in the Irish Church, “pending the final decision of Parliament.” In a letter to Lord Dartmouth, Mr. Disraeli met the attack by raising a false issue. It was not, he said, the Irish Church that was at stake. What Mr. Gladstone challenged was really “the sacred union of Church and State, which has hitherto been the chief means of our civilisation, and is the only security of our liberty.” It was obviously indiscreet for a Tory Minister to assert that the principle of a State Church was involved in the maintenance of an ecclesiastical establishment which served no State purpose whatever, save that of making the Irish people hate England. Mr. Gladstone’s scheme was to terminate the existence in Ireland of any salaried or stipendiary clergy paid by the State, whether Catholic or Protestant; though, by way of compensation for life-interests, he promised to leave three-fifths of their endowments in the hands of the Anglican clergy. Lord Stanley moved an amendment which pleaded for delay. After a new Parliament had been elected, the Government, he said, would bring in a scheme to reform the Church of Ireland. Coupled with his admission that “considerable modifications in the temporalities” of the Irish Church would be necessary, his speech disgusted Mr. Disraeli’s Orange supporters, and dispirited his English followers. What, asked Lord Cranborne, would anybody think of a man on the other side of the hedge, if he expressed an opinion that there must be “considerable modifications” in the money in the traveller’s purse? Mr. Hardy completed the confusion of his Party by practically answering Lord Stanley, and declaring that he, at least, would never lay a sacrilegious hand on Church temporalities. The “Cave,” too, broke up under pressure from the constituencies. Even Mr. Lowe assailed the Irish Church, averring that “the curse of barrenness” was upon it. “Cut it down!” he exclaimed; “why cumbereth it the ground?”

It is easy to see why Mr. Disraeli’s strategy was at fault. He should either have nailed up the standard of “No surrender,” or have boldly said the Irish Church must be disestablished, and appealed to the country to trust the work to Conservative hands that would deal tenderly and reverently with such an ancient institution. As it was, he made Lord Stanley hint that Ministers were ready next Session to produce a plan which Liberals could accept, and he made Mr. Gathorne-Hardy soothe his followers with assurances that no harsh hands would ever be laid on the Irish Church. Mr. Gladstone carried his motion to go into Committee on his Resolutions, and on the 5th of April Lord Malmesbury writes in his Diary, “Government has been beaten on Lord Stanley’s amendment. We shall not resign, but dissolve and meet a new Parliament.” There is some reason to think that it was the intention{308} of the Government not to dissolve Parliament till January, 1869, when the new electors came to power. And it is certain that the Radicals were by no means anxious to turn Mr. Disraeli out till they had convinced the now yielding Whigs that the era of inaction had passed away, and that the next Liberal Executive must be as Liberal as the new Parliament which it was going to lead. Mr. Disraeli’s course of action at this time was therefore unintelligible. Though he knew that Mr. Gladstone’s proposal had pleased the new Democracy, he made no attempt to “educate” his party up to a compromise[280] with the Opposition, who, after the first flush of victory, became a little nervous as they saw the great practical difficulties of Disestablishment looming larger every day. He missed his golden opportunity and raised a “No Popery” cry, declaring that the attack on the Irish Church was a conspiracy between the High Churchmen and the Roman Catholics to destroy the institutions of a Protestant Monarchy. This naturally alienated the votes of the High Churchmen, who were mostly Tories.[281] Nor did the Low Churchmen respond to the “No Popery” cry. They noted that it came from a Government which was prepared to endow a second Maynooth on a more sumptuous scale than the first, and from a Statesman who jeered at “the shallow fanaticism” of the Liberation Society. Perhaps this was fortunate. To have effected a compromise might have removed some of the practical evils of the Irish Church. But it would not have removed the sentimental grievance of the Irish people, who must have regarded even a reformed Protestant Church Establishment, as a badge of English conquest and a mark of Protestant ascendency. A war of words and wits between the Prime Minister and Lord Cranborne, whose invective he dismissed compassionately by saying it “wanted finish,” did not tend to bring harmony into the Tory party, which seemed fast breaking into fragments. “The old Government,” said Lord Chelmsford—a bad though sportive punster—to some friends, “was the Derby—this one is the Hoax.” After the Easter recess Mr. Disraeli took no notice of his defeat. Mr. Gladstone therefore kept pressing on his Resolutions, and as they embodied an Address to the Queen, everybody was speculating as to her answer. After three weeks’ debate the first Resolution was carried on the morning of the 1st of May by a majority of 65—an increase of 5 on the majority for going into Committee. It was now impossible to conceal from the Queen that on a vital question the Cabinet had completely lost the confidence of the House of Commons. That very day Mr. Disraeli accordingly went to Osborne to see her Majesty, thereby giving dire{309}

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offence to his colleagues, who rightly considered that, following precedent, he should have called a Cabinet meeting before communicating with the Sovereign. The Duke of Marlborough, indeed, insisted on resigning, but was dissuaded from taking that step by Lord Malmesbury.[282] Then there came a series of sensational “scenes” in the House of Commons. The position was most embarrassing, for several reasons. To suspend the creation of fresh interests in the Irish Church was to interfere with the prerogative of the Queen, who appointed bishops and archbishops. It was therefore impossible to proceed by Bill to disestablish the Irish Church. Resolutions had to be first adopted as the basis of an Address, praying the Queen to permit a measure, retrenching the prerogatives of the Crown in respect of Irish Church patronage, to be debated. This prevented the Government from accepting defeat in the{310} Commons on a Bill, which they could have quashed in the Lords, on the plea that it would be better to refer the matter to the new constituencies. In view of the Address to the Crown, which was now inevitable, Mr. Disraeli had, however, to advise the Queen either to accept or reject it. If the Queen were advised to accept it, the Tory Party would be disheartened. It would be said that such advice implied the Queen’s sanction to some form of disendowment. If the Queen, on the other hand, were advised to reject the Address, then the Minister would be responsible for embroiling the Sovereign with a House of Commons, the majority in which had been rendered aggressive by Parliamentary victories and popular sympathy. Lord Derby, in a moment of passionate unwisdom, urged the Ministry to reject the Address when it was drawn up. The lobbies of the House of Commons and the political clubs were then electrical with excitement. The leaders of parties almost came into personal collision with each other. Charges of “treason” were bandied about, when Tory partisans foolishly declared in private that the Queen was with them, and would never let the Radicals despoil the Irish Church. As for the Radicals, they retorted by saying that at the General Election when they marched to the polls, they would substitute Ebenezer Elliott’s hymn, “God Save the People,” for the National Anthem, “God Save the Queen.”

The management of the business by the Prime Minister must have been maladroit indeed, when it raised such fierce and passionate antagonisms. But the question was—What advice did Mr. Disraeli really give the Queen when he saw her at Osborne? His own statement, on Monday the 4th of May, was so ambiguous that it further compromised the Sovereign, by dragging her into a war of factions. He said he had a constitutional right to dissolve a Parliament “elected when he was in Opposition,” and he had advised the Queen on the previous Friday to dissolve. To render this course easy he had tendered the resignation of the Ministry—an offer made, it is now known, without consultation with his colleagues. The Queen had asked him to give her a day for consideration. Then she had ordered him not to resign, but had given him permission to dissolve as soon as the state of public business permitted it. The vital part of the statement occupied ten minutes in delivery. In it the name of the Queen was mentioned thirteen times, and it was so used as to convey the idea that it was her Majesty, and not her Minister, who had decided that a Cabinet which had lost the confidence of the House of Commons should hold office in the teeth of a hostile majority. What made matters worse was that the Duke of Richmond in the Upper House said that the Queen, in refusing Mr. Disraeli’s resignation, had given him permission to dissolve “in the event of any difficulties arising.” Again, by the stupidity or unfaithfulness of her Ministers, was the Queen held up to public odium. It was immediately inferred from the Duke of Richmond’s statement that the Sovereign had delegated to her Minister the highest of{311} her prerogatives—that of dissolving Parliament—not for a special occasion, all the circumstances of which had been studied by her, but in a vague general kind of way, to enable him to coerce the Commons of England, whenever he thought fit. All through the week passionate conflicts raged in the House, greatly to the vexation of the Queen, whose attitude had been misrepresented as unconstitutional. On Thursday, the 7th of May, the two last Resolutions on the Irish Church passed without a division.[283] In the debate, however, Mr. Disraeli got up a turbulent “scene,” by dropping quite casually a quiet sarcastic remark to the effect that those who introduced the Resolutions after throwing the country into confusion, were already quarrelling over the spoil. Mr. Bright could no longer restrain himself. He accused Mr. Disraeli of now abandoning, for the sake of office, the Irish Ecclesiastical policy he had advocated twenty-five years before.[284] He had talked of his interviews with the Queen “with a mixture of pompousness and servility,” but he had deceived his Queen, if he still held the views which he advocated twenty-five years ago, and he had been guilty of a crime in skulking behind her authority, after he had pushed her to the front in a great party struggle. This turned the House into a scene of dreadful strife, and Mr. Disraeli retorted to the effect that Mr. Bright was not a gentleman. If Mr. Disraeli really desired to dissolve at this time it is strange that he missed this opportunity. Mr. Bright’s vituperation, together with the growing rancour of Mr. Gladstone and his supporters, might have enabled the Premier to plead the factious violence of his opponents as an excuse for a penal dissolution. But he did not dissolve. It was thenceforward clear that if it be a vital principle of the constitution that the Government must enjoy the confidence and support of a majority of the House of Commons, the country was without any constitutional Government at all. Though it was expected up to the last moment that the Queen would give an evasive reply to the Address on the Irish Church, her answer was a frank declaration that she did not desire her interest in the temporalities of the Irish Church to obstruct the discussion of a Bill for dealing with them. A Suspensory Bill, preventing the creation of new personal interests, was accordingly passed by the Commons, though it was rejected by the House of Lords. At length Mr. Disraeli, after the Whitsuntide holidays, agreed to dissolve Parliament in October, and Mr.{312} Ward Hunt passed a Bill to facilitate registration, so that the lists of new voters might be made up on the 1st of November, the new writs for the General Election being issued on the 9th.

Little remains to be said as to the political events of the year. Mr. Ward Hunt, in producing his Budget on the 24th of April, admitted that the expenditure had increased from £66,780,000 in 1866-67 to £71,236,242 in 1867-68. The revenue received in the past year having only amounted to £69,600,000, there was a deficit of £1,636,000. Of course the £2,000,000 voted for the Abyssinian War accounted for part of the increased expenditure. For the rest, most of it arose from the carelessness of the Government in not insisting on keeping down the expenditure within the fixed limit of the estimates.[285] As for the coming year, Mr. Ward Hunt’s estimated expenditure was £70,428,000. To this had to be added £3,000,000 for the Abyssinian War. From Revenue he expected to get £71,350,000, so that there was a deficit to make good. He therefore added twopence to the Income Tax, which within the year he expected to yield £1,800,000, but which still left him with a probable deficit to carry over of £278,000. Apart from the increased expenditure the Budget was a sensible one. On the 9th of June Mr. Hunt also moved the Second Reading of a Bill enabling the Government to buy all the telegraph lines in the hands of private companies at their highest price before the 25th of May next, estimating the cost at between £3,000,000 and £4,000,000.

Reference has already been, made to the Abyssinian Expedition. At first the public took a dismal view of the enterprise. It was said that the mixed native and European force would fight well, but that on the road from the sea to King Theodore’s fortress, it would be bled to death by mismanagement and maladministration. The result of the expedition was entirely satisfactory; indeed, there was but one fault to find with it, namely, that it had cost too much. The Viceroy of India and the Duke of Cambridge selected one of the ablest engineers in India—Sir Robert Napier—as Commander-in-Chief, and gave him carte blanche. His task was described as that of building a bridge four hundred miles long between Annesley Bay and Magdala. As to the road he had to traverse, when one of the soldiers was told he was marching over the table-land of Abyssinia, he replied, “Well, the table must have been turned upside down, and we’re now a-marching over the legs!” Between Napier and his enemy there were many formidable native chiefs, who could only be conciliated by consummate diplomatic skill. How he succeeded in doing that, and in dragging his guns over the mountains by means of elephants, then used for the first time in African warfare since the days of Carthage; how he supplied his{313}

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army with water by boring Artesian wells; how he stormed Magdala with an impetuous rush on the 12th of April, when King Theodore, having previously released the captives, committed suicide, need not be now dwelt on. It was a brilliant little achievement, and the story of it was read with pride and emotion by the Queen. Napier’s skilful adaptation of means to ends, and the nicety of his calculations may be simply illustrated. At the beginning of the war he was asked when he could be at Magdala. He replied, “About the end of March.” He was asked when he could get back to Zoulla. He said, “Early in June.” As a matter of fact, he was at Magdala on the 10th of April, and he returned to Zoulla on the 18th of June, after which the country was at once evacuated. The thanks of both Houses of Parliament were voted to Sir Robert Napier on the 2nd of July, Mr. Disraeli complimenting him on having “planted the standard of St. George on the mountains of Rasselas,” and “led the elephants of Asia, bearing the artillery of Europe, over African passes which might have startled the trapper and appalled the hunter of the Alps.” As trappers hunt the beaver, which lives in water and not in mountains, the metaphor was a little mixed; but the orator’s intention was good, and his gaudy phrases served to divert the town during the languor of perhaps the sultriest London season on record. On the 9th of July Mr. Disraeli brought to the House a message from the Queen conferring a Peerage on the leader of the Expedition—who thus became Lord Napier of Magdala—together with an annuity of £2,000 a year for two lives. As Napier’s eldest son was an adult, and the usual grant in such cases had hitherto been for three lives, the Queen’s message was a distinct concession to the economists.

Parliament was prorogued on the last day of July, and a curious passage in the Queen’s Speech referred with satisfaction to the fact that the Government had not seen cause to use the power given them for suspending Habeas Corpus in Ireland. Then came the struggle for power in the new democratic constituencies. The usual preparation, said Mr. John Morley, in a Jeremiad in the Fortnightly Review, was made for the unlimited consumption of beer all over the land. Candidates of the old sort were put up. Reactionary Whigs, like Mr. Horsman, were suddenly transformed into iconoclastic Radicals, and were pledging themselves, not merely to abolish the Irish Church, but even to reform the House of Lords. Tories boasted that they were the only true democrats. Hardly any new men were brought to the front, and rich nobodies in many cases thrust aside true and tried servants of the people. Bloodshed was expected at Blackburn, and cavalry were drafted into the district. In short, Reform appeared to have changed nothing, and the first General Election under it seemed painfully like all its predecessors.

Mr. Disraeli’s Electoral Address, which was issued in October, had three defects. It appealed to the country to return the Ministry to power in order to prevent the Pope from becoming master of England—a perfectly absurd{315} attempt to revive the “bogey” of Papal aggression. It proclaimed no positive policy, for it merely pledged the Government not to disestablish the Irish Church. It was as stilted in its rhetoric as Tancred’s revelation on Mount Sinai. Mr. Gladstone’s Address, issued a week later, was much more seductive and business-like. It proclaimed a positive policy of administrative reform and of retrenchment, justified a policy of conciliation to Ireland, and pressed for the disestablishment of the Irish Church. The result of the appeal to the new electors was fatal to the Government. The Liberals carried the country by a majority of over 100 seats. Lancashire strongly supported the Conservatives—whereas Yorkshire was strongly Liberal. The Liberals showed themselves weak in some of the Home Counties where “villadom,” as Lord Rosebery calls it, reigns supreme. Though the Tory Party was sadly shattered in Essex, the counties were, however, on the whole, wonderfully faithful to Mr. Disraeli, and he came within one vote of dividing with Mr. Gladstone the thirteen electoral boroughs, with a population between 100,000 and 60,000. The Liberals, on the other hand, were strongest in boroughs with a population between 60,000 and 20,000, and in those with a population above 100,000 they captured 41 seats out of 49. Mr. Gladstone was rejected by South-West Lancashire, but the Greenwich electors, having taken the precaution to return him, rendered his defeat of little practical importance. Mr. Mill lost his seat for Westminster, and thus his Parliamentary career closed, his only contribution to the Statute-Book being the law compelling railway companies to attach smoking carriages to passenger trains. Lord Hartington was beaten in North Lancashire, and Mr. Bernal Osborne, one of the wits of the House, lost his seat at Nottingham. Scotland returned only seven Tories, nicknamed by the late Mr. Russel, editor of the Scotsman, the “Seven Champions of Constitutionalism.” Roughly speaking, the Liberals won in counties where Dissent was strong, whereas the Tories won in counties where the influence of the Church of England prevailed. The boroughs that were carried by the Tories were those where the competition of Irish labour was most felt, or where anti-Papal agitators had most influence, and in Lancashire, where Anglican clergy and laymen had, during the Cotton Famine, been most assiduous in administering the Relief Fund.

Mr. Disraeli met defeat with manliness and dignity. Mr. Gathorne-Hardy advised him to resign, but Lord Derby, on the other hand, urged him to hold on to office. On the 28th of November a Cabinet Meeting was held, and Ministers decided to resign rather than wait to be ejected from their places by a vote of the House of Commons. The Prime Minister went down to Windsor on the 2nd of December, and not only tendered the resignation of the Cabinet to the Queen, but advised her to send for Mr. Gladstone. In fact, Mr. Disraeli, like a highbred player, having lost his game paid the stakes without a grudge or a murmur. Mr. Gladstone was summoned by telegraph to Windsor on the 3rd, and was commissioned to form a Government.{316} Mr. Disraeli refused all honours for himself, though he was offered a peerage, but Mrs. Disraeli was created Viscountess Beaconsfield in her own right. On the 18th of December Parliament met, and the Ministry was complete. It consisted of fifteen members, of whom six were peers, one an eldest son of a peer, and eight were Commoners. The only Radical appointed was Mr. Bright—unless Mr. Gladstone could be counted a Radical—and in all questions between the middle-class and the masses Mr. Bright was already a Conservative. It was a Ministry of All the Talents—formidable in debate, great in administrative capacity, and strong in intellectual power—but it was unmistakably Whiggish. It was the Whigs who were first consulted about the disposal of the offices, and the spirit of Palmerston, who gave Mr. Milner Gibson a seat in his Cabinet “just to keep the Radicals quiet,” still prevailed. In forming the Ministry, Mr. Gladstone thus ignored the fact that his Cabinet inaugurated a new democratic era, in which the relative importance of Whigs and Radicals had been reversed. By admitting Radicals merely to minor offices he disappointed the combative wing of his party, whose unbought zeal had really carried him to power.[286] Some Tories of the “baser sort” put about the report that the Queen would refuse to receive Mr. Bright as a Minister. The Queen, however, as if to mark her disapproval of such insinuations, went out of her way to pay Mr. Bright special attention when he was presented to her. With delicate tact she sent word to him that in deference to his hereditary scruples as a Quaker, she would not expect him to kneel before her when he came to “kiss hands” on taking office.

The stirring events now described had severely tried the nerves of the Queen. Early in the year she had been rendered anxious by a severe illness of the Prince Leopold, who was at one time so sick that it was supposed he was dying. Then she was still more shocked and alarmed by news of an attempt which had been made by a man, O’Farrell, to assassinate the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Alfred) on the 12th of March at Clontarf, near Port Jackson, in New South Wales. O’Farrel’s motives were never quite satisfactorily explained, though it was said at the time that he was a Fenian emissary. He was hanged for the crime on the 21st of April, and the Duke, who had been shot in the back, gradually recovered from his wound.

The great and unexpected popularity with which a little book from the Queen’s pen—“Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands”—containing a diary of her holiday rambles, was received during the season, gratified her{317}

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much. It delighted the people, to whom it showed the homely, matronly, sensible business-like qualities which Englishmen value in the women of their race, reflected in the daily life of their Sovereign. It was a book that reproduced the wife and the house-mother rather than the Monarch, and it was written with great tenderness of feeling and artless simplicity of expression. The sketches, too, with which it was illustrated were amazingly popular, and in truth they were really bold and telling. But the little work had no public importance, save that it served to establish between the Queen and her people relations that were not only affectionate, but almost confidential. The extreme High Churchmen, however, were greatly alarmed to find from the Queen’s Journals that she had strong leanings to the Presbyterian Church. This notion was due to the fact that she took great delight in the preaching and spiritual ministrations of the Scottish Chaplains Royal, who were of course Presbyterians, and who officiated at the Court when it was in Aberdeenshire. It was not easy to understand why the High Churchmen should desire to prevent the Queen from following the bent of her own mind and heart in such a matter. It was absurd to argue that her position as Head of the Church of England bound her to Anglican orthodoxy, for she{318} was also Head of the Church of Scotland. Nor did her Coronation Oath, which merely binds the Sovereign to uphold the Protestant faith, restrict her to the services of the Church of England. The fact is, personages belonging to the great family of European Princes have so many relationships and cross-currents of sympathy with kinsfolk of various creeds, that they become instinctively tolerant in religious matters. Still the attacks of the High Churchmen did neither the Queen nor her book any harm. It had merely revealed the fact that she was a Christian woman, personally pious and God-fearing, with a reverent and almost puritanical sense of duty, though rather indifferent, perhaps, to external religious forms. The Queen had shown that she understood the distinction between Christianity and Churchianity, and hence the outcry of the extreme Anglicans against her book. The truth was that her Majesty never made any secret of her personal liking for the ministrations of Dr. A. P. Stanley, Dean of Westminster, and one of the leaders of the Broad Church Party in the Church of England. When she exhibited a similar preference for his Presbyterian friends, Dr. Norman Macleod and Principal Tulloch in the Scottish Church, her offence was complete in the eyes of violent High Churchmen.

After receiving the Address based on Mr. Gladstone’s Resolution, and laying the foundation stone of the new St. Thomas’s Hospital, the Queen fled to Balmoral to recover from the nervous excitement of political warfare. It unfortunately happened that when the Scottish Members in discussing the Scottish Reform Bill substituted a household franchise pure and simple for a rating franchise, a Ministerial crisis was produced. Mr. Disraeli, in fact, desired authority to coerce Members by threatening a dissolution. For this purpose he had to consult the Queen, and certainly the three days lost in communicating with Balmoral gave rise to some inconvenience. This tempted Mr. Reardon, M.P. for Athlone, in the interests of the West End tradesmen, to put a question on the notice-paper of the House of Commons, as to the cause of the Queen’s absence from the capital. The Speaker, however, refused to let it appear, because it impudently suggested her Majesty’s abdication in favour of the Prince of Wales. In June the Queen had recovered her health, and on the 22nd she gave a brilliant garden party at Buckingham Palace. Six hundred invitations were issued, and she received her company, says Lord Malmesbury, “very graciously.” She was, he adds, “looking remarkably well, and everybody said she seemed to enjoy her party.” Two days before that she had reviewed 27,000 Volunteers in Windsor Park. This affair was very badly managed. There were no commissariat arrangements, and there was no ambulance. Hungry officers wandered away to get food, and when the marching past was over, some of the troops—faint from hunger and thirst, and having lost their leaders—ignored discipline altogether, and on the return to Datchet Station heaped vituperation on any officers of rank they came across.{319}

On the 9th of July both Houses of Parliament congratulated the Queen on the birth of a little grand-daughter, who had been brought into the world by the Princess of Wales on the 6th. On the same evening (the 9th) the Duke of Edinburgh, who had brought his ship, the Galatea, home, landed at Osborne and dined with the Queen; and on the 13th she visited her son’s vessel, which she inspected under his guidance.

The season of 1868 was one of the hottest that had ever been experienced, and the Queen has all through life suffered so much from sultry weather, that in summer she has to do most of her work in the open air under the shade of a verandah or a tent. The heat, together with the worry of Ministerial crises, again broke down her nerves and brought on fainting fits, which alarmed her physicians. When Parliament was prorogued they urged her to go to Switzerland, and on the 6th of August she reached the Lake of Lucerne, travelling privately under the title of the Countess of Kent. Writing on the 10th of August to the Queen, the Princess Louis of Hesse says:—“I have just received your letter from Lucerne, and hasten to thank you for it. How glad I am that you admire the beautiful scenery, and that I know it, and can share your admiration and enjoyment of it in thought with you.” Her Majesty and her companions—the Princess Louise, Prince Arthur, and Lord Stanley—went up the Righi and Mount Pilatus, and made a short stay on the Furka Pass. “How, too, delightful,” writes the Princess Louis of Hesse, “your expeditions must have been! I do rejoice that, through the change of weather, you should have been able to see and enjoy all that glorious scenery. Without your good ponies, Brown, &c., you would have felt how difficult such ascents are for common mortals, particularly when the horses slip, and finally sit down. I am sure all this will have done you good; seeing such totally new beautiful scenery does refresh so immensely, and the air and exertion—both of which you bear so well now—will do your health good.” She returned to England on the 11th of September, having broken her journey at Paris, where she stayed with Lord Lyons at the British Embassy. “I am so grieved,” writes the Princess Louis, “that you should have been so unwell on the journey home. Dear, beautiful Scotland will do you good.” But the return to Balmoral was not a return to rest. The preparation for the General Election involved much harassing business, and Mr. Disraeli, Minister in attendance, was not always in the sweetest humour. On a great many points he found the Queen rather more difficult to “educate” than his Party. This gave a tone of acerbity to many of his communications written at the time, which was quite foreign to his character. In a letter, dated Balmoral Castle, 28th September, written to Bishop Wilberforce, Mr. Disraeli, while scolding some High Churchmen for following Dr. Hook, Dean of Chichester, whom he terms a “provincial Laud,” because he intrigued with the Party of Disestablishment, apologises for not having sent it sooner. “I have delayed writing to{320} you,” he says, “several days because I wanted to get a quiet half-hour; and there is not a sentence in this in which I have not been interrupted. Carrying on the government of a country six hundred miles from the metropolis doubles the labour. The stream of telegrams and boxes is really appalling.”[287] A collision of will, if not a conflict of opinion, now occurred between the Queen and Mr. Disraeli regarding the disposal of certain Church patronage. Dr. Longley, the Archbishop of Canterbury, had died in October, and the Queen has always claimed the right of controlling appointments to the see of Canterbury, on the ground that the Primate is, in a sense, the chief of the Court Chaplains. At coronations, royal marriages, baptisms, and funerals he is, of course, the principal celebrant. It was felt all over England that the time had come for appointing to this great office a man of strong individuality and firm character, not merely a “Benevolent Smile,” as one of Dr. Longley’s predecessors—the amiable Howley—had been called. At the same time, though the public desired to see in the new Primate a real leader of men, they did not desire a bigot or a brilliant intriguer, whose life had been consecrated to strategy and finesse. The Queen not only sympathised with this general feeling, but she had, with singularly sound judgment, selected as her favourite candidate perhaps the only prelate in England whose appointment could satisfy it. Unfortunately Mr. Disraeli ignored the general sentiment of the nation, and what was still worse, he did not seem to be capable of suggesting any candidate for the Primacy whose personal qualities corresponded with the desire of the people. There was a strong party, headed by the Dean of Chichester (Dr. Hook), who favoured the candidature of the Bishop of Oxford, far and away the ablest Anglican ecclesiastic whom England has produced during the Queen’s reign. But at the time he was, despite his marvellous gifts, “an impossible” aspirant. His daughter and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Pye, had just “gone over to Rome,” and his enemies unjustly insinuated that the Bishop himself was at heart “a Papist.” His public life had been, to a great extent, one of finesse and intrigue. He had offended Mr. Disraeli by supporting Mr. Gladstone’s candidature at Oxford, and it was feared his appointment would cause the Tory party the loss of many votes in the General Election then pending. It was said at the time that the Queen, remembering the argument between Wilberforce and the Prince Consort as to the miracle of the swine, was personally opposed to his selection. This, however, was not true. She would have accepted Wilberforce, whose brilliant intellect, flashing wit and charm of manner fascinated every one with whom he came in contact, though her personal preferences were in favour of another prelate. But Mr. Disraeli having expressed his personal antipathy to the Bishop of Oxford, her Majesty forbore to hint at his claim. But, in the end, she insisted on the{321}

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appointment of Dr. Tait, then Bishop of London. Dr. Jackson, Bishop of Lincoln, was in turn appointed to the see of London, to which Wilberforce had the strongest claim. To the see of Lincoln, Archdeacon Wordsworth, a nephew of the poet, and a theological antiquarian of great repute among the High Churchmen, was preferred. The selection of Dr. Tait procured for Mr. Disraeli the cordial congratulations of all parties, and it was admitted even by the Radicals that it immensely increased the popularity of a moribund Ministry. As a matter of fact, however, the credit was really due to the Queen, and not to the Minister. During November Wilberforce was at Blenheim, and in his Diary he records a conversation which he had with the Duke of Marlborough on this subject. “The Duke,” writes Bishop Wilberforce, “told me of Disraeli’s excitement when he came out of the royal closet. Some struggle about the Primacy. Lord Malmesbury also said that when he spoke to Disraeli he said, ‘Don’t bring any more bothers before me;{322} I have enough already to drive a man mad.’” Then a few days later (18th November) Dr. Wilberforce had a conversation at Windsor with Dean Wellesley, an ecclesiastic deep in Court secrets, who said to him, with reference to the struggle for the Primacy, “The Church does not know what it owes to the Queen. Disraeli has been utterly ignorant, utterly unprincipled: he rode the Protestant horse one day; then got frightened that he had gone too far, and was injuring the county elections, so he went right round and proposed names never heard of. Nothing he would not have done; but throughout he was most hostile to you [Wilberforce]; he alone prevented London being offered to you. The Queen looked for Tait,[288] but would have agreed to you…. Disraeli recommended[289] … for Canterbury!! The Queen would not have him; then Disraeli agreed, most reluctantly and with passion, to Tait. Disraeli then proposed Wordsworth for London. The Queen objected strongly; no experience; passing over bishops, &c.; then she suggested Jackson and two others, not you [Wilberforce], because of Disraeli’s expressed hostility, and Disraeli chose Jackson…. Disraeli opposed Leighton with all his strength on every separate occasion. The Queen would have greatly liked him, but Disraeli would not hear of him. You cannot conceive the appointments he proposed and retracted or was over-ruled in; he pressed Champneys for Peterborough;[290] he had no other thought than the votes of the moment; he showed an ignorance about all Church matters, men, opinions, that was astonishing, making propositions one way and the other, riding the Protestant horse to gain the boroughs, and then when he thought he had gone so far to endanger the counties, turning round and appointing Bright and Gregory; thoroughly unprincipled fellow. I trust we may never have such a man again.”[291] The importance of Dr. Tait’s appointment to the Primacy could hardly be exaggerated. In the great Church controversies he had distinguished himself by his intrepid and masculine good sense. His orthodoxy was unimpeachable, but whenever a heretic was being prosecuted his voice was always loud in demanding fair play and in pleading for toleration. He had congratulated the Church on being able to utilise Professor Jowett’s irrepressible “love of truth” and Dr. Pusey’s “personal holiness.” In short, he represented the national principle of comprehension—the national desire to include within the State Church all good men, no matter what their theological views might be, who recognised the divinity of Christ, and were prepared to abide by the legal ritual of the Reformed Anglican Communion.{323}

On the 3rd of October the infant son of the Princess Mary of Teck was christened in the dining-room of Kensington Palace, among the sponsors being the Queen and the Princess of Wales. On the 21st the Crown Princess of Prussia, travelling as the Countess Lingen, visited England, and was very warmly greeted wherever she went. Most of her time was spent at St. Leonards-on-Sea.

On the 5th of December the Queen was informed that Mr. George Peabody had presented £100,000 to the poor of London. This was his second gift, so that his whole donation came to £350,000. It was felt that it was somewhat unfortunate that it had been left to a foreigner to point the path of duty out to English millionaires. On the other hand, there were critics who tried to depreciate the practical value of Mr. Peabody’s charity. The money was to be expended in housing the poor. “But,” said these critics when the first blocks of Peabody Buildings were built, “it was not the poor who were housed in them, for clerks and young middle-class people took the new rooms.” It was apparently not noticed that the clerks must, in that case, leave their dwellings empty for others, so that the housing of the poor would in any case be facilitated by reduced pressure on house accommodation.

The 14th of December was the seventh anniversary of the Prince Consort’s death. Accordingly the Queen and her family proceeded to the Mausoleum at Frogmore, which had now been completed, and where a special service was held. It was a matter of great regret that the Princess Louis of Hesse had been unable to be present, and she gives expression to that feeling in one of her letters (20th of November). But she was recovering from her accouchement, and it was impossible for her to leave her home.

As the year ended, the mind of the country was disturbed by tales of impending war. The Princess Louis of Hesse and the Crown Prince of Prussia both warned the Queen of the dangers which menaced Europe. France had arranged to withdraw her troops from Rome in order to attack Germany, and a Spanish garrison was to be substituted as the Pope’s guard. From the letters of the Princess, it is plain that the Queen comforted her relatives by assuring them that, from her information, it was clear there would be no war. Napoleon’s scheme for garrisoning Rome by Spanish troops was upset by the sudden outbreak of a revolution in Spain, provoked partly by the reactionary policy, but mainly by the personal misconduct of the Queen Isabella. Violent measures of repression were adopted to crush the conspiracy. On the 18th of September a revolt broke out at Cadiz, and the Queen and her dynasty were dethroned. General Prim and Marshal Serrano formed a Provisional Government, which, however, relegated to the Cortes the task of determining the destinies of the nation. Much more serious was the sudden rupture between Greece and Turkey at the end of the year. It was remembered that Lord Clarendon—who had been appointed Foreign Secretary in deference to the Queen’s partiality for him—was the Minister{324}

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under whose guidance England had drifted into the Crimean War. The re-opening of the Eastern Question immediately after he took office was considered to be ominous of mischief. For two years there had been friction between Greece and Turkey, the cause being that the Greeks had been assisting the Cretan insurgents both with men and money. The Sultan at last, in a fit of impatience, sent an Ultimatum to Greece threatening war unless the Government made reparation to Turkey for the support which it had given to{325} the Cretan rebellion. The Great Powers obtained for Greece an extension of time for her reply to the 17th of December, and on that date the Athenian Government rejected the Ultimatum. But the rise of Germany had altered all the conditions under which Russia as patron of Greece could attack Constantinople, and it rendered the Anglo-French alliance no longer desirable. Still a Conference was proposed by Count Bismarck in the closing days of 1868 to prevent war, whilst the Greeks were arming in hot haste, and Hobart Pasha was blockading Syria. The great danger lay in Clarendon’s possible adherence to Palmerstonian traditions. If he declared for war in defence of Turkey with France as an ally, the prospect was dismal. Such a policy meant that England would have to face the combination of Germany, and perchance Italy with Russia, and it is certain that the Queen, like the nation, would have resisted it to the last. The Conference did its work well—as might have been expected. It had been proposed by Bismarck, who had a reputation for never associating his name with failures, and the event proved that he had judged rightly of the exigencies of the nations.


Hopefulness all round—Ministers at the Fishmongers’—The Queen’s Speech—The Legislative Bill of Fare—The Queen and Mr. Gladstone’s Irish Church Policy—Release of Fenians—Mr. Gladstone’s Scheme for Disestablishing the Irish Church—The Debate in the Commons—The Second Reading Carried—The Bill in Committee—Read a Third Time—The Lords and the Bill—Amendments of the Peers—The Lords Bought Off—The Bill becomes Law—Mr. Lowe’s First Budget—The Endowed Schools Bill—The Habitual Criminals Act—The Lords and the Commons’ Legislation—Official Hostility to Reforming Ministers—Weak Members of the Cabinet—Mr. Reverdy Johnson and the Alabama Claims—The Policy of “Masterly Inactivity”—Liberalism in France—Prince Leopold’s Illness—The Queen’s Interview with Mr. Carlyle—Visit of Ismail Pasha to the Queen—The Peabody Statue—Prince Alfred in Australia—The Prince of Wales and Court Dress—Death of Lord Derby—Death of Lady Palmerston—Opening of Blackfriars Bridge and Holborn Viaduct—O’Donovan Rossa, M.P.—Orangemen and Fenians.

Hopefulness was the prevailing feeling with which the year 1869 was hailed by everybody. Politically the country was in a state of tranquillity. The democracy had won a great victory at the polls, and a new and brilliant ministry had been called to power to give effect to the will of the people. Trade, it is true, was still suffering from the shock of 1866. The supply of raw cotton was scarce, and high prices lessened the demand for the manufactured article. The policy of the Trades Unions aggravated the uneasiness of the mercantile community. Superficial observers began to declare that the Unionists, by hampering their employers at home, were driving trade abroad, and a demand for{326} Protection, under the guise of Reciprocity, was heard, though as yet but faintly, amid the din of controversy. Some of the leading men in great commercial centres like Manchester were so impressed with the manifest ignorance of economic principles exhibited in these controversies that they started a series of evening lectures for working men on political economy, Professor Stanley Jevons undertaking to deliver the course.[292] On the other hand, the country was free from all difficulties as to foreign affairs—even the dispute with the United States as to the Alabama claims was supposed to be in a fair way of settlement under the flattering unction of the American Minister’s post-prandial rhetoric. The first weeks of the year were enlivened by the trials of election petitions, and the new tribunal of judges appointed to try on the spot cases of corrupt practices, on the whole, gave general satisfaction, It was felt that if the new court was a judge without a jury, the old one—a committee of the House of Commons—was a jury without a judge, and that in respect of consistency in interpreting the law and logical application of principles, the new court was a vast improvement on the old one.

Though everybody knew that the Irish Church Question must overshadow all others, the utterances of Ministers were eagerly scanned for indications of policy. The spirit of economy, it soon appeared, would reign supreme in the administration, for not only did Mr. Goschen at the Poor Law Board issue orders prohibiting the guardians of the poor in London from giving relief to the able-bodied poor except under conditions of task-work, but the Admiralty issued a circular instructing naval officers to forbid unremunerative and profitless work, and save coals and stores as much as possible. In his speeches to his constituents in Renfrewshire, the Home Secretary, Mr. Austin Bruce, proclaimed his conversion to the ballot; but Mr. Lowe, at Gloucester, seemed to limit himself to rather stale denunciations of the Tory Party. On the 11th of February Ministers dined with the Fishmongers’ Company in the City, but even there their reticence was remarkable. Mr. Gladstone significantly intimated that the Ministry were encouraged in pursuing their Irish policy of conciliation, not only by the verdict of the country, but by “the constitutional character of that Sovereign whose delight it is to associate herself both with the interests and convictions of her people.”[293] Mr. Lowe spoke in a caustic saturnine vein about the difficulty of forcing economy on the servants of the Crown in public departments: they resented an order to save stores as savouring of meanness. And then the House of Commons was always too ready to force up expenditure in detail, whilst clamouring for its reduction in mass. Mr. Bright observed that the Board of Trade was merely a department that sent recommendations to people who rarely{327} paid attention to them, and then launched into an attack on bishops and archbishops, who were, he said, overpaid, owing to the credulity, if not the liberality, of the people. His Grace of York had a few days before claimed that the Episcopal Bench supplied a Liberal element to the House of Lords, and this seems to have tempted Mr. Bright into his display of spleen. Altogether, the first impression produced by the Ministerial speeches was that the Government, though full of good intentions, meant to carry them out in an arrogant and irritating manner. In the meantime a change had taken place in the leadership of the Tory Party in the House of Lords, Lord Malmesbury retiring in favour of Lord Cairns.

On the 16th of February Parliament was opened by Commission, the Royal Speech being read by the Lord Chancellor. As the Queen did not attend, it was decided by the Cabinet to propose that Parliament should wait upon her, and present their Address in reply to the Royal Speech, to her personally—a somewhat unusual, though not unprecedented, proceeding when the Queen is herself absent from the opening of Parliament. The Speech was in style a little flabby, especially where it touched on the Irish Church Question. No measure of Disestablishment was definitely promised, but it was announced that Parliament must take in hand the task of “the adjustment of the ecclesiastical arrangements of Ireland.” The Speech promised reduced estimates,[294] hinted at the restoration of Habeas Corpus to Ireland, and it embodied Mr. Austin Bruce’s pledges in Renfrewshire to bring in a Scottish Education Bill. Perhaps it was because Ministers strove after brevity that they omitted from the Speech many measures to which it was generally known they were committed, e.g., Mr. Bruce’s Bill for dealing with Habitual Criminals, Mr. Goschen’s Poor Law Bill, Mr. Forster’s Middle Class Education Bill, the Bill abolishing University Tests, a Bill to establish Municipal Government in Counties, and a Bill abolishing Imprisonment for Debt. The Address was moved in the House of Commons by Mr. Cowper, selected as a compliment to the Whigs, and Mr. Mundella, who was chosen to please the Radical artisans. The debate on the Address was a tame business. The leaders of the Opposition, desirous of posing as magnanimous adversaries in defeat, offered no serious criticism. The Government leaders had, therefore, virtually nothing to reply to. Previous to the moving of the Address Mr. Gladstone gave notice in the House of Commons that on the 1st of March he should move that the Acts relating to the Irish Church establishment, and to the Maynooth Grant, and also the Resolutions of the House of Commons of 1868 be read; that the House should resolve itself into Committee to consider these Acts and Resolutions. Mr. Forster, too, gave notice of his Middle Class Education Bill. The Attorney-General gave notice of a Bankruptcy Bill; Mr. Goschen announced Bills amending the law assessing Occupiers Holding for short terms, and equalising{328} the Assessment of Metropolitan Property; and the Home Secretary announced his Bill for the more effectual Prevention of Crime. Whatever might be said of the Ministry, it was obviously bent on making its mark on the Statute book. The House of Lords, indeed, began to take alarm at the extreme activity of the Commons. They complained that they were not entrusted with work till after Easter, when the Commons sent them their Bills to revise in the dog days, and Lord Salisbury angrily threatened to obstruct Bills if they were not sent up to the Peers in time for full discussion; but the fault was really that of their Lordships. As Lord Russell put it, to initiate Liberal Bills in the Upper House is to secure their rejection; to bring them there after they have been accepted by large majorities of the House of Commons, gives them a chance of being passed into law.

When the Committee on the Address brought up their report Mr. Gladstone moved that the Address be presented by the whole House to the Queen in person. The Queen’s absence from the opening of a new reformed Parliament had been taken by various Opposition organs as a proof that she was inclined to obstruct the policy of the Ministry. That her Majesty was, as a matter of fact, opposed to Mr. Gladstone’s policy of Disestablishment is apparent from the Diary of Bishop Wilberforce, where, under date 20th March, one finds the following entry:—“Back to Windsor Castle and prepared sermon. Dined with the Queen. A great deal of talk with the Princess Louise; clever and very agreeable. The Queen very affable. So sorry Mr. Gladstone started this about Irish Church, and he is a great friend of yours,” &c. But a still more authoritative disclosure of the Queen’s personal objections to Mr. Gladstone’s plans is given in a letter from the Princess Louis of Hesse. Writing on the 25th of April, in reply to a communication on the subject from the Queen, the Princess says:—“The Irish Church Question, I quite feel with you, will neither be solved nor settled in this way; and instead of doing something which would bring the Catholics more under the authority of the State, they will, I fear, be more powerful.”[295] The Queen’s consent to come to London and receive the Address in reply to the Royal Speech in person was accordingly obtained by Mr. Gladstone for the purpose of taking the sting out of statements which had gone round the Tory Press as to her Majesty’s opposition to his Irish policy. It hardly tended to reconcile the Queen to the views of the Cabinet that her consent to receive the Address was asked in a manner that precluded the possibility of refusal, save at the risk of insulting the Legislature. But in this affair Mr. Gladstone was doomed to disappointment. Before the Address could be presented her Majesty said she must abandon the idea of coming to town to receive it. Prince Leopold suddenly fell ill, and as the Queen was reluctant to leave him, the Address was delivered to her in the usual manner, and answered by her in the{329} stereotyped terms. Thus it came to pass that the first meeting of the reformed Parliament was not honoured with any special mark of personal recognition by the Chief of the State.

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From the 1st of March to the end of July, however, the affairs of Ireland completely absorbed public attention. As an earnest of their conciliatory policy, Ministers had allowed the Act suspending Habeas Corpus in Ireland to expire. In February they pardoned forty-nine of the Fenian prisoners, selecting the objects of the Queen’s clemency from those who were dupes as distinguished from ringleaders. This still left eighty-one prisoners under sentence, and whilst it did not satisfy Irish hopes, it encouraged a belief that it was comparatively safe to play at treason in Ireland. As Lady Clanricarde said in a letter{330} to Mr. Hayward, “the released Fenians are now [April 13] socially, financially, and in character, in a better position than they were at any other time of their lives.”[296] The popular notion in Ireland was that they had cowed the Government. Nor was the Church Question the only one which was agitating the Irish mind. Shrewd observers had, indeed, warned Ministers in the autumn of 1868 that the Irish people were even more eager for Land Reform than the Disestablishment of the Church. Writing to Mr. Chichester Fortescue on 15th of October, 1868, Mr. Hayward says, “Froude, who has been two months in Ireland, mostly near Kenmare, says, that so far as he saw, the Irish Church Question is little thought of in comparison with the Land Question, and he knows of nothing that could be proposed in the way of compromise, as the proprietors want to get rid of their small tenants, and the small tenants want to get rid of the landlords. Lord Lansdowne’s manager told him that he could make £25,000 a year out of the property by clearing out the cottiers.”[297] It was, therefore, creditable to Ministers that, when questioned on the subject in both Houses, they declared that whenever the Church Question was disposed of, they would try and solve the Irish agrarian problem.

On the 1st of March Mr. Gladstone rose in an eager and crowded House and moved that the Irish Church Resolutions be read. After that ceremony, he moved that the House go into Committee to consider them. This being done, he then proceeded to unfold his plan, in a speech which was a masterpiece of artistic exposition. Technically speaking, he proposed to disendow the Irish Church absolutely from the passing of the Act, because he vested all its property in a Commission, appointed for ten years. But the Church was to be disestablished at a date fixed by him as the 1st of January, 1871. Whenever the Act passed the Church would be quite free to take collective action for its future management, and whenever it could present the Crown with a scheme of organisation the Queen would be advised to incorporate it as a Free Church. The Commission, of course, was to pay the life incomes of the clergy. But these life incomes under the Bill might be commuted for a fixed sum, to be handed over to the new Church Corporation. Private gifts made to the Church since 1660, and all ecclesiastical fabrics, would remain in the hands of the disestablished clergy. Similar methods for dealing with the State subsidies to Presbyterian clergymen and professors were proposed, and the trustees for the Presbyterians and for Maynooth College were to have fourteen times their annual subvention given to them in full satisfaction of all claims. The tithe charge was to be sold to the landlords for twenty-two and a half years’ purchase, the money to be vested in the Commission. As for the surplus property, or “spoil,” as it was called, it was to be devoted to keeping up pauper lunatic asylums, infirmaries, and hospitals for the poor, and asylums for idiots, institutions which were then chargeable{331} on the country.[298] The leading idea disposing of the surplus for the benefit of the poor, was generally admitted to be an ingenious way of meeting the cry of sacrilegious spoliation.[299] Lord Westbury was, however, said to have remarked that in taking endowments from the Irish clergy whose intellects were warped, and giving it to lunatics and idiots who had no intellects at all, Mr. Gladstone had followed a natural law of association, and had exhibited a nicely discriminating sense of the relative value of competing claims on his compassion.

But the country was impervious to all sarcasms of this sort, and it was lavish in praise of a measure so obviously characterised by breadth of view as to its ends, and minute completeness and efficiency of detail, as to its means. The strategic value of Mr. Gladstone’s policy in passing the Suspensory Bill in 1868 was now apparent to everybody. The discussions it provoked had armed him at every point, and from the almost embarrassing returns of dates and materials with which it furnished him he was able to draw up a measure which was felt to be complete and symmetrical. He reduced its weak points to a minimum—in fact, if the principle of the Bill were accepted, it would be very difficult for the most unscrupulous opposition to wreck it on details. Mr. Disraeli’s criticism was very mild. He said Mr. Gladstone “had not wasted a word,” but despite his statement, the Opposition must still “look on Disestablishment as a great political error,” and on Disendowment as “sheer confiscation.” Whether intentionally or not, his tone conveyed an impression that, so far as he was concerned, he would have been glad, after the verdict of the General Election, to throw over the Church. But Sir Stafford Northcote a few days afterwards told a meeting of Middlesex{332}

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Conservatives that the Bill was a combination of robbery and bribery, and Sir J. Pakington significantly thanked Providence for the House of Lords. Mr. Disraeli felt that his resignation before Parliament met, implied an acceptance of the verdict of the country. To him and to many others, including the Bishop of Oxford, the Bishop of Peterborough (Dr. Magee), the two Archbishops, Lord Salisbury, Lord Nelson, “our best Churchman,” according to Wilberforce, Lord Carnarvon, and the Duke of Richmond, it seemed unwise to divide the Houses of Parliament against the principle of a national decision, to which the leaders of the Opposition bowed when they resigned. They would have preferred to accept the Bill in principle, and in Committee to have extorted from the Government the best possible terms for the Church. But the advice of extreme men prevailed, and so the Tory leaders decided to oppose the Second Reading of the measure. On the 18th of March Mr. Disraeli moved its rejection, in a speech remarkable for its brilliancy and the skill with which he laid bare the weak points of Mr. Gladstone’s plans.{333}

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Yet his followers heard his epigrammatic assault with unconcealed dismay, and after it was delivered condoled with each other because it was a fiasco. The fault of the orator was that he gave his Party no position or counter-scheme behind which they could entrench themselves. He ignored the cardinal fact of the controversy, that the Irish people were smarting under a sense of injustice, because their own national church had been robbed to enrich the ministers of an alien creed. He conjured up terrible but imaginary revolutionary catastrophes as the results of the Bill. He dwelt on the value of the Irish Established Church as a body bound by law to receive the religious pariahs of the country, an argument that made the blood of most of his lieutenants, who were pious Churchmen, run cold. Three discontented priesthoods instead of one, said he, would make themselves organs of Irish discontent; ignoring the fact that the one priesthood which would not be smarting was five times as numerous and potent as the other two put together. But the debate as a whole was unreal and academic. It was more like a bout with foils than a duel à outrance. The speakers who were chiefly affected by the religious side of the question thought it expedient to represent the Bill as an alarming attack on property. The champions of property, on the contrary, represented the Bill as an impious attack on religion. Three speeches alone maintained the reputation of the House—those of Mr.{334} Gladstone, Mr. Bright, and Sir R. Palmer. They each spoke as if they had a heart and a conscience, and were personally responsible for the moral and political results of their votes. Mr. Gladstone rested his case on the absolute necessity of redressing a wrong done by a strong nation to a weak one in an age when might was right. The Empire as a whole had a moral right in national interests to prevail over any of its parts. But Ireland, he said, had a right to be governed so that it might be known to all men that her life was not hostile but supplementary to that of the Empire. Mr. Bright’s speech was full of intense Christian feeling. He expressed, in words vibrating with genuine emotion, his horror at a system which associated any Christian church with a policy of conquest. As for the charges of robbery, he disposed of them in the splendid peroration in which he declared that the plan for disposing of the Church surplus realised his highest ideal of Christian statesmanship. It applied funds which were misused in stimulating barren sectarian controversies and enmities, to beneficent purposes untainted by doctrinal partisanship or dogmatic preferences. Sir Roundell Palmer surprised every one by his candid admission that a large measure of disendowment in Ireland was a moral necessity. All establishment revenues, such as those attached to episcopal sees, the capitular revenues of cathedrals, and funds for preaching Protestantism in places where there were no Protestants, he admitted could not justly be appropriated by a small alien sect in the name of the Irish nation. But then, he argued with subtlety and power, it was equally unjust to alienate parochial endowments, which were locally of parochial use in promoting the objects which they were instituted to further. Sir Roundell Palmer’s speech, in fact, revealed what would have been a possible compromise had it not come too late. He suggested that which Mr. Disraeli had failed to discover—an alternative policy—when he issued his electoral manifesto staking the fortunes of the Irish Church on the cry of “No Surrender.” The Second Reading of the Bill was carried, after a week’s debate, by a majority of 118.[300] Paucis carior est fides quam pecunia. Hence, after this division, the Churchmen thought there was nothing left to fight for save the money which the Irish clergy should be allowed to carry with them into the desert of Disendowment. On Wednesday, the 14th of April, Mr. Disraeli called the Tory Party together at Lord Lonsdale’s house, and the meeting agreed not to press private amendments, but to support Mr. Disraeli’s own proposals which he submitted to the House of Commons next night. He proposed that the Church, though disendowed, should remain under the discipline and patronage of the Crown. [301]


He demanded a year’s reprieve from disestablishment. He proposed to compensate permanent curates, to pay over to the Church a capital sum of four times its net annual revenue, also a sum equal to fourteen times the annual charges for repairs; and he demanded that the Church should be allowed to hold all private property ever given to it, whether in Catholic or Protestant times. He insisted on compensation for life interests on a more extravagant scale than the Bill sanctioned, and his proposal as to tithes was amusingly unscrupulous. One of the great points in his speech on the Second Reading was, that the Bill, whilst it confiscated the property of the Church, offered a conciliatory bribe to the landlords. The tithe rent-charge was sold at twenty-two-and-a-half years’ purchase to the landlords, on condition that they made it yield the State four and a half per cent. on its capital value. But to accommodate them Mr. Gladstone said that if they wished to buy up the tithe but could not pay the money down for a twenty-two-and-a-half years’ purchase, they could borrow it from the State, and refund it by paying three per cent. on it for forty-five years. In other words, Mr. Gladstone charged them three per cent. for interest, and kept the other one and a half per cent. of the tithe yield for forty-five years as a sinking fund to wipe out the original advance. Mr. Disraeli, however, proposed to sell the tithe rent-charge to the landlords at an average price struck from the records of the Landed Estates Courts during the past ten years. As rent-charges sold in the Landed Estates Courts were not sold under the security of the Government, the price at which landlords would have bought up these charges under Mr. Disraeli’s amendment would have been about twenty-five per cent. under that demanded by Mr. Gladstone. The case of the “permanent curates” seemed to excite much sympathy in the House. Mr. Gladstone was also at first inclined to yield to, though he ultimately rejected, an appeal from one of his supporters, Mr. Wykeham Martin, who desired to let the clergy of the Irish Church keep their glebe houses when free from building debt, without paying ten years’ purchase for the site as the Bill provided.

In truth, it was soon seen that it was hopeless to attack the Bill in Committee. Mr. Gladstone was master of every detail—legal, historical, and archæological. He showed himself an expert among the experts, and it appeared that he had foreseen every objection and forestalled every counter-plan. Mr. Disraeli—who had left much of the work of Opposition to Mr. Hardy and Dr. Ball—soon grew sick of the discussion, and used his influence to quicken the progress of the measure, the Third Reading of which was fixed for May 31st, when it passed by a majority of 114. On the Queen’s birthday the leading Conservative Peers held a meeting, at which strong efforts were made to reject the Second Reading of the Bill in the House of Lords. The{336} ablest peers were, however, in favour of timely surrender, in the hope that they might extort better terms of compensation for the Church. That was also the view of the Episcopal Bench. On the other hand, the Irish Bishops said frankly that feeling ran so high among their flocks that they did not dare to let the Second Reading pass unchallenged. To do so, would sacrifice all their moral and personal influence in the Irish Church. The English Bishops admitted that they must do whatever their Irish colleagues did, and thus it came to pass that whilst Dr. Magee, the Bishop of Peterborough, privately argued in favour of accepting the principle of the Bill, and then making the best possible terms for disendowment, he delivered in the House of Lords by far the most eloquent and powerful speech denouncing its principle from a moral point of view. At another meeting of Tory Peers held at the Duke of Marlborough’s house, Lord Cairns and Lord Derby unfortunately induced the majority to sanction the policy of moving the rejection of the Bill. The debate in the House of Lords lasted all through the week, beginning on the 14th of June, and it was remarkable for sustained eloquence and intellectual power. The Bishops, especially Dr. Magee, carried off the honours of the fray. The Archbishop of Canterbury produced a strong impression against rejecting the Second Reading, for the burden of his argument was that the State should establish a church in order to keep it from becoming fanatical, and then maintain it only as long as it could do so without defying the will of the people. The Liberal Peers were timid and feeble, and the case for passing the Second Reading was really made out by Lord Carnarvon, Lord Salisbury, the Bishop of St. David’s, the Duke of Richmond, and Lord Stanhope. Perhaps the most striking point in the discussion was the clear indication it gave that the Peers, with the exception of Lords Salisbury and Carnarvon, were at heart partisans of concurrent endowment, and it was in this direction that most of the Amendments they proposed pointed, after the Second Reading had been carried by a majority of 33.[302] Lord Grey, for example, desired to cut out of the preamble of the Bill the clause forbidding the application of the Church surplus to religious uses, and Lord Russell wanted to authorise the purchase, out of the surplus, of churches, parsonages, and graveyards for all the sects in Ireland.

On going into Committee the Peers forced several amendments on the Bill. The date at which the Bill was to take effect was changed from 1871 to 1872. Existing Irish Bishops were to hold their seats in the House of Lords till they died out one by one. Curates’ salaries were not to be deducted from life interests—an alteration that increased the compensation to the Church by about £300,000. Life interests were to be taken at fourteen years’ purchase—the capital value to be paid to the Church, which would pay the annuities, a clear gain of about £2,000,000 to the Church. Glebes and glebe-houses were{337}

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(From the Photograph by S. A. Walker.)

to be handed over to the Irish Church, but when the Duke of Cleveland proposed that the same provision should be made for the clergy of other churches in Ireland, he was defeated by a combination of Ministerialists and Orangemen, who thereby destroyed the principle of religious equality on which the Bill was founded.[303] On no single amendment, save one, did the Bishops vote for the Government, and on that one—the amendment delaying the division of the surplus sine die—the only Bishop who voted for the Ministry was Wilberforce. “Some one,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “observing him going out with them [Ministers] in the division, said, ‘The Bishop of Oxford is going the wrong way.’ ‘No,’ observed Lord Chelmsford, ‘it is the{338} road to Winchester.’”[304] After the Third Reading of the Bill the Lords, however, accepted a re-amendment by Lord Devon that Irish Bishops should cease to sit in the Upper House, and Lord Stanhope carried another restoring the principle of religious equality by granting residences and glebes to Catholics and Presbyterians. The House of Commons rejected all the important amendments of the Lords, Mr. Gladstone contemptuously observing that the Peers seemed to judge affairs from a balloon. A bitter and protracted struggle between the two Houses was averted by Lord Cairns, who privately negotiated a compromise with Lord Granville. Its main point was that in return for the concession of an additional 5 per cent. on the commutation of life interests (making it 12½ per cent.), the Tory Peers would let the Bill pass. In plain English, Lord Granville bought off the opposition of the Peers by a re-endowment of £500,000 for the Free Protestant Church of Ireland, and the Act received the Royal Assent by Commission on the 26th of July. It was understood that the Queen was prepared to use her influence to bring about a compromise less humiliating to the House of Lords. But the matter was taken out of her hands. Lord Malmesbury says, “Lord Cairns settled it with Lord Granville, taking the whole responsibility upon himself, for he never consulted any of his party, and a great many are much displeased. Lord Derby was so angry that he left the House.”

Great interest attached this Session to Mr. Lowe’s first Budget. Mr. Ward Hunt had been mistaken in his estimate of income, for while he anticipated a revenue of £73,180,000, only £72,591,991 had been received. But a saving in expenditure of £511,000 almost balanced this loss of revenue. Mr. Lowe estimated his expenditure for the coming year at £68,223,000, and, as taxes then stood, his income at £72,855,000, so that he had a surplus to handle of £4,632,000. Unfortunately, the cost of the Abyssinian War had been sadly under-estimated by Mr. Disraeli’s Government, and £4,600,000 of Lord Napier’s bill was still outstanding. Mr. Lowe’s plan for replenishing reduced balances and meeting unexpected liabilities whilst still remitting taxes was at once original and ingenious. Long credit is given for taxes in England. By abolishing this credit and exacting the full tax within the financial year—that is to say, by collecting in 1869-70 the half of the tax that in ordinary circumstances stood over to 1870-71—Mr. Lowe estimated he would have what he called “windfalls” of £600,000 on assessed taxes, £950,000 on the land and house tax, and £1,800,000 on income tax, which gave him £3,350,000. Applying this to the reduction of the Abyssinian War debt he left of it only £500,000 standing. But the estimated surplus was £4,632,000, so that even after{339} deducting the Abyssinian debt, he still had in hand £4,100,000 for remission of taxes, and the replenishment of the Exchequer balances which Mr. Ward Hunt’s policy had exhausted. Mr. Lowe therefore remitted the shilling duty on corn, the duty on fire insurances, the hair powder tax, the duty on tea licences, and a penny of income tax. The carriage duty he simplified and reduced. The duty on horses he reduced—an announcement that gave infinite satisfaction to the House of Commons—and he abolished the special duty on post-horses. He said that as he could not take off the duty on armorial bearings, “it appeared to him the best thing he could do was to increase it.” The perplexing and complex discussion which the scheme provoked, and the indignation of the small traders at being called upon to pay all their taxes in full instead of in two half-yearly instalments obscured the real issue. The real point to consider, however, was whether it was worth while to pay the April quarter’s taxes in January, in order to get the remissions which Mr. Lowe promised. The House thought that the gain was commensurate with the sacrifice, and so the Budget passed without serious opposition.[305]

That the new House of Commons was leavened by a spirit of reform was manifest from the record of its legislative achievements. In March Mr. Forster introduced his Endowed Schools Bill, the gist of which was the appointment of a Commission, empowered, if need be, to reorganise compulsorily old endowed schools, and to adapt them to modern requirements. One curious feature in it marked the growth of opinion on the education of women. Girls, as well as boys, were to have a fair share of these endowments. Mr. Austin Bruce, the Home Secretary, passed an Habitual Criminals Act, in deference to the growing feeling of the people that the large class who lived by crime were far too gently treated by the authorities. It put habitual criminals, or persons twice convicted of crime, under police supervision for seven years, and in cases of fresh charges threw on them and on receivers of stolen goods the burden of proving their innocence, a burden that heretofore was laid on Society. Lord Hartington’s Bill for purchasing the telegraphs carried out a bad bargain, to which Mr. Ward Hunt had committed the nation.[306] But all other legislation{340} of importance was wrecked by the House of Lords. For example, the Commons in 1869 passed a Bill giving married women control over their own property; the Lords threw it out. The Commons affirmed the principle of abolishing University Tests; the Lords again stopped the way. The Commons passed a Bill abolishing the law of primogeniture; the Lords rejected it. The Commons accepted a Bill rating all Scottish landowners for the support of a universal unsectarian compulsory system of education in Scotland; the Lords quashed the project, which was denounced even by so Liberal a newspaper as the Daily Telegraph because it was “too revolutionary, too full of compulsion, and too Scotch.” The Commons passed a Bill legalising marriage with a deceased wife’s sister; here again the Lords undid the work of the Commons. The questions relating to purity of election, forced on the country by the revelations made at trials of election petitions during the recess, were by the Commons referred to a Select Committee, on the understanding that it would report, as it did report, in favour of the ballot; but the Lords did not disguise their hostility to that project either. The first Parliament that met under household suffrage therefore demonstrated alike the intense devotion of the Commons and the intense hostility of the Lords to all progressive legislation.

And yet any shrewd observer could see that the Ministry, despite its reforming zeal, was not gaining strength in a reforming House of Commons. The belief in Mr. Gladstone’s ability and earnestness had not decayed; but his colleagues were busy accumulating a baneful crop of private hatreds. Mr. Cardwell and Mr. Childers cut down expenditure in the army and navy, and Mr. Baxter, as Secretary to the Admiralty, insisted on buying stores for the public on the economical business-like principles that guide private firms. Mr. Childers found the Admiralty in a state of chaos. When anything went wrong everybody was generally responsible, but nobody in particular could be punished. Mr. Childers fixed responsibility for patronage and discipline, for building and equipping ships, and for finance on three subordinates. To reduce the redundant officers he offered to give them a lump sum down, instead of half-pay, if they would retire. He, or rather Mr. Baxter, laid down the rule that it was better to buy stores in the open market instead of contracting for them. As to the fleet, he introduced the principle of reducing it as much as possible at foreign stations, where it was difficult to control, and concentrating it as much as possible at home, where it was easily within reach of his arm. In ship-building he insisted on concentrating expenditure, not on repair, but on construction, and on building, not a great many ships of a semi-obsolete type, but a few heavily-armed and armoured swift vessels, which would be guaranteed to beat any craft afloat. The Tory Opposition somewhat unpatriotically joined in the “hue and cry” which every incompetent official and every useless clerk who was shelved by these reforms raised against Mr. Childers. The dockyard men actually assaulted Sir C. Wingfield, Member for Gravesend, because he defended reductions. The words and deeds of Mr. Childers and Mr. Baxter were misrepresented by Tory partisans,{341}

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who tried to make political capital out of the storm of prejudice which dispossessed jobbers raised against them. Yet, as a matter of fact, whereas the Tory Ministry discharged 3,948 dockyard hands, and pensioned 411, Mr. Childers merely pensioned 617 men, aided 666 to emigrate, and gave gratuities to 117. Forthwith a powerful body of officials, most of whom had the means of influencing the newspaper press, foreseeing that the corrupt spending departments were in danger of being reorganised, began to wage a “paper war” against the Ministry. Mr. Lowe’s vitriolic insolence to deputations who came to do business with him, his quarrel with the legal profession over the site of the New Law Courts, his contemptuous criticism of the Money Market, his proposal to coin a new sovereign with enough alloy to cover the cost of mintage, and his{342} determination to collect the income-tax in a lump sum in the January quarter of the year, also raised up hosts of enemies. Mr. Bruce annoyed people by his obstinate officialism, and Mr. Ayrton by his overweening niggardliness, his too obvious desire to effect mean savings meanly, and his foolish fancy for rubbing pepper into the wounds of those whom he cut by his sharp tongue. Mr. Bright’s speeches on the Irish Church Bill should have vastly augmented his reputation; but his indolence as an administrator was notorious. His resolve to prevent the Board of Trade from doing any work for the people which it could avoid doing disgusted Tories and Radicals alike. His opposition to Lord Edward Cecil’s Resolution in favour of a Bill to check adulteration, based as it was upon the ideas of the old Whigs, and informed as it was by the prejudices of the vulgarest type of small tradesman, did much to destroy his popularity. Adulteration, he said, was only another form of competition. The use of false weights, as a rule, was a pure inadvertency, and if traders were to be spied on every hour by inspectors he (Mr. Bright) would advise them to emigrate. All his arguments, curiously enough, were those by which the coining of counterfeit money might be defended, and the effect of them on the public mind was not favourable to the Cabinet of which he was a member. Lord Granville, too, had sadly mismanaged the Colonial Office. His policy of gradually withdrawing Imperial troops from the self-governing colonies, and teaching them to rely on themselves and their territorial militias for defence was wise and prudent. But it was carried out with a lack of tact that irritated the susceptibilities of the Colonists. Lord Granville hardly concealed his approval of the wild doctrines of Professor Goldwin Smith to the effect that colonies were a burdensome nuisance, and that the best thing to do with them was to cut them adrift. The tone of Colonial Office despatches at this time was studiously impertinent. As for Lord Granville’s subordinates at Whitehall, they prided themselves on treating eminent Colonists as if they were returned convicts. Lord Granville’s refusal to permit a British regiment to remain in New Zealand, then engaged in a Maori war, and his recommendation to the Colonists to recognise the independence of the Maori king, naturally rendered his Colonial policy hateful to all colonists.

Foreign affairs alone seem to have been prudently managed. The only serious question with which the Foreign Office had to deal was that of the Alabama Claims. The Tory Ministry, reversing the somewhat defiant policy of Lord Russell, had conceded to the American Minister—Mr. Reverdy Johnson—every claim he was instructed to prefer.[307] This policy was continued by Lord Clarendon. Mr. Johnson’s method of working was to stupefy the English nation with gross flattery and with ecstatic post-prandial outbursts of brotherly love, and then cajole it into immeasurable concessions. He was a professional{343} diner-out, and he took in his hosts as well as their dinners. But the American democracy ignored the concessions their Minister had obtained. Their attention was fixed on his exaggerated assurances of their goodwill, at a time when they desired him to convey the impression that they still regarded with dignified displeasure the unfriendly attitude of England during the Civil War. The Convention negotiated between Mr. Johnson and the Foreign Secretary was accordingly denounced by Mr. Sumner in the Senate in a speech in which he not only demanded an apology from England for recognising the Confederate States as belligerents, but consequential damages for all injuries to America, that were indirectly as well as directly due to the escape of the Confederate cruisers from British ports. When the Senate refused to ratify the Convention, the reply of Lord Clarendon was a courteous and decisive refusal to conduct negotiations on the absurd basis put forward by Mr. Sumner. Mr. Johnson was recalled. Mr. Motley, the eminent historian, was sent in his stead to the Court of St. James’s, and towards the end of the year American public opinion began to favour a reopening of the negotiations on a more reasonable basis, but at Washington, and not in London.[308]

The India Office, too, under the Duke of Argyle, was managed so as to add considerably to the prestige of the Government. The affairs of India had indeed been conducted, since the accession of Sir John Lawrence to the Viceroyalty, with consummate ability. The struggle for power in Afghanistan between the descendants of Dost Mahomed had been watched by Lawrence with masterly inactivity. At last, as if by a Providential inspiration, Lawrence came to the conclusion, in 1867, that of all the rival aspirants the fugitive Shere Ali was the one who was to be favoured by Fortune. He avoided an alliance with the usurper Azim Khan, and when Shere Ali at last ascended the throne his friendly overtures were amicably met. When Lord Mayo succeeded Lawrence in 1868, his appointment was denounced as a Tory job. Mr. Gladstone, with great generosity, refused to yield to those who pressed him to recall Mr. Disraeli’s viceroy in 1869, and Lord Mayo developed an unexpected capacity for government. He carried out Lawrence’s frontier policy only with greater warmth of feeling. On the 27th of March Shere Ali met Lord Mayo in durbar at Umballa, and was splendidly entertained. There Lord Mayo formally{344} recognised his guest’s position, and on behalf of the Indian Government arranged to supply him with arms and a subsidy of £120,000 a year to defend his throne.

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(From a Photograph by Hughes and Mullins, Ryde, Isle of Wight.)

Foreign affairs had little interest for the Queen in 1869. In Germany the policy of Von Bismarck was directed to prevent the premature development of the national sentiment in favour of forming a new German Empire. France was engaged in hastily reorganising her military system, and the French Emperor, broken in health and depressed in spirits, had to meet, with anxious heart, the rising tide of Liberalism, which the elections that followed the dissolution of the Legislature, showed was beginning to flow in France. In July, when the Legislative Body met, the Opposition, which used to number about six, numbered 120, and when they threatened to attack the Government M. Rouher offered to come to terms with them.[309] The Emperor’s illness postponed matters for two months, but meantime the old Ministry resigned in favour of a more Liberal one. Finally, a still more Liberal one{345}

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was formed by M. Emile Ollivier, at the end of the year, charged with the mission of transforming Bonapartism into Constitutional Monarchy, on the basis of Parliamentary Government. In Spain the revolution of the previous year still dragged on. The financial embarrassments of Italy had rendered the House of Savoy a little unpopular, but the recovery of Victor Emmanuel from a perilous illness, and the birth of an heir presumptive to the Italian Crown, soon restored the popularity of their Monarchy among the Italians. The Pope attained the summit of his ambition by assembling at Rome, on the 8th of{346} December, a grand council of the Latin Church, for the purpose of sanctioning formally the doctrine of the personal infallibility of the Holy Father, speaking ex cathedrâ and quoad sacra.

We may presume that the Queen’s domestic circle was, early in the year, alarmed by the strangely sudden illness of Prince Leopold, which prevented her from receiving in person the Address from the House of Commons in reply to the Speech from the Throne. No notice of this illness is, however, taken in the letters of the Princess Louis of Hesse; in fact, it seems to be the only illness of the Prince to which that illustrious lady does not allude in her correspondence with the Queen. The sole reference to Prince Leopold at this period is in a letter from the Princess to her mother, dated 30th January, in which she says, “Our thoughts and prayers are so much with you and dear Leopold on this day [his Confirmation]. May the Almighty bless and protect that precious boy, and give him health and strength to continue a life so well begun and so full of promise.” A month later the Queen had sad tidings of further domestic anxieties from her tender-hearted daughter. One of her servants had fallen ill, and the Darmstadt household was so seriously underhanded, that the Princess herself had to drudge in her nursery. “You will be amused,” she cheerily writes, with an obvious effort to spare her mother unnecessary anxiety, “when I tell you, that old Amelung is coming to sleep with baby, and take charge of him; but she is too old and out of practice to be able to wash and dress him morning and evening besides, so I do that, and it is, of course, a great assistance to all my being able to do it, and I don’t mind the trouble. Of a morning, as Louis is usually out riding or at his office, I take Victoria and Ella out, who are very good little girls, and very amusing.”[310] It was fortunate for the amiable Princess that her illustrious mother had brought her up to be a helpful housemother, competent at any moment to cope with the res augustæ domi.

In the beginning of the year the Queen had an interview with Mr. Carlyle, in whose sorrowful life Dean Stanley had interested her. Her Majesty expressed a desire to become personally acquainted with a man whose genius had shed so much lustre on her reign, and, according to Mr. Froude, Carlyle felt for the Queen “in her bereavement as she had remembered him in his own.” The meeting took place in the Westminster Deanery, and Carlyle’s account of it is as follows:—“The Queen was really very gracious and pretty in her demeanour throughout; rose greatly in my esteem by everything that happened; did not fall in any point. The interview was quietly very mournful to me.”[311]

On the 17th of April the Queen visited Aldershot, and reviewed the troops stationed there. The weather was so bad in the morning that it was supposed that the review would be abandoned, but eventually, about midday, the clouds{347} cleared off and the “Assembly” sounded. The Queen, accompanied by the Princess Louise and Princess Beatrice, left Windsor a little before noon, and was escorted by a troop of Life Guards as far as Bagshot, where a troop of the 5th Dragoon Guards relieved them, and conducted the Royal party to the camp. Her Majesty drove to the Royal Pavilion, where she partook of luncheon, and as the weather at this time was exceedingly threatening—rain falling heavily—the signal was hoisted at headquarters for the troops to “wait further orders.” At three o’clock, the weather having somewhat cleared, the review took place, about 8,000 of all ranks being on parade.

But in spite of diversions of this sort the Queen felt at times the increasing loneliness of her life. In reply to some expression of this the Princess Louis writes to her on the 16th of April, “We shall, indeed, be so pleased, if later you wish to have any of the grand-daughters with you, to comply with any such wish, for I often think, so sadly for your dear sake, how lonely it must be when one child after another grows up and leaves home; and even if they remain, to have no children in the house is most dreary. Surely you can never lack to have some from among the many grandchildren; and there are none of us who would not gladly have our children live under the same roof where we passed such a happy childhood, with such a loving grandmamma to take care of them.” In May, however, the secluded life of the Queen was to some extent brightened and cheered. “How glad I am,” writes the Princess Louis, “that the dear Countess [Blücher] is with you again; she is the pleasantest companion possible, and so dear and loving, and she is devoted to you and dear papa’s memory as never any one was.”

On the 22nd of June Ismail Pasha, Viceroy of Egypt, paid a second visit to England (his first having taken place in 1867), and during his short stay of eight days his time was well occupied with fêtes, reviews, and banquets. He was met at Charing Cross by the Prince of Wales with a royal greeting in the name of the Queen, and drove to Buckingham Palace amid cheers from the crowd outside the station. On the 24th he left Buckingham Palace for Windsor Castle on a visit to her Majesty. The Prince and Princess of Wales and Prince Hassan, the Viceroy’s son, accompanied him, and with a select party dined with the Queen. On the 26th the Queen entertained the Viceroy with a review of 5,000 troops in Windsor Great Park. Next day he returned to town and dined with the Prince and Princess of Wales at Marlborough House. On July 1st, having taken leave of the Prince and Princess of Wales, Ismail Pasha started on his return journey. He was at this time endeavouring to strengthen his independent position in Egypt, and though he met with little encouragement, he considered it advisable to try and secure English support against the Sultan.

Her Majesty had taken a deep interest in the statue to Mr. Peabody, executed by Mr. Story, the American sculptor-poet, which was to be erected within the precincts of the Royal Exchange, in the City of London. Accordingly, the Prince of Wales unveiled the memorial on the 23rd of July, and his neat, natural, and{348} polished oratory, especially his graceful allusions to his own reception in America, attracted some notice at the time.[312]

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THE TAPESTRY ROOM, ST. JAMES’S PALACE (From a Photograph by H. N. King.)


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In the autumn the Queen enjoyed a series of excursions from Invertrosachs, to which the Princess Louis of Hesse refers in one of her letters from Kranichstein. “What charming expeditions you must have made,” writes the Princess to her Majesty, “in that lovely country. What I saw of it some years ago I admired so intensely. You can well be proud of all the beauties of the Highlands, which, have so entirely their own stamp that no Alpine scenery, however grand, can lessen one’s appreciation for that of Scotland…. Many thanks for the grouse, which have just arrived—the first since two years ago!”[313]

During the year the Queen was subjected to considerable annoyance, owing to the mismanagement which seemed to mar the success of the Duke of Edinburgh’s tour in Australia. At the time he was shot at by O’Farrell the Legislature of New South Wales passed at one sitting a Treason-felony Bill, the provisions of which were of the drastic character enforced in modern times{350} only by the autocrats of opera-bouffe. But after a while from across the sea whispers of heart-burnings and discontent were wafted, which first took definite form in spring, when an ugly item was discovered in the Civil Service Estimates. It was a sum of £3,500 for gifts and presents made by the Duke of Edinburgh while voyaging in Australian waters with the Galatea. The Colonists were, not unnaturally, irritated at what they considered the lack of taste shown in throwing on the Estimates the expense of those trifling gifts which the Prince had made to several of the most eminent Australians. Though no defence was formally made for the Prince, obviously his youth and inexperience accounted, to some extent, for the unfortunate error.

A visit paid by Prince Arthur to Ireland in summer also led to some unpleasantness. In Derry the Prince’s appearance seemed to suggest to the Orangemen the idea that the occasion was one for assailing Mr. Gladstone and the Ministry, and for making riotous attacks on the Catholics who retaliated after their kind. The Mayor of Cork, too, presiding at a dinner given to two released Fenians on the 28th of April, lauded O’Farrell’s motive in shooting the Duke of Edinburgh. The observations were so pointedly directed at Prince Arthur’s visit, that they constituted practically an invitation to assassinate him. The Government accordingly brought in a Bill on the 5th of May to dismiss Mr. O’Sullivan from office “as if he were naturally dead,” the first reading of which Mr. Disraeli, to the consternation of his followers, showed a desire to resist.[314] Mr. O’Sullivan, however, saved everybody further trouble by resigning his office.

On the other hand, if two of the Queen’s sons were a little unfortunate in their experience of popular demonstrations, the Heir Apparent was fast becoming the idol of Society. It was understood that he had used his influence in order to bring about a change in Court dress, which was taken as a concession to the democratic spirit of the age. What was the origin of the rule compelling unofficial persons to wear a distinctive dress when presented to the Queen? In the early Georgian period no such rule existed. Nobody but a gentleman could go to Court, and so people who were presented, as a matter of course, wore the ordinary dress of a gentleman, just as officers have always approached the Queen in uniform, which, in theory, is their ordinary dress. But in time persons who were not, technically speaking, gentlemen, were presented to the Sovereign. The introduction of what is now known as “evening dress” for persons of all grades abolished costume as a mark of rank. Yet the Court still adhered to the theory that any one presented to the Sovereign must bear about him an outward and visible sign that he was a{351} gentleman, and as the ordinary “swallow-tail” coat was common to all classes, the rule was laid down at Court that what had been the peculiar costume of a gentleman down to the time of George III. should always be worn. The new Court costume, as sanctioned by the Lord Chamberlain in February, 1869, was, however, a compromise between the old fashion of the Georgian period and the conventional “swallow-tail.” In form and colour the levee dress resembled an ordinary evening dress. But the material was to be velvet and not broadcloth, and the collar of the coat was to be straight and embroidered with gold. The dress sword and cocked hat were still to be worn. As for the full-dress to be worn at Drawing Rooms, it was also a compromise. Trousers were not to be worn unless they were decked out with broad gold stripes down the sides.

On Saturday, the 23rd of October, Lord Derby died in the seventy-first year of his age, forty-nine years of which had been spent in political life. For a quarter of a century his name and influence had worked like a wizard’s spell on the minds and hearts of the Tory Party, and yet, as a statesman and a legislator, he had done comparatively little. Passionate unwisdom was too often the leading trait of his policy, but his impetuous and imperious self-confidence, his stately presence, his eager spirit, fiery partisanship, and irrepressible pugnacity rendered him an invaluable Party leader. He passed away amid the wreckage of most of his political idols, conscious that he had failed in what he had haughtily asserted was his mission—to stem the tide of democracy. That a superb air of aristocratic distinction surrounded even his blunders was perhaps the secret of his success as leader of the House of Lords. As a fluent, stimulating, passionate speaker, with a style at once incisive, stately, and sonorous, he ranked as one of the last of the rhetoricians among the Peers of England.

On the 11th of September the Queen lost a good friend, in whose widowed life she had frequently displayed her sympathetic interest. That friend was Lady Palmerston, who had long reigned as the leader of Whig society in London, and who died at Brocket Hall in her eighty-third year. She was the last of four great ladies of quality whose social influence did much to shape the fortunes of their country and the course of politics—Lady Jersey, Lady Willoughby, Lady Tankerville, and herself—and who, by a curious coincidence, not only began life together, and married at the same time, but were firm allies and friends to the end, and died at the same age.[315] She was, when Countess Cowper, one of the first six patronesses of Almack’s. She kept at Panshanger the most brilliant political salon of the time when the Princess de Lieven, the Duchess de Dino, Talleyrand, Pozzo, Alvanley,{352} Luttrell, and Lord and Lady Holland were among her closest and most confidential friends. She was Lord Byron’s patron in 1814, and as the sister of Melbourne, and the wife of Palmerston, she was the social centre of Whiggery till within four years of her death. Mr. Hayward has done ample justice to the pure refinement and sweetness of her disposition, to the constancy of her friendships, and the easy placability of her resentments. “For myself,” writes her son-in-law, Lord Shaftesbury, “I may say that until I lost her, I hardly knew how much I loved her.”[316] And again in his Diary, Lord Shaftesbury writes, “forty years have I been her son-in-law, and during all that long time she has been to me a well-spring of tender friendship and affectionate service…. Few great men, and no women, except those who have sat on thrones, have received after death such abundant and sincere testimonies of admiration, respect, and affection. The Press has teemed with articles descriptive of her life and character, all radiant with feeling and expression of real sorrow.”[317] Lady Palmerston, in fact, reaped the reward of a long career, which she spent for the sole purpose of making everybody with whom she came in contact, happy. Her second husband, Lord Palmerston, who to his last hour treated her with the tender gallantry of a lover, was the hero of her career, and one of the prettiest stories told of her is to the effect that she once said his death had prolonged her own existence. Her explanation of the paradox was, that latterly she had been pursued by the fear that his strength would give way without his being conscious of it, and that she looked with horror to the possibility of the man she worshipped sinking into senility.[318]

On the 6th of November the Queen visited the City of London for the purpose of opening the new bridge over the Thames at Blackfriars and the new Viaduct over the Fleet Valley, from Holborn Hill to Newgate Street. When it was announced in October that this visit would take place, a rumour was spread abroad to the effect that the unemployed poor of London were to be organised by agitators so as to line the route which was to be traversed by the Queen. Curiously enough, the representatives of the unemployed, greatly to their honour, discouraged this proposal on the ground that the spectacle would pain the Sovereign deeply at a moment when she was striving, in spite of her shattered nerves and sorrowing heart, to do her{353} public duty to the best of her power. Then it was rumoured that Fenians would interfere with the Royal procession, but, as a matter of fact, no mishap marred the double ceremony. The great concourse of people who received the Queen was unusually enthusiastic, and she herself was obviously charmed with the warmth of her reception.

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The year closed with gloomy news from Ireland. The electors of Tipperary, acting under Fenian intimidation,[319] had returned the Fenian “convict” Jeremiah O’Donovan, or “O’Donovan Rossa,” as he called himself, to Parliament, an election which was of course void, and which was alleged, by opponents of the Ministry, to demonstrate the futility of Mr. Gladstone’s Irish policy of conciliation. Dark rumours also flew round to the effect that the Government had in contemplation the summoning of Parliament and the suspension of Habeas Corpus in Ireland. The Orangemen, who had resented the disestablishment of the Irish Church by menaces of rebellion, now threatened to{354} stand aloof in any conflict between the Crown and the Fenians.[320] At a time when Englishmen were being persuaded to adopt a conciliatory Irish policy, when, after having disestablished the Church, they were meditating the disestablishment of the rack-renting landlords, the Irish people deemed it wise to increase their demands. They raised the old agitation against the Union. By the Tipperary election, however, they showed that Repeal was meant to be a stepping-stone to an Irish Republic, and it was in vain that English Liberals, who feared lest this extravagance might create a violent anti-Irish feeling in England, remonstrated with the Nationalist leaders. They remained—

“Deafer than the blue-eyed cat,
And thrice as blind as any noonday owl.”

Social condition of the Country in 1870—Mr. Bright’s “Six Omnibuses in Temple Bar”—Opening of Parliament—Mr. Gladstone’s Irish Land Bill—Amendments to the Bill—Dual-Ownership Established—The Bill and the House of Lords—The Revolt of Lord Salisbury—The Education Bill—Mutiny of the Liberal Dissenters—Mr. Lowe’s Second Budget—The Civil Service opened to Competition—Mr. Cardwell’s Failure at the War Office—The Queen and the Army—Mr. Childers and Admiralty Reform—Mr. Baxter and Navy Contracts—The Wreck of the Captain—Lord Granville and the Colonies—Death of Lord Clarendon—The Franco-Prussian War—Collapse of the French Armies—Sedan—Fall of the Bonapartist Dynasty—Proclamation of the Third Republic—Investment of Paris—The Government of National Defence at Tours—M. Gambetta Rouses Prostrate France—Gallant Stand of the Mobiles—A Passing Glimpse of Victory—The Queen and the War—Prussia and England—Russia Repudiates the Black Sea Clauses of the Treaty of Paris—Papal Infallibility and the Italian Occupation of Rome—King William Proclaimed German Emperor—Opening of London University—Betrothal of the Princess Louise—Death of General Grey—Death of Dickens—The Novelist and the Queen—Garden Party at Windsor Castle—The Red River Expedition.

If the social condition of Ireland when the year 1870 opened was gloomy, that of England could not be considered bright. Trade was still bad, and desponding critics began to hint that it would not for many years recover from the disaster of 1866. Raw cotton was still scarce and dear, and high prices had rendered the demand for manufactured goods stagnant. The feud between the capitalists and the trades unions was still disturbing the peace of the industrial world, and the political horizon of the Continent was heavy with the bodeful war cloud that broke during the latter half of the year in the sudden storm that wrecked the Second Empire. Irish land tenure,{355} the establishment of a national system of elementary public instruction in England, and the admission of candidates to the Civil Service by competitive examination, were the topics that were most keenly canvassed in the early weeks of the year. From this discussion it was clear that public opinion was set against what was derisively called “the one-horse system of legislation”—that is to say, the exhaustion of the Session by one great measure like the Irish Church Bill. At least four measures were expected from Parliament ere the year closed—the Irish Land Bill, the Primary Education Bill, the Bill abolishing University Tests, and a Bill introducing Election by Ballot. In the end of 1869 a few changes had occurred in the composition of the Ministry. Mr. Layard had been appointed Minister to Madrid. To him Mr. Ayrton succeeded as First Commissioner of Works, while Mr. Stansfeld took Mr. Ayrton’s place as Financial Secretary to the Treasury. Lord Cairns resigned the leadership of his Party in the House of Lords, and it seemed likely that the Duke of Marlborough or the Duke of Abercorn would be his successor. But from this calamity the Tories were saved by the self-denial of Lord Cairns, who withdrew his resignation and resumed his post. Speculation was busy as to the Ministerial programme, and Mr. Bright’s speeches at Birmingham, in which he dwelt on the difficulties of legislation, had a depressing effect on the country. “You cannot drive six omnibuses abreast through Temple Bar,” was the phrase with which Mr. Bright endeavoured to moderate the expectations of the people. On the other hand, Mr. Forster, addressing his constituents at Bradford, endeavoured to neutralise Mr. Bright’s pleas for delay. It was true, he said, that it was hopeless to drive six omnibuses abreast through Temple Bar, but that was no reason why they should not go through one after the other. The “Irish Land Omnibus” said Mr. Forster, must go through first, after which the “Education Omnibus,” driven by himself and Lord de Grey, must follow.

Parliament was opened by Commission on the 8th of February with a Queen’s Speech, from which, at the last moment, paragraphs congratulating France on the re-establishment of constitutional government, and rejoicing over the reception of the Duke of Edinburgh in India, had been mysteriously excised. The Royal Speech promised reduced estimates, an Irish Land Bill, an Education Bill, a Licensing Bill, a Land Transfer Bill, an Intestacy Bill, a Bill to legalise Trades Unions, and a Merchant Shipping Bill. The Ballot Bill was ignored, and the Bill for the abolition of University Tests dimly alluded to, rather than definitely promised. In the House of Lords Opposition criticism was in the main a complaint that the Government had abdicated its functions of maintaining order in Ireland. In the House of Commons Mr. Disraeli admitted that the Irish policy of the Cabinet was not per se the cause of Irish disturbances. But it had been so susceptible to misapprehension that it had sent Ireland into “spontaneous combustion” and “riotous hallucination.” It was a policy which had excited the wildest of false hopes,{356} both as to the Repeal of the Union, and the transference of the landlords’ property to the tillers of the soil. But both Lord Cairns and Mr. Disraeli avoided committing their Party either to a demand for coercive legislation in Ireland, or to any position on the Land Question that would prevent them from attacking or supporting the Ministerial Bill when it was produced. On the Liberal benches, however, it was felt that the only weak point in Mr. Gladstone’s policy touched by his Tory critics was what he called “the discriminating amnesty” to the Fenian prisoners. It was generally admitted that if Ministers had only clearly said at the outset that they did not intend to extend their amnesty, the hopes that had unsettled and agitated the Irish people during the recess would never have been raised.

On the 14th of February Mr. Gladstone introduced his Land Bill, which legalised all Ulster customs of selling tenant-right, gave the tenant a right to compensation for his improvements and for capricious eviction, and provided means for peasants buying their holdings through advances made out of the Irish Church surplus, in cases where the tenant deposited one-fourth of the purchase-money. Mr. Disraeli was, on the whole, generous in his treatment of the Bill. Irish landlords, like Lord Granard, recognised its moderation, and, though they did not quite approve of its principles, they deprecated all factious opposition. It was soon seen that the Tory leaders meant to let the measure pass. But Mr. Disraeli, ever mindful of the great secret of successful leadership, resolved, with masterly strategic skill, to show his followers “sport” by advising them, at a meeting held in Lord Lonsdale’s house, to attack three points. On each of these they were in full accord with him. On one of them they had a chance of winning; on another they might safely yield, and yet get great credit for the highest patriotism; whilst on the third, though defeat was probable, it could not be attended with dishonour. The first point was that police-cess—incurred to protect landlords from assassination—which the Bill divided between landlord and tenant, should be paid by the latter alone. The second was that where there was doubt about an improvement, the law should presume it was made by the landlord, and not, as stipulated, by the tenant. The third was to cut out of the Bill everything that interfered with freedom of contract. In other words, Mr. Disraeli desired to leave landlords and tenants free to contract themselves out of the Bill in a country where the landlord, and not the tenant, was really the only one of the two contracting parties who could be plausibly called free. Upwards of three hundred amendments to the Bill were, however, put down before Easter, and the first clause, legalising Ulster customs, took twelve hours’ debating before it passed the ordeal of Committee. The Government soon found it necessary to modify the measure so as to separate compensation for improvements, from compensation for eviction. Then they struck out a clause which enabled landlords to get rid of all claims by offering a tenant a thirty-one years’ lease. These changes, Mr. Disraeli alleged,{357}

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formed a breach of the terms on which he had promised the Government conditional support, and for a time factious obstruction prevailed.[321] For the clause enabling landlords to nullify the Bill by offering leases, Ministers substituted a clause permitting landlord and tenant to come to a voluntary arrangement for a thirty-one years’ lease, but allowed the Courts to take this offer of a lease, if it were refused, into consideration in assessing compensation for eviction. Mr. Disraeli’s argument here was far-seeing. He{358} said these changes would tempt the landlords to use ruthlessly the only power left to them by the Bill—that of eviction for non-payment of a rent which, however, they were permitted to raise, till it was impossible for any tenant to pay it. This, indeed, was what happened. At first the Bill, as has been explained, compensated eviction by the offer of a thirty-one years’ lease. The moment that clause was withdrawn, and eviction was compensated by damages, it was recognised that occupancy, per se, gave the occupier certain rights in the soil; in other words, the dual-ownership of landlord and occupier was then recognised as a principle. A long and weary struggle in Committee, in which the defence of the Bill was brilliantly conducted by Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Chichester Fortescue, followed, and the Opposition, aided by some crotchety Liberals, attempted to smother its principle by loading it with incompatible details. As Easter drew near, it was despondently whispered that the measure would have to be abandoned. Under unseen pressure from the constituencies, however, the action of the House was quickened after the Easter Recess, and all attempts at re-opening the controversy over the principles of the Bill under the pretext of improving it in detail, were crushed. Considerable concessions were made to the Tories. Mr. Gladstone’s original scheme provided that no tenant who paid under £100 a year of rent could contract himself out of the Bill. The Government lowered the limit to £50 of rental. The clause creating the presumption that improvements were made by the tenant, was limited as regards those made before the Act took effect. In Committee nothing was done for tenants who were evicted after it was known the Land Bill would be brought in. Nothing was done for reclaiming occupiers under middlemen, whose own tenancies expired with their leases from superior landlords. But before Parliament adjourned for Whitsuntide the Bill had passed through the House of Commons substantially unchanged. The landlords’ friends preferred to accept it as an alternative to further agrarian agitation, though Mr. Hardy threatened that the House of Lords would abrogate the penalty on evictions.

Lord Cairns had by this time been compelled through ill-health to finally resign the leadership of the Tory Party in the Peers, which he had reluctantly resumed, and the Duke of Richmond had been chosen as his successor. The new chief’s first speech on the Irish Land Bill was moderate and business-like, and his proposed amendments were to exempt all landlords from the Bill if they offered twenty-one instead of thirty-one years’ leases, to fix a date beyond which no tenant’s claim for improvements would be considered, to let landlord and tenant settle their disputes privately, without going into court, and to cut out a clause limiting distress for rent to persons who had contracted to submit to it. Though he disapproved of the Bright clauses creating a peasant proprietory, they were defended by Lord Salisbury and Lord Cairns. Lord Athlumney, as an Irish proprietor, said the Bill contained nothing which a humane landlord would object to accept, and the Duke of{359} Abercorn gave the measure a general support. Lord Derby’s criticism was more subtle. The Bill did not apply to large farms. That was offering landlords an inducement to clear out small tenants, for it gave landlords what the custom of the country had denied them—a moral right to evict on paying damages for the privilege. Lord Lurgan on the Second Reading said the Bill no more hurt him than would a Bill legalising his debts of honour, but Lord Leitrim objected to it “from the title downwards,” and thought that disputes between landlords and tenants should be settled by Quarter Sessions—a tribunal composed of landlords alone. In Committee amendments were passed cutting down the scale of compensation, denying compensation to assignees not approved by the landlord (Duke of Richmond), enacting that no tenant paying more than £50 a year was in any circumstances to get compensation for eviction (Lord Salisbury), asserting that the presumption of law was to be that all improvements were made by landlords (Lord Clanricarde), prohibiting tenants from letting gardens to their labourers (Duke of Richmond), in fact, with the exception of the Bright clauses, the Peers mangled the Bill so as to make it utterly useless to the tenants. The excitement usually stirred up by a conflict between the two Houses grew every day, and men began to talk of an autumn session, the rapid passing of the Bill again through the Commons, and a creation of new Peers to force it through the House of Lords. For this dead-lock Lord Salisbury was chiefly responsible, for he practically ousted the Duke of Richmond from the leadership. After a day’s reflection, however, the Peers, influenced by Lord Cairns and Mr. Disraeli, retreated from the perilous position they had taken up. They withdrew their amendments on report, accepting instead a few plausible but transparently illusory compromises suggested by Lord Granville by way of saving their dignity. The result was that, for a time, Lord Salisbury was discredited, and the position of the Duke of Richmond, whose hand he had admittedly forced, was strengthened in the leadership. The Commons accepted all the amended amendments of the Peers except three,[322] and so the Bill passed. It marked an epoch in the political development of England. It was the first great constructive measure which recognised the right of the poorest class as distinguished from the middle class, to participate in beneficial legislation. It recognised the justice of legislating for the interests of the masses on the principle that it was not safe to leave them to the mercy of Supply and Demand, and of the economic Moloch of laissez-faire.

The other great measure of the Session—Mr. Forster’s Education Bill—illustrated the change in the drift of English legislation during the Victorian age still more strikingly. On the 17th of February Mr. Forster introduced his{360} Education Bill. The problem to be solved, as Mr. Forster said, was “how to cover the country with good schools.” The conditions under which it must be solved were two: (1), the interests of the parents and children must be harmonised with those of the ratepayers; and (2), the new system must not be so built up as to destroy the old one where it was efficient. England was mapped out by Mr. Forster into school districts.[323] If in any of these more schools were needed, the people would have a year of grace in which to provide them, by voluntary subscription. If not, an elected local School Board would provide them compulsorily, and maintain them out of fees, rates, and the usual Government “Grants in Aid.” Religious teaching was not proscribed—the kind and quantity of it to be given, subject to a Conscience Clause, being left to the Boards. The Boards might also assist existing schools, or adopt compulsory education if they chose, and the Bill dealt with children between the ages of five and twelve. Where districts or Boards refused to provide efficient schooling for the people, the Education Department was to have power to force them to do so. The opposition to the Bill centred round the religious question. As Mr. Lowe said in his speech on the Second Reading, the House agreeing on the general principle, fixed their whole attention on one narrow point, like a “fierce herd of cattle in a large meadow deserting the grass which is abundant about them, and delighting themselves by fighting over a bed of nettles in a corner of the field.” The opposition of the Anglican clergy was anticipated. They naturally objected to any system that gave the parish schoolmaster something approaching the endowed status of the parish priest, and which released him from abject servitude to the Church. They could not conceal their hostility to a scheme of education which was National without being Anglican, and in which the principle of religious equality, so fatal to the claims of an Established Church, was not only recognised, but endowed by the State. But what had not been foreseen was the opposition of the Dissenting ministers and churches—an opposition that culminated in personal animosity to Mr. Forster. Representative Dissenters, like Mr. Winterbotham, told the House that they would prefer to delay the settlement of the whole question, till the country was prepared to accept secular education pure and simple. Their belief was that the Bill would tempt the different religious bodies to fight for control over the School Boards, so as to influence their decision on the question of religious teaching, and that in this struggle the Established Church, from the prestige of its connection with the State, would again assert its ascendency. The Party of Free Thought, led by Mr. Mill, joined the Dissenters in their attacks on Mr. Forster, Mr. Mill’s objection to the Bill being, that under it the whole body of the ratepayers might be taxed to pay for teaching a particular religion to the majority. Lord Russell, who also pleaded for delay, advocated{361}

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(From the Bust by J. E. Boehm, R.A., in the Possession of the Queen.)

a compromise which would have legalised formal Bible-reading and hymn-singing during school-hours, divorced from any distinctive religious instruction, whereas Mr. Mill and Mr. Fawcett would have preferred compulsory secularism, to permissive sectarianism. Bible-reading, without note or comment, it was felt, might be unobjectionable in the case of children reared in religious families. But it was obviously useless to the “wastrels” of the gutter{362} whom it was the primary object of the Bill to instruct. The great majority of Englishmen believed that moral teaching was a powerful agent for civilising this class of children, and that though catechisms and formularies should be excluded from new rate-built schools, it was not wise to fetter the discretion of the teacher, in explaining the Bible to the best of his judgment and ability. But as to the old denominational schools, it was generally admitted that Parliament could not do more than ask them to separate their sectarian, from their secular instruction by a “Time-table Conscience Clause.” It would not have been just to insist that they should submit to be virtually secularised,[324] under pain of forfeiting their share in the school-rate or the Imperial Grant in Aid. Mr. Forster was willing to concede vote by ballot for the Boards, and the Time-table Conscience Clause. But he refused to give effect to the national feeling in favour of excluding from rate-built schools denominational creeds and formularies, and leaving religious teaching to the discretion and good taste of schoolmasters and school managers. Moreover, he failed to meet the reasonable demand that a School Board should by law be established in every parish, so as to provide a competent authority for keeping the education of the district up to the proper standard of efficiency. At length the Government bent before the tempest of agitation which the Secularists and Dissenters raised. Mr. Gladstone accepted an amendment of Mr. Cowper Temple’s, excluding from all rate-built schools denominational catechisms and formularies. But instead of limiting the power of denominational managers to control religious teaching in cases where they did not supply a large moiety of the school funds, he entirely severed the connection between these schools and local authorities elected by the ratepayers. They were to depend on the Imperial Grant alone, but then this Grant to all schools was to be raised so as to cover not one third, but about one half of their expenses. Mr. Disraeli, with an eye to the Radical Secularist “Cave,” scoffed at the compromise as a scheme for endowing “a new sacerdotal caste.” Lord John Manners lamented that it would ruin denominational schools. The Dissenters averred it would encourage them by doubling their Grants in Aid. They seemed to argue that parents who preferred denominational education should themselves pay a special price for it, whereas, parents who desired secular education should get it at the expense of the State. Mr. Gladstone’s compromise, however, was accepted, and the Bill was passed by both Houses. But it created a feud between the Dissenters and the Liberal Party, which irretrievably weakened the Government.

With the exception of a Bill to enable persons in Holy Orders to get rid of Clerical Disabilities when they desired to quit the ministry of the{363} Church, and a Coercion Bill for Ireland, the legislative results of the Session were not of much importance. Mr. Lowe’s second Budget, introduced on the 11th of April, showed the amazing surplus of £7,870,000 on the accounts for 1869-70. He had spent out of this sum £4,300,000 for the Abyssinian War,[325] £1,000,000 in retiring Exchequer bills, and the remainder in swelling the Exchequer balances in hand at the Bank, which stood at £8,606,000—a sum which, he admitted, was excessive. He had sold £3,000,000 of new Consols privately to the public, and £4,000,000 of them to the National Debt Commissioners, which enabled him to pay the cost of buying up the telegraphs. To wipe out this fresh debt of £7,000,000, he had created terminable annuities which would cease in 1885. For the coming year he estimated a revenue of £71,450,000 and an expenditure of £67,113,000, so that, if taxes were not altered, he would have a surplus of £4,337,000. Of this he disposed by reducing the Income Tax to fourpence in the £, halving the sugar duties, and altering the tax of 5 per cent. on the passenger receipts of railway companies to 1 per cent. on their gross receipts. After these remissions, Mr. Lowe still kept in reserve a probable surplus of £311,000. He proposed, however, with the consent of the Committee, to increase the rigour of tax-collection, to substitute for game licences, licences to carry guns, and to abolish hawkers’ licences and several other trade licences. The Budget was well received, but it was not one that strengthened the Government politically. With such a large surplus, Mr. Lowe might have conciliated the farmers by dealing with the Malt Tax, more especially as he admitted he owed much of his surplus to the fall in wheat. In three years it had dropped from 72s. to 42s. a quarter, and cheap food had produced an increased consumption of dutiable articles, i.e., an “elastic revenue.” Still he was credited with having influenced one decision of the Ministry which was extremely popular in the country—their decision to throw the whole Civil Service, with the exception of the Foreign Office, open to competition, like the Civil Service of India. This heavy blow at privilege was struck on the 4th of June, when the Queen signed the Order in Council which gave rich and poor alike the same passport to the service of the State, and relieved members of Parliament from the annoyance of being pestered for “nominations” by aggressive constituents.

The management of the defensive services of the country in 1870 further illustrated the susceptibility of the Ministry to democratic pressure. Mr. Cardwell, however, failed to get credit for that portion of his work which was good, mainly because he gave the House of Commons the impression that he strove to evade inconvenient questions by cloudy verbosity, that he was too much at the mercy of his official subordinates, and had not the knowledge or the vigour to check the accuracy of the soothing and roseate{364}

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statements which they poured through his facile lips into the House of Commons. His estimates (£13,000,000) showed a reduction of £2,000,000, and, with Reserves and Auxiliaries, he asserted that he had a force of 322,000 men in the nine military districts of the United Kingdom. He proposed that recruits should serve for six years in the Line, and six in the Reserve, and he reduced the number of subaltern officers. These estimates and figures were, however, vitiated by the suspicion that the strength of the Army was mainly on paper, that it lacked efficient transport and artillery, and that even when Mr. Cardwell said, as he did towards the end of the Session, when the Franco-Prussian War created a panic as to national defences, that he could detach for active service a perfectly-equipped force of 30,000 men, he had an inadequate conception of national wants. The Ministerial policy raised up two different classes of opponents. To conciliate the Radicals, the Government cut down the Estimates by reducing the fighting power of the Army. The militant Radicals, however, declared that they desired to increase, rather than reduce the strength of the Army, and complained that the money for this purpose was not obtained by checking waste at the War Office and Horse Guards. The Party of “the Colonels” in the House of Commons{365} were incensed against the Government for making reductions, that interfered with their professional interests. In midsummer, however, Mr. Cardwell effected one reform, by sanctioning which the Queen won great popularity at the time. Her Majesty, by signing an Order which made the Duke of Cambridge, Commanding-in-Chief, subordinate to the Secretary of State for War, ended a conflict which had been waged for years between the War Office and the Horse Guards. Every Sovereign of the House of Hanover had fought with stubbornness for the direct control of the Army, and Parliamentary influence over it was still indirect. To make it absolute, it would have been necessary to refuse supplies, and the Secretary of State, as the agent of Parliament, could only address requests, and not orders, to the Commander-in-Chief. Mr. Gladstone’s ears were quick to hear the first murmurings of the democracy against exempting this Department of the State, from Parliamentary control and supervision. There was also a suspicion abroad that no reform could be forced on the Army, whilst the Queen’s cousin held absolute power over it as the Queen’s agent. Rather than give enemies of the Monarchy a pretext for a Republican agitation based on a popular cry, Mr. Gladstone advised the Queen to surrender to the Secretary of State that part of the Royal prerogative by which the internal discipline of the Army was entirely regulated by her direct action.

Mr. Childers, not being hampered by a rival authority like that which the Duke of Cambridge wielded over the army, was able to adopt a vigorous policy of Reform at the Admiralty. His estimates amounted to £9,000,000, and for that sum he promised to strengthen the fleet by fifty of the most powerful iron-clads in the world, and to build at the rate of 13,000 tons a year till twenty more first-class iron-clads were afloat. He reduced the clerical staff of his office, effected sweeping reductions in the dockyards, and instead of keeping vessels in dock, sent as many to sea as were fit for service. Mr. Baxter, the Secretary to the Admiralty, abolished the old system of making purchases by contract, and instead, bought stores in the open market after the manner of private firms. The outcry raised against both Ministers from the vested interests which they assailed was loud and deep. Their policy was unscrupulously misrepresented, and it created for the Government a host of active and irrepressible enemies. The fatigues of office and the harassments of the attacks which were made upon him in the House of Commons for saving the taxpayers’ money, undermined Mr. Childers’ health in June, and for a month he had to abandon all work. The loss of the turret-ship Captain, one of the most powerful iron-clads in the Navy, which was capsized off Cape Finisterre in a gale in September, with all her crew—including her designer, Captain Coles, and Mr. Childers’ son, who was serving on board as a midshipman—clouded the naval administration of the Government. The ship went down because she was overmasted and overweighted, and had not enough freeboard. It was, moreover, unfortunate that naval experts who had in vain pointed out{366} these defects to the Admiralty had warned them that she was unsafe before she was sent to sea.

Lord Granville’s Colonial policy, it has been stated, was directed to further the severance of the Colonies from the Mother Country. The controversy was chiefly fought out over New Zealand, which had been seriously grieved by the withdrawal of Imperial troops when she was engaged in Maori warfare. After much irritating discussion, Lord Granville attempted to conciliate the colonists by a niggardly offer of a guarantee for a loan of £500,000, which was rejected by the Colonial Commissioners. But in May he became alarmed when he found out that his policy was forcing separation on the colony, and that the idea of separation was hateful to the English people. He then offered to guarantee a loan of £1,200,000, and this was accepted as a token that the scheme he was supposed to favour—that of cutting the Colonies adrift—was, for a time, abandoned.[326] But the death of Lord Clarendon on the 27th of June enabled Mr. Gladstone to transfer Lord Granville to the Foreign Office, and Lord Kimberley reigned in his stead over the discontented Colonies.

Lord Clarendon’s death happened at an evil time, for Europe was distracted by the war between France and Prussia which had at last broken out. It is a curious fact that at the beginning of the year none of the diplomatists—not even Von Bismarck himself—had the faintest suspicion that ere six months had passed, this war would be declared. The Emperor of the French was watching in July, 1869, with straining eyes the election of a new Legislature. This election, as we have seen, ended in the return of a strong Opposition, headed by M. Thiers, M. Jules Favre, and M. Emile Ollivier, whose criticism of personal Government drove Napoleon to make popular concessions. A Parliamentary Constitution was granted, and at the end of the year the Emperor had induced M. Ollivier and a few moderate Liberals to form a Cabinet charged with the mission of reconciling Parliamentary Government with Universal Suffrage and the claims of the Imperial dynasty. The Emperor discarded the old friends who had been the servile instruments of his will, but shrewd Liberals still held aloof from the Imperial Court and Government, apparently distrusting his sincerity. And they were right. The Emperor considered that his new Liberal Constitution should be revised by the Senate, and the ever-subservient Senate accordingly inserted in it a provision authorising the Emperor to “go behind” his Parliamentary Ministry, and submit any question to a plébiscite. This of course meant that whenever Parliament thwarted the Emperor, he could set aside its decision and appeal{367} on a confused issue to a hasty vote of an ignorant democracy, whose verdict was pre-arranged by subservient Prefects. The new Constitution itself was submitted to such a vote, and though M. Ollivier remained in office, most of his abler colleagues resigned. By a majority of five and a quarter millions against a million and a half, the people cast their suffrages for the Emperor. The issue on which they voted was nominally whether they approved of the Constitution reforms which he and the Senate had effected. In reality, it was whether Napoleon III. should, in spite of Parliament, be allowed still to rule France from above. The first result of the vote was the appointment of a Ministry in which M. Ollivier was the sole representative of Liberal feeling, or Constitutional instincts. The Duc de Gramont became Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Marshal Lebœuf, the Minister of War. But fifty thousand soldiers had voted against the Emperor in the plébiscite, and Napoleon III. was accordingly warned that to conciliate the army something must be done by France to eclipse the fame which Prussia had won at Sadowa. His envoys and agents in Germany assured him that the German States hated Prussia, and in their hearts looked to France for deliverance. As a matter of fact, it was German hatred of France and the German terror of a French occupation, that was binding them closer to Prussia. French intrigues might have delayed the union of Germany, but French aggression was certain to precipitate it, and yet Napoleon resolved to adopt an aggressive policy. As for the means, they were ready to his hand. Did not Marshal Lebœuf report that the re-organised army of France could go anywhere and do anything? There was not even a button wanting, and the new chassepot and mitrailleuse must annihilate any troops that faced their fire. The pretext for the quarrel was soon found. Spain had long been looking for a King. She offered her crown to Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern. On the 6th of July the Duc de Gramont angrily declared in the Legislature that if Prussia permitted a Prussian Prince to accept the Crown of Spain, France would consider his acceptance as a cause of war. In vain did the Opposition warn the Emperor and his Ministers that such a war would be unjustifiable and disastrous. Paris went into a frenzy of delight at the prospect of a march to Berlin. Ever anxious to promote the cause of peace, the Queen personally strove to avert hostilities, and so far as Prussia was concerned with some success. The English Court and the English Cabinet induced King William to advise Prince Leopold to refuse the Spanish Crown. King William’s magnanimity and moderation in making this concession to the arrogant demands of France were ill-requited. M. Ollivier, it is true, announced to the Legislature that the dispute was at an end, and Europe breathed freely. But to the amazement of everybody it soon appeared that M. Ollivier had been duped, for instead of crossing the golden bridge of retreat which the King of Prussia generously built for him, Napoleon put forward a fresh demand. It was not enough, said he, that Prince Leopold’s candidature should be withdrawn. King William,{368} as head of the Hohenzollerns, must give a pledge that he would never in all time coming permit a Hohenzollern to aspire to the Crown of Spain. The insolent claim was rejected. A sensational and mendacious statement in the French Ministerial Press, to the effect that King William had rudely refused even to grant an audience to the French Ambassador, lashed the Parisians into a warlike mood. This insult, the Duc de Gramont, amid a tempest of cheering, told the French Chamber could only be avenged by a war—a war into which M. Ollivier airily observed he went “with a light heart.” On the 16th of July the French Declaration of War was delivered at Berlin, and French armies were moving towards the Rhine, with Parisian screams of “À Berlin!” ringing in their ears.

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Napoleon commanded in person, with Lebœuf as his lieutenant; Marshal Macmahon led the right wing, or Army of Strasbourg; Bazaine, with Frossard, Douay, and De Failly, commanded the corps that held the line northward as far as Metz and Thionville. The aggressiveness of France had flung the German States into the arms of Prussia, and Napoleon delayed his march so long, that he lost his only chance of thrusting himself between the{369}

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hosts of Prussia and her South German allies. The administration of the French army was soon seen to be in confusion, and its strength only on paper. Its transport and commissariat broke down, and almost from the outset it acted on the defensive, while the Imperial Staff seemed ignorant of the geography of their own country. In the meanwhile Von Bismarck biassed the opinion of England against France by publishing, on the 25th of July, the draft of a secret Treaty which our ally Napoleon III. had proposed to the King of Prussia, by which France was to consent to the union of Prussia, or North Germany, with the States of South Germany, in consideration of Germany helping France to seize Belgium. As England stood pledged to defend Belgium, such a proposal revealed a depth of perfidy which disgusted Europe with Bonapartism.[327] It was a plot to make war on England, concocted by Napoleon at the very time (August or September, 1866) when he was{370} pretending to be her ally.[328] North and South Germany swiftly mobilised their armies under the supreme command of the King of Prussia, with Von Moltke as Chief of the Staff. The Crown Prince of Prussia, with Blumenthal as his Chief of Staff, led the South German troops. His cousin, Prince Frederick Charles, and General Steinmetz, commanded the corps that marched on the valley of the Moselle. When the Parisians were vaunting the success of the French troops in a slight skirmish at Saarbrück, the Crown Prince defeated the French at Weissenburg on the 4th of August, and on the 6th shattered Macmahon’s army at Wörth, while Steinmetz—the “blood spendthrift,” as Bismarck called him—crushed Frossard on Spicheren heights. A German corps was sent to invest Strasbourg, whither part of Macmahon’s army had fled. The Crown Prince started after the rest of that ill-fated force, then retreating on Châlons. The relics of Frossard’s army had fled to join Bazaine near Metz, whose design was to unite with Macmahon at Châlons. The Emperor of the French had appointed the Empress as Regent when he took command in person of the army near Metz. This command he now resigned to Bazaine. The Legislative Body, infuriated by the defeats on the frontier, turned the Ministry of Ollivier out of office, and General Montauban, Duke of Palikao,[329] was called to power. To secure the Emperor from the political consequences of retreat, Bazaine had delayed his departure from Metz to Châlons for a fortnight after the rout at Wörth. This obviously enabled the Germans to come up in time to prevent him from joining hands with Macmahon. On the 14th Steinmetz held him for a day at Courcelles. Then Prince Frederick Charles advanced and harassed Bazaine with impetuous cavalry charges till reinforcements arrived, which drove the French back on Gravelotte St. Privat. On the 18th the Germans fought and won the battle of Gravelotte, but at the cost of one-seventh of their effective strength,[330] and finally shut Bazaine up in Metz. Von Moltke immediately made arrangements to crush Macmahon’s reorganised army at Châlons. It is due to Macmahon to say that he himself and the Emperor desired to fall back on Paris, but the Empress-Regent, fearing that the Emperor’s appearance in Paris, with an army in retreat, might have bad political results, foolishly insisted on Macmahon hastening eastwards to Metz to relieve Bazaine. Macmahon obeyed these orders, and, as might have been expected, was intercepted and surrounded by the Germans at Sedan, where the Emperor and his army, after a disastrous fight, surrendered to the King of Prussia as prisoners of war on the 1st of September. The Second Empire was consumed in the circle of fire at Sedan.{371} On the 4th of September the Imperial dynasty was deposed, and a Republic proclaimed. The Empress and the Ministry fled for their lives, the Empress making good her retreat to England. A Provisional Government was formed under General Trochu, Commander of the garrison of Paris, M. Jules Favre, M. Gambetta, and M. de Rochefort, and M. Thiers undertook to roam over Europe in the futile attempt to get some of the European Powers to mediate between France and Prussia.[331] Germany now demanded the cession of Alsace and Lorraine, and on the 19th of September Paris was invested and practically cut off from all communication with the rest of France. M. Jules Favre opened up pacific negotiations with Von Bismarck, but, as he refused to admit that some transfer of strongholds and territory to Germany was necessary, they were broken off. “Not an inch of our territory nor a stone of our fortresses,” was the reply of M. Favre to the Prussian Minister’s proposals. Bazaine might have escaped from Metz and relieved Paris, but then the result of his skill and the valour of his army would have been to strengthen the new-born Republic. He delayed too long, and he also opened up negotiations with Von Bismarck through a secret envoy, General Boyer. Bismarck had only one object—to conclude peace with some kind of French Government which would be strong enough to keep its pledges. Hence he had been willing to consent to an armistice, so that the Government of the Republic might, by means of a General Election, obtain an authoritative mandate from the people. This project having failed, he was quite willing to conclude a peace with the Imperial Government covered by Bazaine’s bayonets. He was willing to let Bazaine leave Metz and proceed with his troops to some place where they might form a rallying-point for the defeated dynasty.[332] The Empress-Regent in England was consulted, but she declined to consent to any proposals which made cession of territory a basis of peace. On the 25th of October the King of Prussia wrote to the Empress that negotiations were at an end, and on the 28th the great army of Metz—the last hope of the Bonapartes—surrendered unconditionally. Bismarck’s policy was now to foster the Third Republic till it became authoritative enough to undertake and uphold Treaty obligations.{372}

Though Paris was invested, a delegation of the Government of National Defence, headed by M. Gambetta, a brilliant and eloquent young advocate, who leapt into popularity by his attacks on the Emperor during a political trial, escaped to Tours in a balloon, and on the 9th of October he set up a civil and military administration for provincial France. M. Gambetta displayed astounding courage, irrepressible energy, and the highest practical administrative ability. Armies rose at his word as if by magic, and a force of from 150,000 to 200,000 men, with 506 guns, under D’Aurelle de Paladines, was concentrated on the Loire. Had Bazaine only held Metz for another month the siege of Paris must have been raised. But the fall of Metz liberated the investing army of Prince Frederick Charles, and Gambetta’s legions were for the most part raw militiamen. Hence, when D’Aurelle de Paladines drove Von der Tann out of Orleans he could not follow up his victory. Prince Frederick Charles came up with the army of Metz, and Manteuffel stood between the besiegers of Paris and any relief from the south-west. In vain did D’Aurelle de Paladines and Trochu by concerted movements endeavour to break the ring of steel which encircled Paris. Their rough, raw peasants and improvised officers fought with the utmost gallantry, as if in contrast to the Imperial troops at Sedan and in the battles before Metz, where the rank and file in too many cases shrank from closing with the enemy. But they could not stand against the superb troops of the German States led by the ablest generals in Europe. After the recapture of Orleans by the Germans on the 4th of December, D’Aurelle de Paladines was superseded. His army was broken up into two corps, and under Bourbaki and Chanzy retreated to the south-east and south-west of the right bank of the Loire. The “Red Prince” (Frederick Charles) pursued Bourbaki, and the Duke of Mecklenburg, after a series of obstinate conflicts, pushed Chanzy slowly but surely from his positions near Marchenoir. The French Government had now to quit Tours and remove to Bordeaux, whereupon Chanzy retreated westwards. In the north-west, Faidherbe, the only strategist of signal ability whom the war brought to the front on the French side, had many toughly contested engagements with Von Goeben and Manteuffel, in which the Germans usually had the advantage. But after Christmas the French leader fairly claimed to have beaten his German antagonists at Noyelles, where he held his main position in spite of the attacks of the enemy, though he voluntarily evacuated it next day, and fell back on his old line at Lille.[333] Werder was not fortunate in the east. He could not hold Nuits, and he had to let Dijon fall into the hands of Garibaldi, who, in a fit of Republican enthusiasm, had given his sword to France after the Empire fell. The net result of the war at the end of the year was this: Paris was{373}

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completely invested. But, thanks to M. Gambetta’s fiery genius and practical organising power, France, after the surrender of the regular troops of the Third Empire, with their trained officers at their head, had actually more troops in the field than she possessed when Napoleon III. advanced to Saarbrück. These improvised armies of the infant Republic consisted of the rawest recruits. But they freed Normandy and Picardy, and all accounts showed that on the whole they fought with more pluck than the Imperial legions who surrendered at Metz and Sedan.

The effect of the war on English public opinion was curious. At the outset Englishmen of the better sort without distinction of class seemed to sympathise with Prussia. But the Roman Catholics both in Ireland and England became partisans of France. After Sedan a change took place. The enthusiasm of the Roman Catholic party rather cooled, whereas the working-classes and the advanced democrats in England transferred their moral support from Prussia to France. The Queen, though she felt the deepest personal sympathy for the fallen Emperor and his consort, was naturally drawn to the German cause. It was freighted with those high aspirations after German unity, which had been the central idea of her husband’s foreign policy. The brilliant victories of the South German armies had been won under the leadership of her favourite son-in-law, in whom the romance and chivalry of mediæval Teutonic Knighthood seemed to live again. The husband of her favourite daughter and constant correspondent (the Princess Louis) was a Divisional commander in the great host, whose iron grasp held Bazaine in Metz. Writing in July to the Queen, the Princess says, “How much I feel for you now, for I know how truly you must feel for Germany; and all know that every good thing England does for Germany, and every evil she wards off her, is owing to your wisdom and experience, and to your true and just feelings. You would, I am sure, be pleased to hear how universally this is recognised and appreciated. What would beloved papa have thought of this war? The unity of Germany, which it has brought about, would please him, but not the shocking means.”[334] Unfortunately the personal relations of friendliness which often bind Courts have in these days but slight influence on the relations that subsist between Governments. The Prussian Government was not contented with English sympathy. England, said the Prussians, might by timely diplomatic action have prevented the outbreak of the war.[335] But she{375} had a selfish motive in eliminating Imperial France from Europe as a dominating force. Prussia, in crushing France, was incidentally doing the work of England in defending Belgium, and hence England made no effort to keep the peace. Then there had been some trivial exports of arms from England to France, and the Prussian Minister—forgetting how Prussia had supplied Russia during the Crimean War—pretended to consider these exports a breach of neutrality. Oddly enough, though the Americans had engaged much more extensively in this traffic, Prussia made no complaint against them. The German case, as argued by Count Bernstoff, was obviously weak. So long as a country carries on its trade with belligerents, not as a partisan but as a neutral, it is impossible for diplomacy to stop that trade. Count Bernstoff, however, argued that as Prussia did not need to buy arms from England, whereas France did, the English trade in arms with France must be necessarily one-sided or partisan. His despatches laying down his eccentric doctrine of “benevolent neutrality” simply amounted to the assertion of a new principle. The usage had been that the neutral was free, subject to the usual risks, to trade with either of two belligerents just as if there were no war at all. The new principle asserted by Count Bernstoff was that the neutral, before selling a belligerent anything, must consider carefully whether the transaction will confer a benefit on him which it is beyond anybody’s power to confer on the other belligerent on the same terms. Neutral traffic must, according to the Prussian Foreign Office, cease whenever its results give one belligerent certain advantages direct and indirect over the other. Lord Granville had little difficulty in disposing of a chimerical doctrine which would have cast on a neutral the burden of weighing his lawful trade with belligerents to see that each got exactly the same fair share of it. But the absurd paradox was advanced merely to give Von Bismarck an excuse for conniving at an act of diplomatic hostility to England, on the part of Russia, his connivance being the price he had to pay the Czar, who held back Austria, for “benevolent neutrality” in 1870-71.

In the middle of November the Russian Government suddenly issued a Circular repudiating the clause in the Treaty of Paris which prevented Russia from keeping a fleet in the Black Sea. Lord Granville protested with high spirit against the claim of Russia to repudiate any clause in a Treaty she{376} had signed, save with the consent of the cosignatories. Austria, Turkey, and Italy supported England, but Bismarck told Mr. Odo Russell, who was sent on a diplomatic mission to the King of Prussia at Versailles, that Prussia had always thought the Treaty needlessly harsh to Russia, and that, as German interests were not involved, he had no intention of taking any notice of the Russian Circular. “Resolved, as Bismarck therefore was,” says Mr. Lowe, “to let the Russians have their own way, and even help them to attain it, his only care was how to do this in the manner least objectionable to England. The Black Sea Clause had been knocked on the head, and was already as dead as a door-nail; but there was no reason why it should be flung into a ditch like a dog, and not interred with the decent ceremony of undertakers’ woe…. Thus too, doubtless, thought Bismarck when he proposed that the Powers should meet and wail a doleful dirge over the lamented body of their lifeless offspring. Ingenious idea! A coroner’s inquest in the shape of a diplomatic Conference to sit on the murdered body of the Black Sea Clause!”[336] Lord Granville’s position was an embarrassing one. It has already been pointed out that the Black Sea Clause was in many respects indefensible, and it was not possible to offer the English people any adequate return for the money and blood that must be spent in waging a futile war with Russia to maintain the Treaty. Yet the manner in which Russia had “denounced” it was meant to be humiliating to England, and it needed some adroit manœuvring to extricate the country from the situation which had been created for it by the foolish diplomacy of 1856. When the Conference met on the 17th of January, 1871, the representatives of the Powers kept their gravity when the President (Lord Granville) said that it met without any foregone conclusions. To save the honour of England and put on record a formal avowal of theoretical belief in the sanctity of Treaties, the Conference unanimously agreed to declare that no State could recede from its engagements with other States, save with the consent of these States. Then Russia was released from the obligations of the Black Sea Clause, which she had already declared she had no intention of respecting.

For a time the revolutionary forces in Spain were stilled by the election of the Prince Amadeus of Italy (the Duke of Aosta), second son of Victor Emmanuel, to the throne of the Cortes. The collapse of the French Empire naturally led to the annexation of Rome by Italy, and it was a strange coincidence that the year which saw the extinction of the temporal power of the Pope, saw his spiritual power asserted more firmly and extensively than ever. The Assembly of Roman Catholic prelates at Rome known as the Œcumenical Council, met at the beginning of the year to proclaim the dogma of Papal Infallibility. The opposition to this proclamation was organised by{377} the most eminent of the English, American, German, and Hungarian bishops, and at one time it was feared they would triumph. The Pope had, however, secured a majority of votes by the somewhat sublunary method of creating new bishops governing mythical sees. The doctrine of Infallibility was accordingly proclaimed a few days after the declaration of war by France against Germany, a war which had been vigorously promoted by the secret agents of the Vatican, who had acquired a controlling spiritual influence over the French Empress. After the annexation of Rome by Victor Emmanuel on the 20th of September, the Pope refused to hold any intercourse with the Italian Government. Immuring himself in the Leonine City as a voluntary prisoner, he pathetically appealed for sympathy to the blunted sensibilities of a wicked world.

As the year wore on, and the German armies strengthened their hold on France, it became clear that German unity under Prussian leadership was an accomplished fact. The autumnal negotiations for the absorption of the South German States in the North German Confederation ended well, mainly because Bismarck made generous concessions, reserving the sovereign rights of Bavaria and Wurtemberg, and abandoning on the part of Prussia an exclusive right to declare war. The King of Bavaria, the Grand Duke of Baden, and the other Sovereign Princes, then invited King William of Prussia to assume the Imperial Crown, and on the 18th of January, 1871, he was proclaimed German Emperor in the Hall of Kings at Versailles.[337]

During 1870 the Queen emerged from her seclusion on the 11th of May to open the splendid hall and offices of the University of London in Burlington Gardens. The ceremonial was conducted with a pomp and dignity worthy of the occasion. The senate and graduates wore their academic costume, Mr. Lowe being the only dignitary who appeared in any other garb. He, however, had donned for the occasion the official robes of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a sumptuous garment for which it was whispered he had been so extravagant as to pay £130. The Queen was accompanied by the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Princess Louise, and a brilliant train of distinguished persons. The Chancellor (Lord Granville) read an address to the Queen. Her Majesty handed him a reply, and having declared the building open the{378} silver bugles blew a blast of joy. When the Queen retired, Lord Granville, in distributing the prizes, referred felicitously to Queen Elizabeth’s visits to Oxford and Cambridge—those visits during which she is described as “questioning and answering and scolding not only in Latin but also in Greek.”

In the autumn of the year the Queen in Council gave her consent to the marriage of the Princess Louise and the Marquess of Lorne, the eldest son of the Duke of Argyll. When it became known that the Queen had violated the exclusive traditions of the House of Brunswick, and reverted to old precedents set by the Plantagenets, the Tudors, and the Stuarts, who all contracted marriages with subjects, society was greatly excited. The marriage was regarded as a triumph of aristocratic and democratic ideas over the monarchical principle—that is to say, of the triumph of the two ideas that have ever been most popular in England. The Queen with great tact had consciously or unconsciously responded to the instinctive feeling that had silently grown among her people. They had always disliked, though they had never dared to repeal, the Royal Marriage Act. It was felt to be a sacrifice to expediency—and it was passed mainly because Englishmen did not desire to see Mrs. FitzHerbert crowned as Queen of England. The Act bound all the descendants of George III. who wished to marry to obtain the written consent of the Sovereign,[338] and it was felt that as Princes and Princesses were very apt to form mésalliances, it would be difficult to maintain the prestige of the monarchy, save under some such restrictions as the Act imposed.[339] But when the Royal Family increased and multiplied, so that the Princess Louise only stood twentieth in the line of succession to the Queen, it was time to relax the usage. No State interest could, in such a case, be practically endangered, by permitting a daughter of England to indulge her personal preferences in the selection of a husband.

The death of General Grey in the spring of the year was deeply felt by the Queen. The Princess Louis in one of her letters to her mother says, “Lady Car (Barrington) wrote to me how very grateful Mrs. Grey was to you{379} for your great kindness and consideration. In trouble no one can have a more true and sympathising friend than my beloved mamma always is. How many hearts has she not gained by this, and how many a poor sufferer’s burdens has she not lightened!” General Grey’s services as Private Secretary to the Sovereign, indeed, were such as to render his death a matter of serious political interest. At this time the Queen exercised a personal supervision over every department of State, more especially over the Foreign Office, War Office, Admiralty, and Poor Law Board. On all matters of importance connected with the administration of these offices it was her custom to send to the Government of the day her own views, and such notes of precedents and of the opinions of former Ministers, as her carefully-kept series of State commonplace books supplied. It was the duty of General Grey to take the rough drafts of memoranda as they came from the Queen’s hand, and give them the form of State papers. In fact, he did the work which the Prince Consort had been in the habit of doing, and his position was really that of a supernumerary Minister in attendance at Court, but without a seat in the Cabinet, and without any responsibility to Parliament. After General Grey’s death it was suggested that a new Cabinet office should be created, to be held by a Minister who should have no other duty than that of residing in personal attendance on the Queen, and acting as her Private Secretary. The suggestion was happily not pressed, because it would obviously have led to Constitutional difficulties. The new Minister must have become either the Queen’s clerk, in which case he would have been an encumbrance to the Cabinet, or he must have become a real Minister of State confidentially representing the Sovereign, in which case he would have become its master. Colonel Ponsonby was therefore selected to succeed General Grey, and the revival of Government by favourites, which was the bane of the early years of George III.’s reign, was prevented.

The death of Charles Dickens on the 9th of June robbed England of a great humourist, whose genius was consecrated not only to the delight, but to the service of the English people. It was his mission to soften the harsh contrasts of society, and quicken the consciences, and touch the hearts of the governing classes, to whose apathy and ignorance of life among the poor he traced most “of the oppression that is done under the sun.” Whether Dickens will survive as an English classic has been doubted. But no doubt exists as to the qualities which gave him an unique position among men of letters in the Victorian period. His sense of humour was singularly keen and delicate. His faculty of observation exceeded that ever given to mortal man; in fact, what he saw, he saw so vividly that by his descriptive method he could print it on his reader’s mind with photographic fidelity. His power of characterisation, it is true, was limited, but that was because his characterisation was invariably idiosyncratic. It was always an isolated phase of a character that impressed him—a single trait to which he gave corporeal reality. On the other hand,{380}

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there was no limit to his power of producing fresh illustrations of this phase or trait under an infinite variety of circumstances and conditions. If he rang the changes on one theme, his capacity for producing variations on the original air with unfailing freshness, and seductive spontaneity, imparted some semblance of the roundness and many-sidedness of Nature even to the oddest of his oddities. But his sense of colour was faulty, and his passion for melodramatic effect, and his habit of harping too much on one string of feeling, gave to his pathos, a false note of theatrical sentimentality. None of his{381}

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readers in England, it may fairly be said, was a more consistent and devoted admirer of the genius of Dickens than the Queen. Next to Scott and George Eliot, Dickens was her favourite novelist. It had been her desire in the early days of her married life to make his acquaintance personally, but the touch of false pride which marred Dickens’s character, and rendered him morbidly sensitive as to “patronage,” prevented their meeting. In 1857, the Queen had been compelled to refuse her name for the dramatic performance of the Frozen Deep, given for the benefit of Douglas Jerrold,[340] but she offered to allow Dickens and his company of players to select a room in the Palace and perform the play there before her and the Court. Dickens begged leave to decline the offer, as he could not feel easy about the social position of his daughters at a Court under such circumstances. He suggested that the Queen might come to the Gallery of Illustrations a week before the subscription night, with her own friends, and witness a private performance of the play. “This,” writes Dickens, “with the good sense that seems to accompany her good nature on all occasions, she resolved within a few hours to do.” So delighted was the Queen with the performance that she sent round a kind message to Dickens asking him to come and see her and receive her thanks personally. “I replied,” says Dickens, in his account{382} of the affair, “that I was in my farce dress, and must beg to be excused. Whereupon she sent again, saying that the dress ‘would not be so ridiculous as that,’ and repeating the request. I sent my duty in reply, but again hoped her Majesty would have the kindness to excuse myself presenting myself in a costume and appearance that was not my own. I was mighty glad to think, when I awoke this morning, that I had carried the point.” This incident occurred in 1857.

In 1858 the Queen made another attempt to bring the great novelist to Court. “I was put into a state of much perplexity on Sunday” (30th March, 1858), writes Dickens. “I don’t know who had spoken to my informant, but it seems that the Queen is bent upon hearing the ‘Carol’ read, and has expressed her desire to bring it about without offence, and hesitating about the manner of it, in consequence of my having begged to be excused from going to her when she sent for me after the Frozen Deep. I parried the thing as well as I could, but being asked to be prepared with a considerate and obliging answer, as it was known the request would be preferred, I said, ‘Well, I supposed Colonel Phipps would speak to me about it, and, if it were he who did so, I should assure him of my desire to meet any wish of her Majesty, and should express my hope that she would indulge me by making one of some audience or other, for I thought an audience necessary to the effect.’ Thus it stands, but it bothers me.” This difficulty could not be got over, though the Queen, by buying a copy of the “Carol,” embellished with the author’s autograph, at the sale of Thackeray’s library, testified to her interest in the two great humourists of the Victorian age.[341] Indeed, it was not till 1870, shortly before Dickens’s death, that the novelist met the Queen. He had brought from his American tour a great many large photographs of the battle-fields of the Civil War. Having taken a deep interest in that struggle, and having followed its details closely, her Majesty, who heard of the photographs through Mr. Arthur Helps (Clerk of the Privy Council), expressed a desire to see them. Dickens, on hearing of this from Mr. Helps, at once sent the photographs to Buckingham Palace, and then received a message from the Queen inviting him to see her, that she might thank him in person. “The Queen’s kindness,” says Mr. Forster, “left a strong impression on Dickens. Upon her Majesty expressing regret not to have heard his readings, Dickens intimated that they had become now a thing of the past, while he acknowledged gratefully her Majesty’s compliment in regard to them. She spoke to him of the impression made upon her by his acting in the Frozen Deep, and, on his stating, in reply to her inquiry, that the little play had not been very successful on the public stage, said this did not surprise her, since it no longer had the advantage of his performance in it. Then arose some mention of some alleged discourtesy shown to Prince Arthur{383} in New York, and he begged her Majesty not to confound the true Americans of that city with the Fenian portion of its Irish population, on which she made the quiet comment that she was sure the people about the Prince had made too much of the story. He related to her the story of President Lincoln’s dream the night before his murder. She asked him to give her his writings, and could she have them that afternoon? but he begged to be allowed to send a bound copy. Her Majesty then took from a table her own book on the Highlands, with an autograph inscription to ‘Charles Dickens,’ and saying that the ‘humblest of writers’ would be ashamed to offer it to ‘one of the greatest,’ but that Mr. Helps, being asked to give it, had remarked that it would be valued most from herself, closed the interview by placing it in his hands.” Though Dickens refused a baronetcy, which the Queen would have gladly conferred on him, he was persuaded to go to Court. In March, 1870, he writes to a friend:—“As my Sovereign desires that I should attend the next levee, don’t faint with amazement if you see my name in that unwonted connection. I have scrupulously kept myself free for the 2nd of April, in case you should be accessible.” His name is among those who attended the levee, and his daughter’s name appears among those who were at the Drawing Room that followed. “I never saw Mr. Dickens more agreeable,” says Lady Houghton in a letter to Mr. Forster, “than at a dinner at our house about a fortnight before his death, when he met the King of the Belgians and the Prince of Wales, at the special desire of the latter.”[342]

The chief social function of the season of 1870 was the Garden Party at Windsor, which took place on the 25th of June. Great preparations were made for the event. A series of tastefully arranged tents had been erected on the lawn under the East Terrace, and in the grounds of the Home Park towards Frogmore, and the State Apartments of the Castle were also thrown open for the reception of guests, who were conveyed from the station by forty carriages. They began to arrive about four o’clock, and the Prince and Princess of Wales and other members of the Royal Family came on the scene later on. The street and road to the Castle were kept by a large body of the Metropolitan Police; a guard of honour of the Scots Fusilier Guards was posted in the quadrangle of the Castle, and the Yeomen of the Royal Body Guard were on duty inside. The Queen, who looked well and cheerful, received her visitors in a tent near the wall of the East Terrace, and was surrounded by members of her family, and attended by the Lord Chamberlain, the Duchess of Sutherland, and the Marchioness of Ely. The London Glee and Madrigal Union and her Majesty’s private band supplied the music that delighted the gay and brilliant crowd of promenaders, who did not break up and return to town till about seven o’clock in the evening. It had been expected that the Queen would be able to attend and open the Thames{384} Embankment early in July, and her appearance at the Garden Party at Windsor strengthened popular anticipations. Unfortunately, when the time came round, her Majesty felt herself unable to endure the strain of the public ceremony, and the consequence was that, when it was performed on her behalf by the Prince of Wales (13th July), at least a thousand seats were vacant for which tickets had been issued.

Ere the year ended the rebellion in the Red River Settlement, or the “Revolt of the Winnipegers,” as the Americans called them, was quelled. The history of the rising was as follows:—The Hudson’s Bay Company had enjoyed powers of proprietorship and exclusive trade in the vast region extending from the American frontier to the Frozen Ocean. Early in the century Lord Selkirk had established in the extreme south of this region, and close to the American line, a colony of mixed blood, descended from French, Canadian, English, and Scottish parents, servants of the Company. They squatted on a strip of fertile land on the Red River, which flows from Minnesota into Lake Winnipeg. These people increased to the number of 10,000, and they inhabited, perhaps, the most secluded spot ever reached by European colonists, in the centre of the North American Continent. They had been ruled by the Company under a “Governor of Assiniboia,” and a Recorder. In 1869 the Company agreed to sell all their territorial and sovereign rights in Rupert’s Land to Canada for £300,000. This cession included the Red River Settlement. The “Winnipegers” however, objected to be transferred to what they called a “foreign power,” and they split into two parties—the Canadians, almost all half-breeds, speaking French and professing the Catholic religion, and who rose in rebellion, and a minority of English and Scots who remained loyal. The rebels refused to admit into the district Mr. Macdougal, who was sent by Canada as Governor. A leading agitator, Louis Riel, was proclaimed (in February) “President of the Republic of the North-West,” and the insurgents appealed to the United States for protection. A contingent under command of Colonel Wolseley was despatched to suppress the insurrection. The expedition reached Fort Garry, the headquarters of Riel and his rebel followers, on the 23rd of August. They were welcomed by the loyal party, and found that Riel himself had disappeared, with a considerable amount of plunder, into the neighbouring American territory. The British force was admirably handled, and did not lose a single man, despite the enormous difficulties of its march over a rough and broken country. For from its point of disembarkation in Lake Superior, it had to travel through 600 miles of an unknown wilderness of water, rocks, and forests, where no supplies were obtainable. The whole expense was under £100,000, of which one quarter only was to be paid by England. Order was re-established on the Red River at the end of 1870, and, as the “province of Manitoba,” it was added to Canada.


[1] In 1847 the rate of discount had risen to 8 per cent., and the bullion in the Bank had fallen to £8,313,000. On the 9th of November, 1857, the rate of discount rose to 10 per cent., and yet gold still flowed out till it sank to £7,171,000. The Bank was authorised to increase its issue by £21,000,000.

[2] Campbell’s army consisted of 25,000 men, 16,000 being European troops, the largest number ever brought together in India up to that time.

[3] Sir H. Rose’s losses were 38 killed, and 215 wounded. The starving women and children were, however, spared, and, indeed, fed by the English soldiers, out of their own rations. The massacre of the garrison was an act of vengeance for the treacherous butchery of the English in Jhansi, who, on the 4th of June, 1857, had surrendered, on the assurance that their lives would be spared by the implacable Ranee. She, however, ordered them to be killed, as at Cawnpore.

[4] The Nankin Treaty of 1842 was confirmed. Ambassadors and diplomatic agents were by the new Treaty to be appointed at St. James’s and Pekin, and the British Minister was to be received at Pekin without being called on to perform any humiliating ceremony. Disrespect to the British Minister was to be a punishable offence, and Consuls in open ports were to be respected. Chinese Christians were to be protected, and not persecuted by the Government, and British subjects were to have a right of travelling in China under passports. Newchwang, Tang-chow, Taiwan, Chan-chow, and Kiung-chow were to be, with the ports, opened by the Treaty of Nankin free to British subjects. British subjects were permitted to employ Chinamen in any lawful capacity, and British ships were to trade on the Yang-Tsze river. All questions of right between British subjects were to be decided by British authorities, but Chinese criminals were to be punished by the Chinese tribunals. Other clauses stipulated for a war indemnity to England, for full privileges of protection to British subjects, and for tariff and customs dues on goods carried by British ships. After the Treaty was concluded, the Chinese Emperor evaded his obligation to ratify it, till compelled to do so by force in 1860.

[5] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., pp. 125, 126.

[6] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., pp. 133, 134.

[7] Palmerston in defeating Mr. Locke King’s motion for leave to bring in a Reform Bill committed a fatal error. The Cabinet originally meant to support the scheme, but to insist on raising Mr. King’s £10 county franchise to £20—which would probably have settled the Reform question for ten or fifteen years. As it was, by opposing the measure, and referring Reform to a Cabinet Committee, they disgusted a powerful body of their own supporters, who felt that the Whigs meant to shelve Reform altogether.

[8] Lord Granville and the Duke of Argyll.

[9] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., p. 155.

[10] Mr. Henley, one of the ablest members of the Tory Party, strenuously opposed his leaders on this question, and supported the vote of thanks to Lord Canning.

[11] It is more than probable that had the Tories been in office Napoleon III. would never have dreamt of pressing them, as he pressed Palmerston, to alter the law of Conspiracy so as to harass political refugees in England. In 1853 he sounded Lord Malmesbury on the subject, who told him, with manly firmness and frankness, that “Every country had its own subject on which no cession could be made. The Holy Places in the East was that of Russia, the refugees was ours, and it was useless to torment us about an impossibility, for no English Minister could alter the law at present.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., p. 392.

[12] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, entry under date 21st February.

[13] See Letter of Prince Consort to Stockmar, Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXXIII.

[14] Her Majesty’s sanction strengthened the hands of the unconstitutional sections of the Radical and Tory Parties, who have of late years connived at the progressive usurpation of the functions of the Executive by the House of Commons, thereby laying the basis for “Home Rule” agitations in discontented Ireland, and in “neglected” Wales and Scotland. In the attempt to combine executive with legislative functions the House of Commons has virtually broken down.

[15] The Cabinet consisted of Lord Derby, Premier; Lord Chelmsford, Lord Chancellor; Lord Salisbury, President of the Council; Lord Hardwicke, Lord Privy Seal; Lord Malmesbury, Foreign Secretary; Mr. Walpole, Home Secretary; Lord Stanley, Colonial Secretary; Sir John Pakington, First Lord of the Admiralty; General Peel, Secretary of State for War; Mr. Henley, President of the Board of Trade; Lord John Manners, First Commissioner of Works; Lord Ellenborough, President of the Board of Control; and Mr. Disraeli, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Leader of the House of Commons.

[16] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 98. Soon afterwards, however, arrangements were made which enabled Sir E. B. Lytton to take the Colonial Office, Lord Derby going to the India Office.

[17] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 99.

[18] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., p. 214. The evidence of Mr. Greville in this instance is that of an unwilling witness. He still affected, like most independent political thinkers in 1858, to treat a Derby-Disraeli Cabinet as a burlesque Ministry. For example, he never condescended to attend as Clerk of the Privy Council after Lord Derby took office, but allowed his deputy to do duty. When this was pointed out to Lord Derby, he only laughed, and said “he had not observed his (Greville’s) absence, as he never knew whether it was John or Thomas who answered the bell.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 153.

[19] Moreover, there was just a chance that Ministers might be beaten, which would necessarily have brought back Lord John Russell, a prospect to which Whigs like Lord Clarendon looked forward with horror, because he would come back with a Reform Bill. See a private letter from Lord Malmesbury to Lord Cowley in The Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 100.

[20] See The Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., pp. 101, 106, 151, and 152, for evidence bearing on this grave charge against Palmerston and Persigny.

[21] The Peelite leaders sneered at the appointment. Mr. Greville calls Pélissier “a military ruffian, as ignorant of diplomacy as of astronomy.”—Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., p. 181. The Palmerstonians objected to him because his ignorance of diplomacy rendered it difficult for them to intrigue with him for the purpose of embarrassing the Government of their own country.

[22] A few days after the formation of the Derby-Disraeli Ministry, De Persigny told Clarendon that the Tory Government “had prepared for themselves an héritage de rupture by the concurrence of their Party in the vote that had driven Lord Palmerston from power.”—Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXXIV. “The first time I met him (Persigny) at the Foreign Office,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “he literally raved, laying his hand on the hilt of his sword (he was in Court dress), and shouting ‘C’est la guerre! c’est la guerre!’ during which scene I sat perfectly silent and unmoved, till he was blown, which is the best way of meeting such explosions from foreigners.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 106.

[23] The Cagliari was a Sardinian ship fitted out to carry a revolutionary expedition to stir up Calabria. She was seized by the Neapolitan Government, and her two English engineers, Messrs. Watts and Park, were imprisoned.

[24] Mr. Greville hints that the Radicals were subsequently angry at Lord John Russell for helping Mr. Disraeli out of his difficulty with the India Bill. On this point he seems to have been misinformed. See Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort.

[25] The phrase was one used by Pélissier to the Prince Consort. See Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXXIV.

[26] Walpole’s History of England, Vol. V., p. 428; Holmes’ History of the Indian Mutiny, p. 454; Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 118.

[27] The Talookdars of Oudh were not freeholders, but Crown vassals—in some cases hereditary—who really farmed the Crown rents as middlemen between the cultivators and the State. As a matter of abstract right, Canning’s proclamation, declaring the soil of Oudh to be the sole property of the British Government, could not be impugned. Nor could its policy as regards rebel Talookdars be disputed. Still, it is but fair to say that Outram thought the original draft too sweeping, and that it might prejudice many claims which it would be prudent to recognise. Canning allowed Outram to soften the Proclamation, and it was so discreetly acted on by Outram and his successor, Mr. Robert Montgomery, that the powerful local aristocracy of Oudh were speedily pacified. There was, therefore, just a grain of truth in Ellenborough’s objections to the original draft.

[28] A Resolution of this sort, however, was valid only for the current Session. Hence it had to be renewed every Session a Jew came to be sworn. In 1860 a new Act substituted a standing order for a Resolution, so that Jews could be sworn without any preliminary proceedings. Even this last relic of bigotry was swept away by the Act 29 & 30 Vict., c. 19, which deleted the words “on the true faith of a Christian” from the Parliamentary Oath. See Sir Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice, Sixth Edition, pp. 189-192.

[29] In May they were induced to shake hands at Mr. Ellice’s (“Bear” Ellice) house. But Lord Malmesbury says that when the incident was discussed at Lady Palmerston’s, Lady William Russell observed, “They have shaken hands, and embraced, and hate each other more than ever.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 120.

[30] After much diplomatic squabbling, a Conference settled the point on the 10th of August, by establishing the same institutions in both Principalities, both with separate Ministries and Parliaments. The first thing the Provinces did was to vote their own union under Prince Couza—a mortification for England, against the probable occurrence of which her careless diplomatists had not stipulated.

[31] Her Majesty was not the only one of the guests who had been shaken. “An absurd occurrence,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “took place when Sir John Pakington, as First Lord of the Admiralty, landed Lord Hardwicke and Admiral Dundas in his barge. As he steered her, he kept time with the men as he would if he had been rowing on the Thames, bending his body backwards and forwards, and as he approached the pier, not having given the order ‘Way enough,’ the boat with her whole force struck the mole, and the two admirals and the whole crew fell sprawling on their backs. The rage of the two former, after recovering themselves, was vented with uncontrolled expressions on the unfortunate First Lord, amidst the laughter of the spectators, who were standing on the pier.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister. Vol II., pp. 129, 130.

[32] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXXVII.

[33] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXXVIII.

[34] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXXVIII.

[35] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., p. 213.

[36] This important secret pact was not unknown to the British Government. It came into Mr. Kinglake’s possession, and at Lord Palmerston’s request he gave a copy of it privately to Mr. Seymour Fitzgerald, who represented the Foreign Office in the House of Commons. The text was revealed by Lord Malmesbury. The Princess Clothilde made a grim joke upon her loveless and ill-fated marriage—“Quand on a vendu l’enfant, on peut bien vendre le berceau.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., pp. 220, 221, 223.

[37] The intrigue between Lord Palmerston and Napoleon III. at Compiègne, in November, gave great and justifiable offence to the Tory Ministry, and was regarded with disapproval by the country.

[38] Lowe’s Life of Bismarck, Vol. I., p. 236.

[39] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XC.

[40] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 155.

[41] See Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XC.

[42] Votes were given to persons who had £10 a year in Bank Stock or the Funds, or a deposit of £60 in a Savings Bank, or a pension from the State of £20 a year, and to University graduates, members of the learned professions, and certain schoolmasters.

[43] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XCII.

[44] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XCIII.

[45] Lord Palmerston’s organs in the Press were, during this controversy, virtually official organs of the French Emperor, and were embarrassing ministers with factious opposition. Lord Malmesbury, writing in his Diary on the 21st of February, observes, “Lady Tankerville says that Lady Palmerston told her that the attack upon the Foreign Policy of our Government, for which her husband had given notice to-morrow, was made in compliance with the Emperor’s wish!”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 158.

[46] Lord Malmesbury warned Prussia that England could not approve of her going to war with France, and would give her no assistance in protecting the German coast against an attack by a French or a Franco-Russian fleet.—See Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, pp. 204, 205.

[47] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 184.

[48] Ashley’s Life of Lord Palmerston, Vol. II., p. 160.

[49] The surrender of Lombardy and the Duchies to Sardinia was one.

[50] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., pp. 200, 201.

[51] Ashley’s Life of Lord Palmerston, Vol. II.

[52] The Queen apparently did not know that, owing to the use which Napoleon had made of Palmerston’s indiscreet approval of Persigny’s proposals, the Emperor of Austria was under the impression that we had been willing to act as extortioners. On the 12th of July, a day before the Queen wrote her letter to Lord John Russell, the Austrian Emperor wrote to Napoleon III., thanking him for informing him that England supported Persigny’s terms. Lord John Russell, in a despatch (July 27), found it necessary to undeceive the Austrian Government on this point.

[53] It was raised from 5d. to 9d.

[54] Palmerston contended in the end of August that these plans came within the decision of the Cabinet not to meddle with the Italian question till after the Treaty of Zurich had been signed. The Queen held that they did not, and on a Cabinet meeting being hastily summoned to settle the point, the decision went for the view of the Queen.

[55] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., p. 270.

[56] Ashley’s Life of Palmerston, Vol. II., p. 174.

[57] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 213.

[58] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XCVII.

[59] Morley’s Life of Cobden, Chap. XXVI.

[60] The National Budget, by Alexander Johnstone Wilson. London: Macmillan: 1882, p. 90.

[61] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 216. Morley’s Life of Cobden, Chap. XXIX.

[62] In a letter to Mr. Bright he says, “To form a fair judgment of this reckless levity and utter want of dignity and decency on the part of the Prime Minister, just turn to the volumes of the life of the first Lord Auckland, who was sent by Pitt to negotiate the Commercial Treaty with France in 1786. I have not seen the book, but I can tell you what you will not find in its pages. You will not read that in the midst of those negotiations Pitt rose in the House, and declared that he apprehended danger of a sudden and unprovoked attack on our shores by the French king; that (whilst history told us we had 84,000 men voted for our Navy to the 31,000 in France, and whilst we had 150,000 riflemen assembled for drill) he, Mr. Pitt, pursued the eccentric course of proposing that the nation should spend £10,000,000 on fortifications, and that he accompanied this with speeches in the House in which he imputed treacherous and unprovoked designs upon us on the part of the monarch with whom his own Plenipotentiary was then negotiating a Treaty of Commerce in Paris. On the contrary, you will find Pitt consistently defending, in all its breadth and moral bearings, his peaceful policy, and it is the most enduring title to fame that he left in all his public career.”—Morley’s Life of Cobden, Chap. XXIX.

[63] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XCVIII.

[64] Ashley’s Life of Lord Palmerston, Vol. II., p. 190.

[65] Count Vitzthum illustrates the relations between the Republican conspirators and the Italian Court by the following anecdote:—One day an English gentleman visited Cavour, who was surprised to find he knew a great deal about the intrigues of Victor Emmanuel’s Government. He exclaimed, “How is it that you, a stranger, are acquainted with secrets which I thought were only known to one man besides the King and myself—namely, the Republican exile, Mazzini?”—St. Petersburg and London in the years 1852-1864. Reminiscences of Count Charles Frederick Vitzthum von Eckstaedt, late Saxon Minister at the Court of St. James’s: Longmans and Co. (1887).

[66] Count Vitzthum hints that the mysterious collapse of the Royalist armies in the Sicilies was due to foul play. He says of Garibaldi, “His jugglery, thanks to the inaction of Europe and the melancholy condition of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, met with unexpected success. One example will suffice. A few weeks after Garibaldi’s entry into Naples, a former Neapolitan General was arrested at Paris. He had, without knowing it, paid out some forged banknotes. The examination showed he had received them from Garibaldi as a bribe. People knew after this how the latter bought his victories.” Vitzthum seems to have disliked Garibaldi, and his opinion on the matter is not conclusive. One would like to have better evidence than the confession of an utterer of forged notes that he got them from Garibaldi. Even if the story be true, it only points to what was one justification for the Sicilian insurrection—the complete demoralisation of the servants of the State.

[67] Cavour’s invasion of the Papal States was inevitable, though the pretext was flimsy. His subtle justification will be found in his masterly despatch of the 12th of October, reviewing the affairs of Italy, in which he dwelt on the advantage of substituting for the discredited dynasties, an Italian Kingdom that would “rob revolutionary passions of a theatre where previously most insane enterprises had chances, if not of success, at least of exciting the sympathies of all generously-minded men.” In a word, his case was that Sardinian intervention could alone prevent the national movement from degenerating into sheer anarchy. Fear, lest Garibaldi might be induced by Mazzini’s partisans, who had surrounded him, to set up a Republic, led the European Courts to condone by passive acquiescence a despatch which postulated the inherent right of a people to depose an hereditary monarch. France withdrew her Minister from Turin by way of formally discountenancing the invasion, which, however, had been secretly arranged at an interview between Napoleon and Cavour at Chambéry. England alone avowed her approval of Cavour’s policy, in a despatch which Lord John Russell sent to Sir J. Hudson on the 27th of October, but of which he kept the Queen and his colleagues in ignorance. The feeling of the country being with Lord John, the Queen and Lord Palmerston did not find it expedient to resent the affront. The truth is, that Lord John had previously written a despatch (31st August) menacing Sardinia if she attacked Austria in Venetia, and admitting the right of Austria to hold Venetia, which had enraged the Radicals. So by way of conciliating them he wrote the despatch of the 17th of October, recanting the absolutist doctrines he had promulgated in August. But personally, Lord John was notoriously a partisan of the national movement in Italy. “Sir J. Hudson,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “told me that Lord John virtually encouraged the King (Victor Emmanuel) to invade Naples, by asking his aide-de-camp at Richmond whether the King was not afraid. This was quite enough to send Victor Emmanuel anywhere.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 237.

[68] See the Queen’s letter to Lord Palmerston (3rd June) quoted in Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. CII.

[69] Lowe’s Life of Bismarck, Vol. I., p. 263.

[70] Another part of Napoleon’s scheme at Baden was to suggest the partition of Turkey by way of compensating Austria for the loss of Venetia, an old idea of Talleyrand’s. Russia, however, objected to the Danubian provinces of Turkey being given to Austria, so the proposal was not made. The whole scheme would have thus been—the annexation of Rhenish territory to France, of the northern German States to Prussia, of the Danubian provinces to Austria, and of Venetia to Italy.

[71] This letter (which was published) was written without the knowledge of the French Ministry. It was prompted by certain suspicions which had been expressed as to the Emperor’s good faith in interfering again in the Eastern Question. In June Europe was shocked to learn that the Druses, who were Moslems, had massacred thousands of the Christian Maronites in the Lebanon. The Turks had abetted these atrocities, their defence being that the Maronites were meditating a rebellion. On the 9th of July Moslem fanatics, aided by Turkish troops, also butchered the people in the Christian quarter of Damascus—3,500 males being slaughtered. The Consulates of France, Austria, Russia, Holland, Belgium, and Greece were sacked, their inmates finding a refuge in the house of Abd-el-Kader. Fuad Pasha, the Imperial Ottoman Commissioner, punished the guilty parties, but the French Emperor also insisted on sending out troops to keep order in the country. This proposal was jealously regarded by England, but it was agreed to after much negotiation—France furnishing 6,000 men, and the other Powers as many more up to 6,000 as might be necessary, six months being fixed as the term of the occupation. The Emperor resented our suspicions as to his motives in occupying Syria, and in his celebrated letter to Persigny defends their disinterestedness.

[72] “It is high time,” wrote the Prince Consort to the Prince Regent of Prussia. “It seems to me one of his chief difficulties consists in the fundamental difference between his and the people’s way of looking at things. He proposes to make concessions as acts of grace; they, on the other hand, ask to have a legal status, and institutions not dependent on the good-or ill-will of the Sovereign. They had most of them Documentary Rights, as they were called, in the Middle Ages, and as the Revolution of 1848 had overthrown everything, the Emperor was wrong, when it had been put down, not to return to a state of things based on law and right, instead of, as it were, legitimising the Revolution by proclaiming himself as its heir.”—Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. CIV. Lowe’s Life of Bismarck, Vol. I., p. 264, contains a curious letter of Prince Bismarck’s on this interview, showing how utterly misinformed he was as to its purport.

[73] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. CVI.

[74] The English Historical Review, No. 6, April, 1887, pp. 296-298.

[75] The English Historical Review, No. 6, April 1887, p. 297.

[76] Mr. John Morley’s Life of Cobden, Chap. XXIX.

[77] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., pp. 230-231.

[78] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 230.

[79] This great inventor and armourer had been offered £10,000 a year for life by Napoleon III. if he would go to France and manufacture his new cannon exclusively for the French. The offer was refused from patriotic motives, which was perhaps the reason why the British Government never could be got to behave as fairly to Mr. (afterwards Sir Joseph) Whitworth’s guns as to those produced by the engineers in the employment of Mr. (afterwards Sir W.) Armstrong at Elswick.

[80] The growth of the Volunteer Force was striking. The army sneered at it, and in December, 1859, it was in a sickly condition. In March, 1860, to the surprise and delight of the Queen it had grown to be 70,000 strong, and at a levee she held for volunteer officers, 2,500 were presented to her. Before the end of the summer the force had increased to 180,000 men, and at the close of the year it had grown to be 200,000, and this, too, in spite of the fact that the recruits had to make their first acquaintance with military duties in a spring and summer notable for stormy and inclement weather.

[81] Canada had fitted out a regiment of infantry for the war.

[82] William IV. was pressed hard by his illegitimate son, the Earl of Munster, to make him Governor-General of Australasia. He always refused, for dynastic reasons—alleging that it was not prudent to create princely viceroys.

[83] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. CVIII.

[84] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, ibid.

[85] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. CI.

[86] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. CVI.

[87] The war arose out of an attempt on the part of China to evade the ratification of the Treaty. The Taku forts were captured by the French and English allied forces, on the 21st of August, 1860. On the 21st of September, Consul Parkes, Captains Anderson and Brabazon, Messrs. De Norman, attaché of the Hon. F. Bruce, Mr. Loch, Lord Elgin’s secretary, and Mr. Bowlby, Times correspondent, were sent to the Chinese camp, on the invitation of the Chinese, under a flag of truce, to arrange for Lord Elgin’s journey to Pekin, where peace was to be made. Anderson, Brabazon, De Norman, Bowlby, and ten troopers were treacherously murdered. Parkes and Loch were cast into prison, and treated with odious brutality. That very day General Sir Hope Grant crushed the forces of the Chinese General, Sang-Ko-lin-sin. On the 6th of October the French looted the Summer Palace at Pekin, and on the 18th the English burnt it. The city itself surrendered on the 12th. Heavy indemnities, besides the ratification of the Treaty, were extorted from the Chinese.

[88] It is a curious fact that Dr. A. B. Granville had diagnosed the symptoms of the Czar’s hereditary malady—congestion of the brain—in 1853, and he warned Lord Palmerston that his Majesty would die in two years—a prophecy which came true. Had Nicholas therefore been handled gently, but firmly, by an accomplished diplomatist loyally carrying out Aberdeen’s temporising and cautious policy, and had steps been taken to prevent the Turks and Napoleon from irritating the autocrat at every turn in events, peace could have been maintained. See on this subject Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. I., pp. 30, 40.

[89] The phrase, which was a catchword in club-land, and which gave great offence to our American kinsfolk, was attributed, it is to be hoped erroneously, to the Marquis of Hartington.

[90] Evelyn Ashley’s Life of Lord Palmerston, Vol. II., p. 205.

[91] Evelyn Ashley’s Life of Lord Palmerston, ibid.

[92] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 227.

[93] St. Petersburg and London: Reminiscences of Count Vitzthum, late Saxon Minister at the Court of St. James’s, Vol. II., p. 113 (Longmans), 1887.

[94] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. CIX.

[95] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol II., p. 249.

[96] Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 113.

[97] A passage in Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences explains the Prince Consort’s allusion. “Among the elder ladies who in those days exercised some influence over Government circles,” writes Count Vitzthum, “was the widow of the former British Ambassador in Berlin, Lady William Russell. She was a clever, experienced lady, an admirable mother to her sons, the present Duke of Bedford, and Lord Ampthill, who died lately as Ambassador at Berlin. Her house was the constant resort of visitors, who liked to chat with her, even if they did not come, like her brother-in-law, Lord John Russell, to consult her on politics. As a Roman Catholic she was no admirer of Cavour or Garibaldi, and used to laugh at the Italian sympathies of her brother-in-law and Lord Palmerston, whom she called the ‘old Italian masters.’”—St. Petersburg and London: 1852-1864: Reminiscences of Count Vitzthum, Vol. II., p. 214.

[98] Others, like the Prince Napoleon, promulgated the theory that in pursuance of the Imperial policy of tearing up the treaties of 1815 it would be desirable to conciliate Italy. She would be a second-rate naval power, and the second-rate naval powers would naturally consolidate round France, who could thus overmaster even England on the seas. Such views, though officially disavowed by the Emperor, increased the distrust between England and France.

[99] Mr. Gladstone disapproved of this threat. It is, indeed, very hard to say how much truth there was in the rumours then afloat as to the cession of Sardinia. Vitzthum writes, “hitherto he (Napoleon) had only talked of giving that island to the Pope as an equivalent for the States of the Church. It was with this view that Pietri, the well known entrepreneur du suffrage universel in Savoy, had been busy in that island, and had sent private reports to Napoleon during his visit to the baths at Vichy.”—Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 157.

[100] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 140.

[101] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 145.

[102] Sir George Cornewall Lewis succeeded Lord Herbert at the War Department. Sir George Grey went to the Home Office, and was succeeded by Mr. Cardwell as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Sir R. Peel succeeded Mr. Cardwell as Irish Secretary. Lord Campbell’s death elevated Sir R. Bethell to the Lord Chancellorship.

[103] Evelyn Ashley’s Life of Lord Palmerston, Vol. II., p. 211.

[104] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. CXIII.

[105] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. CXIV.

[106] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. CXIV.

[107] The rule originated with Queen Elizabeth, who said she objected to her dogs wearing anybody else’s collars. Lord Clarendon himself, as Foreign Minister, had prohibited English servants of the Crown from accepting Foreign Orders. Lord Clarendon at the Coronation of the Czar Alexander, the Duke of Northumberland at the Coronation of Charles X., and Lord Beauvale at that of the Emperor Ferdinand, had to refuse Foreign Orders. The Duke of Devonshire was allowed to accept one from the Czar Nicholas at his Coronation, on the ground that, like many distinguished Englishmen, he was a personal friend of his Imperial Majesty.

[108] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. CXVI.

[109] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. CXVI.

[110] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 182.

[111] A Selection from the Correspondence of Abraham Hayward, Q.C., Vol. II., p. 65.

[112] This, says Lord Clarendon in a letter to Mr. Hayward, was “charmingly characteristic;” but he adds, thinking of the effect on the mind of the Queen, “they” (the green gloves and blue studs) “will not have been unobserved, or set down to the credit side of his account.”—Mr. Hayward’s Correspondence, Vol. II., p. 72.

[113] Malmesbury Memoirs, Vol. II., p. 266.

[114] The Hayward Correspondence, Vol. II., p. 67.

[115] Malmesbury Memoirs, Vol. II., p. 267.

[116] The faithful Coburger, Löhlein, was the only member of the Royal household who seems to have given advice that would have saved the Prince’s life had it been acted on.

[117] It is only fair to say that Lord Palmerston was the first to make these representations. For his views on the Prince’s illness and the Queen’s doctors, see his letter to Lord Shaftesbury, of 11th December.—Life and Work of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, by Edwin Hodder. Vol. III., p. 130.

[118] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., pp. 178-185.

[119] Edmund Burke, by Augustine Birrell. Contemporary Review, July, 1866, p. 41.

[120] The Life and Labours of Albany Fonblanque, by Edward Barrington Fonblanque, p. 247.

[121] Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland. Biographical Sketch and Letters. London: John Murray, 1884, p. 360.

[122] See Memorandum by the Grand Duchess of Baden quoted in Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse. Biographical Sketch and Letters, pp. 18-19.

[123] The allusion here to the “revival” of Wilberforce’s old affection may seem curious. The Bishop of Oxford enjoyed more influence and favour at Court than ever fell to the lot of any ecclesiastic in our time. He was one of the extremely small group of prominent public men—Sir Robert Peel, Lord Aberdeen, the Duke of Newcastle, Lord Clarendon, and Sir George Cornewall Lewis—who enjoyed the Prince’s close personal friendship. But suddenly, for no apparent reason, the Prince Consort dropped him, and in one of his letters to Miss Noel the Bishop gives utterance to his sorrow over his fall at Court. Knowing Lord Aberdeen’s intimacy with the Prince, he begged his son, the Hon. Arthur Gordon, to induce his father to intercede for him. The incident curiously illustrates the Prince Consort’s character. When Lord Aberdeen opened the subject with his customary tact and delicacy, the Prince detected his object at once, and stopped him by observing, “He (the Bishop) does everything for some object. He has a motive for all his conduct.” Lord Aberdeen replied, “Yes, sir, but when a bad motive?” which, however, did not lead the Prince to continue the discussion. Again Lord Aberdeen seized an opportunity of serving the Bishop, and this time the Prince Consort frankly said he had occasion to doubt the Bishop’s sincerity—a suspicion that invariably forfeited the Prince’s confidence. Being pressed by Aberdeen still further, the Prince said that in early life he detected Wilberforce intriguing for the preceptorship of the Prince of Wales. Nor was that all. In a discussion with the Prince on a certain miracle about which he had preached, the Bishop had unduly modified his views to suit those of the Prince. It is only fair to Wilberforce to say that, in a letter to the Hon. Arthur Gordon, he denies the assertion about the preceptorship, but admits there was some colour in the other part of the Prince’s case. “The swine sermon,” writes Wilberforce, “was preached in days when he (the Prince Consort) was most friendly, long before I was Dean or Bishop; the conversation followed, and a long one it was. He did not say how entirely he disbelieved in spirits of evil, but raised all possible objections, which I combated; and the only thing like ‘convenient’ averment I said was that it was far best to believe in a devil who suggested evil to us; for that otherwise we were driven to make every man his own devil; and I thought that this view rather touched him.” It did touch him, but not in the way intended. See Life of Wilberforce, by his son, Reginald G. Wilberforce, Vol. II., p. 226. For reference to the Prince’s funeral, see Vol. III., pp. 41-45.

[124] It gave Federal Commissioners power, without judge or jury, to return fugitive slaves to justice; prohibited State Courts from testing, on writ of habeas corpus, the rights of the person who claimed the slave in a Free State.

[125] The minority of the Judges seem to have taken a less pedantic view, and one more in accordance with the policy of the Republic, which had always been one of compromise with regard to slavery. They held that it was not by Federal but State law that a negro was made property. They contended that neither the laws of nature nor of nations, nor the Constitution of the United States, recognised him as property, so that the rights of owners over this species of property must logically be limited to the Territory where, by municipal law, it was recognised as property.—See The Constitutional History of the United States, by Simon Stern, of the New York Bar (Cassell and Co.), p. 190.

[126] According to it, slavery was prohibited north of parallel 36° 30´, but south of this it was to be recognised and never interfered with by Congress, and the Federal Government would pay for all slaves rescued from officers after arrest.

[127] There had always been a more or less tacit understanding that whilst the Northern States were to be allowed to have their manufactures protected, the Southern States, as a set-off, were to have slavery tolerated and safeguarded.

[128] Life of Lord Shaftesbury, by Edwin Hodder. Vol. III., p. 136.

[129] At the time, credit was given to M. Thouvenel, the Foreign Minister of France, for bringing the American Government to reason. Count Vitzthum, however, states that “the French Ambassador at Washington knew that at the eleventh hour the American Cabinet would yield, and had advised his Government to this affect. When Thouvenel, therefore, in his despatch of December 3rd, represented strongly the justice of the English demands, he risked little, and only gave a fresh proof that the Tuileries prefer siding with the gods to Cato.”—Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 177.

[130] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 146.

[131] It was decided by the House of Commons that the liability to a rate-in-aid of the other parishes of a Union should arise when the rate came to 3s. in the £, and that Guardians, subject to the sanction of the Local Government Board, might raise loans on the security of the rates, when the aggregate expenditure of the whole Union reached 3s. in the £ of its rateable property.

[132] Prior to 1860 there were four duties—1s., 1s. 9d., 2s. 5d., and 2s. 11d.—on wines, with varying degrees of alcohol, from 18 up to 42 degrees. In 1862 Mr. Gladstone substituted for these two duties—1s. a gallon on wines below 26 degrees and 2s. 6d. on wines above 26 and below 42 degrees.

[133] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 172.

[134] Lowe’s Life of Bismarck, Vol. I., p. 278 (Cassell and Co.).

[135] It is well known that Count Ferrol, in “Endymion,” was drawn from Prince Bismarck. The novel was written in Lord Beaconsfield’s old age, and there is a passage in it which curiously confirms Count Vitzthum’s report of Count von Bismarck’s conversation with Mr. Disraeli. It is as follows:—“The Count of Ferrol about this time made a visit to England. He was always a welcome guest there, and had received the greatest distinction which England could bestow upon a foreigner—he had been elected an honorary member of White’s. ‘You may have troubles here,’ he said to Lady Mountfort, ‘but they will pass…. We shall not get off so cheaply. Everything is quite rotten throughout the Continent. This year is tranquillity to what the next will be. There is not a throne in Europe worth a year’s purchase. My worthy master wants me to return home and be Minister; I am to fashion for him a new Constitution. I will never have anything to do with new Constitutions; their inventors are always their first victims. Instead of making a Constitution, he should make a country, and convert his heterogeneous domains into a patriotic dominion.’ ‘But how is that to be done?’ ‘There is but one way—by blood and iron.’ ‘My dear Count, you shock me:’ ‘I shall have to shock you a great deal more before the inevitable is brought about.’”

[136] Pope at first pretended that he had discovered the line of Beauregard’s retreat, and had captured his rearguard. This turned out to be an impudent fabrication, put about to divert attention from the almost inconceivable incapacity of Halleck, who let his enemy slip through his fingers after wasting the season in looking at him.

[137] This was difficult to arrange. Even the Sultan did not dare to do more than recommend Suraya Pasha to admit the Prince to the Sanctuary of the Patriarchs. For a long time the Pasha refused, but the Prince’s anger at being balked was so great that Suraya at last consented, accompanying the party himself with a strong armed escort to protect his Royal guest from assassination.

[138] General Bruce was the second son of Thomas, Seventh Earl of Elgin, and brother of the celebrated Governor-General of Canada and India.

[139] The medical evidence showed that the miners in the pit had died painlessly from poisoning by carbonic oxide gas. The Coroner’s jury recommended that all mines should have two shafts instead of one only, and that engine-beams should be made of wrought, and not of cast iron.

[140] Dr. Macleod’s ministrations at this time extended to other members of the Royal Family, and appear to have been conducted with the supple tact characteristic of the true-born Celt. “Your Royal Highness knows,” he said to one of them, “that I am here as a pastor, and that it is only as a pastor I am permitted to address you. But as I wish you to thank me when we meet before God, so would I address you now.” Again, in his letter to Mrs. Macleod, dated 12th of May, 1862, he writes:—“Prince Alfred sent for me last night to see him before going away. Thank God I spoke fully and frankly to him—we were alone—of his difficulties, temptations, and of his father’s example; what the nation expected of him; how, if he did God’s will, good and able men would rally round him; how, if he became selfish, a selfish set of flatterers would truckle to him and ruin him, while caring only for themselves. He thanked me for all I said, and wished me to travel with him to-day to Aberdeen, but the Queen wishes to see me again.”—Life of Norman Macleod, D.D., by his brother, Rev. Donald Macleod, B.A., 2 vols. London: Daldy, Isbister, and Co., 1876. Vol. II., p. 123.

[141] The Queen’s parish kirk.

[142] Life of Norman Macleod, Vol. II., pp. 123, 124.

[143] Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse: Biographical Sketch and Letters, pp. 27 and 29.

[144] Alice: Grand Duchess of Hesse-Darmstadt. Biographical Sketch and Letters, p. 37.

[145] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 207.

[146] Ibid.

[147] The history of the Protectorate is as follows:—After the downfall of Napoleon I. in 1815, England held six of the Ionian Islands. Austria offered to undertake their government, because she said that their position enabled their population to disturb her Adriatic coast. Count Capo d’Istrias, on behalf of Russia, objected, and at the time the voice of the Czar Alexander was all-powerful. He was a strong partisan of Greece, and avowedly so because he believed that the spirit of Greek nationality would be repressed under Austria, whereas it would be fostered under England. He insisted on the Ionians being placed under a British protectorate, so that they might have the benefit of free institutions.

[148] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 228.

[149] In 1795 the Prince of Wales was voted £138,000 a year. In the reigns of the Queen’s predecessors the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall were absorbed by the Crown. But when the Prince of Wales was born, the Prince Consort, finding these revenues sadly encumbered, set them apart for the use of the Heir-Apparent. During his minority they had been so ably administered by Prince Albert that in 1862 they yielded a free income of £60,000 a year. This enabled the Government to cut down the Parliamentary vote to £40,000.

[150] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 294.

[151] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 294

[152] Life of Bishop Wilberforce, Vol. III., p. 86.

[153] This letter did not satisfy all the clergy. Several of them challenged sharply Wilberforce’s doctrine of the Archepiscopal dispensing power, and indeed entangled him in controversial correspondence on the subject. Those interested in the matter will find Wilberforce’s argument more fully elaborated in a letter quoted in his “Life,” Vol. III., p. 87. He says he had discovered in his muniment box at Lavington such a dispensation to one of his own predecessors granted by Archbishop Laud.

[154] Life of Norman Macleod, D.D., Vol. II., p. 132.

[155] Miss Tucker, of Branscombe, near Sidmouth, was the designer.

[156] Prince Arthur and Prince Leopold, who, as usual on such occasions, wore the picturesque Highland dress.

[157] Life of Wilberforce, Vol. III., p. 88. In this letter Wilberforce says he was quite charmed with the manner in which the Crown Prince of Prussia spoke of his wife. “Bishop,” said he, “with me it has been one long honeymoon.”

[158] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 215.

[159] For a curious account of Mr. Oliphant’s Secret Mission, see Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., pp. 240, 241.

[160] English writers often draw an analogy between Ireland and Poland. There is the greatest difference between the position of the two nationalities. In Poland the Imperial Government has crushed the nobility, by taking sides with the peasantry. In Ireland the Imperial Government has striven to hold the country by allying itself with the territorial aristocracy. Had the peasants joined the nobles in Poland, Russia could not have resisted the demand for autonomy.

[161] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 308.

[162] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 261.

[163] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 221.

[164] Lowe’s Life of Bismarck, Vol. I., p. 322.

[165] The position of the chief claimants in the Succession may be illustrated in this way.

Christian I.
Frederick I.
| |
Christian III. Adolph, 1st Duke of
| Gottorp (1544).
+————–+————–+ |
| | +——+——-+
Frederick II. Hans, 1st Duke | |
| of Sonderburg. Emperor of Grand Duke of
Frederick III. | Russia. Oldenburg.
| +———+——–+
Royal Family of | |
Denmark becomes Ducal Family of Ducal Family of
extinct in Augustenburg. Glücksburg.
Frederick VII. |
Christian IX.
[166] This is calculated on the basis of the oats, wheat, and potato crop, with one-third the actual value of the total: the live stock added to represent the value of stock for the given current year.

[167] Customs and Income Tax showed an increase, but there was a decrease on Excise.

[168] This cost the revenue a loss of £216,000.

[169] Quoted by Sir T. Martin in his Life of the Prince Consort, Ch. CVIII.

[170] When the British ship Prince of Wales was wrecked in June, 1861, on the coast of Rio Grande, it was reported that the crew had been murdered. A demand was made by the English Foreign Office on Brazil for compensation. Mr. Christy, the British Minister, happened to be an imitator of Palmerston’s hectoring manner of negotiating with weak Powers. His demands were rejected by Brazil because the compensation claimed was monstrous, and because he sought to impose conditions which were not compatible with the dignity and honour of an independent State. Reprisals were then ordered to be made. In the first instance it seems the Brazilian Government had been guilty of negligence. But Mr. Christy’s high-handed action soon put England in the wrong.

[171] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXI.

[172] Sir Stafford was denounced as one of the Exhibition clique. He moved the reduction of the vote by £25,000—the amount estimates for altering the building—as a compromise.

[173] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., pp. 299-300.

[174] The strength of the City Police was 1,000 men.

[175] Sir Francis Hastings Doyle tells a curious story which he obtained from an American officer, whose authority he vouches for as good, which throws some light on Lee’s failure, which was one of the turning-points of the war. One of his subordinate generals—“a hot-tempered, impetuous man”—received a document from Lee containing the plan of invasion, and giving him orders to carry it out. Something in these irritated him. He tore up the letter in a rage, and flung the pieces on the ground. The moment his troops moved on, the pieces were all picked up by a Northern partisan, pasted together, and conveyed to the enemy.—Reminiscences and Opinions of Sir F. H. Doyle, p. 340.

[176] Alice: Grand Duchess of Hesse, Biographical Sketch and Letters, p. 58.

[177] The Registrar-General, in his Quarterly Report of 30th April, 1863, says: “On comparing the returns of the deaths in the eleven divisions with one exception the deaths were more numerous last quarter than in the March quarter of 1862; and the single exception is found in that division where the staple industry, on which half-a-million of persons are dependent, is overthrown, and for a twelvemonth four-fifths of that number have subsisted, unless the pittance has been aided by previous earnings, or sale of household stock, on less than 4d. a day.”

[178] Morley’s Life of Cobden, Chap. XXXI.

[179] Lord Malmesbury, who, like most of the Tories, did his best to urge the Government to go to war, at this time makes an observation in his “Diary,” which is refreshing in its frigidity. “It is,” he remarks, “perhaps as well that we did not enter into this contest, as our army was not armed at that time like the Prussians, with the breechloader, and we should probably have suffered in consequence the same disaster as the Austrians did two years later.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., pp. 3-5.

[180] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 285.

[181] Ashley’s Life of Palmerston, Vol. II., p. 248.

[182] In criticising Palmerston’s policy of intervention, it is but just to remember that he was fatally encumbered by his imprudent declaration in the House of Commons on the 23rd of July, 1862, that if the Germans attacked the Danes “it would not be with Denmark alone they would have to contend.”

[183] Cobden’s Speeches, Vol. II., p. 341.

[184] Sir A. Malet’s Overthrow of the Germanic Confederation, p. 96.

[185] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 315.

[186] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 296.

[187] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 297.

[188] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 286.

[189] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 286.

[190] Speech of the 21st of January, 1864.

[191] Lowe’s Life of Prince Bismarck, Vol. I., p. 335.

[192] At Southampton on the 3rd of April.

[193] As a matter of fact, there was no comparison possible between the crowds in either case. The receptions of the French Emperor and the Danish Princess were poor and cold compared with that extended to Garibaldi. It will enable readers of the rising generation to understand what his welcome was when it is stated that as regards street crowds and popular enthusiasm, it far surpassed that given to the Queen on the 21st of June, 1887, when she celebrated her Jubilee in London.

[194] Lord Malmesbury, in his Diary, has the following entry:—“We dined at Stafford House to meet Garibaldi. The party consisted of the Palmerstons, Russells, Gladstones, Argylls, Shaftesburys, Dufferins, &c., and other Whigs, the Derbys and ourselves being the only Conservatives, so I greatly fear we have made a mistake, and that our party will be disgusted at our going. Lady Shaftesbury told me after dinner, in a méchante manner, that we had fallen into a trap, to which I answered I was very much obliged to those who laid it, as I should be very sorry not to have seen Garibaldi.” And on the 15th of April Lord Malmesbury adds:—“Our party are furious with us and Lord Derby for dining with the Sutherlands last Wednesday, and Lord Bath has written to Lord Colville to resign his office of Whip, and says he will not spend a farthing upon elections. Lord Derby has written him a very temperate letter.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., pp. 320, 321.

[195] With Palmerston in favour of Denmark.

[196] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 289.

[197] Lord Shaftesbury, says his biographer, became Garibaldi’s most constant companion in London, “never leaving him, in fact, except when Garibaldi would go to the Opera.”—Hodder’s Life of the Earl of Shaftesbury, Vol. II., p. 172.

[198] It is curious to note that five days after Lord Shaftesbury assured the Duc de Persigny that there was no “notion of politics” in Garibaldi’s visit, and that “had Garibaldi’s appearance here anything to do with touching that alliance [the alliance between France and England], I am sure that the people of England would refuse to give him a welcome,” Garibaldi was entertained at a magnificent popular demonstration at the Crystal Palace. A sword of honour was presented to him, of which he said, “I will never unsheathe it in the cause of tyrants, and will draw it only in support of oppressed nationalities. I hope yet to carry it with me to Rome and Venice.” Lord Shaftesbury was one of the brilliant company of Palmerstonian partisans under whose auspices this unique non-political ceremony was conducted.

[199] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 322.

[200] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., pp. 289-290.

[201] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., pp. 289-290.

[202] Perhaps this consideration had something to do with the curious reluctance of France to co-operate with England in the Conference—a reluctance hitherto attributed to Lord Russell’s curt refusal to take part in the Napoleonic Conference of 1863.

[203] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 291.

[204] Of the Conference.

[205] Cobden’s Speeches, Vol. II., p. 341.

[206] Father of the present Lord Salisbury.

[207] It is interesting to note how the Tory leaders in the House of Lords at that time dictated to the whole Party its strategy and policy at critical moments.

[208] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., pp. 327, 328.

[209] Count Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 292.

[210] Evelyn Ashley’s Life of Lord Palmerston, Vol. II., pp. 254, 255.

[211] Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p 370.

[212] As a matter of fact, while the Conference was going on and the war party was rampant in London drawing-rooms, the Germans were greatly alarmed lest England should interfere. Count Vitzthum, writing on the 5th of May, says: “A peer who is very favourably disposed to Germany, said to me yesterday, ‘Take care, for God’s sake, to secure an armistice as soon as possible. If the question of war or peace were put to-day in the House of Commons to vote, three-fourths of the members would vote for war.’ Similar hints have been given to the Prussian Ambassador from a less unprejudiced quarter. We must not forget that England, by a blockade of the German and Austrian coasts, at a comparatively small expense, could exert a serious pressure on Vienna and Berlin, particularly if the revolution were let loose at the same time in Italy and Hungary.” Vitzthum’s Reminiscences, Vol. II., p. 357. See on this point Palmerston’s own account in his letter of 1st of May to Lord Russell of the interview, in which he menaced Count Apponyi with naval intervention. Ashley’s Life of Lord Palmerston, Vol. II., p. 249. It is only just to say, that if Palmerston was eager to strike at the German Powers, he knew perfectly well where to plant a telling blow on a vulnerable point. Cobden’s argument was that a blockade of the German coast would be futile because railways had rendered blockades innocuous, unless, as in America, the blockading Power could command the internal communications of the enemy.

[213] Ashley’s Life of Palmerston, Vol. II., p. 258.

[214] The Confederate cruisers that had escaped from British ports—the Florida, Alabama, Virginia, and Rappahannock—had taken 187 ships and destroyed property exceeding in value £3,000,000. There was only one thing distinguishing them from English privateers—namely, that their chief officers carried Confederate commissions. Some of them got away because the Courts, from the ambiguous state of our law, could not condemn them. Others escaped through the delay and negligence of the authorities.

[215] In England the Queen’s taxes are collected by sending petty local officials round from door to door. In Scotland the Collector of Taxes is a high Imperial official, and the people on a specified date go to his office and pay their taxes. The result is, that though defalcations are too common in England, they are unknown in Scotland. Whilst in England a vast fabric of arrears accumulates from year to year and the revenue comes in driblets, the whole Imperial taxation of Scotland, including that of the poor Islanders, is paid promptly to the Treasury within the first fortnight of every January. There are no arrears except from poverty, and these are trivial.

[216] As the law stood, Government could only grant life insurances to the amount of £100 to persons who purchased deferred annuities. Mr. Gladstone abolished that restriction. It is curious that, though the Bill met with much opposition in the House of Commons, in the Lords it was welcomed as a boon to the working-classes, who urgently desired the measure to pass.

[217] One was Dr. Rowland Williams, whose essay on Bunsen’s Biblical Researches—affirming that the Bible was “an expression of devout reason, and therefore to be read with reason in freedom”—was supposed to deny that it was the actual word of God. It also affirmed that “the doctrine of merit by transfer is a fiction.” The other defendant was the Rev. H. B. Wilson, whose essay on “Séances Historiques de Genève” was said to deny that the Holy Scriptures were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and to challenge the doctrine of final judgment and eternal punishment.

[218] Wilberforce’s popular nickname was notoriously “Soapy Sam”—hence the malignity of Westbury’s attack.

[219] Life of Wilberforce, Vol. III., p. 143.

[220] It was said that at the outset he might have embarked his army from Washington and transported them without the loss of a single man to the point he had now reached, after prowling like a wolf for many weeks round the Confederate lines to the south of Richmond.

[221] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 309.

[222] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 318.

[223] He was executed on the 14th of November, 1864.

[224] Alice: Grand Duchess of Hesse. Biographical Sketch and Letters, pp. 74, 75.

[225] Life of Dr. Norman McLeod, Vol. II., pp. 176, 177.

[226] Crown Princess of Germany.

[227] Prince Alfred.

[228] The anniversary of the Prince Consort’s death.

[229] Writing to Mr. T. B. Potter on the 23rd of February, Mr. Cobden says, “Shall I confess the thought that troubles me in connection with this subject? I have seen with disgust the altered tone with which America has been treated since she was believed to have committed suicide, or something like it. In our diplomacy, our Press, and with our public speakers, all hasten to kick the dead lion. Now in a few months everybody will know that the North will triumph, and what troubles me is lest I should live to see our ruling class—which can understand and respect power better than any other class—grovel once more, and more basely than before, to the giant of democracy. This would not only inspire me with disgust and indignation, but with shame and humiliation. I think I see signs that it is coming. The Times is less insolent, and Lord Palmerston is more civil.”—Morley’s Life of Cobden, Chap. XXXIV.

[230] Sterne’s Constitutional History of the United States, p. 199.

[231] A note may be here added with some details of one of the most startling and tragic events that marked the history of the English-speaking race during the Queen’s reign. President Lincoln was assassinated while the play called “Our American Cousin,” memorable for the late Mr. Sothern’s impersonation of Lord Dundreary, was going on. The assassin was John Wilkes Booth, a native of Maryland. He was an actor, and a relative of the celebrated American tragedian, Junius Brutus Booth. He was a half-crazy partisan of the Southern States, and had often threatened to kill the President. He fled to St. Mary’s County, and was ultimately discovered hiding in a barn about three miles from Port Royal. He and his companions refused to surrender, and the barn was set on fire. Sergeant Corbet, of the 16th New York Cavalry, fired his carbine through one of the windows and shot Booth in the head. He died two hours and a half after he was wounded. His three companions were tried by court-martial and executed.

[232] “The Civil Rights Bill,” says Mr. Sterne, “declared freedmen citizens of the United States. The reasons against this declaration were sound in themselves, because it admitted to the rights of citizenship a large number of persons whose prior conditions of servitude and enforced labour made them dangerous citizens. As the right to vote implies not only the right of the voter to protect himself against the aggression of others, but also involves the power, through the instrumentality of taxation, which is placed in the official hands created by the voters, to confiscate the property of others, it was apprehended by many that demagogues and adventurers would win the freemen by illusory promises of personal benefits to give them their votes, and that by the creation of public debts and the exercise of the power of taxation, they would mercilessly confiscate the property of citizens subjected to their sway.”—Constitutional History and Political Development of the United States, by Simon Sterne, of the New York Bar. Cassell and Co., pp. 202, 203.

[233] “Bismarck in the Franco-German War,” quoted in Lowe’s Life of Bismarck, Vol. I., p. 347.

[234] For the conflicting accounts of this interview, see Lowe’s Life of Bismarck, Vol. I., p. 352.

[235] This scandal, which was one of the sensational events of the Session of 1865, was made the most of by the Churchmen, to whom Westbury had been studiously insolent. Some little time after his fall Westbury met his old antagonist, the Bishop of Oxford, in the lobby of the House of Lords. He held out his hand, saying, “My Lord Bishop, as a Christian and a Bishop, you will not refuse to shake hands.” Wilberforce generously shook hands with him, but that did not put an end to the war of wit between them. Westbury said, “Do you remember where we last met?’ “No,” replied Wilberforce. “It was in the hour of my humiliation, when I was leaving the Queen’s Closet, having given up the Great Seal. I met you on the stairs as I was coming out, and I felt inclined to say, ‘Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?’” Wilberforce retorted, “Does your lordship remember the end of the quotation?” to which Westbury answered, “We lawyers, my Lord Bishop, are not in the habit of quoting part of a passage without knowing the whole.” But, as Wilberforce used to say in telling the story, Westbury no doubt looked it out in his family Bible when he went home, and found that the end of the quotation was, “Yea, I have found thee, because thou hast sold thyself to iniquity.”—See Life of Wilberforce, Vol. III., p. 144.

[236] Life of Lord Palmerston, by the Hon. Evelyn Ashley, Vol. II., p. 273.

[237] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 335.

[238] Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse, Biographical Sketch and Letters, p. 111.

[239] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 345.

[240] Forty Years’ Recollections, Literary and Political, by Thomas Frost, p. 291.

[241] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 347.

[242] When Lord Grosvenor divided the House on an amendment to the Second Reading of the Bill, he gathered round him a body of nondescript Liberals—many of whom had been disappointed in their quest of office—whom Mr. Bright likened to those who took refuge in the cave of Adullam.

[243] Forty Adullamites had promised to support him.

[244] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 358.

[245] The speech of Mr. Mill struck terror into the hearts of the reactionary landlords, who had all thought that their rents would go on rising for centuries to come. For further references, see Letters and Journals of W. Stanley Jevons, edited by his Wife, pp. 203, 216, 218, 223, and 224, London: Macmillan (1886).

[246] Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland. Biographical Sketch and Letters, p. 124.

[247] Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland. Biographical Sketch and Letters, p. 127.

[248] Ibid., pp. 127, 131.

[249] Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland. Biographical Sketch and Letters, pp. 142, 144, 147, 148. 149.

[250] Correspondence of Abraham Hayward, Q.C., Vol. II., p. 148.

[251] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 365.

[252] The History of Reform, by Alexander Paul, p. 199. Routledge, 1884.

[253] Correspondence of Mr. Abraham Hayward, Q.C., Vol. II., p. 158.

[254] Life of Bishop Wilberforce, Vol. III., p. 242.

[255] Memoirs of an ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 365.

[256] This was a year fruitful in Cabinet meetings. On the 22nd of January Lord Malmesbury writes, “Cabinets every day to the end of the month; some at Lord Derby’s, who was ill with the gout.”—Memoirs of an ex-Minister, ibid.

[257] Mr. Dudley Baxter, who prepared Mr. Disraeli’s figures for him.

[258] See on this subject a curious letter from Mr. Hayward to Mr. Gladstone written on the 15th of August, 1866. Mr. Hayward says:—“I entirely agree in what you say of the House of Commons and the Liberal party, which is neutralised by the individual crotchets of its members.”—Correspondence of Mr. Abraham Hayward, Q.C., Vol. II., p. 147.

[259] Mr. Alexander Paul’s History of Reform, pp. 201-203.

[260] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 371.

[261] The National Budget, by A. J. Wilson, p. 95. Macmillan and Co.

[262] The Parnellite Movement, by T. P. O’Connor, M.P., chap. vii.

[263] Ibid., p. 137. Popular Edition, Ward and Downey, 1887.

[264] Some of the witnesses under cross-examination broke down and fainted when confessions of guilt were extorted from them.

[265] It is instructive to look back on the speeches delivered at this meeting. They give one a vivid idea of the humiliating status of the British workman at that time. The complaints of the speakers may be summed up thus: (1), whereas the masters’ associations were free to send circulars to each other urging the dismissal of “marked” unionists, workmen were, by a recent legal decision, guilty of an indictable offence if they “picketed” or endeavoured to dissuade each other from serving a master whose men had struck work; (2), the law of conspiracy had been so strained as to make an act which when done by an individual was legal, illegal when done by two or more individuals in combination; (3), masters who broke contracts were only fined, whereas breach of contract by workmen was punished by imprisonment.

[266] Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland. Biographical Sketch and Letters, p. 166.

[267] Afterwards Sir Howard Elphinstone, K.C.B. He was the Prince’s governor from 1859.

[268] The pet family name of the Princess of Wales—obviously a contraction of Alexandra.

[269] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., p. 373.

[270] Life of Norman Macleod, D.D., by the Rev. Donald Macleod, B.A., Vol. II., p. 252.

[271] The Barony parish of Glasgow was the one of which Macleod was minister. In one of his sermons, he had told his people that Scripture commanded them to sing the praises of God, not to grunt them. “But,” he added, “if you are so constituted physically that it is impossible for you to sing, but only grunt, then it is best to be silent.”

[272] Scots for dandle.

[273] Life of Norman Macleod, D.D., Vol. II., pp. 208, 209.

[274] Now Duke of Connaught.

[275] Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland. Biographical Sketch and Letters, p. 185.

[276] Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland. Biographical Sketch and Letters, p. 186, 187.

[277] Willem, who had died a few months before, was a well-known figure at Balmoral. He was given to the Princess Louis by the Baron Schenk-Schmittburg, who brought him from Java. Willem was the offspring of a negro father and a Javanese mother, and was a favourite with the Queen and her daughter.

[278] Life of Bishop Wilberforce, Vol. III., p. 227.

[279] Life of Bishop Wilberforce, Vol. III., p. 242.

[280] Mr. Bernal Osborne had suggested one. It was to cut down the Irish Church establishment to five hundred ministers and four bishops.

[281] Writing to Wilberforce on the 9th of September on the subject, Mr. Disraeli says, “In the great struggle in which I am embarked, it is a matter of great mortification to me that I am daily crossed, and generally opposed by the High Church Party. Only think of Dean Hook opposing Henry Lennox at Chichester.” The Bishop’s answer was that Mr. Disraeli must expect to lose the High Church vote, seeing that he did not, in dispensing ecclesiastical prestige, sufficiently consider the claims of High Churchmen.—Life of Bishop Wilberforce, Vol. II., p. 260.

[282] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p 381.

[283] The last had been altered to make it clear that the House merely asked the Crown for leave to discuss a Bill suspending the exercise of its patronage till the 1st of August, 1869. A new one was added by Mr. Whitbread affirming the necessity of discontinuing the Maynooth Grant and the Presbyterian Regium Donum.

[284] This was in his 1844 speech, when he advocated Home Rule for Ireland and the Disestablishment of “an absentee aristocracy and an alien church.” Mr. Disraeli had been taunted with this phrase early in the Session, during the first debate on the Irish Question. His reply was infinitely humorous and audacious. He said of the phrase, with an exquisite touch of mournful reminiscence, “it appeared to me at the time I made it that nobody listened to it. It seemed to me I was pouring water on sand—but it seems now that the water came from a golden goblet.”

[285] In 1864-65 the Government had kept expenditure within the estimates by £370,000. They did so the following year by £92,000. But in 1866-67 the Derby-Disraeli Government let expenditure exceed estimates by £669,000, and in 1867-68 by £537,000. This rather told against Mr. Disraeli in the General Election.

[286] The Cabinet was composed as follows:—Mr. Gladstone, Prime Minister; Sir C. Page Wood, Lord Chancellor, with the title of Lord Hatherley; Mr. Lowe, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Mr. Austen Bruce, Home Secretary; Lord Clarendon, Secretary for Foreign Affairs (with Mr. Otway as his Under-Secretary); Lord Granville, Colonial Secretary; the Duke of Argyll, Secretary for India (with Mr. Grant Duff as Under-Secretary); Mr. Cardwell, Secretary for War; Mr. Chichester Fortescue, Irish Secretary; Mr. Childers, First Lord of the Admiralty; Mr. Goschen, President of the Poor-Law Board; Mr. Bright, President of the Board of Trade; Lord Hartington, Postmaster-General; Lord Kimberley, Privy Seal; Earl de Grey, President of the Council.

[287] Life of Bishop Wilberforce, Vol. III., p. 267.

[288] For Canterbury.

[289] It was said that Dr. Ellicott, Bishop of Gloucester, was referred to here.

[290] It is a curious fact that his appointment of Dr. Magee, Dean of Cork, to this see brought the Government almost as much credit as the appointment of Dr. Tait to Canterbury. Dr. Magee was erroneously supposed to be Mr. Disraeli’s favourite candidate. But in this case also he seems to have got credit for the Queen’s skill in selection.

[291] Life of Bishop Wilberforce, Vol. III., pp. 265-269.

[292] Letters and Journals of W. J. Stanley Jevons. Edited by his Wife, p. 246.

[293] Yet at the time the Queen was personally opposed to Mr. Gladstone’s Irish Church policy, so that his statement was somewhat misleading. Perhaps he made it to minimise the evil effects that might be produced by rumours of her Majesty’s hostility to the verdict of the elections. These rumours were then current.

[294] It described the reductions for the first time in the records of Queen’s Speeches as having been already made, not as reductions that were only in contemplation.

[295] Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland. Biographical Sketch and Letters, p. 214.

[296] Correspondence of Abraham Hayward, Q.C., Vol. II., p. 200.

[297] Ibid., p. 191.

[298] It may be well to summarise Mr. Gladstone’s financial statement:—

Assets of the Church. Charge on the Church Fund.
(1) Commuted Tithe Rent Charge £9,000,000 Commuted Life Interests of Bishops, Beneficed Clergy, &c. £4,900,000
(2) Land and Perpetuity Rents 6,200,000 Curates 800,000
(3) Money 750,000 Lay Compensations 900,000
Private Endowments to be Repaid 500,000
Presbyterians and Maynooth 1,100,000
Building Charges 250,000
College Expenses of Presbyterians and Catholics 35,000
£15,950,000 £8,685,000
Thus there was a surplus fund for distribution of, say, £7,500,000, the interest on which, £311,000, Mr. Gladstone distributed as follows:—(1), Lunatic Asylums, £185,000; (2), Deaf and Dumb Institutions, £30,000; (3), Idiot Asylums, £20,000; (4), Nurses for the Poor, £15,000; (5), Reformatories and Industrial Schools, £10,000; (6), County Infirmaries, £51,000.

[299] It would seem that Dean Swift anticipated Mr. Gladstone’s notion. When Vicar of Laracor Swift presented the vicarage with nineteen acres of land. He had endowed it with certain tithes, which he left in trust for the established episcopal religion. But he stipulated that in case of Disestablishment the tithes should be administered “for the benefit of the poor.” Stella (Esther Johnson), in her will, dated 30th October, 1727, also anticipated Disestablishment. In leaving £1,000 to endow a chaplaincy in Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin, she provided that if the Church were disestablished the bequest should be null and void.

[300] Sir Roundell Palmer’s argument was the only one that disturbed the conscience of the majority. Indeed, the only conceivable answer to it was that local church endowments, which were really useful in doing good parochial work, were instituted not for local but for national reasons. For national reasons such as Mr. Gladstone adduced, they might be justly resumed by the State to be applied to national purposes.

[301] Mr. Disraeli’s argument was, that a church, to be established, must have a temporal Sovereign as its head. The Church of Rome was “established” in Ireland, because the Pope was a temporal Sovereign. On grounds of religious equality, said Mr. Disraeli, it was necessary to retain the Queen’s supremacy over the Irish Church, so that it might enjoy the same status as its Roman rival. His theory of Royal supremacy over Church discipline and doctrine horrified his High Church supporters.

[302] There was a majority of all orders for the Bill, except among Bishops and Viscounts. The vote of the new families was much more Conservative than that of the old ones.

[303] It is worth noting that the Roman Catholic Peers voted against all plans for concurrent endowment of Catholicism in any shape or form.

[304] Wilberforce was subsequently promoted to the See of Winchester. But Chelmsford’s sneer was unjust. Wilberforce thought honestly that the nation having decided the question of immediate Disestablishment and Disendowment, delay would simply damage the interests of the Irish Church, and provoke a futile conflict with the people. Hence he voted against this amendment.—See Life of Wilberforce, Vol. III., pp. 287-289, and Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 408.

[305] It is not generally known that the repeal of the shilling duty on corn, as indeed many of the ideas on which Mr. Lowe based his Budget were suggested to him by the late Mr. Stanley Jevons. “Having been consulted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer,” writes Mrs. Jevons, “as to the pressure of taxation upon different classes of the people, Mr. Jevons sent to him on the 13th of March a report which he had prepared with much care. The result of his inquiries was, that the artisan, with only a moderate use of beer and tobacco, was less heavily taxed than the classes above or below him, but that the labourer, if he only moderately indulged in stimulants, was rather the most heavily taxed of any class in proportion to his income. Mr. Jevons, therefore, recommended the repeal of the remaining duty of a shilling a quarter on corn, which he believed formed an appreciable burden of about one per cent. of income upon the very poorest class on the borders of pauperism.” Another proposal of Mr. Lowe’s for re-coining the gold currency, owing to the defective weight of the coins in circulation, was also suggested by Mr. Jevons.—See Letters and Journals of W. Stanley Jevons, edited by his Wife (Macmillan, 1886), pp. 245-248.

[306] According to Lord Hartington’s measure the purchase-money came to £6,750,000.

[307] They even retreated from the position of Lord Russell, who very properly refused to admit to arbitration any question as to the right of England to recognise the South as a belligerent Power—a concession which was not only an abject surrender of Sovereign rights, but ultra vires on the part of any Minister.

[308] It was to some extent ignored at the time that for much of the damage done to American commerce the Federal Navy was to blame. It afforded the most meagre protection to the American mercantile marine. Though it was known a few days after its escape that the Sumter was roaming in West Indian waters, yet off none of the ports it visited during the next two months was there a Federal war-ship waiting to sink it. The Alabama did most damage at the points which one would have thought would be swarming with prowling Federal cruisers, namely, the Azores, the crossing of the Gulf Stream, the Brazilian Coast, the “calm belts,” where ships from the South cross the tropics at the Cape, and in the China seas. Yet in none of these quarters was Captain Semmes attacked or waited for. Captain Semmes admits in “My Adventures Afloat,” that but for the gross negligence and incompetence of the United States Naval Department he could not have done the damage he did. The admission discounts much of the argument in favour of supplying swift, unarmoured cruisers in war time.

[309] The Senate was to be assembled to pass Bills which the Opposition had demanded. The Legislative Body was to control the Budget. Independent Members were to be allowed to initiate Bills. Ministers, though not responsible actually to the Legislature, would be allowed to sit in it.

[310] Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland. Biographical Sketch and Letters, p. 211.

[311] Carlyle’s Life in London, by J. A. Froude, Vol. III., p. 380.

[312] The speeches on this occasion were all good or eccentric. Mr. Motley, the United States Minister, for example, said of Mr. Peabody, “That fortunate as well as most generous of men has discovered a secret for which misers might sigh in vain—the art of keeping a great fortune for himself through all time. For I have often thought in this connection of that famous epitaph inscribed on the monument of an old Earl of Devonshire commonly called the Good Earl of Devonshire—‘What I spent I had, what I saved I lost, what I gave away remains with me.’” When Mr. Story’s turn came to address the company he pointed to his statue, and merely said “That is my speech.”

[313] Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland. Biographical Sketch and Letters, p. 221. For a detailed description of the excursions, see More Leaves from a Journal of a Life in the Highlands, pp. 116-147.

[314] It was objectionable, he said, because it was a Bill of pains and penalties for mere words. Government had released the Fenians. Why, then, object to Irishmen honouring them? He also complained that the House was asked to act on the ipse dixit of “an Irish Attorney-General.” Mr. Beresford Hope promptly rebelled against his leader, and approved of the Bill as a “manly step.” Mr. Gathorne-Hardy also deserted his chief, and said he would stand by the Government.

[315] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 411. The best sketch of Lady Palmerston that has appeared was the obituary notice in the Times of the 15th of September, from the pen of Mr. Abraham Hayward, Q.C.—See Mr. Hayward’s Correspondence, Vol. II., p. 201, also Hayward’s Selected Essays, Vol. II. (Longmans, 1878.)

[316] Hayward’s Correspondence, Vol. II., p. 202.

[317] Hodder’s Life and Work of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, K.G., Vol. III., pp. 251-252. (Cassell and Co., 1886.)

[318] It may be interesting to record that the most brilliant Queen of Society in the Victorian period was a hard-working, thrifty house-manager. During her reign she managed personally not only the sumptuous hospitalities, but the accounts of Cambridge House, Brocket Hall, and Broadlands, and kept Palmerston’s private affairs in admirable order. Even her visiting cards were filled up by her own hand till within a very few years of her death. There was one other trace of old-fashionedness about her. She was the last lady of quality who pronounced the word oblige as if it were spelt “obleege.”

[319] Two-thirds of the electors abstained from voting. Jeremiah Donovan prefixed the aristocratic “O’” to his surname to give himself social importance. To distinguish him from other O’Donovans the place of his birth, Rossa, was now added to his name, thus: “Jeremiah O’Donovan (Rossa).” In England it soon came to be written as if “Rossa” were actually his surname.

[320] On the 7th of December Mr. W. Johnston, M.P., one of the Orange leaders, told an Orange Lodge at Derry that between Fenians and Papists he chose Fenians, and added, amidst enthusiastic cheers, that “it is no part of the duty of an Orangeman to fire a shot or draw a sword as between the English Government and the Fenians.”

[321] Mr. Disraeli did not object to compensation for disturbance when it meant compensation for unexhausted improvements, or for the “interruption of a course of good husbandry.”

[322] The Commons restored the original scale of compensation for eviction, the original duration of the lease exempting holdings from the Bill, and they restricted the permission to settle disputes between landlord and tenant to cases where they acted in concert, and not to those in which the offer came from one party alone.

[323] These were (1), in towns, the municipal boroughs; (2), in the Metropolis, workhouse school districts, or failing these, vestry areas; and (3), in counties, the civil parishes.

[324] Mr. Winterbotham said that the Dissenters must insist on every rate-aided school giving no religious instruction except Bible-reading without note or comment, and that, too, only in terms of “The Time-table Conscience Clause,” i.e., at specified hours before or after those for secular instruction, so that parents might use the Conscience Clause without sacrificing the educational interests of their children.

[325] This left £500,000 still to pay.

[326] Lord Granville had refused New Zealand military aid on the general principle that the sooner colonies took care of themselves and became independent the better. To save his dignity, he now said that the loan was to be advanced for public works, &c. But no device could conceal his change of front, for obviously advances to help a colony to build public works, set free its local resources to meet its military expenditure.

[327] The publication of the Treaty might have damped German enthusiasm had Germany suspected she was asked to fight France in order to save Belgium. But Napoleon dissipated that suspicion by proclaiming that the object of the war was to “maintain Austria in her elevated position” in Germany, and make the South German States independent.

[328] Von Bismarck, in his despatch of the 28th July, 1870, to Count Bernstoff, said the Draft Treaty (which also stipulated for the sale of Luxembourg to France) was communicated to him after the Luxembourg Question was settled in 1867. But M. Benedetti, in whose handwriting it was, said it was discussed by Bismarck in 1866, just after Sadowa. The facts favour Benedetti’s statement of the date. See Lowe’s Life of Bismarck, Vol. I., p. 423 et seq.

[329] He was called “Duke of Pillage” after he looted the Summer Palace of the Chinese Emperor.

[330] The French lost one-eighth.

[331] According to Mr. T. H. S. Escott’s brilliant sketch of the late Mr. Hayward in the Fortnightly Review for March, 1884, the first person M. Thiers sounded in England on the subject was Mr. Hayward. “My friend,” said Hayward, when M. Thiers began to argue about the balance of power, “put all that stuff out of your head. We care for none of these things.” Writing to his sister on the 17th of September, 1870, Mr. Hayward says:—“I passed yesterday evening with the Thiers party, and breakfasted with them this morning. They are himself, his wife, sister-in-law, and secretary. His mission seems to be to persuade England to interfere on behalf of France, which England won’t do. I saw Gladstone yesterday, who told me he could not mediate, as he knew neither what Prussia meant to demand nor France to concede.”—Correspondence of Abraham Hayward, Q.C., Vol. II., p. 217.

[332] This proposal he carried against Von Moltke, who sternly demanded the complete and unconditional surrender of the army of Metz.

[333] It was difficult to say which side won this battle, but on the whole the balance of advantage rested with Faidherbe. The Germans appreciated his ability very highly, and their two best generals next to Von Moltke, were detached to crush him.

[334] Alice Grand Duchess of Hesse, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland. Biographical Sketch and Letters, p. 243.

[335] Lord Granville has himself admitted that the weak point in the policy of neutrality adopted by the Government was its starting-point. The war was plainly and deliberately aggressive on the part of France. If England had offered to head a league of neutral Powers in joining Prussia to repel unprovoked French aggression, France would not have drawn her sword. A great precedent would have been created for the establishment of an international police of neutrals for keeping the peace of Europe. At the Lord Mayor’s Banquet on the 9th of November, Lord Granville discussed this view very honestly and very candidly. His reply was that the peevish jealousy with which France regarded the growing power of Germany rendered the outbreak of war inevitable, and that the menace of the neutral Powers would at best have postponed the fray for a brief period. But these menaces might have failed, and then the area of war would have been widened, the combatants multiplied, and the struggle could not have been conducted, as it was, under the restraining neutral criticism which did much to temper the passions and mitigate the horrors of the strife. No doubt this was the national conviction, and after it had been decided not to join Germany in preventing France from perpetrating a crime, it was absurd to depart from neutrality, in order to help France to escape the logical and just punishment of her own turpitude. The organs of the Tory Opposition, however, rather unpatriotically tried to make political capital out of the policy of the Government by teaching the people that the neutrality of the Cabinet was due to Ministerial cowardice and incapacity.

[336] Lowe’s Life of Bismarck, Vol. I., p. 606.

[337] King William had doubts as to whether he should be called Emperor of Germany or German Emperor. At last he decided in favour of the latter, which is his legal and correct title, though the wrong one—“Emperor of Germany”—is actually used on passports issued through the British Embassy at Berlin. To have called him “Emperor of Germany” would have meant that the territories of the German Sovereign Princes were in a country which belonged to him, whereas no part of Germany belonged to him save Prussia. The title “German Emperor” was a concession to the sentiments of autonomy and independence cherished by the small States. Indeed, the Hohenzollerns, when they became kings, were in a somewhat similar difficulty. They ought to have been Kings of Brandenberg. But Brandenberg was part of the old Empire, in which there could be only one King of the Germans and Holy Roman Emperor. Hence they took their title from Prussia, a new German colony, but not an integral part of the German Empire.—For a careful discussion of this quaint point of punctilio, see Lowe’s Life of Bismarck, Vol. I., pp. 613-618.

[338] But it was so clumsy in wording that it did not bind the Sovereign. This fact explains the anxiety of Melbourne to see the young Queen Victoria well married. So far as the law went, after her accession she might, if she had chosen, have married a lacquey. William IV., for example, could not have married Mrs. Jordan, who bore a large family to him, when he was Duke of Clarence. But he could have done so when he became King.

[339] The restrictions are not of course absolute, for a Prince may refuse to be bound by them. He may defy the Act and marry a subject without the consent of the Sovereign. The marriage is then quite valid for him as a private individual. He could not after it marry anybody else whilst his wife lived, save at the risk of a prosecution for bigamy. But the marriage confers no Royal status on his wife, and no Royal rights of inheritance on his children. The wife of the Duke of Sussex was simply Lady Augusta Murray, and took merely her own rank as an earl’s daughter. The wife of the Duke of Cambridge is not Duchess of Cambridge, but merely Mrs. FitzGeorge, and the Duke’s family take the name of FitzGeorge, and the rank of Commoners. Yet it would be impossible for the Duke to marry any one else, even with the consent of the Queen.

[340] Being for the benefit of an individual, if the Queen had consented to “bespeak” them she would have been compelled to assent to an endless number of similar applications, or give a great many people bitter offence by refusal.

[341] Thackeray’s attacks on the Queen’s family and ancestors apparently had not rendered him a persona grata, like Dickens.

[342] See Forster’s Life of Dickens.